8.14.2017

The Idea of You by Amanda Prowse {Book Review}

The Idea of You by Amanda Prowse is a novel that begins with a woman feeling heartache and longing for a family. It's impossible not to root for Lucy as she struggles to find her way and to figure out where true happiness comes from in this women's fiction novel.
{Many thanks to the publisher for sending me an eARC of The Idea of You free of charge. If you click through the affiliate links in this post, any purchase you make supports this site.}

THE BOOK

The Idea of You by Amanda Prowse

PUBLICATION DATE 

March 21, 2017

PLAN TO HAPPY RATING


REVIEW

When I scrolled through Amanda Prowse's list of books on Goodreads, I felt very late to the game. Prowse has a huge following with a gazillion great reviews. As a result, I dove in to her latest novel, The Idea of You, with some high expectations.

The Idea of You tells the story of Lucy, whose pride in her successful career is tempered by tragedy in her personal life. Lucy's husband ran off with her cousin, leaving Lucy heartbroken and wondering if she'd ever be a mother. She feels pangs of jealousy when she visits friends whose family rooms are destroyed by youngsters, only to return to her own home full of perfectly plumped pillows.

Prowse was named "Queen of Domestic Drama" by the UK's Daily Mail and considers it one of her finest moments. I definitely could not think of a better way to sum up The Idea of You than calling it a domestic drama.

This sub-genre of Woman's Fiction isn't the best fit for me - I felt like it was an endless string of dialogue, feelings, and emoting. However, Prowse certainly is a master of the style and her characters and story of The Idea of You felt exceedingly real.

8.06.2017

The Idiot by Elif Bautman {Book Review}

Elif Bautman's novel, The Idiot, captures a moment when easy access to e-mail was new, relationships were dramatically complicated, and a roommate could make or break you.
{Many thanks to the publisher for sending me an eARC of The Idiot free of charge. If you click through the affiliate links in this post, any purchase you make supports this site.}

THE BOOK

The Idiot by Elif Bautman

PUBLICATION DATE

March 14, 2017

PLAN TO HAPPY RATING


REVIEW

If Elif Bautman's novel, The Idiot, has a target audience, it would look a while lot like me (minus Harvard). Set in 1995 during a young woman's freshman year of college (the same year I started college), this novel is a trip down memory lane. Easy access to e-mail was new, relationships were dramatically complicated, and a roommate could make or break you.

The Idiot is a book without a typical plot. Instead, we follow Selin, sort of riding along in her head, as she navigates her new world (while feeling like, well, an idiot) at Harvard and over the summer. Bautman perfectly captures that frightening feeling of wonder that accompanies starting college and the struggle to sort out who you are in a new environment.

Some passages had me laughing out loud or cringing, but the "stream of consciousness" style began to wear on me a bit after about 300 pages. I got the feeling there would be no tidy ending because there was nothing tidy about the entire novel. That ended up being true.

While Bautman is a talented writer, ultimately, the nostalgia wasn't enough to keep me engaged in The Idiot. Selin's quirkiness became so odd that it became unbelievable and I was left feeling like I wanted more than the story gave. Though, I have a feeling I'll be thinking about this book for quite some time.

7.31.2017

A Single Stone by Meg McKinlay {Book Review}

In A Single Stone, a middle grade novel, McKinlay tells the story of Jena, who lives in a village that was cut off by a rock slide generations ago. Without access to other fuel, their village relies on the smallest and most lithe young girls to venture into the tunnels of the mountain in order to harvest precious mica.
{Many thanks to the publisher for sending me an eARC of A Single Stone free of charge. If you click through the affiliate links in this post, any purchase you make supports this site.}

THE BOOK

A Single Stone by Meg McKinlay

PUBLICATION DATE

March 14, 2017

PLAN TO HAPPY RATING


REVIEW:

If I could have, I would have read Meg McKinlay's A Single Stone in one sitting. It made me feel claustrophobic, which was exactly the point!

