I Wish You All The Best Book Review

I Wish You All The Best

5 stars out of 5 stars

Thank you IReadYA, Push, and Mason Deaver for the advanced reader’s copy of this book.

When I saw that IREADYA was giving a copy of this book at Yallwest I knew I had to get one and if I didn’t I would just buy it. I started reading it at a time that just made sense to me and I cried after reading the first page.After that I knew that I had to keep reading but also didn’t want to read too fast because I didn’t want it to end.

I don’t even know where to begin when I start talking about how much I loved this book. Actually I do know where to begin, I begin by thanking @Mason_Deaver because without them this book wouldn’t be here. Without them I wouldn’t have a book that made me feel a lot less alone, so thank you.

I like being honest with all of you and honesty requires some vulnerability and I knew that posting this review was going to require that from me. I picked this up after a fight I had with my dad in which he insisted my unemployment was due to me using a preferred name over my given name. Now he won’t ever point out that I’m trans, he’ll always say it’s this “name thing,” because he thinks I’m confused. Most times I can shrug off all his comments about me but this time he insisted that this was unprofessional and it looked like I didn’t know who I was. Because of these comments he really made me question my worth not just as a professional but as a person, and question if maybe things would be better if I pretended I was Cisgender. This is why I cried when I picked up this book, this is why I cried every time I read more of this book because so much of what Ben is feeling is what I’m feeling and have felt before.

I Wish You All the Best is a story about a non-binary teenager,Ben, who comes out to their parents only to get kicked out of their house. They wind up reaching out to their sister and moving in with her after not having seen her in 10 years. Ben now has to navigate moving to a new city, coming out to different people, being closeted at school, making new friends, and their ever-changing relationships with others.

How can I even begin to tell you all how much I loved this book or how much it meant to me as a non-binary queer boi?

This was the first LGBTQ+ book that I have read where there is not a happy start to coming out or even a neutral start to someone coming out. It wasn’t just a bit of confusion or denial on Ben’s parents part, it was flat out rejection of their child. It was something that I needed to read because even if my coming out story isn’t as harsh as Ben’s story is, it still took an emotional toll on me.

I loved reading about the complex feelings that Ben has towards their parents and how they don’t know if they love their parents still or how they should even feel. I felt for Ben when they talk about their want/need for a happy family and how they thought maybe it would be good to hear their parents out but also not being sure about it. I wanted them to be able to fix everything and be okay but I also knew that it would be a step backwards and could do so much harm to Ben.

Something else that I loved hearing about in this book was Ben’s relationship with Mariam who was in California. They make mention several times about how they are world’s apart from each other and how Ben needs to make friends closer to where they are at. It just reminded me of how I used the internet as a means to build a community and discover things about my gender.

I didn’t just connect with Ben though and that was one of the amazing things about this book. I was able to connect with everyone in the book and understand each of their perspectives. I loved everyone that came into contact with Ben and wanted them to be able to navigate some of these complex relationships successfully.

I recommend this to all non-binary/Transgender individuals who are struggling or have struggled with their identity. I think it’s really a nice way to connect with someone that reminds you of yourself. I also recommend this to anyone who may want to learn more about the LGBTQ+ community and what it might be like to be a non-binary teenager.

About the Book: When Ben De Backer comes out to their parents as nonbinary, they’re thrown out of their house and forced to move in with their estranged older sister, Hannah, and her husband, Thomas, whom Ben has never even met. Struggling with an anxiety disorder compounded by their parents’ rejection, they come out only to Hannah, Thomas, and their therapist and try to keep a low profile in a new school.

But Ben’s attempts to survive the last half of senior year unnoticed are thwarted when Nathan Allan, a funny and charismatic student, decides to take Ben under his wing. As Ben and Nathan’s friendship grows, their feelings for each other begin to change, and what started as a disastrous turn of events looks like it might just be a chance to start a happier new life.

At turns heartbreaking and joyous, I Wish You All the Best is both a celebration of life, friendship, and love, and a shining example of hope in the face of adversity. 

About the Author: Mason Deaver is a non-binary author and librarian in a small town in North Carolina where the word ‘y’all’ is used in abundance. 

When they aren’t writing or working, they’re typically found in their kitchen baking something that’s bad for them, or out in their garden complaining about the toad that likes to dig holes around their hydrangeas. 

About the book and about the author were borrowed from Goodreads.

You can find this book on amazon or look for it at your local library.

The Poet X Book Review

5 out of 5 stars

The last challenge for the_Bookish_Club on instagram was the debut of an author and since I had seen this book everywhere I decided it was a perfect one for that prompt. I am glad that I finally got around to ready it because while it was an easy book to get through it had quite an impact on me.

The Poet X is a coming of age story told through poetry about a girl, Xiomara, who is struggling with her relationship with her mother and her relationship with her religion. Xiomara uses slam poetry as a way to understand others, begin to discover who she is and make sense of her feelings, and how to explain her feelings to others. Xiomara’s mother is a devout Catholic and wants her daughter to obey the rules of the church. The actions and words of Xiomara’s Mother cause conflict for Xiomara because she refuses to stay silent.

