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This delightful story follows a little girl as she discovers the curious possibilities and inevitable drawbacks of not washing between her toes.

My kids absolutely loved this adorable story. It’s got just the right amount of silly and relatable content that captures kids completely. The illustrations are adorable and the story is simple but carries a good message. Kids are always asking why they have to do things and this is a super fun way to give an explanation. This is one of those stories that are great for rereading which is well known to develop reading skills in new readers. I highly suggest adding this to your child’s library. 

The Technical Data: 

Title: Things Can Grow Between Your Toes | Author(s): Laurie L. Bolanos | Publisher: Nicobar Press  / Publication Date: 10-17-2017 |Pages: 44 (Print) | ISBN: 978-1938125478 | Genre(s): Children’s Book  |Language: English |
Rating: 5 out of 5 |  Date Read: 7-20-2018 | Source: Copy from Author

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Meet Didier Rain – that antihero with noble aspirations, that poet with the fickle pen, that eager paramour ever in search of someone to love. In this adventure-laden novelette, we glimpse the rogue as he was in those days prior to his now famous exploits in DELIVERING VIRTUE and FORTUNA AND THE SCAPEGRACE (due out summer 2018). Prepare yourself to be amazed at Rain’s cleverness, daring, and near-to-honorable acts of madcap heroism as he lends a helping hand to a friend. For what self-respecting bard (even when distracted by the promises of a voluptuous one-legged trollop) would deign to allow the mistreatment of a fellow poet, no matter how much a freak of nature that fellow poet might be? This novelette gives us Didier Rain at his finest as a flawed human being. It shows us the man before he became the Chosen One, and maybe even grants us insight into why the gods would eventually pick him for that exalted station so sung in his further novels. So sit back and get to know the man behind the dubious legend. 

Prepare yourself to be amused!

Before I start the review, I want to go ahead and give you a warning. I’m somewhat of a Brian Kindall superfan. Magical realism is a genre I rarely agree to review because it is my absolute favorite genre and I am incredibly picky when reading it. Some of the stories that fit in this genre helped pull me through some of the darkest and loneliest days of my life. Magical realism is what began my obsession with reading. It is why I am here today writing reviews. I don’t review many Indie books from this genre because I have incredibly (damn near unattainable)  high expectations for any story who tries to slink in. Not only has Mr. Kindall met those standards and bore the weight of my pickiness he also hired me to Beta Read for him knowing just how picky I am. I love his characters and I love his stories. They are stories I keep close to my heart and cherish every time I re-read them. They mean something to me. I don’t think there is any higher praise I can give an author. Didier Rain is a square in the patchwork of who I am. His trials and musings are lessons. I hope his story never ends. 

Now for the review. “SideShow” takes place before “Delivering Virtue” and “Fortuna and the Scapegrace”. As I have read the latter two it was really fun to get a picture of who Didier was before those two great adventures take place. “SideShow” is both a great introductory and companion to flesh out the world of Didier Rain. If you start with “SideShow” you’ll be hooked. For so little pages, it does a great job of showing the complexities of the world through the eyes of my favorite swashbuckling dandy. He is the kind of man who destiny calls in the darndest of ways. Didier is an unlikely hero who, eventually, kinda gets the job done. He’s passionate, philosophical, empathetic but also deeply….oh so deeply selfish. He is fundamentally flawed but his flaws are also what makes him so unique and so precious to me. Didier rain is truly the blue rose in a field of red. 

The Technical Data:

Title: SideShow | Author(s): Brian Kindall | Publisher: Diving Boy Books  / Publication Date: 5-03-2018 |Pages: 37 (Print) | ISBN: B07CV5WLB6 | Genre(s): Historical / Magical Realism  |Language:English |
Rating: 5 out of 5 |  Date Read: 6-18-2018 | Source: Copy from Author

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Hillbilly Elegy is a passionate and personal analysis of a culture in crisis—that of white working-class Americans. The disintegration of this group, a process that has been slowly occurring now for more than forty years, has been reported with growing frequency and alarm, but has never before been written about as searingly from the inside. J. D. Vance tells the true story of what a social, regional, and class decline feels like when you were born with it hung around your neck.

