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review 2017-06-20 20:23
Review: Dark Water by Parker Bilal
Dark Water (The Makana Mysteries) - Parker Bilal

 

 

When an Englishman, Marcus Winslow, appears at Makana's door one April morning, Makana does not realize that he will soon risk losing everything he has built for himself in Cairo. Winslow represents the British government--meaning the Secret Intelligence Service--and he has a special mission to offer, one that Makana cannot resist: Ayoub Hadari, a dangerous specialist in biochemical nerve agents, is on the run and asking for asylum. The only person who can bring him in is Makana--by Ayoub's own request. Ayoub has gone underground in Istanbul and Makana, for the first time since arriving in Egypt, must travel abroad, to a city he doesn't know. Can he trust Marcus Winslow? Or is something more sinister in the works? In this foreign city, Makana soon realizes that nothing is what it appears to be. Suddenly, his past is racing to catch up with him, and Makana becomes both hunter and hunted.

 

 

 

This is book six in the Makana series but the first book I read. I think while it can be read as a standalone, it would have been easier and more enjoyable if I had read the previous books. That being said I had no real idea of what I’m getting into. The world setting is good and easy to understand and very well described. Sometimes a little over described. The same goes for the characters. I had a hard time to relate Makana at times but I think that could have been because I have not rad the previous books. I thought for a crime-mystery it also was very political and various views of politics and foreign affairs and even terrorism comes up. It was rather suspenseful and I never knew what would come next which I enjoyed. Some parts seemed a bit dense but overall it was a good read. It was something I would have never picked up myself but ended up enjoying.

 

I rate it 3 ★

 

 

*I received a free copy from the publisher and chose to leave a voluntary review. Thank you!*

 

 

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Will be available July 11th 2017

 

 

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Parker Bilal

 

Parker Bilal is the pseudonym of Jamal Mahjoub. Mahjoub has published seven critically acclaimed literary novels, which have been widely translated. Born in London, he has lived at various times in the UK, Sudan, Cairo and Denmark. He currently lives in Barcelona.

 

Links

Website *** Goodreads *** Amazon

 

Snoopydoo sigi

Source: snoopydoosbookreviews.com/review-dark-water-parker-bilal
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review 2017-06-20 00:18
Save Me a Seat
Save Me a Seat - Gita Varadarajan,Sarah Weeks

Save Me a Seat is a recent middle grade book co-authored by veteran Sarah Weeks and newcomer Gita Varadarajan.  While not explicitly discussed in the interviews, I believe the two authors met at a Teachers College Writing Workshop directed by Lucy Calkins and that the collaborative project may have been born during the workshop. 

 

The book features alternating chapters of the first week of 5th grade from two viewpoints, Joe (written by Ms. Weeks) and Ravi (written by Ms. Varadarajan).  Joe has lived in the same small town in central NJ all his life.  Ravi has just moved to the US from India.  Taking place over the course of a single week, the boys find common cause and the seed of a friendship as they are both targets of their class bully, an Indian-American kid named Dillon Samreen.

 

There were many moments of humor and realistic tween emotions throughout Save Me a Seat. I also liked the clever way the book used food as a framing.  However, I didn’t fall in love with the story or the characters. While seeing yourself represented in books is important, I thought it was just too convenient that Joe’s defining characteristic is a learning disability.  And there were times that the moral lessons of looking beyond the surface to find potential friends were just a bit too blatant for my adult eyes.  As I read, I kept wondering if this is a book kids would really be attracted to on their own or if it was written to be a parable and the basis of lesson plans and won’t find many readers outside that context.

 

Read for Tomorrowland 34 in Booklikes-opoly

 

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review 2017-06-18 00:51
The Rhino Who Swallowed a Storm by LeVar Burton and Susan Schaefer Bernardo
The Rhino Who Swallowed a Storm - LeVar Burton,Susan Schaefer Bernardo,Courtenay Fletcher

Genre:  Drama / Weather / Inspirational / Children's / Folktale


Year Published: 2014


Year Read:  2017

Publisher:  Reading Rainbow

 

 

Rhino


I have been a huge fan of “Reading Rainbow” ever since I was a child and I have always enjoyed reading the books that were either featured or suggested on the TV series. So, imagine my surprise and delight when I found out that LeVar Burton, the longtime host of “Reading Rainbow” was going to write a children’s book called “The Rhino Who Swallowed a Storm,” along with co-writing with Susan Schaefer Bernardo and artwork by Courtenay Fletcher. This book will surely inspire many children to get through hard times themselves!

