“Annihilation” or the Weirdest Science Fiction I’ve Read Book Review




Author: Jeff Vandermeer

Genre: Science Fiction, Mystery

Publisher: Farrar, Straus and Giroux

Rating: ✈️ ✈️ out of ✈️ ✈️ ✈️ ✈️ ✈️



Annihilation is the first book in Jeff Vandermeer’s Southern Reach trilogy, and recounts the story of what is known as Area X. It is an area that has been reclaimed by nature and has managed to remain completely cutoff from the rest of the continent. Since its discovery, there have been 11 expeditions into Area X, some of those expeditions were successful while others resulted in tragedy and murder. When the story begins, the 12th expedition is making its way into Area X, with this particular group being made up solely of four women with very distinct job descriptions. There’s an anthropologist, a surveyor, a psychiatrist who assumes the role of leader, and a biologist who serves as the narrator for the story.

Knowing the sordid history of the region and what happened with each expedition, the women are tasked with mapping the area and collection specimens. They are also meant to each keep written records of what they observe about the area and within one another, all while trying to avoid any possible contamination that may be present.


I added Jeff Vandermeer’s novel to my to read list almost two years ago, after coming across it while browsing through an airport bookstore and thinking that it sounded promising. I finally decided to move it up on my to read list after seeing previews for the film and thinking that it might be a good idea to read the book before seeing the movie. Thus, I picked up a copy from local library and dove in with high hopes for what I was sure would be a truly unique and different science fiction book than what I was used to.

The book lived up to the fact that it was different from other science fiction books, it was weird and as a reader I was never truly certain that what the narrator was describing was in fact true, or if everything was a version of some truth from an unreliable narrator. I ended up finding this a rather difficult book to get through as I found myself having to go back whole passages to reread them due to having lost the trail that the author was laying, or because I had completely zoned out and stopped paying attention. Although there were brief parts of the book that really engaged me and held my attention, for the most part I found myself having a hard time focusing on the story; I had to continuously push myself to keep reading in hopes it would begin to make sense at some point in time.

Upon finishing the book, I have been left with the feeling that I would have been completely fine in going to see the movie without having ever read the book and still have left the theater feeling just as confused as I was at the end of the book. Granted this is the first book in a trilogy, so it makes sense that things would be left open-ended in order to get the reader to read the rest of the books, but I had such a hard time focusing on this book that I’m not even sure I’ll finish the series because at this point in time, I really don’t care what’s going on or what happens to the characters. As for the movie, I’ll wait for it to leave the theaters and either watch it when it plays on HBO or check out the DVD from the library.



“Geekerella” Book Review, or the Book that Filled my Geek Girl Heart with Endless Happiness.




 Author: Ashley Poston

 Genre: Young Adult, Romance, Retelling

 Publisher: Quirk Books

 Rating: ✈️ ✈️ ✈️ ✈️ ✈️ out of ✈️ ✈️ ✈️ ✈️ ✈️



Geekerella was one of those books that I initially had no intention of reading, let alone buying a copy of. It wasn’t that it didn’t sound interesting, it did, so much as I already had so many books on my never-ending to-be read list that I didn’t see the necessity in reading yet another YA fairy tale retelling. Even after one of my friends read and gushed about it and told me about how I would love it too, because I’m a fangirl of many of the fandoms that are mentioned in the book, I still wasn’t convinced that this was a book I just had to have and read.

I know what you’re thinking, what happened that changed my mind? Well, the impetus that changed my mind was getting to meet the author and hear her speak about her book. Last October, I attended a young adult discussion and book signing at the Tattered Cover Bookstore where there were four YA authors in attendance to discuss their most recent books: E. K. Johnston for That Inevitable Victorian Thing, Melanie Crowder for An Uninterrupted View of the Sky, Katherine Locke for The Girl with the Red Balloon and Ashley Poston and her book Geekerella. Listening to Ashley talk about Geekerella  and why she chose to retell the fairy tale classic Cinderella with a comic con type setting and the homage to fandom life and the fans who bleed their chosen fandom, is what finally convinced me that I would get a copy that day. Sitting there, I could tell just how much Ashley loved her book and loved writing it, and I couldn’t wait to immerse myself in this world she had created, plus it didn’t hurt that there was a dachshund on the cover.

