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


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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