Wednesday, May 30, 2018

Just Let Go

If more inspirational (christian) books were like this, I 'd probably read a ton more. It was gorgeously written and even though you know where the story will end, readers will have an enjoyable time getting to the conclusion. Set in a charming Michigan tourist town during the winter (ie the off-season), this slow burn romance captures all the butterflies, setbacks, misconceptions, and and wrong turns that eventually entwine the two main characters. Quinn has just bought the towns floral shop, and she's excited to renovate and re-open the store that her mother once owned. Grady, a reckless thrill seeking skier ends up getting stuck in this tiny town for five weeks while he does community service. On the surface they're horrible for each other, but their hearts don't know that. They slowly start to open up to each other and go outside their comfort zones to confront issues in their past in hopes that it can pave the way to their future. Charming and cute; this inspirational romance will win over many. It's the second in a series, but I had no idea and it didn't hinder the story for me in any way. 

Tuesday, May 29, 2018

The Outsider

I was hooked from the get go - this wasn't King's standard horror fare, it was more thriller/mystery with a touch of supernatural to it. I also LOVED that is tied in a little with the Bill Hodges trilogy! Holly, one of Hodges amateur detectives at Finders Keepers assists with this puzzling case. The Outsider opens with a beloved family man and little league coach getting arrested in front of his family and fans at a baseball game. He is charged with kidnapping, murdering, and raping a little boy. But he swears innocence. He swears he was hours away at the time of the murder; but if that was true he would have to be lying. But... maybe he's telling the truth and really was in two places at once. What if there is more than meets the eye? Filled with amazing characters (King is THE BEST at creating real, average, believable characters), a fast paced story line, and an interesting puzzle. Another great book from the master of horror!

Sunday, May 27, 2018

The Godfather

Freaking loved this! I've always loved the movie so I don't know why it took me so long to check out the book! I was super impressed with how closely the movie followed the book as well! I'll definitely be reading the rest of the books in this series. I also had the good fortune of listening to the audiobook version which is narrated by a full cast! Complete with Italian accents! So good, I didn't want to stop listening! This book follows the Corleone family and the lengths they take to stay in power as one of the most powerful mafia families in New York City. It's dirty, compelling, raunchy, deep, twisted, and filled with an entire cast of unforgettable characters. If you loved the movie, you will love the book!!

Wednesday, May 23, 2018

What Every Body is Saying

Pretty fascinating book. I'm pretty good at reading other peoples non-verbal cues but HORRIBLE at realizing what my own are. I'm sure I'm the most expressive person ever and I'm sure my body language betrays me all the time. Reading this book just helped me understand why we act and move the way we do even though we're not even aware we're doing it. Each chapter breaks down a different section of the body and how to speed read someone's mood, tell if they're lying, nervous, happy, or uncomfortable based off subtle body movements. I learned the most on the section about feet, they're one of the most expressive parts of your body and also one of the most overlooked. Feet placement can be very indicative of a person's true emotions. Overall an interesting and enlightening read; full of information that I've already started putting to use.

Tuesday, May 22, 2018

Ryan's Crossing

The second book in an inspirational series; this installment focuses on Ryan, Amber's brother. Astonished to see his sister again after so long, he is initially guarded. How did everything turn out so well for her? She was a runaway for years and now she's getting married and marrying into the nicest and most genuine family Ryan has ever seen. Also, his parents and younger brother Keith seem pretty content and may also settle down in the same small town of Crossing. The turmoil of his youth is forgotten and he seems unsure of what to do. Should he stay in his paramedic job a few hours away or should he move closer to family and make up for lost time? It doesn't hurt that his sister's new sister-in-law is the most gorgeous and caring beauty he's ever seen. Will God show him what path to choose?

