5 Nonfiction Books I’m Looking Forward to Reading

Nicki at Secret Library Blog did a post about some nonfiction books she added to her Goodreads TBR shelf, and I really enjoyed reading it. I thought it was a fabulous idea, so I’m borrowing her idea and writing up a post of my own. Thanks, Nicki!

In no particular order, here are some of the nonfiction books I’m looking forward to reading over the next few months:

(If any of these books interest you, just click the covers to add them to your Goodreads.)

Underneath it All: A History of Women's Underwear by Amber J. Keyser

Underneath It All: A History of Women’s Underwear by Amber J. Keyser

ebook ARC, 96 pages

Expected publication: January 1st, 2018 by Twenty-First Century Book

Throughout history, women’s lingerie garments have played a complex role in women’s lives. Learn how undergarments protected and shaped women’s bodies to fit the ideals of the time, enhanced desire in intimate relationships, made statements about social movements such as women’s suffrage, and provided a way to express individual style and personal empowerment. With each swing of the fashion pendulum, new undergarments forced the body into the preferred shapeflat bust and angular ribcage, lush bosom and high waist, sloped shoulders and ample hipswhich in turn, affected women’s health and activities. Learn how lingerie has been used as a status symbol, a marker of social class, and an economic driver throughout history.

This book seriously appeals to my inner history geek. The evolution of women’s fashions over the centuries never ceases to fascinate me, so when I saw this title on Edelweiss, I was instantly intrigued. I’m curious to see what I will learn!

When They Call You A Terrorist: A Black Lives Matter Memoir cover

When They Call You A Terrorist: A Black Lives Matter Memoir by Patrisse Khan-Cullors & Asha Bandele

Paperback ARC, 257 pages

Expected publication: January 16th, 2018 by St. Martin’s Press

The emotional and powerful story of one of the co-founders of Black Lives Matter and how the movement was born.

From one of the co-founders of the Black Lives Matter movement comes a poetic memoir and reflection on humanity. Necessary and timely, Patrisse Cullors’ story asks us to remember that protest in the interest of the most vulnerable comes from love. Leaders of the Black Lives Matter movement have been called terrorists, a threat to America. But in truth, they are loving women whose life experiences have led them to seek justice for those victimized by the powerful. In this meaningful, empowering account of survival, strength, and resilience, Patrisse Cullors and asha bandele seek to change the culture that declares innocent black life expendable.

The Black Lives Matter movement shines a much-needed light on the continuing systemic racism faced by African-American in the United States. Social injustice, racism,  and inequality are issues I’ve been paying close attention to (especially over the past few years), so when I heard about this book I knew I had to read it.

Loaded: A Disarming History of the Second Amendment cover

Loaded: A Disarming History of the Second Amendment by Roxanne Dunbar-Ortiz

ebook ARC, 176 pages

Expected publication: January 9th, 2018 by City Lights Publishers

America loves guns. From Daniel Boone and Jesse James to the NRA and Seal Team 6, gun culture has colored the lore, shaped the law, and protected the market that arms the nation. In Loaded, Roxanne Dunbar-Ortiz peels away the myths of gun culture to expose the true historical origins of the Second Amendment, exposing the racial undercurrents connecting the earliest Anglo setters with contemporary gun proliferation, modern-day policing, and the consolidation of influence of armed white nationalists. From the enslavement of Blacks and the conquest of Native America, to the arsenal of institutions that constitute the “gun lobby,” Loaded presents “a people’s history of the Second Amendment” as seen through the lens of those who have been most targeted by guns: people of color. Meticulously researched and thought-provoking throughout, this is essential reading for anyone interested in understanding the historical connections between racism and gun violence in the United States.

Kirkus Reviews describes Loaded as a “provocative cultural analysis arguing that the Second Amendment and white supremacy are inextricably bound.” With white supremacists boldly taking their hatred to the streets more and more, I’m even more eager to read this book and what it leads me to ponder upon.

Not a Crime to Be Poor: The Criminalization of Poverty in America cover

Not a Crime to Be Poor: The Criminalization of Poverty in America by Peter Edelman

ebook ARC, 320 pages

Published October 31st, 2017 by The New Press

In addition to exposing racially biased policing, the Justice Department’s Ferguson Report exposed to the world a system of fines and fees levied for minor crimes in Ferguson, Missouri, that, when they proved too expensive for Ferguson’s largely poor, African American population, resulted in jail sentences for thousands of people.

