Monday, October 2, 2017

Shame Nation

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

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

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

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**

The Draper's Daughter

The Draper's Daughter By: Ellin Carsta Genre: Historical Fiction Rating: 4 Stars Summary: Cologne, 1351: Elisabeth and ...