Friday, April 30, 2021

Coming Soon

Dana Schiftan is a sexologist and psychotherapist who wants to try to answer the ages old "secret" on the female orgasm. In Coming Soon she has compiled a ten step "program" that breaks down myths, answers questions, explores the female body, and provides real world examples to help women understand the myriad ways to achieve, sustain, and enjoy orgasms through different means. At the end of every chapter there are exercises that put different techniques into practice. This book is written for and by women, most exercises do not even require a partner. Filled with candid insights, honesty, illustrations, and advice - this book has lots of takeaways even for those who have mastered sex and orgasms. A quick read that doesn't get too wordy with medical jargon or psychotherapy. It's an easy intelligent book that can have a huge impact on improving your sex life. 

At Lighthouse Point

At Lighthouse Point is the third installment of the Three Sisters Island series and focuses on the baby sister of the family, Blaine. Blaine returns to the island after being gone for two long years studying in a world famous French cooking school. She's reinvigorated and looking to make big changes on the island, starting with the summer camp that her family owns. She's bringing along a surprise, her good friend Jean-Paul will be staying for the summer. Her family is taken aback, who is this French boyfriend?! They in turn have some surprises for her, the family kitchen that she was hoping to remodel and use for fancy dinners has already been remodeled by her older sister who doesn't know the first thing about cooking. It's a mess. And to make matters more complicated her former best friend, Artie, is back on the island but he won't even look Blaine in the eye. Her homecoming isn't at all what she expected but she's gotta have faith in her family and hope that everything will turn out for the best. A clean christian romance. 

Wednesday, April 28, 2021

The Sprawl

I love reading about microhistories and I was so intrigued to read more about American suburbs. I didn't grow up in one but I am happily living in one now - and boy is the sprawl growing. I appreciated that the author was close in age to me so I got a lot of his movie and music references as well as cultural touchstones. This nonfiction book reads more as a series of short essays from examining the exclusionary nature of suburbs to malls to garage bands to pop culture references. This book is not a love letter to suburbs but neither is it a hate letter, it's a little bit of history and sociology. A fascinating look at suburbs, albeit slow at parts. 

And Now I Spill the Family Secrets

The cover alone grabbed me. This graphic novel memoir was twisty and compelling from the get go. Told through the eyes of the middle daughter, Margaret tries to uncover the family secrets and history that was hidden intentionally and unintentionally. The mental illness and suicide attempts didn't have to be shameful, they just needed to be understood and unearthed. Going back in forth from childhood to adulthood and back again - this non linear memoir is breathtakingly illustrated. Each frame, map, and character is laid bare. At times viewed through a youthful lens and later more mature. No family is perfect and Margi looks to chronicle her family's history rather than hide it. Compelling and wonderfully illustrated. 

The Boston Girl

From page one I was enthralled with this coming of age story. Reminiscent of "A Tree Grows in Brooklyn" - "The Boston Girl" follows Addie Baum as she learns to navigate life in the city under strict immigrant parents. Charming, heartbreaking, and captivating - readers will cheer Addie on as she tries to discover what it takes to become a modern women beholden to no man. A constant disappointment to her parents, Addie wants to use her brain to succeed in life - not work in the factories until she finds a man to marry and impregnate her. Addie wants freedom and will do whatever it takes to find her place in the changing world. Historical fiction at its finest. 


I haven't picked up a David Sedaris book in ages and I'm soo glad I did, this was legit laugh out loud funny, irreverent, and at times somber. I didn't listen to the audiobook but I could still her his unique voice in my head as I read which only added to the hilarity. His short essays spanned from the seriousness of his sister's suicide and mother's alcoholism to a deformed boxed turtle and shopping for "unique items" in Japan. His family is uproarious and odd and I feel like we should be best friends. I love his sister Amy (who gets mentioned frequently) and everyone else sounds like jolly good fun. I know I'll laugh just as much when I read this the second time around some day. A wonderful new addition to the Sedaris collection, such a talented humorous author.

In The Tall Grass

Supremely weird and creepy - this father son duo certainly know how to scare readers in a matter of no time at all. Even though this is a novella - it really packs a punch with it's unique and chilling vibes. When a brother and sister hear a child scream for help they immediately pull their car over and look to see where it's coming from. It's coming from this sea of grass but they can't determine where in the grass the kid is. They take off into the field and within no time they terrifyingly lost in the grass. How did they lose each other and where is that kid? Sublimely creepy.