Monday, May 21, 2018

Crossing Values

Amber never stays in any place long, she's been fleeing for years trying to forget her past. When she arrives in the small town Crossing, Oregon her past starts to catch up on her. Offered a job and room and board for secretarial work, she gets a warm welcome from a boisterous and loving family who are determined to help Amber find peace with her past and with God. She slowly starts to open up to this welcoming family and starts to find herself drawn to their son Luke. There's only one problem, he's already got a gorgeous and accomplished young lady by his side. But God works and mysterious ways and as the holidays approach she lets her guard down and might actually be able to open up about what she's running away from. Can she trust these people? Do they have ulterior motives? Does Luke feel the same way about her as she does about him? How does God play into all of this? A quick inspirational read that is the first in a series.

The Mothers

Small secrets can fester and grow and have a ripple effect that will last far longer than anyone ever could have anticipated. After the loss of Nadia's mother, high school becomes unbearable. She cuts loose, flirts, stays out late, anything to pass the time. When she meets Luke, the pastor's son, the world seems to tip back on it's axis and everything is right again.That is, until the pregnancy. She makes a decision to abort the money and although he doesn't want that to happen he gives her the money and then abandons her at the abortion clinic. Their high school romance dissolved, Nadia goes her own way and Luke his... until they meet up again years later. Is something still there? Is the secret still haunting them. Bennett does a wonderful job creating flawed characters who readers will try to root for even though they continue to make the wrong decisions. A great book club selection.

Made You Up

There aren't many teen novels that deal with mental illness in a positive, educational way which makes this book even more important. The book centers around Alex, a high school senior suffering from schizophrenia. Having been kicked out of her last school for defacing the gym she is sent to a new high school and as part of her punishment she has to join an after school athletic club. Alex finds herself making friends but more often than not she's not always sure what is real and what is a figment of her imagination. Are these friendships real or are they fake? Miles, the head of the club soon becomes one of her fixations. Does he really have a German accent? Why do people call him a Nazi? Can she trust him? A hopeful, honest read about mental illness and the power of friendship.

Thursday, May 17, 2018

Silence of the Lambs

One of my top five favorite books of all time. This is probably the fifth or sixth time I've read this book and the first time I've done so by listening to the audiobook and I was pleasantly surprised by how enjoyable that was. It was narrated by Kathy Bates who did a wonderful job! FBI student lucks out when she is asked by Special Agent Crawford to do a special assignment for him; he wants her to go visit the infamous serial killer Hannibal Lector and get him to take a psychological survey to add to the database of known serial killers. Crawford would go himself but he's got his hands tied with Buffalo Bill, a serial killer that's been skinning his female victims. When Clarice goes to the maximum holding center to interview Hannibal she gets an unexpected gift from the madman himself, a tip about the Buffalo Bill. Suddenly Clarice finds herself in the middle of a serious investigation aided by Hannibal Lector. It's dark, twisted, thrilling, and a non-stop action ride. I think the movie is a GREAT adaptation of the book. Read this already!

Tuesday, May 15, 2018

You Think It, I'll Say It

Sittenfeld, Curtis. You Think It, I'll Say It. 6 CDs. unabridged. Books on Tape. 2018. ISBN 9780525527794. 

New York Times bestselling novelist, Curtis Sittenfeld (Prep, American Wife), switches gears with her first short story collection. Comprised of ten compelling and unique stories, this audiobook will draw readers in with its deeply flawed and deeply human characters that aren't soon forgotten. From a newlyweds on their honeymoon, to an unhappy housewife, to a young volunteer, to married acquaintances; each short story explores the reader's assumptions and initial reactions and then flips the script. Sittenfeld humanizes the seemingly mundane every day lives of her characters, making them fallible and relate-able. Exquisitely narrated by Emily Rankin and Mark Deacon; their strong engaging voices perfectly capture the many different characters. Rankin especially inserts charm, cadence, and vulnerability into her characters; making them even more real and accessible. A superbly narrated, standout collection of short stories with mass appeal. - Erin Cataldi, Johnson Co. Public Library, Franklin, IN

Small Country

Heartbreaking and powerful, this slim novel packs a powerful punch. It was an enlightening read about a horrific time. I am familiar with Rwanda and the genocide that happened there in the nineties but I was unfamiliar with the neighboring country of Burundi and the violence that erupted there around the same time. It's a coming of age story about a young boy who see the world changing around his very eyes and tries to make sense of the senseless violence. I can summarize it any more beautifully than the author: "Every day in our world, we hear the terms “migrants” and “refugees,” but we forget that behind these words, there are names, dreams, and voices. This novel is a long poem about one of those kids, from a distant conflict, who finds his own words to tell his name and his story. And I hope also that the readers can discover Burundi because this is one of the first novels to talk about this small and relatively unknown country."

