Anne Z.'s blog

Review: Ducks: Two Years in the Oil Sands by Kate Beaton

Review by Marin Mills

Ducks: Two Years in the Oil Sands, by Kate Beaton, has remarkably little to do with actual ducks. Instead, Kate Beaton’s autobiography focuses on her experiences working in the Alberta Oil Sands. Her comic tells the story of why she got into the oil business and her experiences working in an isolated, male-dominated community, where workers’ health and safety are less of a priority than not getting sued. Beaton tackles the struggles she faced with uncomfortable honesty and surprising compassion, making this an unconventional biography well worth reading.

Review: Fantasy titles for everyone


Lately, I’ve read quite a few fantasy novels. Here’s a couple of my favorites. 

Review by Amy Stoothoff

I got lost in Olivie Blake’s Atlas Six and the sequel Atlas Paradox. It’s a dark and exciting story about six magicians recruited to a secret society. The Society is full of enigmas, betrayal, seduction, and power moves. The nuanced characters keep you on your toes. You grow to both love and hate them all.

For something a bit more cozy, I read Emily Wilde’s Encyclopedia of Faeries. It’s less dark but still engaging. This is an enchanting tale of a sourpuss professor doing field research in the far north and has a dash of everything: love, friendship, magic and of course faeries.

I just finished Adventures of Amina Al-Sirafi, which is a whole different type of fantasy.

Review: The Book Hater's Book Club by Gretchen Anthony

The Book Hater's Book Club at first appears to be about a struggling bookstore and its imminent sale. Elliot, the co-owner of Over the Rainbow Bookstore, started The Book Hater's Book Club, a newsletter of reading recommendations for the self-proclaimed non-readers of the world, because he believed there was a book out there for everyone. Something I wholeheartedly agree with! For years he and Irma have kept the store going and always had a recommendation in hand. When you finish this book, you will have yet another list of books to read. 
However, this book is about more than just books and a struggling bookstore. It is also about grief, the price of secrets, and a little more grief. 

Review: How to Sell a Haunted House by Grady Hendrix

Review by Lex Weber

After reading How to Sell a Haunted House, Grady Hendrix’s newest horror release, I’ve started to realize that maybe my brother was right to be afraid of my dolls growing up. Or, at least, I won’t want to look at a doll for another month until I’m convinced it doesn’t have a mind of its own with demented intentions.

In this wickedly addictive novel, Louise is a single mother living in San Francisco who has just heard of the passing of her traditionally southern South Carolinian parents. As she dreads flying across the country to reconcile with her younger brother, Mark, she is tasked with putting her childhood home up for sale. 

Review: The Night Travelers by Armando Lucas Correa

By Irene Pearcey

Armando Lucas Correa in his latest novel THE NIGHT TRAVELRS takes the reader on a journey through
some of the 20th centuries most turbulent times following the lives of four generations of women, Ally,
Lilith, Nadine and Luna. The journey begins in Berlin, 1931.

Review: I Was Born for This by Alice Oseman

Review by Marin Mills

In 1956, a pair of psychologists coined the term “Parasocial Relationship” to refer to the illusion of friendship between media personalities and their fans. Since the advent of social media and fan culture, the term has grown in popularity, but it’s rare to see an author explore what parasocial relationships actually look like, even when “meeting a celebrity” is a popular topic for Young Adult fiction.

Review: The Lindbergh Nanny by Mariah Fredericks

Review by Luanne Clark

The Lindbergh kidnapping case has fascinated the American public since its occurrence in 1932, and author Mariah Fredericks uses that fascination to bring us a truly entertaining and provocative take on the case. If you aren’t familiar with the Lindbergh case, be forewarned: this review contains a SPOILER! IF YOU AREN’T FAMILIAR WITH THE CASE, QUIT READING THIS REVIEW AND JUST GO GET THE BOOK. YOU’LL LEARN EVERYTHING YOU NEED TO KNOW ABOUT THE KIDNAPPING IN ITS PAGES. 

Review: Cults by Max Cutler and Kevin Conley

Reviewer: Lex Weber

      When thinking about buzz words, one that sticks out is “cults”. We use the word so often, whether or not we actually consider the meaning of the word. Describing books, movies, TV series’, bands, and their passionate followers so often are easily called “cult” followings. Sometimes the word is also used to describe a negative group following whose practices seem untrustworthy. But the reality of cults in their extreme existence is in fact very serious.

      The podcast Cults on Spotify created by Parcast covers some of the most controversial groups throughout history. Some recent episodes cover The Ant Hill Kids, Buddhafield and The Moonies, all of which including explanations about the personalities of people who led these groups and those who joined. From this podcast and its success, the book Cults: Inside the World’s Most Notorious Groups and Understanding the People Who Joined Them was written.

Review: Babel, Or the Necessity of Violence: An Arcane History of the Oxford Translator' Revolution, by R F Kuang

Babel, Or the Necessity of Violence: An Arcane History of the Oxford Translator' Revolution, or as we will call it for the remainder of this review- Babel, was nothing short of extraordinary.

Are you a lover of languages? There is no doubt in my mind that the author spent hours, days, months, if not years researching the many intricacies of languages and translation. I love the study of languages. I am fluent in two, and studied ancient Greek at university. So, needless to say, I was very impressed with this author's work and 'geeking out' with the author throughout the whole book. It was fascinating to say the least.

Review: Brave Hearted:The Women of the American West by Katie Hickman

Review by Luanne Clark

Books and books have been written about the American West of the nineteenth century. Most of these are oversimplified accounts of the dominance of man over nature (and other men). Well, move over all you trappers, cowboys, miners, prospectors and soldiers. Katie Hickman gives us a history of the Westward Expansion that tells of the lives of the “ordinary” women of the time.  Using diaries, journals, letters,  and memoirs as primary sources, and supplemented with factual exposition written with the flair of a novelist, Brave Hearted is both gritty and heartfelt. 

The determination and resilience of these women are portrayed against the backdrop of the desolate and unforgiving wilderness of the American West. And Hickman’s stories are all-inclusive. We are very familiar with stories of the Oregon Trail, but the author includes the histories of the Native American women of the era as they battled the ravages of cholera and the loss of their traditional way of life. Hickman also relates the stories of African American women, both slave and freed, as they become part of the new American frontier. Asian women, predominantly Chinese, are a big part of the new California, as are the Mexican women who were there before and after the Mexican American War.