book review nonfiction

Book Review: Ten Arguments for Deleting Your Social Media Accounts Right Now

Here are the author’s reasons for quitting social media:

1. You are losing your free will.
2. Quitting social media is the most finely targeted way to resist the insanity of our times.
3. Social media is making you into a [jerk].
4. Social media is undermining truth.
5. Social media is making what you say meaningless.
6. Social media is destroying your capacity for empathy.
7. Social media is making you unhappy.
8. Social media doesn’t want you to have economic dignity.
9. Social media is making politics impossible.
10. Social media hates your soul.

Pretty sure he’s right on all counts. I hate the idea that my social media use is making someone else money, that big companies are spying on me and then marketing to me with the information that I’ve freely given up all rights to keeping secret.

It is a time waster for the most part and during the times that I take the apps off of my phone I am way more productive. I fully agree that social media is making it near impossible to have a fair election in the United States and well, it’s just all around terrible for everyone but the people making money- except for cat pictures, they are the best.

If all that is true, what do we do? Nothing will change until we all sign off. What did I do? I took my Instagram private, stopped posting on FB, and because it is my main networking tool I check Twitter only twice daily. It’s a start anyway.

book review MG fiction

Book Review: Malamander

The publisher describes this story as fantastical. I agree. Herbert Lemon (great name) and Violet Parma both end up in Eerie-On-Sea at The Grand Nautilus Hotel under mysterious circumstances, and then they team up to solve the mystery of the Malamander. The Malamander is part fish/part human and all magic.
This story has a steampunk kind of vibe with mechanical monkeys, talking cats (!), and a glowing red egg. It’s a little like A Series of Unfortunate Events mixed with The Mysterious Benedict Society.
Even human townspeople are quirky (just like real life); some are good, and some are very bad. I liked the diversity and representation of the people in the book. And the spirit of friendship between Herbert and Violet.
FYI: You don’t get complete resolution at the end as it seems like this book is the first in a trilogy. Also, this book carries off the first-person narration without a hitch, and it was a joy to read aloud.

book review MG fiction

Book Review: Tunnel of Bones

Tunnel of Bones is the second book in the Cassidy Blake series. You don’t have to read City of Ghosts first, but you’ll be missing out if you don’t. Cassidy drowned only to be saved by a ghost who then became her best friend. Intrigued? This middle grade spooky mystery series is the kind of story that transcends suggest age ranges. The story continues into this book, where Cassidy and her family visit Paris to film an episode in her parents’ TV show.

The characters are well-developed and believable, even Cassidy’s cat has a personality that shines through the pages. You can read it aloud to all ages, it is spooky without being too scary or gory. It isn’t horror at all and you won’t have to edit on the fly. It’s good plot twisting fun. The worst part will be waiting for the next book in the series!

book review nonfiction

Book Review: A Voyage Long and Strange

We’re reading this one alongside our American History textbook. I read somewhere that it’s used in AP classes and I can see why. It has a sort of Bill Bryson tone, part history, part travelogue, and if you like it, you like it, and if you don’t it will drive you crazy. I read it aloud and found myself editing on the fly. It’s not content related it is simply to speed things up. Sure, his modern day observations are wry and witty, but I only have an hour for this class and something has to give. Our schedule has it set for 3 weeks and I think it may take us longer to finish it.

If you had the kind of substandard history education that I had, you may find yourself nodding when I explain that this book tells what happened here in North America after it got “discovered” in a way you probably haven’t heard it told. Columbus was over this way in 1492 and the pilgrims didn’t show up until 1620. That’s quite a long commercial break even for a reality show.

As an adult, I liked the way the author weaves historical facts in with today’s sense of humor and my teen likes it because it reads like a book, not like a textbook.

book review chick lit romance

Book Review: Don’t You Forget About Me

This is the first book that I’ve read that is labeled #chicklit. Now I want gum. (Chiclets were my very favorite gum, next to grape Hubba Bubba which I still find in a Lakeview gas station occasionally) Anyhow, I think the main character, Georgina would approve of gum obsession. I mean I don’t know for sure, but she seems agreeable to that sort of quirkiness.

At the start of the story she gets fired and finds her boyfriend in bed with someone else within like an hours time. It’s a lot. That was the part that reminded me of Bridget Jones which is th only example I could find of #chicklit. When she gets a new job bartending she finds out that her old high school crush owns the place.

This isn’t a capital R-Romance but it has romance in it. I like that the story isn’t all light and fluffy because life usually isn’t and the backstory of her father dying made the happy parts better for me as a reader.

