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Audiobooks Featured Humor Nonfiction

Wanderlust, USA by Flula Borg

Flula Borg’s life is the stuff of myth. A frequent guest of Conan O’Brien, the German-born actor (think Sacha Baron Cohen’s Borat crossed with Billy Eichner) regales audiences with stories from his outlandish travel exploits, and his fascination with America and its “peoples” have warmed hearts nationwide. Flula fell in love with the United States on his first visit as a young boy, and calls this vast country full of exciting, creative, weird, and compassionate people superoberaffengeil – “incredibly top monkey sassy” or, simply, “cool.”

In this zany, eye-opening and delightful six-part audio series, Flula travels the breadth of the United States in search of its coveted and weirdest pastimes to learn more about the country, and better understand what drives people to these cultural events. His adventures include:

Experiencing the famed Iditarod dog-sledding race in Alaska
Partying Up during the World Cup of Surfing in Hawaii
Donning Elvis duds for Elvis Week in Memphis
Portraying a Minuteman at Lexington’s famous Revolutionary War reenactment

In each episode, Flula can be found “shooting the poops” as he calls it with the people he meets, including event organizers, participants, founders, and spectators. His goal is to understand what these quintessentially American event means to the communities involved, how each came to exist, and why they have all persisted – and of course, how he can take part! In addition, each segment is filled with fictional advertisements and mini episodes that explore a region or city’s local haunt, as well as techno tracks created entirely from the sounds he recorded at each event.

Infused with Flula’s infectious enthusiasm, Wanderlust, USA is an immersive and uproarious experience that reveals the heart of America in a unique way. Boom!

Wanderlust, USAWanderlust, USA by Flula Borg
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

Oh goodness this was hilarious!

FTC disclosure: I would like to thank Libro.fm for providing me with a free copy.

I enjoyed this one as an audiobook, narrated by the author himself which was awesome.

This book was such a great mood setter for me, light-hearted and making me laugh the entire time. And it came at the perfect time. Some parts were silly and a little over the top but unremarkably amusing at any rate.

It featured first-hand experiences of a German-born foreigner learning about American pastimes and command of the English language, and I loved it. I liked the production of telephone interviews and music, super clever.

From surf culture and Keanu Reeves to pen pals and germs, the Kentucky Derby post prime unicorns, I felt that every topic mentioned was described with such entertaining enthusiasm and fresh perspective.

The author, well-communicated and with innocence, almost naive wordplay, brought incredible awareness of American culture and historic events from a non native point of view, and it just spoke to the comedic brilliance that the author has in any story he wants to tell.

There were point of references of mainstream societal expectations, out-of-the-box social norms, modern and nostalgic pop culture, and American history that really depicted the uniqueness of both the content of his stories and the talent of the author himself to make such connections and inferences while portraying them as funny in a book type format.

And I’m still laughing as I write this!

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Audiobooks Book Reviews Books Featured Humor Nonfiction Poetry

On Cats by Charles Bukowski

A raw and tenderly funny look at the human-cat relationship, from one of our most treasured and transgressive writers.

“The cat is the beautiful devil.”

Felines touched a vulnerable spot in Charles Bukowski’s crusty soul. For the writer, there was something majestic and elemental about these inscrutable creatures he admired, sentient beings whose searing gaze could penetrate deep into our being. Bukowski considered cats to be unique forces of nature, elusive emissaries of beauty and love.

On Cats offers Bukowski’s musings on these beloved animals and their toughness and resiliency. He honors them as fighters, hunters, survivors who command awe and respect as they grip tightly onto the world around them: “A cat is only ITSELF, representative of the strong forces of life that won’t let go.”

Funny, moving, tough, and caring, On Cats brings together the acclaimed writer’s reflections on these animals he so admired. Bukowski’s cats are fierce and demanding—he captures them stalking their prey; crawling across his typewritten pages; waking him up with claws across the face. But they are also affectionate and giving, sources of inspiration and gentle, insistent care.

Poignant yet free of treacle, On Cats is an illuminating portrait of this one-of-a-kind artist and his unique view of the world, witnessed through his relationship with the animals he considered his most profound teachers.

On CatsOn Cats by Charles Bukowski

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

FTC disclosure: I would like to thank Libro.fm for providing me with a free copy.

A totally unexpected like. I listened to this one as an audiobook, narrated by Roger Wayne, which I’d highly recommend. He brought out a certain sentiment about the characterization of cat traits as well as the human perception and experiences with them using a calm, thoughtful, introspective quality to his voice.