In A Single Stone, McKinlay tells the story of Jena, who lives in a village that was cut off by a rock slide generations ago. Without access to other fuel, their village relies on the smallest and most lithe young girls to venture into the tunnels of the mountain in order to harvest precious mica.

Things aren't as they seem and Jena just can't look the other way anymore. The sense of calm determination she exudes is natural and seamless. I was completely invested in her story and sort of horrified at the same time. Again, I believe this was the intended effect.

My only quibble is that this is shelved as Middle Grade. The intensity level here seems more appropriate for a YA novel than Middle Grade, primarily because of the way the girls treat their own bodies. They starve themselves and are separated from their parents in order to be physically wrapped to prevent body growth. They dread the day that their body matures and they can no longer serve their community. I wouldn't hand this book to my 8-year old, but I certainly enjoyed it.

7.27.2017

Degustabox Subscription Box Review {July 2018}

Degustabox is a subscription box that  includes a great mix of snacks, sweets, and pantry items.

{Many thanks to Degustabox for sending this box free of charge. If you click through the affiliate links in this post, any purchase you make supports this site.}

THE BOX

Degustabox July 2017

THE COST (AND A COUPON CODE)

$19.99, first box 50% off and a bonus item through this link

WHAT'S INCLUDED

Degustabox delivered a box full of snacks and pantry items perfect for summer!
Degustabox includes 10-15 food items each month, from a wide variety of categories. Every month is a new surprise, but you'll find snacks, beverages, and pantry items, too.

REVIEW

Degustabox includes so much stuff! Here's what I received this month:

Degustabox is a subscription box that  includes a great mix of snacks, sweets, and pantry items.

Degustabox is a subscription box that  includes a great mix of snacks, sweets, and pantry items.
In addition to the usual insert sheet detailing what is in the box, Degustabox also sent a whole bunch of inserts this month, including a full-value coupon for RXBAR.

Degustabox is a subscription box that  includes a great mix of snacks, sweets, and pantry items.
Wise Popcorn, 0.75 each - Air popped popcorn that is gluten-free and in some very fun flavors!

Degustabox is a subscription box that  includes a great mix of snacks, sweets, and pantry items.
Kala Beans, Tropical Curry flavor, $3.99- These beans are a light and crunchy snacks.
Vermont Smoke & Cure, $1.99 each - this box included the best-selling Cracked Pepper Beef & Pork flavor, made from whole cuts of beef and pork, with real spices.

Degustabox is a subscription box that  includes a great mix of snacks, sweets, and pantry items.
Goya Extra Virgin Olive Oil, $3.99 - I go through so much EVOO around here, so was so happy to see this was included in the box.
Karma Wellness Water, $1.99 - This is a fun concept - the vitamins and nutrients are kept in the cap until you release them into the water. It includes 7 essential vitamins and only 20 calories.
Mutti Tomato Sauce, $2.29 - Here's another staple that will certainly be used up. These tomatoes are mixed with Mediterranean Herbs and a hint of chili peppers.

Degustabox is a subscription box that  includes a great mix of snacks, sweets, and pantry items.
Mrs. Thinsters Cookie Thins, $2.99, Brownie Batter Flavor - These cookies are thin and crunchy, with all natural ingredients.  No artificial colors, flavors, or preservatives and non-GMO.
Waffle Waffle, $1.79, Buttery Vanilla Flavor - These treats are made with real pearl sugar and no syrup is required to make this a yummy snack.
King Arthur Flour, Everyone's Favorite Chocolate Chip Cookie Mix, $4.99 - I am a big fan of King Arthur Flour products, so am excited to try out this mix for Everyone's Favorite Chocolate Chip Cookie.

CONCLUSION

Degustabox delivered a box full of products that will actually get used around here instead of gathering dust! The price of the box is $19.99 (get 50% off your first box with this link), but the value this month was about $ So you'll get to try some new things and get a deal at the same time!

