Curious Minds

curiousmindstldrCurious Minds is a fun read full of mystery and snappy dialogue.    synopsis Riley Moon just started a new job for a prestigious banking firm when she’s tasked with handling a difficult client, rich boy Emerson Moon. Riley’s boss has been missing for months and when Emerson finds out, he decides to launch his own investigation with Riley in tow. What follows is a fun and silly unlikely detective story filled with murder, gold, and conspiracy theories.

thoughtsI read a good chunk of the Stephanie Plum series, written by Evanovich, so I thought I’d give her new series, co-written with Sutton, a shot. One of my favorite things about the Plum series is how funny it is, and also how sexy. This one was funny and there was obviously some sexual tension between Knight & Moon, but it wasn’t quite up to the same level. It was funny, but not as funny. Sexy, but not as sexy. Maybe it’s just missing Lula as a sidekick.

Riley Moon was an ok character. She’s smart and driven, with a desire to escape her small Texas town by way of success in the business world. But she went along with the whole thing a little too easily. I think someone with her brains would have put the breaks on this detectiving thing early on as it was clearly on the road to derailing her career. Emerson Knight is portrayed as a sort of super hot Sheldon Cooper, ridiculously smart and socially inept, but also gorgeous with enchanting eyelashes. The chemistry of the two was on fire, but I wanted more long stares and temperatures rising between them. Maybe Evanovich and Sutton are trying to dangle a carrot for the next book?

The story itself is also just ok. I won’t give too much away about the mystery involved, but it all seemed a bit far-fetched. I know, this isn’t a genre you apply too much logic to, but it still rubbed me as implausible. I also don’t really buy Knight and Moon continuing to team up for more detectiving in future novels. Buuuuuuut, that doesn’t mean I won’t still pick up the next one.

prosLight and fun


A new series to get into with my Mom

consA little too unbelievable for my taste

quotes“‘I thought perhaps you were succumbing to my eyelashes.’ Riley took a moment to think about it. ‘Maybe a little.'”

“I think she lived to get even. In the end, she didn’t live at all.”

I received a copy of this book from NetGalley in exchange for my unbiased review.

Sleeping Giants

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Sleeping Giants is an exciting and engaging look at how we react when finding ancient artifacts that science cannot explain. Science is about answering questions, even when we may not be ready for the answers.

Screen Shot 2016-08-07 at 12.18.08 AMA girl named Rose is riding her new bike near her home in Deadwood, South Dakota, when she falls through the earth. She wakes up at the bottom of a square hole, its walls glowing with intricate carvings. But the firemen who come to save her peer down upon something even stranger: a little girl in the palm of a giant metal hand.”

I mean, reread that description. How cool does this book already sound? A giant metal hand buried in the earth?! Ok, here’s more: Years later Rose and other scientists are still trying to solve the puzzle of the giant hand and more importantly…who put it there. Told in the format of interviews with each of the key players (similar to World War Z and the logs from The Martian) the story goes through the efforts of scientists and the military to unravel this ancient secret and ultimately answer the question, “Are we alone?”

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I really enjoyed this book. I was along for the ride from the first chapter when little Rose fell into a hole and discovered an ancient robot hand. I could not wait to find out what this freaking hand was and who put it there. The interview format means we don’t really get deep inside any characters heads, so there isn’t a ton of depth to them; but I didn’t find this a barrier to my enjoyment. For me the story was about this discovery process and how it effects humankind, more than it was about an single person involved. I did find the characters telling the interviewer (even the ones who hated him) their super personal (and um, sexual) details to be a bit unbelievable, but that’s due to the limit of the format.

This Sci Fi book is definitely science-light, so it should be enjoyable by everyone. While this book answered a lot of the initial questions, there’s still a ton to learn. Naturally, this book is part of a planned series of which Neuvel says there will be at least three. Because you can’t write a Sci Fi book unless it’s at minimum a trilogy. It’s hard to say much more about the story since it quickly goes into spoiler territory. I guess you’ll just have to read it yourself to find out!

