Thursday, December 14, 2017

Review: Jade City

Jade City Jade City by Fonda Lee
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Review to come in School Library Journal's Adult Books 4 Teens.

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Review: #Notyourprincess: Voices of Native American Women

#Notyourprincess: Voices of Native American Women #Notyourprincess: Voices of Native American Women by Lisa Charleyboy
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

Strong collection of artwork, poetry, quotations, and snippets of writing about Native American women. I was saddened when I realized that I didn't even recognize the names of some of the Nations--because they are Canadian, I hope? (and if not, what's that say about my own acquiring of knowledge?) As with any collection, there are strong pieces that speak to me, and some that don't. However, the artwork chosen is tremendously strong--I could see an art teacher using this book in a high school classroom.

The collection hits on so many important topics--the pipeline in the Dakotas, physical and sexual abuse of women and children, costumes, being too "white" to be native, native portrayal in media, and, over and over, stereotypes. "The Things We Taught Our Daughters" by Helen Knott made me tear up and if I still taught American Lit, that poem would be included in my curriculum. "When I Have a Daughter" by Ntawnis Piapot made me cry, too, in my own experience as a mother of a daughter that I hope to raise to be strong and defiant. The inclusion of modern sports athletes and how the power of social media is influencing modern native policies was awesome and a real draw for young people.

These stories need to be told. And it saddens me that it takes the help of the Canada Council for the Arts and the Ontario Arts Council to make sure that books like this get published. I've read two of the YALSA Nonfiction finalists so far, and this one is a winner for me right now. On to read the others!

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Review: #Notyourprincess: Voices of Native American Women

#Notyourprincess: Voices of Native American Women #Notyourprincess: Voices of Native American Women by Lisa Charleyboy
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

Strong collection of artwork, poetry, quotations, and snippets of writing about Native American women. I was saddened when I realized that I didn't even recognize the names of some of the Nations--because they are Canadian, I hope? (and if not, what's that say about my own acquiring of knowledge?) As with any collection, there are strong pieces that speak to me, and some that don't. However, the artwork chosen is tremendously strong--I could see an art teacher using this book in a high school classroom.

The collection hits on so many important topics--the pipeline in the Dakotas, physical and sexual abuse of women and children, costumes, being too "white" to be native, native portrayal in media, and, over and over, stereotypes. "The Things We Taught Our Daughters" by Helen Knott made me tear up and if I still taught American Lit, that poem would be included in my curriculum. "When I Have a Daughter" by Ntawnis Piapot made me cry, too, in my own experience as a mother of a daughter that I hope to raise to be strong and defiant. The inclusion of modern sports athletes and how the power of social media is influencing modern native policies was awesome and a real draw for young people.

These stories need to be told. And it saddens me that it takes the help of the Canada Council for the Arts and the Ontario Arts Council to make sure that books like this get published. I've read two of the YALSA Nonfiction finalists so far, and this one is a winner for me right now. On to read the others!

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Review: The Whydah: A Pirate Ship Feared, Wrecked, and Found

The Whydah: A Pirate Ship Feared, Wrecked, and Found The Whydah: A Pirate Ship Feared, Wrecked, and Found by Martin W. Sandler
My rating: 2 of 5 stars

Okay, so this book had two of my pet peeves within the first two chapters, which irritated me enough that I didn't want to dedicate my reading time to finish it. But I did. First, the author had word choice issues, like on page 13, "He had to get to know that girl." I know this is a children's/young adult nonfiction book, but I would still like to think that kids are smart enough to know that there are better ways to write that sentence, especially as it's closing out the paragraph.

I also wasn't a fan of the huge sidenotes and I've noticed this in other nonfiction. A sidenote should be just that--a snippet of information located off to the side of the main text. Set it apart with a textbox or something! But when a snippet lasts three complete pages, that, my friend, is a chapter. All it does is disrupt the text and piss readers like me off. The first snippet was used correctly--at the end of Chapter 1. But the next one, "The Articles of Agreement," were just thrown into the middle of Chapter 2 with no rhyme or reason other than the author had mentioned the agreement in the text. That's all and good, but "The Articles" take up three pages in the middle of a sentence of the text--horrible placement. Did the author even have a say in where that went? or was that a book designer's decision?