The Vance family story begins hopefully in postwar America. J. D.’s grandparents were “dirt poor and in love,” and moved north from Kentucky’s Appalachia region to Ohio in the hopes of escaping the dreadful poverty around them. They raised a middle-class family, and eventually one of their grandchildren would graduate from Yale Law School, a conventional marker of success in achieving generational upward mobility. But as the family saga of Hillbilly Elegy plays out, we learn that J.D.’s grandparents, aunt, uncle, sister, and, most of all, his mother struggled profoundly with the demands of their new middle-class life, never fully escaping the legacy of abuse, alcoholism, poverty, and trauma so characteristic of their part of America. With piercing honesty, Vance shows how he himself still carries around the demons of his chaotic family history.

A deeply moving memoir, with its share of humor and vividly colorful figures, Hillbilly Elegy is the story of how upward mobility really feels. And it is an urgent and troubling meditation on the loss of the American dream for a large segment of this country.

One of the main reasons that reading is so important to me is the personal connection I feel to a story. Sometimes though, that personal connection hits very close to home and I have to take some time to reflect on what the book is telling me and why I have the emotional response I have. “Hillbilly Elegy” is one of those books that I really had to reflect on before I reviewed. I’m not from Appalachia but Vance’s community was very much like my own growing up. The house I lived in as a small child was little more than a shack. We often didn’t have power and when we did the only release we had from the hot summers was a swamp cooler blowing it’s mix of moldy damp air at the four of us all crammed onto a water bed. My family was ravaged by drugs and mental illness. Not just my family but my community as well. It was more a part of my life than anything else. My transition between young child and teen was bouncing in the foster system before my step dad got custody. In my early teen years we moved into a single wide trailer in a sketchy trailer park. Gunshots, drunken brawls between husband and wife, father and son, father and daughter, mother and daughter…. even siblings was an everyday occurrence. Racism played a big part in my everyday interactions. Almost everyone around me growing up was white, in deep poverty and angry.  Vance brings up that the only “welfare queens” he saw were white. Well, the same goes for me. That didn’t stop those same “welfare queens” from pointing the finger at anyone who wasn’t white and slapping the label on them. Whether is fit or not didn’t matter. You see, Vance brings up a very serious cultural issue with poor whites. Poor whites are masters at not taking responsibility for anything. Not their job. Not their kids. Not their selves. Anything bad that happens is seen as unfair. Opportunities to climb out of poverty aren’t everywhere but they are still there in some ways. You have to fight tooth and nail to get there but sometimes you can make it. Vance points out that even the availability of these opportunities is hard to even know about for the poor. In Oklahoma, my school was so underfunded that we had zero career counseling or college assistance. You don’t know to ask questions about things you don’t know. As a young person, like Vance, I never would of dreamed that colleges like Yale have tons of assistance programs for the poor and that many times Yale is actually much cheaper than state schools. I went to a state school. It was insanely expensive. 

Also like Vance, I saw many of my peers given opportunities to climb their way out of poverty with a decent paying job that with a little bit of time put in could of came with health benefits and vacation. I also saw my peers and myself get these great jobs and get soooooo close to those benefits only to be laid off right as we were almost there. I saw my peers blow those jobs themselves. Showing up late or not at all. There is no one fix to any of these issues but I believe that Vance is close with his focus on family. My family was a chaotic mess. We hurt each other more than we did anything else. There was nothing healthy about my family or many of those around me. It’s a cycle that will take a myriad of solutions before it’s solved even partially. 

Vance identifies as a Conservative. I identify as a Democratic Socialist. Politically, it would look like we are opposites….. yet, there is a lot of common ground on our theories of how the issues of poverty can be solved.  The reason, in my mind, for that common ground is our shared experiences. Those of us who have lived it understand it in a way that those who haven’t never will. This is why we need elected officials from every corner of every class of people we can find. The lenses they are currently looking through are much too narrow.

