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2018 Reading Challenge

2018 Reading Challenge
Jill Elizabeth has read 25 books toward her goal of 175 books.
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Book Review: The 7 1/2 Deaths of Evelyn Hardcastle by Stuart Turton

This was such an incredible concept, and executed with an absolutely brilliant eye for detail and connection. I cannot even imagine how difficult it must have been to write and plot this interwoven tale of Aiden Bishop and his quest to solve the murder of Evelyn Hardcastle. There are secrets and lies everywhere and no one is who they seem – including Bishop himself, who has no idea who he even is for much of the first third of the book, as he struggles to wake up each day in a different body with no idea why, where he is, or what he’s supposed to be doing – other than staying alive. It’s difficult to call those around him a supporting cast, since so many are iterations that Bell wakes up as, but regardless of how they’re described, each and every person in this story is a tale unto him(or her-)self.

Continue reading Book Review: The 7 1/2 Deaths of Evelyn Hardcastle by Stuart Turton

Book Review: Idyll Threats by Stephanie Gayle

I was contacted by one of my favorite publishing houses about the third in this series, which is new this Fall. I was intrigued by the description, but have long-standing rule against reading series books out of order – particularly when they appear to be character-driven, as this one did. So I put the first on my TBR list – and was promptly offered a review copy by same publisher (see why they’re one of my favorites?), who recognized the strength of the series and knew it would lure me in.

It is and it did. Continue reading Book Review: Idyll Threats by Stephanie Gayle

Book Review: A Collar for Cerberus by Matt Stanley

“This thing about not hoping and dreaming – it’s important. You need to understand. It’s not that you shouldn’t dream or wish – it’s that these things are not substitutes for action. They’re placebos. You don’t know it yet – you can’t possibly conceive it – but life is unutterably short. We prevaricate. We procrastinate. We delay our pleasures and fulfilments in expectation of a time to come – but there’s no such time. The only time is now!”

I really really enjoyed this book – but then again, what’s not to like about a young whippersnapper tracking down and then chauffeuring his idol, a veritable Greek J.D. Salinger?

This is the tale of a young man who knows he wants more than what life has shown him so far, but the problem is he cannot conceive of what that more might entail. He is lost and looking to be found – and his solution is to track down his lifelong literary hero, a reclusive Greek Nobel Laureate who has been off the radar for some time now. When he finds him, his life changes in ways he could not possibly have imagined – and in ways the reader couldn’t have either. Continue reading Book Review: A Collar for Cerberus by Matt Stanley

Book Review: The Assassination of Robert F. Kennedy by Tim Tate and Brad Johnson

This was a fascinating look at the questions surrounding the assassination of RFK and the subsequent “investigation” into his death. Despite ostensibly occurring in front of dozens of eye-witnesses, the murder has long been one surrounded by allegations of conspiracy and cover up. This is in part due to the victim, in part to the state of the world and US government at the time of the death, and in part due to the bizarre series of events themselves. Tate and Johnson do a marvelous job at presenting the facts as they were originally presented and then supplementing them with the material that has been made available in the intervening years. They top this off with a pointed series of spot-on-pertinent questions and then patiently point out the lack of even remotely pertinent “answers” that have been provided by various government and law enforcement entities over the course of the past fifty years. Continue reading Book Review: The Assassination of Robert F. Kennedy by Tim Tate and Brad Johnson

Guest Post: Refugees in Texas by Daina Jurika-Owen, Author of Ten Cultures, Twenty Lives

Today I’m pleased to introduce you to a phenomenal woman with an amazing story to tell. Daina Jurika-Owen is the author of the new non-fiction Ten Cultures, Twenty Lives: Refugee Life Stories. This post is a great introduction to Daina and her work – and the review of her book, which will be forthcoming shortly. Enjoy!

Refugees in Texas and “Pull Yourself Up By the Bootstraps”

I admire all refugees—for their resilience, ability to learn, and motivation to succeed—but if I had to choose one to represent refugees in Texas, my vote would go to Angela. Why? I think she has that independent spirit that so many Texans have and time and time again has shown a “pull yourself up by the bootstraps” attitude. Every time a disaster strikes, she does everything she can to get back on her feet and even take initiative to help others. It happens in every country she goes.

I met Angela from Rwanda fourteen years ago while working at the resettlement agency. We resettled her and her family in Abilene, Texas in the summer of 2004. (I will call her “Angela” because she does not want her name to be disclosed.) She is one of the twenty storytellers in my recently published book, Ten Cultures, Twenty Lives: Refugee Life Stories. Angela has a family, but she is a career woman who never stops learning. She can take all that life brings her and make the best out of it. This is her story. Continue reading Guest Post: Refugees in Texas by Daina Jurika-Owen, Author of Ten Cultures, Twenty Lives

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