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review 2017-09-18 00:44
Hunter and the Grape by Eoin C. Macken - My Thoughts
Hunter and the Grape - Eoin C. Macken

I do love Eoin Macken's writer's voice.  He has lovely turns of phrase and a thoughtful way of seeing things that verges on the poetic at times.  Which shouldn't suprise me, he does write poetry. 
I loved Eoin' s first book, Kingdom of Scars, and was looking forward to reading this, his next offering.  Now these books are not in genres that I often, if ever, read.  Gonna be honest, I read the first one because I love Eoin on TV and was curious.  I was very pleasantly surprised to discover that the man could write!  And write well! 

So, Hunter and the Grape.  I didn't love it as much as I loved Kingdom of Scars, I will admit.  This time, the hero is a little older - he's eighteen and his life just totally sucks.  He leaves home in Albuquerque, New Mexico, meets up with a girl and the adventure begins.  This book would make a terrific movie.  I found it reminiscent of My Own Private Idaho, Heathers, Beautiful Thing and What's Eating Gilbert Grape

Reading this book made me wish I was 16 again.  Not because I want to live my life over or anything, but because then I could enjoy this book totally and fall in love with Cat/Hunter, the main character and wish I was Grape.  They're so screwed up, but not.  They get into so much trouble and then get out of it.  They can make $87 stretch FOREVER. 

It's a beautifully written book.  I love Eoin's words.  This is YA literature, in my humble opinion.  :)

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review 2017-04-02 02:45
THE KNAVEHEART CURSE by Adele Griffin
The Knaveheart's Curse - Adele Griffin
  Maddy and her family are hybrid vampire-fruit bats who are trying to become fully human and have moved to the New World. Unfortunately the 9th Knaveheart has followed them and is trying to find its heir so it can retire. Maddy must be on her toes so the 9th Knaveheart does not succeed.

This was fun. It can be read as a standalone. I loved Maddy. She is everything a pre-teen should be including being a vampire. She is sarcastic, snarky, and funny. She still holds onto some of the vampire ways but is trying to fit in. Her family is different. I enjoyed her brother. The two are what siblings should be.

The story was fun as Maddy met some otherworldly creatures. It is up to her to save the day and protect the Knaveheart heir from coming to fruition. I have got to find the first book in the series and I hope there are more books to come.
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review 2017-04-02 02:07
MY LIFE AS A CARTOONIST by Janet Tashjian
My Life as a Cartoonist - Janet Tashjian,Jake Tashjian
  I enjoy this series as it follows Derek on his junior high adventures. This time Derek is leading a cartoon club at school. A new kid transfers into his school and makes Derek's life miserable. If Derek retaliates he looks like the bad guy. Derek and Umberto have to come to a compromise over their problem.

I like Derek. The drawings are still in the margins for words he does not understand. Sometimes their definitions are broad but make the point. I enjoy learning more about capuchin monkeys and how they are used as animal assistants for people with disabilities. Bullying is the topic but it is not preachy about it. It does show how bullies come in all shapes and sizes and how perceptions come into play. I was on Derek's side the whole way but since he was always caught retaliating or getting mad I could see where the other people were coming from.

I hope there will be more books in this series because it is one of my favorite youth series.
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review 2017-02-21 03:25
LUNCH LADY AND THE CYBORG SUBSTITUTE by Jarrett J. Krosoczka
Lunch Lady and the Cyborg Substitute - Jarrett J. Krosoczka

The Lunch Lady turns out to be a superhero.  She is discovered by some students when something is not adding up with a substitute teacher.  Lunch Lady wants to know what is up. 

 

This was clever and fun.  It was different and I want to know what happens in this series.

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review 2017-02-08 09:47
Diverse voices skilfully captured and more relevant than ever
Under the Shadow: Rage and Revolution in Modern Turkey - Kaya Genç

Thanks to Net Galley and to I.B. Tauris for offering me a free ARC copy of the book that I freely choose to review.

This is the first book by Kaya Genç I’ve read, and I hope it won’t be the last. He does a great job of collecting testimonies of many youths, from different social classes, religious backgrounds and political beliefs, and presenting a balanced account of the different points of views and how the interviewees developed their stance and thoughts. It is clear that the author is a great communicator, in sync with his subjects, and understands them well. He is also skilled at capturing the nuances and peculiarities of the youths he interviews, whose voices come across clear and distinctive.

The author does not take sides (if there’s such a thing as sides), but he provides his reflections on Turkey and Istanbul itself, in a language that is nostalgic and poetic at times. He does draw historical parallels (also mentioned by several of the participants) with previous movements in Turkey and in the introduction mentions recent events (that are not discussed in the body of the book, as it looks mostly at the period between 2013 and 2015). It is difficult to read the book and not to think about the historical moment we live in, and some of the comments made throughout the book (about the role of public protests in democracies, about banning headscarves and outward religious symbols, about imprisoning journalists and the influence of social media) are as relevant to the situation in other countries as they are to Turkey’s.

A couple of examples of some of the sentences that made me think:

Now, as cries for an east-west war echo throughout the world, I am afraid of the world turning into a place like Turkey, governed almost permanently by martial law.

**********

Once he concludes his story, Fettahoğlu seems calmer. ‘What I just told you about is not the result of politicization’, he says. ‘It is the result of a sort of void. People are radicalized and they act like hooligans. Politicization should be an intellectual process… To hate the other side’, Fettahoğlu says, ‘is not, cannot be, politicization. No.’ A final pause. ‘It is only hatred of ignorance.’

I enjoyed, in particular, the different voices and individual accounts, like glimpses into the young men and women’s lives, the clear links between the personal and the political (the book is about political ideas but mostly about people, who sometimes reach similar conclusions or feel similarly about certain issues even if they come at them from different political positions and outlooks are very different), the passion and the determination and the touching moments shared too (a mother who didn’t like her daughter’s political ideas sharing a picture of her signed book on Facebook, a young man surprised on seeing his father cry when he hears about the death of a journalist…)

I am not an expert in Turkish politics or history and enjoyed enormously the book, which is skilfully and beautifully written, and I’d recommend this book to anybody who has even a passing interest in the subject. I also look forward to reading more works by the author (and I’ve heard he’ll publish a novel soon. I’ll be on the lookout).

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