Thursday, January 1, 2015

New Blog

If anyone out there ever reads this, I'm posting on Tumblr from now on.

It's Happening.

See you there?

Monday, July 28, 2014

Book Review

The Rental Sister
by Jeff Backhaus

Disclaimer:  I received a free advanced copy of this book from the publisher through LibraryThing in exchange for an honest review.

This novel was incredibly sad on so many levels.  A family tragedy is the catalyst for Thomas' isolation in his room.  He's locked himself in for the last three years; only coming out occasionally in the middle of the night when he needs to stock up on groceries.  Can you imagine not seeing your spouse for that long?  Or anybody, really, except for the few people you pass on the street on your way to the convenience store.

Megumi is the woman hired by Thomas' wife (Silke) to talk to him and try to coax him out.  Her brother was once in the same situation when she still lived in Japan.  I'm a little confused about how Silke found Megumi in the first place.  She seems to know the owner of the shop Megumi works at who suggested hiring Megumi.  But how did she find the owner?  Was there an ad somewhere for these situations?  Maybe in Japan, where there is an actual term for this ("Hikikomori"), but in New York City?

Megumi begins to get through to Thomas, and their relationship grows fairly drastically.  Silke seems to be aware of their feelings, but lets it continue, because she's not exactly innocent either.  There's a lot of hurt going back and forth, but the hurt is a lot better than the silence that used to be there.  And maybe you have to hit rock bottom in order to start healing.

Having never been in this situation or experienced this amount of loss, I can't say how true to life the characters reactions are.  But, it all felt believable to me. 

Read more reviews about this book on LibraryThing.

Sunday, June 29, 2014

Book Review

Graduates in Wonderland
by Jessica Pan and Rachel Kapelke-Dale

Disclaimer:  I received a free advanced copy of this book from the publisher through LibraryThing in exchange for an honest review.

Jessica and Rachel have just graduated college and are trying to figure out what's supposed to come next.  Jessica has moved to Beijing without a plan and Rachel is working at an art gallery in New York.  This memoir chronicles the next three years of their lives in shared emails.

Both girls are brutally honest with each other about everything, including all their career woes and romantic issues.  It's nice to see such honesty when it comes to this chapter in people's lives.  Most of the time we're expected to have our futures all figured out as soon as we graduate, but it isn't always that easy.  And degrees like journalism and art history don't necessarily guarantee immediate job placement. 

Rachel and Jessica definitely don't have everything figured out yet, but they have an amazing time trying.  Both women travel to different countries, but being separated doesn't lessen the strength of their friendship.  They start brand new jobs, quit perfect ones, get their hearts broken and almost break the hearts of others.  Rachel and Jessica are all of us, because we don't know what we're doing either.

Read this if you're supposed to be a grown up but don't know the rules yet.  Spoiler Warning: It turns out they're aren't any rules.

Read more reviews about this book on LibraryThing.

Sunday, May 11, 2014

Book Review

by David Sax

Disclaimer:  I received a free advanced copy of this book from the publisher through LibraryThing in exchange for an honest review.

This book took awhile to get through.  Not because it wasn't any good, but because there's a LOT of information packed in there.  Reading this was how I imagine reading a school textbook would be if school textbooks were interesting.   

Sax gives us a very in-depth look at the world of food trends, something I didn't realize even existed.  I mean, I'm not an idiot, I knew there were food trends.  But, I guess I'd always just assumed that somebody, somewhere, cooked something, it became popular, other people cooked it as well, then something else became popular.  But, it turns out to be so much more than that.  There's politics involved.  Lots of politics.  And food shows and awards and agricultural growing patterns and cultural migration and nutrition and on and on and on.

Read it.  It'll take a little while, but it's worth it.  Also, it will make you very, very hungry and you will probably have to eat a lot of cupcakes.

Read more reviews about this book on LibraryThing.

Saturday, April 12, 2014

Book Review

Hollow City
by Ransom Riggs

Disclaimer:  I received a free advanced copy of this book from the publisher through LibraryThing in exchange for an honest review.

This book is the second novel in the Miss Peregrine series, the first of which I LOVED.  If you haven't read the first novel, I wouldn't read the rest of this review, because I'm definitely going to spoil something.

This book picks up immediately after the first one ends, and the action doesn't stop.  The kids are desperate to get Miss Peregrine the help she needs, as well as find a safe loop where they can hide from the Wights and Hollows that are hot on their trail. 

Since the first book concentrated more on the relationship between Emma and Jacob, I was under the impression that there were a LOT of Peculiar children living with Miss Peregrine.  It turns out there are only ten (including Jacob), which is a much more reasonable amount of characters to have to worry about in an on-the-run sort of storyline. 

There's more of a focus on Peculiar history in this book, as the children have to rely a lot on old maps and Peculiar folklore to find others like themselves.  Jacob's power develops and becomes a lot more helpful, which gives him a sense of purpose and a bit more confidence. 

All in all, I really enjoyed this book and I'm looking forward to the next installment.  The only negative thing I have to say is that the photo gimmick is getting a little old.  The photos in this one weren't nearly as captivating, and some of the scenarios in which they were used seem a bit stretched.  As if Riggs just really liked the photo and came up with an excuse to use it that didn't really fit in with the story.  The whole point behind the photos in the first novel was that they had already been taken and were being used to teach Jacob about the Peculiars and his grandfather's past.  There's a brief moment in the last book that suggests they brought a camera with them when they escaped the island and are taking photos from THIS book as they go.  But that really doesn't make sense in a LOT of the situations where the photos were used.  So, maybe we need to ease up on that.

Read more reviews about this book on LibraryThing.