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Fascinating story

Great build up for the next book without leaving a concocted cliffhanger

Kept me on the edge of my seat with each new discovery

Kara, a pilot, reminded me of her namesake in Battlestar Galactica.

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Format limited character development

A few dramatically implausible momentsScreen Shot 2016-08-07 at 12.19.34 AM

“If you are a scientist you believe that it is good to find out how the world works; that it is good to find out what the realities are; that it is good to turn over to mankind at large the greatest possible power to control the world and to deal with it according to its lights and its values.”

“Justice is usually much swifter for someone in my trade. It comes unannounced, usually from behind, and as far as I know, it is never prefaced by a meeting at the White House.”

My Girl

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My Girl is a tragic tale of grief and a disturbing story of obsession and control that left me very uneasy.Screen Shot 2016-08-07 at 12.18.08 AM

Paige Dawson has lost everything. Her daughter was murdered 10 years ago and her husband took his own life a few months past. She’s been in an alcohol and pill-fueled haze for years as the loss of her family torments her. One day she stumbles across a gun that she didn’t know her husband owned and tumbles down a path to finding the truth. Screen Shot 2016-08-07 at 12.23.23 AM

So, this is a tough one to review. I liked the book for MOST of it, but what I didn’t like, I hated. Let me explain. The story quickly dives into Paige’s daily life as she struggles to cope with her losses. This is a heartbreaking story of grief and loss and what happens when we have nothing left. Once the story turns into things-are-not-what-they-seem territory, I was firmly along for the ride. I wanted something good for this woman, some truth or closure for her. The problem is that when you find out that truth, it’s a freaking slap in the face of story-telling. I feel as though Jack Jordan sat at his desk and thought, “What’s the most awful thing I can come up with that will truly horrify my readers” and went with that. I think he stopped serving the story, and his characters, and went balls-out for shock value. I was disgusted, and not because I can’t handle an uncomfortable story line, but because it served no purpose other than to be disgusting. It’s a shame really, the book has so much potential that was sadly squandered.

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Well-developed character that feels very real

Engaging story, up until it wasn’t

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I’m sorry, but a bedroom won’t hold a persons scent for 10 years

Jordan doesn’t seem to understand how memory repression works

Story takes a plunge off the deep end and drowns

Climactic scene felt like it took place in a bad horror movie

Screen Shot 2016-08-07 at 12.19.34 AM“For the first few seconds after she woke, Paige Dawson lived in a world where her husband Ryan was snoring lightly beside her, and her daughter Chloe was sleeping peacefully in the next room. When reality slowly trickled in, she instantly wanted to return to sleep – to forget they were dead – to stop the tears from rolling down her cheeks.”

I received a copy of this book from NetGalley in exchange for my unbiased review.

Dark Matter


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Dark Matter is a gripping Sci Fi novel that grabbed me from page one and didn’t let go. Not even after I finished the book did it release its hold on me.

Screen Shot 2016-08-07 at 12.18.08 AMJason Dessen is a man content with his life. He hasn’t done anything extraordinary, but he’s happy with his job and loves his family. One night he’s abducted and when he awakens in a lab, his life has been turned upside-down. His wife isn’t his wife and his son was never born. He’s not a teacher but an accomplished scientist. He has to find his way back to his family, and the truth, while being hunted. A poignant look at the path-not-taken and what-ifs in life.

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I’m a big fan of Crouch’s Wayward Pines series so I was excited to pick this one up. The premise is very similar – a man wakes up somewhere and has to find the truth – but they go completely different places from there. This book was so effing good ya’ll. I mean I could NOT PUT IT DOWN. While I figured out pretty quickly what was going on, there were still plenty of surprises in store. This book is not only Sci Fi at it’s best, it’s also a great look at life, how we got where we are, and how well we really know ourselves. Have you ever wondered how different your life could be if only you’d made a few different decisions? If you could go back and change things, would you? This book offers up great answers to these questions. It’s not too heavy on the science part, so it’s accessible to fans of all genres. I seriously recommend you go out and buy this book. And buy 5 more copies for your friends.

