's CBR8 Review No:12

A non-European Based Fantasy

Throne of the Crescent Moon by Saladin Ahmed (Buy on amazon.com)


Saladin Ahmed’s name regularly kept coming up on lists of fantasy authors to check out.   Last Christmas I put “Throne of the Crescent Moon”, book one of The Crescent Moon Kingdoms series, on my wish list, in June it came with me on a family vacation.  The vast majority of the fantasy I’ve read […]

's CBR8 Review No:46

I could be happy the rest of my life with a vinegar girl

Vinegar Girl by Anne Tyler (Buy on amazon.com)


Anne Tyler is one of my favorite authors (this is the third book of hers I’ve reviewed this year), and that is the only reason I was willing to read Vinegar Girl, a modern retelling of The Taming of the Shrew. I was surprised to find that I actually enjoyed reading this. The modern twist […]

's CBR8 Review No:65

The Story Seems To Be Missing

Catching Homelessness: A Nurse's Story of Falling Through the Safety Net by Josephine Ensign (Buy on amazon.com)


This is 2.5 stars for me, but I’m giving it three starts because of the first 150 pages of the book. However, I think the title is misleading, because this is much, much more about the true story of Ms. Ensign’s experience working in a clinic that served low income and homeless individuals in the […]

's CBR8 Review No:117

I came for discussions of Lady Kluck. I stayed for discussions of internet bullying.

Shrill: Notes from a Loud Woman by Lindy West (Buy on amazon.com)


I’ve long been a fan of Lindy West’s irreverent and sharply funny style. I loved reading her film reviews when she was still with The Stranger (my favorite review is of Sex and the City 2, which I absolutely refused to go see) and Jezebel (hello, scathing indictment of Love, Actually, which is a terrible, […]

's CBR8 Review No:116

A nominee for Best Book of 2016

Towers Falling by Jewell Parker Rhodes (Buy on amazon.com)


If you’ve never read Jewell Parker Rhodes, you absolutely must. Her prose is light and crisp at once, and she tells a story like no other. You inhabit her characters fully, and they are strong, sensitive young women. I’ve read Ninth Ward and Bayou Magic, both of which tackle current issues and also include an […]

's CBR8 Review No:115

A worthy entry in a children’s literature trend

Somewhere, Among by Annie Donwerth-Chikamatsu (Buy on amazon.com)


Several weeks ago, I was at a retirement celebration for my English education professor (and academic advisor) at my private college. It just so happened that one of my mentor teachers from student teaching was there—she and I fell into a terrific conversation about teaching, life, and books. Always books. An observation K had made […]

's CBR8 Review No:114

A lot for Chicagoans to consider.

The South Side: A Portrait of American Segregation by Natalie Y. Moore (Buy on amazon.com)


I’ve been focusing a lot on social justice these past few years, because the rhetoric/composition course I teach at one of my universities (ah, the joys of rootless adjuncting!) has integrated social justice and care for others as part of its Jesuit curriculum. This year, my theme is Art and Protest. I’ve read Michelle Alexander’s […]

's CBR8 Review No:113

Tim Kaine is a Lying Cat (no, really). Or, I talk politics and Saga at once.

Saga, Volume 6 by Fiona Staples and Brian K. Vaughan (Buy on amazon.com)


Everyone has already reviewed this volume of Saga, so there’s not too much I can add. Also, I read it so long ago, that Volume 7 *must* be on its way out, right? Right? I digress. [ETA: March 28, 2017, according to Amazon. THAT’S SO LONG TO WAIT, CAN WE GET A KICKSTARTER GOING] I […]

's CBR8 Review No:87

“I’m not too good when exposed to people”

Where'd You Go, Bernadette? by Maria Semple (Buy on amazon.com)

Where'd You Go, Bernadette by Maria Semple

Over the summer I cancelled my SiriusXM membership because between borrowing CDs from the library and downloading books off Overdrive I almost always had an audiobook to listen to in the car. Typically, I leave my book listening to the car but not with Where’d You Go, Bernadette? I couldn’t put it down (so to speak) and […]

's CBR8 Review No:112

Another longer-than-anticipated reviewing hiatus ended!

Listen, Slowly by Thanhha Lai (Buy on amazon.com)


Hey, crew! I’m back again. Hopefully, I can keep up with my reviews. Like I said, Goodreads is a better bet at this point, because almost all of my reading now takes place at bedtime, thanks to my three adjunct jobs (SO MUCH GRADING). I’ve got some major catching up to do. Let’s start with […]

's CBR8 Review No:41

From the Siege of Chicago to the Recent Past

The Nix by Nathan Hill (Buy on amazon.com)


An unsatisfied Midwestern suburban housewife abandons her husband and young son, only resurfacing decades later when she suddenly and inexplicably attacks a prospective presidential candidate. Suddenly drawn back into his mother’s orbit, her failed writer of a son finds himself torn between an opportunity to cash in on the notoriety and the chance to finally […]

's CBR8 Review No:39

Butterflies are free…except not so much.

The Butterfly Garden by Dot Hutchison (Buy on amazon.com)


  I feel like this sort of high concept story would have read better in a fantasy or sci fi setting. The dialogue and character interaction just didn’t work for me in the modern day U.S. It’s also very possible that someone who hasn’t read a metric ton of true crime and gritty realistic crime […]