Saturday, December 31, 2022

Number One is Walking

This was a fun collection of memoir inspired comics, written musings, flashbacks about working in the movie industry and a collection of one panel cartoons worthy of any newspaper. Number One is Walking is part biography, part movie industry inside news, and all comedy. Done in a fun comic style - this is unlike any other book I have read this year. Innovative and funny. 

Below Ambition

Eeessh - I mean I know this series is irreverent and weird and over the top and not exactly "literary reading" but this latest installment just seemed like a shitty rambling thrown together mess. Horse Mani is a shitty band consisting of Megg and Werewolf Jones. They go on "tour" and "play" at shitty dive bars - but really they are just ripping on other bands, getting fucked, and generally just fucking around. Not very exciting. 

Wednesday, December 28, 2022

A Christmas Courtship

This may be my favorite book in the series thus far. It's nice to read a romance about a widower and a man in his 40's, rather than Amish teens or adults in their 20s. Those are fine to read about, but it's nice to read about some more "realistic" relationships. There are two relationships unfolding at the same time, a bachelor trying to woo his neighbor and two teenagers who have long crushed on each other. Of course there are ups and downs, missed opportunities and mistakenly hurt feelings - but all eventually turns out for the best. Sickeningly sweet and charming - perfect for the holidays. I hope there are more in this series!

Lore Olympus vol. 3

This series ages like fine wine. Even if it's been a few months since I read the previous installment - it all comes rushing back so quickly! The illustrations are downright gorgeous and the characters are so fun and catty - exactly how you would imagine Greek gods and goddesses to be. I can't wait to see where the next installment goes. It's such a slow delicious burn!

Friday, December 23, 2022

Ex-Yakuza and Stray Kitten

Cute concept, but overdone and tedious.

A Merry Little Meet Cute

I am a huge Hallmark Christmas movie fan so I was jacked to read a book that was a play on one of my favorite guilty pleasure. Teddy, a pornography producer decides to "diversify" and wants to produce a clean Christmas romance for the Hope Channel. He makes a new LLC and everything so no one can link him back to his real "business." A few days before shooting is set to take place, disaster occurs. A lot of the production crew and the female lead are out. In a hasty move he fills the slots with some porn crew and even casts Bianca von Honey, a plus size porn star as the lead. He is praying to god no one will catch on and the filming will go off without a hitch. Only there is one hitch, the reformed bad boy pop singer, now lead actor on set, knows EXACTLY who "Bee" is, he has subscribed to her content for years. How can they keep this all under wraps?! Sexy, full of positive sex work, and cute. Would definitely read more like this!

A Cat Cafe Christmas

I was sold on the title alone. Kara is looking for a fresh start so she decided to co-open a cat cafe with her best friend as she tries to hide from her past. When Ben, a fresh faced reporter new to the area, decides to promote the cat cafe as part of a new promotion their paths cross although it is not quite love at first sight. Ben has some baggage and Kara doesn't want any attention. But when a little kitten lands on Ben's doorstop Kara has no choice but to help him out and there is no denying the attention that starts to blossom between them. Can they both move past their trust issues and look towards the future? Sweet, but a little over the top at times. Romance is closed doors which is a shame. A fun, fluffy read. 

Tuesday, December 20, 2022

The Philosophy of Modern Song

Nobel Prize winning singer-songwriter, musician, and American icon, Bob Dylan, pens his first book in nearly two decades. The Philosophy of Modern Song is a collection of more than sixty essays that breaks down big music hits, overlooked ballads, and music staples; from Elvis Presley to Elvis Costello and from Bobby Darin to The Clash - Bob Dylan shares musical knowledge, philosophy, and insight that he has accrued over the past 80 years. Each essay looks at a different songs lyrics, beats, history and more; written in Bob Dylan's signature rambling, fast paced style. While the book contains over 150 beautifully curated photos; the audiobook features an amazing full cast performance of celebrities. Jeff Bridges, RenĂ©e Zellweger, Oscar Isaac, Helen Mirren, Steve Buscemi, John Goodman, Rita Moreno, Sissy Spacek, and Bob Dylan himself are just a few of the narrators in this all star line up which makes for some spectacular listening. Of the 66 songs discussed only 4 are sung by women - which is shame - but is also Bob Dylan's prerogative. Nearly half of the songs are from the 50's and the others songs go as far back as 1924 and all the way up to 2003 (after which presumably - good music stopped being made). This collection doesn't encapsulate Dylan's all time favorite songs - they are just strong songs that inspired him to write about them (and not always for good reasons!). Listeners won't necessarily agree with all the selections but will certainly enjoy learning about some obscure songs as well as some chart toppers. The all star narration makes this audiobook shine.

