Monday, October 2, 2017

Shame Nation

34006774Shame Nation
Genre: Non-Fiction
Rating: 4 Stars
Summary

My Thoughts:

This is a book everyone needs to read. The title perfectly fits the world we are currently living in. Our society has changed from guilt to shame - much like the Salem Witch Hunts, we see perceived wrongdoing and vehemently attack - and the internet is the perfect place for that to happen. Sue and Melissa do a brilliant job of bringing empathy back into the game. They show the humans behind the meme's and the real consequences for what happens when someone is "cyberlynched."

They explore the many different ways that the internet has been abused - every thing from revenge porn, to the destruction of lives because of one wrong tweet. They also give advice for ways to keep yourself as safe as possible, while also demonstrating that really there is only so much you can do to protect yourself from the wrath of the web.

Reading this has made me think deeply about what I post, like and share. No longer do I want to take pictures of people who are living their lives but for some reason something that they are doing either makes me laugh or offends me - I don't know their life and I shouldn't be spreading it. When I post or comment is it something that could be hurting the person in the picture. Could I be tacitly contributing to the cyber-bullying that we are trying so hard to eradicate?

The end of the book goes over several lessons learned that anyone can start applying in order to protect themselves and to help others. I honestly don't believe that humanity is terrible as a whole, but we do have to consciously work to remember that we are good and this is a book that can make that easier to do.

I don't often say go out and read this book, but this is one I find to be relevant to the world we live in and most likely will demand my children read when they are old enough to be posting regularly. It's amazing, go read it.

**This galley was given to me in exchange for an honest review.**

Saturday, May 27, 2017

Buried Secrets

30838426Buried Secrets
By: Rachel Good
Genre: Christian Fiction
Rating: 4 stars

Summary:
Three years after the accident that almost claimed her life, Emma Esh has recovered physically but has no memory of the year before the accident. When she moves to a new community to help her sister Lydia and brother-in-law, Caleb, prepare for the birth of twins, she falls for their neighbor Samuel.

My Thoughts:

I have always been a fan of Amish fiction though sometimes they can be written too preach or too sweet. Not so with Buried Secrets. Good explored the path of recovery from past trauma. Emma's battle with anxiety and her fears was commendable and well done.

I didn't realize that this was a sequel when I picked it up, which I think actually added to my experience. Like Emma I had no inkling of what happened during her lost year and was waiting along with her for either for something to trigger her memory, or someone in her family explaining what was going on. The suspense was not overly done where I wanted to just get to the end to figure it out already, but when it did I was prepared for it and didn't feel like it was being added just for shock value.

I enjoyed reading this and would highly recommend it. 

**I was given a copy of this book in exchange for an honest review.**

Wednesday, May 24, 2017

Love and Other Consolation Prizes

33572784Love and Other Consolation Prizes
By: Jamie Ford
Genre: Historical Fiction
Rating: 5 Stars

Summary: 
A powerful novel about an orphan boy who is raffled off at Seattle’s 1909 World Fair, and the friends who teach him what it really means to have a family, from the author of Hotel on the Corner of Bitter and Sweet.

Inspired by a true story, this is the unforgettable story of a young boy named Ernest, set during the 1909 Seattle world’s fair called the Alaska Yukon Pacific Expo. It is a time when the magical wonders of technology on display at the expo future seems limitless. But for Ernest, a half-Chinese orphan who found his way to America through a last desperate act of his beloved mother, every door is closed. A charity student at a boarding school, he has never really had a place to call home. Then one day, his wealthy sponsor announces that if a home is what he wants, then that is what he will have: Ernest will be offered as a prize in the daily raffle at the fair, advertised as “Healthy boy to a good home for the winning ticket holder.” The woman who “wins” him is the madam of a notorious brothel who was famous for educating her girls. He becomes a houseboy in her brothel and is befriended by the daughter of the madam, as well as a Japanese girl who works in the kitchen. The friendship and love between these three form the first real family Ernest has ever known.

My Thoughts:

I love Ford's books. Seeing that he has this coming out soon just makes my heart happy and makes me want to go back and read his others again (See my review for Hotel on the Corner of Bitter and Sweet). I think he is the perfect writer for book clubs because his writing is well thought out, engaging and definitely prompts discussion. 

