Friday, January 31, 2020

Mrs. Caliban

This book.....  is odd. Not in a bad way. Just. Odd. Satirical, weird, and unique; this story of an unhappy housewife who encounters a seven foot tall lizard man is compelling in a weird way. Mrs. Caliban starts falling for the creature practically instantly. She is so starved for affection that this curious, avocado loving, green, reptilian man practically falls into her bed and starts to take center stage in her life. Her husband doesn't notice, her best friend doesn't notice. It doesn't even seem to matter. She knows she can't keep this up forever though; he wants to go home and everyone in the area is on the lookout for him as he killed his captors when he escaped captivity. Bizarre and intriguing; it's quite short and I read it in an hour. I don't know what to make of it, so let me know if you ever read this one!

Go With the Flow

I wish I had this graphic novel when I was younger! It's not just about periods; it's about activism, friendship, and bullying. Three teenagers take a new kid under their wing after she gets her period at school and all her classmates start taunting her and calling her Bloody Mary because it went through her pants. The four of them quickly become close and realize how unfair it is that the pad machine is never stocked AND it costs money. They decide they want to try and change that but they don't know how. A beautiful graphic novel that is a must read for teenagers, teachers, parents; and women of all ages. It's never to early to make a difference!

Mrs. Darcy and the Blue-Eyed Stranger

Each short story was masterfully told with the characters leaping off the pages and into the readers mind. All stories centered on women: some teenagers, some seniors, some widowed, divorced, or mothers. All of them overcame some adversity or weathered some storm and got to a place where they could take it in stride and start the next chapter of their lives. Some are meek, some are vivacious, some are spunky; all are courageous in their own way. Each story was unique, wonderful, and hard to put down. A wonderful short story collection that I will definitely return to again!

Wednesday, January 29, 2020

How to Win Friends and Influence People

I wasn't sure what to expect when I started reading this. Was a self-help book written over 80 years ago really going to have an impact on my career and life? The answer is yes. Absolutely. While a lot of the advice and tips make are no brainers; the accompanying stories and logic behind each action really cement the importance of it and you begin to visualize how it could have an impact on your life. Broken up in short, easy to read sections; it's easy to see why this leadership book has remained timeless. This is one I'll actually purchase and go back to consult again and again. I couldn't be more surprised by how much I enjoyed it!

Tuesday, January 28, 2020

Midnight in Chernobyl

This book has all the info you never knew you needed on Chernobyl - down to the last technical detail. I listened to this rather than reading it and was soon bogged down by the sheer amount of physics detailed; at times I found myself struggling to pay attention. That being said, this was still a fascinating detailed look on the events that caused the accidents and the actions taken afterward. It was a perfect storm of horrible events and it really will get your heart racing as the author gives you a near minute by minute account. Unsettling at moments, and overly technical; this insanely well researched guide is not for the casual reader. This book is heavy; but will change the way you think about Chernobyl forever!

Monday, January 27, 2020

The Forbidden Harbor

Based on the cover alone, I thought this was going to be a graphic novel for younger readers; but I was pleasantly surprised that this had some adult content (nudity and murder). This is a "salty adventure" set in 1807 that follows a young man washed up on the shores of Siam. He has no recollection of anything other than his first name, but a kindly naval crew and they take him on as a cabin boy. He picks up sea life with frightening ease and familiarity; but he struggles to make sense of who he is and how he ended up there. As the graphic novel progresses lots of kind people take young Abel under their wing and soon along with the help of a madame and three wonderful sisters; he finds he might actually have a purpose. Gorgeously illustrated and full of prose and poetry; this sea faring graphic novel is one of a kind!


This was perfectly alright Star Wars fiction. It didn't rock my world and at least kept me nominally entertained. Aftermath picks up right after the original trilogy and deals with the messy situation that the New Republic (aka the rebel alliance) has inherited from the Empire. The hammer has fallen but that doesn't mean that the fighting has stopped or everything is back to normal. Remnants of the Empire are still hiding out in the outer rim and whole planets need assistance. There's orphans, foot shortages, mass destruction and chaos. Aftermath follows Wedge Antilles as he scouts around the outer rim planets looking for any presence of the Empire. Lo and behold he stumbles upon the hornets nest and he's going to need a lot of help to squash this before it gets any better. Action packed, filled with characters that were... ok. Not bad, but I'm going to take a break before I continue the trilogy. Only recommended for hardcore fans of Star Wars that have seen the original trilogy.

