Review: Red-Blooded American Male

Red-Blooded American Male


Photographer: Robert Trachtenberg

Publisher:  Amphoto Books


Publication Date: September 13th, 2016

Pages:  224

Genre:  Photography, Nonfiction, Art

Format:  10×13 Hardcover

ISBN:  9781607749660

My Rating:


My Review:

This book is full of sexy, candid, humorous and endearing shots from Robert Trachtenbergs own portfolio. It also includes an Introductory interview by Jess Cagle, the editorial director of People and Entertainment Weekly.

Each photo in this gorgeous coffee table book tells a story. None of the males in these photos took themselves too seriously and it shows a playful side to each one. It also includes a few gorgeous females along with men in a couple of pics.  A few of my favorite photos include:

Scott Eastwood


Neil Patrick Harris


Mark Wahlberg and Will Ferrell


Jimmy Fallon


I love all the photos and have no problem displaying this book in my home.  The only fault I found with the book was that I wanted more.  Some of the photos didn’t include descriptions, only the person’s name.  Would’ve loved to have read more about some of those talented people.  Otherwise, an entertaining read!

More Info

Author Info

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


Review: A Boy Made of Blocks

A Boy Made of Blocks


Author: Keith Stuart

Series: Stand-alone

Publisher: St. Martin’s Press

Received: from publisher for an honest review

Publication Date: September 6th, 2016

Pages:  390

Genre:  Fiction, Contemporary, Adult, Health, Realistic Fiction

Format: Hardcover

ISBN:  9781250111593


“Stuart’s debut novel is a charming and timely tale of learning to connect in the digital age.”

-Kirkus Reviews

“Funny, expertly plotted and written with enormous heart. Readers who enjoyed The Rosie Project will love A BOY MADE OF BLOCKS – I did.”

-Graeme Simsion, author of The Rosie Project

Publisher’s Description and Author Info

As the games editor for the Guardian, Keith Stuart has spent 20 years playing, investigating, and writing about video games and their possibilities. His favorite video game of all time? Minecraft. But not for the reason you might think. Stuart credits Minecraft with helping his son, Zac (who is autistic), find himself.

In his debut novel, A BOY MADE OF BLOCKS – which you will quickly realize was inspired by Stuart’s own life experiences with his son – we meet Alex. Alex is a man who loves his family, but struggles to connect with his eight-year-old autistic son, Sam. He has become increasingly frustrated by Sam’s frequent tantrums and outbursts and the strain has pushed his marriage to Jody to the breaking point. So much so that he decides to pack his bags and move in with his bachelor best friend, Dan. Alex has always struggled to communicate with his son, and worries he never will. When Sam becomes obsessed with the popular video game Minecraft, Alex worries the game will cause Sam to further retreat into himself. But when the two start playing Minecraft together they become closer. Instead of driving him inward, the game does the very opposite and helps in his development. When Sam is encouraged to enter a Minecraft building competition, Alex resolves to take him, despite the huge challenges it represents.

With controller in hand, Sam’s imagination blossoms and the game opens up a whole new world for father and son to share. The two discover that Sam has much more to offer than they ever thought possible.

A BOY MADE OF BLOCKS is a soulful, tear-jerking, funny, and true-to-life novel about one very special little boy. Through an unlikely medium both father and son find a safe space to talk, share and explore, and come to realize the beauty of differences and the importance of play and how to navigate and make sense of a world filled with obstacles.

About the Author

In 2012, one of Keith Stuart’s two sons was diagnosed on the autism spectrum. The ramifications felt huge. But then Stuart and both boys started playing video games together, especially Minecraft. Stuart had always played games and, since 1995, he has been writing about them, first for specialty magazines like Edge and PC Gamer and then, for the past ten years, as the games editor for the Guardian. He lives with his family in Somerset, England.

My Review

This book tore me apart with so many feelings.  I have a 10 year old son with mild Autism and while there are some differences between him and Sam, there were so many things in this novel that were so familiar to me.  My son ADORES Minecraft and could play it all day long if I would let him. He’s built so many worlds and buildings and is so proud of what he creates.  When someone talks to him about Minecraft, his eyes light up and off he goes, telling everyone within listening distance about what he creates.  While reading A Boy Made of Blocks, I experienced joy, sadness, understanding, amazement, optimism, peacefulness, encouragement, admiration, comfort, fascination, inspiration, and last but not least I’m grateful and thankful for this book and Keith Stuart’s own experiences with his son.  Never before have I read about the honest frustrations of a parent trying to do right by their child but feeling so helpless at the same time, described in a way that resonated with me.  I tabbed up my book with passages that rang true for my son and I, heartbreaking or funny sections and definitely the triumphs.


