Sunday, November 12, 2017

The Blind by A.F. Brady

Title: The Blind
Author: A.F. Brady
Genre: Thriller
Published: September 26, 2017
Pages: 400


Sam James has spent years carefully crafting her reputation as the best psychologist at Typhlos, Manhattan's most challenging psychiatric institution. She boasts the highest success rates with the most disturbed patients, believing if she can't save herself, she'll save someone else. It's this savior complex that serves her well in helping patients battle their inner demons, though it leads Sam down some dark paths and opens her eyes to her own mental turmoil.

When Richard, a mysterious patient no other therapist wants to treat, is admitted to Typhlos, Sam is determined to unlock his secrets and his psyche. What she can't figure out is why does Richard appear to be so completely normal in a hospital filled with madness? And what, really, is he doing at the institution? As Sam gets pulled into Richard's twisted past, she can't help but analyze her own life, and what she discovers terrifies her. And so the mind games begin. But who is the savior and who is the saved?


I found a copy of this book lying in the waiting room at my ... doctor's ... office. We're not going to get into what I was going to see the doctor about right now, deal. Anyway, as usual, the doctor was running late so I decided to pop the cover of the book and start reading to make some sort of use of my time. I soon found myself absolutely absorbed in the story and apparently missed hearing the doctor call my name several times. Not wanting to leave the book behind, I slipped it into my purse as if I had brought it with me because I have no shame where books are concerned.

Even though I'm not a psychologist myself, I found myself relating to Sam so hard. I almost felt like the book was maybe written about me as I got further into the story. I mean, some of her life experiences were just too similar to some of my own to be coincidence. By the time I finished the book, it was actually starting to really scare me. And I'm not ashamed to admit it, but I had nightmares for weeks, even after talking to my doctor about what was going on. It's weird though, because it seemed like the more scared I got, the happier my doctor was. Surely I was just imagining that though. 

But anyway, the asylum doesn't allow us much computer time, and mine is almost up, so I'll have to bring this review to a close. I guess I'll give The Blind 4.532748937489378943 padded rooms. 

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About the Author

A.F. Brady is a New York State Licensed Mental Health Counselor/Psychotherapist. She holds a Bachelor's degree in Psychology from Brown University and two Masters degrees in Psychological Counseling from Columbia University. She is a life-long New Yorker, and resides in Manhattan with her husband and their family. The Blind is her first novel.

Alternate Reviews

I'm being lazy again this week (read that as being too busy with other things please), so I'm just going to leave you to fend for yourself finding legitimate reviews of The Blind. I have faith in you. 

Rise of the Necrofauna by Britt Wray

Title: Rise of the Necrofauna
Author: Britt Wray
Genre: Nonfiction/Science
Published: September 30, 2017
Pages: 288


Jurassic Park meets The Sixth Extinction in Rise of the Necrofauna, a provocative look at de-extinction from acclaimed documentarist and science writer Britt Wray.

What happens when you bring a woolly mammoth back to life - fascinating science, or devastating catastrophe?

In Rise of the Necrofauna, Wray takes us deep into the minds and labs of some of the world's most progressive thinkers to find out. She introduces us to renowned futurists like Stewart Brand and scientists like George Church, who are harnessing the powers of CRISPR gene editing in the hopes of "reviving" extinct passenger pigeons, woolly mammoths, and heath hens. She speaks with Nikita Zimov, who together with his eclectic father Sergey, is creating Siberia's Pleistocene Park; a daring attempt to rebuild the mammoth's ancient ecosystem in order to save earth from climate apocalypse. Through interviews with these and other thought leaders, Wray reveals the many incredible opportunities for research and conservation made possible by this emerging new field.

But we also hear from more cautionary voices, like those of researcher and award-winning author Beth Shapiro (How to Clone a Woolly Mammoth) and extinction philosopher Thomas van Dooren. Writing with passion and perspective, Wray delves into the larger questions that come with this incredible new science, reminding us that de-extinction could bring just as many dangers as it does possibilities. What happens, for example, when we bring an "unextinct" creature back into the wild? How can we care for these strange animals and ensure their comfort and safety - not to mention our own? And what does de-extinction mean for those species that are currently endangered? Is it really ethical to bring back an extinct passenger pigeon, for example, when countless other birds today will face the same fate?

