Thursday, June 27, 2019

How to Relax

This small pocket sized guide can be devoured all at once or parceled out in small bits every morning with a cup of coffee. It contains lots of bite sized information that can be utilized immediately or slowly absorbed and practiced out when you have spare moments. None of the advice is hard or overwhelming, it's easy to put in practice. From breathing techniques, mindfulness practices, and positive thinking; this little guide has the potential to transform your life in a big way. This would make a great gift and is small enough to carry around with you. Simple, yet empowering.

Wednesday, June 26, 2019

Black Hole

I feel like I need to take a cold shower after finishing this. It was so dark, despondent and creepy. The illustrations and plot are fantastic though. The 70's were an idyllic time to live if you were a white teenager in suburbia. That is unless you contracted a weird sexually transmitted "bug" that morphed some body deformity. It could be a tail, boils, webbed hands, an extra mouth, shedding skin; it's different for every person. The spread is slow, but it's totally alienating. The shame is all consuming and soon there is nothing to but live in the woods with other afflicted teenagers. There is no hope, no cure, no prevention, and no awareness. This graphic novel is shown through the eyes of several teenagers who have it or will soon contract it. It's dark, weird, and so messed up. It's very nihilistic and unique. I have a lot of thoughts about this book, but I'm not entire sure how to write them out. Read with an open mind and always use a rubber.

These Witches Don't Burn

First off, gorgeous cover. Second off, I'm soo pleased to read more teen books with diverse characters; nearly every one was gay or bi and it was so normalized. Hannah is a witch living in Salem, not one of those Wicca posers, a real live witch. To complicate matters, her ex-girlfriend is also in the coven. Hannah is trying to block her out, but she's everywhere. Her best friend however, is straight, supportive, and has no idea that Hannah is a witch. When she introduces one of her new dance-mates to Hannah, she develops a full blown crush, maybe this is what she needed to get over her ex! Suddenly though, her life and Veronica's is on the line. Someone must have found out they are witches and are trying to kill them. What if it's a blood witch, feared and deadly? Hannah will have to balance romance, school, work, family, magic, and sleep with one eye open. A fun read!

Tuesday, June 25, 2019

The Rest of the Story

I haven't read a Sarah Dessen book in ages - but my lord - did she become an even better writer? Or was I just so nostalgic to get back to her work that I ate this up? Either way, she's the queen of teen for a reason - this was a wonderful young adult contemporary romance with themes of identity, addiction, and family issues. Emma Saylor thought she knew how her summer would play out, hanging at her best friends house while her dad and new step mom honeymooned - but one family emergency later - Emma finds herself without a place to stay for the summer. It's eventually decided that she should go to the lake to  spend the summer with her mother's family even though she hasn't seen them since she was four. As she gets to know her grandma, cousins, and other lake folk - she starts to piece together her mother's past and think more about her future. A wonderful coming of age story. I couldn't put it down!

Monday, June 24, 2019

With the Fire on High

LOVED LOVED LOVED this book! I loved the characters, the layout, the recipes, the plot, and that beautiful ass cover. How can you not pick up this book with a gorgeous cover like this? Emoni has a lot on her plate. Not only is she a senior trying to figure out what her future after high school will be; but she lives at home with her grandma and two year old daughter, works part time, and tries to excel in class. Emoni's real passion is her daughter and cooking. She can whip up recipes that will make the strongest men cry, and whenever she is overwhelmed she feels safest in the kitchen. When her high school offers an immersive culinary class that will have a week long study abroad component in Spain, Emoni is torn. How can she afford to go and how can she leave Babygirl alone for a week? Is wanting to take this class selfish of her?  To make matters worse, that good looking boy Malachi is in that class. She doesn't have time for boys and their nonsense. A wonderful book about taking risks, putting family first, and realizing that just because your path doesn't look the same as someone else; doesn't mean it is any better or worse. A truly wonderful book that will resonate with many readers.

The Summer of '69

What a wonderful beach read. I breezed right through this and enjoyed every minute of it! The summer of 1969 on Nantucket won't be the same without Tiger, the beloved brother and son of the family. He's just been deployed to Vietnam and everyone knows nothing will ever be the same. This story is alternately told between his three sisters, and his mother; from dealing with first crushes, alcoholism, cheating husbands, and wild carefree parties; each woman is wrapped up in their own little world. Addictive and compulsively readable this story has it all; romance, adventure, intrigue, and hope. I was surprised how much I enjoyed this book; this was my first Elin Hildenbrand but I will certainly read more!

