Monthly Archives: April 2021

Broke in America by Joanne Samuel Goldblum and Colleen Shaddox

Broke in America by Joanne Samuel Goldblum and Colleen Shaddox

There are a lot of people living in poverty in this country. Broke in America attempts to humanize them by telling their stories and explaining how various aspects of poverty affect other seemingly unrelated things in their lives. Every chapter has ideas on how you can help. I found the book to be very informative without sounding preachy. I learned a whole lot from it. Having dealt with some of the things discussed as a foster parent, I could relate just a little to how frustrating dealing with bureaucratic red tape can be. The main point of the book is to do something to help our fellow humans. I very highly recommend Broke in America.

5 (out of 5) Stars
Books Read in 2021: 32
Pages Read in 2021: 9072

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Filed under Non-Fiction, Reason: Vine Review

Catching Fire by Suzanne Collins

Catching Fire by Suzanne Collins

Catching Fire is my favorite book in the Hunger Games series. Katniss is finally starting to figure out her feelings, you get to see what life is really like for those who survived the games, the arena is incredibly creative, and so much more. The dystopian world the author created for these books is fascinating. The story is written in a way that pulls you right into the action of the story. It’s even be as a re-read because you notice all the foreshadowing and cleverly worded things scattered throughout the book. I highly recommend Catching Fire and all the Hunger Games books.

5 (out of 5) Stars
Books Read in 2021: 31
Pages Read in 2021: 8774

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Filed under Dystopian, Reason: Bedtime Story for the Boys

Out of the Easy by Ruta Sepetys

Out of the Easy by Ruta Sepetys

Set in 1950s New Orleans, Out of the Easy explores the life of a young woman split between the brothel where she was raised, the bookstore where she tries to move into a respectable life, and the desire to go to a nice college far from home. Ruta Sepetys has an amazing ability to weave amazing stories using groups of people who are not often the focus of historical fiction. The story sucked me right in. The ending is excellent, though I wanted it to go on much longer. I highly recommend this book to people who enjoy historical fiction.

5 (out of 5) Stars
Books Read in 2021: 30
Pages Read in 2021: 8383

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Filed under Historical Fiction, Reason: LitHub Bingo

Battle Hymn of the Tiger Mother by Amy Chua

Battle Hymn of the Tiger Mother by Amy Chua

Amy Chua’s parenting style borders on abusive (if her depictions are accurate she was certainly emotionally abusive toward her daughters). I disagree with so much of what she said and did. However, she tells about raising her girls with such an excellent combination of wit, sarcastic humor, and self-deprecation that I couldn’t help but enjoy Battle Hymn of the Tiger Mother. I appreciated how she came to realize that in spite of her over the top internal need to push her girls, when it didn’t work for one of them, she backed off no matter how much it pained her. This isn’t a must-read book by any means, but it’s interesting nonetheless.

4 (out of 5) Stars
Books Read in 2021: 29
Pages Read in 2021: 8027

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Filed under Memoir, Reason: LitHub Bingo

Liberty’s Torch by Elizabeth Mitchell

Liberty’s Torch by Elizabeth Mitchell

Liberty’s Torch is surprisingly engaging and interesting. Often non-fiction can be dry, but this one is definitely not. The author tells the story of Bartholdi and his quest for fame by building a giant statue. I didn’t know much of how the Statue of Liberty came to be so this book was very fascinating and educational for me. I highly recommend it to anyone interested in history.

5 (out of 5) Stars
Books Read in 2021: 28
Pages Read in 2021: 7786

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Filed under History, Non-Fiction, Reason: LitHub Bingo

Silence is a Scary Sound by Clint Edwards

Silence is a Scary Sound by Clint Edwards

As the mother of ten kids, five of whom are currently in the toddler stage, Silence is a Scary Sound is incredibly relatable (silence is a terrifying sound when it’s my 2-year-old somewhere in the house not making any noise). It’s incredibly honest about so many things including no sleep and lots of poop and how you’d do it again because when it’s over you appreciate and miss that crazy time when they were little (because somehow we forget about just how crazy it was). The author has a way of telling the stories that will have you cracking up. Each chapter is like a blog post, quick and easy to read. The only thing I didn’t like about the book is the formatting. For some reason every few pages they inserted a bit of repeated text from elsewhere on the page in a different font right in the middle of the story. I found this very annoying. Otherwise it was great. Definitely make sure to look at the last page where a rather amusing index is included. I recommend this book to parents with toddlers or who used to have toddlers, but probably not to people without kids because they might be convinced to never have any and then the author would be solely to blame for the birthrate dropping and that wouldn’t be cool.

4 (out of 5) Stars
Books Read in 2021: 27
Pages Read in 2021: 7450

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Filed under Humor, Reason: Vine Review

The Hunger Games by Suzanne Collins

The Hunger Games by Suzanne Collins

I absolutely love The Hunger Games trilogy. I first read them almost a decade ago. This time I am reading them to my sons who were just preschoolers back then. Suzanne Collins can craft an amazing story. The way things are phrased puts you right in the action, as if you are in the arena with Katniss. I enjoyed this book just as much as the first time I read it and my sons (who are now 12 and 14) loved it, and were a bit annoyed with Katniss in the end, too. I recommend The Hunger Games to young adults and up.

5 (out of 5) Stars
Books Read in 2021: 26
Pages Read in 2021: 7162

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Filed under Dystopian, Reason: Bedtime Story for the Boys

Driving Miss Norma by Tim Bauerschmidt and Ramie Liddle

Driving Miss Norma by Tim Bauerschmidt and Ramie Liddle

Miss Norma was 90-years-old, newly diagnosed with cancer, and did not want to deal with doctors anymore. Her son and daughter-in-law had been nomads in their RV for a few years. And so an idea was born. Take Miss Norma on the road with them for the rest of her life however long or short that might be. Driving Miss Norma chronicles some of their adventures during that year and a bit. They shared life, love, and learned how to knock down walls and just be. The chapters alternate between Tim and Ramie. The book is interesting and uplifting and inspiring. Totally worth taking the time to read.

5 (out of 5) Stars
Books Read in 2021: 25
Pages Read in 2021: 6776

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Filed under Memoir, Reason: LitHub Bingo

I Want You to Know We’re Still Here by Esther Safran Foer

I Want You to Know We’re Still Here by Esther Safran Foer

Parts of I Want You to Know We’re Still Here were quite interesting and parts were dreadfully boring. It seemed the author wanted to tell her family’s post-Holocaust story. She eventually did and did it well. But then she got bogged down in this and that person and recent times and taking a trip to Ukraine to see where her parents had lived. It got quite tedious, really, at times. I feel like the book really was meant for her family or people who have a personal connection to her family. For the post-Holocaust story, it’s great, but as a book to read in its entirety, I don’t really recommend it (just skip the personal journey parts).

2 (out of 5) Stars
Books Read in 2021: 24
Pages Read in 2021: 6524

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Filed under Memoir, Reason: Vine Review

Murder by the Book by Lauren Elliott

Murder by the Book by Lauren Elliott

While slow to get started, Murder by the Book is full of unexpected twists and turns I mostly did not see coming. By the middle I was sucked in and had no idea where it was going to go. The wrap up was a bit confusing just because so many characters were involved, but the explanation ultimately made sense and while highly unlikely, it was still totally plausible. I recommend it to anyone who enjoys cozy mysteries, especially ones centered around books.

4 (out of 5) Stars
Books Read in 2021: 23
Pages Read in 2021: 6298

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Filed under Cozy Mystery, Reason: LitHub Bingo