Wednesday, January 30, 2019

15. The Gentleman's Guide to Vice and Virtue by MacKenzi Lee - BAILED!!

Montague Siblings #1
read on my iPhone
2017, Katherine Tegen Books
513 pgs. (read 40%, about 205 pgs.)
YA Fantasy
Stopped reading on Wednesday, January 30, 2019
Goodreads rating:  415 - 48,970 ratings
My rating:  2

First line/s:  "On the morning we are to leave for our Grand Tour of the Continent, I wake in bed beside Percy."

My comments:  Bailed at about 40 percent.  Couldn't stand the protagonist, and the bits of humor that were fun were definitely not enough to gloss over my eye-rolling dislike of this dolt ---not worth my time.

Goodreads synopsis:  Henry “Monty” Montague was born and bred to be a gentleman, but he was never one to be tamed. The finest boarding schools in England and the constant disapproval of his father haven’t been able to curb any of his roguish passions—not for gambling halls, late nights spent with a bottle of spirits, or waking up in the arms of women or men.
          But as Monty embarks on his Grand Tour of Europe, his quest for a life filled with pleasure and vice is in danger of coming to an end. Not only does his father expect him to take over the family’s estate upon his return, but Monty is also nursing an impossible crush on his best friend and traveling companion, Percy.
          Still it isn’t in Monty’s nature to give up. Even with his younger sister, Felicity, in tow, he vows to make this yearlong escapade one last hedonistic hurrah and flirt with Percy from Paris to Rome. But when one of Monty’s reckless decisions turns their trip abroad into a harrowing manhunt that spans across Europe, it calls into question everything he knows, including his relationship with the boy he adores.

Monday, January 28, 2019

14. The Precipice by Paul Doiron

#6 Mike Bowditch, Maine Game Warden
listened to Audio (9:23)  borrowed from TPPL
read by Henry Levya
2015 Minotaur Books
322 pgs.
Adult Mystery
Finished 1/28/2019
Goodreads rating: 4.01- 1998 ratings
My rating:  4
Setting: Appalachian Trail area in Northern Maine, September

First line/s:  "There is a sign at the southern entrance to the Hundred Mile Wilderness.  It is made of rust brown wood and painted with white letters, and it sends a stern and unmistakable warning to all who enter:"

My comments:  Excellent mystery, wonderful setting, with all sorts of well-written description. The Appalachian Trail has always fascinated me, and Steve and I used to take many Sunday or weekend drives to the areas near the setting - Monson, Greenville, Dover-Foxcroft.  Love the area.
           I'd forgotten how disconcerted I was last time I listened to one of these, because of the many mispronunciations the reader had.  I can't believe that these aren't corrected/edited - either by a thoughtful editor doing their job, or even the author.  Perhaps he's never listened to his works read aloud?  I think he'd be really annoyed!   Piscataquis, coyote, Bangor, Augusta, and even BOWDITCH are said wrong over and over and over again.  So frustrating for a Mainer to hear, yuck!  But, alas, not the author's fault, so I won't take ratings points off.
          My only criticism about the story itself is that Stacy Stevens is so unlikable to me.  Ordinarily it wouldn't be a problem, but Mike seems to be head over heals in love with her.  Not my favorite part of the story.  She's pushy, egotistical, moody, and not nice enough not only to others, but to Mike, too.  He'll never see it, though.

Goodreads synopsis:  In this riveting new novel from Edgar finalist Paul Doiron, Bowditch joins a desperate search for two missing hikers as Maine wildlife officials deal with a frightening rash of coyote attacks.
          When two young female hikers disappear in the Hundred Mile Wilderness—the most remote stretch along the entire two-thousand mile Appalachian Trail—Maine game warden Mike Bowditch joins the search to find them. The police interview everyone they can find who came in contact with the college students and learn that the women were lovers who had been keeping their relationship secret from their Evangelical parents in Georgia.
          When two corpses are discovered—the bones picked clean by coyotes—rumors spread that the women were stalked and killed by the increasingly aggressive canines. Faced with a statewide panic, Maine’s governor places an emergency bounty on every dead coyote, and wildlife officials are tasked with collecting the carcasses.
          Despite some misgivings, Bowditch does his grisly job. But he finds his complacency challenged by his new girlfriend, the brilliant but volatile biologist Stacey Stevens, who insists coyotes merely scavenged the bodies after the women were murdered. When Stacey herself disappears on the outskirts of the Hundred Mile Wilderness, Bowditch realizes that locating her means he must also discover the truth behind what happened to the two hikers. Were the young women really killed by coyotes or, as Stacey insisted, were they murdered by the most dangerous animal in the North Woods?

First Finished Project of 2019

Lisa's Baby Blanket and Receiving Blankets
YeeHa!  Ready to send to Portland tomorrow!
Link to Ravelry.

