Freakonomics
Book Review / February 29, 2016

Title: Freakonomics: A Rogue Economist Explores the Hidden Side of Everything Series: Freakonomics, #1 Author: Stephen Levitt; Stephen Dubner Genre: Non Fiction Publisher: William Morrow Release Date: November 15th, 2001 Format: Audiobook Pages: 320 Source: Library Which is more dangerous, a gun or a swimming pool? What do schoolteachers and sumo wrestlers have in common? Why do drug dealers still live with their moms? How much do parents really matter? How did the legalization of abortion affect the rate of violent crime? These may not sound like typical questions for an economist to ask. But Steven D. Levitt is not a typical economist. He is a much-heralded scholar who studies the riddles of everyday life—from cheating and crime to sports and child-rearing—and whose conclusions turn conventional wisdom on its head. Freakonomics is a groundbreaking collaboration between Levitt and Stephen J. Dubner, an award-winning author and journalist. They usually begin with a mountain of data and a simple question. Some of these questions concern life-and-death issues; others have an admittedly freakish quality. Thus the new field of study contained in this book: freakonomics. Through forceful storytelling and wry insight, Levitt and Dubner show that economics is, at root, the study of…

Lone Wolf and Cub, Vol. 4: The Bell Warden
Book Review / February 25, 2016

Title: Lone Wolf and Cub, Vol. 4: The Bell Warden Series: Lone Wolf and Cub, #4 Author: Kazuo Koike Genre: Graphic Novel Publisher: Dark Horse Manga Release Date: January 9th, 2001 Format: Paperback Pages: 311 Source: Library First Published: 1995 Illustrator: Goseki Kojima Dark Horse continues its presentation of the entirety of Japan’s Lone Wolf and Cub, one of the unquestioned landmarks of graphic fiction, packaged in the digest format preferred by creator Goseki Kojima. The fourth volume of this ambitious monthly program collects four classic Lone Wolf tales, including one never before seen in America, where little Daigoro searches for his lost father while amazing a well-known samurai with his warrior’s eyes and cool demeanor. Also, the Lone Wolf takes on the sons of the war-bell warden, legions of organized crime bosses, and a mysterious tattooed lady with a dark story and impeccable killing skills. It’s bloody and romantic…and among the best the comics medium has to offer. (via Goodreads) Amazon   The fourth volume of Lone Wolf and Cub really started to catch my attention. Like the previous volumes, this contains 4 stories continuing the tale of ronin Ogami Itto and his son Diagoro as they wander Edo-period…

The Perks of Being A Wallflower
Book Review / February 22, 2016

Title: The Perks of Being A Wallflower Author: Stephen Chobsky Genre: Coming of Age Publisher: MTV Books and Pocket Books Release Date: February 1st, 1999 Format: Paperback Pages: 213 Source: Library Charlie is a freshman. And while he’s not the biggest geek in the school, he is by no means popular. Shy, introspective, intelligent beyond his years yet socially awkward, he is a wallflower, caught between trying to live his life and trying to run from it. Charlie is attempting to navigate his way through uncharted territory: the world of first dates and mix tapes, family dramas and new friends; the world of sex, drugs, and The Rocky Horror Picture Show, when all one requires is that perfect song on that perfect drive to feel infinite. But he can’t stay on the sideline forever. Standing on the fringes of life offers a unique perspective. But there comes a time to see what it looks like from the dance floor. The Perks of Being a Wallflower is a deeply affecting coming-of-age story that will spirit you back to those wild and poignant roller-coaster days known as growing up. (via Goodreads) Amazon   The Perks of Being a Wallflower is one of the quintessential…

Illuminae
Book Review / February 15, 2016

Title: Illuminae Series: The Illuminae Files, #1 Author: Amie Kaufman and Jay Kristoff Genre: Science Fiction Publisher: Knopf Books for Young Readers Release Date: October 20th, 2015 Format: Hardback Pages: 599 Source: Library This morning, Kady thought breaking up with Ezra was the hardest thing she’d have to do. This afternoon, her planet was invaded. The year is 2575, and two rival megacorporations are at war over a planet that’s little more than an ice-covered speck at the edge of the universe. Too bad nobody thought to warn the people living on it. With enemy fire raining down on them, Kady and Ezra—who are barely even talking to each other—are forced to fight their way onto an evacuating fleet, with an enemy warship in hot pursuit. But their problems are just getting started. A deadly plague has broken out and is mutating, with terrifying results; the fleet’s AI, which should be protecting them, may actually be their enemy; and nobody in charge will say what’s really going on. As Kady hacks into a tangled web of data to find the truth, it’s clear only one person can help her bring it all to light: the ex-boyfriend she swore she’d never speak to…

My Life on the Road
Book Review / February 12, 2016

Title: My Life on the Road Author: Gloria Stienem Genre: Travel Publisher: Random House Release Date: October 27th, 2015 Format: eBook Pages: 276 Source: Owned Gloria Steinem—writer, activist, organizer, and one of the most inspiring leaders in the world—now tells a story she has never told before, a candid account of how her early years led her to live an on-the-road kind of life, traveling, listening to people, learning, and creating change. She reveals the story of her own growth in tandem with the growth of an ongoing movement for equality. This is the story at the heart of My Life on the Road. (via Goodreads) Amazon   Gloria Steinem’s most recent book, My Life on the Road, is a challenge to classify. Many call this book a memoir or an autobiography. However, it’s mostly a collection of events that Steinem happened to be around to experience, though not actively take part. So, it’s also a bit of a travelogue. But, not all these stories are Steinem’s experiences from traveling. Others, for lack of a firm grasp on genre just blanket this into feminism (is that a genre?) or even the most generic: non-fiction. It took me many more years to…

