Tuesday, November 14, 2017

The Axe of Sundering

The Axe of Sundering (Adventurers Wanted, #5)The Axe of Sundering by M.L. Forman
My rating: 2 of 5 stars

There was a lot of buildup for this book. The initial publication date was pushed back when the author had health issues. This is understandable and a valid reason to not have the book ready. I think that the delay in publishing made it so the author felt he needed to get it out as soon as possible, and the story suffered for it.

I have read all the other books in the series and was looking forward to seeing how it ended. I honestly thought there would be more than five books, but this one has been announced as the final book in the series, so it had to have a strong send off. This book felt completely disconnected from the rest of the books. It was okay I guess, but Alex started getting really annoying, and characters and story lines that had been throughout the rest of the series were randomly dropped. What happened to the rest of the magic bags that Alex was supposed to be returning? All of the previous books had him return a bag, but if my math is correct, he still had at least three by the end of the series. Nothing was mentioned about them at all.

There were a lot of new characters, but they didn't seem to serve any real purpose. They were just fillers. There were plenty of characters that had been present for most of the series that I would have loved to see again. I believe there were only three that were mentioned, two of which were only mentioned for a moment. I couldn't really connect with the new characters. They hadn't been around long enough for me to care about what happened to them.

This series could have done with at least a couple more books. It was a disappointment to wait so long only to end up reading a book that seems disconnected from the rest of the series.

Author: M.L. Forman
Publisher: Shadow Mountain

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Shoeburn and the Ill Fitting Necklace

Shoeburn and The Ill-Fitting Necklace (The Ruffet Conundrum #1)Shoeburn and The Ill-Fitting Necklace by Shoeburn Ruffet
My rating: 1 of 5 stars

This book was too out there for me. There were too many tangents that had nothing to do with the actual story. I couldn't tell if Shoeburn was being sarcastic or really didn't know what was going on. He is a very unlikely protagonist. This book would be great for those that like dry humor and under-dog stories, but it wasn't something I particularly enjoyed. I had a hard time keeping track of who everyone was and how all of their characters fit together.

I received a copy of this book from the publisher in exchange for an honest review.

Publisher: Curiosity Quills Press
Publication Date: 31 Oct 2017

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Wychetts

WychettsWychetts by William Holley
My rating: 2 of 5 stars

I think the premise of the book was interesting, but I couldn't get past the main characters. I understand that they were young, but they were a little too childish and annoying to me. There wasn't a lot of character development, and the story was not interesting enough to make me want to read the next one in the series. Of course, the characters could grow during the rest of the series, but it didn't pull me in enough to keep reading. Middle-grade kids that like fantasy would probably really like this book. I'm sure they would relate to the characters more than I did.

Author: William Holley
Publication Date: 16 Aug 2013

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Raggedy Ann Stories

Raggedy Ann StoriesRaggedy Ann Stories by Johnny Gruelle
My rating: 2 of 5 stars

I grew up with Raggedy Ann dolls, so I really enjoyed the stories. This book is one that would be really enjoyable for little kids. I liked the stories, but as an adult, I'm not sure if I would read it again to myself. If I was reading to a child, this would be a go to book. I like that it's not one long story. It's broken out into small stories that do not have to be read in order. I think having it broken out into smaller stories keeps a child's attention, which is what you want when reading.

Author: Johnny Gruelle
Publisher: Simon & Schuster Books for Young Readers
Publication Date: 1918

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One of Us is Lying...Who Killed Simon

One of Us Is LyingOne of Us Is Lying by Karen M. McManus
My rating: 3 of 5 stars

This is one of those books that I picked up at the library just because the cover looked interesting. I'm glad the story lived up to the cover. Throughout the whole book you wonder, who killed Simon. The four main characters all have major secrets that they don't want exposed. These secrets make them look both guilty and innocent.

In today's world of technology, the search for Simon's killer leaps into the national spotlight. Thanks to all the different social media outlets out there, new evidence is discovered as the story progresses. You have to wonder, how much of this information is true, and how much is being used to frame someone that is innocent.

One of Us Is Lying is a page turner that mixes truth with lies to the point that the reader doesn't know what to believe. The ending was one that I didn't see coming, which is always satisfying.

Author: Karen M McManus
Publisher: Delacorte Press
Publication Date: 30 May 2017

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Friday, November 3, 2017

7th Grade Revolution

7th Grade Revolution7th Grade Revolution by Liana Gardner
My rating: 3 of 5 stars

7th Grade Revolution is one of those books that is so close to being a 4-star, but, because I now know what happens, it takes away some of the suspense. I wish there was a way to read the book over again, without remembering what I already know. It is a great read the first time around when the mystery is still there.

The character development was great. With so many points of view, the reader has an inside look into the students' personal lives, and therefore, knows why some of the things they do are so important. There is a complexity to the story that is brought in by knowing the past of some of the students.

The farther I read, the more invested I was in the story. The mystery was great, but the fact that the students did everything without any adults guiding them made the story. It was a good reminder that you don't have to be an adult or even have an adults help to do great things. Everyone is capable of greatness, even if they are kids. In fact, in this book, the adults could stand to learn from the children.

I only had two issues with the book, but they are minor. I read the book on my kindle, so I don't know if a physical book would make a difference, but to me, the images were really dark and hard to make out. I could have done without them. I also had a problem keeping the characters straight. With so many points of view, it was hard for me to remember all the story lines for the different students. It is completely possible that it is just me having difficulties keeping things straight in my head. I'm sure a second read-through would help me understand who is who.

I received a copy of this book from NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.

Author: Liana Gardner
Publisher: Vesuvian Books
Publication Date: 24 Oct 2017

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Monday, October 30, 2017

The Whizz Pop Chocolate Shop

The Whizz Pop Chocolate ShopThe Whizz Pop Chocolate Shop by Kate Saunders
My rating: 3 of 5 stars

This was a cute children's book that took unexpected turns. The story line was original and entertaining. The characters changed over the course of the book, which was wonderful. There was so much going on in the story, that it would have been unbelievable for there to be no character development.