Thursday, May 10, 2018

The Pisces

File this under, holy smokes what in the hell did I just read?!?!? I am a sucker for bizarre novels and let me tell you, this one takes the freaking cake. For being so odd, it was superbly well written! The one second summary is that this is MERMAN. EROTICA. Yes, you read that correctly. Lucy is at a stopping point in her life. She's been dumped by her boyfriend of two plus years and her dissertation on Sappho is going nowhere. She's simply existing and it's not enough. After being picked up by the cops covered in donut crumbs and clothed only in her nighties, her older sister convinces her to come to California and house sit for the summer. Lucy reluctantly agrees to watch her gorgeous house, take care of the dog, and attend group therapy for women going through relationship crises. Therapy isn't helping much but the dog is. One night Lucy is sitting by the ocean when she spies the most gorgeous young man out for a swim. Every night they talk and things slowly gets sexual. When she finally discovers why he never comes out of the water she isn't even fazed. At this point she is so infatuated she doesn't even care that she's boning a merman. It escalates in absurdity and hilarity. What is love? Is it lust? Can you lust a merman? All burning questions. Do yourself a favor and read this gem!

Wednesday, May 9, 2018

So Close to Being the Sh*t, Y'all Don't Even Know

This book was a damn treat! I feel like I'm in the Parks and Rec Book Club because I HAVE TO read all the books they write. I'm so glad Retta joined their ranks because this book is a roller coaster of amazing. There is some real heartfelt shit in there, but it's also so down to earth and funny. I straight up felt like she was my best friend after this. Each chapter is an essay about some aspect of her life; from her addiction to designer bags, her newfound love of Hockey, making it as a black female comedian, growing up poor, cutting loose in college, the joys of being lazy, her love of television, to her struggle of finding amazon sized footwear (girl we wear the same size, the struggle is real!), this entire book is funny and relatable. After reading this book I instantly had to follow her on all social media (what have I been doing with my damn life?) and I coaxed my boyfriend into getting me tickets to see Hamilton (well... he's gonna try to anyways). Retta waxes poetic about the Broadway play, Hamilton, and it was better than any theater review I've ever read. I love, love, love this book!! I'm including a picture from my book club when we discussed Aziz's book and I had Parks and Rec cookies made; I wish I still had that Donna Meagle cookie!

Tuesday, May 8, 2018

Red Queen

I haven't got invested in a young adult series in a while but I think I will definitely continue on with the Red Queen series. This is a new dystopian fantasy series that is inventive and unique enough to set itself apart from Hunger Games and Divergent (although there are some clear parallels) and yet remains cool enough to be added to those ranks. In Mare's world society is divided between the reds and the silvers. The silvers are the high class people who have special abilities to wield fire, read minds, control water, manipulate metals, and more. The reds are the lower caste, the ones who still bleed red, have no powers, and have been oppressed for decades. Mare's world is turned upside down when she is sent to work in the palace. She has lived in abject poverty her whole life and to see such prosperity and wealth is sickening to her. Mare is secretly rooting for the Red Dawn, a terrorist organization trying to overthrow the silvers and when she discovers that she has silver powers and red blood (a totally anomaly) she finds herself in a rare position to help others and overthrow the silvers once and for all. Engrossing and fun. I can't wait for the next in the series!