I also wanted more visuals. The author stressed that the Whydah's uniqueness was a "long platform on its deck for captives who could not..." Well, then, what did that long platform look like? Because I can't picture it. Surely there is an illustration somewhere of it? Or one like it?

There are source notes at the end, as well as a MLA 7th edition bibliography, and photo credits.

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Tuesday, December 12, 2017

Review: Long Way Down

Long Way Down Long Way Down by Jason Reynolds
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

Dang...I hope this is getting talked about at the Printz table! Sure, it's the kind of story that will suck you in, but some of the poetry is darn good, too. Novels written in verse are always tricky. I wish the publisher had done a bit more with the "smoke" on the pages--a different color or something than the font? Thicker paper with more of a reason behind the smudges?

At the end, I wanted to yell, "NOOOOOO!!!!!!"

Wish I could hear some students discussing this one.....

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Monday, December 11, 2017

Review: Say Goodbye for Now

Say Goodbye for Now Say Goodbye for Now by Catherine Ryan Hyde
My rating: 3 of 5 stars

I can't believe I listened to ALL of this sappy thing. But, hey, the narration by Nick Podehl was great! This is one of those Hallmark special type of books, so if you like those, give this a try.

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Friday, December 8, 2017

Review: Jane

Jane Jane by Aline McKenna
My rating: 3 of 5 stars

Modern retelling of Jane Eyre in graphic form. Rochester is still a rich jerk, and art student Jane is fascinated and disgusted at the same time.

This book received a star just for the art--great storytelling through pictures. The actual words were a bit melodramatic and soap opera-ish.

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Review: The Virgin's Spy

The Virgin's Spy The Virgin's Spy by Laura Andersen
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

I've been a sucker for Tudor historical fiction for 30 years and this hit the spot. But, whoa, if someone didn't know their history, I could see them writing an essay for a history class all about Queen Elizabeth's daughter Anabel. Who was fathered by King Phillip of Spain before the divorce and him remarrying Mary Queen of Scots.

See? This is the best kind of alternative history--very realistic sounding. The court intrigue, spying, and the Irish problem is the same as history, but the falsehoods Andersen has created makes this a newish read for me. I liked it!

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Monday, December 4, 2017

Review: The Bloodprint

The Bloodprint The Bloodprint by Ausma Zehanat Khan
My rating: 0 of 5 stars

I stopped on page 59. As much as I WANTED to love this book (diverse Middle Eastern fantasy, gender issues, an author I've enjoyed before), I just couldn't get into it. I felt like I was thrown into a book in the middle of a series, and was confused. A world-building fail.

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Review: Two Good Dogs

Two Good Dogs Two Good Dogs by Susan Wilson
My rating: 2 of 5 stars

I wanted a Dog on It type of dog book, but this wasn't as well written. I stopped at 9% on my Kindle of the advance reader's copy.

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Friday, December 1, 2017

Review: The Beautiful Ones

The Beautiful Ones The Beautiful Ones by Silvia Moreno-Garcia
My rating: 3 of 5 stars

I was sucked into this light read that I had to finish. It's a combination of paranormal and historical romance, which I don't mind, but this did have some very familiar plot happenings that I didn't care for. I won't be continuing the series, but I could see why some newish adult readers would appreciate this series. Lots of action, "say it isn't so" moments, and a strong-minded rich protagonist who just wants to be loved and happy.

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Review: A Tree Is Nice

A Tree Is Nice A Tree Is Nice by Janice May Udry
My rating: 3 of 5 stars

This book is nice, just like a tree. I am a huge tree fan--they are nice.

I had to read this Caldecott winner because it's serving as the topper of my tree of books in my reference section. My library's version is red hardback with "A Tree is Nice" large on the cover. What's not to like?

