Monday, December 30, 2019

Locke and Key: Head Games

My god, this series keeps getting cooler and cooler. These keys are bad ass and evil and the Locke kids need to be careful who they hang out with!!! I am so intrigued to see where this story will continue. I love the premise, I love the house, and I love all the mysterious keys. I'm too lazy to write a summary, but suffice it to say the plot, the art, the dialogue is insanely awesome. I can't wait to read the third one and I can't wait to watch the show!


This was such a spectacular concept. The French Revolution through the eyes of a penniless orphan who can use magic to turn scrap metal into coins (temporarily), cheat at cards, and glamour herself into looking like an aristocrat. Camille hasn't had an easy life. The smallpox has just killed her parents, her younger sister is weak from illness and her older brother has gambled away what little money they have. They can hardly afford to eat let alone settle his gambling debts! Once the sisters cut him out of their lives things start to get a little better. Camille has to use her magic, but she's able to go to Versailles and gamble (smartly) enough to give them a better foothold, at least they aren't starving and the rent is paid. It's starting to wear on Camille though, using magic too frequently can take a toll on your physical and emotional health. Plus she's leading two completely different lives and when she sees the cute boy with the balloon at the palace; it's nearly too much to bear. Because of the glamour he doesn't even recognize her from her other life, her real one. Unique, fanciful, and intriguing. 

Friday, December 27, 2019

Thirteen Doorways Wolves Behind Them All

Two fascinating story-lines weaving in and out. One living, the other watching; fading in and out of the background. Ghosts don't have much power or control, but they do have excellent powers of observation and Pearl is endlessly fascinated watching young Frankie grow up in a Chicago orphanage. Frankie isn't alone in there; she can't sense the ghost watching her, but she has her younger sister and older brother to keep her company. Her father visits twice a month but those visits are getting harder and harder as he starts seeing a new woman. Times are tough in the orphanage so Frankie has to learn how to weather through it. The nuns are strict, the food is scarce, and the rules are multiplying; but as the years progress Frankie  realizes that an orphanage isn't just a place to escape from; there is a safety net in its walls and the friends she's made. Beautifully set at the advent of World War II, Frankie and Pearl's tale are heartfelt and inspiring. Unique and captivating; they don't make young adult fiction like this anymore!

Saturday, December 21, 2019


Damn, this book will make you think long and deep about the fairy tales we internalized as kids. Once you think about it, the connection between disability and fairy tale is so obviously there, but since so many of us started watching/reading/hearing these tales in our youth we accepted major themes as truth. Only certain beautiful princesses or maidens were worthy of a happy ending. Disfigurement meant you were deceitful and/or a villain. If you were ugly or beastly (beauty and the beast/ the ugly duckling) you had to go through a trial to prove you were worthy of being beautiful. Unless you were the hunchback of Notre Dame; a good guy; but his looks made him unfit for love. Chapters tied in with the authors personal story of learning to live with other's perceptions of her and understand her own disability through her lens and not the worlds. Extremely eye opening and sure to be a great conversation starter. From Disney to superheros to Game of Thrones to Grimm; all angles are covered. As an able-bodied person; this really made me think long and hard about how I need to continually be making space for others with different needs then my own. A fascinating book!

Thursday, December 19, 2019

Will My Cat Eat My Eyeballs?

Seriously SOO GOOD! If you're a fan of Caitlin Doughty's previous book, "Smoke Get's in Your Eyes" or Mary Roach's class, "Stiff," then you will absolutely appreciate the smarts and humor that went into making this book. Each chapter centers on a different "taboo" question that Caitlin has been asked over her career in the funeral business. From dying in space to cannibalism to viking funerals to corpses pooping. The questions are answered with grace, but also lots of humor and levity. The accompanying illustrations are also creepy and beautiful. This book answers so many questions I didn't even know I had. Truly stellar this book is a must read!

Wednesday, December 18, 2019

Die Another Day

The best thing about this audiobook is the narration. They got a narrator with a great British accent. However if you've seen the movie version; this isn't too much reason to read or listen to this novel. The novel is based directly off the screenplay of the movie and not much extra content is added. It follows the movie practically frame by frame. However, if it's been a while since you've seen the movie and you're looking for a high action fix then this will certainly do the trick. James Bond kicking ass and taking names; double crosses, North Korea, smoking hot women, an ice palace, and an invisible car. Decent, but not as good as the original Ian Fleming novels.


Not my favorite story - but the illustrations in this comic wowed the crap out of me. Dark, gritty, and impossible beautiful. To everyone's surprise the Joker has been released from Arkham Asylum and shit in Gotham is about to get dark. The Joker is none to pleased to learn that his turf has been taken over and his assets claimed so he wastes no time in setting his city back to the way it should rightfully be. He shakes down Killer Croc, the Penguin, the Riddler, and Two-Face and takes absolute delight in putting everyone back in their place. The Joker's insanity is his calling card and to him there is a method to his madness. Dark and gritty; but not my favorite.