Author: Kate Saunders
Publisher: Scholastic
Publication Date: 2 Feb 2012

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Thursday, October 26, 2017

Cirque Du Freak: Hunters of the Dusk

Hunters of the Dusk (Cirque Du Freak, #7)Hunters of the Dusk by Darren Shan
My rating: 3 of 5 stars

The Cirque Du Freak series is perfect for those wanting something darker than a normal YA book, while not going off the deep end.

In the middle of the War of Scars, Darren learns that he is one of three that must search out the Vampaneze Lord and kill him in order to save all the vampires. That's a lot for a half-vampire to deal with, especially one dealing with some growing pains.

I appreciate that while the series is chronological, there are some years that are completely skipped over. The books span years, and I wouldn't not want to read about six years of war when the events that affect Darren don't happen until after that. The story flows because of the time glossed over. The reader still gains a sense of what has happened, they are not left going through something that has no real relevance to the moment.

This book does not focus just on vampires, the members of the Cirque Du Freak make a short appearance. While I wish the time at the circus had been longer, I really enjoyed the pages spent showing where the circus acts are in their lives.

On to book 8.

Author: Darren Shan
Publisher: Little, Brown Young Readers
Publication Date: 2002

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Monday, October 23, 2017

Living Like Audrey

Living Like Audrey: Life Lessons from the Fairest Lady of AllLiving Like Audrey: Life Lessons from the Fairest Lady of All by Victoria Loustalot
My rating: 2 of 5 stars

Living Like Audrey takes a personal look at the Audrey the world knows. Her life outside of the spotlight is shown through pictures, quotes, and stories from the people who knew her well. The only issue I really had, was the fact that the images and quotes would break up a chapter, sometimes in the middle of a sentence. The flow ended up being choppy because of this.

I received a copy of this book from NetGalley for an honest review.
Author: Victoria Loustalot
Publisher: Lyons Press
Publication Date: 1 Sept 2017

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Clockwork Princess

Clockwork Princess (The Infernal Devices, #3)Clockwork Princess by Cassandra Clare
My rating: 3 of 5 stars

I've officially finished the series, but I don't know how I feel about it. Maybe I need to read the other series to figure out my feelings.

I was okay with the book until close to the end. The ending went downhill for me. It didn't seem to fit with the rest of the story. There were some gasp worthy moments throughout the book, so I feel that it is worth the read.

I think I'm going to wait until I've read the other series before giving a final judgement.

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The Splendid Baron Submarine

The Splendid Baron Submarine (The Bizarre Baron Inventions, #2)The Splendid Baron Submarine by Eric Bower
My rating: 3 of 5 stars

This is the second book in the Bizzare Baron Inventions series. Like the first book, The Splendid Baron Submarine is light-hearted and full of humor.

The Baron's are tasked with finding a long lost treasure to become national heroes. It seems like an easy task thanks to M and P's inventions. When you add in monkeys, ghosts, sharks, and giant worms, the task starts to seem impossible. While W.B's sanity is called into question, the family realizes that things may not be as they first appeared.

I received a copy of this book from NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.
Author: Eric Bower
Publisher: Amberjack Publishing
Publication Date: 7 Nov 2017

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Killer Fashion...or How to Catch on Fire

Killer Fashion: Poisonous Petticoats, Strangulating Scarves, and Other Deadly Garments Throughout HistoryKiller Fashion: Poisonous Petticoats, Strangulating Scarves, and Other Deadly Garments Throughout History by Jennifer Wright
My rating: 3 of 5 stars

I never knew that fashion could be so deadly. The history of the fashion is educational, but, the illustrations and poems make the book great. It's a quick read, so I don't have a lot to say about it. Honestly, I'm just glad I wasn't alive during some of these fashion trends.

I received a copy of this book from NetGalley for an honest review.
Author: Jennifer Wright
Publisher: Andrews McMeel Publishing
Publication Date: 21 Nov 2017

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Wednesday, October 18, 2017

Mervyn vs. Dennis

Mervyn vs. DennisMervyn vs. Dennis by Niels Saunders
My rating: 2 of 5 stars

Don't let the jar of peanut butter on the cover fool you, this is an adult book. It is also not a clean book, which is why I gave it two stars instead of three. The main story was great, with memorable characters, but, there were too many moments that made me really uncomfortable.

The book shows how wrong you can be when you judge them on the way they present themselves on the outside. We all have a part of ourselves that we don't want others to see. When Mervyn meets Dennis, a snap judgement is made, causing Mervyn to try and expose him. With a character as out there as Dennis, you have to wonder if he is just a compulsive, racist liar, or if things are not always as they may appear on the surface.

As much as I didn't like the very adult moments, I do believe that at least some of them were needed to tell the story. In a way, I think Niels Saunders makes readers uncomfortable on purpose. Opinions of the characters change during those moments.

I received a copy of this book from NetGalley for an honest review.

Author: Niels Saunders
Publisher: Imperial Press
Publication Date: 5 July 2016

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Thursday, October 12, 2017

The Uncommon Reader

The Uncommon ReaderThe Uncommon Reader by Alan Bennett
My rating: 3 of 5 stars

The Uncommon Reader is a novella that asks the question, what happens when the queen starts reading? I am normally not a fan of short stories or novellas, but I feel like this time, it worked. It didn't need the length that a full novel provides to tell the story. The pace moved along without adding a bunch of unnecessary events that serve no purpose except to make the story longer.

Growing up in a country that doesn't have royalty, I feel like I may not have fully appreciated some of what was going on in the story. It was still a worthwhile read, and I appreciate that it shows how reading can change a person, not just in how they spend their time, but in the way they look at the world. It's true, that the more you read, the more your mind is open to other people and places. Personally, I think having an open mind is a good thing for any leader to have.

Author: Alan Bennett
Publisher: Farrar, Straus and Giroux
Publication Date: 18 Sept 2007

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Ordinary Magic Being an Ord is Hard Work

Ordinary MagicOrdinary Magic by Caitlen Rubino-Bradway
My rating: 2 of 5 stars

Ordinary Magic is about a world where everyone has magic, and uses it to do everything. The question is, what happens to those people that for some reason not only have no magic, but can't be affected by the magic of others?

