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The Week in Review: 08.31.2018

August 31, 2018
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Between the Covers

Finished last week:

NEVERWORLD WAKE by Marisha Pessl is the story of Beatrice and six of her friends.  Bee and her friends were the cool kids who reigned supreme at their school until Bee’s boyfriend, Jim, dies suddenly.  His death has left Bee feeling raw even after a year so she decides to return to the estate where they so much of their lives.

Bee and her remaining five friends find themselves in a limbo of sorts where they relive the same day over and over again.  At the end of each “wake” they must vote to see which one will survive – this pattern will continue until the vote is unanimous.  Bee must use the time to figure out what happened to Jim in order to save herself.

This book is out of my comfort zone but I decided to give it a go anyway.  At first, I found the premise rather fascinating but, before it was all said and done, I grew weary of it.  Bee was the only character who was really developed – the rest came across as shallow.  I was hoping they would grow as they continued to go through wakes but that didn’t seem to happen.  I suspect the intended YA audience will like this more than I did, though.  Phoebe Strole narrates the audio version and I thought she did an okay job – even though she’s from Texas, I thought her southern accent for one of the characters was too over the top.  (Review copy provided by Penguin Random House.)


Don Brown did his homework before writing THE UNWANTED: STORIES OF THE SYRIAN REFUGEES.  This nonfiction graphic novel written for grades 9 and up explains how Syria’s civil war got started and why its residents want to flee their home.  It goes on to show how they flee and the reception they receive when they arrive in a new country.  Since it’s a YA novel a lot of the focus is on children.  It’s gut wrenching and eye opening.  At the back of the book Brown writes of his experience visiting refugee camps in Greece in 2017 and also includes an extensive bibliography.  Teens and adults without a lot of knowledge of the Syrian refugee crisis who are interested in current events and social issues won’t want to miss this informative book.  (Review copy provided by Amazon Vine.)


I read WOMEN IN SUNLIGHT by Frances Mayes for my book club and, once again, I wasn’t able to attend the meeting.  It’s the story of 3 middle aged women who find themselves alone and, rather than go into an assisted living facility, decide to join together and rent a villa in Tuscany.  I know at least one member loved the book but it wasn’t for me – everything was just too sweet and perfect.  I found the writing uneven and thought the narrative shifts were jarring.  Quite often, I had to stop and read back a few sentences to figure out who the narrator was at that point.  I did manage to finish the book but could have easily set it aside at any point, even close to the end.

Currently reading:

On the Screen

I saw Crazy Rich Asians with a friend and we both liked it a lot.  Economics professor Rachel Chu’s boyfriend, Nick Young, invites her to go home to Singapore with him to meet his family and attend the wedding of his best friend.  He fails to tell her that his family is rich – “crazy” rich” – and Rachel finds herself in a world unlike anything she’s ever known.  This movie had comedy, drama, and romance and was a fun way to spend a few hours.  Seeing the scenery in Singapore was an added treat.   I haven’t read the book it’s based on but want to after seeing this entertaining movie.

Off the blog

  • The days are getting shorter so there’s the promise of fall, but it’s still summer around here.
  • How can it be the last day of August already?  This year has really flown by.
  • We walked at least three miles every morning and I averaged just over 16,500 Fitbit steps a day.

What’s going on in your corner of the world?

25 Comments leave one →
  1. August 31, 2018 6:01 am

    The Unwanted sounds really interesting, how fantastic that these kind of stories are put in a format for that age group.

  2. Sarah's Book Shelves permalink
    August 31, 2018 7:24 am

    Loved Give Me Your Hand – hope you do too!

  3. August 31, 2018 7:33 am

    Too bad about the Mayes book. I want to see CRA but will probably end up streaming at some point. Glad you enjoyed it!

  4. Beth F permalink
    August 31, 2018 8:01 am

    So sorry that the Mayes book didn’t work for you. I really liked it, but perhaps I was in the mood for a light, predictable read.