I really enjoyed this book because there were moments that I was able to relate to and there were moments that I couldn’t stop laughing. I loved the way that the author portrays religion and family and the importance of both of those in the Latinx culture. I loved being able to see that for most Latinx families you weren’t going to have a relationship with your family without religion and God playing a large role in that relationship.

While the mother’s ties to Catholicism are many of the sources to Xiomara’s problems there is never a time where you see the mother as a villain. At least there was never a time in which I disliked the mother and I think part of that was because I could see my family in her. This was something that I really enjoyed and is why I gave it 5 stars. I loved that I could see my family in this book and I could see myself in not just the main character but also in twin.

While twin was a big part in Xiomara’s life we didn’t see much of him but I really enjoyed the parts that we did see and how there is mention his sexuality. I enjoyed that being a part of it because it strengthened the relationship between him and Xiomara and showed how he needed just as much assistance navigating his relationship with his family as she did.

I recommend this book to anyone who enjoys coming of age novels, young adult novels, and books told through poetry.

About the Book: A young girl in Harlem discovers slam poetry as a way to understand her mother’s religion and her own relationship to the world. Debut novel of renowned slam poet Elizabeth Acevedo.

Xiomara Batista feels unheard and unable to hide in her Harlem neighborhood. Ever since her body grew into curves, she has learned to let her fists and her fierceness do the talking.

But Xiomara has plenty she wants to say, and she pours all her frustration and passion onto the pages of a leather notebook, reciting the words to herself like prayers—especially after she catches feelings for a boy in her bio class named Aman, who her family can never know about. With Mami’s determination to force her daughter to obey the laws of the church, Xiomara understands that her thoughts are best kept to herself.

So when she is invited to join her school’s slam poetry club, she doesn’t know how she could ever attend without her mami finding out, much less speak her words out loud. But still, she can’t stop thinking about performing her poems.

Because in the face of a world that may not want to hear her, Xiomara refuses to be silent. 

About the Author: ELIZABETH ACEVEDO is the youngest child and only daughter of Dominican immigrants. She holds a BA in Performing Arts from the George Washington University and an MFA in Creative Writing from the University of Maryland. With over fourteen years of performance poetry experience, Acevedo is a National Poetry Slam Champion, Cave Canem Fellow, CantoMundo Fellow, and participant of the Callaloo Writer’s Workshop. She has two collections of poetry, Beastgirl & Other Origin Myths (YesYes Books, 2016) and winner of the 2016 Berkshire Prize, Medusa Reads La Negra’s Palm (Tupelo Press, forthcoming). The Poet X is her debut novel. She lives with her partner in Washington, DC. 

About the book and about the author are borrowed from Goodreads.

You can find this book on Amazon or look for it at your local library.

There is no Good Card for This: What to Say and Do When Life is Scary, Awful, and Unfair to People You Love Book Review

4 out of 5 stars

The challenge said I had to pick a self-help book and so I walked into the library’s section for self-help books and pulled out several trying to see which one I was interested in. After all if I was going to read a self-help book I wanted it to be something that could help me in the long run. I was pretty excited when I came across this book and not just because of all the pictures that it has, but if I’m being honest that was part of the draw. I was more excited because I think this book tackles something that everyone goes through at some point in their lives.

This book goes over why we may be hesitant to reach out to those around us who may be having a hard time, our expectations of others when we are having a hard time, and how to be there for others. It talks about the small things we can do in order to support one and other, and helping us gain confidence in difficult situations when dealing with others who are struggling. This book is a self-help book which means there is exercises throughout the book that need to be done. I mean you can read this book without doing the exercises but then are you really helping yourself.

I have a difficult time with books that tell me to take a step back and actually deal with emotions. My thoughts are always how is this going to help, you aren’t exactly my therapist and you can’t give me feedback. My other issue is that those books remind me of college when we had to do in book exercises so I’m like no I just finished school and am no where near ready to go back. So that being said I read through some of this and refused to do the exercises but then I went back and thought I can’t tell you all to take those seriously if I refused to do them.

On the subject of honesty, I have to be honest with you about this, this book made me cry within the first chapters. It wasn’t because of anything that they outright said but it was because of those exercises they have you do. It was the empathy workouts that were included all in that first section, they made you forgive yourself and not be so harsh on yourself and those kinds of things are hard on me so it was a nice reminder.

I loved the images that were included throughout each section because I could relate to the things they were saying. I loved how the images were telling other people’s stories in relation to what the authors were discussing. I loved how this book read as if the authors were in a therapy session with you and how the feedback given can apply to anyone not just one person.

I recommend this book to anyone who knows someone who is going through a hard time but isn’t too confident on how they would respond in those times. I think this book gives you ways to handle difficult situations in a great manner and Chapter 7 is a great review if you don’t have time to read through the whole thing.

About the Book: The creator of the viral hit “Empathy Cards” teams up with a compassion expert to produce a visually stunning and groundbreaking illustrated guide to help you increase your emotional intelligence and learn how to offer comfort and support when someone you know is in pain.

