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review 2018-09-18 16:59
When Elephants Fly
When Elephants Fly - Nancy Richardson Fischer
Tiger Lilly Decker is hoping to make it through the next twelve years.  Her genetics have predicted her future and it doesn't look good.  Lilly's mom had schizophrenia and attempted to kill Lilly and herself by jumping off the top of a building when Lilly was seven years old.  Now, as a senior in high school, the danger zone for the onset of schizophrenia is approaching.  Lilly follows a strict regiment to ensure that she will not trigger any of the symptoms including reducing stress, getting plenty of sleep and avoiding certain foods.  Lilly's handsome, rich, popular and not yet out of the closet, best friend, Sawyer supports her through.  With Lilly's internship at the local paper, she has been reporting on the birth of an Asian Elephant Calf, Swifty.  After the calf is born however, the mom rejects Swifty and Lilly is triggered to run in front of the charging elephant mother to protect Swifty.  With a strong bond to the calf, Lilly is invited to follow Swifty as she is sent to the circus to be with the father that sired her.  Lilly continues to report on Swifty and the circus conditions and digs until she uncovers the cruelty that happens there.  With Swifty slowly dying, Lilly decides to break all of her rules and the law to get Swifty to safety.
 
When Elephants Fly is a powerful story of one person's journey with schizophrenia. If that weren't enough, the story also focuses on animal rights and sexuality.  Lilly's story is an important one, putting into focus that people with a mental illness are people first and should not be characterized by their illness.  Lilly is careful, guarded, and has an amazing heart.  Her fear of inheriting schizophrenia is understandable, but rules her life.  Lilly's journey to accept that she can not change her genetics is very meaningful especially when it is tied into the story of saving the life of Swifty.  With Swifty's story Lilly learns that there are bigger things in life than herself.  Swifty brings to light the plight that all elephants are facing now in the wild and the role of zoos in animal conservation along with the difficult decisions that people make on the elephant's behalf.  Along with that, Lilly learns that some people aren't what they seem as she uncovers that hidden animal abuse at the zoo.  The writing does a wonderful job of showing the complex emotions that elephants have as well as the complicated nature of a mental illness. As Swifty's life is endangered, Lilly's symptoms also begin to show, although it doesn't seem like anything that Lilly can't deal with.  Inspiring and hopeful, When Elephants Fly beautifully takes difficult subjects and weaves them into an intricate and enjoyable story. 
 
This book was received for free in return for an honest review. 
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review 2018-09-05 12:43
The Mind's Eye
The Mind's Eye - Perry Prete

My 2nd book for Halloween Bingo- Amateur Sleuth

 

Paul is a middle-aged detective in a place that doesn't have much crime at all.  Then, a dismembered arm in found in a snow bank, after that more body parts are unearthed.  The crimes might be connected, but he has no idea how. With no real leads, Paul turns to Nicole, a guest at the same party as one of the victims.  Nicole has developed a gift- she can see pictures move and can see the moments before and after.  Nicole has kept her gift mostly a secret and plays it off as a parlor trick.  Paul is desperate and Nicole is cute, so he asks her to use her gift on the victims photos.  Carl is a crime reporter at a struggling newspaper and desperate for a good story.  With some anonymous tips, Carl begins to put together the murders for himself and goes in deeper to the story than he should.  Will is on a mission, he also has a special power that leads him to who he wants, but would never guess that Nicole is not far behind tracking his every move. 

A unique murder mystery told through they eyes of three very different people trying to solve the crime as well as the murderer.   It did take me a little while to get into the story as the first few chapters jump from different points of view to introduce characters.  Nicole's gift reeled me into the story it was so distinctive and she seemed to have a bond with the women who were being taken as well as the murderer.  Along with Nicole, Will's story drew me in.  The scenes where Will was tracking, killing and dismembering were gruesome in detail.  I was also intrigued by the insight into his mind and what he was seeing and feeling.  The medical details of the writing were very accurate and detailed as well. The reasons why the killings were done was the real mystery here, and it was truly disturbing, but I'm glad Carl was able to get the details out of Will.  The ending was thrilling and surprising as the cat-and-mouse game comes to an end, but not without a few twists.  One thing that bothered me at the end was that the reason for Nicole's intense connection with Will was never explained.  Overall, a thrilling, threatening and surprising murder mystery.  

This book was received for free in return for an honest review. 

 

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review 2018-08-23 17:16
The Book of M
The Book of M: A Novel - Peng Shepherd

One day in India, a strange occurrence happens- Hemu Joshi looses his shadow.  Not just for a moment, but seemingly for good.  At first, he is revered as someone special, closer to the Gods.  Then, he begins to forget things- important things, like his family and where he lives.  Hemu is placed in a facility, but the plague of shadowlessness is spreading along with the loss of memory.  People are forgetting how to read, walk, eat and sometimes breathe; however, they also have power in their forgetting.  When the forgetting reaches the United States, a wedding party holes up in Elk Lodge, Max and Ory decide to stay and survive there, until Max looses her shadow; Naz, an archer is outfitted with her bow and arrows to fight whatever craziness comes.  All of the survivors, shadowed and shadowless alike hear rumors of a city that still stands, New Orleans and a person there who may be able to help.  The separate groups fight their way to New Orleans, but what will they remember when they get there?

