Dragon’s Bait by Vivian Vande Velde

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My son brought Dragon’s Bait home from the library and I picked it up to read one night after he’d gone to bed.  I didn’t know what to expect, and let me tell you that I was pleasantly surprised by this short novel.

In this story, Alys is accused of witchcraft and tied to a stake as an appeasement sacrifice for a dragon.  The dragon is intrigued by Alys’ pluckiness even in the face of death, and transforms into a young man so that they can talk.  He learns about why she is there and that she wants revenge on those who falsely accused her.  Selendrile (the dragon) agrees to help her.

The rest of the book follows the pair as they try to keep their identities secret, plan their revenge, and execute it against Alys’ former neighbors.  However, Alys learns that revenge tastes bitter and it leaves her feeling worse than before.  There is also a little love interest thrown in there, but it’s pretty subtle.

I’m not sure what it is exactly that makes this story so charming.  The heroine is admirable and the dragon interesting.  The two of them really make the story special.  I also like that the characters aren’t flat–they’re allowed to experience significant change when they learn important life lessons.

I would recommend this book to preteens through adults.  It’s an impressive little story that most people would enjoy.

Rating: 4 Stars

Until next time…

Lori

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The Sisterhood of the Traveling Pants – Movie 2005

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I finally got my hands on the movie adaptation of The Sisterhood of the Traveling Pants.  I really enjoyed the book as a feel-good, but still challenging coming-of-age story.  However, after seeing the movie, I think this story is better told through the book.  The story line felt very disjointed in the movie because it skips around from character to character.

The movie was alright, by my estimation.  It’s not something that kept me riveted or that I’ll ever need to see again, but one time was okay.  For the most part, the movie followed the book pretty faithfully.  The four friends were cast quite well and they all did an admirable job of portraying their characters.

There were a few liberties take with changing the story for the movie adaptation.  The biggest changes were in Lena’s story.  I didn’t particularly care for those changes, either.  In the movie they changed Kostos’ occupation to a fisherman.  They also manufactured a family feud between Lena and Kostos’ families.  In the book their families are actually trying to set them up.  I didn’t see any point to changing the story that way.

My favorite characters were Carmen (America Ferrera) and Tibby (Amber Tamblyn).  I think those two girls did an excellent job portraying their respective characters and bringing some complexity to the story.

I would recommend this movie to preteen and teen girls.  I don’t think it would interest many others.

Rated: PG

Rating: 3 Stars

Until next time…

Lori

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Confessions of a Shopaholic by Sophie Kinsella

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Confessions of a Shopaholic is another book from my Rainbow Cover Reading Challenge.  I had a false start with this book–originally starting a couple of weeks ago, but it just wasn’t clicking right away.  I set it aside and decided to come back to it at a later date.  This time I stuck with it, and thoroughly enjoyed the book!

Becky is a woman stuck in a career she doesn’t enjoy.  Both her hobby and therapy are shopping, which quickly spiral out of control.  She just can’t seem to curb her spending and ends up in deep trouble with her bank and credit card company.  Ever resourceful, Becky comes up with several schemes that will help her climb out of debt.  It isn’t until she seeks the good of others that she realizes that her own problems can be dealt with, too.

I like that this story has its hand in several pies, so to speak.  There is the story of Becky’s friendships; the story of her career; the story of her shopping; the story of her love life.  All of these facets seem to be melded and balanced quite well.  Throughout the story we get to see Becky’s truly dizzying logic, which tends to get her into hot water more often than not.  The ridiculous situations she finds herself in are hilarious and extremely cringe-worthy.  I feel like this is a great book for any woman who feels fed up with the daily grind from time to time.  Becky is a heroine you will be able to identify with!

Possible Objections:

  • A mild sexual scene
  • A sprinkling of obscenities

Rating: 4 Stars

 

Until next time…

Lori

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The Death of Bees: A Novel by Lisa O’Donnell

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The Death of Bees is my next review from my Rainbow Cover Reading Challenge.  The cover makes it look kind of nice with the pretty blues and purples, but let me tell you–this is one macabre book!

Two sisters have suffered from their parents neglect and abuse throughout their young lives.  Until one day when their parents die and the girls must learn to fend for themselves.  Not wanting to be put into foster care, they bury their parents and try to get on with life as normal.

Their neighbor, a kindly but ostracized man, sees that the girls need help and he becomes like a grandfather to them.  However, people start asking questions about where their parents are and they are in danger of being separated from the only person who has ever truly nurtured them.

