Tuesday, September 29, 2020



I haven't ugly sobbed at a book in years. The last 100 pages were just a cry fest for me. This book has some of the most memorable characters - and this flawed fucked up family is so precious and wonderful that I wish I could know them in real life - I felt right at home in their insanity. Betty was born to a Cherokee father and a poor white mother in southern Ohio in the early sixties. As a middle child of of seven and the only one who inherited her father's "indigenous" looks she often gets into mischief and has trouble fitting in. She loves listening to her father's tall tales and making up stories of her own - in fact there are certain parts of her family's history that she wishes she could re-write. For some reason Betty becomes the repository for her family's dark secrets. Her mother confides in her an awful ugly, truth that she never even told her husband and her eldest sister tries to lie about something that Betty wasn't supposed to see. A very dark coming of age story filled with incest, dark secrets, brutal pet deaths, and depression. I will say though that light shines through particularly well when balanced by the all the dark. There are truly some amazing moments and it isn't all bad, there is a lot of heartbreak though. You want the best for all these amazing characters. A book I won't forget about and will definitely return to. 

Wednesday, September 23, 2020


Wow - this compelling (soon to be award winning) look at the caste system in America, India, and Nazi Germany will give Americans a LOT of food for thought. Impressively researched; there is no way you won't be changed after reading this. When most people think of caste they think of India and the untouchables but Isabel Wilkerson dives deep into it's meaning the pillars that support it and then holds it up to a mirror so that we can see just caste driven American society is. It's.... upsetting, but honestly we're long past due for a reckoning; a coming to terms with our shameful past (and present). This book should be required reading. You can't unlearn what's in here but hopefully you can change your perception, your worldview, and start applying it for the betterment of ALL Americans (not just the white ones). Truly an awe inspiring book. 

Tuesday, September 22, 2020

Someone Knows

A terrible tragedy that occurred when Allie Garvey was only 15 has defined her life. Now 20 years later she's back at the scene of the crime. She's attending the funeral of one of the four who who witnessed that unspeakable event. In 20 years not one of those four teenagers has spoken aloud what happened. In fact, none of them have ever even spoken to each other again. But now it is a time of reckoning. Someone knows and the question is what will happen to those three remaining witnesses. This adrenaline pumping novel discusses grief, guilt, and the power that secrets hold over us. It's upsetting, life altering, and the power it takes to move past and forgive yourself (if indeed you are worthy of forgiveness) is impossibly hard. Fast paced and tragic.  

Thursday, September 17, 2020

The Imposter

Normally I am all in on Amish fiction but this one just didn't do it for me. I don't know if my "belief" was suspended by all the modern conveniences (washing machines, pregnancy tests, bobby pins, etc.) or if I just didn't love any of the characters. Our sweet and innocent protagonist turns out to be carrying a pretty big secret that was never alluded to and was in fact, the most scandalous thing ever. My favorite character is hands down, Birdie. The gentle giant that falls for David. I'll continue with the series and hope the rest resonates with me. 

Wednesday, September 16, 2020

Lizard in a Zoot Suit

Set during the summer of the Zoot Suit Riots (LA 1943)when two young Hispanic Americans encounter violence, prejudice and 5 foot tall lizard. A Navy base has been installed in a predominately Hispanic neighborhood and the white sailors think nothing of tossing out verbal assaults and starting fights, when a 6 foot tall lizard pops out of a sewer grate to save the sisters they realize they've made a new friend. What they don't realize is that the lizard is also being hunted by a crazed Navy scientist. Are they in even more danger for befriending him? The fantastical story is set in an all too real situation and helps readers see it in a new light. Great for all ages. 

The Gray Drake

The second in The Burr Lafayette mystery series starts off quite similar to the first installment (The Pink Pony) when Lafayette takes a case (that he really shouldn't) when promised money. His assistant Jacob really wants Lafayette to get involved because it involves a legendary fisherman and all Jacob cares about is fishing, carrot juice, and weed. Despite his better judgement Lafayette signs on and all he gets in return is an expensive fishing rod for his efforts. Lizzie is charged with murdering her husband a year ago and it's up to the least likely legal team to prove her innocent. Lots of sleuthing, eating, and courtroom drama. Until this book I assumed that this series takes place modern day but towards the end of this book it mentioned that the year was 1989 so that was eye opening for me. The book seems kind of ageless. I made it to the end not correctly guessing the murderer so that was a plus. Another intriguing installment in the series. I can't wait for the next one!

Tuesday, September 15, 2020

The Switch


Endearing, cute, witty, and implausible. A perfect feel good fluff read filled with quirky characters. Leena and her grandmother Eileen decide to swap lives for 2 months. Eileen has had a nervous breakdown at work (she's taken no time off after the death of her sister) and needs to have a nice breather in the countryside. Her grandmother Eileen is a recent divorcee who has never experienced London. The two will swap not only their homes but their phones and friends. Things are a little tricky initially but soon they are relishing their new experiences and adventures. Of course there is a little romance, a little intrigue, and a lot of fun. A very cute book.