Wednesday, December 14, 2022

The Belle of Belgrave Square

Regency romance lovers will swoon over the second offering in the Belles of London series. Bestselling author, Mimi Matthews, pens another fun regency romp sprinkled with fairy tale references and outrageous situations. Julia Wychwood is an heiress desperate to be free of her demanding parents and the confines of London - she is much more at ease in a book then she is at a ball or society soiree. Captain Jasper Blunt is in London in search of a wealthy wife who can offer him a cash influx to save his crumbling estate in the English countryside. Both their problems can be fixed with one minor event, marriage. They decide to eschew the opinions of the London elite and wed – Julia’s sizable dowry will go to Jasper and in return she asks for freedom – freedom to read, ride, and wander the estate. Jasper readily grants her that but she can’t wander everywhere on the estate. There are some off limit areas that certainly pique Julia’s interest – especially when she learns what kind of man the Captain really is. Charmingly narrated by both Ell Potter and Sebastian Brown – this audiobook is oozes, fun, charm, and growing sexual tension. A must listen for fans of the Bridgerton series, fairytale spin offs, and regency romance. 

Tuesday, December 13, 2022

The Most Wonderful Time

Four short Christmas stories about finding love under the Christmas tree. From a forlorn widow to an injured war hero to a Nashville fiddler to an old fling - all four were cute and hopeful. Obviously all four had ups and downs but ended on high notes - it's Christmas after all! Some stories are a little stronger than others - but they all were nice to listen to in audiobook form. Mostly clean - but there are steamy closed door scenes.

Friday, December 9, 2022

A Very Merry Bromance

I freaking love this series. It's ridiculous - over the top - highly unbelievable - yet so so enjoyable. A Very Merry Bromance is the 5th book in the Bromance Book Club series and highlights Colton, the Nashville country superstar. He falls hard for Mack's ex, Gretchen and they spend one unbelievable night together. After which she ghosts him and he spends the next year pining after her. Little does he know that she really Nashville royalty herself she comes from the prestigious and ultra rich Winthrop family, a fact that most aren't aware of. She refuses to have anything to do with her family's frivolous lifestyle and spends her time practicing immigration law pro bono to try and make the world a better place. Does she think that Colton is too privileged to be considered? Or is there romance in the air. Set against a Nashville Christmas scene. Lots of fun. 

Saturday, December 3, 2022

The Christmas Backup Plan

An extremely quick and fluffy read. Also, surprisingly steamier than I thought it would be. Due to a concussion, Aria needs a chauffeur to a town 8 hours away. She is a wedding planner and has to travel to help set up for the wedding. All her siblings and helpers are occupied so Remington is volunteered as a driver. Aria and Remington are oil and water but there is no alternative -she has to get to that wedding. When an ice storm strands them in a small town they spend an unexpected night together and things get complicated quickly. Remington is all about having order, Aria is more of a fly by the seat of her pants kind of girl - could the Christmas magic somehow tie them together? It was decent til the end - it was too over the top for me. 

Wednesday, November 30, 2022

Numb to This

Searing, emotional, and unforgettable - this graphic memoir is a look at one girls experience as a survivor of a mass shooting. It's violating, scary, and alters every bit of your life. Numb to this shows the day to day realities, the numbness, the disbelief, the ever present depression and anxiety - but it circles back to hope. It's very personal, tragic, and eye opening - it's also extremely timely with the increasing number of gun violence in America. Written as both a healing balm and a way to reach many who are going through the same struggles - this book is eye opening for all. 

Wednesday, November 23, 2022

The Bodyguard

Laugh out loud and adorable - this romcom would be great on the big screen. It had great chemistry between the characters, a unique storyline, and amazing banter. Hannah Brooks may not look like a professional bodyguard, but don't let that fool you - she's been hired out all over the world to protect the wealthy elite. When she is put on assignment to guard Jack Stapleton, one of the biggest names in Hollywood she is pissed. Hannah has just been dumped and she wants an escape - she wants to go overseas and get the hell out of dodge - not stay right where she is and guard some celebrity hot shot. Despite her misgivings she goes on assignment - there is a catch though - she'll need to pose as Jack's girlfriend to fool his family. What could possibly go wrong? Sweet and fun - I loved it!

