What I Read During Spring Break…

SPRING BREAK PEOPLE. It’s at it’s end. But let’s take it back a week ago…9 Days of reading…day in..day out…no interruptions whatsoever. Holed up in my house, curtains closed, nothing else to do but devote myself to reading. Cookies, hot tea, peace and quiet..a stack of books, kids playing outside..tons of sandwich making because they don’t want to bug me to make their meals, right??!! Oh, how I wish that were true. With countless chores, a few activities, and tons of responsibilities that desperately needed tending to…it’s a wonder I managed to open a book. But no complaints, because even through it all I actually did manage to open a book. I opened a book many times. I opened several books. Somehow I managed to read a whopping total of 4..almost 5 books. Sometimes I can’t even read that much in a month. Like Stella Got Her Groove Back…I got my reading groove back. Since the beginning of the year I have been stumbling through books. I’ve been reading slower than a 1st grader. I’ve hardly been enjoying my reading experiences because I have been so slow..Life and it’s problems. But that seems to be over with..the bad reading experiences…not life. Silver lining..I’m surviving life with reading (and Jesus).

My reading frenzy is back!! And I am thrilled about it. I have never stopped reading but yes, I have slowed down considerably. Suddenly I was taking an entire week just to get through an easy 200 page book. That’s ridiculous…and frustrating. Forget about the 400+ page books. 2 weeks of agonizingly slow reading…that by the time I finished I didn’t even know what the entire story was about. Mind you, there were some good ones in -between that I got through without issue…but then right back to my slump. For the past 2 weeks though….a book reading BEAST I tell you….A BOOK READING BEAST!!

I am back to reading books with in a few days. I am back to being engrossed in the stories…fantasizing about the characters..envisioning every detail in my mind. Aaaaah, it’s so refreshing. I can’t imagine what it is like being someone that does not read. I do also think that it was the fact that I took Spring Break as an opportunity to venture out of my shell. Springing forward. Corny but oh so true. I suffer from depression. I have social anxiety. I fear being in cars. I don’t drive. BUT,  I did things I don’t normally do on my own and without the help of my husband. I spent time with an Aunt of mine…we reconnected finally after having not connected in so many years. We laughed..talked…enjoyed each other’s company. I had a date with the hubby. We had a date with the kids. Nothing was perfect but everything was lovely. I needed that so freakin’ much. It gave me some spark back and I intend on doing more of it here and there with the people that I love…throw in loving myself…and my reading experiences will be more enjoyable. Life is hard…we need to take it easy every now and then.

So yes…4 books. Almost 5. Well..the night is not over. I just might get to that 5th book by the morning. In the meantime, here are the books that I read:

IMG_0353First one…Midnight Without A Moon by Linda Williams Jackson. This is a middle grade book. The back of the book states that it is a read for children between the ages of 11-14, I believe. So Middle grade…early high school age. 320 pages..it’s not a one-sitting read but it has a flow to it that can be read in a day or two even. So…a historical fiction middle grade/young adult book but absolutely something that most adults can and will enjoy. It reads very much like To Kill A Mockingbird. I didn’t feel silly reading it. I didn’t feel like it was an unbelievable tale or it was sugar coated too much. But yes…it was sugar coated somewhat. The fact that this is historical fiction made into a fictitious tale with very real and serious events. Controversial events..a very traumatic and trying time for the black community…made into a story that shares with us, the readers, more or less, what life was like in the time of 1955. Blacks were free…but they were not free. Crazy thing about life. Crazy thing about that time. Free but not free. It gives the reader enough..if you consider that the target age for this book is a young teen. I think it could have gone a tad deeper..a little scarier..a little more informative of the major historical and factual event that occurs in this book. Still….I was fairly content with how far this book went.

Rosa Lee Carter…a 13 year old African American girl, often made fun of for being very dark and tall and lanky, living in Mississippi with her family. Her entire 13 years of life has been marred with some sort of injustice be it from the white community or from the way she is treated within her family. She has a brother, Fred Lee…and well, she has a step brother and step sister only she is not allowed to refer to them in that way. Instead she is viewed as an Aunt, her brother an Uncle to the two kids that their mother took up and claimed when she married their father..a very dreamer type man who seeks out the finer things in life. Wanting to not be viewed as a woman without a man and children out of wedlock their mother pretty much just turns her children into siblings and gave those “siblings” to the care of her mother and father. She visits her children..she claims to love her children…but she was just as easy do away with them for another man…and she did when she one day announced that she was leaving with her new husband and new children and heading to Chicago for a better way of life. Poor Rosa and her brother….stuck with their strict, hard-lined and un-affectionate grandmother, Ma Pear. So heartbreaking…I could not contain my tears. I felt for Rosa greatly. I felt her pain and anger and sadness and extreme bitterness…all feelings that she had to bottle up inside and continue on with her chores and her obedience. Same went for Fred Lee.

The mother moves away with her new family. Rosa and her brother are bitter but making do…working the daily chores, staying out of their grandmothers hair, pining and dreaming of ways to escape the town they are in. We learn the way life..which was basically poor, black, and living off the land of the people that employ you for hardly any money at all when you consider the constant hard labor they give to these family…in a time where black people had to mind their P’s and Q’s around white people..where saying the wrong thing or making too lax of a gesture to a white person could get you in jail or worse yet…murdered.

Which brings me to the other story within this story. The tragic circumstance of Emmett Till. A very real event. A very real person and the reality he faced at the hands of white people for an action he may or may not have done. No matter…the punishment did not fit the “crime”. Mississippi was easily a dangerous place for a black person as was most of the are surrounding it..as was most of America and the world. And Emmett Till soon realized that. I don’t want to give too much away….so I will end it with this: It is a beautiful and tragic book with a bittersweet ending. Very much an enjoyable and captivating read if you don’t mind shedding a tear..if you don’t mind feeling a little unsettled about our country’s disturbing history, if you don’t mind getting into some serious feels. A really great book….and I’ve come to realize that yes it’s labeled for young adults…a mislabeling indeed because it should be read by all.

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Next up: We’ve Come To Take You Home by Susan Gandar. I received this book a few weeks ago. What was great about it…is that I signed up to win this book…I won…and almost immediately the book showed up at my doorstep. I think in maybe less than two weeks of having “won” it. But even before that, the author sent me a lovely comment via Facebook letting me know that my prize was on it’s way. Talk about personable and attentive. If that was not special enough..the book arrives…personally signed with a message, and then containing two book postcards and one of them with an even lovelier message from the author. BLOWN. AWAY. PEOPLES. She did not have to do all that….but she did…and I absolutely feel special.

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But no worries….this is not going to give me bias to my review of the book…and here’s why: I read it…I LOVED IT…this book is what helped me truly get past a very dragging reading slump of mine. I can’t say enough wonderful things about this story….aaaah, I am still thinking about it.

Sam sees things….not so much daydreams or visions but rather visions with feelings. She feels herself as the someone else she is seeing through the eyes of. And that’s just it. She is not a bystander in her visions….she is the one that is in them. She is seeing everything through the eyes of the person involved. She sees things as they are real live events…morbid and tragic, a scene of death and destruction. At first I was confused on what I was reading. One minute she is with friends hanging out with some boys then something happens..she sees a different scene than what is actually before her. She does not know what to make of it. She is lost and confused..and in a sense it makes the reader a bit lost and confused with her. I don’t know if that was the intended affect but for me it happened that way. We learn later the reason these visions are playing out as they are.

