Mañanaland by Pam Muñoz Ryan

Mañanaland is a gentle story with an almost dreamlike quality to it. The imagery as well as the division into yesterday, today, and tomorrow are quite lovely and effective. I read it to my 11 and 13 year old boys and the 11-year-old, especially, loved it. I highly recommend it as a family read aloud!

5 (out of 5) Stars

Books Read in 2020: 4
Pages Read in 2020: 1734
Read 52 Books in 52 Weeks (more book reviews!)

***This book will be released March 3, 2020***

Leave a comment

Filed under Realistic Fiction, Reason: Bedtime Story for the Boys, Reason: LitHub Bingo

Doctor Who: Shroud of Sorrow by Tommy Donbavand

Set during Matt Smith’s time as the Doctor with Clara as his companion, Shroud of Sorrow all the inhabitants of the earth must be saved from the final stage of grief. Occurring right after JFK’s death, the Shroud attempts to bring everyone to acceptance of grief, which would be too late. Including a trip through a wormhole and a planet of clowns, this book is excellent for any Doctor Who fan.

5 (out of 5) Stars

Books Read in 2020: 3
Pages Read in 2020: 1483
Read 52 Books in 52 Weeks (more book reviews!)

1 Comment

Filed under Annual Wrap-Up, Reason: LitHub Bingo, Science Fiction

Scarlett by Alexandra Ripley

Scarlett is really long, but in a good way. Even though it is written by someone other than Margaret Mitchell, the author captured the essence of Scarlett O’Hara perfectly. The book follows Scarlett as she meets more of her family in America, goes to Ireland, and finally grows up. I recommend it to anyone who enjoyed Gone With the Wind.

5 (out of 5) Stars

Books Read in 2020: 2
Pages Read in 2020: 1224
Read 52 Books in 52 Weeks (more book reviews!)

Leave a comment

Filed under Historical Fiction, Reason: LitHub Bingo

The Forest of Enchantments by Chitra Banerjee Divakaruni

The tone of The Forest of Enchantments was kind of mystical. The narrative moved very slowly and sometimes really dragged. From pretty much the start the main male character was kind of a jerk, yet the narrator still adored him which was frustrating. The book attempted to be some sort of girl power thing in the end, but it seemed rather contrived. Overall, I liked parts and I disliked other parts. It was really rather a “meh” sort of book.

3 (out of 5) Stars

Books Read in 2020: 1
Pages Read in 2020: 372
Read 52 Books in 52 Weeks (more book reviews!)

Leave a comment

Filed under Fantasy, Reason: LitHub Bingo

2019 Annual Wrap-up

How many books did you read and did you meet or beat your own personal goal?
I read 126 books this year. I beat 52 and 104 by a lot. I upped my goal by 10 at a time after 104, so I beat 120, but didn’t reach 130.

What story stayed with you a long time, left you wanting more or needing time to digest?
1984 by George Orwell. It’s such a part of our pop culture now. There were things that made me nervous about just because of the parallels to today. But it was the end that really stayed with me. It was sad and hopeless and creepy all at the same time.

What are some quotes that made you read them a second time?
“Once the Irish landed in America, the sympathetic feelings disappeared. Americans feared the destitute, emaciated emigrants, many so weakened from hunger and disease that they could not work. The Americans also feared the spread of typhus and other infectious diseases. They also worried that the newcomers would take jobs away from them and drag down wages.” (Black Potatoes by Susan Campbell Bartoletti)

“Mao, the dictator, had been the friend of the devils. He had wanted China in perpetual turmoil so that he could rule forever. He’d had a simple philosophy: peace and leisure bred unrest and resentment against leaders, while a sense of crisis strengthened his own leadership.” (China’s Son by Da Chen)

“It is not always necessary to grant things not asked for, for by doing so such things are often viewed as of little value or are taken for granted. However, when the need of something is sensed, that thing becomes valued in the eyes of the one who has recognized the need.” (Pilgrim’s Progress by John Bunyan)

“Nazi flags had appeared on every office building and home, until it became dangerous not to have one. Until dissent became unpatriotic. Unit it became criminal to not stand and salute the fuhrer. And then worst part was that Germany hadn’t suddenly ‘become’ racist and evil. That rot had been there, under the surface, the whole time. Hitler’s hate-filled speeches had allowed the seeds of German bigotry to grow like weeds until the choked out anything else that might have flowered there.” (Allies by Alan Gratz)

Top 5 Books of the Year
We Are Displaced by Malala Yousafzai
Born a Crime by Trevor Noah
Refugee by Alan Gratz
To All the Boys I’ve Loved Before by Jenny Han
Becoming by Michelle Obama
Allies by Alan Gratz
(Yeah, that’s six… sue me)

Bottom 5 Books of the Year
Women Under the Knife by Ann Dally
Where’d You Go Bernadette by Maria Semple
Who Killed My Daughter? by Lois Duncan
Bruno’s Dream by Iris Murdoch
Drown by Junot Diaz
The Appointment by Herta Muller
(Again six… oh, well)

How many books are in your To Read pile right now?
752 (That’s 91 more than at the end of 2018 and 229 more than at the end of 2017 when I started keeping track… I don’t think I’m doing this whole read the books you already have thing quite right…)

1 Comment

Filed under Annual Wrap-Up

Identical Strangers by Elyse Schein and Paula Bernstein

Told in a back and forth style, Identical Strangers recounts how identical twins separated in infancy and adopted by two different families as part of a nature vs. nurture study found each other and set out to learn about the study and to discover who their biological mother was. It’s quite interesting and includes tidbits of information scattered throughout about topics ranging from twinning to what we know about twins who were separated and find each other later to mental health issues. Sometimes the narrative dragged on and got repetitive. Sometimes the women were rather insufferable and not very likable. Overall I enjoyed the book, however, and actually learned quite a bit.

4 (out of 5) Stars

Books Read in 2019: 126
Pages Read in 2019: 32,107
Read 52 Books in 52 Weeks (more book reviews!)

Leave a comment

Filed under Memoir, Reason: LitHub Bingo

Good Luck, Ivy! by Lisa Yee

Good Luck, Ivy! focuses on Ivy, the best friend of the 1974 American Girl doll, Julie. Ivy is a Chinese-American gymnast who has to make a hard choice between going to her family reunion (and eating Chinese food… again) or going to her gymnastics tournament (and risk falling off the beam… again). As with all American Girl books, it’s historical fiction written in a way that really interests kids. I highly recommend this book to both girls and boys.

5 (out of 5) Stars

Books Read in 2019: 125
Pages Read in 2019: 31,819
Read 52 Books in 52 Weeks (more book reviews!)

Leave a comment

Filed under Children, Historical Fiction, Reason: Bedtime Story for the Boys