Leia: Princess of Alderaan (It’s Gonna Get Nerdy Here)

Leia_-_Princess_of_Alderaan_-_new_cover

 

If you know me, or have happen to have accidentally read my review of Bloodline by Claudia Gray, you probably know that I’m a huge fan of Leia Organa. She knows what’s what, she kicks butt, and slays Hutts. Also, for like the last two months I’ve been telling Brock that there needs to be a Star Wars book about Bail Organa, his back story, how he got involved in all this etc. And while Leia: Princess of Alderaan didn’t exactly do that for me, it’s a step closer! I love Bail Organa, he always seems like such a cool, respectable guy, and he just up and adopts his friend’s baby immediately after her death, I mean COME ON! So anyhow, all that to say, I appreciated seeing a little more Bail in my SW book.

To date, I’ve been super impressed by Claudia Gray’s Star Wars books. Lost Stars is still one of the best SW new canon books I have read, and I adored Bloodline as well because, well, it’s all about Leia. So, naturally, I was super excited to read Leia: Princess of Alderaan, and in fact bought it during Force Friday II at target when they opened at midnight haha.

Princess of Alderaan opens on sixteen year old Leia’s Day of Demand ceremony, where she is beings the process of being the heir to crown of Alderaan (spoiler alert, she’s a princess) and takes us through the events of her essentially earning the title of princess, a feat that I think is pretty cool on it’s own. Leia has to prove she’s good enough to be the princess, that she is good enough to serve as Alderaan’s queen.

There are plenty of fun moments of references to events and characters the Star Wars fans will go “oooh shoot” at, or if you’re like me, will get super excited when Leia first encounters R2-D2 (even though he isn’t named, it’s a sassy too-smart-for-his-own-good  blue astromech, so, yeah, it’s definitely the R2 I know and love).

Also, that moment when I figured out that one of the characters in this book, is going to be one of the new character in The Last Jedi (it took me until the last chapter for it to dawn on me) that moment was golden and effectively got me stoked to see The Last Jedi. Which is the point of these “Journey to” Star Wars books that come out before the new movies.

The biggest (and really, only) disappointment for me with this book is that Leia isn’t nearly as sassy and tough as I would have imagined she would be considering the events in this book occur merely 2 or so years prior to A New Hope. That isn’t to say that Leia isn’t smart, witty, and determined to do the right thing however. This novel is primarily about Leia wanting to do what she can for the worlds that have been screwed over by the Empire, leaving their inhabitants impoverished and struggling to survive, while also learning what it is to be an apprentice senator to the Senate. We see the more altruistic goodness of Leia’s heart, but also her quick witted ability to find some loopholes, beating the Empire at its own game.

Claudia Gray’s sixteen year old Leia just seemed a little juvenile and naive at times, but i suppose for a sixteen year old princess, that’s fair enough. And considering this happened in A New Hope: toshi station

I suppose we can allow Leia to seem a little juvenile at 16 😉

 

All in all, I was bound to love it either way, because I love the character Leia Organa, and even more so love the true rebel that played her, Carrie Fisher.

Sorry, not sorry.

Advertisements

The Quarter-Life Breakthrough.. Or Lack Thereof

QuarterLifeBreakthrough_cvr_auth.Jan_25_2016_bvhah3

Disclaimer: this is a poorly written, poorly edited rant about life. You’ve been warned.

I’ve really been struggling to get through this book. I’ve given up on it at least 5 times before even getting halfway through… And yet, I keep coming back thinking maybe I’m just resisting something and perhaps there I can at least get something from this book. So far, I’ve mainly gotten frustration.

