Thursday, May 25, 2017

Tyndale review: Larger than life Lara

This isn't about me. This story, I mean. So already you got a reason to hang it up. At least that's what Mrs. Smith, our English teacher, says. 

But the story is about ten-year-old Laney Grafton and the new girl in her class--Lara Phelps, whom everyone bullies from the minute she shows up. Laney is just relieved to have someone else as a target of bullying. But instead of acting the way a bullied kid normally acts, this new girl returns kindness for a meanness that intensifies . . . until nobody remains unchanged, not even the reader.

In a unique and multi-layered story, with equal parts humor and angst, Laney communicates the art of storytelling as it happens, with chapter headings, such as: Character, Setting, Conflict, Rising Action, Climax. And she weaves an unforgettable tale of a new girl who transforms an entire class and, in the process, reveals the best and worst in all of us.

This is a powerful and emotional story, which School Library Journal called "Thoroughly enjoyable and unexpectedly wry, . . . as intelligent as it is succinct."

My Review:

There's one thing that I know is true. I knew it from life, and this book brought back a lot of feelings and memories: kids are mean.

Bonus one: As emotional as this book is (even though, pre-motherhood I never would have cried, but....) it gave me hope. It gave me an inspiration to do all that I can to raise my daughter to be kind and strong. 

Bonus two: the chapter titles!!!! I love reading, and I loved English class. And I loved writing (even though my writing days are somewhat confined to documentation at work and book reviews right now) Oh, a child after my own heart, As heartbreaking as the book got, the chapter titles kept me going.

Con one: This book is so short! I guess it falls in line with the premise that a fifth grader is writing it, but there's so much more of Laney and Lara's world that I want to know and read about.

Con two: I wish the ending had been more like a fairy tale, but it's also important that it was realistic. So, I guess not really a con?

Overall, a great read. Thank you Tyndale publishers for letting me review this.

Saturday, May 20, 2017

Book review: Boss bitch

You don’t need dozens or hundreds of employees to be a boss, says financial expert and serial entrepreneur Nicole Lapin. Hell, you don’t even need one. You just need to find your inner Boss Bitch — your most confident, savvy, ambitious self — and own it.

A Boss Bitch is the she-ro of her own story. She is someone who takes charge of her future and embraces being a “boss” in all aspects of the word: whether as the boss of her own life, family and career, the literal boss at work, or, as the boss of her own company. Whichever she chooses (or all three), a Boss Bitch is someone who gets out there and makes her success happen — and so can you.

Lapin draws on raw and often hilariously real stories from her own career — the good, the bad, and the ugly — to show what it means to be a "boss" in twelve easy steps. In her refreshingly accessible and relatable style, she first shows how to embrace the “boss of you" mentality by seizing the power that comes from believing in yourself and expanding your skillset. Then she offers candid no-nonsense advice for how to kill it at as the “boss at work” whether you have a high-up role or not. And finally, for those who want to take the plunge as an entrepreneur, she lays out the nuts and bolts of how to be the “boss of your own business” from   raising money and  getting it off the ground to hiring a kickass staff and dealing office drama to turning a profit.

Being a badass in your career is something that should be worn as a badge of honor, says Lapin. Here, she inspires us to rise to the occasion and celebrate our successes — and then keep killing it like the Boss Bitches we are!

My review:
From the very first sentence - "To my former self, who would be proud of me now," to the last - And the princess lived happily ever after in her own big castle and with all her own money and she took care of herself--the end," this book turned out to be something I would love to give my daughter one day. Or maybe my sister, since she's graduating much sooner than my daughter will from school.

To be fair, the Actual last sentence is "if you do give up, fuck you." which I think is equally inspiring.

I appreciate this book for what it is, and it has some good takeaways- like how to ask for a raise and set boundaries. But the voice of the writing seemed a bit forced. I'm all for reclaiming the title of "bitch" form something bad to something powerful, but the abundant sprinkling of the word (example: "so what's your story, bitch?") seemed like the author was trying a bit too hard to be  Britney and we didn't get a chance to see her true voice come out. 

I have all of the respect for Nicole, and would love to pick up her next book. But I was hoping this would be something I could give as a gift to any woman--not just someone I have a 18 year relationship with that knows I don't think it's appropriate to drop 'bitch' into everyday conversation. I look forward to see if Ms. Lapin has more books in store. Maybe her next one we'll get to see her true voice. 

Saturday, May 6, 2017

Book review: Harvest

My review:
I wasn't as into this book as I thought it would be. At first, it seemed like something I could use to grow and cook my own food for a family of three in a one room apartment.
I really don't need facial scrubs and I certainly don't have room for a crabapple tree. So I was disappointed. I can maybe use it as a christmas gift for someone who has an actual house with a backyard that isn't forbidden by the HOA to grow food. (If I can find someone like that) but this is not staying on my shelf for long.