4 Mini Book Reviews

Hey Readers, this summer has been one for the ages. I have gone through so much this summer and you can tell by some of my book choices seen (below). I’m here to give you a brief review of the four listed here.

ReadingSummer

It’s Called a Break-up because it’s Broken by Greg Behrendt and Amiira Ruotola-Behrendt

  • This book was so helpful after my boyfriend of four years broke up with me in May. It helped to put a lot things in perspective. What do you do when you just been broken up with you? Personally, I read about relationships and breaking up. It made feel better after reading it. Also in my naivete when your ex says you can call them after the break up, DON’T DO IT. They don’t mean it at all. Great book if you are fresh out of a break up!

You Are a Badass by Jen Sincero

  • This book was also great because, at least, for me it built off what I learn in the previous book. This book called you to tap into your energy force and mainly look at the positives and take risk. It was very encouraging because it did help me do things that I would not typically do by myself or try to think of ways out. I applied for a job in another city, right after moving to my new apartment. I went to a concert solo. If you are looking for a confidence boost or way to channel your best self I would highly recommend this book!

A Lucky Child by Thomas Buergenthal

  • A phenomenal book about a Jewish young boy’s life before, during, and after WWII/Holocaust. I read it for book club at the library. I could not put it down, read it in two days. This is the author’s memoir about his experience with his parents during the Holocaust. He is very succinct in his writing about the event, which I appreciate. However, he is very careful not call his experience miraculous and not completely luck. While reading this book, as the reader, all you can say he was one lucky child. The events he describes are so horrific. I still can’t get over how people can do this to one another. This spurred me to read about other groups people affected during the Holocaust and WWII. I loved this book, if you want an inimate portrait of a family and the ingenuity of survival; Please Read!

Norse Mythology by Neil Gaiman

  • Ok, this is very silly, I was watching the new trailer for Thor 3: Ragnarok and thought to myself that looks great. I must watch Thor 1 & 2 before I see 3. Reasonable right. I thought so, but I took it one-step further and told myself I need to brush up on my Norse mythology. Thankfully, Neil Gaiman wrote a book with the major stories of Norse mythology. It was written in his style of humor and made it so easy to understand. Now I have a basic understanding and tell you how many things in our world came to be via Norse-lore. I love mythology so much it’s kind of creepy. Greek, Roman, and Egyptian mythologies I know very well. I think I will branch out into other civilizations soon like Sumerian and Mayan. Another great read from Gaiman, a very digestible mythology with lots of humor.  

You can see the evolution of my reading from the beginning of the summer to the now. From very serious–wanting self help to survivor mode, now to let’s laugh about it. It’s pretty cool to see written out.

Happy Reading!

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I’m Reading Curious Charms of Arthur Pepper

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Title:  The Curious Charms of Arthur Pepper
Author: Phaedra Patrick
Genres:  Contemporary Fiction
Pages: 331
Publisher: MIRA
Review Copy: Libary/Overdrive eBook & eAudiobook
Where to Get: LibraryAmazon, Barnes & Noble

Summary from Goodreads:
Sixty-nine-year-old Arthur Pepper lives a simple life. He gets out of bed at precisely 7:30 a.m., just as he did when his wife, Miriam, was alive. He dresses in the same gray slacks and mustard sweater vest, waters his fern, Frederica, and heads out to his garden.

But on the one-year anniversary of Miriam’s death, something changes. Sorting through Miriam’s possessions, Arthur finds an exquisite gold charm bracelet he’s never seen before. What follows is a surprising and unforgettable odyssey that takes Arthur from London to Paris and as far as India in an epic quest to find out the truth about his wife’s secret life before they met–a journey that leads him to find hope, healing and self-discovery in the most unexpected places.


My Review

The Curious Charms of Arthur Pepper is a fascinating novel written by Phaedra Patrick. I am reading this book for our June book club pick after one book, “A Man Called Ove” we have been trying to read, for 2 years, at the library has been so popular I can’t get any copies. This was a nice readalike also set in contemporary times, male protagonist undergoing self-discovery.

Exactly, a year after the death of his beloved wife, Miriam, 69-year-old Arthur Pepper is cleaning out Miriam’s closet when he finds an expensive charm bracelet he didn’t know she owned, and each charm seems to represent a part of Miriam’s past life. Arthur was completely taken and wanted to know every story behind each charm. What follows is a series of adventures that help Arthur get out of his grief stricken blues. Along the way he also works on reacquainting himself with his somewhat estranged children and realizes that discovering that living a non-adventurous and simple life doesn’t mean it hasn’t been well lived.

I adored the book, it held my attention with the heartwarming love story of Arthur and Miriam. I loved how going on the adventure took him abroad. Also, got him out of bed and out of his widower’s routine. He met many intriguing characters along the way which helped enrich the story! It is such as sweet book and an easy read!

It’s a highly entertaining read. I was laughing so many times throughout the book. Not only was Arthur discovering his wife’s past life but he was also discovering himself. I would definitely recommend this book, if anyone is looking for a lighthearted and easy read. I would even recommend listening to it on audio-book because that really made the book come to life for me.

