Monthly Archives: September 2021

American Shaolin by Matthew Polly

American Shaolin by Matthew Polly

The author of American Shaolin spent two years learning Kung Fu and kickboxing at the Shaolin Temple in China. In this book he chronicles his experiences from the culture shock to the pain of training to his experiences with the opposite sex. I enjoyed it for the most part, but he could get a bit repetitive on occasion. If you have experience with martial arts, you’ll enjoy this book.

4 (out of 5) Stars
Books Read in 2021: 62
Pages Read in 2021: 19,249

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Filed under Memoir, Reason: LitHub Bingo, Reason: We Be Book'N

Some Kind of Courage by Dan Gemeinhart

Some Kind of Courage by Dan Gemeinhart

I did not enjoy this book for several reasons.

  1. It’s boring. So incredibly boring.
  2. It’s written in dialect… sometimes. It’s really inconsistent. I do not like middle grade books that are written in dialect because that’s the age we’re teaching grammar to kids and then we give them a book that (sometimes) uses improper grammar. It’s one thing if it’s just the dialog, but this was the whole book (but only sometimes).
  3. The plot is dumb. It just is.
  4. Most of the action is incredibly boring. Even when it was supposed to be exciting, it wasn’t. It had a few moments that were at least a little interesting, which is the only reason I didn’t give it one star.
  5. It’s supposed to be historical fiction, but the whole thing is really unbelievable.
  6. I could not work up the least bit of sympathy for any of the characters. I really did not like the main character. He was super annoying. I was mildly curious about the Chinese boy’s bird figure, but that turned out to be quite anti-climactic.

This is definitely a book I recommend skipping.

2 (out of 5) Stars
Books Read in 2021: 61
Pages Read in 2021: 18,869

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Filed under Middle Grades, Reason: Book Club, Reason: We Be Book'N

The Inheritance Games by Jennifer Lynn Barnes

The Inheritance Games by Jennifer Lynn Barnes

The Inheritance Games is one amazing book. I had so many questions as I was reading that I could barely put it down wanting to figure things out and the chapters being so short made it way too easy to read “just one more chapter.” There were so many twists and turns and intersecting storylines that I was honestly surprised when they were all (for the most part) completely wrapped up by the end. As I watched the number of pages I had left to read get lower and lower I really had my doubts that the puzzles would be figured out before the end. One thing I was very hopeful for, but doubted would turn out to be true, ended up exactly how I hoped so that was pretty awesome. I felt like The Inheritance Games was a more grown up version of one of my favorite childhood books, The Westing Game. I was absolutely delighted to discover there is a second book in the series and, of course, I immediately bought it. I recommend this book to teens and adults who enjoy a good puzzle and a mystery and thriller all rolled into one.

5 (out of 5) Stars
Books Read in 2021: 60
Pages Read in 2021: 18,649

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Filed under Reason: Literati, Reason: We Be Book'N, Young Adult

I Have a Bad Feeling About This by Jeff Strand

I Have a Bad Feeling About This by Jeff Strand

Silly. Hilarious. Random. Enjoyable. Witty. Sarcastic. Quirky. Entertaining. Lighthearted. Comical. All words that describe I Have a Bad Feeling About This. I literally laughed out loud several times reading it. The premise is great, four kind of wimpy boys (plus one a little less wimpy) spending two weeks at survival camp complete with a Hunger Games-style finale. Add in some gangsters trying to collect a debt and a movie based on camp events and you’ve got an excellent book sure to entertain you for a few hours. Two of my teenage sons decided they just had to read it after I found it so funny. I highly recommend it to teens and adults who enjoy a good pun.

5 (out of 5) Stars
Books Read in 2021: 59
Pages Read in 2021: 18,273

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Filed under Reason: Literati, Reason: We Be Book'N, Young Adult

Rhett & Link’s Book of Mythicality by Rhett McLaughlin and Link Neal

Rhett & Link’s Book of Mythicality by Rhett McLaughlin and Link Neal

If you’ve ever seen Good Mythical Morning you know exactly how this book reads. It’s silly. It’s hilarious. It’s very enjoyable. Kindle isn’t the best format for reading it, though, because of all the handwritten things and charts and other fun stuff. They are extremely hard to read on an eink Kindle, so I would suggest reading on a Fire or other device so you can increase the size of the pictures or get the paper version. I highly recommend this book to Rhett and Link fans.

