Mom & Me & Mom
Book Review / February 23, 2017

Title: Mom & Me & Mom Series: Maya Angelou's Autobiographies, #7 Author: Maya Angelou Genre: Memoir Publisher: Random House Release Date: April 2nd, 2013 Format: Audiobook Pages: 201 Source: Library First Published: January 1st, 2013 The story of Maya Angelou’s extraordinary life has been chronicled in her multiple bestselling autobiographies. But now, at last, the legendary author shares the deepest personal story of her life: her relationship with her mother. For the first time, Angelou reveals the triumphs and struggles of being the daughter of Vivian Baxter, an indomitable spirit whose petite size belied her larger-than-life presence—a presence absent during much of Angelou’s early life. When her marriage began to crumble, Vivian famously sent three-year-old Maya and her older brother away from their California home to live with their grandmother in Stamps, Arkansas. The subsequent feelings of abandonment stayed with Angelou for years, but their reunion, a decade later, began a story that has never before been told. In Mom & Me & Mom, Angelou dramatizes her years reconciling with the mother she preferred to simply call “Lady,” revealing the profound moments that shifted the balance of love and respect between them. Delving into one of her life’s most rich, rewarding,…

Steelheart
Book Review / February 20, 2017

Title: Steelheart Series: The Reckoners, #1 Author: Brandon Sanderson Genre: Science Fiction Publisher: Delacorte Books for Young Readers Release Date: September 24th, 2013 Format: eBook Pages: 384 Source: Library   Ten years ago, Calamity came. It was a burst in the sky that gave ordinary men and women extraordinary powers. The awed public started calling them Epics. But Epics are no friend of man. With incredible gifts came the desire to rule. And to rule man you must crush his will. Nobody fights the Epics…nobody but the Reckoners. A shadowy group of ordinary humans, they spend their lives studying Epics, finding their weaknesses, and then assassinating them. And David wants in. He wants Steelheart — the Epic who is said to be invincible. The Epic who killed David’s father. For years, like the Reckoners, David’s been studying, and planning — and he has something they need. Not an object, but an experience. He’s seen Steelheart bleed. And he wants revenge. (via Goodreads) GoodreadsAmazon   Brandon Sanderson is a powerhouse of science fiction and fantasy writing. He has published over thirty novels in his 41 years of life and continues to write more and more and more. He has announcements for…

Jazz Day: The Making of a Photograph
Book Review / February 6, 2017

Title: Jazz Day: The Making of a Photograph Author: Roxane Orgill Genre: Poetry Publisher: Candlewick Press Release Date: March 6th, 2016 Format: Hardback Pages: 66 Source: Library Illustrator: Francis Vallejo What happens when you invite as many jazz musicians as you can to pose for a photo in 1950s Harlem? Playful verse and glorious artwork capture an iconic moment for American jazz. When Esquire magazine planned an issue to salute the American jazz scene in 1958, graphic designer Art Kane pitched a crazy idea: how about gathering a group of beloved jazz musicians and photographing them? He didn’t own a good camera, didn’t know if any musicians would show up, and insisted on setting up the shoot in front of a Harlem brownstone. Could he pull it off? In a captivating collection of poems, Roxane Orgill steps into the frame of Harlem 1958, bringing to life the musicians’ mischief and quirks, their memorable style, and the vivacious atmosphere of a Harlem block full of kids on a hot summer’s day. Francis Vallejo’s vibrant, detailed, and wonderfully expressive paintings do loving justice to the larger-than-life quality of jazz musicians of the era. Includes bios of several of the fifty-seven musicians, an author’s note, sources, a…

