Friday, October 27, 2017

First Crush Last Love

The premise of this book can be easily summarized by the title alone. Told from alternating perspectives and over the course of a decade, this romance novel tackles a variety of topics, childhood abuse, suicide, AIDS, and domestic abuse. Those themes are threaded throughout the novel as Jessie and Lee grow apart and live separate lives after high school. After her teenage crush went nowhere and Lee disappeared after high school graduation, Jesse married the next guy that gave her the time of day. From the beginning there were warning signs that the relationship was anything but healthy. Lee on the other hand escaped his abusive stepfather and became a cop in Chicago. While their lives couldn't be anymore different, they are about to align again at their ten year high school reunion. Is that spark still there? Have the two changed too much in their time apart? A pretty standard romance novel with a few "romantic" scenes (nothing too steamy), a damsel in distress, and a hot troubled lover. Romance fans will eat this up.

Thursday, October 26, 2017

Here's Negan

Here's Negan FINALLY gives us the backstory that we've been craving for, for so long! It's not anything like I expected, but honestly I don't know what I was expecting. In this short comic we find out that Negan was in fact a gym teacher, as well as a smart mouthed, cheating, asshole husband. He changes his tune though when his wife is diagnosed with cancer and he tries to become a better person and is for once, completely devoted to her. While she is dying in the hospital the zombie apocalypse occurs and slowly we begin to see bits of Negan that we know and love, emerge. He didn't become a bad-ass over night, but he still came around pretty quickly. A must read for all Walking Dead fans.

Wednesday, October 25, 2017

Fierce Kingdom

Damn this book made me tense! I was feeling physically ill and nervous, like I was experiencing all the hell written on the page. Fierce Kingdom is about a normal day at the zoo turned nightmare. A mother and her four year old son are enjoying a late afternoon at the zoo when they hear gunfire. Thinking that it must be fireworks or something else they ignore it, but as they're trying to leave they discover dozens of bodies that have been shot down. When the reality hits that there are active shooters killing people and animals indiscriminately, Joan goes into flight mode. She has to hide her and her son and keep him quite, but will that be enough? Does she try to help other people or does she only worry about her own child? Can they escape? Where are the police? How can she keep her son from having a meltdown? Fast paced and tense, this book will leave you on the edge of your seat!

Monday, October 23, 2017

The Dishonorable Miss DeLancey

This inspirational Regency romance was a surprisingly quick read. I also neglected to realize that this was the third in the series until after I finished it but that didn't seem to matter as I understood the story perfectly well and didn't feel like their were any missing pieces. Clara was forced to flee London and any prospects of marrying again after she befell some unspeakable scandal. The seaside does little to mend her broken heart until she encounters a dashing man who happens to save her life one stormy night. She soon begins to encounter him again and again as she has become friends with his younger sisters, and tries in vain to avoid opening her heart to him. Captain Kemsley isn't in high standing like Clara's family and doesn't have money or fancy titles to offer her, but worse than that is the scandal surrounding her, she'll be mortified if he ever discovers her past dark secrets. If she allows her faith to take flight and her new friends to guide her, there is no telling where it might lead her heart.

The Massacre of Mankind

The idea of this is awesome and the fact that they got permission from the H.G. Wells estate is insanely cool. It takes major chops to write a sequel to a beloved sci-fi classic that is over 100 years old. Thankfully Stephen Baxter seemed to fill the shoes quite well, writing a fun sequel that, while it is not as great as the original, surely stands up to it. In this new take the aliens have learned from their previous mistake and they've come back to Earth to make humanity pay. It's been nearly two decades since the invasion and Earth has gone right back to the way things used to be, no one even giving a second thought to the aliens returning someday. Walter Jenkins is convinced that the first invasion was just a scouting mission and that they will one day return, unfortunately he is proven right. A fun follow up to a classic.

The Halloween Tree

Hands down the greatest Halloween book ever. It always holds up, ALWAYS. Nothing gets me in the Halloween mood more than this classic. It's written with such imagination, prose, and imagery that it sucks the reader right in and takes them on the same incredible journey that 8 young boys go on one Hallows Eve. The creepy and mysterious Moundshroud takes the young boys on a journey back in time to relive Halloween in all it's variations, celebrations and changes. To Egypt, Ireland, England, France, AND Mexico; they journey on the scariest night of the year to save their missing friend Pip and to discover the true meaning of Halloween. No one can weave a tale like Ray Bradbury can and make you feel the breeze in the trees, see the jack o lanterns swaying, and smell the pies cooking. Even the movie adaptation is a classic. I can't wait to share this book with my future children (as of yet unborn and unplanned).