Here’s what I got:
Figure out what your gifts/talents are, how you want to use said gifts, and basically just do it. Essentially the same yada yada you get from most motivational/career change books. Even though time and again he says he doesn’t want to sound like all those “follow you passion!” life coaches. Well, sorry, but that’s all I’ve been getting out of this.
It all keeps coming back to the same general gist of, find a way you can use your gifts in a way you find satisfactory and do that thing.. so long as it supplies an income that you can live off of. This is the point where I stopped listening. No shit, Sherlock. All other points start to become moot to me when the message essentially becomes “follow your passion, so long as there is money in it.” That’s useless, I’m sorry, but it is. And it implies there are just plenty of jobs out there for the taking. Maybe in D.C. and San Fran, where this author was/is based, but in NE Ohio, where we have big corporate chains galore, little local business, crap jobs that barely pay above minimum wage, manual labor in an unstable steel industry, or the other extreme of straight up professional whathaveyou (doctor, lawyer, etc).

My husband and I have both been looking for better job prospects for two solid years. Neither of us currently using our bachelors degree, and neither of us are currently in a position that promises any job growth. The obvious response has been “go back to school,” but that’s really not so easily done considering we have to work to live, school costs an arm, leg, plus your unborn child, and we already have a large sum of money in student loans. Then with the added bonus of no guarantee of a job upon receiving a Masters degree in God only knows what. For me, it was the possibility of going back to school to be a librarian… but it just doesn’t feel worth the cost of a title in a state/nation that doesn’t feel funding public libraries is their responsibility. Cuz you know, who needs a safe, free place to get books, use a public computer, study, take classes, explore new interests etc etc?

I digress. My point is, it’s fine and dandy to spend time considering your gifts/talents and how you want to use them (if you’re the kind of person that has the kind of confidence to say I’m good at this that and the other, of which I am not) but actually applying that to your life and making changes based on those things feels damn near impossible to me right now. Yes, I get that everything requires work and fighting for what you want. but what about when you have no fucking clue what it is you even want? Or when you apply and interview for about 7 different jobs, some of which truly excite you, and each and every time you get turned down, presumably, or at least in part, for lack of experience. We can’t gain that experience when no one gives us a shot.  Perhaps I’m far too negative, and my own lack of self-esteem when it comes to my “gifts,” my own inability to sell myself is my own down fall. But for fuck’s sake it gets depressing after awhile.

So, in lieu of making a list of my gifts, how I want to apply them, in what community, and what lifestyle I’d like to live, I’ve been thinking more in terms of what I would like out of life vs. what I’ve currently got.

What I’d like:

  • A job where I give a rat’s ass, especially one where I get paid a halfway respectable wage.
  • A place Hubs and I can actually afford to live in, and still be able to save a few dollars.
  • The option to at least talk about starting a family in the near-ish future. Just even feeling comfortable enough financially to consider having that conversation.
  • Time to be all homely/housewife-y. I know, how 50’s TV family of me.
  • Time, money and energy to invest in my own well being, ie. eat right, work out, etc.
  • Security. Enough so to make any given sort of leap towards progress.

What I’ve got:

  • A husband I love.
  • A husband who takes a lot of shit at work where he isn’t paid nearly enough for taking said shit.
  • A part-time job that I mostly enjoy, but pays negligibly more than Ohio’s minimum wage. (It used to be two part-time jobs, but people are assholes and the stress of dealing with them was making life a million times worse. AKA, an extra $70 a week was absolutely not worth being yelled at in a movie theater box office.)
  • A borrowed space in my brother’s house that we sometimes remember to pay “rent” for.
  • No time or money to go back to school to maybe get a better job.
  • No real marketable skills, IMO
  • Only a few months of health insurance left before I’m too old for my dad to keep paying for it. AKA a few months until I need to find another option that is even remotely affordable.

