Archive for the ‘ Adult ’ Category

Book Review: Reap & Repent by Lisa Medley

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Reap & Repent Review at Quintessentially BookishRelease Date: March 3rd 2014
Publisher: Harlequin
Series: The Reapers (#1)

From the book jacket:

They see death. Can they share a life?

Ruth Scott can read the energy of every person she meets. Then she meets Deacon Walker. She can see his ice-blue eyes, his black hair, and his gorgeous face. But this beautiful stranger has no aura.

Deacon is just as unsettled by Ruth—and, having spent more than two hundred years ushering souls to Purgatory , Deacon is seldom shocked by anything. As he helps Ruth to understand her true nature, she awakens desires that he decided long ago a Reaper can’t afford.

A demon invasion forces Deacon to confront the darkness in his own past even as he fights to save the human souls he’s charged to protect. When he’s taken captive, his first concern is for Ruth. But Ruth just might be able to save herself—and the Reaper she can’t live without—if she can learn to wield her newfound powers.

Overall Thoughts:

This is definitely a fun (and sexy) read.   I found myself immediately sucked in to the story.  It’s entertaining without relying too heavily on paranormal romance tropes.  It works fairly well as a stand-alone book, but is strengthened by its placement in a series due t0o a few characters and situations that weren’t fully realized.   I’m certainly looking forward to reading the rest of the books in the series!


Deacon is smoldering, as a good romantic hero should be.  However, unlike so many paranormal romances , he isn’t overly broody and macho.  He has the dark past, but he doesn’t dwell on it or use it as an excuse to push Ruth away.  While he’s protective, he isn’t domineering.  Ruth is no wilting flower, herself.  She might be naive in many ways canada goose down vests on sale canada goose authentic hologram, but she’s capable and as much a hero as Deacon.  It’s refreshing to see this dynamic in a romance.


Medley is from the same area that I am and the way she wrote the town of Meridian is so very familiar.  It’s not often you see romances of any kind set in the Midwest.  I definitely enjoyed that.  Her world creation isn’t overly descriptive, I could have used a little more detail in certain sections, but it was sufficient to paint a clear picture of the location.

Writing Style:

Her writing simple and straightforward in construction.  She thankfully doesn’t fall back on euphemisms or overly flowery language.  The words are there to convey the action, rather than as a stylized choice.  It works well with the subject.   There are some issues with foreshadowing that could have been better handled, but in all its a smooth, enjoyable read.


The way reapers handle food is hilarious.  I’m definitely jealous!

Favorite Line:

“Most people said they didn’t believe in the supernatural, but if they believed in God, they should at least believe in the possibility of everything else.”

Read This If You Like:

The Southern Vampire Series by Charlaine Harris

Supernatural (TV Series)

The Undead Series by MaryJanice Davidson

Disclaimer: I received a copy of this book from the author in exchange for a review. I did not receive any compensation for this review. All opinions here are my own.

Find Lisa Medley online: // //

7 Books Every Man in His 20s Should Read…Maybe

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A few months ago I posted a list of books I thought every woman in her 20s should read.  Today, my wonder twin Robi is guess posting with his list of books every man in his 20s should read.  Thanks Robi!


7 Books Every Man in His 20s Should Read...Maybe at Quintessentially Bookish

A Prayer for Owen Meany by John Irving

This book meant a lot to me when I first read it in high school, and it meant more to me when I read it in my 20s.  It’s a book about friendship and fate that covers a wide range of time and emotions.  It’s a “coming of age” story that has an ever changing “age” that it encompasses.  It especially appeals to me as a story of two friends, one who knows exactly his fate and his place in the world , and one who is always trying to figure it out, and how each approach has its own merits and its own pitfalls.



