Thursday, October 30, 2014

Ramble: The Perfect Book for October

October is the perfect time for creepy, chilling, shivering stories. And a dear friend gave me the most perfect book. 

Men, Women and Ghosts by Amy Lowell. Published in 1914, Lowell wrote this book in half-poetry, half-prose. 

Lowell was famous during her time. She won the 1925 Pulitzer Prize for a collection of Poetry, and she was much revered for her work. 

I'm eager to read this collection. The book itself is a dusty little tome, smelling of old book shops and time. Worn edges and yellowed pages do not detract from the prose. 

I'm eager to curl up with this fine work - but I'm saving it for a dark and stormy night....

Wednesday, October 29, 2014

Review: 100 Hair-raising Little Horror Stories ed. Al Sarantonio and Martin Greenberg

Synopsis: As the title states, this is a tidy collection of 100 horror stories, spanning perhaps the last 150 years. Including such classic authors as Washington Irving and Edgar Allen Poe, as well as Charles Dickens, H.P. Lovecraft, Mark Twain and Stephen Crane, and others less well known outside horror, science fiction or mystery circles. The stories are arranged alphabetically by title.

Review: As with most collections of this size, there are always amazing stories and boring stories, but this collection, over all, was excellent. The editors did a fine job of collecting tales of all sorts - creepy, gory, subtle and chilling.

My favorites: 

The Grab by Richard Laymon: It seemed like such a normal story until the end....

Examination Day by Henry Slesar: Scary because we aren't far from this as a society.....

Making Friends by Gary Raisor: Children are creepy, dark-hearted little vipers.....

Bookmarks: 7 of 10

Awards: None

ISBN: 1-56619-056-8
Date Finished: 10-23-2015
Pages: 496

Monday, October 27, 2014

Review: A Slice of Snow: A Book of Poems by Joan Walsh Anglund

Synopsis: A small collection of poems with illustrations accompanied by tiny illustrations in ink

Review: I enjoy small terse poems, so I was certain I would enjoy this collection of poems. Sadly, I didn't. The poems seemed emo, trite and cliched. They rang of something you would find on cheesy plagues and mugs. Which makes sense. Anglund is known for her illustrations - which I did enjoy - and often pairs her art and poetry. In the end, I'm sure many people would enjoy this small book, but I found it just a bit cliched for my taste.

Bookmarks: 6 of 10

Awards: None

ISBN: 0-15-183015-0
Date Finished: 10-21-2014
Pages: 63

Tuesday, October 14, 2014

Review: Chike and the River by Chinua Achebe

Synopsis: Eleven-year-old Chike longs to cross the Niger River to the city of Asaba, but he doesn’t have the sixpence he needs to pay for the ferry ride. With the help of his friend S.M.O.G., he embarks on a series of adventures to help him get there. Along the way, he is exposed to a range of new experiences that are both thrilling and terrifying, from eating his first skewer of suya under the shade of a mango tree, to visiting the village magician who promises to double the money in his pocket. Once he finally makes it across the river, Chike realizes that life on the other side is far different from his expectations, and he must find the courage within him to make it home. (online description)

Review: This is a unique book. Written by Achebe, famous for his work Things Fall Apart, this is  children's book. I enjoyed tagging along on Chike as he discoverers truths about himself, his friends and his world. I enjoyed reading about Africa from a non-western viewpoint. I highly recommend this as an fine addition to any child's library, something to add diversity and non-western thought.

Bookmarks: 7 of 10

Awards: None

ISBN: 978-0-307-47386-8
Date Finished: 10-12-2014
Pages: 88

Monday, October 13, 2014

Review: Non-Essential Mnemonics: An Unnecessary Journey into Senseless Knowledge by Kent Woodyard

Synopsis: McSweeney's columnist Kent Woodyard brings new life to the mnemonic memory devices of a bygone era, from creative reinterpretations of classic mnemonics to original creations of dubious usage. Paired with whimsical illustrations, this book is the perfect gift for the word wizards of the world, as well as collectors of useless pop-culture trivia. (online description)

Review: If I could, I would give this book two ratings, one for humor and one for content. I cannot deny that I laughed will reading it. Laughed a lot. I would give this an 7, maybe even a 8, for humor. At least a dozen times I had to set the book down so I could stop laughing long enough to breath. But as for content - I was hoping, among all the humor, there would be some useful mnemonics. Nope. I felt the title and description are misleading. Yes, it promises senseless knowledge, but I was hoping it would be help remembering said senseless knowledge. Sadly, it wasn't - just a string of odd narratives linked loosely together with no clear path. For content, I would give it a 3, maybe a 4. In the end, I settled for a 3, as it's a amusing. But I wanted something useful as well.

NOTE: I received this free through LibraryThing's Early Reviewer Program in exchange for my fair and honest opinion.

Bookmarks: 6 of 10

Awards: None

ISBN: 978-1-938849-28-2
Date Finished: 10-11-2014
Pages: 183

Sunday, October 12, 2014

Review: Biscuit Finds a Friend by Alysaa Satin Capucilli (An I Can Read Book)

Synopsis: Biscuit finds a small lost duck and returned the creature to it's pond. But will the duck want to be friends with Biscuit?

Review: I'm not sure why I started collecting the Biscuit books. Probably because it has a dog as the main character. These are simple, easy-to-read books for beginning reader. With illustrations and familiar words, they are perfect for the little one in your life who is just learning to read on their own.

Bookmarks: 7 of 10

Awards: None

ISBN: 0-439-65034-8
Date Finished: 10-11-2014
Pages: 24

Aquisitions: I Have Been Busy

Aside from my usual monthly book shopping expedition, I also attend a booksale at the local library. I'm a member of their Friends of the Library group, so I get to go to the Member's Only sales. It's lovely to dig through the books before they've been picked over by the general public.

I purchased far to many to list here (shocker, right?) so I'll just list my best finds:

The Story of Mankind by Hendrick Willem van Loon: Not only is this a Newbery book, it is the FIRST book to win the Newbery Medal. Published in 1921, it won the first Medal, given in 1922. It can be expensive to buy but I purchased it for $1 in good condition at the library sale. I won't lie - I may have done a little victory dance in the aisle.

Victory Conditions by Elizabeth Moon: You wouldn't think this one would be hard to find, being that Moon is a popular author. But it was. The last in her Vatta's War series, it was harder to find that I expected. Perhaps because it's the last in the series and those are usually less popular than the beginning.

Fanny by Stephen Cosgrove: This is a Serendipity Book. As a child, I was an avid reader of the Serendipity books - The Wheedle on the Needle, The Gnome from Nome, the Savapotumus. To actually find one in a thrift shop - Euphoria! I'm excited to collect the rest of them!

