Tag Archives: adult

Book Review: The Story of Forgetting by Stefan Merrill Block

         Self Published   Published Jan. 1, 2008            312 Pages
Self Published
Published Jan. 1, 2008
312 Pages

Abel Haggard is a hunchback elderly man who lives in what is left of his family’s farm in the Dallas suburbs surrounded by the memories of his loves. In Austin, teenager Seth Waller is dealing with some issues. His mother has been diagnosed with a rare disease. Seth who knows nothing about his mother’s past or family decides to find her relatives and find her genetic history.  This story is told two voices; Abel and Seth. Technically three if you count the medical language.Without knowing it Seth and Abel are connected and that changes everything.

I was surprised how much I enjoyed this book for several reasons. The book was predictable. It didn’t take much to realize that Seth is connected to Abel by Seth’s mother. It didn’t take much to realize that Seth would figure that out. However, there was a pretty interesting twist between Abel and Seth’s mom that I didn’t see coming.

In the middle of the book I felt a disconnect and that is because a lot of medical lingo began (because Seth wants to be a doctor and wants to understand his mother’s condition).  I was able to push forward and enjoy the story. It was extremely well written and it kept me engaged because I needed to know what happened. Throughout the entire story I felt there was going to be this really sad ending and it was sad but not the sad I was expecting.

The biggest thing that bothered me was Seth’s mom. . . I still can’t grasp the fact of why she left her home. I don’t feel she had the greatest reason in the world to go. It should have been more depth than that.

Overall, I enjoyed Abel’s story more than Seth and that was because there was more story and more feeling. The author tried to make Seth have a struggle not only with his mom but with being a teenager i.e. asking a girl out. I felt that if that was how it was to be written then Seth should have had friends.

This book gets 8 out of 10.



Book Review: Letters from Skye by Jessica Brockmole

     Ballantine Books  Published July 9, 2013           304 Pages
Ballantine Books
Published July 9, 2013
304 Pages

Love.Love LOVE!

 In 1912, 24 year old Elspeth Dunn is a published poet who has never left her home located on the Isle of Skye in Scotland. One day she receives a fan letter from David Graham, a student that lives in America. From this moment on Elspeth and David begin a friendship and soon love through these letters.

Fast forward to 1940; WW II has begun and Elspeth daughter, Margaret has fallen for a pilot. Her mother doesn’t agree with it but doesn’t stop her daughter either. When a bomb goes off near Elspeth’s house letter from the past reappear and shortly after Elspeth leaves.

Margaret has only one letter, a clue to find out what happened to her mother.

This book was so cute and romantic and perfect I cannot stand it. It is written in letter form. Some letters are longer than others and others are just lines or telegraphs. To be honest this didn’t add or take away from the story. Every letter was detailed and held the same conversation tone as a “traditional” novel.

David and Elspeth had no intentions of being anything more than a fan and an author. However, Elspeth was interested in David and his life because it was nothing she has ever experienced. David enjoyed speaking to her because they shared a love a literature.

I thought their relationship was pure love and it was beautiful.

Regarding Margaret and her relationship there are letters exchanged between her and her love but it mostly centers around her mother and her family. I though the characters each of them played a good part; they weren’t annoying or even misused. Again for a lack of a better term perfect.

Overall this book gets 10 out of 10. I thought it was a great love story. If you are looking for the harlequin  type love story this is not the book for you.


Love, Pickles


Book Review: A Love Noire by Erica Simone Turnipseed

           Amistad   Published June 29, 2004            320 Pages
Published June 29, 2004
320 Pages

Norie is a “righteous” African American PHD student that is all about black pride and sticking it to the man. Attending a book signing, Norie meets Innocent a VP Banker from Côte d’Ivoire, West Africa, and although Innocent is attracted to her Norie is on the fence because she considers him “Bourgie.”

Taking a chance Norie begins to date Innocent and they both begin to realize that unexpected love is the most complicated of them all.

Not even three chapters in and I knew I didn’t like the book. There is nothing wrong with an African American female or male being considered “righteous” however, that point does not need to be made every other line in the first six chapters.

