We Are Not Refugees by Agus Morales

The word refugee has a very specific meaning. Most displaced persons in our world are not actually refugees. There are many terms for them based on where in their journey they currently are. This book seeks to tell the stories of those non-refugee displaced people.

The book jumps around a lot. It goes from one continent to another and back, from one time period to another and back, and jumps around from person to person, sometimes revisiting those that were introduced chapters before. It also fails a bit at what it claims to do. The author uses a lot of words, often repeating the same thing over and over, to talk about the types of displacement, why they are displaced, where they go, where they want to be, but doesn’t use very many words to actually tell the true stories of those who are displaced. The writing is good and the concepts are told well if you ignore how repetitive it is.

Overall, We Are Not Refugees does serve an important purpose and that is to help people to understand that when we use the term refugee we often are not using it correctly at all. More importantly, it shows that displaced persons are human beings with stories and lives. I recommend it to anyone interested in the plight of people who must leave their homes due to war, violence, or persecution.

3 (out of 5) Stars

Books Read in 2020: 41
Pages Read in 2020: 11,008
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Filed under Non-Fiction, Reason: LitHub Bingo

Talented by Alexandra Moody

Talented, the second book in The ARC series, picks right up where the first book left off. You get to learn along with Elle about how things are on the surface and what she thought was tainted but actually is talented really means. The end is a bit of a cliffhanger and left me really wanting to know what happens in the third book. I highly recommend this book to anyone who enjoys young adult dystopian.

5 (out of 5) Stars

Books Read in 2020: 40
Pages Read in 2020: 10,737
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Filed under Dystopian, Reason: I Like the Series, Reason: LitHub Bingo, Young Adult

The Lioness of Morocco by Julia Drosten

The Lioness of Morocco is a well-paced historical fiction. While it wasn’t quite a can’t put it down sort of book, I did look forward to picking it back up whenever I was able. The only thing that really bugged me, and this could be related to it being a translation, is it included phrases in various languages, but every time a Muslim referred to deity it said God instead of Allah. This seemed a bit odd to me and after a while began to annoy me. It seems like at least some of the time it should have said Allah. Otherwise, though, I thoroughly enjoyed it. I recommend it to anyone who enjoys good historical fiction.

4 (out of 5) Stars

Books Read in 2020: 39
Pages Read in 2020: 10,519
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Filed under Historical Fiction, Reason: LitHub Bingo

A Thief Obsessed by Heather Sunseri

For most of this book I honestly had no idea where the author was going with things. I really didn’t see a way to a resolution. The way she managed to tie it all up and finish all the threads was excellent. I enjoyed the book very much. It is very well-written. Each chapter alternating between characters was very effective. I recommend this book to anyone who likes thrillers.

5 (out of 5) Stars

Books Read in 2020: 38
Pages Read in 2020: 10,069
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Filed under Reason: I Like the Author, Reason: I Like the Series, Reason: LitHub Bingo, Thriller

The Devil Went Down to Austin by Rick Riordan

Often this book went too far to hit you over the head trying to get you to think a certain person was the culprit. It was so much it was obvious it wasn’t him and that took a bit away from the enjoyment of trying to guess who it actually was. The last few chapters were a complete surprise that I definitely did not expect. The resolution was very well done with the exception of one storyline that I felt like was rushed too much and not given the proper amount of attention it deserved. All in all it’s a pretty good mind vacation that still requires you to think a bit. I recommend it to people who like PI books.

4 (out of 5) Stars

Books Read in 2020: 37
Pages Read in 2020: 9822
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Filed under Realistic Fiction, Reason: LitHub Bingo

Dragon Slippers by Jessica Day George

Dragon Slippers is a very cute book. It was a little slow to get started, but once the plot started moving, I was quite absorbed. I found myself looking forward to having a chance to sit down and read it. The ending was absolutely perfect. I highly recommend it to children and adults who like dragons and light fantasy.

5 (out of 5) Stars

Books Read in 2020: 36
Pages Read in 2020: 9453
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Filed under Fantasy, Reason: LitHub Bingo

Warden’s Fury by Tony James Slater

For the most part I really enjoyed Warden’s Fury. At times it dragged a bit and was a little repetitive. I kind of felt like the author was trying to make this one as long as the previous books in the series. There were a couple twists and turns I did not expect that were excellent (such as the identity of Ingumen!). The epilogue was just nuts and left me quite looking forward to the next book in the series. If you like space opera type sci-fi, this book and series is for you!

4 (out of 5) Stars

Books Read in 2020: 35
Pages Read in 2020: 9123
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Filed under Reason: I Like the Author, Reason: I Like the Series, Reason: LitHub Bingo, Science Fiction

Bring the Jubilee by Ward Moore

(Warning: Spoilers ahead. As a rule, I do not include spoilers in my book reviews but it is unavoidable this time since what I will spoil is what made the book so bad.) I did not like Bring the Jubilee much at all. The writing is tedious and pretty much dreadful. It is incredibly boring for the most part. There are a couple decent chapters. But the whole premise is what makes it especially terrible. It’s an alternate history book where the South won the Civil War. As a result, for some reason the North is in terrible shape and super backwards as far as technology goes. But, somehow, the narrator ends up in a place where someone invents a time machine and he goes back to the Battle of Gettysburg. He accidentally sets in motion a chain of events that results in a man dying and the South losing Gettysburg (the battle occurring as it actually did, and, so, the North won the war as it actually did). Because the person who died was the ancestor of the person who invented the time machine, she was never born and so could not build the time machine. Meaning the narrator could not go back in time and change history using that time machine, but he still did, somehow. It was so ridiculous that I put the book down before reading the last chapter – when I only had 1% left in the book – and waited until the next day to finish it. It is really just an terribly written, dumb book that requires you to suspend disbelief way more often than is acceptable. I do not recommend it at all.

1 (out of 5) Stars

Books Read in 2020: 30
Pages Read in 2020: 7049
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Filed under Historical Fiction, Reason: LitHub Bingo

Wayside School is Falling Down by Louis Sachar

The second book is the Wayside School series, Wayside School Is Falling Down is full of puns, wit, and just plain silly fun. My boys and I laughed a lot as we read it. I highly recommend it to kids of all ages. It makes an excellent family read aloud.

5 (out of 5) Stars

Books Read in 2020: 29
Pages Read in 2020: 6856
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Filed under Children, Reason: Bedtime Story for the Boys

The Button War by Avi

In Poland, four friends find the Great War right at their doorstep and embark on a war of their own, trying to find (steal) the best button from the military men’s uniforms. It’s quite depressing and filled with horror and death, as one would expect in the middle of a war, but it is told from the viewpoint of a twelve-year-old so it’s tone is kind of innocent. The writing is excellent for the most part. The only thing I really didn’t like was most of the time the dialogue attributions were so-and-so said, followed by what they said. That is quite awkward to read out loud (it probably wouldn’t have seemed so stilted if I head read it silently to myself). I recommend it to older elementary kids on up to adults.

4 (out of 5) Stars

Books Read in 2020: 28
Pages Read in 2020: 6693
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Filed under Historical Fiction, Middle Grades, Reason: Bedtime Story for the Boys