Wednesday, June 19, 2019

The Time Traveler's Wife

Reading this book is akin to being on a roller-coaster. You will feel an insane amount of emotions all the way through and when you shut the book for the final time you aren't sure sure how you should feel. Emotionally drained? Sad? Exhausted? Glad you aren't married to a time traveler? Beautifully written and expertly crafted; this story-line is easy to follow despite its complex back story and unpredictability. From the age of 6, Clare knows she is destined to marry Henry. He's been time traveling and conversing with her for years; she can't wait to grow up and meet him on a normal timeline. Told from both of their perspectives and spanning years, this novel about a relationship that involves time travel, never once manages to be over the top or too science fiction-y. It's plausible and it makes their relationship stronger for it. It's a unique story, that readers won't stop being able to think about. I resisted reading it for a long time (stubbornness maybe?), but I'm not mad now that I've finally gotten around to it. I'm not quite sure why I didn't give it a full 5 stars, the length maybe? Overall though, a pretty solid and unconventional romance.

Monday, June 17, 2019

Seeded and Sodded

A wonderful wrap up on her gardening trilogy. This short book of gardening vignettes, letters, short stories, and secret messages is wonderful. It's a quick read and easy to put down and pick back up (while you tend to your gardening of course). This trilogy is the perfect gift for any gardener in your life; it's witty, cute, inspiring, and endearing. And it will motivate you to work in your garden like never before!

New Kid

After being told repeatedly to read this book I finally see what the big deal is. This graphic novel is perfect for middle schoolers, in fact it should probably be required reading. It deals with racism, bullying, peer pressure, and how not to be an asshole. I know a lot of adults who could get something out of reading it too! Jordan is starting an elite new school and isn't sure if he'll fit in, there are only a few other black kids there and he desperately wants to make friends and fit in. As he adjusts to his rich new school, he keeps drawing in his sketchbook and learns that there is more to people than meets the eye. It's funny and inspiring and it's helping kids realize that they aren't alone and everyone is just trying to fit in in their own way. A fantastic graphic novel that everyone should read.

The Daughter's of Temperance Hobbs

This book was the perfect witchy summer read that I didn't know I needed. I have never read the first book in this series, but that didn't hinder my enjoyment or understanding of this at all. Connie thought she just had to worry about finishing her book, getting her tenure packet in, and grading her student' papers; but on top of that her boyfriend just proposed, she might be pregnant, and she found an old family heirloom that could turn her research and life around. Her mother has convinced Connie that no men live long after "the next generation is set" and Connie is desperate to discover if that is true. She plunges herself into researching family history and realizes that her mother is right, but there may be a loophole, weather work. If she can figure out the writings she discovered in her mother's house, she may be able to save the life of the man she loves and become more intimately connected to her family history then she ever thought possible. Fascinating read! I loved the history components and all the characters, I'll have to go back and read the first one now!


Quick, fun, teen dystopian novel. It has all the classic hallmarks of the genre. Set in the future of the United States, where war and disease are rampant and the divide between the wealthy and the poor is great. The Republic wages war against the Colonies although no one really knows whats being fought after anymore. Two young teens from vastly different parts of society soon realize that they aren't each other's enemy; they have to learn to trust each other to uncover what the republic has really been hiding all this time. Fast paced, full of teen angst, romance, betrayal, and more.

Side Jobs

This is really a 4.5 star book, I enjoyed the variety of  stories that Jim Butcher included and they all tie in very well with the established timeline. It was nice to see some characters get some extra TLC in this collection because it's hard to give that many the same amount of love. It was also a pleasure getting to see some more bad guys, Harry Dresden sure knows how to piss off some creepies! There were also two stories included that weren't told from Harry's perspective and that was pretty cool. James Marsters did a good job narrating them and giving them a different "feel." Overall a solid collection varying in length, theme, characters, and hilarity. Now I need another full installment of the Dresden Files. I can't wait anymore!

Thursday, June 13, 2019

The Library of Lost and Found

Ugh, this was overwrought and over the top. I despised pretty much every character, the main protagonist was unbelievably .... pathetic. Martha Storm has bent over backwards for years taking care of everyone but herself, sacrificing her happiness, her fiance, and slowly her sanity. She cared for her ailing parents for fifteen years, she does odds and ends for everyone all over town, and she is so agreeable to helping with whatever that none ever feels bad for taking advantage of her (which is often). When a mysterious book shows up on the library's steps she realize her past and future are about to get more complicated. It's an old book with a dedication to her from her grandma Zelda, but the humdinger is that it's dated a few years after Zelda apparently died. As Martha starts to try and unravel this mystery she starts to realize that maybe she needs to start caring for herself before running herself dry catering everyone else's needs. Along the way she starts to reconnect with family, get more assertive at work, and squeeze in time for romance. UUUGHHH. I hated Martha. Read and make your own judgement.

