Top Ten Tuesday: Winter Break 2018 TBR

Top Ten Tuesday: Winter Break 2018 TBR www.onemorestamp.com
  Top Ten Tuesday  was created by  The Broke and the Bookish  in June of 2010 and was moved to  That Artsy Reader Girl  in January of 2018.

Top Ten Tuesday was created by The Broke and the Bookish in June of 2010 and was moved to That Artsy Reader Girl in January of 2018.


The Librarian of Auschwitzby Antonio Iturbe

The Librarian of Auschwitz
by Antonio Iturbe

Goodreads | Amazon | Audible
Series: Stand Alone
Published: October 20th 2017
Recommended by: one of my students

From Goodreads:

Life, any life, is very short. But if you’ve managed to be happy for at least an instant, it will have been worth living.

Based on the experience of real-life Auschwitz prisoner Dita Kraus, this is the incredible story of a girl who risked her life to keep the magic of books alive during the Holocaust.
Fourteen-year-old Dita is one of the many imprisoned by the Nazis at Auschwitz. Taken, along with her mother and father, from the Terezín ghetto in Prague, Dita is adjusting to the constant terror that is life in the camp. When Jewish leader Freddy Hirsch asks Dita to take charge of the eight precious volumes the prisoners have managed to sneak past the guards, she agrees. And so Dita becomes the librarian of Auschwitz. 

Out of one of the darkest chapters of human history comes this extraordinary story of courage and hope. 


Tiffany Sly Lives Here Nowby Dana L. Davis 

Tiffany Sly Lives Here Now
by Dana L. Davis 

Goodreads | Amazon | Audible
Series: Stand Alone
Published: May 1st 2018 
Recommended by: twitter

From Goodreads:

What happens when God doesn’t answer prayers?

I’ve got seven days to come clean to my new dad. Seven days to tell the truth…

For sixteen-year-old Tiffany Sly, life hasn’t been safe or normal for a while. Losing her mom to cancer has her a little bit traumatized and now she has to leave her hometown of Chicago to live with the biological dad she’s never known.

Anthony Stone is a rich man with four other daughters—and rules for every second of the day. Tiffany tries to make the best of things, but she doesn’t fit into her new luxurious, but super-strict, home—or get along with her standoffish sister London. The only thing that makes her new life even remotely bearable is the strange boy across the street. Marcus McKinney has had his own experiences with death, and the unexpected friendship that blossoms between them is the only thing that makes her feel grounded.

But Tiffany has a secret. Another man claims he’s Tiffany’s real dad—and she only has seven days before he shows up to demand a paternity test and the truth comes out. With her life about to fall apart all over again, Tiffany finds herself discovering unexpected truths about her father, her mother and herself, and realizing that maybe family is in the bonds you make—and that life means sometimes taking risks.


Odd One Out by Nic Stone

Odd One Out
by Nic Stone 

Goodreads | Amazon | Audible
Series: Stand Alone
Published: October 9th 2018
Recommended by: Autobuy author

From Goodreads:

Life is a journey without a map, and as such, we’ll all encounter twists and turns that force us to correct our course or change directions entirely.

From the author of Dear Martin comes this exploration of old friendships, new crushes, and the path to self-discovery.

Courtney "Coop" Cooper
Dumped. Again. And normally I wouldn't mind. But right now, my best friend and source of solace, Jupiter Sanchez, is ignoring me to text some girl. 

Rae Evelyn Chin
I assumed "new girl" would be synonymous with "pariah," but Jupiter and Courtney make me feel like I'm right where I belong. I also want to kiss him. And her. Which is . . . perplexing.

Jupiter Charity-Sanchez
The only thing worse than losing the girl you love to a boy is losing her to your boy. That means losing him, too. I have to make a move. . . .

One story.
Three sides.
No easy answers.