7 Books Every Man in His 20s Should Read...Maybe at Quintessentially BookishBridge to Terabithia by Katherine Paterson

This is one of my all-time favorite books.  I can remember when I first read it as a kid.  And I can remember the joy of receiving a signed copy for a Christmas present this year (yeah, I’m stuntin’ on it).  The main character can easily be any of us when we were a kid, and just as easily be anyone as an adult.  It’s a story about being angry and lost at times, and still finding joy and happiness, and about being a kid while also being forced to grow up.  Further, it’s the story that I credit with helping me realize that boys and girls can be best friends.  My absolute best friend is a girl (the only one who could actually get me to write a blog post…), and is someone I can be imaginative and playful with canada goose down vest Canada Goose chateau parka replica price, and also someone who can understand when I need to vent or be moody.  From making friends to dealing with hardships, this book is one that taught me so much, and I will always come back to read again and again.


7 Books Every Man in His 20s Should Read...Maybe at Quintessentially BookishHarry Potter Series by J. K Rowling

This book series has everything.  It’s a book where the reader can grow with the characters, understand their motivations, their secrets, their abilities, and the reader learns life lessons along with the characters.  And I think, because of these things, the reader can take a lot from it.  Plus, whether we are younger or older, it’s easy to equate with the emotions of the characters.  It covers all themes: friendship, hard work, sacrifice, teamwork. Read one each year in the summer, and realize that whatever is coming up in the next year, by facing it and relying on both yourself and others, it can be tackled and accomplished.



7 Books Every Man in His 20s Should Read...Maybe at Quintessentially BookishGunn’s Golden Rules: Life’s Little Lessons for Making it Work by Tim Gunn

I don’t feel like you have a to a fan of Project Runway, or the fashion world in general, to enjoy this book and learn something from it.  Even if one has no desire to get first hand stories from behind the scenes of some of the biggest names in fashion (side note:  see my final entry in this post, though, as to why it should still be considered), Gunn’s “golden rules” are important for any person to follow.  It’s part autobiography, part insider look into the fashion industry, and a whole lot of self-help.  His guidelines toward etiquette and how one should conduct and dress oneself are inspiring, and should make readers want to be better for themselves and for others. (seriously, though, people need to quit wearing pajamas in public.  Comfort is overrated.)


7 Books Every Man in His 20s Should Read...Maybe at Quintessentially BookishEither/Or: A Fragment of Life by Søren Kierkegaard (Specifically “Crop Rotation”) 

“Boredom is the root of all evil…”

Of all of the books I read in college, this one stuck with me the most.  I feel that boredom is becoming increasingly rampant.  When you are in your 20s, starting out on your own, starting to work full-time, etc., boredom kicks in at all moments , and it will only get worse.  And this boredom leads to filling it with useless activities (Facebook, bored eating, TV watching), which leads to despair over ourselves and our situations.  Kierkegaard’s ideas won’t solve boredom, but it will help you face it, realize it, and hopefully move on it from it (utilizing a “rotation” method that goes more towards being productive and creative, not through ways that are wasteful or useless).



7 Books Every Man in His 20s Should Read...Maybe at Quintessentially Bookish
Calvin and Hobbes by Bill Watterson

This is not just a comic, it’s a life philosophy.  Calvin’s (and, by extension, Hobbes’) ideas on everything ranging from parental politics to school to life are deep and far-reaching.  This is especially true when you realize that Calvin could make more out of a cardboard box and a stuffed tiger than most of us can make out of a house full of electronics, TV shows reaching the trillions (by this point, I imagine that’s the case), and the constant presence of the world at our fingertips (whether that be useful or a crutch).  This, more than anything, is a calling to utilization imagination and try to find the fun in life.  (Also, Calvinball, using the same things to create a constantly changing and challenging game to combat boredom is a great example of the rotation method (see above).


Something out of your comfort zone

This is not so much a specific book as much as it is a challenge.  Now is the time to read something out of your “comfort zone.”  There is no reason to be pigeonholed to reading only certain things.  But if you don’t start now, that time may not come.  Read Young Adult series.  Read books that are the opposite of your beliefs.  Read a horror book, a romantic book, a book aimed at kids, a book that you think would be “too smart” for you.  Hell, read Twilight.  It doesn’t have to be the best to pique your interest and expand your mind.  And this is the perfect time to start, before you get stuck in a rut of thinking only a certain type of story is appealing to you.

