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review 2017-12-03 21:03
Cute idea but boring execution.
The Little Bookshop on the Seine (Once in a Lifetime: The Little Paris Collection - Book 1) (The Bookshop series) - Rebecca Raisin

Sarah is a bookseller living in the United States and needs a kick in the pants. She's in a bit of dire straits as her bookshop is not doing too well, her romantic life is on the rocks and her friends are all moving up with babies and "growing up." Not so much with Sarah. So she decided to take a leap and really break out of her comfort zone: this introverted bookworm is going to do a "bookshop exchange" with her friend Sophie. Sophie lives and works in Paris, so this is going to be a big leap for Sarah.

 

And there we go. The rest of the book is a "fish out of water" tale for Sarah to learn how to adjust to life in a new country, what it's like being a boss, trying to manage her love life as well as getting this Parisian bookshop in order. Easy, right? 

 

It's not that hard to guess where this book goes and relies on a lot of familiar tropes (fish out of water, moving to a new country, trying to adjust culturally/socially, certain people are not always what they seem, etc.). Initially I had high hopes for it and could identify quite a bit with Sarah. But as the book went on, it got to be predictable and big of a drag. Sarah wasn't interesting and neither were the supporting characters. The writing wasn't particularly compelling and I waited for the inevitable finding the happiness and character development, etc.

 

By the end I was skimming. It was boring overall. I was somewhat surprised about the romantic pairing (it didn't end the way I thought it would) but overall I wasn't impressed. It was too bad because I had waited a long time to get a physical copy (don't like e-books) of this book and ended up buying it from a British bookseller. The price wasn't too bad (plus I had a coupon) but it wasn't worth it.

 

I suppose of you're *really* interested and you live where the book is not readily available keep an eye out for it as an e-book. It strikes me as one of those that would go on sale occasionally for really cheap. Otherwise you can skip this one.

 

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review 2017-12-02 13:00
The Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks by Rebecca Skloot
The Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks - Rebecca Skloot

I've got a little review for you today, though the review is small, I have a large love of this book! There are just some books where I can't exactly put my thoughts properly on paper.

 

...

 

I am forever changed from reading this book. It is beyond a doubt one of the most fascinating book I have ever read. I found this to be heartbreaking, I cried during several parts.

 

This is something that I never knew about before I read this and I am so shocked I did not even have vague knowledge of Henrietta Lacks and what her cells (HeLa) have done.

 

I believe this book should be required reading in schools and for anyone who is even remotely connected to the science or medical field. Even if you are not connected to those fields, this is a must read book.

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text 2017-12-01 22:22
Whoops
A Paradise Built in Hell: The Extraordinary Communities That Arise in Disaster - Rebecca Solnit

Wasn't paying attention to due dates. Back to the library it goes.

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review 2017-11-30 15:53
#Audiobook Review: Terminal Alliance by Jim C. Hines
Terminal Alliance: Janitors of the Post-Apocalypse Series, Book 1 - Tantor Audio,Jim C. Hines,Rebecca Mitchell

When a mysterious contagion turns most of the crew of the EMC Ship Pufferfish into feral zombies and kills the rest, Marion “Mops” Adamopoulos is left in charge of the few survivors. As a lowly human, she doesn’t have much access to the ship, but when Mops realizes that Krakau command intends to euthanize the human crew rather than try to save them, she commandeers the ship with the help of her minimal crew. Soon Mops uncovers a danger so big, it threatens the entire Krakau alliance, and she is faced with the decision to surrender or discover the truth.

 

Terminal Alliance is an entertaining space adventure with a spunky heroine who uses her brain and instinct when down and out. While there is much going on, the book focuses on Mops and her adventure. She is a great character: one of those underdogs who is destined for more. The David to the EMC’s Goliath. I love how Mops thinks things through and how loyal she is to her crew. She was born to be a great leader and through this series of unfortunate events, she’s coming into her own. I enjoyed sitting back and listening to Mops figure it all out, never second guessing her analysis.

 

The side characters are equally fun and interesting. They each play their part and through Mops’s leadership, form a team and family. And though working as a team under stressful situations, each character grows and matures. Additionally, the story is filled with silly humor and fun pop culture references. I love the historic human names used like Sherlock Holmes, Marilyn Monroe, Carrie Fisher. 

 

The plot of Terminal Alliance itself is engaging. The story evolves as Mops and her crew learn bits and parts behind the bioweapon attack that put her in charge of the Pufferfish. There are many layers that need to be pulled back before Mops and the crew uncover the truth; the final goal and plot. This gradual reveal, complete with twists and turns, kept my interest and pulled me in throughout the entire story.

 

Overall, the performance by Ms. Mitchell is solid and entertaining. She gives just enough variation between the different characters that I was able to know who was speaking just by voice. While the primary narrative voice felt a bit “robotic,” it suited the main character, Mops, as she tried to get through these events. Additionally, the narrator gives each character it’s own suitable flair - the “mechanical” feel of the Grom, no-nonsense from Monroe, calm wonder from Kumar, and guns-blazing Wolff. And although I didn’t find a solid link, the narrator must be Rebecca Estrella from the Princess of Hell series by Eve Langlais. 