Bridget Jones’s Diary
Book Review / January 31, 2017

Title: Bridget Jones's Diary Series: Bridget Jones, #1 Author: Helen Fielding Genre: Retelling Publisher: Viking Adult Release Date: July 1st, 1998 Format: Hardcover Pages: 288 Source: Library First Published: 1996 “130 lbs. (how is it possible to put on 4 pounds overnight? Could flesh have somehow solidified becoming denser and heavier (repulsive, horrifying notion)); alcohol units 2 (excellent) cigarettes 21 (poor but will give up totally tomorrow); number of correct lottery numbers 2 (better, but nevertheless useless)?” This laugh-out-loud chronicle charts a year in the life of Bridget Jones, a single girl on a permanent, doomed quest for self-improvement–in which she resolves to: visit the gym three times a week not merely to buy a sandwich, form a functional relationship with a responsible adult, and not fall for any of the following: misogynists, megalomaniacs, adulterers, workaholics, chauvinists or perverts. And learn to program the VCR. Caught between her Singleton friends, who are all convinced they will end up dying alone and found three weeks later half-eaten by an Alsatian, and the Smug Marrieds, whose dinner parties offer ever-new opportunities for humiliation, Bridget struggles to keep her life on an even keel (or at least afloat). Through it all, she will…

Akata Witch
Book Review / January 12, 2017

Title: Akata Witch Series: Akata Witch, #1 Author: Nnedi Okorafor Genre: Fantasy Publisher: Viking Children's Release Date: April 14th, 2011 Format: eBook Pages: 369 Source: Library Twelve-year-old Sunny lives in Nigeria, but she was born American. Her features are African, but she’s albino. She’s a terrific athlete, but can’t go out into the sun to play soccer. There seems to be no place where she fits. And then she discovers something amazing-she is a “free agent,” with latent magical power. Soon she’s part of a quartet of magic students, studying the visible and invisible, learning to change reality. But will it be enough to help them when they are asked to catch a career criminal who knows magic too? (via Goodreads) GoodreadsAmazon   A fantasy novel about an albino girl in Nigeria who, on the cusp of adolescence, discovers she is a witch and works to save the world with her newly found best friends. On the surface, Akata Witch sounds like it will be ripe with predictability and poorly represented characters filling tropes. But it is so much more than that. Prejudice begets prejudice, you see. Knowledge does not always evolve into wisdom. Sunny is twelve-years-old and can’t seem…

Clockwork Angels
Book Review / January 5, 2017

Title: Clockwork Angels Series: Clockwork Angels, #1 Author: Kevin J. Anderson & Neal Peart Genre: Steampunk Publisher: ECW Press Release Date: January 1st, 2012 Format: Hardback Pages: 315 Source: Borrowed from Friends Illustrator: Hugh Syme A remarkable collaboration that is unprecedented in its scope and realization, this exquisitely wrought novel represents an artistic project between the bestselling science fiction author Kevin J. Anderson and the multiplatinum rock band Rush. The newest album by Rush, Clockwork Angels, sets forth a story in Neil Peart’s lyrics that has been expanded by him and Anderson into this epic novel. In a young man’s quest to follow his dreams, he is caught between the grandiose forces of order and chaos. He travels across a lavish and colorful world of steampunk and alchemy with lost cities, pirates, anarchists, exotic carnivals, and a rigid Watchmaker who imposes precision on every aspect of daily life. The mind-bending story is complemented with rich paintings by the five-time Juno Award winner for Best Album Design, Hugh Syme. GoodreadsAmazon   When I was in middle school, I adored binge reading series books. In fact, I had decided in 7th grade I would read EVERY SINGLE Star Wars Universe novel (now called…

Mini-Review: The Sigh
Book Review / December 19, 2016

Title: The Sigh Author: Marjane Satrapi Genre: Fairy Tale Publisher: Archaia Entertainment Release Date: December 13th, 2001 Format: Hardcover Pages: 52 Source: Library First Published: 2004 Rose is one of three daughters of a rich merchant who always brings gifts for his girls from the market. One day Rose asks for the seed of a blue bean, but he fails to find one for her. She lets out a sigh in resignation, and her sigh attracts the Sigh, a mysterious being that brings the seed she desired to the merchant. But every debt has to be paid, and every gift has a price, and the Sigh returns a year later to take the merchant’s daughter to a secret and distant palace. (via Goodreads) GoodreadsAmazon A variation on a traditional Azerbaijani fairy tale, The Sigh is a breath of fresh air for those used to the saccharine-sweet Disney tales. More in line with traditional Grimm and Scheherazade tales, Satrapi’s interpretation isn’t completely gruesome but contains all the iconic fairy tale details a lover of this genre would appreciate. The Sigh tells the story of Rose, the youngest daughter of a merchant who promises to bring his daughter’s heart’s desires upon returning from…