I really liked this book, though it is very macabre and quite raw.  The chapters alternate between being narrated by the sisters and their neighbor, which gives an interesting view of events.  The younger sister, Nelly, has a humorous way of talking which lightens the mood even when talking about horrible things.

A couple of favorite quotes:

“She’s a nasty b**** this Fiona Mullen and is unforgivably rude to Lennie, who quite rightly tells her to go f*** herself while reminding her there is no law prohibiting him from caring for two abandoned children, but this doesn’t matter to her.  He is deemed an inappropriate guardian, whereas my parents who neglected us every day of our waking lives were always deemed appropriate guardians on account of the DNA issue.  No one wants to separate children from their parents, even when their parents are f*****-up delinquents.” (p.256)

“Birds keep chirping and music keeps playing.  Life continues as another life ebbs away.

We have seen death before, Marnie and I, a mountain of ice melting over time, drops of water freezing at your core reminding you every day of that which has vanished, but the despair we know today is a sadness sailing sorrow through every bone and knuckle.” (p. 268)

This book is based in Ireland and has Irish slang and word usage.  That could be a challenge for those who are unused to it.  Also, it incorporates themes of drugs, violence, sex, and homosexuality.  If you’re very uncomfortable with those things, you might want to skip this book.

Possible Objections:

  • Lots of bad language
  • Violence & gore
  • Sexual stuff

Rating: 4 Stars

Until next time…

Lori

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Honeymoon by James Patterson & Howard Roughan

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Honeymoon is the next book from my Rainbow Cover Reading Challenge.  I’m nearing the end!  This book was the one that I wasn’t sure about.  I had never read any James Patterson before, so I didn’t know what to expect.  Spoilers below!

This book is a mild thriller about a black widow type woman and the FBI agent who is trying to figure out whether or not she’s a killer.  Basically that is all that the story encompasses.  The woman, Nora, is virtually irresistible and has a knack for drawing men into her web before dispensing with them.  O’hara is the FBI agent who goes undercover to infiltrate Nora’s inner circle and ascertain her culpability.  The only problem–O’hara finds himself drawn into her web, just like the men before him.  Will O’hara escape Nora’s clutches?  Read the book to find out!

Unfortunately, I wasn’t crazy about this book.  I finished it because the story was brisk enough to keep my attention, but it won’t be getting any awards for quality literature.  The dialogue was often a series of witty rejoinders, sometimes entire conversations.  It seemed a bit fake to me.  Also, I found the premise unbelievable.  I understand that it’s a thriller and not meant to be very realistic, but could one woman really maintain how many different relationships and a busy career?  She was a bit too wonder-woman for me.  My last criticism might seem trivial, but if you read the book you will probably notice it, too.  There are a ton of product and brand mentions in this book.  As an example, these are the brand mentions and name drops from chapters 1 and 2: Dockers, Evian, Ferragamo, Eleish-Van Breems, New Canaan Antiques, the Silk Purse, the Cellar, Monet, Thomas Cole, Magritte, J. P. Morgan, Castro, Richard Nixon, New York School of Interior Design, Le Cordon Bleu, Polo, Amstel Light, Smith and Wollensky, Graeters, Tiffany, Dom Pérignon, Jack Daniel’s.  It’s like they’re trying to convince us of the awesomeness and wealth of these people by telling us about the brands they buy and whose furnishings they own.  (Or could they be paid product placements?) Sigh.

I don’t really recommend this book, but I suspect it might appeal more to the male population.

Possible Objections:

  • Bad language
  • Violence
  • Sexual scenes

Rating: 1 Star

 

Until next time…

Lori

Little Bee: A Novel by Chris Cleave

Little Bee

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I finished Little Bee last night, another book from my Rainbow Cover Reading Challenge.  This is the book that had a very non-specific blurb on the back, so I had no idea what to expect.  My review will give away some of the plot, so stop reading now if you’d rather not know before reading it for yourself.

How to start?  This story is about a married couple and how their lives intersect with that of a young Nigerian girl.  Something quite horrific happens on a Nigerian beach, and it changes the course of all of their lives.  Fast-forward a couple of years, and Little Bee, the Nigerian girl, finds her way into this family’s life once again.  Tragedy strikes again, and the two women must find a way to uphold and help one another.

Towards the end of the book things seem as if they will turn out alright, but we’re left with a sinking feeling at the end of the book.  I can’t give you a lot of details because that will totally ruin the plot line for you, even though I really do want to discuss it in more depth.