When someone you know is hurting, you want to let her know that you care. But many people don’t know what words to use—or are afraid of saying or doing the wrong thing. This thoughtful, instructive guide, from empathy expert Dr. Kelsey Crowe and greeting card maverick Emily McDowell, blends well-researched, actionable advice with the no-nonsense humor and the signature illustration style of McDowell’s immensely popular Empathy Cards, to help you feel confident in connecting with anyone experiencing grief, loss, illness, or any other difficult situation.

Written in a how-to, relatable, we’ve-all-been-that-deer-in-the-headlights kind of way, There Is No Good Card for This isn’t a spiritual treatise on how to make you a better person or a scientific argument about why compassion matters. It is a helpful illustrated guide to effective compassion that takes you, step by step by step, past the paralysis of thinking about someone in a difficult time to actually doing something (or nothing) with good judgment instead of fear.

There Is No Good Card for This features workbook exercises, sample dialogs, and real-life examples from Dr. Crowe’s research, including her popular “Empathy Bootcamps” that give people tools for building relationships when it really counts. Whether it’s a coworker whose mother has died, a neighbor whose husband has been in a car accident, or a friend who is seriously ill, There Is No Good Card for This teaches you how to be the best friend you can be to someone in need.

About the book is borrowed from Goodreads.

If you would like to read this book you can find it at
Amazon or look for it at your local library.

God Help the Child Book Review

God Help the Child

3 out of 5 stars

I selected this book because of a challenge on bookstagram that said to pick a book where the only image on the front cover was the title of the book. I searched the library for what felt like forever to find a book that fit this description. It was a lot harder than it sounds. I finally came across this book and decided to take it.

Normally I wouldn’t even venture into the adult section of the library unless there was a book I knew I needed there. Even when looking for non-fiction books in that area I make sure it has a YA sticker on it but I knew that YA was going to have beautiful covers not simple ones. I definitely didn’t want a classic so I knew adult fiction was the way to go for this challenge.

God Help the Child is a book told through many different perspectives all whom encounter the main character, Bride. This is a story of the ways that childhood shapes who you are as an adult and continues to affect you beyond your childhood years.

I got halfway through the book and am feeling very neutral about it, not great but also not hating it. I mean at the halfway point I feel for Bride and what she witnessed as a young child but I’m not really sure what the plot of the book is. As I read further on I start to think that maybe this book doesn’t need a plot. It’s more so showing you how childhood trauma can affect an adult.

I like how the story is told in different perspectives and shifts from first person and third person. Normally I would find that confusing but I think in this book it lends well to the story. I enjoy hearing first hand from Bride about what is currently happening in her life and then having it shift so that there’s a narrator telling you her story.

I love how descriptive each scene is without having too much narration and how all dialogue really moves the story along. I love being able to picture how each of these characters look and like how their skin colors are described.

Something else that I enjoy in the book is the way that the author illustrates childhood trauma affecting you later in life. I don’t want to spoil the book so you’ll have to read it to see what happens to Bride as she remembers her childhood.

There are moments in this book in which I am appalled by the way Bride has been treated throughout her childhood and by the things she has witnessed. It is in these moments that I wonder if this book is set in the past but I read the description and it reminds me that this is current time. I wonder if these occurrences happen because of the city it takes place in or maybe I’m just naive?

It’s hard for me to say the kind of people who I would recommend this book to because I think any adult who enjoys reading would enjoy this book. It’s a short quick read but the message in the story is profound.

About the Book: Spare and unsparing, God Help the Child—the first novel by Toni Morrison to be set in our current moment—weaves a tale about the way the sufferings of childhood can shape, and misshape, the life of the adult.

Spare and unsparing, God Help the Child is a searing tale about the way childhood trauma shapes and misshapes the life of the adult. At the center: a woman who calls herself Bride, whose stunning blue-black skin is only one element of her beauty, her boldness and confidence, her success in life; but which caused her light-skinned mother to deny her even the simplest forms of love until she told a lie that ruined the life of an innocent woman, a lie whose reverberations refuse to diminish … Booker, the man Bride loves and loses, whose core of anger was born in the wake of the childhood murder of his beloved brother … Rain, the mysterious white child, who finds in Bride the only person she can talk to about the abuse she’s suffered at the hands of her prostitute mother … and Sweetness, Bride’s mother, who takes a lifetime to understand that “what you do to children matters. And they might never forget.”

About the Author: Toni Morrison (born Chloe Anthony Wofford), is an American author, editor, and professor who won the 1993 Nobel Prize in Literature for being an author “who in novels characterized by visionary force and poetic import, gives life to an essential aspect of American reality.” 

Her novels are known for their epic themes, vivid dialogue, and richly detailed African American characters; among the best known are her novels The Bluest Eye Song of Solomon , and Beloved , which won the Pulitzer Prize for Fiction in 1988. In 2001 she was named one of “The 30 Most Powerful Women in America” by Ladies’ Home Journal.

About the book and about the author are borrowed from Goodreads.