In conclusion, I love Mhairi McFarlane. I’m now seeking out every book she has out in the world.

book review children fiction MG Non fiction

September Kid’s Book Round Up

This is so cool!

First up we’ve got a ginormous book/fold out timeline that’ll look awesome on your wall all the while making you and your kids a bit smarter. Smithsonian teamed up with Sarah Albee and William Exley to give you the North American historical timeline you never knew you needed. Maybe you did know, searched previously and couldn’t find one? Well, on October 1, 2019 your dream will be realized. This is serious history in a fun illustrated 8 long feet of art package. This will take you from 13,000 BCE up until 2019 (today). I was gifted an actual hardcover review copy and we’ll be hanging the timeline up with its 2nd side facing out because we just happen to be studying American History this year and that’s where we’re starting. You could leave it in the book and read it like a book too. Either way will work.

Another great reference book to have on hand.

The National Geographic Kids Student World Atlas is another book that I think every family should have on their shelf. Yes, I do know that you have Google and Alexa to ask these kind of questions to. You don’t need reference books just for looking things up, you also can use them as simple browsing tools. Kids still need to know how to use an index and how to skim for information. This book makes both easy to learn and succeed with in minutes. We used it just last weekend to look up information about hurricanes. We’ll also be using our copy alongside our geography studies this year.

Sometimes 5 minutes is exactly long enough for a story.

If you are shopping for the holidays (I know, I know, I’m not either, I think people do, I just don’t know any) this is a book you may want to consider for the preschool set.

Things I love:

  • the puffy oversized cover
  • the muted yet still colorful illustrations
  • Actual short 5 minute stories
  • Stories so good I’ll want to read two or three
  • This is under $10 on Amazon and looks like it should cost much more.
Speaking of Xmas, this is an entire Advent story+ activities all in one book!

From the publisher: When a mouse named Winston finds a lost letter addressed to Santa Claus on Christmas Eve, he sets off an unforgettable journey to personally deliver the letter to Santa! How Winston Delivered Christmas is a heart-warming story, organized in twenty-four and a half chapters, to share during the countdown to Christmas. Starting on December 1st, children can read a chapter a day, and each chapter is followed with a fun and festive holiday activity to complete. This illustrated advent story tells of the adventures of an adorable mouse and how a good deed can lead to a very happy ending. 

From me: Don’t search Pinterest for Advent activities this year. This book is the way to go. You get 24 1/2 stories all leading up to Christmas and a slew of activities to keep you busy every day. This is the kind of book that makes me wish we had little people in our house again. So much fun!

So fun you won’t realize that you are learning code-breaking at all.

Set up with six missions this book is the perfect solution to anyone looking for some fun math/logic time. We’re going to use our copy on Fridays when I sub in “practical math” into our class time. This is the first in a series that the publisher marks ages 7-12 but I’d include 13 year old kids in 8th grade too.

The back of the book includes a section of solutions and a certificate of achievement. If you aren’t homeschooling this is a great book to have on hand for waiting rooms and vacation days. We just started it and it’s a big hit with my teen after the first mission.

Hot off the presses! You can order it Sept. 17, 2019!

This is the newest title in the growing list of Science Experiment books (the Genius at Work Series) by Sean Connolly. We’ve read a few and the thing that stands out about them is that the experiments work, they don’t require hard to find items and they are fun!

Each chapter presents some technology, tells why we humans invented something to help us with this task and then you get to do an experiment that shows how awesome it is. We’re going to dig into this book as time allows but we already have post-it bookmarks on the soda bottle rockets and one for a holographic video!

book review nonfiction

Book Review-Scan Artist: How Evelyn Wood Convinced the World That Speed-Reading Worked

I remember the ads for the Evelyn Wood Speed Reading Method on TV when I was a little kid. This is both her life story and the story of the deception/scam that she successfully ran for many years.

It’s not a spoiler to tell you that she wasn’t a teacher and she wasn’t teaching speed reading as much as she was teaching how to skim for the main idea. I’ll admit to skimming parts of this actual book myself as I got a bit confused with the way the narrative is laid out. It’s a bit jumpy between her childhood, her missionary work, and the adoption of her daughter Anna.

Read this if you like stories about a long con. She had so much confidence that people didn’t question her connections (she exaggerated most) or her results. She worked in the Third Reich and within the Mormon Church both of which are pretty secretive and I liked the insider jabs.

Overall, I found it fascinating but maybe not in the way the author/editor intended.