March 2020 TBR

Last month was pretty good and I hope that carries through into this month as well. And, of course, here’s hoping I can stay caught up on here as well.

I know, I know. I’m reading a lot of books at once–I do that sometimes. I get into this mode where I’m reading one book in each format (physical, Kindle, phone, audio).

What are you guys reading this month? Let me know in the comments!

HW Assignment: Book Blog Entry 5 – How to Fake a Moon Landing by Darryl Cunningham

How to Fake a Moon LandingTitle: How to Fake a Moon Landing: Exposing the Myths of Science Denial
Author: Darryl Cunningham
Publisher: Harry N. Abrams
Publication Date: April 2, 2013
Age Range: 12 and up
Lexile Reading Level: No Level

Cunningham addresses and discusses several different controversial topics in this book including the moon landing, climate change, and evolution. He uses hard science to debunk myths and prove conspiracy theories wrong.

The great thing about this book is that the author has very obviously done a lot of research. Instead of believing sensationalized news articles, he looks to science and data to prove whether or not well-known theories are correct. He states at the beginning of the book that while he believes the things he states in his book, he is open to changing his mind if the science is there to back it up. I think that’s a great lesson for kids to learn at a young age. It’s okay to have beliefs and convictions, but it’s also important to not closeHow to Fake a Moon Landing page our minds to other ideas that are logically/scientifically proven to be possible or correct.

While this book is fun in its current graphic novel format, the illustrations really don’t add much to the narrative. Having the text separated by panels may make it easier to read or process, but a lot of the book consists of speech bubbles over our narrator (see panels 2, 3, 4, and 6) or an aside from the narrator over a picture (see panel 5). It seems like the graphic novel format could have been utilized a little better with diagrams or more interesting illustrations.

Overall, I think this book is a great way to introduce youth to using science to inform decisions and beliefs. In addition, it may help them to be a little more informed about some controversial topics and could actually prove to be a launching pad for more in depth research. The library should also try to have resources that contradict the theories posed in this book just to have a balanced collection and to give patrons both sides of the “story”.

This would be a great book for a book club where youth could get together and discuss the different issues, whether Cunningham has them convinced, and why other people may not believe Cunningham’s arguments.

The Fixer by Jennifer Lynn Barnes [ARC]

Tess has been trying to hide her grandfather’s Alzheimer’s from her sister, Ivy. Unfortunately, Ivy has found out anyway. Tess is yanked from the ranch where she used to live with her grandfather to her sister’s house in DC. Now she goes to a swanky new school populated by the children of the political elite. Everyone seems to be afraid of her sister, but Tess has no clue why until she’s told about her sister’s job. Apparently, Ivy is a fixer. Someone who will make any problem (situation or person) disappear.

I liked The Naturals by Jennifer Lynn Barnes pretty good so 22929578when I saw The Fixer on NetGalley, it was a no-brainer request. The premise was super intriguing to me. I thought it was going to be all about Tess following in her sister’s shoes (but not like…doing illegal things or anything). I was really excited to read about Tess “fixing” things for her high school classmates. Unfortunately, that isn’t really what this book is about. I was pretty disappointed that we really only see two instances of Tess doing any fixing. The book is mostly centered around another plot point–the possible murder of and conspiracy behind a chief justice’s death. This plot point was interesting too…but it almost seemed less realistic to me. Like, okay, that only ever happens in movies. Maybe it just felt a little far-fetched.

One thing I really liked about his book was no romance! There’s definitely something brewing between her and Henry, but we really haven’t seen anything come from it yet (maybe in the next book?) Honestly, when they introduced Asher, I was sure that he was going to be the love interest (and I was kind of rooting for it a little bit). But seriously, it was just so refreshing to have a book with no romance in it. A lot of times a good romance can contribute to a story, but sometimes it just feels like it gets thrown in there just because. No, thank you.

Another thing I liked was that the book got going right away. We meet Tess and then we’re off and running. Tess is a pretty likable character. The reader is definitely rooting for her and Ivy to work through their issues and become sisters again. I liked that both Tess and Ivy were independent, strong people. They definitely did not need men to save them–they could save themselves! Another thing I really liked was Tess’ vendetta against bullying. Preach it sister! I also thought Barnes did a good job of not making Tess too angsty. I feel that the level of angst present suited what was going on in Tess’ life. I’ve found that a lot of time authors make their female leads too angsty and it just makes them seem not confident and weak.

I did have a couple other issues with this book besides what I mentioned earlier…just as far as some realism goes. First, it seemed like Tess, Henry, and Asher were able to manipulate the adults in their lives far too easily. Teachers and the principal (or was it a headmaster or dean?) would try to crack down on them only to be foiled by some clever wording. No. That doesn’t happen. Secondly, it seemed like Tess was REALLY good at reading people through observation. How did she come to possess this talent? I think early on in the book it talked about her being able to read horse body language? Maybe that carried over into her being able to read human body language? Maybe, but we never really know because it’s not explained.

Overall, this book was pretty good and I did NOT see that twist coming. I liked it and will be reading any sequels that may come out. I enjoy reading books by Jennifer Lynn Barnes because they feel a little different from the YA books that I typically read. She writes mysteries and political thrillers and I find myself greatly enjoying them.

Overall Rating: 4
Language: Mild
Violence: Moderate. A little gore.
Sexual Content: None
Smoking/Drinking: Mild

Note: I received this book free from NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.

Six Months Later by Natalie D Richards

Chloe falls asleep in study hall in May only to wake up in the same room six months later (thus the name of the book). Her entire life is different. Her best friend is no longer speaking to her, she’s dating the most popular guy in school, and shes inexplicably attracted to the school bad boy. How did her life change so drastically in only six months?9781402285516

This book was kind of disappointing for me. I knew a girl in high school who got in a skiing accident and lost a few months of time so I felt like the premise of getting amnesia and then waking up to an entirely different life was intriguing to me. However, this book had some weird conspiracy as part of it and that really detracted from what the book could have been.

How I wish the book had gone: Chloe wakes up six months later and all of these things have changed in her life. She either (a) falls in love with her boyfriend all over again or (b) realizes that she’s not in love with her boyfriend and instead falls for another guy who she’d never really interacted with before her amnesia. Those are two story lines that I would have expected and appreciated. But like I said earlier, there was some weird stuff going on that didn’t seem like it fit well with everything else.

Ignoring how I wish the book had gone, I was very frustrated with the main character. Chloe didn’t want to tell anyone that she’d forgotten the last six months of her life (which, hello, seems pretty important for SOMEBODY to know). I also felt like she never spoke to the right people or asked the right questions. Lastly, nothing really happened until the last 50 pages of the book. The first 300 pages were just Chloe being confused and not telling anybody that she can’t remember anything.

Redeeming quality: Maggie. I loved Maggie as a character because she felt real to me. But that’s about it. Maggie was great, everything else was pretty “meh”.

Overall Rating: 2
Violence: Mild
Sexual Content: Mild
Language: Moderate. 1 F-Word.
Smoking/Drinking: None