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Review: Love

Love Love by Matt de la Pena
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

This book is SO MUCH FREAKING BETTER than Oh, The Places You'll Go!! Send kids off with love in their hearts. And knowing how to recognize love in the people and beauty around them, whether in the city or in the country.

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Review: The Dry

The Dry The Dry by Jane Harper
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

I tried this in audio and hated it. I'm so glad I interlibrary loaned the print version--it's amazing! If you like detective novels, try this one. Aaron Falk is a federal agent in Australia, used to dealing with white collar crime. When he's asked to return to his childhood back country home to unofficially help with an investigation, he does so. Unwillingly. He and his father were run out of the town years ago when one of his best friends drowned herself in the river, although suspicious were always present that he or his father had something to do with the girl's death. Now those old mysteries are stirred up, Aaron still isn't welcome in his hardass hometown, but three people, including a child, are dead.

I'm looking forward to continuing this Australian series--so good!

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Sunday, November 26, 2017

Review: La Belle Sauvage

La Belle Sauvage La Belle Sauvage by Philip Pullman
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

Reading this made me remember how much I loved Pullman's Dark Materials trilogy. And now I can't wait to keep reading this prequel trilogy! Lyra is only a baby in this book, but readers are introduced to all the other major players in the original series. You don't need to have read the original series to start this one, but this will make you want to read them.

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Saturday, November 25, 2017

Review: The Trust

The Trust The Trust by Ronald H. Balson
My rating: 1 of 5 stars

I can't believe all the positive reviews for this--it had me shaking my head a few pages in because the main character spends two pages telling his life history to his wife. In dialogue. Whaaaat???? Who does that? Why all the telling? Why couldn't it have been done within his own head or something or with an all-knowing narrator? It seemed so unrealistic and just poor storytelling. I kept checking to make sure the quotation marks were still there.

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Friday, November 24, 2017

Review: The Leavers

The Leavers The Leavers by Lisa Ko
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Gorgeous listen and a nightmare of a tale of deportation and China. This book will give you the feels. And the disgusts. And makes me want to memorize phone numbers.

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Wednesday, November 22, 2017

Review: Fever

Fever Fever by Deon Meyer
My rating: 3 of 5 stars

Apolalyptic read about the rebuilding phase of the world after 95% of the population dies from a fever. This was more hopeful than most books--Nico's father focuses on gathering peaceful people to begin a community and improve their lives. Plenty of strife, of course, as raiders are plentiful, and power-hungry people attempt to steal supplies.

Decent read, but, ugh, so long! South African setting.

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Monday, November 20, 2017

Review: Border Angels

Border Angels Border Angels by Anthony Quinn
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Brutal little police detective novel about the horrible land around the Northern Ireland/Ireland border. Lawlessness abounds, and an illegal brother full of Eastern European women exists, and not much is being done for the trafficked women. When a rich man commits suicide after opening accounts in a prostitute's name, the investigation is more about the money than helping the poor women. I enjoyed the compact tightness of the way this was written--I'll read the next one in the series.

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Thursday, November 16, 2017

Review: The Dark Horse

The Dark Horse The Dark Horse by Craig Johnson
My rating: 3 of 5 stars

I've loved the Longmire books up to this one, but, so far, this is the weakest in the series. Longer than the others, unnecessarily, because the Sheriff spent a lot of time wandering in the desert on a horse! I'll still keep reading the series though--Walt is worth it.

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Review: The Tethered Mage

The Tethered Mage The Tethered Mage by Melissa Caruso
My rating: 3 of 5 stars

So close to be an awesome fantasy--just needed 50-100 pages edited out in the middle to keep it interesting. I'm afraid that other readers would give up in the middle. Lots of political intrigue that I enjoyed, and I loved the idea of Zaira being tied to her falcon, Lady Amalia. True fantasy fans, go ahead and read this--I think you'll enjoy the world building.

