Friday, February 28, 2020


I adored this! This may be my favorite retelling of Pride and Prejudice yet!! Set in Pakistan in 2000, Alys Binat and her older sister Jena are considered spinsters at the ages of 30 and 31. Since their family's "fall from grace" they've defied cultural norms by teaching at a local English speaking school. Single and teaching! Their mother is positively aghast but they need the extra income. When their family scores an invitation to the city's most anticipated wedding their mother is sure that they can find wealthy men. I could go on but really it's the exact same plot of Pride and Prejudice with different cultural markers, names, food, and modern day variations. I loved it. I would love if they made a Sense and Sensibility set in Pakistan. This was so much fun!!

Wednesday, February 26, 2020

Girl, Wash Your Face

Keeping up my string of controversial readings, I decided to finally read this book after I was given a free copy. I've had friends that loved it and friends that loathed it. I can definitely see both sides of it. I will say this book definitely coming from a place of entitlement. Rachel thinks she is "everywoman," but she has so many privileges that her advice often falls flat. Don't get me wrong it's not all horrible advice, but not everything she's "selling" is achievable for women who come from far less entitled circumstances. A lot of it common sense advice viewed through a Christian lens and accompanied by her personal stories of overcoming adversity. There are some good takeaways but nothing you wouldn't find in another self-help book. The advice I liked best was about how we shouldn't break promises to ourselves because we wouldn't break promises to our friends. We need to treat ourselves with more respect. But that was my biggest takeaway. Honestly, I don't get all the fuss.

Tuesday, February 25, 2020

Body of Christ

.... Very rarely am I at a loss for words but this book made me uncomfortable and I don't even know what to say about it. Like, I need to take a shower and call up Jesus and tell him I'm sorry for reading this. In this book, period blood screams, Jesus is made out of soggy communion wafers, a boy's father commits suicide by cops (the son then saves bits of his torn apart by bullets dad in a ziploc bag for later - yay father flesh!), and .... like there's more but I can't even. This book will make you feel like you just accidentally did crack and rolled around in shit and dirty glass. It's bizarre and not in a good way. It's unique but that don't make it good...

The Mad Sculptor

This was one of those true crime events that I had no knowledge of whatsoever. I've never seen a movie of, heard it referenced, nothing. I went into this blind. After reading this, is still seems more fiction than fact. On Easter Sunday, New York City was aghast when it learned of a gruesome triple murder. A mother killed and stuffed under the bed; her daughter (entering the apartment later in the evening) was killed on top of the bed, most likely never knowing her mother's corpse laid beneath her. In the next room a boarder is murdered in his sleep; getting stabbed a dozen times in his head with an ice pick. Who would do this and why? Robert Irwin, dubbed the mad sculptor by the press, was in and out of mental institutions in his youth. He had a troubled childhood and was known to go into fits of rage. He was also a masterful art student, he was a talented sculptor and it seemed for a time that art would be his saving grace. It was not. A series of unfortunate events occurs and the author does a great job describing Irwin's life and that of the people he killed. Photographs are included and lots of other New York crime tidbits that I enjoyed. It's salacious, over the top, absurd, and sad. It doesn't read like most true crime novels, but it's still very engaging!

Monday, February 24, 2020

Miles Morales: Spider-Man

This is a superhero book, that doesn't focus on the special powers or saving people. Miles is a student at Brooklyn Vision Academy and he's got a lot on his plate; he doesn't have a ton of time for the whole superhero thing. He has to be on his best behavior after getting a suspension, but it's getting increasingly harder to do with his dreaded history professor, Mr. Chamberlain. Plus he's got some family issues at home, grades to worry about, a girl to crush on and so much more. He does get the spiderman suit on a few times, but this is more the day to day life of a teenage superhero (think Ms. Marvel - with less action). Racism, growing up poor, family issues, poetry, and making a stand for what you believe in are all prominent themes. The ending wasn't my favorite, but it wasn't awful by any stretch of the imagination. A great book for all teens, not just those who love Marvel Comics. The audiobook was wonderfully narrated as well if that's a selling point for some of you.

Thursday, February 20, 2020

Heroes of the Frontier

I had a hard time deciding if I loved this book or was meh. It was definitely funny, sometimes to the point of being absurd and I seesawed from loving the protagonist to being really concerned with her life choices. Josie has fled to Alaska with her two children (ages 5 and 8). Why may you ask? Her children's father is somehow getting married and she doesn't want to be even remotely close to it or let her children attend. Her dental practice was sued and she lost the whole place. One of her favorite patients was killed in Afghanistan. But mostly she has no idea what she wants to do with her life. She's wandering around the beautiful Alaskan frontier with an old RV and two kids who should be in school. She's content to idle away the time while trying to find purpose in her life. The further north they journey, the more reckless choices she makes as she wonders how many misdemeanors they'll have under their belt by the time this "trip" of theirs is over with. It's the most non-traditional adventure I've ever read and although I adored the two kids (laugh out loud funny) I'm not sure why this novel fell a little flat for me.

