26 Following


Small Great Things

Small Great Things - Jodi Picoult This is an ARC review given without compensation

So this was my first book by Jodi Picoult and I wasn't disappointed overall. I would have given four stars but the plot and pacing did feel a bit forced, pushed on the reader instead of a steady flow. However it didn't kill the fact that the author created a wonderful piece of work.

The players were rich even if a bit stereotypical on some levels but it made me want to read more. I had to put down the book a few times for work and couldn't get it out of my head, so that's always a good sign. Plus lots of twists and turns, racial relations issues and hard to swallow but well thought out points added to the addiction. I will say that reading Small Great Things angered me. Not the subject matter itself, no, but some of the antagonists are very easy to honestly hate. I found myself having to walk away every once in a while because I honestly wanted to rip apart the book out of my absolute disdain for some of the characters. But that's good if you're wrapped up in the passion of it all, right?

I will say that at times things feel a bit too preachy, more like you're getting beaten over the head with the point. The legal points are also a bit sketchy. But still, plot devices being what they are.....

This isn't a feel good chick lit kind of book like book clubs love to push lately but don't let it deter you. Certainly worth the read even if there's a few bumps in the road.

Hawaiian Folk Tales: A Collection of Native Legends

Hawaiian Folk Tales: A Collection of Native Legends - Anonymous, Thomas G. Thrum A very interesting and well put together anthology of traditional Hawaiian stories. A rather quick read but very engaging. You never know what gems you find when you sift through older classics.

Fresh Off the Boat: A Memoir

Fresh Off the Boat: A Memoir - Eddie Huang I'll give two stars because of the honest look at life that the first half or so the book offered. A nice, if bit awkward, kid dealing with other people's misconceptions and outright racism. He had heart and stubbornness to get through the bad times and then bam...

Eddie Huang screams against racism by becoming openly racist, violent and appropriating black culture. If that's not enough he goes in to a downward spiral of crime, hated of anything white and laughs or gloats about all the people he's hurting. Seriously.

In the end Huang is lucky to somehow get a second rate tv show out of this whole thing because his frat boy douchebag personality isn't going to last him long. I do hope he can keep up his food hustle but I don't know how anyone can get anything out of this book other than
"kid rages against stereotype by becoming another racial stereotype then using it to berate stereotypes".

There are people comparing Eddie Huang to Lisa See and Amy Tan? Seriously? They're not my usual taste either but at least they can spin a narrative. All Huang can do is spread racist rhetoric and use his parent's abuse and other people as excuses for his behavior.


Aztec - Gary Jennings I'll start with brutal honesty and say that it's one of the few books that I couldn't put down, not because I loved it so much, but because it was so tortuous I wanted to say I conquered the whole thing. It's not a horrible book by any means, the plot itself and the writing being very well done. It's the start and stop of the pacing as well as the overuse of sex as a plot device that got very old and very fast. I can handle sex and even taboo themes in my reading materials and if it's unwanted I just skip. Unfortunately, Jennings made it very hard to do so in Aztec since the sex was so prolific and the story would screech to a halt to accommodate for it. On top of that there were a ton of lulls for lack of a better word, again feeling like I was being told 'remember that great part? The one that added to our narrative? Yeah? Well, here's some random crap! Enjoy!". That run and halt, run and halt type of narrative really pulled me out of Aztec's deep and colorful world.

The historical inconsistencies also hurt a good part of the novel. Now I'm no Sally Seamchecker and historical fiction is rife with fudging of the historical record for storytelling's sake and that's fine. There is a huge difference, however,between "let's have this character in a car two years before cars were a thing" and pulling up to a Mexica in a Delorean and try to go back in time to before Cortes was born to stop the discovery of of the coast. Guess which of those the book felt like?

On the good side I will give plenty of credit to Jennings for making a beautiful and rich cultural tapestry with an intriguing story that kept me wanting to finish even if had to wade through the muck to find the tail of the tale. There's several other books in the Aztec series so I'm going eventually try them in the hope that the author's style tightened up a bit and focused on a cleaner and smoother voice so we'll see how that goes.

Larousse Gastronomique

Larousse Gastronomique - No foodie has a complete shelf without a copy of Gastronomique. It's part of a sturdy foundation for both professional and home cooks, bursting with tons of illustrations and information. This edition has full color and sharp illustrations and even recipes, an unpretentious look at food and doesn't become condescending when explaining the intricacies of the culinary world. The translation is smooth and even allows for casual reading. Mine needs replacing soon from years of spills and stains and very rarely do I get complaints over my cooking. I really think I owe that to the Gastronomique and a good translation of Escoffier.

Complete Without Kids: An Insider's Guide to Childfree Living by Choice or by Chance

Complete Without Kids: An Insider's Guide to Childfree Living by Choice or by Chance - Ellen L. Walker I had high hopes considering the great things I'd heard from a few friends and a handful of reviews. What I found was a bunch of interesting personal stories that normally I'd have appreciated more if the author's own editing didn't show a push towards her own theories. Trying to tie in environmental and overpopulation issues with being childfree didn't help. I don't care much for books that push an agenda without saying so in all honesty; Trying to edit a book to push your theory along to where it's so obvious makes me feel like the author is trying to "trick" the reader in to echoing their opinion rather than making an argument for their views and letting the reader decide.

