Wednesday, August 31, 2022

I Must Betray You

Ruta Sepetys is a master at taking often overlooked historical events and turning them into moving masterpieces of young adult fiction. They are fast paced, well researched, well written, and filled with characters that readers instantly connect to. I Must Betray You is about the last few months of the communist Romanian regime through the perspective of a teenaged boy. He is forced to turn spy on an ambassador's family to get lifesaving treatment for his grandfather who is dying of leukemia. It makes him ill - but he tries to keep the upper hand. At home he writes in his hidden notebook about the atrocities that go on everyday and are treated as normal. The way other people live in the world can't be real.... right? He knows Romanians have it bad, but he doesn't realize how bad until he sees what an American considers normal. Fresh fruit, Disneyland, color photos, refrigerators - those exist in real life and not just for millionaires. Christian's world is rocked by that realization and life will never be the same. I am a history major and I learned soo much about their history. This is wild to think that this was only three decades ago!!

Tuesday, August 30, 2022

The 7 1/2 Deaths of Evelyn Hardcastle

This was one of those books that I kinda liked the concept for, but felt I wasn't smart enough to keep up with. There were so many moving parts and so many characters that I felt  at a loss for most of the novel. Aiden wakes up in a different body every day and he has 8 "hosts" or days to solve Evelyn Hardcastle's murder. He keeps reliving the same day through different eyes and trying to figure out who killed Evelyn before the footman catches him and kills him. There is also a creepy plague doctor that is keeping tab on Aiden - if Aiden is able to retain his memory and solve this impossible murder he has to tell the plague doctor at 11pm by the lake. Filled with red herrings, unlikable people, and  too many side characters to count - this is an intense murder mystery that ends up being very hard to follow and stay on top of. 

Wednesday, August 24, 2022

The Tombs

These aren't "great literature" but they are fun and I enjoy the audiobooks. This is the fourth adventure for Sam and Remi Fargo, the multimillion dollar amateur treasure hunting couple. One of their friends, a professor from Germany has found something spectacular in a field. It's a perfectly preserved battlefield filled with dead huns. Little does the professor know though, that he s being watched. When he is kidnapped they fear that he was on to something greater, Atilla the Hun's burial and treasure chamber. It quickly becomes a fast paced action adventure novel that has the Fargos racing across the European and Russian continent to find the treasure before some other unsavory types do. Entertaining - I will continue to read the series. 

Tuesday, August 23, 2022

I'm Still Here

Eye opening, thought provoking, and much needed in today's world. Austin Channing Brown crafts 14 essays on what it means being a Black American. She talks about misconceptions, injustices, fear, tone policing, the barriers to success and so so much more. As a white person who is trying to be antiracist (and always learning more) this book opened my eyes to so many of the small microaggressions and things that I would never think of or have to go through as a white person. It reminds white readers that we still have far to go and can always learn more. It affirms with Black readers that what they go through is "normal" but certainly not fair or just. It's wrong and it will take white people more than a few diversity trainings to fix. Something I needed to read and really think about. Not just in passing, but really think and ACT on being more aware and changing the patterns and attitudes of our country.

Daisy Darker

Man - this book had some legit twists and turns and I did not see the ending coming. This book has some serious Agatha Christie vibes and readers will quickly pick up on that. Daisy Darker is returning to Seaglass, her grandmothers house that is located on a small island accessible only during the day. Her grandmother has invited her, her two estranged sisters, her divorced parents, and her precious niece to the island for a family reunion. The family hasn't all gathered together in years and Daisy is surprised they are all agreeing to it. But it is her grandmother's 80th birthday and she always believed that she would die on that day. Perhaps everyone thinks she will share the will with them - their grandmother after all, is a famous children's author. One by one the family members start dying gruesome deaths. Each death is accompanied by a messed up rhyme and a VHS - who is killing everyone off and why? It took me a little bit to get into - but once I did I could NOT put it down. Fantastic ending.  

Thursday, August 18, 2022

Something Wilder

A fun and sexy romp that was enjoyable but wasn't my favorite by Christina Lauren. I love the premise - archaeology is my favorite, and to have a steamy romance centered over it? Yes please! But I have the bar set really high from all the author's previous works and this was just a tad short. Lily runs an adventure company that takes groups of people out into the dessert and lets them play cowboy. On an outing gone wrong, her old flame is present and a psycho that is convinced she knows where to find Butch Cassidy's treasure because Lily's father was a famous treasure hunter. Things quickly go wrong and they find themselves having to rough it for real. Will sparks fly between Lily and the man that broke her heart a decade prior? Again, lots of fun - I will continue to read everything that Christina Lauren puts out!

