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Book Review for My Rad Life

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Are you a kick-ass feminist? Do you know a kick-ass feminist? If you answered yes to either question, then you NEED this journal. If you answered “no” this post is not for you, and you can probably stop reading this and save yourself some time… just kidding ūüôā READ IT ANYWAY!!!

“Journaling” is really underrated. I think everyone should write down thoughts, if at least just to kill some time. It doesn’t have to win awards, and no one has to read it, but writing things down is definitely something we should all do a little more. It will make us all better people. At the end of the day, I’m all about becoming a better person. THIS journal will definitely get you there.

My Rad Life¬†offers inspirational quotes from strong, fierce women. I love the quotes. They are very inspirational without the “oh-my-god-look-how-wonderful-I-am” douchiness. I think that at any point in your day, you can pick up this journal and find something that speaks to you.

But is that all? Not only do you get inspirational quotes to help you meditate on your day, it also offers great questions to get you started on your writing. If you have nothing to write down, i’m sure you can find a question to help you get started and bring out the creative side in you.

Gifting-Season will be here before you know it! Please put this journal on your list for any feminists in your life. It is sure to be a hit! I received this book from Blogging for Books for this review, but that is NOT why I am raving about it. I truly did love this journal!

For more info, please use the links below!

 


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Review for Here and Gone by Haylen Beck

Where to begin…

This was the most suspenseful book I’ve read since ‘Salems Lot by Stephen King. I absolutely loved every moment, and I am devastated it’s over.

This book has so much to offer: a great story line, unlikely heroes, and great characters in general. I was completely hooked the moment I opened the book.

The story starts with Audra driving somewhere with her children. Who is she and why does it look like she’s fleeing from something? Before you have time to wrap your head around the situation, a revelation is made that just shook my world so violently I feared my heart had stopped. My husband can verify I was so shaken up by this I even had trouble sleeping that night.

Then we meet Danny Lee, my absolute favorite character in a very long time. Danny is a young man that has seen his share of evil, and has taken part of it as well. He’s by no means someone you would want to bring home to mom. He’s a product of his environment, but he is so much more than a common thug. He is an angel. What kind is to be determined by the reader. I love him, and I really hope to see him again in the future.

Audra has also seen her share of evil, in a different format, but nonetheless evil. Through flashbacks, we see where she came from and watch her growth. As a woman, I could feel her fears and weaknesses, but I also felt the fight in her. I felt the refusal to accept her fate, and I loved her for it. She was such a kick-ass woman, and I loved her even more for everything she endured in her earlier life. She used all that negativity to rebuild herself.

I really did love the book, but I am devastated it’s over. I cannot accept the fact that I won’t know what Audra’s future holds, and over all, I cannot accept that I won’t know more about Danny Lee. How am I supposed to get over this?!

Disclaimer: I received this book from Blogging for Books for this review.

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Book Review on Hag-Seed by Margaret Atwood

Troubled youth have a very special place in my heart. As an “urban school” student, I know first-hand that many of the teachers there have no faith in the children, and they set them up for failure. Not all, but most of the teachers think of these kids as criminals, and assume they will never get to college. With recent “reforms” in the education system, it has only continued to get worse. This is why, reading a book like Hag-Seed is so entirely refreshing and even though it is a novel, it can be truly inspiring.

Hag-Seed is the retelling of Shakespeare’s The Tempest. I have never read The Tempest, so I looked it up to read up on it before really getting into the story, but there was no need. Atwood does a wonderful job at really hashing the two stories together.

Hag-Seed tells the story of Felix, a victim of treachery, who is fired from his job as the Artistic Director of the theater. At first, I wasn’t sure whether he was sane or not, and blamed him for construing the so-called treachery in his head. After some time, Felix accepts a job as a literacy teacher at a prison under a false name. He teaches the convicts through Shakespeare and has them perform elaborate shows that gained so much recognition that it was brought up to the attention of the officials who had destroyed his life. Felix stews in his ideas of revenge for 12 years, before he is given the opportunity to act on them. As the story unravels, you begin to see the parallels in the characters, and are taken through a retelling of the story, through modern times.

