Where the Sea Takes Me by Heidi R. Kling

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Brilliant and eye-opening!
Thanks to NetGalley and Entangled Teen for the opportunity to read and review Where the Sea Takes Me by Heidi R. Kling!
Sienna has just finished college finals and is planning a Team Hope trip to Cambodia. Her friend, Spider, wants to make their relationship more than just friends and Sienna isn’t too sure about that idea. Her father knocks her off her feet when he calls to tell her that Deni will be visiting soon. Deni, as in the Deni that Sienna fell in love with two years ago and who she helped recover from the tsunami in Indonesia on her last Team Hope relief trip. Deni arrives and he and Sienna fall instep with each other and Spider doesn’t quite know how to handle the situation. Team Hope travels to Cambodia on a long ride and Sienna has her eyes opened wide to the beautiful country torn apart by war, poverty and sex trafficking. The Cambodian people have extreme perseverance and are living in the results of Pol Pot’s destruction. Realistic fiction, adventure and history create the story and a touch of romance brings it all forward. Where the Sea Takes Me is a brilliant, eye-opening read, 5 stars!

Assassin’s America: Four Killers, Four Murdered Presidents, and the Country They Left Behing by Jessica Gunderson and Joe Tougas

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A must for American history buffs! Thanks to NetGalley and Capstone for the opportunity to read and review Assassin’s America: Four Killers, Four Murdered Presidents, and the Country They Left Behind by Jessica Gunderson & Joe Tougas. The true story is told in four parts, one for each president, describing the assassin and how our country may have been different without the assassination. A detailed report of each assassin and each president is followed by the description of the killing and the state of America and, finally, a timeline. I have read about the assassinations of Abraham Lincoln and John F. Kennedy many times but never Garfield’s or McKinley’s. It saddens me to think the last two could have lived with better medical care. Very tragic. Informative and laid out in an interesting way, this book is a must for history buffs, 5 stars!

Hunger by Donna Jo Napoli

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Jo Napoli. This historical fiction tale of the year follows the aftermath of the potato blight in Ireland, 1846-1847. Once again the potato crops aren’t doing well and people are contemplating leaving Ireland for a more hopeful and prosperous land. The sentence describing the people’s worries about traveling to other countries, where guns are needed to fight off criminals, and how they were so shocked by this idea was an eye-opener. How times have changed. The story takes us through how tenants rebel against the landlords and how people die from starvation, injuries from fighting and also sickness. The postscript states the fictional and true parts of this story and recalls the horribly high death toll because of the potato blight and how the suffering continued for several years. The author’s note explains the reasons for the blight and the timeline of Ireland to the famine’s end starting at prehistoric times up to 1851. I appreciate the author taking the time for extensive research into Ireland and its history and for describing what the Irish people went through when their crops were devastated. 4 stars!

Votes for Women! by Winifred Conkling

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Thanks to NetGalley and Algonquin Young Readers for the opportunity to read and review Votes for Women! by Winifred Conkling which tells the story of events that took place between the beginning of the women’s rights movement in 1848 and when women were given the right to vote in 1920. The appendix includes a list of the primary sources used for this book’s research and there’s also a timeline included. The preface describes how women from both sides of the suffrage movement approached a political candidate for his support in 1920. I’m shocked that some women were actually against having the right to vote! The story opens with an eleven year old Elizabeth Cady (eventually Elizabeth Cady Stanton) mourning the loss of her twenty year old brother Eleazar, the last male heir in the family. Her father is inconsolable and she makes it a mission to be everything her brother was and this became the beginning of Elizabeth’s goal towards learning and courage. The support for women’s rights is impressive and includes Frederick Douglass (an escaped slave and civil rights leader), Sojourner Truth (an escaped slave and strong speaker) and Susan B. Anthony (abolitionist) and many more supporters. A march for the suffrage movement in 1913 became so powerful that a mob forced the marchers into a single file. The marchers suffered from police brutality and this brutality was helpful to the movement because women gained public sympathy and attention. Picketers in 1917 took their stand in front of the White House and were arrested for “obstructing traffic”. These protesters were released eventually because the government was worried that the women would become martyrs. Later in this same year, picketers were sent to workhouses with unsanitary conditions and mistreatment. Alice Paul, the suffrage leader during this time, was severely mistreated and began a hunger strike which many other protesters joined. By 1920, the Senate approved ratification of the 19th Amendment. This is a definitive account of Elizabeth Cady Stanton’s and Susan B. Anthony’s and many others’ actions towards women’s rights that will be a perfect source for research. 5 stars!

