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review 2018-04-11 17:33
Secret Vampire (is not so secret)
Secret Vampire (Night World, #1) - L.J. Smith

This isn't so much a review of the book as it is of L.J. Smith. I first read The Vampire Diaries back in 2010, and the first 2 books weren't half bad. But then they just nose dive into cliche and terrible. And that seems to be what L.J is famous for, as far as I can tell. All her writings are juvenile, anticlimactic and pretty full of teen tropes. In this book, I don't think there was a single brain cell to be shared among the three main characters. And then we get a big bad about 30 pages from the end for no reason that doesn't even do anything. Literally does nothing. 

 

Same goes for when I picked back up on The Vampire Diaries when Smith started writing them a decade after they ended. She did nothing to fix the time gap, gave them cell phones with no explanation and went off on some strange angels/demons/kitsune plotline. I do not get why people are so fascinated with her. I read 5 of The Vampire Diaries  before I thought my eyes would bleed. This book wasn't nearly as bad, but it was just bland. Boring. The teens were so....white bread and mayo. It had nothing of spice and substance. I feel like people read her and enjoy her works because they just don't know any better, sort of like Cassandra Clare.

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review 2018-01-20 03:31
The Power (to put me to sleep) DNF at 70 pages
The Power - Naomi Alderman

This is just not entertaining to me. I have been trying so hard to enjoy this, but it's mediocre at best. I must have much different taste than most of America. 

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text 2017-09-13 21:31
Not feeling it...
Goddess of Light - P.C. Cast

I've been reading this for over a month, and I just cannot find momentum. So I'm just moving on. It's not a terrible story, but it isn't holding my attention. I'm feeling forced to read this, and nothing turns me off more than forcing me to do anything.

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review 2017-08-12 19:39
It Ain't So Awful Falafel
It Ain't So Awful, Falafel - Firoozeh Dumas

 

To all the kids who don't belong, for whatever reason.

This one's for you.

- Dedication

 

My dad says that the dogs and cats in America are luckier than most people in the world.

- page 34

 

My dad always says that kindness is our religion and if we treat everybody the way we would like to be treated, the world would be a better place.

- page 40

 

... only bookworms get excited over other bookworms

- page 69

 

"Who would ever have thought that a person could be so powerful, then so completely powerless, all in the same lifetime?"

- page 219 (referring to the downfall of the shah)

 

... even though we belong to three different religions. We are alike in so many more ways than we are different.

- page 299

 

It was only when I stopped pretending to be someone else that I found my real friends.

- page 360

 

 

This was a good read. Zomorod (who changes her name to Cindy) is from Iran. Her father is an engineer who works with American companies building oil refineries in Iran, so they moved back and forth a couple of times.  Now she is starting junior high (which nowadays is called middle school) and doesn't know anyone. She wants to fit in, but she focuses on how different she is from all the other kids. The first friend she makes (in the summer before school) decides she doesn't want to be friends when school starts. Poor "Cindy" is lost and worried and tired of having to explain to everyone where Iran is and how to pronounce her last name.

 

Cindy finds friends and seems to be settling in and basically happy. Then Iran has a revolution, the shah is kicked out of the country, and Ayatollah Khomeini takes over. On November 4, 1979, Iranian students, angry that President Carter allowed the shah to come to the United States, take a group of Americans hostage. This changes Cindy's family's life and her father loses his job.

 

I was in junior high during the Iran Hostage Crisis. I remember feeling vaguely angry at the hostage takers and worried about the hostages. My mom wasn't huge on watching the news with us or anything, but I knew what was happening (at least generally).  

 

It was interesting reading this story told from the point of view of an Iranian girl in America at the time. It was so hard for Cindy's family, and many Americans were so hostile towards Iranians, even though those living in America weren't responsible for the situation and didn't necessarily approve of it. Cindy and her parents were so appalled that a religious leader could be responsible for such behavior. But that didn't save them from hate and discrimination.

 

This is a nominee for the Florida Sunshine State award grades 3-5. I really liked the book and will highly recommend it to our students when school starts. 

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review 2017-05-17 21:51
The Unexpected Everything (makes me sleepy)
The Unexpected Everything - Morgan Matson

I'm DNFing this at 200 pages because it's boring me so badly I want to go to sleep. There is nothing creative or compelling that's hooking me. I hate feeling forced to read something. Plus, Andie is just another typical teen with "tight lip" syndrome. She just refuses to speak about anything deep or meaningful and then is utterly baffled when relationships fizzle. All the characters are flat and bland. No depth. No dimension. It's like the author watched a bunch of CW and Freeform dramas and thought that's what teenagers are really like. Not for me.

 

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