This book was hilarious. It’s not a book I would typically pick out for myself, that being poetry and one about cats. First, poetry is not a genre I choose so often because typically it is so specific to one’s own experience and not usually relatable or entertaining enough for me in most cases. Second, I’m more of a dog lover myself. Specifically chocolate labs. But like any teenage girl, I had several cats growing up, a calendar of furry friends in a basket pinned to the wall, and wore purple sweatshirts with the most adorable kitty cats posing on the front. You can clearly see my love for cats as a little girl in the featured photo. It depicts a painting I made in grade school. Best friends with a cat forever. I also understand the love and dislike for specific behaviors and personalities that cats embody.

So this book was actually a little treasure, a quick, just over an hour long mix of poems and short stories about cats in the most reflective and accurate way. Some parts were a little crude for my taste however, the reality and idealistic silly and weird things that cats do and our human response to them were portrayed with such candor that I found myself being completely amused and intrigued by the allegory and sensibility found in a cat’s life, whether neighborhood annoyance or companion.

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Audiobooks Book Reviews Books Fantasy Featured Fiction Horror Humor Mystery Thriller

The Southern Book Club’s Guide to Slaying Vampires by Grady Hendrix

Fried Green Tomatoes and Steel Magnolias meet Dracula in this Southern-flavored supernatural thriller set in the ’90s about a women’s book club that must protect its suburban community from a mysterious and handsome stranger who turns out to be a blood-sucking fiend.

Patricia Campbell had always planned for a big life, but after giving up her career as a nurse to marry an ambitious doctor and become a mother, Patricia’s life has never felt smaller. The days are long, her kids are ungrateful, her husband is distant, and her to-do list is never really done. The one thing she has to look forward to is her book club, a group of Charleston mothers united only by their love for true-crime and suspenseful fiction. In these meetings, they’re more likely to discuss the FBI’s recent siege of Waco as much as the ups and downs of marriage and motherhood.

But when an artistic and sensitive stranger moves into the neighborhood, the book club’s meetings turn into speculation about the newcomer. Patricia is initially attracted to him, but when some local children go missing, she starts to suspect the newcomer is involved. She begins her own investigation, assuming that he’s a Jeffrey Dahmer or Ted Bundy. What she uncovers is far more terrifying, and soon she–and her book club–are the only people standing between the monster they’ve invited into their homes and their unsuspecting community.

The Southern Book Club's Guide to Slaying VampiresThe Southern Book Club’s Guide to Slaying Vampires by Grady Hendrix

My rating: 5 of 5 stars

This was great. It would make an excellent book club choice.

I listened to this one as an audiobook, narrated by Bahni Turpin, which I’d highly recommend. She brought the story to life. Her voice inflection, the cadence, her cleverness in depicting each character with such distinctness even while keeping all the Southern accents straight, the expressions in tone, and her amazing ability at voice preservation, very well done.

So for the story, I really liked how the author brought me into it, into the womens’ lives, working relationships, within this Southern lifestyle of home and hospitality, and bookclub, just the icing on the cake. It was just hilarious at times, one where I thought, oh, so spot on.

I enjoyed the trajectory of the story as it unfolded, wondering how it would go, then, it was very satisfying. Of course there were times I thought, oh geez, is that just too much? Was it far from the reality of what possibly could happen/how one would react? But it didn’t matter so much because it was consistent in character, setting, circumstances, and the tone of the book, suitable for what it was to build the climactic aspects up and overall fitting and done well anyway from those aspects, if that makes sense.

I loved the writing, the truth, the perception, all of it told in a way without apology which I just love about writing that does this in such a way. Also fun, playful with bits of humor, a spot on reminiscent decade of Redbook magazine, Opium perfume, dial phones.

The accurate quirks in the sayings of the time, not only how a child/teenager would simply act, but appropriate for the age and time on such a consistent basis within each rise and flow of the plot, narrative thought, and dialogue.

I did question a few things, though not terribly distracting. Pupils would constrict in sunlight, not dilate. How a suspected rape victim would have been handled by a medical professional. How they celebrated Halloween with an incident happening that evening, but then later in the story, the continuation of the timeline, the next day was a cloudless, sunny, October day?

A really great story nonetheless. One that definitely kept me engaged the whole way through.