Naughty or Nice: Christmas Erotica

YOWZA! This was a steamy collection! I don't know if any of the short stories in here are "nice" but they're for sure all naughty as hell! There's a wide variety of kinks, sexual orientation, and foreplay. All of them tie into Christmas one way or another and all of them are short and sweet. There are twenty short stories in here and at least one of them is guaranteed to turn you on. From a lesbian couple enjoying a Christmas to themselves after all their bed and breakfast guests cancel, to a retelling of A Christmas Carol (spoiler alert - she wants all the bad dirty things the future has to offer), to a wife surprising her husband with lingerie and hidden jingle bells (they're hidden where the sun don't shine), to surprising uses for fruitcake. This collection is wide ranging, filthy, and the perfect thing to stuff your stocking with.

The Bookwanders

Super adorable! This middle grade novel will delight bibliophiles of all ages! Matilda lives in a huge bookstore with her grandparents. She doesn't have too many friends, but she always has her nose in a book so she can live vicariously through her favorite book characters. One day while wandering through the aisles of books she encounters Anne of Green Gables. The actual Anne of Green Gables, followed shortly by Alice in Wonderland. What's going on? Is there magic in the bookstore? She tries telling her friend Oskar about it, but he doesn't quite believe her. Her grandparents seem reluctant to talk to her about it as well. Something is afoot in Pages & Co. Bookstore and Matilda is going to get to the bottom of it! Super cute and charming; every bibliophile will eat it up; regardless of their age! I can't wait for the next book in the series!

Monday, December 16, 2019

The Whisper Man

Suspenseful and chilling; The Whisper Man will leave readers unsettled and cautious in their own homes. I listened to the audiobook version which was narrated brilliantly by British actor, Christopher Eccleston (Doctor Who) and I would definitely recommend that to anyone who enjoys listening to audio. Tom and his young son Jake move to a new house after the unexpected death of his wife. They're hoping for a fresh start but, soon the whispers start coming. A little boy Jake's age has disappeared and it bears a strong resemblance to the Whisper Man serial killer that murdered young boys two decades prior. Was there an accomplice? Is Jake in danger? The suspense builds quickly and things only become darker. Creepy and wonderful!

I Heard You Paint Houses

I'm a sucker for mobster stories - especially ones that turn out to be true! When I saw a preview for the Netflix movie - The Irishman - I was hooked. I immediately went online to find out more about it and I discovered it was a book. So naturally I had to read the book. It did not disappoint! I learned more about Jimmy Hoffa, organized crime, the Teamsters, and Bobby Kennedy then I had in any other book. It was dark, fascinating, twisted and impossible to put down! Charles Brandt listened to Frank "The Irishman" Sheeran for the the final years of his life and got him to discuss his time working for the mafia and his involvement in the disappearance of Jimmy Hoffa. This book was told orally to the author and the gaps were filled in with historical facts, anecdotes, and pictures. It was freaking awesome. Dense at times, but never boring; this mob tale is a definite winner!

Monday, December 9, 2019

Hands Up

Wow! This is the first adult novel I've read that addresses police brutality, racial profiling, and the Black Lives Matter movement. I've read The Hate U Give and Dear Martin, but those are both young adult titles and each only have one narrator. Hands Up is an adult title and features three distinct narrators; Ryan Quinn - a white cop who fatally shot an unarmed black boy, Jade - the brother of the murdered kid; and Kelly - the deadbeat father of the murdered kid who has moved back to Philly after he heard news of his son's death. Together those three narrators tell different sides of the same story and help readers realize how messy and complicated being a cop and being black can be in a city ravaged by crime. As the shooting case picks up national attention; their lives will be thrown into the spotlight and connected in ways they never thought possible. Ryan is ravaged by guilt, drinking heavily and wondering if he was right to lie about what really happened. Is it worth it? Jade is furious; she's angry at the police department who is protecting the cop and she is giving her father the cold shoulder. Kelly on the other hand is thrilled to be back in his family's lives; even if it is under horrible circumstances. If only he could get them to trust him again... A gripping police drama fraught with tension, revenge, and hope.

The Family Upstairs

Wow, once this book got going I couldn't put it down; I had to know what in the hell was going on! Full of dark twists and turns, this is Lisa Jewell at her finest. A young woman at the age of 25 has inherited a multi-million dollar mansion from her parents, a single mother with two kids is homeless and living on the beach, and a man recalls what it was like growing up in said mansion as things got darker and weirder and a man with a cult like personality took over. Those three threads make up the story line and they start to bind together tighter and tighter as the book progresses. By the end I was dying to know what had really happened to the previous occupants of the house and wanting to know how the young woman inherited it. Dark, disturbing, and unique; I couldn't put this book down! The ending was a punch in the gut (in a kinda weird, good way).

