Thursday, March 22, 2018

Kristy's Great Idea

I feel as if I read a few books in this series when I was younger (out of order, because I'm an animal), but I didn't really remember much. One of my aunts had a pop up scrapbook that I thought was SOO COOL! It letters, and journal entries, and postcards that you could take out, all I wanted to do was join a babysitter's club.  It looked so cool! Basically this book starts the series that lasts FOR INFINITY (they even have new graphic novels now). Four twelve year old girls decide to start a baby-sitting group to bring in more clients and make more money. They deal with personal problems along the way, strict parents, diabetes, divorce, and boys but they band together and decide that they'll stick together. All four girls are wildly different so I can see where the allure is in the series. I kinda want to read another one to see what shenanigans they get into!

The Astonishing Color of After

Heart wrenching, and unique; this young adult novel that explores suicide, cultural identity, self-expression, art, and love is a slam dunk. Leigh's mother suffered from depression her whole life but managed to tough through the pain, until one day she couldn't. Leigh who had been so focused on her art and her crush on her best-friend is blindsided and heart broken by her mother's suicide. In the week's following her mother's death; a large red bird visits her in the night and gives her gifts. At first she thinks she is hallucinating, but soon she realizes that the gifts and the feathers left behind are truly real in the daylight. Leigh becomes convinced that the bird is her mother and her mother is telling her to go to Taiwan to meet her maternal grandparents (whom Leigh has never met) and to uncover some tough truths. This teen novel is equal parts beautiful, artistic, and magical. Leigh's journey part real, part magical; and alternates between her current reality, her past, and memories of her family. A powerful read.

Wednesday, March 21, 2018

The Night Market

Interesting premise, but the plot lagged in places. Very dark, very noir; this darkly futuristic thriller is unique and inventive. When Inspector Carver went to work Thursday night, he had no idea what horror was about to unfold. The only problem is, when he wakes up days later he has no recollection of what happened. He has a niggling suspicion at the back of his mind that not everything adds up, so he, his partner (who also, has glaring gaps in his memory) work together to try and piece together what they must have uncovered. Somehow, Carver's reclusive neighbor comes into play, and they must journey to the seedy underground to unravel a conspiracy that threatens not just them or their city, but the entire nation. Wildly imaginative, and fun. I just wish the story kept moving at a breakneck pace, it was a little slow at moments.

Monday, March 19, 2018

An American Marriage

Solid book from start to finish. Tayari Jones does an exceptional job breathing life into her incredibly flawed and incredibly real characters. One year into their marriage Roy is committed of a crime he did not do and sentenced to 12 years. He and his wife Celestial try to make it work, but she has a budding business and he is incarcerated. Love isn't easy, but what about a marriage in its infancy can it survive years behind bars? Heart wrenching, gritty, and real, this novel told through multiple perspectives and letters demands to be felt. Can every marriage be saved? Roy and Celestial's marriage isn't perfect, but is there enough love left to salvage? I didn't love either character, but I chafed at the wrongful imprisonment, and I wanted so badly for the two of them to rise above their predicament.

Wednesday, March 14, 2018

The Innocent Wife

Wow, as someone who was obsessed (and still is) with the injustice and false imprisonment of the west memphis three, this book really struck a chord with me. The premise is literally so similar to Damion Echol's life story. A man convicted of murdering a young girl spends two decades on death row despite no evidence. His wrongful imprisonment spawns a documentary, a book, and lots of social justice warriors fighting to see him released. Samantha reads up on the case  and decides to write Dennis Danson and an unlikely friendship begins. Their letters lead to jail visitation and then marriage. Shocking new evidence emerges that exonerates Dennis and the two lovebirds can finally be with each other. Now that he's out though, Samantha notices that not everything is peachy-keen, Dennis can be cold, doesn't want intimacy, and hides many things from her. Can she trust this man? Was she wrong to believe in his innocence? What really happened to all the other missing girls? Captivating, bewildering, and hard to read (why Samantha, why?!?). I loved it!

Tuesday, March 13, 2018

House of Stairs

Dang! Where was this book when I was younger??!? For being a few decades old, it really hasn't aged much! This psychological teen read throws five 16 year old orphans into a weird uninviting alien environment filled only with stairs. None of them know why they are there or how to escape. They wander around and find a weird machine that will give them food, only when they figure out how to meet it's weird demands. It's the 5 of them against this weird environment, what will happen if they stop working together? Why are they there? What is the point? It is very reminiscent of  Lord of the Flies, just maybe a little more futuristic. A weird, interesting, and compelling read. I dig it.

Monday, March 12, 2018


I give inspirational romance a lot of crap, especially the Amish ones because they so often tend to be formulaic, boring, and preachy, but I will admit... I kinda dug this one! Honestly! When my friend told me there were Amish fairy tale spin offs I laughed. It sounded so dumb, bizarre even! So I went into this book expecting it to be awful, and admittedly I didn't fall in love with it right away, but once I got into the story, I was hooked. Belle lives with her father and two useless sisters. When they find out that they are going to lose the farm because their father hasn't been paying the mortgage all hope seems gone; they will be destitute and homeless. The town recluse, Adam, a man disfigured from a fire, buys up the farm and Belle tries to plead with him to save their home. He tells her the only way he'll let her family have the farm back is if she agrees to marry him and bear him a child. Against her better judgement she does, because she loves her family and wants the best for them. She knows nothing about this man, other than what her little Amish community has gossiped about him and his beast-like looks. Can they make this marriage work? Can she tame the beast and save her family? Cheesy, but super readable. I'll be reading the next in the series!