Having finally read, and loved Geekerella, I’m sorry I didn’t give the book a chance sooner. This book spoke to my geek girl heart, both with the Cinderella retelling aspect, as well as the myriad of pop culture references (Doctor Who, Marvel, Harry Potter, Star Wars, Star Trek, so on and so forth, to name a few). As I sat reading the book, with my very own dachshund curled up next to me, I found myself feeling all of Elle’s emotions as she dealt with her horrid step mother and step sisters, the anger over the chosen casting of an actor for a character whose entire life story you know like it happened to you, and missing her father who was the one person who shared, and introduced, this amazing fandom with her.

This is a book that I know I will revisit time and again, be it that I need to get out of a reading slump, or that I just want to spend an afternoon being a geek. Geekerella is the book that I know I will continuously find myself recommending to my friends who love a good book with numerous pop culture references. Thank you to the author, for being that final push I needed to not only read, but love this book.

In honor of the fictional fandom created in this book, remember to: “Look to the Stars. Aim. Ignite.”

“The Key to Everything” Book Review

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The Key to Everything mood board created by the author, Paula Stokes, and used with her permission.

Author: Paula Stokes

Genre: New Adult, Contemporary, Romance

Rating: ✈️ ✈️ ✈️ out of ✈️ ✈️ ✈️ ✈️ ✈️

Synopsis: College senior and psychology major Oakland Fuller is one who spends her life looking for signs and believing in the ever elusive soul mate. Following a series of failed relationships, Oakland quickly comes around to idea that the reason is because of unresolved issues she has with her high school boyfriend Seth; a theory which is further encouraged by both the school counselor and a fortune-teller who both say the same thing. Convinced that the universe is telling her she needs to contact Seth in order to explore what feelings they may still have for one another, Oakland obsessively begins to try to contact Seth.

With frustration mounting over a lack of response from Seth, Oakland’s best friend Morgan swoops in and convinces Oakland to join her on a guided Thailand excursion during their upcoming winter break. Traveling to Bangkok finds the two friends meeting a handsome pair of US military soldiers who are also on vacation. Deciding that she will take her friend’s advice, after all she is single, Oakland engages in some harmless fun and sex with Tyson. What starts out as harmless no strings attached fun, slowly begins to blossom into actual romance and what Oakland admits is her best relationship ever. Unfortunately, her new budding relationship is put at risk when Oakland spots Seth at a temple in Bangkok, and Oakland once again begins to question the signs the universe is sending her way and who she’s truly meant to be with.

Thoughts: First, I have to thank the author, Paula Stokes, for the advance e-ARC copy she was so kind to provide me with of her first self published novel. From the start, I found myself on a roller coaster ride  in regards to my feelings towards Oakland. I had a hard time with the fact that Oakland was so obsessed with wanting to reconnect with Seth in main part because I wanted her to come off as being a level-headed individual given the fact that she was planning on becoming a clinical psychologist. Oakland was so focused on looking for signs to prove that she was meant to be with Seth, and so determined that what she was doing was for the best, I couldn’t help but feel that if I were looking for a therapist to help me, she would be the last person I would go to.

I almost put the book down after the first couple of chapters due in large part  because of how annoying I found Oakland to be. With that being said, I persevered as I convinced myself that Oakland would grow as a character and prove that she wasn’t the idiot I felt her to be. Oakland is one of those characters where I found myself wanting nothing more than for someone to smack some sense into. I had a hard time dealing with her treatment of Tyson, despite them agreeing that what they were doing was all in good fun and that there were no strings attached, I still believe that Tyson was a good and kind man who did not deserve to be treated the way he was. Tyson was most definitely a better person than me, I don’t think I would ever agree to help the person I was into help track down their ex so that they could potentially get back together with this ex they claimed was their soul mate.

