Monday, November 20, 2017

Genuine Fraud

For a teen read this book had lots of twists and turns and murder. I dug it. The story is kind of like the movie, Memento, it humps around in time, but mostly it moves backward, towards the truth. Jule is a chameleon, she can be whoever you need her to be and she's strong and smart. Imogen is a spoiled heiress who never questions anything. Together they have an unusual friendship, one that makes more and more sense as the story progresses. It's a story of deception, entitlement, smarts, money, lies, and eventually... the truth. The audiobook was a solid listen. A good follow up novel from the teen author of the smash bestseller, We Were Liars.

Saturday, November 18, 2017

Since We Fell

I feel like there is more than one story in here. I didn't particularly like the first half but by the time I got to the second half it's a thriller and everything has turned on it's head and I got jacked! I really enjoyed the story once the pacing picked up, but it was like two separate stories were mushed together. A reporter turns recluse after an embarrassing meltdown on live TV in Haiti and her divorce. Then she runs into a private detective that she hired when she was younger and was trying to find out the identity of her father. The reporter and the former PI get married and everything is fine until Rachel discovers that her husband may be lying and leading a second life. Once that happens shit hits the fan and everything picks up quickly. Overall not a bad read.

Wednesday, November 15, 2017

A Sick Life

The first parental advisory CD I was ever allowed to purchase was TLC's "Fanmail" and that album was FIRE. "No Scrubs" was my jam and even though I came late to loving TLC, I was definitely a fan. I was even excited to see them open for New Kids on the Block a few years ago. That being said, I never knew much about the pop group, I knew that one of them died and one of them sometimes got sick but that was about it. "A Sick Life" goes into T-Boz's story about her childhood, her battle with Sickle Cell, the formation of TLC, and her children. It was all pretty inspiring and fascinating and it helped that the audiobook was narrated by T-Boz herself. I definitely gained a new appreciation for TLC's music, this was a nice blast to the past and a must read (or listen) for all 90's kids.

Tuesday, November 14, 2017

Code of Honor

Totally unbelievable, but 100% enjoyable and fast paced. I can definitely see this book being popular with teens. Kamran has it all, he's a a football star, homecoming king, and has a smoking hot girlfriend. But that all comes crashing down when his older brother joins up with terrorists. He had been in the military but suddenly he's on the news making demands, condemning the US, and standing by while an innocent journalist is beheaded. Everyone writes him off, except for his brother. Kamran is convinced that his brother is giving him hints in the video and that he's being held hostage. Instead of being at high school, Kamran is now working with the US government and trying to get them believe that his brother is innocent. But will it be enough? Can they rescue him and stop the terrorists before they kill people? Short chapters, fast paced, and deals with hard themes like culture, religion, and judging others who are different from us. Surprisingly good!

Otherworld

I'm astonished at how much I loved this book. I got sucked in from the get go and raced through it to see how the story could possibly get solved (spoiler alert it's in the first of a series). I also couldn't believe that Hollywood actor, Jason Segel, wrote this. How cool! Apparently he's also written other  books as well! This book is like Ready Player One and Westworld if it had been written for teenagers. There is a new virtual reality called Otherworld and it's just been released on the market to 2,000 lucky beta testers. Simon and his best friend (and romantic interest) Kat, get to be some of the lucky first few to experience it. Real life is so boring is boring compared to realness and power of Otherworld. But when Simon discovers that this may be more than a game and it has the potential to kill certain players during the testing phase, he is determined to go back in there and save Kat (who at this point, is being forced to stay in the Otherworld against her will). Engrossing, funny, imaginative, and surprisingly believable; this book will garner teen fans and quite a few adults too. I can't wait for the next one!