To the Stars Through Difficulties

A cast of unlikely women find themselves banding together in Kansas to save the arts. Angelina has travelled to Kansas to FINALLY finish her dissertation on Carnegie libraries - with any luck she'll finish it by the time she turns 40 - only a few months away. She is hoping she will be inspired by revisiting her grandmother's hometown. Traci has fled New York to pursue an artist residency at the New Hope cultural center. She lied on her credentials, but how else is she going to find a free place to live? Now only if she can convince these quilters and rowdy teens to get on board with her "unique" art. Last but not least is Gayle, she is suffering from PTSD since a tornado wiped out her town and her home. Travelling to the New Hope cultural Center to quilt and talk is about the only thing that keeps her going. These outsiders to town will find out that they all have a shared love of community and will go to astonishing links to preserve it. 

Saturday, November 19, 2022

Remarkably Bright Creatures

Oh my goodness. I adored this book so much. It was beautiful, unique, and so captivating. I loved all the characters from the smarty pants octopus, Marcellus to the stuck in her ways Swedish widow, Tova - they all felt so human and so alive. Marcellus may be in captivity but he's no dummy - he observes everyone - and quite possibly his favorite human he sees in the aquarium is the little old woman who comes in at night to clean. Tova at least talks to him. When an interesting new character comes to town, a 30 year old with seemingly no life ambitions or gumption - the grouchy old octopus makes a connection and determines that he will spend his final days trying to bring Tova happiness - even if it's the last thing he does. Charming and cute. I can't stop thinking about this book. A wonderful debut novel. 

Thursday, November 17, 2022


The Fargo Adventures series really has its ups and downs. I enjoyed the last book tremendously and this one wasn't even close in comparison. It felt choppy and just when you think it's going to be a fun pirate adventure it turns out it's all about Robin Hood - scratch that - King John's treasure. It was also shorter than the last few and just felt less developed. Giving this series a pause for now but I plan to come back. I do like the treasure hunting duo - I just need a breather. 

Tuesday, November 15, 2022


I wish this was longer or part of a short story collection! I would have probably rated it higher had it been a little more fleshed out or part of a collection - but alas - I will take my Madeline Miller where I can get it. Galatea reimagines the myth of Galatea and Pygmalion. A sculptor creates the most beautiful woman and wishes she were alive. When she awakens she is immediately impregnated finds out that life is not meant for her. It is all controlled by the sculptor. She is locked away and kept in constant supervision by doctors and nurses who drug her. But she knows what she wants and that is her daughter. She may have been made of stone - but her heart beats for one thing only and that is her daughter. 

Revenge of the Librarians

This collection of cartoons is perfect for authors, librarians, and book lovers. Legitimately funny and eccentric - this collection of cartoons give glimpses into the minds of writers, re-works book titles, laughs at the critics and so much more. A bibliophile's delight. 

The Letter from Briarton Park

There was some gothic vibes, but really this was a Regency romance that focused on uncovering family secrets and trying to find a place in the world. Cassandra Hale grew up never knowing her parents, but knowing that she was valued as a pupil and then a teacher in her girl's school. When her mentor confesses on her deathbed that she knew who her parents were and had withheld a letter with information to her past, Cassandra is incensed. How could she hide that from her?! The letter is from Briarton Park and states that the sender would like to talk about her past. When Cassandra arrives she discovers that the sender of the letter and owner of the estate has been dead for two years. But at least she knows she is closer to answers. The Vicar of the town is most attentive to her and wants to help her uncover her past, as is the current occupant of Briarton Park, a widower with two beautiful children. Is romance on the horizon and if so, with whom? A solid inspirational read. 

The Forever Farmhouse

Bestselling romance author, Lee Tobin McClain, pens a new heartwarming romance series, kicking it off with The Forever Farmhouse. Ryan Hastings hasn’t come back to Teaberry island much since he left for college, but when he gets word that his foster mother isn’t coping well after the death of her husband he decides to bring his research with him and come back to the place where he left his heart. Mellie Anderson, was more than the girl next door, she was Ryan’s first and only love. Like his foster mother, she is widowed, but has a ten-year-old son and seems to be doing just fine. But the reality is, she is not coping well being in such close proximity with her son’s father. Although he is an esteemed scientist, Ryan isn’t very good with dates and has no idea that he fathered a child, something Mellie is fine with him never knowing. But as they start to gravitate towards each other again and Ryan starts to fall back in love with the island and with her – secrets are bound to come out. Narrated calmly and expertly by Tanya Eby who breathes life into the small-town Chesapeake Island community. Extremely slow moving and filled with every inspirational trope imaginable, this audio is only recommended for those who like their romances to be all fluff and no substance. 

