Wednesday, October 30, 2013

Review: Ruth of Boston by James Otis

Synopsis: Written from the viewpoint of a child, Ruth of Boston follows Ruth, a 13 year-old girl who travels from her home in England to the New World. With her family and the others from their ship, they build the first homes and buildings in what will become Boston. The author takes time to explain the mundane in details - clothing, food, homes, school, community life.

Review: This book began well. Ruth is a lively, observant character, remarking on all the strange new things she sees. Her inner struggle with the religious morality verses her own thoughts gave the reader a peak at the conflict that might be present in a Puritan community. My qualm with this work was how it ended. Badly. It broke off. Ruth spoke about attacks from the Indians, then she ended the diary - no reason, no closer, just the End. It felt like there should be a more, a second volume, a second part - something. I highly recommend for children, age 6 to 9, who wish to learn more about the beginnings of our country. However, be prepared for questions at the end.

Bookmarks: 6 of 10

Awards: None

ISBN: None (Published in 1910)
Date Finished: 10-29-2013
Pages: 160

Tuesday, October 29, 2013

Review: Bedded Bliss: A Couple's Guide to Lust Ever After ed. by Kristina Wright

Synopsis: Award-winning erotic writer and editor Kristina Wright is a cheerleader for a lifetime at lust. Bedded Bliss, a celebration of long-term, committed relationships, gathers real-life experiences, sensual fantasies, practical advice, a dash of humor, an a lot a sexy erotica to show couples how to build attraction and love throughout marriage. Enjoy the stories here and then write your own story together, whether it's in ink on the page or whispers between the sheets. (from the back of the book)

Review: I'm not sure what motivated me to request this book from LibraryThing's Early Reviewer's Program. I'm not into erotic fiction, nor do I wish my request to make a comment about my marriage. Curiosity is the most likely culprit. I was not disappointed.
Wright has gathered a fine collection of married authors of erotic fiction writing about their own marriages.
What struck me first is how marvelous, how refreshing, how lovely to read works celebrating sex between married people. Media makes it seem as if the only people enjoying sex or who can enjoy sex, are young and single and promiscuous. In fact, one author even mentioned that. We never see anything praising monogamous sex in a committed relationship.
The next thing to strike me was the diversity in the stories - strung on a common thread of sex in marriage - each spoke about different people with different needs overcoming obstacles, exploring, learning, growing, all within the context of marriage. While not every story touched me, each had something important to teach.
The last thing to strike me was how deliciously wicked, sensual and sweet, full of love and lust, each story was. Hot, as only good sex can be and romantic, as only true love can be.
Wright accomplished her goal. This work encourages the reader to be brave, to trust, to explore and to find the lust in the love of their marriage.

I received this book free in exchange for my fair and honest opinion.

Bookmarks: 7 of 10

Awards: None

ISBN: 978-1-57344-964-9
Date Finished: 10-29-2013
Pages: 228

Sunday, October 27, 2013

Review: Princess Fuball by Charlotte Huck and Anita Lobel

Synopsis: A Pauper...or a Princess. Once upon a time a cruel King decided to betroth his motherless daughter to a Ogre in exchange for fifty wagons of silver. When the Princess learns what her father has done, she is horrified. But he is clever as she is beautiful. Quickly, the Princess devises a plan to escape and, replying on her own spunk and good sense, ultimately marries the man she chooses for herself. (from the back of the book)

Review: This is a cute, pleasant retelling of this fairy tale. The illustrations are fun and stylized, the prose clean and easy to read but not dumbed down and I like the emphasis on the Princess's intelligence. Pleasing but unremarkable, this is a good bedtime story for the 6-9 age group.

Bookmarks: 6.5 of 10

Awards: None

ISBN: 0-688-13107-7
Date Finished: 10-26-2013
Pages: 21

Saturday, October 26, 2013

Aquisitions: Here and There

 A trip to the Book Exchange in Williamsburg

An unplanned stop into a local thrift store

A library Booksale

A generous family friend who is clearing out her bookshelves

In the last two week, I have acquired books from all these sources. The booky goodness overflows!

