book review comedy fiction romance

Book Review: Waiting for Tom Hanks

*Swoon-Worthy* in a Rom-Com sappy sort of way. As long as you know that going in, and you want that kind of a read, you’ll be golden. It’s a fluffy, cotton candy, (insert your favorite sugary treat here) story and that may be just what you need this week. If you love that sort of thing, you’ll be thrilled to learn that it seems like this may be book one of a series.

Annie Cassidy is holding out for what she believes will be her perfect, 1990’s style, Nora Ephron inspired, real-life Tom Hanks-esque, man. She knows that he’s out there in the world waiting to bump into her.

While she waits, she works on her writing, until one day when a major motion picture begins filming in her small Ohio town. What luck. It doesn’t take long for her to secure a job on set and meet the guy who may or may not be her Tom Hanks. I mean it is predictable, but I’m not going to tell you everything.
I laughed out loud enough that people asked me what I was reading.

book review Politics

Book Review: Promise Me, Dad: A Year of Hope, Hardship, and Purpose

I’m getting towards the end of campaign books. Joe has quite a few books out and this is the most recent if you don’t count the Audible original: Conversations with Joe which I don’t.

Joe Biden has had some bad breaks in life and he’s also had some incredible luck. I liked that he included lots of stories about his time as vice president, its hard to get a handle on what the job actually entails and I’ve got a pretty clear picture now. You take the hits that the President wants to avoid and you give a lot of speeches.

Joe goes above and beyond that. When he attends the funerals of two peace officers from New York he ends up giving one widow his private number. You see, he knows how she is feeling and as much as I’d like to be cynical about the story, he seems sincere and the retelling is tinged with honesty. If all the stories in this book are true I can see why more people call him Joe than use the more formal, Mr. Vice President.

In chapter four, Joe says he doesn’t want to be President. That was 2015, not that long ago, yet ages ago, in terms of US politics. But, that is another story.

This book is basically two stories. It’s a cancer story, basically Beau Biden’s entire sickness and death, and it’s the story of how Joe Biden balanced his professional life during that time.

I already knew I liked fictional Joe of the Obama/Biden Mystery Books and in this biography Joe holds up as a good guy. He’s certainly put in his time in Washington.

Overall, it’s a good, albeit sad read and I think it will give insight into what kind of man he is.

book review Graphic Novel MG fiction YA fiction

Book Review: Mickey’s Inferno

And now for something completely different. I contemplated adding a category called “weird.”  At first, I described the market for this book like this:

I did some research and felt better about it after I saw that it is an edited reprint from 1949.

The original text of the story has stayed the same with the text bubbles updated as I’m pretty sure OTOH was not a common phrase then.  

I was expecting it to be awful and it wasn’t. In fact, for all you classical educators out there if your kids have read any version of Dante it is kind of funny.

“Each was given what each deserved by the malevolent barista. Those who when living had the nerve to get their way through flattery, Here were bitter justice served.”

I wish I could copy the image here as you see a guy ordering hot chocolate and then being placed in a vat of chocolate slop to drown. It’s dark humor for sure. I’m giving this one a thumbs up for all of us in the center of my Venn diagram. The Chicago library has it so you can try your library or just bite the bullet and order it from Amazon.

Disney Graphic Novels #4: Great Parodies: Mickey’s Inferno

Written By: Guido Martina and Illustrated By: Angelo Bioletto

book review comedy fiction

Book Review: How to Survive a Horror Movie

Quirk Books sent me a digital copy of this oldie but goodie. This might be a new edition or paperback version? It has a publish date in September of 2019, and since I got a digital copy, I’m not sure whats up. I missed this one entirely (if it is the same edition marked 2012?) and am tickled that they have my taste in books pretty much pinned down. After reading this, I’m only like 70% sure that I’m not living in a horror movie. 🙂

Chapters include:

– How to Perform an Exorcism
– What to Do If You Did Something Last Summer
– How to Persuade the Skeptical Local Sheriff
– How to Vanquish a Murderous Doll
– How to Survive an Alien Invasion
– How to Tell If You’ve Been Dead Since the Beginning of the Movie

It’s so, so funny. I want to buy my own hard copy just to have it on my shelf. I didn’t realize that the author also wrote Pride and Prejudice and Zombies which explains how he knows so much about the subject of horror movies.

For example:

What are the ten ways to determine if your house is haunted? (Do your faucets bleed? Does the house tell you to “get out”? Are you strangely compelled to murder your entire family with an ax every time you arrive home? If the answer is “yes” to all of these, chances are good your house is haunted) 

SGS goes over everything that would come up in a horror movie and there are even illustrations to guide the reader survival mode.

Its the perfect gift for the horror movie fan in your world.

book review MG fiction

Book Review: The Root of Magic (MG)

This story has both an unusual and thought provoking premise. Willow and her family find themselves trapped in a tiny Maine village that harbors a big secret. The adults of the town are all there by choice, but children decide whether they will stay forever or be banished on their 13th birthday.

Making that kind of life altering decision at such a young age seems crazy, except it works in this scenario. I won’t spoil the plot, because if you know what will happen it will take much of the joy out of reading this beautiful prose. I didn’t see any real buzz around this book on its release date, and got a copy in the mail out of the blue with a review request. It was like magic. If you read this and want to chat about the bigger theme, come back to the comment section, I’d love to chat about this one.

