Welcome to my blog. I write about fitting in, sticking out, and missing the motherland as a serial foreigner.

Vaccines, Abraham Lincoln, other books

The Panic Virus: A True Story of Medicine, Science, and FearThe Panic Virus: A True Story of Medicine, Science, and Fear by Seth Mnookin

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

I'm not sure what to make of this book. Like Animal, Vegetable, Miracle, I think that the people who are likely to pick this book up and enjoy it are those who already agree with its message. If you are truly, legitimately, open-mindedly on the fence about a possible link between vaccines and autism, then perhaps this book could sway you one way or the other (spoiler: it will sway you to the "absolutely no link whatsoever" side). Otherwise, though, this book is either preaching to the choir or falling on deaf ears.

That said, I found this to be a very thoughtful book that lays out various vaccine controversies over the years in a very clear way. I especially enjoyed the earlier chapters about the initial development of vaccines and what a miracle they really were. I feel so blessed to be able to let my kids play outside during the summer and not worry that they will come home having picked up polio or whatever.

As you can tell, I am a believer in vaccines, especially since we live in a country where herd immunity is by no means a given. After I finished this book, I immediately went and looked up the girls' immunization records to make sure they're up to date on everything.

In my opinion, this is a great book that is well worth reading, but your mileage may vary.

Hemlock (Hemlock, #1)Hemlock by Kathleen Peacock

My rating: 3 of 5 stars

3.5 stars.

First of all, just know that the cover for this book is completely inappropriate. At no time does the heroine of this book sit down in a forest while wearing a formal dress and weep. Not even metaphorically. A better cover - one that represented the actual plot and feel of the book - would have been something like this:

but with a werewolf in the background instead of a cat (?).

I have actually never watched a show on the CW (unless 7th Heaven was...was it?), but to me, this book read like an entire season of a show on the CW. Everyone is gorgeous and dramatic and having hushed, incomplete conversations about their relationship status, and in the meantime, werewolves are terrorizing the town. Yes, this is a werewolf book, but the twist is that everybody KNOWS there are werewolves.

Definitely worth a read if you don't have the time or inclination to invest in an entire season of some throwaway CW show, but you need your angst fix.

The Bitter Kingdom (Fire and Thorns, #3)The Bitter Kingdom by Rae Carson

My rating: 3 of 5 stars

Maybe it was because I read book #3 removed from the momentum of books #1 and #2, but The Bitter Kingdom didn't really do it for me. Go figure.

Through the Ever Night (Under the Never Sky, #2)Through the Ever Night by Veronica Rossi

My rating: 3 of 5 stars

Just fine. It's been a while since I read the first.

Abraham Lincoln: Vampire HunterAbraham Lincoln: Vampire Hunter by Seth Grahame-Smith

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Between three and four stars.

Part of me wants to give this book a big ol' pass to four stars because it is, after all, a re-imagining of Abraham Lincoln's life as a vampire hunter. AWESOME!

The other part of me recognizes that there are some flaws in this book that keep it from being amazing - one (or two, or THREE) too many dream sequences; a framing story that is left unresolved; etc. I would also have appreciated notes at the end of the book to tell me which events were real and which were fabricated for the book. As it is, I just KNOW I'm going to have a conversation with smart people someday where I say something like, "oh yes, that was during the period of Lincoln's life when he struck up a friendship with Edgar Allen Poe," and an awkward silence will ensue.

Definitely worth a read - pretty thrilling with an interesting historical setting. Just don't expect too much greatness from an Abraham Lincoln vampire book.

Sterling's birth story (epic version)

Sterling's birth story (condensed version)