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An avid reader since the age of three, Heather proudly displays an "ENGMJR" license plate and Sparky the Sun Devil sticker on her car as some proof she graduated from Arizona State University with her B.A. in Literature. When she isn't reading or scouring used bookstores for vintage etiquette books, Heather can often be found watching hockey or baseball, or jotting in one of her many notebooks. A self-proclaimed book addict who will read just about anything (though young adult, literary fiction and memoirs are her favorites), Heather usually carries no less than two books on her person, just in case. Come find her at Changing Hands Phoenix, and she will gladly chat with you about all things book related.
Matilda was one of my favorite movies growing up (and still is to this day, if we're being honest), so naturally, when I heard Mara Wilson was writing a book, I knew I had to read it. Where Am I Now doesn't disappoint and is far from your average Hollywood memoir. Tackling subjects from her time on various television and movie sets, to the death of her on-screen dad Robin Williams, to her diagnoses and life with OCD and depression, Wilson's writing is honest, sharp, and surprisingly relatable. I sincerely hope that we see more writing from Mara Wilson, and soon!
I'm admittedly not an avid reader of Stephen King. Prior to finishing this book, the only thing I'd read was one short story of his (Rita Hayworth and the Shawshank Redemption, anyone?). After reading The Gunslinger, however, I'm perhaps a little more sold on reading more of Mr. King's work, especially the rest of The Dark Tower series. I do have to put a bit of a disclaimer on this review: the first two-thirds of this book dragged on a bit for me at times, but once I got to the last third, however, I could not put this book down--and in hindsight, appreciated the world building and backstory that was set up in the prior part of the book. In the case of The Gunslinger, the end absolutely justifies the means.
When I first stumbled across The Last Message Received tumblr, I spent hours reading through them, unable to stop myself. I still continue read the blog almost daily, and have even made a submission or two of my own. To me, there's something innately fascinating about these last messages. This book compiles messages from the blog, including those from loved ones that suddenly passed on, to exes that left, to friendships that ended out of nowhere. While many are heart-wrenching in their own right, this book is also comforting in a way. At least one (if not more) of these beautifully illustrated messages is sure to resonate with you.
As an adult who has been reading Harry Potter since I was in grade school, I am admittedly always hungry for more of the Potterverse. When I heard the next story was to be in the form of a script, I was hesitant--would I still enjoy the story? Would there be enough substance to feel like I wasn't cheated out of an 8th novel? All my fears were quelled instantaneously once I started reading The Cursed Child. The characters, both old and new, are wonderfully written, and the story is just magical (pun absolutely intended) as the seven preceding novels. Tried as I might to savor The Cursed Child, I devoured it in an afternoon, and recommend it to all those who have ever enjoyed a Harry Potter book. It's a perfect conclusion to a beloved series.
When I read the first few lines of the back of this book, I was already sold. These comics are for the twenty-something introverts still trying to figure the world out. With situations ranging from spending habits to seeing that dreaded photo a friend tagged you in on social media, Andersen manages to capture the seemingly mundane happenings in life and make them hilarious. Perfect for fans of Allie Brosh's Hyperbole and a Half, Adulthood is a Myth is a must read!
Have you made your way through the saga that is The Walking Dead and are now looking for something else to satiate your graphic novel need? Or perhaps zombies aren't your thing, but you're still wanting a Robert Kirkman penned story? Look no further than Outcast. Through his main character, Kyle Barnes, Kirkman explores what its like to wrestle with your demons, both literally and figuratively. This graphic novel is sure to grab you right from the get-go with its compelling story line and simple, yet striking illustrations from Paul Azaceta. Just be sure to have your holy water handy while you read.
This is a case where I absolutely judged a book by its cover. I spotted it sitting on our front table and was immediately intrigued. Rest stops may not sound all that interesting, but believe me when I say that this book is fascinating. Inspired by a road trip of her own, Ryann Ford catalogues unique rest stops from California to Louisiana (there’s even a few photographs of rest stops here in Arizona) with a keen eye for detail. Perfect for travel and photography buffs alike, The Last Stop is just glorious.