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Wednesday, November 15, 2017

Review: DK Eyewitness Travel Guide Ireland

DK Eyewitness Travel Guide Ireland DK Eyewitness Travel Guide Ireland by DK Publishing
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

DK really does hire the best graphic designers in the business. This is a beautiful travel guide--the photographs are perfect (Fodor should take note) and the illustrations are amazingly clear and precise. DK is a British company, so the text is written as if most travelers are coming from England.

I wish they included the current cost of tickets into the touristy places--other guidebooks do that and I appreciate it so that I can plan what I can afford to do.

I wouldn't use this guide for hotels--most of the ones listed are expensive. Rick Steves wins on that front.

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Tuesday, November 14, 2017

Review: The Woman in the Window

The Woman in the Window The Woman in the Window by A.J. Finn
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

A throwback to the old Hitchcock thrillers--this one made me say, "Oh, shit!" at one point at the end of the novel. Slow going at first--the main character is depressed, addicted to drugs and alcohol, and suffering from extreme agoraphobia. She won't leave her house, and it seems like she prefers not to shower either. She gets her kicks from helping people in an online forum (she was a child psychologist before she was sick) and using her camera to spy on all her neighbors. She is THAT woman in the window--watching everyone creepily and freaking the neighbors out.

If you've read a lot of suspense thrillers with unreliable narrators, you'll guess some of the twists and turns of the book, but hopefully there will be at least one twist that gets you. I'm glad Fox bought the movie rights--this will make a great one! It's a classic thriller movie retold for modern times.

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Sunday, November 12, 2017

Review: A June of Ordinary Murders

A June of Ordinary Murders A June of Ordinary Murders by Conor Brady
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Great mix historical fiction (1880s Dublin) and the newness of police detective work. Sgt. Swallow has a great relationship with Dr. Lafeyre, the medical examiner, so it was fun to read about how they were trying out "new" detective techniques together. Lots of Irish corruption, thanks to the British authorities and unrest in the country during this time period, and I loved reading about familiar streets, pubs, and landmarks in the city.

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Review: A June of Ordinary Murders

A June of Ordinary Murders A June of Ordinary Murders by Conor Brady
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Great mix historical fiction (1880s Dublin) and the newness of police detective work. Sgt. Swallow has a great relationship with Dr. Lafeyre, the medical examiner, so it was fun to read about how they were trying out "new" detective techniques together. Lots of Irish corruption, thanks to the British authorities and unrest in the country during this time period, and I loved reading about familiar streets, pubs, and landmarks in the city.

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Friday, November 10, 2017

Review: Artemis

Artemis Artemis by Andy Weir
My rating: 3 of 5 stars

This book had so much potential, but the main character is more like a 15 year old boy than a 26 year old woman. I didn't think the main character's voice was authentic, which ruined the whole thing. Also, the action was written like a PG-13 movie script--lots of one-liner quips that were supposed to be funny but makes readers like me roll my eyes.

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Review: Turtles All the Way Down

Turtles All the Way Down Turtles All the Way Down by John Green
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Listening to a John Green novel feels like coming home to me, because I recognize his style. And I still enjoy it! Whip-smart young teens in this one, too, but Aza is struggling with obsessive thoughts and crippling anxiety. Those parts were difficult to listen to, which is the whole point, and it was interesting to get into the mind of someone like that. Loved the characterization and the dialogue--he's an expert. What kept this from being 5 stars was the mystery--I won't give any spoilers, but it never really seemed integrated or believable. I almost wanted it to be a magical realism moment instead.

I bet the police are thrilled that people will keep trying to get into the Indy sewers now. But, hey, I LOVED the Indy setting.

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Tuesday, November 7, 2017

Review: Sing, Unburied, Sing

Sing, Unburied, Sing Sing, Unburied, Sing by Jesmyn Ward
My rating: 0 of 5 stars

I stopped at 30% of the ARC on my Kindle. Beautiful and literary writing, but I just can't read a book about hopeless country people, meth, and bad parenting right now.