Friday, December 6, 2019

Little Weirds

As the title suggests, this book is weird. PURE WEIRD. Which generally I like, but I thought was almost too nonsensical at points. I did listen to the audiobook (which is narrated by the author) as opposed to reading it, and I think I may have enjoyed it better if I could read it into my own voice. Jenny's narration was good, but there was so much weirdness, that I think I may have internalized it a lot better had I read it with my own eyes. Little Weirds is a bunch of essays about food, men, childhood, emotions, and everything in between. Some essays are more linear and others are very "Alice in Wonderland," bizarre and beautiful, but... weird. I love weird, but even this may have been a bit too much for me.

Wednesday, December 4, 2019

The Meg

I'm a sucker for a good adventure/thriller novel and this was decent. Not amazing, but pretty much what I expected out of it. Pulse pounding terror, men fueled by revenge, a man who is redeemed (megalodons really are still alive!), the most savage predator on the planet, a bitter ex-wife, new romance, and lots of one liners. Long story short,  for years, Jonas Taylor is ridiculed for believing that megalodons could still be alive, but is proved right after once comes up from the deep and starts terrorizing the world. Now his expertise is needed more than ever. Fun, fast paced, and easy to read, but not necessarily one that you'll keep coming back to.

Tuesday, December 3, 2019

The Library Book

I ADORED this book. As a librarian it really spoke to me. Learning about the fire at Los Angeles Central was heart wrenching, but I loved the way that Susan Orlean framed it around the history of libraries, book burnings, and the thrill of seeking knowledge. Utterly fascinating; this book reads like a love letter to libraries and those that work in them. Told from three "perspectives;" one thread discusses the destruction of the LA Library by fire and the man who was "responsible" for it, another thread of the story discusses the history of the LA library, and the third thread of the story discusses the history and importance of libraries around the world; leading up to this moment in time. Wonderful and thought provoking.

Tuesday, November 26, 2019

Get a Life, Chloe Brown

Cute, shockingly sexy, and unique. After Chloe Brown is nearly hit by a car, her life flashes in her eyes and she's not too impressed with what she sees. She decides to rectify that by making a list of things she wants to do: move out, go camping, do something bad, have meaningless sex, ride a motorcycle. All those things are easier said then done though, she suffers from fibromyalgia and doing even the most mundane things can be challenging. She's been babied by her parents and sisters for far too long so she moves out on her own where she meets, Red, her very sexy superintendent. It is not love at first sight. Red thinks Chloe is the most infuriating and bossy woman in the complex. Chloe thinks the same about him. But after Chloe tries to rescue a cat from a tree and requires a rescue of herself the two start to spend more time together and despite all their differences find themselves extremely attracted to one another. What follows is lots of steamy scenes, quirky debates, and good old fashioned romance. We all need a Red!

Monday, November 25, 2019

The Shop Before Life

A surprisingly fresh and unique take on what happens before you're born. In "The Shop Before Life," Hughes examines the prelife through the eyes of a curious young woman named Faythe. For nearly two centuries she's been perfectly content to play pranks on her friends and just hang around, but after a chance encounter with two men who work in management; she's decided to try out a new adventure, being an apprentice in the shop before life. Now her life is almost too exciting; every day she learns something new and she gets to help customers choose the traits that they want to be born with. Bravery. Bad with Numbers. Slightly Modest. Bad Digestion. Dogged Determination. Joy. Always Late. Taller Than Normal. Generous Heart. Inappropriate Humor.  Nimble. Heroic. Introvert. If you can think of a trait, you can find it at the shop. After customers have stocked up on what traits they want they journey to earth where you are born. Faythe gets to assist the customers under the Shopkeeper's watchful eye, but things aren't starting off so smooth. To start with, she signed a one thousand year contract and if the Shopkeeper doesn't warm up to Faythe, it's going to be a frosty millennium. But she can't help if she has questions and curiosity! What harm can knowledge do? The answer Faythe, soon discovers, is a lot. Funny, unique, and appealing; this was a more than enjoyable read!

Wednesday, November 20, 2019

Stage Dreams

Queer. Western. Graphic Novel.... Have I drawn you in yet? Relatively short for a graphic novel; Stage Dreams tells the story of a trans deserter who is kidnapped by an indigenous woman and her hawk. When Ghost Hawk realizes that Grace is trans, she isn't upset; in fact the two start to work together to steal maps and gold along their way to California. What neither of them expected was to start falling for each other. A super short, charming story that looks wonderful in colored pencil rather than the usual color of graphic novels.