7.24.2017

20 More Series for Advanced Young Readers {Volume 2}

I don't know where I got the idea that the world of children's literature was relatively small. I keep running across great books for an advanced first or second grade reader! As I look back at the first installment in this series, I think some of the books on that list aren't quite as challenging as the ones listed here in Volume 2, so keep that in mind.

{If you click through the affiliate links in this post, any purchase you make supports this site.}

I don't know where I got the idea that the world of children's literature was relatively small. I keep running across great books for an advanced first or second grade reader!  As I look back at the first installment in this series (you can find it here), I think some of the books there aren't quite as challenging as the ones listed below, so keep that in mind. And many thanks to those who commented there with suggestions!

The age range we're shooting for here is middle grade, ages 8 - 12, but we want books that are on the higher end of that range and definitely not leaning towards YA content. As my daughter says: "No romance, Mom. I hate that."

Criteria:

-An age range in what publishing calls Middle Grade - ages 8 to 12
-A minimum reading level of 2nd Grade, but no higher than 5th Grade
-Themes of fairy tales, space, and adventure preferred
-Avoid stories with a primary focus on popularity, love stories, and friendship dramas.

I try to include only books that my daughter and/or I have read or that we've heard a ton of great feedback on. I also included a mix of new and classic books, plus a couple graphic novels for kids. Off we go!

1. The Map to Everywhere by Carrie Ryan and John Parke Davis

FIRST BOOK IN THE SERIES: The Map to Everywhere

BOOKS IN SERIES: 3 (one more slated for publication in 2018)

READING LEVEL: Grades 3 - 7, Ages 8-12

PUBLISHER'S SUMMARY: Wherever you need to go--the Map to Everywhere can take you there.

To Master Thief Fin, an orphan from the murky pirate world of the Khaznot Quay, the Map is the key to finding his mother. To suburban schoolgirl Marrill, it's her only way home after getting stranded on the Pirate Stream, the magical waterway that connects every world in creation. With the help of a bumbling wizard and his crew, they must scour the many worlds of the Pirate Stream to gather the pieces of the Map to Everywhere--but they aren't the only ones looking. A sinister figure is hot on their tail, and if they can't beat his ghostly ship to find the Map, it could mean the destruction of everything they hold dear!

2. Story Thieves by James Riley

FIRST BOOK IN THE SERIES: Story Thieves

BOOKS IN SERIES: 4

READING LEVEL: Grades 3 - 7, Ages 8-12

PUBLISHER'S SUMMARY: This “clever opener likely to leave readers breathless both with laughter and anticipation” (Kirkus Reviews, starred review) is the first in the New York Times bestselling series from the author of the Half Upon a Time trilogy.

3. Fablehaven by Brandon Mull

FIRST BOOK IN THE SERIES: Fablehaven

BOOKS IN SERIES: 5

READING LEVEL: Grades 3 - 8

NOTE: This series veers towards the spooky, so keep that in mind when deciding if it's a good fit for your reader.

PUBLISHER'S SUMMARY: Kendra and her brother, Seth, have no idea that their grandfather is the current caretaker of Fablehaven. Inside the gated woods, ancient laws keep relative order among greedy trolls, mischievous satyrs, plotting witches, spiteful imps, and jealous fairies. However, when the rules get broken -- Seth is a bit too curious and reckless for his own good -- powerful forces of evil are unleashed, and Kendra and her brother face the greatest challenge of their lives. To save their family, Fablehaven, and perhaps even the world, Kendra and Seth must find the courage to do what they fear most.

4. Castle Glower by Jessica Day George

FIRST BOOK IN THE SERIES: Tuesdays at the Castle

BOOKS IN SERIES: 5

READING LEVEL: Age 8 - 12

PUBLISHER'S SUMMARY: Tuesdays at Castle Glower are Princess Celie's favorite days. That's because on Tuesdays the castle adds a new room, a turret, or sometimes even an entire wing. No one ever knows what the castle will do next, and no one-other than Celie, that is-takes the time to map out the new additions. But when King and Queen Glower are ambushed and their fate is unknown, it's up to Celie, with her secret knowledge of the castle's never-ending twists and turns, to protect their home and save their kingdom.

