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review 2017-07-03 05:42
Raven Black
Raven Black - Ann Cleeves

A young girl is found dead in a field and the police begin questioning everyone in an effort to find out who did it and why.  The community was sure it was an old man who lived alone and was a bit "daft".  He was questioned after another girl went missing 8 years earlier but that girl's body was never found.  This time Detective Jimmy Perez wants to make sure the right person is caught and not rush to judgment to get a fast resolution.  

 

I had never heard of this author until I won a book giveaway for the 7th book in this series. I wanted to start at the beginning and I was very intrigued by the different setting. I learned some things about Shetland as I read to help me visualize the setting and have a better understanding of the people, language, and culture. I located it in an atlas and looked up several terms that I was unfamiliar with too, like dram and churlish. I really enjoyed the book and the writing. I never was sure who murdered the girls and was surprised by the ending.

 

Shetland sounds like a cold place with a lot of wind and few trees. I live in Alaska so I know about cold but we don't get much wind here.  Wind changes everything.  I think living near the water with all the wind would be torture for me.  I'm in pain today since it is raining and I'm sure in Shetland I would feel like that every day.  

 

I will definitely be reading the rest of the series and would recommend it to anyone who has the patience to get used to the different lingo (unless you are from there).  I love learning about different places so this was right up my alley.  I think Ann Cleeves is one of the best writers I've ever read.  The writing was so crafted and nothing was predictable.  

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review 2017-05-30 17:28
One Sentence Review – Donkey’s Kite by Liana Melissa Allen #LianaMelissa Allen
Donkey's Kite: A Horse Valley Adventure-Book 2 (Volume 2) - Liana-Melissa Allen,Liana-Melissa Allen

Check out this fun children’s book, Donkey Kite by Liana Melissa Allen.

I reviewed the first book in A Horse Valley Adventure, Three Little Horses and a Big Bully Donkey last Saturday.

 

Donkey's Kite (Horse Valley Adventure #2)

 

Amazon  /  Goodreads

 

MY ONE SENTENCE REVIEW

 

The Big Bully Donkey found out what it was like when the shoe is on the other foot, but sometimes ‘the hero’ will surprise you…and the message is…keep your mind open and it’s all about teamwork.

Animated Animals. Pictures, Images and Photos  4 Stars

 

GOODREADS BLURB

 

The three horses Jack, Max, Lax and their friend Donkey are back!

 

In Horse Valley it is a perfect day to go kite flying. Jack, Max, Lax, and Donkey decide to get creative by putting together their own homemade kites. However, Donkey’s kite doesn’t turn out very good. No matter how hard he tries to get it to fly, it just keeps tumbling to the ground.

 

How will poor Donkey get his kite to fly? Well, a friendly goose named Gusty is delighted to help him out.

 

In this Horse Valley Adventure, Donkey learns not to give up when all seems hopeless. They all learn a lesson about helping others and true friendship.

 

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Source: www.fundinmental.com/one-sentence-review-donkeys-kite-by-liana-melissa-allen-lianamelissa-allendonkeys-kite
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review 2017-04-21 04:50
Coach helps teen turn his life around...
Ghost (Track) - Jason Reynolds

 

 

Like, for me, the best way to describe it is, I got a lot of scream inside.

- Chapter 3

 

Castle Crenshaw is in the seventh grade and he is always in trouble, mostly fighting. He doesn't take any crap. But, he sees a team running track in the park, proves he can run faster, and the Coach asks him to join. Castle (nicknamed Ghost) runs fast because he needed to. One night his father chased his mother and him out of their apartment. His father had a gun and was shooting at them. So, Ghost doesn't have it easy, and he doesn't always make the right choices, but this team and more importantly, the Coach are his chance for a new direction.

 

This book is a quick read, written for middle-grade students. The character of Ghost seems real; he is angry, embarrassed by where he lives, and has no father figure. The Coach becomes an important part of his life, not just on the team, but in helping him to make better choices and do the right thing.

 

I read this book for my Multicultural lit class. 

 

Recommended to:

Readers in grades 6-8, especially boys.

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review 2017-04-19 05:03
Two boys face down one bully...
Save Me a Seat - Gita Varadarajan,Sarah Weeks

 

This is a great book. The story follows two boys during their first week of middle school (Ravi and Joe). One is a new boy from India and the other is dealing with social issues. This book depicts what feels like a real-life school experience. The boys think they have nothing in common until they are united by a common enemy - the school bully.

 

The chapters are written in alternating points of view between the two boys, and the book is sectioned by days of the week. We can see how much they have in common and root for them to finally realize it and become friends. There is a lot of Indian culture woven into the story, the food, the language, and in Ravi's home.

 

At the end of the book, there are two glossaries. One is Ravi's with Hindi words and their definitions. The second is Joe's with English slang words and their definitions. There are also two recipes, one from each boy's family.

