Mini reviews

A Collection of Mini-Reviews!

You ever get a little behind in things?

It’s been a month around here. Several months, in fact, and the past two weeks have been rough. Chronic pain can be unpredictable, except when it’s not- looking forward to something? INSTANT FLARE. And such was my daughter’s spring break, which I’d been looking forward to for months. Not that we were going anywhere, but it was an entire week where she didn’t have to log into virtual school, I didn’t have to supervise (“Sit up, you’re not in the camera.” “Are you even doing this?” “DID YOU HEAR WHAT YOUR TEACHER SAID? WRITE IT DOWN SO HELP ME GOD!!!”), and I would have a whole week long to actually get stuff done around the house instead of having to constantly threaten an almost-seven-year-old all day long. *tears hair out* Which of course means that my back, which was already not doing well, went full speed ahead into one of the worst flares I’ve had in my life (not *the* worst, but probably the second). It was so bad that not only was moving around incredibly difficult, I wasn’t even able to sit upright.

That’s right. That spring break, where I planned to get so much done? I spent all of it lying in bed, trying to keep my already cooped-up kiddo entertained that way.

Yeah. I don’t get paid enough for this.

After multiple doctor appointments and what basically amounted to a wheelbarrow of medication, the flare is finally mostly under control and I can do fun things like sit in a chair without feeling like my pelvic bone is electrocuting me to death. I also had another MRI and have yet another consult with the spine doc at the end of the month (not expecting him to be able to do anything for me; no one ever really seems like they can). But I’m a little behind in reviews, so I’m going to do a catch-up post of mini-reviews here to maintain my sanity, because it’s barely there as it is!

Mini-reviews, right ahead!

Boyfriend Material

by Alexis Hall

(Sourcebooks Casablanca, 2020)

Cute little M/M, opposites-attract, fake dating romance. Luc is a ne’er-do-well child of aging celebrities; his job depends on not screwing up at the non-profit’s major fundraiser for the year, and it would help if he had a respectable boyfriend. Enter Oliver, upper-class, buttoned-to-the-top barrister who could also stand to be seen dating someone for his parents’ anniversary party. It’s a perfect match, in more ways than one.

I didn’t find this super exciting, but it was a pleasant-enough read. Luc wasn’t really a hugely likeable character to start out with, so it was interesting to watch him grow throughout the course of the story and see how the author treated that. There was a family story arc here that felt deeply realistic, more so than other estranged-parent-returns storylines in other books, and I really enjoyed that aspect of the novel.

Once Upon a Bad Boy (Sometimes in Love #3)

by Melonie Johnson

(St. Martin’s Press, 2019)

Cutesy romance about Sadie, an actress on the verge of hitting it big in her first leading lady role, and Bo, the stunt coordinator in charge of keeping Sadie safe. The two of them had been a couple as teenagers, deeply in love, but ten years have passed, and things are…complicated. Can the two figure things out and find their way back to each other?

A fun distraction. I loved that it was set in Chicago- seriously, not enough stories are set in this area; it’s a great place!- and that, while not a major feature of the story, so many of the characters were Jewish. An excellent combination. 😊

Lost Lives, Lost Art: Jewish Collectors, Nazi Art Theft, and the Quest for Justice

by Melissa Müller and Monika Tatzkow

(Vendome Press, 2009)

 So, during the nightmare hellscape that was Europe during the 1930’s and 40’s, Jewish people were forced to “sell” all their property, including artwork, or had it outright taken from them because Germany and its territories needed to be “Aryanized.” *insert barfing noises here* And, of course, after the war, most places were like, “Us? Do something wrong? *GASP* But it was LEGAL back then, so really, that stuff actually truly belongs to us now, kthnxbai.” Sometimes, through legal means, people- or their surviving family members- had their stolen artwork returned to them. Usually, they didn’t, and this book tells the stories of some of the families who lost art collections they’d spent their entire lives building.

This book makes me feel extremely suspicious of even the biggest, most well-known art museums. So many places exhibit stolen art- art that they know was stolen, that they know was sold by force or under duress, and their attitude to that is, “Eh, not our problem.” I like art. I like looking at it, I enjoy learning about it, I sometimes enjoy making it, but…I’ve lost a lot of respect for art museums as a whole because of this book. If I found out that something I’d bought that had previous owners had been stolen from someone who lost everything- maybe even their life- I couldn’t in good conscience keep that object, and I can’t respect anyone who would. Excellent book that tells a deeply disturbing story of the art world’s lack of ethics.

What They Saved: Memories of a Jewish Past

by Nancy K. Miller

(University of Nebraska Press, 2011)

Memoir of a woman doing research on her Jewish family, à la The Lost by Daniel Mendelsohn, though lacking that memoir’s direction and panache.

And that’s it for now! I’m really loving the book of short stories I’m reading now, so I’ll definitely get a single review up for that once I’m finished with it. I hate getting behind, but with that nasty pain flare, it was inevitable (it’s surprisingly difficult to operate a computer when you can’t sit up). It’s good to be back on track! 😊


3 thoughts on “A Collection of Mini-Reviews!

  1. Sorry you’ve felt so badly. That’s awful. I’m glad you’re feeling better now.

    My kids only have four weeks left of school. They’ve been going in-person, but it’s still a pain to wake them up early every morning, make sure they’re getting their homework done, make sure they’re getting to sleep on time, etc. I’m definitely ready for a break!


    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thank you! It’s been a rough few months around here. I forgot to take my Celebrex two days ago and had a nasty day then. It would be so nice if the spine doc could help me (or could refer me to someone who could! I’m still wondering if a rheumatology consult wouldn’t hurt), but I’m not holding my breath. I usually hear some form of, “Yeah, wow, that’s a mess, but it’s not a mess we can do anything about.” But we’ll see!

      And yeah, the end of the school year is a complete drag for everyone, no matter how you’re doing school! I’m not the only virtual parent in my daughter’s class who is shoving her kiddo to the finish line; we just had a laugh about this after the Friday spelling test. There are like 24 days of school left here (as the other parent said, haha!) and we’re all just gritting our teeth and taking deep breaths to make it through. Hang in there!!!


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