Wednesday, December 28, 2022

the lost girls of willowbrook by Ellen Marie Wiseman


Based on the way state schools for the mentally retarded were actually run, this is the story of Sage, a 16 year old girl who has just discovered that her twin sister, who she had been told was dead, was actually at Willowbrook State School, a facility for mentally ill children. Sage goes to find her sister, and she is mistaken for her twin sister, who was missing at the time.  Sage experiences the horrors of being incarcerated in a State School as she fights to keep her sanity and find her sister.  Because this story is based on actual conditions of State Schools in the past, the story is horrifying and heartbreaking.  

Monday, December 19, 2022

Now Is Not The Time To Panic by Kevin Wilson

I am sad that I am finished reading this book, because now I am not reading it anymore.  I so very much enjoyed it.  I love the quirkiness and all the odd details and the feelings and images in the writing as well as the story, which I can't tell or explain because then I'd ruin the experience of the readers. I shared lines from the book with my son, who needs to read it, and with an online group, and I immediately got responses from many people in that group who were touched with the quote that I shared in the same way that I had been touched.  So freaking much awesomeness!  This story is set in 1996 before the internet could spread ideas and things like wildfire, but some things still did.  Frankie and Zeke, two 16 years olds accidentally set off something so much bigger than they could have imagined.  And this is the story of how that happened. 

Thursday, November 17, 2022

The Luminaries by Susan Dennard

In this intriguing first book in a YA fantasy series, sixteen year old Winnie, who has wanted to be a Luminary hunter, hunting and killing the nightmares that plague the forest of her town of Hemlock Falls, must face the monsters as well as the people who have rejected her and her family since her father was exposed as a witch four years ago causing her family to be shunned.  Together with Jay, hot guy, bass player, hunter and an old friend, she sets out to make her dream of being a hunter come true.  However, she encounters more than she had bargained for.  This is a good book and I look forward to the next one in the series.

Sunday, October 30, 2022

Extra Witchy by Ann Aguirre

This third installment in the Fix-it Witches series features Leanne Vanderpol, a witch with political ambitions and Trevor Montgomery a handsome underachiever.  While mostly lighthearted, the book does deal with Trevor's depression and with some family issues that affect them both.  I enjoyed the growing friendships in the book and seeing how the characters were able to overcome their issues as love conquers all. 

Friday, October 21, 2022

Fired Up about Reproductive Rights by Jane Kirby


This book gives a well-researched timeline of many of the various attacks on women's reproductive rights.  It goes far beyond abortion and includes information about eugenics and population control.  I think this book is a must read for anyone who is researching these topics and it is quite timely at the moment. I listened to the audio version of the book, which is well done.

Tuesday, September 20, 2022

Playing with Myself by Randy Rainbow


I was already a fan of Randy Rainbow and this interesting and very funny memoir has made me even more of a fan of his.  I enjoyed learning about his family and the work that he put into his career.  I highly recommend the book. 

Friday, June 3, 2022

Enola Holmes and the Elegant Escapade by Nancy Springer


In this installment of the chronicles of Enola Holmes, she attempts to save her friend Lady Cecily from her father, who has taken her captive in a world where women have no rights of their own at all.  Although her brother, Sherlock, becomes involved, it is Enola who is the brains behind the escapade that includes secret codes and disguises.

Friday, April 22, 2022

The One Hundred Years of Lenni and Margot by Marianne Cronin

Lenni is seventeen years old and Margot is 83.  Together, they are 100.  They meet in a hospital where Lenni is on the terminal ward and Margot is a heart patient.  Lenni tells most of the story as first she meets Father Arthur, who she befriends and tortures with her many irreverent questions and observations. When she asks him why she is dying and he tells her that only God can answer that question, Lenni replies "That's the biggest pile of crap I have ever heard.  I'm dying here!  And I have come to one of God's designated spokespeople with a really important question, and you refer me back to him?  I tried him already, but I didn't get an answer."  Lenni's wisdom includes statemens like "Dying isn't brave,... it's accidental.  I'm not brave, I'm just not dead yet."  After meeting Margot, Lenni befriends her and together they begin an art project - to make one hundred paintings in the hospital art class - one for each year of their lives.  So Margot shares her story with Lenni and we learn about her life in bits and pieces as she shares the stories of her paintings with Lenni. The story is funny and heartbreaking and I highly recommend it.  And finally, in the words of Lenni, "putting a church inside a hospital is like looking at an oil painting to see what the weather will be like." 

