Sarah, Plain and Tall
Book Review / April 7, 2016

Title: Sarah, Plain and Tall Series: Sarah, Plain and Tall, #1 Author: Patricia MacLachlan Genre: Historical Fiction Publisher: Harper & Row Release Date: April 1st, 1985 Format: Paperback Pages: 64 Source: Library “I will come by train. I will wear a yellow bonnet. I am plain and tall.” A heartwarming story about two children, Anna and Caleb, whose lives are changed forever when their widowed papa advertises for a mail-order bride. Sarah Elisabeth Wheaton from Maine answers the ad and agrees to come for a month. Sarah brings gifts from the sea, a cat named Seal, and singing and laughter to the quiet house. But will she like it enough to stay? Anna and Caleb wait and wonder — and hope. (via Goodreads) Amazon     As part of a quest to read all the Newbery Medal and Honor winners, I knew I’d have to re-read some books I read as a child. Darn. That sounds terrible. Just kidding. In conjunction with a re-read challenge, my first Newbery for this year is Sarah, Plain and Tall. The first time I read it, I remember being mesmerized by the “exotic” lifestyle of living in Wyoming on a farm. I grew up…

The Color Purple
Book Review / March 23, 2016

Title: The Color Purple Author: Alice Walker Genre: Historical Fiction Publisher: Pocket Release Date: April 1st, 2004 Format: Paperback Pages: 295 Source: Library First Published: 1982 The Color Purple is a 1982 epistolary novel by American author Alice Walker which won the 1983 Pulitzer Prize for Fiction and the National Book Award for Fiction. It was later adapted into a film and musical of the same name. Taking place mostly in rural Georgia, the story focuses on the life of women of color in the southern United States in the 1930s, addressing numerous issues including their exceedingly low position in American social culture. The novel has been the frequent target of censors and appears on the American Library Association list of the 100 Most Frequently Challenged Books of 2000-2009 at number seventeen because of the sometimes explicit content, particularly in terms of violence. (via Goodreads) Amazon It’s amazing how coming into a situation blind can really improve your experience. I knew very little about The Color Purple when I picked it up. I knew it was a Pulitzer Prize Winning book, Alice Walker wrote it, it addresses many issues facing women and people of color in the 1930’s, and is…

Yes, Please
Book Review / March 18, 2016

Title: Yes, Please Author: Amy Poehler Genre: Memoir Publisher: Dey St. Release Date: October 28th, 2014 Format: Audiobook Pages: 329 Source: Library In Amy Poehler’s highly anticipated first book,Yes Please, she offers up a big juicy stew of personal stories, funny bits on sex and love and friendship and parenthood and real life advice (some useful, some not so much), like when to be funny and when to be serious. Powered by Amy’s charming and hilarious, biting yet wise voice, Yes Please is a book full of words to live by. (via Goodreads) Amazon I feel like I need to start this review by sharing: I am not familiar with Amy Poehler’s body of work. I respect her work, and I know what she has done through Amy Poehler’s Strong Girls, but I have never seen Parks and Recreation, I never saw Upright Citizens Brigade, and I barely have seen any episodes of Saturday Night Live. I might have seen one sketch with Amy in it… But I know she’s funny. And that’s all that matters. Why is this important? It means that going into this memoir, I didn’t have any preconceived notions. This is not a standard memoir. Had I known more about…

The Island of the Blue Dolphins
Book Review / March 11, 2016

Title: The Island of the Blue Dolphins Series: The Island of the Blue Dolphins, #1 Author: Scott O'Dell Genre: Historical Fiction Publisher: HMH Books for Young Readers Release Date: October 29th, 1990 Format: Hardback Pages: 192 Source: Library Illustrator: Ted Levin First Published: 1960 Far off the coast of California looms a harsh rock known as the island of San Nicholas. Dolphins flash in the blue waters around it, sea otter play in the vast kep beds, and sea elephants loll on the stony beaches. Here, in the early 1800s, according to history, an Indian girl spent eighteen years alone, and this beautifully written novel is her story. It is a romantic adventure filled with drama and heartache, for not only was mere subsistence on so desolate a spot a near miracle, but Karana had to contend with the ferocious pack of wild dogs that had killed her younger brother, constantly guard against the Aleutian sea otter hunters, and maintain a precarious food supply. More than this, it is an adventure of the spirit that will haunt the reader long after the book has been put down. Karana’s quiet courage, her Indian self-reliance and acceptance of fate, transform what to…