5. Storybound by Marissa Burt

FIRST BOOK IN THE SERIES: Storybound

BOOKS IN SERIES: 2

READING LEVEL: Grades 3 - 7, Ages 8 - 12

PUBLISHER'S SUMMARY: In the land of Story, kids go to school to learn to be the perfect character: a brave Hero, a trusty Sidekick, even the most dastardly Villain. They dream of the day when they will live out Tales written just for them. But when an ordinary girl named Una Fairchild finds herself Written In to Story, she discovers that the magical land is threatened by a dark secret. As she digs deep into Story's shadowy past, Una realizes that she is tied to the world in ways she never could have imagined—and it may be up to her to save it.

6. Inkheart by Cornelia Funke

FIRST BOOK IN THE SERIES: Inkheart

BOOKS IN SERIES: 3

READING LEVEL: Grades 3- 7, Ages 8 - 12

PUBLISHER'S SUMMARY: One cruel night, Meggie's father reads aloud from a book called INKHEART-- and an evil ruler escapes the boundaries of fiction and lands in their living room. Suddenly, Meggie is smack in the middle of the kind of adventure she has only read about in books. Meggie must learn to harness the magic that has conjured this nightmare. For only she can change the course of the story that has changed her life forever.

7. Oz by L. Frank Baum

FIRST BOOK IN THE SERIES: The Wonderful Wizard of Oz

BOOKS IN SERIES: 15 (who knew, right?)

READING LEVEL: Grades 3 - 8

PUBLISHER'S SUMMARY: Dorothy, her little dog Toto, the Tin Woodman, Scarecrow, and the Cowardly Lion will charm boys and girls of today as much as they delighted children nearly a century ago as they set out on an exciting quest for the elusive Wizard of Oz. Along the way, they'll encounter the Wicked Witch of the West, the fantastic Winged Monkeys, the Queen of the Field Mice, the kind-hearted Munchkins, and other fanciful creatures.

8. Dr. Critchlore's School for Minions by Sheila Grau

FIRST BOOK IN THE SERIES: Dr. Crichlore's School for Minions

BOOKS IN SERIES: 3 (with a fourth in the works)

READING LEVEL: Ages 8 - 12, Grades 3 - 7

PUBLISHER'S SUMMARY: Welcome to Dr. Critchlore’s School for Minions, the premier trainer of minions for Evil Overlords everywhere. No student is prouder to be at Dr. Critchlore’s than Runt Higgins, a twelve-year-old werewolf. (At least he thinks he’s twelve. He was abandoned at the school as a baby, so he can’t say for sure.) Runt loves everything about Dr. Critchlore’s. He loves his classes—like History of Henchmen and Introduction to Explosives. He loves his friends—like Darthin the gargoyle and Syke the tree nymph. And he loves his foster family, who took him in when his wolf pack couldn’t.

But not everyone loves Dr. Critchlore’s as much as Runt. After a series of disasters, each worse than the next, it’s clear that someone is trying to shut the school down. It’s up to Runt, who knows the place better than anybody, to figure out who’s behind the attacks . . . and to save his home, and Dr. Critchlore himself, from total destruction.

9. Pip Bartlett by Jackson Pearce and Maggie Stiefvater

FIRST BOOK IN THE SERIES: Pip Bartlett's Guide to Magical Creatures

BOOKS IN SERIES: 2 (with a third expected in November 2018)

READING LEVEL: Grades 3-5

PUBLISHER'S SUMMARY: Because of a Unicorn Incident at her school (it was an accident!), Pip is spending the summer with her Aunt Emma at the Cloverton Clinic for Magical Creatures. At first, it’s all fun, games, and chatting with Hobgrackles, but when Fuzzles appear and start bursting into flame at the worst possible places, Pip and her new friend Tomas must take action. Because if the mystery of the Fuzzles isn’t solved soon, both magical and unmagical creatures are going to be in a lot of trouble.