Tiger Queen

This was a young adult fantasy novel that reminded me a lot of Dune (in a good way) but had more scorpions, romance, and tigers and wasn't set in space. Achra is a kingdom secluded in the desert; it's people virtually trapped by the lack of water. For years, the "desert boys" have raided the city and stolen water; making the rationing even harder on the people. Princess Kateri wants to see the desert boys punished just as much as anybody; but right now she's focused on battling her suitors. Each month she has to defeat a suitor in the arena or else marry him, but when she finds out that her last opponent is her father's right hand man, her trainer, and the most cruel man she's ever met, she panics and flees into the desert. In the desert she'll find answers she didn't even know she was seeking and in the process might even find a new purpose and love. A young adult fantasy that's full of great fighting scenes and intrigue. As an adult though, I found it quite predictable, the Easter eggs were obvious and the characters were a little flat. Still very enjoyable though!

Tuesday, November 19, 2019

The Secret Ingredient

There were huge chunks where I REALLY got into this book and other moments when I couldn't care less. Having just read Christmas in Evergreen I was ready to give Nancy Naigle another go (I mean I have been on a Hallmark kick lately) and this one wasn't Christmas themed (although with the snow on the cover it could have been holiday themed.... and speaking of the cover - whoever photo-shopped the cake on the cover... shame on you! It's awful!). Kelly and her fiance called it off years ago after he went to Paris to take a baking class and never returned. She fulfilled "their" dream of opening a very successful bakery all on her own and without that dumbass. Seven years later, old feelings return when Andrew comes back home to visit. Maybe they should have tried to make it work. Is it too late now? Things will get even trickier though when they find out their both competing on the same baking show. Do old wounds ever heal. Cheesy as all get out and super predictable. I dd however love all the baking show bits. That was fun and made me VERY HUNGRY while listening to the audiobook!

Monday, November 18, 2019

The Deep

I haven't read a great adult mermaid novel in.... forever. The story was unique, dark, and captivating; although the plot was quite slow at time. Inspired by the pregnant African slaves who were thrown overboard to die on their way to America for being "disruptive" cargo; the authors wondered what happened to their unborn babies who were already breathing underwater in their mother's womb? Inspired may not be the right word; but that horrible back story helped mold this book into what it is. Yetu, an underwater being tasked with storing the entire history of her people, is barely hanging on. The history of the wajinru is a violent and bloody one and it wants to claw it's way out of Yetu. The wajinru are descended from the pregnant slave woman, yet that traumatic history is too much for their people to process so the historian (Yetu) must house all that painful history and bear the burden for all. Yetu must find a way to live with those truths or pass them onto others without breaking tradition. Dark, slow at times, but unique and enchanting!

Find Your Weigh

Shellie Bowdoin uses personal experience as well as research in healthy lifestyles and the Bible to write and craft a new approach to losing weight and keeping it off. A lot of her advice and techniques are things that yo-yo dieters will be familiar with: drink more water, walk more, portion control, forming healthy habits; etc. but her approach and tie in to the Bible helps give it a different, more positive perspective. Not filled with fancy recipes and impossible to follow advice, this guide is easy to adhere to and even comes with a 50 day journal in the back of the book. Bowdoin does an excellent job making weight-loss and healthy lifestyle change seem attainable and achievable and provides ample tie ins to the Bible and to weight-loss studies. A great guide for anyone sick of trendy yo-yo diets and in need of an extra push. Although this book is Christian based, non-religious folks would still be able to glean lots of great advice out of this book. An excellent guide that won't bog you down or defeat you before you even begin your weight-loss journey!

The Bromance Book Club

This book was enjoyable albeit highly unrealistic. But hey that's the joys of fiction; reading unrealistic romance, lmao. Major League baseball player, Gavin Scott is living in a motel after his wife kicked him out. All he wants is to get his wife and twin daughters back but is at a loss to do so. Enter a bunch of other pro athletes and all around "bros." They toss Gavin a paperback bodice ripper and tell him to get reading. For years they've had an underground club where they read romance books written for women, by women, to help improve and understand their relationships with their wives, fiances and girlfriends. They take pity on Gavin and let him in their inner circle and Gavin is not ready. He has to read romance?!?! And it's going to somehow save his marriage? Like I said, unbelievable as shit.... but still  amusing, well written, and cute.

Saturday, November 16, 2019

Christmas Wishes and Mistletoe Kisses

This book was just the holiday fluff I was looking for. Romantic, cheesy, cute, and heartfelt; this book won't win any awards, but will certainly install holiday cheer in the hearts of readers. It's a light feel good story about a single mom who has the opportunity of a lifetime; a chance to decorate a millionaire's mansion. Abbey has been wanting to transition out of nursing for a while and one of her senior clients set Abbey up with her grandson who is too busy with work to be bothered filling or decorating his home. Soon she has Nick wrapped around her fingers and even her little son is smitten with the reclusive millionaire. Will they be able to get him to participate in the holiday cheer and pay attention to anything other than work? You already know how the story will end three chapters in, but that won't stop you from eating it up. A cute holiday beach read that is a perfect read to forget about your worries this holiday season!