Want to get your kiddo into the world of Hamilton without exposing them to the adult language of the Broadway cast recording? Look no further than Aaron and Alexander. This book gives a history of both the men’s lives and the incident that lead to the now famous duel, as well as the aftermath of said duel. Perfect for an elementary school history lesson or just for an entertaining and historical read, Aaron and Alexander is already one of my favorite books this year!
If you were to ask me, there are not many more satisfying sounds than the smack of a 90-plus mile per hour fastball against the leather of a catcher's glove. But at what price does that fastball come to a pitcher? In The Arm, Yahoo baseball writer Jeff Passan takes a comprehensive look at one of the most baffling epidemics in all of sports: the Tommy John surgery. Following two pitchers (one of whom is Diamondbacks player Daniel Hudson) in their return to the major leagues from the grueling surgery and subsequent rehabilitation period, The Arm serves as a wake-up call to all ages and ballplayers, young and old, amateur and professional. This is easily one of the best and well-researched sports books I've ever read, and I implore anyone that calls themselves a baseball fan to read it.
Warning: this book is likely to devastate you. Don't write it off so quickly, however. As heartbreaking as this book is, A Little Life is also a book that is not likely to leave your thoughts while you're reading it or after long after you've finished. Hanya Yanagihara has crafted her characters in a masterful--yet flawed--manner. Her prose alone will keep you hooked through all 800+ pages and you are sure to be kept on your toes as you progress through the lives of four friends who met in college. A Little Life explores what it is to be human, and although treacherous, is well worth the read.
I'll be honest with you, I'm a sucker for anything with a dog on the cover. When I opened this picture book, however, I was immediately blown away by the mixed media inside. Combining photographs, pencil drawings, and paintings, Stead illustrates a day in which he takes his dog Wednesday for a walk because he has no ideas to write about. Perfect for kindergarten through second grade, Ideas Are All Around is sure to capture your imagination!
From the very first lines of this book, I knew Harold the fox would be an instant favorite of mine. I mean, really, how could you not love a fox whose greatest love is Swiss cheese? With whimsical artwork and the most adorable detective fox that you'll ever meet, Outfoxed is a wonderfully engaging story that makes a perfect addition to any picture book library.
This is a book everyone who calls themselves an introvert should read. Seriously. Rhimes, a member of the introvert clan, gets you. Before her "year of yes," she avoided social events at all costs, got panic attacks at the prospect of doing public speaking, and if she did commit to any event, would often try to get out of it. If you've ever experienced any of these things, Year of Yes is sure to resound with you. It's a stretch to call this a self-help book, especially when it reads like a letter from your best friend. Give Year of Yes a try; you might be surprised at what it inspires you to do.
This book. This. Freaking. Book. As soon as I finished it, I took it to another coworker, shook it in her general vicinity and proclaimed to her just how good it was. Whaley is an exceptional storyteller, weaving together two different perspectives into one seamless plot. While this is the story of a boy with agoraphobia and panic disorder, Whaley does not use these character traits as crutches to further his plot--rather, this is a story about friendship and trust in the face of adversity. Read it, and you will absolutely not be disappointed.
Warning: this is a book that you are not going to be able to put down. Michael Punke's vivid descriptions of the 19th century wilderness are likely to make you shiver as you follow fur trapper Hugh Glass on his quest to exact revenge on those who robbed him and left him for dead following a bear attack. Based on real life occurrences, The Revenant is sure to please anyone who is looking for an good, old-fashioned adventure coupled with some wonderfully brilliant prose.
I took Descent for some entertainment on a plane ride, and almost couldn't get off the plane because I could not put this book down! A well crafted mystery that will keep you on the edge of your seat, Descent's pages flew almost as fast as my plane was. What fascinated me most--and kept me reading--was how Johnston artfully weaves multiple perspectives together within his story and delves into the ripple effect caused in a family when a loved one suddenly goes missing. Whether you read this during travel or curled up at home, Descent is a book that will not disappoint!
