Tuesday, February 28, 2023

The Outcasts of Poker Flat

I picked this title solely because one of the narrators is Robert Forester and I am obsessed with anything he narrates. The Outcasts of Poker Flats is a collection of short stories and poems set in the wild west. An unlucky party caught in a mountain blizzard, an orphaned baby in an all male camp, Tennessee's partner and more. I was not overly impressed with any of the stories glamorizing, miners, gamblers, and lawless men. This collection was written in the nineteenth century which explains the machismo and degradation of women, but doesn't excuse it. Some of the narrators did no favors to this audiobook. I honestly may have enjoyed it more had I actually read it. 

The Book Hater's Book Club

My assumption (based off the title and the cover) was that this would be about a book club. It was not in fact about a book club, rather it was about a bookstore. Irma, has demanded that her both her daughters and her partner's spouse attend a meeting. At the meeting they are blindsided when they discover that their mother has sold the beloved bookstore that she opened with her partner nearly 30 years before. Not only has she sold it, she has sold it for a pittance and now her daughter, Bree, will have to find a job. Laney has lived far away from Minnesota for twenty years, but Bree never left and worked in the store. Why is their mom doing this? The sisters decide to get to the bottom of this horrible deal and partner up with Elliot's spouse to get to the bottom of it. A story about family, friendships, grief, and finding that perfect book. A quick read that is witty and wholesome. 

Monday, February 27, 2023


In the same vein as Shirley Jackson and Margret Atwood, this dystopian novel has a lot to say about motherhood and identity. High in the mountains lay an isolated community where every so often a mother would disappear. It was quite common, in fact it was expected. Some mornings the women all woke up and felt themselves pulled along until they came to the house of whomever had disappeared. A father clutching his children would come outside and the women would go in and remove every trace of her, all her personal items would be taken to the op shop - all her photos and anything written in her hand would be burned. Soon she would be forgotten. When Vera is young, her mother is one of the ones who disappeared. She settled into a solitary routine with her father and two friends until one day a stranger came to town. Not once in her lifetime had someone other than Mr. Phillips (their supplier) come to town. Can the stranger be trusted? What does it mean. For Vera, everything will change. Weird, unique, and affecting. 

Thursday, February 23, 2023

Discover Your True North

While this book isn't super relevant to me or my career - it did give me good ideas for leading where I am. I am no CEO, but there is good advice in here and there are plenty of examples of professionals who readers can learn from. From failures to successes, Bill George includes great examples of some of the best leaders in the world. I am not even a middle manager and I have only managed interns, so a lot isn't applicable to my career. But maybe someday that will change and I will remember the lessons learned from this book. I will definitely keep this book on my book shelf and hope to refer to it again someday!

Wednesday, February 22, 2023

Stone Cold

I think I mostly love this series because the narrator (Robert Forester) is so compelling. He could read a dictionary and I would be enthralled. Stone Cold is the fourth novel in the Jesse Stone series. Personally, I have only read the third one and the fourth one but these really do act as standalone novels so I don't feel like I am missing out on anything. Jesse Stone tackles his most challenging case yet - tracking down a pair of serial killers that love to kill together. As the murders keep rising in Paradise - the pressure mounts on Jesse. Can he find them? Can he stay sober? Compelling, but not surprising - the characters are more important than the plot. I am even more intrigued to check out the movie adaptations now. 

Tuesday, February 21, 2023

The Maid of Ballymacool

Reminiscent of Cinderella's fairy tale but set in Ireland in the nineteen thirties. All Brianna has ever known of life is hard work and loneliness. Forced to toil from sun up to midnight with only one afternoon a week off to look forward to is a bit overwhelming. As an orphan she was raised in the Ballymacool Boarding House for young ladies, but not as a proper young lady, only as a maid. When a handsome young man comes to stay on the property to look after his cousin, Brianne's head turns and soon her heart follows. The headmistress does everything in her power to keep Brianna under her thumb and away from the wealthy young man - but the two are drawn together and soon they may uncover the mystery of Ballymacool Manor. Slightly predictable but wholesome. Inspiration and historical fiction fans will greatly enjoy. 

Saturday, February 18, 2023

Tomorrow, and Tomorrow, and Tomorrow

I'm kicking myself for waiting so long to read this book! Once I started I became totally engrossed in Sam and Sadie's lives. The ups and downs of their relationship felt so real and raw. Tomorrow, and Tomorrow, and Tomorrow is about how two friends have the most intimate friendship through video games. As kids it brought them solace and as college students it gives them purpose. Together with the help of Sam's roommate, Marx, they put the best of themselves into coding a game that will forever change and entangle their lives. This book is so hard to describe because on the surface, it's about three friends and video games - but it is so much more complex and nuanced than that. Ignore everything I've said and do yourself a favor and read this book. It doesn't need a description - it's just that good. 