 

The book is a well written multi-cultural book that accurately depicts the experience of a boy coming from India to the United States. I think children will relate to the characters and their situations. 

 

I used this book in a paper I wrote describing a program promoting kindness.

 

One of my favorite lines from the book:

These candies have four layers. Most people assume there are only three, but assumptions are often wrong. There is more to them than meets the eye.

- Joe explaining why he is like an M&M

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review 2017-04-09 23:10
Dark chick-lit or humorous mystery wonderfully written and with great characters.
Big Little Lies - Liane Moriarty

Thanks to NetGalley and to Penguin UK – Michael Joseph for offering me a copy of this book that I freely chose to review.

I read and reviewed Liane Moriarty’s recent novel Truly, Madly, Guilty and when I was checking the reviews I read many comments referring to the author’s sense of humour that was not so evident in that novel (don’t let that put you off. It’s a fascinating story and the style of the narration is pretty unique) and I read many people referring to this novel. I also happened to watch a couple of the episodes of the HBO series and wondered how they might compare to the book. I haven’t watched the whole series, so I can’t comment in full but I must say the book is fantastic.

The novel tells the story of the events that take place at an Australian primary school (Pirriwee Public School) during an event organised for parents, the Trivia Night (where the participants are supposed to dress up like Audrey Hepburn and Elvis Presley. Yes, you can imagine the scene). To tell the story, the action takes us back to the school’s induction day. While some of the mothers (and fathers, well, only one man is looking full-time after the kids but many fathers attend too) already know each other, Jane is new to the area and doesn’t know anybody. By accident, she meets Madeline, who has three kids and has seen it all. Madeline is a force of nature and adopts Jane, who is much younger and far less glamorous. Celeste, a friend of Madeline and the most beautiful and rich woman around, is the third in the fabulous trio.

The story is told in the third person from the point of view of these three women, and there are interspersed fragments of what appears to be an interview with a variety of characters, all of them parents of the children at the school, that are evidently being asked questions about what happened on that fateful night. It is no spoiler (as that is clear from very early on) if I tell you that somebody has died. The novel builds up slowly, introducing the characters and their personalities and concerns. Jane is a single Mum who’s struggling but loves her son Ziggy and does the best by him. Things start going wrong early on for her and her son due to an accusation of bullying and that sets up a number of things in motion, splitting up the parents and creating a lot of misunderstandings and resentment. Jane is also hiding some secrets that have seriously affected her life and she moved there seeking some sort of closure. Madeline is the funniest characters. She is quick-witted, loves clothes and shoes, does not tolerate fools gladly and hates the fact that her ex-husband (and father of her teenage daughter Abigail, Nathan, who abandoned her leaving her to bring up their child alone when she was only a baby) has remarried and is now living in close proximity. Not only that but, his daughter, Sky, goes to the same school as her youngest one, Chloe. She is not one for forgiving and forgetting and she has a very hard time accepting that Abigail is becoming close to her father. Her character offers light relief as she’s quite extreme in her passions and behaviour and seemingly superficial —hers is a familiar character of chick-lit books — but it’s impossible not to like her or side with her as her heart is in the right place and she is very funny. Celeste is also keeping secrets. The perfect family, and her oh, so perfect husband, is anything but, and the novel is very good at portraying the complex nature of domestic violence and the kind of mental processes the victims go through.

The short interludes, at the beginning of each chapter, of fragments of interviews with other characters manage to create a sense of what the whole community is like, and by contrasting two completely opposite answers to the same question (some hilarious, others in earnest) one easily gets a sense of how what happened, happened. Of course, the real causes of the incident go much deeper than the disagreements between the parents and the amount of alcohol consumed, as will be slowly revealed. One of the reviewers compared these fragments to a Greek chorus and it is a very apt comparison (minus the moral undertones).

This novel is very good at creating characters that we can care for, although perhaps we might not fully identify with any of them. I’ve laughed out loud at Madeline’s antics quite often (although not all is fun and games for her either) and I have worried with Celeste and Jane. The writing is agile and fluid, with the different character’s voices well captured, differentiated and believable. The small community, that becomes also another character, is vividly portrayed and the ending is surprising, as it should be in all good mysteries (I kept worrying about who the dead person might be and just worked out what was going to happen a couple of paragraphs before it did), positive and heart-warming (despite the tragedy). The book’s lightness of touch and the interspersed comedic events make it easy to read but it does not detract from the seriousness and the sensitivity with which it touches upon serious matters. Bullying, family relationships (especially the complexities of non-traditional families), domestic violence, the influence of our childhoods and the experiences we go through in later life, and of course, the dangers of secrets and lies, are all important elements of this novel, that despite the style and the subject matter fits also within the mystery category.

I recommend this novel to any readers of women’s literature, chick-lit with a sting, domestic mystery and in general to anybody who wants to have a fun time whilst reading about serious matters. Now I know for sure I must read more books by this author.

 

 

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