The Hoosier Schoolmaster

I can't NOT read a classic that's set in the state I live in and love so I figured I would finally wipe the dust off this one and read it. Set in a rural Indiana town during the 1850's this is a fictionalized story of a young man coming to be the schoolmaster for a backward yet well meaning (mostly) bunch. Written in the Hoosier dialect this humorous tale is peppered with classic ink drawings and funny asides. From the Church of Best Licks to the spelling competition to midnight thievery and peg legs. Nearly 200 years old I still thought it was amusing and pretty well written. Adventure, romance, action, and intrigue are woven throughout the story and it's definitely something unique!

Chi's Sweet Home Complete, Part 3

As with the first two in this series, Part 3 jumps right in and Chi wastes no time getting trouble. From getting lost and dirty, and locked in a tool shed, to winning over the new kitten and playmate; this adorable series keeps on generating smiles. There is also the question of whether Chi will get reunited with his family. They apparently live not to far off but they just keep missing each other. Will Chi even recognize them? Suspense!!

Chi's Sweet Home, Part 2

So stinking cute. Even though this volume is huge it's a quick read because you can't put it down. Chi as usual gets up to lots of antics. Chi's family has moved from the no pets allowed apartment to a bigger pet friendly one a blocks away. Chi is enamored by the space and the new yard. Plus there are lots of interesting new pets in the building. Chi has a penchant for going outside past boundaries and getting lost and surprise surprise that happens again. This time, Chi finds another cat; about the same size and age and the two become friends (begrudgingly on the other cats part). Beautifully illustrated and simplistically amazing. I love this series.

I'll Have What She's Having

Engrossing and smile inducing; this book made me want to re-watch all of Nora Ephron's films and have a sleepover with my closest girl friends. Filled with fun facts and behinds the scenes tidbits; this book really shows just how groundbreaking Nora was at the time and showed her lasting legacy on romantic comedies and women in Hollywood. Iconic, badass, witty, and unique; Nora really helped further female screenwriters, producers and directors. I really enjoyed learning about her life as well as the lives of Tom Hanks and Meg Ryan and learning about the process that brought her three timeless love stories together. Also included were photographs from the set. While this nonfiction story goes off some tangents and introduces a large cast of characters; this is still a must for romantic comedy fans!

Thursday, February 13, 2020

The Book of Rosy

A firsthand account of just how inhumane and despicable conditions are at the US/ Mexican border. Rosayra Pablo Cruz tells her harrowing story of the conditions that led her to flee Guatemala with two of her children and the consequences of her trying to file asylum in the United States. Having crossed the border once a few years prior Rosayra wasn't prepared for what awaited her this time, renewed anti-immigrant rhetoric flamed cruel policies that led to her being locked in a cold cell and separated from her boys. Thankfully an organization of moms, lawyers, and volunteers started working to pay the bail on this mothers in captivity and their efforts got Rosayra out and reunited with her boys. It's insane that this is happening right now in America but it's inspiring to see that people are working against it. There is also a section in the back with useful ways for readers to get involved. This book is suggested for anyone who wants to know about migrants coming up from Central America and is a good first hand account for anyone that read American Dirt.

Snowflower and the Secret Fan

I wasn't expecting this book to be such a heavy read, but despite it's flowery language and lush setting; it's really pretty bleak. Set in nineteenth century China; Lily is born into a house that is neither wealthy nor extremely poor. When Lily is young it is determined that she will have the smallest and most gorgeous bound feet so she will be able to marry up and change her future (and her families) for the better. In the process she is given a pen pal of sorts, a laotong. Snowflower is the same age but from a more prosperous family; from the age of six til their death they will be "old sames" closer to each other than with their husbands. They undergo foot-bindings together, they learn the rites of womanhood, and they share all of their secrets. This book follows their childhood all the way through motherhood and beyond. But even though they have each other, things aren't always easy. They suffer unbearable tragedies and only have each other to rely on. Very bleak, somber, yet beautiful and educational. I highly recommend the audiobook!

Wednesday, February 12, 2020

Confessions of a Sheba Queen

Sultry, seductive, and wonderfully written; this Historical erotica was impeccably researched and wonderfully naughty. Unable to put this down, I finished it in one day!

Bilqis, a beautiful young woman is half Jinn and with it comes the powers of seduction. Hidden in a small desert town in the ancient lands of Saba, Bilqis and her mother are comfortable and happy. When her Jinn mother is brutally murdered under the orders of a corrupt King, Bilqis knows it's time to chase her destiny. As a young child an oracle foretold great things about her and now it's time to see if they will come true. Bilqis seeks vengeance  so she decides to travel to the capital using her feminine wiles to exact revenge and gain new friends and lovers along the way. Achingly beautiful, witty, and in full command of her body (as well as everyone elses) Bilqis is admired by all (even her enemies want to bed her rather than kill her). Filled with trysts, conquests, surrenders, and blush inducing scenes; this is one of the best eroticas I've read in years! I look forward to reading more of Autumn Bardot's historical erotic romances!

