What It Means to Be Alive



By: Madeline Miller

Grade: A

“Humbling women seems to be the chief pastime of poets. As if there can be no story unless we crawl and weep.”

Part of me wants to talk in-depth about Circe and another part of me, a very large part, wants to be like, “Yes! It was great! Fantastic! Just read it…”

So I shall do a little of both.

Continue reading “What It Means to Be Alive”


Needed One Less Death

The Seven Deaths of Evelyn Hardcastle

The Seven Deaths of Evelyn Hardcastle

By: Stuart Turton

Grade: A-

What would it be like to wake up in a different body every morning? To have no memory of who you were? To have to repeat it over and over again in a loop until you were able to solve the mystery of who killed Evelyn Hardcastle?

Groundhog Day with a whole lot of liars, twists, turns, long-buried secrets and body hopping indeed.

It also could have used one or two less deaths.

Continue reading “Needed One Less Death”


More than the Title

erotic stories for punjabi widows

Erotic Stories for Punjabi Widows

By: Balli Kaur Jaswal

Grade: A

In need of some extra cash Nikki a young bartender/law school dropout takes a job teaching creative writing to Punjabi widows in Southall. They think they are going to be learning English literacy. Despite the mix-up the widows- who run the gamut of ages begin telling stories about their fantasies and their lives and things change for them all in ways Nikki couldn’t have imagined.

Continue reading “More than the Title”


Help is NOT On the Way!

the loneliest girl in the universe

The Loneliest Girl in the Universe

By: Lauren James

Grade: A

Romy Silvers is the last survivor of a deep space mission headed to a new Earth. She’s never even set foot on the real Earth having been born on the mission. Used to her loneliness and tenuous connection to NASA Romy is over the moon when she hears they’ve launched another mission to catch up to hers. Soon J makes contact a young man and easily connects with the lonely girl.

But everything is definitely not as it seems.

Continue reading “Help is NOT On the Way!”


Queen of Hearts


Queen of Hearts

Author: Colleen Oakes

Genre: YA/Fantasy

Grade: A

I absolutely love the thought of adventures in Wonderland although recently it’s been hit or miss for me. (Alice in Zombieland and After Alice- they did nothing for me.) Luckily the story of  Princess Dinah was a lot more intriguing and fun.

The Princess is on the verge of her coronation and in love with her best friend when her crappy father drops a bombshell on her in front of the whole court. Not only does she have an illegitimate sister he’s making her the a legitimate Duchess. The new sister is beautiful and graceful and everything Dinah basically isn’t although this actually becomes the least of her problems in Wonderland.

Dinah finds herself trapped in a dangerous mystery and her relationship with the King goes from horrible father to abusive nightmare.

I think Oakes does a very good job with both Dinah and Wonderland. The Princess is not a completely likable character which made her very relatable to me. She’s far from perfect. She doesn’t always behave in the best of fashions (unlike her new sister) but she’s smart, brave and you do get the feeling, as the story goes, her growing empathy and compassion for people is genuine.

There’s only two real locations outside the tension filled palace but in terms of what you’d think of Wonderland both the horrible prison system and the creepy forest are on point. Very good atmosphere building which gives me definite hope for the next book. (Yep, it’s a series. It’s like I can’t stay away from series!)

It does take a bit for the mystery to really get going. Much like Dinah the reader is in the dark and doesn’t know who to trust… You don’t need to have read Alice in Wonderland to “get” this book either.

My biggest nitpick on this one (besides that it’s the start of another series) is that I’m ready for sequel.

This would also be a really fun movie Hollywood. Darken up Chloe Grace Moretz’s hair and you’ve got yourself a Princess Dinah.

Recommend: Yes. I’m crossing my fingers the sequel is just as enjoyable. 


My Stages of Reading Uprooted



Author: Naomi Novik

Genre: Fantasy

Grade: A

Agnieszka lives in a small village by a dark corrupted wood held back by the Dragon. But they pay a price for his help. Every ten years he takes a local girl from the village to serve him. Agnieszka (and everyone else) is sure this is going to be the beautiful Kasia. Boy, is she in for a surprise!

This book can really be broken down into stages for me.

Stage 1: Pretty cover, interesting, good reviews. I’m sold! Book waits while I finish up some others.

Stage 2: Hit a little mini-slump and then read some reviews that aren’t as good (repetitious and too-wordy). You don’t want to make a reading slump worse. Book continues to wait for me.

Finally: I’m just going to read this!

Stage 3: (First 200 pages) Oh, man! This is so good! Love the main character! The relationship with the Dragon is right up my alley! Love that they don’t lose the binds of her friendship with Kasia. A girl can have love and friendship right?

Stage 4: (Mid-book) Okay, she’s going where? I don’t know about this… I like the story of the poor Prince looking for his Wood stolen mother but still…

A little further along: Oh! Ah, brutal. We’re talking old school fairy tales here! Back on track pretty quickly no less!

End of Book: Great story. Great characters. Would love to see this on-screen and see the truth about the Wood brought to life. I should have read this sooner!

Recommend: Yes. It lags a bit in the middle for some world-building but I admit I might have thought that because I wanted more of the Dragon/Agnieszka but when it moves it flies toward the ending for me. I even wound up enjoying the stuff with the royal family. I really should have picked it up sooner!





Scare Scale: 10

Creep Factor: 8

Author: Grady Hendrix /Grade: A

 Scary ghost story?

 This one did the trick!

 Amy works at Orsk an IKEA knock-off in the mid-West. Strange things have been happening there and one day her supervisor asks her and another character to pull an all-nighter with him and try to figure out what’s going on. They wound up being joined by two other employees on a ghost hunt.

 What’s going on? A good old-fashioned ghost/horror story because unfortunately Orsk just happens to have been built on the remains of a prison where some not so pleasant things happened a long time ago.

 I admit a lot of what creeped me out is I actually do find IKEA and some of those other stores creepy. (I have this paranoid fear every time I step foot inside a Costco or Home Depot that while be the moment an Earthquake hits and I’ll be crushed by the stock and never find my way out. But that’s a whole other tale.) Probably everyone has been in a store like that. Lots of space. Lots of corners. Furniture to hide under. Doors that are supposed to go nowhere.

 I’m getting scared again just thinking about it. I liked Amy and Basil (her supervisor) quite a bit. But then again I think everyone has been in Amy’s position just trying to get by and failing having to do crap like stay overnight at this place in order to pay rent or get kicked out. There are a couple of violent and gross moments that set me on edge.

 Seriously, once I start reading a scary book I have to finish. I can’t sleep until I know the end. Luckily this one is a fast read.

 This one works so well and scares so well because the characters are so relatable and the place is so well-known.

 Recommend: Yes. So far the best of my scary book month! I’d also definitely put this in a should be a movie category.