The characters in this story are great!  Just when you think you have somebody figured out, you find out that there is another facet to their personality.  It’s never a question of who is good and who is bad.  It’s a matter of which traits they are displaying at any given time.

The writing itself alternates between the two main female characters.  This is a really nice literary device that helps the reader see the story from different angles and gain understanding about what makes each character tick.

I also like how the story explores the theme of illegal immigration, refugees and detention centers in the UK.  The author stated that the inspiration for this novel came from the real-life story of an illegal immigrant from Angola.  When he and his son were going to be deported back to their country, the father hanged himself so that his son wouldn’t be sent back (according to a law in the UK, which prevents unaccompanied minors from being deported).

I had one nitpick about the story, when it comes to the part where they are driving around Nigeria.  (My husband lived there for several years and I visited there for about a month.) It says that the women would leave their hotel in the morning, drive into the south and return to their hotel at night.  First, driving in Nigeria is not that simple.  It might be okay in Abuja, but once you get outside of a large city, the roads can be quite treacherous and slow-going.  It’s also not feasible that they could simply drive around where ever they wanted.  They were not accompanied by a man (asking for trouble), and there are actually checkpoints along the roads which are manned by soldiers.  So, that part of the story wasn’t very accurate.  Not a major issue, but it just stood out to me.

A favorite quote:

“On the girl’s brown legs there were many small white scars.  I was thinking, Do those scars cover the whole of you, like the stars and the moons on your dress?  I thought that would be pretty too, and I ask you right here please to agree with me that a scar is never ugly.  That is what the scar maker wants us to think.  But you and I, we must make an agreement to defy them.  We must see all scars as beauty.  Okay?  This will be our secret.  Because take it from me, a scar does not form on the dying.  A scar means, I survived.”  (p. 9)

I would recommend this book to adults who enjoy exploring social justice issues through the medium of a fictional work.  Sometimes that’s a good way to look at difficult issues. You know it isn’t a real person you have to pity, but you still get the underlying social message that the book is trying to convey.

Possible Objections:

  • Some violence
  • Some language
  • Some sexual themes

Rating: 4 Stars

Until next time…

Lori

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The Sisterhood of the Traveling Pants by Ann Brashares

Sisterhood Traveling Pants 1

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Sisterhood of the Traveling Pants is the second book I’ve read from my Rainbow Cover Reading Challenge.  It’s a moving and emotionally complicated book which focuses on four friends who are coming of age.

The friends are spending their summer apart, but staying connected through a pair of magical pants.  The pants rotate between the girls, helping them to do whatever needs to be done in that moment.  Some of the girls gain courage, some gain maturity, some take risks.  The point is that the pants help the girls remember their friends’ support and infuse them with extra confidence to do what is necessary in their particular circumstances.

The girls experience everything from work issues to death, complicated family relationships to boy issues.  I like how the situations are not cheapened by coming up with nicely packaged and processed resolutions.  The reader is allowed to sit in some uncertainty about how things will ultimately turn out for the girls (Of course, this could simply be a plot device that sets us up for the next book.)

The narrative skips around to the different girls throughout each chapter, so that can get a little confusing.  There are no headers to alert you to the changes.  The characters were mostly likable, but not complex enough to make me truly attached to them.  It could just be that they were adolescents and their behavior/thought life were a bit erratic.  Goodness knows that would be true to reality.

The one thing that I really loved about this novel was that the story encompassed a lot of different issues and emotions associated with a young girl coming of age.  It’s a complex time of life for young ladies and I feel like this novel would help them to feel a little bit normal.  I don’t know about you, but my middle and high school years were not a piece of cake.  I think I would have benefited from hearing the message that these emotions are normal and it’s okay not to have all your spit together.  We’ll swap excrement for oral secretions, okay?  You might also like to know that I cried towards the end.

A favorite quote from the book:

“Maybe happiness was just a matter of the little upticks–the traffic signal that said ‘Walk’ the second you got there–and downticks–the itchy tag at the back of your collar–that happened to every person in the course of a day.  Maybe everybody had the same allotted measure of happiness within each day.

Maybe it didn’t matter if you were a world-famous heartthrob or a painful geek.  Maybe it didn’t matter if your friend was possibly dying.

Maybe you just got through it.  Maybe that was all you could ask for.” (p.282)

With all that being said, I would recommend this book to teen and preteen girls.  I think they’ll enjoy and identify with it most.