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Book Reviews Books Fantasy Featured Fiction Horror Humor

The Stupidest Angel: A Heartwarming Tale of Christmas Terror by Christopher Moore

‘Twas the night (okay, more like the week) before Christmas, and all through the tiny community of Pine Cove, California, people are busy buying, wrapping, packing, and generally getting into the holiday spirit.

But not everybody is feeling the joy. Little Joshua Barker is in desperate need of a holiday miracle. No, he’s not on his deathbed; no, his dog hasn’t run away from home. But Josh is sure that he saw Santa take a shovel to the head, and now the seven-year-old has only one prayer: Please, Santa, come back from the dead.

But hold on! There’s an angel waiting in the wings. (Wings, get it?) It’s none other than the Archangel Raziel come to Earth seeking a small child with a wish that needs granting. Unfortunately, our angel’s not sporting the brightest halo in the bunch, and before you can say “Kris Kringle,” he’s botched his sacred mission and sent the residents of Pine Cove headlong into Christmas chaos, culminating in the most hilarious and horrifying holiday party the town has ever seen.

Move over, Charles Dickens—it’s Christopher Moore time.

The Stupidest Angel: A Heartwarming Tale of Christmas Terror (Pine Cove, #3)The Stupidest Angel: A Heartwarming Tale of Christmas Terror by Christopher Moore

My rating: 5 of 5 stars

So amusing!

Some parts are so incredibly outlandish, but yet totally make sense in the realm of Christopher Moore’s work as characters make a reappearance with the stunning humor that only he can deliver. Some of the humor and topics are overt, some understated, which only add to the inside jokes of character attribution, settings, and plot which are built upon previous readings that are hilarious in themselves.

Prepare to be entertained, offended, and to laugh out loud.

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Audiobooks Book Reviews Books Childrens Featured Humor Nonfiction

The Scrambled States of America by Laurie Keller

Happy National Florida Day! Here is book that will bring you and the children joy as you learn about each state!

“Well, it was just your basic, ordinary day in the good old U. S. of A. States all over the country were waking up, having their first cups of coffee, reading the morning paper, and enjoying the beautiful sunrise.

All the states, that is, except for Kansas.”

At the first annual “states party,” Virginia and Idaho hatch a plan to swap spots so each can see another part of the country. Before the party is over, all the states decide to switch places. In the beginning, every state is happy in its new location. But soon things start to go wrong. Will the states ever unscramble themselves and return to their proper places?

Packed with madcap humor and whimsical illustrations, this quirky story-starring all fifty states-is chock-full of introductory facts and silly antics that will make learning geography as much fun as taking a vacation.

The Scrambled States of AmericaThe Scrambled States of America by Laurie Keller

My rating: 5 of 5 stars

This book was adorable! I listened via audiobook, so I missed out on the illustrations, but so much personality was put into it! It included facts about each state and it brought a funny, energetic, shareable joy for learning for children!

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ARCs Book Reviews Books Featured Fiction Humor

The Second Worst Restaurant in France (Paul Stuart #2) by Alexander McCall Smith

In a delightful sequel to the best-selling comedic novel My Italian Bulldozer , we are in a French village where the local restaurant’s haute cuisine leaves a lot to be desired–and two books into an astounding ninth series from one of our most beloved authors.

Renowned cookbook writer Paul Stuart, renewed and refreshed from his time in Tuscany, has returned to Scotland to work on his new book, The Philosophy of Food in Six Easy Chapters. Writing, though, is complicated by Paul’s changed domestic circumstances. His editor and new girlfriend, Gloria, has moved in with him despite not being specifically invited, and she’s brought her two rather demanding Siamese cats. When Paul’s cousin, Chloe, suggests Paul visit her in the French countryside, Paul jumps at the chance. However, once he arrives, he finds his fortunes tangled up with the infamous local restaurant that gives the book its title. In this story about a man who prides himself on his taste finding delight in the most unexpected places, we have Alexander McCall Smith at his most witty and charming.

The Second Worst Restaurant in France (Paul Stuart, #2)The Second Worst Restaurant in France by Alexander McCall Smith

My rating: 3 of 5 stars

FTC disclosure: I would like to thank Penguin Random House for providing me with an advance reader copy via access to the galley for free through the First to Read program.

A fun story. Loved the setting, the description of food, the research it must have required to get the details just right, the tension between characters… I wanted a bit more though from the actual story.

There was a lot going on but there was sort of a lack of depth. I didn’t feel like it was really taking me anywhere, at least somewhere and to an extent I was hoping it would, especially given all of the other lovely factors that built the story to be something of more grandeur in nature and theme.