It’s important to read books that are written by people who are not like you and those who are. We all need a seat at the table to both talk and listen. Only when we work to understand each other will we build a society that works. 

The Technical Data:

Title: Hillbilly Elegy | Author(s): J. D. Vance |Publisher: Harper Paperbacks  / Publication Date: 5-1-2018 |Pages: 288 (Paperback) | ISBN:   978-0062300553| Genre(s): Memoir  |Language:English | Rating: 5 out of 5 |  Date Read: 6-05-2018 | Source: Copy from personal collection.

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Hello my fellow bookworms. In this spotlight we are featuring an amazing series! “The Sunset Lands Beyond” series is one we reviewed and absolutely fell in love with! If Fantasy is your genre and you’ve previously devoured the worlds of J. R. R. Tolkien this series will hook you in just the same way. Aerisia is a land of prophecy and magic. The Sunset Lands Beyond series is a tale of an unlikely heroine finding her way and becoming more than she ever could of imagined being.  Are you ready to begin your adventure in Aerisia?

     The mystery of other worlds is not one Hannah Winters ever thought she’d solve. However, the day she spots a brown-robed stranger with a magical staff in a neighbor’s field is the day she also discovers Aerisia, a magical land beyond Earth’s sunset. Here in Aerisia, Hannah is believed to be the Artan, a legendary heroine prophesied to deliver Aerisia from the Dark Powers. Plenty of people, including the Simathe, a race of immortal warriors, and the Moonkind, people of the Moon, are willing to help her discover her true identity, but Hannah’s just an ordinary girl from Earth.

She doesn’t have any latent magical abilities and she’s not the Artan. However, her allies aren’t seeing it that way. Neither are her enemies. In fact, Hannah’s life is in jeopardy nearly from the moment she arrives in Aerisia. And becoming the Artan may be the only way to survive…

      Discovering she is another world’s prophesied heroine was not something Hannah Winters could have ever predicted. However, having accepted the mantle of Aerisia’s Artan, Hannah must now move beyond the pain of the past and conquer her magic in order to save this land. Will the pitfalls awaiting her—suspicion, rumors, lies, betrayal, murder, warfare—halt her quest? Who is Hannah’s ally, and who only appears to be?

Will shocking revelations about her heritage push her away or convince her that she’s walking the right path? With the Dark Powers growing bolder every day, Hannah’s pursuit of answers leads her to the Underworld, a place where even immortals dare not tread, on a journey from which she may not return…

     As the Dark Powers and their dreaded champion gather their forces, all of Aerisia holds it breath while Hannah Winters, their long-prophesied Artan, continues her quest in the Underworld. Should she overcome its deadly snares, is warfare against the Dark One all that awaits? Or is there a chance for love with the immortal Simathe High-Chief, and a lasting peace for her adopted homeland?

  To fulfill prophecy, she’ll have to triumph where other Aerisian champions have failed, which means surviving betrayal by friends and contesting the full might of the Dark Powers. To succeed and live, she’ll have to defeat an enemy no one could have predicted with a power no one knew she possessed. Friendship and treachery, love and hatred, faith and despair, and life and death will all be played out on the final field of battle, in an epic struggle not only for Aerisia’s survival, but its Artan’s, as well…

Reviews

Book One: “This is a fantastic fantasy book. The main character Hannah is well written and relatable. Her feelings and her reactions to this new world she finds herself in are realistic and appropriate. Although she can be kind of bratty, one can’t help but blame her. She is surrounded by a strange land with strange people all looking to her for salvation.
It’s a lot for a girl to take in.
I enjoyed watching her discover herself and the world around her. The legends of Aerisia are interesting and attention grabbing.” – AlliesOpinions 

Book Two: “This book was just as awesome as the first. I really enjoyed exploring the changing relationship between Ilgard and Hannah. He is a pillar of strength in her time of need.
I am fond of the way their relationship is playing out. Considering all of the trials and obstacles they have weathered, I would say the bond they are building is very realistic.
I also enjoyed how there is more explanation of the prophecies in this book. They are timed really well and add weight and merit to each new event that occurs.
 The world building continues to impress me. I really enjoyed how much more of Aerisia is brought to light. This is an intricate world and the author does a great job of introducing pieces of it in ways that aren’t overwhelming to the reader.” – AlliesOpinions

Book Three: “This is the series that keeps on giving! Every book has been amazing. This one was the perfect icing on the cake!