Tuesday, February 11, 2020

Dangerous Alliance

If you're a fan of regency novels, Jane Austen, and teenage romance you will eat this book up! Set early in the nineteenth century; this novel follows Vicky, a young well off lady who is disheartened that her life isn't more like a Jane Austen novel. She wants the romance and intrigue; instead she gets herself in laughably dangerous situations and her former childhood friend (now sworn enemy) seems to keep showing up at the right moment to rescue her. She can take care of herself, thank you very much! To make matters more complicated, her older sister is seeking a separation from her husband and in order to protect the family estate from her bully husband, Vicky must get married and do so quickly. Witty, charming, over the top, and so much fun. I hope the author writes more just like this.

Monday, February 10, 2020

American Dirt

I legitimately could not put this book down. I was hesitant to pick up this book because of all the controversy around it, but I'm so glad I did. It's a powerful, important, and timely book. As a penance for reading this book (because I know a lot of people will judge me for it) I plan on reading a book writing by a Hispanic American writer (The Book of Rosy: A Mother's Story of Separation at the Border by Julie Schwietert Collazo and Rosayra Pablo Cruz - so go ahead and hold me accountable!). American Dirt delivered on the hype it received. The action/violence started on page one and it never slowed down. It was a non-stop ride of terror, hope, and overwhelmingly bad odds. Filled with murder, rape, torture, and child endangerment; this book highlights the brutality of the cartels in Central America. People are willing to do anything to escape the violence, even if means becoming a migrant and trying to go North. Train hopping, rape, theft, and murder plague migrants at every turn; yet many are still willing to risk everything on the long trek north just to escape the horrors of their home. Lydia had a pretty comfortable life but that all changed when sixteen of her family members were killed at a cookout. She and her son escaped by hiding, but the cartel leader knows they are alive and will stop at nothing to find them. She's desperate to survive so she and her son join other migrants and hope to get as far away from the cartel as she can. Her journey is anything but easy. This book..... just goes to show the kind of hell that people have to go through just to try and make it to the US. It's horrific. This book is eye opening and I hope it sparks discussion and people reading more Latino authors. 

Friday, February 7, 2020

Sansei and Sensibility

I liked the scope and uniqueness found in these short stories; from powerful grandmothers, to bathtubs, to dental hygienists who know too much, to interment camps this book has a bit of everything in it. The first half of the short stories aren't related to Jane Austen but are still profound and enjoyable. The second half of this collection turns each classic Jane Austen novel on it's head and gives it a Japanese American twist. I don't want to give anything away, but I will say they were very clever and were the most unique takes on Jane Austen that I've read in ages! Filled with beautiful prose; these unique short stories are worth a read!

Wednesday, February 5, 2020

Serpent & Dove

Give me the sequel and give it to me now! I haven't been this obsessed with a young adult fantasy/adventure for years and I'm ALL IN!

A witch is forced to marry a witch hunter... who doesn't know she's a witch. How can this possibly go wrong?! Delightful and full of characters that just reach out to you from the page and right into your heart. Funny, inventive, and endlessly witty. I won't say much more than that, other than I read this book in like one day. I couldn't put it down! As a final note, I will say I pictured the Archbishop (head of the witch hunters) as Frollo from Hunchback of Notre Dame. You're welcome. 

Tuesday, February 4, 2020

Woven in Moonlight

This book was mouthwateringly delicious... and it's not even about food. Isabel Ibanez weaves together a story inspired by her Bolivian roots and combines, magic, friendship, romance, and adventure to create the perfect teen read. The Condesa must go to the enemy fortress as a meek woman intending to marry her sworn enemy, but really she is there to spy and try to find a way to save her people, the Illustrians. They are slowly starving in their mountain fortress while theFalse King ravages the land and rules with the ultimate weapon, the estrella. The Condesa must have her wits about her if she is going to find a way to undermine her people and lead them back to their rightful home. Filled with lots of food, lush descriptions, slow burn romance, and court intrigue; this teen fantasy novel will win over lots of readers! I can't wait for the next book!

Monday, February 3, 2020

Super Bowl Smut

I had pretty high hopes for this collection of erotica, but it was a big ol' fumble. Some stories were better than others but that's not saying much. They were all loosely football related and some were even superbowl themed, but it was a mixed bag of erotica. Most of them just seemed poorly written and full of typos. Some weren't even that hot, the plot meandered or took to long to get to the good stuff! There was mostly gay/lesbian encounters, with a few straight stories, an orgy or two and some bi-action. There was a lot of talk of "tight-ends" and scoring, but.... overall this collection was not a touchdown for me. It is a quick read though, so feel free to make your own judgments!