Big Library Read~I’m Not Dying With You Tonight by By Kimberly Jones and Gilly Segal

I’m Not Dying With You Tonight

By Kimberly Jones and Gilly Segal

Wow. This was a fast paced read that kept me turning pages. Well written. I was completely immersed in the story from the first page. Highly recommended. 

At a Friday night football game a fight breaks out. Lena and Campbell go to the same school, but aren’t friends. When a fight breaks out at a Friday night football game, it turns into more than just a fight. The situation escalates. Lena and Campbell try to get home, but the violence seems inescapable. 

Told from alternating viewpoints. This is a great book club selection. I read it as part of the Big Library Read. It’s one worth discussing. Good topic. 

Realistic

⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️

Relevant

⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️

Interesting

⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️

Thought-provoking

⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️

#biglibraryread

☕ Book Break ☕ | Blind Dates, Bridesmaids, and Other Disasters by Aspen Hadley

I thoroughly enjoyed reading Blind Dates Bridesmaids and Other Disasters. It’s funny and fun to read, but had a few tear-jerking type moments as well.The writing was great.

Our heroine is twenty-seven years old, is a second grade school teacher, and shares an apartment with two other women friends. One of her roommates is planning her wedding, and this catapults Rachel into a dating frenzy. She’s been gun shy after a breakup that happened seven years ago and it’s time to move on. 

The series of blind dates was hilarious and the predicaments Rachel got herself into echo the experiences I think we have all had. The difference being Rachel managed to get stuck on bad date repeat. 

The relationships between the women were well done, the second chance romance sweet. The cast was large but didn’t feel cluttered. 

All in all, and enjoyable, laugh out loud read. 

A solid, second chance romcom with lots of five star moments.

☕ Book Break ☕ | Switched On by John Elder Robison

Reposted from my older site.

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Book Review of Switched On: A Memoir of Brain Change and Emotional Awakening by John Elder Robison

In a quest for emotional intelligence, John Elder Robison agreed to allow neuroscientists to experiment on his brain. In this memoir that reminds one of Flowers for Algernon, Robison tells us about his experience with TMS, transcranial magnetic stimulation, and the resulting effects on his emotions and life.

Imagine your world being turned upside down by a sudden awareness that things are not at all the way you thought they were. Scales drop from your eyes. You connect with people in a way you never have before. Things are different, sharper. But there is a caveat. You  see that sometimes ‘friends’ are most definitely not friends at all. Childhood memories are now viewed with disturbing clarity. The gift you so sought after, to become more perceptive, is now yours but the beauty so desired and expected isn’t the only thing this new found ability to see emotion reveals.

I was moved by Switched On in a way no other memoir has touched me. This is truly a unique experience that Robison has shared.

After the reception his book, Look Me In the Eye, John Elder Robison was approached to participate in a research study. Scientists wanted to measure the plasticity of the brain, in other words, how the brain can adapt, change, and ‘rewire’ itself. They also sought results about cognitive therapies and how that might affect the brain. The idea was to see if TMS could be used to effect the difficulties autistic people have reading the emotions and nonverbal communication of others.

People on the autism spectrum are not unemotional or uncaring. They do have difficulty reading people, understanding, and responding in the expected way to situations. This is something that people are expected to come by naturally, but this skill seems particularly elusive to people on the spectrum.

Switched On: A Memoir of Brain Change, chronicles the unexpected and far reaching results of this research study. Robison underwent moments of amazing emotional awakening and others of devastation as a result of the sudden onslaught of awareness.

This memoir leaves us with more questions than answers about the future of TMS for therapeutic uses. Delving into this area of research raises a multitude of ethical questions.

“The thing is, not all differences lead to disability. Some lead to exceptionality. And we don’t necessarily know enough to tell one from the other. Yet we are on the verge of acting on that incomplete knowledge right now in the area of autism.”

Switched On left me feeling conflicted. It offers hope for future understanding and therapies, but is, in part, a cautionary tale. We would do well to take heed. At the same time, there were tremendous gains for Robison. This book has given me a deeper understanding of why someone might be willing to try these kinds of treatments.

I like Robison’s writing style. I find his books to be easy to read and entertaining, while at the same time providing information. In this particular book he does tend to stray into areas that are a bit technical for me, but his down-to-earth style kept me engaged with the story throughout. This book was a fascinating read and I finished it quickly.

I recommend this book for anyone curious about TMS, autism, or for anyone interested in a good memoir.

I also suggest Robison’s first book, Look Me in The Eye, or another of his books, Be Different, both of which I found to be very encouraging and informative. This recent book is a bit different than the two I have previously read since it deals with medical research, but Robison’s engaging story telling style remains. In Switched On Robison has given readers the opportunity to gain further insights into his autistic journey.