As the story unfolds…Sam’s dad and mother are having a few marital issues. Sam’s dad works as a pilot..and is in and out of the house a lot. I think there was a little more to it…but I can’t remember right now. We learn that Sam has always had these strange ways…imaginary friends…and peculiar habits which may or may not tie into the whole vision stuff. Then while with her mother one day they discover that her father was in a serious accident. And although things did not appear bad at first…they got worse. There is a mystery behind this accident…another one of those things we learn at the end of the book. Which by the way…I love…because one has to read the entire book to discover the explanations to some of these mysteries and tie-ins.

So now for the other twist to this tale. Jess. A young girl of about 15, living in poverty with her father and mother and baby brother. The year is 1914. War is going on between France and England. Many men are forcefully serving..many men are dying. Then it’s 1916 and the war is still going on. Men are still dying. Devastation is still everywhere…and all of that hits home when Jess’ dad is forced to serve. Leaving mother and daughter and baby on their own…to fight for what little finances they can muster for survival. Life is grim and Jess does not know if she will ever see her father again.

Tragic and beautiful. Jess is sent away to work for a very rich family…The Major and his family to work as a maid in their mansion. The same family that Jess’ mother worked before. Adjusting to life as a maid…and then she meets the Major’s son, Tom, a young man much older than Jess, back from the war. At first she finds him odd…intimidating even…but things change. Another tale unfolds. Aaaaaaah. Eeeeek. Excitement coursing through my veins.

We flip back and forth between stories. We go back and forth to the past and back to the future again. Sam and Jess…Jess and Sam. And then it all comes together in the end. GENIUS.

There was a book that I read by Alice Hoffman that I fell madly in love with a few years ago…The Marriage Of Opposites. This was as great as that book and that book is a success. Beautiful…bittersweet…full of despair and sadness but hope. Romance tickling at the back of my neck with every page turned. It took me a little more than a day to get through it because of LIFE but I would have finished it in a sitting if I had the choice. DID NOT WANT TO PUT IT DOWN. Yes..read this book!!

Things Lost In The Fire2222We move on to book #3: Things We Lost In The Fire: Stories by Mariana Enríquez . A collection of short stories by a new up and coming International author. A collection of short stories that are macabre, that are a little spooky, that are unusual and almost nostalgic. They read like stories I’ve heard in my childhood. Being Mexican..as a child, oh, the countless stories we would hear or tell ourselves. I will say Mexican people have a way of creating fear and dread in a tale…a moral of the story tale…a precautionary tale…to get us to go to sleep, not visit that particular night club, don’t go down those roads, never talk to strangers, stop and think. I am realizing very much that Argentinian culture has the same concept in their stories.

12 short stories of contemporary Argentina..but made to feel somewhat timeless. There was some creepy stuff going on in these stories. There was also some confusion in some of them. Food for thought in some of them. And one or two I really had no real interest in but they were not bad. Yes macabre..and yes a little skin crawling as your mind starts to take over where the story leaves off. If I was being honest…I could have and would have enjoyed more. I wanted more. I can literally sit here right now and start typing up a story that was told to me by my grandmother about men that come at night and look into the windows of houses to take peeks at children and it will scare me so much more. Yeah see…I glanced over at my living room window, a little spooked. This is not to say that I did not enjoy these tales. I had some definite favorites. Those favorites I would love to see turn into a full on novel because I want to know more about those characters and know more about where the story ends up. But then there were those that I just didn’t get. I have to go over the book just to remember what they were about. Of course this is to be expected with short story reads. Can’t like them all.

I can tell you the ones I did like right off the top of my head…the ones that grabbed at me..are sticking with me still today. THE DIRTY KID. An odd read. One of the longer ones in the entire book. I can’t explain why I liked it but I did. THE INTOXICATED YEARS. Gave me the chills. The girl walking into the woods for no reason whatsoever. She could have set the location in Mexico or somewhere in Texas and it will fall in line to the folklore that we have. It left me unsettled. Having to use my own imagination. Maybe I would have liked to know more…but the unsettling is what has me remembering so if it were a page or two more it would have not had that same effect. ADELA’S HOUSE. Strange. Spooky. Confusing.

I have done a review on this book previously. I read it at the time…but kinda skimmed it in one of my fogs. So re-reading it gave me a new appreciation for this book. What I loved before I loved more. What I did not like I began to like. What I despised…stayed that way. There is a feminist feel to all these stories even the ones with a male main character. And I think that is what I loved about this book over-all…reminds me of my childhood where the folklore is female driven. It scares me more. We expect there to be male serial killers. We expect the rapist of our nightmares to be men. But when the spooks come at the hands of women…well that is unusual and thrilling even.

Lastly: The Big Let Down by Kimberly Seals Allers. Much anticipated for me. I breastfed all 4 of my children. My oldest I breastfed him exclusively for a 1 and a half. Then went on to feed him another 6 months with the breast while trying to ween him onto milk and more solid food feedings. I breastfed my daughter for 6 months and then supplemented for another 6 months on formula when she began having gastrointestinal issues. I breastfed my other son for about 8 months. And my last kiddie, I breastfed him for a year and a half…actually almost the full two years. Exhaustion can’t even describe the true nature of it all. But I will say with all honesty, nothing in the world can compare to the bond mother and child have being so close in each others presence day in and day out while feeding. I have nothing against formula feeding moms. Nothing against pumping exclusively moms…whatever floats your boat is none of my business to judge, but I will say breastfeeding moms stand apart from all the rest. We are the mothers that choose to give our entire selves to baby. We can’t be greedy with our ‘down time’, we can’t be selfish with our appearance, heck we can’t even think about looking cute in fitted blouses for the duration of the feeding period. We are baby milking machines. THAT’S IT. A baby attached to our bodies in what feels like 24 hours, days a week, never ending cycle. So yeah…kudos to us for getting it done. Again..nothing against the other mommies that make different choices…but come on..there is no comparison and I wanted that validation that I did something right in motherhood(not that I really needed it but ya know…it’s in a book…might as well). In a world full of Pinterest mommies and self praise…I get to do the same..alone..in my living room. I deserve the recognition too. I did something great and selfless and amazing for my babies. I gave them myself.book order day33

Rant over..bragging ended…review commenced. I wanted to read this book because I know a lot about the experience of breastfeeding but do I really know the facts, the data, the information behind it all. Yes and no…but this book will determine that somewhat. Obviously this book is all about the breastfeeding mommas. If this book does not sell you on the idea….I don’t know what will. Mind you..I did not enjoy it as much as I would have liked to enjoy it. I found myself a bit daunted by all the facts and figures…OMG, I had to skim through the chapter MILK MONEY. I was seeing numbers, and ratios and percentages in my nightmares but that’s just me being a fiction lover…sometimes the hard facts and data can be a bit too much. I LOVED the Introduction. It was like a Pep Rally..getting me all excited for the rest of the book. After that I fumbled back and forth with being fully engrossed in what I was learning..and keeping myself from napping while sitting up.  

The fact is…you will learn something from this book. It is an eye opener.It validated my choice to breastfeed all these years. I was relieved for that. I realized things I did not before..and that’s with years and years of breastfeeding experience behind my belt. Obviously you can never know it all about anything…there is always more to learn. However, I’ve reached the end of my breastfeeding days and so I don’t know if the info was as valuable as it would have been if I had read this before. I also don’t know if I really grasped anything inspirational from this book. Yes…it’s pro breastfeeding but it was more fact fact fact…than inspire inspire inspire. I had to trudge through the book more often than not. Still, I think this book needs to be in every ‘mothers-to-be’ prep bag. I think it should be bought by all OB-GYNs and given to mommies on their first Pre-natal visit.