Norie was trying so hard not to like African Americans with money and I didn’t understand why. Let’s make this clear I’m African American and I know why but the reader does not know where it is coming from until well after Norie and Innocent begin dating. What’s the back story? Why was she so mad at those with money?

The author tried to make it seem that African Americans with money feel some type of way with afro wearing African American females that have an outspoken opinion and that Innocent was the different one from the brunch. Now there is not an issue with the rich not liking the poor or middle class or vice versa. My issue is there is no need to constantly remind the readers that this book is about African American lovers. I know she is an African American woman and I know he is an African male; it’s in the summary. I felt it was immature as a writer to not be creative enough to describe what Norie and Innocent looked like without bluntly saying it.

I also really didn’t like the language Turnipseed used when Innocent was talking to his friend. What type of bank VP is cursing like he is a frat boy and not a grown man? Also why is there so much cursing period? It was as if African Americans do not know how to speak without adding a curse word.

The book was poorly written and the ending was sloppy and really forgettable. How is it that after a year of dating Innocent believes the relationship is too intense for him? WHO SAYS THAT!? You wouldn’t have made it a year if that was the case.

Overall the book gets 4 out of 10. The book felt forced, and  unrealistic. I really do not understand what Turnipseed was trying to prove with this book but it didn’t work.

Book Review: The Taste of Salt by Martha Southgate

    Algonquin Books of Chapel Hill         Published Sept 13, 2011                  272 Pages
Algonquin Books of Chapel Hill
Published Sept 13, 2011
272 Pages

Powerful story but too many things left unsaid.

Josie Henderson is an African American woman who loves the water. She spent her entire life trying to know the ins and outs of the water and ultimately became a marine biologist-actually-the only African American senior-level scientist at the Woods Hole Oceanographic Institute.

But Josie isn’t as successful as she believes. Yes, she has the career and a white husband but she left home running away from her father, her brother, who struggle with addiction and her mother who watched it all happen and was too late to help.

With her brother’s latest stunt of Rehab over things fall apart more quickly than anyone, especially Josie, anticipates.

Told in four different voices this was a good book. It was also believable to the point that you believe this is book is someone’s’ life story.  You see the struggle with all the characters and their lives, past and present. But even with that there are things that I didn’t quite understand. Why did her brother begin drinking and using? What happened to him that caused him to begin drinking? He was married with a house, car and a good job. Josie didn’t fall to addiction because of what she saw however she had other problems.

Also I didn’t understand Josie. I get the fact she was running away from home and avoiding. I even kind of get the fact she didn’t want to have children. What I didn’t get was how she was treating her husband. She married a white man but then turned around and complained about him not understanding her culture or music after she meets a black male who is on the same career level as her. She doesn’t tell her husband anything but opens up to another male both physically and emotionally mainly because she felt a connection to him because he was black.

As in for things left unsaid I wanted to know what her brother couldn’t face. His father was able to get clean but he couldn’t why? What happen to Josie? She was a mess in a half.  Also what happen with Josie and her husband? He knew something was going on but didn’t bluntly say anything.

As for the writing there were no issues. Southgate drew me in well mainly because beyond the addiction it wasn’t a book talking about how Josie fell off the track and had to pick herself up right or even her brother for the time. They both got into a really good high school on scholarship, graduated and went to college. I loved that because although there was issues at home and hint of teasing at school the book didn’t stress a past struggle outside the addiction running in the family.

Overall this book gets 9 out of 10. I love when all I can complain about is the characters themselves and not the writing.

Book Review: Merge/Disciple: Two Short Novels from Crosstown to Oblivion by Walter Mosley

This book is two short stories that have nothing to do with each other.

           Tor Books   Published Oct 1, 2012            288 Pages
Tor Books
Published Oct 1, 2012
288 Pages


Raleigh Redman won the lotto but before that he was regular guy working 9-5 in love with a girl who left him out of no where. After winning he quits his job and decides to read the last gift from his father, a collections of lectures in the Popular Educator Library. While on night reading out of no where a tree branch is in his apartment asking for food.

