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review 2017-05-05 19:51
Mexico DNF review
Mexico: Stories - Josh Barkan Mexico: Stories - Josh Barkan

There's very little I liked about the first three stories I read. My main problem is I do not connect with the way Barkan writes. Sad to say, because the ideas behind the stories themselves were interesting. The delivery just isn't my thing. I have no want in my heart to pick this up again, so I'm not going to. 


I'm giving this two stars instead of one because it's not garbage. It's simply not my thing.

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review 2016-12-29 04:38
Enrique's Journey by Sonia Nazario
Enrique's Journey - Sonia Nazario

This would be a great book club choice. It's gripping, it's a very quick read despite being nonfiction (large font and generous margins make it feel shorter than its 260 pages), and of course it's about a hot topic: illegal immigration to the U.S. from Latin America. The protagonist, Enrique, sets off from Honduras for the U.S. at age 17, searching for his mother, who immigrated twelve years before. The book primarily dramatizes Enrique's dangerous journey through Mexico - jumping on and off of moving trains and evading corrupt and often violent authorities, who seek to deport Central American migrants to Guatemala, as well as the gangs who prey on migrants. All this makes for compelling reading, and is eye-opening; in the U.S. we have little sense of what people have to risk and endure to enter the country illegally. Nazario also writes about the circumstances in Honduras that compel so many to immigrate - for many mothers, it's a matter of not being able to feed their children - and about Enrique's family's lives in the U.S. And she interviews quite a few people who work with or encounter migrants, adding depth to the story.

So I probably should urge all Americans to read this. But. The writing style is a bit simplistic. The present tense is an awkward choice for nonfiction, and the author has the tendency to remind us of simple facts several times over. A bit more context would have helped too. In introducing her project, Nazario explains she wanted to write about a Central American boy who came by train. But the book doesn't give much sense of how many migrants use the trains vs. other routes, and the focus on the train journeys of Central American migrants leaves little sense of what immigration might look like for the Mexicans who make up the majority of undocumented immigrants in the U.S. Finally, while perhaps the story can speak for itself, I felt a stronger policy argument at the end would have been appropriate. Instead the author basically says, "okay, now here are some good things and some bad things about immigration," and then it ends.

I still think people should read this, because if you're going to have a strong opinion about something you should be informed about it. But if you can recommend a better book along the same lines, please let me know.

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review 2016-12-09 19:01
Rejected Princesses: Tales of History's Boldest Heroines, Hellions, and Heretics - Jason Porath Short form: this book is awesome and every home and classroom should have a copy. Long form: This was a whim. I just picked it up because it had a fun cover and title, but once I started reading it I couldn’t bear to put it down. The introduction is amusing, the art is spot on, and the stories are delightful. Well, many of them have violence and heinous cruelty, or just plain gore, but Porath forewarns the reader with some very specific codes. And when he’s writing about the evil that is lynching he doesn’t shrink from sharing the horror. But also, whenever there is a specific named villain in the piece, he comes up with some amusing expletives. Somehow he manages to hit a sweet spot between maintaining a light tone and historical accuracy, and he manages to do it in both the text and the art. Even when he gives these women enormous Disney eyes he makes sure to get the period details right: you know he isn’t mocking these women, he’s taking them seriously but not striving for an imagined objectivity. And then there are art notes on many of the illustrations, which explain details one might miss and their significance. Dude has found his calling and I hope he sells beaucoup books and can continue to devote his time and energy to the project. I love this like I haven’t loved any history since Lies My Teacher Told Me. It only just hit me that the reason I loved this book so much was that I really needed to read about kick-ass women who got shit done and had fun and/or really improved their world. Library copy
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review 2016-11-28 20:00
The Star Of New Mexico
The Star of New Mexico - Seanan McGuire

The Star of New Mexico continues where Broken Paper Hearts ended (it would have probably been better had the two stories been combined, considering how short they both are). This one, however, was by far the saddest of them all. It's a very short stories, but considering this is a complete series of short stories, it doesn't really feel like a short story any more.

The part with the Aeslin mice was truly heartbreaking. Now I need some light reading to forget all this.

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review 2016-11-28 05:01
My heart
Unforgettable - Jay Blair

This is book # 2, in the Hidden Hitman series.  This book is not meant to be a standalone novel.  For reader understanding and enjoyment, I recommend reading the series in order.


Alejandro AKA "Ale" & Emmett AKA "Emme" are together and know that someday soon Ale will get his memory back and it could all come tumbling down.  In the mean time, they spend as much time together as possible.  Being alone feels like cheating, but lives are on the line.


Emmett knows it will end when Ale gets his memory back.  Every moment is precious since it will all crash and burn.  Secrets have a way of always coming out.  Will Ale forgive the deception?


This series has a habit of sucking you right in.  The storyline is strong and the characters are sincere.  I found myself rooting for the characters to be together.  I give this story a 3/5 Kitty's Paws UP!



***I voluntarily reviewed an advanced copy of this book.

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