The Martian
Book Review / March 7, 2016

Title: The Martian Author: Andy Weir Genre: Science Fiction Publisher: Crown Release Date: February 11th, 2014 Format: eBook Pages: 369 Source: Owned Six days ago, astronaut Mark Watney became one of the first people to walk on Mars. Now, he’s sure he’ll be the first person to die there. After a dust storm nearly kills him and forces his crew to evacuate the planet while thinking him dead, Mark finds himself stranded on Mars’ surface, completely alone, with no way to signal Earth that he’s alive — and even if he could get word out, his supplies would be gone years before a rescue could arrive. Chances are, though, he won’t have time to starve to death. The damaged machinery, unforgiving environment or plain-old “human error” are much more likely to kill him first. But Mark’s not ready to quit. Armed with nothing but his ingenuity and his engineering skills — and a gallows sense of humor that proves to be his greatest source of strength – he embarks on a dogged quest to stay alive, using his botany expertise to grow food and even hatching a mad plan to contact NASA back on Earth. As he overcomes one seemingly…

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 Illustrator: Goseki Kojima First Published: 1995 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…

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…

Lone Wolf and Cub, Volume 3: The Flute of the Fallen Tiger
Book Review / January 22, 2016

Title: Lone Wolf and Cub, Vol. 3: The Flute of the Fallen Tiger Series: Lone Wolf and Cub Author: Kazuo Koike Genre: Graphic Novel Publisher: Dark Horse Manga Release Date: November 28th, 2000 Format: Paperback Pages: 314 Source: Library Join renegade samurai Itto Ogami and his infant son, Daigoro, in five more adventures on the dark road to Hell. What do three mysterious Shogunate assassins, a street entertainer, and the crests of the dead have in common? “The Baby Cart Wolf” continues his dealing of death for gold and encounters one roninwho is bent on putting a stop to his journey. Will he succeed? Follow the monthly adventures of Lone Wolf and Cub, one of the true classics of comics literature, available in America for the first time in over a decade! This volume contains the following stories: The Flute of the Fallen Tiger Half Mat, One Mat, A Fistful of Rice The White Path Between the Rivers The Virgin and the Whore Close Quarters (via Goodreads)   After reading the first Omnibus, Volume 3 picks up two stories before the first omnibus ends. Unfortunately, my library didn’t have the second omnibus, so we’re resorting to individual volumes now. Picking…

Lone Wolf and Cub Omnibus Vol. 1
Book Review / January 11, 2016

Title: Lone Wolf and Cub, Omnibus Volume 1 Series: Lone Wolf and Cub (#1-3) Author: Kauzo Koike Genre: Graphic Novel Publisher: Dark Horse Manga Release Date: May 1st, 2013 (Original Manga Publication Date: 1970) Format: Paperback Pages: 713 Source: Library Shogunate executioner Ogami Itto is framed as a traitor by the agents from a rival clan. With his wife murdered and with an infant son to protect, Ogami chooses the path of the ronin, the masterless samurai. The Lone Wolf and Cub wander feudal Japan, Ogami’s sword for hire, but all roads will lead them to a single destination: vengeance. A samurai epic of staggering proportions, the acclaimed Lone Wolf and Cub begins its second life at Dark Horse Manga with new, larger editions of over 700 pages, value priced. The brilliant storytelling of series creator Kazuo Koike and the groundbreaking cinematic visuals of Goseki Kojima create a graphic-fiction masterpiece of beauty, fury, and thematic power. This volume collects material previously published in Dark Horse graphic novels Lone Wolf and Cub, Vol. 1: The Assassin’s Road, Lone Wolf and Cub, Vol. 2: The Gateless Barrier, Lone Wolf and Cub, Vol. 3: The Flute of the Fallen Tiger. (via Goodreads)  …

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