As former staffer to Robert F. Kennedy and current Georgetown law professor Peter Edelman explains in Not a Crime to Be Poor, Ferguson is everywhere in America today. Through money bail systems, fees and fines, strictly enforced laws and regulations against behavior including trespassing and public urination that largely affect the homeless, and the substitution of prisons and jails for the mental hospitals that have traditionally served the impoverished, in one of the richest countries on Earth we have effectively made it a crime to be poor.

Edelman, who famously resigned from the administration of Bill Clinton over welfare “reform,” connects the dots between these policies and others including school discipline in poor communities, child support policies affecting the poor, public housing ordinances, addiction treatment, and the specter of public benefits fraud to paint a picture of a mean-spirited, retributive system that seals whole communities into inescapable cycles of poverty.

Poverty and the treatment of those who are less fortunate is another high-interest topic for me. I expect this book—much like Matthew Desmond’s Evicted: Poverty and Profit in the American City—will likely leave me angry and upset by the time I reach the end. But like other matters of social injustice, these are important things to know about… no matter how upsetting it may be.

Paperbacks from Hell: A History of Horror Fiction from the '70s and '80s cover

Paperbacks from Hell: A History of Horror Fiction from the ’70s and ’80s by Grady Hendrix

ebook ARC, 256 pages

Published September 19th, 2017 by Quirk Books

Take a tour through the horror paperback novels of the 1970s and ’80s . . . if you dare. Page through dozens and dozens of amazing book covers featuring well-dressed skeletons, evil dolls, and knife-wielding killer crabs! Read shocking plot summaries that invoke devil worship, satanic children, and haunted real estate! Horror author and vintage paperback book collector Grady Hendrix offers killer commentary and witty insight on these trashy thrillers that tried so hard to be the next Exorcist or Rosemary’s Baby. It’s an affectionate, nostalgic, and unflinchingly funny celebration of the horror fiction boom of two iconic decades, complete with story summaries and artist and author profiles. You’ll find familiar authors, like V. C. Andrews and R. L. Stine, and many more who’ve faded into obscurity. Plus recommendations for which of these forgotten treasures are well worth your reading time and which should stay buried.

I spent my teen years reading a LOT of horror novels. Some good, some bad, and at least one that was so utterly terrifying, I had to throw it out the front door in order to be able to sleep. I wonder how many books I will recognize as I read Paperbacks from Hell? This should prove to be a fun trip down memory lane!

(If you’re curious, the book I tossed was The Exorcist by William Peter Blatty. Creepiest book EVER!)

~ ~ ~

Most of these books deal with heavy topics, but I’m looking forward to reading them all. Do any of my nonfiction reads interest you? Leave a comment and tell me which one(s)!


Lilly’s Tale (The Milk-Blood Trilogy) by Mark Matthews #Review

Lilly's Tale: The Milk-Blood Trilogy cover

I’ve struggled with how to review this book, and even now, I’m sure not quite sure what to say. This is likely to go down as the strangest book I’ve read this year. And yet… I was unable to set it aside, and felt a strong desire to finish it.

I felt very conflicted as I read it, as there were many times I found it difficult to suspend disbelief as I progressed with the story. There was one thing in particular that (in my opinion) should have garnered an extreme reaction of fear to other characters when they saw (can’t say because SPOILERS), but that didn’t happen. Rather than treating it as something scary, it was treated as a minor curiosity. Each time it happened, it threw me out of my focus on the story and all I could think about was how surreal it was.

Then again, perhaps that was the point?

This isn’t your usual horror story where the evil thing is some sort of supernatural monster. In Lilly’s Tale: The Milk Blood Trilogy, the evil is heroin addiction. The “monsters” (so to speak) are the addicts themselves, and the horror is what their addiction compels them to do. Yes, there are ghosts and creepy supernatural things happen, but it takes a back seat to the evils of drug addiction.

Maybe I’m overthinking it, but that’s the conclusion I kept coming back to over the many, many, many times I’ve tried to work out my feelings about this book.

The fact that I have given it so much thought speaks to the author’s ability to weave together an unconventional story that stays with you long after you’ve read the final page. I’m not going to forget this book anytime soon… that’s for sure.


Author: Mark Matthews

Title: Lilly’s Tale: The Milk-Blood Trilogy

Genre: Horror

Published: January 1st, 2017 by Wicked Run Press

Rating: ⭐⭐⭐

Purchase Links

Amazon | Barnes & Noble

About the Book

Shocking. Powerful. Stunning. The MILK-BLOOD TRILOGY is page-turning suspense pulled from newspaper headlines and unlike anything you’ve ever read. The author has pulled from his experience as a social worker to capture the horror of urban decay, poverty, and heroin addiction. LILLY’S TALE has been called “an urban legend in the making” and has been optioned for film. Now, for the first time, read all three powerful titles in one collection.