Done. That’s 4 books. I am currently doing a re-read on The Bell Jar by Slyvia Plath. I tried to re-read this book last year and stopped about 50 pages in. At the time I was not feeling it. The Reading Gods have blessed me with the inspiration to love this book the 2nd time around. Almost done with it and have re-discovered the reason I loved it many years ago in High School.

So happy readings!! Peace…Love…and Self Care!!

Thanks as always to the wonderful peeps at goodreads for awarding me We’ve Come To Take You Home, Midnight Without A Moon, and The Big Let Down…all free in exchange for an honest review.

Also to bloggingforbooks for my request of Things We lost In A Fire, free in exchange for an honest review.

…to which I gladly and voluntarily did all.

Spring Break…and a book review, The Barrowfields by Phillip Lewis

What a month, what a month, what a freakin’ month!! And it’s only the 13th. Bombarded with  stuff…complicated stuff…life stuff…people stuff…drama stuff…family problem stuff..teenage rebellion stuff. Aaargh. I had to stop myself from ripping out the already thinning hairs I have left. Forcing myself into a state of calm…zen…meditation…all I want to do is read…and be around those that read because they get me…and they relate…and all they wanna do is talk about what they have read…and we share our reading experiences…and we can forget about all that stuff for another time. I get all that with a cousin of mine. We get together and we “Fangirl”. We talk about characters in books as if we know them personally. We gossip about celebrities. We take our life problems and mix them with the advise we get from the books we read. We are corny as corny can get…we are on the same level…we never feel like we are competing with one another. I walk away feeling refreshed. Is that not the most amazing relationship to have when the rest of the time you are going through stuff??!!

Speaking of stuff. I’m in therapy (a new thing for me)…and I was given a homework assignment..and it has to do with purging my life of all that ‘stuff’ that weighs me down. Guess what??!! I was told to…..READ!! Duh, I’m going to take that advise. Well actually…I was told to read because I mentioned I read but basically we were told to do what makes ‘me’ happy…to do what helps ‘me’ to be at peace…to do what ‘I’need to do to be a better ‘me’. Me..DALAI MOMMA…okay well not DALAI MOMMA…Michelle. Self-care. I should not be ashamed to have it..do it…make a routine of it. Also being a stay-at-home mommy doesn’t mean that I am not as worthy of it as someone that works or has a career or does whatever the hell they do. Nope…I am just as worthy…just as deserving of self-care. So we must PURGE PURGE PURGE…all that does not serve us well..all that does not help us in our life..all that is set out to make us not feel good about ourselves. Purge it..purge it all. Be done with it. Move forward. Rejoice in the goodness. Strive for better.

So….GOALS. We have Easter, Mother’s Day and Father’s Day coming soon…I have devoted and promised to use that time in a different way than I have for the past years. I have decided to make some changes….no commitment, no requirements, no getting my mind wrapped up into the opinions of others, no more feeling of dread that I have to follow the crowd, have to say and do the right things. And mind you, I love being with people that I love…once upon a time I was all about it. But..I don’t love feeling like all my actions are being docked. I don’t love that my feelings are not validated. I don’t love that I have to do what everyone else is doing when they want it done. I am going to do whatever feels right for MY little family (not someone elses) and I am not going to feel a bit of guilt about it whatsoever. Whatever my peoples want…whatever we decide we want…we shall do. Can it really be that simple?? That remains to be seen. But when I accomplish that…I am going to read as reward for getting through…..

So it’s not just about the reading. I am trying to take more from these sessions I attend. Court mandated therapy sessions..because my son has made some poor choices in life. Still…as my instructor said when I met her, “God doesn’t make mistakes…you are here for a reason…and that reason is a good one”. I want to believe that because now that I am involved I am enjoying this time. I can only assume that I am annoying family and what few friends I have with my constant talk about it…but hey, it’s only because I am fiercely optimistic that this will do me some good. If I talk about it more, it builds in me more, and thus it pushes me to not quit. According to gossip..I have issues. So why not support someone that is working through them with professional help??!! But yes, I am looking back at my past…I am trying to free myself from some demons. I am trying to use this time to be more social with the people I choose to be social with…practice better communication skills…..stop focusing on the negative words people say about me..and wallow less in my misery as I do good productive things with a smile. Yes a smile. (I don’t do smiling).

OMG…reminds me. The other day I was grocery shopping…alone. I never go alone because of my anxiety..I always feel I need my husband with me to do the talking..to pay the cashier…all that. This time I go alone..(son waiting for me in the car) and I do my shopping. Mind you I went to the store right before closing so I did not have to be around anyone…but when I got to the cashier, I’m the one that started the conversation. I did most of the talking…and it felt fabulous. The young guy talked back. He did not think I was a freak and I walked away feeling really good about myself. Actually I had to cut him short because he would not shut up!! But yeah. That simple!! I’m learning. I got a very long route to go when it comes to certain people and issues but yeah I’ll patiently save that for a year or two into my therapy…in the meantime, I am giving myself a small victory clap on the back for taking a step to reach out to a stranger and just spark up a conversation without losing my shit in the process.

Rant over…let’s talk about this book and not about me.

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See the eyeball…his, not mine.

 

The Barrowfields by Phillip Lewis.  How fitting, a coming-of-age family saga. I am all about the comfort during this Spring Break with all the kids home  with me. I wanted something Dickens-ish mixed with slight morbidity. Modern classic-ish. Something full of depth and character driven. Something warm but rich in intrigue. I found it. The Barrowfields!! This is gothic saga at it’s best. I jumped right in immediately getting vibes that I was going to enjoy this journey. The characters….rich!! Full of dark and mysterious but also kinda normal relate-able beings, imperfections and stories of their own. A multi-generational tale of a family..families..and the choices and actions that are made and how they affect the future of these families. Interwoven lives….uniquely created into this book. I relished in every character…I wanted to know more. By the end of the book I was fulfilled.

Henry Aster’s father, also named Henry, left his small town for big dreams of attending college with the plans to never return to the only place he ever knew. Working hard, he obtained a law degree…met a woman, Eleanor, got her pregnant and then ended up right back where he came from. An intelligent and creative man with another dream of writing a novel. Being a wonderful writer, he again, sets off on his journey to create something great of himself (not actually leaving this time..just taking the plunge to write).  He works on a legal case…success ensues..he buys himself and his wife a mansion. In this mansion Henry and Eleanor go on to raise their two children, Henry (narrator of this story) and his sister, Threnody (no not a typo…just a really really really strange and unique name). So Henry goes on to write his novel. But…there is always that dilemma, as nothing is ever that smooth and easy. Henry(The first Henry..not the son) is a crazed alcoholic, a tortured soul…a complicated man. The idea that his story unfolds as it does…..it’s brilliant. Sad..but brilliant.

A haunting tale…and the fact that this is Lewis’ debut novel…I am blown away. I could see great things from this author. It’s a book that is basically a classic in the making. Seriously..years and years from now this book is going to be a part of the greats of classic tales. This book is going to be on book lists like ‘100 books to read before you die’. I can easily see that.

The cover…great. Rich color…unusual and intriguing. It grabbed at me…I had to own it. Looks pretty on my bookshelf.

So yeah…of course I recommend this book. I can’t really say I had anything bad to say about it. It’s a solid read. It’s beautiful and enchanting..and with all it’s family dynamic and pain…lovely prose..it’s just perfect. I’d much rather read about a family drama than to be a part of one.

As always happy readings….and a little Peace, Love, and Therapy (if needed)!!

You can get this book anywhere books are sold…it being from Penguin Random House, you can def go there…also amazon, Barnes & Nobles…and anywhere else you run across this read.

