Wednesday, December 9, 2015

Gretel and the Case of the Missing Frog Prints by P.J. Brackston

This one was another library rental. I grabbed it up because it's a mystery related to the Brothers Grimm stories. This one is the first one in a series by the author P.J. Brackston.

In the book Gretel is grown up and she is a private detective who lives with her brother Hans. The characters themselves are quite interesting and different then I would have imagined. I think that's part of the fun. We all have ideas about the old fairy tales. Along the way they meet another character or two from the old stories which I thought was pretty neat too. 

The story took a couple totally different turns that I wasn't expecting but I did enjoy them. Gretel was one of those characters that you may not love, but you become invested in what happens to her and it makes you keep reading. I really loved a lot of the different elements of the story and I was hooked to reading it till I finished it. I do think I will keep my eyes out for any more by this author. 

As far as mysteries go, it wasn't one of the greatest I've read, but the overall story and the characters made it a good read. 

Recommendation: For those who enjoy a good story, especially fans of the Brother Grimm stories. 

Monday, December 7, 2015

Let Sleeping Dogs Lie by Rita Mae Brown

I came across this one at the library and I snatched it up because I was familiar with the author. Years ago, when I first got into mysteries, I came across Rita Mae Brown's Sneaky Pie Brown series which involved cats. I loved them, and quickly read as many as I could get my hands on. I had no idea that she had other series, so when I saw this one, I had to read it.

This book is the ninth book in her Sister Jane series. These books are all about fox hunting and feature different animals like foxes, horses, and hunting dogs. The awesome part of the books by Rita Mae Brown is that she not only writes in the point of view of people, but from the point of view of the animals in the story. I love it. I think she does a great job and it all works together seamlessly.

I will say that the detail and background of fox hunting is very interesting but you should be open and ready to learn things. You will come away with more knowledge about fox hunting when you finish it  but do not worry though, they do not actually hunt foxes to kill them, its more about the thrill of the hunt and the sport of the thing. 

Rita Mae Brown writes a heavily detailed story, but I did not find it hard to read. She does provide a cast of characters and a list of terms at the begining to make sure you don't have any troubles while reading. I didn't find it dry with all the information, the details were nestled right into the story so it didn't feel like a text book.

Recommendation: This is definitely one for the mystery lovers out there. Be prepared to read about fox hunting and you will enjoy this one as much as I did. 

Saturday, October 24, 2015

Shadow of Night by Deborah Harkness

Shadow of Night is the second book in the All Souls Trilogy by Deborah Harkness. (I've reviewed the first one here in case you missed it!)

The first novel left off on a cliffhanger and this book picked right up in the same place. I wasn't sure what to expect with this one because the way the story has changed since I began reading the first, I was keeping an open mind and totally just going with the flow. I was not disappointed! 

To give you a little background on these novels, they involve witches, vampires, and daemons. There is a fear for their continued survival and its up to a witch and a vampire to figure it all out. There is so much more to these novels, but I don't want to give anything away by explaining more. 

These novels aren't a quick read. They are detailed and more involving then a lot of reads. I don't think these books get enough love, really. They are adult novels, but I don't think that anyone who reads more of the young adult type novels wouldn't enjoy them as well.

There is so many little plot points along the way that I almost feel like they could have evolved into their own stories separate from the book. Definitely keeps your attention and in no way does it feel boring or overly done. 

I am of course going to read the third one, but I think I am going to wait a little longer. Not sure I want to let this story come to an end yet. I will miss the adventure and knowing that it all will come to an end. 

Recommendation: Well worth giving these a try. Totally for the lovers of witches, vampires, and love stories in the pursuit to save the world. 

Thursday, October 22, 2015

Is Everyone Hanging Out Without Me by Mindy Kaling

I have been a big fan of Mindy Kaling since The Office and I had been meaning to get my hands on her book for quite a while. Now that her new one has come out, I was behind and grabbed this one as soon as I could.

This book was a memoir of sorts, written in essays about her life, her work, and everything else she felt like sharing. She is funny and interesting, and I loved it. It was a very easy read, but it felt like she was sitting across from you and just having a chat. It read exactly like I thought she would sound. It was perfect in my opinion. I loved the insights into how she found success and the background details she gave about The Office.  It was great.

I will be reading her new one as well when I can. This did not disappoint one bit! I did read in a couple places that others thought it was good but that she just tried to fill pages by the end, but really, she is still young. She has so much more time to live and to create. Of course her memoir of sorts won't be as full and a juicy as some may wish. This is why I am excited for her new one. I really do look forward to reading it.

Recommendation: For fans of Mindy Kaling, for those who wonder about her life, and who are just interested in the real girl behind the success.

Wednesday, October 7, 2015

Wallflowers by Eliza Robertson

This one was a short story collection written by a fellow Canadian. I actually heard about this book first from a magazine. It was under new and hot reads. I remember cutting out the little blurb and saving it to look for it later. By chance, I came across it at the library totally by accident!

I will say I didn't get to read them all. I believe I read about half of the stories before I needed to return the book to the library.

What I did get to read, I will tell you, was strange and haunting, and perhaps even a bit magical. I found I couldn't read more than one at a time. Once I finished reading a story, I had to step away for a while to digest what I read. They were so different and so empty but full of life all at the same time that you were left feeling unsettled but intrigued.

I am not usually a huge fan of short stories. I always want more from them. I know that's just me, but I will say I did have quite a few questions after reading these. They were so different and left so much to our imagination.

Recommendation: These are weird. They are strange. They are haunting. But they are crazy good. Perfect for any short story lovers!

Monday, October 5, 2015

Murder in the Afternoon by Frances Brody

This was a recent library read that I chose purely because the title and the cover caught my eye. I had no prior knowledge of the author either and didn't know till late that it was part of a series following the main character Kate Shackleton who is a private detective.

This one was set in the English countryside shortly after World War 1. It follows the cases of Kate Shackleton and her partner. Kate is the daughter of a higher ranking policeman and she carries on her own cases at her descretion. This story involves a family who's husband goes missing after he was seen dead by the children in a rock quarry. There's of course interesting twists all over the place, including a little bit of insight into the life and past of Kate Shackleton. 

 Although I read so very many english mysteries set in all time periods, it still felt new and different to me. The story itself I haven't come across in exactly the same manner. There were parts that revealed a lot about the main characters that I am not used to seeing outside of the first in a series which is quite refreshing. I enjoyed the backstories and I would pick up another one if I have a chance to come across it.

Recommendation: Interesting mystery. A little on the lighter Agatha Christie side, but not the same exactly. Give this a try if you love mysteries. 

