Friday, June 3, 2016

The Friday 56 (64) Rain: A Natural and Cultural History by Cynthia Barnett

The Friday 56 is a weekly meme hosted by Freda's Voice where every Friday you pick a book and turn to page 56 or 56%, and select a sentence or a few, as long as it's not a spoiler. For the full rules, visit the the page HERE
Synopsis from Goodreads...

Rain is elemental, mysterious, precious, destructive...

It is the subject of countless poems and paintings; the top of the weather report; the source of the world's water. Yet this is the first book to tell the story of rain. Cynthia Barnett's Rain begins four billion years ago with the torrents that filled the oceans, and builds to the storms of climate change. It weaves together science—the true shape of a raindrop, the mysteries of frog and fish rains—with the human story of our ambition to control rain, from ancient rain dances to the 2,203 miles of levees that attempt to straitjacket the Mississippi River. It offers a glimpse of our "founding forecaster," Thomas Jefferson, who measured every drizzle long before modern meteorology. Two centuries later, rainy skies would help inspire Morrissey’s mopes and Kurt Cobain’s grunge. Rain is also a travelogue, taking readers to Scotland to tell the surprising story of the mackintosh raincoat, and to India, where villagers extract the scent of rain from the monsoon-drenched earth and turn it into perfume.

Now, after thousands of years spent praying for rain or worshiping it; burning witches at the stake to stop rain or sacrificing small children to bring it; mocking rain with irrigated agriculture and cities built in floodplains; even trying to blast rain out of the sky with mortars meant for war, humanity has finally managed to change the rain. Only not in ways we intended. As climate change upends rainfall patterns and unleashes increasingly severe storms and drought, Barnett shows rain to be a unifying force in a fractured world. Too much and not nearly enough, rain is a conversation we share, and this is a book for everyone who has ever experienced it...
""We live submerged at the bottom of an ocean of air." But when it came to describing and talking about the rain, neither science nor letters could ever sum it up quite so tidily. Rain's chaotic nature made it among the hardest parts of the weather to measure--and even to name."--Rain: A Natural and Cultural History by Cynthia Barnett
Comments: My pick this week is taken from page 75 instead of 56. I liked this paragraph better than the choices I had to choose from actually on page 56. Out of the nonfiction books I've read this year, I don't think I've picked up one that was specifically about rain. So far, I really like this book. What are you reading this week? 

Monday, May 30, 2016

ARC Review: Oleah Chronicles: Justice by Michelle Johnson

Oleah Chronicles: JusticeTitle: Oleah Chronicles: Justice
Author: Michelle Johnson
Source/Format: Author, EARC
More Details: Young Adult, Fantasy, Paranormal
Publisher/Publication Date: Michelle Johnson, May 15, 2016

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Synopsis from Goodreads...

After discovering the truth about her Oleah origins, Angel thought she could still have a normal life, consisting of normal things – like her seventeenth birthday party. But there is no such thing as normal for Angel anymore. She learned that the hard way after Sindrell – the most powerful sorceress in the universe - crashed her party, destroyed the city, and took her best friend, Julie, captive. Determined to defeat Sindrell for good, Angel must risk her life, along with the fate of the entire universe to get Julie back…alive. The only way she can do this successfully, is to embrace her Oleah instincts and learn what it takes to become a true warrior. Problem is, Sindrell has an insurance policy of her own that will put millions of lives in danger - including Zander’s - to ensure her quest for power is brought to fruition. One way or another. In order to protect Zander, and save Julie, Angel has to make a choice... but will it be the right one?
Author Michelle Johnson is back with the next installment of the Oleah Chronicles. Oleah Chronicles Justice is another amazing young adult fantasy/paranormal novel. And unlike some young adult novels, there are edgy moments between Angel and Zander, but the romance never overshadowed the plot. The intense action filled moments are also well done. They are so vividly depicted that I can only imagine this series playing out on the screen.

