Thursday, January 16, 2020

This Light Between Us by Andrew Fukuda

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This Light Between Us
Andrew Fukuda
January 7, 2020
Young Adult

Description from the Publisher:
"For readers of The Librarian Of Auschwitz, This Light Between Us is a powerfully affecting story of World War II about the unlikeliest of pen pals—a Japanese American boy and a French Jewish girl—as they fight to maintain hope in a time of war.

“I remember visiting Manzanar and standing in the windswept plains where over ten thousand internees were once imprisoned, their voices cut off. I remember how much I wanted to write a story that did right by them. Hopefully this book delivers.”—Andrew Fukuda"

My Review:

This Light Between Us by Andrew Fukuda absolutely broke my heart. I had previous knowledge of the numerous Japanese Internment Camps and what the people went through because I have an older friend who was three years old at Manzanar Relocation Center with his six family members. He refused to take the Reparation from the government because he was serving in the military when President Reagan signed the bill to give Compensation to all the survivors of the camp. He told me his story back in 2001. He is a patriotic man who wrestled with the two sides of his history just as Alex did. 

The physical descriptions of the center, the treatment of the Japanese people was hard enough to read than Mr. Fukuda throws in a penpal friendship between Alex and Charlie, who is a Jewish girl residing in Paris. Between the Relocation Centers in the States and the Concentration Camps in Europe as parallel settings, the story gets even more impressive and traumatic.  I have to be honest, I took a few weeks off reading this book because my empathetic heart broke so many times and I just needed a break from the pain. I am lucky that I can do such a thing since Alex and Charlie didn't have that option. 

The anger, the pride, the hatred were papable characters of their own and this story although aimed at YAs is a must-read for all age groups. I can't give Mr. Fukuda enough praise for his style of writing. The Epistolary style is my favorite writing methods and sometimes in other books I've read, it doesn't cover enough of the sense of smell, feelings, relationships, and setting. This book did not let me down. It is up there with The Screwtape Letters by C.S. Lewis; Ella Minnow Pea by Mark Dunn; Alice Walker's The Color Purple, and The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society written by Annie Barrows and Mary Ann Shaffer. I know it is going to be a best-seller! I also think it would make a great movie. 

I want to give an example of a paragraph that was a description in top-notch form. Let me set the setting: Alex and his family (his mother and brother, Frank,) are entering the Internment Camp along with the other first wave of prisoners and they see bleak tarpaper shelters in the middle of a near-empty desert: “Never judge a book by its cover. This is what they tell themselves. But once inside, their worst fears are confirmed. The book is worse than the cover. The walls are just wood sheeting, splintery and thin. No paint or insulation or plaster covers them. The floor is composed of wood planks with large knotholes slapped together. No linoleum covering. Placed around the room are seven army cots, metal skeletons. None with a mattress or a pillow. An oil furnace in the corner, standing cold as a tombstone. No desk, no chair, no running water, no toilet. Only a single bulb, unlit, hangs from a cord dangling from an overhead beam. Beneath it, coarse army blankets are thrown in a pile. Frank walks to far side. The wall—no more than a thin partition—doesn’t reach the peaked roof, leaving a three-foot triangular space.” 

Can you see it? Do you feel the promise of a cozy shelter? Nope, neither did I. This one paragraph (which I hope the author didn't change) is just one of so many paragraphs that are even more detailed than this but I didn't want to use any of them as they would ruin the story. Trust me. This book is filled with brilliance for such a sad, sad, part of our history.  

This Light Between Us has some romance, and fun in it too because like in all situations of life there ebbs and flows, highs and lows and somehow you have to lighten the load just to continue living. This is definitely a must-buy-to-re-read novel so that you can find other tidbits of truth in it. I am giving this a 5 star even though I feel it has earned more than that.

Five Stars!!!

Thank you to Netgalley, Andrew Fuduka, and Macmillan-Tor/Forge for the opportunity to read this beautifully written book in lieu of my honest review.

Do you like WWII novels? What is your favorite genre?  How often do you read Historical Fiction? 