Hotel Scarface

Holy hell was this an exciting and interesting book. True Crime doesn't get more "fun" than this. Hotel Scarface traces the origins of the Cocaine Cowboys in South Florida, their quick rise, the blizzard of cocaine users in Miami, and the amazingness of The Mutiny at Sailboat Bay (a hotel, club, and restaurant). The Mutiny was where all the drug lords, smugglers, vixens, celebrities, and dirty cops hung out and my lord, to have been a fly on the wall. The Mutiny was the hub in the early days of cocaine and even the movie, Scarface, models itself off The Mutiny and the eccentric characters that would gather there. The cast of characters in this nonfiction true crime book is extensive and can get a little overwhelming at times, but it is definitely worth getting through because this book is full of bizarre little tid bits and over the top lifestyles that could of course not be kept up forever. Extensively researched, wonderfully written, and compelling as hell, this is a must read!

The Flintstones

I wasn't sure what to expect with this, but I certainly couldn't pass up a DC adaptation that looked fun and funky. The comic covered many surprisingly relevant topics and was very... modern for a stone age family. Religion, monogamy, marriage, work ethics, the price of war and our obsession with "stuff" were just a few of the many social satire commentaries brought up in the comic. At times, it was a bit heavy handed, but it was witty, funny, and very refreshing. It definitely changed how I thought about the vintage TV show. I don't know if I liked it enough to keep up with this series, but it's definitely worth checking out. There are some pretty great one liners and parodies.

Friday, October 20, 2017

Ellen Foster

Raw and unflinching, this story told through a young girl's eyes will captivate readers. Born to a depressed mother and abusive alcoholic Ellen learns to fend for herself and to depend on the kindness of strangers, especially on the colored family down the road. When Ellen loses her mother she isn't shocked or surprised she just further goes into survival mode, bouncing from one household to the next, trying to find someone willing to care for and love a ten year old. Set in the south during the sixties, this book is sure to generate lively discussion. It's a quick read and Kaye Gibbons does a wonderful job viewing the world through a child's imagination. Witty, charming, and precious.

God Hates Astronauts

The more bizarre a book or a comic is the more apt I am to love it. This was no exception. It's over the top ridiculous, makes virtually no sense is filled with bizarre plot lines and even crazier characters. There are 5 super heroes on a team, but virtually everyone else they meet is either a mutant half breed or has powers of their own. There are cheeseburger eating tigers, a starman with a ghost horse head, a cop with gorilla arms, unidentifiable creatures and more. It's insanity and you should probably read it because there is no way that I can describe what in the hell is going on.


Straight up a must read for any grown up Little House fan. This book did not disappoint! Caroline is told through the perspective of Ma and it starts right where Little House in the Big Woods ends. We saw Laura's carefree nature, Pa's strong unwavering love, Caroline's fears about giving birth in the plains with no other females around to assist her. This goes into more detail about the little things that readers always wondered but never knew, how the family went to the bathroom on the road, how childbirth went on the prairie, how the house was built, what was really going on with the Indians. It beautifully ties in with the series and lends an adult viewpoint to the stories we love so well. I would love to see more books that feature Caroline as an adult narrator, this was lovely!

Thursday, October 19, 2017

Between A Heart And A Rock Place

I flew through this book! It's not long and drawn out like many other music biographies are, it's succinct, raw, honest, and straight to the point. Plus as far as rockers go, Pat has had a pretty tame life. No booze, drugs, scandals, or rehab have marred her reputation. She's straitlaced but still kicks ass and has a great time doing it. Pat chronicles her childhood, her rise to fame, marriage, motherhood, and making come backs. Before reading this I only knew the essential Pat Benatar songs, but now I have a whole new appreciation of her and the struggles she faced (namely music executives and record companies) trying to be a female rock singer in the eighties.

Tuesday, October 17, 2017

Prairie Fires

I was initially intimidated by the sheer size of this book, but I needn't have worried because it's fast paced and fascinating. Like most kids I grew up reading and LOVING the Little House book series. It filled my imagination and I found myself returning to the series again and again. The detail, rich illustrations, simple storytelling, and perseverance has lasting impressions on millions of readers. Many sequels, spin offs, biographies, and histories have been written by the Little House estate but this may be considered one of the greatest. Author, Caroline Fraser does a masterful job of weaving together the true portrait of the Ingalls-Wilder family though the woods, prairies, and shores and readers will be shocked to learn all that was omitted and/or changed. It get's really fascinating as Laura gets older and Rose enters the picture. Learning about their political beliefs, financial hardships, and Rose's brazenness was darkly fascinating. Especially interesting was how the books were written in the sunset of Laura's career and at her daughter's urging and editing. None of these insights make me think any less of the original series but it helps shed some light on this dynamic and interesting family and makes me appreciate it more. A WONDERFUL non-fiction read for all.