Possible Objections:

  • A bit of bad language
  • One sexual encounter, though it’s extremely vague (I had to read between the lines to understand that it had even occurred)

 Rating: 4 Stars

 

Until next time…

Lori

 

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The Fault in Our Stars by John Green

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Huzzah–The Fault in Our Stars is the last book from my Friends & Family Top Picks Reading Challenge!  I’m glad to have finished the challenge (enjoyed it thoroughly) and am looking forward to working on the next one.  On to the book…

 Can I start off by saying that this is an amazing book?  Oh, I can?  Well then…whatever.  No need to repeat myself.  It’s hard to put into words what makes this book so awesome.  The characters are completely lovable, despite seeing their flaws, insecurities and brokenness.  Their difficult circumstances make me want to root for them 100%.  And it just seems like an epic story.  One of those stories that melts your heart and shapes it into something a little bit different from how it started.

I really don’t want to ruin this story for you, so I’ll stick to generalities in my analysis.  The story revolves around two main characters, Hazel and Augustus.  Each of them has/is still having a brush with cancer and they meet at a support group.  They grow close to one another and in the midst of this closeness, they truly transform one another’s lives.  Plot-wise, there isn’t a ton of major action in this book.  There are hospital stays and a little bit of travel, but most of the story stays close to home.  It’s set among a limited cast of characters.  I think that this closeness in telling the story allows the reader to become more attached to the story.  It starts to feel like you are one of the bystanders experiencing the situation from the periphery.

The ending will have to remain a secret in this post.  I can’t rob somebody of the satisfaction of reading it for themselves.  I will say that it was satisfying, for me personally.  The Fault in Our Stars helped me empathize more with those who have been touched by cancer.  In other ways I feel like it has made me a better person.  It speaks to the significance of human life, examining what makes a life lived worthwhile.  Read the book to find out the conclusion that the book arrives at on that particular subject.

I would recommend the book for teens and up.  If you’ve already read it, please let me know what you thought!

Possible Objections:

  • A little bit of bad language
  • A mild sexual scene

Rating: 5 Stars

 

Until next time…

Lori

 

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Precious – Movie 2009

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Last night I watched Precious, the movie based on Sapphire’s novel entitled Push.  I won’t tell you too much about the plot, but comment more on how the movie compares to the book.  As stated in my book review, this is a difficult story to digest.  It’s very raw–the language, the subject matter, and the delivery. I was somewhat scared to see the film version, fearing that seeing the visual representation of this story would be too intense to stomach.

The first thing that needs addressing is how they handled Precious being sexually assaulted by her dad.  This could have been truly terrifying to see on the screen.  I like that they chose to film it the way they did, with just a few clips of related imagery and then quickly breaking away to Precious’ daydream (which is how she coped).  The assault didn’t get too much screen time (certainly not nearly as much coverage as it did in the book) which helps to cement the idea that this story is really about who Precious is as a person.  She isn’t defined by what happens to and around her.

Which brings us to the actress who played Precious, Gabourey Sidibe.  This young woman did an amazing job playing a very difficult role.  I was convinced that she was Precious.  The range of emotions and situations her role encompassed was rather staggering.

Precious’ mother was a truly despicable character, and I’m blown away by how masterfully Mo’Nique acted out her part.  In particular, I was surprised by her breakdown at the end in front of the social worker.  It helped me to understand her character better, though it still didn’t make me like her any better.  (This was also one of the worst, as in most uncomfortable, scenes I’ve ever had to watch in a movie.  I’m glad that they kept her mother’s sexual assault out of the limelight for almost all of the move.  It was just too much to handle, I felt.)  As a side note, the overly heartfelt and apologetic confession/apology of her mother’s was mostly fabricated for the movie.  Precious never got any such heartfelt apology in the book that would help her gain some closure.  They also prematurely returned Mongo to her, but let’s not split hairs.

There was a bit of free license taken with the movie, but I don’t think any of it materially detracted from the story.  You will still get the same raw, intense story that is folded between the pages of the book.

I would highly suggest that you watch the interviews with Sapphire and the movie’s director in the bonus features to learn more about how this story came to be.  It is eye-opening.

Because of the intense and awful things contained in this story, I recommend it to adults.  Be forewarned–you will be uncomfortable!

Possible Objections:

  • A lot of bad language
  • Violence
  • Sexual assault of a child

Rated: R

Rating: 3 1/2 Stars

 

Until next time…

Lori

 

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Stiff: The Curious Lives of Human Cadavers by Mary Roach

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The book Stiff is a fascinating compilation of author Mary Roach’s research on the human cadaver.  This isn’t just your average list of facts and figures, but an in-depth exploration about the many different situations a cadaver can find itself in once its animating essence has flown away.  So, let’s talk about the second-to-last book in my Friends & Family Top Picks Reading Challenge.