A lot of things come together in this book. All the legends and prophecies finally come to life. And what a glorious way they do. The descriptions are captivating.

I’ll admit I binge read this book. I couldn’t put it down. I HAD to know what happened. I was hanging on each word. The suspense is perfect. It captivates you and you’re literally on edge until it ends.

Hannah really does embrace being the Artan. It was fascinating to watch her transform into this amazing woman throughout the series. Her character will stick with me for a good while. She feels like an old friend at this point.” – AlliesOpinions

Don’t believe all the hype: Sarah Ashwood isn’t really a gladiator, a Highlander, an expert fencer, a skilled horsewoman, an archer, a magic wielder, or a martial arts expert. That’s only in her mind. In real life, she’s a genuine Okie from Muskogee who holds a B.A. in English from American Military University, and is the author of the Sunset Lands Beyond fantasy trilogy, Amana, and A Minstrel’s Musings. She lives (mostly) quietly at home with her husband and three sons, where she tries to sneak in a daily workout or run to save her sanity.

AlliesOpinions is proud to give The Sunset Lands Beyond series our official recommendation.  
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Fifteen-year-old Silver Abelli’s life has been as tumultuous as the punk rock she was raised on. Her divorced parents just don’t get along, even though they’re both musicians who stubbornly spurn the mainstream but secretly crave the limelight. Silver has always lived with her mom, Nicola, but when Nicola is diagnosed with a brain tumor, she must go to live with her obnoxious, hard-partying father, Renz. It’s a really bad time to fall in love, so you can pretty much bet that Silver will.

Enter Jake Sullivan…

“An Authentic Experience” is one of those books that I call a builder. At the beginning I didn’t like Silver. Not even a little. She seems hollow, selfish and shallow. BUT….(and here is why I call this book a builder) by about the middle of the book I realized that her initial shallowness was part of her evolution as a character. This is one of those books about growing up. It’s about gaining wisdom through experience. “An Authentic Experience” is really about how lifes challenges (whether they be our own challenges or those closest to us) morph us into someone different. Someone deeper. Someone wiser. Someone who is actually authentic.

One of my favorite parts of the book is how it highlights how our metamorphosis as people isn’t the result of just ourselves. It’s that push from a friend or a family member. It’s learning from not only our own mistakes but those of the people around us. It’s community and I think in too many ways that important factor gets overlooked. Especially in books. We often see a hero or heroine overcome disaster but too many times we don’t get to see all the people who make that otherwise unexceptional human into a hero/heroine. It’s like that old saying about raising a kid. It takes a village. Well, it also takes a village to make a hero.

I came out of this book loving Silver. I came out of this book loving her eccentric family and extremely proud of the author for her ability to highlight the layers of humanity. I came out of this book asking myself some very important questions about life. What makes a good parent? How much of a loved ones eccentricities do we forgive? What exactly does it mean to be authentic?

What else can you ask of yourself from a book if not one that makes you think? “An Authentic Experience” is literary gold in my eyes.

The Technical Data:

Title: An Authentic Experience | Author(s): Kelly Wittmann |Publisher: Sara Camilli Literary Agency  / Publication Date: 2-13-2018 |Pages: 252 (Paperback) | ISBN:   978-0692058596 | Genre(s): Young Adult  |Language:English | Rating: 5 out of 5 |  Date Read: 5-25-2018 | Source: Copy from Author

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Allies Opinions by Allie Sumner - 7M ago

Hello Bookland!

Our TBR pile is mountainous but we thought we would give you a sneak peek on what reviews to expect in the next week or so. We’re always adding to the pile and are currently accepting review requests so don’t forget to head on over to our Review Policy if you have a book you want us to consider. 

