Tuesday, June 28, 2016

The REAL Liddy James...

So sorry I didn't get a post up yesterday!!  I have tried very hard to get a post up every other day, but it was my last full day with my girl before she left...and life trumped blog.

BUT, I finished another Advanced Reader Copy from Netgalley, and couldn't wait to get a review up! The book is called The Real Liddy James by Anne-Marie Casey. I really got a kick out of this one.

The book centers on Liddy James, a 40+ superwoman.  This gal is living the life as a top New York divorce attorney, regularly sought after for news segments and magazine articles.  She has published best-sellers, and has another book in the works.  She is fit and fine, in her designer capsule wardrobe (because who has time to pick out clothes in the morning)...with twice weekly blowouts.  She lives in a beautiful loft apartment that she designed from top to bottom.  OH, and she has two kids...and regularly gives advice to working moms on keeping it all together.  Of course, she shares custody of one child with her ex and his new lady...but even that appears to be perfect.  Or is it?

Life comes crashing down on her when the new wife's pregnancy results in the teen moving back in with her...the nanny leaves town...she can't afford the repairs on her fancy loft's leaking roof...and the stress of keeping it all together results in a meltdown of epic proportions.  How is Liddy going to get her life back together again??

I really and truly enjoyed the hell out of this book.  I find the older I get, the more I like a book centered around someone the same age as me.  Now, I can't quite relate to a NYC wealthy attorney, but I can relate to a mom trying to do her best for everyone.  Liddy is very focused on keeping her life "perfect"...even if it involves nightly ambien/wine bombs to get some sleep.  Don't get me wrong, this isn't a depressing or sad book by any means.  It is really a fun read.  You will laugh at some of the stuff that happens.

But I can think of a million book club discussions that could be had after reading this. And I'm not even talking working mom/stay at home mom stuff.  More...have you turned your back on your family's heritage? How important is other peoples perceptions of you and your life?  Is it possible to "have it all"?  Is there such a thing as a "good divorce"?  What are your thoughts on social media culture...where every mistake made can be replayed over and over again on Youtube?  These are just a few of the serious discussions that could come out of this fun book.

Not a huge book, but definitely full of fodder.  I think you would enjoy this if you're a woman.  I also think you'd enjoy it if you're a mom.  You might REALLY enjoy it if you're over 40.  And definitely a good book club pick.  Not so long that people will boycott...and an easy read for people who aren't heavy readers.  I think it deserves to be on your to-read pile once it comes out in September.  

Time to go back to drowning my sorrows in Lemonade-aritas and pizza!  Once again, sorry for the missed day...but Go Navy, Beat Army (or something like that, I guess I need to practice)!!  LOL

Saturday, June 25, 2016

Short and Sweet!

I'm trying my hardest to keep this blog all about books, but real life is bound to poke it's head in here on occasion.  I have two and a half days left with my youngest (Thing 2) at home, so my time has been monopolized by her...and what she wants to do (you know, important things like a Hobbit and Lord of the Rings marathon).  This has left very little time for writing, or reading.  So I thought I would introduce you to a few of my favorite books series...with just a small blurb about each.

I say small...I talk like I write, so who knows...this could end up being a full size mega post!
As I have mentioned before, over here, I absolutely adore all things Outlander.  I was initially underwhelmed by the first book, and a couple chapters in couldn't figure out why my friends loved it, and picked it for our Book Club.  But once Claire pops through those standing stones, I was hooked. Diana Gabaldon is working on the next book...and very involved in the television series on Starz (she wrote the last aired episode!!).  And I can promise you, I will pre-order it...and my life will be put on hold while I devour that sucker.  (If Thing 1 reads this, remember I asked for the signed copies from the Poisoned Pen for Christmas!!!)  If you have never read these, you are missing out.
The Cormoran Strike series by Robert Galbraith (otherwise known as J.K. Rowling, of Harry Potter fame) are another of my absolute favorites.  I would categorize these as Suspenseful Detective books...who-done-its...but they are smarter than average.  Cormoran Strike is a London Detective who lost his leg while serving in Afghanistan.  Robin Ellacott is the temp secretary sent to him, with plans to quickly move on to a better paying and more stable position elsewhere.  The two end up being a modern day Sherlock and Watson.