Monday, October 16, 2017

Turn Coat

I keep getting more and more obsessed with this series. They just keep getting better! The plots, dialogue, characters, everything! Harry Dresden is legit my biggest fictional crush. What a gem. I accidentally read this book AFTER reading book twelve, but honestly it really didn't change a thing or mess anything up. There was a surprise character death in this one that I didn't see coming, but honestly with the way it played out, I wasn't even mad. It's nice to see Molly getting some more page time, she's becoming a pretty solid apprentice (even when she screws up!). This series does not disappoint and I can't wait to get my hand on the next one!

Thursday, October 12, 2017

Turtles All the Way Down

A new direction for John Green that did not disappoint. Reminded me heavily of Matthew Quick's teen novels dealing with mental illness. My only beef is that the main character Aza, seemed very... non-gendered. I literally did not realize she was a female until a chapter or two in. I don't know if it's because John Green is a male writer or he intentionally left her pretty gender neutral, but Aza's only defining qualities and personality was her her mental illness. I didn't get much other feel for her. I'm not even saying I wanted her girly, I just wanted to have more of a sense for her. The story follows Aza and her best friend as they go on a quest to find a rich old white man who has run away from the cops. There is a hundred thousand dollar reward and they feel pretty confident that they could turn up a lead or two. After all they kind of know his son. The story is filled with friendship, mental illness, romance, class privilege, loss of loved ones, beautiful words, and levity. Another solid from the king of teen.

Wednesday, October 11, 2017


As a kid I LOVED this book, as an adult it's good, but not nearly as amazing as I remember. It's a bit on the depressing side and could honestly, pass for an adult book rather than a teen one. Sirena tells the story of a mermaid who falls in love with a man, sleeps with him, becomes immortal, and then must face a decision on whether or not to let him leave their private island. The part I liked most about it was all the Greek gods and legends tied in with it. Odysseus even makes an appearance. Also, as far as mermaid books goes, this one still holds up the best. It's written brilliantly, but it is on the short side. I wanted to go to their private island and hang out with Sirena and her mortal lover. They sounded pretty chill. Still solid and now I want to read more by Donna Jo Napoli, I love her fairy tale retellings!

Tuesday, October 10, 2017

There's Someone Inside Your House

This was a quick, teen horror read and brings back fond memories of the teen horror movie, Scream. It was a little campy, a lot of fun, and perfect to get me in the mood for Halloween and slasher films. In the small town of Nebraska, not much is notable for Hawaii native, Makani. After a tragic incident occurred the previous year, Makani was banished from Hawaii and sent to live with her Grandma in the middle of nowhere. Their small town is pretty humdrum but things suddenly start to get a lot more exciting when someone starts brutally killing high schoolers. With no motive, no discernible pattern people start to freak out. Who will be next? Why is someone doing this? Makani's boring school year just got a lot more exciting (in a very bad way!).

Monday, October 9, 2017

Branded Outlaw

To date the other L. Ron Hubbard book I've ever read was Battlefield Earth which I loved (I even loved the movie, sue me!) so reading an old pulp western was definitely a big change up for me. This book wasn't bad or good. It was short and sweet and had the standard ingredients for a western. Warning spoilers ahead. I've literally outlined the entire book. Man's childhood home and father are killed. He comes back seeking vengeance. No one believes him so he starts shooting up people. Man becomes an outlaw. He is saved by a young girl who helps clean his wounds and heal him. He falls in love. Turns out her father is the bad guy. He runs away. Gets captured. Escapes. Discovers the truth. Is vindicated. Gets the girl. A quick unmemorable read that wasn't poorly written.

Living the Dream

Broke twenty somethings struggle to find themselves, happiness, and some money in modern day London. Clementine has just recently returned from a year of film school in America. Unfortunately she is stuck living in her parents house and forced to face mounting debt. In order to make ends meet and pay bills she takes a job bartending until she can sell some of her screenplays. Her best friend, Emma is stuck in a monotonous job at a corporate advertising firm. It's slowly sapping her of her creativity, passion, and zest for life. Together they face one night stands, binge drinking, aging parents, unhappy jobs, and a quest to find a better life. Certainly not ground breaking but the writing was fresh and witty which made reading this a breeze. For fans of Sex in the City, Bridget Jones' Diary, and other coming of age novels.