Underneath It All by Amber J. Keyser

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Thanks to NetGalley and Lerner Publishing Group for the opportunity to read and review Underneath It All by Amber J. Keyser. The target audience is ages 13-18, grades 9-12. The introduction, Beyond Frippery and Lace, shares a quick history of women’s undergarments and a picture of Madonna in her infamous cone bra. A touching personal story from Jae West about self-acceptance is also shared bolstering self-esteem. Underwear isn’t just a covering, it also speaks of “gender, sexuality, politics and body image. An organization helping girls and women in poor countries makes and donates free reusable sanitary kits. The website is DaysForGirls.org and anyone can get involved, just check their website for information. Thinx, a new product is also explained. I’d never heard of this, but it’s innovative and impressive. Thinx is period-proof underwear! What a concept. The book continues on through the history of undergarments and highlights new and innovative underwear companies like Naja and Yellowberry. Underneath It All is interesting, informative and eye-opening and I learned a great deal more than I thought I would! 5 stars for this humorous, historical and educational look at the history of undergarments!

Quackery by Lydia Kang

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Thanks to NetGalley and Workman Publishing Company for the opportunity to read and review Quackery: A Brief History of the Worst Ways to Cure Everything by Lydia Kang. The book has sections for elements, plants and soil, tools, animals and mysterious powers. The first section begins with the medicinal use of mercury. Interesting and intriguing in its awfulness, especially the part about using it for babies who are teething; whoa! Then I learned about the First Emperor of the Qin Dynasty who was desperate for immortality and was given mercury medicines by his alchemists because they thought that was the answer. He died at forty-nine and his mausoleum rivals Egyptian pharaohs and is said to be flowing with rivers of mercury! Tidbits of mercury use include historical figures such as Abraham Lincoln, Napoleon and Edgar Allan Poe. Reading about Opium use was eye-opening and jaw-dropping, especially the part about giving it to quiet crying babies and children! The No More Pain with Cocaine part all the way to cannibalism and corpse medicine kept me morbidly fascinated. 5 stars for a must-read of a sketchy piece of history!
*I received a complimentary copy of this book for voluntary consideration.

Hotel Scarface by Roben Farzad

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Thanks to NetGalley and Berkley Publishing Group for the opportunity to read and review Hotel Scarface by Roben Farzad. This nonfiction account of 1970’s-1990’s Miami begins with action. The book continues, highlighting certain characters of the time and tells everything honestly and boldly. I became overwhelmed with the money, drugs, violence and human degradation as I continued to read. It’s difficult to comprehend that this is reality and people’s lives. The notes at the end of the book state that a remake of Scarface will take place in 2017. The whole time I was reading this book, I visualized the original Scarface movie. 4 stars for a true account of crime in Miami!

The Booth Brothers by Rebecca Langston-George

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The Booth Brothers by Rebecca Langston-George opens on April 26, 1865 when John Wilkes Booth was hiding inside a barn as a fugitive for shooting President Abraham Lincoln. The book jumps back to six years previously, describing the Booth family and the difference between the brothers. The assassination plan is described throughout its transformation, from the idea of killing four people to who was taking part in the plot. The killing of Abraham Lincoln tore the Booth family apart and even though John Wilkes Booth wanted to kill President Lincoln so he would be thought of as a hero by Southern believers, he died only a criminal. 5 stars for this informative nonfiction resource of Lincoln’s death.
* I received a complimentary copy of this book for voluntary consideration.

Eureka!: 50 Scientists Who Shaped Human History by John Grant

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Received an advance reader copy in exchange for a fair review.
Thanks to NetGalley and Houghton Mifflin Harcourt for the opportunity to read and review Eureka!: 50 Scientists Who Shaped Human History! This book is full of insights into scientific pioneers both professional and personal. From B.C. to modern times, details explaining theories and interesting tidbits of each scientist fill this easy to read informational book – 4 stars!

Irena’s Children: Young Reader’s Edition

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Thanks to NetGalley and Simon and Schuster/Margaret K. McElderry Books for the arc of Irena’s Children (Young Reader’s Edition) by Tilar Mazzeo and adapter Mary Cronk Farrell! This true account of Irena Sendler and her friends in Poland warmed my heart and I was astounded by their bravery! Irena and her friends helped save Jewish families during World War II by placing themselves in grave danger, hiding and sneaking children to safety. This is a magnificent story of heroism that affected thousands of Jewish children and has since affected generations of families. This book needs to be read to get the full extent of what true courage Irena Sendler embodies and the bravery it took to save innocent children during the Holocaust! 4 stars.