Tuesday, October 29, 2013

"Carry Me Home" By: Alexa Bourne Review

Carry Me Home
By: Alexa Bourne
After six months in the city, Mary MacDougall returns to the Scottish Highlands to finalize her divorce. Because of a past tragedy, she doubts her husband Jamie can possibly love her with the same unbridled passion as before and insists ending the marriage is best for both of them. But Jamie has other ideas….
Jamie MacDougall has no intention of letting his bonnie lass go. At least not without a fight. Aye, they’ve suffered heartache, and she may be ready to call it quits, but he refuses to throw away the partnership they’ve built since they were children. Instead, he’ll remind her they were meant to be together, forever.
Can this marriage survive pride and grief to allow love to carry them home?
My Thoughts
     A cute, quick novella featuring the Scottish Highlands and a fractured relationship between a couple who has been through more than imaginable pain, Bourne takes us on an incredibly sweet journey in a few short pages.
       Mary has left her husband and best friend after the loss of their child. Feeling unappreciated and deeply depressed, she doesn’t feel as if the chasm that has developed between the two can ever be crossed and leaves. Jamie, her husband, doesn’t understand how the separation has been created nor does he know how he can bring his wife back.
      When Mary returns home after six months wanting a divorce, Jamie knows he has to do something drastic to win her back. Through a series of dates, dinners, and remembrances about their time together, Jamie eventually (of course!) convinces Mary that their relationship can be saved and is worth the work.
     A sweet story that I read quickly, this story had a bit of everything. A tad naughty, with a rich emotional story about two people finding their way again after catastrophe. This is the first Alexa Bourne book I’ve read but most definitely will not be my last. The only negative I can think of was that the length was relatively short for the amount of money that was paid, so be prepared.

Book Details
Publisher: Decadent Publishing
Date of Publication: June 5, 2013
# of Pages: 43
Source: Personal Purchase

This review originally appeared on The Brunette Librarian's Blog

Monday, October 28, 2013

The Supreme's at Earl's All-You-Can-Eat by Edward Kelsey Moore

Odette, Clarice, and Barbara Jean have been close friends since girlhood, growing up in the 1960s in the southern Indiana town of Plainview. Their personalities and cool good looks earned them the name the Supremes when they’d meet regularly to eat at Earl’s All-You-Can-Eat, with Big Earl keeping a watchful eye on them. Now in middle age, the Supremes meet regularly with their husbands for dinner at Earl’s, now managed by his son. The aging Supremes and Earl’s are institutions in a black community that has seen much progress since the 1950s, when the restaurant became the first black-owned business in a racially divided town. But the town as well as the women have also seen much trouble. Odette makes time in her busy life for the regular visitations of her dead mother, Clarice copes with the humiliation of an unfaithful husband, and Barbara Jean struggles to hide her drinking to "get-over" the death of her child.  The reader see the characters lives from their past mixed in with their current lives. We see the "Supremes"  and their enduring friendship through good times and bad.

I thoroughly enjoyed this books - from Odette's visits with her dead mother & Mrs. Roosvelt to her bout with cancer, Barbara Jean's tragic childhood to learning the truth about her son's death and Clarice's cheating husband to her wedding planning.  It was a fun and enjoyable read.

  • Hardcover: 320 pages
  • Publisher: Knopf
  • Copyright: 2013

Friday, October 25, 2013

"The Silmarillion" By: J.R.R. Tolkien

Paperback, 442 pages
Originally Published 1977 by Allen & Unwin

SUMMARY: Before the rings of power were ever forged, there were the Silmarils; three gems that were so dazzling that an entire race was thrown into turmoil. The Silmarillion, a collection of  interconnected stories from the history and legends of Middle Earth, follows the havoc that these stones bring to elves and men. The creation of Middle Earth is explained, and the rise of Morgoth, the mentor of the later dark lord Sauron, is shown. Battles, wars, and love stories that do not always have very happy endings, abound on each page. The events that led to The Lord of the Rings, and are often mentioned briefly in the books, are collected in The Silmarillion

REVIEW: Reading The Silmarillion by J.R.R. Tolkien can require a lot patience. The layout of the book is a collection of stories written out like an actually history. Most books are written focusing on only a few a characters and their challenges. The Silmarillion has MANY characters and events going on. It's been rightly called a geek bible, because of how much thought and detail the author put in to make it feel like it could be real. He made up a complicated elvish language for Pete's sake. This format can be a turn off for some readers. It took me a little bit to get into it, but when I did, I really enjoyed myself. I've always liked legends, and being a fan of The Lord of the Rings, also by Tolkien, I was interested to learn more about elves and other creatures, and their history. I'm a very passionate reader, and by that I mean I will verbally shout at the book. There were plenty of frustrated conversations with certain characters here. I'm sure others sitting by in waiting rooms listening to my muttering under my breath about "Darn Elves", probably thought I was crazy. As a morbid lover of tragedy, I enjoyed the slow descent of kingdoms and the death of valiant characters, as much as I hated it. Yet there was also a balance of happiness that endured for some characters, but they had to earn it.