Thursday, October 17, 2013

Review: A Midwife's Tale: The Life of Martha Ballard Based on Her Diary 1785-1812 by Laurel Thatcher Ulrich

Synopsis: Between 1785 and 1812, a midwife and healer named Martha Ballard kept a diary that recorded her arduous work (in 27 years, she attended 816 births) as well as her domestic life in Hallowell, Maine. On the basis of her diary, Laurel Thatcher Ulrich gives us an intimate and densely imagined portrait, not only of the industrious and reticent Martha Ballard but of her society - a portrait that sheds light on its medical practices, religious squabbles and sexual mores. At once lively and impeccably scholarly, A Midwife's Tale is a triumph of history on a human scale. (from the back of the book)

Review: Martha Ballard wrote a concise, terse diary of her life, giving only scraps of information. But by comparing the diary to other records, Ulrich is able to piece together Ballard's life. Ballard's life is not extraordinary by it's world-changing deed, but by its simplicity, its common and cyclical nature, its ordinariness. Ulrich can be a little dry and dense at times, and she jumps from subject to subject, but over all, her writing is interesting. She does well with the distressing lack of information from Ballard about her life. I wish Martha had written more! I highly recommend for who is interesting in Women during Early American History.

Bookmarks: 7.5 of 10

Awards: The 1991 Pulitzer Prize, the Bancroft Prize, the John S. Dunning Prize, the Joan Kelly Memorial Prize in Women's History, the Berkshire Conference of Women Historians Book Prize, the Society for Historians of the Early Republic Book Prize, the William Henry Welch Medal of the American Association for the History of Medicine, and the New England Historical Association Award

Format: Large Paperback
ISBN: 0-679-73376-0
Pages: 444

Date Finished: 10-13-2013

Wednesday, October 16, 2013

Review: Heralds by Kathryn Immonen et al.

Synopsis: The woman known as Nova was a fire-powered herald of Galactus, devourer of worlds, until she was brutally struck down in battle. Now, with a mysterious flash in the nighttime sky, her presence is again being felt. On the case is a group of Marvel's most powerful super heroes: Emma Frost, She-Hulk, Valkyrie, Hellcat, Photon and Abigail Brand, agent of the extraterrestrial watchdog organization S.W.O.R.D. In the wake of the flash, the six women must work together to clean up the mess caused by  mass breakout at a storage facility belonging to S.W.O.R.D. Also affected by the event is a waitress named Frankie Hyatt, found by the heroines in a catatonic state after going inexplicable berserk. As the flash's impact continues to be felt, can Emma Frost, She-Hulk, Hellcat and the others uncover its connection to Nova?

Review: I picked this up at a shop in the Marvel section of Islands of Adventure at Universal in Orlando Florida. I'm not sure why. Probably because it was a complete story with female heroes and I want to get a comic from the comic shop in Island of Adventure. This was not the story to start with. It only makes sense if you know the characters, in particular the story of Nova/Frankie Raye. Since I didn't, I was rather lost. However, once I brushed up on the backstory a bit, this because a marvelous story. A small, self-contained event, expanding on these characters without being drawn out and dramatic. I enjoyed it and would recommend it for anyone who is familiar with this universe and characters.