In all, I've acquired 30+ new books in the last month, and nearly twice that many to give away. With a nephew and a godson, I'm always on the prowl for books for children. My books come from all sorts of wild places - thrift shops and used book stores, online venues and library book sales. They are lost and wayward souls that I adopt and give good homes too!

What books have you acquired recently?

Monday, October 6, 2014

Review: The Mermaid's Three Wisdoms by Jane Yolen

Synopsis: Sitting in her dinghy, twelve-year-old Jess was delighted to see a frolicking mermaid leap from the sea not ten feet from her. But the mermaid, Melusina, was far from delighted. For in carelessly letting herself be seen by a landperson, Melusine had broken the strictest law of the merfolk. In punishment, she was banished form her beloved undersea home and set to love on the land as a human. It was Jess who later found her lying on the sand. Despite difficulties in communication - Jess is troubled by a hearing impairment and Melusina, like all merfolk, cannot speak - the two become friends. Melusina even teaches Jess the Three Wisdoms, something all merfolk know. But it takes a special event for both girls to understand the true meaning of the Wisdoms, and how they are to live. (from the back of the book)

Review: This is a haunting story. Melusina's sadness and Jess's angry collide in a powerful way, and it takes time for the girls to understand the value of each other. Jess's struggle with her deafness at a complexity to her character that drew me in. She was flawed, and it was beautiful to watch her grow as she learned from the mermaid. Melusina's own growth was bittersweet. Driven from the sea, she learned to adapt to the harsh world of the landpeople, to communicate and to understand the Three Wisdoms taught by her people. The end was perfect, albeit sad. I highly recommend this book. A worthy read.

Bookmarks: 8 of 10

Awards: None

ISBN: 0-529-05420-5
Date Finished: 10-4-2014
Pages: 110

Sunday, October 5, 2014

Review: My Little Pony: Equestria Girls (IDW Annual 2013) by Katie Cook et al

Synopsis: A pre-qual to the movie, this tells the story of how Applejack, Rarity, Fluttershy, Pink Pie and Rainbow Dash became friends at Canterlot High. It even tells a little bit about how Sunset Shimmer first went astray.

Review: As an avid MLP fan, I found this entertaining. I enjoyed reading about how Sunset Shimmer made it to the alternative universe, and how the 5 became friends. I would recommend for any pony fan!

Bookmarks: 7 of 10

Awards: None

Published Date: Oct. 2013
Date Finished: 10-1-2014
Pages: 42

Saturday, September 27, 2014

Review: Across Five Aprils by Irene Hunt

Synopsis: Nine-year-old Jethro Creighton lives in Southern Illinois with his parents and older siblings. When the Civil War begins, Jethro's world because darker, heavier and he is forced to grow up faster than he should. He struggles to understand the changes in the world and himself.

Review: This book is far deeper, far more intense, far...more...than I anticipated. Because the stories come from the author's grandfather, this story has an authenticity that makes it stick into your mind and conscious. This book will stay with me for a long time. Highly Recommend.

Bookmarks: 8 of 10

Awards: Newbery Honor 1965

ISBN: 0-425-10241-6
Date Finished: 9-21-2014
Pages: 189

Friday, September 26, 2014

Review: Afghan Food and Cookery by Helen Saberi

Synopsis: Situated at the crossroads of four major regions-the Middle East, Central Asia, the Indian subcontinent and the Far East-Afghanistan has survived centuries of invasions, whether military, cultural or culinary. Its hearty cuisine includes a tempting variety of offerings: lamb, pasta, chickpeas, rice pilafs, flat breads, kebabs, spinach, okra, lentils, yogurt, pastries and delicious teas, all flavored with delicate spices, are staple ingredients. This cookbook includes over 100 recipes, all adapted for the North American kitchen, for favorites like "Mantu" (Pasta filled with Meat and Onion), "Shinwari Kebab" (Lamb Chops Kebab), and "Qabili Pilau" (Yellow Rice with Carrots and Raisins). The author's informative introduction describes traditional Afghan holidays, festivals and celebrations. Also included is a section entitled "The Afghan Kitchen," which provides essentials about cooking utensils, spices, ingredients and methods. Complete with maps and illustrations. (from the online description)

Review: This is an excellent cookbook. The recipes are easy to read, the author give adequate substitutes for ingredients hard to find in western stores and the blurbs on culture and hospitality make the food sound even better. I'm eager to try many of these recipes. I highly recommend!

Bookmarks: 7 of 10

Awards: None

ISBN: 978-0-7818-0807-1
Date Finished: 9-21-2014
Pages: 292

Review: Fanny by Stephen Cosgrove

Synopsis: Fanny, the cat, has only three legs on which she manages just fine. She is normal as normal can be. Sadly, the other animals on the Serendipity Farm won't befriend her because they are afraid she will feel uncomfortable since after all she has but three legs. A little dog named Ruby learns that handicap is just a state of mind. (from the online description)

Review: This is a Serendipity Book. I adore Serendipity Books! They are a mite sappy, but excellent stories about overcoming obstacles, external and internal. This one centers on Fanny, a handicapped cat. What I liked about it was, it wasn't Fanny that needed to change. It was the animals around her. I highly recommend this, and every, Serendipity Book.

Bookmarks: 7 of 10

Awards: None

ISBN: 0-8431-1460-6
Date Finished: 9-15-2014
Pages: 19

Thursday, September 25, 2014

Review: Let's Learn Japanese Picture Dictionary by the Editors of Passport Books

Synopsis: Created by leading educators, these colorful, large-size dictionaries introduce beginning language learners to more than 1,550 commonly taught basic words. Each Let's Learn Language Picture Dictionary in the series boasts 30 delightful two-page spreads that vividly illustrate the meanings of words. Fun-filled panoramas focus on scenes familiar to children aged three through eight, such as home life, the classroom, city life, sports, the zoo, and even outer space! Learners will love to revisit these detailed depictions of people, places, actions, and objects, each time improving their recall. Featured words are set off with individual illustrations and definitions to help learners at various levels build vocabulary. Includes an index and glossary of all the individually illustrated words. An ideal selection of first word books for parents and teachers who want to encourage second language acquisition. (from the online description)

Review: This is JUST like those Richard Scary book, with all the words, except has both English and Japanese. The Japanese is written in English Alphabet Letters and Japanese Symbols. It's easy to read, easy to learn and easy to understand. I highly recommend.

Bookmarks: 7 of 10

Awards: None

ISBN: 0-07-140827-4
Date Finished: 9-13-2014
Pages: 30

Wednesday, September 24, 2014

Review: You are Special by Max Lucado

Synopsis: Every day the small wooden people called Wemmicks do the same thing: stick either gold stars or gray dots on one another. The pretty ones--those with smooth wood and fine paint--always get stars. The talented ones do, too. Others, though, who can do little or who have chipped paint, get ugly gray dots. Like Punchinello. In this heartwarming children's tale from the best-selling pen of author Max Lucado, Eli the woodcarver helps Punchinello understand how special he is--no matter what other Wemmicks may think. It's a vital message for children everywhere: that regardless of how the world evaluates them, God cherishes each of them, just as they are. (from the online description)

Review: Despite being a bit on the sappy side, this is a good book with a good message. Only God can define our worth, no matter what the world tells us. Although sold as a children's book, the message is most certainly for all of us. A worthy read.