 

 

Thanks as always to the wonderful peeps at BloggingForBooks for my free copy of this book in exchange for an honest review to which I gladly and voluntarily gave.

 

A Review: Things Lost In The Fire

I NEEDED this book to get delivered to my house ASAP. Like seriously needed…desperately. And here’s why…I’ve been watching live stream feeds of April the Giraffe and her “hit-it-and-quit-it” boy toy Oliver for the past 5 days without end. Yes, April the Giraffe. Morning…night..all the time in between. It is driving me mad…bonkers…and I might need Lasik eye surgery. It all started when I was doing my daily browsing of Facebook..and I come across the ‘trending topics’ section….

Enter: April the giraffe. I click to check it out…I get on YouTube to see more…yadda yadda yadda…I don’t leave my sofa for 5 days. I am disgusting. A total dud to and of society. And I kinda don’t give a damn….I just sat and relished in the beauty of this giraffe and the soon-to-be arrival of her baby. Can someone say “FANGIRL”??!! I watched for 15 minutes…then an hour..then the hour turned to hours..then days. I start cleaning..then get distracted by April moving so I sit down to watch her…abandoning the cleaning…but then an hour or two later I feel bad and start cleaning again…the vicious cycle won’t end. I have never checked out a butt crack more than I have with April’s. No for real…I keep checking out her butt..for signs of the hooves cause that’s what Animal Adventure Park says we should be looking for. But when I think about it…of course I am obsessed. She’s a mommy..a giant mommy. She’s amazing…and beautiful..and elegant..and she is about to do something so amazing. Call me cheesy but yeah..it kinda makes me excited to be a part of this experience…via the internet, yes…but still. This is when technology is awesome. 

So I don’t want to leave April. And I certainly don’t want to clean my house because it will only serve to distract me from April…but I know I just have to do something productive. Ding Ding Ding….read!! Always makes me feel 10x better. Grab my book….get to reading..and watching April…at least I’m also reading. 

Things We Lost In The Fire by Mariana Enríquez. A quick read at 208 pages. I got through it within two days. What makes it easy…it’s a collection of short stories. I’m not the biggest fan of short stories. I’ve got nothing against them…just don’t usually gravitate towards them. The upside though…I can read a short story collection quicker than I can a novel. The idea of getting many elaborate stories within one book…always wonderful I suppose.

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And I think I love my Frida Kahlo pillow photo bomb more than anything in this world right now.

So 12 short stories to be exact. 12 haunting and eccentric..tantalizing and absolutely macabre short stories. I kinda wish that I could have read this book in the winter time. Cold and dark…home alone..maybe some hard rain..eerie setting. Well, there’s always a re-read in my future.

Did I think it was a little too macabre?? Truth be told, it might be too macabre for someone that just does not like to get that dark. I on the other hand was okay with it. Coming from the girl that gets on crime sites and forums to look for gruesome crime scenes…for fun no doubt. Still…it was a little more along the lines of demonic macabre. Madness of the mind macabre…Argentina and it’s dark history macabre. I found that interesting still but I know a few people that would not want to get anywhere near a read like that. So don’t do it if you can’t do dark. I don’t want to say what the stories are about.  Because these are short stories, I feel that if I speak on any details, I’d be giving the whole thing away. I try to refrain from spoilers. But dark…YES. Quick but depth-filled read…YES. Haunting, stay-with-you tales…YES. A rich take on Latin history and folklore…YES.

UPDATE: After a few days…stewing and thinking about this book, I realized that I did not go into so much depth on this review about the book. There are some very important things I did not even mention and I want to go back and mention.

For one..this book has it’s comical feels. Strange to say for such a dark book but after thinking about it..rereading some stories even, I realized that this book is also funny. A very dark wit about it that drives this book to a very likeable status because it’s a relate-able kind of funny. At least in my opinion. It’s my kind of humor..it’s the morbid way I view things…which is why I find it so relate-able. 2 such stories drew me in and have me still thinking about them. Spiderweb and No Flesh Over Our Bones. Something about those two stories I loved. I could not stomach End Of Term and I had a semi connection with The Neighbors Courtyard because I had a similar experience or two..or three. Again..I don’t want to go into details on any of the stories. 

Another thing…this book, these stories, the folklore are for the most part very women based. And that usually is the case for most folklore…it’s always about a crazy old woman..a group of children..a lady in the shadows..a ghost woman seeking revenge because someone took her babies. Argentina’s tales remind me of the same tales I heard in my Mexican culture. A good woman turned bad and evil because of an injustice she faced. There are a few “man-themed” tales but for the most part this book speaks “WOMAN”, and I loved that. If you are all about the feminist ways then this fictional take is enlightening…ish with a dark morbid view for effect.

And yet another thing..it’s folklore behind modern tales. Reminds me very much of my Mexican culture as I have mentioned. I grew up on these old stories that turned into “happened a few years ago” recalling. All 4 of my grandparents have mentioned to me a story of “it happened to my friend…it happened to my neighbor”. So I felt “at home” when reading these. Scary…only in that it leaves you feeling like it could happen to you or someone you know because they are so relate-able in things heard before and passed down. Days later I’m left still feeling these stories and that’s what I love about a book.

 

If I was ranking this book with stars..I’d go with a 4-ish. A bit higher. I enjoyed how dark it was. It gave me a scare. I was home alone and had the heebie-jeebies a few times. I think that means the book served it’s purpose..it had an affect on me that’s for sure.

This book has been making the BookTube rounds so there are some video reviews or maybe it’s book hauls with a brief description out there. The Publication date just past by a few days so yes this book is out and available. You can purchase this book anywhere books are sold. Barnes & Nobles, Amazon, Half Price Books ?? maybe….

Thanks as always to the wonderful peeps over at bloggingforbooks for my free copy of this book in exchange for an honest review to which I gladly and voluntarily gave.

The Story Of Autism…& A Review On It

Three day weekend for the kiddies. Just barely discovered that. So I feel a little better about my reading marathon last night. Finished the last of one book..and dug deep into another one that I have been browsing through all day Friday. Saturday late afternoon..I am exhausted. I can’t believe I went through an entire book like that. But yes…yes I did.

I have been struggling with insomnia for years…might as well take advantage, right?? In all honesty…I don’t know if I read because I have insomnia or I have insomnia because I can’t stop reading. It’s muddled together. I guess it makes no difference anymore. I have neglected housework just to get to this one book that I have been excited about. I have neglected attempts at sleeping. I have neglected the children and the husband. Lucky for me they totally get my reading marathons…actually encourage it and respect them and move about their lives doing their own things while I am in one. Also lucky that they are the messy ones…and hate that I harp on cleanliness..so when the house is a mess and I am neglecting it…they are happy. Yay for having not THE perfect family ever..but the perfect family for ME. Perfect family…pffft!! Facebook is apparently filled with them. Never mind us weirdos that come with baggage and problems and cynicism. But that’s another story..for another time…in another realm….maybe another blog.

In A Different Key..The Story of Autism. By John Donvan and Caren Zucker..both 2016 News & Documentary Emmy Award Winners. 670 whopping pages….yes 670 dense pages. Literally, this book is chock full of information…complete with Preface, a massive Timeline, Notes..upon notes, a Bibliography, Authors Notes, and an Index for easy maneuvering through it all. When I say it’s conveniently formatted for further/and/or added research I mean it. Oh…and can I get shallow for a bit….IT’S FLOPPY!! If you are reading this and you are an avid reader you are all about the FLOP OF A BOOK!! Flop city over here…I loved it. 

