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review 2018-04-08 16:11
El Deafo - Cece Bell

For more reviews, check out my blog: Craft-Cycle

Wow! This is a fantastic book. Literally everyone should read this book. It is perfect!

Written in graphic novel form, Cece Bell tells about her early life, getting sick, losing her hearing, and all of the struggles that followed including feelings to being different, hiding her deafness, refusing to learn sign language, and figuring out how to interact with (good and not-so-good) friends. It is an amazing book.

I think everyone can benefit from this book. Those who are deaf or hard of hearing can definitely relate to some of Cece's struggles in the book (whether or not to learn sign language, people talking to you differently, feelings of loneliness and isolation, whether to learn to lip read and all of the issues that go along with it). While Cece grew up in the 70's and technology has changed since them, I still think this is a very relevant book.

Hearing people can also learn a lot from this book such as that speaking louder or slower doesn't help a person who is trying to read your lips. Cece is very open about her feelings of loneliness and fear of being different. I think this is an important thing for hearing people to learn. There are characters in the book who are hearing people with good intentions who nevertheless make Cece feel different or unintentionally make it hard for her to understand them (signing at her, talking too loud, talking with the light off or not facing Cece when speaking). It's also important to note that lip reading is not exact and is actually a very difficult skill. Also, just because someone is deaf or hard of hearing does not automatically mean that they can read lips. Every person is different and it's about learning about each person and their preferences on an individual basis. 

Most of all, I love the tone in the book that Cece is not disabled. In fact, she has superpowers. She can't hear exactly like her peers can, but that doesn't mean there is anything wrong with her. She is just different the way everyone is different, one way or another. I love the way Cece's character learns that her deafness is not a weakness and embraces her differences. 

The artwork in the book is beautiful and fun. I especially love all of the daydreaming scenes with El Deafo. I think it is a great outlet for a lot of Cece's frustrations. 

I highly recommend this book for all readers. It is especially good for children, whether deaf, hard of hearing, or hearing. Everyone can get something great out of reading this amazing book. 

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text 2018-04-04 21:10
I think it was supposed to be funny
Blame It on the Duke - Lenora Bell

No rating, no real review.


I downloaded only the Kindle sample, because some Twitter friends voiced issues with it as an RWA RITA finalist.


The opening scene struck me as one of those over-the-top absurdities that's intended to be funny but just wasn't.  The duke's dissolute heir puts on a theatrical thing featuring some semi-nude women, but then the duke himself shows up and ruins it.  It might have worked if there'd been some emotion involved, but I didn't get any sense of that.


The reason, I suspect, was that I didn't like the writing style.  Lots and lots and lots and lots of one- and two-sentence paragraphs.


The end of his announcement grew garbled as, with one swift tug, Nick grabbed his father’s boots and pulled him into his arms.


Not a moment too soon.


The rotting deck splintered as Nick carried his father down the ladder.


Nick shielded the duke as a wooden beam jarred across his back. Safely away from the collapsing ship and off the stage, Nick placed an arm around his father’s shoulders.

Bell, Lenora (2017-04-18). Blame It on the Duke: The Disgraceful Dukes (Kindle Locations 155-159). HarperCollins. Kindle Edition.


Choppy dialogue with adverb-laced speech tags.


“It’s me,” Nick said grimly. “Now clasp my hand and I’ll help you down.”


“No,” his father said stubbornly. “I’m making an announcement.”


“I’d rather you didn’t.”

Bell, Lenora (2017-04-18). Blame It on the Duke: The Disgraceful Dukes (Kindle Locations 150-152). HarperCollins. Kindle Edition.


Very little description or scene setting or mood establishing. It just didn't suit me.


I don't mind a rakish hero who gets redeemed in the course of the book, so that part didn't bother me, but I couldn't see myself reading a whole book written in this style.  It's not wrong, and it's not technically bad, but it's not for me.

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review 2018-04-02 03:59
Exhibit Alexandra - Natasha Bell

I received this book for free from Blogging For Books in exchange for an honest review. 


Wow. This was a twisted story.


This is a hard book to review because I don’t want to spoil anything which is hard to do with a thriller, so if my review turns out a bit vague and abstract, that’s why. 


The book started off a bit slow but really picked up about halfway through. By the time I got near the end, I was hooked. 


Like the cover of the book suggests, you don’t know what is real and what is an illusion or reflection. That is the brilliance of this psychological thriller. Even at the end when you discover the truth, you don’t even know the full truth. You’re left wondering what parts are real and what parts are performance. The truth and fiction are woven together to create a captivating story about identity. 


I really liked the ethical questions that this book brought up. I majored in philosophy in college and I always loved learning about ethics. This book definitely posed interesting ethical questions related to art throughout the novel. 


Overall, this is an enthralling psychological thriller that dives deep and offers a fascinating look into a woman’s quest for identity. 



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text 2018-03-31 19:41
Reading progress update: I've read 435 out of 435 pages.
Cemetery Girl - David Bell

well, darn--I started out really liking it, but by the end, I don't think it was all that memorable or satisfying. it was okay, upon reflection; that's all.

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text 2018-03-31 12:25
Reading progress update: I've read 289 out of 435 pages.
Cemetery Girl - David Bell

shall finish this one up this morning. all in all, a pretty captivating Crime novel (maybe not really a Thriller?--more of a Crime novel with a puzzle to it that is not necessarily a murder story), but there is a lot of dialogue. still, when I read it, I'm completely absorbed. I hope there's a great ending.

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