Tuesday, August 16, 2022

Arrival Stories

Every once in a while you read the right book at the right time. This was one of those books. I'm a first time mom and my daughter was born about three and a half months ago. Learning to be a mom was exciting and challenging - but nothing could have prepared me for the labor experience. Arrival Stories contains essays from women of all walks of life as they experience becoming moms. No two are the same. Some lost their babies, some had difficult pregnancies, some adopted, some conceived through IVF - all are candid about their experiences. It was heartening to read other experiences that were so similar and so different. My only "beef" is that many of the women in this collection are in a wealthier position than many Americans - making a few of the experiences nearly unrelatable. Other than that - I thoroughly enjoyed this collection. 

Tuesday, August 9, 2022

Wedding of the Torn Rose

This fast paced fantasy centers on a down on his luck merchant who just happens to be at the right place at the right time. Kaine Khalia is out of a job and foraging for mushrooms when he happens to rescue a damsel in distress from a terrible beast. The damsel turns out to be the princess who was trying to run away from an arranged marriage, but upon being almost killed, has come to her senses and agrees to go home. Kaine escorts Princess Lydia back to the castle and has the gratitude of the King who immediately gives him a job. Kaine is excited for some stability and three square meals a day, but the wedding festivities for Princess Lydia are in high gear have the whole kingdom in a tizzy. There may be more to the wedding then meets the eye and Kaine learns the deadly secret the princess is hiding. Will he be able to keep her and the kingdom safe? Is he the right man for the job? This fantasy is great for adults, teens, and even middle grade readers. It's not too long, and isn't too graphic when it comes to violence, language, or romance. The book ends on a cliffhanger that will have readers eager to check out the next book in the series. So much fun! 


Not my favorite true crime read. The writing was clunky and at times read too much like a police report. Admittedly, I didn't know much about the Zodiac killer only that he had never been caught - so pretty much all this was new to me. I never watched the movie and I never listened to a podcast on this so it was a lot to take in. I wouldn't be opposed to watching the movie or learning more about the killer - I just don't think this book was the right format for me. Maybe the writing style was too old - I'm really not sure. Interesting and fascinating, but not an easy read. 

The Last Way Home

Eli Ross left his home on Prince Edward Island and never looked back. He was too busy looking forward to his big dream of being an NHL star to dwell on the hurt he caused his family. Now more than a decade later he finds himself back and not with a penny to his name. He's a disgraced pro-athlete with a massive debt to pay off and no way to do it. Eli finds his family more than happy to have him home, granted they don't know the full story, but they are just happy to have him back in the fold. The only person not overjoyed to see him is Violet. She came to town after Eli left and filled the void that he left. She's like family, but she's not so forgiving. She knows how hard it was on his mom and brothers. Eli and Violet keep finding themselves thrown together and before they know it they start opening up to each other. They are both harboring some big secrets, but if they realize that they can share the burden and ask God for forgiveness they can get the fresh start that they both desperately need. A Christian romance that is sure to delight. While it is the second in a series, it reads like a standalone novel. 

Friday, August 5, 2022


I always feel smarter after reading a Blake Crouch novel. They are intense science thrillers and are perfect for anyone who loved The Martian. They are action packed, fast paced, and smart as hell. Every scenario seems plausible when it's backed by the science that Crouch provides. Upgrade is set in the not too distant future. Logan Ramsay works for the Gene Protection Agency or the GPA, stopping scientists who are working underground to edit genes. He hates his job, but he feels the needs to atone for his mother's sins. His mother was a world famous scientist who accidentally killed 200 million people after playing around with genes. While on a night raid of a lab, an explosion injects unknown genetic information in his body. Is it a plague or something worse? Soon he finds out that what's been injected in him should be possible, he's been upgraded - is he the next step in human evolution and what impact will this have on the world?

Monday, August 1, 2022

Treasure of the Black Swan

I love archaeology and I love legal battles and this was the best of both but in a graphic novel form. Based on true events, The Treasure of the Black Swan chronicles the plunder of a centuries old treasure ship and the legal battle to give the gold back to Spain and out of the hands of the modern day "pirates" who are no more than looters. The treasure hunting company, Ithaca and Spanish diplomats will go head to head battling out who legally owns the treasure. Fast paced, informative, and fun - this is a must for fans of underwater archaeology, ethics, and more.