Wednesday, January 22, 2020

Off Kilter

A quick cozy mystery set in Scotland and starring a likable American named Eden, who is "just on holiday" to work on her romance novel. Of course things get off to a rocky start. Vicky, the woman she sat by on a plane was going back to the village to bury her father and happens to be embroiled in a family feud as her father left her everything and her half siblings nothing. As Vicky never really lived in this village (her parents having split when she was younger), the whole town sides with her half siblings (who actually lived in the village), leaving Vicky friendless. Thank god she met Eden on the plane! The two hit it off and are as thick as thieves. But then they discover a body and they're both suspects. Did Vicky do it? Or did her angry half siblings commit the murder and try to pin it on her? Slightly predictable, with some twists and turns, lots of Scottish food and tea, and beautiful scenery. Everything you want out of a nice cozy mystery. This is the first in a series.

Tuesday, January 21, 2020


I read this from start to finish in one day! I couldn't put the damn thing down. I was instantly riveted by the concept of "false memory syndrome" and how it had the potential to practically destroy the world. Helena builds a chair that will help capture memories of people suffering from dementia and Alzheimers, only the chair is far more powerful then she realizes. Used in a certain way, the chair is capable of more than memory or memory alteration, it can change the concept of reality. I don't want to give too much away; but imagine Minority Report mixed with Groundhog Day, mixed with Tuck Everlasting. It's one of the most unique concepts and plotlines I've read in a LONG time. I was very meh to read this, but I was so mistaken. This is a must read; one that will blow your mind and leave you feeling queasy anytime you experience the sensation on deja vu. One of a kind thrill ride!

Monday, January 20, 2020

The Book Woman of Troublesome Creek

A fascinating look at the Pack Horse Library Project that gave library access to some of the poorest and more illiterate US citizens in the Appalachian hills. Cussy Mary Carter has found her purpose in life as a pack horse librarian. She's helping her pa by bringing in income, plus she's starting to get more friendly with folks who use to look the other way or ignore her. Although Cussy isn't black, she's colored. She's the last of her kind, the blue skinned people of Kentucky. People treat her as an oddity, but now that she is their book woman; they begrudgingly get to know her as she looks out for them and gives them more than books - hope. The only problem is her pa wants her to get married because he knows he won't live long; with his lung condition from toiling away in the mines. Cussy can't work as a married woman, so she aims to stay single for as long as possible. Wonderful historical fiction about a little known WPA program and a little known people.

Saturday, January 18, 2020

Late Migrations

Poetic, somber, jubilant, heart-wrenching, and beautiful; this collection of short essays from Margaret Renkl is a must read. Essays about the nature in her backyard, history of her grandparents, her childhood, her parents, motherhood, and migratory patterns of birds. This collection encompasses love and loss through a personal and natural lens. Interspersed throughout are beautiful color images of animals and plants. A deeply touching and deeply personal memoir of sorts. One that readers will come back to time and again.

Wednesday, January 15, 2020

Where Have All the Boys Gone?

I've only read one other book (The Bookshop on the Corner) by Jenny Colgan, but the two were eerily similar. I wonder if she's a bit formulaic. Don't get me wrong, I enjoy the humor, but the plot and the characters are just too.... fake. It's over the top and not in a good way. Katie can't find a decent date in all of London, there is simply too much competition. When she gets sent up to Scotland on assignment, she is amazed to discover that there are men everywhere and nary a lass in sight! The dating odds are finally in her favor! Not that she has much time to think about dating though. Her boss has her work cut out for her trying to brainstorm ways to save the forest from being torn down to build a golf course. Her best friend Louisa has accompanied her on this trip and the two of them find themselves enjoying the quaint town life, interesting traditions, and handsome single men. Only , things can't stay perfect for long. Katie is bound to muddle something up! Love triangles, ridiculous scenarios, and ridiculous people. This book is ok as a beach read; but even that might be pushing it.

Tuesday, January 14, 2020

When Books Went to War

A quick, albeit repetitive, book highlighting the importance of books in wartime, specifically America's use of books during WWII. Publishers printed millions of paperback books to send over to American troops and they proved popular beyond belief. Soldiers fought and hoarded them, it was their only entertainment and reprieve from the hellish war they were fighting in. Many soldiers wrote authors praising them and thanking them for helping get them through war. It was really interesting to learn about librarians war and crusade for books as well as the military response. Enlightening and just goes to show how important books really are.