  5. August 31, 2018 8:49 am

    Sorry Women in Sunlight wasn’t a hit for you. I really loved it… definitely the right book at the right time for me. Reading it on a beach probably helped, too 😉

  6. August 31, 2018 9:38 am

    Totally agree on CRA. We enjoyed it a lot.

  7. August 31, 2018 10:27 am

    I could use a nice romcom about now!

  8. August 31, 2018 10:30 am

    I loved the Mayes book, too and I just got her newest new one. It’s funny because I didn’t think I would like it…it’s amazing how books are so personal for all of us! I didn’t want July to end!

  9. August 31, 2018 11:33 am

    I read that Crazy Rich Asians was a big hit when it opened, but you are the first one I know to go see it. Now I think I’d like to see it too, Have a good weekend, Kathy.

  10. Diane permalink
    August 31, 2018 12:04 pm

    You had a busy week Kathy. Sorry Winen in Sunlight didn’t work for you, I haven’t read it but am considering the audio. Glad to read Crazy Rich Asians was good.

    We are seeing Operation Finale today, based on a true story. The hubs choice not mine…his turn to pick!

  11. August 31, 2018 12:22 pm

    The Mayes & Abbott books look good.

  12. August 31, 2018 12:33 pm

    Women in Sunlight looks good…but I think I will wait for the movie, if there is one (I loved the film Under the Tuscan Sun, but didn’t read the book).

    Vox sounds good.

    Enjoy your weekend!

  13. August 31, 2018 12:45 pm

    I’m glad I’m not alone in my assessment of Women in Sunlight. I started listening to the audio and found the alternating points of view very jarring and distracting. I listened for quite a long time, but finally stopped for something more interesting. I hate that I wasted an Audible credit, but I doubt I’ll return to the book.

  14. August 31, 2018 2:18 pm

    I’m definitely adding the graphic novel to my TBR list! And I keep hearing good things about Crazy, Rich Asians so will try to see that this weekend.

  15. August 31, 2018 2:43 pm

    I so want to watch Crazy rich!

  16. August 31, 2018 4:57 pm

    I’ve got my eye on the Pessl book because I’ve liked her other ones. But now I wonder if I’ll like it.

  17. August 31, 2018 7:07 pm

    Kathy, I’d like to see Crazy Rich Asians, too! Your step count keeps me motivated. Have a wonderful long weekend!

  18. August 31, 2018 9:32 pm

    I’ve heard of the Asians book and movie but strangely not interested! Living in Asia one gets annoyed at the huge gap that exists in our society and though it is improving here it certainly is not in some parts and that can be depressing.

  19. Literary Feline permalink
    August 31, 2018 10:55 pm

    I need to read my by Marisha Pessl. I wonder if I would like NEVERWORLD WAKE more than you did. I really liked Night Film, although it was so dark. I’ve heard great things about Crazy Rich Asians. I’m glad you liked it! I am anxious to know what you think of Vox. Have a great weekend, Kathy!

  20. September 3, 2018 1:03 am

    Aww, sorry you didn’t enjoy Neverworld Wake more. It’s waiting on my shelf and I want to read it soon.
    And I loved the Crazy Rich Asians movie too! It was cuter and more romantic than the book, which I also enjoyed but had a different vibe.

  21. melreadingcorner permalink
    September 3, 2018 8:08 am

    I’d read Crazy Rich Asians and thought it was entertaining. Haven’t watched the movie though but have heard great things about it. Will have to check out the second and third book at some point.

  22. September 4, 2018 1:08 pm

    I’ve heard great things about Crazy Rich Asians. I would like to check out the Syrian book.

  23. September 10, 2018 7:26 am

    I really want to read Vox, I can’t wait to hear your thoughts.

  24. September 11, 2018 11:16 am

    The Unwanted reminds me a bit of Maus I and Maus II. Students are always apprehensive about reading a graphic novel about something so horrific, but once they start they usually are even more interested in what is happening to the characters. I’ll have to look for this one and recommend to students.

  25. bookingmama permalink
    September 22, 2018 10:49 am

    I wish I had someone to go see CRAZY RICH ASIANS with!!!!

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