If you would like to read this book you can find it at Amazon or look for it at your local library.

Lost in a Book- Book Review

Lost in a Book
An Enchanting Original Story by Jennifer Donnelly

“Keep being the author of your own story. Never let anyone else write it for you again.”

I picked this book up as part of a challenge on Instagram and am really glad that I decided to read it. I love all things Disney so when I saw that Disney now publishes books and they aren’t just the retelling of the movies, I wanted to read them all.

Lost in a Book is the story of the Disney movie Beauty and the Beast with a twist. Early on in her stay at the castle, Belle encounters a enchanted book in the Beast’s library and rather than sharing her findings with others she keeps it to herself. Through the use of this book, Belle visits the land of Nevermore which offers her a separate life than the one she would have at the castle. In Nevermore Belle can have all of her dreams come true, after all this is a story written just for her, but staying here would mean leaving behind what she has at the castle. What would leaving her friends at Beast’s Castle mean for belle and for her friends?

I love how the prologue for this book is two sisters who are watching Belle’s life unfold at the castle and decide to bet on what she is going to decide. I like how this opening shares the relationship between these two sisters because it sets a precedent to the rest of the story. Their relationship causes issues not only among themselves but for others who come into their lives, such as Belle.

As I continued reading more I couldn’t put this book down because I wanted to know what would happen to Belle and her friends. I wanted to know if she was going to have the same ending in this book as she does in the movie, and if she didn’t, then what was her new ending?

Near the end of my book I found myself in tears as I started to feel sympathy for the bad characters in the story. I think a story is good when you not only cheer for the good characters but feel for the bad ones. I love that the bad characters have reasoning behind their actions and the author has given them feelings beyond what one would expect.

I recommend this to anyone who is a fan of Disney especially if you enjoyed the Beauty and the Beast movie.

About the Book: Smart, bookish Belle, a captive in the Beast’s castle, has become accustomed to her new home and has befriended its inhabitants. When she comes upon Nevermore, an enchanted book unlike anything else she has seen in the castle, Belle finds herself pulled into its pages and transported to a world of glamour and intrigue. The adventures Belle has always imagined, the dreams she was forced to give up when she became a prisoner, seem within reach again.

The charming and mysterious characters Belle meets within the pages of Nevermore offer her glamorous conversation, a life of dazzling Parisian luxury, and even a reunion she never thought possible. Here Belle can have everything she has ever wished for. But what about her friends in the Beast’s castle? Can Belle trust her new companions inside the pages of Nevermore? Is Nevermore’s world even real? Belle must uncover the truth about the book, before she loses herself in it forever. 

About the Author: Jennifer Donnelly is the author of twelve novels –StepsisterLost in a BookThese Shallow GravesSea SpellDark TideRogue WaveDeep BlueRevolutionA Northern LightThe Tea RoseThe Winter Rose and The Wild Rose – and Humble Pie, a picture book for children. She is a co-author of Fatal Throne, which explores the lives of King Henry VIII’s six wives, for which she wrote the part of Anna of Cleves, Henry’s fourth wife.

She grew up in New York State, in Lewis and Westchester counties, and attended the University of Rochester where she majored in English Literature and European History. 

Jennifer’s first novel, The Tea Rose, an epic historical novel set in London and New York in the late 19th century, was called “exquisite” by Booklist, “so much fun” by the Washington Post, a “guilty pleasure” by People and was named a Top Pick by the Romantic Times. The Rose trilogy continued with The Winter Rose and The Wild Rose.

Her second novel, A Northern Light, set in the Adirondacks of 1906, against the backdrop of an infamous murder, won the Carnegie Medal, the Los Angeles Times Book Prize, the Borders Original Voices Award, and was named a Printz Honor book. Described as “rich and true” by The New York Times, the book was named to the Best Book lists of The Times (London), The Irish Times, The Financial Times, Publishers Weekly, Booklist and the School Library Journal. In 2015, TIME Magazine named it one of the 100 best young adult books of all time.

Revolution was named a Best Book by Amazon, Kirkus, School Library Journal, and the Chicago Public Library, and was nominated for a Carnegie Medal. The audio edition was awarded an Odyssey Honor for Excellence.

In 2014, Jennifer teamed up with Disney to launch the bestselling Waterfire Saga, an epic series about six mermaids on a quest to rid the world of an ancient evil. The first book in the series, Deep Blue, was released in May, 2014; the second, Rogue Wave, launched in January 2015; the third, Dark Tide, came out in October 2015; and the fourth, Sea Spell, is scheduled for release in June 2016.

In November 2015, Jennifer released the historical novel These Shallow Graves, which received starred reviews from Booklist, Publishers Weekly and Shelf Awareness, and was named a Junior Library Guild Selection. 

Jennifer worked with Disney again in 2017, when she published Beauty and the Beast: Lost in a Book, an original story to accompany the blockbuster Beauty and the Beast film. Lost in a Book expands on the classic tale, exploring the growing friendship between Belle and the Beast as well as Belle’s ordeal within the pages of Nevermore, a magical book from which she narrowly escapes. 

