Review: I Am Not Your Perfect Mexican Daughter

I-AM-Not-Your-Perfect-Mexican-DaughterTitle: I Am Not Your Perfect Mexican Daughter 

Author: Erika L. Sánchez

Genre: Contemporary, Fiction, Mexican-American

Number of pages: 344

Time it took me to read:  7 Days

Synopsis: Perfect Mexican daughters do not go away to college. And they do not move out of their parents’ house after high school graduation. Perfect Mexican daughters never abandon their family.

But Julia is not your perfect Mexican daughter. That was Olga’s role.

Then a tragic accident on the busiest street in Chicago leaves Olga dead and Julia left behind to reassemble the shattered pieces of her family. And no one seems to acknowledge that Julia is broken, too. Instead, her mother seems to channel her grief into pointing out every possible way Julia has failed.

But it’s not long before Julia discovers that Olga might not have been as perfect as everyone thought. With the help of her best friend Lorena, and her first kiss, first love, first everything boyfriend Connor, Julia is determined to find out. Was Olga really what she seemed? Or was there more to her sister’s story? And either way, how can Julia even attempt to live up to a seemingly impossible ideal?

Novel Review:

Okay, I have to start out with a confession. When I started this read, the first few chapters seemed to go on forever and I put the book down several times, thus the reason it took me an entire week to get through (very unusual for me). It wasn’t that the first part was bad writing, boring or anything like that. It was just too slow for me. I really thought this was going to be added to my DNF list. I am so GLAD I stuck with it.

This read pulled at so many of my emotions. First, I laughed my butt off. Julia is one witty and funny character. I listen to the audio and every time my twelve-year-old daughter was in the room she laughed right along with me. I cried at the sad parts and while there weren’t that many my tears flooded when they did appear. And I felt Julia’s frustration with her life and the circumstances she had to go through.

Looking back, I don’t think the book was slow. I think I had just come off this high from reading two books from the same series. I had devoured those books in two days, well over 1,000 pages. I Am Not Your Perfect Mexican Daughter is not that kind of book. It is one of those books that you need to grab a good cup of coffee, a warm blanket and sit by the window with and savor each and every page.

This is a book that reaches down into your soul and demands your attention. There are so many lessons to learn from this read, from how mental illness affects everyone differently, how the intersections of cultures affect individuals, and even how people mourn differently.

I highly recommend it to English teachers everywhere, to parents, children, and the rest of the world. I cannot say enough good things about this book.

My rating:

5

Find out more about the book and Erika Sánchez here

Follow Erika Sánchez on Twitter, and Facebook

Short Story Saturday: “Eden”

23303950Title: “Eden: A Short Story About The Zombie Apocalypse”

Author: Michael Robertson

Genre: Short Story, Sci Fi, Zombie, Apocalyptic

Number of pages: 29 pages

Time it took me to read:  1 Day

Synopsis: Welcome to Eden—the underground, self-sufficient complex that has withstood the zombie apocalypse for over thirty years and is home to the remnants of humanity.

Standing in the control room and about to take over his father’s position of running it, Mark quickly realizes there is more happening than a simple handover; he’s about to find out that Eden has secrets…dark secrets.

Secrets that change the way he looks at his father forever.
Secrets that change the way he looks at everything forever.
Secrets that will reveal the truth about the apocalypse…
Eden is a post apocalyptic tale about surviving the zombie apocalypse.

My Review

We are introduced to Mark who is shadowing his father on his last day as guardian of the compound that they have lived in for the past 30 years. The compound keeps them safe from the zombie apocalypse that is just outside their doors. As Mark’s dad walks him through the daily routine for the last time we learn a secret about the events that took place and lead to their apocalypse.

This short was surprisingly satisfying. It is a brief glimpse into the lives of these two men as a father shares his secret and a son learns the terrifying truth. The writing captured my attention from the very beginning and when I got to the end I definitely wanted more. Mr. Robertson gives us just enough emotion with his characters to draw us in. From the annoyed son who checks himself as his father runs through the emotion handing off of the torch to his son.

At first, I was irritated by yet another male author using the female body to create a disease and blaming the end of the world on. Too many male authors tend to use the female body to conduct experiments on and use the good ole troupe of a woman giving “birth” to a new breed of human. However, the way this story ends that clearly wasn’t the author’s intention in this short story and I was pleased by the revealing secret at the end, even if it was predictable.