Bookmarks: 7 of 10

Awards: None

ISBN: 0-89107-931-9
Date Finished: 9-13-2014
Pages: 25

Review: Eli by Bill Peet

Synopsis: Eli is a grouchy, crusty, bad-tempered old lion who has no friends and doesn't need them either. He's long since lost his strength and roar and will to fight. But when he saves a vulture from a hyena, his reward is a group of vultures who insist on being his friends - whether he wants it or not!

Review: This is a cute, clever little book. I enjoyed watching Eli open up and the adventures he has with the vultures. I think any child will enjoy reading about this crusty old lion and his vulture friends!

Bookmarks: 7 of 10

Awards: None

ISBN: 0-395-36611-9
Date Finished: 9-13-2014
Pages: 38

Tuesday, September 23, 2014

Review: Saint George and the Dragon retold by Margaret Hodges

Synopsis: In this book, Margaret Hodges adaptes the famous Legend of Saint Geoge from Edmund Spenser's epic poem The Faerie Queene. Saint George sets out to rid a kingdom of the terrible dragon threatening to devour everything. Along with his, is the lovely Princess from that kingdon, his trusty horse and a small dwarf. 

Review: The prose in this book is easy to read, but not simply - meaning it's as full and rich as a retold legend should be. But it is the illustrations that make this work so exquisite. I knew of this legend, but had never actually heard or read it before this, and I'm glad I chose this work as my entrance to this tale. I'm interested to read other retellings, although it is hard to imagine they will come close to this one. 

Bookmarks: 7 of 10

Awards: Caldecott Medal for Illustration in 1985

ISBN: 0-316-36789-3
Date Finished: 9-13-2014
Pages: 31

Monday, September 22, 2014

Review: Corduroy by Don Freeman

Synopsis: Corduroy is a bear that lives in a large department store. One night, he goes searching for his missing button - but will he ever find his button, and a home?

Review: This is a classic - I read it as a kid and rather loved it. I loved how Lisa wanted Corduroy, even without his button and I loved how Corduroy was courageous enough to go find it. It's a good story and worth reading to kids!

Bookmarks: 7 of 10

Awards: None

ISBN: 978-0-590-30907-3
Date Finished: 9-13-2014
Pages: 32

Sunday, September 21, 2014

Reveiw: Library Mouse by Daniel Kirk

Synopsis: Sam is a mouse that lives in the library. Every night, when all the people are gone, he sneaks out and read all the books. One night, he gets the idea to write his own - and amazing things start to happen!

Review: This is a clever little book and would a particularly good read for a child learning to write. Sam teaches kids that anyone can write a book - even a mouse! With pleasing illustrations and simply prose, this is an excellent read for kids.

Bookmarks: 7 of 10

Awards: None

ISBN: 978-0-545-15436-9
Date Finished: 9-13-2014
Pages: 13

Review: Madeline by Ludwig Bemelmans

Synopsis: Madeline lives in an old house in Paris, covered in vines... - so begins this classic tale. Madeline is a bit precious and bravest of them all - but will her courage see her through a terrible sickness?

Review: I confess I'd never read this book until I found it in a thrift store a week ago. I've heard of it, and I know the basics. It is every bit at charming as it was professed to be. I enjoyed the prose - written in verse - and the story of these special girls and Miss Clavel.

Bookmarks: 7 of 10

Awards: None

ISBN: 0-590-08907-2
Date Finished: 9-13-2014
Pages: 21

Saturday, September 20, 2014

Review: Bread and Jam for Frances by Russell Hoban, Illustrated by Lillian Hoban

Synopsis: Frances loves Bread and Jam. She even has a song. But, when she gets to eat it every day, she begins to question - can one eat bread and jam forever?

Review: The Frances Books are some of my favorite. I enjoy her songs, her family and watching her learn. This is a clever, enjoyable read that teach that too much of a good thing can be a bad thing. I most certainly recommend this, and the other Frances books, for any young reader.

Bookmarks: 7 of 10

Awards: None

ISBN: 0-590-75824-1
Date Finished: 9-13-2014
Pages: 17

Ramble: Children's Books

I collect Children's Books. Meaning, books for readers from Birth to 6 or so. Not just any books, however. I picky. I want classics, like Madeline or Seuss or the Berenstain Bears. I enjoy modern classics, like Fancy Nancy or Skippy John Jones. Some, like the Sweet Pickles or Serendipity books, are from my childhood. And other, like Eli or Maybe a Bear Ate It or Rascal, simply appeal to me.

Someone once asked me why I collected books for young readers when I have no children. I suppose I could answer, for the kids who come to my house, my nephew or godson. Or, maybe because I feel any good library should have these volumes.

But the answer is much more raw than that.

I want children. But my husband and I have been told by medical specialist we are not able. But I know that God works miracle every day and He can work one in me. So, I collect books to read to my kids.

If I ever give up collecting Children's Books, you will know I have lost faith and hope that Nick and I will be given a child.

Monday, September 15, 2014

Review: Afghan Cuisine: Cooking for Life by Nafisa Sekandari

Synopsis: Afghan Cuisine: Cooking for Life is a collection of traditional Afghan family recipes that have been gathered and translated to English for the novice Afghan and non-Afghan cook. The intention of the book is to help Afghans and non-Afghan learn to cook delicious Afghan food in easy to follow steps. The book is written from the Western perspective and directions are provided to easily locate the needed ingredients and short cuts included for the person that is on the go. This book is the result of many years of collecting, research, observation, and practice in regards to cooking Afghan cuisine. It is very different than traditional Afghan cookbooks in that it includes traditional Afghan recipes that are easy to follow as well as non-Afghan recipes. A portion of the proceeds of this book will be donated to the women and children living in Afghanistan. (from the back of the book)

Review: This is a pleasing collection of Afghan (and some non-Afghan) recipes. While the author admits she is a novice at cooking and at publishing a cookbook, I still feel there were some obvious deficiencies. Several of the recipes seem to skip steps or confuse terms. There are grammatical, punctuation and spelling errors a plenty. The layout is often awkward, splitting lists over two pages, or breaking apart instructions.
I am eager to try many of these dishes, but not sure I will be able to follow these instructions, sadly. I'm glad it's part of my collection of works about Afghanistan, but this isn't the best book on Afghan cuisine out there. Still it was worth the money to buy and the time to read.