Monday, November 13, 2017

Hiddensee

CRAP! CRAP! CRAP! Why did I trick myself into reading this utter nonsense?!?! Why?!?!!? After Alice (his Alice in Wonderland adaptation) was bad enough (another 1 star review) but I was lured in by the premise of a backstory to the nutcracker. I'm an idiot! I should have stayed clear! My god, this story  hardly anything to do with the nutcracker and the first 200 pages was about a boy named Dirk wandering the countryside, no mention of A nutcracker or THE nutcracker OR Christmas. NOTHING! ZILCH! Literally dumb. I hate this. I'm never tricking myself into reading his stuff again. Avoid if you know what's good for you.

Hardwired

This seemed soo similar to 50 Shades of Grey to me. Not because it's erotica, but because it's about a young hot inexperienced college graduate (with a few problems in her past) who is relying on a super attractive billionaire to fund her fledgling start up. Of course they get involved. Of course he's controlling. Of course he's AMAZING in bed. Of course he is going to school Erica in the ways of business and lovemaking. Lots of hot unbelievable sex scenes, followed by even more unbelievable plot. It ends on a cliffhanger to make you want to finish the rest of the series. Didn't work for me though. If it keeps up the similar story-line to 50 Shades, I know exactly where it's headed. A nice steamy, brainless read.

Pride and Prejudice and Mistletoe

One of the lames Jane Austen spin offs I've read in a long time. I will admit, I picked this book up solely because I love Jane Austen and I love Christmas. I didn't even bother to read the description (which was obviously a mistake). In this modern day Christmastime Pride and Prejudice adaptation. Darcy Fitzwilliam, one of the wealthiest and influential women in New York City comes back to Pemberly, Ohio for the holidays for the first time in eight years because her mom is sick. After she failed to marry her high school sweetheart, Caleb her father disowned her and took her out of the will so she went to New York and became rich and powerful on her own. She hates Pemberly, but thankfully her best friend from high school, the sassy gay Bingley, is in town so they have a good time catching up while her mother recovers. Also she runs into Luke Bennet and he is a stunner. Maybe something will happen with that. Ugh. It's a nightmare. I didn't even care what happened to anyone.

Black Hammer

This was similar to Watchmen in that it's not about superpowers and superheroes, it'a about the people behind the mask. It's set up very well and it's no trouble to follow the story line with all the flashbacks and dialogue. The illustrations are amazing and the characters are bad ass. I really can't wait to see where this series goes and I'll definitely be keeping up with it. The premise is a bunch of superheroes have been stuck on a farm in this small town unable to leave. They keep their powers hidden from the townsfolk, but after 10 years it's wearing them all down. Their trying to escape, but even if they can, what is left for them out there? All around awesome!

Friday, November 10, 2017

Scooby Apocalypse

I've been on a Scooby Doo kick this year. I re-watched the entire first season a few months ago and read "Meddling Kids" an adult spoof and everyone's favorite teenage gang of crime solvers. I thought Scooby Doo Apocalypse might be some more of that but I was wrong. It's entirely different. The gang didn't know each other as teenagers and they only come together because evil genius, Velma had been working on nano-technology when some scientists re-wired it and caused it to be bad. Velma reached out to Daphne's low rated cable mystery show (Fred is the loyal filming assistant) to help expose what was going on in her secret high tech lab. Unfortunately all hell breaks loose and everyone starts turning into monsters. Shaggy and his genetically enhanced dog, Scooby, help the three escape the lab alive. Now the five of them must rely on each other for survival because it looks like the whole world has gone mad. So yeah... completely different. They even made Shaggy a giant hipster. Not horrible, not great, I may check out volume two.

Thursday, November 9, 2017

Strange Weather

This might be one of my favorite short story collections and it may have beaten out The Fireman as my favorite Joe Hill book. I LOVED this collection. There are four short stories and all of them are simply amazing! I don't know which one I like the most? They are all so unique and inventive, and creepy, and all around insanely good. I know I'm gushing here, but I can't help fangirling all over this short story collection! It's money! There are four short novels in this collection.