                                                                           Enjoy!

Fifteen-year-old Silver Abelli’s life has been as tumultuous as the punk rock she was raised on. Her divorced parents just don’t get along, even though they’re both musicians who stubbornly spurn the mainstream but secretly crave the limelight.

Silver has always lived with her mom, Nicola, but when Nicola is diagnosed with a brain tumor, she must go to live with her obnoxious, hard-partying father, Renz. It’s a really bad time to fall in love, so you can pretty much bet that Silver will. 

Enter Jake Sullivan…

Libby Day was seven when her mother and two sisters were murdered in “The Satan Sacrifice” of Kinnakee, Kansas. She survived—and famously testified that her fifteen-year-old brother, Ben, was the killer. Twenty-five years later, the Kill Club—a secret secret society obsessed with notorious crimes—locates Libby and pumps her for details.

They hope to discover proof that may free Ben. Libby hopes to turn a profit off her tragic history: She’ll reconnect with the players from that night and report her findings to the club—for a fee. As Libby’s search takes her from shabby Missouri strip clubs to abandoned Oklahoma tourist towns, the unimaginable truth emerges, and Libby finds herself right back where she started—on the run from a killer.

Hillbilly Elegy is a passionate and personal analysis of a culture in crisis—that of white working-class Americans. The disintegration of this group, a process that has been slowly occurring now for more than forty years, has been reported with growing frequency and alarm, but has never before been written about as searingly from the inside. J. D. Vance tells the true story of what a social, regional, and class decline feels like when you were born with it hung around your neck.

The Vance family story begins hopefully in postwar America. J. D.’s grandparents were “dirt poor and in love,” and moved north from Kentucky’s Appalachia region to Ohio in the hopes of escaping the dreadful poverty around them. They raised a middle-class family, and eventually one of their grandchildren would graduate from Yale Law School, a conventional marker of success in achieving generational upward mobility. But as the family saga of Hillbilly Elegy plays out, we learn that J.D.’s grandparents, aunt, uncle, sister, and, most of all, his mother struggled profoundly with the demands of their new middle-class life, never fully escaping the legacy of abuse, alcoholism, poverty, and trauma so characteristic of their part of America. With piercing honesty, Vance shows how he himself still carries around the demons of his chaotic family history.

A deeply moving memoir, with its share of humor and vividly colorful figures, Hillbilly Elegy is the story of how upward mobility really feels. And it is an urgent and troubling meditation on the loss of the American dream for a large segment of this country.

Have you read any of the books on our list? Let us know what you thought in the comments!

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 In contemporary Russia, state intelligence officer Dominika Egorova has been drafted to become a “Sparrow”—a spy trained in the art of seduction to elicit information from their marks. She’s been assigned to Nathaniel Nash, a CIA officer who handles the organization’s most sensitive penetration of Russian intelligence. The two young intelligence officers, trained in their respective spy schools, collide in a charged atmosphere of tradecraft, deception and, inevitably, a forbidden spiral of carnal attraction that threatens their careers and the security of America’s valuable mole in Moscow.

“Red Sparrow” is definitely action packed. From beginning to end it’s a whirlwind of intrigue, misdirection and the complexities of humanity. Matthews spy jargon gives the story authenticity where he lacks in character depth. He definitely tried to bring depth to his characters but fell short with the two main characters, Nathaniel Nash and Dominika Egorova. 

Matthews missed the mark with connecting readers to his main characters. Honestly, I felt that I had a better idea of who the 2nd level characters were than the main two. He put some real work into building Dominika into something deep and almost got there with her but I left the story feeling very unsure of who she really is on a level beyond the surface. With all that she endures her character should of left a deep impact before the book ended but I felt no real connection to who she really is. The best stories are stories that don’t feel like stories. The tales that worm their way into your psych and leave pieces of themselves inside you that shape the way you view the world. Matthews fell short of that greatness. His story is good, it’s just not great. I can see why it’s been turned into a movie. Much is left to the imagination regarding Dominika and I think Matthews should consider reeling in the mystery with her. She should leave a strong impact on the reader. She should feel much more real.