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Monday, November 6, 2017

Review: Dark Chapter

Dark Chapter Dark Chapter by Winnie M. Li
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

Vivian is used to traveling on her own--she's an Taiwanese-American living in London and studied abroad in Ireland years ago. When she's invited back to Northern Ireland to celebrate the ten year anniversary of the end of the Troubles, she thinks nothing of going for a hike by herself outside of Belfast. But a stupid and doped up 15-year-old Traveler decides she wants to have sex with him. With horrific and graphic detail, Vivian puts up with a lot of shit after her assault, but works with the Northern Ireland legal system to testify against her attacker, and, if there is such a thing as a happy ending to a crappy event, this book has it.

Obviously this book hit home to me, since I travel abroad alone a lot. I've never been one to hike on my own, but I've wandered down Belfast streets after midnight by myself plenty of times. The chapters from the point-of-view of the rapist were well researched--I felt like I understood (ugh) why he turned out the way he did. IQ and family. Ugh. But the way Vivian is treated by the doctors, nurses, and treatment centers after the attack is sad. We have to come up with a better way to treat assaulted people.

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Sunday, November 5, 2017

Review: Frommer's Ireland 2017

Frommer's Ireland 2017 Frommer's Ireland 2017 by Jack Jewers
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Liked the star feature of hotels, restaurants, and attractions. Perfect to review and add places to go/stay in my own Google Maps.

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Review: Rabbit Cake

Rabbit Cake Rabbit Cake by Annie Hartnett
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Hilarious and adorable audiobook about a sweet, smart kid who is thrust into a horrible situation. She's trying to make sense of her mother's recent death, her father's distance, and her sister's craziness, while focusing on her volunteer job at the zoo. Animals make more sense than her family!

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Friday, November 3, 2017

Wednesday, November 1, 2017

Review: Feast of Sorrow: A Novel of Ancient Rome

Feast of Sorrow: A Novel of Ancient Rome Feast of Sorrow: A Novel of Ancient Rome by Crystal King
My rating: 0 of 5 stars

I stopped on disk 4 of the audiobook--it just wasn't working for me. It was okay, but I like to listen to audiobooks that make driving fun.

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Tuesday, October 31, 2017

Review: The Dry

The Dry The Dry by Jane Harper
My rating: 0 of 5 stars

This audio wasn't effective--I didn't make it past the first disk because I had to keep changing the volume in my car. The Australian accent made it difficult for me to understand enough, but then when the narrator kept changing the volume of his voice, I gave up. I will have to try reading the actual book.

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Thursday, October 26, 2017

Review: Girls Made of Snow and Glass

Girls Made of Snow and Glass Girls Made of Snow and Glass by Melissa Bashardoust
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Another great YA retelling with a feminist twist. Wicked meets Frozen into Snow White!

I enjoyed the read, even if it seemed to be more for junior high readers instead of high school. Lots of angst here--women who want to be someone else but trapped by circumstance. I appreciated the twisting of many familiar elements into something new and unexpected.

I hope this gets some discussion at the Morris table. It isn't very literary, but teens will love it.

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Monday, October 23, 2017

Review: Cold Earth

Cold Earth Cold Earth by Ann Cleeves
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

I love these Shetland-based mysteries--they're just as good as the BBC television series! This one refers to an episode I haven't seen yet, but I'm hoping it is turned into a show, too, because it would be quite dramatic. Inspector Perez is still having a rough time with the loss of his wife, and he just can't bring himself to show his growing affection for Willow, the inspector from the mainland. When a former minor celebrity turns up dead in a landslide after some rainy weather, it takes the two of them to find out who did it and why.