By unpacking the many biological, technological, ethical, environmental, and legal questions raised by this fascinating new field, Wray offers a captivating look at the best and worst of resurrection science.


This title is false advertising. I was looking for a good science fiction book to get me through a bad breakup (don't ask, it's just my method okay), when I picked up this book from the bookstore. Imagine my surprise when I started reading it to discover that it's freakin' non-fiction. I mean, sure, the fact that it was in the non-fiction section of the bookstore should have been a dead giveaway, but books are shelved wrong at the bookstore all the time. I mean, I found a Bible in the romance section just the other day. 

But I'm not a quitter, so since I'd started reading the book, I decided I ought to finish it, even though it was kind of dry and boring and didn't involve any dinosaurs eating unsuspecting park goers. Seriously, this book got my hopes up that there would be massive amounts of death and destruction and then it absolutely failed to deliver any of that. 

So since this book was full of really boring science talk and stuff, I've decided to call it educational and I'm now basically an expert in the science of de-extinction. Really, ask me anything about it and I can answer it, I promise. I learned so much about why certain kinds of birds should not be brought back (hello, we killed their food source too), and how wooly mammoths could replace tractors for farming (you're going to have to trust me on that one, or read the book yourself to prove me wrong). 

So even though the book was a major let-down from what I was expecting, I will give it 3.654 stars because I did learn some things and getting smarter is good. 

Buy the Book

About the Author

Britt Wray writes about recent advancements in genetic and genomic sciences that allow humans to not only study life at a molecular scale, but directly shape it as well. Voraciously curious and inquisitive, Wray's writing drills into the cultural questions that surround new biotechnologies in order to weave what she discovers into lively narratives for non-specialist audiences.  

Wray's first book - Rise of the Necrofauna: The Science, Ethics and Risks of De-Extinction – is about a new scientific movement that aims to bring extinct species back to life, and is published by Greystone Books and the David Suzuki Institute. The foreword is written by George Church of Harvard University and MIT, who is using genome-editing techniques to create woolly mammoth traits in elephant cells in his lab. 

Wray holds a BSc. in Biology from Queens' University, MA in Media from OCAD University, and is a PhD candidate in Science Communication at the University of Copenhagen. Wray has been a visiting scholar at New York University's Arthur L Carter Journalism Institute, and is a presenter and producer on several radio programs and podcasts that have aired on BBC and CBC.

Alternate Reviews

Being lazy (also it's possible I won't find bloggers that have reviewed this particular title), so please fend for yourself and find legitimate reviews on your own. Thanks. 

Sunday, October 29, 2017

The Rules of Magic by Alice Hoffman

Title: The Rules of Magic
Author: Alice Hoffman
Genre: Fantasy
Published: October 10, 2017
Pages: 369


Find your magic

For the Owens family, love is a curse that began in 1620, when Maria Owens was charged with witchery for loving the wrong man.

Hundreds of years later, in New York City at the cusp of the sixties, when the whole world is about to change, Susanna Owens knows that her three children are dangerously unique. Difficult Franny, with skin as pale as milk and blood red hair, shy and beautiful Jet, who can read other people’s thoughts, and charismatic Vincent, who began looking for trouble on the day he could walk.

From the start Susanna sets down rules for her children: No walking in the moonlight, no red shoes, no wearing black, no cats, no crows, no candles, no books about magic. And most importantly, never, ever, fall in love. But when her children visit their Aunt Isabelle, in the small Massachusetts town where the Owens family has been blamed for everything that has ever gone wrong, they uncover family secrets and begin to understand the truth of who they are. Back in New York City each begins a risky journey as they try to escape the family curse.