The premise of the story was interesting, it just took a weird turn. I was uncomfortable with the way the "ords" were treated. I understand why, but it seemed unreasonable to me that some of the parents and people in this world would treat the children the way they do. I did like the fact that even though the "ords" are different than everyone else, they have abilities that the people with magic don't. It shows that just because you are not like everyone else, doesn't mean that there isn't something special inside of you that makes you wonderful. I feel like that is what the book was really about, it just got too dark for my liking.

This is one of those books that would benefit from a sequel. I felt like there was too much left up in the air. I think if there was a sequel, I would read it and see where the story goes.

Author: Caitlen Rubino-Bradway
Publisher: Bloomsbury USA Childrens
Publication Date: 1 May 2012

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If I Ran the Zoo

If I Ran the ZooIf I Ran the Zoo by Dr. Seuss
My rating: 2 of 5 stars

If I Ran the Zoo is definitely one of the lesser known Dr. Seuss books. Even as an adult, this book was a challenge. I feel like there were a lot more made up words than normal. I wonder if anyone has ever compared all of Dr. Suess's books to see which one has the most made up words. This is a tongue twister that forced me to slow down as I was reading. While it was enjoyable, I think this is not a book I would go back and read. there are other Dr. Seuss books that I will turn to.

Author: Dr. Seuss
Publisher: Harper Collins
Publication Date: 1 Jan 1950

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Friday, October 6, 2017

How I Magically Messed Up My Life in Four Freakin Days

How I Magically Messed Up My Life in Four Freakin' DaysHow I Magically Messed Up My Life in Four Freakin' Days by Megan O'Russell
My rating: 3 of 5 stars

I wasn't sure about this book at first, and I think I will need to read the next book to really figure out how I feel about it. The story line was interesting, a magical phone that causes all sorts of problems for the teenagers who try to return it to its rightful owner.

I liked that the teenagers actually acted their age. It wasn't a bunch of kids finding something magic and then becoming super heroes or something. They were concerned about the magical world they had found, but also things like math and trying to decide what constitutes an emergency that would allow them to use the emergency credit card. Yes, there was some teen romance, but it was realistically awkward.

I wish the book would have expanded more on the friends and why they were so important to what was going on. Bryant can work the phone, so his roll in the story is clear, but the others are told they have rolls too, and that fate brought them all together. Why? Why were they so important. I would like their special skills to be expounded.

The aftermath of everything was left up in the air. Hopefully the next book will start out with Bryant's parents and everything that had been affected by the kids' actions. As a stand alone, I would say that it isn't really complete, but as the first in a series, it works.

I received a copy of this book for an honest review from the publisher.

Author: Megan O'Russell
Publisher: Curiosity Quills Press
Publication Date: 15 Aug 2017

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Corduroy Lost and Found

Corduroy Lost and FoundCorduroy Lost and Found by B.G. Hennessy
My rating: 3 of 5 stars

I'm not going to lie, Corduroy was one of my first loves. Something about Corduroy brings back the innocence of childhood. I may be biased, since I grew up with the original, but there is something to books that make you feel like you are a child again. There is nothing complicated about Corduroy. It's all about friendship and caring for other people. With how crazy the world is anymore, it was refreshing to read this.

Author: B.G. Hennessy
Publisher: Viking Books for Young Readers
Publication Date: 14 Sept 2006

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PostSecret The World is Depressed

ReganBooksPostSecret: Extraordinary Confessions from Ordinary LivesPostSecret: Extraordinary Confessions from Ordinary Lives by Frank Warren
My rating: 2 of 5 stars

This book was not what I thought it would be. It was really dark and made me kind of worried for the human race. I thought it was going to be light hearted, but it was the opposite.

Frank Warren is not the author, but the compiler of postcards people have anonymously sent him with their secrets. I like the fact that the book is not just a list of secrets, but has the images of the postcards. The way the postcards were designed give more meaning to the secret written on it.

The book was okay, but I wonder if Frank gets many cards with happy secrets. It would have helped to have had some variety to the secrets. They were all just too dark and depressing.

Author: Frank Warren
Publisher: ReganBooks
Publication Date: 2005

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Monday, October 2, 2017

Jumanji

JumanjiJumanji by Chris Van Allsburg
My rating: 2 of 5 stars

This is one of those books that needs to be read before watching the movie. The book seems calm in comparison. For little kids, this book is great. I don't really have a lot to say about this one. It's a kid's book that does not really cross over to adult reading.

Author: Chris Van Allsburg
Pulisher: Houghton Mifflin Company
Publication Date: 1981

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The Anybodies

The Anybodies (Anybodies, #1)The Anybodies by N.E. Bode
My rating: 3 of 5 stars

The fact that this is the first book in a series saves it. The book was fine, but the ending would have been a disappointment if it was a stand alone. The story reminds me of the Inkheart series, with power being shown through books. The Anybodies takes a different spin on it, which made the story move in a direction I did not really see coming.

I appreciate the fact that this book references so many others. It would be great if children went and read the other books because they were mentioned in this one. It made me think back on the books I've read. If you could take parts of your favorite books and make a world with them, what would you pick? I wouldn't have picked the same ones as the author, but they fit the story.

The author is like Lemony Snicket, a persona used to help the author talk directly to the reader as a character. Having the author talk to the reader is tricky. It could work, or it could be a disaster and break up the books flow. I think the author managed to do this successfully.

Depending on how the other books in the series go, I may read this book again.

Publisher: HarperCollins
Publication Date: 25 May 2004

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Tuesday, September 26, 2017

Mary Poppins Comes Back

Mary Poppins Comes Back (Mary Poppins #2)Mary Poppins Comes Back by P.L. Travers
My rating: 2 of 5 stars

I wanted to read this series after the movie came out about Walt Disney and P.L. Travers. So many people were saying that the movie was nothing like the book. After reading the first two books in this series, I still don't get what everyone has been upset about. Besides the fact that the Mary Poppins in the book is not as nice as the one in the movie, it seems to be a pretty good representation. True, the events in the book are a little different than the movie version, but, I can see where they used the same events just in a slightly different way.

