Friday, January 19, 2018

ARC Book Review: S.T.A.G.S. by M.A. Bennet

Release Date: January 30, 2018
Publisher: Delacorte Press
Format: ebook
Pages:  304 pages
Genre: YA Fiction
Buy: Kindle | Hardcover 


One deadly weekend.

At St. Aidan the Great School, or STAGS, new things--and new people--are to be avoided. The grandeur of the boarding school and the prestige of the students' bloodlines seem surreal to Greer MacDonald. A scholarship student who recently transferred to STAGS, Greer is ignored at best and mocked at worst by the school's most admired circle of friends, the Medievals.

Greer is taken by surprise when the Medievals send her an invitation to an exclusive weekend retreat at the private family estate of their unofficial leader, Henry de Warlencourt. It's billed as a weekend of "huntin' shootin' fishin'."

As the weekend begins to take shape, it becomes apparent that beyond the luxurious trappings, predators are lurking, and they're out for blood.


Greer is attending STAGS through a scholarship.  Her father produces wildlife films and her mother left when she was a young girl.  STAGS is filled with rich entitled kids who follow the rules set by a group of 6 kids known to everyone as the Medievals.  Feeling like an outcast Greer jumps at the opportunity to attend a weekend with the Medievals, hoping that she will make friends with the elite trend setters.

Unfortunately the weekend is not all that it seems...the Medievals are hiding a deadly secret and it seems its been going on for generations. Can they stop them from continuing their deadly games or is it much bigger than any of them even imagine?

This debut YA psychological thriller is sure to entertain readers well beyond its YA target audience.  Peer pressure is a difficult thing and the Medievals do it with finesse, from turning their noses up at technology, and the air of secrecy surrounding them they make everyone want to be them. Well developed characters and lots of plot twists and turns keep you engaged. The ending was superb.

Disclaimer: I received a free copy of this book from the publisher through in exchange for an honest review. 

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Wednesday, January 17, 2018

Audio Book Review: The Last Black Unicorn by Tiffany Haddish

Release Date: December 5, 2017
Publisher: Simon & Schuster Audio
Format: Audio
Length: 6 hours 29 minutes
Narrator: Tiffany Haddish
Genre: Humor/ Memoir
Buy: Audible | Kindle | Paperback


Growing up in one of the poorest neighborhoods of South Central Los Angeles, Tiffany learned to survive by making people laugh. If she could do that, then her classmates would let her copy their homework, the other foster kids she lived with wouldn’t beat her up, and she might even get a boyfriend. Or at least she could make enough money—as the paid school mascot and in-demand Bar Mitzvah hype woman—to get her hair and nails done, so then she might get a boyfriend.
None of that worked (and she’s still single), but it allowed Tiffany to imagine a place for herself where she could do something she loved for a living: comedy.

Tiffany can’t avoid being funny—it’s just who she is, whether she’s plotting shocking, jaw-dropping revenge on an ex-boyfriend or learning how to handle her newfound fame despite still having a broke person’s mind-set. Finally poised to become a household name, she recounts with heart and humor how she came from nothing and nowhere to achieve her dreams by owning, sharing, and using her pain to heal others.


This is a funny book and to hear it read by Tiffany is like listening to her stand up. This book isn't all comedy though, there are serious parts to this book as well. Stories of abuse, neglect and everything that has made Tiffany who she is but the main thing I loved about this book is how upbeat Tiffany is.  Her life was hard but she found a way to turn her pain into triumph. She learned from each success story and each failure.  She doesn't look back on the past in pity she uses it to press forward and succeed.

Some of this book is raw and raunch, but thats Tiffany.  I'm glad that the editors didn't try to change who she is and squash her personality.  As raunchy as some parts are there is also brutal honesty that makes you want to cringe.  This is a no holds barred type of book.  The book is broken down into sections, so its not a fluid flow of story, more like a collection of different stories regarding different topics but it works.

I didn't know much about Tiffany before reading this book.  I saw her on The Daily Show with Trevor Noah and was laughing so hard I knew I had to grab this book.  When I found out she read the audio version I made it a point to get that one.  No one can narrate a memoir like the author especially when she's a comedian.

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Monday, January 15, 2018

ARC Review: Peach by Emma Glass

Release Date: January 23, 2018
Publisher: Bloomsbury USA
Format: ebook
Pages:  112 pages
Genre: Fiction
Buy: Kindle | Hardcover 


Something has happened to Peach. Staggering around the town streets in the aftermath of an assault, Peach feels a trickle of blood down her legs, a lingering smell of her anonymous attacker on her skin. It hurts to walk, but she manages to make her way to her home, where she stumbles into another oddly nightmarish reality: Her parents can't seem to comprehend that anything has happened to their daughter.

The next morning, Peach tries to return to the routines of her ordinary life, going to classes, spending time with her boyfriend, Green, trying to find comfort in the thought of her upcoming departure for college. And yet, as Peach struggles through the next few days, she is stalked by the memories of her unacknowledged trauma. Sleeping is hard when she is haunted by the glimpses of that stranger's gaping mouth. Working is hard when her assailant's rancid smell still fills her nostrils. Eating is impossible when her stomach is swollen tight as a drum. Though she tries to close her eyes to what has happened, Peach at last begins to understand the drastic, gruesome action she must take.


The synopsis of this book is much better than the actual book.  Filled with surreal and disjointed prose this is like a runaway poem that wasn't quite sure of its direction. I spent half of the book trying to figure out what the hell I was reading and why.

Babies made of Jelly, teachers made from pudding, the world has people who don't have skin, and Peach is stumbling through the dark trying to recover from what I'm assuming was a rape, although the description was difficult to figure out. Her parents are very odd and the whole book just left me wanting to shower and wash my brain.

There are graphic scenes that may turn a lot of people away (I'm not that squeamish) but I was left confused and not grasping the praise this book has received.  I may be in the minority but I found this book to be truly terrible. There are so many other books out there about rape and the turmoil and trauma it causes that this was just not a necessary read.

Disclaimer: I received a free copy of this book from the publisher through in exchange for an honest review. 

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Friday, January 12, 2018

Book Review: Run Fast, Eat Slow: Nourishing Recipes for Athletes by Shalane Flannagan & Else Kopecky

Release Date: August 9, 2016
Publisher: Rodale Books
Format: Hardcover
Pages:  256 pages
Genre: Cookbook
Buy: Kindle | Hardcover |


Packed with more than 100 recipes for every part of your day, mind-blowing nutritional wisdom, and inspiring stories from two fitness-crazed women that became fast friends more than 15 years ago, Run Fast. Eat Slow. has all the bases covered. You'll find no shortage of delicious meals, satisfying snacks, thirst-quenching drinks, and wholesome treats--all made without refined sugar and flour.


I made a deal with myself toward the end of the year to eat healthier.  I started seeking out cookbooks that are healthy and anti-inflammation.  This book has a lot of really good information on nutrition. I have made many recipes from this book and all of them have been really good and are good for you.   The portions are bigger than you imagine and even recipes I was a little leery of like the Omega Sardine Salad turned out to be good and something I would definitely eat again. So dig in and get cooking!

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