 

In the end, I enjoyed this story… trying to uncover each piece, seeing how Mops reacts in so many different situations. To watch the small crew realize they have the potential to be more, and their joy in achieving it. It will be fun to follow the group as they gain momentum and additional support to discover the truth.

 

My Rating: B

Narration: B


Review copy provided by Tantor Audio

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review 2017-11-29 23:52
Hope in the Dark
Hope in the Dark: Untold Histories, Wild... Hope in the Dark: Untold Histories, Wild Possibilities - Rebecca Solnit

I read this for the Social Justice Book Club I joined and that was featured in this Book Riot article: Level Up with the Social Justice Book Club. I enjoyed reading it but it didn't completely shatter my world and I didn't absolutely love it. It's a good book for when you feel like you need to be talked out of the feeling that everything is already lost and there is nothing that can be done about it.
There were some places in the books that genuinely inspired me but it did so by putting together in better language than I can articulate, or adequately reference, things that I knew already. The trajectory of hope only seems lost when we feel that we are in a major down-spiral of all things that we have fought for and that may be true for many, but I am personally surrounded by constant change in the non-political arena that are for the better and that are feminist in nature. They may not have direct social justice implications, but they make an impact on progress as well and being a part of that end of things made most of the points here not so much a surprise or new but directed at a different audience.

Honestly, I know how many feel about Trump and I'm not advocating for or against him here. His presence is not an automatic reversal of everything that every one has worked hard for. Some things will likely revert back but I highly doubt that those of use enjoying new freedoms are about to let them be taken away so quickly. His impending inauguration has even spawned some activism on a scale that would have seemed unnecessary with a Clinton presidency and I am interested in seeing what happens next.

As Solnit points out about the environmental lobby against the ranchers, sometimes the people we perceive as our opponents can be our biggest help in achieving the final goal. I'll be interested in seeing who the new bedmates end up being as everyone strives for what they believe in for the next four or eight years. The point is that hope should not be lost on account of a single election.

The new foreword and afterword were added, but not much of the meat seemed to have been changed as it mostly attacked Bush. I am also not here to go on about the pros or cons of the Bush administration. This is about the book, right?

Regardless, a Bush administration didn't destroy the country like many, including Solnit, seemed to think it would and an Obama administration didn't either, like many conservatives that I know thought it would. And again, our level of progress only seems bleak when we only go back one or two administrations. I remember growing up in the 80's and 90's in a country that was going to be swallowed by smog while dying of AIDS that were only in this country because of people still being decried as the dregs of society. I remember movements about rampant Styrofoam usage by corporations that have since abandoned the material and movements about saving the trees. People worked hard on getting awareness of what causes these things out to the masses and others worked hard on solutions or alternatives.

The trees aren't completely safe and the LGBT community is still fighting for rights, but these issues have come a long way with successive small victories. Homosexuals couldn't serve at all in the military when I was born, Don't Ask Don't Tell came along when I was in high school and I remember the day that it was completely repealed. By the way, women couldn't serve in combat roles at all back then either, and now we're integrating into every portion of the military with no combat exclusion whatsoever. There has been a lot of progress in the most unlikely of places.

We have a lot of reasons to maintain hope that not all progress will stagnate and not all progress will be driven backwards. It won't be easy, but the progress machine keeps turning and people keep learning and listening. Yeah, it would have been really symbolically cool to have a woman as president during the centennial of women attaining the vote in this country. There's still a possibility that instead it will be the year we first vote a woman into that office later that year.

 

I had gotten a free copy of the book on the day after the election when Haymarket was giving it away but if you missed that boat, click on the cover to go to BookLikes for purchase options.

Note: I do disagree with Solnit's stance on the story of the Fall being a "central" story to the Judeo-Christian cultural outlook. While it is a story that we tell as Christians (I don't want to speak for Jewish people, so I'll just rebut for Christians), it's far from central. It's part of the setup, like a first chapter or prologue. I agree with Solnit's assertion that many conservatives spend more time looking back than forward (I mean, "Make America Great Again" is a clear example), but not that it's a Christian idea of the past being more perfect than the future. To me, the story of the Fall actually illustrates the idea that Solnit makes further into the same chapter, that humans are unlikely to be happy with any form of Utopia. I feel that story is meant to show that we disobey. that we inherently do what we feel is best rather than what we are told is best, and we strive for more than we have and that it sets up a story where this continues to be the case until God sets up a new expectation, or covenant. I haven't read through the whole Bible and I am not a theologian, but I have been reading through it for a while now and am past that story. I'm about a third through, and have covered some other big highlights of Christianity from the Old Testament and just feel really strongly that "central" is not the appropriate term for where the story of the Fall sits no matter how you slice it. At best, I think it sits in parallel to the main story of Jesus and the redemption his death brings as the original thing that we need redemption from. At best. Feel free to disagree and we can talk about it in the comments.

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