These books are so phenomenally written, and so clever.  The plot twists just keep on coming, and you won't know "who done it" until it is revealed.  I recommend these to people all the time, and have even got coworkers hooked.  I even forced the hubby to listen to the audiobook on a cross-country road trip, and he loved it. Honestly,  I don't know if it's just people having Harry Potter stuck in their heads or what, these books just don't get enough love.
The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo is definitely a favorite book of mine...as are it's 2 original sequels. I have to be honest with you, I started this book 4 times and put it down.  I just could not get into it.  But then I watched the movie version with Daniel Craig, and just fell in love.  I picked the book back up immediately, and read all 3 books back to back.  The first few chapters are all about Mikhael Blomkvist's legal problems, and I was bored to tears.  But if you can get past the legal mumbo jumbo, you will be greatly rewarded.

I'm finding it hard to come up with a quick description of this series.  Mikhael is a journalist who is hired to write up a family's memoirs...and hopefully solve a family's mystery.  Lisbeth Salander is a hacker who he hires to help.

That short paragraph really is the most bare bones and horrible description.  If you are on the fence, watch the movie.  It really is amazing...so beautiful.  The original Swedish versions are great too, but I love the Director David Fincher, so I'm partial to that version...and I really hope that he returns and films the next two books.  If you are intrigued at all, pick up the books.  They are so much better than the movie, and that says a lot.

The books were published after author Stieg Larsson passed away.  I am very curious what he would've done with the series.  Author David Lagercrantz wrote a 4th book in the series titled The Girl in the Spider's Web.   I read it, because I missed the characters.  My daughter gave me crap for reading "Fan Fiction" and I tell people at the library that although I thought it was a good book, it was missing that special something the original trilogy had.  That little spark.

Okay, short but sweet post.  I could've gone on and on, as I found many other "series" in my read pile...but those are the three on my mind today.  Now to go finish watching The Hobbit movies with my girl.  She is loading up on pop culture in preparation for the USNA.  And of course movies are better with mom sitting by your side.

What are your favorite series?  Have you read the three above?  Like them??  Please let me know.  Be sure to follow me, through Google + or by Email, on the left side of the page...that way you don't miss any of my posts!  Also note that I have linked ever book cover to the relevant Goodreads page, so you can see what others think.  Enjoy your weekend!!

Thursday, June 23, 2016

Not sure if the kids love them...but I sure do!

My home life is a little chaotic at the moment, so I thought I'd throw out a fun and lighthearted blog post today.  I think it is fitting considering most libraries are doing Summer Reading Programs right now.  If you've never participated in one, I highly recommend it.  You get PRIZES...for READING...which, if you're reading this, you would probably be doing anyway!!  I see this as a win/win thing.  (okay, library propaganda over with...kind-of)

One of the fun parts of my job at The Library is leading our preschool story time every other week.  I would do it every week but my boss enjoys it just as much as I do, so we share the responsibilities.  I get the privilege of pouring through probably 20 kids books on a theme, and generally pick out 3 to read aloud to a herd of preschoolers.  This is actually pretty easy for me most weeks.  Does it rhyme?  Check.  Is it funny?  Check.  Not too long?  Check.  Please dear Lord tell me it doesn't include a pirate...and I'm going to be forced to throw my best pirate voice out there to the dismay of parents everywhere (if you have ever heard me do "pirate", you understand).  My three little pigs sound like the Green Jelly song...and I can do the Gingerbread Man from Shrek okay...but that is about the extent of my voice work.  I digress...

I think I can safely and fairly easily put together my "Top 5" kids books for your consumption. The children may not like them, but I seriously loved them all.  Chances are they made me laugh my ass off.  And hey, shouldn't us parents get to enjoy Story Time too?