There is a pattern with the books that kind of bugs me. After reading the first two, I have a pretty good idea of how the rest of the series goes. I'm not a fan of books that are predictable, so I don't think I will be reading the rest of this series. I usually go by the idea that you should never judge a book by its movie, because the book is usually better, but this time I'm going to have to change my mind. The movie will always be close to my heart. Maybe if I had read the books before I ever saw the movie I would feel different, but that is not the case. They were okay, I didn't struggle to get through them, I just didn't find any joy in the writing.

Author: P.L. Travers
Publisher: HMH Books for Young Readers
First Publication: 1935

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Emily's Runaway Imagination

Emily's Runaway ImaginationEmily's Runaway Imagination by Beverly Cleary
My rating: 2 of 5 stars

This book takes place in a time when most modern conveniences had not been invented yet. It is kind of like the Little House on the Prairie books in that regard. Because of this, I think the audience is limited. There are kids that will like this book, but in a world were technology plays such an important roll in our everyday lives, I'm not sure some kids would even understand what is happening.

Emily is like me, she absolutely loves books, and sometimes has a very loose grasp on reality. She seems to over think things all the time. Instead of being a carefree child, her mind is going contently, which makes the everyday normal things seem dramatic.

This is one of those books that, as an adult, I don't think I would read again, however; I think children that are not completely consumed by electronics would enjoy it. Especially good for kids that like the Little House on the Prairie series.

Author: Beverly Cleary
Publisher: HarperCollins
First Publication: 1961

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Monday, September 25, 2017

Baby Smurf is Not Having a Good Day

Why Do You Cry, Baby Smurf?Why Do You Cry, Baby Smurf? by Peyo
My rating: 2 of 5 stars

I will be the first to admit that this was a random book for me to read. My mother is a first grade teacher, who decided to go through her books. The title of this one caught my eye. Plus, I grew up during the time when Smurfs where awesome.

Some words in the book were smurfified. That is not a word, but it is the only way I can think to explain what was done. The illustrations were classic smurf, which brought me back to my childhood.

Overall, it was a cute little book about trying to figure out why the baby smurf was crying.

Author: Peyo
Publisher: Simon Spotlight
Publication Date: 1 Jan 2013

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Royal Crush

Royal Crush (From the Notebooks of a Middle School Princess, #3)Royal Crush by Meg Cabot
My rating: 3 of 5 stars

My feelings towards Meg Cabot and the Princess Diaries/Middle School Princess series vary. I've never truly been able to decided if I like them or not. I keep reading, so that's something I guess. It's hard for me to review this book without the comparison between the characters in this series, and the characters in the past series. Especially the grandmother. She is a completely different person in this series. I like the grandmother in this series, but I keep thinking back to the way she was before. Maybe she is just different because of the location, or the person she is talking to.

I think I need to read more of this series before I can decided how I feel about it. It is without a doubt a book for tweens. While it's entertaining, this isn't a book that carries over well into adult reading. This isn't really a big deal, it works for the audience it was written for, I just like books that are not only good when you are a child, but are ones worth reading as an adult also.

Author: Meg Cabot
Publisher: Feiwel & Friends
Publication Date: 1 Aug 2017

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Be a Unicorn

Be a Unicorn: and Live Life on the Bright SideBe a Unicorn: and Live Life on the Bright Side by Sarah Ford
My rating: 2 of 5 stars

I mostly wanted to read this book because of the unicorn on the cover. Is there really anyone that doesn't want to be a unicorn?

There are parts of this book that have important messages that we could all use in our lives. For the most part, the book was just a quick fun read. The illustrations made the book. They are not grand and detailed. They make me think of a little kids drawings.

I received a copy of this book from NetGalley for an honest review.
Author: Sarah Ford
Publisher: Andrews McMeel Publishing
Publication Date: 14 Nov 2017

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Thursday, September 21, 2017

Static Mayhem

Static Mayhem (Mayhem Wave, #2)Static Mayhem by Edward Aubry
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

While reading this book, I was giving it a solid 3 stars, by the time I was finished, I had bumped it up to 4. What bumped it up, was the fact that I wanted the next book right away. Static Mayhem ended with questions up in the air. As annoying as some people find it, I like having lingering questions when it comes to a series. I now have the chance to see if I can come up with an answer in my head, before I read what happens. It lets a reader's imagination run wild.

Harrison joins a group from New Chicago to see what is left of New York, the city where everything started. As they journey, they find new friends, new enemies, and an understanding of what is at stake if they fail or succeed.

I had a lot of emotions while reading. Shock new enemies appear, horror during fights, sadness after the fighting is over, joy when major changes happen in New Chicago, stress as they try to find alternative solutions to the problem, and possible emotion in between. What I really appreciate about Edward Aubry's writing, is that he brings in unexpected elements. I was questioning everything I thought I knew. The enemy I thought I knew, became the enemy I didn't know at all. The characters I felt I understood, did things I would have never imagined. If movies actually did books justice, I would say that so far, this series would make a great movie franchise. As it is, I hope this always stays as just a book. It can stand on its own.

My one problem, was that some of the characters I was attached to had very small roles. It's understandable, not everyone can go on these secret missions, but that doesn't mean that I didn't want them to be more involved. This is one of the reasons I can't wait for the next book. I want to know what has happened in New Chicago while Harrison and the others have been having their adventures.

I received a copy of this book from Curiosity Quills Press for an honest review.
Author: Edward Aubry
Publisher: Curiosity Quills Press
Publication Date: 25 July 2017

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Friday, September 15, 2017

Schooled for Murder

Schooled for MurderSchooled for Murder by Cindy Muir
My rating: 1 of 5 stars

I have mixed feelings about this book. I've seen reviews were people say they knew who the murderer was right away. I'm thinking those people must be geniuses, because I was clueless right up until the murderer confessed. There were so many random characters that were suspects at one time or another.

The parts I had a problem with, were the unnecessary little sections. They took away from the flow of the mystery. Along the way, I kept thinking about what my junior high English teacher used to say about writing, "Show, don't tell." I've never understood how much of a difference it makes until I read this book. The book is jam packed with unnecessary details. Everything is being told, little is being shown. For example, I know that the Subaru is red, Chuy is a chihuahua, and Sheba is a glamour cat. It was rarely the car, the dog, or the cat. The extra details were almost always included, which made it difficult to read.

