Jul 26 2017

July Book Reviews #NewToMe2017 #DiversityBingo2017 #SpecFic #DebutAuthor

The books I finished reading in July 2017 were:

  • Everything I Never Told You
  • Cat Tales: An anthology of short stories (The Book A Break Short Story Anthology 1)
  • Space Cats from Space
  • Meandros
  • Major Arcana
  • The Brain Works: X-Train Your Brain Volume 1: Basic Warm Up (Brain Works (Sellers))

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Everything I Never Told You by Celeste Ng

5 star rating image on the blog of @JLenniDorner
#NewToMe2017 — I have not read this book or author before
#DebutAuthor — First book by this author (second coming in September)
#DiversityBingo2017 — own voices, book by author of color, LGBTQIA+ MC of color* (end), biracial MC
I won this from a BoutOfBooks 19 giveaway. Thanks, @wordsandpeace !

This debut book deserves every award it received. It’s a story about life. The book centers on a “mixed race” family as they struggle to determine what lead to the oldest daughter drowning in a lake. The story ebbs and flows back and forth through time, but it’s done to perfection. I feel that this book should be required reading, as it can give the reader a real perspective. There’s a part where a character trades a lifelong dream for reality. “This is what you have. Accept it.”

If you’ve ever wanted, needed, or tried to escape from someone in your life, or from your whole family, there’s a part of the book to which you can relate. “You could stop taking their phone calls, tear up their letters, pretend they never existed. Start over as a new person with a new life.” (It’s near the end.)

For those debating feminism (#HeForShe), there’s a line where, in 1952, the Marilyn character is told she cannot take a certain class because, “having a girl like you in the classroom would be very distracting to the boys in the class.” (Thankfully we’ve grown past this ridiculous mindset… oh wait, #fail.)

Here’s another quote in the book from way long ago:
“America was a melting pot, but Congress, terrified that the molten mixture was becoming a shade too yellow, had banned all immigrants from China.” (We no longer have a debate like this in America… oh wait, #TrumpsWall.)

There were several parts of the book that hit home for me, personally. The part where young James realizes he’s supposed to be embarrassed by questions about being different (his eyes), for example. I didn’t start out in a “standard” school. Then, when I was in one, I didn’t know or understand how often people said mean or offensive things very casually. How quick people are to jump to conclusions based on a glance at someone’s appearance. The book has a wonderful section that discusses what it feels like to look different from the majority of people around you. How one can sometimes forget for a moment, until the stares start. This is the main reason why I believe everyone should read this book.

Space Cats from Space by Nicki Ivey

5 star rating image on the blog of @JLenniDorner
#NewToMe2017 — I have not read this book before.
#SpecFic — I’m going to assume this is just speculative fiction… though… cats are sneaky.
Hellboy kitty cat meme

After stealing a peek at a friend’s copy, I bought one for myself. I love the chosen cover. This story is part romance, part comedy, and large part speculative fiction. Unless, of course, there are cats from space living among us who have far more control than we realize. (I’ve spent enough time around cats to consider that this is a possibility.) It’s an adorable story for adults who love cats. The final chapter is a rocket to heart.

The conversation with the cat in the bathroom, once she finds she can communicate with them, is hilarious and insightful.

“She would make this cup of coffee, she bargained with herself, go back to her desk, sit down, and not get back up again until she’d managed 500 words.” That’s a quote from a book that sounds like a quote from every writer I know, including myself.

One of my favorite parts:
“You wanted to turn me into some mindless drone? Some human-shaped cat puppet?”
Inky pulled his tail close to his body. “Well, not anymore,” he protested weakly.

Meandros by Sasha White

4 star rating image on the blog of @JLenniDorner
#NewToMe2017 — I have not read this book or author before.
#DiversityBingo2017 — MC with chronic pain
Looks like I just joined the mile-high erotica book club. (Ha ha.)
The story, told with flashbacks, is full of love, pain, and spirit. A character, who is a dancer, is disabled by a car crash. Though the character learns to walk again (as best as can be expected), dancing at the previous professional level is not in the cards. It’s love that gets the character through. But then there’s tragedy. The story does have, at parts, a cool setting around the ancient Greek temples (such as Poseidon’s), which is what caught my eye.

A favorite part of mine:
“He was my perfect other half. I gloried in the knowledge that, with him, I’d found the kind of love I’d given up on ever finding — bone deep and unconditional. The kind of love that made it unbearable to contemplate what life had to offer me now that (spoiler).”

(A meander or meandros (Greek: Μαίανδρος) is a decorative border constructed from a continuous line, shaped into a repeated motif.)