Thursday, February 16, 2023

The Romanov Ransom

To me this had the least amount of treasure or historical intrigue - but it did have a lot of adventure and it had believable bad guys (in comparison to the normal 2 dimensional thugs they usually square off against). The Fargos get a call that one of their employees has nephews that have gone off grid and could be in trouble. Sam and Remi decide to go to Morocco to investigate and in the process find themselves on the hunt for the Romanov Ransom. The problem is - they aren't the only ones looking for it. Slightly predictable - but always entertaining!

Monday, February 13, 2023

Desperate Measures

What happens when Jasmine chooses the bad boy Jafar over Ali? Lots of down and dirty action, threesomes, and sex dungeons - that's what! This book is scorching hot - mix 50 Shades of Gray with Aladdin and you have this steaming hot erotica. Admittedly the book is set in the modern day and there is no flying carpets or magic genies - but you still have the same people and the same power dynamics (Jasmine will always be trapped in a palace). The plot is eh, the romance is eh - but the sex is pretty great - which who are we kidding that's the whole reason people are reading this. This book is the first in the wicked villains series and introduces us to some other key players for later on in the series (Meg and Hades, Hook, etc.). Again the plot is questionable but the scenes are spicy. I may read more in the series when I have free time. 

Dark One: Forgotten

Bestselling fantasy author, Brandon Sanderson, teams up with Dan Wells to create a fun listen in the style of a true crime podcast. Written exclusively for audiobook - this short mystery takes place over the course of several podcast episodes - with the intrigue ramping up every episode. College student, Christina Walsh, discovers a CD of world-renowned violinist Leona McPherson, who mysteriously disappeared and was found murdered years prior. After her father's disappearance, this case really hits home and Christina decides to take her best friend, Sophie, along for a cross country adventure to re-discover this missing musician. With each new discovery the case gets wilder and stranger and soon the two may be in danger themselves. It appears as if no one remembers Leona, not one person! If it wasn't for the mountain of evidence proving that she was a real person - the girls would think they were being pranked. Even Leona's own mother has no recollection of her daughter! What exactly have these two stumbled upon and will the world ever be the same again? Narrated by a full cast - this audiobook is fresh and fun. It is fast paced, unique, and gripping. It's a wild ride that will find a wide audience for Brandon Sanderson fans, podcast junkies, and true crime devotees. - Erin Cataldi

Thursday, February 9, 2023

Bipolar Bear and the Terrible, Horrible, No Good, Very Bad Health Insurance

Don't get me wrong - the message is important and I understand the struggle - but if you're are already having to deal with our shitty insurance why do you want to read a graphic novel about a badly drawn bear who is going through the same shit as you are?! There were a few comedic scenes but honestly... not my jam. It definitely highlights how broken our system is but it doesn't do much more than that. 

Girly Drinks

I actually learned a lot from this book and not just about women and booze - I learned a lot about the history of alcohol and was super intrigued throughout the whole book. Mallory O'Meara does an excellent job of giving readers the history of women and booze while also highlighting some extremely influential women along the way. There were so many interesting tid bits about how alcohol was made - where customs and laws came from - and of course - how women got the short end of the stick time and time again. Women do not get nearly enough credit for their impact and are even now still overshadowed by their male counterpoints. I think this book is important for anyone who likes learning about history and drinking. A fun and extremely enlightening read!

Monday, February 6, 2023

The Paris Wife

This book kept me hooked and kept me reading and I loved the literary appeal but my god I hated all the characters. I've often read about what a dick Ernest Hemmingway was and this book really painted an unflattering portrait of him. I don't care how great his work is - what a jerk. I didn't know much about his personal life so this book was all fresh to me. Told through Hemmingway's wife, Hadley Richardson's, perspective - The Paris Wife showcases how she loved and supported him during his early career. She met him in Chicago and they had a whirlwind long distance romance and decided to marry and move to Paris where he could really work on becoming an author. It was pretty much all downhill from there. Hadley was a boring woman with hardly any interests whose full time job was to cater to her husband's needs. She seemed extremely boring and totally enabled Ernest whenever he made bad choices (and there were a lot). I was especially angry by the end. I would have given this book a 1.5 or a 2 but it was written well. I just hated every damn character so much. It's crazy that this was based off of a real relationship.