Sunday, January 25, 2015

Sunday Summary, 25 January 2015

Where I've been reading

This was the last week that I will be home for a while. On Monday morning, I start traveling again. I've enjoyed the several weeks at home, but I'm also eager to get on the road.

What I've been reading: Completed this week

Book Cover: How to Fly with Broken Wings by Jane Elson Format: eGalley
Source: review copy from NetGalley
Completed: 18 January


I found it interesting that the book description begins with “Twelve-year-old Willem has Aspergers Syndrome ...” and yet there's absolutely no mention of Aspergers in the book. Rather, the reader is left to recognize Willem's difference from his classmates through his behavior and his first person narrative in How to Fly with Broken Wings. And, I'd rather that the writer of the blurb had kept it to herself that Willem has Aspergers. I know that I read the blurb when I first chose the book to read and review, but I had forgotten it by the time I started reading, which allowed me to discover Willem's quirks without expectations. (One reviewer complained that Willem was “not like any asperger kids that I've ever know or read...”.)

So, with that said, what is How to Fly with Broken Wings all about? It's about Willem and his challenge to make friends with 2 kids his own age. It's about Sasha, a girl who becomes his first friend. It's about Finn, TJ, and Laurence, three boys who bully Willem. It's about living in low-income housing. It's about gangs and riots. And, fortunately, it's about hope.

I thoroughly enjoyed How to Fly with Broken Wings. It will be released on 5 March in the UK. Unfortunately, it doesn't appear that the book has been picked up by a US publisher. And that's tragic. Jane Elson's story has a message that transcends national boundaries. I know there are kids in the US who could benefit from meeting Willem and seeing the world through his eyes.

Book Cover: The Golem and the Jinni by Helene Wecker Format: eBook
Source: purchased from Amazon in January 2014
Completed: 24 January


Here's another case where I wish the rating systems I use (Goodreads, Amazon, and NetGalley) had half-star options. The Golem and the Jinni is a magnificent book and I'm still torn between a rating of 4 or 5 stars. It would be easier to feel settled if I could give it 4.5 stars and be done with it.

Chava is a golem, manufactured from clay and animated through mystical rituals by an unscrupulous rabbi. Ahmad is a jinni, a supernatural creature from Arabic mythology, made up of fire and captured by an evil wizard and confined in a copper flask.

Chava was commissioned by a wealthy man who wanted an obedient wife to take with him when he emigrated from Poland to the USA. He also asked that she be curious, intelligent, and proper. When her master dies aboard ship, just a day after chanting the command that animated her, Chava is left to her own wiles with absolutely no knowledge of the world into which she has been born. Coming ashore in New York City, she is lucky to encounter Rabbi Avram Meyer who recognizes her nature and takes her into his home to teach her what she needs to know in order to survive.

Ahmad is released from the imprisoning flask by tinsmith Boutros Arbeely, as he is repairing the flask. Though free of the flask, Ahmad is still very much a captive—confined to human form by a bracelet of iron clasped around his arm by the evil wizard.

These two non-human creatures of legend are destined to meet in the New York City of 1899. Their futures are intertwined although they are from different cultures and traditions. Helen Weckman has written an amazingly detailed novel drawing from both Jewish and Arab folklore, and setting it in a rich depiction of turn of the century New York.


Format: eBook
Source: borrowed from the Sanger Public Library (via Freading)
Completed: 24 January


These three books, along with Time Voyage (which I reviewed last week comprise the “Return to Titanic” saga, a time-jumping adventure starring two eighth-grade students. Best friends Tucker and Maya are spending their spring break assisting Tucker's mother at a local museum. They discover a box of Titanic artifacts labeled “Special Collection&rdquo, which are more special than they can imagine. Touching items found in the crate results in Tucker and Maya being transported 100 years into the past to Titanic's maiden (and only) voyage.

Taken together, Time Voyage, Stowaways, An Unsinkable Ship, and Overboard tell the story of the Titanic and the people aboard her—one story spread across four books. Author Steve Brezenoff has Tucker and Maya bouncing back and forth between 2012 and 1912 over the four days of their spring holiday. They befriend young Liam, an Irish passenger emigrating to the US with his parents. While the three youngsters try to get the captain and crew take them seriously about the danger from icebergs, the reader explores different areas of the ship as the drama plays out.

What I've been reading: In progress

Book Cover: Echo Burning by Lee Child Book Cover: Peter and the Shadow Thieves by Dave Barry and Ridley Pearson I made quite a lot of progress with Peter and the Shadow Thieves, listening as I drove to my son's house and back and while running errands. I'm still 4 hours from the end, but I'm really enjoying the story. That's not the case with Echo Burning, however. I must get back to it this next week since the renewal is almost over and I must return it to the library.

This Week on the Blog

Another week where the blog was rather quiet. I did post a full review of Unbreakable by W. C. Bauers. And, there are two draft posts sitting there waiting for me to finish them, but I just didn't make the time. Maybe there will be more next week.

  1. Review: Unbreakable
  2. Stacking the Shelves (20)

And, as usual, I'm linking up with The Sunday Post, hosted by Kimba @ The Caffeinated Book Reviewer.

The Sunday Post is a weekly meme hosted @ Caffeinated Book Reviewer. It’s a chance to share news~ A post to recap the past week on the blog, showcase books and things received. Share news about what is coming up on the blog for the week ahead.


  1. I adored The Golem and the Jinni and yes half stars help. Be safe traveling Elsi. Looks like you have some good reads lined up!

    1. Thanks for stopping by. Yes, I have some good reads queued up on my Kindle to keep me company as I travel this next week.