Okay, if you know me "in real life" you may have heard me talk about this book before.  Hell, I may have forced you to read it...or sent you pictures of it from my cell phone.  Meet Lily the Unicorn...the creation of Dallas Clayton.  I think preteens and teenagers could learn a lesson from Lily.  She is exuberant and excited, loves new things...and can't wait to make new friends.  Then she meets Roger the Penguin, who is afraid of anything new.

Yes, I'll concede to the reviewers who say the pages are a bit busy, and hard to read out loud to little kids.  Personally I just pick a couple of the words to read out loud...we edit books for story time regularly, mainly due to length.

But I just LOVE this book.  It tickles me pink...just like Lily.  Maybe I like it so much because I have a little in common with her...I am excitable and I get a little crazy and overwhelming at times.  But really, I think this book has a good message about accepting the differences in people...extroverts and introverts alike.  Life would be incredibly dull if we were all the same.  (bonus giggles for Dallas Clayton's author photo)


I love Mo Willems' books. The simplistic drawings are cute and they are all really humorous.  But I REALLY love Elephant & Piggie. Gerald and Piggie are best friends who look at things in completely different ways...proving that opposites do indeed attract.  In this book Gerald is planning for a car ride...because he's a planner, and Piggie is gathering their supplies.  Then they realize there is a giant stumbling block to their trip. 

It is possible to get little kids SUPER stoked when reading an Elephant & Piggie book.  They can usually recognize how things are going to go wrong, and anticipate them with mega giggles.   I think these are perfect examples of friendship, in a way that kids and adults can both appreciate.  I believe there are at least 25 books in this series, this is just the most recent one I read! 


This book changes up the whole "dog and owner" relationship, and I guess my feelings for it probably stem from the passionate love affair I have with my own canine, Bella (you can stare at her beautiful mug over on my About Me page).

I'm My Own Dog by David Ezra Stein is about a dog who is his own master.  He refuses to follow the rules, is his own boss, and does what he wants when he wants to.  He fetches his own slippers.  He rolls over when he wants to, etc.  But then he gets an itch in the middle of his back that he just can't reach.  Do you see where this is going??

The illustrations are in a cute watercolor style, which I really enjoyed.  And any kid, even one without a pet at home, can recognize how different this dog is.  I was grinning ear to ear through this entire book.  Check it out, especially if you have a dog at home. 


How to Pee by Todd Spector, M.D. requires a sense of humor.  I personally think some reviewers are lacking in that area.  Is this book probably going to contribute to messes in the bathroom?  For sure.  Are there going to be messes regardless?  Absolutely.

This book is basically filled with imaginary stories about ways to pee in the toilet.  Superhero style involves a cape.  There is also cowboy style, rocket style, etc.  It even includes peeing outside, which fascinates boys from 2 to 100! 

This book just cracks me up!  I honestly can not imagine using these ideas when actually potty training your kid.  But as far as entertaining a recently potty trained child?  Absolutely!  Kids tend to have better sense of humor than most adults.  They will get the joke, I'm pretty sure.  And hey, there's even a version for girls


Burger Boy by Alan Durant is hands down my favorite kids books.  I don't know why I love this book so much, but it literally had me laughing out loud in my office.  I read it out loud to my coworker.  I told my friends about it at a 31 party.  I described the entire book to my book club posse, laughing the entire time. This is my sort-of humor.  

You know how parents would say "eat too much of it, and you'll turn into it"?  Kind-of like, keep your face like that and it'll freeze that way?  Well...this is one of those books.  Little boy eats too many burgers and he turns into one...and is basically chased by the entire town, for one reason or another.  Chaos ensues...of the variety that is apparently made just for me.  Between the football team and the dogs, I fell in love.  