10. The Chronicles of Narnia by C.S. Lewis

FIRST BOOK IN THE SERIES: The Magician's Nephew (this is somewhat controversial, since when I was a kid, the first book was The Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe, but they renumbered them in recent years).

BOOKS IN SERIES: 7

READING LEVEL: Age 8 and up, Grades 3 and up

PUBLISHER'S SUMMARY: Witness the creation of a magical land in The Magician's Nephew, the first title in C. S. Lewis's classic fantasy series, which has captivated readers of all ages for over sixty years.

On a daring quest to save a life, two friends are hurled into another world, where an evil sorceress seeks to enslave them. But then the lion Aslan's song weaves itself into the fabric of a new land, a land that will be known as Narnia. And in Narnia, all things are possible.

11. Shoes by Noel Streatfeild

FIRST BOOK IN THE SERIES: Ballet Shoes (originally published in 1937)

BOOKS IN SERIES: 11

READING LEVEL Ages 8 - 12, Grades 3 - 7

PUBLISHER'S SUMMARY: In the tradition of Frances Hodgson Burnett’s The Little Princess come Noel Streatfeild’s tales of triumph. In this story, three orphan girls vow to make a name for themselves and find their own special talents. With hard work, fame just may be in the stars!

12. Wings of Fire by Tui T. Sutherland

FIRST BOOK IN THE SERIES: The Dragonet Prophecy

BOOKS IN SERIES: 10

READING LEVEL: Ages 8 - 12, Grades 3 - 7

PUBLISHER'S SUMMARY: Clay and his friends have grown up under a mountain, secretly raised by the Talons of Peace to fulfill a mysterious prophecy. The five young dragons are destined to end the war that's been raging between the tribes of Pyrrhia -- but how they'll do this, none of them knows.

But not every dragonet wants a destiny. When one of their own is threatened, Clay and his friends decide to escape. Maybe they can break free and end the war at the same time -- or maybe they'll risk everything ...

13. Jellaby by Ken Soo

FIRST BOOK IN THE SERIES: Jellaby: The Lost Monster

BOOKS IN SERIES: 2

READING LEVEL: Ages 9 - 13, Grades 4 - 8

PUBLISHER'S SUMMARYPublisher's Summary: Quiet but bright Portia has just moved to a new neighborhood with her mom. Adjusting to life without a father is hard enough, but school is boring and her classmates are standoffish -- and even Portia's mom is sort of distant. But things start to get better when Portia mounts a midnight excursion into the woods behind her house where she discovers a shy and sweet purple monster. Life with Jellaby is exciting, but Portia's purple friend has secrets of his own...

14. Secret Hero Society by Derek Fridolfs, Dustin Nguyen

FIRST BOOK IN THE SERIES: Study Hall of Justice

BOOKS IN SERIES: 2 so far (with a third being published in December 2017)

READING LEVEL: Ages 8 - 12, Grades 3 - 7

PUBLISHER'S SUMMARY: The team behind DC Comics LIL' GOTHAM takes readers to the halls of Ducard Academy in Gotham City, where a young Batman, Superman, and Wonder Woman start their very own Junior Detective Agency!

Young Bruce Wayne is the new kid at Ducard Academy, a prep school for gifted middle school students. Bruce finds out pretty quickly that he doesn't fit in: the faculty seems to not just encourage villainous behavior from its students, but reward it. He makes friends with two other outsiders, farm boy Clark Kent and the regal Diana Prince. The three band together to form a detective squad to find out why all of these extraordinary kids have been brought together at Ducard Academy, and to see just what the faculty is plotting.

15. Furthermore by Tahereh Mafi

FIRST BOOK IN THE SERIES: Furthermore

BOOKS IN SERIES: 2 (so far)

READING LEVEL: Ages 9 - 12, Grades 4 - 7

PUBLISHER'S SUMMARY: There are only three things that matter to twelve-year-old Alice Alexis Queensmeadow: Mother, who wouldn't miss her; magic and color, which seem to elude her; and Father, who always loved her. The day Father disappears from Ferenwood he takes nothing but a ruler with him. But it's been almost three years since then, and Alice is determined to find him. She loves her father even more than she loves adventure, and she's about to embark on one to find the other.