Saturday, October 3, 2015

Death of a Wine Merchant by David Dickinson

This was another cover grab at the library. I knew nothing of the author or the book when I picked it up. As it turns out this one is the 9th book in a series featuring a Lord Powerscourt. He's an investigator of sorts that, in this book, has come to the aid of a friend who is defending an accused murderer in court. The friend does not believe that the accused has committed the murder, but the accused won't talk in his defense, and there is some doubt about it.

It is another mystery set in England in the past. The characters are interesting and I would have loved to read more about their backstories. I did find that it was a little long and slow in some places. It was as if in the first 50 pages the mystery was announced, the supposed murderer was caught and almost everything was investigated. There were a couple twists later on, but it felt a bit like it was dragging.

It wasn't a quick read, either, and it felt kind of tedious at times. I don't know if I missed it, and it went over my head, but there were things that I felt didn't get resolved. I kept reading because there was a little side plot going on with someone who's identity that was concealed, but I didn't seem to find out who it was. I know I was losing interest by the end, but still.

I don't know that I will be in a hurry to read another one, but if I do come across more of these books, I might pick one up.

Recommendation: It's not the best, but it isn't the worst. A fairly good mystery with interesting characters.

Thursday, October 1, 2015

Book of Souls by Glenn Cooper

This book was another cover grab at the library. I love stories about books that lean towards the mystical. This book was a take on knowing when you'll die. It involves a secret society that has these books that list the day you are born and the day you will die in them. They do stop, but not for a while yet.

The book was mostly an investigation on where these books come from, set in the present day, with a lot of fighting and intrigue like a spy novel. It reminded my a lot of The Davinci Code but perhaps not quite in the same league? I haven't read The Davinci Code, only watched the movie, but it's had the same feels.

It wasn't a complicated read, and I'm not sure I was overjoyed by the ending, but it was interesting and different.  Rather a cool concept.

Recommendation: If you like mysteries on the origins of life and the ends of time, spy type mysteries, novels of the past and the present, then this one could be the one for you!

Saturday, September 26, 2015

Wild by Cheryl Strayed

This book is a must read. Period.

I don't know if I can really do it justice by reviewing it but I will do my best and try.

This book first came on my radar before I made my own bookstagram account on Instagram. It was through random people I follow on my personal Instagram that I heard about it. They all said it was special and important to read. At first, I wasn't really interested because I am a mystery lover at heart and this a true story. For a little while I went through a faze of wanting to read books that are inspirational and life changing so I ended up picking this up.

Right from the start this book had me in tears. There were moments at the beginning I had to put it down and walk away for a while. It wasn't because I didn't like it, but just that it was emotional and made you feel things.

This is the story about a woman who decides to hike the Pacific Crest Trail. She has nothing to lose and gives up everything, changing her life entirely, to hike more than 1000 miles. She has a lot of personal tragedy in her past and she decides that she needs to do this crazy thing. She sells her stuff, bought supplies, arranged for packages to reach her on the trail, with the goal being to just do it.

I know I'm not summarizing it and doing it any kind of justice, but honestly, you need to read this. It's a story about a journey that leaves the reader changed from its reading.

This book broke me and put my back together again, a little bit better than I had been before. It was moving and inspiring in all the best ways.

I haven't had the pleasure of watching the movie yet, but while reading it I kept picturing Reese Witherspoon anyway. I think doing that gave me even more perspective on the story that I might not have had otherwise.

This book really touched me in ways I didn't think it would. I am so much better for having read this. I hope for the courage to do something daring like this in my life one day.

Recommendation: Read this. You will need some tissues. You will hurt, but you will come out on the other side better, believe me.

Wednesday, September 23, 2015

Confessions of an Ugly Stepsister and Mirror, Mirror by Gregory Maguire

Confessions of an Ugly Stepsister was my first foray into the world of fairy tale retelling. It was also my first read by Gregory Maguire. I picked both of these up at a used book store purely because I had heard of Wicked and how people loved that book, and his others.

I like Confessions of an Ugly Stepsister. It was interesting and I found the twists it put on the original to be quite good. I appreciated that the author kept to the traditional fairy tale by setting it in another time and place even though his story was a little more on the realistic side.

I did enjoy it, and I now have Wicked on my shelf, which I will get to at some point. I hope I enjoy it as much as others do. I will try to keep an open mind when I read it.

The copy of Mirror, Mirror that I picked up was an ARC, so I'm not 100% sure that it is exactly like the published copy, but I tried to read it, and failed. I just couldn't get into it. It was not enough for me, and I found myself getting bored. I put it down and I couldn't make myself pick it up again. I don't like to leave books unfinished, but with so many other books calling me from my shelf, I didn't want to bother. I'm sorry to those who loved it, but sadly I didn't.

Recommendation: Read these if you like, but neither one is on my favourites list, and I've actually removed my copies from my shelves and donated them to make room for new reads.

Saturday, September 19, 2015

Devil Bones and Cross Bones by Kathy Reichs

I've been a big fan of the t.v. show Bones since it came out but until recently, I hadn't read any of the books that the show was based on. If you didn't already know the show (and the books) feature Temperance Brennan who is a forensic anthropologist. The similarities between the show and the books pretty much stop there. The books feature different characters, the main character has different personality traits, and where and for who Temperance works is different. The books follow the actual career of Kathy Reichs more closely than the show does, which isn't really a negative for me. I'm happy they aren't exactly like the books. I do wish though, that the two could have been a little more the same.

I picked both of these books up used at the same time but Devil Bones was the first one I read. I found it interesting. The story line featured some voodoo/magic type stuff which is always interesting in my book.

The down side I found was it was a lot like other thrillers of this type. It followed the same type of plot twists, the same type of ending, just overall the same feel as others I've read like this. It was an easy read and enjoyable at the time, but it just didn't stand out to me.

I didn't exactly solve the mystery before it was revealed but I did feel like it was something I've read before. I think perhaps I was expecting more from the book because I love the show so much.

I did my best to go into reading Cross Bones with an open mind. After all, I didn't know enough about this author's writing to make an overall assumption on her work. This one was  different for sure. This story focuses on Israel and the skeletons of what could have been Jesus and his family.

Kathy spend a year researching this book, even going to Israel herself. All the information relating to the bones and their details was actual fact, which I thought was pretty cool. I did find it a little heavy handed at times with the repetition of the facts as she did include a little fact sheet at the front of the book besides telling us more than once each little bit of information.

What kind of bugged me was that it felt like the mystery of the present day dead man killed in his warehouse fell way down by the wayside with the trip to Israel and the talk of the very old bones and who they could have belonged to. The murdered man's mystery was solved by the end but the mystery of the old bones has never been solved in reality so it wasn't solved in the book and it left me feeling like it was an incomplete story. It just wasn't really a favourite. I don't think I'll be collecting the series and adding them to my library.