Snapshot made my skin crawl. A nerdy awkward teenager confront a man who owns a unique Polaroid camera that has the ability to erase your mind one snapshot at a time.

Loaded will make you angry, it's a story we've all heard before, an innocent young black man was killed because he was in the wrong place at the wrong time and "looked guilty." Fast forward two decades and the witness to that crime is about to see a whole other gun drama unfold before her eyes. It's gripping and the end is maddening. You won't be able to stop thinking about it.

Aloft is about a skydiver who gets stuck on a cloud that is only trying to make friends. It's bizarre and imaginative and I LOVE the concept of this one!

Rain reminded me so much of Kurt Vonnegut's, Cat's Cradle! Instead of Ice 9, the sky starts raining needles. Denver is very nearly obliterated. The badd ass lesbian heroine in this might be one of my favorite characters. All around great apocalyptic novel.

Buy this. Read it. Talk to me about it. I'm in love!

Quicksand Pond

Lisle, Janet Taylor. Quicksand Pond. 6 CDs. unabridged. Recorded Books. 2017. ISBN 9781501940347.

Newbery Honor winner Janet Taylor Lisle brings to life a story of summer friendships, small town preconceptions, and the choices that define us. Jessie Kettel's father is determined to make the most out of their summer vacation by uprooting his kids from the city and renting out a decrepit old cabin by a dingy old pond for a few weeks. Jessie is immediately entranced by the pond and finds an old raft on which to explore the secrets of the swampy land. It's there she discovers Terri and the two become inseparable, fixing the raft and learning about each other. The more Jessie gets to know Terri though, the more concerned she becomes. Terri is from a no good family and everyone knows that they're always in trouble. As things start to fall apart, Jessie starts distancing herself and begins questioning her own feelings and convictions. Although intended for a middle grade audience, the novel reads more mature and may lose younger readers. The story isn't very fast paced, but there is rich character development with Jessie and Terri. The narrator's youthful voice helps capture the innocence and excitement of the young girls. Not for everyone but will appeal to more mature middle school readers, not for content but for plot, dialogue, and character development. - Erin Cataldi, Johnson Co. Public Library, Franklin, IN


Monday, November 6, 2017

The Keto Reset Diet

There is a plethora of self help, diet, and cook books, but the Keto diet promises to shake all that up. "Hopefully" this isn't a new fad diet because it seems pretty promising. The premise is you cut out carbs and eat high fat foods and slowly you trick your body into eating the fats. This diet promises to leave you satisfied as it is truly high fats, moderate protein, and minimal carbs. It's supposes to help reboot your metabolism completely and change how it's been working. Included in this book along with the science, the implementation, and advice, are over 100 recipes. They very in kitchen skill level and some even sound pretty good (I have not made any yet). My only complaint is that the book didn't seem very vegetarian friendly, but really I'm in the minority here so I wasn't mad, just something I've come to expect. I can gauge the effectiveness of this diet because I've only read the book and not implemented it, but on appearances this plan seems a lot more sound then others! 

Long Way Down

Easily one of the best books I've read so far this year! Utterly compelling, impossible to put down, and packs one hell of a punch. This teen novel in verse discusses gun violence in such a way that leaves no room for argument, it demands to be heard and felt. Will's older brother Shawn has been shot and killed and it falls on Will to exact vengeance. He has to he has no choice. It's part of the rules.
1. No crying
2. No snitching
3. Get revenge no matter what
It's what his brother would have done. So he takes his dead brother's gun and heads to the elevator to leave the building and take out his brother's killer. But it's a long way down and he must pass seven floors. On each floor, a victim of gun violence enters on the elevator. Sixty seconds. Seven floors, Three rules. One gun.
AMAZING! Seriously can't stop thinking about this book. It's giving me the chills.