Major Arcana by Margo Bond Collins

4 star rating image on the blog of @JLenniDorner
#NewToMe2017 — I have not read this book or author before.
#DiversityBingo2017 — Perhaps the Free Choice square? (The Roma Gypsy people are a nomadic culture.)
#SpecFic — Gypsy magic makes this an Urban Fantasy speculative fiction story.

Excellent story! I’m a huge fan of Gypsy culture, and traveling carnivals have fascinated me for years. This story adds a speculative fiction/ urban fantasy element with some unexpected magic. I hope there are many follow-ups to this story because I enjoyed the world and this character.

Fantastic quote from the book:
“I loved the way bookstores smelled– like paper and ink and quiet.”

Goodreads= https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/34745739-major-arcana

X-train Your Brain by Corinne Gediman, Dr. Francis Crinella

4 star rating image on the blog of @JLenniDorner
#NewToMe2017 — I have not read this book or these authors before.

In the “use it or lose it” world of the brain, this book encourages the reader to get proactive about exercising the brain muscle. If the goal is to use this book daily or do it all at once and be done is not clear. (Though, once you’ve done it all, I’m not sure how beneficial redoing it would be.)

I’m 60% left brain, according to the book. The whole brain exercise section was my favorite. Is a berry larger or smaller than a grape? (https://www.livescience.com/57477-why-are-bananas-considered-berries.html) I’m not sure I guessed within the spirit of the game. But I also think that Popsicles and an orange are food, but a candle is not (the correct answer was that an orange doesn’t melt, so it’s the odd one out). And I mistakenly thought that a telescope and microscope are looked through with eyes, where as a stethoscope is used with the ears (the correct answer was that the stethoscope and microscope are medical instruments).

The book was fun and easy to read. It was easier to do than other brain training activities I’ve tried.

brain score image for @Jlennidorner

Not the first time I’ve gotten a score like this!

Cat Tales (anthology)

4 star rating image on the blog of @JLenniDorner
#NewToMe2017 — I haven’t read this book, or most of these authors, before.
#SpecFic — There were several speculative fiction stories in this.
This was a good book, especially for cat lovers. “All proceeds from the sale of this book will go to the charities Cats Protection and the Against Malaria Foundation.” I bought this book during the 2017 April A to Z challenge, largely because of the charitable donation, but also because I love cats, and because I received a bonus story from Curtis Bausse. The book has lots of color illustrations. It would make a good gift for an adult cat lover.

  • Ingrid Jendrzejewski The Cats of Tetsugaku-no-michi — It was easy to see why this story won. Excellent literary piece.
  • Aimée White Without a Reason — This story was very enjoyable and made me want to read more from this author.
  • Jill Barth What They Want — This was a very odd story.
  • David Brennan The Cats, the Box and the Paradox — This had language and themes for mature audiences. It was thought provoking.
  • Nicholas J. Parr Coffee, Whisky, Funeral — This story was sad, but very interesting.
  • Mzwandile Poncana The Babysitter — Speculative fiction with cats! Love it. Well done.
  • Sue Ranscht Cat Artist Catharsis — Another speculative fiction story. This one was creepy in a good way.
  • Alice Penfold Aftermath — This was a very unusual story.
  • Anna Graham Gerelda’s Cats — This story was sad, but it was good.
  • John Chidi Cats of the Nile — Mystery! Suspense! Egypt! Loved it.
  • Gayatri Swaminathan Cat Seekers — This well written story had a very interesting take on things.
  • Harriet Springbett Three Goddesses — I liked this story because of the Muslim lore, and the cultures of Egypt and China.
  • Katya Bozukova Daisy Cutter Danger — This captivating story was very well written.
  • Mai Black The Magician’s Cat — This story was interesting and clever.
  • Louise Cole Waifs and Strays — This enjoyable story reminded me of people who I know.
  • Michael Emmanuel Fears and Love — This was very odd.
  • Nicola Hamilton Dicky — In this story I encountered unexpected British horror reminiscent of Hitchcock.
  • Ofure Omoike On Tuesday Night — A very interesting story with excellent suspense.
  • Olivia Templeton The Postal Code Cats — Adorable cat spies were in this story.
  • Precious Mwansa The Presidents and the Dork — The ending of this story was unexpected.
  • Yvonne Payne The Cretan Cat — This was a good historical fiction. It was very sad. The point of view was a tad confusing.

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GenreSF120 #NewToMe2017 image #FlightsOfFantasy image debut author reading challenge 2017 image 50 Book Pledge book reader @JLenniDorner

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