We shall begin with the topics covered in this book.  They are extremely wide-ranging and I really had no idea that there were so many things that could happen to a person’s body after they died.  There are sections about plastic surgery, dissection, early anatomists and body snatching, the study of human decay, embalming, car impact studies, army research, the shroud of Turin, organ harvesting, the use of cadavers for medicinal purposes, cannibalism, composting cadavers, and plastinated cadavers.

Firstly, I am a bit squeamish about things like human cadavers.  Secondly, I’m even more squeamish when somebody starts talking about cutting them open, etc.  With that being said, I was able to make it through the entire book.  Mary Roach has a wonderful gift for making this subject matter palatable by injecting just the right amount of humor when things get too uncomfortable.

As for the information she shared about cadavers, it was absolutely fascinating.  Mary did a very thorough job of researching the subject and sharing it with readers in a cohesive, logical and entertaining manner.  I know much more about cadavers than I ever thought I would care to know, but I feel better for knowing it.  As strange as that may sound, this book made me realize how important it is to understand the end of our lives, just as we would seek to understand any stage between conception and death.

I’d also like to share a couple of my favorite quotes from the book which highlight Mary’s style of writing:

“And ever since, the U.S. Army has gone confidently into battle, knowing that when cows attack, their men will be ready.” (p. 134)

“He is telling me about the pine beetle epidemic in the area.  I point to a stand of dead conifers in the woods a quarter mile back behind the target.  ‘Like over there?’  Scottie says no.  He says they died of bullet wounds, something I never knew pine trees could do.” (p.140-141)

I highly recommend this book to adult readers who are not overly offended (or disgusted) by a frank discussion about the human body after death.  You will be utterly fascinated by this book.

If you’ve already read Stiff, please let me know what you thought of it!

Rating: 5 Stars

Until next time,

Lori

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Unglued: Making Wise Choices in the Midst of Raw Emotions by Lysa TerKeurst

Unglued - WM

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Here’s another book from my Friends & Family Top Picks Reading Challenge.  I finished this book the other day, after going through it at a pace that was a little quicker than I would have liked.  I think this kind of book is best processed when you can go through it slowly, taking time to think about and implement the practices between chapters.

Unglued is a book that aims to help women deal with their raw emotions and figure out better ways to react to trying situations.  Lysa talks about how women can come unglued when they are put under trying circumstances, but that they don’t have to react in destructive ways.  According to Lysa, there are four reaction types: stuffer that builds barriers, stuffer that collects retaliation rocks, exploder that shames herself, and exploder that blames others.  The ideal emotional reaction that she wants readers to experience is called “soul integrity”.

I definitely relate to what Lysa is talking about when it comes to raw emotional reactions.  And I can see how I react in the ways she talks about, though it can be different depending on who or what I’m reacting to.  Unglued gave me a few reminders about different ways to deal with my emotions and how I can deal with trying situations in a more healthy manner.  So that part was good.

I’ll confess though, it wasn’t the most interesting read.  The writing style was not terribly impressive and seemed a little unpolished at times.

One other thing you should know is that Lysa’s examples deal with annoyances that are rather trivial.  She doesn’t talk about more serious situations such as betrayal, assault, etc.  Those situations create more intense and prolonged feelings which need to be dealt with in more depth and treated a bit differently.  That’s just my own belief.

I would recommend this book to women who find themselves getting annoyed at the petty things in life.  Whether you stuff or explode, there are some insights here that will probably help you deal with your emotions in a more positive manner.

Rating: 2 Stars

Until next time…

Lori

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Thrift Store – Fantasy Reading Challenge #1

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When the kids and I were at the thrift store about a week ago, I had the bright idea to do a reading challenge based on the books I found there.  I went for both a fantasy challenge and a sci-fi challenge (which I will document later).  It seems like thrift stores carry a good number of fantasy and sci-fi titles, some of them being unique finds.

Based on my made-up rules, I could only choose novels from the adult section, and they could only be from a series if they were the first.  It wouldn’t make much sense to read book #2 in a four-part series, if I hadn’t already read the first book.  Picking the books out took longer than I anticipated because there were so many that were part of a series.

In the end, I came up with the stack you see above.  I don’t know what to expect of these books, but I’m optimistic about a couple of them.