Thursday, September 10, 2020

White Too Long


Absolutely fantastic. This is by no means an easy read, but a necessary one. We are long overdue on acknowledging and atoning for past (and present) transgressions against the BIPOC community. White American Christianity cultivated and fostered slavery, segregation, and fear mongering far too long to just wipe it under the rug and say "sorry." Robert P. Jones does an exemplary job describing the roots of racism in American Christianity (Catholics, Protestants, Lutherans, Episcopalians), the theology, the practice, and the monuments (I was appalled to find out how much Confederate imagery is found in Southern Churches - Robert E Lee depicted as a saint in stained glass?!). The author also scientifically and historically backs up all his claims which adds that extra gut punch. It's not all doom and gloom though. He ends by telling stories of change from around the country and then maps out ways in which white Christian Americans can move forward hand in hand with their Black brethren. It's time to come together to acknowledge, condemn, and work towards meaningful change - not just platitudes. A phenomenal book. 

Tuesday, September 8, 2020

The Snow Fell Three Graves Deep

Woah - this book gave me freaking chills. I remember being fascinated with the horrific fate of the Donner Party when I was younger - but I hadn't given it much thought since. This remarkable telling of events is told in verse, journal entries, letters, and maps. The slow build up of terror guarantees that you won't be able to tear your eyes off the page. Told through multiple perspective: a German immigrant, an orphan boy, an 8 year old, a father, and two indigenous scouts help give this story a well rounded view of the situation. For those that aren't aware - The Donner Party got trapped in the mountains not even 90 miles away from a fort by an extremely early winter. They slowly starved to death and succumbed to cannibalism - it was truly horrific. This book..... is one I will 100% read again and recommend to teens and adults - the notes and the statistics at the end are also wonderful additions. The author really shined a lot on an awful situation and refrained from placing the blame on anyone while still remaining objective. Marvelous storytelling!!

Thursday, September 3, 2020

The Pink Pony


The Pink Pony is a favorite bar of many and the morning after the famed Port Huron-Mackinac sailboat race, poor Jimmy Lyons is found strangled to death there. Mackinac Island has never before had a murder and it's all anyone can talk about. Burr Lafayette is vacationing on the island after participating in the sailboat race, and in no time at all he is pressured to take on the defendant despite never been involved in a murder trial. Burr is an excellent litigator, despite having a problem hanging on to money (especially after his divorce); without any other cash prospects he agrees to try and clear Murdo of murder charges. The first step is trying to find other suspects (of which their is no shortage as Jimmy owed everyone money) but he's having a damned hard time getting any evidence. His loyal dog Zeke, his two dependable co-workers, and a lot gin martinis are needed if he's going to turn from litigator to lawyer - but what if Murdo did do it? Filled with island life, boating, booze, regional food, and a cast of quirky characters - this is a book readers won't soon forget. Lots of twists and turns will leave readers puzzling over the case themselves. An excellent start to a new mystery series!

My Life as a Villainess

Lippman, Laura. My Life as a Villainess: Essays. digital. 5hrs 50mins. 2020. Harper Audio. ISBN 9781094156590. $29.99. 

New York Times bestselling crime novelist, Laura Lippman, dazzles in this sparkling essay collection. Readers will finally get to meet the woman behind the novels in this unabashedly poignant collection of personal essays. From motherhood to her early career in journalism to love and loss and Twitter - many facets of Lippman's life are candidly broached, often with humorous and astute observations. Essays can go from laugh out loud funny to achingly sad in a heartbeat - but the tone always remains insightful and optimistic. Brilliantly narrated by the essayist herself, Lippman is great at controlling the levity and seriousness that each essay demands. A wonderful balance of essays- readers will feel like they get far more than a glimpse into the life of crime writing legend. Not just for fans of the author, these essays broach far more than her work and should have a wide appeal. - Erin Cataldi, Johnson Co. Public Library, Franklin, IN

Wednesday, September 2, 2020

Little Fires Everywhere

Wow - this is a book that makes you think. What if? What if? What if? What is good and bad - how do you decide between impossible scenarios? When teenaged Pearl and her mother Mia move to Shaker heights they turn the Richardson's lives upside down - at first they are just renters, but then Pearl befriends one of the sons, Moody and Mia starts cleaning the Richardson's big house. Soon their lives are intertwined in ways they never thought possible. The book opens with the Richardson's house on fire and then goes back to the beginning, by the end of the book all is revealed and readers are more than invested in the lives of these deeply flawed yet still relatable characters. I loved all them, the quandaries they faced, the drama. This was a stellar book - one that I won't soon forget about and will surely return to.