Walking Dead: Book Fourteen

Another stunning addition to the Walking Dead collection. I'll admit it took me a minute to gather my bearings and remember what happened in book thirteen since it had been quite a while since I had read it, but it did come back rather quickly. This book follows the ongoing battle with the whisperers (who are creepy as fuck!) and we see a huge growth in Negan's character. Not only is he finally free but he is working with Rick and is seemingly on his side! Is this a long term ploy? Probably, but right now it seems pretty damn convincing. We have one major character death and a massive zombie herd coming straight at Alexandria.Overall, pretty damn good. I can't wait for book fifteen!

The Book of Barb

A cute little coffee table book with lots of amazing illustrations. This book contains a short essay on the iconic Stranger Things wing woman with virtually no screen time, along with lots of other fun little sections. There is a quiz, advice, makeup tips, a playlist, lots of illustrations, What would Barb Do, and loads of other creative things. It's a little short and I could have used more, but I'll take what I can get. The illustrations alone make this gem worth buying. A must own for any dedicated Stranger Things fan. I better see a Bob book soon!

I'd Rather Be Reading

This little gift book is adorable and a must have for all bibliophiles. It contains a few short essays on the joy of reading, lots of gorgeous drawings, prints, and cartoons celebrating the greatness of books, and quite a few quotes from authors and poets on being a bibliophile. All in all it's a small cute book, that will make a great addition to any coffee table, book shelf, or display. I'd love if I could get some of the art bigger and framed around my house, it's that good!

Girl Waits With Gun

Cute, inventive, and hard to put down. I thoroughly enjoyed reading the escapades of the three Kopp sisters, even more so when I discovered that this story is loosely based off true events! When an automobile collides with a horse and buggy and the buggy is ruined, the eldest sister, Constance, decides to take matters into her own hands and get the thug who was driving the car to pay. Little does she realize though that this thug is not to be messed with. Soon come the threatening letters, shots fired at the house, bricks thrown into windows. The girls finds themselves in over their heads. They turn to the sheriff for help before things escalate too quickly. My favorite character is the youngest sister Fleurette, who has a wonderful knack for creativity and seeing the positive side in everything. An enjoyably quick read.

Sense and Sensibility

Re-reading this book just solidified my opinion that it is the best of the Jane Austen novels. I know everyone has their hearts set on Pride and Prejudice and Mr. Darcy, but I believe that her first novel is raw and real and much more relatable. It truly remains as fresh a cautionary tale today as it ever was. The Dashwood sisters learn that the path to love isn't always straight and narrow and sometimes you're heart has to be broken for you to appreciate how whole a heart can be. Filled with memorable characters, witty dialogue, and unforgettable romance, this is a book readers won't soon forget.

I really enjoyed discussing the book with my library Jane Austen Book and Film Club, we talked about how societal obligations have changed but the heart has remained the same and then we watched the Masterpiece Theater version. Overall, a must read. And if you haven't watch the 1995 movie version. It's amazing and you won't regret it.

Wednesday, November 1, 2017

The Girl Who Takes an Eye for an Eye

Written in the same style, voice, and intensity of the original trilogy, the fifth book in the Millennium series was still a little lackluster for me. I thought the dueling story-lines were a bit much and I didn't care for the characters as much as I had in the past. Also, I noticed that Lisbeth Salander is becoming less and less of a central roles in these books. That being said, I didn't hate it. I was intrigued enough to keep going and try to figure out how the story would conclude and to discover the hidden links that merged the two plots together. Of course we have Blomkvist, the ever persistent journalist digging deep and following the thread as well as a few new characters and villains. Not great, not bad - here's to hoping I like the sixth one better.

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.

Caroline

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

Sirena

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.