Felix treats the convicts as actors, not as criminals. He earns their respect and transforms the barely-literate into Shakespeare-performing actors. The outcome is a very inspiring. It got me thinking of all that urban kids are capable of, if they have the trust of an adult who truly believes in them. Some kids never find that adult, and these convicts found their light while they were already in jail. Is Hag-Seed falsely optimistic? I don’t think so, but then again, I guess I can be an optimistic person as well.

I took a verrrryyyyy long time to read it, but I’m not sure why. It was well-written, engaging, and I really loved the retelling. 5/5

Disclaimer: I received this book from Blogging for Books in exchange for my honest review.


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Book Review on June by Beverly Miranda Whittemore

wp-1467417968055.jpgMy intentions were to finish this book before the end of June. Alas, that shipped sailed, and I just finished the last chapter. I am usually a speedy reader, but this was definitely a slow read for me. Now don’t get me wrong, I enjoyed it for many reasons, but I took a very long time to read it. I think it’s one of those books that just demands your undivided attention.

June by Miranda Beverly Whittemore is a tale told through both past and present, and sometimes narrated by the house itself. Sounds strange I know, but it works and at some point you start thinking of the house itself as just another character.

The house is called Two Oaks, and it shares the story of June. Because it is told in past AND present, we know June as a young woman and as a recently deceased grandma. The two accounts are vastly different. The young June account is told along with the story of her childhood friend, Lindie. The two girls live in a small town named St.Jude, Ohio. Their lives are turned upside down by the arrival of a Hollywood crew set to film their newest blockbuster, Erie Canal right in their hometown. Lindie scores a job on set thanks to some connections, and June manages to catch the eye of the star of the movie, Jack Montgomery. Jack and June fall in love, and their love story would be perfect were it not for Diane DeSoto. Diane is the co-star of Erie Canal, ¬†Jack’s girlfriend, and just a real hateful bitch.¬†Drama ensues.

Grandma June’s story is told through Cassie’s perspective, her granddaughter. Cassie is a pathetic 25 year old child (I refuse to call her a woman!). She inherits Two Oaks once June dies. She moves in and does absolutely nothing until the day Jack Montgomery dies and makes her the sole heir to his fortune. This infuriates Jack’s movie star daughter, Tate Montgomery. Tate is forced to hide out in Two Oaks until she can convince Cassie to take a DNA test, which Cassie refuses to do unless Tate and her entourage help her investigate what really happened between June and Jack so many ¬†decades ago. What they discover is not at all shocking, but I refuse to ruin anything.

I realize I am not selling this novel, but I really am trying to understand why I liked it as much as I did. The novel is very charming, and so richly detailed that it just transports the reader effortlessly between past and present. I really loathed the characters, especially Diane and Tate, which are one and the same as far as I’m concerned. I despised about 90% of the characters, but they were so genuine that I still managed to accept them into my stone heart. The last 100 pages were by far the best part of the book, which is really a tough thing for me to say. “Read this 400 page book. The first 300 are okay, but the last 100 will be great!” I know, it doesn’t make sense to me either. All I can say is this is the perfect example of a book so well written that the ending just did not matter. I really enjoyed the ride, and I did not at all care where I ended up. The end was satisfying, but not all that shocking. I am rating it 4/5.

I received this book from Blogging for Books for this review. Please feel free to click the below links for more information:


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Book Review on Jefferson’s America

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I am a history nerd, and early America is my favorite era to learn about. Strangely, I never had an interest in the exploration or expansion of the new country. Thanks to this book, that has changed.

I must mention that this is the most accurately titled book I have ever encountered. It is indeed about Jefferson, the effects of the Louisiana Purchase, and the brave explorers who risked their lives for the sake of knowledge. The only explorers I knew about were Lewis and Clark, and even though they were the most popular in their time as well, there were more. The book discussed the experiences of  Dunbar, Hunter, Freeman, Pike, and Lewis and Clark, but also mentioned the failed attempts of previous explorers.

