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Book Reviews
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In Grandma's Attic
by Arleta Richardson

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In Grandma’s Attic was a great collection of sweet and funny stories. All of the tales collected in this book had great messages about having faith in God and doing the right thing. I really liked the story about the author’s grandpa and his heavy duty apron. I loved how he kept so many wonderful and useful things in his pockets. Grandma’s ma and her many aprons was funny, and so was poor Mabel and the water pump! Overall, In Grandma’s Attic was great fun and squeaky clean. I would definitely recommend this for any age.

Stay Hungry Sebastian Maniscalco
by Sebastian Maniscalco Stay Hungry Book

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It was the end of June, 2019 that I finally found and purchased this book, Stay Hungry, by Sebastian Maniscalco at The National Comedy Center. I had searched online for it previously, but could not find anywhere to buy it. I was overjoyed to finally have the opportunity to read the background of my new favorite Italian Comedian, Sebastian Maniscalco. I had already read the first chapter or so free online, but was dying to read the rest. And after having watched several of his Comedy specials on Netflix, I was excited to learn more about him. This book is an autobiography of sorts, written in a very conversational and engaging story telling style. I identified closely with Sebastian's comedy based on his Sicilian roots, and his comedy centered on growing up Italian/Sicilian American in Chicago Illinois, and around the partial acculturation of his father who immigrated to the US at about age 15. While Sebastian has come across at times in his comedy routines as a very angry person at times, it was very illuminating to read his biography, and observe the intense warmth, love and support that he has for and that he receives from his family throughout the entire book. I took notes while reading the book, and found some details of his life fascinating. He knew and worked with Andrew Dice Clay. He is now pals with Tony Danza and Jerry Seinfeld, much to the amazement of his beautiful wife. While he can come across as uneducated and rude at times during his comedy routines, Sebastian actually has attended college and earned a Corporate Organizational Communications Degree. On Sept 12, 2006, he left his day job at the Four Seasons Hotel to do comedy full time. He talks a lot about being in the service industry, and being a waiter, and then running across town on lunch breaks to do stand up comedy, and then come back to the Four Seasons in time to get back on the clock and serve people again. As a result of his humble roots, he is now a generous tipper. Sebastian devotes several pages to how much to tip and whom to tip, and when to tip. He also talks about the power of tipping with a hundred dollar bill, which he fondly referred to as a "hunge" which usually ensures the very best service and getting a table when a restaurant is already full. After achieving much success in his profession of comedy over many years (about twenty years) of hard work, Sebastian appreciates fines wines and he introduces the reader to his knowledge about wines such as the Sommelier is like a priest and the Wine Book is the Holy Bible with a tassel bookmark. He expresses deep gratitude to his father in law Scott for introducing him to such things, and also for teaching him things like "The best year for California Cabernet is 1996 baby!" Sebastian got married on Aug 14, 2013, four and a half years after his first date. The wedding was in Napa. It was a destination wedding. He was 40, she was 30 at the time. The book only takes us up to the birth of the first child, but I continue to follow Sebastian on social media and I realize he now has a second child. Some of the vignettes taking care of his pregnant wife and especially warm and funny in this book. Making popcorn during her pregnancy with a whirly popcorn popper, and gaining weight with her are some of the very heartwarming vignettes that he includes in this auto biography. He is living in wedded bliss currently, with his wife and two children. He is on a comedy tour right now, and will be in Jamestown NY on Aug 10 at the Northwest Savings Bank Ice Arena, performing for two sold out shows. His first show sold out the first day tickets went on sale, so a second show was added. I am very glad to have my ticket purchased and ready, and am greatly looking forward to seeing my favorite Italian Comedian perform in my own hometown. I also donated my copy of this book today to the Lakewood Library, so other people can read and enjoy the book.

Level Up
by Gene Luen Yang

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Gene Luen Yang is the king of YA graphic novels! He is a great story teller but his ability to tell a story through pictures is awesome! I have loved all of his other work and this was no exception. A young man loses his father and decides to give up playing video games to become a doctor. Simple synopses but the story becomes anything but simple. A great coming of age story, struggles with cultural identity and figuring out what truly matters most. Great read and highly recommended!

Juror #3
by James Patterson

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Juror #3 was a quick read - Patterson, famous for his short chapters, moves the book along nicely. It was not predictable and held my interest. It was a good story and well told. Some of Patterson’s genres get gory after a while so I stopped reading him. I am glad I re-tried again. I like his legal thrillers very much and I would recommend this book.

Killing the Blues
by Michael Brandman

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Jesse Stone finds himself reliving the past as an ex con that Jesse had man handled is paroled and comes after Jesse to exact revenge. The empathy that Brandman helps the reader/listener develop with Jesse Stone keeps them interested. The fact that Tom Selleck has portrayed Jesse in the TV movies doesn't hurt and I could picture him when listening to the book. Jesse also has to deal with a new event planner in town who wants to do rock concerts ala Woodstock. This also provides him with a new love interest. All in all a good read/listen!

Avalon High
by Meg Cabot

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If you have a weakness for modern fairy tales, as I do, this novel is right up your alley. It is geared toward young adults but has enough depth for anyone to enjoy. This is a fantastical rewrite of the legend of King Arthur using some very creative twists in the plot. I was surprised by the ending, not that I didn't expect the hero or heroine to save the day, but by the last twist.

The Mystery of the Missing Map
by Lois Walfrid Johnson

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The Mystery of the Missing Map was a good next installment to the Northwoods series. I think the aspects of Kate’s cousin’s disability added a whole new interest to the book. The mystery itself was hard enough to be entertaining, but easy enough to let me guess it. There was good, solid faith content. Also, there was still some romance between characters, but it never went into kissing or physical touch. Poor Anders felt like a side character third wheel the whole book, though. :P I kind of think Kate should focus her energy on her relationship with her brother instead of thinking about marriage and stuff with Erik. I would recommend The Mystery of the Missing Map, but I would read the books in order in the Northwoods series.

The Rule Of One
by Ashley and Leslie Saunders

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The rule of One is about a rule where people are only allowed to give birth to one child. Although there is a woman who gave birth to twins during a home birth. The twins grew up in hiding and taking turns living out the life of as one of the twins. Every day they had to learn to keep the secret and live the same routine together. They had to keep this secret from everyone especially the government. The government finds out about this secret and the girls are forced to live on the run. Their end goal was to make it to Canada which would be a refuge. When they made it to Canada they begin to tell their story. This was a very good book I really enjoyed seeing how a simple concern for population control could lead to so much government control. I feel this could be a warning in a way to express our rights as citizens and hold control of how much we allow the government to call the shots, things could quickly get out of control.

Where'd You Go Bernadette
by Maria Semple

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This book was fun, but really just okay. The plot was totally unbelievable and every character was completely horrible. I didn't like any of them. It went from excentric and quirky to totally unbelievable and out of left field around the half way point. I still enjoyed it, but it also left a lot to be desired

Juror 3
by James Patterson

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Juror #3 was a quick read - Patterson, famous for his short chapters, moves the book along nicely. It was not predictable and held my interest. It was a good story and well told. Some of Patterson’s genres get gory after a while so I stopped reading him. I am glad I re-tried again. I like his legal thrillers very much and I would recommend this book.
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