Wednesday, August 30, 2017

Spell On Wheels

I LOVED this graphic novel! I think it sets the right tone for starting off a series and I loved the three witches it featured. It's fun, sassy, intriguing, and honest. Everything I want in a comic. It was refreshing to see some diversity in body types and race as well. Think charmed, but way cooler. Someone breaks into their house and steals some of their magical goods, they find it's popped up on the online black market so they go on a magical road trip to recover all their items and seek vengeance on whatever black heart stole from them. Super fun and I can't wait to continue the series!

Paper Girls vol. 3

This series continues to get more intriguing and I'm not sure where exactly it's headed, but honestly that makes it more interesting. In this latest installment the twelve year old newspaper girls find themselves stuck in the pre-historic past. They encounter a girl their age, already a mother, and with the help of a translating device, they work together to find a way to get out of their before monsters or the "men" find them.

Of Jenny and the Aliens

I haven't felt so strongly about a book in a long time, but I truly despised this teen book. The writing style wasn't bad and there was some decent humor but overall the plot and the characters were horrible! Derek, a dorky, but still slightly popular teenager goes to a house party the night the world finds out aliens exist. Everyone is more carefree and open and scared, so he finds himself talking to Jenny (who is walking around the party topless) and later in the evening he loses his virginity to her. He becomes OBSESSED with Jenny over night and she is all he can think about. Even when he runs into an alien and talks with it, it's still not as cool as Jenny. When things inevitably begin to go south with this uber horny, slightly stalkerish teen he tries to ask his new alien friend for help. Because he doesn't care about the big war going on, he just wants some more action from Jenny. Like for real?!?! That's what you would ask an alien for help with? Filled with horny teens, loads of underage drinking, weed usage, and overall asshole kids, this teen novel is  hard pass. I'm not even a prude but the conclusion of the novel advocated for open relationships. Soo that's cool... Seriously, the worst.

Friday, August 25, 2017

The Great Quake

I love non-fiction and The Great Quake did an excellent job discussing the Good Friday Earthquake that hit Alaska in 1964 and going in depth about what was known about earthquakes and geology at the time. Henry Fountain includes lots of photos and personal testimonies to show just how devastating this quake was and how it changed our understanding of the world. The theory of plate tectonics (a term not even coined yet) was still hotly debated and scientists understanding and research of earthquakes was rudimentary at best. The great quake helped prove the plate tectonics theory, a concept I thought had been around for much longer than it really was. A deeply interesting read although sometimes it did get a little too bogged down in scientific details.

Thursday, August 24, 2017

Class Mom

Essentially chick lit/ beach read, but nevertheless very funny and unique. Most parents of kindergartners are in their twenties and thirties, but Jen Dixon a former INXS groupie with two girls in college, is about to break that mold. Her son Max is entering kindergarten and the duty of class mom falls on her shoulders. She sends out her emails with wit and sarcasm in order to whip up volunteers for events, foods, and crafts. Told through emails and narrative, this book reads quickly and is laugh out loud funny at points. Great for moms breaking the molds or anyone who loves chick lit with lots of good laughs.

Wednesday, August 23, 2017

See What I have Done

This fictional retelling of the Lizzie Borden murders was gripping from page one. Sarah Schmidt does a wonderful job recounting the events leading up to the infamous murder of Lizzie Borden's parents by telling the story in multiple voices. Lizzie, her sister Emma, the maid Bridget, and a mysterious man by the name of Benjamin view the events though different eyes and add an air of mystery. Did Lizzie Borden really murder her parents with an ax? Why was the Borden house so messed up? What are they all hiding? It's eerie and compelling and an overall quick read. Dark, morbid, and fascinating - historical fiction at it's best!

Tuesday, August 22, 2017

Ms. Marvel: Damage Per Second

As the series progresses, Ms. Marvel makes it pretty clear that this series is intended for teens. Damage Per Second focused on getting teens and citizens to "rock the vote" and change politics by being involved, the second part focused on a computer virus that learned from people connected on the internet and started blackmailing Ms. Marvel and releasing people's secrets. Overall, not bad, but not very strong either.

Tuesday, August 15, 2017

Meddling Kids

This was a fun, over the top, nostalgic read. I've always been a huge fan of the classic kids cartoon, Scooby Doo, so I was more than ready to devour an adult "continuation? of Scooby's gang. Due to copyright and all that, the names are all changed as are their personalities. Nate (Shaggy) borders on the edge of crazy and voluntarily has shut himself in a loony bin, Andy (Velma) is super butch, strong, and obsessed with weapons, Kerri (Daphne) is the gorgeous super smart college dropout, and Peter (Fred) became a Hollywood success only to commit suicide and of course we can't forget Tim (Scooby), their faithful companion. Thirteen years after they solved their last mystery the gang reunites to put to rest some lingering doubts they had about the weird circumstances surrounding the Sleepy Lake Monster. It's been years since they've worked together, but they quickly realize that this one might be more than a man in a mask. Lots of fun, I want more!

Friday, August 11, 2017

The Identicals

This was a refreshingly light, easy beach read.I enjoyed it. It's not one that will stick with me forever, but it was easy to lose myself in the story and pass the time. The story follows two estranged middle aged twins. One of the twins lives on Martha's Vineyard and has bounced from job to job, a free spirited, drinking, husband stealing man. The other works for their mother in Nantucket, operating an upscale boutique and trying to reign in her rambunctious teenage daughter. The twins haven't spoken in nearly fourteen years but the untimely death of their father brings them together. They decide to "switch lives" for the summer, Harper helping out with the store and the rebellious teenager, while Tabitha goes to Martha's Vineyard to gut and re-sell their father's house. Little do they know how much their lives are about to change.