Okay, so now this post has just become a negative downward spiral, but this is where I’m at right now y’all. And I mean no offense to Mr. Poswolsky, it’s nothing against his book, I’m sure there are plenty of people that found his writing insightful and/or helpful. I can agree with, nod my head along to, and appreciate plenty of the things he says, but it all feels a bit shallow, privileged and entitled.. Maybe things are different when you live in a big city, share a house with half a dozen people and don’t have a significant other to factor into your “leaping to new lily pads.”
The intro was the most “inspiring” part at first, and in retrospect I realized why: he’s stroking the ego of millennials, claiming we’re different from previous generations  because we desire for our work to have purpose. On first pass, I felt like “Oh, I can totally get this! I would so much rather work for a cause I believe in than make more money doing something I despise.” But on second thought, I really don’t think that is a generation thing, I think that is a personality/personal values type issue that has existed for generations. My generation just has a plethora of more options (in some senses) than previous generations. And while I agree the my generation does tend to get dissed a lot, I still don’t think we’re all that different from the others. (Plus, it’s the older generation’s fault we are this way, they made us what we are *insert childish, sassy raspberry blowing here*)

All in all, I think I’m officially adding this book to my DNF list. Just while working on this rant I picked up two more times and just couldn’t do it. I don’t know what I expected to gain from this book, and maybe that was my own fault from the start. But now I’ve used it as an excuse to whine on the internet about my current frustrations with life. So whatever. Sorry, I’m not really sorry.

giphy

Remember boys and girls:

tumblr_ml060vvxKN1qko9h3o2_250
I really miss Craig Ferguson doing lat night. 

The Hate U Give

410eExjPXCL._SX327_BO1,204,203,200_

 

This book. Damn. I can’t even.
This book is powerful.
It’s been quite awhile since I’ve felt the need to stop reading a book, just to hunt down sticky notes to write comments about specific passages of a novel.

I’m always a little nervous about books that get a lot of hype preceding and immediately at their release, we’ve all been burned by that before. However, considering how relevant this book’s contents our to modern American life, the hype was well deserved. This book deals with a lot a big topics like social class, race, identity, teen life, interracial relationships, but most notably: police brutality.

Starr lives in Garden Heights, a poor black neighborhood, “the ghetto,” run in part by rival gangs. Starr has lived in Garden Heights most of her life, but her parents send her to a private school in the rich, suburban, white neighborhood (li’l more on why this is an important addition later). Our story starts at a Garden Heights party, where Starr runs into a childhood best friend, Khalil. Trouble breaks out at the party so Starr and Khalil leave together, not knowing the night will only get worse from there. A “routine stop” for a broken tail light ends with Khalil being shot and killed. 

That Hate U Give is the aftermath of Khalil’s death.

Angie Thomas tackles police brutality in a way like never before. And while this story largely revolves around the shooting of an unarmed black teen, so many other sociological issues come into play as well. Angie Thomas hits on all of these big social issues without being preachy or self-righteous; it is raw, realistic, and powerful.

I think it was brilliant on Angie Thomas’ part to have Starr attend a school where the majority of the student body is white, rich, and privileged so as to show the two very different worlds that exist right next door to each other. Throughout the book, Starr struggles between which Starr she is in which circumstance, she keeps her school life and home life separate, until eventually they collide.
With one friend, Hailey, we get the perspective of white privilege, the “All Lives Matter” voice if you will. Hailey is everyone’s “racist-but-doesn’t-think-they’re-racist” family member who can’t see past their own ignorance. You frequently want to smack her, but her character is vital to this story. I feel like every white person who doesn’t seem to think police involved shootings are a big deal NEEDS to read this and realize we need to stop trying to rationalize the real-life deaths of people similar to Khalil by labeling people as “just a drug dealer.”

“And at the end of the day, you don’t kill someone for opening a car door.”

One of my favorite parts of this books is a conversation between Starr and her dad, Maverick. It’s a meaningful conversation between father and daughter about why good kids, like Khalil, turn to dealing drugs to survive. Their conversation takes place after Khalil’s death and centers around the Tupac quote that led to the title of this book. “The Hate U Give Little Infants Fucks Everybody” – t.h.u.g.l.i.f.e.

