Friday, March 30, 2018

The Merry Spinster

This is exactly (and not quite) what I was expecting. Ortberg retells classic fairy tales and puts her own dark spin on them. From beauty and the beast, to the velveteen rabbit, to cinderella, and to the little mermaid; they're all accounted for and are all predictably creepy. She modernizes the stories a bit and brings them back to their true "Grim" roots. This collection is filled with death and unhappy endings, perfect for reading to your children at night ;) Overall, it was alright, but there were a few stories I couldn't get in to or went over my head a little bit. Beautifully written, but it's not a collection I think I'll ever re-read.

Thursday, March 29, 2018


A surprisingly funny and fresh self help guide that helps readers stop the pitfalls, bad thoughts, and monkey wrenches that hinder us from completing goals. It's a quick empowering read and it's a good reminder that even if we fail a goal on day two, we don't have to stop. We strive for perfection at the detriment of everything else. If we learn to accept that not all goals are perfect and we cut them in half or make it fun, we'll have far better success. My favorite chapter was on leaving your hiding places and ignoring noble obstacles because sometimes we are desperate to sabotage ourselves. That chapter really spoke to me. Overall I think this was a really helpful, fun, engaging book. Something I'll definitely refer back to!

Wednesday, March 28, 2018

Save Me

I was shocked by how quickly I got into the story, I thought it would be a pretty straight forward story but about half way through there was a twist and the second half was like a thriller/mystery. The premise of this book will be great for book discussions. If you're kid and another kid were trapped in a burning building who would you save? Rose is a stay at home mom who happens to be on lunch duty at her daughter's school. She's keeping an eye on her daughter Melly whose been getting bullied about a birth mark on her face. She catches one of the popular third graders taunting Melly prompting her to run and hide in the bathroom. Rose goes over to talk to the mean girls about bullying when a fireball rips through the room. Rose must make a decision, does she save the mean girls first or run and rescue her daughter who is now trapped in a burning bathroom? Her decision will soon have her be the town outcast. Can she live with her decision? Is it really her fault? What is a mother to do? It definitely makes you think!

The Bone Garden

This book was honestly a 3.5 for me. It kept me riveted, but I wish it were a little more complex and I would have loved for more character development. That being said, I enjoy a good twist at the end (even if it is a little far fetched). There are two parallel story lines, that of a modern day new homeowner who finds a centuries old skeleton in her backyard while gardening and a nineteenth century tale of body snatchers, poverty, serial killers, and a dab of romance. Julia slowly pieces together the sordid life of the girl buried in her garden by going through dozens of old boxes of newspapers, letters, and mementos left behind by the former owner. What she discovers is a mystery spanning generations and a hidden secret that sill stun her. An enjoyably dark read, I wouldn't mind picking up more books by this author.

Monday, March 26, 2018

Girls Burn Brighter

AHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHH! What the hell!! After reading this book I wanted to punch things, scream into the void, yell at passersby. I wanted to RAGE!! I still feel a deep pit of despair in my belly when I think about this book. This will eat you up from the inside and make you feel. If you're triggered by rape, violence, sodomy, and enslavement take a long hard pass on this book. The book is told from two perspectives, that of Poornima and Savitha; two young Indian girls trying to survive poverty in rural India. Poornima's family is a little better off and her father hires Savitha to help run the loom since his wife his past. When the two girls meet they become each other's first and only friend. Suddenly the world has potential. All that changes however when Savitha is brutalized one night; her innocence stolen. She runs away in grief and in shame and the two girls spend the entire novel trying to escape from their horrible situations and find each other again. There is an arranged marriage for Poornima which results in an abusive husband who horribly disfigures her face with a pan of burning oil. She escapes only to be taken in by a brothel to run their books. While there she discovers that Savitha had been there; having been sold into sex slavery. The book is one big cat and mouse game of horror. It's beautifully written, but chills you to the bone. You just want the best for these girls! Why is the world so cruel!?!? Please read so we can discuss and cry about it over some drinks. I need a friend.

Sunday, March 25, 2018


Beautiful, raw, and emotional; this collection of poetry dealing with the aftermath of a break up and the struggle of moving forward will absolutely resonate with readers everywhere. It's compelling and soo soo personal! It's an intimate look at heartache and it's relate-able on every level. From questioning every little detail of your relationship, to trying to understand their motives, from grief all the way to anger; every step of heart break is included. Mateer's poetry and prose ranges from short to semi-long, but no matter the brevity; it all packs a punch. It's a wonderful collection that I know I will come to it again and again. It's even inspired me to go to the library to check out her other collections. As a final aside, I love the cover art!