I seem to be reading a lot of it lately which is not only enriching my empathy but also educational of eras I haven't lived in. #Netgalley #macmillan #andrewfukuda

Monday, January 13, 2020

Circus Mirandus

by Cassie Beasley

Life as we know it isn’t always sunshine and rainbows but sometimes life is as good as one can make it. This is Ephraim Tuttle’s belief in life. His father was in the middle of the war and Ephraim missed him terribly. When Ephraim was a little boy he played hooky from school more times than he could explain mostly because he didn’t want to live life while his father was off to war. One day while playing hooky at his usual hiding place- the beach. he hears pipes and drums and goes out to seek where they were coming from. When Ephraim finally arrived at the music he found a circus. Not an ordinary circus. A circus that changes Ephraim’s life forever.

Micah Tuttle is Ephraim’s grandson. His whole life Micah has been told stories of the circus that his grandfather had visited as a child. He was told about the magic, the beauty, the man who could bend light. Micah dreamed of visiting the circus just as his grandfather did, only he needed to fix his grandfather who was dying first. 

Circus Mirandus is not only a story of magic, mystery and wonders it’s a story about relationships, fulfilling dreams and understanding that not everyone can, will, or wants to understand the faith it takes to believe in miracles. 

Miracles can come when you least expect it. Answers can be found at the saddest times and imagination can soar even when you don’t want it. This is the story of Circus Mirandus.

Author Cassie Beasley creates a world that blends together the feel of the Night Circus by Erin Morgenstern, and the movie Little Boy written by Alejandro Monteverde and Pepe Portillo. It is endearing, it is imaginative and it is also heartbreaking in an oddly not your typical cry-your-eyes-out sort of way. The characters are delivered masterfully, built to a height that as a middle-grade reader you could be friends with each person except for maybe Grand Aunt Gertrudis whom you would run away from as fast as you could. This book is full of adventure and yet brings a reality to its readers that help children deal with grief and faith. 

“It’s important, when you first see magic, to recognize it. You don’t often get a second chance.” This book shows that sometimes if your lucky and have enough faith that you might just get that second chance… A wonderful, adventure-filled book.

Thanks to Netgalley for the opportunity to read Circus Mirandus in lieu of my honest review.

Look Hamlet by Barbro Lindgren

Look Hamlet
Author: Barbro Lindgren
Illustrator: Anna Höglund
Translated by: Rachel Wilson-Brosley
Publisher: Restless Books

Sunday, December 01, 2019

A Bad Day for Sunshine by Darynda Jones

A Bad Day for Sunshine
Darynda Jones
St. Martin's Press
April 7, 2020

Summary from Publisher:

Sheriff Sunshine Vicram finds her cup o’ joe more than half full when the small village of Del Sol, New Mexico, becomes the center of national attention for a kidnapper on the loose.

Del Sol, New Mexico is known for three things: its fry-an-egg-on-the-cement summers, its strong cups of coffee—and a nationwide manhunt? Del Sol native Sunshine Vicram has returned to town as the elected sheriff--an election her adorably meddlesome parents entered her in--and she expects her biggest crime wave to involve an elderly flasher named Doug. But a teenage girl is missing, a kidnapper is on the loose, and all of it's reminding Sunny why she left Del Sol in the first place. Add to that trouble at her daughter’s new school and a kidnapped prized rooster named Puff Daddy, and Sunshine has her hands full.

Enter sexy almost-old-flame Levi Ravinder and a hunky US Marshall, both elevens on a scale of one to blazing inferno, and the normally savvy sheriff is quickly in over her head. Now it’s up to Sunshine to juggle a few good hunky men, a not-so-nice kidnapping miscreant, and Doug the ever-pesky flasher. And they said coming home would be drama-free.

My Review:

I have never read a Darynda Jones book before, but I sure am picking up more of her series in the future, you can bank on that!