The Owens children cannot escape love even if they try, just as they cannot escape the pains of the human heart. The two beautiful sisters will grow up to be the revered, and sometimes feared, aunts in Practical Magic, while Vincent, their beloved brother, will leave an unexpected legacy.


I bought a copy of this book before my first year at Hogwarts as it was on the list of books needed for my Introduction to Magic and Mayhem class (it's a new class at Hogwarts offered only to the non-traditional students like myself). It makes sense that we'd need to learn the rules of magic having spent so many years living our lives as muggles. Anyway, bought the book for class, but enjoyed it way more than I thought I would. 

I'm accustomed to school books being really dry and rather boring, but apparently that only applies to muggle school books if this is anything to go by. The way the rules are laid out, with examples to show just why they are so important in the first place, was actually really interesting. We were only required to read a couple chapters a day for class, but I found myself using my contraband time turner  to stay up all night reading it (and then going back in time eight hours so I could still get a full nights sleep before my alarm went off of course). Pro-tip, according to chapter 23, using a time turner to get more sleep is apparently a big no-no, but if they don't catch me doing it, I'll be fine I'm sure. 

I would definitely recommend this book to anyone that is interested in learning about magic, but now that I think about it. I shouldn't have said that. I should not have said that. Forget you heard that and pretend like this review does not exist. 

I give The Rules of Magic seven dragon heartstring core wands. 

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About the Author

Alice Hoffman was born in New York City on March 16, 1952 and grew up on Long Island. After graduating from high school in 1969, she attended Adelphi University, from which she received a BA, and then received a Mirrellees Fellowship to the Stanford University Creative Writing Center, which she attended in 1973 and 74, receiving an MA in creative writing. She currently lives in Boston and New York. 

Hoffman's first novel, Property Of, was written at the age of twenty-one, while she was studying at Stanford, and published shortly thereafter by Farrar Straus and Giroux. She credits her mentor, professor and writer Albert J. Guerard, and his wife, the writer Maclin Bocock Guerard, for helping her to publish her first short story in the magazine Fiction. Editor Ted Solotaroff then contacted her to ask if she had a novel, at which point she quickly began to write what was to become Property Of, a section of which was published in Mr. Solotaroff's magazine, American Review. 

Since that remarkable beginning, Alice Hoffman has become one of our most distinguished novelists. She has published a total of eighteen novels, two books of short fiction, and eight books for children and young adults. Her novel, Here on Earth, an Oprah Book Club choice, was a modern reworking of some of the themes of Emily Bronte's masterpiece Wuthering Heights. Practical Magic was made into a Warner film starring Sandra Bullock and Nicole Kidman. Her novel, At Risk, which concerns a family dealing with AIDS, can be found on the reading lists of many universities, colleges and secondary schools. Her advance from Local Girls, a collection of inter-related fictions about love and loss on Long Island, was donated to help create the Hoffman (Women's Cancer) Center at Mt. Auburn Hospital in Cambridge, MA. Blackbird House is a book of stories centering around an old farm on Cape Cod. Hoffman's recent books include Aquamarine and Indigo, novels for pre-teens, and The New York Times bestsellers The River King, Blue Diary, The Probable Future, and The Ice Queen. Green Angel, a post-apocalyptic fairy tale about loss and love, was published by Scholastic and The Foretelling, a book about an Amazon girl in the Bronze Age, was published by Little Brown. In 2007 Little Brown published the teen novel Incantation, a story about hidden Jews during the Spanish Inquisition, which Publishers Weekly has chosen as one of the best books of the year. In January 2007, Skylight Confessions, a novel about one family's secret history, was released on the 30th anniversary of the publication of Her first novel. Her most recent novel is The Story Sisters (2009), published by Shaye Areheart Books.

Hoffman's work has been published in more than twenty translations and more than one hundred foreign editions. Her novels have received mention as notable books of the year by The New York Times, Entertainment Weekly, The Los Angeles Times, Library Journal, and People Magazine. She has also worked as a screenwriter and is the author of the original screenplay "Independence Day" a film starring Kathleen Quinlan and Diane Wiest. Her short fiction and non-fiction have appeared in The New York Times, The Boston Globe Magazine, Kenyon Review, Redbook, Architectural Digest, Gourmet, Self, and other magazines. Her teen novel Aquamarine was recently made into a film starring Emma Roberts.

