Sunday, March 30, 2008

Book Review #21
Chicks With Sticks (Knit-wise) by Elizabeth Lenhard
Rating: one star (out of four)

The third book in the Chicks With Sticks series. It is Scottie, Amanda, Bella and Tay's last year together, next fall they are off to college, with the exception of Tay, who still has one year left of high school. The refuge they have taken in knitting has helped them for the past couple of years, but Scottie doesn't know if it will be enough to last through college and wonders if this is the last year of the Chicks With Sticks.

This book was okay at best. I read it because I had read the previous two and wondered if it would have any cool knitting aspects, since I am a knitter, I really appreciate the knitting lingo. This book was more about the relationships of the girls and Scottie's fears that she would not be able to cope with all these new changes. I was somewhat unimpressed with how the characters played out and sometimes I just wished that some of them would grow up. I'd say it was Sisterhood of the Traveling Pants meets Knitting, a worthy attempt, but not quite up to my standards.

Book Review #20
The Queen Of Second Place by Laura Peyton Roberts
Rating: one star (out of four)

Cassie sees herself as the Second Place Queen, it seems no matter how hard she tries, she always manages to land back into that faithful and familiar spot of second place. Cassie doesn't let it bother her though, not until she sees Kevin Matthews walk into her English class. Everything would be perfect, except that Sterling Carter thinks that she is entitled to him. Is Cassie going to let Sterling get her way again?

I really thought this was a funny book for the first two chapters, but then it lost its shine and I felt as if the story wilted. I soon grew tired of the relationship status of jumping from couple to couple and acting as if that were perfectly fine and normal, it just made me mildly irritated. While it didn't have any seriously annoying aspects that you would typically find in a YA book, I didn't think the story line did a good enough job to keep the reader totally hooked.

Saturday, March 29, 2008

Book Review #19
Don't Know Much About History by Kenneth C. Davis
Rating: three stars (out of four)

Kenneth C. Davis gives you an overview of American history in a way that you have never quite read. From the civil war to the civil rights movement, Kenneth C. Davis leaves you with a deeper understanding of the past.

This book was pretty impressive, not only was it several hundred pages long, but it also covered a lot of American history. I got a basic overview and am confident that I learned some things I didn't know before. Told in a fresh perspective, this book wasn't hard to enjoy, I found myself soaking up the knowledge and wondering how it would all work out. I would recommend this book to pretty much anyone who wants to brush up on their history, this book is a charming read.

Monday, March 24, 2008

Book Review #18
This Lullaby by Sarah Dessen
Rating: one star (out of four)

Remy is a girl who thinks that she has this whole love thing figured out, whenever she feels that the relationship might take a step up, she dumps the guy. All that changes when she meets Dexter, a guy who says that the first time he saw her, he knew they were meant to be together. To top it all off, Dexter is a musician, an occupation Remy does not like because her father was one and only left her with one legacy, a one hit wonder called, "this lullaby".

This book had a decent amount of faults. I did not care for the main character, she didn't seem to learn from her mistakes and the way she used guys in her relationships, only staying with them until she thought things were getting to serious and then unmercifully dumping them for the next guy, only made me dislike her more. I did not like Dexter, I couldn't see how he managed to be in a band with the way he acted and how he couldn't seem to keep track of important things like the electricity bill. There were a couple moments of sweetness, but not nearly enough to redeem this novel. Language was a bit of a problem as well, but upon reading more and more Sarah Dessen, it seems that she has no problem with adding words here and there. I would not recommend this book to my friends, it was entirely lacking the good qualities that I had expected.

Book Review #17
Don't Know Much About Planet Earth by Kenneth C. Davis
Rating: one star (out of four)

A short history and discription of the planet we live on.

I found this book kind of boring, I might have even fallen asleep once or twice. I didn't agree with everything Kenneth C. Davis wrote because we still don't know a lot, even though we feel like we know everything, we really don't, so I don't think it is logical to go around stating things as fact when we are really not sure. Other then that it was an "okay" book, but I'm not sure that I will recommend it.