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Engaging story and exciting twists and turns

Excellent portrait of humanity and how we became who we are

Really cool scientific theories

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Nothing. It’s perfection.

Screen Shot 2016-08-07 at 12.19.34 AM“I can’t help thinking that we’re more than the sum total of our choices, that all the paths we might have taken factor somehow into the math of our identity.”

“‘Are you happy in your life?’ In the shadow of this moment, my life is achingly beautiful.”

“No one tells you it’s all about to change, to be taken away. There’s no proximity alert, no indication that you’re standing on the precipice. And maybe that’s what makes tragedy so tragic. Not just what happens, but how it happens: a sucker punch that comes at you out of nowhere, when you’re least expecting.”

“Standing happy and slightly drunk in my kitchen, I’m unaware that tonight is the end of all of this. Then end of everything I know, everything I love.”


I received this book from Blogging for Books for this review.

Watching Edie


Watching Edie, written by Camilla Way, is one of those stories that will constantly make you question the truth of what you are reading, and the reliability of the narrator. It is the story of the friendship of Edie and Heather. The book transitions back and forth from the POV present day Edie and that of in-the-past-teenager Heather. In the present Edie is pregnant and alone when her old friend Heather suddenly shows back up in her life. Edie is clearly traumatized by an event from their shared past and wants nothing to do with Heather. Through the eyes of past-Heather however, we slowly unravel what happened between the two women so many years ago that has left Edie lost and afraid.

This is a very tightly written book that will keep you guessing and trying to speed through as fast as you can to get to the end. As the book neared the moment of truth from the past I could not put it down; dying to know what happened to cause so much pain. It leads you in one direction only to pull you in another shortly after. It makes you question your perceptions and how easily you can be manipulated by characters you thought you could trust. I for one, did not see it coming. The book moves slowly enough that it doesn’t quite feel like a thriller, but it certainly kept me on my toes and messed with my head.


Twists that didn’t feel forced

Not always sure who the villain is

Seemingly accurate (and sympathetic) representations of postpartum depression and abuse victims


Was often hard to keep the two women straight in my head as the story swapped POVs so often

Not really a con, but the ending seemed unbelievable to me until I remembered that laws in the UK are different than laws in the U.S.

Quotable Quotes:

“He never speaks about her, but you can somehow see the memory of her there still, in his eyes and his smile, the way they do remain a part of us, those people who have hurt us very deeply, or who we have hurt, never letting us go, not entirely.” 

I received a copy of this book in exchange for my unbiased review.

Faith: Issues #1 & #2


Faith is a new comic series penned by Jody Houser, of the Orphan Black comics. The character of Faith as been around for a while, but this new series reinvents the character into the type of superhero this world needs to see. Faith, (under her superhero name, Zephyr) has the power to harness the energy around her, allowing her to fly, move things, and create a protective energy field around herself and others. Under her alias Summer, she works as a reporter (which means she creates quizzes and listicles for a website) by day while she fights crime by night. The main thing that makes Faith so extraordinary, and so normal, is her weight. She’s a plus sized woman, and not in the model-plus-sized-but-not-really kind of way. She proudly wears a tight suit, rather than try and hide her curves and rolls as so many large people are led to believe they should do. She dates hot guys. She flies and fights gracefully. She’s not clumsy or stupid, as so many overweight people have been depicted. No one makes fun of her weight or questions her ability to do things. Her weight is right in our faces while simultaneously being a non-issue. And it’s awesome. Looking very much like Rebel Wilson, Faith is a superhero that many of us can see ourselves in. She also smart, kind, sensitive, and a huge nerd. In short, Faith is my new patronus, spirit animal, and #lifegoal all rolled into one person.