I recommend this to anyone who perhaps enjoyed reading The Lord of the Rings, or who likes tragic history like me, (a lover of the Henry the Eighth rhyme: "Divorced, Beheaded, Died, Divorced, Beheaded, Survived.").

I fear this was me a couple times reading about my favorite character dying...

Thursday, October 24, 2013

"100 Ghosts: A Gallery of Harmless Haunts" By: Doogie Horner Review

100 Ghosts: A Gallery of Harmless Haunts
By: Doogie Horner
Cut two eyeholes into a bedsheet and BOO! You’ve got yourself a classic Halloween icon. But what happens if you tie the bedsheet in knots? What happens when you set it on fire, hang it from a clothesline, or put a llama underneath it? 100 Ghosts is a brilliantly simple artistic exploration of an icon as familiar as a grinning jack-o-lantern or an arched black cat. It’s a delightful gift for adults, kids, and anyone who enjoys spooky design.
My Thoughts

     I’m having a hard time describing this book except for simply fun. Great for anyone who loves simple, quirky books, 100 Ghosts is exactly as the title describes...a large gallery of harmless haunts. From a Harry Potter ghost complete with his iconic glasses to a shy ghost who won’t even look at you, Doogie Horner has created a creative and incredibly funny collection for children, teens, and adults to enjoy. We had a really good time passing the book around at my library with every librarian having a different favorite. Creative, funny, and captivating, 100 Ghosts: A Gallery of Harmless Haunts is a perfect coffee table book for you to pick up when you have a free moment. I always got something a little different out of it every time I picked it up and I know you will too!

Book Details
Publisher: Quirk Books
Date of Publication: September 10, 2013
# of Pages: 208
ISBN: 978-1594746475
Source: From Publisher for Review

This blog was originally published at The Brunette Librarian's Blog

Tuesday, October 22, 2013

The Monstore - Tara Lazar

Hardcover, 32 pages
Published June 4th 2013 by Aladdin 
At the back of Frankensweet’s Candy Shoppe, under the last box of sour gumballs, there’s a trapdoor.
Knock five times fast, hand over the bag of squirmy worms, and you can crawl inside The Monstore.

The Monstore is the place to go for all of your monsterly needs. Which is perfect, since Zack definitely has a monsterly need. The problem? His pesky little sister, Gracie, who never pays attention to that “Keep Out” sign on Zack’s door—the one he has made especially for her.

But when Zack’s monsters don’t exactly work as planned, he soon finds out that the Monstore has a few rules: No Refunds. No exchanges. No exceptions.

Cute story.  Adorable monsters with silly names.  My son loved it!

Monday, October 21, 2013

The Zombie Survival Guide: Recorded Attacks - Max Brooks

Paperback, 144 pages
Published October 6th 2009 by Broadway Books 
Fast paced, graphic novel depicting a series of undead outbreaks occurring throughout history.  The book was laced with historical inaccuracies, but hey, it's a graphic novel about zombies.  The chilling artwork by Ibraim Roberson, for me, made it worth the read.

Saturday, October 19, 2013

Rosemary's Baby - Ira Levin

Paperback, 308 pages
Published September 1st 1997 by Signet (first published 1967) 
 Rosemary and Guy Woodhouse, an ordinary young couple, settle into a New York City apartment, unaware that the elderly neighbors and their bizarre group of friends have taken a disturbing interest in them. But by the time Rosemary discovers the horrifying truth, it may be far too late!
I had watched the movie years ago, and was afraid that knowing the ending might ruin the book for me in some way, but I found it to be quite an enjoyable, quick read.  I appreciated the atmospheric, subtly building nightmare for the main character, instead of being hit in the beginning with in your face gore and scare tactics used in so many of the modern horror fiction books I've read.  A great, classic horror story to get me in the mood for Halloween!

