Love & Gelato by Jenna Evans Welch – Review

I’m going to level with you right now. My first instinct was to call shout from the heavens that I’ve found Eat, Pray, Love for young adults, but… I haven’t read Eat, Pray, Love and I only have the loosest idea of what it’s all about (I do know that Julia Roberts was in the movie though, so that’s something). So let’s not be disingenuous or misleading and instead look at Love & Gelato it’s own merits.

The title is apt and I guess what I wasn’t expecting out of this was the interesting dynamic between all the main characters. Normally parents in young adult novels play strictly supporting roles. They’re there to smile, help out, and then possibly die when the stakes need to be ramped up in a hurry.

Not so with Love & Gelato by Jenna Evans Welch. Kind of… It’s complicated.

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Too Fat, Too Slutty, Too Loud: The Rise and Reign of Unruly Women by Anne Helen Petersen – Review

[A copy of this book was provided to me by Netgalley in return for an unbiased review.]

There’s no denying that when it comes to the way that women are perceived in the modern media, there’s a specific way that women are supposed to look/act. Usually, that specific way translates to “whatever men desire”, but in a President Trump world, society feels like it has taken a step backward or perhaps a giant leap when it comes to gender politics. In Too Fat, Too Slutty, Too Loud: The Rise and Reign of the Unruly Woman, Anne Helen Petersen outlines the different ways that women are criticized or ostracized. The features that tend to be focused on are ones that males would not be criticized for (or at least would be treated more mildly for).

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The Changeling by Philippa Gregory – Review

From the very beginning of this novel, I was thrown off. Although this is set in the 15th century, the very first sentence threw me out of the book:

“The hammering on the door shot him into wakefulness like a handgun going off in his face.”

I had to put the novel down and go to Wikipedia, determined to find out the truth of the matter and grow about my own superior knowledge. I skimmed some of the entry and then happened upon this small paragraph in the handguns entry:

Handheld firearms first appeared in China where gunpowder was first developed. They were hand cannons (although they were not necessarily fired from the hand, but rather at the end of a handle). By the 14th century, they existed in Europe as well.

You win this round, Philippa Gregory.

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The Summer Before by Ann M. Martin – Review

It should be no surprise to anyone that we live in a nostalgia driven world. I mean, take a look at the movies and TV shows that are coming out and you’ll see many appeals to our nostalgia, some predatory, some not. It’s nostalgia that started me on the road of rereading all the Baby-Sitter’s Club books and looking back at the things I’d read as a kid as an adult. It can almost feel like opening up a time capsule to peer inside when you crack open an old book again, looking back into the past with every turned page.

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Assassination Vacation by Sarah Vowell – Review

“One night last summer, all the killers in my head assembled on a stage in Massachusetts to sing show tunes.

And so we begin our journey down the Assassination Vacation rabbit hole that is Sarah Vowell’s obsession with presidents who were assassinated. She’s determined to go on a road trip and to immerse herself in the macabre details that were a part of what made America the country it is today. Sarah Vowell, a self-confessed weirdo, is joined on some of her trip by her patient sister and her nephew who might just be taking a little too much after her.

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Empty Mansions by Bill Dedman, Paul Clark Newell, Jr. – Review

I feel like we’re all hardwired to be suckers for good mysteries. It doesn’t have to be murder all the time (although my podcast lineup would beg to disagree), but when there’s something unknown, human nature drives to to try and figure it out. If there was the chance of foul play, especially with a huge fortune on the line, it can be hard to shrug your shoulders and walk away.

Empty Mansions feels a bit like a non-fiction carnival that has a little bit of everything, or perhaps it would be better described as an eclectic museum that has strange exhibits that you wouldn’t think were connected to each other at all. What does political corruption, Japanese paintings, dollhouses made to scale, running around the wild west, and ornate empty mansions have in common? If you were to walk into a museum and see these exhibits in place, they would probably seem bizarre.

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A Nameless Witch by A. Lee Martinez – Review

There are beautiful accidents in the world and this was one of them. I was in the library and let someone pick out a book for me. Normally, I tend to stay away from the witchy side of things. It’s been done to death and it would just mean either a really ugly woman or a disgustingly sexy vixen who left drooling men in her wake. Neither of them would really interest me so I was ready to dismiss the novel out of hand. Then I saw the tagline:

“A tale of vengeance, true love, and cannibalism”

How on earth can you go wrong with that?

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The Chimes by Anna Smaill – Review

Imagine a world where music is more than something you listen to, where music is the way that you find your way to places. Maps don’t exist and even if they did, would you remember how to read them without music to remind you how? Instead of moving quickly, you move presto. If time seems to slow, time goes lente. The world moves to the music in the most literal way that a society can manage.

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The Baby-Sitter’s Club: Kristy’s Great Idea by Ann M. Martin

Back in the day, I was addicted to the Baby-Sitter’s Club books by Ann M. Martin. I’m not quite sure why because I was never all that fond of being a baby-sitter. I don’t know if it was the hijinks they were able to get up to or the fact that it was a novel whose main characters were all girls or even something as simple as Claudia’s grandmother, Mimi, reminded me of my own Baachan. Whatever the reason, I would devour these books. Any copies that I might have had of the books have long since fallen apart, but thankfully they have been rereleasing them on Kindle.

Once I found out that, the temptation was too much to resist. How well had these books held up? Would I still like them when reading them as an adult? I had to know the answer.

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To Kill A Mockingbird by Harper Lee – Review

The world can be a scary place when the mob takes over. When people band together, put their hands over their ears and refuse to listen, it can be dangerous to step out of line or go against the grain in any way. It is in times like this, when injustice is being perpetrated, that the people who aren’t being victimized need to stand up against those forces. Atticus Finch, one of the most beloved characters in literature, goes against his neighbours and the people in his small town to make sure that justice is served.

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