A chopped up version of the most profound part of this conversation that I love:

Lack of opportunities. Corporate America don’t bring jobs to our communities, and they damn sure ain’t quick to hire us. Then, shit, even if you do have a high school diploma, so many schools in our neighborhoods don’t prepare us well enough. Our schools don’t get the resources to equip you. It’s easier to find some crack than it is to find a good school around here.
Now think ’bout this. How did the drugs even get in our neighborhood? This is a multibillion-dollar industry we talkin’ about, baby. That shit is flown into our communities but I don’t know anybody with a private jet.
Drugs come from somewhere, and they’re destroying our community.
You got folks like Brenda, who think they need them to survive, and then you got the Khalils, who think they need to sell them to survive. The Brendas can’t get jobs unless they’re clean, and they can’t pay for rehab unless they get jobs. When the Khalils get arrested for selling drugs, they either spend most of their life in prison, another billion-dollar industry, or they have a hard time getting a real job and probably start selling drugs again.
That’s the hate they’re giving us, baby, a system designed against us. That’s Thug life.”

This book is important. I can’t even adequately explain this book or the things it made me feel. You’ll just have to read it, and know: the hype is worth it. It’s fiction but the circumstances, the emotions, the frustrations… are all too real.

 

Lincoln in the Bardo: an unusual (but fantastic) reading experience

29906980.jpg

 

I don’t think I’ve ever read a book quite like this one before. The idea alone immediately had my attention. Essentially, Lincoln in the Bardo is about the passing of Abraham Lincoln’s son, Willie Lincoln. It takes place in the cemetery where Willie was initially laid to rest, and most of the characters are the ghosts (so to speak) of the others buried in the cemetery. Many of these ghosts have been living in the cemetery, stuck between the real world and whatever afterlife awaits them, for many years. We see quite a fascinating bunch of characters, including a reverend, a racist lieutenant, former servants/slaves, a printer, and of course 11 year old Willie Lincoln.

Interspersed throughout the book, between the fictional conversations had among the cemetery ghosts, Saunders uses bits and piece from historical sources to tell the story of Willie Lincoln’s passing, first hand accounts of having attended the party that took place while Willie was ill, and the response following his death. To me, it just seemed like a brilliant way to tell a story, using so many different sources and voices (both real and fictional). These historical sources are also used to give some insight into the Civil War, happening at the same time. Saunders even gives Abraham Lincoln a voice in the book (fictionalized of course) where we get to read some of his inner dialogue and struggle to not only accept his son’s death, but also warring with himself about the destruction of the nation. While the bits of Lincoln’s thoughts and inner-dialog are obviously just imaginative, it added a lot to the story and was the most heartbreaking part of this book for me.

Lincoln in the Bardo was just so different. The formatting, constantly going back and forth between historical sources or the fictional ghost voices, was a little hard for me to get used to (I found it annoying at first) but I eventually got into the groove, and I’m glad that I did because this book is worth it. If only for the craziness of it.

One of the other things I really enjoyed about this book, was just how Saunders deals with talking about death and the afterlife. Saunders does take on more of a Christian view of the afterlife, at least for the one character who has had a glimpse at life after leaving the grave, but what I found most interesting was the internal struggle these ghosts/souls are having as they basically hang in the balance (or the bardo perhaps) between life and whatever comes after. Many do not seem to know that they have died, and they are waiting for so and so to come and find them, or to exact their revenge on someone. Those that seem to realize, or at least have guessed at their fate, then are stuck with choosing between moving on, or remaining trapped in the cemetery trying to hang on to any semblance of their past life.

So, if you’re looking for something new/different/imaginative/inventive, I would really recommend this book. I was intrigued, yet skeptical at first, but now having finished the book, I’m finding I really quite enjoyed it and greatly appreciate how creative it was.

Hot Pterodactyl Boyfriend: It’s Basically Exactly What You Would Expect..

