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review 2018-06-29 15:48
All the world's a stage but thank goodness I'm not a Winged Monkey
Short - Holly Goldberg Sloan

One of the things I regretted last summer was that I wasn't more in touch with the books selected for the Summer Reading program. So I decided as soon as the list was given to us that I would read as many books as I could so that I'd be better prepared for recommending them to our patrons. This is why I picked up Short by Holly Goldberg Sloan. The story is told through the eyes of Lydia, an 11-year old girl, who is super sensitive about her height...until she is chosen to be a Munchkin and Winged Monkey in her town's production of The Wizard of Oz where it suddenly becomes an advantage. She discovers that her height is just a small (no pun intended) part of her. She makes friends with a fellow cast member named Olive who is herself a dwarf as well as an older neighbor named Mrs. Chang who turns out to have many years of experience with the theater and costume making. My favorite part about this book was the main character, Lydia, who was absolutely hysterical. 

 

An example from page 26-7 as she describes the director of the play she's performing in:

He is for sure older than my parents, who are old, because they are forty-two and forty-four. He might be super-super-super-old. Is he fifty-five? I have no idea.

Sloan totally gets the 'voice' of a child. They have zero concept of age (I've been told I'm 84 so I know from experience) and they also have zero reason to lie to you. Lydia is a well-rounded character who not only makes hilarious asides but also conveys depth of feeling.

 

When confronted with an awkward conversation about death:

My voice is small. I whisper, "Life is a cabaret." I don't even know what this means, but I heard Shawn Barr say it to Mrs. Chang a few days ago and they both laughed. It works, because she smiles. I'm guessing a cabaret is a kind of wine. I hope she'll have a tall glass. - pg 240

Overall, this was a delightful little read and I've been more than happy to recommend it to the children and parents at my library. If you're a fan of the theater or looking for a book full of heart (or both) well I think you've found your book match. ;-)

 

A/N: If you're triggered by repeated mentions of pet death then don't come near this book. It's not a spoiler to tell you this is a running theme throughout the book beginning in the first couple of pages. Grief is a large theme explored in this book but I didn't find it as compelling as the self-discovery/acceptance experienced by Lydia. 

 

There are 2 different covers for this one and honestly I like them both quite a bit.

 

Source: Barnes & Noble

 

 

What's Up Next: The Royal Rabbits of London by Santa & Simon Sebag Montefiore

 

What I'm Currently Reading: Madam President: An Open Letter to the Women Who Will Run the World by Jennifer Palmieri

Source: readingfortheheckofit.blogspot.com
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review 2018-06-08 23:24
Upstaged
[Death of a Hollow Man: A Chief Inspector Barnaby Mystery] (By: Caroline Graham) [published: March, 2006] - Caroline Graham

Once more I'm delving into Caroline Graham's world of detective fiction but this time it's with the second book in her Chief Inspector Barnaby series. Death of a Hollow Man takes place primarily in the Causton theater. It begins with the death of a prominent member of the local acting community committed during a performance of their newest production. Very dramatic, eh? [A/N: I have to restate my dislike of Sgt Troy who is misogynistic, homophobic, and generally vile. I understand he's used as a literary device to highlight how different he is from the main protagonist of the novel but I really wish he wasn't in the books at all. Something I do like is the relationship between Tom and his wife Joyce which is portrayed quite a bit differently from the TV series which I am more familiar with (and like better). The reader learns more background knowledge about how they met each other and fell in love (turns out Joyce is an excellent singer while Tom possesses admirable artistic skills). In fact, a lot of relationships are explored in this sequel and the majority of them are quite ugly beneath the surface. There's quite a lot of flippant talk regarding mental illness which I didn't particularly care for especially relating to Alzheimer's. I think the only really good thing I can say about this novel is that the mystery itself is fast paced and interesting so it kept me turning the pages. Graham knows how to write a gripping mystery but I don't think she's especially adept at character portrayals (or sensitivity). All in all, I think this will be my last foray into this literary series but I will continue to watch Midsomer Murders (especially after we visited the place where it's filmed). 5/10

 

What's Up Next: Ghostbusters by Larry Milne

 