But bringing Father home is no small matter. In order to find him she'll have to travel through the mythical, dangerous land of Furthermore, where down can be up, paper is alive, and left can be both right and very, very wrong. It will take all of Alice's wits (and every limb she's got) to find Father and return home to Ferenwood in one piece. On her quest to find Father, Alice must first find herself--and hold fast to the magic of love in the face of loss.

16. Myth-o-Mania by Kate McMullen

FIRST BOOK IN THE SERIES: Have a Hot Time, Hades!

BOOKS IN SERIES: 10

READING LEVEL: Grades 4 - 8

PUBLISHER'S SUMMARY: Think you know the real story behind the Greek myths? Think again. Most people only know what Zeus wants them to. But the truth is, Zeus is a total myth-o-maniac. Hades, King of the Underworld, is here to set the record straight on how he ended up as Ruler of the Underworld and Zeus became King of the Gods.

17. Princess Academy by Shannon Hale

FIRST BOOK IN THE SERIES: Princess Academy

BOOKS IN SERIES: 3

READING LEVEL: Grades 5 - 8, Ages 10 - 14

PUBLISHER'S SUMMARY: Miri lives on a mountain where, for generations, her ancestors have quarried stone and lived a simple life. Then word comes that the king's priests have divined her small village the home of the future princess. In a year's time, the prince himself will come and choose his bride from among the girls of the village.

The king's ministers set up an academy on the mountain, and every teenage girl must attend and learn how to become a princess. Soon Miri finds herself confronted with a harsh academy mistress, bitter competition among the girls, and her own conflicting desires.

18. Enchanted Forest Chronicles by Patricia C. Wrede

FIRST BOOK IN THE SERIES: Dealing with Dragons

BOOKS IN SERIES: 4

READING LEVEL: Grades 5 - 7, Ages 10 - 12

PUBLISHER'S SUMMARY: Meet Princess Cimorene--a princess who refustes to be proper. She is everything a princess is not supposed to be: headstrong, tomboyish smart...

And bored.

So bored that she runs away to live with a dragon. And not just any dragon, but Kazul--one of the most powerful and dangerous dragons arounds. Of course, Cimorene has a way of hooking up with dangerous characters, and soon she's coping with a witch,a a jinn, a death-dealing talking bird, a stone prince, and some very oily wizards.

If this princess ran away to find some excitement, it looks like she's found plenty! With a new look and new introduction from the author.

19. Legends of Orkney by Alane Adams

FIRST BOOK IN THE SERIES: Kalifus Rising

BOOKS IN SERIES: 2 (third on the way in September 2017)

READING LEVEL: Ages 9 - 13, Grades 4 - 7

PLAN TO HAPPY REVIEW: Find it here

PUBLISHER'S SUMMARY: Sam Baron just freed Orkney from the ravages of the Red Sun―but now, imprisoned by Catriona, leader of the Volgrim Witches, Sam finds the darker side of his half-god, half-witch heritage released, and he fears he might destroy what he saved. Unable to resist the witches' enchantments, Sam has become their most potent weapon, and is leading an army of monstrous men against Skara Brae.

Sam’s only hope for salvation lies with his three best friends and a mystical artifact known as the Moon Pearl. Keely travels north in search of the pearl, while Howie prepares for the gathering onslaught. Leo seeks a powerful artifact in the underworld, and faces an ancient evil that could be an even greater threat than Catriona and her cronies.

As Sam's friends rush to save him, other forces are at work in Orkney's shadows―forces that could help free Sam, or condemn him to the darkness forever.

