Monday, December 21, 2015

Six of Crows by Leigh Bardugo

When I brought this book home, a teenager immediately noticed it.  The distinctive cover art and black edged pages make the book stand out.  I gave it to him to read since technically, it is a YA book, and I figured he could tell me if it was any good.  Then he passed it on to his sister.  They both liked it, so I thought it must be worth reading!  

A group of six teenagers plot to break a prisoner out of an impossible jail.  There is Kaz, the ruthless leader who whispers rumors to make sure that no one really knows him.  Inej is an acrobat turned spy.  A sharpshooter with too much nervous energy and a gambling problem is called Jesper.  Nina is from a country of people with special powers, considered witches by some.  Matthias is a soldier who will betray his country.  Wylan is the youngest, and the son of a wealthy merchant who is learning explosives.  These six must work together to earn a huge amount of money.  They take turns narrating the chapters, picking up where the last one left off.  You get to know each one bit by bit.  It’s a gritty and sometimes brutal book of teens living in a hardscrabble world.

Reviewed by Fiona Swift
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Monday, December 7, 2015

Modern Romance by Aziz Ansari

A stand-up comedian probably wouldn’t be your first choice to write a study on the trials of dating in the new millennium, but Aziz Ansari (best known for his role on Parks and Recreation) joined forces with sociology professor Eric Klinenberg for this one-of-a-kind guide to dating, mating, cheating, and etiquette. The result is a book full of solid research and snarky commentary.

Ansari and Klinenberg found out that there is a generational difference of opinion on whether it’s okay to break up with someone via text message, but romance is changing in other ways, too. Years ago, young people didn’t spend a decade or more searching for a soul mate when they could just settle down in a companionable marriage with the boy or girl next door. Ansari notes that his own parents had an arranged marriage that has lasted happily for more than 35 years, but maybe because online dating has introduced him to so many women he would have never made contact with before, making a decision to settle down forever with one person is harder than ever.

 Modern Romance is funny, irreverent, and full of insight about love in the modern world.

Reviewed by Lynn Heitkamp

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