I think really the only reason why I kept reading the book was because I liked the other characters. I loved Morgan, for Morgan not only served as the voice of reason but she was fun and the kind of friend I’d want to travel to Thailand with. The senior citizen members of the guided tour provided great foil to the larger story, as the book continued and they started to share more about themselves, they proved that one should never judge those they don’t know based solely on age and appearance for at any given time people can surprise you and prove to be both interesting and engaging people to know. Tyson pretty much epitomizes that kind of man I would like to meet and have a long-lasting relationship with. Tyson is not only attractive, but he’s kind-hearted and truly wants for those around him to be happy, even if it means he’s left alone and unhappy in the end.

I know it sounds like I didn’t enjoy the book and you’re probably wondering why I gave the rating I did. Well the thing is, overall, I did enjoy the book. The story telling was engaging and the description of Thailand and all it has to offer drew me in and made me want nothing more than to hop a flight right away in order to see the sights and eat the food myself. I further kept reading out of curiosity, I wanted to see if Oakland would really give up the chance at true love for the memory of first love, or if she would see reason and pick the man who was supposed to be nothing more than a fling. Not wanting to give anything away, I won’t say whether or not the book provided me with the ending I so desperately wanted.

Just know that it is because of the other elements of the story that I gave a middle of the road rating to this book. The Key to Everything was not my first Paula Stokes read, and it certainly won’t be the last.

2017: Reflections on a Year of Books and Geekiness

img_1640-2With 2017 drawing to a close, and 2018 creeping ever closer, I can’t help but reflect on the past year and the various accomplishments I made with my reading. At the beginning of the year I set a goal of 75 books that I wanted to read. Usually, I set a higher goal of 100 books, but decided to lower it this year in hopes that I could read some longer books during the year.

With a goal of 75 books set, I’m happy to say that I read a total of 102 books, surpassing my goal by 27 books. (Fun fact, I read the same amount of books last year too). Of those 102 books, 10 of them were books that were 500 or more pages. The longest book I read was It by Stephen King, which came in at a whopping 1156 pages. There were only three books that I rated less than three stars, which I find a surprising stat given how many books I read. I’m happy upon reflection to see that I enjoyed the majority of the books I read with most ratings ranging between 3 and 5. I had only two books that I DNF’d (did not finish) and the reason was the same for both, they were library loans and I ran out of time and they couldn’t be renewed; so my plan is to return to each of them at a later date.

This year marked the second year that I took part in my charity reading challenge where each book read earned a set amount of money to then be donated at the end of the year to the Bladder Cancer Advocacy Network. I’m happy to report that this year I was able to make a $151 donation to the Bladder Cancer Advocacy Network, an increase of $20. Going forward I plan to continue with my charity reading challenge and to raise money for the same organization, all in memory of my father who passed away from bladder cancer in 2010.

2017 further served as the year in which I discovered and supported a variety of Etsy and online shops around the world. From shops that created book sleeves and protectors that I use when traveling in order to ensure that my books stay in primo condition, to a variety of candle shops that have created amazing smelling candles for my favorite books and fan girl obsessions, to shops that enabled me to find items that I not only love for myself but that also made wonderful birthday and Christmas gifts for friends and family.


The two shops I frequented the most for book protectors were: @thumbelara and @pages.remembered The quality and hard work that goes into each of these shops products are superb and I have had no complaints. The products have all held up to the rigorous and constant travel and shoving of them into my suitcase that I have put my books through and I will definitely continue to buy from each of them in the future.





The top candle shops I found myself following relentlessly on Instagram as well as forking over my money to were: @novellyyours  @canterburyroadco  and @acourtofcandles Each of these candle shops have a variety of candles with unique scents and development. I love the layered candles and four pack monthly mini candles that Novelly Yours produces, with some of my favorite candles being As Travars for the Darker Shades of Magic trilogy, Foggy Night a delightfully gray candle with red the color of blood bleeding throughout for the YA book Stalking Jack the Ripper, and the Monsters of Verity candle set. Canterbury Road Co has created both some of my favorite seasonal candles as well as four wonderful scents that go beautifully with my love of the Outlander series. While A Court of Candles answered my desire for candles that would acknowledge my love of Sailor Moon. There are so many amazing candle shops out there, and I know that I will continue to discover new ones, but these are three that I will definitely continue to buy from and support going forward.

