Book Review: Baby Teeth

Title: Baby Teeth

Author: Zjoe Stage

Format: Advance Reader’s Copy Paperback

Published: 2018

 

Thank you, St. Martin’s Press, for the advance reader’s copy of Baby Teeth which is out July 17th!!  It kept me entertained on the sad journey back from my amazing cruise to the United States.  After reading this though I feel like I should sleep with one eye open around my kids…

Baby Teeth starts out with the image of a perfect family.  We have the father, Alex, who works and has a great job with the mom, Suzette, who stays at home to take care of the baby, Hanna.  Let’s just say that Hanna makes Rosemary’s baby look like an angel.

Talk about a twisted, semi-horrific book.  Behind closed doors the perfect family is not so perfect.  Hanna doesn’t talk.  Hanna has been kicked out of any school she has gone to due to behaviors.  Around her father, Hanna is the perfect angel.  When her dad is gone, all hell breaks loose.

Hanna starts to say a few words to her mother.  This wouldn’t be bad except she’s out to kill her mom so she can live a happy life alone with her father.  She tells her mother that she isn’t Hanna, but she’s a witch that was burned at the stake.  Suzette starts to tell her husband about all the, let’s call it satanic things, that Hanna starts to do.  She doesn’t like to burden him with all of the negative things because that’s his angel.  Put it this way, he has blamed all of the schools for the reason why Hanna has been kicked out, not her one time.

Have I mentioned that this girl is only 7 years old?!?!

The book carries on and this devil child tries to take her mother out one day after her father left for work.  She came up with a plan and almost got away with it.  I won’t divulge how she tries to do it, but, dang Zjoe, what an idea the initial plan is!!  Yes, I said initial because there are multiple attempts at taking Suzette’s life!!

I think the scariest part of this book for me was how real I felt it could be.  As a special education teacher, I have seen children with many, many various disabilities and clearly this child has a few issues.  I have known some children who have been violent and do try to hurt their parents.  This book isn’t as far-fetched as it may seem to some!

Overall, I am giving Baby Teeth a rating of 4.  It kept me turning the pages nonstop and jumping a little when my daughter would need to grab my attention.  This is a true physiological read.  I am hoping with how it ended Zjoe explores the idea of a sequel set years later into the future.  At least my fingers are crossed for that!  You won’t be disappointed to put this on your to-read list!!  Next week I will be reviewing yet another advance read; The Boy At The Door by Alex Dahl, see you next Thursday!

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Book Review: The Kissing Booth

Title: The Kissing Booth

Author: Beth Reekles

Format: Kindle E-Book

Published: 2013

How does one plan for over 13 hours on an airplane?  Sleep would have been a great choice; however, I can never fall asleep on a plane.  Before I left for my magical, amazing, Mediterranean cruise vacation I was seeing a lot of ruckus over a new Netflix original movie, The Kissing Booth.  After I looked into it I discovered it was based off of a book written by a 15-year-old girl (yes, just 15 years old!!!!) and was getting rave reviews.  I wanted to join the party (and I love reading books and then watching the movie) so I downloaded the movie to my phone and the book to my Kindle and off to Rome I flew!

The Kissing Booth took me back to high school when I would day dream about how I would talk to my crush and what would happen.  As a high school student, your imagination can go crazy and think of some unrealistic situations.  I felt this is how the book went.  You could tell it was written by a teenager.

The story takes us on a journey with Elle and her best friend Lee, two popular high school students.  They have been inseparable for years and are essentially twins (both have the same birthday).  Lee has an older brother, Noah, and he and Elle have a love hate relationship at least until the school carnival.  Elle and Lee have come up with the fundraising idea of a kissing booth and somehow Elle and Noah end up kissing.  What happens now?  Well Noah is the hot, older brother with a player reputation so let your old teenage mind take that where you want it to.  Don’t forget to include drinking and sex in your thoughts!

I will say they hide their relationship (ut oh) and when Lee finds out, drama alert.  I didn’t particularly care for this part of the book.  It felt rushed and the characters just did their own thing immediately.  I felt like it was missing a lot of substance during this part and I could not understand why Elle and Noah had an issue with each other.  It got awkward.  But as any teenage dream prevails, they’re all awkward.  How does this all end?  Well, you’ll have to read it to find out.

Immediately after I finished the book I watched the movie.  I wasn’t too choked up over the book until I saw the movie.  Woah.  It made me appreciate the book a lot more.  Maybe if I was a teenager I would be going crazy over both, but, I’m not.  I will say though for a 15-year-old girl, it was written nicely.  A little farfetched, but, it’s what teenagers day dream about and she put it into words decently.

Overall, I am giving The Kissing Booth a rating of a 3.  If you stumble across this book go ahead and read it, but, I wouldn’t go out of my way to. I’m going to recommend you not watch the movie.  It follows the book along for the most part, but, I didn’t like how Elle was portrayed in the movie as opposed to the book.  If you have read the book and/or seen the movie I would LOVE to hear your thoughts!!  Come back next week for my review of Baby Teeth by Zoje Stage!