8 Books Every Woman in her 20s Should Read…Maybe

I’ve seen several lists of books women should read in their 20s floating around the internet lately.  Many of these lists include some great books that I have enjoyed, though many as a teen rather than an adult.  However, despite the aim of the lists, I just didn’t find the titles as relatable as someone in her 20s is apparently supposed to.  So many of these lists seemed to be aimed at the type of women who exist in tv shows like Girls or Sophie Kinsella novels.  It’s hard to find a list for those of us who are in a different place in life.  So, I put together my own.  Give it a read and maybe this will be the list for you…or maybe you’ll end up writing one of your own.


The secret Eater Review at Quintessentially BookishThe Awakening by Kate Chopin

Because you need to know who you are and what you want.

This is one of the first books that could unambiguously be described as feminist because it features a woman as a person in relation to the world, with wants and needs to be explored.  It deals with her struggle with who she is, what she wants, and what it takes to make herself happy, regardless of what others or society in general think is appropriate versus selfish.  It shows the importance of having a fulfilling life in your own right. Though we’ve come a long way since Chopin wrote it, women still face these questions.



The secret Eater Review at Quintessentially BookishDivine Secrets of the Ya-Ya Sisterhood by Rebecca Wells

Because you need good, solid, real female friendship.

Though this book is just as much about Sidda and Vivi’s relationship than anything else, the friendship between the Ya-Yas is what really shines.  They love each other fiercely and would do anything for each other.   As an adult, female friendships can seem so complicated to navigate, but we all need a reminder that friendship is worth it because even one good friend having your back can make life so much easier and more fun.



The secret Eater Review at Quintessentially BookishThe Red Tent by Anita Diamont

Because being a woman is a powerful thing, even when others try to make you forget it.

This is the story of Dinah.  Though mentioned only briefly in the Bible, Diamant has given her a full life.  Her early years are spent primarily in the company of women, her mother and aunts, where she learns about the traditions, connections, difficulties, and triumphs of being a woman.  Her story is not only her own, but that of the women who raised her.  The ribbon running through this story is the celebration of what it means to be a woman.



The secret Eater Review at Quintessentially BookishThe Handmaid’s Tale by Margaret Atwood

Because you shouldn’t take your freedoms for granted or stop fighting for those you don’t yet have.

My generation, those currently in their 20s, have grown up with more freedoms and opportunities than the generations before us and we did it without really having to fight for them.  It’s easy to take that for granted or think they’ll never go away, but The Handmaids Tale asks us to think about what would happen if they did.  Offred’s story reminds us to keep fighting for true equality and rights.



The secret Eater Review at Quintessentially BookishA Great and Terrible Beauty by Libba Bray

Because you should remember and hold on to the passion of youth.

As an adult, I love YA for it’s ability to remind me of a time when everything was more intense and confusing, but more exciting and wonderful in many ways, too.  As we grow up and find ourselves, things calm down but we also tend to lose the passion for life.  I could have chosen any YA for this, but Libba Bray is such a witty writer and young women can really connect to the story of Gemma figuring out who she is and where she fits in the world.



The secret Eater Review at Quintessentially BookishDevil’s Bride by Stephanie Laurens

Because you should figure out what you like and want from a partner.

Romance novels are often decried as harmful, anti-feminist, or drivel.  I disagree.  What you like in a book can teach you a lot about what you’d want from a partner. I prefer historical romances like those by Stepanie Laurens, but substitute this with whatever type of romance you want.  Read many and varied types, whatever kind you want, just do yourself a favor and read the quality ones.



The secret Eater Review at Quintessentially BookishThe Complete Poems by Emily Dickinson

Because being different can be a wonderful thing.

Emily Dickinson was eccentric, reclusive, introverted, and any number of other things a woman of her time shouldn’t have been.  She was also one of the most prolific and talented poets of any time.  Her verses explore themes and wonders of the world that you wouldn’t think possible from someone as secluded as she.  They also managed to be both beautiful and relatable to even the most ardent hater of poetry.