The story starts off with Mica Mouse sitting with her father during a storm and she became worried about the storm due to a hurricane coming in and destroying her home over a year ago. Mica’s father then went to comfort her by reading her a story about a rhino who also went through some hard times.

In the story, the rhino was living peacefully in his home when all of a sudden, a strong storm came through the valley and started destroying everything that the rhino cared about. The rhino was so upset by all the destruction that it ended up swallowing the storm. After the rhino swallowed the storm, the storm started causing so much disturbance within the rhino and the rhino was at a lost at what to do. The spider then comes by and tells the rhino this verse:

“The world up above is shattered and gray,
But it’s where you belong, so you must find a way
To let that storm out and move through your sorrow.
You’ll find many helpers on your road to tomorrow.”


So, the rhino decided to go on a quest to get rid of the storm that is boiling inside of him.

Will the rhino be successful on his quest?

Read this book to find out!


Wow! I was quite impressed with this inspiring children’s book that was written by none other than LeVar Burton of “Reading Rainbow” fame! LeVar Burton and Susan Schaefer Bernardo did a great job at writing this story as I found this story to be quite inspirational, especially for children who have to deal with the harshness of the real world and need to find a way to go through life in such a negative world. I actually found myself relating to both Mica Mouse and the rhinoceros in the story as I sometimes found myself wondering about how I can deal with all the wars, deaths and prejudice going on in this world and I like the fact that this book tries to encourage children to get through tough times by inspiring them to remain positive and be aware of all the friends and families they have that will help them through tough times. Courtenay Fletcher’s artwork is highly creative and cute to look at as I enjoyed the images of both the rhinoceros and Mica Mouse as the artwork for Mica Mouse and her father are in smooth watercolors while the artwork for the rhinoceros is in cut out figures to help the readers distinguished between the two stories.

Rhino

The reason why I took off half a star from the rating was because I felt that this story was a bit too lengthy in trying to get its message across and I wished that they would have trimmed out a few verses that the animals were trying to tell the Rhino in order to get to the meat of the story much faster.

Overall, “The Rhino Who Swallowed a Storm” is a great inspirational book for children who are also going through hard times and want a good book that can inspire them to remain positive in such a harsh world. I would recommend this book to children age five and up since the length and complexity of this book might be difficult for some smaller children.

Review is also on: Rabbit Ears Book Blog

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review 2017-06-18 00:41
Choo Choo by Virginia Lee Burton
Choo Choo - Virginia Lee Burton

Genre:  Trains / Adventure / Classic / Drama


Year Published: 1937


Year Read:  2017

Publisher:  Houghton Mifflin Company

 

 

Choo

I have read at least two books from Virginia Lee Burton when I was younger and they were “The Little House” and “Mike Mulligan and his Steam Shovel” and I had enjoyed both books immensely! So, I then picked up another book by Virginia Lee Burton called “Choo Choo” which was quite a unique read and is one that I would definitely recommend for children!

The story is about a beautiful little locomotive named Choo Choo who would pull trains from the city to the country and back again every day. She was always accompanied by three workers who were named Jim the Engineer, Oley the Fireman and Archibald the Conductor who would all come together to take care of Choo Choo. One day however, Choo Choo was getting tired of pulling trains in between the cities and the country and she decided to run away from the station and show everyone in town how beautiful she really is!

What sort of adventures will Choo Choo get herself into?

Read this book to find out!


Wow! I never would have thought that I would enjoy this book so much! Just like Virginia Lee Burton’s other works, this book has a classic and old fashioned feel as we get to see how trains look like during the 1930s. I also loved the fact that this story has a different twist to the usual children’s story about trains, as it details the story about a young train running away from its owners, which I rarely read about in previous books about trains. Virginia Lee Burton does a great job at making this book both cute and exciting at the same time as I loved the fact that Choo Choo’s owners really do care about what happened to Choo Choo when she goes missing as it brings in a heartwarming element to the story. I was also sitting on the edge of my seat as I wondered if Choo Choo was ever going to make it back home safely and I liked the way that Virginia Lee Burton detailed the dangers of running away from home as Choo Choo gets into all kinds of danger on her travels and it would help teach kids about the dangers of running away from home by themselves. Virginia Lee Burton’s artwork is quite unique in this book as most of the images are in black and white colorings, giving this book an old fashioned and bold feel and I also enjoyed seeing the images of Choo Choo herself as she is drawn as a cute looking locomotive, which strongly reminds me of the image from “The Little Engine that Could!”