Sunday, January 27, 2019

13. Time's Convert by Deborah Harkness

listened to Audio - borrowed from CCLS
read by Saskia Maarleveld
unabridged audio:  15:46
2018, Viking
436 pgs.
Adult Fantasy/Historical Fiction
Finished 1/27/2019
Goodreads rating:  3.89 - 12,147 ratings
My rating: 4.5
Setting: (see my notes)

First line/s:  "On her last night as a warmblood, Phoebe Taylor had been a good daughter."

My comments: This story was written so magically and brilliantly that I'm left quite star-struck.  Deborah Harkness has the same kind of storytelling abilities as J. K. Rowling, who frequently leaves me in awe.  Where do these stories and the way they are intertwined come from?  Such a gift!  Flipping back and forth from contemporary France to historical America, Paris, and London of 1770 through the beginning of the 19th century, we follow favorite characters from the Discovery of Witches series, particularly Marcus, Miriam, and Diana and Matthew and their toddler twins.  So much history is detailed, especially the American and French Revolutions. Yes, it was a little slow during the French Revolution, but the details of being "reborn" were a blast!   I learned a lot of American History.  And I was mesmerized.  Such wonderful storytelling!

Goodreads synopsis:  From the #1 New York Times bestselling author of A Discovery of Witches, a novel about what it takes to become a vampire. 
          On the battlefields of the American Revolution, Matthew de Clermont meets Marcus MacNeil, a young surgeon from Massachusetts, during a moment of political awakening when it seems that the world is on the brink of a brighter future. When Matthew offers him a chance at immortality and a new life free from the restraints of his puritanical upbringing, Marcus seizes the opportunity to become a vampire. But his transformation is not an easy one and the ancient traditions and responsibilities of the de Clermont family clash with Marcus's deeply held beliefs in liberty, equality, and brotherhood.
          Fast-forward to contemporary Paris, where Phoebe Taylor—the young employee at Sotheby's whom Marcus has fallen for—is about to embark on her own journey to immortality. Though the modernized version of the process at first seems uncomplicated, the couple discovers that the challenges facing a human who wishes to be a vampire are no less formidable than they were in the eighteenth century. The shadows that Marcus believed he'd escaped centuries ago may return to haunt them both—forever.
          A passionate love story and a fascinating exploration of the power of tradition and the possibilities not just for change but for revolution, Time's Convert
 channels the supernatural world-building and slow-burning romance that made the All Souls Trilogy instant bestsellers to illuminate a new and vital moment in history, and a love affair that will bridge centuries.

Saturday, January 26, 2019

12. Run You Down by Julia Dahl

#2 Rebekah Roberts
read on my iPhone
2015 Minotaur Books
287 pgs.
Adult Murder Mystery
Finished 1/26/19
Goodreads rating: 3.76 - 1344 ratings
My rating: 4.5
Setting: Contemporary NYC and Roseville, NY, just north of NYC

First line/s: "Florida was not what I imagined.  There was no ocean where your father lived, that was the first thing."

My comments: (I wonder why, of all the possible titles this could be given, they decided on this?)  I don't remember much of the nitty-gritty of what happened in Invisible City, but I remember I liked it a lot.  Therefore, I read this book almost as a standalone.  There were a number of things that bothered me, but they didn't bother me enough to lower my rating.  The close connection - and I do mean close - between reporter Rebekah and the people of her news story was soooo impossible, but I didn't care.  I didn't mind switching back-and-forth between Rebekah and the mother who had abandoned her 20 years before, other than in a couple of places that information was revealed by Aviva and I attributed that information to Rebekah having known those details, so that was a little confusing until I figured it out.  It was an interesting story, perhaps unbelievable in spots but for some reason I didn't care.  I really enjoyed it, and the peaks into the strict Orthodox Jewish community,

Goodreads synopsis:  Aviva Kagan was a just a teenager when she left her Hasidic Jewish life in Brooklyn for a fling with a smiling college boy from Florida-and then disappeared. Twenty-three years later, the child she walked away from is a NYC tabloid reporter named Rebekah Roberts. And Rebekah isn't sure she wants her mother back in her life.
          But when a man from the ultra-Orthodox enclave of Roseville, N.Y. contacts Rebekah about his young wife's mysterious death, she is drawn back into Aviva's world. Pessie Goldin's body was found in her bathtub, and while her parents want to believe it was an accident, her husband is certain she was murdered.
          Once she starts poking around, Rebekah encounters a whole society of people who have wandered "off the path" of ultra-Orthodox Judaism-just like her mother. But some went with dark secrets, and rage at the insular community they left behind.
          In the sequel to her Edgar Award finalist Invisible City, Julia Dahl has created a taut mystery that is both a window into a secretive culture and an exploration of the demons we inherit.

Friday, January 25, 2019

11. Fiance for Hire by Nina Strych

read on my iPhone (Kindle Unlimited)
2016 self published?
183 pgs.
Adult romance
Finished 1/25/2019
Goodreads rating: 3.79 - only 42 ratings so far
My rating: 2.5 (Sizzle factor 3/4)
Setting: Contemporary Washington, DC

First line/s: "Gianna's phone buzzed with the ring-tone that belonged only to her mother."