Jennifer returned to historical fiction with Fatal Throne, a book about Henry VIII and his six wives published by Random House/Schwartz & Wade in 2018. For this project, Jennifer joined six other authors (Candace Fleming, M.T. Anderson, Stephanie Hemphill, Deborah Hopkinson, Linda Sue Park, and Lisa Ann Sandell), each of whom wrote the part of Henry or one of his wives.

About the Book and About the Author are borrowed from Goodreads.

You can find this book on Amazon or look for it at your local library.

The Woman in Cabin 10 Book Review

The Woman in Cabin 10

This was the library’s book club pick for the month of May and I was so excited to finally have a chance to read this. I don’t really read adult fiction because I find the plot lines too dense for me to follow. Honestly, adult fiction scares me because I can’t decipher what I’m supposed to get from the book without discussing it with others. This is the main reason I only read adult fiction when it’s a book club pick.

The Woman in Cabin 10 tells the story about a journalist, Lo Blacklock, who has recently been given an assignment on a luxary cruise. Before going on this assignment, Blacklock, has her home broken into and her sense of security is damaged. When Blacklock first arrives on this cruise things seem perfect and smooth until one day she is certain that she has seen a woman being thrown off the ship. The only problem though is that all the passengers and the crew are all accounted for so did someone actually get thrown overboard or is everything Blacklock’s imagination.

This book starts off very slowly and halfway through I still didn’t have any idea as to what was happening. Now normally this would throw me off and I wouldn’t want to continue reading because my opinion of the book would be ruined but it was different in this case. I think since this book already told me there was a mystery aspect to it and it wasn’t an obvious case I wanted to keep reading. You’ll find yourself guessing along with Blacklock as to what occurred that day and then second guessing yourself as to if the events are real or not.

I actually loved the pacing in this book because it uses more than half the book to build up suspense. I love that we get time to actually meet the main character along with the others who are on the cruise with her. Because you get to know everyone on the ship you can guess who it is and there is more of a shock when things start to get revealed.

Psychological Thrillers are a genre that I haven’t read in quite a long time, not because I don’t enjoy them but because I don’t venture into adult fiction often. When it comes to movies, psychological thrillers are one of my favorites because it makes you think and actually pay attention to what is going on. Maybe that’s why I worry about reading them, I’m always worried that I’ll forget the plot of a book if I don’t get through it quick enough but this book was such a good read once things started unraveling that I couldn’t put it down.

I recommend this to anyone who is a fan of thriller, mystery slightly horror books. I find that if you are looking for something to kind of scare you and keep you up at night, this book is perfect. This book made me slightly curious about the movie coming out in the future but not so sure if I want to ruin this book by watching the movie.

About the Book: Lo Blacklock, a journalist who writes for a travel magazine, has just been given the assignment of a lifetime: a week on a luxury cruise with only a handful of cabins. The sky is clear, the waters calm, and the veneered, select guests jovial as the exclusive cruise ship, the Aurora, begins her voyage in the picturesque North Sea. At first, Lo’s stay is nothing but pleasant: the cabins are plush, the dinner parties are sparkling, and the guests are elegant. But as the week wears on, frigid winds whip the deck, gray skies fall, and Lo witnesses what she can only describe as a dark and terrifying nightmare: a woman being thrown overboard. The problem? All passengers remain accounted for and so, the ship sails on as if nothing has happened, despite Lo’s desperate attempts to convey that something (or someone) has gone terribly, terribly wrong

About the Author: Ruth Ware grew up in Sussex, on the south coast of England. After graduating from Manchester University she moved to Paris, before settling in North London. She has worked as a waitress, a bookseller, a teacher of English as a foreign language and a press officer. She is married with two small children, and In a Dark, Dark Wood is her début thriller.

About the book and about the author are borrowed from Goodreads.

If you would like to read this book you can find it at
https://www.amazon.com/dp/B019DKO5BM/ref=dp-kindle-redirect?_encoding=UTF8&btkr=1 or look for it at your local library.

Fish in A Tree Book Review

Fish in a Tree

4 out of 5 stars

“Well…alone is a way to be. It’s being by yourself with no one else around. And it can be good or bad. And it can be a choice…. But being lonely is never a choice. It’s not about who is with you or not. You can feel lonely when you are alone, but the worst kind of lonely is when you’re in a room full of people, but you’re still alone. Or you feel like you are anyway.”

I saw this book on a pinterest lists of books that all teachers should read. I already had checked it out of the library and had it sitting in my to be read pile for May. Originally I picked it because it had a fish on the cover and fish in the title and I love fish. I decided to read it before other books because of that pinterest list, you see I’m an aspiring educator so I felt this book might make me feel better about that. I’ve been a little discouraged about the path that I decided to pursue.

Fish in a Tree is the story of a 6th grade girl, Ally, who struggles in the classroom due to inability to read. Rather than ask anyone for help she becomes the class clown and continues to get herself sent to the office. It isn’t until one teacher notices her individuality and decides that he is going to bring to light her talents. Because of this teacher, Ally feels comfortable to stand out and use her talents to succeed in the classroom around others who don’t fit in.

