Note about my Reviews

Dear Authors: The reviews in this blog are only personal opinions. I have absolutely no background in literature, writing or reviewing. I am a Librarian (actually a Library Technician for those who care OR know the difference) with a love for a good story. The opinions in the reviews are ONLY my OPINIONS. I am not commenting on the writers ability since well -- I am not a writer and never will be. If you are the author of any of the books reviewed here, my opinion is just that and not a judgment against you!

Tuesday, May 31, 2016

Rapid Fire Review: Whiskey Tango Foxtrot by Kim Barker

Whiskey Tango Foxtrot (Original title The Taliban Shuffle)
 by Kim Barker
Anchor Books (Penguin Random House)
ISBN: 978-1-101-97312-7

DescriptionKim Barker is not your typical, impassive foreign correspondent—she is candid, self-deprecating, laugh-out-loud funny. At first an awkward newbie in Afghanistan, she grows into a wisecracking, seasoned reporter with grave concerns about our ability to win hearts and minds in the region. In The Taliban Shuffle, Barker offers an insider’s account of the “forgotten war” in Afghanistan and Pakistan, chronicling the years after America’s initial routing of the Taliban, when we failed to finish the job. 

When Barker arrives in Kabul, foreign aid is at a record low, electricity is a pipe dream, and of the few remaining foreign troops, some aren’t allowed out after dark. Meanwhile, in the vacuum left by the U.S. and NATO, the Taliban is regrouping as the Afghan and Pakistani governments floun­der. Barker watches Afghan police recruits make a travesty of practice drills and observes the disorienting turnover of diplomatic staff. She is pursued romantically by the former prime minister of Pakistan and sees adrenaline-fueled col­leagues disappear into the clutches of the Taliban. And as her love for these hapless countries grows, her hopes for their stability and security fade. 

Swift, funny, and wholly original, The Taliban Shuffleunforgettably captures the absurdities and tragedies of life in a war zone

The Good Stuff
  • Intriguing opening chapter
  • Fascinating women,  I loved her dry, sarcastic and self deprecating humour
  • Learned a lot about Afghanistan and Pakistan.  Such a fascinating and outwordly place.  As an ignorant white middle class women, it seems like a hell I would never want to visit.  Barker helps you understand the culture and the history. Still not on my bucket list, but I am intrigued now.  But again I just want to smack them upside the head about their need for revenge.
  • Wild to know that a man trained as a surgeon would make more money at being a Fixer than as a Doctor.  (Farouq)
  • Found myself wanting to learn about NATO and how effective they actually are 
The Not So Good Stuff
  • Choppy and the flow of the story was just off for me.  Note though I read most of it on public transportation which can be distracting at times.
  • You can tell she is American
  • I really think this part of the world should be forced to watch the episode of Doctor Who called "The Zygon Inversion" over and over until the idea about forgiveness sinks in (ok this has nothing to do with the book - but still think it holds true!)
Favorite Quotes/Passages

"Male Ethnic Pashtuns loved flowers and black eyeliner and anything fluorescent or sparkly, maybe to make up for the beige terrain that stretched forever in Afghanistan, maybe to look pretty"

I knew why. Afghanistan seemed familiar  It had jagged blue-and-purple mountains, big skies and bearded men in pickup trucks loaded with guns and  hate of the government  It was just like Montana-just on different drugs."

"An ass grab was about humiliation and, of course, the feeling of some men in the country that Western women needed sex like oxygen, and that if a Pakistani man just happened to put himself in her path or pinch her when the sex urge came on, he'd get lucky.  I blame Hollywood."

"But somehow, where skills, talent and perseverance had failed, my unremarkable ass had delivered."

“I had seen more death—the tsunami, two different earthquakes. But I could somehow understand natural disasters. This was a human disaster, and I couldn’t make sense of the hate.” 

3 Dewey's

I reviewed this because  Cammy recommended it and I always read what he suggests.  

