What's Going On Here?

There are SO MANY wonderful book review blogs out there and I can't compete with them, that is for sure. So this is not a book review blog. This is just a way for me to organize what I have read so that I can be better at matching the right book to the right person. The blog title comes from the brilliant mind of the most talented woman who ever lived, Ms. Judy Garland. The full quote is, "Always be a first-rate version of yourself, instead of a second-rate version of someone else." That is what I hope to do here and in ever aspect of my life.

Friday, February 16, 2018

David Levithan Loves Super Models!

I mean he must, right?  Because, as Mr. Levithan believes THIN IS IN!  Shockingly, I don't know much about the model industry!  So this book really was my first exposure.  I don't know if it is a common experience, but from other things I have heard and seen in snippets on tv, it seems like it might be.  I was also shocked to read about this guy who seems just like a first class David Levithan. 
I wish the very best for Victoire Dauxerre and thank her for the courage it took to write this book.  It must have been a painful, but hopefully empowering task. 

Thursday, February 15, 2018

Not What I Thought- So Much More!

Checked is not a sports book.  I mean I didn't really think it would be, just because I don't think of Cynthia Kadohata is a "sports fiction" author, but she is such a great author that she can write anything she wants and you just KNOW she will do it well!
This story just got so down deep, you know?  I don't know how to say it another way.

Wednesday, February 14, 2018

Author! Author!

Boring!  Boring!
I remember when Siskel and Ebert reviewed Author!  Author!  And I think it was Siskel who said, "Author!  Author!  Boring!  Boring!"  It was so funny!  But I have to say listening to the author of Down and Across, Arvin Ahmadi was NOT boring at all!  He was a guest on Mashreads and I listened to right when I started DAA and it was so enjoyable to listen to Ahmadi and it made me like his book even more!  But honestly, I would have liked DAA anyway.  Highly recommended for its quirky characters and even though it deals with the common plot of parents who have different expectations for their teenager than the teenager has for him or herself, I think it should get even higher props for being interesting and real! 
Like when you hear a good Christmas Eve sermon or something, you know?  Or Easter.  Something that everyone has heard so many times before?  But the preacher has drawn upon the Holy Spirit in such a way that its like you are hearing about it for the first time.  That's what Ahmadi did here.  Took a story we have heard a million times and made it new!  Great book. 

Monday, February 12, 2018

When Dad Killed Mom

was a really, really good book.  The title isn't as subtle as The Last to Let Go, sure, but it was really, really good.  TLTLG was good.  But I really had a hard time liking the main character.  It was easy to like her brother and her mom, and Dani.  Her sister wasn't a very big character.  I felt that we didn't get to know her that much. 

More about Malcolm

After reading Betty Before X, I was excited to read X by Ilyasah Shabazz, this one written with Kekla Magoon.  This one is written for more tween and teen than children's, I think, just because of some of the things that Malcolm X experienced in his teen life.  Excellent.  Excellent.  Such a great account of the coming-of-age of Malcolm X and it left me wanting to know even more and to read more from Shabazz.  Highly recommended.

Saturday, February 10, 2018


The Dangerous Art of Blending In was great.  Really great.  Not only did it deal with a subject rarely seen in books (that I have come across anyway) but it did it so well and so realistically.  Angelo Surmelis is pretty famous.  I am not very aware of the world and so I didn't know that!  But the thing, I am glad I didn't know.  I mean I didn't read this book because he is famous, I might not have read it because he WAS famous!  The only thing I knew about the book was the Greek connection.  And I have been always drawn to Greek and Greek-American culture.  Fantastic book. 

Thursday, February 8, 2018

Ms. Paterson

is just so excellent.  Come Sing Jimmy Jo was a book she mentioned in one of the interviews she did and so I was super excited to see that it was available on audible.
I really don't think there is anyone who can create characters like Katherine Paterson.  She gives them life and SOUL.  I could feel James's heart breaking or flying high, I could feel his confusion and his certainty, his anger and his love and his worry.  How does she DO that!?!
Having been a country music fan in the 80s when this book was written, I knew just what the book meant when it talked about the changing landscape of country music.
I loved the references to the Carter Family.
I loved the whole thing.
One of the best books I have ever read.

I just wished

I liked Locked in Time.  It was good, expected storytelling from Lois Duncan.  No complaints.  But I think I could have really liked it if the setting, New Orleans, had played a greater role.  That's such an incredible city and the culture (in books and movies and tv anyway) lends itself to adding a lot to a supernatural mystery like LIT.  Still, I did enjoy this.  Very quick listen.