Between Shades of Gray
Book Review / November 16, 2017

Title: Between Shades of Gray Author: Ruta Sepetys Genre: Historical Fiction Publisher: Penguin Audio Release Date: March 22nd, 2011 Format: Audiobook Pages: 344 Source: Owned Lina is just like any other fifteen-year-old Lithuanian girl in 1941. She paints, she draws, she gets crushes on boys. Until one night when Soviet officers barge into her home, tearing her family from the comfortable life they’ve known. Separated from her father, forced onto a crowded and dirty train car, Lina, her mother, and her young brother slowly make their way north, crossing the Arctic Circle, to a work camp in the coldest reaches of Siberia. Here they are forced, under Stalin’s orders, to dig for beets and fight for their lives under the cruelest of conditions. Lina finds solace in her art, meticulously–and at great risk–documenting events by drawing, hoping these messages will make their way to her father’s prison camp to let him know they are still alive. It is a long and harrowing journey, spanning years and covering 6,500 miles, but it is through incredible strength, love, and hope that Lina ultimately survives. Between Shades of Gray is a novel that will steal your breath and capture your heart. (via Goodreads) Goodreads Amazon…

#AnneReadAlong2017 : Anne of Ingleside
#AnneReadAlong2017 , Book Review / November 10, 2017

Title: Anne of Ingleside Series: Anne of Green Gables, #6 Author: L.M. Montgomery Genre: Classic Publisher: Starfire Release Date: June 1st, 1984 Format: Hardcover Pages: 274 Source: Library First Published: 1939 Anne is the mother of five, with never a dull moment in her lively home. And now with a new baby on the way and insufferable Aunt Mary visiting – and wearing out her welcome – Anne’s life is full to bursting. Still, Mrs Doctor can’t think of any place she’d rather be than her own beloved Ingleside. Until the day she begins to worry that her adored Gilbert doesn’t love her anymore. How could that be? She may be a little older, but she’s still the same irrepressible, irreplaceable redhead – the wonderful Anne of Green Gables, all grown up… She’s ready to make her cherished husband fall in love with her all over again! (via Goodreads) Goodreads Amazon   Somehow, in all my excitement in October (aka: Overwhelming Busyness), I never managed to post my review for Anne of Ingleside! Well, better late than never right? It’s hard to believe there are only two books left after this… The 6th book in the Anne of Green Gables…

A Tyranny of Petticoats
Book Review / October 20, 2017

Title: A Tyranny of Petticoats Series: A Tyranny of Petticoats, #1 Genre: Historical Fiction Publisher: Candlewick Press Release Date: March 8th, 2016 Format: Hardocver Pages: 368 Source: Library Editor: Jessica Spotswood From an impressive sisterhood of YA writers comes an edge-of-your-seat anthology of historical fiction and fantasy featuring a diverse array of daring heroines. Criss-cross America — on dogsleds and ships, stagecoaches and trains — from pirate ships off the coast of the Carolinas to the peace, love, and protests of 1960s Chicago. Join fifteen of today’s most talented writers of young adult literature on a thrill ride through history with American girls charting their own course. They are monsters and mediums, bodyguards and barkeeps, screenwriters and schoolteachers, heiresses and hobos. They’re making their own way in often-hostile lands, using every weapon in their arsenals, facing down murderers and marriage proposals. And they all have a story to tell. With stories by: J. Anderson Coats Andrea Cremer Y. S. Lee Katherine Longshore Marie Lu Kekla Magoon Marissa Meyer Saundra Mitchell Beth Revis Caroline Tung Richmond Lindsay Smith Jessica Spotswood Robin Talley Leslye Walton Elizabeth Wein  (via Goodreads) Goodreads Amazon   I have nothing against short stories, but I tend to…