Ford is able to weave in between times perfectly. I can have difficulty with authors trying to go back and forth in time - it can seem disjointed, or the future thinking colors the past and it's just not great - also it is difficult to avoid plot twists because you think you have it figured out but Ford does it masterfully in this novel. Going back and exploring the lives of these poor children who are given up because they are either unwanted, or the parents can't take care of them any longer just breaks my heart. But seeing their resilience was beautiful.

A big point to touch on was the suffragettes and their insistance on the morality of Seattle. I am not in any way shape or form an advocate for prostitution, but I am not in favor of marching around telling anyone forced into that kind of life that they are all going straight to hell. I think Ford did a good job of making me pause and think of how there is a need to see the people behind the actions that offend us and that we need to see how we can help others rise rather than look at their failures with the mindset of "I told you this would happen."

Really there is too much going on in this story for me to discuss it all here. Go and get it for book club, your group will not be disappointed. 

**Copy given to me in exchange for an honest review**

Sunday, April 30, 2017

Finishing up

So tired. I will do a better wrap up later-
1. Which hour was most daunting for you?
2. Could you list a few high-interest books that you think could keep a reader engaged for next year?
3. Do you have any suggestions for how to improve the Read-a-thon next season?
4. What do you think worked really well in this year’s Read-a-thon?
5. How many books did you read?
6. What were the names of the books you read?
7. Which book did you enjoy most?
8. Which did you enjoy least?
9. How likely are you to participate in the Read-a-thon again? What role would you be likely to take next time?
Image result for just keep reading
 I don't know how I am going to last :P But as Dori says - Just keep reading and as Marlin says:
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Hour 19

5 more hours....I'm not sure I am going to make it. But gosh dang it I will try.

1829148730556097Since we last met I have listened to one little fluffy piece...and read another.

They are both on the same vein - something not to taxing to read in the later hours.

I have realized that I can get E-audiobooks through my library. Which makes me very happy and so I can stay awake and crochet/knit while listening to more books.

I really am hoping that this is going to make the next stretch work out.

Another thing I have been doing is alternating between chapters of different non-fiction books - 5 all told.

A Random Walk Down Wall Street.
The Hero with A Thousand Faces
It Starts with Food
Attached: The New Science of Adult Attachment
and
The Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks.


Image result for SO Tired

It may be a bit scattered, but I have noticed in past years that this is the time when I am getting too tired to focus on one thing for too long. Check back in an hour!





Saturday, April 29, 2017

Hour 11 - Almost Halfway There

I fell asleep - just for a bit. I really need to get better at the night time sleeping thing.
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But I just finished Twilight Child. "Gentle" is the best word that I can use to describe this book.

It's a nice little story about Eleni - a child born at twilight and therefore gifted to see the other folk - the fey. Her life takes her from Finland to Scotland when her father decides to take her after her mother's death. She finds herself in Tobermori, a small town in the Scottish highlands.

My Thoughts:

Its a short nice read about Eleni and her life and experience with the other from the tonttu of the Finnish sauna to the brounies of her Scottish home.

I read it once years ago and remembered it as a nice read and wanted to go back to it. I was glad that I did because it was a nice story. But I believe that's the best I can say of it. It was nice.

Well now I am in for the harder bit of staying up for the next 12 hours.

Wish me luck and I hope you all are enjoying your marathon!



Hour 7

Lucky Number 7.

A School for Unusual Girls (Stranje House, #1)I have just finished the second book of the day "A School for Unusual Girls" by Kathleen Baldwin.

Set between Napoleon's exile to Elba and his attempt to reclaim the continent Georgiana Fitzwilliam finds herself trying to develop a truly invisible ink to help the British in maintaining peace.

A cast set with 4 girls and their teacher Ms. Stranje this school is far more than meets the eye. Each girl having their own special talents they train to be able to enter the world of espionage.

My Thoughts:
This is definitely for a younger crowd than my last read. Shinn is more for college and beyond whereas this felt more high school. Not that I didn't enjoy it but it definitely felt younger. Several of the characters and some of the dialogue felt flat - and the action a little rushed. I found myself thinking - ah yes, here is the "oh my he touched me and I can still feel it even though we just met and I'm sure he hates me" cliche.