I truly enjoyed meeting Sunshine Vicram and can't wait for the next book in the series! The book was light, when it needed to be and dark when you least expected it. The backstory was tragic, the future outcome heroic.  Sunny's daughter, Auri was electric. The parallel outcomes in some of their coexisting stories could've been considered predictable, but were anything but that. Del Sol, Mexico is quirky with equally quirky mysteries and the townspeople are fitting for the area. I mean come on a Rooster named, Puff Daddy who does or doesn't bring two people together? Fun stuff abounds throughout the book. For instance each chapter heading is hilarious it starts the next part of the story out with a giggle and a warning.
“Two elderly sisters reported a man in the house across the street watching them for hours at a time. Deputies ID‘d the man as a cardboard cutout of Captain America. The sisters grew distraught when they found out he wasn‘t real and were transported to the Del Sol Urgent Care Center for observation.—Del Sol police blotter”

Read this book. You won't regret it. It might even put a skip in your step! Coming Soon to a Bookstore near you - April 7, 2020!

Thanks, Netgalley and St. Martin's Press for the opportunity to read and meet Sunshine Vicram in A Bad Day for Sunshine in lieu of my honest review. What a great time it was!

The Family Upstairs by Lisa Jewell

The Family Upstairs
Lisa Jewell
Atria Books
November 5, 2019

Summary from Publisher:

Be careful who you let in.

Soon after her twenty-fifth birthday, Libby Jones returns home from work to find the letter she’s been waiting for her entire life. She rips it open with one driving thought: I am finally going to know who I am.

She soon learns not only the identity of her birth parents, but also that she is the sole inheritor of their abandoned mansion on the banks of the Thames in London’s fashionable Chelsea neighborhood, worth millions. Everything in Libby’s life is about to change. But what she can’t possibly know is that others have been waiting for this day as well—and she is on a collision course to meet them.

Twenty-five years ago, police were called to 16 Cheyne Walk with reports of a baby crying. When they arrived, they found a healthy ten-month-old happily cooing in her crib in the bedroom. Downstairs in the kitchen lay three dead bodies, all dressed in black, next to a hastily scrawled note. And the four other children reported to live at Cheyne Walk were gone.

My Review:

“I watched Phin peel two ten-pound notes from his wad to pay for the expensive sandwiches. “I‘m really sorry I can‘t pay you back,” I said. He shook his head. “My father‘s going to take everything you own and then break your life. It‘s the least I can bloody do.”

Lisa Jewell is a master tale spinner of mystery. I have read other books of Ms. Jewell and this one is so different in format that I was thrown a little for a loop for a bit. This story comes at you from so many perspectives that you have to remember that the main character was a wee baby when it all went down.

Libby Jones just turned 25 years old and her life is a complete mystery, being found in a mansion with a rabbits foot in an empty room with just a crib and her as a 10 month old baby with 3 people murdered on the first floor. She is confused when that said mansion is left to her. Where are the siblings that she was told she had? Where did the other teens go that were with them?  Why were her parents murdered? Who was the other man with her parents? It is up to Libby to find out the strange history and missing details of her life. Will she find her answers? Will she ever know who she really is?  This book will help readers come to understand the whole store unraveled through past and present tense. There are times that I was disgusted by this book - how a family could go from normal, happy and rich then fall so far was a conundrum. In some ways I wanted to shake the living daylights out of the mistress of the mansion, in other ways I could see why she lost all perspective of what her life was becoming.

The telling of the story was full of wonderful quotes like the opening of this review. Ms. Jewell made me wander the stairs upstairs, out onto the roof and back into the house wandering the sad and lonely disjointed rooms of the children and down into the kitchen where the most living happened. Like the twists and turns I took through the house Ms. Jewell does the same with her characters. You never know who is the murder and who is the innocent until it slams you in the face like a locked door. It was like reading Amityville Horror meets the Branch Davidian's of Waco, Texas with the same creepy feelings and not sure what was going to come next. Thinking you want to know but then no sure you really do.