Bookmarks: 6 of 10

Awards: None

ISBN: 1-4033-8590-4
Date Finished: 9-11-2014
Pages: 142

Sunday, September 14, 2014

Review: 101 Common Mistakes in Etiquette and How to Avoid Them by Emily Post

Synopsis: Emily Post, famous for her dictates on tasteful living, write in this book primarily about how to give a proper dinner party and how to furnished a home.

Review: This is an amusing and useful little book. Written in 1939, it still has many relevant ideas for today. In particular, it's not money that creates an inviting home or memorable dinner - party, but the comfort, kindness and hospitality of the host and hostess. I found the portion about the living room to be amusing, because it is so different from today. No TV, and the room must be arranged for games, reading and socializing - things we almost never do today. Today's living spaces are arranged around TVs. But I prefer the idea of a living space designed to foster human interaction instead of television viewing. Her dinner party ideas were amusing for the same reason. The advice on what sort of silver, china and glass, and how to pick a proper table cloth? I have never thrown a party where that sort of thing was my consideration. Mostly, it's just, do I have enough booze. Times have changed, for certain, but I'm not sure for the better. It seems our society might benefit from Mrs. Post's advice....

Bookmarks: 7 of 10

Awards: None

Date Published: 1939
Date Finished: 9-11-2014
Pages: 94

Saturday, September 13, 2014

Review: Across a Billion Years by Robert Silverberg

Synopsis: Scattered throughout the globe of human-occupied scope is evidence of a civilization that bestrode the galaxy before humanity was born. Now, a strange device has been discovered that shows the details of that great civilization. The details include a star map and hints that the High Ones are not extinct after all. The map beckons, and humans, being what they are, will follow. To the next great step in human destiny - or ultimate disaster. (from the back of the book)

Review: Written in from the first-person view of Tom Rice, this story follows a group of archeologist as they dash across the galaxy, hoping to discover the greatest archeological find in human history. What they get - is so much more! The book starts a little slow, but picks up quickly. The characters are amusing and different and I enjoyed the narrator’s description of each.
This book was written in 1969. As I read more sci-fi books from that time period, I have noticed a common particularity about them. There is less violence and more thought. The characters spend time ruminating about the nature of the cosmos and human society, etc. This seems to show up less and less in books as you approach the current age. I don't know what it means, but it's got me thinking....
Anyhoo, this is a good solid sci-fi novel, and I enjoyed reading it.

Bookmarks: 7 of 10

Awards: None

ISBN: 0-812-55450-7
Date Finished: 9-10-2014
Pages: 249

Friday, September 12, 2014

Review: 1776 by David McCullough

Synopsis:In this masterful book, David McCullough tells the intensely human story of those who marched with General George Washington in the year of the Declaration of Independence—when the whole American cause was riding on their success, without which all hope for independence would have been dashed and the noble ideals of the Declaration would have amounted to little more than words on paper. Based on extensive research in both American and British archives, 1776 is a powerful drama written with extraordinary narrative vitality. It is the story of Americans in the ranks, men of every shape, size, and color, farmers, schoolteachers, shoemakers, no-accounts, and mere boys turned soldiers. And it is the story of the King’s men, the British commander, William Howe, and his highly disciplined redcoats who looked on their rebel foes with contempt and fought with a valor too little known. (from the online description)

Review: I read this as part of my regular July reading - which is always about the Revolutionary War. Yes, it took me a while to finish. But that's because this is a dense book, packed with details. The research that went into this work is staggering. With all the minutia, it could have easily been a dull, dry book. But McCullough wove the details into a riveting narrative about the first year of the War of Independence. It was as if I was there with them, Washington and Knox and Howe and Greene and Cornwallis. McCullough tells the story of fierce, flawed, amazing men, doing incredible things.  A well-written work, worthy of all its accolades.

Bookmarks: 8 of 10

Awards: None

ISBN: 978-7432-2672-1
Date Finished: 9-6-2014
Pages: 386

Thursday, September 11, 2014

Review: Mrs. Frisby and the Rats of NIMH by Robert C. O'Brien

Synopsis: Mrs. Frisby, a widowed mouse with four small children, is faced with a terrible problem. She must move her family to their summer quarters immediately, or face almost certain death. But her youngest son, Timothy, lies ill with pneumonia and must not be moved. Fortunately, she encounters the rats of NIMH, an extraordinary breed of highly intelligent creatures, who come up with a brilliant solution to her dilemma. And Mrs. Frisby in turn renders them a great service. (from the back of the book)

Review: This book. What to say? As a child, I watched the movie - part of it, anyway - at a slumber part. It scared the *$&% out of me. I refused to have anything to do with it again. But then, I grew up and started my quest to read all the Newbery books and realized - I was going to have to read this one. So I did. This book is NOTHING like the movie. And I'm glad. This book is superb. Each character is so distinct, the story riveting. I almost cried when - well, I won't spoil it for you. But this story is one that will stick with me for a long while. I highly recommend.

Bookmarks: 8 of 10

Awards: Newbery Medal (1972)  / William Allen White Children's Book Award (1974) / Lewis Carroll Shelf Award (1972)

ISBN: 0-689-71068-2
Date Finished: 9-2-2014
Pages: 233

Wednesday, September 10, 2014

Review: Robyn Hood, Wanted by Shand, Watts, & Filardi (Zenescope Graphic Novel)

Synopsis: As a mysterious villain calling himself, "The Sheriff" terrorizes the city of Nottingham, the people that Robyn once liberated again need her help. But back on Earth, with the police searching for her, Robyn contends with problems of her own. Can Robyn harness the strength inside of her to rise up and be the hero that Nottingham needs, or will her demons get the best of her as she faces the consequences of her past actions. (from the back of the book

Review: I was eager to pick up this work because of the unanswered questions from the first volume. While many of them were answered, many more where brought up. And the way it ends - ack! A freaking huge cliffhanger! Again, I enjoyed watching Robyn confront villains, expect and not, her response to love and death. 
Thankfully, the next installment comes out in a few days. I'm not sure how long I can wait to find out what happens!

Bookmarks: 7 of 10

Awards: None

ISBN: 978-1-939683-04-5
Date Finished: 9-1-2014
Pages: 139

Monday, September 8, 2014

Review: Robyn Hood by Shand, Watts, & Metcalfe (Zenescope Graphic Novel)

Synopsis: The brand new Grimm Fairy Tales series that reinvents a classic tale of action, fantasy and adventure is here! Inside the realm of Myst, a tyrant rules the city of Bree with an iron fist, leaving its citizens living in fear and terry. But all hope is not lost as an orphaned teen from our world discovers her true destiny and becomes the legend she was meant to be. (from the back of the book)

Review: I enjoy most of the Zenescope stories, and this is no exception. The story is gritty, raw, and not for the feint of heart. The main character, Robyn, is no angel. She breaks the law, steals and kills - but through it all, she maintains her own morality and sense of justice. As for the secondary characters, I enjoyed the twist of the traditional names - Will Scarlett and Little John - and the villains have substance and depth. Spectacular art complements the story nicely.
My only qualm is how many questions were left unanswered. But considering there is a second, called Robyn Hunt: Wanted, I hope the next answers at least some of the mysteries.

