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Search tags: Téa-Cooper
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review 2021-06-14 04:45
Gossip from the Girls' Room - Rose Cooper

Sofia runs a blog on the school computers. She listens in the girls' room to get her gossip. Naturally she only hears part of the story then adds what she wants to make it sound juicy. She is upset when Mia, the most popular girl in school, likes Andrew, Sofia's crush. Then just when she thinks it cannot get any worse, her mother starts substituting at her school. What will she do?


I found Sofia a hoot. She is exactly like the girls who aren't popular but want to be and since she has access to blogging she hopes that she will pick up more followers for it. She also has a lot of gossip about Mia. She practices for her blog with a notebook which she loses at times. Not good because who has it, who sees it, who reads it! Fortunately she finds it but who has read it? She hopes no one but she does not know for sure. I remember Mias from my school days and it was no different back then as now.


This is fun. I enjoyed the format of a notebook as she tells her story. I also enjoyed her artwork, especially the snarky comments. They are the most truthful and school is still the same.

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review 2020-08-25 21:20
Madame President by Helene Cooper
Madame President: The Extraordinary Journey of Ellen Johnson Sirleaf - Helene Cooper

I picked this book up primarily because I loved the author’s memoir, The House at Sugar Beach, about growing up in Liberia until political instability and terror forced her family to leave. This book, though, is a biography of Ellen Johnson Sirleaf, president of Liberia from 2006 to 2018 and the first democratically elected female head of state in Africa. It’s a good biography, readable and engaging as all the best journalistic work is, and certainly informative though it lacks the humor and personal touch of Cooper’s memoir.

About the first quarter of this relatively short biography (290 pages) covers the first approximately 50 years of Ellen Johnson Sirleaf’s life, spending a few pages on her childhood before moving on to her marriage, higher education, subsequent divorce from her abusive husband (even though it meant no longer being able to raise most of their children), and her career as a financial bureaucrat. The second quarter focuses more on Liberia’s civil war and the years of coups and atrocities. Johnson Sirleaf was absent from Liberia for much of this time working for financial institutions abroad, but the reader needs to understand something of what was happening in the country to put her presidency in context. Finally, the last half covers her elections and presidency, though the book ends in 2015 and was published in 2017, before she actually left office.

The book is highly readable and offers a lot of explanation to readers who may not know anything about Liberia; Cooper is clearly adept at bridging two cultures. It is an admiring biography, and as far as I can tell an authorized one—Johnson Sirleaf allowed Cooper to follow her around and was interviewed for the book, though Cooper didn’t share her drafts—but Cooper also highlights areas where Johnson Sirleaf made poor or questionable choices. I wasn’t quite sure what to think about all her female supporters who stole their adult sons’ voter IDs to prevent them from voting for her clearly unqualified male opponent, for instance—interestingly to me, Liberian women seemed far more likely to vote for a candidate because of her gender than their American counterparts. But I was glad to see Cooper really dig into Johnson Sirleaf’s achievements in office: the chapter about how she managed to persuade other governments, multinational institutions and private companies to forgive Liberia’s $4.7 billion debt is fantastic and highlights a huge accomplishment that few others could possibly have achieved.

Meanwhile, other reviewers have mentioned that the book deals with some dark subject matter around Liberia’s civil war, and this is true though it isn’t the primary focus of the book. The last 35 pages mostly focus on the Ebola pandemic, which was interesting to read during another pandemic: there was a lot of initial denial around Ebola too, though once people accepted that it was real they seemed to do a good job of taking necessary precautions to wipe it out.

Ultimately, there’s a lot of good information in this book, but there’s more distance from its subject than I would have expected in a semi-authorized biography of someone who’s still alive: I didn’t get much sense of Johnson Sirleaf’s personality, what makes her tick, how the people close to her view her, etc. Maybe she didn’t want her personal life in a book, her family didn’t want to share, and Cooper decided to respect their wishes—hard to say. But while I still blew through the book in just a few days, I think I would have liked it even better with more personality. Cooper credits several people in the acknowledgments with making her ditch her “flip tone” and I wound up wishing she’d kept it. There are a few humorous bits, which were welcome.