Wednesday, April 20, 2022

A Face for Picasso: Coming of Age with Crouzon Syndrome by Ariel Henley

In this touching memoir, Ariel details the horrors of growing up with "Crouzon syndrome -- a rare condition where the bones in the head fuse prematurely. " She tells about the trauma and PTSD from having to have multiple surgeries throughout her life along with her twin sister, who has the same syndrome.  Along with the physical trauma they suffered the psychological trauma of being called monsters, looked upon as having lower intelligence, and of looking in the mirror and seeing a stranger after surgeries that were necessary to keep them alive and to try to make them look more "normal".  The story is well written and I highly recommend it.

Enchanting Sarah Greenberg by Jennifer Inglis

In this enchanting and very funny story, 39 year old Sarah Greenberg suddenly discovers that she can do magic.  Her family informs her that it is Magyck and that her family, on her father's side is made up of Magycians.  Combining magic and Jewish mythology, and food, the story revolves around Sarah and her Magyckal family and friends trying to save the family's magic shop from an evil woman named Zondra who wants to take over the store and it's magyckal resources.  The story is a fun, lighthearted read and I enjoyed it very much. 

Tuesday, April 19, 2022

In a Day's Work: The Fight to End Sexual Violence Against America’s Most Vulnerable Workers by Bernice Yeung


Sadly, in the US, immigrant workers are mistreated and taken advantage of daily.  Women, especially who work picking crops and in service industries as maids and in home health care, are often sexually assaulted as well.  This book details the abuses that immigrant women suffer and the movement to bring attention to and end that abuse.  The book is eye opening and rather horrifying.  In one study, it was found that "one third of the men interviewed said that they would probably force a woman into sex acts if they knew they wouldn't get caught."  A latter study showed that "male attraction to sexual violence is more common than most people had previously realized."  It was also found that this male sexual violence can be turned aside if other men speak out about it rather than joining in or ignoring it. 
Because many brave women have spoken out, there are now education and support groups to help stop sexual violence in the workplace and laws that punish companies who don't fire the men who are rapists and sexually abusive.  
This book is an excellent resource and is quite eye opening.  I highly recommend it.  

Thursday, April 7, 2022

The Magnificent Lives of Marjorie Post by Allison Pataki

This is a magnificent book about a magnificent woman!  I knew absolutely nothing about Marjorie Post before reading this book, but I have now learned a great deal about this fascinating woman whose father, C.W. Post started a cereal company that became General Foods.  Born in 1887, before women could vote or even think about running a business, Marjorie defied the odds and used her inherited and self-earned fortune to help others throughout her long and very full life.  The story details her four marriages along with her entrepreneurship, political and social life, family life and her charitable contributions to the country.  The book brings Marjorie to life and showcases her many accomplishments. 

Wednesday, March 16, 2022

Anything But Fine by Tobias Madden

I listened to the audio version of this book and I totally loved the narrator as well as the book.  It made me laugh and I came close to crying at least once.  It is a lovely story of friendship and love and hopes and dreams.  Luca is in his 11th year of school and on his way to becoming a ballet sensation when he breaks his foot and crushes his dream along with his bones.  He loses his scholarship to his school and must go to the local public school where he makes a new friend and possibly a boyfriend?  Such a fun read!  I highly recommend it.