I was given the first two issues to read. In these issues Faith is processing the break up of her former superhero team, adjusting to her new life under her alias, and searching for a missing boy. I was so engaged in the first two issues that I immediately ran out to buy the next two in the series. All four issues have been collected in a paperback: “Faith Volume 1: Hollywood and Vine” and I recommend you immediately read it. Then add the series to your pull list. Then cosplay as Faith. At least, that’s what I’ll be doing.


Funny and entertaining


Easy entry point if you’re looking for a new comic, or wanting to get into comics


None! If you couldn’t tell, I love Faith.

Quotable Quotes:

“Jay was the one who trained me when I first started here last month. He’s pretty cute. He’s also a good example of why you shouldn’t read the comments.”

“Maybe it’s still a work in progress…but it’s definitely my kind of story. (Although a cute mysterious time traveler would also be my kind of story. Just putting that out in the universe.”

I received a copy of this comic from NetGalley in exchange for my unbiased review.

These Heroic, Happy Dead: Stories


In his debut book, Luke Mogelson masterfully weaves together 10 stories linked by the war in Afghanistan. Each story shows a glimpse into the life of a veteran, a family member of a veteran, or a civilian living abroad, at some point during or after their time in Afghanistan. It demonstrates the harrowing effect of war on those we send to fight it and those they’ve left behind. Some of the stories contain characters that shows up in another story in the book and you learn something more about what happened to them before or after their previous appearance. This book illustrates that many who have fought in a war have a hard time adjusting to life outside the military once they return home. Many of the stories even seem to end abruptly, without much explanation of what happened next. This could be frustrating at times, but I think it’s poetic that the endings weren’t always tied up with a nice little bow. By now we’ve all heard of PTSD, but it can manifest itself in different ways. I think this book is an excellent example of how people cope (or don’t) in different ways.


Beautifully written with countless haunting passages

Tragic insight into PTSD and the multitude of experiences in war

Includes stories about what it’s like for a contractor or civilian in Afghanistan during war time, which is a view that hasn’t been talked about as much as the experience of soldiers


Some of the abrupt endings left me confused

It wasn’t always clear when a character from another story showed up, I had to reference the book jacket multiple times as it mentions all the stories that are tied together.

Quotable quotes:

“It was my favorite because it angled out to a wide base that made it difficult to knock over, because there was often vodka in it instead of coffee, and because the wide base meant that the more you drank, the harder it became to reach the bottom.”

“Nowadays, only the families remain: fathers with nothing else to give their sons, sons with no one else to be except their fathers.”

I received this book from Blogging for Books for this review.

Book Review: Ink and Bone

Screen Shot 2016-07-09 at 6.46.35 PMInk and Bone by Lisa Unger is not to be confused with Ink and Bone by Rachel Caine, which was also released this year. Although, the book by Caine DOES sound interesting so I might read that one too…but for now I’m talking about Lisa Unger’s new book. Ink and Bone is a supernatural thriller about Finley, a young woman who uses her psychic powers to solve the case of a missing girl. The book follows the people living in and affected by the town of The Hollows after a young girl is abducted. Months pass with no leads so the desperate mother turns to a private detective and his psychic friend as a last ditch effort. This is Finley’s first time trying to use her ability so she’s filled with insecurity and doubt. Unger vividly paints the portrait of a small town where everyone knows everyone. The abduction of this girl has rocked her family to the core and made a mess of their lives. They’re unable to move on even though there’s little hope of finding her alive.

I’ll start with the things I liked about the book. In general I thought it was well written and enjoyed the story. It kept me engaged enough that I finished it in a day when I had a hard time putting it down. I don’t know what it’s like to lose a child, but it seemed like the marriage of the parents was well written. It was flawed and shaky and seemingly always on the verge of completely breaking apart. I particularly resonated with the line, “More than anything else, resentment was the death of love. It killed slowly.” I typically would not be drawn to a story with a supernatural element but this one handled it well. Skepticism was acknowledged and the visions never seemed to overwhelm the narrative.