Very rarely is the sequel better than the original, but hot dog! This one came close. This was SUCH a great follow up! And the end! Man, I need the next book ASAP, the ending was out of control in the best and most surprising way possible!I won't summarize this too much, only saying that you absolutely have to read Scythe before you get to this. After the shocking conclusion to the first book in the series, this one picked up right where that left off and follows the two apprentices on their different paths. Also the Thunderhead (the omnipotent governing body of the world) becomes a major player in this book, acting as one of the narrators. So does Greyson Tolliver, a nobody who becomes super important to the thunderhead and to the scythedom (although they don't know it yet). There are a lot of unsavory things going on with some of the scythes and the thunderhead doesn't like it, and is powerless to intervene. This book was awesome. I can't get over how unique the world-building and the plot are. It's mind-blowing. Read this series!!

Thursday, March 22, 2018

Kristy's Great Idea

I feel as if I read a few books in this series when I was younger (out of order, because I'm an animal), but I didn't really remember much. One of my aunts had a pop up scrapbook that I thought was SOO COOL! It letters, and journal entries, and postcards that you could take out, all I wanted to do was join a babysitter's club.  It looked so cool! Basically this book starts the series that lasts FOR INFINITY (they even have new graphic novels now). Four twelve year old girls decide to start a baby-sitting group to bring in more clients and make more money. They deal with personal problems along the way, strict parents, diabetes, divorce, and boys but they band together and decide that they'll stick together. All four girls are wildly different so I can see where the allure is in the series. I kinda want to read another one to see what shenanigans they get into!

The Astonishing Color of After

Heart wrenching, and unique; this young adult novel that explores suicide, cultural identity, self-expression, art, and love is a slam dunk. Leigh's mother suffered from depression her whole life but managed to tough through the pain, until one day she couldn't. Leigh who had been so focused on her art and her crush on her best-friend is blindsided and heart broken by her mother's suicide. In the week's following her mother's death; a large red bird visits her in the night and gives her gifts. At first she thinks she is hallucinating, but soon she realizes that the gifts and the feathers left behind are truly real in the daylight. Leigh becomes convinced that the bird is her mother and her mother is telling her to go to Taiwan to meet her maternal grandparents (whom Leigh has never met) and to uncover some tough truths. This teen novel is equal parts beautiful, artistic, and magical. Leigh's journey part real, part magical; and alternates between her current reality, her past, and memories of her family. A powerful read.

Wednesday, March 21, 2018

The Night Market

Interesting premise, but the plot lagged in places. Very dark, very noir; this darkly futuristic thriller is unique and inventive. When Inspector Carver went to work Thursday night, he had no idea what horror was about to unfold. The only problem is, when he wakes up days later he has no recollection of what happened. He has a niggling suspicion at the back of his mind that not everything adds up, so he, his partner (who also, has glaring gaps in his memory) work together to try and piece together what they must have uncovered. Somehow, Carver's reclusive neighbor comes into play, and they must journey to the seedy underground to unravel a conspiracy that threatens not just them or their city, but the entire nation. Wildly imaginative, and fun. I just wish the story kept moving at a breakneck pace, it was a little slow at moments.

Monday, March 19, 2018

An American Marriage

Solid book from start to finish. Tayari Jones does an exceptional job breathing life into her incredibly flawed and incredibly real characters. One year into their marriage Roy is committed of a crime he did not do and sentenced to 12 years. He and his wife Celestial try to make it work, but she has a budding business and he is incarcerated. Love isn't easy, but what about a marriage in its infancy can it survive years behind bars? Heart wrenching, gritty, and real, this novel told through multiple perspectives and letters demands to be felt. Can every marriage be saved? Roy and Celestial's marriage isn't perfect, but is there enough love left to salvage? I didn't love either character, but I chafed at the wrongful imprisonment, and I wanted so badly for the two of them to rise above their predicament.

Wednesday, March 14, 2018

The Innocent Wife

Wow, as someone who was obsessed (and still is) with the injustice and false imprisonment of the west memphis three, this book really struck a chord with me. The premise is literally so similar to Damion Echol's life story. A man convicted of murdering a young girl spends two decades on death row despite no evidence. His wrongful imprisonment spawns a documentary, a book, and lots of social justice warriors fighting to see him released. Samantha reads up on the case  and decides to write Dennis Danson and an unlikely friendship begins. Their letters lead to jail visitation and then marriage. Shocking new evidence emerges that exonerates Dennis and the two lovebirds can finally be with each other. Now that he's out though, Samantha notices that not everything is peachy-keen, Dennis can be cold, doesn't want intimacy, and hides many things from her. Can she trust this man? Was she wrong to believe in his innocence? What really happened to all the other missing girls? Captivating, bewildering, and hard to read (why Samantha, why?!?). I loved it!