This story earned 3.5 stars from me because the ending was too abrupt and some of the writing was predictable. However, I still recommend giving it a try considering its a short read, a good introduction to the author’s writing, the Kindle version is free on Amazon, and a second short story is included with the Kindle version.

I for one will be reading more from this author and suggestion you give Michael Robertsons’ writing a chance. Here is the link to purchase –> Eden <–

My rating:

3.5

Find out more about the short story and Michael Robertson

Follow Michael Robertson on Twitter and Facebook

Short Story Saturday: “The Demon Barker of Wheat Street”

51oXob+cRmLTitle: “The Demon Barker of Wheat Street”

Author: Kevin Hearne

Genre: Short Story, Fantasy, Fiction

Number of pages: 34 pages

Time it took me to read:  1 Day

Synopsis:

The ancient Druid Atticus O’Sullivan gets more than greasy corn dogs and flat soda when he visits a carnival in Kansas to which his apprentice, Granuaile, drags him. He runs across a barker with a strange power over the crowd: attractive women leave their men and disappear into an unmarked tent, never to be seen again, and the men wander away, forgetting that they ever had girlfriends or wives. When Granuaile falls under the barker’s influence and enters the tent, Atticus isn’t about to forget it and move on. He and his Irish wolfhound, Oberon, pursue her and discover the horrifying secret to the carnival’s success.

Short Story Review:

I am going to start with two short tidbits of information:

First, while this short story is sold separately it is part of a larger anthology, CarniePunk, that comes highly recommended. I will be linking reviews to the anthology with the VisualEditor_-_Icon_-_Tag-big.svg tag #CarniePunk. Keep an eye out for future reviews.

Second, I was struggling to get the last of my summer school students through their needed credits so I used this short story in the place of a longer novel. So this is a twofer review. I am going to put in my own review and then report how my high schoolers responded to the book.

My Review

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Group dinner  Kevin & Tacos!!

I have been reading Kevin Hearne’s since 2012. His first series is called The Iron Druid Chronicles and this short story is part of that series.  I have attempted to write reviews for this series but I love them so much that I am not sure how I would handle my audience rejection of them. I think I have evolved as a reader and blogger at this point in my life and I am ready to share.

 

Let’s start with the main character, Atticus O’Sullivan, who is the last living druid.  Atticus along with his apprentice Granuaile MacTiernan and his loyal Irish Wolfhound, Oberon, are visiting Granuaile’s hometown to check in on her mother who thinks she is dead. They come across some pretty shady things happening at the freaks tent and proceed to try and defeat some demons, imps, and ghouls and hopefully save some human life at the same time.

I may be a little biased here because I love everything Kevin writes. This short was no exception. The characters come to life and his storytelling captivates his readers from the get-go. I am not including a review of the audio recording because I am a devoted Luke Daniel’s fan and in my view, no one can be the voice of Atticus or Oberon but Luke Daniels. Since this short was part of an anthology of various authors I assume this is why they went with a different voice actor. Thus, my review would not be a fair one. I do have to say that my students did like his reading though.

Students Review

My students loved this read! I did have to do a bit of explaining about druids, magic, and some already established norms of series. One area they got a little hung up on was the idea of elementals as begins of the earth, but that didn’t last long with the humor of Kevin’s writing and their love of Oberon.  There were laughs and lots of after class discussion as we stopped ready in the middle because class had ended.

hghghHere are some drawings and words from the kids:

“I liked the part where he says dogs make everything better…”  – Angela M.

“The demons are really clever when they try to disguise themselves in human skin”  – Esteban P.

“I like the fight scene and how the author writes because there is a lot of action and keeps me really interested. I normally jmkjhdon’t like to read. ” – Cesar Y

 

“I like how Granuaile stands up for herself and can kick butt. She is a strong woman who can kick butt. ”  -Celeste L

varv“Oberon is my favorite character! His love of sausage, poodles, & hunting made me laugh so much.”   – Daniel V

“I love the words ‘clueless crunchy guy’ to describe Atticus. What does that even mean?”  – Chris A

 

Overall, “The Demon Barker of Wheat Street” was a success and I would definitely teach it again. The engagement level of my students proves its worth in the classroom. Thanks, Kevin!

 

My rating:

5

Find out more about the book and Kevin Hearne

Kevin is Hilarious on social media so I highly recommend you follow him on Twitter, Facebook, and Instagram

Like my review and want to begin reading some of Kevin Hearne’s work? I suggest you start with one of these below:

 

Iron#1

Book 1 – IDC

 

giant

Book 1 – new series

 

 

 

KTFB-cover-art-final

Coming Soon