There were however, a couple of things about the book that bugged me. Finley herself seem like a bit of a cliche. A girl with pink hair who rides a motorcycle and covers her body in tattoos to “make the outside match the inside.” The ending managed to mostly catch me by surprise but in retrospect, it didn’t really seem to make sense. You’ll know what I mean when you read it. Also, Unger seems to have some serious disdain for millennials. There are a couple of times in the book where they’re harshly maligned such as with this gem, “People of her generation were all about texting, which was just one example of their soullessness.” I mean, I get it, everyone hates millennials, let’s move on please. The texting dialogue between young characters was also a bit over the top and she was constantly referencing apps like, “with a flashlight app on his phone” or “she typed the coordinates into an app on her phone.” I don’t know anything about Unger but it seemed like she was either an older person trying to write like she’s hip with this generation, or she was writing for an older generation that would need these things to be explained. I know this is totally nitpicky, but I couldn’t help but roll my eyes in these moments.

Overall I enjoyed the book. It was gripping and fast-paced. I thought the story was well done and the characters felt like real people, outside of the Finley cliche that is. I’d recommend this as a light and quick read if you like thrillers and don’t mind the supernatural.


DISCLAIMER: I received a copy of this book in exchange for my unbiased review.

Book Review: The Last One

The Last One Cover

I had the pleasure of reading Alexandra Oliva’s debut novel about a woman who joins a survivoresque reality show for some adventure, and finds herself fighting to survive for realsies. In this show 12 people are left to survive in the woods and face challenges that have been set up before them. The producers have given all the contestants nicknames that boil each person down to their profession or stereotype. There’s Biologist, Black Doctor, Tracker, Rancher, Asian Chick, and so on. The book is from the POV of Zoo, a young woman looking for one last adventure before settling down and starting a family. What the contestants don’t know is that while they are traipsing around the woods, a real tragedy has struck the world. As the weeks progress Zoo finds herself coming across increasing evidence that maybe the devastation she’s been stumbling upon isn’t all a setup for the show.

While the premise itself isn’t anything groundbreaking, I found this book to be a fascinating look into media, the internet, and reality TV. In some of the chapters we witness what takes place in the editing room as the producers and editor tailor the show and it’s characters to what they want the world to see. These chapters also often end with the comments section of a Reddit like forum discussing the show. The rest of the time we travel along with Zoo as she tries to survive in the wild. As things around her get crazier and crazier she stretches further and further to convince herself that it’s all a part of the show. At times it becomes frustrating, almost unbelievable that she hasn’t figured out that what’s happening is real. But you come to realize that people often would rather live in denial than face the truth.

I saw a lot of myself in Zoo, as I’m sure many readers will. I also drew a lot of parallels with her marriage and my own. As she Lord-of-the-rings it through the wild she reflects on the life, and husband, she left behind. She feels real, as does many of the other characters. Even the typical useless-but-hot girl, Waitress, has enough time to show some depth and nuance. While the show has broken them all down into one-dimensional cartoons of humans, they still come across as people.

This book is already showing up on lists of great beach reads, but I think it’s much more than that. I think beach books don’t usually make you think too hard about the world in which you live. While The Last One doesn’t say anything we don’t already know about reality shows and the media, it still weaves it into the narrative in a way that opens your eyes to it without hitting you over the head. I read the book in one sitting so it’s definitely a quick read. And I’ll admit, there was a point that I ugly cried. Like UGLY. CRIED. HARD. But I’m so glad I read it. It’s one that will be sticking with me for a while.


DISCLAIMER: I received a copy of this book in exchange for my unbiased review.

The Best And Worst Of Oscar Fashion

The Academy Awards were last night. Did you watch? I sure did. If you’re keeping track at home I was dead on with my predictions post on Saturday. Most were easy to guess but I’m quite proud I got Melissa Leo right considering most people were guessing Hailee Steinfeld. For my troubles I won an awesome gift bag at my friends party. Among many other things there was a black feathered crown (Black Swan) and a tiny glittery cowboy hat (True Grit). It was quite epic.

