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review 2017-12-16 01:06
Where's a Sherpa when you need one?
The Mysterious Benedict Society and the Perilous Journey - Diana Sudyka,Trenton Lee Stewart

When we first met the intrepid, orphaned quartet that made up a large part of the Mysterious Benedict Society we were left feeling that surely this couldn't be the last adventure that they'd be on together...and we were absolutely right. The whole gang is back in the second book in the series by Trenton Lee Stewart titled The Mysterious Benedict Society and the Perilous Journey. (Note: A new illustrator, Diana Sudyka, has penned the drawings for this book and forthcoming books in the series.) The beginning of the book starts off with the kids separated and trying to live as close to normal as possible. The reader is once again following the main character, Reynie, as he heads to meet up with everyone on the anniversary of their last adventure together. However, when they are all reunited at Mr. Benedict's house they are met with a very unpleasant surprise. (No spoilers here!!) What follows is a treacherous journey (hence the name of the book) that takes them on boats, trains, and up the side of a mountain in another country. While the central theme of friendship and working together is still present, this book is much darker in tone and a sense of foreboding lingers over every page. (In some ways, it reminds me of the progression of the Harry Potter series.) The illustrations again accompany a portion of the text and even though it's a different illustrator the sense of whimsy is ever-present. Overall, very enjoyable and fun to see how the author expands on each of the characters personalities and abilities. (Constance plays a much larger role in this book.) I have to confess that I've had the third book in the series gathering dust on my desk at work (and a copy of it here at home) but I haven't felt an overwhelming urge to pick it up just yet. I have a feeling this will be one of the first books I get to in the new year. XD If you read the first book in the series then I'm confident you'll enjoy the sequel. 8/10



A sample of the new illustrator's style [Source: Kinder Books]



What's Up Next: The Time Quartet series by Madeleine L'Engle


What I'm Currently Reading: Scythe by Neal Shusterman


Source: readingfortheheckofit.blogspot.com
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review 2017-11-29 03:02
Self-Made Man: One Woman's Journey Into Manhood and Back Again - Norah Vincent

This book took me much longer to read than I expected. The premise of the book intrigued me, but reading through it, I was very bored. The writing isn't bad, but it is written in such a rambling way that it is easy to zone out.

Overall, the book was okay. It was written over ten years ago so I think much of the insight is outdated. The issues that Vincent discusses men going through are the same (being the breadwinner, toughness, father-son attachments), but I think there is much more awareness of it today than ten years ago.

The descriptions of people in the book really annoyed me. They are overly negative and demeaning. Vincent makes a lot of quick judgments about people based on their appearances and seems overly critical of them. I was waiting for her to say something nice, but she just went on and on about men's beer belly's and pathetic faces.

Vincent was very honest in her writing, which it commendable, but I can't help feel negatively toward her for her actions. While she notes the level of deceit and betrayal she sunk to, it still was difficult to read. I mostly just felt bad for all of the people she lied to and got close to under false pretenses. I think she crossed some lines in the book (sneaking into the monastery as a man) and while I think her goal was an important one, I think she took it too far at times.

Okay book about masculinity, but there are definitely books with more insight on the subject. An interesting account of a woman living as a man, but very lengthy and drawn out.

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review 2017-11-24 16:44
Quick but lots to think on
Waiting for the Taliban: A Journey Through North Afghanistan - Anna Badkhen

This has been my eBook read while at work. Good but more like a magazine article. Did come away with some great food for thought about why Afghanistan is such a quagmire in terms of help, assistance, and why the war is dragging on with no end in sight. 


Also, I learned lots of new words like kleptocracy (rule by a thief or thieves). Love that term! 



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review 2017-11-09 04:14
Journey Back to Christmas: Based on the ... Journey Back to Christmas: Based on the Hallmark Channel Original Movie - Leigh Duncan

A WWII era nurse is transported in time to 2016, and meets a man who helps her discover the bonds of family and that the true meaning of Christmas is timeless.  This book is a heartwarming feel good easy read. I got a copy of this book from Netgalley.com and Hallmark Publishing.

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review 2017-11-04 02:05
Compelling start to the series
A Fool's Journey: Book I, The Magician - Mark Pannebecker

I've developed a liking for continuing stories delivered in short bursts. They're perfect for a quick read at lunch or bedtime, especially when they grab a reader's interest quickly. The Magician is a great example of that. Not knowing a lot about the tarot, I wasn't sure how well I'd like this one, but that wasn't a problem. I was quickly caught up in Ben's story as enters the coming of age journey. I think we've all been in a place in our lives where we felt the need to fit in and the urge to give in to peer pressure. Pannebecker has a writing style that is quite compelling as he sets the stage for Ben's life lessons as he travels the road into early adulthood. I was surprised at how taken I was with what started as a teenager's fascination with a motorcycle gang and the path that our character is led down because of that fascination. Of course, like any good serial should do, this one left me intrigued and wanting more of this intense and promising story. 

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