Bookmarks: 7 of 10

Awards: None

ISBN: 978-1-937068-79-0
Date Finished: 9-1-2014
Pages: 146

Friday, September 5, 2014

Review: Balzac and the Little Chinese Seamstress by Dai Sijie

Synopsis: In this enchanting tale about the magic of reading and the wonder of romantic awakening, two hapless city boys are exiled to a remote mountain village for reeducation during China's infamous Cultural Revolution. There they meet the daughter of the local tailor and discover a hidden stash of Western classics in Chinese translation. As they flirt with the seamstress and secretly devour these banned works, they find transit from their grim surroundings to worlds they never imagined. (from the back of the book)

Review: I watched Gilmore Girls for a long time, and anyone that has knows Rory Gilmore is always reading. Someone compiled a list of all the books shown or read by Rory. When I read the list, I was pleased to see I'd heard of most of them, and read a fair number. Balzac and the Little Chinese Seamstress was one that I had never heard of, but it intrigued me. I jetted over to the local used bookstore and picked up a copy. I'm so glad I did.
This is a mesmerizing story. With deft, eloquent prose, Sijie weaves a tale about individualism, romance, friendship and the power of books to change us - for better or worse. I highly recommend this book.

Bookmarks: 7 of 10

Awards: Five French Literary Awards

ISBN: 0-385-72220-6
Date Finished: 8-31-2014
Pages: 184

Thursday, September 4, 2014

Review: The Goddaughter, The Goddaughter's Revenge, The Artful Goddaugther by Melodie Campbell

Synopsis: In the first book, The Goddaughter, we are introduced to Gina Gallo, the goddaughter of the local crime boss. Despite her determination to stay out of the family business, she gets pulled by in when a cousin gets whacked on her watch. As she tries to right the situation, everything
goes from bad to worse. Good thing she has handsome Pete along for the ride. In the Goddaughter's Revenge, Gina discovered some - and by someone she means a sleezy cousin from New York - switch the gems in her client's rings for fakes. Now she has to change them back, without getting caught or starting a mob war. Oh, and there is the teensy fact that Pete is trying to propose! In the Artful Goddaughter, Gina's great-uncle Seb leaves her a fortune - with a catch. She's got to replace a fake painitng with the real one! With a hilarious cast of characters, and Pete, Gina sets out to pull the greatest backwards heist anyone has ever seen! Each book is short, more of a novella, and all three can be read in one sitting, as one large novel.

Review: I received the third book, the Artful Goddaughter, free as part of the LibraryThing Early Reviewer program. When I heard that, I bought the previous two so I could read the whole story. While each does a nice job of being a stand along story, having read the previous two made the third that much better. All were funny, faced-paced, easy stories that would make a great beach read. Campbell is has an excellent eye for the quirks of families and she created some memorable ones. Stories like these three could easily disolve into a mess of sterotypes, but Campbell avoids that with a deft hand. I enjoyed these works immensely. I look forward to reading the next ones!

Bookmarks: 7 of 10

Awards: None

ISBN: 978-1-4598-0125-7 / 978-1-4598-0487-6 / 978-1-4598-0820-1
Date Finished: 8-30-2014
Pages: 134 / 124 / 127

Tuesday, September 2, 2014

Review: At the Point of a Cutlass: The Pirate Capture, Bold Escape, and Lonely Exile of Philip Ashton by Gregory N. Flemming

Synopsis: Based on a rare manuscript from 1725, At the Point of a Cutlassuncovers the amazing voyage of Philip Ashton -- a nineteen-year old fisherman who was captured by pirates, escaped on an uninhabited Caribbean island, and then miraculously arrived back home three years later to tell his incredible story. Taken in a surprise attack near Nova Scotia in June 1722, Ashton was forced to sail across the Atlantic and back with a crew under the command of Edward Low, a man so vicious he tortured victims by slicing off an ear or nose and roasting them over a fire. "A greater monster," one colonial official wrote, "never infested the seas." Ashton barely survived the nine months he sailed with Low's crew -- he was nearly shot in the head at gunpoint, came close to drowning when a ship sank near the coast of Brazil, and was almost hanged for secretly plotting a revolt against the pirates. Like many forced men, Ashton thought constantly about escaping. In March of 1723, he saw his chance when Low's crew anchored at the secluded island of Roatan, at the western edge of the Caribbean. Ashton fled into the thick, overgrown woods and, for more than a year, had to claw out a living on the remote strip of land, completely alone and with practically nothing to sustain him. The opportunity to escape came so unexpectedly that Ashton ran off without a gun, a knife, or even a pair of shoes on his feet. Yet the resilient young castaway -- who has been called America's real-life Robinson Crusoe -- was able to find food, build a crude shelter, and even survive a debilitating fever brought on by the cool winter rains before he was rescued by a band of men sailing near the island. Based on Ashton's own first-hand account, as well trial records, logbooks, and a wealth of other archival evidence, At the Point of a Cutlass pieces together the unforgettable story of a man thrust into the violent world of a pirate ship and his daring survival and escape. (from the online description)

Review: I signed up to receive this book because it's a book about pirates, real pirates. The book was about pirates - but so much more. The author doesn't just relay Ashton's story, but includes the story of those Ashton interacted with - famous pirates, English Naval captains, preachers and other - each bound by the central thread of Ashton's life. Flemming also takes time to explain simple sailing words and techniques from the time period, cultural and political history, geography of islands and the types of ships. In all, this work is about not just pirates, but the world during the early 1700s, the world pirates live during. I highly recommend. This is a must have for anyone who enjoys the history of sailing, piracy and the sea.

I received this book free through the LibraryThing Early Reviewer program in exchange for my far and honest opinion

Bookmarks: 7 of 10

Awards: None

ISBN: 978-1-61168-515-2
Finished: 8-30-2014
Pages: 241

Monday, September 1, 2014

Review: Oceanology: The True Account of the Voyage of the Nautilus pub. by Candlewick Press

Synopsis: Written as if the real account of the story of the Nautilus, made famous by the Jules Verne book, this work explores the sea and sea-travel, exploring the life and times of the Ocean

Review: Having recently finished 20,000 Leagues Under the Sea, I was excited to receive this book as gift. Full of color and information, history and pictures and science, it's the perfect companion to Verne's classic. Perfect for kids and adults. Highly recommend.

