Wicked Plants: The Weed That Killed Lincoln’s Mother and Other Botanical Atrocities by Amy Stewart


Available Here! – Wicked Plants by Amy Stewart

Rating: ♥ ♥ ♥ ♥ ♥

I love these types of book – lots of random, interesting information and crazy stories to go along with them!  I listened to this on audio – I would really like to own this book at some point as it has illustrations in it!  If listening to this on audio – make sure you’re not super multitasking as you will definitely get lost! Listening on audio was a little tough too when I went to google some of the plants she talked about – it was hard to sound out and spell the plants haha!  She also has another book called The Drunkin’ Botanist and many others that I want to read!

A tree that sheds poison daggers; a glistening red seed that stops the heart; a shrub that causes paralysis; a vine that strangles; and a leaf that triggered a war. In this book, Amy takes on over two hundred of Mother Nature’s most appalling creations. It’s an A to Z of plants that kill, maim, intoxicate, and otherwise offend. You’ll learn which plants to avoid (like exploding shrubs), which plants make themselves exceedingly unwelcome (like the vine that ate the South), and which ones have been killing for centuries (like the weed that killed Abraham Lincoln’s mother).

Then, if you get to purchase the book – menacing botanical illustrations and splendidly ghastly drawings create a fascinating portrait of the evildoers that may be lurking in your own backyard. Drawing on history, medicine, science, and legend, this compendium of bloodcurdling botany will entertain, alarm, and enlighten even the most intrepid gardeners and nature lovers.



Born with Teeth by Kate Mulgrew


Available Here! – Born With Teeth by Kate Mulgrew

Rating: ♥ ♥ ♥ ♥ ♥

You may know of the name Kate Mulgrew from her movie role as Captain Janeway on Star Trek or “Red” on Orange is the New Black.  I’m going to be honest with you, I had no idea who she was when first read this book, it was the title that interested me as well as the subject of adoption talked about in some of the reviews.  This was a good story, Kate is a good story teller.

Kate was literally….born with teeth.  She grew up Irish Catholic with poetry, acting and drama in her veins.  Her mother was an artist but never seemed to become anything with it as she had children and that took a lot of her time.  Kate saw this as the consequences of a “dream deferred”.   Kate decided to live her own dream and at 18, left the Midwest to head to New York to use her talents.

At age 22, just as her career was taking off she became pregnant and gave birth to a little girl.  Having already signed the adoption papers, she was allowed only a quick glimpse of her daughter.  As she continued to rise, her life became increasingly demanding and yet fulfilling, love affairs, life-saving friendships, and tireless work. Through it all, Kate remained haunted by the loss of her daughter, until, two decades later, she found the courage to face the past and step into the most challenging role of her life.


The Ash Family by Molly Dektar


Available Here! – The Ash Family by Molly Dektar

Rating: ♥ ♥ ♥ ♥

This was my Book Club’s pick for October!  The story wasn’t quite what I was expecting, which is usually a good thing.  The book brought good discussion in our group as there were many interesting topics pertaining to the story.

Berie is the main character who isn’t sure the life she is currently living, is the one she actually wants to be living.  As if her thoughts produced an entity, she meets a somewhat seductive but mysterious guy while waiting at the bus station where she is supposed to be boarding to go to college.  They strike up a conversation, a bit too easily if you ask me since they were strangers to each other.  Here folks is where I realized first how naive Berie’s character was.

Mr. Mysterious convinces her in a very short time whilst standing at the bus station, that she should come with him and visit his family’s farm.  With the promise of this new more exciting life, Berie goes with him……..yes I know what you’re thinking, I thought the same thing.  What on earth is this girl doing.

Once they arrive to the Ash Family Farm, she finds that his family aren’t blood relation, but a community of sorts.  This ‘family’ has been living off the grid, using their own fertile lad to grow food and survive using their own sources.  Berie, now renamed Harmony, renounces her old life and settles into her new one on the farm. She begins to make friends. And then they start to disappear………

This is a strange story and the ending leaves you hanging, but you’ll find yourself shocked, not surprised shocked, but the kind that makes you want to say…WHAT IN THE WORLD IS SHE THINKING.

