Book Review

Book Reviews: July 2017

I cannot believe how quickly this summer passed. Our Summer Reading Program has come to a successful end and now all that’s left is to enjoy the last few weeks of summer! August is shaping up to be a fantastic month full of home improvement tasks, birthdays (my 30th!), outings with friends, and I’ve begun working on a special project that I hope to unveil soon! In-between all that, I need to catch up on my Goodreads reading challenge for the year. I’m five books behind! Time to get my butt in gear and finish some books! Here’s a look at what I read in July.  

Life As We Knew It

Life as We Knew It

by Susan Beth Pfeffer

My mom recently read a book called “One Second After” about the electro-magnetic field being obliterated and how life continued afterwards. It sounded so interesting that I had to place it on hold. But during that conversation, she also told me about this book and, because it was checked in at my library, I went ahead and took it home. I read it in a matter of days, I could not put it down! It’s written in diary format from the perspective of sixteen year old Miranda as she and her family do everything in their power to survive after an asteroid strikes the moon and pushes its orbit closer to Earth. At first, the only thing that’s different is the moon is much closer, looming heavily in the sky. But soon, tsunamis strike the coasts, power goes out, and then volcanic ash blots out the sun. And shit gets real. The temperature drops and their food supply stars to dwindle. Will Miranda and her family survive?

The Dead & The Gone

The Dead and the Gone

by Susan Beth Pfeffer

The second book in the series after “Life As We Knew It”, “The Dead & The Gone” takes us to New York City where seventeen year old Alex is struggling to keep himself and his two younger sisters alive following the asteroid strike. I have to say, I didn’t find this book to be as enjoyable as the first. To begin with, it was very religious in tone, which I assume was intentional on the author’s part. How does one process apocalyptic situations while remaining religious? But I didn’t like any of the characters. This was probably most irritating to me, given what Alex chooses to do in order to survive. I found Alex (and little sister Julie to some degree) to be incredibly self-deprecating. While Julie was acting a typical bratty pre-teen, I felt Alex should’ve known better. Of course this life sucks, everything that was considered important (being class president, for example) no longer matters. But this is what it is. Time to get over it and put on your big boy panties, brah. Perhaps if one of their parents had survived, he wouldn’t have felt the world bearing on his shoulders and constantly cried about it. Which brings me to middle sister, Bri. Ugh. The worst of the worst. She spends the entirety of the novel believing their parents are still alive although there has bee no contact from either of them since the asteroid. I almost cheered when her story line wrapped up. There are still two more books in this series and I’m hoping they’re better than this one!

The Witchfinder’s Sister

The Witchfinder’s Sister

by Beth Underdown

I don’t know why I read these stories. Okay, yes, yes, I do. It’s because I like to be reminded of how good I have it. I can’t imagine ever having to live my life as a pawn of a man, be it my father, brother, uncle, or husband. Thus we find ourselves in the opening pages of The Witchfinder’s Sister. Alice, our narrator, has recently lost her husband in a tragic accident. She is leaving London for the sleepy little village of her youth where she plans to stay with her estranged brother. Once she arrives, she discovers her step-mother also recently passed away. Her brother (or half-brother as you come to find) expects her to clean out their mother’s house (really, his mother) so that he can move in there with his new wife because he’s planning to get married. He wants to keep her busy while he’s off scouring the countryside for witches, or, AKA: torturing rebellious and old women.

Oh! I forgot the most important detail: her brother is a total dick because he was supposedly allowed to crawl into the fire by his wet nurse. Although drama ensues at the mere mention of this and it’s not until well into the book that you discover how his injuries occurred. And all of his witch hunting basically stems from that incident.

As frustrating as it is to read as a modern woman who greatly enjoys her independence, thank you very much, I did love this book. The slow unfolding of family secrets, the slow realization that your brother is a psychopath. There was also the constant threatening hint that perhaps, the supernatural was more real than Alice cared to believe. The ending was by far my favorite part. I had to re-read it several times just to let the amazingness fully sink into my soul. And the last page! Oof! I was literally screaming, “No, Alice!”

Good Night Stories for Rebel Girls

Good Night Stories for Rebel Girls

by Elena Favilli

Words cannot describe how much I loved this book! I’ve seen so many of these fantastic, powerful collections with such beautiful illustrations on women recently at the library: Rad Women Worldwide, Rad American Women A-Z, Women in Science, Wonder Women, and now this one joins their ranks! What I love most is how simple these stories are to digest. By no means are they a full biographical account of all the amazing things these women accomplished. Rather, this book talks about things in broad terms easily explaining how and why these women were fearless, courageous, and have changed the world. There were so many I had never heard of and a few that I had and I found myself committing to memory their name so that I could look them up to learn more. It’s a great introduction for all children to read and learn more about women across the world.


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