In this second installment of the Oleah Chronicles, it begins with training day as Angel learns discipline and self-control, before taking on Sindrell, the most powerful sorceress, in an attempt to save her friend, Julie, and all of humanity. Johnson does an amazing job of bringing the reader into the moment with the depiction of the emotional turmoil that Angel experiences and the action sequences throughout the novel. One difference found in Justice is that it immediately takes on a dark tone as it picks up where Truth left off. Angel is the key to peace; yet she has some growing up to do as she struggles with overcoming her guilt while she learns to use her gifts to save her friend Julie. I loved the fact that she maintained her teen persona with her quirky comments and reactions to certain situations as she was being transformed into a kickass warrior. I also liked the fact that she looked to her parents for advice and approval-Let me just say that their relationship was very ordinary in a supernatural setting.

Although this story was a bit gory, the fluid writing, well-developed characters and engaging storyline hooked me from the beginning. If you haven’t read the first book in the series, Truth, I would suggest that you pick up a copy and start at the beginning, because Justice begins at the point in which Truth ended—a point that left me longing for Oleah Chronicles: Justice to be released. And now… I ‘m eagerly awaiting the next installment of the Oleah Chronicles and future work by Michelle Johnson! (Actual Rating 4.5)
This copy of the book was provided by the author for this review, thank you!
About the Author...

Throughout my childhood I was always told I had a very creative imagination. I was drawn to stories of mythical creatures and all things that would usually give my peers the heebie geebies. Shows like Tales from the Crypt Keeper and Buffy the Vampire Slayer were among some of my favourites. I developed a strong passion for design and illustration, drawing the ideas that arose in my head and finding great excitement in bringing them to life. This led me to pursue a career in graphic design and marketing so that I could always use my creativity to the fullest. I have always loved reading and the way a compelling story would allow my mind to absorb its detailed imagery. I began to use writing as a tool to bring my creative thoughts to fruition one day, which has brought me to this moment. I'm a romantic at heart and a sucker for stories about true love which is reflected in my writing and helped bring the Oleah Chronicles to life. I hope you enjoy my first book and through it you experience the eccentric vision that began in my mind so long ago.

Friday, May 27, 2016

The Friday 56 (63) Afterworlds by Scott Westerfeld

The Friday 56 is a weekly meme hosted by Freda's Voice where every Friday you pick a book and turn to page 56 or 56%, and select a sentence or a few, as long as it's not a spoiler. For the full rules, visit the the page HERE

18367581Synopsis from Goodreads...

Darcy Patel has put college and everything else on hold to publish her teen novel, Afterworlds. Arriving in New York with no apartment or friends she wonders whether she's made the right decision until she falls in with a crowd of other seasoned and fledgling writers who take her under their wings…

Told in alternating chapters is Darcy's novel, a suspenseful thriller about Lizzie, a teen who slips into the 'Afterworld' to survive a terrorist attack. But the Afterworld is a place between the living and the dead and as Lizzie drifts between our world and that of the Afterworld, she discovers that many unsolved - and terrifying - stories need to be reconciled. And when a new threat resurfaces, Lizzie learns her special gifts may not be enough to protect those she loves and cares about most...

"The three of them waited for her to go on, but a familiar paralysis crept over Darcy. It was always like this when someone asked about her novel. She knew from experience that whatever she said now would sound awkward, like listening to a recording of her own voice. "--Afterworlds by Scott Westerfeld

Comments: Afterworlds has been on my TBR list since 2014. I picked this one up when I got Founding Myths by Ray Raphael.

What are you reading this week?

Wednesday, May 25, 2016

Review: Founding Myths: Stories that Hide Our Patriotic Past by Ray Raphael

Founding Myths: Stories that Hide Our Patriotic PastTitle: Founding Myths: Stories that Hide Our Patriotic Past
Author: Ray Raphael
Source/Format: Purchased, Hardcover
More Details: Nonfiction, History
Publisher/Publication Date: MJF Books, August 11, 2007

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Synopsis from Goodreads...

Much of what you thought you knew about American history is wrong...