Bookmarks: 7 of 10

Awards: None

ISBN: 978-0-7636-4290-7
Date Finished: 8-15-2014
Pages: 32

Sunday, August 31, 2014

Review: A Share of Freedom by June Rae Wood

Synopsis: Some people might think Freedom Avery has it all. She's the top student in her seventh grade class, and she just won the town's Fourth of July spelling bee. but when he mother end up in the hospital after another drinking binge, Freedom and her little brother, Jackie, hardly feel like celebrating. Freedom has no idea who or where her father is. With social services threatening to divide her family even further, Freedom devises a place to run away with her brother so she can keep her family intact. Strong and determined, Freedom survives a week in the wilderness and the trials of foster, only to discover her new home contains clues that may betray the secret of her family's past. (from the back of the book)

Review: I picked this book at a thrift store, on a whim. I read the first page as I was waiting for the husband to find his keys. To was hooked by the second paragraph. To say I couldn't put it down is an understatement. I read as I walked across campus and ended up nearly circling a building I meant to walk past because I was so engrossed.
This is a not a sunshine and flowers book. Freedom Avery deals with real things - holes in her heart, growing up, family relationships that are broken, what it means to love imperfect parents. Wood deftly weaves real complex characters into a complex plot. It's an engrossing, enticing, marvelous read. I'm glad I had the whim to buy it.

Bookmarks: 8 of 10

Awards: None

ISBN: 0-7868-1085-8
Date Finished: 8-25-2014
Pages: 255

Tuesday, August 12, 2014

Review: Click Clack Moo, Cows That Type by Doreen Cronin

Synopsis: Farmer Brown has a problem. His cows like to type. All day long he hears:

Click, clack, moo. 
Click, clack, moo. 
Click, clack, moo.

But Farmer Brown's problems REALLY begin when his cows start leaving him notes...Come join the fun as a bunch of literate cows turn Farmer Brown's farm upside-down! (from the back of the book)

Review: Hilarious! I enjoyed this silly tale of literate cows and their typing frenzy. Kids will enjoy the sound-words and adults will enjoy the farm yard antics. Highly recommend. 

Bookmarks: 7 of 10

Awards: None

ISBN: 0-439-21648-6
Date Finished: 7-18-2014
Pages: 32

Monday, August 11, 2014

Review: Rascal by Linda Strachan

Synopsis: It's time for Rascal to go to the Vet. But he's scared! Will he ever make it?

Review: This is a cute little book, written for kids ages 3-6. I enjoyed the illustrations and the fact Rascal reminded me of one of my own dogs. A fun book for kids, particularly any with pets!

Bookmarks: 7 of 10

Awards: None

ISBN: 0-7635-6642-x
Date Finished: 7-18-2014
Pages: 16

Friday, August 8, 2014

Review: Fancy Nancy and the Posh Puppy by Jane O'Connor

Synopsis: Nancy desperately wants a puppy - all the posh people have one. But when she gets a chance to dog-sit for her neighbour, things go badly. Will her dreams be crushed?

Review: I adore the Fancy Nancy books. Not only are they brightly illustrated, clever little stories, but they teach vocabulary in an easy to understand way. This story, once again, is an excellent addition to any one's collection of children's books.

Bookmarks: 7 of 10

Awards: None

ISBN: 978-0-06-054213-9
Date Finished: 7-18-2014
Pages: 29

Thursday, August 7, 2014

Review: Chester's Way by Kevin Jenkes

Synopsis: Chester had his own way of doing things. Chester's best friend Wilson was exactly the same way. That's why they were best friends. And then Lilly moved into the neighborhood.(from the back of the book)

Review: This is a quiet little book. I enjoyed reading about how Chester and Wilson learned to relate to someone like Lilly - someone who does things completely different from them. This would be a good book for any child dealing with someone different from them. Actually, I know some adults who could benefit from the message. I most certainly recommend.

Bookmarks: 7 of 10

Awards: None

ISBN: 0-590-4017-9
Date Finished: 7-18-2014
Pages: 32

Tuesday, August 5, 2014

Review: Hope's Crossing by Joan Elizabeth Goodman

Synopsis: When her father left Fairfield, Connecticut, to join General Washington's Army , Hope found ti easy to promise that she would be brave. That was before a raiding part of Tories plundered her home, set it afire, and took Hope captive. Soon she was a servant for Noah Thomas and his ill-tempered wife, with no means of escape - that is, until she got to know Mother Thomas, who wanted to leave as much as she did. Can an elderly woman help a young girl find her way home? (from the back of the book)

Review: While this story is fictional, it is based on a true account of a young girl who was taken from her family. Happily, the real girl was returned quickly and safely. But Hope is not. Taken from her family, unsure of their fate, and left to find her way home, she must summon up courage to face her greatest fears. Set in New York during the occupation by the British, the author described historical events and characters with accuracy and realism. I enjoyed reading about Hope's journey home and her fight to overcome her fear. Because of the settings, things don't always turn out well. People die. Things go badly. But the story ends as it should. I highly recommend for kids between 7 to 15. It would be an excellent read for anyone studying American History.

Bookmarks: 7 of 10

Awards: None

ISBN: 0-439-17965-3
Date Finished: 7-14-2014
Pages: 212

Tuesday, July 15, 2014

Review: About the B'Nai Bagels by E. L. Konigsburg

Synopsis: Mark Setzer thought he had enough aggravation studying for his Bar Mitzvah and losing his best friend. It's the last straw when his mother becomes that new manager of his Little League baseball team and drags his older brother, Spencer, along as the coach. No one knows what to expect with a mother for a manager, but soon Mark and the other players are surprised to see how much they're improving due to coach Spencer's strategy and helpful hints for "Mother Bagel." It looks like nothing can stop them from becoming champs - until Mark hears some startling news! (from the back of the book)

Review: Once again, Konigsburg has written a book that will stick to my brain and heart. It's utterly different from her other books - and yet, the same. The same complex characters, truth about life, realistic portrayal of family and relationships and growing up. Konigsburg did an excellent job of writing a book about growing up for kids that resonates with adults as well. Mostly, I think, because even though I am an adult by age, I still get lost like Mark did - and it is as comforting to an adult as to a child to read how things turn out all right in the end. I highly recommend this, and all of her other books.

Bookmarks: 8 of 10

ISBN: 0-440-40034-1
Date Finished: 7-10-2014
Pages: 172

Monday, July 14, 2014

Review: The Book of Great American Documents with Inaugural Addresses of Jefferson, Lincoln, Kennedy ed. by Vincent Wilson, Jr.

Synopsis: The Declaration of Independence - the Constitution -the Bill of Rights - the Gettysburg Address - these are documents that very American knows instinctively are important part of heritage. These and the other great documents in this book chart the progress of man's quest for freedom on this continent, and of his monumental achievement in building and maintaining a free society. This book is meant to be read. It includes photographs of all the original document available, but each document is also published in large, readable type, so that the citizen, young and old, may not merely possess, but read and know, understand and cherish. (from the back of the book)

Review: This is a fine book to have in any collection. The documents are presented in an easy to read format, with small paragraphs introducing the writer and history of each one. I wish they had included some of the less well known documents - perhaps speeches from John Adams or FDR. In this day and age, you can find all these documents easily on the internet. But I think it's a good thing to have them in hard copy in my home.