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2017 was also the year I discovered the beauty and artistry of  @inkandwonder.designs  Ink and Wonder has become my go to for beautifully wooden bookmarks that are not only sustainable woodmarks, but 100% ethically sourced.  Ever since I was first introduced to their products by the YA subscription book box, Uppercase Box  @uppercasebox I have become a frequent visitor to their store as I try to get new designs every time I see they are having a special.

This was also the year when I finally decided to subscribe to my second book subscription box. 2016 I became an Uppercase subscriber and this year after trying a couple of boxes when the themes caught my eye, I took the leap and signed up for an Owlcrate  @owlcrate subscription. I have to say that I have been happy with my decision and luckily I have only received the same book in both subscription boxes once since signing up for Owlcrate, and that happened this December, which isn’t bad considering how often I had seen that had happened in the past before I was signed up for both boxes.

Thanksgiving and Books

IMG_1531 Out of all the major holidays, Thanksgiving is probably my least favorite one. It’s not that I don’t appreciate what the holiday stands for, getting together with family and reflecting on all that one is thankful for, I do. It’s just that aside from one Thanksgiving when I was about six or seven where we actually celebrated the holiday with grandparents, aunts, uncles and cousins; the only Thanksgiving that actually stands out in my mind as all the other ones hold no real memories for me. Thanksgiving in my household has always been with immediate family and the only thing that made this dinner different from other family dinners is that there was way more food and my parents would spend all morning cooking.

Which leads me to the fact that I’m also not a fan of Thanksgiving because I don’t particularly like left over turkey. I know, I know, horror of horrors, what is wrong with me? Hear me out though, I prefer the taste of the turkey when it’s fresh out of the oven and the juices are fresh. Over the subsequent days that follow Thanksgiving, in which I inevitably found myself eating turkey for dinner the day after Thanksgiving and over the course of the next few days in sandwiches, the taste fails to still be present for me and after having had leftovers for two or three days following Thanksgiving, I never want to see turkey in any form again.

Now, something that I do love about the Thanksgiving holiday, and it actually has more to do with the two days following it, are the amazing deals on books and getting to see some of my favorite authors. To be more specific I’m referring to Barnes and Noble’s signed editions that are available on Black Friday, which is then followed with Indie’s First Day on Small Business Saturday at my local independent bookstore, the Tattered Cover.

Despite not enjoying the Black Friday crowds and madness, a result of having worked retail for years and having to deal with the craziness firsthand, I love getting up Friday morning and arriving at my local Barnes and Noble when they open at 7am so that I can get signed editions of books that are on my to be read list. From the moment Barnes releases their list of which signed editions will be available, I put together my list of books to buy and estimate how much money it will all cost me. Then once Black Friday finally rolls around, I leap out of bed (one of the few times I actually get out of bed with excitement), throw on clothes and head down to Barnes with my list, cash and a reusable bag in hand. After spending a fruitful hour or so gathering together my books in my store basket, I make my way to the cash register, pay for my massive book haul and proceed home to enjoy the fruits of my labor.

After a wonderful book shopping trip on Friday, I then proceed to my local Independent Bookstore, Tattered Cover on Indies First to see some of my favorite authors, get books signed and support Small Business Saturday. Last year, I got to meet one of my childhood favorite authors, T.A. Barron and get my copies of the Adventures of Kate series (Heartlight, The Ancient One, and The Merlin Effect) signed by him. This year, I will be attending a book launch party for Jessica Brody’s new book, The Chaos of Standing Still. I’m especially excited for this event because not only will I be supporting a Colorado small business, but I also get to spend the afternoon with Jessica who is such an amazing person and so friendly (she’s also a wonderful passenger, as I had her on a flight last month and look forward to having her on one of my flights again), but her new book takes place in the airport where I am based, Denver International.