My commentsHa ha - I love that the end of the Goodreads summary it says that these Escort books are "a series of stand-alone contemporary romances, each featuring a new woman and her escort as they take their unique path toward love."  Crack me up!  Unique path towards love!  You've read one, you've read them all...but I keep on reading them, lol, for light, humorous pleasure! (It WAS free, after all...)

Goodreads synopsis:  Gianna’s family has almost driven her to insanity. On her thirtieth birthday, things went too far when her mother wore black and cried over Gianna’s single state. Her career in bustling Washington, D.C. is all she wants to focus on for the moment, so she develops a plan that should stop all the pressure for good. If they want her to marry, she’ll get that fiancé they crave for her...and won’t they be sorry she did.
           As a fake fiancé, Logan is ideal. Handsome, bright, funny, and up for the game. The only problem? He’s too handsome, bright, funny, and a match for every game Gianna can devise. As he quickly escalates from escort to co-conspirator, Gianna finds herself far too eager for every appointment. Whether at dinner with the parents or swimming in the sea, every glance or touch sends her body into overdrive. As the game intensifies, so does the electricity between them…and Logan might be just the live wire she’s been waiting her whole life to touch.

Tuesday, January 22, 2019

MOVIE - Glass

PG-13 (1:50)
Wide release 1/18/19
Viewed 1/22/19 at Carlisle 8
IMBd: 7/10
RT Critic:  37  Audience:  74
Critic's Consensus:  Glass displays a few glimmers of M. Night Shyamalan at his twisty world-building best, but ultimately disappoints as the conclusion to the writer-director's long-gestating trilogy.
Cag:    4/Liked it a lot
Directed by M. Night Shyamalen
Universal Pictures

Bruce Willis, James McAvoy, Samuel L. Jackson, Sarah Paulson

My comments:  Good move, what I would call a psychological thriller.  James McAvoy was wonderful as the multi-split-personality creepo that he apparently portrayed in the movie Split a year or so back.  Wish I had seen it.  Then I discovered that the Bruce Willis character and the Samuel Jackson characters were in a previous movie together, and this must've been somewhat of a continuation?  It didn't matter because you didn't have to see either one of those to totally get drawn into this one.  I was a little nervous that I was not going to understand, at the end, what we really going on, but they did give enough information to make it completely understandable.  It take place in Philadelphia and was filmed in Philadelphia and Allentown, apparently.   Good entertainment.

RT/ IMDb Summary  From Unbreakable, Bruce Willis returns as David Dunn as does Samuel L. Jackson as Elijah Price, known also by his pseudonym Mr. Glass. Joining from Split are James McAvoy, reprising his role as Kevin Wendell Crumb and the multiple identities who reside within, and Anya Taylor-Joy as Casey Cooke, the only captive to survive an encounter with The Beast. Following the conclusion of Split, Glass finds Dunn pursuing Crumb's superhuman figure of The Beast in a series of escalating encounters, while the shadowy presence of Price emerges as an orchestrator who holds secrets critical to both men.

PICTURE BOOK - Drawn Together by Minh Le

Illustrated by Dan Santat
2018, Disney/Hyperion
HC $17.99
32 pgs.
Goodreads rating:   4.30 - 2298 ratings
My rating:  5
Endpapers:  Front:  a drawing of grankid's and bak: a drawing of grandpa's.
Front flap:  Sometimes you don't need words to find common ground."
1st line/s:  Wordless for many pages, then:  "So...what's new, Grandpa?"

My comments:  lmost, but not quite, wordless.  Grandson and Grandad spend time together, but think they have nothing in common and nothing to talk about until..... Grandson pulls out markers and journal and begins to draw himself as a superhero.  Grandfather excitedly retrieves his sketchbook and calligraphy brush to show his line drawings of dragons and slayers!  Common ground...and a new understanding and appreciation of each other.  COOL! Story and drawings are great.

Goodreads:  When a young boy visits his grandfather, their lack of a common language leads to confusion, frustration, and silence. But as they sit down to draw together, something magical happens-with a shared love of art and storytelling, the two form a bond that goes beyond words.
          With spare, direct text by Minh Lê and luminous illustrations by Caldecott Medalist Dan Santat, this stirring picturebook about reaching across barriers will be cherished for years to come.

Monday, January 21, 2019

10. The Book of Essie by Meghan MacLean Weir

read on my iPhone (borrowed from TPPL)
2018, Knopf
336 pgs.
Adult CRF (could also be YA)
Finished 1/21/19
Goodreads rating:  3.97 - 13,462 ratings
My rating:  4

First line/s:  "On the day I turn seventeen, there is a meeting to decide whether I should have the baby or if sneaking me to a clinic for an abortion is worth the PR risk."

My comments:  This story switched back and forth between three narrators, and it wasn't until I was reflecting back on the story that I realized how important the third pov, that of Liberty Bell, the reporter, was.  Once I started this book I pretty much read right through, it was hard to put down.  There wasn't a whole lot of religious zeal for me to make fun of, and although it was THERE it wasn't highlighted, which added to its appeal for me.  Very interesting story!