Bookmarks: 6.5 of 10

Awards: None

Format: Graphic Novel Omnibus
Published: 2011
ISBN: 978-0-7851-4761-9
Pages: 40

Date Finished: 10/9/2013

Tuesday, October 15, 2013

Review: Robots and Empire by Isaac Asimov

Synopsis: Two hundred years after his humiliating defeat at the hands of the Earthman Elijah Baley, Kelden Amadiro still dreamed of revenge. Now, finally, he set into motion a plot that would totally destroy the planet Earth. But Amadiro had not counted on the power Baley still exerted long after his death. For Baley's vision continued to guide his robot partner, R. Daneel Olivaw, and the extraordinarily gifted robot Giskard - and they were the only ones who could save Earth. Fortunately for Amadiro, Daneel and Giskard were restrained by the Three Laws of Robotics. Or were they? (from the back of the book)

Review: This is the conclusion to the Robot Series written by Asimov. It was intriguing, and I liked that the characters were from the previous books. My only qualm is the ending. It felt like there should be another book. I know Asimov's Foundation series is set in the same universe, and perhaps that is the continuation. But this book ended on a sad, troubling note. But the very fact I feel that way shows how power this book was, so I don't think it's a bad thing.

Bookmarks: 7 of 10

Awards: None

Format: Mass Market Paperback
ISBN: 0-345-32894-9
Pub. Date: 1985
Pages: 468

Date Finished: 10/8/2013

Monday, October 14, 2013

Ramble: Formatting

I'm going to be adjusting the formatting of my Review blogs. I want to add more information - like date published and ISBN - but I'm not sure which look is the best. Therefore, over the next few months, expect changes in the formatting. I'm certain with enough messing around, I'll find the style I like best.

Monday, October 7, 2013

Review: Newfangled Fairy Tales: Book 2 ed. by Bruce Lansky

Synopsis: This new collection of ten contemporary fairy tales - the second the critically acclaimed series - puts a delightful, new spin on classic stories and themes. (from the back of the book)

Review: I purchase because the first one was clever and hilarious. This one was not. The stories were trite, stupid and simply with none of the wit or depth the previous book had. I was disappointed. If you are interested in quirky retellings of fairy tales, there are a dozen other books much better than this one, sadly.

Bookmarks: 5 of 10

Awards: None

Date Finished: 10-1-2013
Pages: 112

Sunday, October 6, 2013

Review: The Waste Land and Other Poems by T.S. Elliot

Synopsis: Contains the title poem, as well as selections from "The Love Song of J. Alfred Prufrock," Gerontion, " "Ash-Wednesday," and other poems from Elliot's early and middle work.

Review: While I do not adore Elliott as I do Sappho or Hughes or Rosetti, I don't despise his work either. I'm neither enamored nor repelled by his prose. It's modern, which I don't like, but choppy and brief, which I do. I can see the merit of his work but I won't go out of my way to read it. Not with other more delicious poems around for the gobbling.

Bookmarks: 6 of 10

Awards: None

Date Finished: 9-30-2013
Pages: 88

Saturday, October 5, 2013

Review: Totally Amazing Plants by Julia Hillyard and Deborah Kespert (Golden Books)

Synopsis: Follow of leafy trail to discover one of the largest flowers in the world and a tree with more than a thousand trunks. On the way, watch out for plants the gobble up insect or strange trees. Totally Amazing is filled with facts and fun. Enjoy page after page of fascinating information, incredible close-up photographs, jokes and crazy cartoons - all about plants! (from the back of the book)

Review: Presenting in a bright and entertaining format, this book is full of information about plants - the cool, the weird, the dangerous and the icky. Easy to read and easy to process, the information is spaced well and presented in a pleasing way. I would recommend this as an excellent addition to a child's library. This is just the book to hook their interest and get them to dig deeper (pun intended) into the wild world of plants!

Bookmarks: 7 of 10

Awards: None

Date Finished: 9-29-2013
Pages: 32

Friday, October 4, 2013

Review: McDuff's Christmas by Rosemary Wells and Susan Jeffers

Synopsis: McDuff the Dog, along with his owners, Fred and Lucy, eagerly await Santa on Christmas Eve. But a big snow storm threats to keep Santa way and it's up to McDuff to save the day!

Review: I enjoy the McDuff books. A clever little Westie, he's cute and quick and I enjoy reading about him and his family. This is an excellent Christmas story, full of whimsy, warm and heart.