Overall, I liked the mystery, but, there was a lot that slowed the flow of the story. It's just a small thing, and some people might not even notice it, but, it made it hard for me to get through.

I received a copy of this book from NetGalley for an honest review.
Author: Cindy Muir
Publisher: Black Rose Writing
Publication Date: 26 Jun 2014

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Thursday, September 14, 2017

The Man Who Knew Everything...Kind Of

The Man Who Knew Everything: The Strange Life of Athanasius KircherThe Man Who Knew Everything: The Strange Life of Athanasius Kircher by Marilee Peters
My rating: 3 of 5 stars

This is a great kids book that shows how important it is to follow your dreams and explore things you don't understand. Even if things don't work out exactly as planned, or you end up being completely wrong, you never know how your actions will affect the future.

Kircher reminds me of the saying "Jack of all trades, master of none." He worked with the knowledge the world had at the time to try to explain things happening in the world. He wasn't really focused on one thing, and this book explains the interesting ideas he came up with. It's a great way to look back on the past and see how far we have come from humble beginnings.

I received a copy of this book from NetGalley for an honest review.
Author: Marilee Peters
Publisher: Annick Press Ltd.
Publication Date: 10 Oct 2017

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Wednesday, September 13, 2017

The Long-Lost Secret Diary of the World's Worst Pirate

The Long-Lost Secret Diary of the World's Worst PirateThe Long-Lost Secret Diary of the World's Worst Pirate by Tim Collins
My rating: 3 of 5 stars

I chose to read this book because the title sounded like fun. Clearly, my method for picking books is very scientific. Turns out I was right, this is a fun read. The story is great, the illustrations are great, and the historical facts about pirates ties everything together.

This book shows kids that sometimes, what you think you want is not as great as you thought it would be. Without having all of the facts, you could end up making a decision that you regret.

The young main character dreams of being a pirate, thinking he knows all about them, and will have grand adventures. Once he gets his wish, he finds out that the image he had in his head and reality, are not on the same page. As he starts to discover what being a pirate is really all about, he starts wishing he had never dreamed of an exciting pirate life, and starts wishing for the life he would have had.

I received a copy of this book from NetGalley for an honest review.
Author: Tim Collins
Publisher: North Star Editions Jolly Fish Press
Publication Date: 19 Sep 2017

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The Legend of Jack Riddle

The Legend of Jack RiddleThe Legend of Jack Riddle by H Easson
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

When I first received this book, I automatically noticed the cover. It pulled me in and was begging to be read. I know you're told to not judge a book by its cover, but I think it's human nature to do so. Luckily, the cover of this book hits the nail on the head. The age group this book is for are drawn to books that look like this one.

Jack is a kid who is sent to visit his super-great aunt out in the middle of nowhere. The aunt has a secret, and when Jack finds out, his life is turned upside down. The characters are memorable, and bring many different fairy tales into the same world. From a fairy tale stand point, I found the way the stories were intertwined to be believable, with a smooth transition to each one.

The cast of characters is great, and brings some humor into a story that has its dark moments. This is not a fairy tale book that mirrors Disney with the happily ever after stuff. This book uses the original dark versions of the fairy tales. In those versions, not everyone lives happily ever after. I like the fact that using the original versions puts a new spin on things. Kids usually know the happy version of the stories, so they know the characters being presented, but they are shown that sometimes things don't always work out the way we planned. It takes work to overcome evil. Happily ever after does not come on its own, you have to do something to make it happen.

I found this book completely unpredictable, and because of that, I wanted to read it all the time to find out what was going to happen. Things are not always what they seem, and this book takes that and runs with it. Highly recommended.

I received a copy of this book from NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.
Author: H Easson
Publisher: Capstone
Publication Date: 1 Mar 2018

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Wednesday, September 6, 2017

The Best Medicine

The Best MedicineThe Best Medicine by Christine Hamill
My rating: 3 of 5 stars

I wasn't too sure of this book at first. Philip is kind of whiny to begin with. I know there are a lot of boys around that age who are like that, but it made me want to scream at him. At the same time, I was in his corner. It gets frustrating when you don't know what is going on. I was with him wanting to know what was going on with his family. Hiding things from people does not make it easier, it just makes the person go crazy. This book is case in point.

As the book goes on, you can see Philip changing. He takes a tough situation and grows from it, helping others at the same time.

The ending was great. It gave you just enough to feel okay with the book ending, but still left somethings up in the air. There are hints as to what may happen in the future, but it is not spelled out. I like it when books let the reader come to their own conclusions on things instead of telling you every detail about every character.

I was given a copy of the book by NetGalley for an honest review.

Author: Christine Hamill
Publisher: Annick Press
Publication Date: 14 Mar 2017

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I'm Sorry Blubber, It's Me Not You

BlubberBlubber by Judy Blume
My rating: 2 of 5 stars

I grew up on Judy Blume books, so I really wanted to like this one, but I didn't. There didn't seem to be a main story line or ending.

Yes, it's a book about bullying, which is something that needs to be stopped, but having parts talking about the fact that some of the parents don't care if their kids swear just seemed to have no real point. It also brought swearing into the book. Reading that, and knowing that the book is meant for children to read, made me uncomfortable.

I find it hard to believe that with all of the extreme things happening, no adults at all figured out there was even a small problem. With an entire class of kids, and sometimes even a bus full, no adult was ever told what happened or figured it out on their own? It may just be the decade in which the book takes place. The kids seemed to be alone a lot more than they are any more. So, maybe if this story were written today, an adult would have noticed and stopped it before it got completely out of hand.

The ending was the hardest thing for me to accept. After all the drama of the book, the end is pretty much like the beginning, just will people moved around a bit. Nothing was learned from the whole experience, nothing changed. The ending was just there, not bringing the story to a close or serving any real purpose at all.