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Friday, October 20, 2017

Thursday, October 19, 2017

Review: Zero Sugar Diet: The 14-Day Plan to Flatten Your Belly, Crush Cravings, and Help Keep You Lean for Life

Zero Sugar Diet: The 14-Day Plan to Flatten Your Belly, Crush Cravings, and Help Keep You Lean for Life Zero Sugar Diet: The 14-Day Plan to Flatten Your Belly, Crush Cravings, and Help Keep You Lean for Life by David Zinczenko
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Not very well written, but it makes a lot of sense. Thanks, ADM, (okay, he never mentioned that company in the book), for making sure that added sugar is in everything we eat. It is strange to think that 40 years ago most people wouldn't be overweight in America because the food was different then. I won't follow his diet exactly, but I liked learning about all the food that has added sugar. Basically, um, everything. I know I'll be looking at labels more carefully. Heck, even the A1 steak sauce I ate with the awesome tuna steak last night is something I shouldn't eat. So my rational brain will be reading labels more carefully and understanding why I crave certain foods. I've never been a chocolate craver--I'm more of a salty carb fan, but now I know why. All those added sugars make things delicious. As addictive as crack cocaine, which makes me cringe. I don't want to fall victim to that crap.

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Review: The Virgin Diet: Drop 7 Foods, Lose 7 Pounds, Just 7 Days

The Virgin Diet: Drop 7 Foods, Lose 7 Pounds, Just 7 Days The Virgin Diet: Drop 7 Foods, Lose 7 Pounds, Just 7 Days by J.J. Virgin
My rating: 3 of 5 stars

I skimmed through this book on my Cloud Library app--I never take them seriously when they start pushing their products. However, I did appreciate pulling some of the information about food intolerance, since that seems to be a problem I'm having now.

I will never follow her diet--no way will I cut out all dairy, soy, eggs, bread, corn, sugar, and sugar substitutes, but I recognize that cutting those out and slowly re-introducing them can help people figure out what foods they can't handle. Luckily, I've already had the allergy testing so I know my body is allergic to yeast and brewer's yeast, and that I'm lactose-intolerant. But don't ever take away my cheese, thank you. But I'm reading these books to convince myself that I need to stay away from added sugars and processed foods--it takes awhile for knowledge to soak into my drowning-in-salty-carbs brain.

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Saturday, October 14, 2017

Review: Hillbilly Elegy: A Memoir of a Family and Culture in Crisis

Hillbilly Elegy: A Memoir of a Family and Culture in Crisis Hillbilly Elegy: A Memoir of a Family and Culture in Crisis by J.D. Vance
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

I really do recommend reading this book, and then reading Sherman Alexie's You Don't Have to Say You Love Me. Vance's memoir is justification of why hillbillies in the rust belt are the way they are--they are declining rapidly as the generations go by. I am a product of the Scotch Irish, too, although my mom's side settled in southeast Indiana for a few generations after leaving Pennsylvania. And there the similarities end, other than the fact that I was raised to believe in work ethic and that my choices dictate where I end up, just like Vance's grandparents believed.

I did work in high schools in southern and central Illinois for 14 years, and I know exactly what kids were raised in families like Vance. They are the screamers and complainers--the ones who believe that EVERYONE is out to get them. And they don't take responsibility for their choices--ever. These are the kids that made me say "I wish I could take them away from their family" so that they had a chance. But the cycle repeats, the teenage pregnancy and drug use happens again, and very few escape. It's depressing. And we are supporting these families through social welfare, and our schools are trying their best to save some of these kids.

All rural and small town educators need to read this book. It's a great discussion starter, even if it isn't the sociologist tome that I was hoping it would turn into. I want a solution for the problems in my area of Illinois, yet Vance notes that it needs to be a community effort--not something that progressive schools can solve.

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Review: You'll Never Know, Dear

You'll Never Know, Dear You'll Never Know, Dear by Hallie Ephron
My rating: 2 of 5 stars

I kept debating on quitting this book, but I had to find out if I had guessed the criminal correctly. I did. Creepy dolls are mentioned throughout--two older women make and repair dolls for a living. Two children were snatched from their yards over the years in their small South Carolina town, and they had dolls in common. Now all the secrets come out when a missing girl may have been found 40 years later.