Our best-loved tales actually sell America short, Raphael says. This nation was founded not just by the handful of "founding fathers" we have come to admire, but also by the revolutionary activities of innumerable and nameless patriots who are not mentioned in textbooks. Why should only a select few get the credit? The collaborative spirit and effort of the American people is an important concept for children (and adults) to learn...
“The stories work best because they clarify and vindicate who we are—but they also conceal who we don’t want to be.” (p.244).

What if the Revolutionary War could not be defined by simple paragraphs that summarized the events that transpired? What could be the reason to twist fact and mix it with speculation—to make for a better story? Sometimes the cause was poor record keeping at the time, or simply a romanticization of facts to make historical events into a favorable story—good vs evil. All those things and more were explored in Founding Myths by Ray Raphael.

Founding Myths can be summed up by one simple phrase: food for thought. This book gave me a lot to think about. The founding myths, as explored in this book, painted a grim but realistic picture of history, in contrast to the almost rosy-hued lens that gave misconceptions popularity among fact. This selective isolation of stories overshadowed real accomplishments, struggles, and suffering—and gave a narrow view to a broad history. One thing that I noticed while reading the book is that there were a few common themes: effort, collaboration, and strategic planning/preparation. Founding Myths offered an organized look at the events that gradually led to the Revolutionary War. The book also made mention of the ordinary people who had taken part in such monumental events in history instead of focusing on one limited group—as well as the state of politics/alliances abroad during the same time period.

The best books, whether they're nonfiction or fiction, leave a lasting impression. That was my reaction to Founding Myths, and I’m glad I decided to give it a chance. (Actual rating 4.5)

Monday, May 23, 2016

My Thoughts: Brain Freeze Journal by Potter

Title: Brain Freeze Journal 
By: Potter
Source/Format: Blogging for Books, Review Copy
Publisher/Publication Date: Potter, May 10, 2016
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This blank journal features a soft cover that mimics the chocolate cookie of an ice cream sandwich as well as dyed page edges and an exposed spine to complete the look of the chocolate, vanilla, strawberry goodness of an ice cream sandwich. The interiors feature strawberry- and chocolate-colored lined pages. To complete the package, the words BRAIN FREEZE are stamped in gold foil on the cover...
Today, I'm going to be sharing my thoughts for this ice cream themed journal I received for review. This review is going to be a little different because this isn't a work of fiction. Basically, I'm just going to talk about how much I like the journal, stuff like that, and I'm going to break it down into sections to keep my thoughts a little more organized. Lets get started...

Initial Thoughts…

This journal is very cute. The look and size are perfect, and it really does resemble an ice cream sandwich. I didn’t photograph the sides, but the pages are actually brown white and pink to match the colors of strawberry, chocolate, and vanilla ice cream.

The Cover…

The cover is described as being soft, and I have to say that the texture is as promised. It is soft but solid, and really does resemble an ice cream sandwich. Another plus was the overall look of it. The left side of the binding is left open, leaving the pages exposed so the colors are consistent on each side. The size is smaller than a normal book and the height is about the length of my hand—so, it is pretty small. However, there are a lot of pages, and I feel like that compensates for the smaller size.

The Paper…

The paper doesn’t exactly match the picture above, because there aren’t any words on the side—but I never felt like that was necessary anyway. Another thing I like is the layout of the pages. The lines are colored according to the sides of the journal—the top is brown while the lower lines are pink. It doesn’t have that many lines, but the blank section in the middle of each page is perfect for doodling. Also, the paper is considerably thick and does pretty well with ink.

Final Thoughts…

I didn’t expect to like this journal as much as I do, but it’s really great. The look and style are fun, and the textured cover is an added bonus to the already whimsical appearance.

This copy of the journal was provided by Blogging for Books (publisher) for this review, thank you!
About the author...

POTTER, an imprint of the Crown Publishing Group, is a lifestyle gift imprint, specializing in design, health, humor, stationery, and other gift books and paper products.
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