Oh how I hope this book would have been longer and thus allowed for more character development! I really think both Ellie and Matt are much more interOh how I hope this book would have been longer and thus allowed for more character development! I really think both Ellie and Matt are much more interesting as characters than Luke and Christie from the first book, but unfortunately, their tale just seems like too much too fast.
Ellie is a writer for a website that focuses on all things nerdy. She is funny, a little bit awkward, and definitely a character I would have liked to read a lot more about. Matt is a hot tattooed police officer/detective to be. He is protective, has a sense of humor, and just generally sounds like a great guy. Ellie and Matt meet on New Year's Eve and end up spending the night together, both realizing VERY quickly that what they feel for each other could develop into something more serious.
Like Fresh Fallen Snow feels even more instalove-y than the first book in the series because the events of the story cover only like three or four days. Like Fresh Fallen Snow is only a bit over 70 pages long which makes it a super quick read. It is an okay story (though not really Christmas-related, which is something I expected it to be), but as said, the instalove thing feels a bit too much.
I am bummed that these characters were not given more time to develop because I think they would have made a great pair for a longer romance novel. As it is, Like Fresh Fallen Snow is one you should pick up if you don't mind instalove and are looking for a quick read....more
When Snowflakes Fall is the first book in Tyra Wyatt's The Grayson's series. It is the story of Christie, a pediatrician who meets Luke Grayson. ChrisWhen Snowflakes Fall is the first book in Tyra Wyatt's The Grayson's series. It is the story of Christie, a pediatrician who meets Luke Grayson. Christie has been forced to leave her old life behind after a scandal and she has used moved to Wyoming when she runs into Luke at the emergency room. Luke has been living in Cheyenne his whole life and for several years he has been a single father for Ethan, a son he had with a woman who ended up running away. Neither Christie or Luke is looking for love, but they quickly realize that they cannot resist the feelings they have for each other.
There are three things I really liked about When Snowflakes Fall. (1) Tara Wyatt writes well and her prose is easy and entertaining to read. (2) Luke seems really charming and I love the whole "rugged handyman with a heart of gold" thing. (3) The setting seems interesting and for example, Luke's twin brother Matt is a character I definitely want to know more (the second book in the series called Like Fresh Fallen Snow focuses on him).
There are also three things I wasn't a huge fan of. (1) I think Christie could have been developed a lot more as a character and I think the scandal from her past could have been treated in a little different way. (2) The events take place over like three weeks and I think the emotions and feelings develop a bit too quickly. (3) It wasn't as Christmassy as I expected.
When Snowflakes Fall is a quite short, quick read and I think the fact that it is only a bit over 80 pages explains why the characters are not as developed as I would have liked them to be. Since this is a part of the series I expect the characters and their stories to be expanded in future installments. If you plan to read only one Christmas book this holiday season maybe pick up something a bit longer so you can get a more full-rounded story, but if you are like me and planning to pick up a number of Christmas books When Snowflakes Fall is definitely a book to consider. It might be quite predictable, but predictability does not really bother me with books like this because I just want to reach a happy ending (which is quite a predictable element of romance novels).
As some of you might know, I am a MASSIVE fan of Hallmark Christmas movies and I think this story reads quite a lot like a Hallmark movie, just with added sexy times. There's a hot single father who is doing everything he can to protect his son from being hurt, a gorgeous new woman in town who believes a scandal from her past could ruin any chances of future happiness, a small town and a sort of meet-cute that develops into something deep very quickly.
I am definitely going to pick up the next book in the series because I want to know more about Matt, a hot cop with tattoos. ...more
With the US election making headlines daily, even here in Finland, I have found myself increasingly gravitating towards content focused on the US sociWith the US election making headlines daily, even here in Finland, I have found myself increasingly gravitating towards content focused on the US society. Ever since living in the US, and even before that really, I have found the demographics of the country extremely interesting -- it really is a melting pot of different religions, cultures, customs, races, etc. -- a place much bigger and much more varied that my home country. After reading the description of Gary Younge's Another Day in the Death of America, I was instantly interested. The US gun control laws have for years been something I have been curious about, mostly because the kind of guy violence that goes on in there, fortunately, feels very distant to my place of residence.I have watched a number of documentaries on the topic, but the kind of personal touch the synopsis for Younge's book promises was something I had not come across before.
On average, seven children and teens are killed by guns daily in the United States. SEVEN. That means an average of 210 children/teens in a month. An average of 2555 children/teens in a year. And this statistic does not even include suicides. I know comparing the United States with my home country Finland is probably not the best way to go, but I will do it anyway. Finland is on the fourth place in the list that details the owning of firearms per capita, with about 1.6 million registered firearms in a country of about 5.4 million people. The most recent statistic about gun deaths I was able to find comes from 2013 which states that 177 people died in gun-related deaths that year. What has to be noted though is that over half of this group consists of gun-related suicides.