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Okay…so here’s the thing. I skimmed through this book. Just zoomed, zipped right through it…didn’t hop on my computer and do a bit of research as I do with books such as this with this kind of informative content. Not yet anyway….I plan on doing that. I will do that. I am not done with this book by any means. Wait, let me be clear…when I mean skimming..I don’t mean I flipped through the book without any grasp on what I am reading. Oh no…I gave this book my full attention. I took in all the info before me. But skimming as in, I read fiercely but did not stop to reference. I had my reading frenzy…and the book was so engrossing and interesting that I did not want to step away from it for anything. I read it like a novel I could not put down. I even feel like I have a bit of overload going on right now. But believe me when I say that when I go back to it…I’m going to research. I took a few notes….and I plan on really getting back to those highlighted key points that I found more interesting than others. Actually…I’m doing that this entire weekend and week to follow. I read through this book fast (as fast as I could for the amount of density)…but I am not putting it away now that my review is out. This book is too massive…too informative…too intriguing a topic to just let go so quickly. Still, I wanted to put out my review right away because it will take forever to actually do one if I wait until I tire of this book (which is no time soon). Autism is a serious controversial dilemma…and after this book, I want to learn more…read more about it, take in all that I can. 

This book dives deep into the controversial treatments and theories, the history and the present, the people that are affected and the families of the affected, the scientist and doctors behind the scenes and the ones making a scene. It’s amazing. It really is. There is one such blurb that I read about the book that has stuck with me.

In A Different Key, transports the reader back to the early days of autism. It is essential reading for anyone who is interested in how society treats those who are different.                                                                                                                                        -Temple Grandin

It really is essential reading. Another thing I realized is that although autism and autism research comes with more questions than answers, I felt the book did the issue justice in that it informed me with info that I did question before, things I did want to know and did not know prior, it further educated me about a debate that I find so highly intriguing. Autism is a mental condition..and there is so much we are learning now but also so much we don’t yet know…and the ignorance of people that speak on something they have no knowledge of is astounding in this world today. There are human beings at the center of this…the people that are affected…people with autism…and the people that care for them and we forget that when we are fighting with others on what we think we know just for the sake of being right, these people are among us wanting to be accepted, wanting compassion, wanting understanding from us. They want support in the way of education, funding for further research, getting the word out, etc. There are people that live with this condition everyday…people we pass by on the daily that we have no way of knowing that they have autism because there is such a large spectrum of it. It’s not just one thing. People that thrive and live wonderful lives in spite of the condition that they have…but also many people that don’t..that can’t…the struggle and suffering they endure for all their lives. If there is one thing that ignorant people can do…it’s read this book. Read this book anyway.

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Young Donald Triplett. And I don’t know the legalities and if I am allowed to copy a photo and share but eh, it’s not my photo and I am only using it to serve as educational purposes.

Donald Triplett. I had no idea who he was until this book. He is the first child diagnosed with autism so naturally this book begins with him. The struggle he and his family endured….heartbreaking in that it is sad to not have any clue what is going on in the minds of someone with autism, the struggle, the fact that they can’t explain it to us…all these facts and stories that we read about in this book..we get a small grasp of what is a daily hurdle in their lives, but a blessing in that Donald had amazing parents with financial backing. They fought for their son and for the further education of this condition we know today as autism. Working with Leo Kanner..the father of Child Psychiatry…he put a name to this condition, he paved the way for further education. Still throughout the book, we realize so many other people did not have that blessing and they suffered for it. It really makes the reader take a step back…and fully think about this whole condition and how we have treated it and how far we have come…but how much further we need to go. Beyond Donald…there are bountiful layers of content. The “Table Of Contents” is your first solid sign that you are stepping into some serious data and a depth filled story. Sectioned into parts…within those parts, chapters. Content dating as far back as the 1930’s…Donald’s story…a band of motherhood and their experiences, education, questions constantly asked, the autism spectrum…and ooooh that crazy little topic that has the apparent “most opened minded, not easily swayed, research based, highly opinionated intelligent anti-vaxxing peeps that value their kids health way more than the rest of us” up in arms,  THE VACCINE SCARE. I don’t like to jab my opinions and beliefs into anyone. I often just resort to keeping mum at those that regard themselves as opposing but respectful, and yet go about on the daily spreading their opinion on social media outlets, in person, or like I experienced once or twice while waiting with the other mommies at my kids school, spouting a vocal presumption that we are “sheep” and don’t do research just because that research does not validate or go in line with theirs. Pro-Vaxxers do their research too. Pro-Vaxxers also want what is best for their children. Pro-Vaxxers are also intelligent and adamant and passionate. Presumption resorting is petty no matter what side it comes from. I’ve probably been guilty of it once or twice in my life…after this book, I am forever determined to keep an open mind. Everyone is entitled to their wonderful opinions though..and to put a positive spin on it, God bless them and their conspiracy fueled passion because it keeps the research coming. However, I will say, PLEASE, if you are one of those that makes autism all about the vaccines (and the hoax that suddenly turned into apparent truth somehow) and nothing else, give this book a read. It truly is a book for everyone.

Wait, let me clarify. I don’t want to come off harsh. I absolutely do respect all opinions..we have to learn from each other and where I am wrong someone could be right, where I am right someone could be wrong. I don’t respect presumptions placed on me from opposing opinions. I don’t respect name calling. I do respect knowledge. So no matter what “side” you are on…the book serves as a thought provoking reminder to us all that you and I don’t really know 100%…but come on, let’s deal with the facts that we do know. And let’s also keep in mind…as the book so clearly reads out…there is so much more to autism than the debating of it.

This book is heartwarming, sad, inspiring, gripping, diverse in opinion and fact. I can’t give this book enough praise. You are going to be reeled in by Donald Triplett’s life and you are going to want to continue reading because you want to know what becomes of Donald and his journey with autism as the years and the knowledge move forward. I am beyond amazed at how wonderful this book is. I am not surprised by it because I did have a feeling it was going to be good..which is why I jumped on the opportunity to own a copy. I am glad that I have my copy now. I intend on putting this book to good use…researching…filling my brain with knowledge and understanding and also passing the word along that this exist. It is most definitely a must read. Again…as mentioned earlier, it is a chunker and it’s dense….but it’s worth every bit of it. Oh…and you can get it anywhere books are sold…Amazon, Barnes & Nobles, Half Price….

Happy Readings Everyone!!

 

 

Thanks as always to the wonderful people of BloggingForBooks for my free copy in exchange for an honest review to which I gladly and voluntarily gave. Thanks for another amazing reading journey….

Book Review Of Mexico from a Mexican…

I’m sitting here looking at my title and saying to myself, “Oh fucking God Michelle”. Yes, I know…it’s silly. I’m just trying to be creative…and doing a finer job at having a stumbling block on my writing skills than anything else. Oh well…it’s true. The book Mexico by Josh Barkan…about Mexico by a Mexican (mostly Mexican….mixed with all kinds of other wonderful ethnicity..ethnicities?? You get my point).

mexico0222So what better time to read a book about Mexico, right??!! Trump’s building a wall (or at least a bunch of Mexicans he hires will be), people are losing their shit, Facebook is a platform for political fighting, and I’m sitting here reading books minding my flippin’ own. Again, Mexico by Josh Barkan. I just received this book….like this morning just received. I’m going to be honest..I was in the middle of another book, Fates and Furies. And I was really getting into that book. And I freakin’ never start reading another book at the exact same time..most especially if the book that I am currently reading is that good. And it is. And I know I should not talk about other books on a book review but giving credit where credit is due..Fates And Furies is amazeballs. And I’m saying “And” a lot…but totally doing that on purpose. Still…I made the decision to drop the current book to get started on this one. It’s only 256 pages long and it’s a short story collection so I knew that I could read this fast enough if I devote a few hours of my morning to it…without much room for breaks (and totally neglecting my sick-stayed-at-home-from-school-child). My eyeballs and my brain are exhausted but I did it….damn it, I did it. And never freakin’ ever again…not because of the book…just because of the pure exhaustion (and because the sick-stayed-at-home-from-school-child hates me for it….kidding, he was asleep through it all).

