Monthly Archives: December 2021

Gossamer by Lois Lowry

Gossamer by Lois Lowry

Have you ever wondered where good dreams and terrible nightmares come from? Gossamer answers that question in such a gentle, sweet, and slightly fanciful way. The triggers experienced and words used by the boy, John, were very well written and not surprising for a child in foster care who has dealt with the things he had dealt with. Thin Elderly was such a patient and kind dreamgiving character and was paralleled in the real world by the old woman who fostered John. I absolutely adore Gossamer. She’s so fun. I’d love for her to be my dreamgiver. I recommend this book to kids and adults, though be aware that parts could trigger kids who are or have been in foster care.

5 (out of 5) Stars
Books Read in 2021: 93
Pages Read in 2021: 29,716

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Filed under Children, Fantasy, Reason: I Like the Author, Reason: LitHub Bingo

The Best School Year Ever by Barbara Robinson

The Best School Year Ever by Barbara Robinson

The Best School Year Ever is a cute book full of stories about the Herdman kids’ antics. All through the book, the narrator is trying to come up with a word to use to compliment Imogene Herdman for a class project and in the end discovers she must come up with way more than one, something she finds is not so hard to do. It’s a short book, excellent for reading aloud to middle grade age kids. I recommend it to kids and adults alike, particularly those who enjoyed The Best Christmas Pageant Ever.

5 (out of 5) Stars
Books Read in 2021: 92
Pages Read in 2021: 29,569

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Filed under Children, Reason: LitHub Bingo

The Last Voyage of Poe Blythe by Ally Condie

The Last Voyage of Poe Blythe by Ally Condie

This is not your average love story. There’s love, sure, but mostly there’s revenge and anger because of that love. Like Poe, I never knew who to trust and of course the one person I barely suspected at all was the very one I should’ve suspected the whole time. The writing is fabulous. The cadence and sentence structure really appeals to me. The story unfolds at a good rate. It’s a standalone novel, but there is some connection to the Matched trilogy (absolutely no need to read the trilogy first). I truly enjoyed reading this book. I recommend it to everyone who enjoys books about totally awesome girls.

5 (out of 5) Stars
Books Read in 2021: 91
Pages Read in 2021: 29,437

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Filed under Dystopian, Reason: LitHub Bingo, Reason: We Be Book'N, Science Fiction

Lillian Boxfish Takes a Walk by Kathleen Rooney

Lillian Boxfish Takes a Walk by Kathleen Rooney

I’m not sure why books about depressed old people looking back on their lives are so popular. They are really quite dreadful and Lillian Boxfish Takes a Walk is no exception. I didn’t find it inspiring or even very interesting. I liked how the chapters alternated between what she was doing New Year’s Eve 1984 and her remembering what happened in the past. Unfortunately, I found Lillian to be exceedingly annoying and full of herself and so didn’t enjoy reading the book much at all. I don’t recommend it to anyone.

2 (out of 5) Stars
Books Read in 2021: 90
Pages Read in 2021: 29,103

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Filed under Realistic Fiction, Reason: LitHub Bingo

The Bobbsey Twins on a Houseboat by Laura Lee Hope

The Bobbsey Twins on a Houseboat by Laura Lee Hope

When I was a kid (in the 80s) I read my mom’s old Bobbsey Twins books (that she got in the 50s). The Bobbsey Twins on a Houseboat was my favorite one. I read it on my Kindle and I could’ve sworn I smelled the old book smell while I read it. Crazy how smell memories work. There are some cringy things in this book (mainly due to when it was written), but the story is fun and I still enjoyed it all these years later.

4 (out of 5) Stars
Books Read in 2021: 89
Pages Read in 2021: 28,801

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Filed under Children, Reason: We Be Book'N

100 Cupboards by NB Wilson

100 Cupboards by ND Wilson

So many of my friends loved 100 Cupboards. I was disappointed I didn’t. It was okay, but I have no desire to continue reading the series unless I was to find the books for very cheap. The world building is rather poorly done. The first three-quarters of the book is quite confusing and not much really happens. The last quarter is pretty good. Clearly other people think it’s a great book and series, but I just don’t really recommend it.