Saturday, March 12, 2022

Boss Witch by Ann Aguirre

This second book in the series focuses on Clem and her relationship with Gavin, the witch hunter.  Clem sets out to distract Gavin from the coven, but they both fall for one another.  There is lots of steamy romance and a few plot twists in this fun, magical story.  

Wednesday, March 9, 2022

Any Sign of Life by Rae Carson

I give 3.5 stars to this YA dystopian novel.  Paige awakens from an illness to find that everyone is dead.  As she searches for other survivors, she rescues a neighbor's dog and soon she finds another survivor of what she learns seemed to be a virus that killed everyone.  They soon find out that the virus is not the only killer and struggle to survive in a post-apocalyptic world.  

Saturday, March 5, 2022

A Court of Thornes and Roses by Sarah J. Maas

This is a surprisingly captivating YA paranormal romance.  Feyre is a survivor and has hunted to keep her family alive and she must rely on her skills as a survivor in order to keep herself alive when she is captured by fairies and forced to live in their lands in order to break a curse.  The story starts out as a version of Beauty and the Beast, but manages to expand from there with intriguing characters, plot twists and steamy romance.  I can understand why the series is so popular.

Thursday, March 3, 2022

Bright Ruined Things by Samantha Cohoe


Mae, who is sometimes called Mousy Mae, has always lived on the island that is owned by the wealthy Prosper family whose fortune is built on the aether that Lord Prosper magically harvests from the spirits that live on the island.  Mae harbors an unrequited love for one of the Prosper sons while a different son is besotted with her.  When Mae finds a dead spirit as First Night approaches and becomes accidentally engaged to the wrong Prosper grandson, Mae is determined to learn magic herself and find out what is really going on.  Intrigue, romance and magic abound in this story. 

Friday, February 18, 2022

Fortuna Sworn by K.J. Sutton


With shades of A Court of Thornes and Roses, Twilight and others in this genre, this story is of a young woman with paranormal powers, who is desired by more than one male.  Fortuna is a Nightmare with the powers that go along with it and as part of an effort to save her lost brother, she makes a pact with a Fairy who, of course, desires her.  Danger, brutality and desire abound in this first book in the series. I listened to the audio book and it was well done.   

Monday, February 7, 2022

A Letter to Three Witches by Elizabeth Bass


This is a fun to read witchy romance novel with the feel of a cozy mystery.  Gwen's family has been forbidden to practice magic with the constant threat of "watchers" who will turn them in to the witches' council if any of them were to practice magic. When Gwen's adoptive sister sends a vaguely threatening letter to Gwen and her cousins, Trudy and Milo, their lives change in wild and witchy ways.  This is a laugh out loud endearing book and I highly recommend it.

Monday, January 31, 2022

The Silence by Mark Alpert


This is an intriguing conclusion to the trilogy with quite a plot twist as Adam and the other Pioneers are challenged when their program and their very existences are threatened to be shut down by the government.  Can they save themselves?  Can they save the world?

Saturday, January 29, 2022

The Ten Thousand Doors of January by Alix E. Harrow


Who doesn't want to walk through a door and go into another world?  And yet, there are always those who don't want that to happen, who don't want people to be free to imagine and experience anything that is different.  Luckily, there are people like January, who want to keep the doors open to adventure and exploration, and this is her story. 

Wednesday, January 12, 2022

The Troubled Girls of Dragomir Academy by Anne Ursu


This is a captivating story about Marya, a young girl living in a village that is under the threat of the magical "Dread", a force that kills entire villages, and is being fought off by sorcerers.  The society is very patriarchal, and Marya is sent to a school for troubled girls, where she slowly begins to make friends as she learns the truth about what is going on.

Sunday, January 9, 2022

Risen by Benedict Jacka


Alex Verus's last battle in this satisfying conclusion to the series is quite awesome! Alex and Luna want to save Anne and Vari and defeat Richard and the djinn and not get killed by the council.  There were plot twists and lots of action in this fantastic last book.