In the end, the Friday and Saturday after Thanksgiving, should be another wonderful weekend of books and authors and the best way for a bookworm to spend the holiday weekend.




And I would’ve gotten away with it too, if it weren’t for you… “Meddling Kids” Book Review


Author: Edgar Cantero

Publisher: Doubleday Books

Genre: Horror, Mystery

Rating: ✈️ ✈️ ✈️ ✈️ out of ✈️ ✈️ ✈️✈️ ✈️


It’s the summer of 1977 and the small mining town of Blyton Hills, located in the Zoinx River Valley in Oregon, has it’s very own teen detective agency, the Blyton Summer Detective Club. Comprised of tomboy Andy, kid genius and budding biologist Kerri, horror nerd Nate, jock Peter and their faithful Weimaraner, Sean. During this fateful summer, the Blyton Summer Detective Club finds themselves facing their most terrifying and dangerous mystery yet. One that leaves a permanent scar on all of the members and leads to the disbanding of the group.

Fast forward to 1990 and the kids are grown and still suffering from the fall out of their final case. Thus, Andy decides that it’s up to her to get the gang back together to solve the case once and for all. After convincing Kerri, and her Weimaraner Tim (a descendant of Sean the groups original dog) to help her, the three break Nate out of the asylum he currently resides at in Arkhum, Massachusetts. Unbeknownst to Kerri and Andy, Peter is coming along for the journey, despite the fact that he’s long dead and can only be seen by Nate. With the group back together, they make the journey back to where it all began and find that the evil they unwittingly unleashed all those years ago has been waiting for their return in hopes of being made free once and for all.


This was one of those books that I decided I just had to read it based solely on the title as it brought up memories of watching Scooby Doo, Where Are You? as a child and the infamous line said by every villain in the series who had their plot foiled by the group, “And I would’ve gotten way with it too, if it weren’t for you meddling kids.” I did make a point to read the description of this newfound book that was invoking childhood nostalgia, and after reading the description I knew that this was the book for me. I immediately put in a hold request with my local library, despite the fact that the book had yet to release, and was beyond excited when my request came in and I was the first to read the copy that waited for me.

I’m happy to say that for me Meddling Kids did not disappoint. I loved all of the references to such childhood favorites: as Scooby Doo with the name of the valley in which the town sits being the Zoinx River Valley after Shaggy’s favorite exclamation; and local newspaper reporter Nancy Hardy, a reference to the Nancy Drew and Hardy Boys books of my youth. Reading this book made me feel like I was looking into an alternate Scooby Doo story where the teen detectives not only grew up, but ceased to solve mysteries after suffering a huge trauma that continued to follow them into adulthood. A trauma that resulted in alcoholism, crime, insanity and suicide. This is the story of what would’ve happened if the Scooby Gang had failed and needed to make one final attempt in order to heal once and for all.

I loved the characters in this book and seeing how their shared trauma affected each of them in turn. They each work to show the reader that although various people may experience the same event, what they take away from it and how they react and learn to cope with that event is different for every individual. The one character I loved the most, would most definitely have to be the dog, Tim. Tim, being a lovable dog obsessed with his penguin squeak toy reminded me of my own dog Ripley who also loves his squeaky penguin. Tim was the perfect comedic relief to what would’ve been a truly dark and unsettling story. He helped to lighten the mood while doing his duty of protecting his humans, especially Kerri.

Although there are those who won’t enjoy this book, either because they don’t like the style or find that it isn’t exactly what they were hoping for, I loved this satirical look at the teen detective genre and the childhood nostalgia it invoked for me. Now that I’ve read and enjoyed this book so much, I look forward to reading his first English language novel, The Supernatural Enhancements.


