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Breaking the Silence: My Final Forty Days as a Public School Teacher
Breaking the Silence: My Final Forty Days as a Public School Teacher
by M. Shannon Hernandez
Edition: Paperback
Price: $14.95
50 used & new from $1.38

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars The last days of a teaching "star.", April 13, 2015
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I enjoyed this book. Hernandez is a good writer, and any teacher can relate to some of the traumas she suffers--including a mysterious charge against her that nobody will inform her of--but my, what a healthy self-esteem this woman has! I bought it on a kindle, and as I was reading, I began highlighting some of her over-the-top statements she made about just what a wonderful teacher she was. She cares more than anybody, she makes children feel incredibly loved by sharing a yogurt, her students were on task 180 days a year, her specialty was her incredible empathy. If all this was true, she certainly did a terrible thing by leaving the profession. The poor 6th and 7th graders who were denied the pleasures of being in her class!

I don't mean to make fun of Ms. Hernandez. She probably was a very good teacher and most of her complaints are valid, to be certain. I think that this book just shows the difference between a self-published book and a "regular" book. She needed an editor to tone it down, I think.


Alone: The Triumph and Tragedy of John Curry
Alone: The Triumph and Tragedy of John Curry
Price: $8.99

5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Fascinating and heartbreaking., November 22, 2014
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One of the best written bios I've read. It managed to show his flaws while remaining sympathetic. The story itself is fascinating. John tried to invent a whole new form of highbrow ice entertainment but didn't have the temperament or business acumen to manage a troupe. Recommended to all skating fans.


Beautiful Day: A Novel
Beautiful Day: A Novel
by Elin Hilderbrand
Edition: Paperback
Price: $10.00
305 used & new from $0.01

4.0 out of 5 stars Elin Hilderbrand succeeds with lighter book, August 11, 2014
This review is from: Beautiful Day: A Novel (Paperback)
Elin Hilderbrand writes a book every summer, and I have read a few of them. With this book, she tackles a lighter subject, and in my opinion, it is her best to date. Hilderbrand has always excelled at making interesting characters and conversations, but the books were sometimes light in conflict and plot. With the wedding theme, the characters are forced to be together in one place, and that builds up suspense since many of them do not get along, to put it mildly. There are no crimes, diseases, or horrible secrets to be had--just a lot of lovers quarrels between couples, some of which survive and some that do not. Overall, the book paints a positive message about love and forgiveness that most people will find pleasing.

I would not recommend this book for everybody. Like most or all Hilderbrand books, it is very elitist. The characters are quite above average in terms of their money, education and success, and these accomplishments are often info dumped for no apparent reason. Did we have to know the SAT score of the gay brother, for example? Spoiler alert: it's perfect! It's a little hard to relate to some of these affluent WASPs at times, but they were still interesting and sympathetic for the most part.


A Passionate Love Affair with a Total Stranger
A Passionate Love Affair with a Total Stranger
Price: $2.99

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Solid chick lit, July 19, 2014
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A chick lit book is hard to find now and this one was pretty good. It was too long and I figured out the secret almost immediately but the characters were likeable and it had a good message.


Go to Liberty
Go to Liberty
by Patricia F. Hilliard
Edition: Paperback
Price: $17.95
24 used & new from $13.06

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Timeless story told well., April 7, 2014
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This review is from: Go to Liberty (Paperback)
The basic story of this book is one that's almost a staple of every Christmas and family movie: there is a special place, a villain or corporation that wants to build on it or ruin it in some way, and a gang of underdogs who band together to save it. Sometimes the special place is a small town like Bedford Falls, sometimes it's the North Pole, sometimes it's a distant planet and sometimes it's even a Muppet Theater. It's a timeless story, and New Jersey environmental activist Patricia Hilliard puts her own twist on it in this book.

Here, the special place is a plot of land next to "Liberty Park" (based, I guess, on the real "Liberty State Park." The company is a foundry that polluted the land, donated it to the park, then tried to buy it back to develop. The underdogs are from a group called the "Friends of Nature." Two female "Friends" are the main protagonists: Eva, a freshman in college majoring in environmental science, and Amanda, a grieving mother whose daughter died on a camping trip. The scenes with Amanda and her cranky eco-terrorist wannabe friend Murphy are the best.

What makes this version of the timeless tale unique is the level of detail and realism. There are no miracles here. Villains don't suddenly turn good, angels or aliens don't appear to help. Everyone just works really hard, gathering signatures on petitions and holding fundraisers and press conferences. In the end, a decision is made by the government, but it takes months of waiting.

I recommend this book to anyone interesting in preserving a special place.

Anyone interested in saving a special place should read this book.


Twisted Sisters
Twisted Sisters
Offered by Penguin Group (USA) LLC
Price: $9.99

8 of 8 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars Too much voice, not enough plot, February 10, 2014
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This review is from: Twisted Sisters (Kindle Edition)
I enjoyed Lancaster's first realistic fiction novel featuring Deva the magical new-age woman. Here I Go Again was a well-paced, well-plotted chick-lit novel that was not quite as shallow as it originally seemed. Unfortunately, Twisted Sisters has some serious problems that made it a major disappointment.

