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.