Dreams to Remember

I love music biography's but this one felt lacking to me. It wasn't solely about Otis Redding (only about 95% him.....) and talked a lot about Stax Records and a few other soul singers (but only in relation to Otis). It was very clinical and skimmed over a lot of Otis' life in favor of talking about his recording sessions, rumors about his infidelities and death, and his managers and music companies. This book lacked soul. It was flat, one dimensional, and unexciting. Which is a shame, it's the Big O for crying out loud! I would much rather check out some other Otis Redding biographies. Something with a little more heart.

Wednesday, August 9, 2017

The Possessions

I wanted to like this book I really did. But it never took a hold of me. It never possessed me.... for lack of a better word (see what I did there). The main character isn't easy to relate to or have empathy for, in fact I couldn't find myself caring about ANY of the characters in the novel (and there weren't many!). In this modern society people can speak to their loved ones who have died by going to certain clinics and having people channel their spirits. Edie has been a body (one who can channel the dead) for five years, longer than anyone else ever has. She doesn't mind that her body gets more use by others since she doesn't have any life to speak of. But that all changes when Patrick Braddock comes into her room to speak to his dead wife. For some reason she becomes obsessed with his wife and with Patrick and it's all she can focus on. One thing leads to another and boom. You have a boring novel. Honestly, save your time and pass on this. It was beautifully written by I couldn't care less for the plot or the characters.

Tuesday, August 8, 2017

What To Say Next

Buxbaum, Julie. What To Say Next. 8 CDs. unabridged. Books on Tape. 2017. ISBN 9781524709518. 

Compelling, uplifting, and utterly engaging. Bestselling teen author, Julie Buxbaum (Tell Me Three Things) writes a charming opposites attracts romance between a popular young girl and a socially awkward and isolated young man on the autism spectrum. After Kit's father tragically dies, she finds herself receding and unable to keep up with the pressures of social life. Unable to deal with the mundane daily gossip and social climbing she decides to sit with David, an outcast, someone she knows will not pester her. Slowly and over the course of a few weeks the two find they have more in common then they could ever fathom. They begin to trust each other with secrets that they can't tell anyone else and Kit enlists David to help her figure out the exact reason her father died and the accident project is born. Little do they know how much it will complicate things. Wonderfully narrated by Kirby Heyborne and Abigail Revasch, both whom manage to bring their characters to life. Kirby has a flat monotone voice perfectly fitting the complicated character of David and Abigail narration is young and refreshing. Refreshing, honest, and charming. For fans of Rainbow Rowell and Jennifer Niven. - Erin Cataldi, Johnson Co. Public Library, Franklin, IN

Friday, August 4, 2017

Dying for You

I've never read any of Mary Janice Davidson's paranormal romances before and after reading this short story collection I think I'll be passing. They were cliche, cheesy, and practically written for kids (minus the sex scenes). Each of the four short stories was horribly predictable and flat. The romances were over the top, unimaginative, and lacking. There are two short stories about falling in love with ghosts, one about a witch hunter, and another about a vampire and werewolf falling in love. Honestly the short stories could have all even been shorter. I wouldn't have minded one bit.


Utterly engrossing, this groundbreaking look at poverty and the fight to find housing in America's cities will forever change how people view homelessness and the oft told saying, "Just work harder." Harvard sociologist Matthew Desmond spent years living in the slum of Milwaukee to understand how deep the problem went and to experience first hand how the nation's poorest are living. Desmond discovered that poorest people were/are spending more than EIGHTY PERCENT of their income trying to find housing, and what they get isn't even substandard. In big cities like Milwaukee, Landlords know there is little to no incentive to clean places up when they can just evict a tenant for complaining and find someone else who is desperate enough to live in squalor. Eye opening and horrifying, Evicted follows six different people, poor black mothers in the ghetto to white trash junkies in trailer parks as they tackle the housing crisis dead on. No matter how hard to struggle to get ahead, the system is rigged against certain demographics, the main being African American women. The amount of research put into this is staggering, as are the implications. Desmond ends with suggestions on how we as a country can come together and end this crisis. After all, doesn't everyone have a right to a roof over their heads?! A must read social justice piece that sheds poverty in a new light.

Thursday, August 3, 2017

Behind Her Eyes

There is a slow build up, a couple of unsurprising twists and then one hell of a gut punch at the end. It's no wonder people have been talking about this ending! It's slightly out of the realm of just straight thriller, there is a little tiny droplet of supernatural edge to it (nothing more extreme than lucid dreaming).  Per usual I buy everything hook, line, and sinker at the book which only sets me up for the fall. But honestly, I don't mind that, not all. Louise is a single mum working as a secretary in London and she has the worst possible luck. She finally meets a man at the bar and it turns out that it is her MARRIED new boss at work. Once they get past the initial weirdness they re-start their affair but things get weird when Louise makes a new friend. Her boss's wife, Adele. It happens completely by accident, but now she finds herself dependent on both of them. However, things are not what they seem with Adele. What is going on behind those eyes of hers? Pretty good thriller, kept me entertained and guessing!