An American Marriage by Tayari Jones

An American Marriage
by Tayari Jones

Goodreads | Amazon | Audible
Series: Stand Alone
Published: February 6th 2018
Recommended by: my friend Gabrielle

From Goodreads:

Much of life is timing and circumstance, I see that now.

Newlyweds Celestial and Roy are the embodiment of both the American Dream and the New South. He is a young executive and she is an artist on the brink of an exciting career. But as they settle into the routine of their life together, they are ripped apart by circumstances neither could have imagined. In this deft exploration of love, loyalty, race, justice, and both Black masculinity and Black womanhood in 21st century America, Jones achieves that most-illusive of all literary goals: the Great American Novel. 


Speak Easy, Speak Love by McKelle George

Speak Easy, Speak Love
by McKelle George

Goodreads | Amazon
Series: Stand Alone
Published: September 19th 2017
Recommended by: I think Cait from Paperfury

From Goodreads:

What are you rambling about, you nonsensical contradiction?

Six teenagers’ lives intertwine during one thrilling summer full of romantic misunderstandings and dangerous deals in this sparkling retelling of Shakespeare’s Much Ado About Nothing.

After she gets kicked out of boarding school, seventeen-year-old Beatrice goes to her uncle’s estate on Long Island. But Hey Nonny Nonny is more than just a rundown old mansion. Beatrice’s cousin, Hero, runs a struggling speakeasy out of the basement—one that might not survive the summer. Along with Prince, a poor young man determined to prove his worth; his brother John, a dark and dangerous agent of the local mob; Benedick, a handsome trust-fund kid trying to become a writer; and Maggie, a beautiful and talented singer; Beatrice and Hero throw all their efforts into planning a massive party to save the speakeasy. Despite all their worries, the summer is beautiful, love is in the air, and Beatrice and Benedick are caught up in a romantic battle of wits that their friends might be quietly orchestrating in the background.

Hilariously clever and utterly charming, McKelle George’s debut novel is full of intrigue and 1920s charm. For fans of Jenny Han, Stephanie Perkins, and Anna Godbersen.


Another Day in the Death of America: A Chronicle of Ten Short Livesby Gary Younge

Another Day in the Death of America: A Chronicle of Ten Short Lives
by Gary Younge

Goodreads | Amazon
Series: Stand Alone
Published: October 4th 2016
Recommended by: Goodreads

The circumstances into which people are born and the range of opportunities to which they are exposed shape both the choices available to them and the process by which they make those choices even if they, ultimately, still make the choice.

From Goodreads:

On an average day in America, seven children and teens will be shot dead. In Another Day in the Death of America, award-winning journalist Gary Younge tells the stories of the lives lost during one such day. It could have been any day, but he chose November 23, 2013. Black, white, and Latino, aged nine to nineteen, they fell at sleepovers, on street corners, in stairwells, and on their own doorsteps. From the rural Midwest to the barrios of Texas, the narrative crisscrosses the country over a period of twenty-four hours to reveal the full human stories behind the gun-violence statistics and the brief mentions in local papers of lives lost.

This powerful and moving work puts a human face—a child’s face—on the “collateral damage” of gun deaths across the country. This is not a book about gun control, but about what happens in a country where it does not exist. What emerges in these pages is a searing and urgent portrait of youth, family, and firearms in America today.


A beguiling exploration of the joys of reading across boundaries, inspired by the author's year-long journey through a book from every country.  Following an impulse to read more internationally, journalist Ann Morgan undertook first to define "the world" and then to find a story from each of 196 nations. Tireless in her quest and assisted by generous, far-flung strangers, Morgan discovered not only a treasury of world literature but also the keys to unlock it. Whether considering the difficulties faced by writers in developing nations, movingly illustrated by Burundian Marie-Thérese Toyi's Weep Not, Refugee; tracing the use of local myths in the fantastically successful Samoan YA series Telesa; delving into questions of censorship and propaganda while sourcing a title from North Korea; or simply getting hold of The Corsair, the first Qatari novel to be translated into English, Morgan illuminates with wit, warmth, and insight how stories are written the world over and how place-geographical, historical, virtual-shapes the books we read and write.

