For readers around the globe. :)

Tuesday, November 28, 2017

Downward Dog

This was a super, super cute read.
Downward Dog is a book of haiku's written from a dogs eye view, which is totally adorable.
Not to mention the little illustrations were precious!

But I didn't love it.
It was short, only 60ish pages.
But being so short it was hard to grasp the idea that it was written in a dogs voice.
I love, love, love my pup but I can't imagine her voice as the voice portrayed in the book.

Thanks to NetGalley for providing me with a copy of Downward Dog!

Friday, November 24, 2017

Tru & Nelle: A Christmas Tale

Oh boy, I could not wait to get my hands on this book!!!

Tru & Nelle: A Christmas Tale picks up four years later with Tru running away from his New York Military School, back home to Alabama. He missed his family. He missed Big Boy. But really he missed Nelle. Obviously, that's who he decides to see before anyone else.
Once finally deciding to head to his old house, he slips into bed with is blankie and Sook.
But suddenly there was smoke and then the whole house was just....gone.
Christmas was obviously ruined at this point and Tru needed to fix it. After all, it's his fault that bad luck follows him everywhere.
So they set off to find the perfect Christmas tree, when they run into bully, Boss, son of the Klan's ex-Grand Dragon. They know they're in big trouble but don't really know what to do. Best to go talk to A.C. Lee, he'll know what to do.
Soon after, Nelle is on a crime scene with A.C. when she realizes there were actually TWO perpetrators, and he thinks that old, black man may have seen something. She soon learns that they're looking for two colored men, one who was injured in the robbery.
But in Monroeville, Alabama in the 1930's, that statement alone will bring some heat.
    When two colored men show up at Big Boy's house, one of them with a limp, Nelle knows it must have been them. They committed a crime....
But that wasn't the case. 
Two men hanged for a crime they didn't commit.
All because the jury was 12 white men, one of whom was the son of the victim.
Seems a little unjust to me, but again 1930's Alabama.

There's also a lot of references and scenes including the Klan which always throws me off because it's a kids book. But honestly, things like this did and do still happen. 

G. Neri is a fantastic storyteller.
I loved reading this, just as much as I loved the first Tru & Nelle novel. 
I love how he paints Tru's eccentric personality and Nelle's tomboy attitude. 
I love that he's from the Gulf Coast (just like me!).
I love that he got to spend time research two fantastic authors and decided to portray them as children with big, big imaginations.
Basically, I love everything about Tru & Nelle.

Looking for the rest of the series?
Tru & Nelle (Tru & Nelle #1)

Looking books by Truman Capote?
In Cold Blood
Other Voices, Other Rooms

Looking for other books featuring Truman Capote and Harper Lee?
No Saints in Kansas

Saturday, November 18, 2017

Turtles All The Way Down

John Green, I have waited 5 years for this masterpiece and finally I have it.
Turtles All The Way Down deals with a very serious topic, mental illness.
So Aza is 16 and struggles with anxiety.
She describes her anxiety as a thought spiral and I love that. In these thought spirals, she can't get out. Her thoughts keep spiraling and tightening and worrying her to the point where she becomes almost catatonic. But what I really love about it is that her best friend, Daisy, understands when she isn't talking. Aza at one point actually says, "Sorry, thought spiral" and Daisy is like 'Oh, girl. I get it." 
I feel like that relationship is really, really needed especially in a teen book. Many teens don't understand mental illness and the seriousness of it, but Daisy gets it. 
Now Aza, she's not the most relatable character because her issues are so specific. Her anxiety is strictly related to the human biome. She has an intense fear of germs and getting infected and being hospitalize, her irrational fear actually lands her in the hospital (in a round-a-bout way, but spoilers you know). 
But the issues she has are definitely something that people CAN relate to. Everyone has a little anxiety from time to time, but some people truly can't escape it and this gives an amazing insight to this illness. 
I am patiently waiting for my sister to finish the book because I want to see if her reaction was anything like mine. She also struggles with anxiety and I would love to know just how accurate and relatable it was to her. 

When TATWD was announced, I shared a video of John Green reading the first chapter:

Looking for other books by John Green?

Saturday, November 11, 2017


I am not a fan of heavy metal in any way (but why do I have heavy metal flags and band tshirts??)
Oh yeah, because my husband is a metalhead.
So I read Hellraisers for a few reasons:
  • I love music, any kind of music.
  • I love my husband
  • He wouldn't read the book so I had to summarize it to him
But it was actually really good. I was surprised at all of the different subgenres within the heavy metal genre. Some of them I don't 100% agree with because lets be real glam rock is NOT metal but it is definitely one of my favorites. Honestly, I learned a lot from this book. It kind of goes into the history of heavy metal and talks about bands who inspired other bands and how all the subgenres are connected to the main genre.
Now I will say, the last 100 pages or so were not really necessary.
Now I'm not an expert or anything, but grouping Limp Bizkit, Kid Rock, and Linkin Park into the "nu-metal" genre seemed a bit off to me, but according to my husband that's exactly what the three of them are. So who knows.
Either way, I really enjoyed this book even though heavy metal is not quite my taste. 
If you enjoy this music, you'd definitely enjoy this book!
Huge thank you to NetGalley for providing me an advanced copy of Hellraisers!