“The Flight Attendant” Book Review


Author: Chris Bohjalian

Publisher: Doubleday

Publication Date: March 13, 2018

Genre: Mystery, Thriller

Rating: ✈️ ✈️ ✈️ ✈️.75 out of ✈️ ✈️ ✈️ ✈️ ✈️

Description from the book jacket:

Cassandra Bowden is no stranger to hungover mornings. She’s a binge drinker, her job with the airline making it easy to find adventure, and the occasional blackouts seem to be inevitable. She lives with them, and the accompanying self-loathing. When she awakes in a Dubai hotel room, she tries to piece the previous night back together, already counting the minutes until she has to catch her crew shuttle to the airport. She quietly slides out of bed, careful not to aggravate her already pounding head, and looks at the man she spent the night with. She sees his dark hair. His utter stillness. And blood, a slick, still wet pool on the crisp white sheets.

Afraid to call the police–she’s a single woman alone in a hotel room far from home–Cassie begins to lie. She lies as she joins the other flight attendants and pilots in the van. She lies on the way to Paris as she works the first class cabin. She lies to the FBI agents in New York who meet her at the gate. Soon it’s too late to come clean-or face the truth about what really happened back in Dubai. Could she have killed him? If not, who did?

Set amid the captivating world of those whose lives unfold at forty thousand feet, The Flight Attendant unveils a spellbinding story of memory, of the giddy pleasures of alcohol and the devastating consequences of addiction, and of murder far from home.


Earlier this year Chris Bohjalian came to Denver’s Tattered Cover Bookstore to read from and discuss his, at the time, latest novel, The Sleepwalker. During that discussion, the question that all authors are inevitably asked, “what are you currently working on?” came up. In answer to this, Chris shared that he was working on a book about a flight attendant who wakes up next to a dead body in a hotel room in Dubai. I couldn’t help but squeal when I hear this, turns out my squeal was quite loud as it caught Chris’s attention and I went on to share that I was excited because I am a flight attendant. This exchange resulted in not only email correspondence, but also a mutual following of one another on various social media platforms.

It was thus with much anticipatory breath that I waited for Chris to finish his book and for the galley’s to be produced, for I kept my fingers crossed I would get to read a galley of the book. Needless to say, my wish came true and I received my very own galley of the book. Thank you to both Chris and Doubleday for providing me with this wonderfully suspenseful book about a character with my same job.

Now for my thoughts on this book, both from a reader and a flight attendant’s perspective. As a reader, I found the book to be engaging right from the start as the reader is introduced to the main character, Cassie, and the body of the man she spent the night with lying next to her in bed. From those opening pages, I found that at no point did the story lag or lose my interest. I wanted nothing more than to keep reading, to see what would happen to Cassie and if her need for alcohol would be her inevitable downfall.

As much as I wanted to see what would happen to Cassie next, what she would say and do, I also feared what actions and decisions she would make. Cassie is perhaps one of the most complex characters I’ve read this year. At her heart she is a good person, but her drunkenness leads to such horrible decisions that I couldn’t help but want to reach into the pages and try to shake some sense into her as I feared both for her life and her career. Not wanting to give anything away, I will say that the climax of the book is like that final steep climb to the top of the tallest roller coaster and upon reaching its crest, you’ll find yourself wanting to throw your hands in the air and scream with the excitement of it all as it makes its final drop.

You’re probably asking yourself, if I loved the book so much, why the 4.75 airplane rating instead of a full 5 airplane rating? Well, this is where the flight attendant part of me responds to the book. Chris did a wonderful job in crafting and delivering this story, but there were some things about airlines and being a flight attendant that he got wrong. Although these few areas are ones that I know readers with no personal relationship to the airline industry (either work for an airline themselves or have a close relative who works for the industry) will pick up on these discrepancies, I unfortunately picked up on them immediately.

Despite this quarter point deduction, I still recommend this book and will even say that it’s my favorite of Chris’s books to date. This book is one that fans of Chris Bohjalian will not want to miss. It’s also great for readers who enjoy a good mystery packed with nonstop suspicion and thrills. For those who are going on vacation, whether it be to a beach or not, this is a great book to join you on your travels.