Let me know if you’ve read any of these titles and what you thought of them.  Later!

READING LIST:

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Thrift Store Fantasy Reading Challenge #1

November 9: A Novel by Colleen Hoover

November 9

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November 9 is the second book I’ve read from my Friends & Family Top Picks – Reading Challenge.  I had never heard of Colleen Hoover and had no idea what to expect of this novel.  I’m not usually a fan of popular fiction, but was willing to give it a try for the sake of a friend.  You should know that I will give away some of the plot in my review.

Fallon is the female lead in the story.  She suffered major burns in a house fire when she was sixteen and bears the scars over a good portion of the left side of her body.  Her acting career went down the tubes when her good looks became marred, and now she is just trying to figure out how to get on with her life and career.  Fallon believes that Broadway might be her ticket, so she decides to move to New York.  She meets her father at a restaurant to tell him about this new plan, but he isn’t impressed and ridicules her idea.  A stranger (Ben) from the next booth over comes to Fallon’s aid when he acts like her boyfriend and defends her dreams.  This results in a blow-up with dad and the fake couple spending the day together because they just click.

I’ll start off by saying that the premise of the book is interesting.  The main characters have a seemingly chance meeting on November 9, really hit it off, and agree to meet on November 9 for the next five years.  Interesting.  Ben is a writer and they agree that this arrangement will help provide material for his first book.  As the years go by, things become more complicated.  Ben and Fallon fall in love with each other, but feel like they need to stick to the original plan so that Ben’s book can come to fruition.  That’s the story in a nutshell, but there is a lot more to it.  I just don’t want to share all the details.

There is another line to the plot that I’m hesitant to share with you because it really brings all of the pieces together.  Suffice it to say that there is something from their past which closely links the two main characters and makes their love story seem like it was meant to be.  You’ll have to read it to find out what that “something” is.

I enjoyed the book and it kept me interested (for the most part).  I wasn’t crazy about the abundance of talk about Fallon’s body.  Yes, I get it that Ben was attracted to her, but how many times do I have to hear about her anatomy?  Some of it was also a bit crass.  I also felt there was too much swearing and that it didn’t materially add anything to the narrative.

If you’re looking for a love story with a twist and aren’t highly offended by sex or language, you might just enjoy this book.  I wouldn’t recommend it to young people because I’m a bit of a prude, but it seems like a story that is aimed at them.

Possible Objections:

  • Foul language — a fair bit of it
  • Sexually explicit descriptions and language

 Rating: 3 Stars

Until next time…

Lori

Push: A Novel by Sapphire

Push

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Here’s the first book from my Rainbow Cover Reading Challenge!

I feel like I just got run over by a semi.  Push is so intense that you will probably need some time to recover from the story, just like I did.  If you can make it through, you will find an amazing story of healing and restoration.

This is the story of a young girl named Precious, told as she attempts to cope with and eventually leave an extremely abusive home.  She has been horrifically abused by both her mother and father since she was a small child.  As she gets a bit older and gains some confidence from the moral support she receives in her alternative classroom, Precious begins to stand up for herself.  She is able to escape her abusive situation and begin to make a new life and future for her son and herself.

I’ve only scratched the surface of what this book is about, but I’ve said enough to give you the general idea.  I cannot fully describe the book because it is so uniquely its own.  If you want to know all the details, you’ll just have to read it for yourself.

Now that I’ve finished Push, I’m glad that I did.  It’s not a book that I will ever want to revisit, though.  As a foster mom, I feel like it’s given me some amazing insight into what foster children may have faced, where their thinking and reactions might come from, and how a messed up home environment can cripple a child in all areas of their life.  For anyone who has to deal with foster children or children who have been abused on a regular basis, this book would make a good case study.

As a side note, I went in search of more information about the author, wanting to know if this story was purely made up or if it had some basis in her past experiences.  It turns out that Sapphire had been a remedial reading teacher in Harlem and started writing this story back then.  She met young, overweight black women who felt awful about themselves; she had a student who admitted that she had had children by her father.  This isn’t all made up people–it’s based in somebody’s reality.

I would only recommend this book to adults who have a good reason to read it, because of the huge amount of inappropriate stuff it contains.  I told my husband that as soon as I finished the book it would be going right out the door.  I did not want my kids getting their hands on it.

Possible Objections:

  • A ton of swearing, racial epithets, derogatory terms
  • A lot of sexually explicit material and language
  • Violence
  • Adult themes

 Rating: 3 1/2 Stars

 

Until next time…

Lori

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