Out of curiosity Raleigh feeds it and watches grow while also questioning if what he is doing right. By feeding this creature Raleigh opened the door to a new world.

This short story was amazing; from beginning to end. I had a wonderful time reading it. Raleigh himself was a dull and boring character but Mosley was able to bring him to life by the characters around him. However, what I liked about Raleigh was he thought things through; he didn’t just jump at a decision which I though was awesome. Also he wasn’t a whinny brat about it; he was a grown man that had to make a choice.

Overall this story gets 10 out of 10. Wonderful.


This story was not as good ad Merge. Hogarth “Trent” Tryman is a lonely forty-two year old man who works at a dead end job. No friends no want to be girlfriends, just his mom (he doesn’t live with her). One day he gets a message from someone named Bron who tells him he needs his help to alter the world. At first Trent doesn’t agree but is proven Bron is the real deal and goes with it. But soon his conscious doesn’t sit well with some of the actions he is doing and not only is his life in danger but so is others.

The book started off well enough but it didn’t catch my interest. I loved the whole man on the computer technically controlling this man’s life and him going back and forth with his conscious. But for a lack of better term the story was boring. Nothing about these words kept me wanting to read more. There wasn’t the same passion in the words as the first story.

I did like the good things Trent was doing with his new power. It made me respect him but he was boring and didn’t enjoy himself even a little. It made him actually seem like a sad man that really didn’t know what to do with himself.

Overall this story gets 6 out of 10. For a man being controlled by a guy or being on a computer it was pretty boring.  

Tania Lasenburg is a communications major that plays video games and cyber stalks Gym Class Heroes. Follow her on twitter @mrztanyapickles

Banned Book Week

Another year has come . .  another banned book week. Each year the list gets bigger and bigger. It’s sad really sad that after all this “freedom” we have in this country books are being banned for some really ridiculously things. Honest instead of asking the school or state to ban a book ask for an alternative for your student to read. It is that simple.


Anyway here is my list of favorite banned books. You can also check out American Library Association for the list of banned books or ways to fight back.



Persepolis: The Story of a Childhood by Marjane Satrapi

Go Ask Alice by Anonymous

James and the Giant Peach by Ronald Dahl

A Lesson Before Dying by Ernest Gaines

Of Mice and Men by John Steinbeck

Captain Underpants by Dav Pilkey

Thirteen Reasons Why by Jay Asher

A Wrinkle in Time by Madeleine L’Engle

The Lovely Bones by Alice Sebold

Where the Wild Things Are by Maurice Sendak

A Light in the Attic by Shel Silverstein

The Giving Tree by Shel Silverstein

Their Eyes Were Watching God by Zora Neale Hurston



Book Review: The Good House by Tananarive Due

I think publishers feel if you add ghost or voodoo in your book it will be called horror. *Shakes head*

    Simon & Schuster  Published Aug 25, 2003           597 Pages
Simon & Schuster
Published Aug 25, 2003
597 Pages

Angela Toussaint has some history with her late grandmother’s home dubbed the “Good House” by townspeople in Sacajawea, Washington.  But although she grew up there she hasn’t been to the home in two years because her son committed suicide at the Fourth of July party.  

Convinced by her good friend, she goes back to the house to decide if she will sell it or not.  Now to say freaky things happen is a very loose sentence because nothing OMG really happens. Yes, her friend’s dog goes missing and her friend sleeps walk to sleep down in the cellar where her son died but other than for most of the book nothing is horror like.

The biggest issue I had with the book was there was no connection between Angela and the house or even her grandmother for that matter. She didn’t know the secrets of the house; she didn’t even know how to make her grandmother’s famous tea. It was as if she knew nothing of her grandmother and she wasn’t even curious to know. It was like how can that house have all that history and you know nothing about it. The townspeople knew more down to the specific detail.

Another issue I had was the author kept throwing in the death of Angela’s mother but there was no real explanation as to why she died.  This felt like it was thrown in there to add more appeal to the character; she had to live without her mother. But to be honest it seems like it didn’t even affect her. She is not holding scars as much as other characters or even a person in reality would.