3 (out of 5) Stars
Books Read in 2021: 88
Pages Read in 2021: 28,663

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

Insurgent by Veronica Roth

Insurgent by Veronica Roth

I had forgotten just how utterly annoying and immature Tris is in Insurgent. She was kind of awesome in Divergent and then she became this sniveling lovesick annoying and completely ridiculous person in Insurgent. The whole thing about keeping how Will died a secret made no sense. Once they found out, Four and Christina were so angry, but it was clear self defense. It’s not like Tris hunted Will down while he was under a simulation in order to kill him. He would’ve killed her without hesitation. But for some reason no one in the book has any common sense and so it’s obviously reason to destroy friendships. When it comes to Tris going to Erudite headquarters to prevent further simulation deaths, she acted exactly as everyone should’ve expected her to act. Four is really kind of dumb when dealing with his mother. How he didn’t think she would want to take over I have no idea. I do more or less like the Divergent series including Insurgent, but it’s my least favorite of the three.

2 (out of 5) Stars
Books Read in 2021: 87
Pages Read in 2021: 28,345

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Filed under Dystopian, Reason: Bedtime Story for the Boys

Americanized: Rebel Without a Green Card by Sara Saedi

Americanized: Rebel Without a Green Card by Sara Saedi

Sara came to America from Iran when she was 2 years old on a visitor’s visa. Her parents applied for political asylum, but discovered a couple years later their application had been lost. They applied for an adjustment of status, but remained undocumented for many years. She didn’t learn of her status until she was nearly 13 and spent almost a decade worried she would be deported back to Iran at any moment.

This memoir is super funny. I found myself laughing out loud or finding someone to read a few lines to several times while reading. Some examples:
*Iran has dealt with its fair share of strife and political unrest. And while I’m not one to point fingers or lay blame… the United States and Britain were totally at fault.
*My sister and I tried to find common ground with our half-American cousins, but that took a while to pan out. It didn’t help that we’d infiltrated their space AND that my sister’s favorite pastime was sending me off to bite them. I guess the rumors are true. Illegal immigrants are violent and dangerous.
*I was also the student body president of our elementary school. Yeah, I was an undocumented immigrant who’d been elected to public office. How you like me now, ICE?
*My dad even tried to impress him by telling him that my parents had seen Ozzy Osbourne in concert.
“Really?” Slash asked.
“Yeah,” my dad answered. “He was onstage with all his brothers and sisters.”
“Those were the OSMONDS!” my mom corrected.

Each chapter had a different focus, about growing up straddling two cultures or about various family members or about her family’s journey to citizenship (and the little brother who never had to worry about that because he was born in the US). Her political leanings are clear so this is probably not the right book for someone who strongly supports Trump or is opposed to alternative paths to citizenship. I recommend it to adults who are interested in immigration stories and want to laugh at a life the author probably thinks is kind of boring, but definitely isn’t.

4 (out of 5) Stars
Books Read in 2021: 86
Pages Read in 2021: 27,800

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Filed under Memoir, Reason: Vine Review, Reason: We Be Book'N

The Curse of the Holy Pail by Sue Ann Jaffarian

The Curse of the Holy Pail by Sue Ann Jaffarian

The Curse of the Holy Pail is a great mind vacation sort of book. It’s kind of silly, lots of fun, and had a little bump (not quite a twist) at the end that I did not see coming. I enjoyed reading it very much. It’s the second book in The Odelia Gray Mysteries series and while I have not read the first book that did not matter at all. Odelia is a big woman who is very secure in taking up space in the world. I recommend this book to adults who enjoy cozy mysteries.

4 (out of 5) Stars
Books Read in 2021: 85
Pages Read in 2021: 27,521

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

Frederica by Georgette Heyer

Frederica by Georgette Heyer

Regency romance is not a genre I typically read or enjoy. I read Frederica for my book club. I definitely would not have read it otherwise. It is very long and drags on, though the phrasing of things is often very cute. I knew for the most part how it would end before I had finished a quarter of it. If I enjoyed this genre, I likely would have given it five stars, but because I really don’t, and often found reasons NOT to read it (and barely finished it in time for my book club meeting), I gave it three because I didn’t hate it and found it enjoyable enough. I recommend it to people who enjoy regency romances.

3 (out of 5) Stars
Books Read in 2021: 84
Pages Read in 2021: 27,137

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Filed under Reason: Book Club, Romance