Wednesday, June 12, 2019


The Illuminae Files has officially gone down as my all time favorite young adult trilogy. Seriously. This series was good from start to finish. The action never let up, it's full of twists I didn't see coming, twisted artificial intelligence, teenage angst, young love, and more. It had everything I wanted in a book. Oh and it's set in space... so yeah, it's pretty amazing. It's really hard for trilogies to live up to the hype or to even compete with book one, but each installment of this series brought the heat. I loved it. I loved the characters, the sarcasm, the wit, the foul language, and the seriousness. Seriously, this series is the bomb. I won't stop raving about it, just read it already!!

Monday, June 10, 2019

To Obama

I gobbled this book up! The act of letter writing is so powerful and this book does an amazing job highlighting the importance of everyday Americans who sat down to write or type a letter to Barack Obama while he was in office. While president, Obama averaged 10,000 letters a day, and employees in the correspondence office would select ten letters for Obama to read at the end of every day. The letters weren't all positive; some were critical, some had suggestions, some were from from kids, some wanted to see something to get done, but they were all powerful. Some of the letters moved me to tears or made me laugh out loud. Some were even so elegant it made me jealous of the author's writing prowess. Author, Laskas includes a sampling of letters and in between, her chapters highlight how the correspondence office operated, the back story/interviews conducted with some of the letter writers, and some wonderful insight on how and why the letters that Obama received helped him shape policy and speeches and how they were truly representative of the American people. It's a wonderful book.

Friday, June 7, 2019


I really really enjoyed this book. It was candid, heartwarming, intriguing, and overall quite inspiring. Michelle Obama seems like one of the people that you would like to sit down with over a cup of coffee and just chat about anything with. She's real and down to earth and reading her memoir made me respect and admire her even more. From her wonderful childhood, early adversity, and romance with Barack, I enjoyed every aspect of her story. She has managed to stay humble and honest; even while being one of the most "visible" women in the past decade. Every aspect of her life has been criticized, analyzed, and knit picked yet she believed in her husband and her family so she toughed it all out and has an amazing story to tell. Wonderful!

Wednesday, June 5, 2019

The Buried

Guys... this might make my Christmas card top 5 this year. The Buried was THAT good, I'm still thinking about it! Peter Hessler combines archaeology, cultural and religious customs, politics, language, family relations, and the Egyptian Revolution and writes a compelling narrative of his family's time in Cairo through the lens of the Arab Spring. Peter, his Chinese wife, Leslie, and their two newborn twins settle in Cairo for several years and experience it all. I learned SO MUCH. And it wasn't dry or overwhelming; it was fascinating stuff! Sprinkled throughout would be tidbits about Chinese immigrants selling lingerie, the oppression of women, and anecdotes about the world's friendliest trash man, I can't get over how well this book read. This is definitely one I will come back to again. I've loved Egyptian history since I was a child and getting to read about it's modern day archaeology and it's political climate was so intriguing. It makes me want to go on an Egyptian reading binge. Wonderful, wonderful political/cultural/memoir. A must read!

Saturday, June 1, 2019

The Bride Test

This is the quintessential beach read. The plot is over the top, the characters are almost too quirky (if that's possible), and it is overall super cheesy. I clearly devoured this book in one setting. It was cute, regardless of how ridiculous the entire scenario was. I kept rooting for the characters even though it's soo predictable how it will all turn out. Khai's mother is soo worried about her autistic son never getting married that she finds a likable, honest female janitor in Vietnam and convinces er to be a mail order bride for her son. She agrees because she wants to find a better life and maybe a father for her young daughter. Khai agrees to give her a trial run and they soon find themselves in the awkward predicament of living together and getting used to each other quirks. Over the top, but I thoroughly enjoyed it!

The Other Wes Moore

I get what this book is trying to accomplish and it is motivational, but their was something missing for me. I can't quite pinpoint what it was however. The Other Wes Moore is the story of how two young men, from the same city, with the same name, the same race, similar ages, and similar childhood led vastly different lives. One is a Rhodes Scholar and veteran while the other is serving a life sentence for murdering a cop. Wes Moore (the successful one) starts writing to the other Wes Moore in prison and soon the two are meeting and comparing lives. Wes then breaks down critical moments in their lives where their actions defined how the rest of their lives would end up. The book is about how choices determine our fates and how the little things can really add up. At the back of the book are a lot of resources on organizations that are meant to steer people on the right path and how to fix up some of their mistakes. Motivational and inspirational, but somehow still a miss for me.