I cried while reading this book because of how much I could relate to the characters who didn’t fit in. I really wish that I had found books like this when I was in middle school because it would’ve helped tremendously with my self esteem. I love how this book celebrates each characters differences and includes a teacher who helps them learn to love themselves not despite these differences but because of them.

I recommend this book to anyone who had a rough time growing up and being different, and to anyone who is currently going through not fitting in. Even though the book is written for a middle school audience I think adults can still enjoy it as they remember their years through middle school.

Another audience that I recommend this to would be educators and aspiring educators, especially those that may be questioning why we go into this profession. It really motivated me to continue working with students and not give up on pursuing that career because of the difference just one of us can make.

About the Book: “Everybody is smart in different ways. But if you judge a fish by its ability to climb a tree, it will live its life believing it is stupid.”

Ally has been smart enough to fool a lot of smart people. Every time she lands in a new school, she is able to hide her inability to read by creating clever yet disruptive distractions. She is afraid to ask for help; after all, how can you cure dumb? However, her newest teacher Mr. Daniels sees the bright, creative kid underneath the trouble maker. With his help, Ally learns not to be so hard on herself and that dyslexia is nothing to be ashamed of. As her confidence grows, Ally feels free to be herself and the world starts opening up with possibilities. She discovers that there’s a lot more to her—and to everyone—than a label, and that great minds don’t always think alike.

About the Author:

About the book is borrowed from Goodreads.

If you would like to read this book you can find it at
https://www.amazon.com/Fish-Tree-Lynda-Mullaly-Hunt/dp/0142426423/ref=asc_df_0142426423/?tag=hyprod-20&linkCode=df0&hvadid=312106842432&hvpos=1o1&hvnetw=g&hvrand=10927555864670582230&hvpone=&hvptwo=&hvqmt=&hvdev=c&hvdvcmdl=&hvlocint=&hvlocphy=9030930&hvtargid=pla-403679696527&psc=1 or look for it at your local library

Swift as Desire Book Review

Swift as Desire

5 out of 5 stars

“No matter how successful a relationship may be, both sexually and emotionally, the lack of money can hamper and undermine, little by little, even the greatest passion.”

I never would have picked this book up out of my own choosing. You see I’m not a big fan of adult fiction and much less romance novels but my local library picked this book for Spanish book club and I wanted to give it a try. I would’ve read it in Spanish but I know the book is already complex in English and I wanted to be able to understand what I was reading.

I was a little bit worried about reading this in English versus Spanish because the content felt more suited to the Spanish language. Once I started I didn’t feel like I was missing anything by reading it in English though but I do believe that it would be more romantic to read in Spanish.

Swift as Desire tells the story of a poor man who falls in love with a rich woman. Both of these individuals have different perspectives on what it means to love someone and how to show someone that they love them. They’re love for each other allows them to look past their own perceptions of love and build a great life with each other until a terrible event occurs. Their daughter uncovers the mystery and tells you how a once great love story becomes an estrangement between her parents.

I was worried that i would get lost in the meaning behind each passage in this book and try to decipher what it meant but I found that this book captivates my interest. I think this book really does a great job of balancing the amount of narration and dialogue that it has. I found that the narrative pieces really add to the story rather than distract from it.

Something that I really enjoyed was how this I was still able to relate to this book even if it was written before my time, and took place long ago in a place I am not too familiar with. I loved the commentary and discussions you can have surrounding the affect that differences in class and education can have on a relationship. I found myself really resonating with Jubilo as he struggles to please his wife who is from a wealthier family.

This book was able to take me through so many emotions as I laughed with the characters, cried for them, and at times yelled at them. It’s been a while since I finished a book in 2 days but I didn’t want to put this done. I even held off watching my favorite tv shows in order to finish this book.

I recommend this book to anyone who likes a good romance novel and highly recommend it to those of you would read in other languages. I believe that this love story would be much more beautiful told in Spanish.

About the Book: An enchanting, bittersweet story, touched with graphic earthiness and wit; Esquivel shows us how keeping secrets will always lead to unhappiness, and how communication is the key to love.

Instead of entering the world crying like other babies, Júbilo was born with a smile on his face. He had a gift for hearing what was in people’s hearts, for listening to sand dunes sing and insects whisper. Even as a young boy, acting as an interpreter between his warring Mayan grandmother and his Spanish-speaking mother, he would translate words of spite into words of respect, so that their mutual hatred turned to love. When he grew up, he put his gift to good use in his job as a humble telegraph operator. 

But now the telegraph lies abandoned, obsolete as a form of communication in the electronic age, and don Júbilo is on his deathbed, mute and estranged from his beloved wife, Lucha, who refuses to speak to him. What tragic event has come between two such sensuous, loving people to cause their seemingly irreparable rift? What mystery lies behind the death of the son no one ever mentions? Can their daughter bring reconciliation to her parents before it is too late, by acting as an interpreter between them, just as Júbilo used to do for other people? 

