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review 2016-03-08 15:53
Charmed (Fairy Tale Reform School #2) by Jen Calonita
Charmed - Jen Calonita

Another wonderful entry in the Fairy Tale Reform School series! Look, it's no secret that I have a soft spot for these kinds of stories. I'm a Middle Grade reader, trapped in an adult's body. I love magic, mischief, and stories about great friendships. It's no wonder, then, that I also love Jen Calonita's writing. I enjoyed the first book, Flunked, immensely. So I couldn't wait to get my hands on Charmed and see what Gilly was up to now.

 

The first thing I noticed about this sequel was that Gilly has grown up. Oh, sure, she's still a rascal. She and her friends get up to all sorts of silliness. At the heart of it though, Gilly knows what true evil looks like now. She understands that people can get hurt, and that the choices we make affect others. I loved how Calonita didn't just let Gilly sit at this new point in her life though. Instead, she grows even more throughout the course of this book. Middle Grade readers need good role models and, as feisty as Gilly is, she definitely fits that bill.

 

Plus, there were so many more fairy tale references to fall in love with! I can't deny that I'm a sucker for a fairy tale pun. Those abound here, and if I'm finding myself giggling I have no doubt that young readers will too. I also appreciated the addition of new, and interesting characters. Most notably, Blackbeard makes his debut here. The idea that a new reader might want to discover the history of that dreaded pirate? Well, it makes me all giddy. He also adds a nice lightness to everything, what with his pirate manners and all. Pirates aren't exactly known for their manners.

 

I'm being completely honest when I say that I hope there's more of these stories to come. The ending had me a bit teary eyed, and truly hoping that this isn't the last I'll see of Gilly and her friends. If you have a young reader at home, especially one who enjoys a good fairy tale, this is a series you should get them started on. Jen Calonita's writing is wonderful.

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review 2016-02-19 22:25
Flunked (Fairy Tale Reform School # 1)
Flunked (Fairy Tale Reform School) - Jen Calonita

I'd had high hopes for this book and by the end...most were met. But for the first half or more, I found this to be cliche and a bit disappointing. Though that might be partially the fault of the audiobook. I had to give up on it slightly before half way and switch to the book; the narrator's voice made half of them sound like whiny teenagers. Now they may be just that but I will not listen to that if there's anyway to avoid it, so the audiobook had to go.

 

The country of Enchantasia (ha, ha - eye roll) is ruled by the famous princesses: Ella, Snow, Rose (Sleeping Beauty), and Rapunzel. Though Gottie (Rapunzel's villian...I think) and Alva (Sleeping Beauty's villian) are still loose, everyone is fairly safe and doing well - though the cobblers are in a downturn as Ella gave Glass Slipper creation rights to Fairy Godmothers. The rest of the villains are reformed. The Stepmonster (Flora), Wolfington (best not to mention Grandmother), Madam Cleo (the Sea Witch), and Harlow (Snow White's Evil Queen) live in an enchanted castle where they have turned their lives around and now help young people who are on the path to villainy.

 

Yep, they run Fairy Tale Reform School!

Their Mission: "To turn wicked delinquents and former villains into future heroes."

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text 2016-02-16 08:57
Reading progress update: I've read 63%.
Flunked (Fairy Tale Reform School) - Jen Calonita

Well, called that. It was such an obvious plot twist...I mean really. 

 

If you stick a bunch of people formally known as villains in a castle together along with children that could become villains, what do you think will happen? Did nobody see this coming?!

 

"Once a villain, always a villain. Evil is coming and it can't be stopped. Enchantasia, beware...Fairy Tale Reform School will burn."

 

That was like, the least necessary foretelling ever.

(spoiler show)

 

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text 2016-02-09 11:19
Reading progress update: I've read 80 out of 257 pages.
Flunked (Fairy Tale Reform School) - Jen Calonita

I hadn't planned to start another book as I've stalled a bit on the game one. As the audiobook of this was languishing on my checked out list while I flew through the Bess Crawford books, I decided to focus on this first before checking out the next one.