Wednesday, November 13, 2019

Dear Sweet Pea

This book was precious. Patricia (known to everyone as Sweet Pea) is having a rough end to seventh grade. Her parents are divorced and living on the same street in nearly identical houses. They're trying to be real chill about it, splitting their time with her; but it's making it more confusing for Sweet Pea. Why can't they just be together as a family? To make matters more confusing she's having mixed feelings about her frenemy Kiera (maybe she's not all that bad?) and her best friend Oscar is upset that she's not telling him everything.  The thing is though, Sweet Pea made a promise to her neighbor (the advice columnist) to keep a secret but it may blow up in her face. Cute, charming, and dealing with lots of issues that middle school teens face: bullying, weight, divorce, friendship, and trying to fit in. The reason it's not a 5 star book to me, is that at times, Sweet Pea sounds far too mature for her age, sometimes her voice just seemed to be "too much" for her age and it lost it's believability factor. Other than that it was great! 

Tuesday, November 12, 2019

The Toll

Not too often can I say that I read a 600+ page book in one sitting, but thank god I only worked half a day today because I knocked this bad boy out! I thought it was a thrilling and wonderful wrap up to the trilogy. We met a few new characters, reconnected with our old favorites, and explored a thrilling new chapter that kept me guessing up to the end. The Toll picks up right where the last book left off and the pace never slows. Not for one minute. I liked the Greyson Tolliver became a central part of this story so we had four main characters instead of just Rowan, Citra, and the Thunderhead. I don't want to spoil the ending, but it was great I think the way the whole trilogy was plotted was unique and brilliant and it is definitely a series I will return to. I would love to see this on the big screen!

The Library of Lost Things

Darcy isn't your average high school student, she's a literary genius who can virtually memorize any text she wants. She lives in her books and is never found without a book in her hands or in her purse. Her best friend Marisol has worked on getting her out of her shell a little more, but for Darcy, the plot line of her life isn't nearly as exciting about the ones she's reading about. Her home life is non-existent and she spends more time worrying about her mother than any other 17 year old on the planet. Her mom is a hoarder and Darcy's biggest fear is that the new building manager will find out, kick them out of their home, and CPS will take her away. Marisol and her books provide the only comfort in her life. That is until, she meets Asher. Cute, sincere, and quirky; this book is better than most other "teenage bibliophile" ones I've read. The characters are real, flawed, and great fun. A wonderful story!

Sunday, November 10, 2019

Juliet Takes a Breath

I'm loving how diverse young adult fiction is getting! Although honestly this is more of a new adult book, as the protagonist is in college. Juliet has won the internship opportunity of a lifetime. She's going to work and live with the most esteemed feminist author, Harlowe Brisbane in Porttland for the summer. Juliet just came out to her Latina parents and it did not go well, so she is hoping that her summer with Harlowe will giver her the queer confidence boost she needs. Her summer will be filled with self exploration, romance, dance parties, sexy librarians, and questions of race and identity. We need more diverse books like this!

The Goldblum Variations

Fucking weird. I don't know what I was expecting, but it certainly wasn't this. There were a few laugh out loud moments, but really I was almost creeped out by a lot of it. Bizarre doesn't even begin to describe it. From Jeff Goldblum Bingo to transcripts of Jeff Golblum cooking, to jobs that Jeff Goldblum could do, to his past lives, to any other weird scenario you can possibly imagine. It was freaking weird. All of it came out of Helen McClory's head and even though it was all made up some of it felt "right," although all of it felt wrong, lol. A quick bizarre read.


I was just not feeling this, so this is one of those reviews that's really on me the reader, and not the author. A teenage witch rekindles a friendship with her long lost friend who is dealing with identity issues; from being a werewolf to changing some pronouns. Nova and Tam (along with the nanas) are working together to fight some weird creature in the woods and as they get magical, them two teens start to develop feelings for each other. This graphic novel has all the calling cards for teens; witchcraft, friendship, identity crisis, LGBTQ+, and more. Cute, but I was not in the mood.

