Arriving at his fifth school in as many years, a diplomat's son, Osei Kokote, knows he needs an ally if he is to survive his first day so he's lucky to hit it off with Dee, the most popular girl in school. But one student can't stand to witness this budding relationship: Ian decides to destroy the friendship between the black boy and the golden girl. By the end of the day, the school and its key players - teachers and pupils alike - will never be the same again.
The tragedy of Othello is transposed to a 1970's suburban Washington schoolyard, where kids fall in and out of love with each other before lunchtime, and practice a casual racism picked up from their parents and teachers. Peeking over the shoulders of four 11 year olds Osei, Dee, Ian, and his reluctant girlfriend Mimi, Tracy Chevalier's powerful drama of friends torn apart by jealousy, bullying and betrayal will leave you reeling.~Goodreads Blurb
This is my third of the Hogarth Retellings and so far this has to be the one that I’m not so keen on. I enjoy author Tracy Chevalier’s other work but I felt that this one fell a bit short. Now that could easily be my own personal bias. I’ve read and seen this play many times and written at least 10 different papers on Othello and its characters. So I know the story front ways and back. After just reading the blurb, I was unsure of how they would manage to fit all the adult or at least young adult themes into a 6th grader’s day. I’m still not convinced that it all fits quite so nicely.
There always is the a struggle when you write about children for a more adult audience that you don’t want to make them too dumb and naive and yet you don’t wish to age them beyond their years. I feel like that was the real issue that I struggled with throughout this story. Every time I started getting into the story, I would pull myself back and remember that they are only 11 years old. There is a lot going on in this story that I feel would have been better suited to a slightly older group even if they were freshman in high school. It just seemed odd and off-putting to have these strong emotions and passions in 11-year-olds. The story was well written, though it could have used a bit more length. It’s no Hag-Seed and while I will pass it off to other Shakespeare readers, I won’t be asking for my copy back.
They called him Mickey Free. His kidnapping started the longest war in American history, and both sides--the Apaches and the white invaders--blamed him for it. A mixed-blood warrior who moved uneasily between the worlds of the Apaches and the American soldiers, he was never trusted by either but desperately needed by both. He was the only man Geronimo ever feared. He played a pivotal role in this long war for the desert Southwest from its beginning in 1861 until its end in 1890 with his pursuit of the renegade scout, Apache Kid. ~Goodreads Blurb
Instead of glossing over the various shades of humanity and presenting characters in the a simplistic black and white, good versus evil, format, Author Paul Andrew Hutton, has done exactly the opposite of that. Hutton has managed to squeeze every drop of his research into a condensed 424 pages in order to explain a thirty year war between the United states settlers and the Apache people. The detail and depth that Hutton combines in order to not only display a few chosen historical figures but a wide range, shows Hutton’s dedication to avoiding a classic pitfall of historical nonfiction writers. Where most writers would have simplified characters down to the classic “noble cowboy” versus “savage native” trope Hutton takes the time and the pages to show the horrors perpetrated by both sides.
While the sheer volume of details and facts may be off putting to some readers, I found that it enabled me to immerse myself into the past, with much more ease. The narrative style also made it easier to read instead of the standard textbook style that many fall into. There also is not much in the way of glossing over the misdeeds of both sides and if you prefer your history to be more PG than this may not be the best book for you.
*This Book was provided by BloggingForBooks and Broadway Books in exchange for honest feedback*
On the day of a late spring storm, in Chicago, Autumn Manning boarded an “L” train. A bomb explodes, killing everyone in the train car except for Autumn—the sole survivor. A year has passed and Autumn suffocates under a blanket of what ifs and the pressing desire to bring the victims back to life, every day, if only for her. She doesn’t want their stories to be forgotten. She wants to undo what cannot be undone. An unexpected ally joins her efforts, also seeking answers and trying to find a way to stumble ahead.
But one victim’s husband, Paul Elliott, prays to let the dead—and their secrets—rest in peace, undisturbed and unable to hurt his loved ones.
Caught between loss and hope, these restless souls must release the past to embrace a sovereign God.~Goodreads Blurb
After a horrifying experience, living through a bombing of her train, Autumn Manning has all the trademark signs of survivor’s guilt. Instead of pushing through it and finding a new appreciation for life, she is stuck in the past trying to find as much as she can about the people who weren’t as lucky as she was. It’s through this shared search for answers that she meets the daughter of one of the victims. Typically I don’t read a lot of faith based romances simply because I don’t find myself connecting to them. “Life After” was very well written and it follows in a very clear way, the journey from victim trapped in herself to a strength that she finds in faith and herself. With enough emotional twists to engage her readers, Author Katie Ganshert has created a story that not only addresses the impact that trauma can have on a person but also its effect on a family and the path it takes to move beyond what’s happened.