I must say I adore the covers of Alexander McCall Smith’s books and will be looking forward to checking out more by this author!

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ARCs Book Reviews Books Featured Fiction Humor

The Floating Feldmans by Elyssa Friedland

Sink or swim
Too bad her kids didn’t get the memo.

Between the troublesome family secrets, old sibling rivalries, and her two teenage grandkids, Annette’s birthday vacation is looking more and more like the perfect storm. Adrift together on the open seas, the Feldmans will each face the truths they’ve been ignoring–and learn that the people they once thought most likely to sink them are actually the ones who help them stay afloat.

The Floating FeldmansThe Floating Feldmans by Elyssa Friedland

My rating: 5 of 5 stars

FTC disclosure: I would like to thank Penguin Random House for providing me with an advance reader copy via access to the galley for free through the First to Read program.

This was SO funny! I really had a good time reading this one. I’d recommend it to anyone looking for a light, summer read or a book that will break up a reading slump or heaviness of any book you might be reading right now. I would particularly recommend it to those who are headed on a cruise for their first time and to those like me, continue to work toward double diamond, pinnacle plus before retirement.

The writing style and pacing was one of those gripping build ups, cut to a flashback, then back to the scene type plot that revolved around multiple characters and POVs which sounds rather complex, but it was actually quite cleverly curated and manageable to read.

The voices were nicely distinctive with each character owning his or her introspection which was true to life-stage and occupational expertise, but it was truly the one liners and witty voice of reason, classic to cruise culture, and fresh insight that made me laugh hysterically.

The only thing that I wasn’t sure about was the use of the word “boat” over “ship,” but oh well, I’m just being picky and I’m realizing most people probably are unaware of the difference and won’t be bothered by it to the extent that I was.

It was such a refreshing and funny book, I’m still laughing about it!

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Adventure Book Reviews Books Featured Fiction Historical Fiction Humor Poetry

Cowman’s Wife Western Ballads by Dee Strickland Johnson

Collection of cowboy poetry, western ballads, and original art. Awarded the Will Rogers award in 1997 for the “Female Cowboy Poet of the Year” by the Academy of Western Artists.

Cowman's Wife Western BalladsCowman’s Wife Western Ballads by Dee Strickland Johnson

My rating: 5 of 5 stars

Loved it! I’d recommend it to anyone.

It was a fun, thought-provoking, pick-me-up that I read in between my reads over the past year. Like a palate cleanser. It contains poetic stories of overall life perspective, the wild west lifestyle, culture, and history, romance and familial relationships, travel, and ranch life with cowboys, steeds, and hard work. Some were silly, some deeply reflective. It was refreshing and accessed parts of my brain that I typically don’t give enough attention to.

MY FAVORITE LINES:

I really appreciated The Warm November Sun poem and Arizona.

Arizona

Oh beloved Arizona, when God finished making you,
When He’d made your painted deserts and the sky’s deep azure blue:

When He’d made your wondrous canyons, and He’d laid his brush aside,
And looked down upon your beauty,
I think God was satisfied.

And I think, Oh Arizona, that He must have loved you best,
For He made you more like heaven than any of the rest.

He painted glorious sunsets, and put a soul in you,
Then splashed in the colored clouds above and let His love shine through.

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Audiobooks Book Reviews Books Fantasy Featured Fiction Humor

Island of the Sequined Love Nun by Christopher Moore

Take a wonderfully crazed excursion into the demented heart of a tropical paradise—a world of cargo cults, cannibals, mad scientists, ninjas, and talking fruit bats. Our bumbling hero is Tucker Case, a hopeless geek trapped in a cool guy’s body, who makes a living as a pilot for the Mary Jean Cosmetics Corporation. But when he demolishes his boss’s pink plane during a drunken airborne liaison, Tuck must run for his life from Mary Jean’s goons. Now there’s only one employment opportunity left for him: piloting shady secret missions for an unscrupulous medical missionary and a sexy blond high priestess on the remotest of Micronesian hells. Here is a brazen, ingenious, irreverent, and wickedly funny novel from a modern master of the outrageous.

Island of the Sequined Love NunIsland of the Sequined Love Nun by Christopher Moore

My rating: 5 of 5 stars

This was absolutely hilarious. I listened to it via audiobook which was narrated by Oliver Wyman who was incredible at diversifying characters. I’d recommend it to anyone who is looking for an entertaining story and anyone who enjoys humor and satyr.