What a fascinating collection of poetry! Through her poems, Amber Tamblyn explores the lives of actresses whose lives were cut short by tragic occurrences. Featuring women such as Brittany Murphy, Marilyn Monroe, and Jean Harlow, the poems in Dark Sparkler will catch your attention and likely have you researching the names you may have forgotten or don't know at all. I spent hours reading about virtually every actress featured in this book long after I had finished it. If nothing else, Dark Sparkler is sure to pique your curiosity. Regardless of whether you are a fan of poetry or not, I highly, highly recommend this book!
I'll refrain from any Fight Club cliches and just tell you that you are going to love this audiobook--Expedition is a prequel to the famed novel. The packaging features artwork from Cameron Stewart (he worked on the Fight Club 2 comic books). Even better, the audio for this particular title is read by Chuck Palahniuk himself--if you've ever heard Palahniuk speak in any regard, then you know that the man knows how to tell a story (and even if you haven't heard his storytelling before, you're in for a treat)! Don't just take my word for it though--check out Expedition for yourself.
Before I picked up this book, I was REALLY struggling with the basics of crochet (I blame my knitter's mind). I had watched multiple videos and consulted several different books, but for the life of me, I just couldn't get the hang of it. This was the guide that helped break through the cloudiness of getting my crochet projects started. With helpful pictures and step by step guidelines, The Crochet Workshop is a perfect guide for beginners, or makes a handy reference book for experienced crocheters as well. Beginners and experts alike will also have fun with the included patterns--I can't wait to try the striped bolster pillow!
Travis Barker is someone I grew up with. Blink-182 was one of the bands that fueled my musical obsessions in high school and beyond. When I heard that the drummer from one of said musical obsessions had written a memoir, I was intrigued. Can I Say did not disappoint. Barker chronicles everything in his life from his humble childhood in California to his two marriages to that infamous plane crash. A fascinating look at a musician's life, Can I Say will keep you hooked until the end.
The hilarious and adorable Liz Climo is at it again! Her latest collection of heartwarming and whimsically drawn comics showcases best friends of all shapes, sizes, and species. All of them are sure to make you laugh just as much as her previous collection, The Little World of Liz Climo (which if you haven't checked out yet, I highly recommend!). Lobster is the Best Medicine is the perfect gift to give to your best friend to let them know just how much you love them.
Mosquitoland is a book I had been meaning to read for some time, and now that I have read it, I wished I had done so sooner! Once I had finished it, I immediately wanted to read it again. David Arnold has created one of my favorite female protagonists in existence--Mim is snarky and blunt, with an air of honesty and fearlessness about her that will make you wish she was your best friend. You won't regret joining Mim on her on her journey from Mississippi to Ohio!
When it comes to pictures of abandoned buildings: the creepier, the better, if you ask me. This book is by far one of the creepiest. From insane asylums to old malls (my favorite kind of abandoned building), Antiquity Echoes has some of the most haunting pictures I've seen in a long time. These photos make you feel like you could be standing right along side the photographers as they traverse along and through the landscape of abandoned America. Descriptions of the abandoned areas flank the photographs, giving a general history of the sites photographed and how they came to be abandoned, making this book exceptionally well rounded and worth more than just a casual flip through.
I first fell in love with the Harry Potter series when I was nine years old and have been in love ever since. Now, many years later, this new and beautiful illustrated edition has elicited the same kind of love I first felt when my dad read the original version to me. Jim Kay's illustrations highlight J.K. Rowling's text and bring it to life in a way that is sure to excite any Harry Potter fan, whether they're reading The Sorcerer's Stone for the first or the five-hundredth time.
I flew through The Great American Whatever in a single sitting, as it was one of those books that was so well executed, I didn't want to put it down. Tim Federle is an author that knows his characters well. I was immediately engaged and wanted to know more about them. On top of his wonderfully crafted characters, Federle's dialogue is as authentic and realistic as it gets. For fans of Perks of Being a Wallflower and Me and Earl and the Dying Girl, The Great American Whatever is sure to strike a chord with anyone who reads it.