Book Review: Killer Dreams

Title: Killer Dreams

Author: Iris Johansen

Format: Hardback

Published: 2006

I acquired this book on a random eBay search one day and the description peaked my interest.  The first thing I will say is now this author, Iris Johansen, is on my to-read list!!

So I am going to be frank and just tell you how this book starts out.  We meet Sophie; married, one child, and loves her family.  She is on a quick fishing trip with her parents which ends in her father killing her mother, attempting to kill herself and her son, and then turns the gun on himself and kills himself.  What?

The book flashes to 2 years down the road where we find out she’s divorced and married to her work.  She is a top sleep therapist and she specializes in life-threatening night terrors, which her son happens to suffer from.  She is focused on her work and we learn she enjoys her work in the hospital setting.  She previously worked for a pharmaceutical company and one is trying to steal her away from her job again except she absolutely refuses.  Hmm.

The pharmaceutical company (rather, two men) will take center stage in this story.  Sophie was working on a special project in which it started to get out of hand.  Sophie left the company and left the man in charge wanting to persuade her to come back to finish the project…or kill her.

Sophie has been under the protection and watchful eye of a semi-retired hitman named Jock.  He has been teaching her how to take care of herself and by that, I mean shoot a gun and kill someone.  He helps her take care of her son and is looking to return to Scotland to fully retire but is hesitant to until he knows Sophie will be safe.

Here is where the book takes off.  The men are coming after Sophie, hard, and will kill her or anyone else in their way to get what they want.  It becomes a whirlwind and eventual worldwide adventure where we are introduced to Royd, who enters the picture by saving her life.  The two become an unlikely pair and are bound and determined to take down the people coming after Sophie, each for their own personal reasons.

I could go on but then I would be giving too much of the book away.  It is filled with lots of killing and action.  It was fairly predictable, nothing that had me on the edge of my seat, but, I was flipping through the pages like crazy to see what would happen with Royd and Sophie.  I loved the ending and was holding my breath for the entire last chapter.  I also absolutely appreciated the epilogue in this book, I LOVE seeing how things turn out in the long run!  I am giving this a solid 4 out of 5 and if you happen to come across this book, read it!  Next week will be a surprise on what will be reviewed, I’m not too sure yet!!  I have been on a cruise and packed my Kindle along with some paperback books so the world is my oyster!  Catch me next Thursday for a to be determined review!

Book Review – Lost In Translation

TITLE: Lost in Translation: An illustrated compendium of untranslatable words from around the world
AUTHOR/ILLUSTRATOR: Ella Frances Sanders
FORMAT: Hardback
PUBLISHED: 2014

 

Lost in Translation is an illustrated book featuring words from other languages that don’t translate into English.   It tells you what language the word is from and what the word means and there’s some graphic design to make it all “Pretty.”

Except the design is hideous.  Like thin white hollow letters on pastels.  I could barely read some of the pages.  There is no arrangement for the order of words.  It’s like they’re thrown into a hat and whatever order they were drawn in is the order they appear.

Nothing tells you how to say some of these words.  And “untranslatable” is a misnomer at best.  True, we simply call your third cup of coffee the third cup of coffee, but it doesn’t mean we don’t have a way to translate it (and really, in the case of a word like “third cup of coffee” do we really NEED a way?). I was hoping for words that had such an essence to them that there was no easy, direct way to explain them.  Also, according to other reviews of this book, some of these aren’t even accurate.  So there’s that.

In short, I hate this book.  There’s nothing good about this book.  There’s little content, the illegibility is more trouble than it’s worth, and I spent more time lamenting the information that we DON’T get than enjoying what is there.  What good is a book of words if you don’t know how to say them?

I give this book 1/5.  Even as a novelty, there’s nothing novel about it.

Book Review: The Thinnest Air

Title: The Thinnest Air

Author: Minka Kent

Format: Kindle Edition

Published: 2018

I received this book for free by being an Amazon Prime member!  This is from their selection of Amazon First Reads and this book will officially be released on Sunday, July 1, 2018!  PRE-ORDER IT NOW!

So many different thoughts ran through my head during this book.  I hated some characters because I was convinced, CONVINCED they did something that turns out, they didn’t do.  My apologies to the fictional characters I hated for no reason, but, come on, we all make mistakes with our suspicions.  Minka Kent does an excellent job with the suspense!!

There are two main characters in this book, sisters Meredith and Greer.  Greer is the older, protective older sister who lives in the city and owns a few coffee shops with her now ex-boyfriend.  Meredith is her young sister who lives in a rich ski town with a husband double her age who also happens to be worth millions.

Meredith goes missing.  Her car is found, door open, purse and phone on the passenger seat, in the parking lot of a grocery store.  It is now a nationwide manhunt to find this missing woman.  Greer immediately flies in to help find her sister and suspects those closest to her.

