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review 2017-08-17 21:49
Emeralds In The Attic by Jan Fields
Emeralds In The Attic - Jan Fields

This cozy mystery was interesting and a quick read. I like that it didn't start the same as so many of the others. The group of women did go up to the attic looking for something but the mystery wasn't immediately found there. It still involved something that was found in the attic but it because of what happened later. I liked this author's writing style better than a lot of the others. The ending was rather uneventful but I still enjoyed the book.

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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 2017-08-04 18:18
The devil is in the details
The Trouble with Goats and Sheep - Joanna Cannon

It's ironic that after I made the post about not finding enough time to post twice a week I exponentially increased how many books I was reading. This has resulted in a backlog of books which show as 'currently reading' on all of my literary social media sites. This has generally meant that the reviews which have been going up on Fridays are following in the order that I read them but I may have read them as much as two months ago. I'm going to change that up with this post because I'm just so excited to talk about this book that it's jumping the queue. Strap in, guys.

 

The Trouble with Goats and Sheep by Joanna Cannon was brought to my attention by watching this video by one of my favorite BookTubers, Mercedes. It was the cover that initially grabbed my attention (Honestly, are you even surprised anymore?) but it was the quick blurb which she read that truly won me over. (PS The UK and US covers are vastly different and honestly I prefer the cover from the UK.) Cannon's debut novel is set on a small road in England during the summer of 1976 and the winter of 1967. Two seemingly disparate events from these two time periods seem to be converging during what turns out to be one of the hottest summers on record. The reader follows several narrative threads from the inhabitants of this road but the central character is 10-year old Grace. We see her neighbors, family, and friend (Tilly is a delight) through her eyes while also getting to peek behind the shuttered windows and closed doors of their homes where secrets lurk in every corner. It started with a disappearance of a woman...or was it a baby? Maybe it was a fire that started things. It's sometimes difficult to determine just what started a chain of events, isn't it? The Trouble with Goats and Sheep explores that and much more. I don't want this novel to sound distressingly gloomy or dark because that's not accurate. It's difficult for me to convey just what it was that instantly drew me in and had me savoring it like a delicious treat. I think it's that Cannon was able to move seamlessly between the different characters and two time periods and create a story that was both believable and poignant. The people on the avenue felt real and tangible. Their foibles and fears weren't inconceivable or written with a melodramatic air. These were real people who had made mistakes but were too stubborn to admit them. It's a study of humanity and how two little girls tried to reconcile what they were seeing with what they desperately wanted to believe.  I knew within 30 pages that this was a book that this was going to have high re-readability for me and I daresay for many others as well. 10/10 highly recommend.

 

The UK cover:

Source: Waterstones

 

The US cover:

Source: Amazon

 

Source: readingfortheheckofit.blogspot.com
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review 2017-07-03 05:42
Raven Black
Raven Black - Ann Cleeves

A young girl is found dead in a field and the police begin questioning everyone in an effort to find out who did it and why.  The community was sure it was an old man who lived alone and was a bit "daft".  He was questioned after another girl went missing 8 years earlier but that girl's body was never found.  This time Detective Jimmy Perez wants to make sure the right person is caught and not rush to judgment to get a fast resolution.  

 

I had never heard of this author until I won a book giveaway for the 7th book in this series. I wanted to start at the beginning and I was very intrigued by the different setting. I learned some things about Shetland as I read to help me visualize the setting and have a better understanding of the people, language, and culture. I located it in an atlas and looked up several terms that I was unfamiliar with too, like dram and churlish. I really enjoyed the book and the writing. I never was sure who murdered the girls and was surprised by the ending.

 

Shetland sounds like a cold place with a lot of wind and few trees. I live in Alaska so I know about cold but we don't get much wind here.  Wind changes everything.  I think living near the water with all the wind would be torture for me.  I'm in pain today since it is raining and I'm sure in Shetland I would feel like that every day.  

 

I will definitely be reading the rest of the series and would recommend it to anyone who has the patience to get used to the different lingo (unless you are from there).  I love learning about different places so this was right up my alley.  I think Ann Cleeves is one of the best writers I've ever read.  The writing was so crafted and nothing was predictable.  

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review 2017-05-30 17:28
One Sentence Review – Donkey’s Kite by Liana Melissa Allen #LianaMelissa Allen
Donkey's Kite: A Horse Valley Adventure-Book 2 (Volume 2) - Liana-Melissa Allen,Liana-Melissa Allen

Check out this fun children’s book, Donkey Kite by Liana Melissa Allen.

I reviewed the first book in A Horse Valley Adventure, Three Little Horses and a Big Bully Donkey last Saturday.

 

Donkey's Kite (Horse Valley Adventure #2)

 

Amazon  /  Goodreads

 

MY ONE SENTENCE REVIEW

 

The Big Bully Donkey found out what it was like when the shoe is on the other foot, but sometimes ‘the hero’ will surprise you…and the message is…keep your mind open and it’s all about teamwork.

Animated Animals. Pictures, Images and Photos  4 Stars

 

GOODREADS BLURB

 

The three horses Jack, Max, Lax and their friend Donkey are back!

 

In Horse Valley it is a perfect day to go kite flying. Jack, Max, Lax, and Donkey decide to get creative by putting together their own homemade kites. However, Donkey’s kite doesn’t turn out very good. No matter how hard he tries to get it to fly, it just keeps tumbling to the ground.

 

How will poor Donkey get his kite to fly? Well, a friendly goose named Gusty is delighted to help him out.

 

In this Horse Valley Adventure, Donkey learns not to give up when all seems hopeless. They all learn a lesson about helping others and true friendship.

 

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Source: www.fundinmental.com/one-sentence-review-donkeys-kite-by-liana-melissa-allen-lianamelissa-allendonkeys-kite
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