Anyway, on to the point of this post: fashion! There were a lot of gorgeous gowns last night. I feel like a lot of people played it safe so there weren’t too many “WTF is she wearing?” moments. There was a scant amount of color on the red carpet. A lot of creams, gold, and neutrals which made it a little bland. If it was a color, it was generally scarlet red. Naturally most of my favorite picks injected a bit of much needed color to the night.

Here are my top 5 favorites:


Hailee Steinfeld


I. Love. This. Dress. It is so pretty and feminine. Not to mention age appropriate. Unlike many other famous teens who choose to dress as sexy as possible in an effort to assert their maturity, Hailee went with something modest but crazy adorable. I also love how different she looks from her character in True Grit! Long gone is the “unattractive to boot” nuisance, hello lovely lady!


Natalie Portman


I just knew she’d look amazing. Natalie consistently shines on the red carpet and last night was no exception. She picked a perfectly cut dress to accentuate her  “I’ve got a baby sprouting” bosom that flowed down gracefully over her belly. And the color is absolutely stunning! One problem I have, her earrings.  Tassels? Really? They looked like they belong at the ends of my curtains.


Mila Kunis


Another beautiful lady kind enough to give us some color at the ceremony. The lace at her bust is ultra feminine while being super sexy without crossing over into slutty territory. I’m pretty sure that had to be taped to her to prevent a little nip slip, but it looked great.


Scarlet Johansson


I have to admit, I’m one of those women who hates her. Hates her cause she’s so effing beautiful. I mean, I’d so go gay for this woman. I’m glad she didn’t disappoint this year. Again, pretty color. Love. Also, lace. Just a hint of skin left us wanting more. Her hair looked great too. Just the right combo of loose curls and a little “bedhead” messiness achieved a glamorous and sexy look.


Amy Adams


It must be so much fun to be a redhead. There are many colors that go well on a ginger and make an outfit pop. Amy picked the perfect color to match her mane. The modest neckline was offset by the form fit and showed off her slim body. I’m not a big fan of her necklace, but I’m willing to forgive her.


Now for my top 5 least favorite:


Cate Blanchett


This outfit could have been great. I love the color. Her hair and make-up are so soft and ethereal. Soooo close. But no, someone had to make a weird picture frame type outline on her chest and stick barnacles all over this perfectly lovely dress. Still, I give her a lot of credit for being one of this few women this year who took a risk. Still love you Cate.


Reese Witherspoon


Reese makes it onto this list solely on the merit of her hair. Unfortunately I couldn’t find a side shot to fully show the extent of this atrocity but trust me, it’s bad. It looks like someone crossed a Barbie doll with a pageant queen. Pageant Queen Barbie. The ponytail is a big poof of fake hair that just might have actually come from a horse. She also played it uber safe with a black strapless dress.


Nicole Kidman


Ah Nicole. So regal and beautiful. And yet so so wrong. She has actually made quite a few fashion missteps in the past so this one will just be added to the list. I’m fairly certain this dress was made by folding a napkin into a Japanese inspired origami dress. Big fashion risk that did NOT pay off.


Melissa Leo


Once an actress becomes crazy famous they usually hire a stylist to get them ready for awards shows. Often the biggest fashion flops are made by women who are just new enough to fame that they haven’t yet hired someone to tell them what to wear. I applaud her commitment to wearing something she loves, but it just didn’t work. The fabric looked like a doily and she had a ridiculous popped collar. I’m sure we’ll see plenty more of her in the coming years and hopefully she’ll pick up a thing or two about fashion along the way.


Gwyneth Paltrow


I’m not a big fan of shiny gold dresses but I actually like this one on her. My problem is her hair and make-up. Her hair is crazy bleached out and I’m pretty sure she just ran a straightener through it before heading to the biggest night in Hollywood. Her make-up is waaay to neutral and coupled with her hair and tan skin almost make her looks ill. Or at least more like a trophy wife spending too much time in the tanning salon.


Well that’s it! All in all and okay year for the Oscars. Now that awards season is officially over everyone will have to go back to paying attention to more important things. 

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