Friday, March 22, 2019

Review: The Care and Feeding of Ravenously Hungry Girls

The Care and Feeding of Ravenously Hungry Girls The Care and Feeding of Ravenously Hungry Girls by Anissa Gray
My rating: 3 of 5 stars

The lives of three sisters go to hell (or maybe they were already in it?) when Althea and her husband Proctor are arrested for stealing from the charities they created to help with local flood victims. The family always had the respect of the local community, but now, community members who used to eat at their restaurant and shop at their attached market are disgusted and angry.

Quite the family drama tale of forgiveness and redemption, told from the POV of quite a few of the characters. I thought it dragged a bit in the middle and end, but was fascinated at the beginning.

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Review: To Kill a Mockingbird: A Graphic Novel

To Kill a Mockingbird: A Graphic Novel To Kill a Mockingbird: A Graphic Novel by Fred Fordham
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Students could easily read this graphic novel and complete most classroom activities in American high schools that the teacher assigns. That means it's a good retelling, right? I used to teach this back in the day, and all the "important" quotes are in the graphic version, and there is plenty of symbolism, too. I'm still more of a fan of the novel, of course, but I could really seeing this version being taught along side the novel.

The illustrations were clear and, to me, added more to the text. But, I really had forgotten about how much happens in this book--not just Boo and Tom Robinson. The graphic novel left me wanting more, so I'm glad there is the actual novel floating around. But, actually, kids could totally read this instead of the novel and be just fine. The important pieces are there.

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Thursday, March 21, 2019

Review: Barbed Wire Heart

Barbed Wire Heart Barbed Wire Heart by Tess Sharpe
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

Here is the perfect example of a book I didn't care for much in audio format, but I had received an ARC of it and set it aside as a future read. I'm so glad I did! The print version ROCKS.

Think of the Netflix show Ozark, but from the POV of the young teen girl who has grown up in her criminal, meth-making, white trash family. Harley McKenna is a trained hardass who has been groomed her whole life to take over her family's business, but she also has been raised to take care of her dead mama's side of things, like running a women's group home for abused women. She's quite the oxymoron--willing to brand a man with a hot knife and sic her dog on someone, yet able to fall in love with a good man and help abused women and children.

Basically, Harley kicks ass. You want to be her friend, but you would hate to ever turn on her, because she will make you disappear in a tarp of acid down at the rock quarry.

This book is brutal and hard-edged and awesome. I read it in two days. Would love to watch this movie or see a TV show based on it. It reads like a screenplay.

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Saturday, March 16, 2019

Review: Shout

Shout Shout by Laurie Halse Anderson
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

This will get some conversation around the Printz award table, I bet! Lots of beautiful poetry in this little book, with several passages that I re-read just for the power of the words. But I did read Speak years ago, so this novel means more to me than those who haven't read any of Anderson's works. And I wonder how teens now will respond to this? All of old librarians enjoyed it, but are we the target audience? Or the initial readers of Speak who are all grown up now? Or the current set of teens?

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Thursday, March 14, 2019

Review: A Baby’s Bones

A Baby’s Bones A Baby’s Bones by Rebecca Alexander
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Engaging and quick read about a female archaeologist on the Isle of Wright. I enjoyed Sage as an imperfect main character--she is pregnant with a married man's baby, for example. I loved the bits about her Kazakhstani mother, Sage's budding romance, and her obsession with doing her job well while pregnant and stressed. I would call this an old school mystery--readers will suspect several characters along the way as clues are dropped, but it's an engaging ride. I loved how the mystery from the late 1500s was incorporated into the modern day happenings, but I love historical fiction, romance, and modern forensic science. This novel was a great novel for me and I'll look for more by this author!

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Monday, March 11, 2019

Review: The Kingdom of Copper

The Kingdom of Copper The Kingdom of Copper by S.A. Chakraborty
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Whew--I stayed up until 3 am reading this sequel, with the help of springing forward and Daylight Savings Time.

I still got easily confused by all the terms for magical beings and I wish the glossary/cast of characters/tribes of the Djinn were all together so I didn't have to look at all three alphabetical lists to find what I was looking for. Confusing!

I remembered nothing from Book 1, The City of Brass, except that it was an Aladdin-ish, Middle Eastern fantasy. It started to come back to me as I read this title, except I couldn't remember all the feuds and what caused what group of people to hate the other groups of people. Lots of years of fighting in this world! But it's worth it. The three narrators--Nahri, Alie, and Dara--are fascinating beings/people and I wanted to see what happens when all three try to take/keep the magical city of Daevabad. The end of the book (the big battle) is the best part! I couldn't put the book down.

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