Other than that there really wasn't much substance. It was more 'I don't have kids because...." without any more depth. The focus felt like it was on those who choose not to have kids rather than those unable, tho the book itself presents itself as a look at both sides. The bumpy editing and narrow push made me feel like I was reading a long, winding blog post from a lonely woman who decides she doesn't want kids but doesn't know how to deal with her issues so makes up excuses to why it's better not to have them to convince herself that she's happy.

Created to be His Help Meet: Discover How God Can Make Your Marriage Glorious

Created to be His Help Meet: Discover How God Can Make Your Marriage Glorious - Debi Pearl Absolutely ADORE this book and I'm not even finished with it yet. The author takes a look at marriage and family, most specifically between the husband and wife, in a Biblical perspective. Finally, an honest and brassy look at Christian marriage that isn't pushing the fake modern concept of Christianity to appease the compromising and feel-good-don't-need-the-Bible aspect of our believing community. This book doesn't try to tell us to change the men in our life or just 'leave em if you don't like em' attitude: The focus is on how we can change ourselves for the positive to positively influence our home and marriage.

Kitty Cat, Kitty Cat, Are You Waking Up?

Kitty Cat, Kitty Cat, Are You Waking Up? - Bill Martin Jr., Michael Sampson, Laura J. Bryant Quick read with clear wording, a bit too easy for kids over four or so. The pictures were nicely done, even on a Kindle Voyage's E-Ink display. Used it for repeat-after-me reading with a 3 year old and he did very well and loved the story itself.

The Hiccupotamus

The Hiccupotamus - Aaron Zenz The kids I sit for love books,especially silly books, but they all hated this one. The silly rhyming got to the point of being too silly and words were very hard for them to even read. There was a point when one of the kids became so frustrated by the words not making sense she asked me to take it off the kindle because she hates it so much. I read it through and asked why they all seemed to hate it so much but they love Dr Seuss and he made up words all the time, even sillier words. It was summed up in "he made up silly stuff. This is just stupid". I can't argue with a 5 year old's taste if they can appreciate Seuss, right?

Communion: A True Story

Communion: A True Story - Whitley Strieber I'm a child of the 80's so most of the book hype I remember were Communion and a handful of stuff on bigfoot. Do I decided that after all these years I'd cave and finally give Communion a chance. I do like that Streiber didn't try to over do the dramatic moments in the book and he was very down to earth in desribing things as well has he could, but......it's hard to swallow.

His therapist seems very one sided, there was no objectivity or alternative possibilities presented by Streiber or the therapist. It just...it seemed tabloidish. I've no doubts Streiber went through SOMETHING but the evidence for what everyone seems to agree it is seems off spot.

Cruising Attitude: Tales of Crashpads, Crew Drama, and Crazy Passengers at 35,000 Feet

Cruising Attitude: Tales of Crashpads, Crew Drama, and Crazy Passengers at 35,000 Feet - Heather Poole Interesting look in to airline life from the attendant side. Honest, funny and totally deconstructs the typical image and glamour surrounding being a flight attendant. Also, hopefully, will help passengers be a little nicer and more understanding when they take their next vacation.


Untouchable - Mulk Raj Anand, E.M. Forster A story simple in concept but deep in meaning and personality. A young untouchable boy deals with life in a society that pushes him to the deepest parts of inhumanity. You follow him as he simply tries to life, meeting the people and injustices he meets and finding yourself drawn in to his world.

It was a rather quick read it seems but then, I found it was hard for me to put this book down, so that might be just me. Simple and straightforward look at the Indian caste system even compared to today.

Arranged Marriage: Stories

Arranged Marriage: Stories - Chitra Banerjee Divakaruni Divakaruni isn't my usual style when it comes to Indian authors,my preference being books based in the continent itself. But I was very happily surprised by this collection of short stories. Very interesting varieties between character personalities, time, place and all of them very well done. I wouldn't say that they're as deep as some of the other pieces Divakaruni has done but still Arranged Marriage was very well written.

Return to Me (The Restoration Chronicles Book #1)

Return to Me (The Restoration Chronicles Book #1) - Lynn Austin I did like this book a lot tho from what I was told about it I did expect a more in depth plot. The characters were very vivid, however, and I found myself honestly unable to put it down when I didn't have to. The Biblical quotations were from NIV so I wouldn't try to use this as a Biblical basis for study ( Yes, I know it sounds odd but I've had people ask me about that with other Biblical based novels before). Overall it was well done, more young adult in it's writing style but very good none the less.

The Girl with the Lower Back Tattoo

The Girl with the Lower Back Tattoo - Amy Schumer Ok, I can deal with the mandatory one star because Schumer tried. She really did. But what it comes down to is just a reiteration of her whole career image: "I'm fat and I act like a skank loooooolzzzzzzz don't judge me!"

I really was hoping that her book would be more of herself and less of the image that performers use but it really only echoed her standup. She makes a comic image categorizing herself as a fat,awkward slut for money only to find that she is actually like that for real.