Wednesday, October 16, 2013

I'm Bored - Michael Ian Black

So cute!  Adorable illustrations, a bored little girl, and an equally bored, talking potato.  My son giggled through the entire story and we had the best time making up voices for the characters.  Kid approved! :)

Hardcover, 40 pages
Published September 2012

Monday, October 14, 2013

The Lincoln Letter by WIlliam Martin

Brilliance Audio - 14 discs (16 hours, 26 minutes)
448 pages
Copyright  - 2012
Performed by John Pruden

Treasure hunters Peter Fallon and Evangeline Carrington are heading to Washington, D. C. to find a document of incredible historical  importance and incalculable value - Abraham Lincoln diary.

What if Lincoln wrote a diary and his thoughts during 1862 slipped from his fingers  - his thoughts about the emancipation of all slaves, his war strategies, and how the Civil War would be won?

Halsey Hutchinson, military Civil War telegrapher, finds the diary left by President Lincoln in his office and this begins the story of how Abraham Lincoln's diary changes  HH's life and the life of those around him.

Will the diary be used for good or will the diary be lost our nation?

Sunday, October 13, 2013

Ghosts and Ruins - Ben Catmull

Creepy little stories. Beautifully eerie, black and white sketches. Loved this for the artwork alone.

Hardcover, 84 pages
Published August 17th 2013 by Fantagraphics Books 

Celeste - V.C. Andrews

Eh... same old Andrew's premise. Young girl abused while growing up, death of loved ones, taboo romance.  All with a supernatural twist.

Paperback, 432 pages
Published April 1st 2004 by Pocket Star

Wednesday, October 9, 2013

Looking For Me   

By Beth Hoffman

Another book from the author of Saving Cee Cee Honeycutt.  If you liked Cee Cee Honeycutt you will like "Looking for Me"

Theodora Teddie Overman runs a successful antiques shop, filling her days with restoration projects and buying trips. But she’s having a hard time filling the hole in her heart left by her younger brother, who ran away from home and disappeared at age 17—now presumed dead—to live in the wilderness. Teddie was never close to her family, having left home shortly after high-school graduation, determined to make it in the antiques world rather than attend the boring secretarial school her mother had in mind. Now in her midthirties, Teddie misses the chance to reconcile with her estranged mother and becomes obsessed with finding her brother after all these years. Along the way, she finds love and comes to terms with her childhood. Hoffman has a good ear for dialogue, and Teddie and her friends are realistic, appealing characters. Perfect for fans of family-centered women’s fiction, this book will have special appeal to readers interested in antiques and shabby chic style.

A wonderful story about family and reconnecting to your past.

  • 368 pages
  • Pamela Dorman Books; First Edition edition (May 28, 2013)

"Dad is Fat" By: Jim Gaffigan Review

Dad is Fat
By: Jim Gaffigan
In Dad is Fat, stand-up comedian Jim Gaffigan, who’s best known for his legendary riffs on Hot Pockets, bacon, manatees, and McDonald's, expresses all the joys and horrors of life with five young children—everything from cousins ("celebrities for little kids") to toddlers’ communication skills (“they always sound like they have traveled by horseback for hours to deliver important news”), to the eating habits of four year olds (“there is no difference between a four year old eating a taco and throwing a taco on the floor”). Reminiscent of Bill Cosby’s Fatherhood, Dad is Fat is sharply observed, explosively funny, and a cry for help from a man who has realized he and his wife are outnumbered in their own home.
My Thoughts
     I am a huge fan of Jim Gaffigan and this book only reinforces why. A fun filled romp through fatherhood, Gaffigan talks about the ins and outs of being a father living in New York City. I loved the off handed humor but you can also feel the genuine love he has for his children throughout.
     Jim Gaffigan has five children at the publication of this book. He and his wife Jeannie live in a two bedroom apartment in New York, with no car, and FIVE kids. Yep. Its hard for me to get over it but I think it bears repeating.
    Gaffigan talks about the trials of being a parent that are pretty universal. Some of my favorite parts of the book dealt with how annoying other parents are, which I can totally see. I don’t have children myself, but I enjoyed the random stories about how crazy children act and behave in different situations. Trips to the park took on a whole new meaning!
      I think all-in-all I enjoyed the book best because I could feel the love for his family as he wrote. Nothing really stood out to me as astounding but I did laugh in different places. I probably wouldn’t have picked up this book if I hadn’t known Gaffigan, but it was a pleasant, quick read that was pretty cute. Great for fans of Gaffigan’s stand up comedy and of course, for parents.

