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…

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 Screwtape Letters
Book Review / December 15, 2016

Title: The Screwtape Letters Author: C.S. Lewis Genre: Theology Publisher: HarperOne Release Date: October 8th, 2013 Format: Hardback Pages: 169 Source: Library First Published: 1942 This extraordinary little book is a startling, unique, and powerful presentation of the old, old problem of the continuous battle for the soul of man between the insidious forces of evil and the triumphant forces of good. It consists of a series of letters written by Screwtape (an important official in his Satanic Majesty’s “Lowerarchy”) to Wormwood, his nephew, who is a junior devil on earth. The letters are instruction in temptation as to how to corrupt the faith of Wormwood’s “patient,” who is in danger of becoming a Christian. “The book sparkles with wit and reveals on every page a penetrating understanding of man’s spiritual struggle upward toward the City of God. Its incisive truth, its scintillating style cry out for quotation. The reader will irresistibly find himself carrying it about, reading it to anyone who will listen. It is a perfect joy and should become a classic.” (via Goodreads) Amazon C.S. Lewis is known as a Christian apologist. This means he presents reasoned, logical, evidential bases for Christianity. In fact, he is known…

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. Amazon 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….

At Home with Madhur Jaffrey
Book Review / December 8, 2016

Title: At Home with Madhur Jaffrey Author: Madhur Jaffrey Genre: Cookbook Publisher: Knopf Release Date: October 19th, 2010 Format: Hardback Pages: 320 Source: Library For all who love the magical flavors of good Indian cooking and want to reproduce effortlessly some of the delectable dishes from that part of the world, here is a groundbreaking book from the incomparable Madhur Jaffrey that makes it possible. By deconstructing age-old techniques and reducing the number of steps in a recipe, as well as helping us to understand the nature of each spice and seasoning, she enables us to make seemingly exotic Indian dishes part of our everyday cooking. • First, she tantalizes us with bite-size delights to snack on with drinks or tea. • A silky soup is mellowed with coconut milk; a spinach-and-ginger soup is perfumed with cloves. • Fish and seafood are transformed by simple rubs and sauces and new ways of cooking. • A lover of eggs and chicken dishes, Jaffrey offers fresh and easy ways to cook them, including her favorite masala omelet and simple poached eggs over vegetables. There’s chicken from western Goa cooked in garlic, onion, and a splash of vinegar; from Bombay, it’s with apricots;…

The Complete Persepolis
Book Review / September 3, 2016

Title: The Complete Persepolis Series: Persepolis, #1 & 2 Author: Marjane Satrapi Genre: Memoir Publisher: Pantheon Release Date: October 30th, 2007 Format: Trade Paperback Pages: 341 Source: Library Here, in one volume: Marjane Satrapi’s best-selling, internationally acclaimed memoir-in-comic-strips. Persepolis is the story of Satrapi’s unforgettable childhood and coming of age within a large and loving family in Tehran during the Islamic Revolution; of the contradictions between private life and public life in a country plagued by political upheaval; of her high school years in Vienna facing the trials of adolescence far from her family; of her homecoming–both sweet and terrible; and, finally, of her self-imposed exile from her beloved homeland. It is the chronicle of a girlhood and adolescence at once outrageous and familiar, a young life entwined with the history of her country yet filled with the universal trials and joys of growing up. Edgy, searingly observant, and candid, often heartbreaking but threaded throughout with raw humor and hard-earned wisdom–Persepolis is a stunning work from one of the most highly regarded, singularly talented graphic artists at work today. (via Goodreads) Amazon With The Complete Persepolis, Marjane Satrapi achieves what many before her have strived to do– but none have succeeded so…