 

Except that the narrator made me want to throw my device across the room!

 

I get what she was trying to do and she did get the main character's attitude down well. However, it put such a whiny teenager slant to her voice, almost dipping into something recalling Valley Girl to me oddly enough at times that I couldn't take it. Poor LL finally couldn't take it and had to comment. That was all the push I needed to turn it off.

 

But I'd held on because I liked the story and the idea. I even liked Gilly and I don't tend to like "good" thief main characters (Robin Hood being the only exception). So we're on take 2 and I'll see how I do with the ebook.

 

Is it me or am I getting bad vibes from the Stepmonster?

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review 2015-12-27 02:36
BLUE
Blue: The LAPD and the Battle to Redeem American Policing - Joe Domanick
The LAPD and the Battle to Redeem American Policing
ISBN: 9781451641073
Publisher:  Simon & Schuster
Publication Date:  8/11/2015 
Format:  Other 
My Rating: 4.5 Stars 

 

A special thank you to Simon & Schuster and NetGalley for an ARC in exchange for an honest review.

Award-winning investigative reporter, Joe Domanick describes the transformation in BLUE, The LAPD and the Battle to Redeem American Policing --a riveting page-turning account of the LA police Department from the LA riots, the OJ Simpson trial, to the events of 2014, which began in Missouri and New York City; with effects reverberated throughout our country.

Domanick tells of a much larger bigger picture of American policing over the past quarter-century, and the challenges we still face today.The story is told through the lives of people who actually LIVED it—police officers, police chiefs, mayors, city politicians, gang members, and ex-gang members, community leaders, and citizens.

Thought-provoking questions: What constitutes good and bad policing? How best to prevent crime, control police abuse, ease tensions between the police and the powerless, and partner with communities of color to enhance public safety.

Joe mentions how he wanted to understand the source of the department’s extraordinary power, when he wrote his first LAPD book, a character-based historic narrative of the department called to protect and to serve, as a way to find that understanding.

Then there were changes in the 1950’s up to 1991 when the tension once again began mounting when four white LAPD officers were caught on videotape beating a black motorist- Rodney King. A year later the officers were acquitted, sparking the bloody LA riots. Thereafter little changed.

Why was the reform taking so long to implement? This is when he decided to revisit the LAPDs history starting with the 1992 riots and the writing of Blue.

Told through lives of the people who lived through the crack-filled violence-laden nineties, and then through the reforms that finally began taking hold in the first decade of the twenty-first century.

Joe highlights two cops: One a police reformer and stranger to LA, the other a chief-in-training with LAPD roots stretching back half a century. The others were LA gangsters who embodied the fraught relations between the LAPD and the communities.

I enjoyed the way the Key Players are highlighted at the front of the book with a description of each, as well as sections devoted to the topics and time.

• Charlie Beck
• Tom Bradley
• William Bratton
• Andre Christian
• Daryl Gates
• Alfred Lomas
• William H Parker
• Bernard Parks
• Rafael “Ray” Perez
• Connie Rice
• Willie Williams

Meticulously researched, well written,  with impressive historical notes, references, interviews, and news reporting, as well as-- laid out in a very organized format.

Much of Blue is about cops and the police leadership, officers past and present. From crime, politics, and cops—policies and reform. Filled with political intrigue, cultural and racial conflict, income and opportunity. The politics and the business of crime and guns, our reckless sentencing laws, and the disastrous state of our public schools. All of this disparate forces together send generations of young Americans into the world’s largest prison system with no end in sight.

As the author notes, in 2014 both the American people and the American press began asking hard questions about the current state of American policing. We live in a violent, racist, gun-loving society. American society is in a deep crisis centered around our corrupt politics and institutions.

We have to start somewhere, and have to work for change within and within and outside American policing. Depending on your age or your geographical location, some stories may ring all too familiar, if you lived through those eras.

 

Highly recommend. Informative, Compelling, Timely.

Source: www.judithdcollinsconsulting.com/#!Blue/cmoa/55784da50cf293eac809c81d
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