Rapid Fire Review: Winter by Marissa Meyer

Winter (The Lunar Chronicles, #4)Winter by Marissa Meyer
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

A fabulous conclusion to an incredible crafted series. This one was fast paced and incredibly hard to put down. Plenty of action, witty banter and just hands down one of my favorite teen series. Enjoyed this series as all of the characters were richly developed, flawed and very human - even Iko. I am seriously going to miss the dialogues between Thorne -- and well every one of the characters. Such a delightful rogue. Also I really enjoyed how Cress developed as a character, feel quite the connection to her, well cuz she was me at that age -- well a lot prettier, but other than that - she was me. One complaint, I think we need a Kinney store asap.

Favorite Quotes

“Yeah, but broken isn't the same as unfixable.”

“Thorne scoffed. “Careful is my middle name. Right after Suave and Daring.”
“Do you even know what you're saying half the time?” asked Cinder.”

“My point is that I am going to figure this out, like I always do. First, we’re going to find a way to get into Artemisia. We’re going to find Cress and rescue Cinder and Wolf. We’re going to overthrow Levana, and by the stars above, we are going to make Cinder a queen so she can pay us a lot of money from her royal coffers and we can all retire very rich and very alive, got it?"

Winter started to clap. "Brilliant speech. Such gumption and bravado."

"And yet strangely lacking in any sort of actual strategy," said Scarlet.

"Oh, good, I'm glad you noticed that too," said Iko. "I was worried my processor might be glitching.”


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Monday, May 30, 2016

Rapid Fire Review: Fairest by Marissa Meyer

Fairest (The Lunar Chronicles, #3.5)Fairest by Marissa Meyer
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

An intriguing look into Levana's past. I still don't much like her, but this story give an understanding in how she became who she is. Such a devastating story of love and loss and as a parent very hard to understand how one can ignore and not love a child. Interesting to note the discussions you could have about nurture vs nature, as Cinder's mom is such an almost irredeemable character and from what we have seen from the rest of the series, her stepmother also so almost irredeemable, how did Cinder turn out to be such a brave and wonderful women. Also from this installment you start to feel a little sympathy for Levana and can understand, just a little, that she really feels she is doing the right thing.

Favorite Quotes/Passages

“Why is it always a prince?” asked Winter. “Why isn’t she ever saved by a top-secret spy? Or a soldier? Or a … a poor farm boy, even?”
“I don’t know. That’s just how the story was written.” Evret brushed back a curl of Winter’s hair. “If you don’t like it, we’ll make up a different story tomorrow night. You can have whoever you want rescue the princess.”
“Like a doctor?”
“A doctor? Well—sure. Why not?”
“Jacin said he wants to grow up to be a doctor.”
“Ah. Well, that’s a very good job, one that saves more than just princesses.”
“Maybe the princess can save herself.”
“That sounds like a pretty good story too.”


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Rapid Fire Review: Cress by Marissa Meyer

Cress (The Lunar Chronicles, #3)Cress by Marissa Meyer
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

This is hands down my favorite of this series so far. Lots of Thorne, who to me is sooo Han Solo material (my first love) A total anti-hero, who develops so beautifully. Now I know a lot of girls will get frustrated with Cress, because she is such a dreamer. But OMG I loved her, though now that I am in my 40's I did want to smack her upside the head a little for being such a wuss. But I so identified with her, because I was such a Cress at her age. The things she says and does reminds me oh so painfully of my teenage years. I was Cress! Ok, a so much more boring and unattractive version, but oh so painfully similar. For those who know me at that age, I have two words for you. MIKE TINKER. LOL! This installment is perfectly paced, filled with plenty of action, and humour and such incredible world building. Some interesting mortal and ethical questions as well. I was truly disappointed at the end of this one, because I wanted more and I knew it was going to be a couple of days till I could read the next story. Yes I know it must have been hard for you who had to wait a longer time than I did for the next story. Also, I think the saddest thing in my life right now is that Iko, isn't real. My god I love that little firebrand. She really gets the best quotes. Pure delight, I cannot wait for more -- oh wait I have already finished the rest of the series and it is fabulous - holy crap how far am I behind in these reviews

Favorite Quotes

“I’m not convinced that you fully grasp the situation here, Cress. We will be eaten. Alive. By vultures. Can you visualize that for a second?”
“Y-yes. Vultures. I understand.”
“Good. Because I need you. And those are not words that I throw around every day. Now, are you going to be all right?”