Friday, September 29, 2017

I Am Ozzy

Honestly more enjoyable than I thought it would be. Thankfully he had a writer help him out so it wasn't all unintelligible gibberish, it was actually quite interesting. I shouldn't be surprised, he's an interesting and crazy guy and this book really highlights the insanity of his life. He starts with his childhood, formation of Black Sabbath, his first marriage, his obscene amount of alcohol and drug abuse, his marriage to Sharon, his solo career, his second family, his TV show, and getting sober. He's accomplished a lot and how he isn't dead I have no idea. My nose was literally itching from the amount of waffle dust and drugs used. I didn't enjoy all the animal abuse, cheating, or domestic abuse, but at least he owns up to those and doesn't make excuses for himself. Overall an interesting fucked up enjoyable read.

Monday, September 25, 2017

David Bowie: A Life

Not the greatest biography on Bowie, and certainly not the worst. The collection is just so so. This oral history biography recounts collections from Bowie's closest friends, family, band members, partners, and more; unfortunately it doesn't shed much new light on his life. If you're a seasoned Bowie lover you can pass by this, however if this is your first Bowie biography it's not bad. It can get a little repetitive at times and the format of the oral histories takes some getting used to , but it's still pieced together pretty well. Best read while listening to Bowie's music on repeat for the full effect.

The Tommy Gun Dolls

This book was beautiful and badass and I CANNOT WAIT for the next volume. After waiting years to get my hands on this I was not disappointed. The illustrations are out of this world good and I couldn't stop reading until I was done. I had to know how these dames got out of their mess. Mix together some burlesque, flappers, mafia, vengeance, and general feminist badassery and you have an idea of how great this graphic novel is. Check it out, you won't regret it!

Beauty and the Beast

I'm not going to lie, I'm giving this 5 out of 5 stars simply because this book is so gorgeous. The illustrations are divine and the interactive elements are beautiful. I honestly can't recall the last time I was so bowled over by how pretty a book was. The text and story are quite different from what most people remember in the Disney version. The text in this book is used from one of the original French translations, so there are some big notable differences. Beauty has lots of siblings, there is no Gaston, no talking household items, lots of fairies, and trickery, and more. It's not bad, just different. The text can also be a little clunky, but I think that's due to the translation and time period it was written. Kids (and adults) will be enthralled enough in the illustrations and interactive elements to not care. A beautiful book that will light up any bookshelf.

Going Clear

LORD HELP ME! This book was outta control. I wish it was science fiction. You ever read a book and it lifts the curtain and it's like you can see clearly for the first time? That's what this was. Obviously I'm familiar with the controversy surrounding Scientology and I know that this religion was created by the Science Fiction legend, L. Ron Hubbard, but other than that... I didn't know anything. Reading this was eye opening and terrifying. All religions are unique, but this "new one" is pretty freaking scary. Lawrence Wright does an amazing job outlining L. Ron Hubbard's life, early stages of Scientology, its ties to Hollywood, and the terrifying reality for those that get sucked into it. Scientology is INSANE. I get all belief systems are a little "unique" but this one is out of the ballpark. You have to read it to believe it.  After reading this I cannot wait to watch some of the documentaries and read more. It's almost unbelievable.

Friday, September 22, 2017

The Road Through Wonderland

This was definitely an unsettling, upsetting, and heartbreaking memoir. Dawn Schiller had a rough childhood to say the least. With a deadbeat dad, and lots of crime and drugs she had to grow up very quickly. When she finds herself in California at 15 she meets the enigmatic Porn King, John Holmes (aka Johnny Wadd). He quickly seduces her even though he is already in his mid thirties and she isn't even close to legal. Their relationship quickly escalates and he moves her in to his wife's house to live with them. Things start to spiral out of control quickly though when they start heavily using crack. Not content to just snort it they start freebasing it as well. John's porn career is over and he finds himself heavily in debt as his drug usage mounts. He starts beating Dawn and forces her into prostitution to get more money for drugs. Things take a dark turn when Dawn realizes that he has somehow been involved in a murder in Wonderland. All the reader wants is for Dawn to leave John. He is LITERALLY THE WORST! But that is abuse for you, not only is it physical but mental too. Dark and unreal, the movie version stars Val Kilmer and Kate Bosworth.