Goodreads synopsis:  A debut novel of family, fame, and religion that tells the emotionally stirring, wildly captivating story of the seventeen-year-old daughter of an evangelical preacher, star of the family's hit reality show, and the secret pregnancy that threatens to blow their entire world apart.
          Esther Ann Hicks--Essie--is the youngest child on Six for Hicks,a reality television phenomenon. She's grown up in the spotlight, both idolized and despised for her family's fire-and-brimstone brand of faith. When Essie's mother, Celia, discovers that Essie is pregnant, she arranges an emergency meeting with the show's producers: Do they sneak Essie out of the country for an abortion? Do they pass the child off as Celia's? Or do they try to arrange a marriage--and a ratings-blockbuster wedding? Meanwhile, Essie is quietly pairing herself up with Roarke Richards, a senior at her school with a secret of his own to protect. As the newly formed couple attempt to sell their fabricated love story to the media--through exclusive interviews with an infamously conservative reporter named Liberty Bell--Essie finds she has questions of her own: What was the real reason for her older sister leaving home? Who can she trust with the truth about her family? And how much is she willing to sacrifice to win her own freedom?

Sunday, January 20, 2019

Poetry Picture Book - This Big Sky by Pat Mora

Illustrated by  Steve Jenkins
1998, Scholaswtic Press
currently OOP, but used available cheaply
32 pgs.
Goodreads rating:  
My rating:  4
Endpapers:  Terracotta
Illustrations:    Cut-Paper Collage 

My comments:  14 poems about the southwestern desert!

This Big Sky

This sky is big enough
for all my dreams.

Two ravens burst black
from a pinon tree
into the blare
of blazing sun.

I follow their wide ebony flight
over copper hills,
down canyons shimmering gold
autumn leave.

Two ravens spread their wings, rise
into whispers
of giant pines, over mountains blue
with memories.

This sky is big enough
for all my dreams.

Goodreads Summary:  An evocative collection of fourteen poems that combines Pat Mora's simple, yet stunning words with Steve Jenkins' bright collage images to capture the beauty and mystery of the American Southwest.
          In fourteen lyrical, beautifully spare poems, renowned Latina poet Pat Mora brings the landscape, animals, and people of the Southwest into sharp focus. Steve Jenkins richly textured cut-paper illustrations work with the text to evoke the power of this vast place where every heart has a home, and every dream has a piece of sky.

9. Lethal White by Robert Galbraith

Cormoran Strike #4 (J. K. Rowling pseudonym)
listened to on audio - from TPPL
read by Robert Glenister
2018, Sphere
656 pgs.
Adult Mystery
Finished 1/20/2019 (Ashley's 17th birthday)
Goodreads rating:  4.30 -- 43,301 ratings
My rating: 4
Setting:  In and around London, contemporary time

First line/s:  "If only the swans would swim side by side on the dark green lake, this picture might turn out to be the crowning achievement of the wedding photographer's career."

My comments:  I love listening to Robert Glenister read Cormoran Strike.  I can even tell when he uses different accents for different places in England!  This was a l-o-n-g mystery, but quite a bit of it told the story of Robyn's wedding, first anniversary, and all the turmoil and activity surrounding these events, which definitely fit really well into the telling of the story.  We have such an investment in Cormoran and Robyn, and it's always interesting to see where this goes, or might be headed, in each subsequent book.  The mystery is engaging and complicated, very complicated, but it's pretty easy to not get confused.  Every single tiny little detail is examined, discussed, and fits in like a puzzle piece.  A little too long, a few too many minute details repeated, but otherwise a very interesting, thought-provoking mystery.

Goodreads synopsis:  “I seen a kid killed…He strangled it, up by the horse.”
          When Billy, a troubled young man, comes to private eye Cormoran Strike’s office to ask for his help investigating a crime he thinks he witnessed as a child, Strike is left deeply unsettled. While Billy is obviously mentally distressed, and cannot remember many concrete details, there is something sincere about him and his story. But before Strike can question him further, Billy bolts from his office in a panic.
          Trying to get to the bottom of Billy’s story, Strike and Robin Ellacott—once his assistant, now a partner in the agency—set off on a twisting trail that leads them through the backstreets of London, into a secretive inner sanctum within Parliament, and to a beautiful but sinister manor house deep in the countryside.
          And during this labyrinthine investigation, Strike’s own life is far from straightforward: his newfound fame as a private eye means he can no longer operate behind the scenes as he once did. Plus, his relationship with his former assistant is more fraught than it ever has been—Robin is now invaluable to Strike in the business, but their personal relationship is much, much trickier than that.

Saturday, January 19, 2019

8. Toxic by Lydia Kang

read on my iPhone
2018 Entangled Teen
340 pgs.
YA SciFi
Finished 1/19/2019
Goodreads rating:  3.79 - 139 ratings
My rating:  2
Setting:  In the future, on a huge, dying space station called Cyclo, which used to house 1000 people.