Thursday, May 3, 2018

Red Dragon

It's been a few years since my last re-read and I was definitely due. The Hannibal Lector trilogy is literally one of my all time favorite series and it ALWAYS holds up. It's still just as amazing as the first time I read it. Thomas Harris is wonderful at getting in the minds of serial killers and making a wonderfully complex game of cat and mouse. Will Graham hasn't worked for the FBI in years. Not since he was almost fatally stabbed by Hannibal Lector, a sociopath who ate his victims. Will has a special skill set, one that has helped in track down more than a few serial killers, but all he want's is a break. Special Agent Jack Crawford won't let that happen though. There's a terrifying serial killer nicknamed the toothfairy and he's already killed two families. They need Will's insight to find and stop this madman before he kills his third family. And Will isn't sure he can do it on his own, he may need consult Hannibal to help get to the bottom of what is making the toothfairy tick. Dark, demented, and impossible to put down; this is always a must read!!

Wednesday, May 2, 2018

Spiderman/ Deadpool: Serious Business

I'm so glad this volume went back to being good because I was seriously disappointed with volumes 2 and 3. The shtick in this one is "no more jokes" they go old school slapstick (for a while) as they deal with the real life Slapstick who isn't so much as a bad guy, but someone in their way. There were some pretty good pop culture references in this one (Westworld and Dolph Lundgren) which perked me up as well. Spiderman is miraculously no longer antsy and the bromance is alive and well as this team partners up to get shit done.

Spiderman/ Deadpool: Itsy Bitsy

UGH! Officially my least favorite release!! How can you mess up Deadpool?!?!?! This "volume" is missing 11, 12, 15, and 16. I don't know if those issues were by guest writers (featured in volume 2) or what. This storyline is also a bit confusing? Why is Deadpool's face beautiful again? When did Spiderman get so angsty and ANGRY? I don't know. Too many questions. This volume has the dynamic duo trying to stop this spider girl from killing too many people and Spiderman is determined to KILL HER rather than stop her and it's tearing him apart and Deadpool has to save the day. Some witty banter but that is about it!

Kim Reaper

I had high hopes for this one, but it really fell short for me. The illustrations are great but the story-line and immaturity were too much. Even though this graphic novel features two college students, I feel as if it's aimed at middle schoolers. The cheesy jokes, absurdity, all of it was over the top. I definitely liked that it had a diverse group characters and the protagonists were gay, but I still couldn't come to care for wither of them. A college girl falls for the cutie in front of her, who happens to have a side hustle being a grim reaper for pets. The two of them start to fall for each other and overcome some weird ass obstacles in hell. Meh, great illustrations, just not my thing.

Tuesday, May 1, 2018

Spiderman/ Deadpool: Side Pieces

This collection of comics takes quite a detour from volume one. While it does still feature everyone's favorite friendly neighborhood Spiderman and Deadpool there is no continuous narration of story like in volume one. This volume (two) features five comics that were written by guest authors and illustrators and they are all wildly different stand alones. From a 1960s throwback to Penn and Teller to a Christmas spinoff and more; this collection is on the bizarre side. Some of them tried a little too hard and fell flat for me, such as the one where they are making a Deadpool movie in Hollywood and Spiderman decides to tag along as assistant producer. Lots of pop culture and actual movie references aside (Ryan Reynolds...) it was a little too over the top. It was still a fun and off the wall collection, but I personally prefer when Spiderman and Deadpool get to take it slow and have more than single issue comics. They're bromantic!

Because I Am Furniture

A dark and empowering book of prose that captures what it's like to live in an abusive household. Anke is the only one not receiving her father's "love" and she should be grateful. The love that he doles out on her brother, sister, and mother is horrifying. He's emotionally, physically, and sexually abusive to them all; Anke is unnoticed, always in the background. She knows she should be grateful or speak up, but she doesn't want to be the one to tear the family apart. Things start to change when she joins the volleyball team. She starts getting stronger, filling out, and finding her voice. Suddenly, what her father is doing to her family seems even worse. What would happened if she used her voice and confidence to help her family? Written in beautiful, lyrical poetry this young adult book about abuse will horrify readers and inspire them to speak out when they  witness something. A definite conversation starter.