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review 2017-07-16 21:28
Nowhere near as fun or appealing as Julia Child herself.
The French Chef in America: Julia Child'... The French Chef in America: Julia Child's Second Act - Alex Prud'Homme

I was excited to read more about Child after liking 'My Life in France'. It's been quite a while since I've read it but I being disappointed there wasn't more there. But since that book was so charming it seemed like this would be a good pickup.

 

This book picks up after the first one, but other reviews are right. There's a lot of rehashing of Child's book (which she also co-wrote with Prud'Homme) and unfortunately his voice here alone just isn't the same. Even though it's been a long time since I read 'Life' I was really bored overall with the beginning.

 

From there it doesn't really get that much better. It's a retelling of her career with what basically felt like padding talking about guests and it just didn't have the humor and charm of 'Life'. It was disappointing overall and did feel like Prud'Homme might have been trying to cash in on the Child name/brand. 

 

I'd skip this one. If you're really interested, I'd recommend the library or a cheap bargain buy.

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review 2017-07-14 19:06
THE CHILD Review
The Child - Fiona Barton

I always give authors at least two chances to impress me. While I did not totally dislike Fiona Barton's debut novel, The Widow, I did feel it dragged substantially in its latter half and didn't really work as a compelling mystery. Its twists and shocks — such as they were — were easy to predict, making for a relatively boring experience. However, Barton has a background in crime reporting and does know her way around a phrase. Her books are, technically, well written. They make sense; they have credible setups and characters' motivations are clear. I felt that way when reading The Widow(which I gave three stars to) and feel that way about this, her newest release: The Child

How does The Child measure up against Barton's previous outing? It is certainly an improvement! Though quite similar in tone and pacing to her other release, in this the author amps up the macabre and intrigue and dread. Though I was able to predict some of the twists in this mystery, I didn't see most of them coming. Fiona Barton seems more comfortable as a novelist here; it makes for a very pleasant reading experience. 

The premise is rather simple: the skeletal remains of a baby are found buried at a construction site. Who buried it there, and why? The Child sees the return of investigative reporter Kate Waters, a main character in The Widow. She is the one digging at this, trying her hardest to find out what happened. The novel is centered on this mystery, and the lives of the people who are entangled in this strange discovery. 

I really enjoyed this. Though I do have a few qualms — the story needlessly drags in places, Barton's male characters aren't fleshed out at all, the ending is a little rushed — I can definitely say I was a little surprised by how much I loved this novel. Part crime drama, part mystery, part thriller, this is certainly one of the more memorable and rewarding books I've read in 2017. Highly recommended.

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text 2017-07-13 20:44
Reading progress update: I've read 225 out of 384 pages.
The Child - Fiona Barton

This is shaping up to be one of my favorite mystery thrillers of the year. 

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review 2017-07-13 18:54
Child Soldier
Child Soldier: When Boys and Girls Are Used in War (CitizenKid) - Michel Chikwanine,Jessica Dee Humphreys,Claudia Dávila

If he’d only listened to his father, Michel wouldn’t have lost part of his childhood but what he experienced with the rebel soldiers will never be erased from his mind. Michel was five when he was taken with his best friend Kevin by a group of rebel militia while they were playing basketball after school. His father told him to come right home after school but Michel ignored his father words. Military vehicles were a common sight so when they pulled up alongside the court, the boys disregarded them. When boys in ratted clothing emerged setting off their firearms, the boys fell to the ground. Thrown in the back of their trucks with other boys, they went for a ride. They were soon going to be initiated into the militia’s army. Michel tried to stand up for himself but that only led to him becoming the example in the group. The militia used a variety of means to get their recruits to obey including drugs, force, amputation and of course, death. Michel was forced to perform many actions that horrified and ashamed him as the weeks passed in the countryside. Scared, Michel wanted to go home but the recruits were under constant supervision. Finally, Michel sees an opportunity to escape. As he surfaces to the outside world, Michel emerges a changed individual. He is no longer an innocent child, he has a story that no one else has.

 

I thought this was a terrific graphic novel memoir that communicates a great story. The illustrations were wonderfully done, not overly dramatic but using facial expressions and other means, the story is presented nicely. I liked the variety of text fonts that were used as I thought that added to the drama of the story. It is 1993 and there is political turmoil occurring in the Democratic Republic of Congo and Michel is in the middle of it. I was surprised how young Michel was when this story took place. I felt that Michel’s father placed too much responsibility on Michel’s shoulders as I read this novel. Michel’s father is a human rights lawyer and an activist and since Michel is the only son in the family, his father tells him what he wants him to do should the police arrest him. His father had many good words of wisdom that he tells his son and I had to wonder how far Michel would take his father’s advice, his father was a man and Michel was now a child of eight. I felt these expectations were a bit high for a child so young. I did appreciate how this novel talked about the country before the fighting began and why the fighting is taking place. I felt this knowledge set the story up before Michel’s drama began. I felt a good connection with Michel throughout the story and I felt closure at the end. At the end of the novel, there is a current photo of Michel and a short narrative about what Michel is presently doing. There is also a question and answer section about Boys and Girls in War and what individuals can do about it, which I thought was very interesting and thorough. The author also included a list of a few other resources individuals can check out if they are interested in child soldiers. This graphic novel is worth checking out.

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text 2017-07-11 20:49
Reading progress update: I've read 1 out of 384 pages.
The Child - Fiona Barton

I give every author two chances to impress me. Here's hoping this is better than Barton's debut novel...

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