The writing, characters, and storyline were all well thought out and executed in a fun way with plot twists and concepts that definitely kept me amused and laughing the entire time.

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Audiobooks Book Reviews Books Featured Fiction Humor

French Exit by Patrick deWitt

From bestselling author Patrick deWitt, a brilliant and darkly comic novel about a wealthy widow and her adult son who flee New York for Paris in the wake of scandal and financial disintegration.

French ExitFrench Exit by Patrick deWitt

My rating: 5 of 5 stars

I just loved this book! I listened via audiobook which was narrated by Lorna Raver which I thoroughly enjoyed. I would recommend it to anyone who is looking for a hilarious, light-hearted, fun, and thought-provoking read.

I loved the author, Patrick deWitt’s writing style. The tone, setting, character development, and plot were all charming and insightful. It had notes of satire which were sassy and provocative. I enjoyed the theme of romance with underlying philosophical facts about life. It read like I was overhearing juicy gossip being told among ladies in the park and I loved every moment of it.

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Book Reviews Books Fantasy Featured Fiction Humor Science Fiction

Off to Be the Wizard by Scott Meyer

Martin Banks is just a normal guy who has made an abnormal discovery: he can manipulate reality, thanks to reality being nothing more than a computer program. With every use of this ability, though, Martin finds his little “tweaks” have not escaped notice. Rather than face prosecution, he decides instead to travel back in time to the Middle Ages and pose as a wizard.

What could possibly go wrong?

An American hacker in King Arthur’s court, Martin must now train to become a full-fledged master of his powers, discover the truth behind the ancient wizard Merlin… and not, y’know, die or anything.

Off to Be the Wizard (Magic 2.0, #1)Off to Be the Wizard by Scott Meyer

My rating: 5 of 5 stars

Loved this book, it was awesome! I would highly recommend it to anyone who is looking for a fun, adventurous, light-hearted, entertaining read. It’s a fantasy tale with an underlying theme of computer science so anyone who can relate to those skills as a profession or has insight into computer literacy from a generational standpoint will defintely appreciate its premise.

The author, Scott Meyer, wrote the book in a straightforward, easily guided, yet discoverable manner. The protagonist struggled with internal and external influences over his feelings, primarily those of doubt, accomplishment, and ambiguous sentiments that made for a relatable theme. There were a few moments that read a little slower and parts of detail-ridden dialogue that could have probably been better summed up, but they did make for an interesting addition to the narrative nonetheless. I loved the plot with running parallels of modern and ancient age, wizardry legend, and time travel. They were all connected by hacking activity with creative interjections of generational and technological humor which made for a book that I couldn’t put down and ended up reading it in one sitting.

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Adventure Book Reviews Books Classics Featured Fiction Historical Fiction Humor

Don Quixote by Miguel de Cervantes Saavedra

Don Quixote has become so entranced by reading chivalric romances, that he determines to become a knight-errant himself. In the company of his faithful squire, Sancho Panza, his exploits blossom in all sorts of wonderful ways. While Quixote’s fancy often leads him astray – he tilts at windmills, imagining them to be giants – Sancho acquires cunning and a certain sagacity. Sane madman and wise fool, they roam the world together, and together they have haunted readers’ imaginations for nearly four hundred years.

With its experimental form and literary playfulness, Don Quixote generally has been recognized as the first modern novel. The book has had enormous influence on a host of writers, from Fielding and Sterne to Flaubert, Dickens, Melville, and Faulkner, who reread it once a year, “just as some people read the Bible.”

Don QuixoteDon Quixote by Miguel de Cervantes Saavedra

My rating: 5 of 5 stars

I loved this book! It’s one of my all-time favorite novels and was even better the second time around. This was a reread for me, having read it in high school. For this read, I attempted to interpret several excerpts in Spanish and followed along with the Open Yale Course, SPAN 300 which was excellent and it made for a rich learning experience about comparative literature, art, and Spanish language and culture. I would highly recommend this book to everyone and to check out the course as a supplement to your reading as well.

The author, Miguel de Cervantes Saavedra, wrote with such depth, expression, humor, and passion. It transcended literature in the areas of ethnic, cultural, and gender expression at the time it was written and today, it marks such a bountiful telling of a story and text with representation, idealization, and realism that anyone at any life stage can appreciate.

The storyline itself was so full of adventure, emotion, and surprises. A picaresque novel at its finest.

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