Bookmarks: 7 of 10

Awards: None

Date Published: 1967
Date Finished: 7-10-2014
Pages: 87

Saturday, July 12, 2014

Aquisitions: BOOK SALE LOOT!

Well, the book sale was not as fabulous as I'd hoped. While the new space allows for better sorting of the merchandise, it seemed they had less to offer. I suppose that is because they have not had time to reload the shelves.

As it was, I did score some good finds, although only one from my list of books to find. Here is what I bought:

100 Hair-Raising Little Horror Stories ed. by Al Sarrantonio and Martin H. Greenberg

The Lost Hero by Rick Riordan (The Heroes of Olympus, Book I)

The Letter to the Hebrews by William Barclay (The Daily Study Bible Series)

The Letters to the Corinthians by William Barclay (The Daily Study Bible Series)

The Letters to the Galatians and Ephesians by William Barclay (The Daily Study Bible Series)

The Weapon Maker by A.E. Van Vogt

The Intellectual Devotional: Revive Your Mind, Complete Your Education and Roam Confidently with the Cultural Class by David S. Kidder and Noah D. Oppenhelm

Moja Mean One: A Swahili Counting Book by Muriel Feelings

D is for Drums: A Colonial Williamsburg ABC by Kay Chorao

The Samurai's Daughter by Robert D. San Souci

I also purchased a book for a friend, a several Franklin the Turtle books for a friend's toddler and a huge stack of Berenstain Bears for my nephew (who is just 2 months and I'm sure will enjoy reading them...someday).

All these books only cost me $11 - not a bad haul!

Aquisitions: BOOK SALE!

Today is the Members Only Book Sale of the Newport News Public Library Friends of the Library. I am extremely excited about this. It’s been eons since they’ve held one. They had to move building, so it’s take them a long time to get set back up – which meant no book sale and a very sad Lauren.

I can’t wait to dig through those books. I know there are treasures awaiting me! I’ll try to post what I get and let you drool over my booky loot.

Friday, July 11, 2014

Review: Irish Legends for the Very Young by Niamh Sharkey

Synopsis: Aimed at early readers and written to be read aloud to young children, Irish Legends for the Very Young contains a new retelling of three of the best-loved Irish legends: ""The Children of Lir"", ""How Setanta Became Cuchulainn"" and ""Oisin in Tir na nOg"". Retold with the young reader in mind, these tales are charmingly illustrated by the author, Niamh Sharkey. (from the online description)

Review: This is a clever little collection of three Irish tales. Like most legends, they all have a bit of a dark side to the, in particular the last one. I enjoyed reading them, the stories illustrated by the quirky pictures. I would be cautious about reading them to very young children, as there is some danger of nightmares. But on the whole, these are fine stories that use age-appropriate syntax to convey a bit of Irish heritage.
Bookmarks: 7 of 10
Awards: None
ISBN: 978-1-85635-144-7
Date Finished: 7-9-2014
Pages: 63

Thursday, July 10, 2014

Review: Sally Wister's Journal: A True Narative by Sally Wister

Synopsis: The diary of a young girl during the Revolutionary War. In 1775 Sally Wister was sent to the countryside to avoid harm. This is a delightful historical record of a young girl's life during a perilous and all-important time in American history (from the online description)
Review: I enjoyed reading about young Miss Wister's experiences during the war. Sadly, it was only a small, tantalizing glimpse. Wister is a lively writing, with an eye for the people around her and a knack for capturing the best bits of her experiences. I wish there was more to her journal, or her life. According to Wikipedia, she lived in her father’s house until her death as an old lady and never married. Given her constant reassurance to her audience that her heat was unmoved by the dashing gentlemen officers she met, this does not surprise me. In the end, I recommend this book as an excellent resource for anyone studying the Revolutionary War, in particular how women and the general populace faced it. This would be an excellent book for kids, age 11+, I think.
Bookmarks: 7 of 10

Awards: None
ISBN: 1-55709-114-5
Date Finished: 7-8-2014
Pages: 62

Wednesday, July 9, 2014

Review: Miss Buncle Married by D.E. Stevenson

Synopsis: Barbara Buncle: bestselling novelist, new neighbor? In this charming follow-up to Miss Buncle's Book, the intrepid writer moves to a new town filled with fascinating folks...who don't even know they might become the subjects of her next bestselling book. Miss Buncle may have settled down, but she has already discovered that married life can't do a thing to prevent her from getting in humorous mix-ups and hilarious hijinks. (from the back of the book)

Review: Once again, Stevenson wrote a marvelous book. What amazes me about her writing is how simple the subject matter is - just a married couple, moving to a new neighborhood, meeting their neighbours and dealing with family. But her ability to take these seemingly boring subjects and infuse them with intrigue, life, merriment, sorrow and humor is what makes her work so delightful, so warm and wonderful to read. The smallest event because fascinating under her pen, the small everyday things become clear and wonderful and shine with new lights. Her characters are lively, deep and unique. I highly recommend the Miss Buncle series and I look forward to reading all of her other works.

Bookmarks: 8 of 10

Awards: None

ISBN: 978-1-4022-7252-3
Date Finished: 7-7-2014
Pages: 347

Tuesday, July 1, 2014

Review: The Underground Girls of Kabul: In Search of Resistance in Afghanistan by Jenny Nordberg

Synopsis: An investigative journalist uncovers a hidden custom that will transform your understanding of what it means to grow up as a girl. In Afghanistan, a culture ruled almost entirely by men, the birth of a son is cause for celebration and the arrival of a daughter is often mourned as misfortune. A bacha posh (literally translated from Dari as “dressed up like a boy”) is a third kind of child – a girl temporarily raised as a boy and presented as such to the outside world. Jenny Nordberg, the reporter who broke the story of this phenomenon for the New York Times, constructs a powerful and moving account of those secretly living on the other side of a deeply segregated society where women have almost no rights and little freedom. The Underground Girls of Kabul is anchored by vivid characters who bring this remarkable story to life: Azita, a female parliamentarian who sees no other choice but to turn her fourth daughter Mehran into a boy; Zahra, the tomboy teenager who struggles with puberty and refuses her parents’ attempts to turn her back into a girl; Shukria, now a married mother of three after living for twenty years as a man; and Nader, who prays with Shahed, the undercover female police officer, as they both remain in male disguise as adults. At the heart of this emotional narrative is a new perspective on the extreme sacrifices of Afghan women and girls against the violent backdrop of America’s longest war. Divided into four parts, the book follows those born as the unwanted sex in Afghanistan, but who live as the socially favored gender through childhood and puberty, only to later be forced into marriage and childbirth. The Underground Girls of Kabul charts their dramatic life cycles, while examining our own history and the parallels to subversive actions of people who live under oppression everywhere. (From the Publisher's Website)

Review: This is a hard book to read. Between the subject matter and Nordberg's intense writing, this book grabs you in the gut. It's a well know fact that women in Afghanistan on treated horribly. Anyone with 1/4 a brain has heard or read something about that. Nordberg manages to suss out a new angle on this well-documented subject - namely - women who get to live as men, even for a while. She explored this topic with clarity and gave her readers access to a raw and intense narrative. What these women suffer - it's unthinkable for us in the Western World. This book will have a treasured place in my collection of works on Afghanistan and Women. I highly recommend this to anyone who wished to know more about this subject. An excellent read. 