Nash leaves a similar impression. I feel like I know who he is on the surface but beyond that it’s vague and lacking. I have the same issues with him that I have with Dominika. I just don’t feel anything for him and I should. I really should.

I also strongly disliked the weird recipes added throughout. It was just…..weird. One of those cringy things that make you embarrassed for the author so you try not to see them.

The meat of the story is great. The levels of politics are intriguing. If Matthews puts in more work on building his characters he has a bombshell story. Until then, it’s just good and somewhat forgettable.  I’m going to give him another shot and buy the next book hoping he’s worked through some of the first books woes.

I’m rating this book at 3 stars. 

The Technical Data:

Title: Red Sparrow | Series: Red Sparrow Trilogy  |  Author(s): Jason Matthews  |Publisher: Scribner; Media Tie-In edition   / Publication Date: 6-4-2013 |Pages: 577 (Print) | ISBN: B008J4PK86  |Genre(s): Mystery / Spy / Thriller |Language: English |Rating: 3 out of 5 |  Date Read: 5-25-2018 |Source: Copy from personal collection.

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The harrowing true story of one man’s life in—and subsequent escape from—North Korea, one of the world’s most brutal totalitarian regimes.

Half-Korean, half-Japanese, Masaji Ishikawa has spent his whole life feeling like a man without a country. This feeling only deepened when his family moved from Japan to North Korea when Ishikawa was just thirteen years old, and unwittingly became members of the lowest social caste. His father, himself a Korean national, was lured to the new Communist country by promises of abundant work, education for his children, and a higher station in society. But the reality of their new life was far from utopian.

In this memoir translated from the original Japanese, Ishikawa candidly recounts his tumultuous upbringing and the brutal thirty-six years he spent living under a crushing totalitarian regime, as well as the challenges he faced repatriating to Japan after barely escaping North Korea with his life. A River in Darkness is not only a shocking portrait of life inside the country but a testament to the dignity—and indomitable nature—of the human spirit.

Like what I assume to be most of the world, my curiosity regarding the secretive nation of North Korea led me to Ishikawa’s tale. I don’t know what I was expecting but it wasn’t the absolutely raw sufferings laid bare in this book. The complete breakdown of humanity in this book will haunt you every single day of your life. This book will change you. Irreparably and irreversibly.

Because every single country is responsible for allowing this to happen. That means me. That means you. Every single one of us is guilty. Add this to the never ending list of horror humanity spreads among itself. 

“The party started churning out more slogans, more propaganda. I couldn’t help but wonder where they even got all the paper for the posters—and whether I could eat it” 
― Masaji Ishikawa

Ishikawa sugar coats nothing and lays each and every one of his humiliating sufferings open for the entire world to see. He injects us into the very vein of his existence. We are him and he is us. His story rings with the injustice served him and his. His tone throughout is accusatory and rightly so. He has received little in the way of help from anyone and his family remains trapped in the midst of unspeakable horror. Ishikawa’s guilt at escaping without his family loudly rings throughout the book and lends a haunting, viscerally primal pain to his already long list of tortures. His loss is a leaking sieve unable to heal.

Ishikawa opens with his beginning in a racially tense and poverty stricken slice of Japan. He details the maze of culture he attempts to maneuver as a child as well as his tumultuous home life.  Something readers should take away from this part of Ishikawa’s story is how a persons environment has a direct affect on their character. Some will argue that one must rise above such things but the reality is that most do not and in all honesty shouldn’t be expected to. The existence of such oppression is what matters. Life shouldn’t be a series of trial by fire. Are we not evolved past this? Are we all still primal beasts unable to transmogrify our society?

“You don’t choose to be born. You just are. And your birth is your destiny, some say. I say the hell with that. And I should know. I was born not just once but five times. And five times I learned the same lesson. Sometimes in life, you have to grab your so-called destiny by the throat and wring its neck” 
― Masaji Ishikawa

He is alone in a world full of those who turn a blind eye to the torment he suffers. Imagine how he must feel watching North Korea put on the show they now are. Imagine, if you will, his absolute feelings of betrayal as the world turns a blind eye to the brutal regime who took everything from him. Who still takes from him.

