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text 2018-04-25 19:00
Out of Left Field - Ellen Klages

 

I received this book for free from the publisher in exchange for an honest review. 

 

I love historical fiction and I love baseball and I love girls standing up for what they believe in, so of course I loved this! 

 

I have a lot to say about this book.

 

First, I LOVED that it took place in the Bay Area, because I am from the bay. The SF Giants are mentioned in this and they’re my favorite team (Go Giants!). Additionally, I liked that it talked about the San Fransisco Seals because truthfully I’ve never heard of them. 

 

I also loved the diversity. One of the main character’s friends, PeeWee Ishikawa, is Japanese American and at one point in the novel he brings up Japanese internment. I always appreciate it when books mention Japanese internment because it is something that still gets overlooked at times. I’m glad the book acknowledged it. Her other friend, Chip, is black and through her friendship with him she learns all about the Negro League and how the All-American Girls Professional Baseball League was white only. That made the book intersectional so I was really happy to see that.  

 

If you didn’t already guess it, this book is jammed pack with information, both baseball and not baseball related. I ended up learning a lot about the history of women in baseball. The book takes place in 1957-1958, so it incorporates real life events that happened in those years as well (The Little Rock Nine, Sputnik, etc.). 

 

The overall storyline was good. It did a really tremendous job at showcasing how unfair it is that girls can’t play Little League. 

 

As a random side note, I loved the little mention of Walt Disney and his television program. I love Disney so any mention of him is always a plus in my book.

 

Overall, this was an amazing, informative, and inspirational book, and if you read it, be prepared to be schooled in women’s baseball! 

 

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review 2018-04-07 14:08
Jump into Science: Volcano! - Ellen J. Prager
For more reviews, check out my blog: Craft-Cycle

Another great Jump Into Science book. This is such a great series for learning about the earth and the solar system. 

This book presents volcanoes in a non-scary way. The information is straight and to the point without making kids feel anxious about volcanoes (I was terrified of volcanoes growing up). It discusses how people predict eruptions and some warning signs. 

As with the other books in the series, this one is a bit text heavy so I would recommend for older children or for it to be broken up between readings. Great, fun illustrations.

There is also a fun volcano experiment at the end.

Great educational read.
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review 2018-04-06 19:30
Jump into Science: Earthquakes - Ellen J. Prager
For more reviews, check out my blog: Craft-Cycle

Another great book in the Jump Into Science series. I really enjoyed this one. As a kid, I was terrified of earthquakes. I didn't realize that here in Wisconsin, we don't really get big earthquakes. Part of my irrational fear was all of the books and movies that make all earthquakes seem like the end of the world. This is a wonderful book, because it teaches about earthquakes in a way that isn't scary. It is very matter-of-fact and shows a map of places that get a lot of earthquakes. It is clear that they can cause damage and injury, but it is not presented in an overly-terrifying way. It teaches what causes earthquakes and how to stay safe in them.

At the end of the book, there is a little experiment to do to learn why buildings should be built on certain soil. 

As with the other books in the series, I would recommend for older children or those really interested in each topic, because they are quite text-heavy with lots of information. There are a lot of really good pictures as well. 

Good, engaging, educational read.
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review 2018-03-25 23:51
THE LIFE SHE WAS GIVEN by Ellen Marie Wiseman
The Life She Was Given - Ellen Marie Wiseman

THE LIFE SHE WAS GIVEN

Ellen Marie Wiseman
Library Binding, 527 pages, Large print
Published September 1st 2017 by Center Point Pub (first published July 25th 2017)
ISBN:  1683245032 (ISBN13: 9781683245032) 
also available in paperback, Audible audio, Kindle, ebook,
and in German on Kindle (Die Bittere Gabe, A Sin B072DTNYMD)

 

Some of the reviews were negative and I wasn't sure I would finish this book. As it turns out, I really like Wiseman's writing. There is the circus animal abuse in the book that was graphic;  but in remembering when Lilly's part of the story was to take place (1930's/1940s), this type of abuse is not addressed in the same way it is today. Lilly's character is different, her parents and the general population did look upon her as someone who needs to be caged or treated like a freak in the circus. The author does well in showing Lilly's progressing into accepting herself and her new circus family, and thus starts Lilly's understanding that all people and animals deserve respect.

Alternating chapters with Lilly is Julia. She had the choice to run from the same parents who raised Lilly. Julia's life is not so great on her own, but then she inherits the family property. The author does develop this character decently away from the angry daughter who ran away from home.

A lot happens in the book. It is a tough read with the animal abuse issue in the book, and the neglect and abuse that Lilly as a child, and her circus family endures as freaks. Seeing that people may be different on the outside, but more alike on the inside, is written well here. Understanding that people still hold the older views and how keeping all this private affects our lives is brought to light in the book.

Diversity, coming of age, forgiveness are all part of the plot. The ending could have been written a little tightened up, and maybe a not so perfect, happy ending. I believe, after reading <u>The Life She Was Given</u>, I will read more of Ellen Marie Wiseman.

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review 2018-03-22 22:00
THE DEVIL AND THE DEEP edited by Ellen Datlow
The Devil and the Deep - Ellen Datlow

An anthology built around the theme of the ocean? How could I say no to that? Not all of the stories resonated with me, but many did. And the ones that did- resonated deeply.

 

FODDER'S JIG by Lee Thomas. Sea monsters, a gay couple and a gold-digging relative. Every time I thought this tale was nothing special, something special happened. I need to read more Lee Thomas!

 

WHAT MY MOTHER LEFT ME by Alyssa Wong blew me away. Imaginative and bold, I already purchased another story from this author. This was my favorite tale in the book.

 

SISTER, DEAREST SISTER, LET ME SHOW YOU TO THE SEA by Seanan McGuire. I always wanted a sister. Now, I know I was better off alone.

 

SHIT HAPPENS by Michael Marshall Smith. I laughed my butt off. Then I became nauseated and then I laughed some more. This is one of the grossest and funniest stories I've ever read.

 

HE SINGS OF SALT AND WORMWOOD by Brian Hodge. Even though they weren't the main crux of the story, I never knew ship-worms existed and now I may never go into the ocean again.

 

A SHIP OF THE SOUTH WIND by Bradley Denton. This one wasn't about the sea as we know it, but instead, a sea that dried up long ago. It also features the coolest ship I've ever read about.

 

With a few more notable stories by Christopher Golden and Steve Rasnic Tem, I thoroughly enjoyed this anthology and can honestly say that I highly recommend it!

 

You can get your copy here: THE DEVIL AND THE DEEP

 

*A big thank you to Marion Schwaner at Night Shade Books for the free ARC of this book in exchange for my honest review. This is it!*

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