I'm not a kid, parent, or teacher, so it is completely possible that events from the story happen in real life. If they do, then that is horrible and something needs to be done. From my point of view, it just seemed like a throw away novel. Like the publishers needed a new novel, and this is what was thrown together to fit the bill. I think if it had some type of ending that actually brought some closer, I would have liked the book.

Author: Judy Blume
Publisher: Macmillan Children's Books
First Publication: 1974

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Tuesday, August 29, 2017

The Unlikely Disciple

The Unlikely Disciple: A Sinner's Semester at America's Holiest UniversityThe Unlikely Disciple: A Sinner's Semester at America's Holiest University by Kevin Roose
My rating: 3 of 5 stars

I wasn't sure what to expect from this book. The title makes you wonder how it is going to end. The weird part for me is that I was also at a religious university in Virginia during the time Kevin Roose was at Liberty. I remember events that happened that year that are mentioned in the book. Looking at it from someone else's point of view brings me back to that time. That's the sign of a well written book, when you can transport someone to a moment in time from your point of view, even if they actually experienced it for themselves.

There were a lot of humorous moments that made the book feel like a human experience, and not just the facts about life at Liberty.

The one thing I really had an issue with is the beginning of the book. It seems like the story was just thrown in there to grab your attention, but Kevin never comes back to it and says what happened. It's only part of a story, and I kept hoping to find out the rest through the whole book, but it never happened.

All in all, I don't think this is a book that I would buy, but, it is one that I would be willing to read again if I picked it up at the library.

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Monday, August 28, 2017

The Journeys of a Sleep Walking Goat

Good Night Mr ClutterbuckGood Night Mr Clutterbuck by Mauri Kunnas
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

Good Night Mr Clutterbuck is a children's book that has been translated from Finnish. It is absolutely adorable, and I didn't fall asleep last night until I had finished it.

Mr Clutterbuck is a goat that has a habit of sleepwalking. During the day, he is mild mannered, and very shy. He tries to avoid social situations as often as possible. He is completely different in the night, when his true self takes over. I feel he is a true representation of a lot of humans. We tend to worry about what other people will think of us, but if that is taken away, great things can happen.

Of course, the book poses the question, "Who took all the spoons?" The answer is hilarious and surprising.

The illustrations are wonderful and bring the story to a whole new level. I enjoyed looking at all the details in the illustrations just as much as the actual story. This is an adorable children's book that everyone, no matter the age, will enjoy. Highly recommended.

I received a copy of this book from NetGalley for an honest review.
Author: Mauri Kunnas
Publisher: Elswhere Editions
Publication Date: 28 Nov 2017

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Tuesday, August 22, 2017

Prelude to Mayhem

Prelude to Mayhem (Mayhem Wave, #1)Prelude to Mayhem by Edward Aubry
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Prelude to Mayhem is one of those books that is completely unpredictable. Every time I thought I knew what was going on, the plot went in a completely different direction. I'm glad this is a series, because after everything that happened in the first book, I still don't know what is going on. My confusion is not because the book is poorly written, but because the characters don't know what is going on either. The narrator is not omniscient; therefore, the reader only knows as much as the characters do.

This is a dystopian novel that deviates from the traditional. There are hints of sci-fi and fantasy, which makes this series one of a kind. It doesn't follow the mold of other dystopian novels. I'm glad that there is that deviation, because there have been a lot of dystopian novels written in the last few years, and it's refreshing to read something that does not follow the rest.

I received a copy of this book from the publisher for an honest review.
Author: Edward Aubry
Publisher: Curiosity Quills Press
Publication Date: 28 November 2016

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Thursday, August 17, 2017

The Humorous Side of Life

Life Is a Joke: Funny Lessons for Serious LivingLife Is a Joke: Funny Lessons for Serious Living by Gordon & John Javna
My rating: 3 of 5 stars

I really enjoyed this book. The format makes the book seem light hearted, while at the same time, teaching the reader a lesson that they may be able to use in the future. This is a joke book that delves deeper. Each joke is related to real life situations. If this book had contained only the lessons and not the jokes, I'm not sure I would have finished it. The jokes made everything more relatable and understandable.

I would recommend this book for anyone that wants a little more guidance in their life, which is probably everyone.

I received a copy of this book from NetGalley for an honest review.
Author: Gordon and John Javna
Publisher: Workman Publishing Company
Publication Date: 31 Oct 2017

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Zen Pencils Illustrated Quotes

Zen Pencils--Inspirational Quotes for KidsZen Pencils--Inspirational Quotes for Kids by Gavin Aung Than
My rating: 3 of 5 stars

This book is filled with inspirational quotes meant for children. After reading it, I feel that you shouldn't let the word "Kids" in the title dissuade you from reading it. I found myself taking the messages to heart as I read. There is an adult version of this, so if you really want to read something not geared towards kids, I would suggest that.

The illustrations were great and helped to bring a new layer to the quotes. They provide a story all on their own.

I received a copy of this book from NetGalley for an honest review.
Author: Gavin Aung Than
Publisher: Andrews McMeel
Publication Date: 17 Oct 2017

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Wednesday, August 16, 2017

The Underbelly of Medicine

Quackery: A Brief History of the Worst Ways to Cure EverythingQuackery: A Brief History of the Worst Ways to Cure Everything by Lydia Kang
My rating: 2 of 5 stars

Before the review, an important note on my rating system. Two stars from me does not mean that the book was bad. It means, that the book is actually good, it's just something that I can't see myself reading again just because of my personal preferences.

This book was highly entertaining and gory at the same time. As I was reading it, I kept thinking how glad I was to be alive during a time when we know procedures used in the past are actually harmful. I wonder how many of the things we done in health care now will be considered quackery in a few hundred years. On the bright side, at least I've never had to deal with the procedures mentioned in this book.

I enjoyed the book, pulling faces all the way through, but I think for me personally, it's not something I would read again. Now that I have learned the information, I'm good. People that are into medicine, history, or science in general would like this book. I really think anyone would like this book, but it takes someone with a strong interest in this kind of information to decided to read it over and over.

There are some cheesy jokes throughout that broke up some of the gross bits. There are also little thoughts throughout that echoed what I was thinking while reading those sections. The author knows that some of the procedures done in olden days is really off the wall, and the notes make me feel like I'm not alone in my thought process.

