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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