NOTE: I received this book free from the LibraryThing Early Review's Program in exchange for my fair and honest opinion. 

Bookmarks: 7 of 10

Awards: None

ISBN: 978-0-307-95249-3
Date Finished: 6-27-2014
Pages: 340

Monday, June 30, 2014

Review: Meg Mackintosh and the Case of the Curious Whale Watch by Luncinda Landon (Book 2)

Synopsis: On a whale watch, Meg tries to solve a puzzling case involving a stolen treasure map. The reader is asked to solve the mystery before Meg, using clues found in the text and illustrations.

Review: This is a clever premise. As the story progresses, the reader gets to answer questions about the clues to see if they can solve the mystery along with Meg. The story is simple enough for a young reader, but will challenge them to remember details and think about the clues. The story is a bit cheesy, but that's expected due to target age group for the book. In all, I would recommend for your kids who are into mysteries. 

Bookmarks: 7 of 10

Awards: None

ISBN: 1-8886-9501-3
Date Finished: 6-27-2014
Pages: 44

Saturday, June 28, 2014

Review: Good Children by Miao Yin-Tang

Synopsis: This is a book published in 1974 in China, under the clear direction of the Communist Party. It's an illustrated how-to manual for children on correct and proper behavior.

Review: I found this book at a thrift shop and snatched it up. It's both hilarious and terrifying. Thin and long, it has few words but many pictures, simple drawings for children done in bright colors and clear lines. Each pages has a lesson about how to behave - kindness, helpfulness, sacrifice - illustrated with a sentence and the pictures.

For example:

This is SO clearly communist propaganda, and yet, who can disagree with teaching kids these sort of things? Other than the message, I also enjoyed the different structure of the book - the shape, the semi-comic strip format, the use of pictures to tell a story. It's a interesting book and I'm glad I picked it up.

Bookmarks: 7 of 10

Awards: None

Date Published: 1974
Date Finished: 6-27-2014
Pages: 9

Friday, June 27, 2014

Review: Ivy and Bean by Annie Barrows and Sophie Blackall

Synopsis: The moment they saw each other, Bean and Ivy knew they wouldn't be friends. But when Bean plays a joke on her sister, Nancy, and has to hide -  quick -  comes to the rescue with her wand, some face paint, and a bucket of worms. Will they end up in trouble? Maybe. Will they have fun .Of course! (from the back of the book)

Review: This was a delightful book! Bean is a rowdy, active, wild child, while Ivy is thoughtful, imaginative and gentle. I adored the contrast! I enjoyed how the two meet, the adventure that ensued and their friendship. I laughed out loud at least twice - always a good thing. I highly recommend this book for the 5-7 crowd.

Bookmarks: 7 of 10

Awards: None

Date Read: 6-19-2014 
ISBN: 978--8118-4909-8

Pages: 120

Wednesday, June 25, 2014

Review: 100 Fathoms Under by John Blaine (Rick Brant Electronic Adventure, Book 4)

Synopsis: Rick and Scotty accompany Rick's father and the other Spindrift scientists on a mission to study and document an underwater Temple. But a treacherous crew, murderous natives and stormy waters may end the mission - and their lives!

Review: I enjoyed this one. Less cheesy that the others, it felt more mature. My only qualm is the stereotyped natives - the cannibals, the jolly cook, stowaway - but considering the book was published in 1947, it makes sense. As for the plot, it actually made sense. I enjoyed how the characters used science to get out of several situations - and it actually felt legitimate! In the end, I enjoyed this novel.

Bookmarks: 7 of 10

Awards: None

ISBN: None
Date Published: 1947
Date Finished: 6-16-2014
Pages: 209

Tuesday, June 24, 2014

Review: Sea Gold by John Blaine (Rick Brant Electronic Adventure, Book 3)

Synopsis: Rick and Scotty take a summer job at a new factory on the coast - one that promises to use science to harvest much needed minerals for seawater. But someone doesn't want the factory to succeed, turning to town against the owner and sabotaging the plant. Can Rick and Scotty find out who is responsibility - before that person kills them?

Review: Once again, I enjoyed this cheesy adventure. The outlandish antics, the improbably plot line, the do-daring and dashing heroics - all splendid! The only part I found a bit - odd - was the part where Rick and Scotty were set adrift in the ocean. It felt a bit dark and yet, unrealistic. However, it was a fine B-adventure story.

Bookmarks: 7 of 10

Awards: None

ISBN: None
Date Published: 1947
Date Read: 6-2-2014
Pages: 207

Wednesday, June 4, 2014

Review: The Lost City by John Blaine (A Rick Brant Electronic Adventure, Book 2)

Synopsis: Rick Brant and company are off to Tibet to set up a radio relay. But someone doesn't want them to complete their project. They will face the dangers of foreign customs, sabotage, mountainous terrain and other dangers untold. Will they succeed in their mission or are they doomed to fail!

Review: The second in the Rick Brant series is just as delightfully cheesy as the first. The stereotypes of the people in India, the lost city of ancient Mongols, the gold and danger and narrow escapes using science and the timely intervention of the ever loyal boy from India. I enjoy reading these books if for no other reason than that cheesy goodness.

Bookmarks: 7 of 10

Awards: None

Date Published: 1947
Date Finished: 5-31-2014
Pages: 209

Tuesday, June 3, 2014

Review: The One in the Middle is the Green Kangaroo by Judy Blume

Synopsis: Lately second grader Freddy Dissel has that left-out kind of feeling. Life can be lonely when you're the middle kid in the family who feels like "the peanut butter part of a sandwich," squeezed between an older brother and little sister. But now for the first time it's Freddy's chance to show everyone how special he is and, most of all, prove it to himself! (from the back of the book)

Review: I read this book once many years, but didn't remember until I saw the pictures. Amy Aitken's delightful illistrations enhances the story. I enjoyed ready about how Freddy Dissel found a way to be himself and to come to terms with being the overlooked one. This is an excellent book to read to young kids who may feel they get lost in the shuffle. I highly recommend.

Bookmark: 7 of 10

Awards: None

ISBN: 0-440-46731-4
Date Finished: 5-31-2014
Pages: 39