Petal Plucker

I loved the concept of this and got a huge kick out of all the flower puns. What's not to love about florist erotica? My only beef with it, is the same beef I have with nearly all erotica. So much of it is so damn unbelievable. A 26 year old virgin has the most orgasmic sex of her life and is suddenly the most horny sex goddess in the world! She picks up on everything INSTANTLY! Other than that, I didn't hate the plot. A cute, quirky girl who runs her parent's flower shop runs into the boy who stood her up for prom and now he's working at his parent's RIVAL FLOWER SHOP! Duh duh duh. Obviously sparks fly! She loses her virginity! She makes beautiful flower arrangements! Her judgmental cat decides she likes him! There is a misunderstanding! All the usual tropes, with more humor and candor than most. I think I'm just cynical; there wasn't really anything wrong with this erotica; maybe I just need to take a breather and go back to true crime for a while.

Wednesday, November 6, 2019

The Boys: Omnibus volume one

I've had some friends begging me to read this for months and I'm SO GLAD I finally did! Better late than never because I am all in now! This is a true anti-superhero comic (think Watchmen with more laughs) and centers on a group (the boys) as they take on the "supes" (superheroes) who get out of line and don't care about the casualties. The Butcher, Wee Hughie (Simon Pegg), Mother's Milk, the Female, and the Frenchman are out to kick ass, expose supes and bring justice to the world; all while having a laugh out loud kick ass time. It's hilarious, super raunchy, graphic, and all around insanely awesome. This is definitely a series I will stick to and I can't wait to check out the tv show!

Stitches in Time

I see Suzanne Woods Fisher books ALL THE TIME at my library. She's got like three full to bursting shelves and library patrons love her. Generally I'm not to keen on Amish romance but I decided to give this one a whirl. I was more than pleasantly surprised! This is the second in the Deacon Family series, but I honestly couldn't tell; it read easily as a standalone (I'm assuming book one focused on different people in the community). Stitches in Time focuses on a few different people. Recently married, Izzy and Luke, Mollie who is new to the community and the school teacher, and Sam brother to Luke and has a better relationship with his horses than he does any member of their community. Luke has just been tapped as Deacon and it is already putting a strain on his and Izzy's relationship. Luke is constantly gone working or helping others and the addition to their house isn't getting worked on and neither is Izzy (she DESPERATELY wants a baby). Mollie and Sam meanwhile are falling for each other, although both are a little too scared ans stubborn to make anything come from it. To complicate things for the whole community; ten foster kids come into their community and shake everyone's lives up. Sweet, endearing, and dealing with harder issues then I thought I would read about in an Amish romance, this book took me by surprise and I look forward to reading the rest in the series!

Tuesday, November 5, 2019

Christmas in Evergreen: Letters to Santa

A cute Christmas story that fans of the first Evergreen novel will enjoy. This story centers on two different people, but all the townsfolk are the same. That being said you don't have to read or watch the first one to get what's happening in this one. Lisa has nowhere to go for Christmas and her parents are overseas so she decides to revisit her favorite childhood home, Evergreen. She hasn't been there in two years but it is just as magical as she remembered it. When she arrives she notices that Daisy's Country Store has been shuttered and is in disarray. The mayor informs her that the bank is going to seize it if it doesn't sell by Christmas so Lisa decides that she is going to enlist the town people to help save the store that held so many childhood memories for her. She gets Kevin, a hunky contractor, to help her fix the damage while she works on decorating it for buyers. Soon sparks are flying, maybe Lisa can spend more than Christmas in Evergreen? Full of "misunderstandings," romance, small town charm, and holiday cheer this light hearted Hallmark audiobook is perfect for fans of cozy, inspirational, romance.

In the Hall with the Knife

This was fun and I really enjoyed this more than the graphic novel adaptation that came out not to long ago. Set in an elite boarding school on a remote island during a horrible storm; "In the Hall with the Knife"focuses on some of the rich kids that get stuck behind in the storm. Mrs. White (the housekeeper) tends to the kids, the janitor, and the headmaster while they hole up in the Tudor House, the all girls dorm high up on the hill and safe from flooding. The first night there, the headmaster is stabbed. At first everyone thinks it's a looter, but soon the kids start to get suspicious of each other. What are their motives? Braniac Scarlett, army kid Mustard, local boy Green, brown noser Plum, tennis star Peacock, and elusive Orchid are all hiding secrets. But are any of those secrets reason enough to kill their headmaster? A good mystery for teens and I would be interested in reading more in this series! It's a little predictable for adults, but still very enjoyable for fans of the classic board game.

Monday, November 4, 2019

The Fountains of Silence

Wow, Ruta Sepetys delivers time and again! She has a talent for taking a piece of "little known history" (not known to us American dunces anyways) and weaving together a brilliant young adult historical fiction novel that is impossible to put down. Madrid, Spain in 1957 might seem glamorous and "upcoming" to American tourists, but it's hiding dark secrets. The dictator, General Franco has ruled with an iron fist and life for kids and families who had members convicted of treason, have never slept easy. There is no freedom of religion, girls must be modest, and incomes must not increase. At first, the young Texan, Daniel is enamored with it all; the sights, the sounds, the food. But the more he gets to know his housekeeper, Ana, and "her Spain," the more he becomes determined to capture what's wrong with his camera and expose it to the world. Intriguing and delightful; I genuinely enjoyed all the perspectives and learned much more about Spanish history. Another great novel from a talented young adult author!