Thank you, St. Martin’s Press, for sending me this beautiful book and thank you Keith Stuart, for your novel and sharing your and Zac’s personal story.

My Rating


Harry Potter Book Tag


I was kindly tagged by notsomoderngirl and thought I would try it.  Bear with me, fairly new to blogging and tags! 🤓

Flagrate: Writing Charm

A book whose theme you found interesting but would like to re-write.


I have to pick The Smaller Evil by Stephanie Kuehn.  I found the cult like group fascinating but I think I would’ve enjoyed this book a lot more if the last 1/4th was clearer and not quite so confusing.  I was enjoying the book until that point and it just ended on a low note for me.

Alohomora: Unlocking Charm

The first book in a series that got you hooked.


The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo by Steig Larsson.  I absolutely loved this book.  It took a little bit to get going but once it did, I was hooked!

Accacio:  Summoning Charm

A book you wish you could have right now.


I would love to have Slade House by David Mitchell right now. It’s already available but I just don’t have the funds currently.  As soon as I do, rest assured it will be bought! I need to read The Bone Clocks first as they’re supposed to be tied together in some way.

Auada Kedaura: Killing Curse

A killer book.


The Creeper Man by Dawn Kurtagich.  I LOVED this book.  So in those terms, it’s a killer book!  It also has horror, mystery, death, themes so I suppose that makes it killer too.

Confundo: Confusing Charm

A book that was really confusing.


My pick for this one is House of Leaves by Mark Z. Danielewski. I’ve attempted to read this before and gave up about 1/4 the way through.  I was confused about a lot of it but I was quite a bit younger. I’m hoping now that I’m a bit older, I can work my way through it.  It seems like such an amazing book!

Sectumsempra: Dark Charm

A dark and twisted book.


Horrorstor by Grady Hendrix.  Going into this book, I didn’t have high hopes.  It’s rare a book (or movie) can actually give me the creeps.  This book achieved that!  I was pleasantly surprised!

Aparecium: Revealing Charm

A book that surprised you in a great way.


 Oh my, did this book blow me away!  I went into it knowing very little, even thinking it was from the horror genre. I won’t go in to too much detail because of spoilers, but this book will stay with me for a very long time!

I tag: 

chocolatenwaffles’ blog

kirsty and the cat read

Book Adventures

I’m new at WordPress so I don’t want to tag too many people, not knowing who has already done it. Feel free to do it skip if you’d like!

Thanks for reading!


The Reader Confession Tag

The Reader Confession Tag

I’m not sure where I found this tag as I’m trying to transfer my posts over from blogspot but if I can track it down, I will add it!  I love doing tags 😊

1) Have you ever damaged a book?
I always try to take care of my books. I think the only time I have damaged a book is when a glass of water was spilled on one. I don’t remember what the name of the book was because it happened so long ago. I frequently buy used books and have noticed many books with rain/water damage but it never stops me from getting them. It adds to the charm. 😋

2) Have you ever damaged a borrowed book?
Rarely do I borrow books, but never have I damaged any that I have borrowed.

3) How long does it take you to read a book?
This really depends on how into the book I am. If I’m struggling thru it obviously it will take me longer but lately I’ve been flying through them, atleast for me! Lately I’ve been reading one book every 2-3 days.

4) Books that I haven’t finished?
There’s been several over my lifetime, I’m sure, but lately it’s been Ripple by Heather Smith Maloche.

5) Hyped/Popular books you didn’t like?
This is going to be hard to find an answer for because I have bought so many hyped books lately, but haven’t gotten around to reading them yet. One series I can think of is Divergent…

6) Is there a book you wouldn’t tell anyone you were reading?
No, not really..maybe if I was reading a Harlequin romance but I’m not into those so….

7) How many books do you own?

Well over 1000. I’m a bit of a book hoarder. I want to read them all, it’s just finding the time! I will do it though!

8) Are you a fast or slow reader?
It depends on what’s going on. If I can get somewhere where it’s quiet and no distractions, I can get a book of about 200-300 pages read in a night but with a 10 year old and a household to take care of, that usually doesn’t happen.

9) Do you like to buddy read? 
I’ve never done it! I would think it would be fun as long as it was laid back.

10) Do you read better in your head or out loud?
In my head.

11) If you were allowed to only own one book, what would it be and why?
This is a new find… A Monster Calls by Patrick Ness. This book has helped me with healing after my father’s death.

I won’t tag anyone because I am new to this but anyone who would like to, feel free!
Thanks for reading!

Each Vagabond by Name


Review: Each Vagabond By Name
By Margo Orlando Littell

Is it possible for a book to be both quiet and explosive all at once? If so, this author has managed to do it.