I enjoyed reading The Family Upstairs, felt like I needed to watch a Disney movie afterwards only because the suspense was so trying and seeped into my bones. The coming together of the story was smooth, imaginative and full of great description. My only complaint was the ending. It just felt like it didn't belong to the rest of the story. I don't really know however if it felt tied up and maybe that is as it should be.

Four Stars only for lack of connection to the ending. Rest of story is top notch.

I want to thank Netgalley and Atria Books for allowing me to read this advanced copy in lieu of my honest review.

Have you read this book? What did you think?

Monday, November 04, 2019

The Doll Factory by Elizabeth Macneal

The Doll Factory
Elizabeth Macneal
Publication Date: August 13

A Haunting, Terrorizing dream-like Dickenesque book. Elizabeth Macneals’s debut novel is set in the squalor, lust and dirt-filled alleys of the Victorian era. I was drawn to this novel just by the photo alone. It is stunning. It gave away nothing of the premise of the novel and I really enjoyed finding out that it wasn’t as beautiful inside as it was outside. The crack, on the bell jar, I simply didn’t see.
Iris dreams of art, creating it, imagining it and living with paint and charcoal soaked into her skin. Iris’s life is far from the world she sees through her artistic soul. It is dark, colorless and filled with the dreariness that comes from being poor in London. Menaces beyond her control lurk in the alley’s and storefronts just biding their time to jump out and ruin her.

Iris has a twin, who until she caught the influenza was, beautiful, loved and wanted, the opposite of Iris who was always nagged by her mother, made fun of because of her stature and deformities. Both Iris and her sister work in a doll factory creating faces, dressing and the mundane tasks of getting them ready so that their boss who lives in a haze of drugs, can sell the dolls.
The characters in this novelare wide in range of peculiarities, Albie a street urchin was my favorite. Read the book and you will see why. The Antagonist, Silas, well, I am not going to even ruin it for you, again, read the book.
Now the reality of the review: For a debut novel, it has a few pages where you pause wondering what the author was thinking about when she was writing because it is not always clear, not always in fit with the rest of the book. That is the way sometimes with first-time writers. On the whole, this story is fantastic. I just wish it wasn’t so filled with whorehouses, sexual desires and all that goes with those realities of a Gothic novel. 

For this, I give the book 3.5 stars. I can’t recommend this to all my readers knowing full well that some of them are super sensitive when it comes to sex and violence. Yet, I enjoyed the premise of the story, the descriptive twists and turns, and expectations that happen in this novel.
Thank you, Netgalley and Atria Books for the opportunity of reading this debut in lieu of my honest opinion.

Tuesday, October 29, 2019

Moon Water by Pam Webber

Moon Water: A Novel
Pam Webber 
She Writes Press
August 20, 2019

Book Summary by Publisher
“Set in the Blue Ridge Mountains during the summer of 1969, Moon Water follows Nettie, a gritty sixteen-year-old who is reeling from sucker punches coming from all directions. Her boyfriend since grade school wants to break up just as they were beginning to figure out the sex thing, her life-long nemesis is jabbing her with perfectly polished nails, and her hell’s fire and brimstone preacher refuses to baptize her. In the middle of this turmoil, an old medicine woman for the Monacan Indians gives her a cryptic message about a coming darkness: a blood moon whose veiled danger threatens Nettie and those she loves. To survive, Nettie and her best friend, Win, have to build a mysterious dreamcatcher—one that requires them to scour the perilous mountains for Nature’s ancient but perfect elements. A captivating standalone sequel to The Wiregrass, a Historical Novel Society’s Editor’s Choice and Southern Literary Review’s Read of the Month.”

I don’t even know how to describe how I feel about this book. It tore me up. It made me laugh. I learned a ton about the Monacan Indians — the medicine they used of holistic healing through herbs and other plants. I thoroughly enjoyed getting to know Win’s grandmother Nibi. She was ultimately my favorite character in the whole book. Nibi to me was like a guiding angel to Nettie and Win. Similar to let's say Rafiki in the Lion King, she taught the girls how to take care of themselves, to see the miracle of life, to feel the spirit of the earth, and that love is much needed to make life complete. That being said, I loved all of Pam Webber’s characters.  Moon Water was light and dark and everything in between: adventurous, spiritual, heartbreaking, horrific.  So much growth happens in Moon Water not only for Nettie and Win, her best friend but also for the writer herself or so it seemed to me. Pam Webber is a fantastic writer using Hurricane Camille as one of the antagonists with the ability to reach out of the book, into your heart and tear it out of you if you let her. 