Tuesday, October 29, 2019

Christmas in Evergreen

I held off on watching the Hallmark movie version until I finished listening to this and I must say; this is certainly the kind story that Hallmark would showcase. It's cheesy, sappy, dripping with holiday cheer, and so PG that you could read this to a child. Evergreen is the kind of town you don't believe is real until you see it. Steeped with holiday traditions and small town charm; everyone knows and loves each other and the Christmas Festival is the highlight of every year. Allie runs a successful vet practice but she has decided to move out to DC to try her hand in the city and be with her ex boyfriend. Ryan is trying to have the best Christmas possible for his eight year old daughter since his wife has passed. He thinks a holiday cruise will solve their problems but on the way to the airport they stumble across Evergreen and his daughter is enchanted. Once they cross paths with Allie (who is also headed to the airport) all bets are off. Will this be a Christmas miracle or a Christmas nightmare. Cheesy, so predictable, and good fun. This has Hallmark stamped all over it!

Snow, Glass, Apples

A really dark, twisted, and satisfying twist on the old Snow White tale told in gorgeous graphic novel illustrations and written by the insanely talented Neil Gaiman. It honestly sells itself. I can't get over how beautiful it was, very art deco and intricate; the illustrations jump right off the page. Told from the "evil" Queen's perspective, this reversal of storytelling leads to some very surprising twists and finds readers definitely siding with the Queen. I will say there is a lot of nudity and sexual content so this is for mature teens and up; I personally didn't mind it, but I can see a parent's head exploding if they caught their 6th grader reading it. I hope Neil Gaiman does more fairy tale spin offs like this one; I really really liked it!

The Hollywood Book Club

A nice coffee table book filled with photographs of old glamorous Hollywood celebrities reading. Most are candid publicity shots, some are film stills, and others are promotional movie photos. Marilyn Monroe, Gregory Peck, Sammie Davis Jr, Bette Davis, and Orson Welles are just a few of the dozens and dozens included. Alongside each picture is a brief description of the celebrity, information about the book they're reading (if it's available), and any information about the set or the home they're reading at. There are some typos and I wish the book was a bigger size (for true coffee table potential), but overall I thought it was a neat literary/cinematic crossover and something fun to flip through or show off.

Monday, October 28, 2019

Lab Girl

Wow! I'm not a big science buff, but I ADORED this book. 75% memoir and 25% scientific; this unconventional book will win over everyone, not just scientists. Hope Jahren chronicles her journey in the science lab starting with her father while she was a child her first "adult" forays in college, the meeting of her life long lab partner/best friend/ soul mate Bill, creating her first lab, her first teaching gig, meeting her husband, and the birth of her child. Hope is honest about her mental illness, the struggles of finding enough money to keep her lab open and Bill employed, the ups and downs of teaching, and the sweet unadulterated joy of research. Fascinating from start to finish. I never thought I would like something like this but it made me appreciate scientific research that much more. Her dry humor, wit, and candor really help make up for all the scientific things you may not know. Also, now I have to plant a tree. Or two.

Thursday, October 24, 2019

Look Both Ways

Seriously, Jason Reynolds can do no wrong. Every book is a freaking masterpiece. Ten blocks. Ten stories. Ten more reasons to fall in love with Jason Reynolds. School may end when the bell rings, but that's when these stories start. Kids talking about boogers, trying to steal change, skateboard home, write the best jokes, plan escape routes, face their fears, and stand up to bullies. Each story is different, but little pieces from one story may end up in another, and another, and another and together they tell a bigger story; the story of how a group of students, a few blocks in the city, and the vivacity of youth can weave together the brightest community. Loved it!

Wednesday, October 23, 2019

The Babysitter's Coven

First off, I wish I had been as cool as these characters when I was in high school. Their humor, style, and wit is something I wish I had been blessed with. Esme and Janice run their very own Babysitter's Club, that's right, just like in the books. They have a burner phone and everything. The only problem is Janice is pretty much over it and Esme might be all on her own, babysitting just isn't as cool in high school anymore. Enter the new girl, Cassandra. She finds out about their little club and begs to join claiming tons of "experience." After she freaks out over a two year old's poop, it's clear to everyone that Cassandra isn't quite cut out for babysitting, but she did have an ulterior motive. She finds a note from her mother (long dead) telling her to find the babysitters, and she and Esme might have something "magical" in common. Cheesy, totally implausible and fun. It's like Buffy meets Sabrina and it's a ton of fun. I look forward to the sequel!