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Girl's On Fire by Robin Wasserman

Girl's On Fire
by Robin Wasserman
HarperCollins
ISBN: 978-0-06-249194-7
Buy from Indigo

Description:  Girls on Fire tells the story of Hannah and Lacey and their obsessive teenage female friendship so passionately violent it bloodies the very sunset its protagonists insist on riding into, together, at any cost. Opening with a suicide whose aftermath brings good girl Hannah together with the town's bad girl, Lacey, the two bring their combined wills to bear on the community in which they live; unconcerned by the mounting discomfort that their lust for chaos and rebellion causes the inhabitants of their parochial small town, they think they are invulnerable.

But Lacey has a secret, about life before her better half, and it's a secret that will change everything...
The Good Stuff

  • Intriguing, Started this one at 9:00pm and it was almost midnight before I forced myself to put it down.  Finished it the next day because I couldn't put it down -- sorry family for the messy house and the late dinner 
  • Angst y coming of age story, with an intriguing mystery. Brilliant writing, poetic, yet raw
  • Felt a real connection to Dex, as we have many similar characteristics
  • Fabulous opening chapter, really sets the mood for the whole story.  The following line, really embodies the story. "Nobody special, two nobodies. Except that together, they're radioactive; together they glow."
  • This is a brutal, in your face story about a toxic, yet strangely beautiful friendship, between two damaged souls
  • Again I would like to mention the authors incredible gift with words. Poetic, yet vulgar. So very rich and raw.  The opening chapter really embodies the fire that burns so bright in the young
  • Really feel this will appeal to women in their 20's-30's  

The Not So Good Stuff

  • As a grown women, and mom, I wanted to slap these girls upside the head
  • Really depressive look at being a parent, felt the author was condescending towards parents in small towns 
  • Understandable and satisfying ending, but I can't say I liked it.  I just felt depressed at the end. Not a judgement on the authors incredible talent, just as I have mentioned thousands of times before I base my review on MY enjoyment of the story and I like a story with HOPE in it

Favorite Quotes/Passages

"I'd filed the dream of a best friend away with my Barbies and the rest of my childish things, and given up expecting Battle Creek to supply me with anything resembling a soul mate. Which is to say, I'd been lonely for sol long, I'd forgotten tat I was."

"People like to believe they're beautiful and smart and funny-special. They'll never like the person whose face reveals the truth."

"I was a stranger in a strange land. I  was an orphan, abandoned, and found and saved, until I closed the book, and was lost all over again."

I received this from HarperCollins in exchange for an honest review

4 Dewey's

Rapid Fire Review: The Taxidermist's Daughter by Kate Mosse

The Taxidermist's DaughterThe Taxidermist's Daughter by Kate Mosse
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Rapid Fire Review

So I am totally behind in reviews, so behind and unorganized I cannot even find the notes on who sent me this one for review. I know. I know, bad little reviewer. This was an intriguing story that hooked me from the opening chapter. I'm not going to lie, I was a little grossed out by the descriptions of the Taxidermy, but I personally just don't get the appeal of taxidermy. Nothing against the practice, its just something I don't get. That being said the writing was gorgeous and the characters intriguing. Its been months since I read this one, but I still remember everything about it, so that says something about the story and the writing, as well quite frankly I cannot even tell you what I had for breakfast this morning. The author has obviously done extensive research and you can really tell she was fascinated about the subject matter. The mood of the story was haunting and made me shiver. Had a wonderful gothic feel, that reminded me of some of the Victoria Holt books I read as a young adult. I felt immersed in the story and disjointed from reality when I had to get back to real life. This is a perfect one for a cold winters night

Favorite Quotes/Passages

"Taxidermy is a craft. More than anything, it is about beauty. Preserving beauty, representing beauty, about finding a way to capture the essence of a bird or a an animal."

"In his short life, he learned how to be knocked down and get back on his feet again. He'd also discovered that sometimes it was better to keep out of the way. Live to fight another day."


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