Book Details
Publisher: Crown Archetype
Date of Publication: May 7, 2013
# of Pages: 288
ISBN: 9780385349062
Source: Library Checkout

This review originally appeared on the Brunette Librarian's Blog

"Beauty and the Billionaire" By: Jessica Clare Review

Beauty and the Billionaire
By: Jessica Clare

Real-estate tycoon Hunter Buchanan has a dark past that’s left him scarred and living as a recluse on his family’s palatial estate. Hunter is ready to give up on love—until he spots an enigmatic red-haired beauty and comes up with an elaborate scheme to meet her.
Gretchen Petty is in need of a paycheck—and a change. So when a job opportunity in an upstate New York mansion pops up she accepts. And while she can overlook the oddities of her new job, she can’t ignore her new boss’s delectable body—or his barely leashed temper.
Hunter’s afraid his plan might be unraveling before it’s truly begun, but Gretchen is about to show him that life can be full of surprises…

My Thoughts
    Having really enjoyed Stranded with a Billionaire, and loving the character of the severely scarred Hunter, I simply devoured Beauty and the Billionaire the day it was released. When you wake up at 2am and realize its finally on your Nook, you’ve gotta read it don’t you?
     Taking off really right as Stranded with a Billionaire ends, Hunter Buchanan is entranced by Gretchen. In a scene from the first novel, Hunter overhears Gretchen tell her friend that looks aren’t important in a man. Instantly intrigued, Hunter arranges for Gretchen, an author and a loner, to create a novel based around letters he has purchased.
     The story as the title suggests has a very Beauty and the Beast feel to it. Hunter has been horribly scarred when he was younger and now lives as a recluse. Needing and wanting companionship, he invites Gretchen to his house and is utterly and adorably awkward with her. Uncomfortable around her and even having trouble conversing, Hunter (while rich and successful in the business world) finds himself lost in a normal relationship.
     Gretchen meanwhile has her own issues to deal with. A stunted writing career, crazy sisters, and an empty checkbook creates a whirlwind of problems that she has little chance of escaping from unless some major things change. When the recluse in the mansion expects her to write a book about some letters he has, she finds it weird but goes along with the program. Trying to draw Hunter out of his shell and not allow him to live up to the beast persona proves to be almost more than she can deal with.
     Beauty and the Billionaire is entrancing and as I said before, I woke up in the middle of the night to read it in its entirety. I stayed up for three hours reading frantically because I couldn’t put it down and when I saw the clock read 5am, I decided I might as well stay up and finish. Wonderful characters, hot sex scenes, and a complex relationship round out Clare’s newest release. Can’t wait for The Wrong Billionaire’s Bed, coming in October 2013!

Billionaire Boys Club Series
1. Stranded with a Billionaire
2. Beauty and the Billionaire
3. The Wrong Billionaire's Bed

Book Details
Publisher: Berkley Intermix
# of Pages: 261
Date of Publication: July 16, 2013
Source: Personal Purchase

"Vader's Little Princess" By: Jeffrey Brown Review

Vader's Little Princess
By: Jeffrey Brown


In this irresistibly funny follow-up to the breakout bestseller Darth Vader and Son, Vader--Sith Lord and leader of the Galactic Empire--now faces the trials, joys, and mood swings of raising his daughter Leia as she grows from a sweet little girl into a rebellious teenager.
Smart and funny illustrations by artist Jeffrey Brown give classic Star Wars moments a twist by bringing these iconic family relations together under one roof. From tea parties to teaching Leia how to fly a TIE fighter, regulating the time she spends talking with friends via R2-D2's hologram, and making sure Leia doesn't leave the house wearing only a skirted metal bikini, Vader's parenting skills are put hilariously to the test.

My Thoughts
    First I have a few disclaimers -
1. I saw this book at Target and thought it looked cute
2. I have never seen Star Wars
3. Really, the only thing with Star Wars I have seen are Family Guy episodes

   For what this is, this book is extremely cute. Funny, with inside jokes and tongue in cheek comics, fans of Star Wars are bound to love this short but cute collection. Now for those who are kind of in a similar boat, there is enough humor and knowledge of the Star Wars Universe isn’t really necessary. One of my favorite scenes is when Leia is holding on for dear life on Darth Vader’s leg. Keep in mind though, the book is extremely short with less than 70 pages of content, so I was happy to find it at my local library. Super cute, funny, and above all clever, Vader’s Little Princess is perfect for fans of the Star Wars franchise or for people who just enjoy a really funny read.

Book Details
Publisher: Chronicle Books
Date of Publication: April 23, 2013
# of Pages: 64
ISBN: 9781452118697
Source: Library Check Out

Originally published at the Brunette Librarian's Blog