The World Between Two Covers: Reading the Globe
by Ann Morgan

Goodreads | Amazon | Audible
Series: Stand Alone
Published: May 4th 2015
Recommended by: Goodreads

True story: I almost never like translated works. I want to. I buy them. Then the awkwardness of the translation sets in and I. CANNOT. TAKE. IT.

From Goodreads:

A beguiling exploration of the joys of reading across boundaries, inspired by the author's year-long journey through a book from every country.

Following an impulse to read more internationally, journalist Ann Morgan undertook first to define "the world" and then to find a story from each of 196 nations. Tireless in her quest and assisted by generous, far-flung strangers, Morgan discovered not only a treasury of world literature but also the keys to unlock it. Whether considering the difficulties faced by writers in developing nations, movingly illustrated by Burundian Marie-Thérese Toyi's Weep Not, Refugee; tracing the use of local myths in the fantastically successful Samoan YA series Telesa; delving into questions of censorship and propaganda while sourcing a title from North Korea; or simply getting hold of The Corsair, the first Qatari novel to be translated into English, Morgan illuminates with wit, warmth, and insight how stories are written the world over and how place-geographical, historical, virtual-shapes the books we read and write. 


Becoming by Michelle Obama

Becoming
by Michelle Obama

Goodreads | Amazon | Audible
Series: Stand Alone
Published: November 13th 2018 
Recommended by: the whole world

Another preorder that I haven’t gotten around to. I also have the audiobook and I think that that is the way I am going to go. I hadn’t thought that I would read this as autobiographies aren’t usually my cuppa but the review in The New Yorker and the New York Times swayed me. Plus, Michelle Obama is the very definition of grace under fire.

From Goodreads:

If you don’t get out there and define yourself, you’ll be quickly and inaccurately defined by others.

An intimate, powerful, and inspiring memoir by the former First Lady of the United States.

In a life filled with meaning and accomplishment, Michelle Obama has emerged as one of the most iconic and compelling women of our era. As First Lady of the United States of America—the first African-American to serve in that role—she helped create the most welcoming and inclusive White House in history, while also establishing herself as a powerful advocate for women and girls in the U.S. and around the world, dramatically changing the ways that families pursue healthier and more active lives, and standing with her husband as he led America through some of its most harrowing moments. Along the way, she showed us a few dance moves, crushed Carpool Karaoke, and raised two down-to-earth daughters under an unforgiving media glare. 

In her memoir, a work of deep reflection and mesmerizing storytelling, Michelle Obama invites readers into her world, chronicling the experiences that have shaped her—from her childhood on the South Side of Chicago to her years as an executive balancing the demands of motherhood and work, to her time spent at the world’s most famous address. With unerring honesty and lively wit, she describes her triumphs and her disappointments, both public and private, telling her full story as she has lived it—in her own words and on her own terms. 

Warm, wise, and revelatory, Becoming is the deeply personal reckoning of a woman of soul and substance who has steadily defied expectations—and whose story inspires us to do the same. 


The Whale Rider by Witi Ihimaera

The Whale Rider
by Witi Ihimaera

Goodreads | Amazon | Audible
Series: Stand Alone
Published: January 1st 1987
Recommended by: reading on my trip to New Zealand

I actually read this forever ago but I was in high school and it was an assignment. This time I am planning on reading it as we drive all around NZ so my enjoyment level will rise in proportion.

From Goodreads:

He loved them deeply, but sometimes love becomes a power game between the ambitions that parents have for their children and the ambitions that children have for themselves.