The pictures were a huge help in really understanding what the processes were. When you read that they used a certain instrument that is not used today, it's hard to picture how everything worked. The images clarified those questions.

I received a copy of this book through NetGalley for an honest review.
Author: Lydia Kang
Publisher: Workman Publishing Company
Publication Date: 17 Oct 2017

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Wallace the Brave and Sterling

Wallace the BraveWallace the Brave by William Wilson
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

When I started reading Wallace the Brave, I thought it was going to be a different take on Calvin and Hobbs. I figured there would be a little kid getting into trouble, while everyone around him is more mature and tries to bring him back to the real world. I was wrong. These comics stand on their own, and are enjoyable for readers of any age.

The illustrations bring you back to a simpler time. They are not as clear cut as older comics. Sometimes characters will randomly have a unibrow, which oddly works. I feel that the illustrations show the connection between the author and the book. Having perfectly drawn characters every time is not as important as the story.

Wallace is the main character, but you also have his friends, family, and teacher. All of the characters are lovable in their own way. While there isn't an animal that follows them on their adventures, there are seagulls that show up every now and then to bring in more humor. There are adults in this book, but unlike other comics, the adults sometimes act just as childish as the kids. This seems more true to life than an adult always being serious and trying to bring their children back to the real world.

My favorite character is Sterling, Wallace's little brother. I'm not sure how old he is supposed to be, but he is hilarious when he shows up. He is a character that can sit quietly in the background until he has something to say. Like most little children, the things he has to say tend to be a little off the wall and filled with drama.

I appreciate that Will Henry does not just do the standard story lines. With the number of characters he created, he is able to do more. I found myself wishing there was another Wallace the Brave book so that I could keep reading. I did receive a copy to review, but I will be buying a physical copy when it is published. The simple joys shown in this book make me wish I was still a child.

I really don't know anyone that wouldn't enjoy this book. I guess if someone really does not like the comic format then they wouldn't like it, but that is it. I am highly recommending this book. I hope a second volume is in the works.

I was given a copy of this book by NetGalley for an honest review.
Author: Will Henry
Publisher: Andrews McMeel
Publication Date: 17 Oct 2017

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Monday, August 14, 2017

Are Toddlers Related to Zombies?

The Toddler Survival Guide: Complete Protection from the Whiny UnfedThe Toddler Survival Guide: Complete Protection from the Whiny Unfed by Mike Spohr
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

After reading this, I really think Mike Spohr and James Breakwell need to collaborate. This book shows you how to survive toddlers, and James has a book on how to fight zombies with toddlers. And by that I mean when you have toddlers, you shouldn't actually use toddlers as a weapon against zombies.

This book is filled with humor, while at the same time, actually gives out good parenting advice. Some of the situations are presented in the extreme, but that just ups the humor. Even in the extreme, I'm sure there are plenty of parents that can relate.

The images helped to add some extra enjoyment. I don't have children, but if I ever do, I will read this book again to have some sense of what to do. This isn't a book written by a child care expert, just a parent that talks about the real world, not some imaginary place where things go as planned.

I was given a copy of this book by NetGally for an honest review.
Author: Mike Spohr
Publisher: Quarto Publishing Group – Voyageur Press
Publication Date: 1 Aug 2017

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When You Need to Know You Are Not Alone

We're with You: Counsel and Encouragement from Your BrethrenWe're with You: Counsel and Encouragement from Your Brethren by Council of the Twelve Apostles
My rating: 3 of 5 stars

I feel like this is one of those books that you read once to get a sense of what it contains, and then go back to sections when needed.

There were sections that really pertain to my life right now, but others would have been helpful in the past. This book is for youth, so for them, a lot of what is talked about is in the future.

It is always comforting to know that you are not the only one that has gone through struggles. There are people that have been through the same thing and have come out on the other side. This is a great way to learn from your elders.

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Riding the Bus with My Sister...and a Bunch of Drivers

Riding the Bus with My Sister: A True Life JourneyRiding the Bus with My Sister: A True Life Journey by Rachel Simon
My rating: 2 of 5 stars

I know this is a true story, which I'm sure is difficult to write, but I felt that is was all over the place. The rotating cast of bus drivers left me confused. When one was mentioned later, I couldn't remember what had already been said about them.

The flash backs helped to explain the story, and they were great to read, they just seemed all over the place.

Maybe I just needed to take more time to read it, but it seems like the story focused more on the bus drivers and bathrooms than the actual sisters.

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If You Give a Man a Cookie You Might Need Counseling

If You Give a Man a Cookie: A ParodyIf You Give a Man a Cookie: A Parody by Laura Joffe Numeroff
My rating: 1 of 5 stars

I really wanted to like this book, but I just couldn't. I didn't find the humor in it. It seemed more like a rant than something that is enjoyable. This is a parody, but it is written by the author who wrote the original, so I was expecting great things.

I enjoyed the illustrations a lot more than the actual story. Maybe the humor was just too crude for me. This is definitely not a book to give to children to read. It pains me to write this review, but I will always give my honest opinion.

I was given a copy of this book by NetGalley in exchange for an honest opinion.
Author: Laura Joffe Numeroff
Publisher: Andrews McMeel
Publication Date: 10 October 2017

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Fowl Language

Fowl Language: The Struggle Is RealFowl Language: The Struggle Is Real by Brian Gordon
My rating: 3 of 5 stars

Fowl Language is a comic, but one that is specifically geared towards adults. The title is not just in reference to the ducks. That being said, there is not a lot of actual foul language, which I appreciate.

The comics were unexpected. The last panel always threw me off guard. You think you know what is coming, but like kids, sometimes you are just along for the ride.

When reading this book, make sure you do not skip to the actual comics. The humor begins in the introduction. While I don't have kids and I can't draw, I feel like I have now been given a gift, a way to help cope with kids doing crazy stuff without going crazy myself.

I would recommend this book to people with kids and people who want to enjoy laughing at parenting struggles. If you are planning a fantasy where you have perfect children that never do anything you believe to be inappropriate, this book is not for you. After you have had kids for a few years and your dream is in the past, then read this book and find joy in knowing that raising kids is hard and hilarious at the same time. It's all in how you look at it.