I laugh every time I see this book on the shelf.  I honestly don't know what it is...but reading it out loud is so much fun.  If you have little kids at home, read them this book.  As you're doing it, just picture me in my little office surrounded by chaos, laughing so hard I almost fell out of my chair! 


We'll call this book an honorable mention.  As a military wife, with two kids, working in a library on a military installation I can tell you there are very few good military kid books out there.  Most military kids books are all about deployments, and if you read them during Story Time, all the moms will tear up and glare at you.  They will hate you...trust me.  They are filled with daddy seeing the same stars as you do, virtual hugs from across the world, and mommy crying on the telephone.  These are not happy books!  Do they serve a purpose?  Absolutely...but the military is not exclusively deployments.  We are on a constant quest for a kids book that highlights the good aspects of military life. 

So this book entered my life last year, and I was overjoyed.  The Night Santa Got Lost: How NORAD Saved Christmas is a great book.  My kids have grown up watching NORAD track Santa Clause.  Heck we will take a peek, and they are 18 and 21 now. 

This book has military members of every branch, ethnicity and gender doing incredibly cool things to help out Santa.  How cool is that?  It is told in the traditional Night Before Christmas style, but filled with bombastic military fabulousness.  Even if you are not a military family, you should check out this book at Christmas.  It will give your whole family an idea of the military that doesn't involve wars and deployments.  It would be a great supplement to watching Santa online through NORAD.  Plus it would make my military family incredibly happy. 

Okay, so no Fassy or alcohol...instead children's books.  This just proves I am an incredibly multi-faceted woman. 

Our family is being restructured a bit in the next week, so I will apologize in advance if I don't get a post up every other day.  We are sending Thing 2 off to college, and this momma will be a mess.  So if you have little ones that these books are targeted towards, hug them super tight and enjoy every messy second of their childhoods.  And let me know if you have any favorite funny kids books for me to look out for! 

Tuesday, June 21, 2016

The Universe has my back...

Gabrielle Bernstein's new book The Universe Has Your Back, Transform Fear to Faith will be out the end of September, and I had the privilege of reading an advanced copy through Netgalley.  I have previously read a few of her books, and although she is a bit more new agey than I'm normally comfortable with, there have always been a few good nuggets of info that I felt I could apply to my life.  I felt the same way about this new title.

If you have never heard of Gabrielle Bernstein, let me introduce you to one of the most zen writers around.  Actually, to call her a writer isn't quite giving her enough credit.  She is more of a Guru.  She leads seminars as a motivational speaker, makes Youtube videos, and has the most beautiful Instagram account

Okay, back to the book.  I read an incredibly large amount of what I like to call Spiritual Christian Women non-fiction books.  I could write an entire blog series on the books I have read under that title, and I think that would probably surprise some people.  I have found I have a deep desire to improve spiritually, so I'm always looking for a tasty morsel of info that I can digest to help me on this path. 

Gabrielle Bernstein is probably not an author you would imagine finding in my pile of SCW books, but I think she belongs there.  At the beginning of this book she talks about using the word Universe as a place marker for the divine...whether that be God or whatever applies to your personal faith.  So as a Christian when I read this, I just replaced God for Universe.  Simple really.  If you don't get hung up in the verbage, there is a lot to be learned here.

Love is what this book is all about.  There is a lot of talk about fear, judgement, perception and bad energy...and how through love, prayer, positive affirmations and meditation you can change these problems, and your life, for the better. 

There were two HUGE things that really stood out to me.  One is her idea that "energy flows where your attention goes".  I have read this time and time again, and it has yet to sink into my occasionally thick skull.  If you are focused on bad things in your life, and come at events with a negative outlook, you are going to be a miserable person.  I believe it really is as simple as that, and yet occasionally this epiphany is hard to put into practice.  Consider me a work in progress on this one.