 

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I’m Reading Shadowshaper

ShadowshaperTitle: Shadowshaper
Author: Daniel Jose Older
Genres:  Urban Fantasy
Pages: 297
Publisher: Arthur A. Levine Books
Review Copy: Libary/Overdrive eBook & eAudiobook
Where to Get: LibraryAmazon, Barnes & Noble

Summary from Goodreads:
Sierra Santiago was looking forward to a fun summer of making art, hanging out with her friends, and skating around Brooklyn. But then a weird zombie guy crashes the first party of the season. Sierra’s near-comatose abuelo begins to say “No importa” over and over. And when the graffiti murals in Bed-Stuy start to weep…. Well, something stranger than the usual New York mayhem is going on. Sierra soon discovers a supernatural order called the Shadowshapers, who connect with spirits via paintings, music, and stories. Her grandfather once shared the order’s secrets with an anthropologist, Dr. Jonathan Wick, who turned the Caribbean magic to his own foul ends. Now Wick wants to become the ultimate Shadowshaper by killing all the others, one by one. With the help of her friends and the hot graffiti artist Robbie, Sierra must dodge Wick’s supernatural creations, harness her own Shadowshaping abilities, and save her family’s past, present, and future.


My Review

Shadowshaper is a powerful novel by Daniel Jose Older. The novel is a Young Adult, urban fantasy; set in the Bed-Stuy of Brooklyn, New York. Randomly, a former co-worker suggested the book to me on Goodreads and to be completely honest, I judged the book by the cover (Such a NO-NO).  This book has such a beautiful cover. Just look at the at cover!! You can’t say no to that. I’m glad I read the book because fantasy is a new genre that I am exploring and my only foray into fantasy has been Song of Fire & Ice series by George R.R. Martin.

The book tells the story of Sierra Santiago, an Afro-Latina, who is immersed into a spiritual world and battle; which she has to navigate very quickly. Sierra has been noticing that the graffiti murals in her neighborhood are fading and crying. Soon after her abuelo (grandfather), who has suffered a stroke and doesn’t speak  starts talking and saying the same phrase over and over again; Lo Siento, Lo Siento (I’m Sorry, I’m Sorry). Sierra’s abuelo tells her she will need Robbie’s help to finish her mural. Soon Robbie tells her about secret organization called, Shadowshapers. Shadowshapers are conduit to connect with spirits mostly through paintings. In very short time, Sierra will have to get battle ready to fight an evil Shadowshaper who is using spirits and magic to their own dark means. Not only will she have to fight an evil Shadowshaper; she will have to figure out her family history being kept hidden from her because of the rising conflicts between members of her family.

What I liked best about this novel was the folklore that the book is rooted in. The spiritual magic which is an aspect of Afro-American & Afro-Caribbean culture of still be able to connect with your ancestors’ spirits and the spirit world. It reminded me a lot of Santeria and Dia los Muertos. I loved there was a very diverse cast in the book. There were different ethnicities, nationalities, and sexualities. Older did a great job creating well-rounded main and supportive characters. Many of the everyday teenage things the characters went through reminded me of my teenage years. While saying this I glad, Older did not focus on a lot of teenage angst that many YA authors love to do. He stayed away from that and focused on the problem at hand, Sierra find her identity as Shadowshaper and Afro-Latino, and defeating an evil shadowshaper. It was fascinating how Older so deftly illustrated color-ism many brown minorities face within families and society. How being a darker hue can effect the people treat you, and how you feel about yourself. When Sierra finally stood up her Aunt; I was screaming YESSSS! inside. I know that feeling so well when someone says your skin is too dark and/or your hair is too “kinky.”I really enjoyed Sierra’s strongly asserted voice and the dynamic characters that I came to know in this book.

It’s well-worthing reading, Shadowshaper, because it is not only about magic. It also discusses racism, sexism, gentrification, family ties, and appropriation. I truly enjoyed reading this book! If you are looking to get into fantasy definitely start with this book. I will also suggest listening to the audio-book because it is narrated by the beautiful and talented Anika Noni Rose!

This is definitely a must read!

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9 Mini Book Reviews: Kinsey Millhone Alphabet Series

I have been reading the Kinsey Millhone series out of curiosity. It is a popular series that many patrons at the library check out all the time. I wanted to know what all the fuss was about. And now I know. The series is very enjoyable and my first female detective series. I have read the books so quickly that I want to do 9 mini reviews. I will be reviewing A-I. The Kinsey Millhone series is an alphabet mystery series. Sue Grafton, the author, titles each book with a letter of the alphabet.

Let’s Start:Read More »

Goodreads Challenge Completed and Then Some

I completed my Goodreads challenge for 2016! My challenge was to read 20 books and I did plus five more. Last year, I had the same challenge of 20 books and did not make it at all. I think I only read 5 five last year.

One of the main reasons I failed last year is because I am a very slow reader and I have a tendency to put books down and complete them for a while.

For 2016, I incorporated audiobooks into the mix and that helped alot with the completion of the challenge. I’m not sure yet what I will do for next year.

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VIEW THE COMPLETE 2016 CHALLENGE LIST:

2016 Reading Challenge

2016 Reading Challenge
Kaya has
completed their goal of reading
20 books in
2016!
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