But I’d certainly recommend this book to anyone interested in the subject, and Johnson Sirleaf is without doubt a tough and impressive woman, though (like everybody else) imperfect. Those who would like a more personal, in-depth and at times humorous story (with some overlapping subject matter) should check out the author’s memoir.

Only time will tell how to interpret events after the end of this book: Johnson Sirleaf stepped down in 2018, allowing for Liberia’s first peaceful transition of power in decades, but then the winner of that election was George Weah (the soccer player), whose vice president is Jewel Taylor (ex-wife of Charles Taylor, the war criminal). Hmm. I hope Cooper will keep on writing books about Liberia; I for one will be happy to keep reading them.

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review 2020-07-18 19:26
Highland Dragon Master - Isabel Cooper

Indiana Jones meets The Mummy only it's medieval and the protagonists are dragons.

If I had quibbles with this one, it's that the h seems to have a chip on her shoulder due to her not being One of Them so to speak - while it is never addressed, it seems certain her father was the ancient and far less human (and thus less empathetic) dragon who was killed in the previous book. I wouldn't find it as vaguely annoying if she wasn't 200 years old or so. That's a long time to not get over it. I also wonder where she's been over the years before she married a ship's captain. She didn't say... She obviously wasn't around the clan.

Anyway... our H is sent on a Quest to find a mighty power source that might ensure that England leave Scotland alone. He finds his way to a ship...somewhere...in France I think. Why France is never explained...or it's explained only in the sense that he feels it less likely that someone in England will hear of it. And they set sail - to some mythical island west of England. Some mythical island that has... what is identified as an elk but sounds more like a moose. Must have been further west than Greenland or Iceland then. In any case, they do find the island, or rather, they get close enough to the island for said power source to find them. Much adventure and errr...interesting times...later, they hunt down said power source and deal with it.

And as with the previous book, it ends with the H/h riding off into the sunset, in this case, sailing.

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review 2020-07-18 19:10
Highland Dragon Rebel (Dawn of the Highland Dragon) - Isabel Cooper

Well... it made up for the lacking in book 1 - there was an actual story here. That said, one dislikes reading of everyone trying to foist their daughter on the H who is sleeping with the h at that point. Doesn't help much that the h seemed ok with it and even considered a tumble with some fae nobleman.

Beyond that, maybe I missed something at the beginning but it was unclear as to whether the H's quest had ended at the end of the book.

And that lord's son's age went from 14 to 12, then back again.

Oh, the story is that the h is the H's bodyguard as he goes to various allies with centers of power nearby and performs rituals of some sort. Along the way, there's several attempts on his life - poisoning, mercenary, and...something from beyond... before a last run-in with what turns out to be an ancient dragon.

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review 2020-07-04 04:17
Highland Dragon Warrior (Dawn of the Highland Dragon) - Isabel Cooper

This is essentially a prequel trilogy of the highland dragon series.


Hmmm... Well, it's not a bad read. OTOH, it could do with some more...meat. I do like the time period better in the previous series - medieval Scotland is a popular (possibly overdone to be honest) setting and as such, only the idea of dragons got me to buy this.


Our h is visiting the home of our friendly neighborhood dragons to do experiments on their scales. Our H is home convalescing after a run-in with a sorcerer (actually, warlock might be the proper term here) She asks for scales, he says sure - if she'll help his friend who is slowly fading...like a nazgul. Much meandering later... potions were made, but we were only privy to a few. The guy isn't quite so invisible, but he's still not himself. The sorcerer has made several psychic attacks on the h...


They figure out where he lives and come up with brilliant idea of paying him a visit before he gets home. Figure out who he is, take care of the problems, etc.


The real complaint I have here is that it takes place over several months and you only get bits and pieces of that, most of it random. It's...disjointed, particularly compared to the books that came before. You see the H/h being attracted to each other, but they don't seem to be around each other much. Add to that, a background that could be delved into more, but isn't, a castle that theoretically is the same one seen in a later book but doesn't really seem the same, and something that does bug me a bit - a Jewish person delving into magic (something that's specifically spoken against in the OT). There was something else mentioned briefly - a dragon who apparently had kids with more than one female.


Bottom line - as background for the highland dragon series, you feel compelled to read it, but then you wonder why.

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