“This was laughable, of course, but that’s always the way with totalitarian regimes. Language gets turned on its head. Serfdom is freedom. Repression is liberation. A police state is a democratic republic. And we were “the masters of our destiny.” And if we begged to differ, we were dead.” 
― Masaji Ishikawa

I applaud Mr. Ishikawa for his bravery in raising his voice in opposition to injustice. In braving it all to make humanity accountable. You are the best of what is human. May your family finally be released from their hell. 

I encourage every single human on this planet to read this book. No, not encourage, I CHALLENGE you. Don’t turn away. Read it. Acknowledge it. Then fix it.

Born in 1947 in Kawasaki, Japan, Masaji Ishikawa moved with his parents and three sisters to North Korea in 1960 at the age of thirteen, where he lived until his escape in 1996. He currently resides in Japan.

The Technical Data:

Title: A River In Darkness | Series: N/A  |  Author(s): Masaji Ishikawa  |Publisher: Amazon Crossing  / Publication Date: 1-1-2018 |Pages: 174 (Print) | ISBN: B06XKRKFZL  |Genre(s): Memoir |Language: English |Rating: 5 out of 5 |  Date Read: 3-28-2018 |Source: Copy from personal collection.

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The bestselling author of The Martian returns with an irresistible new near-future thriller—a heist story set on the moon.

Jasmine Bashara never signed up to be a hero. She just wanted to get rich. 
 
Not crazy, eccentric-billionaire rich, like many of the visitors to her hometown of Artemis, humanity’s first and only lunar colony. Just rich enough to move out of her coffin-sized apartment and eat something better than flavored algae. Rich enough to pay off a debt she’s owed for a long time.

 
So when a chance at a huge score finally comes her way, Jazz can’t say no. Sure, it requires her to graduate from small-time smuggler to full-on criminal mastermind. And it calls for a particular combination of cunning, technical skills, and large explosions—not to mention sheer brazen swagger. But Jazz has never run into a challenge her intellect can’t handle, and she figures she’s got the ‘swagger’ part down. 
 
The trouble is, engineering the perfect crime is just the start of Jazz’s problems. Because her little heist is about to land her in the middle of a conspiracy for control of Artemis itself. 
 
Trapped between competing forces, pursued by a killer and the law alike, even Jazz has to admit she’s in way over her head. She’ll have to hatch a truly spectacular scheme to have a chance at staying alive and saving her city. 
 
Jazz is no hero, but she is a very good criminal. 
 
That’ll have to do.

Andy Weir has delivered yet another mind blowingly awesome book! Weir has once again showcased his talent with building complex characters that sink their hooks in you right from page one. Weir is now one of my top 5 favorite authors. “The Martian” was amazing but I wanted to wait and see if Weir was going to be one of those “one hit wonder” authors who vaporize after their one best selling world rocking book never to write again. The world can let it’s guard down because Weir is back and boy does he deliver.

Artemis is a series of “bubbles” that form a city on the moon. Just like “The Martian”, Weir will not disappoint your curiosity regarding the nitty gritty details. Weir goes into so much detail regarding how the city not only came to be but will continue to evolve that someone needs to hire him at NASA. This guy knows what he’s doing. Someone get him on this. I bet Weir would have us living on the moon in just a couple of years. Listen here internet, I know that one of you reading this knows someone somewhere who can make this whole living on the moon thing happen. I reaaaaaaaaalllllyyyy want to live on the moon or at least visit the dang thing so get on this. 

“Artemis” is so packed with detail that I read it twice before deciding to write a review. There is so much going on that it’s easy to miss some of the deeper aspects to the story the first go round so I’m glad I reread it. Weir throws down some hard truths in “Artemis” regarding the reality of crime in the business world as well as the reality of capitalism. We see some corrupt officials make some questionable choices but before you condemn them for it I want you to see what Weir is trying to show you. Rarely will any choice a person makes be either good or bad. Especially when those choices are shaped by the system they have to be made in. Weir does a great job of reminding his readers that a system one has to live in has a huge impact on how they move within it. 