The secret Eater Review at Quintessentially BookishGunn’s Golden Rules: Life’s Little Lessons for Making It Work by Tim Gunn

Because class is always in style.

Tim Gunn’s golden rules are all very sensible and obvious, but they’re also things so many of us overlook.  He reminds us of these very simple ways for living a better life in his usual hilarious, adorable, and honest way.  These are good lessons for any woman, but sometimes you just need fabulous Tim Gunn to remind you.




What do you think, readers?  What are your must reads?

And, lest you think I forgot the guys, my friend Robi has graciously agreed to put together a list of books for men in their 20s that will be posted in the near future.

Book Review: The World’s Strongest Librarian by Josh Hanagarne

You’ll notice the format is a bit different than usual. As this is a memoir, some of my review categories don’t really apply.

The World's Strongest Librarian at Quintessentially Bookish

Release Date: May 2nd 2013
Publisher: Gotham
Pages: 291

Lightness of Dust

From the book jacket:

Josh Hanagarne couldn’t be invisible if he tried. Although he wouldn’t officially be diagnosed with Tourette Syndrome until his freshman year of high school, Josh was six years old and onstage in a school Thanksgiving play when he first began exhibiting symptoms. By the time he was twenty, the young Mormon had reached his towering adult height of 6’7” when—while serving on a mission for the Church of Latter Day Saints—his Tourette’s tics escalated to nightmarish levels.

Determined to conquer his affliction, Josh underwent everything from quack remedies to lethargy-inducing drug regimes to Botox injections that paralyzed his vocal cords and left him voiceless for three years. Undeterred, Josh persevered to marry and earn a degree in Library Science. At last, an eccentric, autistic strongman—and former Air Force Tech Sergeant and guard at an Iraqi prison—taught Josh how to “throttle” his tics into submission through strength-training.

Today, Josh is a librarian in the main branch of Salt Lake City’s public library and founder of a popular blog about books and weight lifting—and the proud father of four-year-old Max, who has already started to show his own symptoms of Tourette’s.

Overall Thoughts:

I’m not usually a big reader of memoirs, but I really enjoyed this one.   I can’t resist a book that largely features a love of reading and, of course, librarianship.  Hanagarne is open about both the good and the bad in his life and he writes about both in such a way that it’s impossible not to like him.  I especially loved when he was writing about his childhood reading and visits to the library.  Everything felt so familiar; parts of it were like reading about myself as a kid.  His stories and thoughts about working in the library were a great mixture of hilarious, sad, and powerful.  If anything, I would have liked more of those.  However, as the strength training is what helped him with his Tourette’s, it is a large part of the book.  It was also a part that I was surprised to find so interesting.

Writing Style:

Hanagarne’s writing benefits from his love of reading.  His book reads quickly, much like fiction, due to the great pacing, plotting, and characterization.  Though his writing isn’t overly flowery or stylistic, he words things in a very appealing way.  I found myself marking favorite lines over and over again.  It was really hard to choose one.


Each chapter starts with a classification listing for the subjects mentioned in the chapter.  It’s a nice touch.

Favorite Line:

But while we may never find specific, actionable solutions, a good library’s existence is a potential step forward for a community. If hate and fear have ignorance at their core, maybe the library can curb their effects, if only by offering ideas and neutrality. It’s a safe place to explore, to meet with other minds, to touch other centuries, religions, races, and learn what you really think about the world…To see the value of a library, ignore adults. Find an inquisitive child who doesn’t have an iPhone yet, take them to the library, and tell them they can learn anything they want there.

Read This If You Like:

Memoirs.  Or, read it if you don’t.  It’s a great starter memoir for those who don’t read or like them.

Disclaimer: I received a copy of this book from the publisher in exchange for a review. I did not receive any compensation for this review. All opinions here are my own.

Find Josh Hanagarne online: Goodreads // Amazon // Website

Book Review: The Lightness of Dust by M. L. Weaver.