This would make a great family read aloud for all ages.

book review nonfiction

Book Review: Star Spangled Scandal

I managed to snag this book on Kindle last week for 99 cents. It’s back up to like $12 now, but watch the price if you are going to buy and it might come back down. I love a true story, this one has politics, scandal, and murder. Dan Sickles, then a congressman and future Union general, shoots down the son of Francis Scott Key in broad daylight, for having an affair with his wife.  He received a note from an anonymous sender that read in part, “… and sir I do assure you he has as much the use of your wife as you have.”

After a short self investigation he confronts his wife and after she admits to the affair, Sickles shoots Key and we get treated to a real old episode of Law and Order. 🙂

The first half of the story is before the murder and the second half is after, including the trial. The trial itself is intriguing. I’m pretty sure it was the first instance of a temporary insanity defense and this trial was the first time that the telegraph was used by the press to get the story out to the entire United States.

It’s a true story so maybe a spoiler alert isn’t needed- but Sickles is found not guilty. It’s a pretty long book filled with tons of details about the era, the trial, and the overall attitudes of Americans at that time.

It was excellent- highly recommend!

book review YA fiction

ARC Review: American Royals (YA)

Another Fall Release- September 3, 2019. Such an interesting concept. What if George Washington became our King instead of our President? Think about the US having a completely British type Royal Family. The book alternates POV between four characters:

HRH Princess Beatrice, who is next in the line to be the very first Queen of America. Her Father just changed over to a firstborn Royal Heir as opposed to the firstborn Male heir of tradition.

 HRH Princess Samantha, Beatrice’s younger sister who is the spare heir and then of course is both more angsty and adventerous.

Daphne Deighton, commoner, the Prince Jeff’s ex-girlfriend who always seems to be plotting something and I wonder why we have her POV and not Jeff’s?

Nina Gonzalez, Samatha’s best friend who grew up in and out of the Royal household.

I wish this book had contained more world building. I wanted to know more about how the government was set up. Is is exactly like Britain? I would liked to read more about the history of the nation too. I enjoy a good back story.

All in all, it’s a solid 3 stars. Its a good Summer read. I don’t mind the third person POV, but I did get confused as to who was doing what a couple of times, that may be fixed in editing.

It hits all the basic monarch tropes and it is even pretty much all set up for a sequel.

book review fiction

Book Review: The Bookish Life of Nina Hill

This was one of my palette cleansing books in between all of the Democratic candidates’ biographies. Nina Hill as a main character is delightful. I mean if you are a bookish sort (and I am) she is your fictional best friend. She works at a bookstore, owns a cat and a big night out is Trivia Night. Sounds like bliss to me.

Nina would much rather spend her time with books rather than people. As an only child she wasn’t interested in making a bunch of friends. Her list making and schedules reminded me of me. She never knew her Dad at all. When he dies she is thrust into a family filled with siblings and cousins.

This takes her life in a completely different direction. It’s not a serious book though so I didn’t mind when the tone got sort of campy. All in all a great book to read by a pool.

Favorite quote: (this is Nina considering her options of running away) Flee to a deserted island. (Hard pass, see: coffee) See what I mean? So, so relatable.

book review Politics

Book Review: The War On Normal People

This guy. He’s not getting the attention of the press, but he has some excellent ideas. I think he’s the only one trying to explain what he sees coming towards middle-class America. He’s a tech guru, and he knows that many, many people will be out of their jobs within the next couple of decades. Every once in awhile, you might read about automation. We’ve all noticed how many more self-checkouts there are everywhere.

What happens when trucks are driverless? When do machines operate all factories? How about the genuine possibility that you lose your job and there isn’t anything else that you are qualified to do? All super scary scenarios that no one is talking about out loud. Maybe this is why we all have anxiety.

I think Andrew Yang is the most under-reported, underrated candidate for President right now. Reading this book was like listening to a friend. All the problems that everyday people have are not just going to go away on their own. This book isn’t a biography per se, and it isn’t the typical “I’m running for President book” either. He needs to get talking to Elizabeth Warren cause together they could be the dream team.

Universal Basic Income takes the entire country above the poverty level in one fell sweep, staying on daylight savings time year-round makes sense, as does send opioid addicts to rehab instead of jail. We all agree corporate America isn’t paying their fair share into our economy and a VAT solves that immediately. If you are worried about your boys and video games, he’s got some ideas about how we’ve let a generation of boys grow to men and live in our basements. I would have had to wait for 13 weeks to borrow this book from my library, so I bought it, and I’m happy I did.

book review Politics

Book Review: The Opposite of Woe My Life in Beer and Politics

If you asked me what my impression of John Hickenlooper is after reading this book, the only word that comes to mind is privilege. His story includes tragedy ( who’s story doesn’t) and his Mom was frugal after being widowed. Her frugality enabled him to go to exclusive private schools though- it wasn’t about eating or paying a mortgage. He had enough money in College to invest in real estate for gods sake. They weren’t struggling.

Overall I’d describe him as a quirky guy who means well. He has “face blindness” which as an elected official is probably a huge handicap. Coauthor Maximillian Potter, spent well over 100 pages giving us a sense of John’s life through his college years, it is extremely well written, but so long I felt was a bit TMI. I wanted to get to his years as Mayor of Denver and Governer of Colorado. I felt like someone was checking boxes with the descriptions of his pot plant and DUI. I ended up liking his Mom more than him. Also, what’s with the huge amount of pages devoted to some girl he liked who didn’t like him back? Just going off his side of all his love interests, I’m in no way voting for this guy for anything.