Recommendation: Not bad reads. Entertaining for what they are but just don't expect them to be super similar to the show. Good if you like medical mystery/thrillers.

Thursday, September 17, 2015

Still Life by Louise Penny

If you haven't seen the review I did on The Beautiful Mystery you may not know that it was the first book I read by Louise Penny, even though it is technically the eighth book in her series about Chief Inspector Gamache. I picked that one up at the library first to get a feel for her work before I purchased the first three books in a boxed set from the book store.

Still Life is her first book in the series. It's set in a small little town in Quebec, with a small cast of characters. Someone is found murdered and it is up to Gamache and his associates to find out what happened.

The author has this incredible way of drawing you into her characters and revealing their very essence in little to almost no words. Immediately you get a sense of who they really are and you feel so familiar with them, almost as if you knew them for real.

Her writing is perfection. She switches between character points of view so seamlessly that you hardly notice, but it just makes sense. In both of the books I've read so far I've laughed out lout at times. It's not that she told you jokes, but more like there were humorous situations that you could picture happening to those you know that would make you laugh. It really deepens your connection with the characters.

As for the mystery, I figured out who had done the murder early on, but it was only a hunch. I had no idea why this person committed the crime. It was just a thought I had that turned out to be right. It did not bother me in the slightest that I was right, the story was still really great in my opinion.

I really loved the Canadian touches she added into her work. It was pretty neat (well I think so, but I'm Canadian!). I just hate that she had be writing for 10 years and I just discovered her books now!

I don't usually review every book in a series, but I think I will keep writing about her books because I am totally enamoured by them!

Recommendation: If you enjoy a good mystery then please, please read these! You will not be disappointed!!

Tuesday, September 15, 2015

Robert B. Parker's Wonderland by Ace Atkins

My mother was the one who introduced me to the novels by Robert B. Parker years ago at the library.  I was just getting into reading adult novels, and as he wrote mysteries, I ate them up.

He wrote about 70 novels in his time, passing away in 2011 I believe. He was known (as his website says) as the dean of American crime fiction. Many of his works were best sellers. Three of his series that I've read and enjoyed were the Spenser series, the Sunny Randall series, and the Jesse Stone series. The Spenser and Sunny Randall books follow their respective protagonists who are private detectives, and the Jesse Stone books follow a policeman of the same name. I do believe one or two of his Jesse Stone books were made into made for tv movies (if I remember correctly, but I could be wrong).

Now, there are multiple authors who are taking up his mantle and continuing on his work (with permission from his estate of course) with some of his series. This book is part of his Spenser series, and was written by Ace Atkins.

I am always leery about books written by someone else after an authors death. Especially in this situation, because the writing of Robert B. Parker was so different and unique in my opinion. I was curious to see if someone else could really accomplish what Parker could.

In my opinion, this was well done. If you have never had the pleasure of reading anything by Parker, I recommend you grab one from the library. His books can be read out of order without much of an issue, which is always good. He writes in such a way that less is more. With little words, he can convey big ideas. His detectives are flawed and different, but perfectly the stereotype of the American P.I. They are wonderful reads. Quite easy and quick reads too.

The characters all have their own codes of conduct as it were and his stories follow a certain type of formula. I was happily surprised that Ace Atkins accomplished everything that Parker did. It was well done. I do believe I will pick up more of these at the library when I see them.

Recommendation: I would check out the works of Robert B. Parker. He was a brilliant and prolific writer. Especially if you like reading about private detectives.

Sunday, September 13, 2015

Dragon Keeper by Robin Hobb

I found this series at the book store last year. I was really interested in it at first glance because it was about dragons, their keepers, and the trials they face. I am always interested in fantasy like this. I kept my eye on them (because like most other bookworms, we have too many books already to read) and I held off till earlier this year.

Right from the beginning, I was sucked in. I won't go into detail, but the story was quite unlike any other dragon story I've read before. The author created their own kind of world and facts to go with it, all of which I found quite unique.

Now, from the synopsis on the back of the book, we are expecting certain things to happen in this book, but in fact, it's a bit misleading. The first 3/4 of the book is actually quite a bit of preparation for what the author has said will happen. It is so detailed that parts of the book feel like you are entering an entirely different story all together. By the end of the book all the parts come together though, and it ends almost on a complete cliffhanger. Thankfully, there are other books in the series ready and waiting to be read so you don't feel completely left wondering for long.

The writing was detailed and interesting. It was an engaging read that required your full attention less you miss out on some important details. This book isn't for the reader who likes fast paced action. Or the reader who prefers novels that only take a few hours to devour. Think of it more like Game of Thrones. It's a super detailed read. Well worth it though, but reader beware.

Recommendation: For the dragon lover, for the intense reader, for the lover of well written detailed stories. It was very worth it in my opinion.

Friday, September 11, 2015

The Beautiful Mystery by Louise Penny

I am a huge fan of mysteries and all things Canadian, so I was very surprised that I had not heard of Louise Penny until about two months ago. She has been writing her Chief Inspector Gamache novels based in Quebec for about 10 years now.  Her novels have all the French Canadian flavour you'd expect, and she's won many awards for her writing. Her newest novel has just come out, making the series 11 in total.

It was the announcement of her eleventh novel that caught my attention. At my local book store they were having a deal on the first three of her novels in a box set for a really good price. I was almost certain I would love her work, but instead I went to the library to find one of her books to give it a try.

This is the book I picked up, the only one of the series in stock. It's the eighth one in the series, and this one takes place at a small secluded abbey full of monks. One of the monks is killed, and Inspector Gamache is called in to find out whodunnit. It's not a very complicated mystery in all, but your focus becomes more on the other characters. It's a bit hard to explain, but it is very interesting either way.

Her writing is beautiful. She is a detailed writer, but not obnoxiously so. Her characters are perfectly imperfect but so engaging you fall for them almost immediately. You will become seriously invested in their lives right off the bat. She has a way of switching points of view between the characters that is so seamless you hardly notice, but somehow it just makes sense.

I did end up picking up the box set of the first three novels, and as I write this, I've actually picked up the fourth as well. I am well and truly hooked! I don't really like to write about each book in a series when they are so similar, but I can't help myself. I will be reviewing and gushing over each one as I read them!

Recommendation: It's got a brilliant detective, amazing writing, and an interesting mystery. What more could you ask for?