First line/s:  "Where is Mother?  Where is she?  Inside my room, my tiny bubble of a room, I pace like the lions in their tiny iron enclosures from Earth's old menageries --- what did the call them in the vids?  Zoological parks?  Mother is never missing at breakfast.  Never."

My comments: This had great potential at its start, but quickly spiraled down into a gobbledygook of scientific terminology and endless boring description,  I absolutely hated 50% of the story and somewhat enjoyed the other 50%.  I thought it would never end, and skimmed a lot of the second half so that I could see how they would (probably) be saved.....

Goodreads synopsis:  Hana isn't supposed to exist. She's grown up hidden by her mother in a secret room of the bioship Cyclo until the day her mother is simple gone - along with the entire crew. Cyclo tells her she was abandoned, but she's certain her mother wouldn't leave her there to die. And Hana isn't ready to die yet. She's never really had a chance to live.
          Fenn is supposed to die. He and a crew of hired mercenaries are there to monitor Cyclo as she expires, and the payment for the suicide mission will mean Fenn's sister is able to live. But when he meets Hana, he's not sure how to save them both.
          As Cyclo grows sicker by the day, they unearth more secrets about the ship and the crew. But the more time they spend together, the more Hana and Fenn realize that falling for each other is what could ultimately kill them both.

Friday, January 18, 2019

PICTURE BOOK - Dark Emperor & Other Poems of the Night by Joyce Sidman

Illustrated by  Rick Allen
2011 Newbery Honor
2010. Houghton Mifflin
HC $16.99
32 pgs.
Goodreads rating:  3.97 - 1853 ratings
My rating:  4
Endpapers:  solid royal purple
Illustrations:  Woodprints?

My comments:  Sophisticated poetry about some of the creatures that creep in the woods at night, illustrated with lovely prints by Rick Allen.


Welcome to the Night

To all of you who crawl and creep,
who buzz and chirp and hoot and peep,
who wake at dusk and throw off sleep;
Welcome to the night.

To you, who make the forest sing,
who dip and dodge on silent wing,
who flutter, hover, clasp, and cling:
Welcome to the night!

Come feel the cool and shadowed breeze,
come smell your way among the trees,
come touch rough bark and leathered leaves;
Welcome to the night.

The night's a sea of dappled dark,
the night's a feast of sound and spark,
the night's a wild, enchanted park.
Welcome to the night!

Wednesday, January 16, 2019

PICTURE BOOK - Ocean Meets Sky by the Fan Brothers

Illustrated by the authors
2018, Simon & Schuster Books for Young Readers
HC #17.99
40  pgs.
Goodreads rating:  4.23 - 1814 ratings
My rating: 3.5 
Endpapers:  Animal clouds
Illustrations:  Lovely, best part of the book
1st line/s:  "Finn lived by the sea,
and the sea lived by him.
"It's a good day for sailing,"
his grandfather would have said."

My comments:  Lovely illustrations, story is a tiny bit vague, but also quite lovely.  I get stymied by little can a very young boy have a 90-year old grandfather?  Might this perhaps have been his great-grandfather...but then would they have been so close?  Silly questions like that bogged me down.  So a second reading was needed and enjoyed.  I'm still not sure why I didn't like the book as much as I expected I would...

Goodreads:  Finn lives by the sea and the sea lives by him. Every time he looks out his window it’s a constant reminder of the stories his grandfather told him about the place where the ocean meets the sky. Where whales and jellyfish soar and birds and castles float.
          Finn’s grandfather is gone now but Finn knows the perfect way to honor him. He’ll build his own ship and sail out to find this magical place himself!
          And when he arrives, maybe, just maybe, he’ll find something he didn’t know he was looking for.

Tuesday, January 15, 2019

MOVIE - Bumblebee

PG-13 (1:54)
Wide release 12/21/18
Viewed 1/15/18 at Carlisle 8 with T
IMBd: 7.3/10
RT Critic:  92  Audience:  79  unbelievable, how can this be?
Critic's Consensus:  Bumblebee proves it's possible to bring fun and a sense of wonder back to a bloated blockbuster franchise -- and sets up its own slate of sequels in the bargain.
Cag:  I'll give it a 2 ... barely....
Directed by Travis Knight
Paramount Pictures

Hailee Steinfeld, John Cena

My comments:  I think of all the mindless crap I've watched with the kids, these Transformers movies are the worst.  And SO violent!

RT/ IMDb Summary  On the run in the year 1987, Bumblebee finds refuge in a junkyard in a small Californian beach town. Charlie (Hailee Steinfeld), on the cusp of turning 18 and trying to find her place in the world, discovers Bumblebee, battle-scarred and broken. When Charlie revives him, she quickly learns this is no ordinary, yellow VW bug.