A unique and engaging dystopian read that introduces a new danger into the world.  The narrative switches between several points of view: Ory, Max, Naz and The One Who Gathers.  Through these very different sets of eyes, we see the world slowly devolve as people loose their shadows and their memories.  I was very interested in the shadow/memory connection and how it could possibly be solved.  I was also amazed at how the loss of memory turned dangerous and perception mirrored reality for a shadowless- if you forget a place, it disappears, if a shadowless believes that a deer now has wings, it does.  This opened up a world of endless opportunities as well as engaging questions: who are you without your memories?  What is it like to live without remembering your past or what you have learned?  In this world, it seems that despair and destruction reign free, but through Max and Ory's stories, we see hope and love.  Ory is determined to find Max despite putting himself in danger and Max is determined to keep Ory in her memory by recording herself, but keep him safe by running away.  With an unexpected and exciting ending, The Book of M is a memorable and imaginative read.

This book was received for free in return for an honest review.

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review 2018-07-30 18:35
Whodunit: Horror edition
The Outsider - Stephen King

The Outsider is the newest notch in the belt of one of the most prolific writers of supernatural horror, Stephen King. It's been a good long while since I've sunk my teeth into a King novel but when I read the premise (and saw the ultra rad cover) I knew that it was time to take a bite. (That metaphor got away from me.) The very beginning launches the reader into a graphic description of the murder of an 11 year old boy named Frank Peterson. [A/N: As this is literally the first two pages I don't consider this a spoiler. I do want to point out that it is very graphic and involves a sexual element so if this is in any way triggering to you please steer clear.] It seems to be an open and shut case because of the preponderance of evidence which points directly to a prominent member of the community...who also happened to be the coach of the Chief Detective assigned to the case. Can anyone say conflict of interest? However, things are not so cut and dry because it turns out that this man has an alibi with witnesses. So how was he in two places at once? What next occurs is a roller-coaster of police procedural drama with a heaping dash of supernatural horror thrown in for good measure. I wrote tons of notes about this book after I had read it but because they are mainly about the plot and super spoiler-y I don't feel that I can enumerate them here. Suffice it to say that in trademark King style there are always more twists and turns just when you think there couldn't possibly be any more. I enjoyed it thoroughly right up until the very end which I felt was not up to King's usual standard. With that being said, I did really like it and immediately lent my copy to another coworker with my recommendation so I can't help but give it a 9/10.

 

What's Up Next: The Figure in the Shadows The Letter, the Witch, and the Ring by John Bellairs

 

What I'm Currently Reading: How to Stop Time by Matt Haig

Source: readingfortheheckofit.blogspot.com
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review 2018-07-26 14:27
Letting Go Of Gravity
Letting Go Of Gravity - Meg Leder

"That's what friends do- they remind you of who you are underneath all the stuff people believe about you, all the stuff you believe about yourself."

Charlie and Parker are twins. During childhood, they always had each other's back. However, they were always two different people; Charlie is extroverted, loud, popular and easily makes friends, Parker is introverted, guarded and needs approval.  One other difference arose when Charlie and Parker were in fourth grade, Charlie got leukemia.  As medical bills rose and their parents lived in fear, Parker vowed to become a doctor and help kids with leukemia.  Now it is coming true, as Parker graduates valedictorian of her class with an internship at a hospital and an acceptance to Harvard, and Charlie is in remission for a second time.  When it's time to begin the internship, Parker feels overwhelmed and panicked at even being in the hospital.  She quits, reconnects with an old friend and finds a job at a pottery shop and the weight lifts.  Now, if she could only tell her parents.

Letting go of gravity is an epic coming of age tale that so many teens will be able to connect with.  It is not only Parker's story either, it is also Charlie's.  For so much of Parker's life she has strived to be what her parents expect that she has lost herself.  For Charlie's life, he has been the boy with cancer that people have given up their lives to help.  They both just want to stop being people's expectations for them and learn to be themselves, but they will need each other to do it.  I could easily relate to Parker and was swept up in her story, eagerly turning the pages to see how she would manage the twists and turns in her life.  Even though I have never had to deal with cancer, Charlie was also intriguing.  His journey in and out of remission while being a teen is very sincere and heart wrenching, even when he is ok.  Charlie and Parker's journey took me through emotional highs and lows that reminded me of the transitional time after high school.  In addition to this, the romances were very sweet and realistic.  Overall, a roller-coaster of a story about self-realization and being able to become who you truly are.

This book was received for free in return for an honest review.

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