20. Book of Ember by Jeanne DuPrau

FIRST BOOK IN THE SERIES: City of Ember

BOOKS IN SERIES: 4

READING LEVEL: Ages 8 - 12, Grades 3 - 7

PUBLISHER'S SUMMARY: The city of Ember was built as a last refuge for the human race. Two hundred years later, the great lamps that light the city are beginning to flicker. When Lina finds part of an ancient message, she’s sure it holds a secret that will save the city. She and her friend Doon must race to figure out the clues before the lights go out on Ember forever!


Need more books for your kid? Check out Volume 1 of this series:





7.18.2017

Divine You Crafts {Subscription Box Review}

Divine You Craft Kits offer a spiritual crafting experience.
{Many thanks to Divine You Crafts for sending this box free of charge. If you click through the affiliate links in this post, any purchase you make supports this site.}

THE BOX

Divine You Conscious Crafting Kit

THE PRICE

Starting at $34.95

WHAT'S INCLUDED

Each kit features a craft or tool to make, a crystal, and a collectible Divine You card. This box focuses on insights gained in the process of creating, rather than on the finished product, so anyone can subscribe.

Divine You Craft Kits offer a spiritual crafting experience.

REVIEW

Divine You Crafts has such a unique spin on the crafting world. The kids are called Conscious Crafting Kits, which is a big clue! It's not about creating the perfect beautiful object. Instead, the focus in on the joy of creating with your hands and the relaxation that can accompany that process.

Here's what was included in the box I received (this was one of their early boxes).

Divine You Craft Kits offer a spiritual crafting experience.

Divine You Craft Kits offer a spiritual crafting experience.

Divine You Craft Kits offer a spiritual crafting experience.

Divine You Craft Kits offer a spiritual crafting experience.

Divine You Craft Kits offer a spiritual crafting experience.

CONCLUSION

In addition to offering great value, I love how Divine You includes everything you need to do in order to do the craft and also offers suggestions for additional craft items you could use. The spiritual connection here is also unique and adds value. It would also be fund to collect the cards in the Card Deck as you worked through the kits!

This kit would be a perfect gift for the crafter in your life or for yourself! It would certainly be a great way to set aside some time for self-reflection and artistic activity. Check out Divine You here.

Find even more boxes in the Subscription Box Directory:

7.15.2017

The Accusation by Bandi {Book Review}

The Accusation by Bandi (a pen name meaning "firefly" in Korean) is making history. While works of fiction and non-fiction have been published by defectors, The Accusation is the first book written by an author who is still living in North Korea. Knowing that fact while reading this collection of seven short stories left me feeling on edge and like a witness to extreme bravery.

{Many thanks to the publisher for sending me an eARC of The Accusation free of charge. If you click through the affiliate links i this post, any purchase you make supports this site.}

THE BOOK

The Accusation by Bandi

PUBLICATION DATE

March 7, 2017

PLAN TO HAPPY RATING:


REVIEW

The Accusation by Bandi (a pen name meaning "firefly" in Korean) is making history. While works of fiction and non-fiction have been published by defectors, The Accusation is the first book written by an author who is still living in North Korea. Knowing that fact while reading this collection of seven short stories left me feeling on edge and like a witness to extreme bravery.

In The Accusation, Bandi tells simple stories that are sometimes emotionally raw and sometimes satirical, but that all expose the horrors of living in the real-life dystopia that is North Korea. Citizens hide all emotion in an effort to avoid anything that could be construed as criticism of the state. There can be no true friendships or sincere communications when everything could be used against you.

The Accusation by Bandi (a pen name meaning "firefly" in Korean) is making history. While works of fiction and non-fiction have been published by defectors, The Accusation is the first book written by an author who is still living in North Korea. Knowing that fact while reading this collection of seven short stories left me feeling on edge and like a witness to extreme bravery.

The injustices outlines in these stories will break your heart, but the stories are also propulsive and feel strikingly real and true. Days later, I'm still chewing on some of these stories, which is always the sign of a good read. Reading a book that its author arranged to be smuggled out of his country while he remained behind is also an experience that will stick with me.

The translator of The Accusation, Deborah Smith, shared the story of what she learned and the challenges she faced during the translation. It's a great read, too.

What other books about North Korea should I read?