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text 2018-05-23 12:49
Her Last Word - Mary Burton

Her Last Word is a book that has a face paced, intense storyline.   The police procedural part tells the story of a cold case that has the potential to tie into a current case.    It was interesting to me to see how Detective John Adler was able to take a case that had been all but forgotten for so many years and use the clues from that story to bring back to life, working to solve it, and working to use the clues to solve past and present murders.    

This is a romantic suspense book with twists and turns that I never saw coming.    I loved the different timelines between the present story and Kaitlin's interviews.   Sometimes the storylines didn't come together when going between the two of them as smoothly as I thought they should but that was part of what happen.   The fact that the notes that Kaitlin got did not always match what the police were finding out.   The romance part of the story was minimal and I liked that it was not at the front of the storyline.  That allowed me to focus on the murders and try to figure out who dun-it.    I will say I never guessed correctly.

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quote 2018-04-13 13:23
"Smoke clogged the air, a steady breeze carrying it across the bobbing water of the East River. Etta could taste it now at the back of her throat. Buried beneath the smell of charred wood was a rotting sweetness and hot manure" (Bracken 168).

As I said I would in my last post, I have read far further into Passenger, my selected novel. I have discovered that Alexandra Bracken, the author, not only uses imagery often, but uses strong words inside of that imagery. When words such as "clogged" and "hot" are used, readers can get a sense of how it was feeling at the time. This allows them to experience the book on a higher level, as they can associate the words with experiences I'm sure they've had in real life. In addition, Alexandra Bracken uses very specific words to convey her point. The words "charred" and "rotting sweetness" in the quote above are very specific and uncommon scents. By narrowing the smell down, readers know exactly what was being described. If anyone is interested in seeing what other readers make of Passenger and its style, here is a link to some comments regarding it https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/20983362-passenger?from_search=true .

 

As per usual, I will continue to update my blog as I discover more about my chosen work of literature and author. Until then, happy reading!

-Julia

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review 2018-04-06 15:07
Word of Mouse - James Patterson,Joe Sutphin

For more reviews, check out my blog: Craft-Cycle

Warning: I just had my morning coffee, so prepare for a long review. 

Well, that got real weird real fast.

I picked up this audiobook at the library because it had a blue mouse on the cover and how can you mess that up? Apparently it's possible. 

This is basically a bubbly, less exciting version of Mrs. Frisby and the Rats of Nimh

The story itself was okay, I guess. I liked the educational components of it. There are tons of mouse facts interwoven into the text such as that a group of mice is called a mischief and that mice use their whiskers to help them smell and all that. There are also tons of big words that Isaiah uses and gives the definitions for. So that was cool.

I also really liked the focus on how different can be good and accepting everybody for who they are. It was a great message and I loved that part of it. 

However, the rest of the book was a weird string of chase scenes where Isaiah and the other mice are constantly running. I get it, they are mice, they have a lot of enemies. But there are only so many times I want to hear about how you had to run away from the "evil cat", Lucifer. What a creative idea: a book about mice where the cats are the villains. This makes sense, but I just recently read Ratscalibur and loved the idea that not all cats are evil. This one just played into the same old story roles. How dull.

Also, Isaiah's narration was kind of irritating. While living in the Brosky (sp?) house, Isaiah constantly critiques them for being fat and their unhealthy living style (which consequently proved him and the mischief with unlimited goodies so I don't even know what he's complaining about). If you want a book to make people feel terrible about their eating habits, look no further. The next time you binge in front of the TV in the privacy of your own home, just remember that there might be a super judgmental mouse right around the corner. 

This leads to the issue of the actual reading. I wish I would have read the physical book instead of the audiobook, because Nate Begle's reading really bugged me. His does a great job changing his voice for different characters, but the one for Isaiah himself was really irritating. It sounds like an overly enthusiastic cartoon character that every parent wants to strangle. Even when he is escaping "the horrible place" and is terrified out of his mind, he still somehow sounds like he's just about to blow that candles out on a cartoon cake. Like chill out, dude, there's only so much enthusiasm I can take. 

From the beginning, it is clear that Isaiah and his family are in a research lab. Whatever your opinion of this topic, it is undeniable that animal research is a very important tool in furthering medical research. This book takes an overly simplistic view of animal research. While I don't like it, I realize that animal research is very helpful to making scientific discoveries. Having worked in a research lab myself, I know that everything is done to study and experiment in the most humane way possible. This book pretty much just says it's bad and that's it. From a mouse's point of view, I get this, but I think parents should be ready to discuss the topic further with their children if they read this book. The whole thing is much more complicated that this book leads the reader to believe.

Lastly, the ending. What the heck?

 

SPOILERS AHEAD

 

 

 

Haley's (sp?) character is super accepting and cool throughout the book. Then at the end, after rescuing the extraordinary mice from the "evil" research lab, she randomly invites them to go to church with her? Because that is definitely the first thing I would do. I kind of picked up on the religious theme with the names in the book (Isaiah, Winnifred, Godfrey, Abe), but that ending was pretty random. The speech was great, but where the heck did that church sense even come from? Freaking weird. 

 

END SPOILER

In summary, this book was okay. There was definitely more I disliked than liked. Glad it was a relatively quick read. Would not recommend.

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review 2018-02-27 04:07
Word Sounds
Mr. Brown Can Moo! Can You? - Dr. Seuss

This book by Dr. Seuss presents students with different sounds of real world objects and animals. This book is an easy read for students. Students will experience rhymes and word sounds, or onomatopoeia. An interesting activity to do with this text is having students guess an object or animal from a particular sound. I will have a paper bag with multiple items it in and I will provide a sound for the item. The students will try to guess the item in the paper bag. 

 

Reading Level: Lexile NP (non-prose)

 

Grades: PreK-3rd

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review 2018-01-31 01:22
Meeting changes those that meet
The Word for World is Forest - Ursula K. Le Guin

This was gorgeous and bittersweet take on the clash of cultures, colonization, slavery. I get why it's some people's Le Guin's favorite. I actually finished it the same day I started, it so gripped me (just happened that my connection swallowed my first review and I've been sulking... I mean, one time, ONE, in about fifty, that I do not backup before hitting "post", and of course Murphy says it's the one that fails).

 

I guess it's the amount of win that is packed in so few pages:

 

Davidson being such an archetype of male, white supremacist. He calls himself a "conquistador" like an accolade. His every though chain is like a slap (he's got all the flavors: chauvinistic, racist, dismissive of scholars), and the part that makes it so grotesque is identifying actual, real people in them. Even this gung-ho attitude that he considers heroism, where I could see what passed for badass in westerns and Haggard's novels, and read in context turns into GI fanatism of the Napalm loving type *shudder* The less said about his mental juggling on not considering the natives "human", therefore not slaves, but good to rape the better (the part where it is pointed out that if he does not consider them human then he's indulging in bestialism was fucking awesome).

 

The friendship between Selver and Lyubov. This on-going theme of Le Guin of one single, personal tie across species that changes the tide, bridges culture. The first pebble of the avalanche. The hinting of irrevocable change while Lyubov is worried, right before the camp goes up in flames. The actual naming on the gift exchange scene between Selver and Davidson. The bittersweet knowledge of permanence when Selver says Lyuvob will stay, and so will Davidson. The good with the bad.

 

Real life parallels abound, but it's more than that. It has heart. It makes you think, but at the same time, it makes you feel, and question. I loved it. 

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