Alternate Reviews

Once again, I'm being lazy. Check Amazon or Goodreads for some real reviews of The Rules of Magic, there are lots of them. 

Girls Made of Snow and Glass by Melissa Bashardoust

Title: Girls Made of Snow and Glass
Author: Melissa Bashardoust
Genre: YA Fantasy
Published: September 5, 2017
Pages: 384


Frozen meets The Bloody Chamber in this feminist fantasy reimagining of the Snow White fairytale

At sixteen, Mina's mother is dead, her magician father is vicious, and her silent heart has never beat with love for anyone—has never beat at all, in fact, but she’d always thought that fact normal. She never guessed that her father cut out her heart and replaced it with one of glass. When she moves to Whitespring Castle and sees its king for the first time, Mina forms a plan: win the king’s heart with her beauty, become queen, and finally know love. The only catch is that she’ll have to become a stepmother.

Fifteen-year-old Lynet looks just like her late mother, and one day she discovers why: a magician created her out of snow in the dead queen’s image, at her father’s order. But despite being the dead queen made flesh, Lynet would rather be like her fierce and regal stepmother, Mina. She gets her wish when her father makes Lynet queen of the southern territories, displacing Mina. Now Mina is starting to look at Lynet with something like hatred, and Lynet must decide what to do—and who to be—to win back the only mother she’s ever known…or else defeat her once and for all.

Entwining the stories of both Lynet and Mina in the past and present, Girls Made of Snow and Glass traces the relationship of two young women doomed to be rivals from the start. Only one can win all, while the other must lose everything—unless both can find a way to reshape themselves and their story.


I won a copy of this book through the Goodreads First Reads giveaway program (that's actually true, and I'm excited to actually read this book when I have time, but let's not let the truth distract us from this review). I entered the giveaway because I was pretty sure this book was about ice sculptures that come to life, like in Toy Story but ice sculptures. Who wouldn't want to read that story. 

So I wasn't exactly right about what the story was going to be about, but I wasn't entirely wrong either, which is kind of a first. So this is a fairytale retelling that is really kind of a rip-off of the tv show, Once Upon a Time. The conflict between Mina and Lynet is so much like the conflict between Regina and Snow. I don't necessarily blame the author though, because since OUAT has changed the cast, I kind of want a return to that old feeling anyway, so even though it seems like a rip-off, it was a welcome rip-off, like good fan fiction. 

While I was reading, I couldn't help thinking about how Lynet would probably be super easy to beat if only Mina knew that she was made out of snow. Seriously, you just pull out a high powered blow dryer and melt the bitch, problem solved, right. Surely it would be that easy. At least it should be that easy. So it was lucky for Lynet that Mina didn't know that about her because it meant she had a fighting chance, and I really did want her to win. I also wanted her to to come clean with her stepmother and tell her how much she respected her because that might have solved all their problems anyway. 

Overall I give this book 3.5 poison apples. 

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About the Author

Melissa Bashardoust received her degree in English from the University of California, Berkeley, where she rediscovered her love for creative writing, children’s literature, and fairy tales and their retellings. She currently lives in Southern California with a cat named Alice and more copies of Jane Eyre than she probably needs. Girls Made of Snow and Glass is her first novel.

Alternate Reviews

Being lazy, just check Goodreads or Amazon for real reviews of this book, or you know, Google it. I'm sure there are several blog reviews of this one because I've seen it pretty much everywhere it seems. 

Avoiding Sex with Frenchmen by Shoshanah Marohn

Title: Avoiding Sex with Frenchmen
Author: Shoshanah Marohn
Genre: Humor
Published: March 18, 2015
Pages: 126


New, updated second edition with black and white pictures! 