Thursday, November 10, 2022

After Dark with Roxie Clark

A great sophomore novel from teen author, Brooke Lauren Davis. Roxie Clark is obsessed with the macabre, she's the weird outcast of her high school because of her gothic witchy style, but that doesn't stop he from being her weird little self. She runs a ghost tour in the evenings and gets to share all the weird stories she's uncovered at the library about the untimely deaths of her ancestors. Roxie has seen three dead bodies - but it's only the third one that haunts her - her sister's boyfriend and her best friend's brother, Colin. She doesn't include that tale on her tours - it's still too new and too fresh. But at least he's coping. Her sister hasn't hardly gotten out of bed in a year - what finally gets her moving is a surprise to them both and the chain of events it starts will answer some long buried questions and turn everything they thought they knew upside down. Slow build up - but the end was a surprise. Love this author!

Monday, November 7, 2022

You Should Sit Down for This

Very meh and unexciting for a celebrity memoir. It's wholesome and fine - but nothing you will remember once you turn the final page. I picked this up on a whim at my local library and I'm not mad that I did - I think I would love meeting Tamera in real life, but it just wasn't... anything to write home about. I'm not saying it needed to be salacious or a tell all - and I applaud her for keeping it true to her self - but it wasn't anything that needed to be written about. I was surprised how little her sister was mentioned it, but that was about it. Not horrible, just very unmemorable. 

Sign Here

I loved the concept and it totally reminded me of Satan Loves You by Grady Hendrix. It was a unique and inventive spin on hell as we know it and offers an interesting perspective on the innerworkings of Satan's playground. Peyote has a coveted job on the fifth level of hell - which considered to the centuries spent even lower below - it's a cakewalk. Pey has to get desperate humans to sign on the dotted line to spend eternity in hell. It's pretty easy all things considered; humans will trade away their souls for a do-over, for a chance at love, for anything really. But when a new girl comes into the office Pey realizes that some things are about to change and he can't let this girl get in the way of his ultimate plan. Told from alternating perspectives in hell and on earth - this book was a fun ride and I never knew how it would end up. Super inventive and fun! 

Friday, October 28, 2022

We are the Light

No one writes more compassionaly about mental health in fiction, better than Matthew Quick, the New York Times bestselling author of The Silver Linings Playbook. We are the Light follows, Lucas Goodgame as he attempts to deal with his grief by writing letters to his Jungian analyst, Karl. Lucas' hometown theater, The Majestic, was the target of a horrific crime that killed his wife and nearly twenty others. While he may have been the one to stop the monster, he still feels lacking, like he should have done more. He insists his wife, in the form of an angel, visits him nightly, and his grip on reality seems to be loosening. When Eli, a teenager shunned by the community, starts camping out in his backyard Lucas starts to open up and fins a reason to move forward. By working together and creating a monster movie they hope not to heal just themselves, but the town as well. Passionately narrated by Luke Kirby, this tale of hope, loss, and grief will move readers nearly to tears. Despite dealing with many tragedies; PTSD, trauma, suicide, mass shooting – We are the Light is a story about healing and finding guardian angels in the most unlikely of places. Moving and unfortunately, timely. 

Thursday, October 27, 2022

Anything But Plain

I genuinely enjoy a good Amish tale and this was the right amount of fluff. There are slight misunderstandings that get turned into disasters, crossed wires, meddling old mothers, and "forbidden" romance. Lydie Stolzfus feels she has to leave the Amish order - she doesn't fit in. She's been fired from more jobs then she can count, she's impulsive, forgetful, and can never finish a task without starting 4 others first. She feels like she's a disappointment to everyone - especially to her family and the boy she's loved since she was a kinner, Nathan. The local doctor has offered to let Lydie be a temporary secretary and she seizes the job as it gets her out of the house and away from her meddling grandma and it gives her time to prepare to leave the order. While there the doctor observes Lydie's behavior and realizes that she must be suffering from adult ADHD - it makes so much sense. But is it too late to do anything about it? The parallel storyline is told through Nathan's perspective and how he deals with his father splitting the farm in half and allowing each of his sons to decide how best to farm it. Mick wants all the chemicals sprayed on his fields and Nathan wants to try his hand at organic. Which will do better?? Predictable, sweet, and a good read.  

Wednesday, October 26, 2022

The Solomon Curse

I liked this one a lot more than most because it wasn't some typical bad guy out to thwart the Fargos and steal the treasure first. It's just some rich CEO working with rebels to nationalize the Solomon Islands that happens to be getting in the way of the Fargos - which doesn't sound like much but it was a nice change. I also liked one of the new characters introduced, a Russian archaeologist who enlists the Fargos help when he discovers what appears to be a sunken city. The treasure hunt leads the team through several points in history - not just ancient times, which is interesting. A breath of fresh air in a series where the plots start to become stale. Genuinely excited for the next in the series. 