Mini Review: A Moon of My Own
Book Review / December 9, 2016

Title: A Moon of My Own Author: Jennifer Rustgi Genre: Picture Book Publisher: Dawn Publications Release Date: September 1st, 2016 Format: Paperback Pages: 32 Source: Owned Illustrator: Ashley White An imaginative young girl travels the world with her faithful companion, the moon. In her enchanted adventure she visits all seven continents while the moon goes through its cycle of phases as portrayed in silhouetted art. “Explore More” sections for kids and adults offer information and activities on phases of the moon and other aspects of astronomy and geography. GoodreadsAmazon When this book arrived on my doorstep, I knew it was something special. Inspired by her daughter asking, “Mama, why does the Moon always follow me?” author Jennifer Rustgi explores this idea within the pages of A Moon of One’s Own. A young girl in goulashes and carrying a stick is wandering the world having a conversation with the moon. She asks if the Moon is lonely or playing hide and seek. She compliments it’s brightness and appreciates the aurora borealis. A heart warming short story, this is perfect for bedtime. I adore the artwork of this book. The large glossy pages jumped out at me, but in a muted way….

Building a Movement to End the New Jim Crow
Book Review / November 11, 2016

Title: Building a Movement to End the New Jim Crow: an organizing guide Author: Daniel Hunter Genre: Social Justice; Self Help Publisher: Veterans of Hope Release Date: February 27th, 2015 Format: eBook Pages: 81 Source: Owned Expanding on the call to action in Michelle Alexander’s acclaimed best-seller, The New Jim Crow, this accessible organizing guide puts tools in your hands to help you and your group understand how to make meaningful, effective change. Learn about your role in movement-building and how to pick and build campaigns that contribute towards a bigger mass movement against the largest penal system in the world. This important new resource offers examples from this and other movements, time-tested organizing techniques, and vision to inspire, challenge, and motivate. (via Goodreads) GoodreadsAmazon   It’s been a few days since I’ve posted anything. A lot has been happening in my home country of the good ol’ US of A. It’s been an emotional roller coaster to say the least. I don’t want to get political here— heck, I barely get political in my daily life. However, it’s obvious to me that a lot of people in my social circles feel trapped and scared. Everyone is entitled to their emotions and…

The Girl From Everywhere
Book Review / November 7, 2016

Title: The Girl From Everywhere Series: The Girl From Everywhere, #1 Author: Heidi Heilig Genre: Magical Realism Publisher: Greenwillow Books Release Date: February 16th, 2016 Format: Audiobook Pages: 443 Source: Library Nix has spent her entire life aboard her father’s ship, sailing across the centuries, across the world, across myth and imagination. As long as her father has a map for it, he can sail to any time, any place, real or imagined: nineteenth-century China, the land from One Thousand and One Nights, a mythic version of Africa. Along the way they have found crewmates and friends, and even a disarming thief who could come to mean much more to Nix. But the end to it all looms closer every day. Her father is obsessed with obtaining the one map, 1868 Honolulu, that could take him back to his lost love, Nix’s mother. Even though getting it—and going there—could erase Nix’s very existence. For the first time, Nix is entering unknown waters. She could find herself, find her family, find her own fantastical ability, her own epic love. Or she could disappear. (via Goodreads) GoodreadsAmazon The Girl From Everywhere is everything and nothing like I expected it to be. Time-travelling pirate…