I went into this book pretty blind, which is what I tend to do with a lot of books. I enjoy the story more that way without having any expectations. Each Vagabond by Name was published by Uno Press and I was thrilled they sent a copy my way for an honest review.

It’s not often that I can say that I loved a book from beginning to end but this one I did. This is about a small quiet town full of people that trust each other and know every one by their first name. Our main character is Ramsy, who runs the local tavern and serves the locals on a nightly basis. The peacefulness of this town is soon destroyed when a group of gypsies start looting people’s houses and terrifying the townsfolk and what ensues afterward when anger and revenge start to tear their ugly heads.

This story is about loss, heartbreak, rage, losing hope and finding it again, forgiveness and compassion.

I encourage everyone to pick up this book if you enjoy quiet but passionately written stories. This is definitely an author I want to check out more of in the future.

My rating:


The Lesser Bohemians


Review: The Lesser Bohemians

Author: Eimear McBride
Series: Standalone
Publisher: Hogarth
How I got it: Blogging for Books
Pub Date: Sept 20, 2016
Pages: 320
Genre: Fiction, Contemporary
Format: Hardcover
ISBN: 9781101903483
My Rating: ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️

Amazon Description:

Shortlisted for the 2016 Goldsmiths Prize

Shortlisted for the 2016 Bord Gáis Energy Irish Book Awards Eason Novel of the Year

The breathtaking new novel from Eimear McBride, about an extraordinary, all-consuming love affair

Eimear McBride’s debut novel A GIRL IS A HALF-FORMED THING was published in 2013 to an avalanche of praise: nominated for a host of literary awards, winner of the Bailey’s Women’s Prize for Fiction and the inaugural Goldsmith’s Prize, declared by Vanity Fair to be “One of the most groundbreaking pieces of literature to come from Ireland, or anywhere, in recent years,” McBride’s bold, wholly original prose immediately established her as a literary force. Now, she brings her singular voice to an unlikely love story.

One night an eighteen-year-old Irish girl, recently arrived in London to attend drama school, meets an older man – a well-regarded actor in his own right. While she is naive and thrilled by life in the big city, he is haunted by more than a few demons, and the clamorous relationship that ensues risks undoing them both.

A captivating story of passion and innocence, joy and discovery set against the vibrant atmosphere of 1990s London over the course of a single year, THE LESSER BOHEMIANS glows with the eddies and anxieties of growing up, and the transformative intensity of a powerful new love.

My Review:

What an enjoyable surprise!
It took me awhile to get going with this book because of the writing, but once I got the hang of it, I loved it.

If you’re not used to reading a book like this, you may feel the same. It’s written in a kind of stream of consciousness prose and can be confusing. One thing that helped me was reading some of it out loud and the other thing that helped was watching and listening to a YouTube video of Eimear McBride reading this book at a public event. Once I did, it made it easier to figure out how it should be read.

This is a story about a girl who has arrived at drama school in London and is beginning a new life for herself. She meets an older fellow actor and they enter into a relationship. The age gap of course causes issues, seeing as how he has been through and seen much more of life than she has.

This is a tale about passion, growing up, and coming of age. I loved everything about it and look forward to reading McBride’s first novel A Girl is a Half Formed Thing and any work she comes out with in the future. I give it 4 stars only because of the difficulty I had in the beginning getting used to the writing style and it took me much longer than normal to get this book read. Other than that, I loved it.
I received this book from Blogging For Books for this review.

More about this book

About the author



Children of the New World

Review: Children of the New World
By Alexander Weinstein


Publisher: Picador
Pub Date: September 13, 2016
Pages: 228
Genre: Short Stories, Fiction, Science Fiction, Dystopia, Fantasy, Adult
Format: Paperback
ISBN: 978-1-250-09899-3
My Rating: ⭐️⭐️⭐️

Goodreads Description:


Children of the New World introduces readers to a near-future world of social media implants, memory manufacturers, dangerously immersive virtual reality games, and alarmingly intuitive robots. Many of these characters live in a utopian future of instant connection and technological gratification that belies an unbridgeable human distance, while others inhabit a post-collapse landscape made primitive by disaster, which they must work to rebuild as we once did millennia ago.

In “The Cartographers,” the main character works for a company that creates and sells virtual memories, while struggling to maintain a real-world relationship sabotaged by an addiction to his own creations. In “Saying Goodbye to Yang,” the robotic brother of an adopted Chinese child malfunctions, and only in his absence does the family realize how real a son he has become.