Tuesday, October 25, 2022

Slash Them All

I went into this book blind, but I ended up really digging it. It's dark eerie and has total 80s slasher vibes. Teens start getting brutally murdered in a nice beachside town, and the town descends into chaos. Three friends, each with their own secrets react to the deaths of their classmates in different ways, but really they just seem to ignore it. It's not like their going to be murdered. But when more people end up missing, Pola sees something she can't unsee. Evil really has this town in its grips and she is helpless to do anything about it. Or is she? Fantast illustrations. I really enjoyed this graphic novel. 

Monday, October 24, 2022

Roar of the Sea

Admittedly a hard read, especially if you don't like reading about animal violence - but truly an important one. I had no idea about the plight of fur seals and the efforts undertaken at the turn of the nineteenth century to save them. Roar of the Sea is part history and part biographies for two dashing men; Henry Wood Elliot, an amateur scientist who by chance went to the Pribilof Islands and fell in love with the fur seals and set about studying them and Alex MacLean, a pirate who specialized in illegally killing seals and selling their pelts. Elliot spent his whole life trying to save the fur seals while MacLean spent his life trying to undermine Elliot and turn a handsome profit. Maclean was s notorious he was even inspiration for Jack London's famed novel, The Sea Wolf. Elliot on the other hand was constantly belittled and challenged by government officials who sought to discredit him in order to keep slaughter tens of thousands of fur seals a year. In mere years the Pribilof Islands had lost more than half their millions of seals and if actions weren't taken they would soon be extinct. A little tedious at times, and definitely violent - but an important enlightening read. 

Wednesday, October 19, 2022

Taming the Potted Beast

Plant aficionados will delight in the entertaining history behind their favorite houseplants while learning some botanical tips along the way. From the Neolithic age to the tulip craze to social media, Molly Williams explores when plants first started living indoors as companions and shares how they have evolved (and disappeared) over the centuries. Greenhouses, terrariums, and fertilizers have all brought forth new waves of indoor garden enthusiasts. Through the centuries the gardening fads may have changed, but people seem to love greening up their indoor space in new and innovative ways. Narrated by the author herself, this audiobook is a delightful listen, though having the physical book may be handy for those who have trouble spelling the scientific name of the plants mentioned and for seeing the illustrations. The end of the book contains leafy legacy botanical activities for readers to do; from Bonsai trees to hanging plants and terracotta pots – all the gardening tips tie back in with the previously discussed houseplants. Part microhistory, part tips and tricks, this book is great for beginners and experts. A great read for all those who love their flora.

The Love Hypothesis

Why did I wait so long to read this?! I loved every second of this book. I thought Christina Lauren and Emily Henry were my favorite romance authors but Ali Hazelwood is a serious contender now! This romantic comedy is set in academia and is nerdy and fun without ever taking away from the romance or going to overboard. Olive is desperate for her best friend to date Jeremy, her ex, because those two are perfect for each other and Olive never even liked him. But her best friend, Anh, won't even consider it because she think Olive still has feelings for him. Olive concocts a fake dating scheme with hard ass professor and researcher, Dr. Carlsen, just to get Anh off her ass. And it works! But now Olive and Dr. Carlsen are in a weird position, how long to fake date for? Filled with all the tropes but done in such a new and fun way, this romance is a slow burn with plenty of spice. I ate it up. Give me more!

Thursday, October 13, 2022

Have I Told You This Already?

Graham, Lauren. Have I Told You This Already?: Stories I Don’t Want to Forget to Remember. digital. 2022.

Beloved Gilmore Girls actress, Lauren Graham, returns to the publishing world with another fun collection of humorous essays chronicling her career, wellness camps, puppies, aging, and more. Known for her fast-talking humor, candor, and comical view of the world - this collection of essays will appeal to many female readers. Filled with anecdotes, directing advice, shoplifting, eyebrow woes, and more - this isn't just your average trash celebrity memoir, although there is some fun name dropping and Hollywood stories. Have I Told You This Already is a light-hearted look behind the curtain into the life and mind of one of the most down to earth celebrities in this day and age. Narrated by the actress herself, readers are in for a treat with Lauren’s comedic timing, jovial voice, and candid “we could be friends” attitude. A light-hearted essay collection that really shines because of the expert narration and is well worth a listen. 