Eight-year-old Kahu, a member of the Maori tribe of Whangara, New Zealand, fights to prove her love, her leadership, and her destiny. Her people claim descent from Kahutia Te Rangi, the legendary ‘whale rider.’ In every generation since Kahutia, a male heir has inherited the title of chief. But now there is no male heir, and the aging chief is desperate to find a successor. Kahu is his only great-grandchild—and Maori tradition has no use for a girl. But when hundreds of whales beach themselves and threaten the future of the Maori tribe, Kahu will do anything to save them—even the impossible.



The Gentleman's Guide to Vice and Virtue 

by Mackenzi Lee 

Goodreads | Amazon | Audible
Series: Montague Siblings, #1
Published: June 27th 2017 
Recommended by: Gabrielle

I actually preordered this book but I have been doing that thing where I avoid reading a book that I absolutely know I will love because I am waiting for the right time to present itself, or something. Yeah, it doens’t make sense to me either. But since the second book of the series is out not I think it is time to dive in.

From Goodreads:

Question?

signature www.onemorestamp.com

Book Review: Let It Snow: Three Holiday Romances by John Green, Maureen Johnson, Lauren Myracle

Book Review: Let It Snow: Three Holiday Romances by John Green, Maureen Johnson, Lauren Myracle
Let it Snow by John Green , Maureen Johnson, and Lauren Myracle

Let it Snow
by John Green , Maureen Johnson, and Lauren Myracle
Goodreads | Amazon  
Series: no
Published: October 2nd 2008
Rating: Full review of Let it Snow
Times read: 2

It is a clever idea.  Three individual stories by three different authors but all connected to a larger story. In execution, it wasn't so impressive. I didn't connect with any of the stories and all in all it was pretty forgettable.

I feel like there had to be a cheerleader who personally hurt all three of these authors at some point.  Why do they hate them so much? They are kind of easy targets, and I thought less of book and the authors because they targeted them.

The Jubilee Express by Maureen Johnson

By far the most satisfying romance. The story wasn't as funny as it should have been but it had the strongest characterization by far of the three stories. Of the three couples in this book, Stuart and Jubilee were the ones that I was pulling for the most.  Stuart and Jubilee had the kind of wacky courtship that just screams for a 1940's screwball comedy style and witty dialogue.  Think about it: Jubilee's boyfriend was constantly trying to duck her calls, Stuart's mother's unsubtle matchmaking, and parents jailed over Christmas models. How many is that?  To really make it memorable the story needed just that little bit more. 

We just did an awesome job of not dying!

A Cheertastic Miracle by John Green

This was my favorite of the three stories.  John Green has a way of making small moments see momentous and finding hilarity in the everyday. I loved the idea of sacrificing the happy middle so that you don't risk an unhappy ending and how maybe sometimes the risk is worth it. The story also showed a large amount of affection for the Waffle House, hashbrowns, and cheese which is something that you just don't see enough in literature. Unfortunately, I was far more interested in the dialogue and interactions between characters than the actual plot or really the romance.  I can't even remember how it ends. I would however like a followup on Tobin's friend JP because he is awesome. 

The Patron Saint of Pigs by Lauren Myracle

This was supposed to be a fluffy farcical romp.  It kind of fizzled and was easily my least favorite of the three stories. Jeb deserved better.  Maybe it was the fact that Jeb appears in the other two stories and so I was inclined to be on his side, but I found Addie nearly unbearable.  Maybe it is the fact that I am almost unable to forgive vapidity in my characters.  I know that she is deliberately shallow and self-absorbed so that her transformation is more dramatic but, frankly, she never earns it.  She never earned Jeb. I don't understand him having been with her for a year. I don't know why he wants her back.  He should have found a girl who isn't horrible and runs off into the sunset with her leaving Addie alone in her selfishness. SHE IS THE WORST.  Seriously, why does she have friends? 

Fluffy, cute enough, but utterly forgettable.  There are better holiday collections.
 