The Burger Chef Murders in Indiana

I wasn't alive when the Burger Chef murders occurred, but over the years I've heard the murders come up in conversation and having grown up by Chicago; I wasn't all that familiar with what actually happened. Julie Young does an excellent job of setting the scene and not attempting to "solve" the crime four decades later; she's not trying to do a disservice to the police and authorities who toiled over the case, she's merely bringing it to life and trying to make the most comprehensive outline of what is actually known about the gruesome murders. Four young adults and teenagers were abducted from their work and later found murdered. No one has ever been tried or convicted for their deaths. It's dark and fascinating and I'm glad I actually know about this infamous Hoosier quadruple homicide. As a Franklin resident who works in New Whiteland; it was also fascinating to learn about all the Johnson County connections that I didn't know existed in this case. A must read for true crime fans!

The Bookshop on the Corner

Sweet and fluffy; this light read is perfect for bibliophiles. When an English librarian finds herself without a job she decides to be bold for once in her life and do something rash; open a bookstore. She obviously can't afford to rent property but she finds this perfect old van up in Scotland that might be perfect for a mobile bookshop. Throwing caution to the wind she buys the van, moves to Scotland, and starts to fall for a sexy Latvian train conductor. Her dream is coming true! Only, Nina is discovering that there are a lot of road blocks and detours and nothing in life is easy, it's about finding the courage for what you believe in. Romantic and cute, a great beach read!

The Institute

Man I could not put this book down! If you're looking for straight up Stephen King horror, it won't be found in this book. However if you're looking for complex characters, stomach turning scenarios, good vs. evil, and some bad ass kids; then this is the book for you. Alternating between Tim, a "retired cop" who is just floating through life and ends up in a dead end town working as a night knocker and Luke, a kid with IQ off the charts, who has been kidnapped and taken to The Institute. The Institute won't be found on any map, and no one has heard of it; but they specialize in kidnapping children who have telekinesis and telepathy and experimenting on them and using them for "nefarious" reasons. Luke and Tim have very different stories, but they may just find themselves crossing paths. Hard to put down, and expertly plotted; a unique story and I loved the children's perspectives and voice. Another Stephen King spectacular!

Saturday, October 19, 2019

The Mermaid's Voice Returns in This One

Overall I liked this poetry collection. It's empowering, emotional, and heavy. Like the previous two collections it deals with abuse, trauma, assault, and suicide. It's pretty heavy; but despite that, still uplifting and hopeful. Confronting the hard truths and the ugly side of our lives, makes it easier to move on to acceptance and healing. Some poems were more powerful than others and resonated, but I didn't feel that about every poem in the collection. If you've read the first two, definitely wrap it up with this one.

The Testaments

I am always SUPER SKEPTICAL when authors decide to publish a sequel that has been a standalone for decades. I didn't go in to this with high hopes because in my mind The Handmaid's Tale was perfectly amazing as a standalone and I didn't want Atwood to tarnish the original. Boy was I wrong. Atwood more than delivered. The Testaments isn't a sequel per se, but it involves Gilead and a few of the hated Aunts as well as a few other recognizable characters. It picks up a couple years after The Handmaid's Tale but follows three different threads. Aunt Lydia, Nicole, and Agnes; an aunt, a teenager living in Canada, and a young Gilead school girl. By the end of the stories those three characters will be so entangled and will change each others lives forever. Truly as magical as the first one and really rounds out the terrifying world of Gilead! Pleasantly surprised, one I would read again!

Thursday, October 17, 2019

Stumptown: Volume Four

This is really a 3.5, but I'm rounding up to a 4. So far this has been the weakest for me because it seemed the least "plausible." Coffee? Barista mafia? Come on now. I can suspend belief for a lot but that is crossing a line. Dex is hired to ferry some VERY expensive coffee from the plane to her client's house. She keeps getting harassed by coffee snobs who want to bribe her (or beat her) to get some of the coffee beans for themselves. It's getting out of hand and Dex is getting pissed. To make matters worse her freeloading sister, Fuji, has dropped in unannounced and plans on crashing for as long as she can. Tensions run high at home and work isn't making anything better. Far fetched, but still enjoyable.

Stumptown: Volume Three

I can't tell if they brought in a new artist on this one, but there seems to be some subtle changes in some of the characters. It's not bad, it was just my first observation. The first third of the book I was a little underwhelmed. Soccer? Ugh. But by the halfway point I was intrigued and per usual I couldn't put it down. One of Dex's good friends is found beaten nearly to death right outside the stadium where they just watched a soccer game together. He's in a coma and Dex is pissed. This isn't just a case, this is personal! At first she thinks that maybe the opposing team did it, is hooliganism going to catch on in the states? But then she starts to sniff out something in else, something even fishier. Loved it!