What I learned upon reading this book is what truly fearless heroes these explorers were. Because borders were not defined when the Purchase was made, there was a Cold War with Spain who felt that the land was still theirs. The Spaniards were hostile and would send their military to imprison or kill the trespassers. I felt that particularly, Freeman’s mission was a direct threat to his life. I admired the bravery behind his response when warned that 1300 Spanish soldiers awaited him in the distance, “My instructions were to proceed until stopped by a superior force.” and with that gave the Natives traveling with him, the opportunity to turn back. Did he survive? Read the book to find out.

Aside from their bravery, I also love the excerpts describing their experiences with unknown people, animals and plants. In particular, I loved the description of Lewis and Clark’s encounter with Grizzly Bears. I even loved the way they handled hostile Natives who tried to instill fear in them. They were a great team that would not be cowered, and just worked well together. I loved learning a little more about them, and learning all about all these other explorers.

Their experiences all differed, but in particular one interesting shared experience was the suspension of morality and social norms. Finding themselves so far from home, these explorers did things they would never think they could do. Many found it difficult to go back home when their lives had so drastically changed.

These explorers became the new nation’s heroes. They were not people of science, they were ordinary folks. This is the American Dream and the nation loved them for allowing them to dream of becoming the next explorers. Overall, it was a great read, and I would recommend to any history buff. I received this book from Blogging for Books for this review, and I am so grateful because I would probably not have picked it up otherwise. 4.5/5.

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Book Review for Raising Cubby

I was so excited to receive¬†Raising Cubby: A Father and Son’s Adventures with Asperger’s, Trains, Tractors, and High Explosives by John Elder Robison in the mail last week!

Autism awareness has grown significantly over recent years, and most people know someone on the spectrum. There are many things we do not know yet, but research is ongoing, and there is a lot of support for the Autism community. This has not always been the case, and I think that¬†Raising Cubby¬†did an excellent job at reminding or informing us how far we’ve come as a society in regards to Autism awareness and support.

Raising Cubby¬†is John Robison’s memoir. He discusses his struggles growing up “different” in a world where he was labeled as “lazy” and “stupid” for having Asperger Syndrome. He grew up believing that he was stupid, and because he struggled in school, he dropped out once he got to high school. Robison would prove to everyone that he was not stupid by successfully making a career out of electronics. He and Mary AKA Little Bear were married young, and from the union, Jack was born, or Cubby as he was nicknamed.

It wasn’t until well into adulthood, that Robison was diagnosed as having Asperger’s. He had trouble accepting it, but once he analyzed all the traits, he recognized that it all fit. His denial soon turned to relief as he found that he finally had a label for what caused him so much grief earlier in his life. Although, this did not help seeing the signs that Cubby was also autistic. Cubby was not formally diagnosed until he was 17.

There was one thing that bothered me in this book, and this was the sexist portrayal of women. Robison claimed Little Bear had a certain role to play because she was the woman and was required to do most of the hard and dirty work involved with raising a child. While he, being King of the House, was only responsible for the fun stuff. Women were not described in a good light, but then I read a line that made me feel better. Robison wrote,

One of the key markers of Asperger’s and autism in general is blindness to the non-verbal signals of others. One of the ways that manifests itself is in self-centeredness. Folks on the autism spectrum don’t behave in a self-centered way to be mean or take advantage; they do it because they don’t “get” the signals others are sending. This trait has caused me a lot of trouble in life, and it looked like it was affecting my son the same way.

Upon reading this, I understand this is his perception of what life is. He doesn’t mean to come across as rude. It made me slightly less angry.

Overall, I really enjoyed reading this, and I greatly appreciate all he and Cubby do for the Autism community. They give hope to everyone on the spectrum, as well as the family and friends that love them. It was a very enjoyable read, and I would recommend to anyone who would like to learn a bit more about Asperger’s and Autism in general.

I received this book from Blogging for Books for this review. I would like to clarify that even though I did receive this book for free, it was only done for an honest review. If you would like more information on the book or author, please use the links below.