From Goodreads:

Sparkling white snowdrifts, beautiful presents wrapped in ribbons, and multicolored lights glittering in the night through the falling snow. A Christmas Eve snowstorm transforms one small town into a romantic haven, the kind you see only in movies. Well, kinda. After all, a cold and wet hike from a stranded train through the middle of nowhere would not normally end with a delicious kiss from a charming stranger. And no one would think that a trip to the Waffle House through four feet of snow would lead to love with an old friend. Or that the way back to true love begins with a painfully early morning shift at Starbucks. Thanks to three of today’s bestselling teen authors—John Green, Maureen Johnson, and Lauren Myracle—the magic of the holidays shines on these hilarious and charming interconnected tales of love, romance, and breathtaking kisses.

Book review: The Best Christmas Pageant Ever by Barbara Robinson

Book review: The Best Christmas Pageant Ever by Barbara Robinson www.onemorestamp.com
Best Christmas Pageant Ever cover www.onemorestamp.com

The Best Christmas Pageant Ever
by Barbara Robinson
Goodreads | Amazon | Audible
Series: The Herdman’s #1
Release date: January 1, 1972
Rating: Full review of The Best Christmas Pageant Ever

I don’t remember the first time that I read this book.  It is highly likely that my mother read it to me before I would have been able to read it to myself.  We had a cassette tape (I swear to God I am old.  In my defense the cassette and the player were both older than me) of it in with the Christmas music that was brought out every year with the decorations.  The story describes the circumstances through which the family of “bad” kids somehow stars in a church Christmas pageant.   This book was written in 1972 but I think it is more realistic to see it as set it in the late 1950’s.  It also in a very Midwest small town.  None of the characters are physically described at all expect for the Herdmens having “stringy hair” and “black and blue” places. 

One thing that I found particularly interesting was that fact that the narrator has no name. Or much of an identity at all.  She (and it is only implicitly stated that she is a girl because she gets a break when the boys sing) calls herself a “sort of medium kid”.  I wonder if this was a deliberate choice?  If it was I certainly found it effective because it is almost a way of introducing a 3rd person narration with a child’s perspective. 

I kind of love the Herdmans.  Imogene especially. I love how fierce and protective she gets about the baby Jesus.   They seem to be the only interesting people in a town that is probably painfully boring. I love how bad that they are.  Well, bad to the level that little kids can understand. Reading this again, I had so much sympathy for the teacher whose class Ollie accidentally on purpose sets an attack cat lose in.

The Herdmans were absolutely the worst kids in the history of the world.

This book is funny but it is the kind of funny that is almost an in joke.  You have to be familiar with the kind of town and upbringing being described or much of it will go over your head and the book will be much less enjoyable.  It reminds me of Beverly Cleary’s Ramona Quimby books in that way.  But there are also parts that are just laugh out loud hilarious.  The entirely of the dress rehearsal in particular.  Just thinking about it is making me snicker.

There is religion in this book.  It is a church Christmas pageant after all. But I feel as if the religion in the book is actually pretty authentic.  The narrator has some fairly interesting revelations about the difference between what she has always imagined as the Christmas Story and what it was actually more probably like.  She also reaffirms parts of her faith that she has taken for granted.   I wouldn’t read this in the classroom but I would read it with children growing up in Christian or secular households.  The religion aspect isn’t hardline or judgmental but in the books world there are no people of other faiths.  Inclusive, this book is not.

I reread this book every year.  I enjoy the writing, I like the sense of humor, and it gets me in the mood for Christmas every time.

From Goodreads:

The Herdman kids lie, and steal, and smoke cigars (even the girls). They also talk dirty, cuss their teachers, and take the name of the Lord in vain. The last place anyone expects to see them is in a church. 

So no one is prepared when the Herdmans storm Sunday school and take over the annual Christmas pageant. Before anyone can stop them, they're plotting revenge on Herod, frightening the angels, and burping the baby Jesus. They've got the whole town up in arms. 

How the Herdmans turn a series of disasters into what everyone agrees is the best Christmas pageant ever, is a hilarious, touching, and unforgettable tale from a beloved storyteller.

What are your favorite holiday books?