Listen as John Elder Robison talks about his experience on NPR “Here and Now.”

Read my review of John Elder Robinson’s memoir Look Me in the Eye here.

You Bring the Distant Near by Mitali Perkins #popsugarreadingchallenge2019

You Bring the Distant Near by Mitali Perkins

#popsugarreadingchallenge2019

A book told from multiple character POVs

Told from multiple points of view, this multi-generational tale takes the reader inside the walls of the home of Bengali immigrants, following the family through the years. Told through the eyes of five girls, each one with her own way of approaching her life and heritage. The women are all complex and flawed, which made it realistic and interesting. 

This is a positive book, a story with heart. 

My only quibble with it was I wanted more! I would have liked to know more as the story went along.

Recommended.

⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️

Interesting

⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️

Relevant

⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️

Family Saga

⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️

Satisfying Ending

⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️

Diverse

⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️

 

☕ Book Break ☕ | The Impossible Knife of Memory by Laurie Halse Anderson

The Impossible Knife of Memory 

by Laurie Halse Anderson

This is a book about a family in crisis. I was deeply affected by the difficulties Hayley faced. In this novel, we are given a clear picture of how the child or children will struggle and develop their own mental health issues when the parent is not healthy. Post traumatic stress disorder is such a devastating condition, and it is an issue that deserves more attention.

During many of the scenes in this book, the tension was so high that I had to stop reading. Because it mirrors situations that are all too real and many of our serviceman’s lives, The scenarios were too easy to imagine.

The book isn’t all serious or tragic. We have the usual cast of high school characters and the endearing love interest with humor to lighten the tone at times.

The relationships are complicated. The characters are well rounded and realistic. This is an emotion packed read about a timely topic. There are discussion questions at the end. Sensitively done and beautifully written. 

All the stars

⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️

Due to subject matter, there is mild language, alcoholism, drug use, and violence. Read this one with your kids and talk about PTSD.

☕ Book Break ☕ | The Tuscan Child by Rhys Bowen

The Tuscan Child by Rhys Bowen

This one was on my TBR a long time. I think I put off reading it because I gotten a bit tired of World War II fiction.

After her estranged father, Hugo, dies,  Joanna find mysterious letter among his possessions. This lead her on a mission to uncover the mystery. Along the way she learns that her father wasn’t exactly the man she thought he was. 

The story is told in dual timelines. WWII pilot Hugo is shot down over Tuscany while flying a mission. Sofia helps him to stay hidden among the ruins of an old monastery.

I thoroughly enjoyed this read. If you like dual timelines, World War II fiction, and a little bit of mystery, this might be one for you to check out.

Descriptions

⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️

Mystery

⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️

Interesting 

⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️

Characters

⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️

 

☕ Book Break ☕ | Sugar by Deirdre Riordan Hall

 

Sugar

by Deirdre Riordan Hall

“I lean against the doorframe, heavy with the truth. I am always in the way. I’ve known this for as long as I can remember.”

“I’ve always been too much and yet not enough.”

“I know how to swim, but I feel like I’m drowning.”

I loved this young adult novel. I admit I had a hard time getting into this book at the beginning, but it wasn’t long before I was drawn into the plot. Sugar’s story resonated with me, and I am glad a friend recommended this novel. 

Sugar is a 17-year-old girl with an eating disorder. Home life is fraught with abuse both mental and physical. Sugar is a good girl. She tries with all her might to please her family, but they are never satisfied. She eats to fill the painful void left by rejection.

Other readers have mentioned that the middle of the novel dragged, but I didn’t notice this. I felt the story moved along at a sufficient pace and it kept my interest throughout. It actually kept me awake when I should have gone to bed!

Sugar was a quick read.  Deirdre Riordan Hall’s storytelling style is somewhat straightforward, but the story line and characters were engaging. I found myself rooting for Sugar.

The novel has a satisfactory ending, although tragedy (more tragedy!) does visit Sugar’s world. All the ends tie up nicely without it being too gooey-happy in the end. This is an empowering read for girls going through difficult times. Upon finishing the book, my overall feeling was one of hope. This is a story about rejection, how teens value themselves, and about overcoming.

Sugar’s battles tugged at my heart. This is one I categorize as must read for teens and adults simply because the character spoke volumes to me. It is a deceptively simple tale that delves deep. I found it an emotional read that stuck with me after I turned the last page.

With a caution for younger readers about topics covered, I would highly recommend this book for pre-teens, teens, and adults.

Topics:

Obesity, abuse, abandonment, bullying, assault, attempted rape, contains language, death, mentions of Catholic religion, prayers, rituals.

Deirdre Riordan Hall talks ‘Sugar’ and speaking up against bullies.

Author’s Website