The Knife of Never Letting Go
Book Review / February 10, 2016

Title: The Knife of Never Letting Go Series: Chaos Walking, #1 Author: Patrick Ness Genre: Dystopian Publisher: Walker Release Date: May 5th, 2008 Format: E-book Pages: 479 Source: Library Prentisstown isn’t like other towns. Everyone can hear everyone else’s thoughts in an overwhelming, never-ending stream of Noise. Just a month away from the birthday that will make him a man, Todd and his dog, Manchee — whose thoughts Todd can hear too, whether he wants to or not — stumble upon an area of complete silence. They find that in a town where privacy is impossible, something terrible has been hidden — a secret so awful that Todd and Manchee must run for their lives. But how do you escape when your pursuers can hear your every thought? (via Goodreads) Amazon   I wish I knew where to start with this book. This is the story of Todd. Todd has a dog named Manchee, and in his settlement on the New World, he becomes a man when he turns 13. Todd cannot wait to become a man. That is– until his caregivers tell him to run away and never return. Suddenly, Todd learns that his entire life is a lie,…

The Darkest Minds
Book Review / February 8, 2016

Title: The Darkest Minds Series: The Darkest Minds, #1 Author: Alexandra Bracken Genre: Dystopian Lit Publisher: Disney Hyperian Release Date: December 18th, 2012 Format: Hardback Pages: 488 Source: Library When Ruby woke up on her tenth birthday, something about her had changed. Something alarming enough to make her parents lock her in the garage and call the police. Something that gets her sent to Thurmond, a brutal government “rehabilitation camp.” She might have survived the mysterious disease that’s killed most of America’s children, but she and the others have emerged with something far worse: frightening abilities they cannot control. Now sixteen, Ruby is one of the dangerous ones. When the truth comes out, Ruby barely escapes Thurmond with her life. Now she’s on the run, desperate to find the one safe haven left for kids like her-East River. She joins a group of kids who escaped their own camp. Liam, their brave leader, is falling hard for Ruby. But no matter how much she aches for him, Ruby can’t risk getting close. Not after what happened to her parents. When they arrive at East River, nothing is as it seems, least of all its mysterious leader. But there are other…

A Time To Kill
Book Review / February 1, 2016

Title: A Time To Kill Series: Jake Brigance, #1 Author: John Grisham Genre: Crime Thriller Publisher: Delta Release Date: July 1st, 1989 Format: Paperback Pages: 515 Source: Library The life of a ten-year-old girl is shattered by two drunken and remorseless young men. The mostly white town of Clanton in Ford County, Mississippi, reacts with shock and horror at the inhuman crime. Until her black father acquires an assault rifle and takes justice into his own outraged hands. For ten days, as burning crosses and the crack of sniper fire spread through the streets of Clanton, the nation sits spellbound as young defense attorney Jake Brigance struggles to save his client’s life–and then his own. (via Amazon) Amazon   In John Grisham’s first novel, life becomes complicated in Clanton, Mississippi when a black Vietnam veteran kills the two white men who raped and maimed his 10-year-old daughter when they are leaving the courthouse after their preliminary hearing. Enter young, passionate, honest local street lawyer, Jake Brigance. He takes the case to defend Carl Lee Hailey even though he thinks he cannot win. Why? Because this is the biggest case he can imagine and it will change his career forever. Little…

Mara Daughter of the Nile
Book Review / January 28, 2016

Title: Mara, Daughter of the Nile Author: Eloise Jarvis McGraw Genre: Historical Fiction Publisher: Puffin Books Release Date: Unknown day 1953 Format: Paperback Pages: 279 Source: Owned Mara is a proud and beautiful slave girl who yearns for freedom. In order to gain it, she finds herself playing the dangerous role of double spy for two arch enemies – each of whom supports a contender for the throne of Egypt. Against her will, Mara finds herself falling in love with one of her masters, the noble Sheftu, and she starts to believe in his plans of restoring Thutmose III to the throne. But just when Mara is ready to offer Sheftu her help and her heart, her duplicity is discovered, and a battle ensues in which both Mara’s life and the fate of Egypt are at stake. (via Goodreads) Amazon   Let’s hear it for strong female protagonists found in books published in 1953! Mara is a suspiciously well-educated, intelligent, crafty, and (obviously)painfully beautiful slave. She yearns for adventure and freedom.Her command of both the Egyptian and Babylonian languages lands her on an adventure away from traditional enslavement, and out into the royal city of Thebes where she acts as…

2 A.M. at The Cat’s Pajamas
Book Review / January 26, 2016

Title: 2 A.M. at The Cat's Pajamas Author: Marie-Helene Bertino Genre: Fiction Publisher: Crown Release Date: August 5th, 2014 Format: Audiobook Pages: 272 (7 hours, 14 minutes) Source: Library Madeleine Altimari is a smart-mouthed, precocious nine-year-old and an aspiring jazz singer. As she mourns the recent death of her mother, she doesn’t realize that on Christmas Eve she is about to have the most extraordinary day—and night—of her life. After bravely facing down mean-spirited classmates and rejection at school, Madeleine doggedly searches for Philadelphia’s legendary jazz club The Cat’s Pajamas, where she’s determined to make her on-stage debut. On the same day, her fifth grade teacher Sarina Greene, who’s just moved back to Philly after a divorce, is nervously looking forward to a dinner party that will reunite her with an old high school crush, afraid to hope that sparks might fly again. And across town at The Cat’s Pajamas, club owner Lorca discovers that his beloved haunt may have to close forever, unless someone can find a way to quickly raise the $30,000 that would save it. As these three lost souls search for love, music and hope on the snow-covered streets of Philadelphia, together they will discover life’s…

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