Lilly is ten years old, living in poverty, born with a heart defect, and already addicted to heroin. Her mother is gone from her life, and there are rumors that she was killed by her father and buried near the abandoned house across the street. The house intrigues her, she can’t stay away, and the monstrous homeless man who lives there has been trying to get Lilly to come inside. For her mother is there, buried in the back, and this homeless man is Lilly’s true father, and both want their daughter back.


The “absolutely stunning” follow up to MILK-BLOOD

A patient breaks into his psychiatrist’s house in the dark of night and plops a charbroiled carcass onto her kitchen island. The body is ten year old Lilly, she’s been the victim of a house fire, and her mouth is stuck in a permanent scream. Now there are decisions to make, for she may be not be dead yet, only heroin may relieve her suffering, and her family is coming for her.

THE DAMAGE DONE (A short story featuring the origin of Lilly’s father)

After years of suffering with mental illness, heroin has opened up the gates of heaven for Jervis Samsa. It is all that makes life bearable. But when he gets trapped in his basement without a scrap of dope to shoot, he needs to go to any lengths to get high. The results are something monstrous, and his basement bedroom becomes a hell for those who enter.

About the Author

Author Mark Matthews

Mark Matthews has a Bachelor of Arts in English Literature from the University of Michigan and a Master’s Degree in Counseling. He is the author of five novels, including On the Lips of Children, MILK-BLOOD, and All Smoke Rises. All of his novels are based on true settings, many of them inspired by his work as a counselor in the field of mental health and treatment of addiction. He’s the editor of the anthology GARDEN OF FIENDS: TALES OF ADDICTION HORROR. He lives near Detroit with his wife and two daughters.

Author photo & bio via Goodreads.

The Devil’s Prayer by Luke Gracias #Review @devils_prayer

The Devil's Prayer by Luke Gracias

After the death of her mother, Denise Russo, Siobhan needs to understand what caused her to vanish six years earlier, and finds herself caught up in a nightmare centuries in the making.  Traveling to the convent in Zamora where her mother lived, Siobhan is in danger from the moment she arrives, and it is with great difficulty that she is able to access her mother’s final written confession. Reading it, she learns of a terrible betrayal that led her mother to make a deal with the Devil, risking Siobhan’s soul if Denise didn’t hold up her end of the bargain. As disturbing as all that is to Siobhan, other discoveries made in later parts of her mother’s confession are absolutely horrifying… as is the unfinished task her mother begs her to complete.

The Devil’s Prayer is unlike any book I’ve ever read;  this historical horror thriller has it all. The historical aspects of the book are based on actual events that occurred in the 13th century, and the locations mentioned actually exist—a bonus to any readers who are also history buffs. (Go here to see photographs and read information about the locations mentioned in the book.) Gracias’ historical research is excellent, and the masterful blending of fact and fiction makes this story even more chilling.

The novel ends with a bit of a cliffhanger, but the point it ends on felt like the perfect stopping point, in my opinion. Don’t let that dissuade you from reading this fascinating novel. It’s my understanding that a sequel is in the works, and that’s a good thing because there is plenty more story waiting to be told.

The Devil’s Prayer is an excellent read, and superbly written. I recommend this one highly… add it to your reading list!

I received an advance review copy of this book courtesy of the author and Netgalley.

add to goodreads

Author: Luke Gracias

Title: The Devil’s Prayer

Genre: Historical Thriller, Horror

Published: August 8, 2016 by Australian eBook Publisher

Rating: ⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐

book worth reading

Purchase Link


About the Book

A nun commits suicide in front of thousands in Spain. In Australia, Siobhan Russo recognises that nun as her mother, Denise Russo, who disappeared six years ago.

In search of answers, Siobhan travels to the isolated convent where her mother once lived. Here she discovers Denise’s final confession, a book that details a heinous betrayal that left her crippled and mute, and Denise’s subsequent deal with the Devil to take revenge. In the desperate bargain Denise made with the Prince of Darkness, she wagered Siobhan’s soul.

As Siobhan discovers the fate of her soul, she learns that hidden within the pages of her mother’s confession is part of The Devil’s Prayer, an ancient text with the power to unleash apocalyptic horrors.

And now her mother’s enemies know Siobhan has it.

Can Siobhan escape an order of extremist monks determined to get the Prayer back? Can she save the world from its own destruction?

Explicit Content Warning: “The Devil’s Prayer” is a historical horror thriller that contains brutality, rape, sex, drug abuse and murder. Readers may find its content offensive and confronting.


Author Luke Gracias
Luke Gracias