Thursday, December 31, 2020
Wednesday, December 30, 2020
All Hearts Come Home For Christmas
By Sarah Eden, Anita Stansfield, Esther Hatch & Joanna Barker
Covenant Communications, 2019. 290 pgs. Romance
This is a wonderful collection of Regency Christmas short stories. I'll be honest that the only reason I picked this up is because Sarah Eden is one of my favorite authors and I noticed she had a short story in this collection. I loved that her story returned to Falstone Castle and the Lancaster family. I liked getting a brief but deeper look into their family. I was pleasantly surprised by "Tis the Season to be Daring" by Esther Hatch. I loved this story. The main characters had such great banter, the plot was fun and unique, and I enjoyed it so much.
This collection of short stories was perfect for the Christmas season. The stories were long enough to get to know the characters but short enough that I could fit them into my crazy Christmas schedule. This would be great for anyone looking for a collection of feel good Christmas romance. The best thing is that they can be read any time of the year.
We Are Not Free
By Traci Chee
Houghton Mifflin Harcourt, 2020. 384 pages. Young Adult
Fourteen Japanese-American teens who grew up in Japantown, San Francisco, have their lives dramatically changed shortly after the attack on Pearl Harbor. They’re imprisoned in relocation camps, and while some look for hope and opportunities, everyone struggles with the discouragement, racism, and abuse that now permeates their lives. Some teens will be released, some will go to war, and yet others will be imprisoned until the camps are closed. Despite everything, these 14 friends must rally together when everything else threatens to pull them apart.
This was an incredibly moving book, made all the more impactful because of the 14 distinct backstories and personalities. It’s a stark reminder that people in similar circumstances can have vastly different reactions to those circumstances. This book is just as much about the setting as it is the people. A portion is based here in Utah, around the Topaz War Relocation Center. While I haven’t been to the site myself, now a museum, the evocative detail will color any future visits I might make.
Tuesday, December 29, 2020
Wednesday, December 23, 2020
By Barack Obama
Crown, 2020. 751 pages. Biography
by Jerry Seinfeld
Simon & Schuster, 2020. 470 pages. Nonfiction
Seinfeld has collected his material from many decades in comedy and published them here for you to enjoy. Chronologically arranged, the "bits" are prefaced by some details of what was happening in his life at the time, and how that colored his work. If you are familiar with his early material, you will find it repeated here, but his newer material is a fun reflection of modern living.
I have always enjoyed Seinfeld's comedy, and this audiobook, read by the author, didn't disappoint. I laughed out loud several times as I listened. This might be a good antidote to any blues you might have this winter.
Monday, December 21, 2020
Becoming RBG: Ruth Bader Ginsburg’s Journey to Justice
Friday, December 4, 2020
By Jessica Jung
Simon & Schuster BFYR, 2020. 346 pages. Young Adult
When Rachel Kim is recruited by one of Korea’s top K-pop labels, her family moves their lives from New York to Korea so that Rachel can become a trainee, and hopefully, debut one day in a K-pop group. Yet, due to the fierce competition and cattiness of the other female trainees, her life is more difficult than she imagined. When Rachel starts to fall for one of Korea’s top idols, the careful balance she has created in her life starts to wobble. She must decide what lengths she will go to make her dreams come true.
Rachel wants nothing more than to debut as a K-pop idol, and while she has the talent, she freezes in front of the cameras. It’s made it difficult for her to progress, and the bullying of her fellow trainees just adds to the stresses in her life. As a character I feel like Rachel is quite strong to withstand all that she does, but even she gets to a point when she’s struggling. It’s relatable for anyone who has put on a brave face while struggling. The author, Jessica Jung, went through the process of training and becoming a K-pop idol, so the peak behind the scenes of the glittery K-pop world feels authentic, and heavily influenced by her insider knowledge. This looks to be the first in a series, so I’m eager to see what happens to the characters next. Recommended for fans of K-pop, especially those who liked K-POP CONFIDENTIAL.
Wednesday, December 2, 2020
by Nancy Campbell Allen
I loved going back into this world that Nancy Campbell Allen has created. It has all you could want - fairytales, steampunk, and paranormal. This book is the Cinderella story with the main characters having a rocky relationship at the start because of their respective positions. But once they put that behind them an adorable love story unfurls. The story keeps your attention has you reaching for the next page. Emmeline and Oliver have such great banter with each other that it makes you sigh and laugh at the same time. You do not need to read the previous books in order to understand and enjoy this story but, for those that do, it is fun to see the characters from the previous books. I both listened to the audio and read the book. The narrator for the audio does a remarkable job.
By Mary Soon Lee
Ten Speed Press, 2019. 131 pages. Poetry
A set of 119 haiku for each of the elements of the periodic table, these creative and witty poems are paired with imaginative line drawing on each page. The accompanying notes on each page explain how every square on the table relates to everyday life, pulling from astronomy, biology, history, physics, and (of course) chemistry. These brief, structured poems present the wonders of the universe in a very accessible and light format as science and art combine beautifully.
With a background in chemistry, I loved this quick, fun read. But don't fret if you haven't studied science since high school: you'll find a bite-sized chunk of science and history on each page that doesn't come across as pedantic. A perfect book for reading aloud or just contemplating quietly while you relax, Elemental Haiku would make a great gift for the science nerd in your life.