While the statistics from Finland might seem small compared to the numbers from the United States, it has been argued that guns are becoming a problem in Finnish society as well, mainly due to the high suicide rates in the country. Police need to use guns rarely, and the kind of statistics Younge represents about the fatality of guns in relation to children feel very distant to me (we have had a few mass shootings in the past 10 years, but the idea of losing an average of 7 children/teens daily is not something I can really even fully understand).
The stories Younge introduced in this book are the stories of Jaiden Dixon (9), Kenneth Mills-Tucker (19), Stanley Taylor (17), Pedro Cortez (18), Tyler Dunn (11), Edwin Rajo (16), Samuel Brightmon (16), Tyshon Anderson (18), Gary Anderson (18) and Gustin Hinnant (18). These ten boys/young men were all killed by guns on Saturday 23 November 2013. Some were killed on the streets, some in their homes. What they all share is the fact that their lives ended way too soon.
Younge states in the introduction of his book that he is not writing about race or gun laws, per se, but rather attempts to present a book that is "about America and its kids viewed through a particular lens in a particular moment." It is a book about those whose deaths are often merely looked over as a statistic, deaths that were never really discussed in the media or written about to newspapers.
In the introduction, Younge references New York Times journalist Joe Nocera who has said that "individual deaths don't have the same impact and ability to galvanize people because mass shootings are public spectacles. [Mass shootings] create a community of grief." The community of grief Younge references back to time and time again is Newtown and the horrid events that took place there, and how those events increased the discussions about gun legislation in America. While Younge in no way belittles the events in Newtown, he brings up an important point by arguing that because these deaths that this book covers happened often in bad neighborhoods, 9/10 times to children of Black or Latino origin, they didn't manage to gain the kind of attention Newtown did. While Newtown was something sudden, something horrible and completely unexpected, the deaths of these children in these poor neighborhoods seem to be something "expected", something that never manages to form these communities of grief.
There have recently been cases where the attention of the media has turned into the killing of especially black young men, but those cases have often involved law enforcement officers using guns to kill people in situations that have been beyond questionable. Videos and pictures have made their rounds in social media and those deaths have become the focus of activist movements like Black Lives Matter. Younge's book does not include deaths by law enforcement officers, but the role of law enforcement is brought up in the way the deaths were handled. It is not at all surprising to note that the death of Tyler Dunn, the only white child out of the 10, seemed have gotten the most attention. I am not saying Tyler Dunn's death was any less tragic than the other deaths. I am just agreeing with Younge by saying that race definitely plays a role in situations like this. Younge states "America is racist. Not all Americans. But America -- its judiciary, economy, and social fabric". This can be seen for example from the fact that African Americans are six times more likely to be incarcerated, twice as likely to be unemployed, and almost three times more likely to live in poverty than white Americans.
Due to a combination of all of these things - unemployment, poverty, as well as other aspects - African Americans, like this book shows, are often driven into certain areas of cities and towns. According to Younge, these are often the places "where children and teens are expected to get shot -- areas where the deaths of young people by gunfire do not contradict a city's general understanding of how the world should work, but rather confirm it. To raise children there, whether they are involved in criminal activity or not, is to incorporate those odds into your daily life." While for some these places might seem like the hellish ghettos Donald Trump keeps talking about in his speeches, I appreciated the fact that Younge emphasized that despite the things that go on in these places, these areas are the home for tight communities, families that love and care for each other.
In order to account the deaths of these 10 individuals Younge has relied on a fairly small amount of newspaper report, law enforcement files, and most importantly, the interviews he has conducted with those who were closely touched by these losses. While some of the families have been more open and willing to tell their stories to Younge, others have wanted to remain silent. The way these families recount their grief shows concretely that we all deal with grief differently. The thoughts the parents share about their children are heart-shattering, and the way especially the parents from neighborhoods were the deaths of their children were instantly categorized as "gang related crimes" speaks a lot about the way law enforcement tends to deal with gun deaths that take place in these "bad" parts of towns. The inclusion of the stories of the parents and friends make this book so much more than a collection of statistics -- it is a collection of stories about lives that ended way too soon and about futures that never were allowed to reach fruition.
Towards the end of the book Younge states: "Americans are no more inherently violent than anybody else. What makes its society more deadly is the widespread availability of firearms. Every country has its problems, unique to its own history and culture. But in no other Western society would this book be possible." While Younge is not directly writing about gun laws, it becomes very clear from his book that he sees the amount of guns and the easy access to them as a problem. He also comments on the Second Amendment by saying: "To base an argument on ancient texts is effectively to abdicate your responsibility to understand the present by offloading it onto those who are now dead. It denies not only the possibility of new interpretations and solutions but the necessity for them."
Younge interestingly points out that none of the families he spoke to brought up the Second Amendment directly and that while they believed that guns were too readily available, they also thought that there was nothing that could really be done by it. Guns seem to be so deeply embedded into the American society that completely getting rid of them seems very unlikely indeed. But as the deaths of about 2500 young people yearly prove, something has to be done.
It is important to note that if Younge would have picked any other day of the year, he would have had completely different stories to tell. Younge concludes by describing this phenomenon as "a war that is generally acknowledged in the abstract but rarely specifically addressed in the concrete...[a war that is] happening to America. Every day."...more