Book Club Discussion Questions from Luggage and Literature ——

The Ash Family by Molly Dektar Book Club Questions



The Girl in Red by Christina Henry


Rating: ♥ ♥ ♥ ♥

This was a great quick apocalyptic read, although I feel like it could have had more potential in the story.  This is the reason for the 4 out of 5 stars.  I’m a fan of Grimm Fairytales and this was a good little spin to the story.  The cover is great as well!

This is not the story of Red that you know.  It is not safe for anyone to be alone in the woods, there are predators of every species lurking in the shadows. But the woman in the red jacket has no choice.  At least not since the the Crisis came, decimated the population, and sent those who survived fleeing into quarantine camps that serve as breeding grounds for death, destruction, and disease.

This book was really good, the author did a good job leading up to the point of finding out what was actually happening to people.  The only thing is, we found out almost at the end.  I felt as if there should be a second book or something to take us a little more in the direction of that.  It was her journey ‘through the woods’ and then a chapter of what she is running from.

Give it a shot and let me know your thoughts!  This author has potential!

Available on Amazon – The Girl in Red by Christina Henry

The Red Dirt Hymnbook by Roxie Faulkner Kirk


Rating: ♥ ♥ ♥ ♥

This is Ruby Fae McKeever’s story told in her own words of how she came to be a 20 year old college drop-out who married the handsome son of a traveling preacher, but unfortunately ends up in a very controlling, abusive relationship.  Ruby Fae, J. W. and their daughter  are part of a traveling ministry team lead by J. W.’s father, old Rev. As they travel the country in a bus preaching and singing to the wayward souls, things aren’t going so well for Ruby and J.W. Very quickly J.W. turns abusive towards Ruby in the name of keeping his household in order. Ruby wants to go back home to the Oklahoma Red Dirt plains and her mom and dad. This is the heart breaking story of lengths she has to go to to make that happen for her and her daughter.

The only reason I have the book 4 out of 5 stars it was good writing, but there were parts of the story that lost me a couple times.  It was not quite my genre I would of picked up, but I do want to look into more from this author in the future.

Available on Amazon – The Red Dirt Hymnbook by Roxie Faulkner Kirk

Sensitive: My Journey through a Toxic World by Pookie Sekmet + Goodreads Giveaway


Rating: ♥ ♥ ♥ ♥ ♥

If you want to read a true tale of horror this season, follow author Pookie Sekmet on her journey and struggle through our toxic world in her book, Sensitive.  PLUS – she is hosting a giveaway on Goodreads right now! – GOODREADS GIVEAWAY –

Honestly, if we truly think about our way of life in this day in age, we are basically poisoning ourselves on a day to day basis without much thought.  Simple changes in our lives can lessen these exposures and add thoughtfulness to our health.  That wasn’t the case for Pookie in the beginning.  In her memoir, she digs deep into her family history to uncover a specific event that triggered an illness that still effects her today.

In her story she lets us hang along on the journey with her to find the truth as well as how she lives now and the importance of avoiding toxic chemicals.  The path that led her to the event when she was younger is a path of family trauma and mysterious chronic health struggles.  We follow her as she builds an unconventional new life; and, “finally, becomes a whistle-blower within a corrupt and patriarchal corporate culture.”

There is good information here, the book will make you think.  I personally have prior knowledge to some of what the author talks about, but was surprised to learn of what happened to her when she was younger, the event that caused a chain reaction that will follow her though the rest of her lifetime.

Available on Amazon – Sensitive: My Journey through a Toxic World by Pookie Sekmet


Blood Relations by Jonathan Moore


Rating: ♥ ♥ ♥ ♥

The author’s writing has been compared to Michael Crichton, Blake Crouch and Hitchcock, which is why I was interested in reading this book!

A private investigator, Lee Crowe find a girl dead on top of a Rolls Royce….in the most dangerous neighborhood in San Francisco.  She is dressed to a T and Lee checks for a pulse because it almost looks like she is just sleeping.  And so the investigation begins…..