Wednesday, September 9, 2015

Pirate King by Laurie R. King

This book is part of a series written by Laurie R. King that tells tales of Sherlock Holmes and his wife Mary Russell. According to this author, Sherlock is married, and the stories are being told from her point of view. She helps with his investigations, and in some cases, carries out her own investigations.

I will tell you right off the bat that these books feel like you are reading a Sherlock Holmes novel. They have the same feel that we lovers of the famous detective seek out in stories about him. It is perfectly lovely, and a little refreshing, to have a story about him told by the point of a view of a woman.

This particular story has Mary travelling with a film crew as they head out to sea to film a pirate movie. She is there to keep an eye on things, as asked by Sherlock's brother Mycroft, but the true nature of the game that is afoot is kept secret.

Mary herself is like a female Sherlock. She's smart, quick. no nonsense, and always on her toes. As a protagonist, I really enjoy her. This book kept my attention for hours. Time just flew by as I was reading. This one, and the others, are just so well written and interesting!

Recommendation: These are must reads for every Sherlock fan. Honestly, you won't be disappointed!

Monday, September 7, 2015

The Queen of the Tearling by Erika Johansen

I grabbed this at the library last time I was there because I keep seeing the book all over bookstagram. Normally, I stay pretty much away from teen novels because I just don't seem to enjoy them as much as others do but I found it purely by accident so I figured I would give it a try.

The book is about a girl who on her 19th birthday must take over the throne that was her mothers. There are so many problems that face her along with an enemy who threatens trouble to her kingdom. I won't say more, but that is not all there is to it. It's quite an interesting and full read.

Straight up: I loved it. In no way did it feel like a teen novel to me. It was wonderfully written. The characters were believable and interesting, and the subject of the book was really quite neat. The library marked it as science fiction, but it felt more medieval, almost Game of Thrones-esque. Medieval times in the future, I think you would call it.

I've heard that some people find it slow but I didn't think so at all. It was really detailed and it kept my full attention. It took me longer to read than a lot of books I read because I found it to be a more involving story. It total, I think it took me more like 5-6 hours to finish. It was quite easy to forget I was reading a teen novel because it felt so much like an adult novel. That could be why some people think its slow. It does move at a pace more suited to adult novels which can be more intense possibly for some readers.

I loved how the author teased you with details and such but left a lot to be revealed later on. I am very curious to see what happens next. There were a couple bits (especially at the beginning) that could be said to be repetitive, but honestly, I didn't pay that any mind. The story worked out very well in my opinion!

Recommendation: If you've heard of this book before and are curious about it, give it a read. I thoroughly enjoyed it! I think you'll be happily entertained!

Saturday, September 5, 2015

The Mangle Street Murders by M.R.C Kasasian

I picked this one up at the library purely based on its cover. Then I found out it was set in London in 1882 and I was super excited to read it.

I found out later this one is first in a series about a personal detective named Sidney Grice who takes in a woman who is the daughter of a friend when she has no where else to go once her father dies. She demands that she be part of his investigations (much to his great annoyance). The ensuing mysteries follow their time together.

Sidney Grice comes across as very pompous and self absorbed. He has a lot of Sherlock Holmes type tendencies but not quite the same amount of humanity. Sidney really does seem more self absorbed. Like Poirot, Grice is friends with a police chief and works with him to solve crimes.

The mystery itself was good. I figured out bits of the crime before it was revealed but there was so much more to it which happily surprised me.

There are bits that happened that neither Poirot or Sherlock would have let happen which kind of bugged me but it wasn't a bad book.  If I came across another one of his books I would probably pick it up at the library but it's not on my hit list.

Recommendation: Not a bad read. If you like the genius and callous detective type novels set in the 1880's London who get stuff done, then read this!

Thursday, September 3, 2015

The Picture of Dorian Grey by Oscar Wilde

Reading classics used to be a pain only inflicted upon me while in school. I don't know where my huge aversion came from, but I tended to stick to my isle of the library and read only mysteries and the occasional fantasy.

From vague references here and there I learned a bit about the story of Dorian Grey. What really piqued my interest was the movie The League of Extraordinary Gentlemen. The idea that there was a man who didn't age because his portrait did it for him was so neat. 

Obviously, the book isn't quite as sinister as the portrayal was in the movie. It had a totally different tone to it, but that wasnt a bad thing. The premise was still the same. 

I read this book in about 5 hours I think, in about two sittings. I really enjoyed the imagery and the descriptions in the book. I will say though that I found parts of the book a little unecessary. As if there was too much there but not for the right reasons. 

It is a classic. One that I think is meant to be read. I, for one, will be reading it again. Who knows? perhaps my feelings towards parts may change on second reading. It has been quite a while since I've read it. Classic novels are classic for a reason. 

Recommendation: Read this as the classic and interesting story that it is. 

Tuesday, September 1, 2015

August Wrap Up!

This month was a better month for reading. I was quite busy at times but I did manage to get through 7 books. I'm not one for really posting ratings like out of 5 stars, but I will say that reviews for this months reads will be up periodically throughout this month.

I was trying to do the Book Bingo thing but I failed horribly. Didn't even get through the first read. I went out of town, then went to the library and things just went down hill from there. I loved the idea and I think it'll be great to keep doing it, but I haven't decided what path I'm going to take yet.

Onto my reads!

Library Books:

The Queen of the Tearling by Erika Johansen

Robert B Parker's Wonderland by Ace Atkins

The Mangle Street Murders by M.R.C. Kasasian

The Beautiful Mystery by Louise Penny

My Books:

Cross Bones by Kathy Reichs

Still Life by Louise Penny

The Casual Vacancy by J.K. Rowling

The Demonologist by Andrew Pyper

On almost every trip I made to Chapters in the last couple of months I found myself drawn to this book. Every time though, I would put it back. Until the last trip when I finally just decided that if I keep reading the back and staring at it then I might as well read it!

I found it interesting. It's a story about a professor who studies literature related to demons and hell and other somewhat related religious works. He gets asked to simply travel to Rome to look at something. He does and all hell breaks loose.

I read that this book may be made into a movie. If it does it will probably be a horror movie. I honestly think that this book would make a better movie than a book. I felt like this book only touched the surface of a whole lot of things that I think the author was trying to convey. I wanted more information, I wanted more and I think perhaps a movie could show a whole lot more.

I enjoyed it but it wasn't anything really amazing and earth shattering. It did remind me a little of The Davinci Code (which I quite liked) but this book just didn't seem on the same level.

Recommendation: It's worth it for those who love demons and horror stories. It was not a terrible novel, but you could give it a miss.

Sunday, August 30, 2015

The Pigeon Pie Mystery by Julia Stuart

This book was like a big hot pot of tea and a warm fuzzy blanket by the fire.