Bookmarks: 7 of 10

Awards: None

Date Finished: 9-29-2013
Pages: 11

Review: Biscuit Visits the Big City by Alyssa Satin Capucilli

Synopsis: In this My First I Can Read Book,  Biscuit the Dog goes to the Big City and explores this strange new world!

Review: Cute and clever, this is a quick cheerful book for any young reader. My only caution is you may need to explain that pigeons don't bark and dogs don't coo, but other than that, young readers will enjoy the challenge of new words and sounds!

Bookmarks: 6.5 of 10

Awards: None

Date Finished: 9-29-2013
Pages: 28

Thursday, October 3, 2013

Review: Sleepy Dog by Harriet Ziefert

Synopsis: A STEP into Reading book about a little puppy and his nighttime adventures in sleeping.

Review: A cute, quick read, excellent for toddlers and the pre-bedtime story. The drawings are simple and clear and the prose is easy to understand, with good vocabulary and sentence diversion to help a new reader learn.

Bookmarks: 7 of 10

Awards: None

Date Finished: 9-29-2013
Pages: 32

Review: Marie Curie by Edwina Conner (Great Lives Series)

Synopsis: Marie Curie was a brilliant, inspiring scientist. As a result of her discovery of radium, a treatment for cancer was developed. She worked hard and with great determination throughout her life, finally dying tragically from the effects of the dangerous substances with which she experimented. (from the back of the book)

Review: Basic and general, this is a solid biography of Marie Curie. Told for a third or fourth grade comprehension level, this is a book that teachers might use during school. It contains excellent pictures that enhance the prose and demonstrate further aspect of Dr. Curie's character and life. My only qualm is I feel it dumbs down her life. While I understand it's for children, my first introduction to Marie Curie was the definitive biography on her, written by her daughter. I read this when I was 10. It's a good introduction, but I would caution against limiting kids to only the simple outline of this remarkable woman's life.

Bookmarks: 6 of 10

Awards: None

Date Finished: 9-29-2013
Pages: 31

Wednesday, October 2, 2013

Review: Horrible Harry in Room 2B by Suzy Kline

Synopsis: Horrible Harry makes second grade really excting. But, as Doug knows, being his best friend isn't always easy. Harry loves to do horrible things, like showing Song Lee his pet snake and making her scream, or pinning Sidney to the ground and making him say, "I love girls." Twice. Yet nobody can wait to see what Harry will be for Halloween, or what part he'll have in the school play. Even their teacher, Miss Mackle, is shocked when she finds out - because with Harry, you never know what is going to happen next! (from the back of the book)

Review: Directed at first and second grade readers, this is a quick, clever little book. The characters are amusing and real-to-life, charming and horrible and remind me of every kid I know in elementary school. I can see why this is a popular series to teach reading. The horribleness appeals to kids while adults get a chuckle or two out of the story. I recommend for anyone looking for a good series to teach reading.

Bookmarks: 7 of 10

Awards: None

Date Finished: 9-29-2013
Pages: 56

Tuesday, October 1, 2013

Aquisitions: Book Buying Frenzy!

I've been on a bit of book buying frenzy. It started with that enormous haul from the estate sale, continued with the trip to the new book store and ended (hopefully) with Saturday's 3 hours dig through crates at the local Thrift Store.

In my defense, the Thrift Store trip was extenuating circumstances. First, it's a dollar ($1) for as many books as you can stuff into a plastic grocery bag. Second, they'd just pulled crates of books from their warehouse. And Third, I can't resist crates of books begging to be dug through!

I walked away with six bags (for $6 dollar) and about 120 books. So, that's awesome.

Also, I've purchased a stack or two off Amazon. Mostly, filling in gaps in series, or buying a new series recommended by a friend. I think I'm done with the book buying for a while.

Well, I'm off to sort, log and stack the new acquisitions!