I was given a copy of this book by NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.
Author: Brian Gordon
Publisher: Andrews McMeel Publishing
Publication Date: 10 Oct 2017

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Wednesday, August 9, 2017

What Teachers Really Think

Teaching: The Luxurious Life of the Underpaid and OverworkedTeaching: The Luxurious Life of the Underpaid and Overworked by Bored Teacher LLC
My rating: 2 of 5 stars

The book was a humorous quick read, and as the daughter of a teacher, I remember my mom saying some of the phrases mentioned. Teachers, at least those in elementary schools will easily be able to relate to this book. For me, even though it was funny, it was a one-and-done book. I don't see myself deciding to read it for a second time. It may be because there wasn't a lot of content, or because I'm not actually a teacher, so I had a hard time truly relating.

There are a few teachers I know that would love this book, so as far as being giftable, it does really well.

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Monday, August 7, 2017

Cassandra Clare's World

Clockwork Prince (The Infernal Devices, #2)Clockwork Prince by Cassandra Clare
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

I'm a little late in joining the Cassandra Clare band wagon, but I'm beginning to see why so many people like her books. Luckily for me, I don't have to wait for the next book to come out.

So far, I have enjoyed the mystery aspect of the series. The reader does not get all the information at once, so you have to pay attention to what is going on and pick up on the little details that make a whole. I kind of wish I lived in this world, but at the same time, I'm really glad that I don't have to deal with the issues they deal with. I'm pretty sure I would just crawl into a ball if the world was really like it is portrayed in this series.

I will admit, I am not a big romance person, so the only part I really had issues with was the love triangle. It was a little too much and a little too cheesy for my taste, but I know a lot of people like that kind of stuff, so for them, it is great. For the record, if I was Tessa, I think I would just hide under my bed until everyone went away. I'm glad she at least deals with the situation and makes a decision.

The character development has been great. It shows that first impressions are not always correct, and that people are more than their past. In this book, there were quite a few characters that showed they had more to them then previously thought. I relate better to characters that are more than one dimensional. It keeps the book interesting to know that you may not understand everything about the character, and the judgments you make could be completely wrong.

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Sunday, July 30, 2017

An Adult Picture Book for the Horror Lover in All of Us

This book is not being published until October, making this a perfect Halloween read.

This is a picture book that is most definitely not meant for children. It may give them nightmares. Actually, it may give anyone nightmares.

It was funny and entertaining, but I personally can't see anyone reading it more than once. I know there are people out there that will find this book so entertaining that they read it over and over, I'm just not one of those people.

The illustrations were great, and the poems were hilarious. For anyone that has ever thought of the zombie apocalypse, this is a great way to enjoy not only the zombies, but many other ways the world could come to an end.

I give it 2 stars.

I received a copy of this book from NetGalley for a review.

Thursday, July 27, 2017

Random Illustrated Facts the World Needed This

Random Illustrated Facts: A Collection of Curious, Weird, and Totally Not Boring Things to KnowRandom Illustrated Facts: A Collection of Curious, Weird, and Totally Not Boring Things to Know by Mike Lowery
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Random Illustrated Facts is a great way to start learning about all the crazy things that have happened and are still happening. I have a greater respect for history now, knowing that I could stumble upon unexpected information. Some of the facts were gross, the bugs especially, but they are facts. I will admit, my favorite section was the first one. Who knew animals and historical figures joined together so often? If only there had been cameras during Napoleon's little experience. My guess is that it would have been a viral video.

The illustrations are awesome. They make the facts more than just words on a page. I felt like the facts became something more when combined with the illustrations. Mike Lowery should write a companion book to this one with just history facts. I'm sure there are a lot of random history facts out there that most people don't know about. I think it would make history come alive in a way that it doesn't for a lot of people. I know I would have liked something like that when I was taking history in high school.

I don't know of any demographic that would not like this book. There is something for everyone. It's an enjoyable read that doesn't drag, and as a bonus, actually makes you smarter. Smarter with random facts, but you never know when those will come in handy.

This is a great book for people that don't really like to read, but are willing to try if given the right book. It makes reading enjoyable. This book was given to me for a review from NetGalley.

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Wednesday, July 26, 2017

Fred is Dead...Sorry Fred

Shake Hands or DieShake Hands or Die by Michael Northey
My rating: 3 of 5 stars

This book is a murder mystery with a side dish of humor. When a morally questionable reporter is found dead on church property, the police have to figure out what happened. Throughout the novel, the same incident is reported to the police multiple times. Each time the story changes a little, because, let's face it, no two people ever see a situation in the same way. Each retelling brings a different character into question.

By having the mystery laid out in this manner, the reader has a harder time trying to figure out what happened before the end of the book. Suddenly everyone seems suspicious.

I could have done without all of the relationship stuff. It kind of bogged down the story for me. Without all of that, the mystery would have flowed better. Other than that, I enjoyed the book, especially the old church members who are bound and determined to find out what really happened, even if they don't go about it in the smartest way.

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Tuesday, July 25, 2017

The Zombie Apocalypse...with Children

Only Dead on the Inside: A Parent's Guide to Surviving the Zombie ApocalypseOnly Dead on the Inside: A Parent's Guide to Surviving the Zombie Apocalypse by James Breakwell
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

I love reading James Breakwell's tweets. When I found out he was writing a book, I couldn't wait to get my hands on it. Thanks to NetGalley, I didn't have to wait long. Zombies have become the in thing, which I find a little weird, but, pair that with incredible humor, and suddenly I'm okay with the whole zombie thing.

This isn't your normal zombie book. There's a twist. How do you survive the zombie apocalypse when you have kids that you should really try to keep alive. Suddenly, all the things you have to deal with as a parent become tools to help you survive one more day.

The only people that wouldn't like this book are zombies, people that want to become zombies, and people with absolutely no sense of humor. Even if you have a small sense of humor, you will find something enjoyable about this book.

As a side note, I'm now going to stock up on diapers and umbrella strollers.

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