Thursday, November 9, 2017

Everything is Awful

If you don't know who Matt Bellassai is, you are missing out!

I first found Matt through Buzzfeed when he boss allowed him to get drunk at his desk and complain about whatever his little heart desires (children, holidays, foods). It's called Whine About It and it's HILARIOUS. So when Whine About It ended, he started To Be Honest, which is virtually the same thing with a different name. Then he started the Unhappy Hour podcast, which once again includes Matt getting drunk and complaining, but this time with other people!

Now that you know who he is, lets talk about Everything is Awful. 
Once you get his voice and mannerisms down, you can almost hear every word as if you were watching the video On Why Teenagers are the Worst (great chapter by the way, I was getting ugly stares on the bus because I couldn't stop laughing).  It's told through short chapters, each dealing with one annoying thing or the other. Mostly, it's just Matt rambling on like he does in his sensational videos, just with less alcohol (well that might be a lie, he could have drunk written this entire book, who knows). 

Basically I have three points to make with this review:
1) Go watch his videos (here's his youtube channel)
2) Go buy this book (here's the link to purchase)
3) Do these two things immediately

Monday, November 6, 2017

Are You There Alone? The Unspeakable Crime of Andrea Yates

Oh boy, who doesn't know the name Andrea Yates?
If you haven't, here's a quick recap:
One morning in June 1999, Andrea Yates waited for her husband to leave for work before drowning their five children in the bathtub. She immediately called her husband, Rusty, saying he needed to come home. She then called 911 asking for police to be dispatched to her home....
I'm honestly not sure when I first heard of the Andrea Yates case (I was 4 when it happened) but I have done extensive research and written many, many papers on Post-Partum Depression (called Post Partum Psychosis in the book) and many papers on Infanticide (called Filicide in the book).
That being said, it is amazing to me how much has changed in 18 years in the psychology/psychiatry field. 

So here's the jist of the book.
Andrea Yates suffered from some unknown disorder for many, many years. She had an education, a career, and a life before she married Rusty and began barring his children. Soon after their son Noah was born, she began having delusions of hurting him. None of the other children, just Noah. When these delusions began coming more frequently, she started spiraling down an unknown road of mental illness. After their 4th child was born, they were advised to stop having children based on her unstable mental state. The baby blues are normal, but what she had was much stronger. Instead, they persisted that another baby was what they needed. So baby number 5 comes along, their first baby girl. Since Andrea was so unstable, she actually tried to commit suicide twice, in the hopes that she could save her children from Satan. In the end, she argued that killing her children was the only way she could save them from Satan and guarantee each of them a spot in Heaven.
Now, there is a large portion of this book that is 100% from the trial. Which is quite dry to read, but it definitely added to the story. Not to mention there are many interviews with Andrea trying to explain her reasoning through yes/no questions because of the catatonic state she was in through the extremely hard diagnosis. 
If you like true crime, get this book.

Wednesday, November 1, 2017

Meet Roni O'Connell!

Alright everyone! 
I would like you all to meet Roni O'Connell!
I got the great opportunity to do an exclusive interview with her and got details about a giveaway!!!

When did you first realize you wanted to be a writer?
Many English teachers imagine at least one novel lurks within them. I started thinking about writing during my last years of teaching, and in fact, wrote Float while I was still teaching. Many of my students were Hispanic and bemoaned the fact that Hispanics in books were invariably poor, immigrants, or involved with drugs. They felt stereotyped. So, in Float, the main character is Hispanic from a well to do family and has two supportive and loving parents. Diversity in books is important but so is remembering not to stereotype ethnicities.

Who are some of your favorite authors?
I love books that are dark and edgy, obviously, as that is also what I write. Some of my favorite authors are Gillian Flynn, Holly Black, Melissa Marr, James Rollins, and John Grisham. Some of these authors write paranormal and some write contemporary fiction but all write about flawed characters, imperfect and damaged, who face terrible conflicts. The action is intense, as is the romance, and the pace is fast. The books are complex and beautifully written.

Where is your favorite place to write?
Ha! My favorite place to write is in the shade next to a swimming pool. My laptop propped up on my knees and my two Chihuahuas vying for position on my lap and next to me on the lounge chair. When I need a break, I jump in and swim for awhile, staring up at the palms and allowing the plot to percolate in my mind.

What do you like to do when you're not writing?
Kayaking out on any mountain lake is my favorite activity. Swimming in rivers or lakes runs a close second. My chocolate lab, Sadie, often comes out on the kayak with me.

Are you currently working on anything new?
Yes! I am working on the sequel to Chameleon's Spell, tentatively entitled Chameleon's War. It's about a young woman, Juliet Marchant, who has a secret- one that makes her hide from the world, until one day her friend, an Immortal shifter wolf, is slaughtered on her land. Juliet is forced to take her place in the world and deal with the effect her Chameleon blood produces on the majority of humans- an effect akin to taking aphrodisiacs or psychedelic drugs. If Juliet is to fulfill her destiny, she must unlock her Immortal powers, face her love of the human leader of Spectral Command, and fight for the rights of the exploited Immortals, desired for their hair, fur, feathers, and skins, and sold on the black market to unscrupulous humans. Chameleon's War continues Juliet's battle as Immortals face war and extinction and she must step up as leader of her Immortal kin.

So there you have it!