The other idea that really struck me has a connection to a gift I received for my birthday from my daughter (she has asked to be referred to as Thing 2 on this blog).  She gave me a beautiful prayer box that is currently sitting next to my computer.  In this book Gabrielle Bernstein talks about using a prayer box and regularly putting your desires or worries on paper into the box and turning it over to the Universe (God, see?).  Her advice is to take it out after a week and either burn or flush the paper.  And of course you wouldn't ever write the same thing twice, because that would mean you didn't fully have faith in the outcome God has in mind for you.  This one is also hard for me because I'm a worrier.  Intellectually I know that worrying does nothing for me except make me miserable.  But I'm in the habit of stewing over things ad nauseum.  The connection between my new prayer box, and this section of the book, felt divinely inspired. 

Anyway, there were definitely a few parts of the book that I sort-of skimmed over.  I have yet to fully embrace meditation, so the descriptions of particular chants and positions was hard for me to get behind.  According to this book that would mean I have a judgemental problem I need to work on, which is probably true. 

Overall this was an easy book to read, and I think I highlighted more passages and took more notes on my Kindle than normal.  This became very apparent when I went back to review before writing this post.  The format is basically a story from her life or a friends, and then a section on tangible actions you can take when faced with the particular issue from the story, or a related problem.  Some books just focus on problems and don't give you any real action oriented advice, but this is not one of those books.

I would consider checking out this book, or another of Gabrielle Bernstein's books...especially if, like me, you are on a journey to increase your faith...in whatever shape it holds. 

Do you have any authors or books you think I should check out for my Spiritual Christian Women collection??  Have you read anything by Gabrielle Bernstein??  *Don't worry, in my next blog post I'll try to find a way to include something involving either Fassy or alcohol, just so y'all don't think I've lost my focus.  :) 

Sunday, June 19, 2016

That Jojo Moyes book that isn't Me Before You...

Sorry I didn't get a post up yesterday, we had some neighborly shenanigans going on and I didn't have a chance to sit down at my computer...but I did find time to finish the book One Plus One by Jojo Moyes.  I am pretty sure everyone is familiar with the writer, since she is also the author of Me Before You, which was recently made into a movie.  That book is currently EVERYWHERE!  I thought it was a great book club pick, so I really wanted to see if I enjoyed her other work.

One Plus One is the story of two people from vastly different backgrounds, and how they come together during an ill conceived trip to Scotland for a Math Olympiad competition.


Ed is a wealthy Tech guy who is being investigated for insider trading.  He basically shared company secrets with a woman as a strange and complicated way of breaking up.  His father is dying of cancer and his sister if furious with him for not visiting.  He is trying his damnedest to keep his legal problems from his family, and is basically holing up in his house drinking his worries away until he can find out if he's going to prison.

Jess is a single mom, working multiple jobs trying to keep her head above the water.  The teen aged step-son she is taking care of is being beaten by neighborhood kids on a regular basis for being different.  Her daughter is a math prodigy, being offered a spot at a fancy schmancy private school that could change her life...but the catch is they'll only pay 90% of her tuition.  This becomes an issue for someone who is literally counting every penny coming in.  But then she is told about a Math Olympiad competition being held in Scotland that could be the answer to all their prayers.  The only catch is, she has no way to get there.  Enter Ed.

The crazy chaos that takes place on this road trip is truly memorable.  As a mom, I really enjoyed Jess's character.  She is one of those upbeat go-get-em ladies that believes that if you put good out there in the world, good will come back at you. Of course that sentiment is tested.  But this is a mother who is really doing everything she can to make a good life for her kids.  I thought she was very relatable, and I truly wanted things to work out for her.

"Because even if the whole world was throwing rocks at you, if you still had your mother or father at your back, you'd be okay" ~Jojo Moyes

 I think all teens need to hear the advice Ed gives Jess's son Nicky: "You know, you spend your whole life feeling like you don't quite fit in anywhere.  And then you walk into a room one day, whether it's at university or an office or some kind of club, and you just go 'Ah, there they are.' And suddenly you feel at home."  I wholeheartedly believe this to be true.  You just need to find your "tribe" as she says.

