Crosstalk by Connie Willis

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This book was a roller coaster ride of emotions.  Dealing with the very timely concept of what is communication and when can it get to be too much and too overwhelming.  I love near future science fiction such as this because you can completely see this situation becoming a reality.  Will we get to the point that in order to continue, we have to be in constant communication with each other, not trusting our own instincts on love and emotion, but needing actual data to back these feelings up?  Fun, page turning, and just the right amount of romance building to a very satisfying conclusion!

Author Signing with Jennifer Niven

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What a pleasure to meet Jennifer Niven last night at Blue Willow Books in Houston, TX.  If you haven’t read All the Bright Places or Holding Up the Universe, you need to pick them up immediately along with several boxes of tissues.  She is one of the best YA authors out there right now and is as nice as can be!

Spaceman of Bohemia by Jaroslav Kalfar

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I was not prepared for how incredibly emotional this book was going to be. Dealing with complex issues like family, the sins of the past, love and heartbreak, mental health and revolution, all within the backdrop of the first Czech astronaut going to space to explore a mysterious cloud of dust. Questions about the creation of the universe as well as how we ourselves are created runs deep through the narrative of this book. An excellent look at how our pasts can shape our futures so dramatically in both good and bad ways. Plus it has a giant alien spider. How can you resist?

Wrecked by Maria Padian-Hour 6 and one book complete!

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This book could not be more timely considering the conversation about sexual assault in this country.  Realistic insights into the rape culture that has permeated college campuses.  Highlights the dangers of drinking, what consent is and isn’t, as well as how the investigative process often victimizes the victim all over again.  We have to do better as a nation to stop this violence against women and reading books like this and educating our young men and women is definitely a place to start.

The Diary of a Has-Been by William Humble

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Arnold Appleforth gives “grumpy old man” a whole new meaning in his diary.  Arnold means well, but often falls a bit short without even realizing it.  In a world where he feels unappreciated and is desperately trying to stay relevant to not only his children, however many he has, but the world around him.  He has uncompromising opinions, his denial of his age, drinking, and life are hilarious and his ability to justify the way he is and why the world around him is no longer the way he thinks it should be is perfectly framed in his diary.  His complete cluelessness about his own attitude and behavior really made for a funny read.

The Wangs vs. The World by Jade Chang

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Charles Wang is the epitome of success.  A huge cosmetics empire with all the trappings that go along with it.  Then the great recession happens and it all goes down the drain.  Now on a cross country trip with his family to live with his eldest daughter in upstate New York, the Wangs discover that family is the most important thing of all.

In a year filled with books about “rich people problems,” Jade Chang manages to change it up with humor, love and wit.  A great look at the changing demographics and idea of what an immigrant family is in America. On a side note, I will never be able to look at ketchup the same way again. (I’m looking at you Andrew!)

One Night by Deanna Cabinian

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Thompson Lake, average guy and Hawaii resident, has just come off The Worst Valentine’s Day Ever ™. After breaking up with his first love, he drowns his sorrows in the Elvis Presley music she got him addicted to. He heads out to see an Elvis impersonator, hoping his ex will be there too. But when he hears the impersonator, also known as Johnny Lee Young, sing “Hurt”, he is profoundly changed. Johnny asks to Thompson to be his summer “intern” and the two grow to be close friends, and find they have more in common than they thought. Johnny still mourns the loss of the only woman he ever loved, and Thompson seeks to get them back together, even though she’s about to get married in Chicago. Thompson hatches a plan to get Johnny there to win his true love back.

This was a sweet YA novel and it was nice to see the heartache from a male perspective. The similarities between both Thompson and Johnny’s heartache, even with the age difference, was interesting. They supported each other and kept the other one with the plan. I especially loved the confidence and self discovery Thompson went through himself as he tried to help Johnny get his girl back. Thoroughly enjoyed this quirky cast of characters and the setting.