In a good body-switching book or movie--and there have been many of them, including three Freaky Fridays--there must be some time spent with the characters in their original bodies to get to know them and what their issues are, of course. However, the switch usually comes fairly early on. Not so in this book. Literally the first 75% of the book or so (I have a kindle, so I know % read) is spent leading up to the main story twist. By the time the plot kicks in, the book is almost over.

So what happens in the first 3/4 of the book? There are a couple of funny scenes that are merely vignettes, but mostly it is a monologue of a very bitter person. I'm not sure if Lancaster is parodying a certain "type" or if these are her own opinions ( I believe it is the former, but it's hard to tell), but it just goes on and on. We never meet any of the people she carps about until well into the book, including her sister Geri or either of her ex-boyfriends. Their characters aren't developed at all, simply from not having enough scenes.

There was a lot of potential here for a funny, entertaining book, but it seems to have fallen victim to poor editing. It almost seems like it was either much longer at one point and was chopped up or it's two books that were melded into one. Lancaster's sarcastic voice can be funny, but books need plots, too.


Irish Tweed: A Nuala Anne McGrail Novel (Nuala Anne McGrail Novels)
Irish Tweed: A Nuala Anne McGrail Novel (Nuala Anne McGrail Novels)

0 of 1 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars Not for the uninitiated, January 21, 2014
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This book made absolutely no sense. I did not read the earlier books of this series--I downloaded it because it made fun of left-wing Catholic schools (something I know quite a lot about), but it was so poorly written with so many references to other books that it was very difficult to follow.

Basically, Nuala's husband is obsessed with her sexually, they have a friend in the Yewnited States Coast Guard, everyone is Irish, and there was some girl in the 1800's whose story was being told. The left-wing people at the Catholic school had some crazy way of picking teams and not dealing with bullies, but it didn't matter because everyone was so rich they just hired bodyguards, or called their bestie, the Archbishop of Chicago.

Maybe if I knew what was going on from reading previous installments, I would like this book, but as a standalone, I can't recommend it.
Comment Comment (1) | Permalink | Most recent comment: Jul 29, 2014 5:39 PM PDT


Flowers in the Attic (Dollanganger)
Flowers in the Attic (Dollanganger)
by V. C. Andrews
Edition: Mass Market Paperback
Price: $6.00
161 used & new from $0.01

0 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars So bad it's good, January 21, 2014
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I never read this book as a teen (even though I'm right at the target age) and didn't do so until I saw the "Lifetime" movie advertised every day on my Kindle. I'm glad I did. It was something!

In an odd way, it reminded me of the "Little House" books, or maybe Amish books. I'm not kidding. The first half of the book were all about kids being entertained by things that would bore most kids today: cutting out flowers, playing bridge and board games, reading Shakespeare and Eugene O'Neill and other classics. The youngest boy taught himself to play numerous instruments and write his own songs before the age of 8, all without lessons. These were extremely talented children. Yet they never used their brilliance to, I don't know, call Family Services, perhaps?

The second half of the book was much darker, as the mother began to ignore them and the evil grandmother starved them for two weeks. The book picked up suspense, and I couldn't put it down, waiting for the final confrontation where they finally got out or took revenge, or something. Unfortunately, that didn't happen. I won't give the ending away, but it was anticlimactic to say the least. The movie from 1987 changed the ending a lot and the Lifetime movie a little bit, and I can see why. Like various books today, I think it suffered from sequelitis. VC Andrews probably knew there would be other books, so this one didn't really end properly. It's a shame, I will have to take a star away and give it only 4. No, it's not a great book, but it's so bad and weird that it's good.

Note: as for the incest--it is just a couple of scenes at the end of the book, and it really adds little to the main story.


Push Dick's Button: A Conversation on Skating from a Good Part of the Last Century--and a Little Tomfoolery
Push Dick's Button: A Conversation on Skating from a Good Part of the Last Century--and a Little Tomfoolery
by Dick Button
Edition: Paperback
Price: $15.99
43 used & new from $4.23

7 of 8 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Recommended for figure skating fans, January 5, 2014
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What a shame to see only a few reviews of this book (before mine, that is). Fifteen years ago, during the peak of popularity, there would be at least 100.

Dick believes that the sport is losing popularity due to the new judging system, and he's not afraid to come right out and say it. His honesty is refreshing and the book is a must read for all figure skating fans, whether you agree with him or not.

Why did I take away a star? Because the book is "conversational" in tone, there isn't a lot of material. Dick waxes about a perfectly pointed toe, and tells a few anecdotes about his own skating career, but there isn't a lot of gossip or stories a fan wouldn't already know. Still, I enjoyed this book a lot and would recommend it to anyone interested in this sport.


Crazy Little Thing (A Bell Harbor Novel)
Crazy Little Thing (A Bell Harbor Novel)
Price: $2.00

4.0 out of 5 stars Picks up in the middle, June 30, 2013
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Unlike most books, this book starts out slow and speeds up in the middle. I stopped reading at one point, but started again and am glad I did.


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