- Erin Cataldi, Johnson Co. Public Library, Franklin, IN

Empty Smiles

A solid ending to this series that is genuinely creepy at moments. I wish the book were a little longer though - it felt rushed at the end and was just... over. I was not mentally prepared for that because there was still sixty pages left in the book so I thought I had a lot more story left, alas those extra pages were just excerpts from the first 3 books. Empty Smiles is about reuniting the gang and getting Ollie away from the Smiling Man who has her captive. Every day Ollie is trapped on a train that turns into a carnival whenever they arrive at a new location. During the day the carnival seems fine, but at night the clowns hunt. When the carnival reaches Ollie's hometown her friends will have a chance to rescue her... if they dare. Fun, great concept, but too short for me. I want more! Can this series continue when the kids get into high school?

Wednesday, October 12, 2022

Beneath the Bending Skies

Mollie Sheehan finds herself torn between pleasing her father and following her heart. As a woman in mid nineteenth century Montana she doesn't have a lot of choices. Especially since her father is constantly moving his family all over the countryside chasing new dreams and business ventures. She, her stepmother, and younger siblings are dutiful and always try to make the best of each situation, but it can be challenging having to start fresh so often. Mollie longs for stability and when she finds Peter Ronan, a journalist with a big heart she is instantly smitten. The only problem is he is her father's friend and she knows he won't bless their union. As expected he forbids their relationship and decides to move his family far away, this time to California. Will their love survive the years? Beneath the Bending Skies is a fictional account of a real woman, which explains why their isn't really a plot to be found. It just describes Mollie's life from the the age of 6 up to her last child (and boy she has a lot of those!). The biggest theme of the novel is trying to win her curmudgeon father over, and that's it. The rest is just the story of one woman as she ages and finds love.

Friday, October 7, 2022

It Ends with Us

FINALLY. This has only been the most hyped up book of the past year or two. It was good... but not THAT good. The message was important, but I think I would have enjoyed this a little more had it not been so hyped up. I felt too much pressure to become obsessed with this book. I thought it did an excellent job portraying what domestic abuse looks like. It's not clear cut, the abuser is often times the person who truly loves you the most - it's hard and complicated and I think It Ends with Us did an amazing job portraying that. The note from the author and the acknowledgments helped bump my rating from a 3.5 to 4 out of 5. 

Lily has worked hard to create a fresh start from her childhood. She left her hometown and fled her parents abusive relationship. When her father dies she is relieved. She'll never live that way and vows to only be with a man who loves her, someone like her childhood love, Atlas. Then she meets Ryle; a talented, sexy neurosurgeon who knows how to make her laugh and he is everything she has wanted in a man. But he may have some baggage of his own and staying with could compromise everything she has worked so hard to achieve. 

Tuesday, October 4, 2022

The Dollhouse

Eerie and creepy this middle grade read will delight young readers. Alice's summer is not off to a great start. Instead of going to the cottage to kick off her summer break it looks like her parents will be getting a divorce. Her dad has blown them off again and her mom is over it. She packs off Alice and they hop on the train to journey several hours away for her mom to start a new job. An old woman needs a live in nurse and she resides in a big old house so there is plenty of room for Alice too. The house is old and spooky, but really magnificent - it looks as if the house is caught in time. When Alice is snooping around the house she discovers a hidden entrance to the attic in her bedroom and the only thing in the attic is a dollhouse that is the exact replica of the house. When she starts moving the dolls around weird things happen in her dreams and if she's not mistaken there is an extra doll in the dollhouse and it looks exactly like her. A little confusing towards the end, but it's a fun ghost story. 

Monday, October 3, 2022

The Eye of Heaven

The Eye of Heaven takes readers back to Mexico, although this time the Fargos aren't looking for Mayan cities they are looking for evidence of Vikings. After they stumble on a pristinely preserved Viking ship carrying Toltec items - the Fargos know that everything they know about the Vikings is about to change. They actually made it to North America far before Christopher Columbus and had trade routes. What if they can find more proof and maybe the tomb of Quetzalcoatl? I enjoyed that the villain was a little different than normal - it was someone who wasn't after a specific treasure but was just after any treasure that the Fargos would find. Fun and implausible - I will keep reading this series!

Other Birds

Beautiful, enchanting, and engrossing - this sweet book of neighbors, ghosts, and fresh starts was perfect to get me in the mood for Halloween. Slightly paranormal but mostly human drama, Other Birds details the people tied to The Dellawisp, a fun and funky set of townhomes set on Mallow Island. When eighteen year old, Zoey moves into her apartment she immediately sets about getting to know her neighbors. Zoey is looking for a fresh start and the only thing of real value she brought with her is her invisible bird named Pigeon. The living inhabitants of The Dellawisp are Charlotte - a young woman in her twenties who does Henna and seems to be hiding from the world, Lizabeth - a loud angry woman doesn't want anyone or anything making any noise on the property, Lucy - the reclusive older sister of Lizabeth who no one ever sees, Mac - the red headed chef who is nice to look at, and Frasier - the property manager. Each resident has their own ghosts (whether they realize it or not) but the closer they get to each other the less they need their ghosts. A fun and unique story.