PICTURE BOOK - Radiant Child: The Story of Young Artist Jean-Michel Basquiat by Javaka Steptoe

Illustrated by the artist
2017 Caldecott Medal Winner
2016 Little Brown & Company
HC $17.99
40 pgs.
Goodreads rating:  4.16 - 2472 Ratings
My rating:  5 - This is a gorgeous, informative book!
Endpapers:  White grafitti on blue
Illustrations:  Done in the style of Basquiat, the information from the author/illustrator at the back of the book is extremely interesting.

1st line/s:  "Somewhere in Brooklyn, between hearts that thump, double Dutch, and hopsxotch and salty mouths that slurp sweet ice, a little boy dreams of being a famous ARTIST."
This is an illustration from the book
My comments:  This book is a RADIANT book!  It's also extremely interesting.  I saw the movie The Upside last night, and Kevin Hart's character mention Basquiat.  Then, this morning, this book came across my desk.  I was MEANT to read it today, n'est pas?  It was wonderful, and prompts me to look further into his work, as his story and timeline seem similar to my wonderful Keith Haring.....

This is an actual piece of Basquiat's work!
Goodreads:  Winner of the Randolph Caldecott Medal and the Coretta Scott King Illustrator Award
          Jean-Michel Basquiat and his unique, collage-style paintings rocketed to fame in the 1980s as a cultural phenomenon unlike anything the art world had ever seen. But before that, he was a little boy who saw art everywhere: in poetry books and museums, in games and in the words that we speak, and in the pulsing energy of New York City. Now, award-winning illustrator Javaka Steptoe's vivid text and bold artwork echoing Basquiat's own introduce young readers to the powerful message that art doesn't always have to be neat or clean--and definitely not inside the lines--to be beautiful.

PICTURE BOOK - She Persisted: Around the World by Chelsea Clinton

Illustrated by  Alexandra Boiger
2018, Philomel Books
HC $17.99
32 pgs.
Goodreads rating:  4.44 - 806 ratings
My rating:  5 of course, my kind of book!
Endpapers:  solid red
Illustrations:  so perfect for this book of short entries on 13 different women!

1st line/s:  ""It's not always easy being a girl --- anywhere in the world.  It's especially challenging in some places.  There are countries where it's hard for girls to go to school and where women need their husbands' permission to get a passport or even to leave the house.  And all over the world, girls are more likely to be told to bew quiet, to sit down, to have smaller dreams..  Don't listen to those voices.  These thirteen women from actross the world didn't.  They persisted."

My comments:  Chelsea Clinton has done it again, she's chosen thirteen women from around the world to highlight, some well known and others that you may have never heard over, a perfect comination!
Sor Juana Ines De La Cruz  (Mexico) First published argument for a women's right to education
 in the Americas.
Caroline Herschel (Germany) First woman to discover a comet
Kate Sheppard (New Zealand) Women's activist - New Zealand became the 1st country to grant all women the right to vote!
Marie Curie (Poland) scientist
Viola Desmond (Canada) Canadian Civil Rights movement
Mary Verghese (India) founded the first functional rehabilitation center in India
Aisha Rateb (Egypt) fought for women in government
Wangari Maathai (Kenya) Green Belt Movement/Nobel Peace Prize, one of my heroes!
Joanne (J. K.) Rowling (England) extraordinaire!
Sisleide "Sissi" Lima do Amor (Brazil) Queen of Brazilian football
Leymah Gbowee (Liberia) Nobel Peace Prize
Yuan Yuan Tan (China) most famous female ballerina of all time
Malala Yousafzai (Pakistan) youngest-ever Nobel Peace Prize winner, author, spokesperson

Goodreads:  The companion to She Persisted.
          Women around the world have long dreamed big, even when they've been told their dreams didn't matter. They've spoken out, risen up and fought for what's right, even when they've been told to be quiet. Whether in science, the arts, sports or activism, women and girls throughout history have been determined to break barriers and change the status quo. They haven't let anyone get in their way and have helped us better understand our world and what's possible. In this book, Chelsea Clinton introduces readers to a group of thirteen incredible women who have shaped history all across the globe.

Monday, January 14, 2019

MOVIE - The Upside

PG-13 (2:06)
Wide release 1/11/19
Viewed date at 1/14/19 at Carlisle 8 by myself
IMBd: 5.2/10
RT Critic: 39   Audience:  88
Critic's Consensus:  Preachy, manipulative, and frustratingly clichéd, The Upside showcases Bryan Cranston and Kevin Hart's chemistry without ever taking full advantage of it.
Cag:  5/Loved it
Directed by Neil Burger

Bryan Cranston, Kevin Hart, Nicole Kidman, 

My comments:  A wonderful, feel-good movie, right up my alley.  Some serious, gritty material with a lot of good humor and a twinkle in the eye.  Kevin Hart and Bryan Cranston together made a dynamic duo.  Paragliding, opera, Aretha Franklin, pulling yourself up the the bootstraps, that's what this movie is all about ... and so much more!