Tuesday, March 13, 2018

House of Stairs

Dang! Where was this book when I was younger??!? For being a few decades old, it really hasn't aged much! This psychological teen read throws five 16 year old orphans into a weird uninviting alien environment filled only with stairs. None of them know why they are there or how to escape. They wander around and find a weird machine that will give them food, only when they figure out how to meet it's weird demands. It's the 5 of them against this weird environment, what will happen if they stop working together? Why are they there? What is the point? It is very reminiscent of  Lord of the Flies, just maybe a little more futuristic. A weird, interesting, and compelling read. I dig it.

Monday, March 12, 2018


I give inspirational romance a lot of crap, especially the Amish ones because they so often tend to be formulaic, boring, and preachy, but I will admit... I kinda dug this one! Honestly! When my friend told me there were Amish fairy tale spin offs I laughed. It sounded so dumb, bizarre even! So I went into this book expecting it to be awful, and admittedly I didn't fall in love with it right away, but once I got into the story, I was hooked. Belle lives with her father and two useless sisters. When they find out that they are going to lose the farm because their father hasn't been paying the mortgage all hope seems gone; they will be destitute and homeless. The town recluse, Adam, a man disfigured from a fire, buys up the farm and Belle tries to plead with him to save their home. He tells her the only way he'll let her family have the farm back is if she agrees to marry him and bear him a child. Against her better judgement she does, because she loves her family and wants the best for them. She knows nothing about this man, other than what her little Amish community has gossiped about him and his beast-like looks. Can they make this marriage work? Can she tame the beast and save her family? Cheesy, but super readable. I'll be reading the next in the series!

Wednesday, March 7, 2018


I was very meh, about the first book (Wintersong), but I obviously had to continue because THE GOBLIN KING. Anything that is even remotely kind of like David Bowie in Labyrinth is worth at least one read through by me. I had to know! Unfortunately, this book was even slower and less exciting then the first in the series. Yes, it wrapped everything up, but no I didn't care. Especially since the goblin king played such a minor role in this. I needed more of him! A lot more! Also, Josef (Elizabeth's brother) is a whiny lil' bitch and I could care less what happened to him. The ending was predictable, and pretty much everything gets all wrapped up in a happy shiny bow. It was an alright attempt at a series, but not one I will ever re-visit. I would however, still want to read anything by this author, she has a way with words and one day I know she's going to write something that resonates with me and knocks the socks off me.

The Black Panther

Beautifully drawn, this collection shows T'Challa struggling to keep Wakanda together. Splinter factions, upheaval, and violence are breaking out all over the country and no matter what Black Panther does, it never seems to be enough; he's putting band aids on a gaping wounds. What can he do to bring peace to his Wakandan citizens? It jumps around quite a bit and can be hard to follow at moments, but the illustrations, dialogue, and coloring, make this an impressive comic.

Guilty Pleasures

I love this series. This is probably my fourth or fifth time re-reading this. It's been a few years since the last time and I had been itching to get back at it. Per usual, I loved every second of it. Anita Blake is freaking awesome, she's such a badass character. The intricate plot and amazing array of characters are also some of the things that keep me coming back or more. Vampirism is legalized in the United States and with that brings a whole slew of problems. Anita is on a retainer for police as their resident expert. Besides being a vampire slayer, she is also a full time animator, raising corpses from the dead for clients to settle wills and say goodbyes. At only, 24 she has quite the reputation. She's known as the executioner. Her newest case, a series of bloody murders around the vampire district is going to be challenging in more way than one. If she doesn't figure out who is wasting vampires, her best friend's life may be in danger. Wonderful from start to finish, I love Anita's sarcastic, cocky bravado.