Sunday, January 12, 2020


This book should be required reading. It's insightful, depressing, yet still ultimately hopeful. Pulitzer Prize winning couple write a gut wrenching account of how America has ultimately failed it's people in the last half century through the lens of author Nicholas D. Kristof's hometown, Yamhill and a few other US locations. From a broken education, prison, health system and more; the authors explain how the system used to be, how it is now, and what can be done to fix it to bring the United States back up to speed with the rest of the industrialized first world countries. There are lots of personal stories and photos that really hammer down HOW these policies really affect many Americans. It is very depressing but at the same time the authors make sure to highlight social programs that people have started to combat issues of addiction, homelessness, and college education. It's an enlightening and ultimately inspiring book. Do yourself a favor and read this book before you vote! Then pass on this book to everyone you know!!!!

You Will Not Have My Hate

A quick, searing, emotional read that readers will struggle not to cry their way through. Antoine Leiris writes a moving memoir of grief in response to his wife's murder. Helene was one of the many killed in a terrorist attack at a theater in Paris and Antoine writes movingly about the search for her, the aftermath, trying to move on and care for their infant son knowing that he will have to care for him solo without his wife's loving smile and care. Beautiful and eloquently written. Read this with a box of tissues at the ready.

Locke & Key: Alpha & Omega

THIS SERIES!!!! Perfect conclusion to one of the greatest comic series I've read. All the questions are answered, everything is wrapped up, my eyes hurt from crying, and all is right with the world. It's dark, gut wrenching, and absolutely perfect. It could not have ended any better. I'm really hoping that the Netflix adaptation does this series justice because everything about Locke & Key is perfection. Thank you Joe Hill and Gabriel Rodriguez for taking me on this ride. It's everything I never knew I wanted!

Locke & Key: Clockworks

This series continues to shine and build up its characters and its plot. Plus in this one we start to get the backstory on Keyhouse and understand more about the keys and what happened to the Locke kid's father when he was a teenager. Wonderful, captivating, and brilliant storytelling. This series continues to be a MUST READ!

Friday, January 10, 2020

Locke & Key: Keys to the Kingdom

Damn son! This series just keeps getting better and better! I was at the edge of my seat reading this! The Locke children are starting to wise up (at least their older brother is) and Zack Wells (aka Lucas Caravaggio aka The Dark Lady) is starting to let his guard down around the kids. How long will it be until they catch on to who he really is? Dark, funny, and impeccably drawn; this is THE comic series to read. I can't wait to read the next one! 


Out of the three in The Playbook series this one may be my least favorite. HOWEVER, that doesn't mean I didn't enjoy the shit out of it. I love that the Lady Mustangs, the football puns, the hot men, and Denver are common threads in every book and the relationship is the only thing that changes in each. Don't get me wrong I adored big strong Maxwell; I just don't  love Brynn. She's been a feature in all three books; owning a hot female oriented bar in Denver and being friends with all the NFL player's wives and girlfriends. Now it's her turn to fall for a football player - but she's not quite ready to be in a relationship. Ever since her mother abandoned her when she was a teen she's shied away from commitment; assuming that true love isn't real. Well she clearly hadn't met Maxwell yet. Steamy, cute, and wonderful. I hope there are a ton more books in this series!

Wednesday, January 8, 2020

Roommates Wanted

Jewell, Lisa. Roommates Wanted. 10 CDs. unabridged. 12 hrs 8 mins. 2019. Dreamscape Media. ISBN 9781974980482. 

Having been gifted a grand old Victorian house as a wedding gift but unable to fill it after his bride left him; Toby opened his home to wayward souls needing a new chance at life. Nearly fifteen years later, some of the home's residents are having trouble moving on; and that includes Toby. He has finally decided to put the house on the market and move on with his life after his oldest tenant dies and leaves him some money. However, Toby feels responsible for everyone living under his roof and has no idea how to get them to move on with their lives and move out. Thankfully Toby gets help from across the street from his gorgeous neighbor, Leah, and together they discover what it means to truly let go of the past and look towards the future. Brilliantly narrated by Helen Duff who does a superb job nailing the myriad of accents of the housemates. Readers will find themselves captivated by all the hi-jinks Toby and his housemates find themselves in as they try to navigate what the future holds. Charming, unique, and funny; Lisa Jewell is a master of contemporary fiction. - Erin Cataldi, Johnson Co. Public Library, Franklin, IN