RT/ IMDb Summary  Inspired by a true story, The Upside is a heartfelt comedy about a recently paroled ex-convict (Kevin Hart) who strikes up an unusual and unlikely friendship with a paralyzed billionaire (Bryan Cranston). Directed by Neil Burger and written by Jon Hartmere, The Upside is based on the hit 2011 French film The Intouchables.

Sunday, January 13, 2019

PICTURE BOOK - Freedom Over Me by Ashley Bryan

Eleven slaves, their lives and dreams brought to life
Illustrated by the author
2016 Atheneum Books for Young Readers, A Caitlyn Dlouhy Book
HC $17.99
48 pgs.
Goodreads rating:  4.32- 1561 ratings
My rating:  5 (of course!)
Endpapers:  close up fo the script from purchass and sales in the 1800s
Illustrations:  pen, ink, and watercolor

1st line/s:  "Mrs. Mary Fairchilds
I mourn the passing of
my husband, Cado Fairchilds.
He managed our estate alone.
Eleven Negro slaves,
they carried out the work
that made our estate prosper.
He never hired an overseer."

My comments:  Two free-style verses for each of the eleven slaves, plus an introductory free verse about/from the widowed owner of the eleven slaves - with incredible illustrations for each.  Oh my!

Goodreads:  Newbery Honor Book
Coretta Scott King Author Honor Book
Coretta Scott King Illustrator Honor Book
          Using original slave auction and plantation estate documents, Ashley Bryan offers a moving and powerful picture book that contrasts the monetary value of a slave with the priceless value of life experiences and dreams that a slave owner could never take away.
          Imagine being looked up and down and being valued as less than chair. Less than an ox. Less than a dress. Maybe about the same as…a lantern.
          You, an object. An object to sell.
          In his gentle yet deeply powerful way, Ashley Bryan goes to the heart of how a slave is given a monetary value by the slave owner, tempering this with the one thing that CAN’T be bought or sold—dreams. Inspired by the actual will of a plantation owner that lists the worth of each and every one of his “workers”, Bryan has created collages around that document, and others like it. Through fierce paintings and expansive poetry he imagines and interprets each person’s life on the plantation, as well as the life their owner knew nothing about—their dreams and pride in knowing that they were worth far more than an Overseer or Madam ever would guess. Visually epic, and never before done, this stunning picture book is unlike anything you’ve seen.

7. Accidental Romeo by Nicole Snow

read on my iPhone (free on Kindle Unlimited)
2019, Ice Lips Press
440 pgs.
Adult romance Xrated
Finished 1/13/2019
Goodreads rating:  4.33 - 796 ratings
My rating: 3

First line/s:  "Of course, I'll deliver the cake."

My comments:  Geez, once you start reading some of these romance (or should I say, smutty) stories, it's hard to stop!  I'm not sure where the title comes from, it doesn't seem to go along with the story at all, lol. Whoever wrote the synopsis for Goodreads must have read a different version than I did, too!  It's a very cute story with a bit of tension here and there, the bad guy is such a bad guy and we all know he's a bad guy except for the good guy-his closest friend.  Oh well, no one's perfect!  Love that the female protagonist is a baker and cake decorator.  Hate that the bitchy, horrible sister magically becomes pretty much a different person at the end of the book --which is less than a month later.  I loved her as a bitch.  For the most part, this was fun to read.  Sizzle level: 4

Goodreads synopsis:  Accidentally his. Fun fact: Fate is a four letter word.

A perfect stranger just kissed away the worst day of my life.
Emphasis on perfect.
Hunter Forsythe is so far out of my league I can't even buy tickets.
And now he's insta-date to my stuck up sister's wedding?!

Brace for everything to go hilariously wrong.
But my mysterious new hero is no flipping joke.
Rich as sin. Knockout eyes. A snarlypants single dad. Muscle, muscle everywhere.
Too good for the quiet baker girl no one ever noticed.

Then I find out what – and who – put him up to this insanity.
I'm so mad I could spit nails.
Imagine my surprise when Romeo keeps coming.
Hear my door slamming in his face.
Witness my jaw hanging when he starts wooing me for real.

Dream dates, family dinners, and soul-branding nights.
I'm in full Juliet mode before I see the crack in his world.
The longing. The loss. The secrets. The danger.
Does love even fit in Hunter's jagged heart?
Or is a Shakespearean tragedy in our stars?

From Wall Street Journal bestselling author Nicole Snow – a tale of pretend love turned way too real. See the sparks fly when tight wound alpha protector gets a taste of his ultimate Sugar and Spice. Full length romance novel with a Happily Ever After roller coaster!