25728101

I don’t even know where to start on this one. A co-worker happened upon this book at work and told me I need to look it up. So we immediately pulled it up an Goodreads, because with a title like Hot Pterodactyl Boyfriend, you just have to know.We laughed at what sounded like a hilariously bad plot, and the “This is the dumbest book I’ve ever read” reviews. I started to think, “Okay, but this is satirical right? Are they just not getting that it’s satire?” Having just now finished it, I’m still unclear on whether this was actually meant to be satirical or not..
This book is…. something. You could pretty much just read the title and plot, have a laugh, and call it a day.

A pterodactyl randomly appears and starts attending high school. Everyone goes fucking nuts, girls fall in love with him, and somehow everyone knows so much about his feelings and thoughts even though he barely speaks.. It’s just such an absurd plot, and Shiels, the main character, is a total dumbass. Sorry not sorry. I thought/kept hoping that at some point the absurdity of it all would become funny, or at least start to be logical. It never did. Yet I felt compelled to finished this book just because I had to know how one earth this would go. Lessons learned: kids are stupid, don’t have sex with a pterodactyl. The end.

 

The Circle – “Knowing is good, knowing everything is better”

the_circle_dave_eggers_novel_-_cover_art

So, confession, I didn’t really know anything about this book until I saw on a list of books that are being made into movies this year. So naturally, Hubs and I both wanted to read The Circle before its upcoming movie in April. It sounded like an interesting idea, with some interesting similarities to real life big companies. If I’m being completely honest, I probably mostly picked up this book because Emma Watson is going to play the lead in the movie. Sorry.. (not that sorry).

This was a good, intriguing, and thought-provoking book, but it seriously gave me the creeps (and a freaky dream the night I finished it as well). This is in no ways some horror/slasher book, just to be clear, but I get weirded out and paranoid about the psychological stuff that was presented by The Circle. Essentially, The Circle is a huge company that runs/tracks a lot of major areas of its users lives. Think if Google, Apple, and every social media platform melded together. They would conquer the world right? That’s basically what is happening here. The Circle is bent on connecting everyone, every second of every day. Full transparency. Your location, your purchases, what you had for lunch, who you were with, what you like, when you went to sleep, all tracked by The Circle. Creepy, no?

WARNING: My ramblings from here on could technically be construed as spoilers. And I use a bad word.

Like I said book gave me the willies, and I just kept hoping for that moment when more people thought, “hmm maybe trying to know everything about everyone and having absolute transparency is fucking ridiculous and unsafe.” That moment never really came.

All in all, I wish more had happened. Frankly, I kept waiting for more people to resist The Circle and their moves to basically take over everything and become a totalitarian empire, but we hardly get to see any of that. We see our main character, Mae, vaguely start to question what she’s doing, and then become a blind follower once again. I was also disappointed that Eggers never went very far with the “tear” within Mae that would come up in times when she seemed to be on the verge of going off the deep end… I really thought that was actually going to go somewhere and lead to an actual plot twist.

All in all, thought (and paranoia) provoking read. It was all very intrigued, but I wish there had been more to the story. I assume that Eggers’ message was that we need to be careful about being fully transparent, giving up our privacy without suspicion of the powers that be, etc. But I guess I was just waiting for an uprising or rebellion of sorts and it was no where to be found.

The Subtle Art of Not Giving a Fuck: A Book Review

51c34qgum0l

 

First things first, the title of the book is amazing, and it was the only reason I bothered picking up this book when I came across it at work. Most who know me, know I’m quite curse-y, and rarely have any fucks to give, so naturally, I was quite drawn to this book.

The first few chapters of this book were fantastic, I constantly found myself think “ohh fuck yes” and “amen to that.” In case the title was not indication enough, this book isn’t really for those easily offended by the F word. Or other fun swear words for that matter.

200-1

Now, while I was totally sucked in by the beginning the book, I was constantly afraid it would sort of peter out, and it kinda did.. for me at least. However, while I lost the excitement of the beginning chapters of the book, Manson still made good points and shared interesting anecdotes throughout the remainder of the book.