Small Spaces by Katherine Arden

When I was 12 years old I read Firestarter and Cujo by Stephen King. I never wanted to be around a barn or go near big dogs after reading those books. I actually swore off King's books until I was 29 years old. At 12 years old the psychological thriller was taken to heart and internalized. The thrill was fantastic until I walked out the door.

Every so often you come across a book that you expected to be one way, such as Small Spaces where this is for young kids and can't be that scary, and then it becomes something even better than you thought. This is that book. Let's talk about how a Middle-Grade book can scare the living daylights out of an adult and still be appropriate for 11, 12, 13 and 14 years old. Yup, this is that book. This book is perfect not only during the fall season but all year long. Let's talk about a girl who has lost her mother in a plane accident who loves to read and comes across a frightened woman and steals her book. That is this book. A thriller, a book with a strong female protagonist, and a budding friendship even when one wasn't looked for or wanted because of a brave choice to follow one girl who everyone thinks has had a breakdown and is nuts. That is this book. This book is also a book to scare you out of your wits at night. It is a book that is well written, the characters are people you know. It is a book that not only your middle-grade age child will like but you will too. I'm glad as an adult I don't have to get on another school bus ever again after reading this book. Psychologically, I might have to think hard about whether I would step up into that a big yellow vehicle ever again! This thriller is that good.

I want to thank Netgalley and Katherine Arden for the opportunity to read this book in lieu of my honest. review.  It was wonderful.

Tuesday, October 01, 2019

Saving Fable by Scott Reintgen

Saving Fable
Scott Reintgen
Random House Kids
September 17, 2019
Middle Grade (8-12)

Like the little elves that knit away in the night that happen to be clothes you find sitting on your bed in the morning, @reintgen has created a beautifully weaved fable made up entirely of the side characters that could become your favorite hero’s in new books. Saving Fable is a great read not only for the audience it was created for: kids but also for anyone with a childlike heart. This coming from me and I’m only halfway finished reading!

Summary by Publisher:

"Side characters can be heroes too in this charming and fast-paced adventure that is The Land of Stories meets The Phantom Tollbooth!

Indira has been a character-in-waiting her entire life. So she can't believe her luck when she's finally chosen to travel to Fable and study at the renowned Protagonist Preparatory, a school known for producing the best heroes.

But Indira's dreams of achieving hero status don't exactly go as planned. A failed audition lands her in the school's side-character track, and her best efforts to prove advisors--famous characters like Alice from Wonderland and Professor Darcy--wrong are constantly sabotaged. Indira is starting to feel like an evil antagonist might be to blame.

As the danger spreads, Indira discovers all of Fable is under siege. With her friends Maxi and Phoenix by her side, she pieces together clues that will reveal who is behind the dark magic threatening them all. But the more Indira uncovers, the more doubt she feels about her place in this world of stories. After all, can a side character really save the day?"

Mr. Reintgen’s creativity has gone beyond what I imagined Saving Fable would be about and skyrocketed into the ether farther than Emmett ever traveled in Nyxia. Mr. Reintgen has stolen my heart, his young reader's hearts and replaced it with the genuine courage of a little girl named Indira Story. She is definitely endearing! I found myself in awe of his talent and the way his mind works. I gawked audibly in so many places just on the genius of his writing style in this book. Seriously there are so many wonderful tidbits from books you’ve read, writing processes and pure thrilling, mysterious entertainment revolving around the writing process you seem to forget you aren’t one of the side characters.