Dear Fahrenheit 451

This might be my favorite book of the year. NO LIE! I related to this book on such a personal level. Not just because I'm also a librarian, but her opinion on books, hilarious asides, and love for her profession made me want to become best friends and join a book club with her. For real. Dear Fahrenheit 451 is composed of a bunch of letters written to novels, authors, and series that evoked a strong response from the author. They weren't all positive, some were negative, but ALL of them were witty, funny, and well written. The book manages to be informative, inspiring, and personal without being too judgey which can be a hard line to stay on. My reading list just got longer (alright alright I'll check out The Virgin Suicides!) and I can't wait to read whatever else Annie Spence decides to write.

The Nine

The first book in what looks to be a promising new series from debut author, Tracy Townsend. Part steampunk, part urban fantasy, all around badass; this story will captivate readers and wanting more. When a young courier fails to deliver her intended package to The Alchemist all hell breaks loose. Who stole the package and why? What was in it? The Alchemist, his daughter, the spunky young courier and a former mercenary find themselves working together to not only save themselves, but to save the package before it gets into the wrong hands. It has the potential to turn their world upside and rewrite everything they know about God and religion. This unlikely rag-tag team must learn to trust each other if they plan on living. Fun, inventive, and fast paced, the memorable characters and scenery make this book a must read. I'd love to see this on the big screen, the story plays out so good and the characters, creatures, and city seem like they were made to be visualized.

Thursday, October 5, 2017

The Pretender

As far as inspirational fiction goes this wasn't this worst, but it was a little drawn out and ended in a "cliffhanger" which was frustrating. The Pretender is the first in the Caselli Family series and centers around a Christian Italian family living in South Dakota in the seventies. Tillie (known as Angel) is a very well heeled young Godly woman and Noah is a Vietnam vet, taking to drinking and womanizing. Their paths cross when Tillie finds herself in an art competition with her friends in Noah's home town and within two days the two are head over heels in love with each other and decide to get married when Tillie turns 18. When Tillie comes back to see Noah later the next month she sees a woman kiss Noah and immediately assumes the worst, she cuts him out of her life, leaving him no way to find her again. Noah has turned his life around and has been waiting for Tillie for months so they can resume their courtship but she never shows and he doesn't know why. Told through alternating perspectives, the story shows how both Noah and Tillie fell for each other, suffered heartbreak, and then tried to move on with their lives. In order to see any kind of resolution the reader will clearly have to continue reading the series.

Wednesday, October 4, 2017

Coming Up for Air

Kenneally, Miranda. Coming Up For Air. 6 CDs. unabridged. Dreamscape Media. 2017. ISBN 9781520073552. 

Bestselling contemporary young adult author, Miranda Kenneally, has written another sports romance that teens will devour. Maggie's entire life is swimming; she eat breathes, and drinks swimming. Since she was a young girl her life has revolved around her biggest passion, training hard enough to snag a spot on the Olympic team. Everything; school, friends, and a social life, have come second in order for her succeed. Now that she's gearing up for college however, she's having some second thought. She's never experienced what most typical teenagers live like. No boyfriend, no prom, and certainly no kissing. Scared that she will appear inexperienced she asks her best friend and swimming partner, Levi for some tips on "hooking up" so she won't be a fish out of water when she goes to college. Little does she realize the feelings that will emerge for her best friends when things start to get hot and heavy. Suddenly swimming isn't the only thing on her mind. Narrated by Carly Robins, who does an excellent job bringing Maggie and Levi alive with her youthful voice and mannerisms. For fans of Kenneally's Hundred Oak series, sports themed reads, and teen romance. - Erin Cataldi, Johnson Co. Public Library, Franklin, IN

Tuesday, October 3, 2017

Mind Game

Mistake number one - reading the 22nd book in a series, when I have never read anything by this author, let alone anything in this series. Mistake number two - failing to realize how poor of a writer Iris Johansen is before I started reading this. Just because someone is a New York Times bestselling authors with millions of book sold does not guarantee they will know how to write. Mistake number three - reading and completing this book. It was utter tripe. I have such contempt for this book that I don't even want to bother with the summary. There was like twenty different things happening and none of them were very connected. Also, I had no idea that this was a supernatural series. The characters were flat, the writing was crap, and the plot was.... whack. Also according to Amazon the word "drily" was used 31 times. That is 30 times too many. Avoid this book.