Monday, April 26, 2021

Be a Work in Progress

I grabbed this book on a whim and I am so glad I did! It's a little motivational book filled with short inspirational phrases and is filled with amazing accompanying illustrations. A few of the phrases are mash up of familiar quotes but on the whole these are fun and fresh. I can hardly believe that big beefcake Cena wrote them (I shouldn't be surprised he has kids books out as well). I like this book so much that after I return it to the library I'm going to buy my own personal copy. It's fun to flip through and perfect to have on the coffee table to use as a conversation starter or as inspiration. The illustrations are whimsical and fun and the book is very motivational. Very pleasantly surprised by this!!

The Boys in the Boat

I've read about the 1936 Berlin Olympics with Jesse Owens and Louis Zamperini but I was wholly unfamiliar with the rowing team To be frank, I didn't know a lick about rowing before reading this either. In my mind rowing was an elite sport that only rich Ivy League frat boys participated in. After reading this I learned that I was half right on that assumption but that rowing is so much more than that. Nine working class college boys spend their summers working so they can afford to go college and row. There are no such things as athletic scholarships during the depression. All of these boys have a passion and a fire - but it isn't until they come together and look past their differences that they understand all they can accomplish. Utterly inspiring. 

Wednesday, April 21, 2021

People We Meet on Vacation

The second I saw Emily Henry was coming out with a new book I knew I had to own it. And boy, she did not disappoint!! People We Meet on Vacation is a love letter/tribute to When Harry Met Sally (which makes me love it even a teensy bit more). It's the story of two friends, Poppy and Alex, and the summers they share. These oddballs met in college and were instantly best friends. They get each other's jokes and mannerisms; they just make sense together. Poppy is more than a little bit in love with him (a fact she will hardly admit to herself) but she's not willing to risk her friendship with Alex. She NEEDS him in her life - even if that's just as a friend. Since college they've always gone on a summer trip together - many years, that's the only time they see each other since Poppy moved to New York City and he stayed in Ohio. The story alternates between all their previous trips all the way up to the current summer. The banter between the two is electric and laugh out loud funny. You can also cut the sexual tension with a knife. This is the book of the summer!

Monday, April 19, 2021

The Firekeeper's Daughter

I can't stop thinking about this book. the raw, emotional authenticity of it is jaw dropping. It's 2003 and Daunis is torn between two worlds; her tribal heritage on her father and brother's side and her prim, wealthy and white, mother's side. Her father's family took her under their wings even though her father died when she was seven and her mother raises her. Daunis never feels Indian enough or white enough - she is in between. Bad things come in threes and after her Uncle's death and her grandmother's decline she's waiting for the other shoe to drop. When it finally does it is even worse than she expected, Daunis' life will never be the same. How can she go on? And can she get involved and maybe help her community? Or will her involvement bring scrutiny to her heritage and her elders? This book is long and there are a few trigger warnings you should look up (I don't want to spoil too much) - but it is ABSOLUTELY WORTH YOUR TIME! I love that this Indigenous author sprinkled traditions, phrases, words, and experiences throughout this book. It's authentic and eye opening - I learned so much. I vague-booked this review because I don't want to spoil anything - just READ IT!!


First off - the narrator was fantastic - I thoroughly enjoyed listening to this book. Secondly - I love Stephen King and I really enjoyed that he tied a coming of age story, with crime noir, and a touch of the supernatural. It hit all the right notes. It's the mid 1970s and when Devin Jones takes a summer job at Joyland, an East Coast amusement park - he doesn't realize how much his life is about to change. He's a college student going through his first real heartbreak and a change of scenery is just the ticket. The fortune teller tries to warn him of a shadow and of two kids, but nobody believes that old fraud - especially not Devin. Devin immerses himself with the carnie lingo, new friends, and the stories about a "haunted" ride where a young woman was killed a few years prior. This is a summer he will never forget. Classic - Stephen King - a must read for all. 

Tuesday, April 13, 2021

Built to Fail

From start to finish this book was a wild ride. Not only did it discuss the birth of Blockbuster and its inevitable downfall - it also discussed the video rental industry as a whole. Like many the nostalgia factor is high when thinking back to the days when going to the video store was the highlight of your weekend. Alan Payne has an inside view of Blockbuster - he managed a video rental competitor for years before become a franchisee owner of multiple blockbusters. In fact - he owned the last remaining blockbusters in 2018. He chronicles the failures of the company, the big misses, and all the ways in which they could have adapted and evolved. They had an opportunity to buy Netflix in it's infancy and laughed it out of the board room, they had opportunities to merge with Redbox and get in on the action but didn't act until it was years too late, they ended late fees which was horrible for keeping their stock on the shelves. So many horrible decisions sealed their fate. Utterly fascinating.

