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My name is Ardis and I am an avid reader and budding writer. I want to share my love of books with others. I work with kids and am interested in finding and creating books that will ignite the reader in everyone. Contact me at: ardis.atkins@gmail.com

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MsArdychan's bookshelf: read

I Owe You One
The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society
Love, Hate & Other Filters
The Wartime Sisters
The Belles
The Gilded Wolves
Hey, Kiddo
Blackberry and Wild Rose
Queen of Air and Darkness
Firestarter
The Retribution of Mara Dyer
The Evolution of Mara Dyer


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Saturday, December 22, 2018

Stacking The Shelves #144 & Sunday Post #108




I am combining two great blog hops:  Stacking The Shelves (a Saturday feature by Team Tynga's Reviews), and Sunday Post (a Sunday feature by the Caffeinated Book Reviewer).  Both of these features give people a chance to post about what books they received and also an opportunity to catch a glimpse of what others are excited about.  I really enjoy seeing everyone's version of these features!   All book covers are linked to Goodreads, if you want to check them out.  If you enjoy my blog, please consider following me via Bloglovin, Networked Blogs, GFC, or by email subscription.  If you leave a comment and tell me you are a new follower, I will follow you back! 

On The Blog:


Tuesday:  ARC Review:  My Almost Flawless Tokyo Dream Life by Rachel Cohn

In Real Life:
This week has been so hectic I can hardly see straight!!!  Working, baking, and those last-minute gifts have made me exhausted.  Usually, we get this week off from school, but for some reason our school break doesn't start until next week.  
All I need to do now is wrap presents, and baking lost of desserts, and I'll be all set for the holidays.

New Books:
Public Library:
https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/13541056-queen-of-air-and-darknesshttps://www.goodreads.com/book/show/38232379-kingdom-of-the-blind
 Bought:
https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/35794239-hey-kiddo?ac=1&from_search=true
For Review:
https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/35715518-crown-of-feathers?ac=1&from_search=truehttps://www.goodreads.com/book/show/40879757-the-editor?from_search=true
 I finally have some time to read in the next two weeks!  This is my idea of an ideal vacation.   Have a wonderful holiday season.

 
 
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Tuesday, December 18, 2018

ARC Review: My Almost Flawless Tokyo Dream Life by Rachel Cohn

https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/38491757-my-almost-flawless-tokyo-dream-life?ac=1&from_search=true
Please Note:  I received an advance copy of this book from NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.  This did not influence the opinions of my review in any way.

Synopsis (From Goodreads):
In the Land of the Rising Sun, where high culture meets high kitsch, and fashion and technology are at the forefront of the First World's future, the foreign-born teen elite attend ICS-the International Collegiate School of Tokyo. Their accents are fluid. Their homes are ridiculously posh. Their sports games often involve a (private) plane trip to another country. They miss school because of jet lag and visa issues. When they get in trouble, they seek diplomatic immunity.

Enter foster-kid-out-of-water Elle Zoellner, who, on her sixteenth birthday discovers that her long-lost father, Kenji Takahari, is actually a Japanese hotel mogul and wants her to come live with him. Um, yes, please! Elle jets off first class from Washington D.C. to Tokyo, which seems like a dream come true. Until she meets her enigmatic father, her way-too-fab aunt, and her hyper-critical grandmother, who seems to wish Elle didn't exist. In an effort to please her new family, Elle falls in with the Ex-Brats, a troupe of uber-cool international kids who spend money like it's air. But when she starts to crush on a boy named Ryuu, who's frozen out by the Brats and despised by her new family, her already tenuous living situation just might implode.

My Almost Flawless Tokyo Dream Life is about learning what it is to be a family, and finding the inner strength to be yourself, even in the most extreme circumstances.


Review:
When I saw this book on NetGalley, I immediately wanted to read it.  I am attracted to books set in Japan because I lived there for over three years!  It was one of the most profound experiences of my life.  While My Almost Flawless Tokyo Dream Life was pretty fluffy, it did capture the wonder of Japanese culture.
 
What I Liked:
Setting:
Having lived in Japan, I loved all the small details of life in Tokyo.  From the seemingly strange customs (don't rest chopsticks directly in a bowl of rice), to the vending machines that sell beer, all the many rich differences are shown.  The author must have spent time in Japan to get all these elements correct.  It was very authentic.

Characters:
I enjoyed the main character, Elle.  She was smart and resilient.  It was fun to see Japan through her eyes, especially since she was not used to such luxury.  I also liked that she was very empathetic towards her mom, who had an opioid addiction.  She did a good job of separating the person from the illness.  I don't know if most teens could see the situation in such a mature light.  But I loved Elle for this.

Elle's father, Kenji, is also complex.  While it took a while for Elle (and the reader) to know him, I liked that he wasn't a stereotype of a Japanese businessman.

Story:
If you can get past the ridiculous premise of becoming instantly wealthy, the story is quite fun.  I enjoy fish out of water stories.  I have traveled all over Europe (as a student).  But I remember that first day in Japan I feeling like I was in another universe!  This book accurately presents how overwhelming it can be to live in Japan.

I also liked the story line of Elle attending a new, elite school.  It is jarring to suddenly have access to a world-class education.  She also meets several new students at her school.  All of them are obsessed with their grades and feel lots of pressure to be perfect.  This focus on performance is a huge issue in Japan, even at international schools.

