Carolina VonKampen

Editor. Reader. Writer.

Category: book review (page 1 of 2)

To Read or Not to Read: The End We Start From

I first came across The End We Start From on a LitHub list of new releases in November. The initial description checked a lot of boxes for me: literary fiction, lots of overarching metaphors, beautiful prose. It sounded promising (and the cover looked gorgeous). When I saw it on the shelf in Barnes & Noble, I had to pick it up and decide for myself: To read or not to read? Continue reading

Marbury v. Madison: The Origins and Legacy of Judicial Review by William Nelson

William Nelson gives the Supreme Court case Marbury v. Madison ample historical context and addresses new interpretations of it in light of recent scholarship in Marbury v. Madison: The Origins and Legacy of Judicial Review. Continue reading

To Read or Not to Read: All the Dirty Parts by Daniel Handler

If you don’t know, Daniel Handler is the author of A Series of Unfortunate Events, aka Lemony Snicket. I love love LOVE A Series of Unfortunate Events, but I haven’t read anything else by Handler. His latest novel, All the Dirty Parts, was recently published by Bloomsbury, so I picked up a copy to decide: To read or not to read? Continue reading

To Read or Not to Read: Sourdough by Robin Sloan

I admit, I’m already a bit biased toward reading Robin Sloan’s second novel, Sourdough. I enjoyed Sloan’s debut novel, Mr. Penumbra’s 24-Hour Bookstore, and I heard Sloan speak on an author panel at BookFest St. Louis. Naturally, he talked about this new novel, specifically about how food is such an interesting topic to write about and how he wrote his characters. I couldn’t resist picking this book up on a Barnes and Noble visit and to take a peek at the first few pages to decide: To read or not to read? Continue reading

The Absolutely True Diary of a Part-Time Indian by Sherman Alexie

The Absolutely True Diary of a Part-Time Indian by Sherman Alexie is a young adult novel about an Indian boy, Junior, who decides to go to a white school off the Spokane reservation to get a good education. He is attacked by his own community for his choice and rejected at Reardan, the white school off the reservation. The book, told in a diary structure, tells of his struggles to fit in and find his identity. Continue reading

The Life and Times of Martin Luther by Meike Roth-Beck

The Life and Times of Martin Luther is a 44-page picture book written by Meike Roth-Beck in German, translated to English by Laura Watkinson, and illustrated by Klaus Ensikat. It was published in English by Eerdmans Books for Young Readers and is intended for readers 7 and up

I was excited to read and review this because I’ve studied Luther and the Reformation in college courses and through my international travels. I’ve read (okay, skimmed) several biographies of Martin Luther, and I lived in Wittenberg, Germany, for two months and visited the Wartburg Castle, Eisenach, and Erfurt. Continue reading

Girl in Snow by Danya Kukafka

Girl in Snow is Danya Kukafka debut novel exploring how a small town in Colorado reacts after the most popular girl in school, Lucinda Hayes, is murdered. Three characters share the spotlight as narrators: Cameron, Lucinda’s stalker; Jade, a unpopular girl whom Lucinda was indifferent to; and Russ, a police officer who is in love with Cameron’s dad. As they tell their stories, we learn about their relationships with Lucinda and their grief, longing, love, and obsession. Continue reading

Securing Civil Rights by Stephen P. Halbrook

Stephen P. Halbrook argues in Securing Civil Rights: Freedmen, the Fourteenth Amendment, and the Right to Bear Arms, Updated Edition that the Fourteenth Amendment was understood to protect the Bill of Rights, especially the Second Amendment right to bear arms, from infringement by the States. Halbrook also argues that the Supreme Court did not fully understand this argument in its decisions from the 1870s until District of Columbia v. Heller.

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Why I’m Not Writing a Review of Shari Lapena’s A Stranger in the House

I feel like I need to 1) read more, a LOT more, and 2) write intelligent book reviews of every book I read. After all, I want to succeed in book publishing, right? And this is how you do it?

I’ve fallen victim to some weird mix of internal pressure (you need to write book reviews to advance your career) and the fear of missing out (everyone on #bookstagram writes several reviews each month) that led me to this mindset. I have to churn out book reviews, especially if I am so lucky to get my hands on an ARC or a newly released book. When I received an ARC of Shari Lapena’s latest thriller, A Stranger in the House, I felt that urge to read it just so I could write a review of it. I don’t usually read thrillers, but here it was, a golden opportunity to read a new book and showcase my book reviewing skills to the world. Continue reading

Executive Values by Kurt Senske

I read Kurt Senske’s book on Christian leadership for my Business Ethics class during my last semester of college. Senske’s Executive Values: A Christian Approach to Organizational Leadership explores how Christian values can support long-term organizational success. The book gives practical advice and real examples of companies and leaders who have followed Christian values and seen success because of it. Continue reading

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