September 24, 2016

The Ferryman Institute

The Ferryman Institute
by Colin Gigl
publisher The Gallery, Threshold, Pocket Books
to be published September 27, 2016
source NetGalley

reflections:   (a) Do you remember the mythological ferryman Charon when you read myths in high school?  He ferried the dead across the River Styx.   (b) Have you ever been burned out in a job?

Charlie is a top ferryman,  handsome,  sarcastic, and mentally burned out.   He has worked for 25 decades at The Ferryman Institute leading the souls of the dead to the afterlife.  He has written 6049 requests to be transferred out of the Institute.  Each request has been denied, because his services are too valuable.  

One day, Charlie makes a mistake.  

my perspective:  Loved loved loved this book.  Witty, sarcastic humor. 

a 17th century painting of Charon

September 23, 2016

The Couple Next Door

The Couple Next Door
by Shari Lapena
publisher:  Penguin Viking, Pamela Dorman
published: August 2016
source:  borrowed from my daughter

reflections:   Secrets.  Everybody has secrets.  Would your secrets make someone's jaw drop open?

My jaw dropped open a few times while reading The Couple Next Door.   Doing that to me makes for a great book!   Good development of characters,  and exploration of their anxieties and guilt feelings.  

However, by the time I reached the ending and anti-climax, I was ready to be done with the book.

September 4, 2016

Since You've Been Gone

Since You've Been Gone
by Christa Allan
publisher Waterfall Press
to be published October 11, 2016
source  NetGalley  

reflections:   Have you ever discovered a gift not meant for you?   Is there a member of your immediate family whom you don't get along with?

publisher's description:  Olivia is preparing to walk down the aisle and embrace her own happily ever after. The next moment, she learns that her fiancĂ©, Wyatt, has been in a fatal car accident. Then comes a startling discovery: Wyatt’s car wasn’t heading toward the church. He was fifty miles away…with a baby gift in the backseat.  

my perspective:  Five stars because the book kept my interest.  I wanted to know the whys and wherefores of the gifts.  There were events I did not expect.    Soon after Wyatt's death, Olivia discovers she is pregnant.    Her ultra-religious mother disapproves.   Olivia and her mother battle throughout the next several months.   Fortunately, the other characters are not as despicable as her mother.   Olivia's best friend tells it like it is.  Her dad is a go-between her and her mother.  Her grandmother is more of a contemporary than a grandmother.  

That baby gift in the backseat of Wyatt's car?  I kept wanting to scream at Olivia "go ahead and open it,  see what's inside."    The author kept us in suspense throughout most of the book.  

September 2, 2016

Bridge to Brilliance

The Bridge to Brilliance
by Nadia Lopez with Rebecca Paley
publisher  Penguin Group Viking
published August 30, 2016
source NetGalley

reflections:   I used read Humans of New York on Facebook every day.   Here's a link to a sample post about what a young boy said about an influential person in his life.

The Bridge to Brilliance is written by the influential person mentioned in the link I just gave you.    Ms. Lopez received a grant to open a middle school in inner-city Brooklyn in 2010.   The first chapters tell details about her plans for the school.   The students would be called scholars, not students.  The school color would be purple and black.  She had high expectations for the scholars, staff and teachers.

I found the beginning of the book  hard to read because Ms. Lopez jumped around chronologically and threw out statistics.

I jumped to Chapter 8 "Praise for Humans" and immediately found the book much more interesting.   In this chapter,  Ms. Lopez is at her breaking point.   Then she receives a text asking her if she has seen this.    From there, events happen quickly.     After I finished that chapter, I was able to read the earlier portions of the book.

epilogue and more reflections:    Not a spoiler,   on the last page, Ms. Lopez tells about a young boy who knows whenever he feels so angry in class that he will erupt, he can leave the room to go to her office.    For a few years, I had an office in the elementary school.   The fourth and fifth grade teachers and I had an agreement:  if a certain boy felt  he would blow up in class, he had blanket permission to leave their classrooms to come to my office to chill and calm down until he was ready to go back.    This young boy is now a successful young adult.  


September 1, 2016

Waldorf in Texas

Mr. Waldorf Travels to the Great State of Texas
by Beth Ann Stifflemire and Barbara Terry
publisher:  Waldorf Publishing
date published:  September 1, 2016

reflections:  Have you ever lost your glasses?  I have.  The last time,  I searched and searched.  My husband suggested I look in the laundry room.  A-ha!   I took them off there because they were fogged up from the steam when I opened the dryer.  

Comical dogs can lose their spectacles too.  Mr. Waldorf is a  Labrador named after author Barbara Terry's publishing company and her real lab.   He travels through Texas asking people and animals through comic-strip word-balloons if they have seen his reading glasses. 

The child reader will be intrigued by the large colorful illustrations and will delight in finding the glasses on double-page spreads.  We get to see the Dallas Cowboys,  oil rigs, the Alamo and even bluebonnets.

Mr. Waldorf Travels to the Great State of Texas is the first in a series The Spectacular World of Waldorf.

epilogue:  I was delighted to receive this book for review from the author and publisher.   It will be mailed to Texas to a special pair of three-year-old twins.  The sister wears glasses (and she is tickled to know her favorite character Minnie Mouse wears glasses too).  The brother will enjoy searching for the glasses.   Their older sister grieved more than a year about moving from Tennessee to Texas.  Now that she has settled into her kindergarten class, she loves school.   Hopefully, this book about Texas will help her love her new state.