Poison Study
Book Review / October 13, 2017

Title: Poison Study Series: Study, #1 Author: Maria V. Snyder Genre: Fantasy Publisher: Mira Release Date: March 1st 2007 Format: Paperback Pages: 409 Source: Library First Published: October 1st, 2005 Choose: A quick death…Or slow poison… About to be executed for murder, Yelena is offered an extraordinary reprieve. She’ll eat the best meals, have rooms in the palace—and risk assassination by anyone trying to kill the Commander of Ixia. And so Yelena chooses to become a food taster. But the chief of security, leaving nothing to chance, deliberately feeds her Butterfly’s Dust—and only by appearing for her daily antidote will she delay an agonizing death from the poison. As Yelena tries to escape her new dilemma, disasters keep mounting. Rebels plot to seize Ixia and Yelena develops magical powers she can’t control. Her life is threatened again and choices must be made. But this time the outcomes aren’t so clear… (via Goodreads) Goodreads Amazon   I recommended this to one of my book clubs for purely selfish reasons. A few different bloggers kept raving about this series over the past year on their blogs. It came up again and again– I knew I just had to check it out, but…

Call It Courage
Book Review / October 6, 2017

Title: Call it Courage Author: Armstrong Sperry Genre: Survival Publisher: Listening Library Release Date: January 22nd, 2008 Format: Audiobook Pages: 128 Source: Library First Published: 1940 A boy tries to overcome his fear of the sea in this treasured classic and winner of the Newbery Medal. Maftu was afraid of the sea. It had taken his mother when he was a baby, and it seemed to him that the sea gods sought vengeance at having been cheated of Mafatu. So, though he was the son of the Great Chief of Hikueru, a race of Polynesians who worshipped courage, and he was named Stout Heart, he feared and avoided tha sea, till everyone branded him a coward. When he could no longer bear their taunts and jibes, he determined to conquer that fear or be conquered– so he went off in his canoe, alone except for his little dog and pet albatross. A storm gave him his first challenge. Then days on a desert island found him resourceful beyond his own expectation. This is the story of how his courage grew and how he finally returned home. This is a legend. It happened many years ago, but even today the people…

Attachments
Book Review , Buddy Read / October 2, 2017

Title: Attachments Author: Rainbow Rowell Genre: Contemporary Publisher: Plume Release Date: March 27th, 2012 Format: Paperback Pages: 323 Source: Library “Hi, I’m the guy who reads your e-mail, and also, I love you…” Beth Fremont and Jennifer Scribner-Snyder know that somebody is monitoring their work e-mail. (Everybody in the newsroom knows. It’s company policy.) But they can’t quite bring themselves to take it seriously. They go on sending each other endless and endlessly hilarious e-mails, discussing every aspect of their personal lives. Meanwhile, Lincoln O’Neill can’t believe this is his job now- reading other people’s e-mail. When he applied to be “internet security officer,” he pictured himself building firewalls and crushing hackers- not writing up a report every time a sports reporter forwards a dirty joke. When Lincoln comes across Beth’s and Jennifer’s messages, he knows he should turn them in. But he can’t help being entertained-and captivated-by their stories. By the time Lincoln realizes he’s falling for Beth, it’s way too late to introduce himself. What would he say . . . ? (via Goodreads) Goodreads Amazon   I am a HUGE Rainbow Rowell fan. I am drawn to realistic characters, character-driven stories, and character/relationship development over the course…

All-American Boys
Book Review / September 28, 2017

Title: All-American Boys Author: Jason Reynolds and Brendan Kiely Genre: Contemporary Publisher: Atheneum Books Release Date: September 29th, 2015 Format: Hardcover Pages: 316 Source: Library Rashad is absent again today. That’s the sidewalk graffiti that started it all… Well, no, actually, a lady tripping over Rashad at the store, making him drop a bag of chips, was what started it all. Because it didn’t matter what Rashad said next—that it was an accident, that he wasn’t stealing—the cop just kept pounding him. Over and over, pummeling him into the pavement. So then Rashad, an ROTC kid with mad art skills, was absent again…and again…stuck in a hospital room. Why? Because it looked like he was stealing. And he was a black kid in baggy clothes. So he must have been stealing. And that’s how it started. And that’s what Quinn, a white kid, saw. He saw his best friend’s older brother beating the daylights out of a classmate. At first Quinn doesn’t tell a soul…He’s not even sure he understands it. And does it matter? The whole thing was caught on camera, anyway. But when the school—and nation—start to divide on what happens, blame spreads like wildfire fed by ugly words like…