It's a mystery about a princess, a palace, and some high society folks. There's a monkey, pigeons, doctors, and magicians. It's got murder and of course a solution. Everything you need in a good book.

This book was full of tenderness, colorful characters, plot twists, and wonderful writing. Happily, I didn't solve the mystery before it was revealed. I did discover some of the twists early but that is always okay. I like being kept on my toes.  As far as mysteries go, it was on the lighter side, more of an Agatha Christie type than a serious, dark one.

It was very well written, like the author was creating a painting with her words. Everything was so well described it was lovely. I don't know how else to explain this book without spoiling any of it before you get a chance to read it, but just know its not quite like a lot of other mysteries, it's more of a really good story, almost close to a fairy tale.

I was really happy with this book. I read it in one sitting, but I didn't want it to end. It was very different in my opinion. Usually there's a bit of a pattern that mysteries follow but this one didn't I found it original and really quite great.

Recommendation: Give this a try. It's on my list of one of the best books I've read this year. It surprised me and I really enjoyed reading it!

Friday, August 28, 2015

The Body Snatchers Affair by Marcia Muller and Bill Pronzini

This book is relatively new. It came out in January of this year and I found it on a display in the library for new books. I snatched it up (no pun intended) purely based on the cover. I didn't even read the synopsis till I was in the car on the way home. Have to admit, its a pretty sweet cover.

The Body Snatchers Affair is the latest book in a series that follows Private Detectives John Quincannon and Sabina Carpenter through cases in San Francisco in the 1890's. In this book, there is also mention of Sherlock Holmes which of course I adore.

I won't go into too much with the plot because I don't wish to spoil anything but I will say it involved Chinatown and missing bodies. Overall, it sounded like a rather engaging read.

I read this novel in about 2-2.5 hours. It was an easy and short read for me. I have to say though, if it was a lot longer, I'm not sure I would have finished it.

I had problems with the writing. Often,when you read advice from authors they mention word usage. They say that you shouldn't use larger words when smaller ones would do. The authors of this book ignored that entirely. It's one thing to use a style of language that is suitable to the time period and the actual speech patterns the characters would have used had they been alive, and then there's just this book. The authors used constant slang and words that sounded down right pretentious. When the reader has to re-read passages to get their facts straight because of the non-stop slang, there's a problem.

It's one thing to have a high society gentleman use words like "badinage" and "raillery" but to have a character that operates like a bit of a thug who doesn't seem to be able to control his emotions use both of those words, one sentence apart, is just baloney. Put down the thesaurus. You aren't fooling anyone.

As far as mysteries go, this one was seriously simple. I had it 95% solved way before the end. Where it really bugged me was when one of the P.I's was given a lead to investigate, he doesn't bother. Not till the end. Maybe I could have forgot that he didn't follow through on the piece of info he was given, but the author didn't allow me to because they kept bringing it up. Every so often the P.I would wonder what the lead meant, but not once did he bother to look into it until the end. That's just not credible.

There was some talk of Sherlock Holmes in this book. Mostly the talk was the main characters calling Holmes an idiot and thinking he was nuts. Not a good way to insinuate yourself in the hearts of mystery lovers, I'm sorry. Especially when the author's own private detectives weren't doing such a good job themselves. They did throw Sherlock into the story a bit and he helped them out, so it kind of redeemed the hateful things the authors wrote about him, but still. Not cool.

I will say, on a positive note, that the characters were interesting. I enjoyed Sabina Carpenter the most and I was actually interested in her and what was happening. I just wish the story was better developed.

Recommendation: This book could be confusing at times because of the language used, and the story wasn't enough for me, but I won't tell you not to read it. To each his own, right?

Wednesday, August 26, 2015

The Cuckoos Calling by Robert Galbraith

As most of us know (and in case you didn't), this book was actually written by J.K. Rowling under a pseudonym.

The Cuckoo's Calling is a hard boiled private detective novel. It follows all the typical P.I gumshoe type stories and that is in no way upsetting. It's wonderful, actually. I love private detective novels!

This one stars Cormoran Strike the private eye who's down on his luck. The case? The suicide of a supermodel. I won't tell you any more, I don't want to accidentally spoil it because it's worth the read!

It didn't feel like I was reading a book by the same author who wrote Harry Potter, but it was still written beautifully. It was lighter than a lot of other novels of this type that I've read. It's nice because it lets you connect easier with the characters this way.

Cormoran Strike might actually be one of my new favorite book characters. This book was written to draw you in, to feel for the characters, and get you invested in what happens to them. I really enjoyed this book and I am going to be getting Silkworm as well very soon, because I just have to read that one too! I really hope she writes a couple more too because Cormoran is a character I don't want to say goodbye to yet.

If you think you want to read this simply because of the author, then perhaps you should google it a little and read more about it. This book is very much a private detective novel. It is nothing like Harry Potter. Sorry.

Recommendation: Must read for the mystery lover. J.K. Rowling's writing is spectacular of course and you'd be silly to pass this one by!

Monday, August 24, 2015

The 100 Year Old Man Who Climbed Out The Window and Disappeared by Jonas Jonasson

This book was AHMAZING!

It's about a man who on his 100th birthday climbs out his window at the old folks home and disappears. It follows his life after he escapes and also his extremely interesting life up to his escape.

It's an incredibly charming read. It's smart and funny and easily one of the best books I've read this year. There actually came a moment when I realized that I had accepted certain things as commonplace in this book when in any other book I might have thought it was nuts. I guess once you accept the basic premise of this story, nothing else that happens seems too incredulous.

It's just fantastic. You will need a super basic understanding of the history of most of the world for you to accept the sheer gravity of the life he lead, but honestly, its not a complicated book. There is a lot of talk of politics, but again, do not let this deter you. It's well worth the read.

This novel is a work of fiction but it was so crazy, that special kind of crazy, that it could have almost *almost* been real. It is truly a delightful read that made me smile and laugh. It's so much more than I had ever hoped it would be and I am more than pleased to have read it.

I spend quite a long time recounting every single detail to my guy after reading it. I've also noticed it's been made into a movie and I most certainly will be checking it out.

Recommendation: For the lover of a story. Pure and simple. If you love a good story then please, please read this!

Monday, August 3, 2015

Z: A Novel of Zelda Fitzgerald by Therese Anne Fowler

I picked this one up on sale and I was really excited to read it. After reading The Great Gatsby and learning a bit about F. Scott Fitzgerald and his life, I was super interested in reading this book, even if it is a fictional autobiography.

This book is about the life of Fitzgeralds wife Zelda Sayre. When they met, what life was like in the 1920's during the Jazz Age. There was also some insight into the life of Fitzgerald and what it was like to be a writer in those days.