Monday, April 12, 2021

God I Feel Modern Tonight

I picked up this book solely because of the cover art so I really didn't know what I was getting myself into. An interesting collection of poetry that ranges from introspection, sex, New York City, UTIs, ex boyfriends, and more. I'm not a great critic of poetry so I'm not sure how this rates as a whole - but it was very interesting. I really liked the poem titles and there were a few standouts that I re-read - but overall the collection was just ok. If you're looking for humorous, edgy, and unique then you will love this collection. If the TV show, Girls, had a book of poetry based off it - I assume it would be this exact collection. 

Arsenic and Adobo

A cute start to a new series. I especially loved that it wasn't some ditzy blond or old white woman leading the charge. Cozy mysteries are long overdue for some diversity and Arsenic Adobo delivers. Lila Macapagal has dropped out of college and moved back home to help out her aunt's restaurant. Her love life is in shambles and she is constantly plagued by her matchmaking aunties - but at least she's closer to her best friend. When her ex-boyfriend (a nasty food critic) drops dead at her aunt's restaurant the cops discover that he was murdered. Arsenic was found in his food. If Lila want's to clear her aunt's restaurant from slander and keep herself out of jail she is going to have to solve this mystery fast because she has no confidence in the police. Filled with lots of amazing Filipino food dishes, family drama, cute men, and friendship drama. A little underwhelming but still good enough to have me looking forward to the next book in the series. 

Friday, April 9, 2021

Not That I Could Tell

My sister summed it up best - this book is underwhelming. One Saturday evening a bunch of ladies in the neighborhood get together for drinks around the firepit. The baby monitors reach out that far and the wine is flowing. Life is good. Or so it is until Monday afternoon when they discover that Kristin and her twin girls have disappeared. These women were the last to see Kristin. It looks as if bags were hastily packed and money withdrawn - but no one knows where they went. Or is it a red herring. Her soon to be ex-husband seems to be the culprit, but is he? Why does he keep hanging around - did he kill them or did they get away? There is suspense and intrigue - but when you get to the end *spoiler* there is no big plot twist or surprise. Everything is as it seems... what's so thrilling about that? 

Tuesday, April 6, 2021

A Thousand Ships

I could not put this down. I loved Circe and Silence of the Girls and this is right up there with them. If you love Greek mythology, especially ones focused on the women - then look no further. A Thousand Ships isn't about Achilles and Odysseus - it's about the unsung heroes - the women. From Cassandra to Hecabe to hated Helen of Troy - A Thousand Ships weaves together all of the women's stories. More times than not - they are horrible, and suffer time and again. But they will not be forgotten. All of the untold and unheralded stories, pushed aside in favor of the big brutish warriors and kings but hidden no longer. Compelling, heartfelt, and one I will CERTAINLY come back to time and again. Wonderfully written. 

Monday, April 5, 2021

Blackberry Beach

Admittedly - I've not read the first six books in the Hope Harbor series, but that didn't make this book any less enjoyable or harder to understand. Kat has escaped from LA to the beautiful and sleepy community of Hope Harbor to "hide out" and re-evaluate what she wants out of her life. She's fresh off a tragedy and scandal and she's hoping she can fly under the radar. What she doesn't expect to do is catch the eye of the charming coffee shop owner who just so happens to be her neighbor. From the moment she walks into his shop hiding behind her sunglasses, Zach is smitten. He wants to get to know her better and in the process he will find out that they have more in common then they thought. They both have baggage and they both have done abrupt life changes - but is that what Kat wants? Can he convince her to stay? Predictable, but nice relaxing fluff. 

Friday, April 2, 2021

Riding the Bullet

Classic Stephen King ghost story - not over the top scary - but enough to give you the chills. A college kid gets the call that his mother had a stroke and she's in the hospital - he drops everything to go to her. The only problem is... his car isn't working. He decides to hitchhike the 120 miles because he is desperate to make sure his mom is ok - she's the only family he has. He thumbs a ride and then another - but the drivers aren't who they appear to be. In fact there is something wrong about the whole evening. It might take him a lot longer to get to his mother - if he ever gets to see her again. Quick, suspenseful, and satisfying. I thought the ending was particularly thought provoking and not what I expected. 

Thursday, April 1, 2021

You Should Have Known

Wow - once I started this book it was hard to put down - it was suspenseful and thrilling in ways I didn't know a book could be. It was emotional not visceral terror that kept the pages turning. Set in New York City this book centers on a therapist named Grace whose book "You Should Have Known" is about to be published. Grace is happily married to a pediatric oncologist and has a 12 year old son at one of the best private schools money can buy. Day after day she listens to patients on her couch lament about their spouse or significant others failings when subconsciously KNEW what their faults were when they first met them. They don't need kindness they need tough love and honesty. When a parent at her son's private school is found brutally murdered her perfectly manicured world starts to fall apart. Gripping, emotional, and unique.