Modern Romance
Book Review / August 26, 2016

Title: Modern Romance Author: Aziz Ansari and Eric Klinenberg Genre: Humor Publisher: Penguin Press Release Date: June 16th, 2015 Format: Hardback Pages: 277 Source: Library At some point, every one of us embarks on a journey to find love. We meet people, date, get into and out of relationships, all with the hope of finding someone with whom we share a deep connection. This seems standard now, but it’s wildly different from what people did even just decades ago. Single people today have more romantic options than at any point in human history. With technology, our abilities to connect with and sort through these options are staggering. So why are so many people frustrated? Some of our problems are unique to our time. “Why did this guy just text me an emoji of a pizza?” “Should I go out with this girl even though she listed Combos as one of her favorite snack foods? Combos?!” “My girlfriend just got a message from some dude named Nathan. Who’s Nathan? Did he just send her a photo of his penis? Should I check just to be sure?”  But the transformation of our romantic lives can’t be explained by technology alone. In a short period of time, the whole culture of finding love has changed dramatically. A few decades ago, people would find…

What If?
Book Review / June 15, 2016

Title: What If?: Serious Scientific Answers to Absurd Hypothetical Questions Author: Randall Munroe Genre: Non-Fiction Publisher: Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Release Date: September 2nd, 2014 Format: Audiobook Pages: 303 Source: Library Randall Munroe left NASA in 2005 to start up his hugely popular site XKCD ‘a web comic of romance, sarcasm, math and language’ which offers a witty take on the world of science and geeks. It now has 600,000 to a million page hits daily. Every now and then, Munroe would get emails asking him to arbitrate a science debate. ‘My friend and I were arguing about what would happen if a bullet got struck by lightning, and we agreed that you should resolve it . . . ‘ He liked these questions so much that he started up What If.  If your cells suddenly lost the power to divide, how long would you survive? How dangerous is it, really, to be in a swimming pool in a thunderstorm? If we hooked turbines to people exercising in gyms, how much power could we produce? What if everyone only had one soulmate? When (if ever) did the sun go down on the British empire?  How fast can you hit a speed bump…

El Deafo
Book Review / June 4, 2016

Title: El Deafo Author: Cece Bell Genre: Graphic Novel Publisher: Harry N. Abrams Release Date: September 2nd, 2014 Format: Paperback Pages: 248 Source: Library Starting at a new school is scary, even more so with a giant hearing aid strapped to your chest! At her old school, everyone in Cece’s class was deaf. Here she is different. She is sure the kids are staring at the Phonic Ear, the powerful aid that will help her hear her teacher. Too bad it also seems certain to repel potential friends.  Then Cece makes a startling discovery. With the Phonic Ear she can hear her teacher not just in the classroom, but anywhere her teacher is in school–in the hallway…in the teacher’s lounge…in the bathroom! This is power. Maybe even superpower! Cece is on her way to becoming El Deafo, Listener for All. But the funny thing about being a superhero is that it’s just another way of feeling different… and lonely. Can Cece channel her powers into finding the thing she wants most, a true friend? This funny perceptive graphic novel memoir about growing up hearing impaired is also an unforgettable book about growing up, and all the super and super embarrassing…

Pet-Friendly Francie Scores a Pooch
Book Review / January 18, 2016

Title: Pet-Friendly Francie Scores a Pooch Author: Kat E. Erikson Genre: Children's Literature Publisher: Self-Published Release Date: May 4th, 2015 Format: eBook Pages: 67 Source: eBook Eight-year-old Francie Waggit wants a pet so badly it hurts. But like her dad says, caring for pets takes time and money, and the Waggit family can’t spare much of either – especially with Francie’s mom off in Africa rescuing baby elephants. No matter how much Francie plays pretend that her dad is a type of PET (Physical Education Teacher), he just can’t fill the shoes, or paws, of a real furry friend. So when a loveable stray named Scrimmy literally leaps into Francie’s life at a San Francisco 49ers football game right before Christmas, her father finally agrees to “tryout” a pet. Francie’s wish came true! Almost. Turns out, her new rescue dog is loyal to a fault: be it high fences, locked doggy doors, or elementary school rules, Scrimmy will stop at nothing to stay by Francie’s side. Can Francie help her faithful foster pooch make the Waggit team for keeps? Or will she have to give up her Best Furry Friend forever? Pet-Friendly Francie is ideal for children ready to advance…

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