Beauty Queens

If you love satire of any kind then Beauty Queens by Libba Bray is for you.

When 50 girls, one from each state, fly to the Miss Teen Dream contest, they didn’t expect a plane crash on a deserted island. They especially didn’t expect to have to learn to survive on their own. Only a handful of girls survive the crash, and all the adults are killed. The girls that do survive are a motley crew, full of a transgender former boy band singer, an anti-pageant feminist who plans to take Miss Teen Dream down from the outside, a die-hard Texan beauty queen, a budding young lesbian, and a girl with a severe hearing impairment, among others. The girindex.jpgls must find a way to survive on the island, when the reality is that all they are prepared to do is answer vapid beauty pageant questions and apply eyeliner – at least on the surface.

“The Corporation” runs the pageant, as well as most of the world. They create/control most TV, products, and even the secret (or not-so-secret) arms deals. The Corporation has become a huge monster that hides behind silly reality TV and cosmetics. Its connections with Ladybird Hope, former Miss Teen Dream and presidential hopeful, are disturbing at best. But the Corporation doesn’t want the beauty queens found- if they are, the island’s dirty little secrets will be revealed. In particular, their arms deal with MoMo B. ChaCha, dictator of the Republic of ChaCha where they plan to sell him weaponized Lady ‘Stache Off against the sanctions on his country. They hope the beauty queens will just die off, but what they aren’t prepared for are some butt-kickin’ ladies who have developed some serious survival skills amongst their baton twirling and Sparkle Pony dances! These girls aren’t going down without a fight! Now add into the mix some fake reality TV pirates (one of which is a cross-dresser and is very excited the girls have recovered some of their high-heels) and you’ve got yourself quite an island.

New bookstore in Key West

      Best-selling author, Judy Blume, is now a bookstore owner.  Two months ago, Judy Blume and her husband opened up Books and Books bookstore in Key West, Florida.  After 2 bookstores in Key West closed years ago, Mrs. Blume has been trying to get a new one to come in.  Finally, her wish has come true.  Blume is said to be present in the shop and working most days.  She is very involved and enthusiastic. About five years ago, Borders and 2 other bookstores closed leaving only one on the island.  Books and Books has another location in Florida. The Key West store is housed in The Studios non-profit art center.

“Choose Your Days”

Written and illustrated by Paula S. Wallace, “Choose Your Days” is a story that will appeal to young and older children alike.  In her book, the author subtly suggests to readers to live life to the fullest. 9781941026380_p0_v2_s118x184.jpg

When Corky is born she is given calendars for all her days, lists to dream and to do, and her key to her time by Old Bear, keeper of time and keys.  As we follow Corky through her days we see her life fly by, until she has only a few more days.  She asks the Old Bear for more time.  He replies you hold the key to your time, but when all is done, don’t be afraid.  I will wait for you behind the door which your key will unlock.

The author’s watercolor illustrations are uncomplicated and focus on key elements of the story.  A book to read together and discuss how important each day is.


If you have enjoyed Season 1 and are now into Season 2 of this PBS series you might like to read James Runcie’s “Sidney Chambers and the Perils of the Night.” This book contains six short stories all featuring Cannon Sidney Chambers, his police buddy, Inspector Keating, and the 9781608199518_p0_v2_s118x184.jpgmembers of the small village of Grantchester.

Although the stories are enjoyable and easy to read, they don’t develop plots and characters as the t.v. series does.  If you haven’t been introduced to Vicar, read the books first and then watch the series.  The series captures post-war Britain, the small community of Grantchester, outside Cambridge, and the Inspector and the Vicar.  They seemed to be a mismatched pair, but have formed a deep, and true friendship.



index.aspxHeather Graham has penned another engaging crime novel, this latest one is set in NYC and follows one Kate Finnegan, a criminal psychologist and part-time waitress at her family’s bar. The novel opens with Kate attempting to return a valuable stolen diamond that her brother has lifted from a jewelry store, to try and keep him out of jail. What she didn’t plan on was becoming a material witness in a robbery. She becomes entangled with an FBI agent, and finds herself trying to help him solve a series of jewelry store thefts. The novel’s plot weaves Kate’s story together with that of FBI agent Craig Frasier, combining the drama of family relationships with elements of “law and order” into a neat package. Recommended for those who enjoy a clean mystery with just a few dead bodies…