Friday, September 30, 2022

A Man and His Cat

Sweet and wholesome; this manga is about an older gentleman who decides to adopt a cat. He is lonely and craves companionship. Luckily the cat he picks is a chunky and funny looking kitty who is just as lonely as the old man and the two become inseparable. The two realize just how much they craved love and someone to spend time with. Soon they are getting into hijinks and looking forward to spending time together every day; whether it's playing the piano, snuggling in bed, or dinner time. So cute and pure - perfect for all ages! 

Alone in the Light

Josh hoped that going back to college would bring him peace, but the fact is, he's been drinking more than ever in order to sleep and forget. After serving in the National Guard in Iraq and losing a leg and a friend, he's been plagued with anger and loss. It's hard to move forward when you're stuck in the past and it's hard to function without booze when you're constantly reliving your darkest moments. 

Mary is ready for a fresh start and she's ready to look to the future at IU. Inspired by her military friend and love of her life, Josh, she has decided to pursue art and escape living with her mother. Neither Mary nor Josh have seen each other since they were serving together overseas. Are they destined to meet back up at IU and if so will the reunion be joyous or painful?

The story is told from alternating perspectives between Josh and Mary and jumps back and forth from their time in Iraq to their time on campus at IU. A harrowing look at PTSD, death, traumatic injuries, alcoholism, and veteran suicide offset with hope, self-love, and forgiveness. 

Wednesday, September 28, 2022

Coming Back

This graphic novel wasn't 100% clear all of the time - I had questions about the fantastical world and characters and I think I need to give it another reread before I understand it fully. Two women love each other deeply - one is filled with magic the ability to shape and shift - while the other struggles greatly with it. When a mist takes over the library that stores all the wealth of their ancestors, Valissa volunteers to see what it is. The task takes a long time and in the meantime Preet is lonely - she decides to hatch a seed all on her own (which is forbidden - two need to be present to raise a seedling). Soon she has a precious child that she has to keep hidden because it goes against the customs. What if love can conquer all? Or maybe the rules of magic are bound to get in the way. Beautiful, but hard to follow. 

Other Ever Afters

Other Ever Afters is a collection of queer fairy tales told in comic format. The illustrations are soft and lush and honestly were my favorite thing about the book. This collection contains seven fairy tales that have been reimagined and the endings changed. They are feminist, queer, and beautifully reimagined. The fairy tales aren't common ones like Cinderella or The Little Mermaid - they are a little less common. It would be nice to get a follow up collection containing more stories! A quick inventive read. 

A Quilt for Christmas

A quilt for Christmas is a small present to yourself just in time for the holidays. It's a quick read about charity, friendship, and forgiveness and it will get readers in the holiday spirit. When Vera Swanson located to a small condo hours away from her big family home she thought she was going to get to spend more time with her daughter and grandchildren and less time missing her husband. Instead - he daughter's family relocates almost as soon as she's moved in and she's left stranded in a town where she knows no one. When a small girl pounds on her door and asks for help because her mom is sick her world is turned upside down. She discovers that her next door neighbors are down on their luck and she is smitten with their children, especially 4 year old Fiona. When Fiona discovers that Fiona can quilt she wants to make a quilt for her mom by Christmas. Unfortunately there isn't much time and it's not a job Vera can do alone. She places fliers around town asking for people to help with her quilt project and soon she and three strange women, find themselves thrown together and forming friendships. Fun, light, and joyful. A quick read and one I will revisit again. 

Tuesday, September 27, 2022

The Last Unicorn

Fanciful, fun, and timeless; The Last Unicorn may be over five decades old but it is a classic fantasy novel that remains just as fresh as when it was first written in 1968. When a unicorn ventures out of her forest she realizes she can't remember the last time she saw another unicorn, where have they all gone? She goes on a quest to discover where they are and in the process teams up with a hapless magician and an earnest peasant woman who is just content to go along for the ride. The trio venture to King Haggard's kingdom where rumor has it that a red bull has trapped all the unicorns. Peter S. Beagle is a master wordsmith and the tale is beautifully written; poetic even. Orlagh Cassidy, masterfully narrates the story bringing warmth and expression that help readers lose themselves in the lush fantasy world. This audio edition also includes a new introduction by Patrick Rothfuss, a giant in the fantasy genre, who waxes poetic about "his favorite book ever." The Last Unicorn is perfect for readers who love The Princess Bride, Ella Enchanted, and other whimsical fantasy stories. Filled with heroes, noble quests, magical creatures, curses, and unforgettable characters – this classic is perfect for all ages.