Choo

The only real issue with this book is that there is one image in this book where Choo Choo ends up going through a scary looking forest that might frighten smaller children. The trees are drawn in a much eerier manner compared to the rest of the images and parents might want to go through the images in this scene first to see if their children can handle such scary imagery.

Overall, “Choo Choo” is a truly cute book that children who enjoy reading about trains will definitely get a kick out of! I would recommend this book to children ages five and up since the image of the scary forest might scare some smaller children.

Review is also on: Rabbit Ears Book Blog

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review 2017-06-18 00:34
The Love That Split the World by Emily Henry
The Love That Split the World - Edith Wharton, Mark Twain, Emily Bronte, Jules Verne, Robert Louis Stevenson, Richard Henry Dana Charles Dickens

Genre: Science Fiction Romance


Year Published: 2016


Number of Pages: 390 pages


Date Read: 4/23/2017   



Publisher:  Razor Bill

 

 

Love


“Love is giving the world away, and being loved is having the whole world to give.”


I must admit that I rarely read romance novels that deal with time traveling since time traveling stories tend to confuse me due to trying to figure out what events are going on in the present versus what events are going on in the future and sometimes, the line between past, present and future can be blurred in certain stories. One such novel that I had read called “The Love That Split the World” by Emily Henry actually dealt with time travel and I have to tell you that it was one doozy of a read!

Natalie Cleary was your average high school student who is friends with her ex-boyfriend Matt Kincaid and Megan and lives in a happily adopted family with her siblings Jack and Coco and life was going well for Natalie. One night however, Natalie meets up with a mysterious boy named Beau at her high school football game and the two instantly fell in love with each other. But then, Natalie starts noticing some weird things going on around her small town in Kentucky, such as a preschool suddenly appearing where the garden store should have been and when the people in town suddenly disappear before her very eyes. It was then that a mysterious old woman called “Grandmother” came to Natalie’s dreams and gave her a warning that she has three months to save someone she really cares about. So, Natalie spends the majority of the book trying to find out who she is going to save while spending some time with Beau and trying to figure out these weird events happening around her town.

I have to admit that for a time traveling story, Emily Henry has definitely done a great job at putting a unique spin to the usual time traveling story as its core focus is the romance between Natalie and Beau and how they try to stay together throughout the different time rifts that goes on throughout their worlds. I also enjoyed the relationships between the characters, especially between Megan and Natalie and Natalie and Beau. I loved the fact that Natalie usually confides in Megan about her various visions that she has and how Megan is so understanding about Natalie’s “odd” dreams and visions as it is nice to have another character who knows about the main character’s secret abilities without having the reader go through the entire book wondering if the main character will ever reveal their secrets to anyone else. I also enjoyed the relationship between Natalie and Beau, although I found it a bit too contrived at times that Natalie suddenly thinks that Beau is her true love upon their first meeting. I loved the fact that Natalie and Beau truly love each other and I really like their cute little bantering with each other, despite the turbulent situation that they are stuck in.

The reason why I gave this book a three-and-a-half-star rating is because while the story had a strong start at the beginning, the story got a bit confusing once the time travel elements got introduced and I started to lose a bit of interest in the story due to being constantly confused about what is really going on with Natalie and Beau’s time traveling shenanigans. I also got a bit annoyed with Natalie throughout certain parts of the story as it seems like all she does is whine and complain about how bad her life is and how she is indecisive about her feelings about Matt when it is obvious that she would rather be with Beau in pursuing her relationship. Also, there were times where the pacing was a bit slow, especially during the scenes where the time traveling aspects were being explained in full detail and I was hoping for these scenes to be shorten so that we could get to the action sequences much faster.

Overall, “The Love that Split the World” may had had a strong start, but the story came apart once the time traveling aspect was introduced and it might be difficult for some fans of time traveling stories to get into. However, it is an interesting read for anyone who is a fan of time traveling romances!

Review is also on: Rabbit Ears Book Blog

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