The Newbery Award

 When You Trap a Tiger (Tae Keller) 
All Thirteen: The Incredible Cave Rescue of the Thai Boys' Soccer Team - Soontornvat 
Henry Brown Mails Himself to Freedom - Weatherford (picture book) 
Fighting Words - Bradley 
We Dream of Space - Kelly
A Wish in the Dark - Soontornvat 
New Kid - Jerry Craft
The Undefeated - Kwame Alexander
Scary Stories for Young Foxes - Christian McKay Heidicker
Other Words for Home - Jasmine Warga
Genesis Begins Again - Alicia D. Williams

Merci Suarez Changes Gears (Meg Molina)
The Night Diary (Hiranandani)
The Book of Boy (Murdock)

2018  Hello Universe (Erin Entrada Kelly)
Crown, An Ode to the Fresh Cut (Derek Barnes)
Long Way Down (Jason Reynolds)
Piecing Me Together (Renee Watson)

2017 The Girl Who Drank the Moon (Kelly Barnhill)
Freedom Over Me : Eleven Slaves, Their Lives and Dreams Brought to Life (Ashley Bryan)
The Inquisitor's Tale: Or, the Three Magical Children and Their Holy Dog (Adam Godwitz)
Wolf Hollow (Lauren Wolk)

2016 Last Stop on Market Street (Matt dela Pena)
The War That Saved My Life (Kimberly Brubaker Bradley)
Roller Girl (Victoria Jamieson)
Echo (Pam Munoz Ryan)

2015 The Crossover (Kwame Alexander)
El Deafo (Cece Bell)
Brown Girl Dreaming (Jacqueline Woodson)

2014 Flora & Ulysses:  The Illuminated Adventures (Kate DiCamillo)
Doll Bones (Holly Black)
The Year of Billy Miller (Devin Henkes)
One Came Home (Amy Timberlake)
Paperboy (Vince Vawter)_

2013 The One and Only Ivan (Katherine Applegate)
Splendors and Glooms (Laura May Schlitz)
Bomb: The Race to Build - and Steal - the World's Most Dangerous Weapon (Steve Steinkin)
Three Times Lucky (Sheila Turnage)

2012 Dead End in Norvelt (Jack Gantos)
Inside Out & Back Again (Thanhha Lai)
Breaking Stalin's Nose (Eugene Yelchin)

2011 Moon over Manifest (Claire Vanderpool)
Turtle in Paradise (Jennifer L. Holm)
Heart of a Samurai (Margi Preus)
Dark Emperor and Other Poems of the Night (Joyce Sidman)
One Crazy Summer (Rita Williams-Garcia)

2010 When You Reach Me (Rebecca Stead)
Claudette Colvin: Twice Toward Justice (Philip Hoose)
The Evolution of Calpurnia Tate (Jacqueline Kelly)
Where the Mountain Meets the Moon (Grace Lin)
The Mostly True Adventures of Homer P. Figg (Rodman Philbrick)

2009 The Graveyard Book (Neil Gaiman)
The Underneath (Kathi Appelt)
The Surrender Tree: Poems for Cuba's Struggle for Freedom (Margarita Engle)
Savvy (Ingrid Law)
After Tupac & D Foster (Jacqueline Woodson)

2008 Good Masters! Sweet Ladies! Voices from a Medieval Village (Laura Amy Schlitz)
Elijah of Buxton (Christopher Paul Curtis)
The Wednesday Wars (Gary D. Schmidt)
Feathers (Jacqueline Woodson)

2007 The Higher Power of Lucky (Susan Patron)
Penny from Heaven (Jennifer L. Holm)
Hattie Big Sky (Kirby Larson)
Rules (Cynthia Lord)

2006 Criss Cross (Lyunne Rae Perkins)
Whittington (Alan Armstrong)
Hitler Youth: Growing Up in Hitler's Shadow (Susan Campbell Bartoletti)
Princess Academy (Shannon Hale)
Show Way (Jacqueline Woodson)

2005 Kira-Kira (Cynthia Kadohata)
Al Capone Does My Shirts (Gennifer Choldenko)
The Voice That Challenged a Nation: Marian Anderson and the Struggle for Equal Rights (Russell Freedman)
Lizzie Bright and the Buckminster Boy (Gary D. Schmidt)

2004  The Tale of Despereaux: Being the Story of a Mouse, a Princess, Some Soup, and a Spool of Thread (Kate DiCamillo)
Olive's Ocean (Kevin Henkes)
An American Plague: The True and Terrifying Story of the Yellow Fever Epidemic of 1793 (Jim Murphy)

2003  Crispin:  The Cross of Lead (Avi)
The House of Scorpion (Nancy Farmer)
Pictures of Hollis Woods (Patricia Reilly Giff)
Hoot (Carl Hiaasen)
A Corner of the Universe (Ann M. Martin)
Surviving the Applewhites (Stephanie S. Tolan)

2002  A Single Shard (Linda Sue Park)
Everything on a Waffle (Polly Horvath)
Carver, A Life in Poems (Marilyn Nelson)

2001 A Year Down Yonder (Richard Peck)
Hope Was Here (Joan Bauer)
Because of Winn-Dixie (Kate DiCamillo)
Joey Pigza Loses Control (Jack Gantos)
The Wanderer (Sharon Creech)

2000 Bud, Not Buddy (Christopher Paul Curtis)
Getting Near to Baby (Audrey Couloumbis)
Our Only May Amelia (Jennifer L. Holm)
26 Fairmount Ave. (Tomie dePola)