Monday, January 25, 2021

Baby and Solo

I adored this book! It was kitschy, profound, funny, and heartfelt - everything I want in a young adult book. Joel has finally been given permission to start a new phase in his life - his counselor thinks that after years of mental hospitals, therapy, and distance from THE BAD THING that Joel is ready to press play on his life. For Joel that means re-entering society and getting a job like a normal teenager. He lands a job at a local video store despite his initial misgivings fits in with the other quirky oddballs who work there. They all go by their favorite movie characters rather than their real names and Joel is dubbed Han Solo. His boss Scarlet (ala Gone with the Wind) is so maddeningly hot it drives him and all the other male employees up a wall. But where he finds true kinship is with Baby (Dirty Dancing), the nonstop puking girl (is it anorexia or something else) who is whip smart and funny. They hit it off and Solo realizes that maybe he isn't the only one with problems - maybe they're all a little frazzled but the key to moving on is making friends and propping each other up. Fantastic. A cast full of characters that readers will laugh with and root for. 

Friday, January 22, 2021

Tigers, Not Daughters

Dark, haunting, and ethereal - this young adult novel chronicling the Torres' sisters and the aftermath of their oldest sister's death is chilling and powerful. A year after Ana falls out her window to her death; her three sisters cope with it in different ways. Jessica the now oldest, deals with it by slowly trying to turn into Ana. She wears her clothes and makeup, tries to pick up smoking, and even dates the same boy that Ana had been sneaking off with in the night. Iridian has turned into a total recluse and barely leaves her room let alone the house. She re-reads all of Ana's old books and is trying to drown her sorrows in her writing. Rosa, the youngest tries to talk to the neighborhood animals, finding peace in nature and in church. Their father, well their father is useless; a shell of a man. A year after Ana's death - her ghost inexplicably starts inhabiting the house and the week following her "return" is one that will turn the girls lives upside down. Magical realism at its best!

Tuesday, January 19, 2021

Labyrinth Coronation vol 3

All in all an interesting take on the Goblin King's back story. I appreciated the love that went into this story and although it's not where I would have taken it - it's certainly satisfying and extremely unique. I like the very final scene and I love the little goblin that has been the thread between all three volumes. The art is gorgeous and maybe after I re-watch the movie I will appreciate this even more. A quick fun ride back into the labyrinth. 

Labyrinth Coronation vol 2

The middle one is probably my least favorite. Things get more muddled and suddenly the the cowardly husband is involved again and we find out that the goblin who has been assisting Maria, might have some dark secrets that he is hiding. I like the little worm and that storyline, but there is just a lot of moving pieces to this story. 

Labyrinth Coronation vol 1

So I don't know what I was expecting but this graphic novel series shows two storylines side by side - what we know happened in the movie with Jareth and Sarah and an eerily similar storyline that takes place nearly two centuries prior starting in Venice, Italy. A young woman is bound and determined to save her baby from the Owl King after her cowardly husband offered up their baby to the demons in her head. The Owl King is looking for a successor and thinks letting Maria into his labyrinth to search for her baby might provide amusement to his goblin subjects before the new successor takes the throne. Only he doesn't count on Maria being so quick-witted and determined on getting her baby back. The storyline is a little so so - but the artwork is top notch!

Anxious People

I wasn't a fan of A Man Called Ove so I resisted reading this for the longest time because I didn't buy into all the hype about this one. I was totally wrong. It's beautiful, whimsical and I loved every character. It's a book about a hostage situation, idiots, and never judging someone on first impressions. Sometimes a hostage situation can be more than a hostage situation. When a bank robber flees a robbery gone wrong and runs into the first open door which happens to be an apartment viewing - things turn out unexpected for everyone involved. From the cops to the hostages to the bank teller and robber - sometimes the easiest explanation is the hardest. It's difficult to truly summarize this book without giving anything away but do yourself a favor and check it out - because it definitely lived up to the hype. Lots of little twists and turns that are unexpected and perfect. 

Saturday, January 16, 2021

The Duke and I

I'm so glad I finally read the book! Honestly I think the tv series follows it pretty well. They moved around a few scenes and added a few characters and small storylines to flesh out the show - but honestly I loved both the print and the film version. Obviously there is a very questionable consent scene that readers have to grapple with, but beyond that I really enjoyed the book. The Duke and I is a regency romance that shows what happens when two people who are "just pretending to like each other to get people off their backs" actually start to like each other. The Duke had an upsetting childhood and a horrid father so he has vowed the the dukedom will end with him. But then he finds that he really does love someone and agrees to marry her... but will have no kids so the line still ends. Is that possible? Will their love overcome such a hurdle? Wonderful. I can't wait to read the rest of the series. 

Wednesday, January 13, 2021

Wade in the Water

Broken into three parts; this stunning collection of poetry is lyrical and deep in intensity. From motherhood to slavery to contemplation each poem sucks the reader in and deserves to be savored. Tracey K. Smith is master of contemplation and care and this slim volume of poetry conveys deep meanings. Fans of poetry will eat this up and those new to prose will find themselves in love with the written word anew. 