A handful of the ideas shared by Manson are seemingly counter-intuitive, ie. we need to fail and experience pain. We spend so much time trying to avoid stressful, painful, embarrassing situations, but what do we learn by avoidance? Not very much. In order to grow, change, succeed, and become a decent human being (instead of an entitled little shit) we need to challenge ourselves and own our choices.

This book serves as a nice reminder that life is what you make it. How we interpret our experiences, and how we choose to deal with those experiences makes all the difference in how we move forward in life. Manson talks a bit about taking responsibility for the things that happen to us and the way we feel. While certain things that happen may not be our fault, it is our responsibility to choose what to do with or how to feel about those events.

Not giving a fuck isn’t about being indifferent, entitled, or belittling others, it’s about choosing what matters to us. It’s about our personal values and how we take responsibility for what happens in our own lives. Manson talks about what he calls the “Feedback Loop from Hell,” which is we make ourselves feel bad for feeling whatever it is we feel, and that emotion just spirals out of control. For instance, the Feedback Loop from Hell comes into play when you feel anxious about something, and then in turn feel bad/more anxious about being anxious, as opposed to asking yourself why you feel anxious and just owning it.

 

“Not giving a fuck does not mean being indifferent; it means being comfortable with being different.”

 

To not give a fuck, is to take ownership of how you feel and respond to your situation. Don’t be overtaken by the things that stress you and bring you down, but rather accept it for what it is and say “what the fuck ever.”

200-2

 

Or to put it more politely:

200

 

The Snow Queen

9780399578502

Hans Christian Andersen’s  The Snow Queen, published in 1844, mostly follows the story of two children, Kay and Gerda, best friends and next door neighbors. The children are very close and seemingly do everything together. Meanwhile, an evil hobgoblin (the devil himself) has created a mirror that shows all good and beautiful things as ugly, while all evil/ugly things become uglier. Said mirror then breaks and sends shards of evil down to the earth where they  take up residence in the hearts/eyes of the people. Kay happens to be one of those people who has a shard wedged in both his eye and heart. So not only does he see everything as ugly, but his heart has also now frozen over. He becomes distant from his best friend Gerda, wanders off and stumbles upon the Snow Queen. If you haven’t read The Snow Queen before, picture C.S. Lewis’ White Witch, very similar imagery here, I would be willing to guess Lewis was inspired by Andersen’s Queen.

Anyhow, the Snow Queen sort of seduces Kay to come along with her and then kisses him so he is numbed and forgets his past, his friend Gerda and his family. Gerda is naturally devastated by the disappearance of Kay and becomes determined to find him. The remainder of the tale is of Gerda’s journey through the land to find her friend. She crosses paths with many strange and scary people, until she eventually finds her Kay, she breaks whatever spell type thing Kay is under, and they make their way back home.

This is the second of new editions of Han Christian Andersen books, illustrated by artist Sanna Annukka that I’ve read recently. Previously, I read and reviews The Fir Tree. The style of her artwork is obviously very similar for both, and I find it quite pleasant. Though, to be honest, I was a little more taken with The Fir Tree. I still really like this edition of The Snow Queen, mainly because of Annukka’s illustrations and style.

 

 

I received a copy of The Fir Tree from Blogging For Books in exchange for my honest review.

blogging_for_books_lockup_1a

The Fir Tree

9780399578489

The Fir Tree is a classic Han Christian Andersen tale originally published in 1845. The tale tells the story of a fir tree who yearns to grow big, strong, and tall like the other trees in the forest. He yearns to be used like the others he has seen felled, whom he has heard are sailing across the ocean as ship masts, or being adorned in people’s living rooms. The little fir tree is so focused on growing big and being chosen that he forgets to enjoy the process of growing up. Finally, one day the fir tree is cut from his roots and chosen as someone’s Christmas tree. The tree thinks this is just grand, finally his adventure will begin. He finds himself put on display in a parlor and decorated with candies and candles, surrounded by excited small children picking the candy from his branches. This is so thrilling, thinks the lovely fir tree! But alas, the very next day he finds himself moved to the attic, where he lives until the next spring, the whole time believing he will be brought back out for the excitement, or replanting when the ground has thawed. It finally occurs to the fir tree that he had a pleasant life as he was growing in the forest, but he was so focused on growing big and tall to be chosen, that he hadn’t realized how lovely his life had been.