Monday, September 26, 2022

The Lost Melody

Loved the concept but the book was poorly executed. A young Victorian woman finds herself "liberated" after her domineering father died. She's a concert pianist and owns a piano repair shop and she is thrilled to make her own way. When a man at a concert calls her a light in the darkness and suggests she play in asylums to brighten patients life - she scoff - but it gets her to thinking. With her father gone she wants to help young women in anyway she can. While going through her father's estate she discovers that he has been making monthly payments to an asylum for a woman called Rose. When she contacts the asylum they say there is no one there by that name but something feels off. She decides to "get a job" as an aid to do a little investigating. While digging around she starts to make some enemies with the staff and doctors and soon finds herself an inmate instead of an employee. Is she really going crazy?! The story is disjointed and there are too many leaps and jumps around making it hard to follow. I just didn't care about the protagonist after a certain point.  

Wednesday, September 21, 2022

Smells Like Tween Spirit

The class mom series is so fun - and Jen Dixon is exactly the kind of mom I aspire to be. Snarky, sassy, fun, over the top, and good company. Now that her son is out of elementary school her duties as a class mom are behind her. But when her son Max joins the wrestling team she finds herself roped into joining the mat moms. Instead of free time she finds herself juggling wrestling practice, babysitting her granddaughter and father (who has dementia), trying to referee her two oldest girls who plan on opening a business together, and getting to know the riders in her cycle class better. There is hardly any time left for her (or her love life). Laugh out loud funny - I hope there are more Jen Dixon stories ahead!

Friday, September 16, 2022

The Kingdoms of Savannah

Interesting premise, but it takes a while to get invested. This gothic tale definitely gives off The Garden of Good and Evil vibes but has more mystery and history thrown in. When a homeless man is found burned up in a sleazebag landlord's rundown holding - everyone is convinced that the landlord was just out to get the insurance money and knew but didn't care about the squatter. Jaq, a young socialite with old money family - happened to be good friends with that squatter. Jaq often worked as a bartender at Bo Peeps and she is enraged at his death. She is furious when her grandmother decides to take on the case - after the sleezy landlord reached out to their family and hired them to "solve the crime" - the only crime, Jaq thinks, it's believing that scumbag. But some things don't add up - while he still may be guilty there are other things that need looking into - things that old money Savannah wants to stay buried. Very interesting and filled with neat characters - just took to long for me to get invested in the story. 

Tuesday, September 13, 2022

The Mayan Secrets

Another fun action adventure book in the Fargo series. This time Same and Remi Fargo are vacationing in Mexico when a volcano disrupts their leisure time. While they are helping distribute medical supplies and food they discovered a Mayan tomb with a remarkable find, a Mayan codex - the most complete one ever found and one of only five. A rich European heiress will stop at nothing to get it in her quest to become an "archaeologist." The codex outlines Mayan temples and cities that have never been discovered. Who will discover the finds first? Fun, over the top, and pretty unbelievable, but still a good time. 

Friday, September 9, 2022


LOVED, LOVED, LOVED this book!! This small middle grade book is impossible to put down, even for a adults! Castle is your not so average seventh grader. His mom is raising him the best she can after his violent father was locked up and Castle can get himself into trouble. One day killing time after school, he stumbles on a track team practicing near his house and next thing he knows he's drafted on the team. He's a black kid from the wrong part of a town and he's trying to prove himself.... to himself. But even though he can outrun a lot of his problems, he can't outrun himself. A wonderful novel and I can't wait to read the rest in this series!

Thursday, September 1, 2022

The Family Remains

I didn't even know there was going to be a follow up to the Family Upstairs so I was extra excited to read this. Not as twisty as the first book, but a very solid follow up. I also appreciated that a lot was summarized from the first book because it has been a while since I read it - the summaries and the intrigue did help me remember everything I needed to know though to follow this story. Libby and her boyfriend have tracked down Phin - he's working on a game preserve in Botswana and she is desperate to meet her dad. Uncle Henry will also be tagging along - he's never stopped thinking about Phin and wants to see him again desperately. Before they can go on their vacation though - Phin disappears. Did he know they were going to surprise him? What went wrong? Henry also "disappears" to try and pick up the breadcrumbs that Phin has left behind leaving behind a very worried sister. At the same time, a bag of bones is found in the river Thames and they are identified as Birdies, but will anyone be able to tie it back to the Lamb family? Told through multiple perspectives, this book is an intriguing and satisfying follow up to the first.