What we do know is that Meredith and Greer are half-sisters, having the same mother.  Their mother was anything but a mother so when she makes an appearance to try and help find Meredith, you must know how Greer feels.  Greer raised Meredith and will stop at nothing to find her.  Meredith’s father is a wealthy man who had nothing to do with her life.  In fact, if word got out that he had Meredith, it would destroy him.  He did set up a five million dollar trust fund that was set to be given to her on her next birthday.  Does this have anything to do with her going missing?

There were twists and turns and I could not put this book down.  I read this book in 2 days and the only reason I put it down is because in my drowsy state at midnight my Kindle fell out of my hand and hit my sleeping husband in bed, whoops.  Don’t worry, he has no idea it ever happened.  I give this book a 5 because it has the perfect amount of twists and turns.  The ending happens fast but I am so, so satisfied with it.  It gave me all the happy feels.  Next week I will be reviewing Killer Dreams by Iris Johansen, stay tuned!

Book Review: Luger Rounds

Title: Luger Rounds

Author: William Lynes, MD

Format: Kindle Edition

Published: 2012

 

I received this book for free through Voracious Reader’s Only.  If you have not had a chance to join some of the e-book groups I have previously blogged about it, you are missing out!!

So what is a luger round?  It is essentially a term used by medical professionals which means they are keeping alive someone who should be dead.  It is seen as a negative, heartless term in the medical field and our friend Dr. Phillip Thomas has been put into this state intentionally.

Who did this?  Why?  Eventually you will find out how Dr. Thomas got to his state through morphine induced dreams or flash backs.  We start back at the beginning of his six year residency program at the hospital up until today, the end of his six year residency, in the ICU.

What I found most interesting was the fact that I have always wondered what it would be like to be in a vegetable state but be able to hear and understand everything around you.  This book delivers just that.  Dr. Thomas is able to understand everything going on around him, feel all the pain, but, cannot control his body at all.

There is a LOT of medical terminology.  This book was penned by a real-life doctor and you can tell.  Thankfully the understanding of medical terms is not necessary for this book.  I did find myself skimming over some parts of the book that were not important as the medical parts flew over my head.  If you have a medical background and love mysteries, this is an above and beyond 5 star book for you.

Overall I give this book a 4.  I lean more towards a 3.5 but if you round up, you get a 4 so that’s where we’ll stay.  This was an absorbing mystery that lead us to a sudden, open ending.  I am typically not a fan of open endings where you can really think of what happens on your own, but, upon reflecting after reading this book, it fits.  Next week I will be reviewing my Amazon First Reads pick, The Thinnest Air by Minka Kent.  See you next Thursday!

Book Review: Introducing Teddy

TITLE: Introducing Teddy: A gentle story about gender and friendship
AUTHOR: Jessica Walton
ILLUSTRATOR: Dougal MacPherson
FORMAT: Hardback
PUBLISHED: 2016

 

This book just appeared at work one day, and I was intrigued, so I read it.

Basically, Teddy is trans and this is the coming out story.
In the beginning of the story, Teddy is very sad.  Erroll, Teddy’s owner, asks what’s wrong and is told “Please don’t make fun of me.  I don’t want to be Thomas any more, I want to be Tilly!”  And Errol says “OKAY!” and thus the teddy switches his bow tie into her hairbow and they go off to play with other friends.  “Thomas would like you to call her Tilly now.”  “Okay”  And that’s it.

I get that this book is designed for little little kids.  But remember that I spend my days with a four-year-old.  So I just kinda stared at it for a while and blinked.  I don’t know what I think about this book.  I know that the author* wanted a simple book for little kids, but a lot of people use books to open up conversation and I’m worried that this is too over simplistic.  In the same tone that a kid will tell you to call them Mallory when their name is really Valerie or “When I grow up, I want to be a [something ridiculous]!…” and then change their mind after lunch, we’re told “hey, look, this is me now,” and it doesn’t have as much weight as it should as a serious issue.

So, really, this is more about acceptance than about actual trans* issues.  Your friend is telling you this is how things are, and you’re okay with it because you’re their friend.  As adults, we know that this isn’t as simple as it is, but we as adults also understand that the world is not so black and white as a child understands it to be.

 

I am torn on this rating.  I absolutely love that the point of this story was “just please love me for me, I’m very fragile” because I believe that all of us are that to some extent.  It was very sweet and simple, and I believe that that message will get through.
That said though, as far as transgender is concerned, this is only a book about accepting somebody that has transitioned.  It doesn’t explain anything about it whatsoever, so I’m not really sure how useful a tool this is, but it was okay.  Also, the illustrations were adorable.  When “Thomas” was sitting there looking sad because “I’m afraid you won’t like me if I tell you…”  I really felt for the bear.    Anyway, Illustrations are a solid 4.  The book is more of a 3 for my liking.

 

 

*The author is a m to f trans* herself.  Also an amputee.  Read her bio on the book jacket.  She’s got an interesting life.

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