Swift as Desire is Laura Esquivel’s loving tribute to her father, who worked his own lifelong magic as a telegraph operator. In this enchanting, bittersweet story, touched with graphic earthiness and wit, she shows us how keeping secrets will always lead to unhappiness, and how communication is the key to love.

About the Author: A teacher by trade, Laura Esquivel gained international attention with Like Water for Chocolate: A Novel in Monthly Installments with Recipes, Romances and Home Remedies and The Law of Love. In both books she manages to incorporate her teaching abilities by giving her readers lessons about life. During an on-line Salon interview with Joan Smith, she said, “As a teacher I realize that what one learns in school doesn’t serve for very much at all, that the only thing one can really learn is self understanding and this is something that can’t be taught.” With the intensity of a committed teacher incorporating glitzy stunts into the curriculum to get the attention of her students, Esquivel took a bold step when she incorporated multimedia in The Law of Love by combining her science fiction, new age, and spiritual story with a CD of arias by Puccini and Mexican danzones, and forty-eight pages of illustrations by a Spanish artist.

About the Book and About the Author borrowed from Goodreads.

If you would like to read this book you can find it at
https://www.penguinrandomhouse.com/books/47043/swift-as-desire-by-laura-esquivel/9780385721516/ or look for it at your local library.

Noble Warrior Book Review

Noble Warrior with Plants

3 out of 5 stars

I was at my local library to pick up a book that my mom had me put on hold for her when I realized that I needed a new book for myself. I quickly went into the YA section and pulled a book off the shelf. I quickly read through the back of the book and decided I didn’t have time to look at anything else so this would have to do.

Noble Warrior tells the story of a young man who got put into the witness protection program when tension between him and neighborhood gangs got high. During his time in the witness protection program the government gets a view at his past and becomes interested in using him as a tool for the government. Using his past against him M.D. is convinced to go to prison to complete a mission for the people in charge of him. Once his mission is completed at the prison the government officials abandon M.D. and he has to figure out what his next steps are and how he is going to make others pay for what had been done to his family.

The story is told through a third person omniscient narrator which I hardly read. If I have read through this perspective I hardly ever notice but I couldn’t help and take note of the narration type when reading this. I felt that this type of narration took away from the story and really left no mystery when I was looking for some kind of mystery.

During his time in jail there is a shift in his attitude toward others and towards life and this is when things really get interesting. I was hesitant to really get attached to any of the characters because from the beginning things look bleak for everyone in M.D.’s life. It was hard not to like some characters that M.D. interacts with due to their humorous or innocent nature.

I was ready to put this book down and call it a defeat but halfway through the book I knew that I had to finish it. While I couldn’t really follow along with which characters were bad and which weren’t I wanted to know what happened to M.D. and the people who were important to him. I needed to know if he got justice and how so I continued reading on. I was honestly surprised that I finished over 100 pages in this book in one sitting because of the feelings I had when I first opened it but I am glad that I finished it.

There is a bit of a cliffhanger in my opinion but it really lets you as a reader kind of decide what’s next for the characters. I find that sometimes it is better to let the reader imagine what’s next versus giving you one ending when there are multiple possibilities.

It actually wasn’t until after I finished reading this book and was posting my review on goodreads that I found out that this book was part of a series. So something else I felt needed to be pointed out in my review is that this book can be read without having read caged warrior. I think it is a great stand alone book but if you want more background on the character I do suggest you read caged warrior before diving into this book.

I recommend this to anyone who enjoys reading about conspiracy theories, government corruptness, and gangs. It was a nice change of tone from the romantic YA novels that I’ve been reading.

About the Book: After placing teenage mixed martial arts phenom McCutcheon Daniels and his mother and sister in the Witness Relocation Program,the FBI comes to realize they have a unique asset on their hands. Recruited to help the FBI, McCutcheon finds himself hunting bad guys. But when he discovers that the notorious Priests have targeted Kaitlyn-the girl he loves and was forced to leave behind-as a way to seek revenge on the Daniels family, MD convinces the FBI to send him right into the belly of the beast: Jenkells State Penitentiary where the mob boss of Detroit is serving time. Yet in his universe where up is down, McCutcheon ends up disavowed by the government and left to rot in one of America’s most notorious prisons. It’s there here connects with his father and discovers the truth about his circumstances. McCutcheon, a trained urban warrior, escapes and sets out for revenge on those who betrayed him and his family. 

About the Author: Alan Lawrence Sitomer is a California Teacher of the Year award winner and the founder of The Writer’s Success Academy. In addition to having been an inner-city high school English teacher and former professor in the Graduate School Of Education at Loyola Marymount University, Mr. Sitomer is a nationally renowned keynote speaker who specializes in engaging underperforming students. To date, Mr. Sitomer has authored 16 books with works ranging from hard-hitting YA novels like CAGED WARRIOR, HOMEBOYZ, THE HOOPSTER and HIP-HOP HIGH SCHOOL to humorous and warm children’s picture books such as DADDIES DO IT DIFFERENT and DADDY’S ZIGZAGGING BEDTIME STORY. Alan lives in Los Angeles where he just finished writing the movie script adaptation for his novel CAGED WARRIOR.

