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review 2019-10-07 22:30
The Girl Who Hid in the Trees - Steve Stred,Gavin Kendall

THE GIRL WHO HID IN THE TREES is a creepy novella that left me with a serious case of the willies!


In no-where town USA there is a forest-McConnell's Forest. Years ago, Jason lost his older brother, (as well as his brother's gang of friends), in that forest, and the mystery has never been solved. Now that Jason and HIS group of friends are grown, they're tired of hearing the rumors and stories, and they set out in the forest to find the truth. Will they discover what happened? More importantly, will they survive? You'll have to read this to find out!


On Saturday, sitting beside my sleeping mom in the nursing home, something rare happened. I found myself with nothing to read! I can think of only a few things more horrific for me. (Having my eyeball poked out with a fork, for instance.) I found this story on my Kindle app and have been meaning to read it for some time, so I did.


I immediately found myself drawn in to Jason's life and what it must be like to be "the boy whose brother was murdered in McConnell's Forest." A stigma of sorts was attached to Jason, (as does happen in small towns), but it eventually wore off as Jason got older. I loved the relationship he had with Vanessa and I thought that portion was well written. Once he and his girlfriend shared the fact that they both had had "experiences" in the forest, the fun begins.


I thought at that point, everything came racing at me much more quickly than it had in the first half (or so), of the book. I wouldn't have minded a little time spent with the entire group of friends, so that I could get to know them a wee bit better, thereby making what happened to them even more horrific. (Also, I thought it was pushing the envelope that the parents would allow the kids to do what they did so... easily, but I can't get into much more without spoilers.)


Overall though, I thought this tale fun, and about what you'd expect it to be from reading the synopsis. I look forward to reading more from this author!



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review 2019-08-06 10:28
The Ancient Magick of Trees
The Ancient magick of Trees - Gregory Michael Brewer

by Gregory Michael Brewer




This is a very informative book, presented in four parts. The first part covered lore about trees in different cultures. It seems well-researched, but I found the tone reminiscent of children's textbooks. Still the information was interesting.


The second part is the books greatest strength. A list of trees with attributes and detailed drawings to show leaves, bark and any other identifying characteristics of the tree. These entries would make identification very easy and I may well take it out on my walks to get to know my local trees better.


The third section details tree correspondences in various systems, followed by part four which suggests activities to work with trees magically. These were written in a tone more in keeping with other new age books and the actual content seemed well thought out and appropriate for the target audience with an interest in paganism and nature magic.


Overall a very worthwhile book on the topic.

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review 2019-06-26 07:01
It Lingers
The People in the Trees - Hanya Yanagihara

Had I written this review moments after reading the final words, I might have given the book 3 stars or maybe even 2. The ending, while not entirely unexpected, managed to leave me shocked and stupefied. At first I was angered by the whole thing, then I was perplexed, then I started re-reading certain chapters. Only then did I realize just how smartly woven this yarn is spun. In hindsight, it's actually quite miraculous how Yanagihara managed to tie together the varying storylines.

I will warn readers that this is not necessarily an "easy" read. There are peaks and valleys and sometimes, notably at the beginning, it is a little boring. Don't skim over the boring parts, however, because later they will become the most interesting later. Also, don't you dare skim the footnotes. They take on an entire story of their own and contain the most memorable moments of clever writing.

Once Norton arrives on the mysterious island, know that things really pick up. The descriptions of the plant life, animals and natives are exquisite and paint extraordinarily vivid images of a rich, fantastical world. This part the book is as edge-of-your-seat adventurous as Jurassic Park, though in a very different way.

The cast of characters is fairly small, but well-developed if Norton thinks them worth developing. Everything is seen through Norton's eyes, and in the end, it's important to remember that.

OVERALL: While I don't know that this book is destined to become a "classic" it is layered enough and smart enough that I would like to take a literature course on it. Even as I re-read a chapter here and there, I start to see some of the hidden brilliance that was scattered throughout. For that, I have to give it 5 stars, even when my initial reaction was shock and disappointment. If you're looking for a book that will haunt you and leave you thinking about it years, The People in the Trees will do it.

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review 2019-05-31 23:17
Under the Udala Trees (whatever that is exactly)
Under the Udala Trees - Chinelo Okparanta

First of all, I am not sure how I stumbled across Under the Udala Trees. As a novel by a contemporary African female writer about a lesbian Nigerian girl growing up during the Biafra civil war, this checks a lot of boxes, but nevertheless it isn’t really something I would normally pick up. Maybe it was a subconscious effort to expand my literary horizon beyond the borders of Europe, Russia and North America or to read more books by female authors or more contemporary works? I don‘t know. But here we are.

Initially, I thought I liked Under the Udala Trees, but as I progressed, my enthusiasm slowly started to vanish until the end of the novel when it just dragged on and on. I noticed, that a lot of other readers have had issues with the protagonist Ijeoma being too young to have sex or to talk about marriage. But come on… Even though 13 might be a bit young, I am sure we all had at least one friend who actually lost his/her virginity at that age, this is by no means absurd. Also keep in mind that this part of the novel is set in Nigeria in the late 1960’s / early 70’s when girls were primarily brought up with the goal to get them married and have children asap. So, considering the setting, 13 to 14 year old pubescent girls talking about marriage is also not absurd.

But there’s something about Ijeomas age that actually made the novel weird for me as well, because there is an enormous discrepancy between her age (somewhere between 12 and 14) and the language in which her thoughts, feelings etc. are conveyed. Her direct speech was absolutely fitting, but the narrative parts were rendered so logically and eloquently, it was ridiculous. There is no way a teenager could argue like her, the thought processes were just way too mature and thus, there was this huge gap between plot and discourse that bothered me so much.
And talking about the initial maturity of the protagonist… while she was incredibly mature in the beginning, the older she got, the more childlike she became (childlike in the sense of helpless, depending on her mother a lot, letting others control and dictate her life). I was also no fan of this development.

Her mother was a pretty one dimensional character as well, although I found her just hilarious, especially during the Bible lessons. I know those chapters should have been tragic, but her mom interpreting every biblical story in order to show her daughter that heterosexuality is the one and only way to live was so damn stupid, it became funny.

But besides all of the above mentioned, Under the Udala Trees is still a relevant novel, if only to remind readers about the consequences religion and strong (and very outdated) traditions have on the daily lives of everyone who dares to challenge these norms.

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review 2019-05-12 04:34
Do Cats Have Family Trees?
Animal Classification: Do Cats Have Family Trees? - Wendy Meshbesher,Eve Hartman


This book gives an overview of the classification of living things and explains the different levels of animal classification including classes of vertebrates, the order of carnivores, and what defines each level. The language is perfect for 3-5 graders or older struggling readers or English language learners. 


There is a short quiz at the end of the book and a glossary that defines important words. Suggestions for books and websites with further information are also provided.



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