Here’s what I got from this book:

For one..that cover. How could we not talk about that cover. It’s beautiful..it’s vibrant..it’s so freakin’ intriguing.

The stories. We get a chef, architect, nurse, high school teacher, painter, beauty queen, classical bass player, plastic surgeon, businessman, mime. Talk about a slew of eclectic characters. I love that in a book. Of course Barkan could have maybe added the poor man trying to make an honest living for his family or the teenager living in impoverished conditions, but whatever. We could have related with that “down to earth” vibe but that’s okay. Still good. The premise..these people are just trying to live their lives, trying to stay away from the violence that plagues Mexico. Does that happen??!! Well, thank God NO!! Otherwise we’d have no story…stories. Stuff gets crazy in this book. Stuff gets real crazy. We are talking straight drug cartel violence crazy shiii….stuff. (Cursing Michelle…the cursing!! I’m trying to remind myself that I have to post this review on proper review sites…my apologies).

It’s hard hitting, in your face, holy moly cow dramatics of the goings on in dangerous and yet beautiful Mexico. It’s not just a story…if you look at the news on a daily you will find it’s very much a reality for the citizens of that country. Josh Barkan has crafted that reality into a short story collection..worthy of a read, for sure. It’s a gritty and poetic tale. It’s not hoity toity and sweet and nice. It’s gripping and beautiful, sad and eye opening. It’s also exhausting…and now I need a one day breather before I get back to the world that Fates And Furies had me in before I put it down and went for this one.

Again, I say this book is worthy of a read. I also say you probably don’t want to get through it in one sitting like I did….but you know, to each their own. If you can handle the grit then go for it. In a time where we are stressing over a wall…this book is a sad reminder to us about the people of Mexico…the good hardworking people of Mexico and what they go through on a daily because of the bad people of Mexico. Positive and negative, beautiful and jarring. What the hell is a wall gonna do??!! And that’s all I’m going to say about that.

 

Oh…and you can purchase this book on amazon, Barnes & Nobles, and other places where books are sold.

Thanks as always to the wonderful people of BloggingForBooks for my free copy in exchange for an honest review to which I gladly and voluntarily gave. I’m not getting rich on reviewing because I’m getting nothing out of it other than knowledge and brain power!!

Another book review on a bookish journal…..

So almost 6 years ago I birthed the most brattiest, moodiest, but wonderfully eccentric little boy. That little boy came home from school grouchier than ever!! After an hour of crying and screaming he is finally asleep….THANK YOU JESUS!! sssssssshhh!! I’m not about to wake his demonic little soul up with vacuuming and moving furniture and making any kind of noise. I’m going to take this wonderful opportunity to sit here in silence and type up a review of a book I received only yesterday. Much anticipated, because I don’t own one and was always so envious of seeing all the booktubers have something like it, I finally got my hands on a copy of a Q&A journal. Q&A For Writers, to be exact. Am I a freakin’ writer??!! I mean….anyone is a writer if they put their minds and hearts to it right??!! I read….I write…and then I cram my writing journals into my bookshelves with the hopes that one day in the future I can go back on them, read what I wrote and hopefully not be utterly embarrassed at myself.

qa-for-writers2Q&A A Day For Writers 365 Questions for Creative Exploration by Potter…..oooooh, it’s so pretty. Cute….not a full size book like I was hoping..but actually this particular size works out beautifully. Nothing too bulky…the right size for storing away or throwing into a bag. I especially love that the cover is kinda like a cardboard…flexible cardboard feel to it. The font is lovely…the colors are my fave thing about it. It’s a one year journal….so that’s great. A future reflection on one year of my life. Maybe this will encourage me to continue writing in this way after I have filled this one out completely.

Okay so the content…if you are unfamiliar with these type of journals…it’s just a journal…daily entries…however, they provide some help. Instead of being completely blank…where you are left to your own devices to write how your day is or what your thoughts are, each page list the day…and then a question for you to answer…and then of course you are left to your own creative devices to write whatever answers you have for those questions. You can contribute a sentence…you can fill the entire page…hell, you can even doodle something instead of write a thought. Do with it what you will, it’s flexible enough. It’s motivational…thought provoking…and fun. I’m excited!! I have not written in it…so I have some catching up to do as it is day 25!! I think I am going to devote an entire weekend just to fill those 25 days up and then fingers crossed that I make it a point to take a little time out of each day to fill in the rest. #GOALS!!qa3

Of course this is a perfect book for the readers and writers of the world. We appreciate shit like this!! But also…I happen to think this makes a great gift or recommendation for teenagers. They attend school..they are asked on a daily to be creative and list their thoughts and so forth. This is mental exercise…and they could use some mental exercises in their lives. Another great gift for someone that is adventurous, someone that is opinionated, someone that is always pondering life’s most curious questions. Highly Recommend.

It remains to be seen on what I think of the paper texture…..I don’t know how ink will hold up to the paper…and yes, that’s so freakin’ important to me. From feel, I don’t expect to have any issues.

Looking forward to rainy days and alone time……creative juices are flowing in my veins.

Thanks as always to the wonderful peeps at bloggingforbooks for my free copy of this book in exchange for an honest review to which I gladly and voluntarily gave.

…and yet another book review..The Sun Is Also A Star

♫ Bitch, I’m back…by popular demand ♫ Aaaaaand I’m kidding on the popular demand part.

I’m back to give yet another book review and I’m thinking that maybe I want to step my blogging game up by posting more reviews and getting a bit more creative doing so. Just a thought….I’ve mentioned this exact same thing many times before…it will probably blow over later when making my feeble attempt but whatever…no hardcore commitment here..just having fun.

So I requested to get my hands on a copy of The Sun Is Also A Star by Nicola Yoon. YA…and yeah I’m not big on YA but as of lately I’ve been giving YA a shot. So far so good. I’ve hardly had a single complaint in the YA department. I’m kinda just taking the genre for what it is and not expecting too much more.

I’ve been going for YA even more so lately and will continue to do so because I have a little cousin who is just coming into her preteen years. I only just discovered that she is an avid reader. AN AVID READER!!! Melt my freakin’ cold heart why dont’cha…I was over the moon to learn that she loves to read and so now I am on the hunt for great YA books that I can recommend to her and if anything pass along for her to enjoy. My book lovin’ peeps know how that feels when our youth of today (or any age for that matter) reads because as we know it’s like we are a dying breed. Freaks of nature we are. People profess to read but don’t actually read. Oh how many a time I’ve heard “yeah I read too…I love to read”when someone sees my book collection and then when you try to spark up a convo with them about books they can’t add much back to that convo. Obvious indicator that they don’t read!! And let me tell ya, I complain, because in my physical life, I seriously don’t know many readers. I have about  2 cousins (now 3) and less than a handful of friends. Even my kids are not readers. Well, my 5 year does come to me with books….and obviously he’s my favorite kid!! So yeah….I’m becoming a YA reader because I want to be able to recommend some books to my cousin…also I just want to give YA a chance.