About the Book and About the Author borrowed from Goodreads.

If you would like to read this book you can find it at
https://www.amazon.com/dp/B00RY6YYDC/ref=dp-kindle-redirect?_encoding=UTF8&btkr=1 or look for it at your local library.

Am I Ugly? Book Review

Am I Ugly? by Michelle Elman Audiobook

5 out of 5 stars

“As a female, anger was never an appropriate emotion, and I was taught to feel guilt around that anger. Guilt was digestible, more feminine, easier to control and manage, after all.” 

I have followed Michelle Elman for a while on Instagram and she was one of the first people who taught me about body positivity. It wouldn’t be fair to not give you a little bit about how this movement changed my life and my perspective on my body. As far as I can remember I’ve had red bumps all along my body and have gone through so many products trying to scrub them off myself because they “looked ugly” until a dermatologist finally said it’s keratosis pilaris and nothing you do is going to help. It was around that time I came across the body positivity community on instagram and started my journey to loving my body and embracing all aspects of it.

I had read other body positivity books before and they were helpful so when I saw that Michelle Elman had written a book I knew I had to read it. She was the first body positivity account with someone who had scars that I knew about. I had already learned to love my body’s size but couldn’t get over loving the skin condition that I had been told my whole life to figure out how to get rid of. Through following her I found others in the body positivity community who taught me to love my body, skin condition and all so I knew I had to read her book.

I had been keeping an eye on my public library’s book selection for a while hoping they would one day have access to her book. I would’ve bought it but I didn’t have the funds to purchase it so I cried when I saw that Hoopla had finally received it. I had wanted to read this book since I knew that it came out.

Michelle Elman tells you the story of her life through many hospital visits and her journey towards loving her body. Having known about her before kind of changes the way I read her book in a positive manner. Since I had been following her I loved learning intricate aspects of her life and learning more about what she shares on instagram. I found it fascinating, and her journey was relatable while still being her own.

I love how she discusses the ways that media and others had an impact on how she viewed her body. Rather than skirting around some of the difficult issues such as eating disorders, mental illness, and medical problems she addresses them head on. She tells you her feelings that surround these issues and how they impact her life and her relationships with others. I love how she talks about her experiences in boarding school and how others treated her for her surgeries and her weight.

I love the advice that she gives in her epilogue because I think we sometimes forget that our body positivity journey is our own and no one else. I love that she reminds us of that and reminds us not to compare our bodies with others and not to compare our progress to anyone else.

I decided to listen to this on audiobook since it was the only way I could gain access to it but I was a bit wary about it. You see, I hardly ever listen to audiobooks because I find it hard to keep track of the story line but the narrator of this book is great to listen to. The narrator fits the story quite well and doesn’t take away from the book or the story being told. This was something I was able to listen to on my commute to places and as I was doing other things at home.

I recommend this book to anyone who is struggling with their body image and others who want to learn about body positivity.

About the Book: In today’s world of supplements, celebrity diets and social media, it’s very easy to be hard on ourselves about the way we look. With all this pressure to strive for ‘perfection’ aesthetically, it is easy to forget how damaging this can be psychologically. Michelle Elman is a leading part of the body positivity movement that has been gathering momentum to liberate people from these unrealistic standards, recognize that all bodies are equally valuable and broaden the billboard definitions of beauty.

Am I Ugly? is this inspiring woman’s compelling and deeply personal memoir that describes her childhood experiences of life-threatening health problems, long stays in hospital and fifteen complex surgeries that left her scarred, both mentally and physically. The narrative follows Michelle’s journey from illness to health, and from childhood to adulthood as she deals with her body-confidence issues to embrace both her scars and her body – and help others to do the same. This remarkable book grapples with the wider implications of Michelle’s experiences and the complex interplay between beauty and illness.

About the Author: Michelle Elman is a body-positive activist and 5-board accredited body-confidence coach. She has amassed 170k followers on Instagram across two accounts (@scarrednotscared and @bodypositivememes). She is a guest contributor to popular Youtuber Hannah Witton’s successful Young Adult book DOING IT; contributed to the recent bestseller BODY POSITIVE POWER; has appeared on Sky News, BBC Radio London, Channel 5 News, LBC and also runs the Body Positive Book Club. Her TedX talk “Have You Hated Your Body Enough Today?” has been viewed over 30k times and Women’s Health recently named her as one of the five women changing the game when it comes to body image in the UK.

About the book and about the author borrowed from Goodreads.

If you would like to read this book you can find it at
https://www.amazon.com/Am-Ugly-Michelle-Elman-author/dp/1788541847/ref=asc_df_1788541847/?tag=hyprod-20&linkCode=df0&hvadid=312674999652&hvpos=1o1&hvnetw=g&hvrand=3376528962063734623&hvpone=&hvptwo=&hvqmt=&hvdev=c&hvdvcmdl=&hvlocint=&hvlocphy=9030930&hvtargid=pla-680770979032&psc=1 or look for it at your local library.