5 (out of 5) Stars
Books Read in 2021: 58
Pages Read in 2021: 18,031

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Filed under Humor, Reason: LitHub Bingo, Reason: We Be Book'N

Full Circle by Andrea Barber

Full Circle by Andrea Barber

When Andrea Barber was a tween and teen she played Kimmy Gibbler on Full House. Then she dropped out of the acting world for a couple decades, got married, got divorced, and learned she had anxiety and depression. And then she played Kimmy Gibbler once again on Fuller House and so her life came Full Circle. Her memoir is very open and honest. There’s nothing salacious because, one, that just isn’t her style, and, two, she truly enjoyed her time acting and the people she was acting with. Even when she talks about her divorce she’s very honest about her own issues contributing and that they eventually got to the point where they are friendly with each other. Where she’s the most open and vulnerable is talking about her mental illness and learning about how to take care of herself through the highs and lows. The whole time I was reading I felt like I was just sitting with a friend having a chat. It was quite an enjoyable, easy read. I recommend it to anyone who enjoyed Full House as a kid and Fuller House as an adult or who has ever felt like a Kimmy Gibbler because there really is a lot of Andrea in Kimmy.

5 (out of 5) Stars
Books Read in 2021: 57
Pages Read in 2021: 17,760

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Filed under Memoir, Reason: LitHub Bingo, Reason: We Be Book'N

The Conference of the Birds by Ransom Riggs

The Conference of the Birds by Ransom Riggs

The Conference of the Birds picks up right where the fourth Miss Peregrine book left off. There are several twists and turns and the romantic relationship change to Jacob and Noor rather than Jacob and Emma is a whole lot less creepy. The end is extremely confusing and leaves you a bit breathless and confused. It’s quite a cliffhanger. I very highly recommend reading this whole series to anyone who enjoys young adult books.

5 (out of 5) Stars
Books Read in 2021: 56
Pages Read in 2021: 17,488

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Filed under Fantasy, Reason: Bedtime Story for the Boys, Reason: LitHub Bingo, Young Adult

The Girl with Seven Names by Hyeonseo Lee

The Girl with Seven Names by Hyeonseo Lee

The author of The Girl with Seven Names grew up in North Korea and defected just before she turned 18. She believed all the propaganda about the state of the rest of the world and how wonderful North Korea was. As is typical of defectors, it was a hard adjustment for her to realize the truth and then embrace the outside world. She was very na├»ve and ended up in some precarious situations, some of her own making, some because she didn’t realize what was happening. The writing style is extremely engaging and honest and I found myself wanting to read just a little more to find out what happened to her and her family. I was a little disappointed there was no more to read when I got to the end. I highly recommend this book to anyone interested in North Korea. It’s one of the best defector stories I have ever read.

5 (out of 5) Stars
Books Read in 2021: 55
Pages Read in 2021: 17,139

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Filed under Memoir, Reason: LitHub Bingo, Reason: We Be Book'N

Abduction by Gillian Jackson

Abduction by Gillian Jackson

I love the writing style of Abduction. Every chapter is written by a different person. Some people only narrate a single chapter, others narrate several. The same events are often covered in subsequent chapters, just with variations and different information based on who the narrator is. This really helps to create a clear picture of what was going on at any given time while still having the whole thing in first person point of view. From very early on I strongly suspected what basically happened the day the child was abducted, though I questioned whether I could be right multiple times and did have a possible alternative suspect in mind as well. Even when it was revealed I was correct, I was still pretty surprised at exactly how it went. I could barely put this book down and had to force myself to close my Kindle and go to sleep knowing if I didn’t I’d “one more chapter” until I had read the whole thing. I highly recommend it to people who enjoy psychological thrillers.

5 (out of 5) Stars
Books Read in 2021: 54
Pages Read in 2021: 16,817

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Filed under Reason: LitHub Bingo, Reason: We Be Book'N, Thriller

Peter Pan by JM Barrie

Peter Pan by JM Barrie

Peter Pan is just so fun to read. It’s a story pretty much everyone knows so it’s like visiting an old friend to read the book. The narrator is often amusing in their observations on what is going on, too, which is an added bonus. I recommend reading it to anyone who has enjoyed the play (in any of its many forms).

5 (out of 5) Stars
Books Read in 2021: 53
Pages Read in 2021: 16,548

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Filed under Fantasy, Middle Grades, Reason: LitHub Bingo, Reason: We Be Book'N