I will start off by saying this book was beautifully written. It was interesting and informative and kept my full attention. I read in all in one sitting. I couldn't put it down. From a literary perspective it was a work of art.

The main subject of this story, the life of Zelda, was heartbreaking. It made me angry, sad, and confused. It was such a tough story to read. If I ever wore rose coloured glasses when it comes to the lives of writers back in the days of Hemingway and Fitzgerald, they are most certainly off.

My heart just broke for her. I wanted things to have turned out differently for her. It was such a different kind of story then what I usually read. I didn't know how things were going to go. I guess I just assumed the story would be a happy one. It's not that its a terrible story, its just its heart felt and intense.

I don't want to ruin it for anyone, because believe me, its worth the read. The thing with it is, its a look at the life of another person who actually lived. Can't always be the perfect dream we all hope for.

Recommendation: Read this. It is so worth it. I am happy to have read it for all the pain it caused me. People aren't meant to be forgotten. They are meant to be celebrated.

Saturday, August 1, 2015

Aunt Dimity's Death by Nancy Atherton

This novel is the perfect story. It's got romance, fairy tale, destiny, ghosts, mystery, and so much more goodness. It's funny, serious, heart warming, and full of love. Quite like any other story I've read before.

The book is about a girl who finds out that the character in the stories her mother used to tell her is not only real but has passed away. This woman has also left the girl things in her will, and has requested that the girl carry out a task for her. There is so much more to this book, but I do not want to spoil it.

The mystery in this story is more of a simple finding out of facts. Its not gruesome at all. These mysteries are about love, of life, a mysterious photo, ghosts, a strange blue notebook, and a stuffed bunny named Reginald.

This book really is a perfect fairy tale for current time. It has all the elements that make dreams come true, with just a little hint of mystery.

I came across the Aunt Dimity series years ago in the library. I've read a few of the following novels, this one being the first in the series. I'm sure I've read this one too, but honestly it felt like a new story when I read it. In my opinion, this story could be a stand alone because its just a wonderful story. I can say though that many of the following books are also pretty darn awesome.

Recommendation: Perfect book for a lover of a good story, for a lover of fairy tales, for a lover of the purest forms of mystery. No matter how you slice it, its great. A definite must read.

Thursday, July 30, 2015

Writing Down the Bones by Natalie Goldberg

I came across this book in the reference section under writing. Immediately it called out to me. I snapped it up and I am so darn glad I did.

This book is an inspiration to new writers and old writers alike to write. She talks about the how-to's the why and the just do's to get any writers hand moving across that paper (or key board). She writes like she's sitting in a coffee shop across from you tell you stories, but at the same time lifting you up and inspiring you again and again.

I loved this book immensely. It was a great introduction into the writing of this author. She is such a huge inspiration and her words are just so amazing. This book was non stop wisdom. Every page is a new blast of inspiration and advice.

Every writer needs to have this book on their shelves to refer to at any time. There's no question why this book is a best seller.

Her methods are simple but effective. She does go into a little bit of detail with regards to her Zen practices and how they have helped her, along with the lessons they have taught her. I found it really interesting which is why I've also read another one of her books The True Secret of Writing which covers more of that including the writing workshops she's held and the methods she teaches them. Don't worry, the review on that book is coming soon!

I can dive into this book on any page at any time and feel revived and inspired. I am cherishing my copy, that's for sure.

Recommendation: Attention all writers, aspiring writers, and those thinking of writing: You need this book. It's a must. A serious must. Don't question it, just read it!!

Tuesday, July 28, 2015

The Bell Jar by Sylvia Plath

My first knowledge of Sylvia Plath was on a teen show quite a few years ago. The guy was making fun of a girl for being emotional and broody and he referred to The Bell Jar. It's still the first thing I think of when this book comes to mind. This show (possibly the same episode) was also when I learned of Jane Austen and her works.

Since then I have learned that Sylvia Plath was a brilliant writer and poet. I am familiar with her life story, and although it's not the happiest, it's still very important.

The Bell Jar is a classic. Sylvia Plath wrote a tale of a woman's life dealing with depression and mental illness. Some of the events in this book actually mirror her own life and it is said it was semi-autobiographical. She originally published this book under a pseudonym.

This is a haunting tale, but it's an important read. It gives you a look inside the mind of someone dealing with depression. It's really hard to describe this book. It's powerful and emotional and will leave you with mixed feelings.

I would say that I am happy to have read it. I can understand Sylvia Plath and our draw to her like a moth to a flame. She was a beautiful writer, and a beautiful person. Her work was very important and it deserves to be appreciated.

Recommendation: Go look up this author and her work. If you can handle it, then please, read it. It is a classic and deserves to be read. Take it for what it is. I consider it a gem in my collection.

Sunday, July 26, 2015

Brida by Paulo Coelho

This is the second Paulo Coelho book that I've read.

I chose this read because it's about a girl who is searching for magic. She wants to be a witch and she goes searching for answers. Along the way she meets different people who teach her different ways of finding what she was searching for. 

I've always been interested in magic and stories about it get my attention. This story does touch on magic and such but its not the paranormal read you might think. It talks about spirituality and the search for it. 

As usual, this book is full of metaphors and underlying themes that tell us so much more than just a story. This book involves the search for soulmates, for connection, and for belonging. It's so much more than a story about a girl who is searching for magic. It involves spirituality and so much more. 

I really enjoyed this nook. The ending was a bit weird for me. It didn't really sync up in the way that I had hoped it would, but it didn't take too much away from the story for me. I still think its worth the read. 

I have hopes to get my hands on every one of his books. There's just so much wisdom in each one that they are definitely worth reading. 

Recommendation: I recommend this one, especially for those interested in magic, in soulmates, and in finding yourself. His words are well worth the experience. 

Thursday, July 9, 2015

Stardust by Neil Gaiman

I'm a bit of a dunce when it comes to other genres besides mystery. Don't get me wrong I enjoy other genres; but I couldn't really tell you the stand out authors, the hidden gems, even the most popular series (besides the obvious). Of course I had no idea who Neil Gaiman was or even that he wrote the book that one of my many favorite movies was based on until recently.

A couple years ago (when I was working for Blockbuster before it closed) I came across the movie Stardust. It had some actors I recognized and because of my free movie rentals I pounced on it. Happily I found it was so much more than that. It was awesome!

Stardust is a funny, inventive fairy tale story. It was about love and the lengths we go to for the sake of it. The ending was lovely and the characters were smart and interesting. Not quite like any other story of that nature that I've seen. There are fairies, unicorns, witches, fallen stars, royalty, pirates, clouds, and magic candles. It's really a page turner!

