Thursday, November 20, 2014

heavy snow, light reading.

It is officially the third consecutive day that the Buffalo area has been snowed in. I'm not complaining, I've just been drinking a lot and reading. Wilhelm Staehle has definitely made it more fun with his quirky postcard books that are set to be released December 3rd, just in the time for the holidays, which are coming fast judging by the 2343242 feet of snow in my backyard. Both postcard books will make the perfect stocking stuffer, grab bag or secret Santa gifts, especially for that creepy co-worker or goofy family member you always have a hard time buying for.

Stars and Swipes: 30 Postcards of Awkward Americana is definitely for the All-American man or woman in your life who has a good sense of humor. Staehle highlights less popular and more awkward moments in history, my favorite kind. I even learned a few things, like Lewis and Clark were a originally a trio. Lewis, Clark and Dwayne. Because you know there is always that one guy complaining the whole time you're trying to get a job done.


Hugs and Misses: 30 Postcards of Awkward Romance has some of the worst pick up lines I've ever heard. I absolutely loved it. Staehle has created silly silhouettes and one-liners of romances gone wrong. As someone with a tardy history who also thinks of awkward moments as a high, I appreciated all of the failed or inappropriate attempts at love.


Wednesday, November 19, 2014

beautiful graphics, great themes.

The Hockey Saint is the second installment in the Forever Friends trilogy by Howard Shapiro, following the extremely popular, The Stereotypical Freaks. Graphic novels are all my middle grade boys want to read at this point, so Shapiro has been a real lifesaver. This sports-oriented graphic novel revolves around world renowned Canadian hockey player Jeramiah Jacobson and his huge fan, an ordinary college kid named Tom Leonard who is still grieving the loss of his parents. The two meet by chance, become friends, and Tom learns that celebrities really don't have it all. The fame and spotlight is slowly eating away at Jeramiah, and although Tom has a lot of his own stuff to deal with, he realizes that by putting forth the effort to save others, you can also save yourself.

Shapiro has a huge win here. A graphic novel carrying themes such as depression, helping others, the meaning of true friendship, and addiction. The Hockey Saint carries with it a moral compass and takeaway values for an age group that desperately needs both.

Tuesday, November 18, 2014

dark and funny, just like your teenager.

It always excites me when the first book of a trilogy comes out. I just love trilogies, there's always something to look forward to. I especially love a good YA novel trilogy, like Edward Carey's Heap House: The Iremonger Trilogy: Book One, because it's amazing, completely odd and will keep my kiddos reading!

When it comes to anything YA, the stranger the better, and Carey totally has that covered with his main character, Clod Iremonger. For generations, the Iremonger family have been responsible for “the Heaps,” a tremendous sea of trash and discarded items outside an alternate-universe London. Clod is an outcast of the family because of his strange ability to hear objects talk. For example, his uncle lost his safety pin, and Clod was the only one able to find it again because he could hear it. Anyways, both Clod and a feisty orphan named Lucy Pennant alternate narrating as they begin to uncover dark secrets of the Iremonger family.

Monday, November 17, 2014

the art of the english murder.

I have gotten pretty into the new TV series, Forever that revolves around an English Medical Examiner who has been alive since the early 1800's because when he dies,  he doesn't actually die. He turns up, stark naked, in the Hudson River. Anyways, he used to be a doctor a hundred or so years ago and now he helps solve murders because being alive for so long makes you seriously smart. A Jack the Ripper type episode aired a few weeks ago....which leads me to my next review...

The English (and Americans, okay everybody really) have always had a fascination with crime. The more dark and twisted, the better. The Art of the English Murder: From Jack the Ripper and Sherlock Holmes to Agatha Christie and Alfred Hitchcock by Lucy Worsley retells the stories of famous murders, trials, and horrid creatures who have turned into legends for their crimes. Worsley is quite the storyteller and historian, covering the letter of the law before police forces were created in England, and so on. This book includes both fact and fiction, murder in real life and in literature, and murder based on literature so vividly, you'll forget which is which.

Friday, November 14, 2014

kick ass giveaway!

Win a FREE copy of The Carnival at Bray!
Contest Rules:
1. Follow this blog :)
2. E-mail your name and this book title to: to enter!
3. Contest ends 11/20 at midnight!

Thursday, November 13, 2014

become a strength training genius.

I'm a cardio girl. I will run around in a circle for hours with the right music, but try to get me to pick up a weight and I'll look at you like you stole my last brownie. I recently began working with the T25 Focus DVD's which include strength training in some of the workouts. It's been working really well for me. I mean my arms get sore when Shaun T makes me punch the air, but whatever.

I know that lifting a couple ten pound dumbbells during a workout DVD isn't going to make my arms lose fat as quickly as I would like, so I decided to get a second opinion. Jim Stoppani's Encyclopedia of Muscle & Strength (2nd Edition) is seriously kick ass. It's a great manual for those of you just getting into strength training as Stoppani begins at the beginning with the basics and all the vocabulary. However, with 381 exercises and 116 specific strength training programs, this book will also benefit you gym rats looking for a change. A major thing I learned? How long I'm supposed to rest in between sets. Depending on the exercise that the answer ranges from 1-5 minutes. I was definitely doing that wrong. But hey, lesson learned. And that's the whole point of Stoppani's book, to learn what to do and what not to do in the world of strength training.

Wednesday, November 12, 2014

a secret only a mother could love.

I reviewed Liane Moriarty's Little Big Lies back in August and realized I never reviewed one of her earlier novels, The Husband's Secret, which is fantastic, and also a perfect example of why you should not give up on a novel that you think is not for you after only reading the first few chapters. Moriarty begins her first three chapters with three different storylines, and sometimes that can be a bit much for me. I was thinking how am I going to keep track of all these people? Cecilia and her damned Berlin Wall, Tess and her involuntary love triangle, Rachel and the loss of her daughter. Three completely different women. What could they possibly have in common? Well, a fricken lot let me tell ya.

Set in mostly Sydney, Australia, readers are transported into a world of mum's, their responsibilities, and how they will do literally anything for their children. A world where husbands have deep dark secrets that can completely change everything you ever thought you knew. Secrets, that when spilled, can alter life as you know it. Moriarty expertly laced these three lives together, and created moments that will honestly shock you. My mouth fell open more that twice (especially at the end, wink).