The Sun Is Also A Star by Nicola Yoon. This book is quickly becoming quite the popular book in the booktube world. I spotted it on several youtube book hauls and reviews. From what I gathered from these videos….seems interesting enough. When I had the opportunity to get my hands on a copy of course I went for it. I only just discovered that Nicola Yoon is the author of Everything, Everything. Another extremely popular book that has been making the rounds, that I have not read. Looks like I am going to have to make a trip to my local bookstore and get a copy.

the-sun-is-also-a-star1Alright….so for the review. The book cover is lovely. The story…even lovelier. Is that a word?? Lovelier?? Anyway…the story is lovely as well. And yes I say this knowing that I just read a book about young love. Eeeeck. But still….I liked it. Hey…I was young once…I know how young love feels. But what is great about this love story is that the characters are quirky and flawed. Natasha and Daniel are both great characters. Easy to fall in love with. The journey is adorable. Not quite so realistic…but believable enough. And look, I’m a curmudgeon true and through. I don’t like overly mushy…I don’t care for sweet and sugar coated. Still, from time to time I can embrace something “cute” if the book is special enough. This was kinda that book. I liked the story…I did not love it. Fair enough. I can imagine though that if I was a teenager I would be drooling for this special little love story. So yeah…I get the hype.

Did this book have flaws?? DUH, it’s contemporary YA…of course it has it’s flaws. It’s that cliche book that becomes overly popular and sought out…of course it has it’s flaws. It’s one of those books that you read because you want to like it like everyone else does but you just can’t like it the same as everyone else does kinda book. At least for some people that will be the case. Like I said, the story is cute. It’s quirky…it’s a fast read and that’s always fun. If you don’t want anything complicated but you are down for some smiles and possibly a few tears then this book is it. You just might even fall in love with Natasha and Daniel. This is not a hardcore book even though there are some topics mentioned that are suppose to affect us in a hardcore way. At least that was not the case for me. I can imagine if some lovely and sheltered 17 year old was reading this it might affect her/or him differently, but for me…NOPE. Again..it’s a fast read..meaning easy to read…nothing complicated. But I think it’s meant to be. 

I will say this…Nicole Yoon is a talented writer. It’s evident when you read her book…books. She has a way with words and I truly feel that if someone else was writing this exact story it would not be so good. Her writing style is the reason that this story works. I have not researched anything about her(I will soon) but I must imagine she would be right up there with John Green and Rainbow Rowell. Surely a steady abundance of teenagers are eagerly anticipating anything she puts out. And I can see why.

As for recommending this book to my teenager-ish cousin, I’m not sure. I think she might be a bit too young. Just a bit. I think what I need to do is ask her mother if she is allowed to read any love stories yet…that would be the only issue that I can think of that is something of concern. Everything else is minor. I mean…even the love story aspect is minor but yea know…she’s not my kid. I for one don’t censor much as long as it’s from books and movies and music. But that’s me. As for everyone else…fast read…contemporary YA…love story…if that’s up your alley then go for it. If not…stay far away…far far away.

 

 

Thanks as always to the wonderful peeps over at bloggingforbooks for my free copy of this book in exchange for an honest review to which I gladly and voluntarily gave.

A review….Girl In Pieces!!

Girl In Pieces is here…..Yes!! Save me girl from Owen Meany….I am losing my flipping….fucking miiiinnnnnd!! Okay, so…about 2 weeks ago I got started on A Prayer For Owen Meany by John Irving. I love John Irving. Fave book being A Widow For One Year.  Loved it so much I even bought the children’s book that was made up from this book…A Sound Like Someone Not Trying To Make A Sound (or something like that). It’s an amazing children’s book. Oh how I wish The Door In The Floor (another book…I’m babbling) existed as well. I had just got done with Geek Feminist Revolution and I was itching for a solid novel…checked out the booktube world…decided on Owen Meany. It has great reviews..it always makes those lists of Top (Whatever #) Books To Read Before You Bite The Big One. And of course I wanted to give John Irving another try. Here’s the thing….I started to love it…laughed…cried…was so intrigued..and I just don’t know if I am reading it too slow (thanks to the damn holidays and all it’s social obligations that come with it) but I am painstakingly becoming freakin’ bored out of my mind by it. The kind of bored where I really want to read…but then I remember what I’m reading…and so I suddenly try to think up something else to do because I decided that I no longer want to read. I mean…I freakin’ resorted to cleaning a couple of times instead of reading. Reading has become the chore!! I just could not do it anymore. But to be fair….I think I just need to put the book away..and come back to it at a later date. Right now…like a shallow girlfriend..I am just not that into Owen Meany.

Which brings me to this book….A Girl In Pieces by Kathleen Glasglow. Delivered to my door…I opened my packages……aaaaaaah. What’s that cheesy thing that booktubers say in that super annoying voice??!!….”It’s sooo preeettty…soooo pretty” as they pet the book that’s so pretty. But yeah…I had that moment. So for starters, diary style writing…..I FREAKIN’ HATE THAT. Huge disappointment. I just have a problem with that writing style (obviously a huge one). It only works with a few novels…and I was not sure it would work for this one. As I went along….okay…it was not bad…it was not even an issue. Actually for this particular topic…it makes the book very personal…poignant and endearing. I thought it was going to be a con for me…but it’s not at all. Gosh I’m an easily judgemental old bag. I almost did not want to give this a shot. I think what also works is that it’s not styled (visually) as journal entries. There are no headings or side notes with dates and times. Just a lovely flow. It’s more a first person narrative of experiences as the days go and I only got the “diary/journal entries from other reviewers that I heard describe it in that way. 

Moving on. This is a book about a young girl that self harms. Serious topic of mental health issues…something that I believe everyone should read about if only so we can better learn a point of view that we may or may not know about..something that may encourage compassion for others in real life because yes, although this is fiction, it is fiction based on real life issues faced not just by the youth, but people of any age. Reading educates…good books educate. Kathleen Glasgow does that really well. We don’t just learn about one girl self-harming. Typical angsty teen…story over. Nope. We learn about many levels of self harm..many types of self harm.as well as other kinds of mental health issues. The writing itself is beautiful and flowing. The characterization was good not solid. There is not much of any sugar coating that a lot of YA books resort to. I wanna say this book kinda falls in line with great books like The Perks Of Being A Wallflower and The Virgin Suicides…great, solid, memorable reads. 

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18 year old Charlotte is in an institution for her self-harming. While in the institution she is controlling her issue by being proactive in her recovery. She attends her meetings and group therapies, she takes her medicine, she acknowledges her past issues and how it affects her current life. But then Charlotte’s insurance runs out and she is forced to face the world alone..without the help of the institution, without meds, without that support that helped her. It’s scary..it’s heartbreaking…it’s interesting to see her life unfold. Although I could not relate completely I found myself connecting with Charlotte…I found myself relating to her on many levels..and it was so bittersweet…I still feel the pang in my heart.

Through all these issues..there is also a romance within the story. I thought I was going to have an “Oooooh Gaaawd” cringe worthy moment because of it. But pleasantly surprised Glasgow works her magic in a way that I did not have to cringe. Okay, I am not sure that “pleasantly surprised” should be the right term that I should make for a book of this kind so I’m going to scratch that and say..I was content with the outcome of the romance part of the story only because it was different than what I thought it would become. It was not your typical angsty teen romance story. At least not quite. It was also not the focal point of this entire story. Props to her for that. So if you wanted that…you won’t be getting that but I think if you read this book and push through you will be content with how that part of this story unfolds. 

Girl In Pieces is a YA book…but it’s a serious YA book. I have to give it props for the fact that it was centered around a very consequential issue that youth…people in general…face on a daily, unfortunately.