A graphic novel that shows what can happen when tensions rise between two different groups; one of which has been ignored and overshadowed for decades. When MNGR Joao da Silva gets sent to the moon of Titan to try and get the Homestead colony back on track and profitable he can't believe how tense it is between the genetically made giant Titan workers and their Terran management. The Titan workers are angry and waiting to strike. They've been over worked and under paid. The Terran management are frightened and distrustful of their workers. The whole situation is a powder keg. Phoebe Mackintosh is a Titan with a history of fighting but when she is sent as liaison to Joao da Silva she finds something alluring in him and he in her. They have to work together to save their planet and find a better way - but what if they're too late. A wonderfully illustrated graphic novel that proves how relevant science fiction can be to the world we live in now.  

Tuesday, January 12, 2021

The Crossing

Talk about a heavy read. I never come out of a Cormac McCarthy book the same that I went in. Violent, depressing, awe inspiring, simple, deep, and dark are just some of the key adjectives that can be used to describe this deeply compelling (and at times disturbing) book. Sixteen year old Billy Parham captures a wolf that has been terrorizing his family's ranch. After weeks of trying to capture her he decides that he can't just kill such a magnificent creature (who happens to be pregnant). He brings her from her trap and on a whim decides to take her down to the mountains of Mexico. Armed with only his daddy's shotgun, the clothes on his back, his trusty horse, and the captured she wolf he embarks on a long life altering journey across the wild and often violent land of Mexico. For every thief he encounters, he is touched by at least three giving folks; many giving what little they own to the young American. A sweeping western that readers won't soon forget about (although I wish I could forget about the violence to animals -there is too damn much of it).


The opening line, "In the year of our Lord 1894, I became an outlaw," sets the tone for this unique and adventurous western novel. At 17, Ada marries her sweetheart and all is well in the world until she fails to conceive a child within a year. Forced to flee her village due to rumors and accusations of witchcraft; she hides in a convent passing the time transcribing medical books. Unable to keep still, she runs away to find the Hole in the Wall Gang where she joins The Kid and her merry band of troublemakers. Their thieving, cowboy ways help fund a life of safety for female outcasts, many who were also barren like Ada. Together they decide to make their own future free from men and their simple minded ideas about femininity and motherhood. Bank robbing, cattle hustling, and deception are just some of their many ploys. Action packed and full of adventure this unique western with unforgettable characters will appeal to fans of True Grit and feminist and LGBTQ literature. A must read. 

Friday, January 8, 2021

Sex Criminals: Six Criminals

I really enjoyed this whole series and as far as endings go it's not awful. I just wanted more. I don't know if there was an ending the creators could have come up with that I would have enjoyed. It all comes down to Suze, Jon, and their other kinky friends to finally finish the "fight" against Badal. He's been getting info on them for years and it's all going to culminate in something big; except that no one knows what exactly that is. Suze decides to be the one to go after it and it turns everything they know upside down. I wanted more sex capers not the end of a series!!!! But... it is done. And it was one hell of a ride. 

Blood and Bone

A quick and engaging read about the what goes on behind the "glamorous life" of a rock musician. When Erin Langford is sent from New York to LA to interview Jack O'Donnell, the famous rock guitarist, she has no idea what kind of scoop she is going to get. She goes from getting a door slammed in her face to having Jack jump in her car demanding she drive to the hospital where his ex-wife has overdosed. Against his better judgement, Jack starts lowering his guard around Erin and opening up to her. In less than a day he decides to finally tell her the story of his band, Mogo. The rise, the fall, and all the dark bits. It's a story of betrayal, addiction, redemption, hope, and love. Torn between two women for most of his life Jack constantly made the wrong decisions. Bouncing back and forth between Amber, the mother of his daughter and his musical muse and collaborator, Mia. Telling Erin the truth of his past may be the thing Jack needs to move forward, heal, and forgive. Told in alternating timelines - the present with Erin and his past starting when he was sixteen. Based on the cover I thought this book would steer more toward erotica but I was pleasantly surprised that it didn't. There were a handful of steamy scenes, but those were few and far between. Fans of "Daisy Jones & the Six" and other fictionalized rock and roll memoirs will eat this up. 

Thursday, January 7, 2021

Tidewater Bride

Set in early American life, this historical romance shows just how complicated life in the new world could be. Selah is considered an old spinster by James Town Standards - she's pushing 30! With her parent's blessing she is more content to help with the bustling store, she could have her pick of any man (there are too few women still) but she refuses to marry for anything less than true love. When her family decides to host a tobacco bride (English women promised a dowry and marriage to a land owning man) Selah discovers that the woman they are hosting might have her eye on a promising man indeed. Xander is one of the wealthiest tobacco farmers in America but Selah has always struggled with the death of his former wife, the Indian "princess." Might she have misjudged him? Could he be the answer to her prayers? This novel deals with hard topics like rape, slavery, and indigenous injustice although it still paints a much rosier picture then it probably should on some of those topics. A slow burn romance full of intrigue and adventure.

Monday, January 4, 2021

Love, Kurt

Witty and fun to see how Vonnegut's writing style has progressed but..... he was kinda stalk-ery. He gives poor Jane no room to breathe. They were in colleges states apart and not in a committed relationship but he still proposes to her and talks about their future together in nearly every letter. I would have enjoyed this collection much more if we would have had more of Jane's letters in response to Kurts. As it is their is only one surviving letter from Jane and she is just as witty and well written as him. It is also sad that Kurt possessed this much love for Jane at the beginning but still ended up leaving her. The letters are broken into years and their daughter Edith, provides a brief snapshot of what is happening in their lives as well as some photos. Personally, the best letters are the ones he writes while he is overseas fighting in WWII. Interesting read - but probably only of interest for Vonnegut diehards.