What I'm Currently Reading: Invisible Man by Ralph Ellison

Source: readingfortheheckofit.blogspot.com
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review 2018-05-29 19:30
Fun, insightful, and surprising
Yes Please - Amy Poehler

I wanted to shake things up a bit on my daily commute so I thought I would give a few audiobooks a shot. The one I started with is one that has been on my TRL for ages but for some reason I never got around to picking it up. Yes Please by Amy Poehler got some major press and accolades but was especially recommended to me as an audiobook and now I totally get why. This is the first audiobook I've read in a long time and I'm so glad that I chose this one to delve back into that medium. Having experienced it in this format, I highly advise you to do the same because it was so much fun. Amy had multiple guests join her in the recording booth (which she mentioned was built at her house well before she wrote the actual book). From her parents and Seth Myers to Carol Burnett and PATRICK STEWART it was like a variety show for the ears. I especially loved the parts where it was Amy exchanging dialogue with the people she had asked to record for her because it felt more authentic and like a gag reel. (It was hilarious, ya'll.) I learned so much about Amy from her childhood in Massachusetts to her creation of the Upright Citizens Brigade in NYC. Amy's refreshing honesty coupled with the format she chose to tell her story...it almost makes me wish it didn't exist as a print book at all because I think audio is the way it was truly meant to be enjoyed. 10/10 highly recommend if you love awesome ladies doing awesome things.

 

What's Up Next: Eleanor Oliphant is Completely Fine by Gail Honeyman

 

What I'm Currently Reading: The Outsider by Stephen King

Source: readingfortheheckofit.blogspot.com
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review 2018-05-22 00:00
Acting on Impulse (Love on Cue)
Acting on Impulse (Love on Cue) - Mia Sosa Goodreads is so dangerous. I finish a book...off to review!! Then after a solid time scrolling through updates remember what I was really here for...

So...my expectations were pretty low for this. I couldn't tell ya why. They were though. So when this novel cleverly starts off with an actor (must be said in Tobias voice from arrested development, ty) on an airplane, getting away...I still wasn't expecting much. Until I was. Something about Carter's voice hit that Lauren Blakely feel for me-I like her male POVs-but this was kind of really cute. It was insta-lust, but with Carter imagining his future in a not-sappy but totally has the hots for the woman in 12D (or whatever). Sometimes we see people and I make up an entire future or backstory. I have, in fact, seen men that I've been attracted to and thought "hmm, in a parallel universe here's what happens." What saved this book from a case of insta-lust/insta-attraction/insta-insanity was that though Carter was quite interested, it was all kind of a lark too. And basically precisely fit the title "Acting on impulse." Sure, he was totally into her, and really wanted her--but it was a connection and he didn't over sap-ify or romanticize or alpha-male his way in there. He didn't even really pursue her aggressively. He was just charming, they had fun....she calls him on mansplaining, and basically things do not unfold in a predictable way.
Maybe coming here wasn't a terrible idea after all. The woman I like is meeting my parents under circumstances that won't induce stress. Years from now, Tori will thank me for being forward-thinking. This future-invested hero was done so cheekily, it really saved it from that shallow insta feeling that would normally plague a novel of this kind.

My comparisons to Lauren Blakely, my trusted palate cleanser, ends there. This is a higher caliber romance with more development than that if you ask me. A Puerto Rican heroine who is a personal trainer and shows plenty of all of that. An actor who loves his craft, his friends, and his family. Their families are in this book. The finesse in this book was building two characters who are good at showing their respect and admiration for each other honestly, and through gestures. (Tori telling him he has value as a rom-com actor because of how romance novels were her only escape when her father had a stroke because he felt like he had to be "more" than that. Carter checking out her community exercise class.)
"What part of 'don't call attention to yourself' did you not understand?"
I shrug. "Most of it."


Totally weird, some of the humor relied on a second person narrative style. Thankfully, it was just glimmers, and I felt the whole book was so charming I kind of loved it. Other than some gimmicks at the end I wish weren't employed cause this book didn't need them, I was super happy and surprised by the whole thing.
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review 2018-03-01 13:58
It's book 2 in my lazy review series so...
Acting Out - Tibby Armstrong,Noah Michael Levine

you'll find my thoughts and ramblings on this one posted with...

 the final book in this series.

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