#savingfable came out on September 17, 2019. @Netgalley and a PenquinRrandomHouseKids— thank you for allowing me the honor of reading Saving Fable in lieu of my honest review. Scott is one of my favorite new authors!!

Friday, August 16, 2019

Campusland by Scott Johnston

by Scott Johnston
August 13, 2019
St. Martin's Press

Book Synopsis:

"Her room sucks. Her closet isn’t big enough for two weeks’-worth of outfits, much less her new Rag & Bone for fall. And there’s nothing worth posting. Cruel. To Lulu Harris—It Girl-in-the-Making—her first year at the ultra-competitive Ivy-like Devon University is a dreary impediment. If she’s fabulous and no one sees it, what’s the point?
To Eph Russell, who looks and sounds like an avatar of privilege (shh!–he’s anything but) Devon is heaven. All day to think and read and linger over a Welsh rarebit at The Faculty Club, not to mention teach English 240 where he gets to discuss all his 19th Century favorites, like Mark Twain. If Eph could just get tenure, he could stay forever, but there are landmines everywhere.
In his seventh year at Devon, Red Wheeler is the alpha dog on top of Devon’s progressive hierarchy, the most woke guy on campus. But when his position is challenged, Red is forced to take measures.
Before first term is halfway finished, Lulu bungles her social cache with her clubbable upperclass peers, and is forced to reinvent herself. Shedding her designer clothes, she puts on flannel and a brand-new persona: campus victim. For Lulu to claw her way back to the top, she’ll build a pyre and roast anyone in her way.
Presiding over this ferment is Milton Strauss, Devon’s feckless president, who spends his days managing perpetually aggrieved students, scheming administrators, jealous professors, billionaire donors, and bumptious frat boys. He just can’t say yes fast enough. And what to do with Martika Malik-Adams? Isn’t her giant salary as vice-president of Diversity & Inclusion enough?
All paths converge as privileged, marginalized, and radical students form identity alliances, sacrifice education for outrage, and push varied agendas of political correctness that drags every free thought of higher learning into the lower depths of an entitled underclass."

Man, I am not even sure how to rate this book. It started out funny, then started getting weirder and weirder by the page progressions. I know Campusland is supposed to be satirical, however, it felt real, like I could see it happening today and have seen it happen living 50 miles away from Cal- Berkley.  That touched a nerve.  The writing was engaging, maybe too engaging!  I wanted to reach through the book and throttle so many people. This is what makes Scott Johnston a good writer. 

Lulu's obsession with social media, her need to be accepted by the likes, the comments, the view count of her posts showed a sadness, I felt bad for her. I wanted to reach out and be her friend if only to add depth to her sorry life. However, her #crawlpeace shenanigans was the weirdest of all the causes and I had a hard time getting past it. but plug along I did. I am glad I did if not only to see what happens next but also to finish the book and hope that there was some good to come out of it for Professor Harris. 

I guess this book resonated with me because it made me think deeply, it just was how I see what is dangerous in the "virtues" of the social justice warrior students of the day, How does the college administration decide which group is more deserving of more money, how do teachers teach their curriculum without having any given student in the class taking offense and causing problems for the teachers? How do we make it fair for all sides of the agenda's to "feel safe" if we kowtow to the loudest of the student body population and not all of the student population?  These are very hard topics to talk about sometimes, if only because someone will get upset and protest the outcomes even if the subject matter is one of high importance.  I feel for the adults that are trying to do their best to teach subjects, be good role models and also navigate through the murky waters of the social justices issues of the day at the same time as teach the history to the era of when it happened and not what we see with our modern eyes. 
Satire at it's best. Tough issues. Campusland is that book. Well done, Scott!

Thanks to Netgalley for the opportunity to read this book in lieu of my honest review.

Wednesday, August 14, 2019

Things You Save In A Fire by Katherine Center

Things You Save In A Fire
By Katherine Center
Publication Date: August 13, 2019
Publisher: St. Martin’s Press

Things You Save In A Fire is a spin-off of author,  Katherine Center’s book, How to Walk Away which sadly I have not read yet. This is the first of the author’s books I’ve read. However, it doesn’t matter if you read How to Walk Away because Things You Save In A Fire could be read as a stand-alone.  