Book Review #16
Zen And The Art Of Faking It by Jordan Sonnenblick
Rating: four stars (out of four)

When San Lee moves to a new school he sort of gives everybody the impression that he is a Zen Master after answering one too many questions. Before he knows it, people are looking at him in a whole new light and San has to study up on Zen to keep his fake image, all the while juggling his "poverty" home life and trying to get the attention of the girl he likes, all in a very zen sort of way. Will San Lee be able to pull everything off? Sort of....

I absolutely love Jordan Sonnenblick. He has definitely got to be one of my favorite authors. Every page is hilarious, I can't stop laughing. His sarcastic comments and character narrations are totally funny. I really liked this book, it kept me entertained and made me smile, this book is one I'd recommend to all my friends.

Friday, March 21, 2008

Book Review #15
Don't Know Much About Abraham Lincoln by Kenneth C. Davis
Rating: three stars (out of four)

Abraham Lincoln seems like the kind of person that I would not have minded being friends with. He was a remarkable man, especially in such trying times. Kenneth C. Davis writes in such a way you cannot help but be interested. I'd recommend this to anyone who wants to read a short but informative book on one of our greatest presidents.

Book Review #14
Letters From Rapunzel by Sara Lewis Holmes
Rating: one star (out of four)

After finding a torn up letter in her father's handwriting to a mysterious "box #5667" Cadence decides that maybe if she writes this person a letter she will figure out why her father is sick. Likening herself to Rapunzel, Cadence labels everything in her life like it was in a fairy tale.

The cover of this book was very misleading, I thought it might be a fantasy novel, but it is actually contemporary fiction. Cadence is slightly immature in her style in writing and the only reason I finished this book was because it was short and had a large font. I was not overly impressed with the writing style, but thought that Sara Lewis Holmes had some imaginative snippets that could have been spectacular if they had been in a different setting. Over all, I thought this book was on the side of pathetic, but because of the rare "gem" of insight, it wasn't a total waste of my time.

Thursday, March 20, 2008

Book Review #13
Mercy Watson: Princess In Disguise by Kate DiCamillo
Rating: four stars (out of four)

Book 4 in the delightful Mercy Watson series written by the award-winning writer, Kate Dicamillo.

These books crack me up. I love the facial expressions and how the Watsons dote on their pig, Mercy. She always seems to be in some sort of trouble, but buttered toast is the key to a happy ending. These books are lovely little chapter books that are very enjoyable and I would recommend them to anyone.

Book Review #12
Great Joy by Kate DiCamillo
Rating: three stars (out of four)

The illustrations for this book are simply astounding, I loved looking at them, remembering all the magical moments I had as a child when I didn't know how to read and would glean what I could from the pictures. The story was very sweet and made me smile. Definitely read if you are a fan of Kate DiCamillo.

Book Review #11
Just Listen by Sarah Dessen
Rating: two stars (out of four)

You'd think the life of a model would be perfect and hassle-free, but Annabel's life is anything but perfect. It's the fall of her junior year and even though in all the adds it looks like she's got it all, Annabel feels like her life is just falling apart. Between her former best friends vicious rumors and her sister's sickness at home, Annabel just doesn't know how to cope. It's not until she meets Owen Armstrong, the super tall, music obsessed loner, that Annabel starts to see thinks in a different light.

I really loved the first half of the book and was ready to just give it 5 stars and be happy, but somewhere around the middle it switched. There was a decent amount of language - enough to be irksome and then some. The scene where Annabel relives her past was also very intesne and made me uncomfortable. You don't have to go into all that much detail, a simple phrase or two would have worked. I would have loved the book if it had ended in the middle, but as it did not, I am going to have a hard time recommending Just Listen to my friends.

