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.