Snow Crash
Book Review / September 3, 2017

Title: Snow Crash Author: Neal Stephenson Genre: Science Fiction Publisher: Bantam Books Release Date: August 2nd, 2000 Format: Paperback Pages: 470 Source: Library First Published: June 1992 In reality, Hiro Protagonist delivers pizza for Uncle Enzo’s CosoNostra Pizza Inc., but in the Metaverse he’s a warrior prince. Plunging headlong into the enigma of a new computer virus that’s striking down hackers everywhere, he races along the neon-lit streets on a search-and-destroy mission for the shadowy virtual villain threatening to bring about infocalypse. Snow Crash is a mind-altering romp through a future America so bizarre, so outrageous…you’ll recognize it immediately. (via Goodreads) Amazon   I am both in love and completely over Snow Crash at the same time. Talk about confusing. Snow Crash reads like watching The Matrix for the first time– it’s mind blowing, action-packed, brilliant, and annoying all simultaneously. That said, I couldn’t put it down. Stephenson rebooted the cyberpunk genre with this novel, and for good reason.  But it runs you over a bit like a steamroller. So, instead of my traditional review, I am giving you a loves/hates list. Because… my brain cannot really comprehend this whole this: All information looks like noise until you break the…

The Best We Could Do
Book Review / August 12, 2017

Title: The Best We Could Do Author: Thi Bui Genre: Graphic Memoir Publisher: Abrams ComicArts Release Date: March 7th, 2017 Format: eBook Pages: 330 Source: NetGalley Illustrator: Thi Bui An intimate and poignant graphic novel portraying one family’s journey from war-torn Vietnam from debut author Thi Bui. This beautifully illustrated and emotional story is an evocative memoir about the search for a better future and a longing for the past. Exploring the anguish of immigration and the lasting effects that displacement has on a child and her family, Bui documents the story of her family’s daring escape after the fall of South Vietnam in the 1970s, and the difficulties they faced building new lives for themselves. At the heart of Bui’s story is a universal struggle: While adjusting to life as a first-time mother, she ultimately discovers what it means to be a parent—the endless sacrifices, the unnoticed gestures, and the depths of unspoken love. Despite how impossible it seems to take on the simultaneous roles of both parent and child, Bui pushes through. With haunting, poetic writing and breathtaking art, she examines the strength of family, the importance of identity, and the meaning of home. In what Pulitzer Prize–winning…

The Underground Railroad
Book Review / August 9, 2017

Title: The Underground Railroad Author: Colson Whitehead Genre: Historical Fiction Publisher: Doubleday Release Date: August 2nd, 2016 Format: Audiobook Pages: 306 Source: Library Cora is a slave on a cotton plantation in Georgia. Life is hellish for all the slaves but especially bad for Cora; an outcast even among her fellow Africans, she is coming into womanhood – where even greater pain awaits. When Caesar, a recent arrival from Virginia, tells her about the Underground Railroad, they decide to take a terrifying risk and escape. Matters do not go as planned and, though they manage to find a station and head north, they are being hunted. In Whitehead’s ingenious conception, the Underground Railroad is no mere metaphor – engineers and conductors operate a secret network of tracks and tunnels beneath the Southern soil. Cora and Caesar’s first stop is South Carolina, in a city that initially seems like a haven – but the city’s placid surface masks an insidious scheme designed for its black denizens. Even worse: Ridgeway, the relentless slave catcher, is close on their heels. Forced to flee again, Cora embarks on a harrowing flight, state by state, seeking true freedom. As Whitehead brilliantly re-creates the unique terrors…

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