Prior to reading this new illustrated edition of The Fir Tree I was unfamiliar with the story. As a child I seemed to have missed the fairy tale obsession phase, I was never particularly interested when I was younger. However, I think stories like this mean a little more to me now anyhow. The Fir Tree reminds us we need to live in the moment and enjoy the lives we have instead of just waiting for the next thing. We shouldn’t live our lives like the fir tree, thinking: “Tomorrow I won’t tremble… I will fully enjoy all my glory.”

The illustrations in the edition are absolutely charming. I love all the simple and neat geometric shapes coming together to create these lovely illustrations, the color schemes as well are very visually appealing, using lovely earthy tones in the forest and a classic Christmas color scheme during the Christmas celebrations. A slightly disturbing read if just read literally; a tree wants to grow up to be loved, is cut down and used for a day and then sits in an attic all winter. But also a nice quick reminder to love the life you live, stop waiting for this, that and the other.

 

 

 

I received a copy of The Fir Tree from Blogging For Books in exchange for my honest review.

blogging_for_books_lockup_1a

All the Little Liars

51dme95hdal

I was never a fan of cozy mysteries.. That is until I read the Aurora Teagarden series this past winter/spring. Confession, I learned of this series from watching bits of the made-for-TV adaptations of the series on the Hallmark Mysteries channel with my mom. They aren’t horrible, but I must admit the Hallmark version is certainly cozier. Anyhow, that was my introduction to this series, and then I found myself devouring each book earlier this year when I was sick for like three months straight and spent all my down time in bed. There is certainly a bit of a cheese factor to some of these books, but I enjoyed them all nonetheless.

Sooo, when it was announced that after like 13 years Charlaine Harris was going to write another Aurora book, I was stoked. This is was of one of the books I’ve been most excited for this year. I was considered where the series would pick up as Harris hadn’t written Aurora is over a decade, but I gotta admit, I can’t say I was disappointed.

All the Little Liars picks up right where Poppy Done to Death (book #8) left off. I have to say, that had been a concern of mine for this book. I’m glad she picked up right where it left off instead of jumping ahead 13 years, although it sorta did technology wise with use of Facebook and such.

A newly married and pregnant Aurora is back and, as always, surrounded by trouble and a new mystery. Four kids have gone missing, another has been found dead. One of the four kids is Aurora’s very own half-brother Phillip, who appears a handful of times throughout the series. There is always something chaotic going on in Aurora’s life, and this book is no different. This part-time librarian/part-time amateur detective seems to always have trouble knocking on her doorstep, both figuratively and literally.

One of the things I think I appreciated most about this book is that even more than a decade later, the writing style is very much the same and I appreciate that continuity. For me, it flows quite nicely with the rest of the series. I’d like to point out that while this is the ninth book in this series, it isn’t absolutely necessary to read all of these books in order. It certainly helps (especially if you’re like me and are anal about having missed something) but it’s also a series that lends itself to newcomers and allows you to pick up where ever you want.

All-in-all, I enjoyed this read because I have enjoyed this series and it’s characters. I’m curious to see if there will be any more to come for Aurora Teagarden. The series could probably easily end here, but I’d also like to see a mommy Aurora in the future. If you like cozy mysteries obviously this might be for you, but also if you’re just looking for something fairly light read (though not necessarily light in content, I mean.. there are murders in each book of the series) I’d suggest maybe giving Aurora a try.