Children of the New World grapples with our unease in this modern world and how our ever-growing dependence on new technologies has changed the shape of our society. Alexander Weinstein is a visionary new voice in speculative fiction for all of us who are fascinated by and terrified of what we might find on the horizon.

My Review:

I was excited going into this book because it had been floating around on booktube and seemed fairly popular. I have to say I was a little bit disappointed. While I did like quite a few of the stories, there were some that I didn’t care for or just were too much.

This is a book of short stories revolving around the future of technology and how it impacts people’s lives. I went into it a little bit blind, which is what I do with alot of books, but maybe I shouldn’t have with this one.

Ratings for short stories:
5⭐️~ 2
4⭐️~ 2
3⭐️~ 5
2⭐️~ 4
DNF~ 1

So over all I give this 3 stars. The stories were interesting enough but there just wasn’t enough there for me.

Thanks to Picador for sending me a copy of this for an honest review!


Short and Sweet Review: The Merciless


Review ~ The Merciless by Danielle Vega

This book was just good ol’ creepy fun at it’s best. No, it’s not a deep, thought provoking story but it will definitely keep you entertained. Some blood and gore to be warned about, if that’s not your thing, but nothing you wouldn’t see in a mainstream horror flick. I really liked it and look forward to the 2nd and 3rd books!

I gave this book: ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️


Review: The Clay Girl


Title: The Clay Girl
Author: Heather Tucker
Series: Standalone
Publisher: ECW Press
How I received: Requested from ECW
Pub Date: October 11, 2016
Pages: 352 pages
Genre: Fiction, Magical Realism, Coming of Age, Mental Illness
Format: Paperback
ISBN #: 9781770413030
My Rating: ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️

Goodreads Description:

Vincent Appleton smiles at his daughters, raises a gun, and blows off his head. For the Appleton sisters, life had unraveled many times before. This time it explodes. Eight-year-old Hariet, known to all as Ari, is dispatched to Cape Breton and her Aunt Mary, who is purported to eat little girls…With Ari on the journey is her steadfast companion, Jasper, an imaginary seahorse. But when they arrive in Pleasant Cove, they instead find refuge with Mary and her partner Nia. As the tumultuous ’60’s ramp up in Toronto, Ari is torn from her aunts and forced back to her twisted mother and fractured sisters. Her new stepfather Len and his family offer hope, but as Ari grows to adore them, she’s severed violently from them too, when her mother moves in with the brutal Dick Irwin. Through the sexual revolution and drug culture of the 1960s, Ari struggles with her father’s legacy and her mother’s addictions-testing limits with substances that numb and men who show her kindness. She spins through a chaotic decade of loss and love, the devilish and divine, with wit, tenacity, and the astonishing balance unique to seahorses. The Clay Girl is a beautiful tour de force that traces the story of a child, sculpted by kindness, cruelty and the extraordinary power of imagination, and her families-the one she’s born in to and the one she creates.

My Review:

Wow. My book is so tabbed up with post-its because of this great story. There are so many parts and passages that I want to go back and read that I had to mark them all.

I loved all the characters in this story, even the evil ones! The author, Heather Tucker, did an amazing job describing and fleshing each one out and they all took on a life of their own.

This book deals with coming of age, mental illness, alcoholism, abuse, triumph and even a bit of magic. I’m so glad I read it. Pick it up! You’ll be happy you did. I look forward to reading anything this author writes in the future.

Thank you to ECW Press for sending this amazing book to read and do an honest review!


Review: The Vegetarian

Review: The Vegetarian


Title: The Vegetarian

Book Info
Author: Han Kang, translated by Deborah Smith
Author Info
Series: n/a
Publisher: Hogarth, Penguin Random House
Publication date: August 23, 2016
Pages: 208
Genre: Fiction, Contemporary, Asian Lit, Adult, Mental Illness
Format: paperback
ISBN: 9781101906118
My Rating: ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️

My Review:

I had to give this book time to sink in before I could do a full review. There are many issues at play here and to take them all in, takes a bit of time.

This is a story about Yeong-hye, her husband and her family and takes place in Korea. She decides after a disturbing dream to become a vegetarian and gets rid of all the meat in the house, which aggravates her husband and so begins the downhill slide.

While it may seem by the title, that this would be the main subject of the book, it is really about several subjects: mental health, control, manipulation, desire, apathy, mental and physical abuse, sorrow, abandonment and more. It’s told in 3 parts but never directly by the main character, Yeong-hye. It’s narrated by her husband, her brother in law and her sister, which is an interesting way to tell the story and also in a way I could appreciate it.

If you are looking for story about the ebbs and flows of life and how mental illness and abuse can differently affect everyone in a family, this is a book for you. It was translated beautifully and is a story I will keep on my shelves and reread in the future.

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