Weir’s choice of Jazz as a main character was a stroke of genius. His whole cast of characters and their realistic representation of humanities diverse spectrum brings that level of authenticity to his writing that has catapulted him to literary stardom. Weir will go down in history as one of the absolute best authors of Sci-fi. Let’s hope that if a movie is made based on “Artemis” it hits the mark as well as “The Martian” did. Anything less is a disservice to such an amazing story.

In “Artemis”, we are also introduced to some judicial ethics that, if not carefully considered and worked out now, will plague us as we’ve already experienced with the explosion of tech and our judicial systems sluggish pace in keeping up. Is it ethical to deport someone to a planet they haven’t been on since they were a young child knowing that it will cause them severe health issues? Is it ethical to deport someone to a country they know nothing of since they didn’t grow up there? What constitutes a persons citizenship? As humanity becomes ever more connected is it ethical to continue to divide us into countries? How we move forward with these issues now and later will have a huge effect on our momentum technologically. 

I loved “Artemis” and consider myself a devoted fan of Andy Weir’s work. I look forward to what he delivers in the future.

I’m giving “Artemis” 5 stars.

ANDY WEIR built a two-decade career as a software engineer until the success of his first published novel, The Martian, allowed him to live out his dream of writing full-time. 

He is a lifelong space nerd and a devoted hobbyist of such subjects as relativistic physics, orbital mechanics, and the history of manned spaceflight. He also mixes a mean cocktail. 

He lives in California.

The Technical Data:

Title: Artemis | Author(s): Andy Weir |Publisher:  Crown; First Edition / Publication Date: 11-14-2017 |Pages: 320 (hardcover) | ISBN:  978-0553448122 | Genre(s): Scifi/ Fantasy  |Language: English | Rating: 5 out of 5 |  Date Read: March 2018 |Source: Copy from personal collection

 Allie has been reviewing both self-published and traditionally published books for five years. She is the founder of AlliesOpinions and has been an advocate for authors on multiple platforms. AlliesOpinions provides authors with a plethora of services in their quest to literary success. Allie resides in Oklahoma with her family. She is an active outdoors woman and home schools her two children.

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John James Audubon

Born:  April 26, 1785
Died:  January 27, 1851

John James Audubon is most famous for painting and cataloging the bird species of North America.  His work was compiled in “Birds of America”, a book he published between 1827 and 1838.

He was born in the French colony of Saint-Domingue or what is now known as Les Cayes, Haiti.  In 1803 he immigrated to the United States.  He died in 1851 at his estate on the Hudson River which is now Audubon Park.

There are parks, stamps and streets dedicated to him and even a town in Pennsylvania named after him.

His original homestead Mill Grove in Audubon, Pennsylvania is now a museum of his work and is open to the public.

John James Audubon identified 25 new species during his studies and his quotes have a particular relevance today. With the appointment of Scott Pruitt and the rise of Climate Change deniers in positions of power, Audubon’s words reverberate through history. As the Trump administration tirelessly works to roll back environmental protections and sells off National Parks I’d like to take the time to remind everyone that the damage (some irreversible) done to this nation will fall on our children. In America’s never ending quest for profit we are leaving a desolate future for those who follow us. Let us remember John James Audubon and his message. 

Instead of dividing let us come together and care for one another. Let us stand against greed. Let us find within ourselves the stubborn determination to demand what is just and right. Let us be immovable in our cause. The hope for change is yours. No matter the trials they throw in your path, always remember that deep within you is a strength to hold onto that hope and nothing has the power to tear that out. You are powerful. Your voice is powerful. We are the ants and they are the grasshoppers. It’s time we band together and make our hopes a reality. Not only for ourselves but for those tiny faces and tiny hands that deserve to grow up and have a life that isn’t full of deprivation and toil.

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