Lightness of Dust Review at Quintessentially Bookish

Release Date: October 15 2012
Publisher: Luna Risen, LLC
Series: The Meronymy (#1)
Pages: 151

Lightness of Dust

From the book jacket:

In ancient Anatolia, a young healer fights to reunite with her true love despite her father’s desire to profit from her gift.

In Depression-era Seattle, the caretaker of the Persephone Music Hall finds inspiration for his art in the arms of a beautiful foreign violinist.

A university professor in modern-day California struggles to keep his lab and his marriage from the clutches of his enthusiastic new grad student.

A mysterious thread draws these lives together across the span of history and summons one of them toward an unspeakable fate. Follow the thread as mortal cares scatter with The Lightness of Dust


Kere is a teen girl living in ancient Anatolia. Her betrothed has left on a ship to gain his fortune and she is stuck with a greedy father who wants to use her gift of healing to his advantage by giving her to the priests, therefore preventing her from marrying.   During the Depression, Sam does maintenance at the Persephone Music Hall, but art is his passion.  He’s incredibly talented, but poor, so he is shocked when Lily, the star violinist, falls in love with him.  Jake is a modern day professor who’s once great marriage is failing due to his new job and his new assistant.  All three stories are wildly different, but they all have one hidden secret in common.

Overall Thoughts:

I really enjoyed this book.  I finished the entire book is less than a day because I was so curious to find out how everything was connected.  I had really intended to review it much sooner than this, but with my new job I just never had the chance.  The three stories intertwine in such a way that each is dependent on the others while still remaining complete in it’s own.  I read through it quickly, because I was so curious to learn how they all fit together while being so different.  Despite each story taking place in wildly different times and settings, they all felt authentic, both in language and characterization.


Each story has one particular main character.  The first one we meet is Kere, a young girl with a strange gift in a very ancient land.  I immediately sympathized with Kere.  Her story is a difficult one and she’s a very likeable character, even when she is making mistakes.  I spent most of the book worried for her, though.  She faces many challenges and dangers, romantically, religiously, and personally.

The focus of the second story is Sam.  It focuses on his love story (both with a woman and with art), but we still see glimpses of him through the years, well into his old age.  Sam is so interesting I almost wish there was a book entirely about him.  Though his story appears to end with this book, I’m hoping he’ll show up again later in the series.

The third story focuses on Jake Morgan, a professor, and his relationship with his wife and his grad assistant.  It took me awhile to warm up to Jake.  He’s a jerk to his wife, a jerk to his assistant, and he doesn’t realize what huge mistakes these are until it’s too late.  His story is the least complete, however, which gives him opportunity to grow in future books.


Weaver is great at subtle descriptions.  He gives such a clear picture of each setting for each story, but he manages to do it without resorting to large blocks of descriptive text.  Instead he weaves the description into the action so that they compliment each other.  The reader is able to really see the Persephone or the seaside of Anatolia.

Writing Style:

Weaver manages a consistent style throughout the book, while still giving each character his or her own voice.  Kere sounds just as much like a confused teen girl as Jake does a modern man.  His writing can also be flowery, such as when the Goddesses appear or stark when Jake has an internal debate.  He’s a chameleon when writing, but it’s still obvious that one writer is constructing the story.  It’s a great trick for the structure of the books.


The appearances by the Goddesses are really intriguing.  I really hope the rest of the series reveals their story more.

Favorite Line:

Rage cooled with time.  Love faded, or was strangled, or became a memory that stretched icy hands through time and kept him awake in the hours when the moon would otherwise cradle the sleeping in it’s night.  Grief, though…grief lived on, pulsing madly through veins and gouging numb hollows in chests with a sad rage all it’s own.

Read This If You Like:

Cloud Atlas by David Mitchell

The Many Lives of Avery Snow by Christy Sloat

American Gods by Neil Gaiman


Disclaimer: I received a copy of this book from the author in exchange for a review. I did not receive any compensation for this review. All opinions here are my own.

Find M. L. Weaver online: Goodreads // Amazon // Website