What I Didn't Like:
  
Premise:
Even though it would be fun to find out that you have a secret relative who is a billionaire and wants to radically upgrade your life, I found the premise to be too fantastic.  It gave the impression that money solves everything.  Yes, the author shows that money also creates problems of entitlement.  But, I think the overall message was that people who don't have money are miserable, and those who have it are leading almost flawless lives.

Offensive Stereotypes:
I also was offended by the stereotype presented regarding foster care.  Children in foster care are there because of extreme family circumstances.  The people who open their homes to these children are to be commended, not vilified.  As you can guess, I know people who are foster parents, and I know them to be kind, and loving people.  I know there are situations where there are abusive foster homes.  But they are the exception.  I am really sad that the author went for the easy characterization of foster care.

Ending:
The ending was very abrupt.  Many of the story lines were wrapped up a little too neatly and quickly, which I found to be extremely unrealistic.

Rating: 




Release Date:  December 18th, 2018

Author:  Rachel Cohn

Publisher:  Disney-Hyperion

Genre:  YA Fiction

Page Length:  352 Pages

Source:  NetGalley

Format:  E-Book

Recommendation:  This fish out of water story was a fun, quick read, but don't expect any deep reflections on wealth or privilege.
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Saturday, December 8, 2018

Stacking The Shelves #143 & Sunday Post # 107




I am combining two great blog hops:  Stacking The Shelves (a Saturday feature by Team Tynga's Reviews), and Sunday Post (a Sunday feature by the Caffeinated Book Reviewer).  Both of these features give people a chance to post about what books they received and also an opportunity to catch a glimpse of what others are excited about.  I really enjoy seeing everyone's version of these features!   All book covers are linked to Goodreads, if you want to check them out.  If you enjoy my blog, please consider following me via Bloglovin, Networked Blogs, GFC, or by email subscription.  If you leave a comment and tell me you are a new follower, I will follow you back! 

On The Blog:


No reviews posted this week.  But I am gearing up to post several reviews in January, so I am busy reading and analyzing about seven books!

In Real Life:

This week flew by!  I've been busy doing my online shopping for Christmas, and making several trips to Oakland to buy books at my favorite bookstore, A Great Good Place for Books.  Okay, several of the books were for me...

On Friday evening my daughter and I attended a beautiful holiday choral concert with the Pacific Boychoir Academy. of Oakland, California.  So many talented signers and a wonderful Brass group provided accompanying music.  This concert really got me in the holiday spirit.

New Books:
Bought:
https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/22609453-crazy-love-youhttps://www.goodreads.com/book/show/30312855-the-last-magician?ac=1&from_search=true

https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/9986977-fragile?ac=1&from_search=truehttps://www.goodreads.com/book/show/31453592-the-dark-calling?ac=1&from_search=true

 Public Library:
https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/11408650-the-unbecoming-of-mara-dyerhttps://www.goodreads.com/book/show/15768409-the-retribution-of-mara-dyerhttps://www.goodreads.com/book/show/13643567-the-evolution-of-mara-dyer
 For Review:
Penguin Audio / Listening Library:
https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/39402961-stronger-faster-and-more-beautiful

 I heard about this book from an Instagram post of Amie Kaufman, who sang it's praises.  This is a series of short stories that are truly riviting!  I am really enjoying this audio book.

              
via GIPHY

That's it for this week.  I am looking forward to losing myself in books when the holidays get too crazy!  Is that also your escape?  What books are you reading to relax this week?

 
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Saturday, December 1, 2018

Stacking The Shelves #142 & Sunday Post #106



I am combining two great blog hops:  Stacking The Shelves (a Saturday feature by Team Tynga's Reviews), and Sunday Post (a Sunday feature by the Caffeinated Book Reviewer).  Both of these features give people a chance to post about what books they received and also an opportunity to catch a glimpse of what others are excited about.  I really enjoy seeing everyone's version of these features!   All book covers are linked to Goodreads, if you want to check them out.  If you enjoy my blog, please consider following me via Bloglovin, Networked Blogs, GFC, or by email subscription.  If you leave a comment and tell me you are a new follower, I will follow you back! 

On The Blog:


Monday:  Book Review:  From Twinkle, With Love by Sandya Menon

In Real Life:

It was great to be back with the students at school, and it made the week fly by!  On Wednesday, I went to my book club at the amazing little bookstore, A Great Good Place for Books, in Oakland, California.  I love Indie bookstores, and this place has such a warm, welcoming vibe.  They were even mentioned on Good Morning America on their story about Small Business Saturday!

My daughter has been in the thick of college applications.  Friday was a big deadline and it has been hectic.  My sole job was moral support.  But it is hard to see my kid stressed out.

New Books:

Purchased:
So many sales on Cyber-Monday!  I couldn't resist! 

https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/25372801-all-the-birds-in-the-sky?ac=1&from_search=truehttps://www.goodreads.com/book/show/10429045-shatter-me?ac=1&from_search=true


https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/36698152-society-of-wishes?ac=1&from_search=true

https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/25169886-the-banished-of-muirwood?ac=1&from_search=truehttps://www.goodreads.com/book/show/34728667-children-of-blood-and-bone?ac=1&from_search=true

For Review:

https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/41150486-montauk?ac=1&from_search=true

 Thank you, St. Martin's Press!

That's it for this week.  If you are preparing for holiday celebrations, good luck!  I will be jumping in to shopping this weekend.

 
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