Oh oh…before I forget…maybe I should have put this in the beginning of my review. My favorite lines..written in the back cover of the book:

You can spot the girls who have it easy. I don’t even have to describe them for you. You can spot the girls who will get by on smarts. You can spot the girls who will get by because they are tough or athletic. ………..And then there’s me.

RESONATES……Oh God how that resonates with me. Instantly made me sad. Aaaaah, I can recall my teen years and how often I thought that. How very much I tried to fit in among those girls so no one would notice the real me. That’s a “share” for another time. Back to the book, I totally recommend it….and I totally recommend gifting it to any teen you know or any preadolescent coming into their teen years. 

Very interested to read more of Kathleen Glasgow in the future!!

 

 

As always a huge thanks to the wonderful peeps at BloggingForBooks for my request of this free copy in exchange for an honest review to which I gladly and voluntarily gave and will review on other book sites and also where this book is being sold.

My review of Red Blooded American Male

Sporadic and lazy….but I’m back for another book review. If I receive them..then I read and review them. It’s that simple. I have to do my part to show support for all the wonderful books in the world that make me happy (even those that don’t)….and aaaaah, this particular book makes me happy. I knew from the moment I saw it that I absolutely had to have…for fun…for absolute fun and nothing else. I didn’t care what the content was as far as words…I wanted those photos.

So back to sporadic and lazy. When it comes to the blogging world, yes, sporadic and lazy is what I am. I have not changed much of my format. I don’t know how to mess with photo shop unless it is at it’s most basic level. I don’ know all the ins and outs of how to make a blog wonderful and fun. I don’t get much traffic (no surprise there). I am not doing any of this to expand my blogging skills…not doing this to gain money from ads (I don’t even know how to do all that and my one attempt at expanding and growing came via the help of another admin/friend who thought they could make something great of my blog and it quickly failed MISERABLY!! 2 people with no genuine interest or time)…I don’t even know what a fucking widget is really. I just get books…read books..and come on here and share with whomever wants to read what I think of those books….that’s it. Pretty standard…pretty fucking primitive if I’m being honest. Hmmmff. Okay…now here’s the part the mini rant ends and moves to the actual damn review……

screenshot_711Red-Blooded American Male. Look at the cover!! It made me laugh…it made me intrigued…it made me want the book. This is in my opinion one fucking amazing coffee table book. It gives someone a reason to reach over and flip it open and scan the pages. It’s massive…and beautiful…and again, intriguing. The actor Will Arnett is on the cover…and it’s the way he is on the cover. Both a masculine and very feminine feel to it. I find it funny because his roles are usually that of the funny asshole. Comedic and cynical…snarky…male snarkiness. So he is sitting sprawled out in a grayish room on a gray contemporary sofa…wearing a dark gray turtle neck shirt….ANDDDD,  then some fishnet stockings paired with some masculine style shoes. It’s funny…but it’s also amazing. A red-blooded American male….fishnet stockings…something wonderful about it. And there’s more inside. The best description I found of this book is over on Penguin Random House’s site…

Uncovering a unique (and often self-deprecating) side to such talents as Jimmy Fallon, Seth Rogen, Channing Tatum, Waris Ahluwalia, Will Ferrell, and Kevin Hart, this collection goes beyond mere portraiture to challenge conventional notions of masculinity and traditional male imagery.

What really sold me…what ultimately did it for me from a total fan girl standpoint…was the page with Andy Cohen!! Aaaah, I love that guy. Absolutely love that guy and the photo of him, GREAT!! But that’s just me. There are so many other great actors and comedians and athletes posed in some pretty stunning shots. All are whimsical…most impressive..and done from the eyes of award winning photographer Robert Trachtenberg. There are a few women in the book…but this is all men. Men in compromising positions…men posed with a feminine flair I suppose…a nontraditional view of them..I LOVE IT. It’s just a brilliant concept. And can I just say you have to see the Robin Williams page…bittersweet. Makes you wish the guy was still around making more movies. Oh and those Jackass guys….photo, brilliant!! Some get a page..others get a 2 page spread..some in black and white..some full on vibrant color. Robert Trachtenberg does his magic…yes he does.

There’s nothing I hated about the book. No complaints. It’s heavy…so that’s not easy…but again, coffee table book. I would have maybe liked to see a few other American males in place of some others. Some men I didn’t even have a clue who they were…and I could imagine some other “Greats” that would have been amazing….but eh, whatever…maybe there will me a Red-Blooded American Male 2. Or not…it’s all good.

Again…this book is impressive. 224 pages that you have to see to appreciate. A coffee table book…a conversation piece even. Sold anywhere books are sold…but def sold here at amazon.

 

 

 

As always, a big thanks (and disclaimer) to the peeps at bloggingforbooks for my free copy of this book that I received in exchange for an honest review to which I gladly and voluntarily gave.  

 

 

Trying to Get Into The Holiday Spirit Book Review…..The Fir Tree!!

YAY for the holidays!! Everyone is so full of the spirit of..I don’t know..love and hope and Jesus and tradition and let’s be honest, shopping!! Nothing like making plans to buy the latest and greatest of products and spending some serious cash to do so. I feel Jesus flowing in my veins just thinking about it. Aaaaah yes.The streets and stores are more crowded than usual…everywhere you look there is a holiday reminder that it is the holidays so let’s spend some money. Praise the Lord. People are happier than ever…

As for me and my little tribe, we are hunkering down…staying home more times than not…trying not to kill one another…eating junk food from our pantry…watching holiday movies…and I’m reading books in between shouting and fighting from the two littlest of the group because the obviously don’t have enough Holiday sense to behave. PER THE USUAL. It’s what you do when you are broke and trying to stay afloat with the bills. But don’t let my Curmudgeon voice fool you into thinking I am not properly thankful and blessed because I have been. This year has been a trying year but a year filled with wonderful little surprises…people stepping up to help us in ways that I could never repay!! People that have been good to us..people that have been encouraging…People that genuinely care.  I can’t complain. (But the Curmudgeon in me always will…heeheehee).

So….because I was in need of some more feel good holiday spirit….I opted for this wonderful little book. The Fir Tree by Hans Christian Andersen. This unique little edition is illustrated by Sanna Annukka. Just looking at the book got me in the Christmas mood…so I had to own it. Not to mention that I already own a copy of The Snow Queen, that is also illustrated by Sanna Annukka. I needed to have these two books beside each other on my shelf…reminding me that reading great books and the holidays go hand-in-hand. It’s what the baby Jesus was born for….US, THE WONDERFUL READERS!! That’s my belief and I’m sticking to it. screenshot_615screenshot_616

Well…I have already read The Fir Tree once or twice in my life. Read it again because the illustrations in this particular edition are the loveliest I have ever seen. So beautiful and vibrant. EYE CANDY!! It has such a traditional and yet contemporary feel to it.  And having both these books, The Fir Tree and The Snow Queen, side by side on my shelf…just as I envisioned they would look and imagined they would make me feel….HAPPY!! I don’t need to drive to a Target or walk in a mall or buy hundreds and hundreds of dollars that I don’t even have anyway for gifts to feel in the holiday spirit. I felt in the holiday spirit when I sat my bratty kids on the sofa…snugly under the blankets, cocoa in hands, reading this timeless story to them. No money spent…forgot about my worries for a moment….always PRICELESS in feelings!!

 

Baaaa-humbug and thanks as always to the wonderful peeps at BloggingForBooks for my free copy of this book in exchange for an honest review to which I gladly and voluntarily gave.