Sexy, smart, funny; this is chicklit gold. Poppy has toughed it out as a single mom for nine years after her high school sweetheart said he was too young to be a dad. She had the kid in secret and has moved on with her life. That is until she runs into him at the nightclub she works at. When she hired on two years ago she was told that the city's NFL team never came in - well it looks as if that streak ended and now she has to deal with her football god baby daddy. He's sexy, famous, and a millionaire too boot, plus he still loves her! After ten years! The only thing is - he doesn't even know that he has a kid. What can go wrong? Cheesy, wonderful, and all around great. This second book in the Playbook series is just as good as the first one. I can't wait to get to the 3rd!

Tuesday, January 7, 2020


A quick fluffy romcom, that I couldn't put down. Will this win any awards? No. Was this fun? Hell yes. Marlee is one lucky girl; she's the girlfriend of an NFL star and she gets to live in a palace. The downside is she has to live in said palace (god it's ostentatious and ugly), put up with the wives of the other team players (only one girl in that group is actually worth knowing), and work around her boyfriend's dreams and plans. Plus when the hell is he going to propose already? They've been together since high school? Everything falls apart when she discovers that her boy has been cheating on her for months and who is there to catch her? The teams quarterback, the man she slept with 4 years ago. Even though she's still attracted to him and vividly remembers how good he was in bed; Marlee swears off athletes. She's had enough of them. But maybe she'll end up changing her mind. Cute, quirky, fun, and steamy. I definitely plan on reading the rest in this series!

Belly Up

I'm a huge fan of Eva Darrows; she's a young adult author that actually writes for teens. She writes how they think, how they talk, and how they perceive the world around them. It's refreshing. Belly Up is a teen story about a girl who makes a stupid mistake and, you guessed it,gets knocked up. Not only is her father not in the picture, but neither is baby daddy. Sara has her mother, her battle ax grandma, and her best friend, Devi. She is trying to come to terms with the fact that she has a womb goblin and is going to have to put her college plans on hold (or make new ones) but it's hard to wrap her brain around it. Everything is so gross and new and scary. She starts to realize though that she is surrounded by loving caring people and she has it much easier than many other teen moms in her pregnancy group. In addition to navigating her pregnancy; Sara is also trying to navigate her way around a new high school and the feelings she has on one of the few other people of color in her school. Will he still be her friend when he inevitably finds out she's pregnant? How will the rest of her classmates act? A teen novel about unplanned pregnancy; that's funny, real, and supportive.

The Complete Chi's Sweet Home: Part One

Stinking adorable. This manga about a kitten who is taken in by a young Japanese family is beyond cute. Separated from mama kitty he has to learn the ins and outs of being a "domesticated cat" from his new family and it's a learning curve for everyone. Constantly hiding from the landlady (no pets allowed!), this cute manga is adorable, funny, and will ring true for any cat owners out there. The illustrations are also precious. A cute quick read for all ages!

Long Bright River

Compelling and impossible to put down, this police drama about the opiod crisis, a missing family member, and murder gripped me from page one. Two sisters live in the same neighborhood but lead impossibly different lives. Mickey is a cop, patrolling some of the most crime ridden streets in Philadelphia. Her sister, Kacey, is an addict that has lived on those same streets for over a decade. Even though they haven't spoken in years, the two are aware of each other's presence, until suddenly Kacey disappears without a trace. Around the same time a few women on Mickey's beat are murdered; women like Kacey, addicts who will do anything for a fix. Mickey is immediately on high alert. Even though she doesn't approve of her sister's lifestyle and hasn't talked to her in years; she doesn't want to see Kacey murdered. Alternating between her and her sister's childhood to the present day disappearance of her sister; this book about the bonds of sisterhood, addiction, and the complexities of the police force will capture readers attention. A tour de force!

Locke and Key: Crown of Shadows

This series keeps getting better. The characters are really developing, the house is really starting to show its true colors, and Dodge is still relentlessly pursuing the key to the black door. As usual the siblings keep finding themselves in trouble and Bode keeps stumbling upon keys. This volume may be the best one yet. I couldn't put it down!