Fast forward to a couple weeks ago when I discovered there was a book. As soon as I got my hands on it I was in love. 

The book is an easy read but it is not void of greatness. It is lovely. I think I read it in about 3 hours. It's full of detail and the story unfolded almost the exact same way as the movie. There was a couple ways in which the movie was a total change from the book but honestly, it didn't bother me because I think I liked most of the choices that were made in the movie. For one, the ending was different in the book but it was not quite as happy as the ending in the movie.  Either way, it was wonderful. It'll make more sense if you've watched the movie and read the book. Both I highly recommend doing. 

Recommendation: This book is a must read. The movie features wonderful performances (especially from a pirate played by Robert DeNiro) Read the book and watch the movie. You won't regret either. 

Thursday, July 2, 2015

June Wrap Up and Thoughts on Set TBR's

During the month of June I decided to follow set To Be Read list of books. I chose 12 books from different genres and areas of my collection. I picked books by authors I know and love and some I planned to read to expand my literary horizons.

I managed to get through 9 of the 12 books from the chosen pile. I didn't let myself read anything else that wasn't in my pile, (well execpt for a couple ebooks I read on my phone in the middle of the night when I couldn't sleep) even though I picked up a couple pretty awesome novels during the month. 

It was a little hard, I'm not going to lie. Two of the books that I didn't get to/finish were quite long and I found it a little hard to keep going at times. 

See, a lot of the books I read are quick reads for me. They take me only a couple hours, and many I read in one sitting. When it comes to a longer book (think anything from the Game of Thrones series) I get a little distracted. I don't mean to, but I do. I like things to be easy I guess. It doesn't mean I don't want to read them, because I do, I just tend to put them down often in favour of another read and I pick them up again later.

Well, I burned through a lot of the "easier" reads early on in the month and by the end I wasn't really feeling much like reading them.

That feeling spiralled out, and I didn't end up finishing the book challenge I was so diligently doing for the month. I didn't take photos for my bookstagram at all, really. Not to mention I have about 40 different book tags to do, and I haven't been posting as many reviews as I had planned either. 

I've decided I don't like the idea of a set TBR list, so I think from now on I may set myself goals in terms of how many I want to read in a month, and less about which ones that I'm going to read. As well, I should be posting reviews again more regularly. 

 Books read in June:
  • Letters to a Young Poet- Rainer Maria Rilke
  • Pirate King- Laurie R. King
  • Stardust- Neil Gaiman
  • Death of Yesterday- M.C, Beaton
  • Dragon Keeper- Robin Hobb
  • The Pigeon Pie Mystery- Julia Stuart
  • Devil Bones- Kathy Reichs
  • The Cuckoo's Calling- Robert Galbraith
  • Wild- Cheryl Strayed

Friday, June 19, 2015

The Hobbit by J.R.R. Tolkien

When I was a kid The Hobbit and the Lord of the Rings were big reads, especially among the boys. They were classics and for some unknown reason, I avoided them. No explanation, really. I had always intended on reading them. Eventually. 

I went to see the first Hobbit movie with some family
and immediately after I had to read the book because I was dying to know what would happen next.

Of course the book was just lovely. It was everything I hoped it would be and more. I was still in school while I was reading it and I was making a point of reading bits at a time before I got down to studying. 

I took lots of notes when I was reading and I pointed out all the parts that weren't quite the same but it didn't really matter. I loved both the book and the movie. No idea why I haven't seen the other movies yet. I am terrible at actually going to the show to see something that's on. 

The fact of the matter is I loved this book. The writing was rich and colorful. My imagination had no trouble keeping up. The characters were full of life. Just a really superb read. I loved the cover I bought too. Something about it I really love.

Recommendation: Read the book. Watch the movies. No questions needed.

Friday, June 12, 2015

Gone Girl by Gillian Flynn

I came across this book towards the end of last year I believe, around the time the editions with the movie tie in covers were hitting the shelves. All I knew of it was that it was a mystery with a crazy twist. 

I was a little late to the party so I had spoken to a couple people about the book, and for the most part, they said that it was rather slow going at first but it really picked up again by the end. I was told the twist ending was worth reading the book. 

Honestly, none of that deterred me. I often find myself enjoying books where others have said they were slow or boring so I went into reading this book with a totally open mind. Well, except for the fact that Ben Affleck was starring in the movie and I'm not really a fan of his. 

I came across a deal and bought the book. Took me about three hours to read it, and I finished it in one sitting. Then I very nearly threw it across the room. 

I utterly and completely disliked this book. Why, you ask?

It was predicable. It was unrealistic. The ending was entirely improbable. There was a whole slew of bits in the middle that were unnecessary to the plot in my opinion. I won't go into more detail because I never want to spoil any book, even one I didn't like, for you the reader. 

I can appreciate what the author was trying to do with the story, and the concept was pretty neat, but it just made me mad. Her writing was perfect and I do not doubt her talent, its just it wasn't what I would have wanted. It just wasn't for me. 

The end though... I don't believe anyone, anywhere would live that way. Sorry. It could have been so much more, really. The twist was like a huge firework that shot into the air to only puff out a couple dull sparks and fade away. It was not enough. Maybe I was so annoyed with this book because it wasn't tied up neatly in a bow that sparkles and lets you know everything is all right. I don't know. 

No, I haven't seen the movie. I know things can appear differently on screen then in a book and maybe it works better as a movie. Who knows. It just didn't work as a book for me. 

Recommendation: See the movie, maybe?  I don't know. It was a total miss for me. 


Saturday, June 6, 2015

The Girl on the Train by Paula Hawkins

Everywhere I look, I see photos, copies, comments, and posts about this book. Its super popular and its supposed to be the same kind of thriller some have compared to Gone Girl. 

I found it for $10 off the cover price a couple weeks ago so I snapped it up to see what all the fuss was about. We all know the synopsis by now about the girl who rides the train and sees something happen. That there's a couple in a house she always watches from her seat and a story unfolds from there. I won't say any more.

Basically it is a story told from the point of view of a couple of the main characters. It is set up with morning and night tidbits. It reads exactly how someone would think it, meaning that there is a lot of things which don't come out right away since this is the kind of story without too much foreshadowing. It is full of twists and turns and with facts being revealed all the time. It really does keep the reader on their toes.

I read this in one day, in one sitting actually. Took me about 4 hours I believe. Half way through I couldn't put it down and I just had to find out the result. I even recounted most of the story to my guy that night.

I wouldn't list this as an all time favorite, but I did enjoy it. It's one of those books that forces you to look inside the more tawdry, salacious sides of peoples lives. It tends to leave the reader feeling sort of exposed by the end. I couldn't really connect too much with any of the characters though, but I did understand them.