How often do people dream of love but become bitter when the dating to get there doesn’t go beyond hundreds of duds or handsy men ruin the experience?  This is how Cassie Hanwell’s dating life has been over the last decade, so she stops looking for love and does what she is made for- Saving people as an EMT and Firefighter. She is made to go into burning buildings, her common sense, the non-emotional mind makes her perfect for the job. However, life gets complicated and takes a turn that Cassie doesn’t see coming.

Author, Katherine Center is a phenom as a writer. Her story is breezy, and yet, shows the strength of a protagonist who has life’s experiences come back to haunt her and still has a glimmer of hope that life can get better. The roles of the other characters in Things You Save In A Fire are rich fabrics of people you might know in your own lives. Ones you hate, ones you want to dislike and then come to love and then just those who are instantaneous kindred spirits. The Rookie especially will have you smiling throughout the whole book. Infectious, and sexy bundled into a Firefighter Calendar’s middle fold, he, of all the characters, help make this book not as emotionally dark as it could be. That my friends to me is a great writer, knowing when to lighten up and when to go serious without killing the desire to read her book or the message she wants you to get from the book. I cried, laughed, smiled and got pissed at a certain council member and understood the leeriness that people of a small town can have about newcomers that might excel at the same career you have yourself. The Feels were abound in this book. I’m just giving you a heads up…

Now, I have to give some reality to my readers: if you are not into Chic Lit, this might not be for you. And yet, as I type that, I don’t usually read Chic Lit because most of the time the conflict and solution are so nicely bundled with a red ribbon that it makes me want to gag. This book might be viewed as such, however, I thoroughly enjoyed it which utterly surprised me. I attribute this to Ms. Center and her skill of weaving a story.

I give this book 4 stars as I would read it again (starting with How to Walk Away) the next time. 

Thanks to St. Martin’s press for the chance to read this book in lieu of my honest review. 

Becoming by Michelle Obama

By Michelle Obama

I wasn’t going to read this book as some of the blown-up media coverage made me think this book was more of a political slam on Republicans and the current administration which it does with four or five sentences in the middle and end of the book. However,  it turned out to be so much more than politics. There are so many wonderful tidbits in this book. So much learning about a couple who both excelled and chilled their way through life. Michelle was a perfectionist, needed to control her every move in life. Barak was the chill, genius from Hawaii who spun Michelle’s world on its axis. Before she met her husband is where this book starts. The love that her family has for each other, childhood and now was freeing to Michelle “becoming” who she is today. Her mother was not overbearing, she let Michelle and her brother Craig make their own decisions in preparation for “becoming” adults. Her father a blue-collar worker who suffered from MS and decades later dies from it. So much good happened in her life, so much ease and then so much hardship at the same time for her older family members. 

Mrs. Obama writes like she talks—brutally honest which sometimes comes off as an angry woman which I guess is her right as a woman who has had hate thrown at her when she never wanted the limelight.  She also shares some of her deepest, darkest fears, her hopes, her dreams and her drive for what she considers the ills of the world. Hand in hand with her husband, she doesn’t only do things because they will make him look good and support his presidency but installs programs as First Lady that she sees need to be paid attention to better the lives of minorities.

I enjoyed the book immensely, only occasionally did it seem to be filled with anger towards whites and especially white men, and I was saddened that she didn’t talk about helping other poor or afflicted children not just the minority children, which I am hoping she had done as First Lady.

I give this book 3 stars as I would not read it again, but I did enjoy it. :)

Mid August Books To Review

Yesterday, there were 4 books that I have read that were released to the public. In the coming days, I will be posting about these books. I found them enjoyable, entertaining and well written on the whole.
Look for:

Things You Save In A Fire
by Katherine Center

The Doll Factory by Elizabeth Macneal

Campusland by Scott Johnston


The Winemaker's Wife by Kristen Harmel

photo to come as I haven't read it yet...