I thought this was a great book, and I would definitely recommend adding it to your to-read list.  It's not a difficult read, and at 368 pages it certainly isn't long (I have friends who would want to know that!).  Take a peek and let me know what you think.

Have you read anything by Jojo Moyes?  Is she a favorite of yours?  Did you enjoy Me Before You?  And out of curiosity, have you found your tribe yet?  I'm pretty sure I've found mine.

Thursday, June 16, 2016

Ode to Jamie Frasier...or why I love Outlander

Okay, maybe not an "Ode"...more like a smattering of lines on why I will read anything Outlander related. 

I just finished the novella Virgins by Diana Gabaldon and was reminded of why I love these characters so much.  In Virgins we see a young Jamie and Ian Murray working as mercenaries in France, in the time just following Jamie's whippings by Black Jack Randall.  This is really a buddy novella...lot's of dialogue between two young best friends.  Musings on virginity, prostitutes, and whether a good Catholic boy will go to hell for a hand job.  There is some set up for the pivotal relationship between Ian and Jamie's sister Jenny, but this is definitely more focused on the lads.  It is just a cute short story. Most fans probably read Virgins within hours of it being released.  If you aren't familiar with the books, you're lost right now...and probably wondering what the hell I'm rambling about.

I am in fact rambling about what is probably my absolute favorite book series out there...one I recommend to people anytime I can.  The first book, Outlander, came out in 1991...and the series is still going strong.  It centers on two main characters, Claire Randall, a combat nurse from 1945 and James Alexander Malcolm Mackenzie Frasier, an absolutely scrumptious Scottish Highlander she marries when she finds herself in 1743 Scotland (due to strange happenings when she went for a walk to some standing stones).  My description fails...it really fails.
The series absolutely defies genre.  It is so rich and complex...I am not worthy.  Did I mention I love Jamie Frasier??  I am kind-of happy that I read most of the series on my Kindle, as they are monstrous beasts in size.  If you are intimidated by large books, this probably isn't a series for you.  But if you don't mind a big ole book, you will be greatly rewarded for your effort.

There are 8 "big books" in the Outlander Universe, and a 9th is being worked on as we speak.   Diana Gabaldon occasionally shares little tidbits from the new book on her Facebook page.  These teasers slay me.  There is also another series of books focusing on an important character from the big books, Lord John Grey.   He has to be my favorite gay gentleman in literature.  I know his story isn't some folks cup of tea, but I really enjoy him.  PLUS there are some novellas involving OTHER characters.  This is a very large literary universe folks.  And have I already told you how hot Jamie Frasier is...so strong, so loyal??

But now that there is a television series based on the books airing on STARZ, there is a world of merchandise and books for fans to fawn over.  My Jamie and Claire Funko Pop Dolls have already made an appearance on the Tomes and Tequila Instagram page.
I also have a beloved calendar on my desk, courtesy of a friend and previous co-worker.  If you search for Outlander even on Etsy you will find Jamie dolls, scarves inspired by Claire's wardrobe on the t.v. show, and jewelry galore.  And then there are T-Shirts...egads!!  I even feel compelled to purchase the new book Outlander Kitchen: The Official Outlander Companion Cookbook...and if you know me, you know how dangerous that could be (I burn things badly, and should probably just stick with drinking Scotch).
Okay, I feel like I may have gone off on a bit of a tangent.

If you haven't stumbled across one of these books in the past couple decades, maybe it's time to give one a try.  In my opinion the books get better and better as they go along.  (My friend Kathy would disagree, but this isn't her blog now is it?)  Take a peek at the show, it is absolutely beautiful.  And spend a few minutes reading Diana Gabaldon's Facebook page, or Twitter feed...endless sassy entertainment.  There's a reason this fandom is so large.

So, are you an Outlander fan also??  Books better than the show?  Lord John Grey, or not a fan?  Let me know...I love talking Outlander with people (not sure if you can tell).

Tuesday, June 14, 2016

Another Lisa Lutz down...