For the mystery type thriller that it was, it was great. I didn't figure out the who did it until the author told me which I like. It's more fun when I can't tell for sure. All in all, it was good.

Recommendation: If this book caught your attention then by all means read it and find out what all the fuss is about.

Wednesday, June 3, 2015

The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society

Written by Mary Ann Shaffer and Annie Barrows

This book came into my life on a whim one day when I was looking for something different. The title sold me before I even read the synopsis. How could you not? Its just too fantastic!

This book is written in letter form between the inhabitants of the island of Guernsey and a writer during the German occupation in the 40's. It's a totally magnetic story. It drew me in immediately and I found myself becoming utterly absorbed in the characters. I laughed with them, I sighed with them, I really found myself getting wrapped up in everything they did.

There are some of you out there who might feel that it being written in letter form could be annoying but honestly, I really didn't think so. I think it was just plain magic. I loved how different it was from my usual reads and I found the whole experience quite refreshing.

My usual modus operandi was always to avoid any novels surrounding any war that didn't happen in medieval times. I just don't enjoy them. But, this one wasn't exactly like that. It was not what I expected but I was very happy with it.

I count this book among one of my absolute favourites. I honestly think this one slinks by unnoticed even with the amazingly interesting title.

Recommendation: If you get your hands on this one, give it a read. It's going to be unlike anything else you've read and I can almost guarantee you will love it!

Tuesday, June 2, 2015

A Discovery of Witches by Deborah Harkness

For a while now I would pass this book on the shelf at the bookstore almost every time I was there. The cover is beautiful and the title was interesting to me, but I always passed it up. On average I prefer to spend no more than around $10 for a new book. Anything more than $15 and I pass them up. Why? because I know I can find it later at the used book store or the thrift store if I wait for a lot cheaper. Or I can find it online for a lot cheaper too. Either way, this book wasn't coming home with me until it was a great deal. As it turns out, I didn't find it for a cheaper price, instead when I was browsing a table of books one day at the store, I came across it again and it was signed. No way I could pass that up!

I had the usual preconcieved notions going into this book. It sounded like the usual witch who doesn't know she's really a super power who meets a dark mysterious vampire who is quiet but super protective without knowing her at all. They were going to complete some mission together and fall in love. Don't get me wrong, I do really enjoy those books. And yes, this one had all those elements just like I thought, but it also had a whole lot more. 

Everything about it felt a little different. The story really morphed and evolved into something I really wasn't expecting. It was beautifully written and it left me wanting more. There was a lot of interesting historical referenes and details that did not feel dumbed down like in some other books. It was lovely. It actually took me a lot longer to read than I thought it would. I didn't mind though it was a very interesting read.

The characters were written so well. There was depth to them, vulnerability, and strength which you don't always see in this type of story. I found it quite refreshing. My preconceived notions that would have turned into a complaint were dashed by the end. Now I am hooked. I am so happy that this is the first of three in a series and that all of the books in the series are out already so I won't have to wait too long to read the rest!

Recommendation: I highly recommend it. If you like stories about witches and vampires who fall in love and save the world, then read this. I know you will love it too!

Wednesday, May 27, 2015

On Writing by Stephen King

This book is exactly what the title leads you to believe. It's Stephen Kings thoughts on writing. It's part memoir and part master class on the art of writing. 

I devoured this book in a day and took lots of notes. My love of reading has long since evolved into a love of writing and I tend to snap up really inspiring and helpful books related to the art of writing. I do play about here and their with stories and things, I've even written quite a stack of terrible poetry. Perhaps I will evolve some more into an author myself. Who knows? What I do know is this book will be the first review of possibly many related to books on the art of writing. 

In this book Stephen King talks about his life, his hardships, what it was like starting out writing and going through his life. It was eye opening, personal, and truly inspiring. 

I greatly respect him as both a writer and a person. This book really gives a behind the scenes look at his life and his work. I always feel more connected to an author after learning more about them. Makes them more human and the writing of a book more attainable. 

There is even a whole section where he shares an unedited piece of work and goes over how he would edit it which is super helpful. I am happy to have this book close at hand for future reference. 

Recommendation: For any writer, this book is a must. Even if you don't love his work, you have to acknowledge his mastery when it comes to writing. (Of course this book is even better if you do love his work!)

Saturday, May 23, 2015

The Alchemist by Paulo Coelho

I can't remember why I hunted this down at the book store. I must have read about it somewhere in passing, but it wasn't until after checking out reviews that found out how popular this book has been.

The edition I have comes with and introduction from the author. That alone gutted me in two. Right from the start it broke me open and started putting me back together. 

This book is so full of wisdom and life lessons that must come right from the universe its self. It speaks to you in subtle and not so subtle metaphors that urge you to live a life with more happiness and purpose. It teaches you the importance of following your dreams.  It's a great experience. 

I really do think that this book, if you're paying attention, can change your life. I think everyone, no matter who you are, should read this book at least once. or twice. or five times. Sometimes I pull my copy out and flip through it.

You need to know that this book isn't like any of those self help, mushy, how to be the best person you can be in 5 steps type of book. This book tells you a story, and if you're listening, it will show you so much more. 

I had not read or even heard about this author before reading this book. I have to say now that I'm hooked. He writes in such a bewitching manner that you just drift away in his stories. I have a couple more books of his in my library already, but I feel like they all need to be covered on their own.

Recommendation: This book is called a fable about following your dreams. We all need that kind of encouragement in our lives. Read this. It will change you. I promise. 

Wednesday, May 20, 2015

Brain on Fire: My Month of Madness by Susannah Cahalan

This book was raw, honest, and incredibly brave. It was also quite compelling and interesting.

I won't recap the novel suffice to say that it is about a woman who became ill with an almost unknown, almost undiagnosed disease that took over her life for a period of time. 

This woman is so brave to share her story with such honesty and transparency. She tells us all the gritty details of her illness, what she knows to have happened, and how she believes she felt. She is a journalist by trade so there are a lot of details that I really appreciate, especially how she took the time and effort to go back and collect all the info she could.

It's crazy to think that there are still illnesses out there that doctors are just now figuring out. Definitely makes me worry a little every time I don't feel well.

I am happy to have read this book. I am happier still that she fought such a crazy battle and is still here to tell us all about it, not to mention that there are wonderful doctors out there who keep searching for answers.

I was surprised to learn that the disease she had could have been the cause of "demonic possessions" throughout history. That alone I find pretty darn fascinating! 

Recommendation: I am glad I read it. If you enjoy true stories, especially the medical mystery type ones, then please pick this up!