*This book was provided by BloggingForBooks in exchange for honest feedback*
Katie (K.E.) Ganshert was born and raised in the exciting state of Iowa, where she currently resides with her family. She likes to write things and consume large quantities of coffee and chocolate while she writes all the things. She’s won some awards. For the writing, not the consuming. Although the latter would be fun. You can learn more about K.E. Ganshert and these things she writes at her website www.katieganshert.com.
In the midst of a violent student uprising in South Korea, a young boy named Dong-ho is shockingly killed.
The story of this tragic episode unfolds in a sequence of interconnected chapters as the victims and the bereaved encounter suppression, denial, and the echoing agony of the massacre. From Dong-ho’s best friend who meets his own fateful end; to an editor struggling against censorship; to a prisoner and a factory worker, each suffering from traumatic memories; and to Dong-ho's own grief-stricken mother; and through their collective heartbreak and acts of hope is the tale of a brutalized people in search of a voice.~Goodreads Blurb
The sheer weight that this book holds within it is simply amazing. From Han Kang’s original work to Deborah Smith’s translation, “Human Acts” takes almost no time to creep into your being. It is by no means a fun read or one that I would hand over lightly. I do think its story is necessary. In an all too common 24-hr new cycle world, we have a tendency as people to simply forget to care. We grow angry, shake our fists, and then simply say, “It’s happening everywhere.” Instead of numbing the readers, Han Kang and Deborah Smith have shown a stark and yet intimate view of the Massacre that shook Gwangju. If you’re thinking, I’ve never heard of it, you’re not alone. You may not thank me for recommending this book but I think it needs to be read. It spans years and covers multiple people’s views. There are perhaps a few cultural elements that I didn’t understand but they didn’t detract from the book.
I want to be able to tell you to go straight from this to a light hearted chick-lit book. Go find yourself a bodice-ripper and giggle at all different ways to write man missile and love cave. You’ll need it after reading this. After author Han Kang has cracked open this world for you through this latest novel, “Human Acts.” I’m going to need you not to though. I need you to just sit after you finish it. Even if you are in the middle of a coffee shop, listening to people talk about their day, and the traffic, and the weather, and the gossip, just sit sit for a moment. You might end up like me, finding yourself unable to really explain what’s going on inside. A feeling of relief and yet a sadness and helplessness combination floating right on top. It’s easy enough to change the channel and zone out, or watch some puppies on YouTube and forget what you just read, but please stop yourself. I need you to feel like this, to remember this feeling. You might not understand why just yet, and I hope it doesn’t come up, but it might be important later.
*This book was provided by BloggingForBooks and Hogarth Publishing in exchange for honest feedback*
Han Kang is the daughter of novelist Han Seung-won. She was born in Kwangju and at the age of 10, moved to Suyuri (which she speaks of affectionately in her work "Greek Lessons") in Seoul.
She studied Korean literature at Yonsei University. She began her writing career when one of her poems was featured in the winter issue of the quarterly Literature and Society. She made her official literary debut in the following year when her short story "The Scarlet Anchor" was the winning entry in the daily Seoul Shinmun spring literary contest.
"I am Henrietta Howel. The first female sorcerer. The prophesied one. Or am I?"
Henrietta Howel can burst into flames. When she is brought to London to train with Her Majesty's sorcerers, she meets her fellow sorcerer trainees, young men eager to test her powers and her heart. One will challenge her. One will fight for her. One will betray her. As Henrietta discovers the secrets hiding behind the glamour of sorcerer life, she begins to doubt that she's the true prophesied one. With battle looming, how much will she risk to save the city--and the one she loves?~Goodreads Blurb
September 2016 was a good month for books and this is another addition to my list of good starter books. “A Shadow Bright and Burning” combines many of the best bits of YA fiction and pairs it with a Austen and Bronte vibe. The more supernatural feel left me with a similar feeling to the Bartimaeus Sequence by Jonathan Stroud. Though I have to say that I found Author Jessica Cluess’ style to be a bit more lighthearted and humorous. It brought to mind the recent styles of books such as the “Pride and Prejudice and Zombies” or “Sense and Sensibility and Sea Monsters”.Cluess has taken the time to not only supply readers with a group of “Big Bads” but also her doubting Chosen One gives the readers time to adjust alongside the main character, Henrietta.
This novel makes a great starter book for people who are new to the style and people who are just getting into these genres(from Fantasy to Magic Victorians.) There are a number of tropes that resonate throughout Young Adult Fiction and the combination would lend itself well as an introduction. Well written, and with an easy to read style, “A Shadow Bright and Burning” was a nice book curl up with and escape for a while. I would suggest this to people who enjoyed the previous books I mentioned and are looking for a fun read.
*This book was provided by BloggingForBooks in exchange for honest feedback*
Notes of the author from her Amazon page: Jessica Cluess was born in Los Angeles, moved to Chicago, and then moved back when the weather became too weather-y. She wrote her first book, A Shadow Bright and Burning, while working at a coffee shop and selling lattes to the rich and famous. A graduate of Northwestern University, she uses her education to study the vast intricacies of the Victorian era before slapping sorcerers and monsters into the whole mess. She currently lives and works in Los Angeles.
