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Title: How Tia Lola Came to Visit Stay
Author: Julia Alvarez
Number of Pages: 147 pages
Book Number/Goal: 43/40 for 2010
My Rating: 3/5

Jacket Summary: When Miguel's Tia Lola comes from the Dominican Republic to Vermont to help out his Mami, Miguel is worried that his unusual aunt will make it even more difficult to make new friends. It's been hard enough moving from New York City and Leaving Papi behind. Sometimes he wishes Tia Lola would go back to the island. But then he wouldn't have the treats she's putting in his lunch box, which he's sure helped him make the baseball team. And she really needs his help to learn English so she doesn't use all the words she knows at once: "One-way -caution-you're-welcome-thanks-for-asking." So Miguel changes his wish to a new one, and he finally even figures out a clever way to make it come true.

Review: This is a kids' book and while it's cute and I liked it well enough, it's not really one of those kids' books that's terribly enjoyable for an adult. At least not to me.
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I did it! My first goal was "at least the same number (11) as I read last year, or more". Then when I passed 11, I said, okay, maybe 15. Then when I passed 15 and there was still a month or so left in the year, I thought, well, why not try for 20? And I finished the last ten pages of my twentieth book this morning.

Julia Alvarez - How the Garcia Girls Lost Their Accents
I enjoyed this quite a lot, but I really think it should have been marketed as a book of short stories. Instead it's a book of short stories that is called a novel, yet has none of the cohesion or overarching plot required of a novel, though the stories are all about the same four women. It's also very obvious that many of these stories were originally published separately, as there's a lot of repeated background info, introducing characters as if we've never met them before when it's the fifth time they've appeared, etc. There are also a handful of stories in first person, when the majority are third person, and that kind of makes it feel patched together, too. (There was also one very bizarre story where it was first person, except all the girls were named in third person. So even though the narrator was saying I and we and us in reference to the four sisters, it sounded like there was a mysterious fifth sister doing the narration because she attributed actions and dialogue to all four in third person. I...have never seen a story written like that before and hope never to do so again. It was disconcerting and a very strange choice.)

Anyway, I really did enjoy the individual stories quite a lot, and found the book hard to put down. I just am kind of annoyed with it for saying it's a novel when it's not, as that made me keep expecting things that it never delivered.

Amagi Seimaru - Kindaichi Shounen no Jikenbo "Yuurei Kyakusen Satsujin Jiken"
This is the last of the Kindaichi novels I have. D: I may have to order more from Amazon Japan, as they never seem to have them at Book Off (except, of course, they did get in a copy of one of them after I'd already ordered it from Amazon). This one was good (as usual; I've yet to meet a Kindaichi story, manga or novel, I didn't love) and really had me guessing. The trick of concealing the killer was actually better than the killer's tricks, I think! The chapters in the killer's POV started with excerpt from a captain's log, then switched to first person with the killer setting down the log. This made you think the killer was writing the log, and thus had to be an older man with a daughter, when in fact, the killer was reading the log, which had belonged to her father. Tricksy! I loved it.

I have also read 200 manga, which was really not a goal (well, as I got closer and closer to 200, I did make that my goal so it would be nice and even), but I find to be quite impressive. If you figure an average of 180 pages per volume, that's about 36,000 pages of manga. D: Wow.

The most recent manga I've read has been the first two (and so far only two, though it's listed as on-going) volumes of W Juliet II, the sequel (obviously) to W Juliet. It takes place a few years in the future, when Makoto and Ito are twenty and just married. Like W Juliet, it's cute and enjoyable, though not the best thing I've ever read. (I'm loving that there's more stories about Tomoe, though.)

Unrelatedly, this is like, Facebook day or something. I had two people friend me today. Actually, it's been Facebook month, as I've had more people friend me this month than most of the rest of the year. XD

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