Tuesday, May 5, 2020

Hereville: How Mirka Met a Meteorite review

Hereville: How Mirka Met a Meteorite
by Barry Deutsch
Abrams
2012

This wonderful middle-grade graphic novel continues the adventures of Mirka Herschberg,  an irrepressible 11-year-old Orthodox Jewish girl. Mirka, a bit of an imaginative tomboy, is frustrated with knitting and antsy for adventure and makes for the woods to meet up with a witch and a troll. The snarky arachnid troll nebbishly clutching a purse and umbrella, decides to summon a meteorite, which the witch promptly turns into a doppelganger of Mirka.

Mirka's double soon acquires the name Metty, and just as in any classic golem story, Mirka is dismayed when she finds herself an outsider in her own family as Metty takes over mealtimes, (leaving chores for Mirka) and even stealing her Sabbath. Challenging her to a duel, Mirka only wins via her siblings clever interpretation of the contract she and Metty had agreed to.

Peppered with Yiddishisms, and with lots of tiny, thoughtful details in the illustrations, this is a graphic novel that stands alone, or can be enjoyed as part of the series. Either way, you won't want to miss this one.

I received a free copy of this book from the publisher.

Monday, May 4, 2020

When You Were Everything review

Cleo and Layla have known each other since they were both twelve years old and have been the very best of friends. They are both girls of color, living in bustling New York City. Going into their junior year of high school, it seems they've had a major falling out. This is a nuanced young adult contemporary novel about what the aftermath of  an imploded friendship looks like.

There is a plethora of suspense as the story jolts forward in two time-lines, Then and Now, leaving readers to wonder how on Earth such a close and loving pair of friends managed to turn on each other so completely. What starts as a few small incidents showing that the two young women are slowly growing apart, quickly escalates into a death by a thousand cuts, as their friendship is tested by conflicts over cute boys and popular cliques of girls. As the story unfolds, one betrayal after another is revealed, eventually laying bare all of the gory details of the kind of online bullying Queen Bee mean girls are capable of. Cleo is truly a sympathetic narrator, even as she gradually admits to herself how controlling and difficult a friend she has been.  Fans of Angie Thomas or Jacqueline Woodson and anyone who's ever been a friend, or lost a friend needs to read this book.

Thursday, January 23, 2020

New Year's Resolutions 2020

Greetings all!

My blog has been " on break" all this past year. But, I'd like to revisit my New Year's Resolutions nonetheless.
Last year I pledged to:

Read 100 books
Read more 2019 titles
Trim my To-Be-Read list down to 100 items
Bake something at least once a week

How did I do? Um... okay, I guess. A serious effort was made on all fronts, even though I don't feel I truly accomplished these goals. I read a lot more in 2019 - 85 books, which still fell short of my goal. Interestingly, I read the absolute most in Jan. 2019 and Dec. 2019. So, I guess I am more of a read-curled-up-by-a-roaring-fireplace kind of person than a read-under-a-beach-umbrella sort of person.

I only read 7 titles that could be counted as "new" or "newish" I had a lot of catching up to do, and of course, I'm always on the lookout for older, less in demand, but still quality titles to use for my various book clubs.

My big resolution, and probably most life-changing one was to bake something once a week. I had fantasized about getting in the habit of quickly and easily throwing together a loaf of bread every week and truly mastering it. But, once I got started, I decided to challenge myself by baking a NEW recipe every week. I tried a number of recipes: breads, rolls, cakes, cookies, pies, banana breads, etc. I kind of petered out in the summer months - I hadn't counted on how daunting it is to bake in the summer heat! But, I am so glad I challenged myself to do this. I think I learned a lot and I feel more accomplished as a home chef, for sure. I kind of wish I had blogged each of my baking creations, but I did post pics on Twitter, with the hashtag #yearofbaking.

Did I trim my TBR? No. But I do feel comfortable that it's at less than 365 titles. So, that's something.

My goals for 2020 are as follows:

Read 52 books total
Read at least 12 ARCs
Read at least 12 "classics"

I have a bit more of an organized plan in place this year to take advantage of Netgalley.

What are your goals in 2020?

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