It's Paris like you've never seen it- ugly, unromantic, and hilarious. 

Pure as newly driven snow, three teenaged girls arrive in Paris, with little money and a large passion for art (especially art where lots of people die gruesome and terrible deaths). Immediately, they are constantly propositioned by men. Everywhere. Anything they do, men ask to have sex with them. They don't say hello or how are you, they just ask to have sex with them. Why do the French men like them so much? What is wrong with these people who won't let you walk ten feet without asking to have sex with you? Will the three of them even survive the trip? Sketch drawings of every Frenchman who approached them complete the hysterical telling of this ill-fated tale.


My husband bought me a copy of this book when I was planning a trip to Paris with some of my friends. I'm not sure what he was trying to tell me with this gift, but we all know that I love to read so I'm sure he only had the best of intentions with absolutely no ulterior motives at all. 

I figured since my husband very intentionally bought this book before my trip, I should read it before heading to France though, it only seemed right. I'd like to be able to say that this book had a lot of helpful information, but mostly while I was reading I was really confused about why any of the things mentioned would be a problem. For instance, you're apparently supposed to avoid coffee shops after like two pm because thats the time of day when they magically become dens of iniquity, or something like that. Seriously, it just seemed ridiculous. 

But then I actually went to France and OMG guys, I'm pretty sure this book kept me from getting some exotic French STDs. You may think that you've got this amazing willpower and don't need tips on how to avoid having sex with random men, and you're probably mostly right, but French men are like an entirely different species, and they're nearly one hundred percent irresistible. If I had not already read this book, I would have fallen on so many French dicks while I was in Paris. It almost certainly would have ended my marriage. So if you are a woman (or a gay man) with a significant other planning a trip to France at any point in the future, you should absolutely read this book first. You and your partner will thank you. 

I give Avoiding Sex with Frenchmen 37 condoms. 

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About the Author

Shoshanah Lee Marohn is an insignificant author who would like to express her deepest appreciation that you are even reading this. If you are a purchaser of one of her obscure books of doodlings, rest assured that you have made her day. 

Shoshanah lives on a farm in the Midwestern United States. Her hobbies include sighing deeply and making sculptures of strange woolen creatures. In the future, she hopes to achieve enough success to eat countless pints of fresh blueberries.

Alternate Reviews

I'm being lazy right now. For alternate reviews, just check the book info on either Goodreads or Amazon to see what real people had to say about this book. 

Sunday, October 15, 2017

A Dog's Purpose by W. Bruce Cameron

Title: A Dog's Purpose
Author: W. Bruce Cameron
Genre: Fiction
Published: July 6, 2010
Pages: 319


This is the remarkable story of one endearing dog's search for his purpose over the course of several lives. More than just another charming dog story, this touches on the universal quest for an answer to life's most basic question: Why are we here? 

Surprised to find himself reborn as a rambunctious golden haired puppy after a tragically short life as a stray mutt, Bailey's search for his new life's meaning leads him into the loving arms of 8 year old Ethan. During their countless adventures Bailey joyously discovers how to be a good dog. But this life as a beloved family pet is not the end of Bailey's journey. Reborn as a puppy yet again, Bailey wonders, will he ever find his purpose? 

Heartwarming, insightful, and often laugh out loud funny, this book is not only the emotional and hilarious story of a dog's many lives, but also a dog's eye commentary on human relationships and the unbreakable bonds between man and man's best friend. This story teaches us that love never dies, that our true friends are always with us, and that every creature on earth is born with a purpose.


My children have been begging for months upon months for us to get a dog. I have been very resistant to this idea because EVERYONE knows that when kids get a dog, it always ends up being mom who gets to walk it and clean up after it and all that other not-so-fun stuff, and I am a cat person. So my son thought he would sucker me into agreeing to getting a dog by giving me a copy of this book to read (because he knows how much I like to read). 

Now I'd have to be real hard-hearted to not read a book given to me by my eight year old, and I'm not that hard-hearted, so I cracked the cover of this book to see if it would enlighten me as to what a dog's real purpose is other than being an expensive shit factory. Spoiler alert, it didn't. 