Migraine adled brain today, so hopefully I can coherently compose a proper review of The Passenger for your consumption. Wow, that was a tongue twister!!

The Passenger

I finished it last night but needed a little time to figure out what I wanted to say...and then bam, the universe decides I need to be impaired for a day. Oh well, we work with what we've got eh?
I have to be honest with you, I didn't like the book quite as much as Lisa Lutz previous novels but it was still quite the roller coaster ride.

Or perhaps I should say train ride? I guess if you are on the run airplanes aren't viable anymore but main character Tanya-Amelia-Debbie-etc spends half of the book aboard Amtrak. If it were a movie I would think it were sponsored.  I guess I never really spent a lot of time thinking of how hard it is to flee anymore until reading this book. Pesky id's, registrations, passports and social security cards! But I'm getting ahead of myself.

The book starts with Tanya's husband at the foot of the stairs, and even though she didn't do it she bolts. The rest is her running...and slowly revealing the reason she was Tanya in the first place.  This is one of those books where you don't really know what is going on until the last few chapters.
Along the way she meets some interesting characters, my favorites being Domenic, the good looking good guy cop and Andrew, the somewhat neglected student she teaches for a bit.

I enjoyed this train ride, I just didn't like it as much as The Spellman Files. That might be because they are two totally different beasts. One had me literally laughing out loud, and the other had me thinking about what I would do in the shoes of a woman on the run.  Would I make the same decisions she did?  Kind of like how Girl on the Train had me reevaluating my alcohol consumption!!  But I digress. 

Will I recommend The Passenger? Absolutely.  But don't go into it thinking it's going to be a fun ride.  Expect some dirt, hair dye, colored contacts, Amtrak tickets and murder.  Is this on your to-read shelf? 

Sunday, June 12, 2016

I have a confession to make...

Okay, I feel I need to spill my beans.  I need to confess something so terrible, I'm almost too ashamed to share...

I am 9 books behind on my Goodreads 2016 Reading Challenge!!!!!

I know, I know...it's bad isn't it?  Life has got in the way of my reading obsession, or I bit off more than I could chew.  Either way, it bothers me every day when I open Goodreads on my computer.

For those not familiar with Goodreads, it is a lovely website where bibliophiles far and wide can post reviews of books, keep track of their to-read list, join in discussions with authors and reviewers alike and enter giveaways for free books.  You can also set a reading challenge for yourself, choosing a goal of how many books you want to read during the course of the year.  I have participated in the challenge since 2014...and picked 60 books as my goal.  Now, I only put a hand full of kids books on there, the ones that really stand out to me, because I feel it would be cheating.  Each week that I do Story Time, I read between 12 and 20 kids books on the theme I have chosen.  See...cheating, undeniably. But this year I lost my fucking mind and picked 80 books!!  And I'm only at 26!    Ugh...and here I am starting a reading blog.

Well, I have a renewed verve and pep in my reading step.  In starting this blog I have found a ton of other fabulous reading blogs out there...on Twitter, Instagram, Blogger...people posting lists, links to their reviews on Goodreads, etc.  My to-read list has quadrupled in a week!  Color me inspired.

So, my soul feels much better after this confession.  I feel cleansed.  Thank you for that.

If you haven't checked out Goodreads, or you're just curious what is on my reading list, take a peek. Do you have a reading goal for this year, if so let me know.  In the meantime, I'm just gonna go grab another book off my shelf...I have some reading to do.


Friday, June 10, 2016

I want Isabel Spellman to be my BFF

Of course, she never would be...that's just not how she rolls. She is kind of like Meredith Grey, only with less college, no Yang, and certainly no McDreamy (what can I say, I am a fan). 
If you don't know who Isabel Spellman is, let me introduce you to the least flashy and clean cut literary heroine I have enjoyed in a long time. She is the primary character in Lisa Lutz Spellman Files series, and I may just have a crush on her.