I do recognize that it's an extremely specific cliche but when you think about it - you know I'm right...it happens a lot.

It was fun - it did veer off of the history path which is always fun. Revised Historical Fiction is one of my favorite genres and I think I will find myself seeking out the sequel and reading it with pleasure.

Hour 3 update

I have finished my first book from today's Read-a-thon. It is one that I was coming back to reread.  Royal Airs by Sharon Shinn.
Royal Airs (Elemental Blessings, #2)
I love this series. I love Sharon Shinn, she is one of my favorite writers and I can't wait for the final installment of this series to come out...Any word on that Sharon??

Hers is a world based on the classic 5 elements and their human counterparts (I have already shared my feelings about Troubled Waters and deeper feelings on Royal Airs read deeper if you so desire) and it is one I love going back to. The next Chapters Jeweled Fire and Unquiet Land are just as jam-packed of adventure, with well rounded characters and I love them dearly.

They are actually one of the few series I own that is in hard back. Because I know that I will read them over and over.

I have a habit of signing and dating my books every time I finish them. (just the ones I own, not the ones borrowed from either library or friends.) I find that it's great to go back and to see when the last time I read it was. And think how much I have changed since my last reading

Anyway. I have already taken a shower break and I really don't know how but I'm already a little drowsy....ok I do know how - not nearly enough sleep last night...oops.

Check in with everyone later.

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Hour 0 Prep/Getting to Know Me.

Image result for too earlyGood Morning Happy People.

The sun is not out yet, the birds are singing and it is earlier than I would ever consider waking up under normal circumstances 
Image result for too early


...but these are not normal circumstances and I am so happy to be doing this.  

So to answer a couple of get to know me questions:

1) What fine part of the world are you reading from today?
Salt Lake City, Utah
2) Which book in your stack are you most looking forward to?


Toss up between "The Accidental Empress" by Allison Pataki or "The Hero with a Thousand Faces" by Joseph Campbell"

3) Which snack are you most looking forward to?
I didn't go all out on the snack front this year, just popcorn, swedish fish, little spearmints to get me going. So I'm pretty chill.
4) Tell us a little something about yourself!
I'm living with a couple of roommates who aren't huge readers but who are wonderfully supportive of the read-a-thon plans. I really shouldn't be doing this this week as I'm going to Europe with a couple of friends on Tuesday...so I should be prepping for that...
5) If you participated in the last read-a-thon, what’s one thing you’ll do different today? If this is your first read-a-thon, what are you most looking forward to?

This is not my first rodeo. I have done at least 4 other read-a-thons in the past. This time I will be a little more lax in the timing and probably will end up taking a nap somewhere between the 8-12 hour mark (not the whole time but for a bit) so that I can stay awake longer. I really do want to participate in as much as I can so I figured that for me this was the best way to go.


Anyway. Happy Reading everyone!

It's that time of year again!!!

Displaying 20170428_223201.jpgIt's time for the Dewey 24 hour Read-a-thon!!! I have done this several times in years past and I am so excited to get back to it. I have been prepping, stocking up on caffeine and popcorn and have a deep pile of books I'm hoping to get through.

I check in regularly and also be trying to get a handle on the whole instagram thing....I know I should be able to do that by now but hey, I'm late to the party social media-wise.

Anyway I hope you check in occasionally and I also hope that you read along - doesn't have to be for the full 24 hrs, but still feel free to join in and let me know what you are reading!


Friday, April 14, 2017

In the Shadow of Lakecrest


In the Shadow of LakecrestIn the Shadow of Lakecrest


By: Elizabeth Blackwell
Genre: Fiction, Historical, Gothic
Rating: 3.5 stars
Summary:
The year is 1928. Kate Moore is looking for a way out of the poverty and violence of her childhood. When a chance encounter on a transatlantic ocean liner brings her face-to-face with the handsome heir to a Chicago fortune, she thinks she may have found her escape—as long as she can keep her past concealed.