In the summer of 1962, one year after East German Communists built the Berlin Wall, a group of daring young West Germans came up with a plan. They would risk prison, Stasi torture, even death to liberate friends, lovers, and strangers in East Berlin by digging tunnels under the Wall. Among the tunnelers and escape helpers were a legendary cyclist, an American student from Stanford, and an engineer who would later help build the tunnel under the English Channel.
Then two U.S. television networks, NBC and CBS, heard about the secret projects, and raced to be first to air a spectacular "inside tunnel" special on the human will for freedom. The networks funded two separate tunnels in return for exclusive rights to film the escapes. In response, President John F. Kennedy and Secretary of State Dean Rusk, wary of anything that might raise tensions and force a military confrontation with the Soviets, maneuvered to quash both documentaries...~Goodreads Blurb
I was concerned that this was going to be a tough one to slough through. As a 90’s kid (specifically 1991) I have no real emotional attachment or memory of the Berlin Wall. You have that standard universal knowledge that there was a wall, and someone told some Russian to tear it down.(I Googled it, Reagan to Gorbachev) Other than that I didn’t have much starting knowledge. My other fear was that it was a nonfiction book, and therefore boring. As an ardent historical fiction reader, I tend to stay away from the nonfiction. This one blew me out of the water.
With author Greg Mitchell’s use of the narrative voice, I found myself being drawn into the story. Instead of simply a black and white story, Mitchell has formed all these facts into a multi faceted gem that takes all these different nations’ and governments’ views and hands you a story. He doesn’t just stop there, instead of leaving readers in the past, he brings them forward to present time to compare it to modern day walls. Though today we spend more time talking about keeping people out with our walls(i.e. Trump) rather than the East Germany goal of keeping them in.
I would recommend this book for anyone who likes history and a good spy novel. Though it’s nonfiction I think this is going to rank very high on my list of favorites. I’m going to have to go back and give nonfiction another try and definitely anything by Greg Mitchell will be on the list. I rarely give books 5-stars, yet this one had me intrigued from the first chapter.
*This book was provided by BloggingForBooks and Crown Publishing in exchange for honest feedback*
Notes about the author: Mitchell has blogged on the media and politics, for The Nation. and at his own blog, Pressing Issjes. He was the editor of Editor & Publisher (E&P), from 2002 to the end of 2009, and long ago was executive editor at the legendary Crawdaddy. His book "The Campaign of the Century" won the Goldsmith Book Prize and "Tricky Dick and the Pink Lady" was a New York Times Notable Book for 1998. He has also co-authored two books with Robert Jay Lifton, along with a "So Wrong For So Long" about the media and Iraq. His books have been optioned numerous times for movies (including "Joy in Mudville" by Tim Hanks). He has served as chief adviser to two award-winning documentaries and currently is co-producer of an upcoming film on Beethoven with his co-author on "Journeys With Beethoven."
With wit and good humor, this handy little book not only saves us from sticky linguistic situations but also provides fascinating cocktail-party-ready anecdotes. Entries reveal how to pronounce boatswain like an old salt on the deck of a ship, trompe l'oeil like a bona fide art expert, and haricot vert like a foodie, while arming us with the knowledge of why certain words are correctly pronounced the "slangy" way (they came about before dictionaries), what stalks of grain have to do with pronunciation, and more. With bonus sidebars like "How to Sound like a Seasoned Traveler" and "How to Sound Cultured," readers will be able to speak about foreign foods and places, fashion, philosophy, and literature with authority.~Goodreads Blurb
As a kid, we had plenty of blankets and quilts, but never one of those strange things called duvets. I knew what they were of course. I had read several stories about children being tucked in, or young adults struggling with changing the duvet cover. It was one of those words that I learned from reading, so imagine my surprise when I was corrected, at the age of 24, that it was DEW-vay, not Dove-et. I was mortified. I had no idea that it was all fancy like that. I remember closing up and not really talking the rest of the night for fear that my pronunciation would come under attack again.
With humor and grace, authors Ross and Kathryn Petras, guide us towards correct pronunciation. With no malice, but a bit of prodding, they sprinkle their newest book with history, social cues, and help to avoid faux pas for anyone who speaks this silly language we call English. I was able to finish it off in only a few hours, but I found its effect lingered on in my guarded speech. I think that anyone who speaks English as a first language is going to find at least one, if not more, words that they mispronounce on a regular basis. I think this would not only be a great read but also a great present for people who love words, and the history behind them. Or you could give them to your friend who always pronounces things wrong, but I'm not promising that you won't get an eyeroll or a punch for it.
*This book was provided to me by Blogging For Books and Ten Speed Press in exchange for an honest review*