Book Review #10
Don't Know Much About Space by Kenneth C. Davis
Rating: one star (out of four)

I thought it was funny how Kenneth is writing about all the things that we used to believe about space and he jokes how stupid we were. Then he goes on to explain what we now know is true and I'm thinking, "ha, yeah right!" Because - who knows - in 200 years people are going to be laughing at us for what we believed now. This book was also incredibly hard to get through, I almost fell asleep a couple times. While most of his books are humorous educational reads, I didn't care for this one a bit, I don't think that we can go around claiming we know how things work now because we are so much smarter then a couple hundred years ago. Don't bother reading this book.

Tuesday, March 18, 2008

Book Review #9
Keeping The Moon by Sarah Dessen
Rating: four stars (out of four)

Colie feels like she has been abandoned, and to anyone else, it might actually look that way to, being dropped off to spend the summer with an Aunt she hardly knows. As Colie tries to adjust to her very different Aunt Mira and her strange artistic tenant, Norman, she lands a waitressing job at the local diner and meets Morgan and Isabel, two girls who have gone through high school and survived. Over the course of the summer Colie finds out this might have been just what she needed.

I really liked Norman - he was my favorite character, his personality just made me smile. Through out the book there were several parts where I was on the verge of tears or about to bust out laughing, it kept me hooked and wanting to not stop until I got to the end. There was a little bit of language, which I didn't particularly care for. Sarah did an excellent job of showing a broken, sad girl who thought she was stuck and how with the help of a couple eccentric new friends, she finds the strength that was hiding all along inside her, to change.

Book Review #8
Don't Know Much About Rosa Parks by Kenneth C. Davis
Rating: three stars(out of four)

A biography of Rosa Parks told from the humorous perspective of Kenneth C. Davis.

A humble and respected woman, Rosa Parks did not set out to change the world that day when she refused to give up her seat. She was merely doing what she thought was right and was tired of being treated badly. Kenneth C. Davis tells her story in a way that shows you how ordinary you can be and still achieve great things. I admire Rosa Parks for what she did and how she helped the civil rights movement, this book gave me more information about her life. A nice book that had all the good elements of history, as well as the horrific that made me shudder in shame.

Book Review #7
Don't Know Much About Martin Luther King Jr. by Kenneth C. Davis
Rating: three stars (out of four)

A biography of Martin Luther King Jr. told in the way that only Kenneth C. Davis can; a little bit of humor and lots of quirky questions leading to answers.

This book gave an interesting portrayal about Martin King Luther Jr. and his life that I had not read before. It started with his childhood and gave me elements and facts about him that made him more personable to me. I liked that it wasn't always just about Martin Luther King Jr. Kenneth C. Davis was very good about pointing out all the other people that had worked so hard, but weren't necessarily in the lime light. I enjoyed reading this book, even if it did have a fair amount of sad parts about how Martin Luther King's movement was threatened and beaten down. I hope that we can learn from the past.

Monday, March 17, 2008

Book Review #6
How To Take The Ex Out Of Ex-Boyfriend by Janette Rallison
Rating: four stars (out of four)

Giovanna is surprised when her twin brother, Dante decides to run for class president, but she is even more shocked when her boyfriend, Jesse (who is also a friend of Dante) says he is going to support the opposing side. In a fit of conflicting emotions, Giovanna dumps Jesse because she feels it is the only right thing to do, with him turning on her and Dante. But later she realizes that that might have been a little rash and wants to win him back, but she also wants to help her brother win class president.

I loved this book. I pretty much love anything Janette Rallison writes. This book made me laugh out loud Several Times. Just when you thought that Giovanna couldn't possibly be in a worst situation, Janette would add a whole new layer and you would be left spell-bound, wondering how Giovanna would ever pull through. Janette always had a little plot twist up her sleeve, something you never saw coming and then you'd go, "no WAY!" and laugh hysterically. A book I would recommend to all my friends.

Book Review #5
That Summer by Sarah Dessen
Rating: three stars (out of four)

15-year-old Haven has always thought of the past with fond memories. She continuously retreats to favorite memories, not realizing that they might be jaded from reality. With Haven's father getting remarried and her sister, Ashley's marriage looming in the distant future, something snaps in Haven and she feels like she can't go on. It's only when an unexpected person, Ashley's old boyfriend, Sumner pops back into her life, does she start to think that maybe things will go back to the way they were all those years ago.