After exchanging wedding vows, Kate quickly discovers that something isn’t quite right with her husband—or her new family. As Mrs. Matthew Lemont, she must contend with her husband’s disturbing past, his domineering mother, and his overly close sister. Isolated at Lakecrest, the sprawling, secluded Lemont estate, she searches desperately for clues to Matthew’s terrors, which she suspects stem from the mysterious disappearance of his aunt years before. As Kate stumbles deeper into a maze of family secrets, she begins to question everyone’s sanity—especially her own. But just how far will she go to break free of this family’s twisted past?


My Thoughts:


I will start out by saying that Gothic stories are not my favorite. I don't have much patience for the woman going mad story. I prefer to cut to the chase, figure out what is going on and actually having problems that you are capable of facing. Ghosts are not my things, thinking that you are being driven insane is also not my thing, being put in a position where you feel that all of your power is taken away from you - MOST DEFINITELY NOT. MY. THING.

 
I read it in just 2 days - so it was compelling. Irritating as anything, but compelling.


Kate makes a case for not marrying a man until you know who your mother-in-law is going to be. The first Mrs. Lemont is controlling, cold, manipulative and really I couldn't find anything redemptive about her. She is the spider and everyone in her family is caught in a web of her design and she comes across - at least to me - as flat out evil. Emphasis on the "flat" there wasn't enough of a development of her character to make her compelling. 


With all of the frustration from the MIL I will say that this was a book that made my lunch hours fly by. I was entertained by it and I needed to read it faster so that the book would actually get to the part that it had been hinting at so heavily.

If I find more of Elizabeth Blackwell's work I will definitely give it a go though this isn't a book that I would buy for my shelves. 


I was given a galley of this book in exchange for an honest review. 





Monday, March 13, 2017

Everything


AlwaysAlways


by 
Genre: General Fiction
Rating 3.5 stars

Summary:

While enjoying a romantic candlelit dinner with her fiance, Ryan, at one of Seattle's chicest restaurants, Kailey Crane can't believe her good fortune: She has a great job as a writer for the Herald and is now engaged to a guy who is perfect in nearly every way. As they leave the restaurant, Kailey spies a thin, bearded homeless man on the sidewalk. She approaches him to offer up her bag of leftovers, and is stunned when their eyes meet, then stricken to her very core: The man is the love of her life, Cade McAllister. 

When Kailey met Cade ten years ago, their attraction was immediate and intense everything connected and felt "right." But it all ended suddenly, leaving Kailey devastated. Now the poor soul on the street is a faded version of her former beloved: His weathered and weary face is as handsome as Kailey remembers, but his mind has suffered in the intervening years. Over the next few weeks, Kailey helps Cade begin to piece his life together, something she initially keeps from Ryan. As she revisits her long-ago relationship, Kailey realizes that she must decide exactly what and whom she wants. 



My Thoughts:


I have difficulty figuring out how I felt about this book. There aren't very many books that I actually like the whole flip-flopping between two time periods. Kate Morton is one of the few authors where I have to read what is going on with each generation/time period. About halfway through I just passed on all of the parts taking place in the 90's. I knew how that part would end and that the mystery wouldn't be resolved there but rather in the present time.


It was good subject matter. I live and work in an area that has a rather high homeless population and it really is easy to forget that these people didn't start out here, they had a past and perhaps - if they accept help - they can have a much better future. 


Kailey is a well rounded woman - at least she would be if Cade hadn't suddenly popped into her life. The feminist part of me is thinking "Girl, finish your work focus on the life you have and don't let some boyfriend from the past mess it up." The nurturing part of me thinks "good job, way to take care of your man - even if he hasn't been yours for a long time." The only thing that drove me nuts was the fact that she wasn't straight up and honest with Ryan.  I think that it was a childish move and that she could have avoided a lot of pain had she done the adult thing and practiced open communication with her partner.

Overall I thought it was decent. I'm not racing out to purchase my own hard copy, but if I see anything else by Jio I most likely will get it. 


I received a galley for free in exchange for a review. 

Shame Nation

Shame Nation Genre: Non-Fiction Rating: 4 Stars Summary My Thoughts: This is a book everyone needs to read. The title perfectly fits ...