We learn that the girls name is Claire Gravesend and during the autopsy after the ‘accident’ it is discovered that she has round scars running down her spine including other strange old markings.  When they contact her mother, immediately knows that Claire did not kill herself, but won’t explain why or where Claire got these markings either.

Her mother instantly hires Lee Crowe to investigate the matter.  Some pretty crazy things start to happen and you will never guess the ending to this book!  I sure didn’t expect it, especially when he finds his way to Claire’s secret San Francisco house. It’s there that his questions come to a head. Sleeping in an upstairs bedroom, he finds Claire—her face, her hair, her scars—and as far as he can tell, she’s alive….but it’s not Claire……

That’s all I’m going to share with you folks!  The only reason I didn’t give this book a full five out of five was because I got a little lost in where the story was heading in certain parts.  The ending is a…..what the heck……type but once you get there, everything made sense.

Available on Amazon – Blood Relations by Jonathan Moore

H is for Hawk by Helen Macdonald





Rating: ♥ ♥ ♥ ♥

“Hunting with a hawk took me to the very edge of being a human, then it took me past that place to somewhere I wasn’t human at all.”

I stumbled upon this audio book on the Libby app one day.  I love birds and the synopsis sounded interesting, so I gave it a try!  H is for Hawk is a memoir about how Helen deals with the death of her father and her love of falconry.  H is for Hawk, but H is also for Helen. Mabel, the hawk, and Helen, the trainer come together in a very unique and special relationship.  The audio version I listened to was narrated by the author, which made it very interesting as well.

Helen weaves three story threads here: her grief for her late father, her experience training a goshawk, and T.H. White’s parallel journey of personal grief and hawking.  Helen Macdonald says, “Hunting makes you animal but the death of an animal makes you human. Kneeling next to the hawk and her prey, I felt responsibility so huge that it battered inside my own chest, ballooning out into a space the size of a cathedral.” At first read you might think this is borderline hyperbole or overwritten prose, but this memoir/nature/bird watching/falconry book goes quite deep with raw emotion.

The only reason I gave the book a 4 out of 5 was that a considerable part of the book is about the trials of falconer T.H. White and his book “The Goshawk.” I struggled reading just a tiny bit with Helen’s frequent jumps to White’s life and “Gos” because it became redundant and too often took me away from Mabel and Helen.  An interesting story none the less and I think I wouldn’t mind reading T.H. White’s falconry story as well!

P.S. If you don’t know who T.H. White is – he is the author of some well known books, including The Sword in the Stone!

Available on Amazon – H is for Hawk by Helen Macdonald

Educated by Tara Westover




Rating: ♥ ♥ ♥ ♥ ♥

This was my Book Club’s pick for September!  I enjoy reading memoirs, although I hadn’t really heard much about this book before it was picked.  The cover was intriguing to me.  I did end up listening to this on audio.  The story stirred up a lot of conversation, a great pick for book clubs!

This story was unreal.  Tara shares with us the tale of how she grew up and how she became something far apart from her upbringing.  She was 17 before she ever entered a class room.  There didn’t seem to be the time between planning for the apocalypse, canning peaches and helping her mother concoct remedies out of herbs for her mothers midwife gig.

Her father forbade hospitals, so Tara never saw a doctor or nurse.  Gashes and concussions, even burns from explosions, were all treated at home with her mothers tinctures.  The family was so isolated from mainstream society that there was no one to ensure the children received an education and no one to intervene when one of Tara’s older brothers became violent.

Tara began educating herself, sometimes hiding behind a chair to do so.  She taught herself enough mathematics and grammar to be admitted to Brigham Young University, where she studied history, learning for the first time about important world events like the Holocaust, which was mind blowing that she knew nothing about!

There is so much that goes on in this book, you’ll want to keep reading it.  It was said by a few book club members that they found it a little hard to get into at first, but got better.  Have you read this book or are you reading it in your book club?  Let me know your thoughts!

Available on Amazon – Educated by Tara Westover