A fairly decent book, on the edge of three stars, leaning towards the two. I thought the language was annoying and took away from my liking the book more. I really liked how Haven never saw Sumner as anything more then a friend. And I liked that it was mostly about her struggles and finally finding freedom. It was also a relationship book, between Haven and her sister, Ashley. Read if you are a major Sarah Dessen fan.

Sunday, March 16, 2008

Book Review #4
Don't Know Much About George Washington by Kenneth C. Davis
Rating: three stars (out of four)

A biography of George Washington told from a fresh and fun perspective.

I enjoyed this book, I saw it as a "refresher", but along the way, I learned some new things as well. Kenneth C. Davis makes all of his book easy to read and very enjoyable, taking facts that might have been boring and spicing them up with silly little word plays. A good book all around.

Saturday, March 15, 2008

Book Review #3
Don't Know Much About Sitting Bull by Kenneth C. Davis
Rating: three stars (out of four)

A biography about Sitting Bull.

I checked this book out because lately I've been on a "Don't Know Much About..." kick. I had initially planned on reading, "Don't Know Much About History" but when I when I looked it up at the library, there were so many other "Don't Know Much About" titles that I simply couldn't resist. It's a Juvenile book, so it's not nearly as thick as some of Kenneth's other books, but it is compact and full of facts and interesting tidbits that give you a wide scope of Sitting Bull and his heritage. Some of the things in the book were very sad, some disturbing. When I think of all that we (the English, white settlers) did to the Native Americans, it makes me want to cry. It is so depressing, but I thought that Kenneth did a good job of having equal bits of the sad reality along with silly play-on-word questions that lead to insightful facts about the culture and Sitting Bull's life. I enjoyed the book and learned a lot about the Lakota and Sitting Bull. I'd recommend it if you were interested in learning some cool stuff in a short, easy to read format.

Book Review #2
Someone Like You by Sarah Dessen
Rating: two stars (out of four)

Halley is a shy girl who has always had the help of her best friend Scarlett to guide her through the many pitfalls of teenage life. But when Scarlett's boyfriend dies, Halley must be the strong one and help Scarlett when she finds out she is pregnant, all the while juggling her crumbling relationship with her mom and her new relationship with Macon, a boy who is known for his reputation and indifference to school.

I liked Scarlett's character, she seemed like the kind of person that I would want to have around. I didn't care for Halley as much, which was interesting, seeing how she was the main character. I found it unrealistic that after years and years of Halley and her mom being the best of buds Halley just goes slightly off the deep end and starts hanging out with questionable people. I didn't care for Macon all that much, he seemed pretty shallow and undeveloped. The only reason I could see Halley falling for him was that she was bored, thought he was mysterious and loved the fact that he would be interested in someone like her. I didn't dislike the book, but at the same time it is not something I would rave on and on about. Parts of the book were very good and had that emotional pull that kept drawing you back to read the next chapter and the next. To me, this book is somewhere in the middle, kind of a take it or leave it.

Friday, March 14, 2008

Book Review #1
Undercover by Beth Kephart
Rating: three stars (out of four)

Elisa is a girl who has spent most of her life in the shadows, quietly observing from the sidelines, content to think her own thoughts and write poetic thoughts in her head. As a hobby she writes love poems for some of the boys at school to give to the girl they like. Elisa's father seems to be constantly away on business trips, the one person that she feels she can talk to and to cope, she starts ice skating. Things get really slippery when Elisa starts to suspect that she has feelings for one of her "clients".

I think my favorite aspect of this book was the poetic imagery. I loved how the author threw in all these fantastic lines describing the everyday normal and turning it into a poem without the regular poem format. The sentences about nature were very picturesque. It was a little shorter then I would have liked, and the ending was a bit of a damper, but I thought it did end well. The poetic flavor, and the slight bit of humor made this book very enjoyable. Overall, I thought that it was a lovely book that I would recommend to my friends.