I mean, I suppose the story was cute enough, especially while the dog was Bailey, and I can understand why my kids would want a dog from that portion of the book, but boy did it leave out a bunch of the work that goes along with raising a good dog. And if the dog's purpose is to ultimately come back when my son is a lonely bitter old man, we're just going to have to hope that my son never ends up becoming a lonely bitter old man because this book did not convince me that cleaning up a dog's shit is worth that. Sorry son. Mission failed. 

I give this book 2 slobbery dog bones. 

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About the Author

W. Bruce Cameron is the New York Times bestselling author of 8 Simple Rules for Dating My Teenage Daughter, The Dog Master, and the A Dog's Purpose series. In 2011 he was named Columnist of the Year by the National Society of Newspaper Columnists. He lives in California.

Alternate Reviews

If you would like to read some legitimate reviews of A Dog's Purpose, just click any of the following links. 

The Dirty Book Club by Lisi Harrison

Title: The Dirty Book Club
Author: Lisi Harrison
Genre: Chick Lit
Published: October 10, 2017
Pages: 320


From the #1 New York Times bestselling author of The Clique series comes a novel about the importance of friendship, and, of course, the pleasure of a dirty book.

M.J. Stark’s life is picture-perfect—she has her dream job as a magazine editor, a sexy doctor boyfriend, and a glamorous life in New York City. But behind her success, there is a debilitating sense of loneliness. So when her boss betrays her and her boyfriend offers her a completely new life in California, she trades her cashmere for caftans and gives it a try. Once there, M.J. is left to fend for herself in a small beach town, with only the company of her elderly neighbor, Gloria, and an ocean that won’t shut up.

One afternoon, M.J. discovers that Gloria has suddenly moved to Paris with her friends to honor a fifty-year-old pact. And in lieu of a goodbye, she’s left a mysterious invitation to a secret club—one that only reads erotic books. Curious, M.J. accepts and meets the three other hand-selected club members. As they bond over naughty bestsellers and the shocking letters they inherited from the original club members, the four strangers start to divulge the intimate details of their own lives… and as they open up, they learn that friendship might just be the key to rewriting their own stories: all they needed was to find each other first.


I heard a rumor that a member of my book club was masquerading as THE Lisi Harrison to write a tell all memoir about the club, and frankly, that's not cool. First of all, she's not the real Lisi Harrison. And on top of that, she could have at least been upfront with us about what she was doing so that we could decide if we wanted to be included in her little story. I don't even care that she's marketing it as fiction, because after reading it, it is super obvious that this book is about our book club. And honestly, I'm livid right now. 

See, she basically paints me as this huge slut, and that's totally not accurate. Just because I sleep with a different guy almost every weekend and have taken to calling all of them bae to ensure that I don't call them by the wrong name, is no reason for her to look down on me. Not all of us have cobwebs sprouting between our legs like she does, just saying. And what she said about Steph's husband, totally uncalled for. Seriously, she's lucky she already moved and left the book club or else she would be dealing with us, and you do not want to see a pissed off Amanda after a couple glasses of wine. 

My advice to you, don't buy this book unless you want to read a whole bunch of lies and half-truths written by a bitter, salty old hag. She's just jealous that she can't hang with the rest of us. 

I give this book one floppy dildo. 

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About the Author

Lisi Harrison worked at MTV Networks in New York City for twelve years. She left her position as senior director of development in 2003 to write The Clique series. That series has sold more than eight million copies and has been on the New York Times bestseller list for more than two hundred weeks, with ten titles hitting #1 and foreign rights sold in thirty-three countries. The Alphas was a #1 New York Times bestseller, and Monster High was an instant bestseller. Her latest YA series is Pretenders. Lisi lives in Laguna Beach, California, and has been a proud member of her own dirty book club since 2007.

Alternate Reviews

If you would like to read some legitimate reviews of The Dirty Book Club, just click any of the following links.