Tuesday, March 6, 2018

Sing Unburied Sing

I really REALLY wanted to give this a better review! The writing is excellent, there has been so much buzz about it, it won the National Book Award, there are many reasons why I should have liked it, but I can't lie. I wasn't feeling it. The book follows three characters: Jojo, a thirteen year old boy who is mature beyond his years and just wants to be like his grandfather and make sure his younger sister gets taken care, his mother Leonie, a never present parent who spends more time pining after her incarcerated boyfriend and doing drugs, and finally there is Richie, another thirteen year old boy with an unsettling past. Leonie takes her two children on a road trip to see their father released from prison and while there, Jojo encounters Richie, a boy whose story HE KNOWS. Jojo is by far the greatest character in this sad family saga, he is strong, wise, questioning, and more of a parent to his younger sister than his mother, Leonie could ever hope to be. I briefly sympathized with his mom, but it's hard when she constantly chooses herself and her boyfriend over her own children. She is the literal worst. I'm with Jojo, she could die and the world would be a better place. Same goes for his deadbeat dad. The story only spans a few days, but it feels like a lifetime. And, Richie... Richie helps add another layer to the story, it helps deepens the saga. Even though he's not quite a family member, he has something to add. The story was artfully done, but it didn't resonate with me.

Monday, March 5, 2018


File this under HOLY HELL! That is one insane memoir, you won't be able to stop shaking your head in disbelief as Tara Westover recounts her childhood and formative years growing up in a survivalist Mormon family in rural Idaho. Tara was "homeschooled," but in reality she had to teach herself everything; her mother let her and her siblings "learn at their own pace" and her father thought that anytime spent sitting around whoring after knowledge was time wasted. There was a junkyard to run after all! Tara was mercilessly abused by one of her older brothers and taught from a young age that the Illuminati were controlling everything which is why she had no birth certificate or any records indicating that she even existed. Her family refused to go to formal schools, to doctors (not even for the severe stuff!), or to anything. They were content hoarding supplies for the end of days. As Tara ages she gradually becomes aware that she should leave to figure things out on her own, but it's hard to cut ties with her family, even when they insist on dragging her down. I couldn't put this book down, you have to read it to believe it. The fact that Tara survived a very unconventional and dangerous upbringing is impressive, as is the fact that she has been so successful in her advanced education. A must read!

Friday, March 2, 2018

Eating From The Ground Up

This may have skyrocketed INSTANTLY into one of my top five favorite cookbooks of all time. I am a huge fan of simple vegetable recipes (have you seen The Forest Feast cookbook?!?) and Alana Chernila does a wonderful job writing recipes and photographing them. They are simple, sumptuous, and right up my alley. Little known tips really help enhance these vegetables and definitely made me more comfortable in preparing and cooking them. The authors notes about each recipe and section are genuine, well articulated, and surprisingly good reading for a cookbook. I can't wait to try all the recipes out. And even though this book is all about veggies, it isn't 100% vegetarian and it isn't all vegan, but don't let that stop you from getting it! This is a must buy cookbook!


I mostly liked this book, I mean, how could I not? It's practically Labyrinth fanfiction! Hello Goblin King, long time no see. This young adult novel takes the classic eighties movie, Labyrinth, and sets it in old time Bavaria where legends of goblins, the underground, and the goblin king run rampant. The heroine is the eldest child in a family where she is the most overlooked. Her younger sister has all the beauty and curves and her younger brother is a violinist virtuoso. Liesl puts no stock in her own hopes and dreams and focuses solely on her family. Her deepest secret is her desire to be a composer. Music is in her very soul, but no one sees that. No one that is, except for the Goblin King. He covets Liesl and to get her attention he kidnaps her younger sister and Liesl must go into the underground to get her back. Suddenly, all the fairy tales and old wives tales turn out to be true, It's romantic, dark, and beautiful. Liesl can't help falling for the goblin king, it's like she's known him all her life...

Thursday, March 1, 2018

The Great Alone

Worth. The. Hype. Honestly, I liked this even better than Kristin Hannah's, "The Nightingale," and that book was a masterpiece! I zipped through this one, unable to put it down. It was gripping from the beginning and I know that this is a book I will return to. Set in the remote Alaskan wilderness, this coming of age story features a young girl trying to navigate her parent's stormy relationship and make friends of her own (a hard task when there are only about 30 people in town). Leni's father came back from Vietnam a changed man, prone to violent outbursts, restlessness, and crazy ideas. When his buddy from Vietnam wills him a cabin up in Alaska, he packs his family into their VW van and moves them across county into the great alone. They are woefully under-prepared for their first winter and that summer the townsfolk comes together to help out the newcomers. Little does Leni's family realize how long the winters are and how short daylight is; Leni's father mood shifts ever darker. Despite the darkness in her father their is beauty everywhere: in their new neighbors, the rugged wilderness, the value of hard work and borrowed books. Beautifully written; this love letter to Alaska will resonate with readers and have readers rooting for Leni. Tears may fall, dreams may be born, anything is possible. Favorite book of 2018 so far!