But despite that the book had a great build up. I was really into it until chapter 18 and nothing was really going on but a lot of run around. Another good thing about the book is the author switched point of views. For instance, you were able to see the events leading up to Angela’s son’s death and you were able to see where this evil came from through the grandmother’s eyes. Oddly enough I didn’t feel it was misplaced or random; it fit.

Overall I thought the book was a decent read. There should have been more horror more spells more secrets because in all honestly there wasn’t any. I give this book a 6 out of 10. Great start but fell short.


Tania Lasenburg is a communications major that plays video games and cyber stalks Gym Class Heroes. Follow her on twitter @mrztanyapickles


Book Review: Dare Me by Megan Abbott

Some books you completely misjudge . . . this is one of them.

    Reagan Arthur Books     Published May 1, 2012              290 Pages
Reagan Arthur Books
Published May 1, 2012
290 Pages

Addy Hanlon is Beth Cassidy’s best friend. Beth is the Queen that not only rules the cheerleading squad but also everyone in the school. Addy follows anything and everything Beth says no matter what it is. However, when they meet their new cheerleading coach Colette French things become very murky for their friendship.

When I began reading this book I thought it was about a coach getting too close to its students and inappropriate things begin to happen (i.e. sex). I was only partially right. Coach does get close to these girls but she gets closer to Addy, who has been deemed her favorite. Beth does not like this. She does not like Coach and how she is changing her ways and the control over the girls. Beth has it out for the Coach and will do anything to ruin her life. Addy is just the fairly innocent bystander watching from both points of views.

When a sucide happens close to the girls heart, all hell breaks loose and friendships are tested.

This book is not for the lighthearted. These teenage girls are sexually active and the author doesn’t shy away from that. These are girls who are scared of Beth, who are scared that she will not only ruin their popularity but will ruin their lives. It’s pretty intense how Beth controls them. Her word game is really sick.

I loved the characters. Beth was the perfect you love to hate character and honestly I am glad the author didn’t go into her backstory. She was an evil girl no reason why. Addy I thought needed to grow a pair when it came to Beth even at the end she doesn’t really stand for herself against Beth. She does become a strong person I believe and takes on her own but that is when Beth is gone.

The story focus on relationships is intense. Things are truly nothing nothing nothing like it seems. Although I was a bit bored in the beginning, the way the author writes the book she leaves you hanging with each chapter. I needed to know more and with each chapter that only grew.

Overall, this book gets 10 out of 10. If you feel uneasy reading about teens having sex or being evil for that matter then you really should not read this book.


Tania Lasenburg is a communications major that plays video games and cyber stalks Gym Class Heroes. Follow her on twitter @mrztanyapickles


New Releases: July 2013

Affliction (Anita Blake Vampire Hunter Novel) by Laurell K. Hamilton 7.2.2013


Awaken by Meg Cabot 7.2.2013

The Arrivals by Melissa Marr 7.2.2013

Mother Daughter Me by Katie Hafner 7.2.2013

A Midsummer Night’s Scream by R.L. Stine 7.6.2013


Fifth Grave Past the lIght (Charley Davidson Series #5) by Darynda Jones 7.9.2013

Please Don’t Tell by Elizabeth Adler 7.9.2013

Raven Flight: A Shadowfell novel by Juliet Marillier 7.9.2013

The Book of Blood and Shadow by Robin Wasserman 7.9.2013


Belladonna (Secrets of the Eternal Rose #2) by Fiona Paul 7.16.2013

The Book of Elsewhere Vol 4 by Jacqueline West 7.16.2013

Dirty Little Secret by Jennifer Echols 7.16.2013


A Darkness Strange and Lovely (Something Strange and Deadly #2) by Susan Dennard 7.23.2013

A Really Awesome Mess by Trish Cook 7.23.2013

OCD Love Story by Ann Haydu 7.23.2013


Indelible (The Twixt #1) by Dawn Metcalf 7.30.2013

EarthBound by Aprilynne Pike 7.30.2013

All Our Pretty Songs by Sarah McCarry 7.30.2013