My first book by Lisa Lutz was Heads You Lose, which she wrote with her ex-boyfriend David Hayward.  They trade off chapters of the crime novel, and include their notes to each other...mainly complaining about killing off each other's favorite characters, passive aggressively turning a love interest into a stripper, and ruminating on the reasons their relationship failed. I have heard a few people say that their personal letters interrupted the story, but I found them to be the most intriguing part.  I needed to read more by this lady...her comedy is definitely my style.  I had to give the Spellman Files a try.

I devoured the first two books in the series and the other 4 are on my to-read list. I think I loved every bit of these books...from Izzy's obsession with Get Smart to her very succinct descriptions of  her ex boyfriends. The Spellman family run a detective agency, but spend most of their time tailing each other. Chaos ensues...Isabel tells her new guy she is a teacher, and spends weeks putting on her idea of a teacher costume so he doesn't find out. The closest thing she has to a friend is her cranky bartender. But her obsessive personality helps her to be a memorable detective, in a book genre now filled with strong female detective types. Plus the book is peppered with hilarious footnotes, which add to the casual flair in which it's written.  It almost feels like you're reading someones journal, which brings out my nosey busy-body side.
These books are not new (book 6 came out in 2013) so you might be wondering why I have Isabel on the brain.  I'm currently reading Lisa Lutz new book The Passenger, which has reminded me of how much I like her style and characters.  She writes females in a way that I find refreshing considering I read a lot of "book club pick" type tomes.  The Passenger has definitely started off with a bang...or maybe I should say a dead husband at the bottom of the stairs.  I can't wait to find out what the main character Tanya (surely an alias), now Amelia, is running from in her past.  And whether her new friend Blue is going to make her problems worse. I will definitely post a full review once I'm done with the book.

But if you have never read any of Lisa Lutz novels, consider checking one out.  Let me know if you too wish you could have a drink or 4 with Izzy Spellman.  Are there any other literary characters you wish you could hang with?  

Wednesday, June 8, 2016


Welcome to my little book haven

I guess this should be my introductory post, which sounds so incredibly boring...but here goes.  I LOVE books!!  Really that's all you need to know.  Well...maybe I should elaborate a little bit.  I used to lead a book club that I absolutely adored.  A "wine and words" book club...you know, the kind where your husband jokes that you don't actually READ the books, it's just an excuse to sit around with your girlfriends, drink copious amounts of vodka enhanced libations, and bullshit about what's going on in your life. And we really lived up to that reputation...BUT in between the laughter and alcohol, we actually DID discuss what we were reading.  The conversations we had about our selections were varied, nuanced and full of the life experiences that came to mind during our evenings spent flipping pages when we should've been sleeping.  Unfortunately most of my girls have since moved out of the area...one of those parts of military life that you never quite get used to.  So, here I am.  Wine and words is too high brow for me, really.  Tomes and Tequila is a little more my style.  My plan (if you can call it that) is to review books as I read them, and hopefully have some dialogue with like-minded bibliophiles.  I warn you...I am no writer.  I can't even text without at least 3 exclamation points and an emoji...but I do have a lot of info floating around in my brain.  I find my retention blows, so I'm hopeful that in writing about the books I'm reading, I'll remember things a bit better...if for nothing other than having more recommendations at my disposal during my "Library Job".  Oh yeah, I work at a library.  No masters degree here, but I am asked daily "so, what should I read?".  And please don't be scared away if I throw a kids book in the mix every now and again.  I lead a preschool Story Time 2-3 times a month...and every once in awhile one of those books just blows my mind.  I once spent at least 45 minutes telling my friends about the book Burger Boy (it's by Alan Durant.  If you haven't read it, and you still have little ones at home, check it out!!!).  I'll try my best to post often...and to not bore you to death.  I want this to be a fun place. And who am I kidding, if you're reading this chances are we have shared a drink together. 
So once again, welcome to my little book haven.  I hope if we're not friends yet, we get to be.  And if you have a book you want me to check out, shoot me a line!