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review 2018-09-22 20:59
Things A Bright Girl Can Do - Sally Nicholls

Book Blurb: 1914 The worlds stand on the edge of change. But women still have no vote. Evelyn is rich and clever, but she isn’t allowed to go to university. Life is set out for her, but Evelyn wants freedom and choice, even if it means paying the highest price alongside her fellow Suffragettes. Meanwhile, May campaigns tirelessly for women’s votes with other anti-violence suffragists. When she meets Nell, a girl who’s grown up in hardship, she sees a kindred spirit. Together and in love, the two girls start to dream of a world where all kinds of women can find their place. But the fight for freedom will challenge Evelyn, May and Nell more than they ever could imagine. As the Great War looms, just how much are they willing to sacrifice?

 

What I thought: It was a good read. You can tell that the book is well-researched. I did find it, though, a bit PC-ish that the book was trying to represent homosexuality, for example, and still managed to cotton-wrap the issue – I don’t think many people were yet as understanding in 1910s as the author makes it out to be. The book plot also missed the edginess for me with the issues it covers. It is written with YA in mind and yet I was taken aback that Nicholls describes sexual relationship of two fifteen year old girls. As an adult reading the book, it did make me feel somewhat voyeurish. There was no need for that at all in the story line. Overall, the book offers a wide range, perhaps somewhat lighthearted, introduction to subjects of the fight for women’s suffrage, the Great War and homosexuality.  Not bad, give it a go.

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text 2018-09-16 04:10
Key West Book Post #2 - Only 1 picture in this one.
Sharks And Other Sea Monsters - Robert Sabuda,Matthew Reinhart
Deenie - Judy Blume
Otherwise Known as Sheila the Great - Judy Blume
Freckle Juice - Judy Blume,Debbie Ridpath Ohi
Ocean: A Photicular Book - Carol Kaufmann,Dan Kainen
Big Science For Little People: 52 Activities to Help You and Your Child Discover the Wonders of Science - Lynn Brunelle

Hemingway House and the Hemingway cats were just one of the book highlights of my 2.5 day trip Key West.  The other was a trip to Books & Books, a non-profit bookshop run by the only living author I turn fan-girl over.  Judy Blume.  It is not hyperbole or exaggeration of any kind to say this woman was the single biggest influence in my childhood and pre-teen years.  So, no WAY was I going to miss visiting her bookstore, even if odds of her being there were slim.

 

She was there.

 

She was lovely.  I was a blithering idiot, of course.  What I could manage to say was nothing, I"m sure, that she hasn't heard a million times over the years, and I'm kicking myself for not having enough wits about me to tell her what I really appreciated about her books (that all her characters had agency and didn't need adults or friends to tell them what was right or wrong), but she was wonderful, kind and patient nevertheless.  She was preparing for an extended trip and was in a meeting when I arrived, but she paused the meeting to come out and sign my books (because of COURSE I bought some of her books), and chat with me for a few minutes.

 

 

Aside from her books, and her very presence, Books & Books is a fabulous bookshop.  I went in with ZERO intention of looking at books beyond Judy Blume's because, as I think you all know, I had already managed to accumulate a fair number of books by this time.  (*cough*four boxes*cough*)  But as I was making my way to the counter, I found the newest of the Prehistorica pop-up books, Sharks And Other Sea Monsters, and when the woman behind the counter saw me squee'ing over that one, she showed me the wonder of Ocean: A Photicular Book, which has the best holographic images I've ever seen - they honestly look like little movies on the page.  I was entranced.  It was one of a series and it was killing me to just choose one. 

 

MT had stopped at a cigar shop before meeting me at the bookstore, arriving as I was just starting to chat with JB, and in those few minutes he managed to find 3 more books to add to the pile (two are future xmas gifts) and would have added 2 others had I not already started checking out.  If this had been the first stop on our holiday instead of the last, the damage we'd have done to their inventory and our finances would have been impressive.  There were just too many interesting books screaming for attention.

 

So here's my plug: if you ever find yourself in Key West, absolutely go to Books and Books - whether you go to fan girl(boy) over Judy Blume or not, the inventory is sure to appeal to any and all book lovers.  Bring a big bag.

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review 2018-09-13 18:13
Ghost Ships, Gales & Forgotten Tales - True Adventures on the Great Lakes
Ghost Ships, Gales and Forgotten Tales: True Adventures on the Great Lakes - Wes Oleszewski

Picked this one up from our library. Living in Michigan and going on a few shipwreck tours in the Great Lakes, I thought this one would be a fun read!

 

I am going to use this one for Fear the Drowning Deep!

 

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review 2018-09-10 03:14
Bud, Not Buddy
Bud, Not Buddy - Christopher Paul Curtis

Bud is a determined to find his father despite what is thrown his way. He battles foster parents and siblings, his ability to keep up a lie, as well as hunger and homelessness during the Great Depression. Bud’s mother died when he was six leaving him an orphan because his father was not apart of his life. When Bud runs away from a foster home after being locked in a shed with vampires, he sets his sights on locating his long lost father. Bud’s journey to find his father leads him to an outcome he never expected. Bud uses a map to find various routes during his journey, an activity for students to do is use a map to help Bud find his way from city to city. The students could calculate how long bud would need to travel by foot and by car. An extension to this activity is to have research the cities and find information about those cities during the Great Depression and record them in a graphic organizer. The DRA reading level is 40-50.

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review 2018-08-30 17:16
The Great Alone
The Great Alone - Kristin Hannah

Every once in a while, if you're lucky, you come across a book that is always on your mind.  You find yourself at work, the grocery store, yoga class, wondering what the characters are doing, if they're okay, what adventure lies ahead.

 
The Great Alone, by Kristin Hannah, is one of those books.  It is persistently unputdownable.  It is incredibly written and a lovely sort of haunting. 
 
In the Vietnam Era in America, with a country divided and men returning home as zombies, mere shadows of the men they were when they left, lives were irrevocably changed.
 
Set during this tumultuous time, Hannah tells the coming of age tale of Leni Allbright, who suddenly finds herself and her life being uprooted by her dad's latest and greatest idea.
 
A veteran and POW, Ernt Allbright receives news that a fallen comrade has left his homestead as his legacy to Ernt.  In Alaska.  What better way to heal all wounds than to start fresh?
 
The Allbrights, Leni, her mother Cora, and Ernt, soon find themselves standing in the Alaskan wilderness, completely unprepared.  Hannah paints Alaska as a character in itself, so beautifully majestic that her deadliness is shocking and unexpected.  And the fear of what can kill you (which is pretty much everything) quickly moves from the outside into the home they have built from the shambles of their inherited house. 
 
Life quickly turns into a struggle for survival as Ernt becomes increasingly violent and abusive and the women have no choice but to somehow find a way out.  Find a way to survive. 
 
Guest Review by Kate Kelly
 
 
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