I never connected with any of the characters--this is one of those books with many short chapters like most popular fiction. But I did like Ephron's Never Tell a Lie so I kept hoping this would get better.

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Friday, October 13, 2017

Review: You Don't Have to Say You Love Me

You Don't Have to Say You Love Me You Don't Have to Say You Love Me by Sherman Alexie
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

Heartbreaking and oh, so good. Sherman Alexie has a way with words and his storytelling is what I want to read. Reading this memoir while listening to Hillbilly Elegy: A Memoir of a Family and Culture in Crisis was interesting--many parallels and similarities, but Alexie's grief and wordsmithing makes this a modern masterpiece. It is brave of him to publish this--I feel like I KNOW him and I want to hug him and thank his wife. I earmarked so many passages--crazy good poetry is interspersed throughout and his repeating of certain stories and passages that held meaning to him just made me more of an emotional wreck. This memoir gives you the feels.

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Monday, October 9, 2017

Review: The Right Side

The Right Side The Right Side by Spencer Quinn
My rating: 3 of 5 stars

I loved Quinn's Chet and Bernie books, so I had to give this standalone novel a try. LeAnne Hogan wakes up at Walter Reed, injured and suffering from PTSD. She's not in a good place, and I really felt like I connected with her in the first half of the book. However, about the last quarter of the book didn't ring true to me--things wrapped up quickly, some improbable events happen, and, even though things turned out okay, it was just too cheesy for me.

But yay for a dog helping her heal!

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Review: Thin Air

Thin Air Thin Air by Ann Cleeves
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

Classic British mystery, complete with a Shetland accent. Actually, I think it's a bit more of a posh Scottish accent, but I'll take it. Watch the BBC series Shetland if you haven't yet--it's awesome. And available from your library on DVD if you don't have Netflix.

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Wednesday, October 4, 2017

Review: Jihadi Jane

Jihadi Jane Jihadi Jane by Tabish Khair
My rating: 2 of 5 stars

I couldn't manage the writing style--very melodramatic, and the narration was annoying. The accents, too, were odd and not very even. And it felt preachy to me, like an after school special about radicalization.

"Why don't you go and fight then?" asked Ameena, "You know t' 'oly Quran as well as A do. Yer know it says: Allah shall grant to t'jihadis above t'holders back a mighty reward." (p.60)

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Review: The Alice Network

The Alice Network The Alice Network by Kate Quinn
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

This is perfect for those of you who love historical fiction. World War I AND II! Spies! Love! Heartache! Female friendships! It has everything. Some is, of course, hard to believe, but it was an enjoyable, if a bit long at times, read. This would make a great BBC miniseries.

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Tuesday, October 3, 2017

Review: This Fight Is Our Fight: The Battle to Save America's Middle Class

This Fight Is Our Fight: The Battle to Save America's Middle Class This Fight Is Our Fight: The Battle to Save America's Middle Class by Elizabeth Warren
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

This was so difficult to listen to, because it's hard to fight with the statistics and personal stories she gives. The state of the middle class right now refutes the whole trickle down theory of economics, yet I'm surrounded by people who believe it works. They believe that their life will improve when the rich people around them get richer. Unfortunately, rich people aren't that nice. History has proven that, thank you.

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Monday, October 2, 2017

Review: Killers of the Flower Moon: The Osage Murders and the Birth of the FBI

Killers of the Flower Moon: The Osage Murders and the Birth of the FBI Killers of the Flower Moon: The Osage Murders and the Birth of the FBI by David Grann
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Easy and engaging audiobook! I've read a few novels that discussed the Osage murders, and so this nonfiction work filled in the blanks for me. So many senseless murders of Native Americans, only to line the pockets of greedy white people. Stupid to think that Osage weren't "trusted" enough to handle their oil money and needed white "guardians" to manage (or steal) their money. Disgusting. And crazy to think that all this wasn't settled until 2011 when our American government paid the Osage over $300 million in apology money.

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Wednesday, September 27, 2017