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review 2017-07-17 18:35
Reservation Blues, by Sherman Alexie
Reservation Blues - Sherman Alexie

This is my first Alexie and not my last. I'm struggling with what to say about it and how because somehow this not-huge novel feels like it's packed in everything about Indian (as they refer to themselves) culture with its focus on a particular reservation and a rock band's steep rise and fall. It does so with deadpan humor and a mix of the fantastic and real that calls to mind magical realism but is distinctive. It's necessarily sad yet not depressing--there's the humor, and there's wonder and hope. There's not an insignificant or uncharismatic character in the book. I feel like I've taken a long, strange trip with them and wish them well.

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review SPOILER ALERT! 2017-07-17 02:20
"The American Girls Collection: Kaya: Kaya's Escape: A Survival Story" by Janet Shaw
Kaya's Escape (American Girls Collection) - Janet Shaw

I definitely like this one better than the first one. It still has a rather abrupt ending, but otherwise, the plot arc is better. Contrary to my memory, I was expecting Speaking Rain to be rescued by the end of this book, but I like that it's more realistic, with Speaking Rain and Steps High's plots continuing on through the series. At the same time, I kind of wish these were one book instead of six. They're more satisfying if you think of them as one book. But I understand that they are shorter because of the age they were written for. I remember taking a couple of these with me when I had to go grocery shopping with my mom and finishing them both as I walked around with her. ^.^

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review 2017-07-14 05:08
The Stolen Girls: A totally gripping thriller with a twist you won’t see coming (Detective Lottie Parker) (Volume 2) - Patricia Gibney

Zing! This book hit the target when calling for entertainment and suspense. I found myself yelling at these characters several times. There are some pretty creepy bad guys in this story, however, you don't always know which one is the bad one. A road construction worker keeps finding bodies, what is up with that? Is he a suspect or is someone out to frame him? And just where are these girls coming from?

The story of the connection of most of the characters involved in the disappearance of these girls slowly unfolds and when it does, that's where the zing comes in.

This one kept me guessing and there is no way anyone could really figure out what brought all these characters together. A definite must read!

Thanks to Bookouture and Net Galley for providing me with a free e-galley inexchange for an honest, unbiased review.

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review 2017-07-13 18:54
Child Soldier
Child Soldier: When Boys and Girls Are Used in War (CitizenKid) - Michel Chikwanine,Jessica Dee Humphreys,Claudia Dávila

If he’d only listened to his father, Michel wouldn’t have lost part of his childhood but what he experienced with the rebel soldiers will never be erased from his mind. Michel was five when he was taken with his best friend Kevin by a group of rebel militia while they were playing basketball after school. His father told him to come right home after school but Michel ignored his father words. Military vehicles were a common sight so when they pulled up alongside the court, the boys disregarded them. When boys in ratted clothing emerged setting off their firearms, the boys fell to the ground. Thrown in the back of their trucks with other boys, they went for a ride. They were soon going to be initiated into the militia’s army. Michel tried to stand up for himself but that only led to him becoming the example in the group. The militia used a variety of means to get their recruits to obey including drugs, force, amputation and of course, death. Michel was forced to perform many actions that horrified and ashamed him as the weeks passed in the countryside. Scared, Michel wanted to go home but the recruits were under constant supervision. Finally, Michel sees an opportunity to escape. As he surfaces to the outside world, Michel emerges a changed individual. He is no longer an innocent child, he has a story that no one else has.

 

I thought this was a terrific graphic novel memoir that communicates a great story. The illustrations were wonderfully done, not overly dramatic but using facial expressions and other means, the story is presented nicely. I liked the variety of text fonts that were used as I thought that added to the drama of the story. It is 1993 and there is political turmoil occurring in the Democratic Republic of Congo and Michel is in the middle of it. I was surprised how young Michel was when this story took place. I felt that Michel’s father placed too much responsibility on Michel’s shoulders as I read this novel. Michel’s father is a human rights lawyer and an activist and since Michel is the only son in the family, his father tells him what he wants him to do should the police arrest him. His father had many good words of wisdom that he tells his son and I had to wonder how far Michel would take his father’s advice, his father was a man and Michel was now a child of eight. I felt these expectations were a bit high for a child so young. I did appreciate how this novel talked about the country before the fighting began and why the fighting is taking place. I felt this knowledge set the story up before Michel’s drama began. I felt a good connection with Michel throughout the story and I felt closure at the end. At the end of the novel, there is a current photo of Michel and a short narrative about what Michel is presently doing. There is also a question and answer section about Boys and Girls in War and what individuals can do about it, which I thought was very interesting and thorough. The author also included a list of a few other resources individuals can check out if they are interested in child soldiers. This graphic novel is worth checking out.

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review 2017-07-13 01:17
Final Girls by Riley Sager
Final Girls - Riley Sager

This review can also be found at Carole's Random Life.

Meh. I am so incredibly disappointed by the fact that I didn't really care for this book. Based on the description, I was so sure that I would fall in love with this book. I do think that my opinion will be in the minority with this book. Based on all of the reviews that I have seen so far, most people are really enjoying this book and I predict that it will be very popular.

I didn't hate this book but I didn't really like it either. This was one of those books that I really didn't connect with any of the characters and by the time the big twists started happening, I just didn't care what happened. The book was a bit different than I expected. Since the description mentions a horror movie-scale massacre, I expected the book to be pretty gruesome. I wanted gruesome because I am weird like that. There are a few more bloody scenes but not like I had thought it would be.

This book is told from Quincy's point of view. Quincy is a Final Girl which means she was the only survivor from a nightmare that killed her friends. She is deeply affected by that night years later. I just never liked Quincy. Not at all. Since the whole book is told from her point of view, it was really hard to enjoy the story. Most of the book is really about what is going on in the present time period with Quincy and Sam, another Final Girl.

I am not going to be recommending this book but I do think that a lot of readers will like it a lot more than I did. There were a few twists that I wouldn't have ever been able to guess and the premise was pretty interesting. This is the first book by Riley Sager that I have read and I would be open to trying his work again in the future.

I received an advance reader edition of this book from Dutton via First to Read.

Initial Thoughts
Meh. I was really looking forward to this book but it ended up not being what I had expected it to be. I didn't care for the characters and so much of the story seemed implausible. When the big twists finally came around, I found that I really didn't care anymore.

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