Friday, October 5, 2018

Sloths, Squirrels and Unexpected Twists

For this round of books, I needed to pare down some of my advanced e-galleys. It's rare I'd read this many e-books in a row, but I made an exception because of the size of the queue. What a problem to have, right?!?

In The Shadow of the Ivory Tower by Alan Kirby was a true higher education read. As someone who works in higher education, what I appreciated was that the story was true to the real life protocol for something like this. Seriously, I can't tell y'all how many books, Lifetime movies and/or other TV shows I've watched and been frustrated at the lack of understanding of how a campus would truly manage an issue. ANYWAY. This book focuses on a Threat Assessment Team that Darren Kelly, the narrator, serves on for California Pacific University. There are several incidents on campus, and someone named "Mercury" is involved. The book is trying to figure out who this is, how to support those who are impacted, and how to solve the mystery before something else can happen. This is a mystery that kept me guessing. Because it was written true to form (again, I can't say enough how much that meant), I could focus on the drama and suspense as they tried to figure out who was behind everything. There's also a twist at the end that I did not see coming and loved. As someone in higher education, I also appreciated that the author acknowledged in a final author's note that this book mentions many of the current concerns on our college campuses. However, given the focus of the book, these aren't covered exhaustively. I actually had noted this, and I appreciated the author's awareness and encouragement to become further educated on this issues raised. Thanks to NetGalley for letting me check this one out.

Read this book if - You'd like a mystery in a university setting that is true to form on how the situation would be managed IRL.

Slothilda: Living the Sloth Life by Dante Fabiero was a quick, fun read. I first found Slothilda when I was writing a piece on introverts, and I wanted some GIFs to supplement. Slothilda came up, and I instantly feel in love. This is an expansion of those Slothilda moments. Slothilda wants to be better, but she also wants to just relax, love what she loves (Carbs! Naps! Staying Home!) This was simply a book that made me smile. It wasn't deep, but it was relatable. Every once in awhile, I like to check out one of these simple reads for a little shot of happiness. Thanks to NetGalley for providing me that opportunity via Slothilda.

Read this book if - You are familiar with Slothilda. You want a quick, humorous look at the quest for self-care/self-improvement.

Squirrel Days by Ellie Kemper was a book I wanted to love. I assumed I would love it. I tried to even talk myself into loving it. The reality is I just sort of liked it. I hate to offer the comparison, but I've read a fair amount of memoirs by female comediennes. This just failed to make the emotional connection that the others had for me. This was undoubtedly the author's true voice, and y'all she radiates positivity just like her characters. That comes through loud and clear. However, there was just something missing for who I am as a reader. It's hard to critique a book that someone wrote about their life, but I told NetGalley I'd be honest, and I am. I do wonder if this might translate slightly better as an audiobook as some of her humor comes in her voice. I don't know y'all. This one ultimately had expectations from me that it did not meet.

Read this book if - You'd like to read a collection of essays from Ellie Kemper?

Even If I Fall by Abigal Johnson focuses on the after of a tragedy. Brooke's brother Jason is in jail for murdering his best friend Cal. This obviously rocks his family unit and the community. Brooke is left to figure out her new normal as her family is broken and struggling, her friends have disassociated with her, and the things that bring her joy no longer do. In the midst of this, Brooke connects with Heath - Cal's brother. Yup, talk about complex situation. Through the story, Brooke and Health's relationship grows, but they must keep it a secret from their families and the whole community. The story centers on how the family emotionally navigates visiting Jason - or not visiting. There is also the emotion that Heath and Cal's family feel as they continue to grieve and process. This book is also about Brooke's want to understand the truth of what happened that fateful night. That truth is ultimately revealed, and the secrets that are uncovered add a whole different dimension. This is another one I read thanks to NetGalley. Thanks to them I was able to go on this emotional journey. The story is a complicated one which is what makes it worth reading. 

Read this book if - You want a YA read with some emotional complexity. You want a YA read that focuses on a complicated issue.

Until my next round!