Monday, June 30, 2008

Book Review #131
McElligot's Pool by Dr. Seuss
Rating: three stars (out of four)

A darling book that I found very imaginative and funny.  I love Dr. Seuss' rhymes and how the little boy in the book was positively convinced that if he was patient enough, he would eventually catch a fish.  I also liked the added twist that it was really our fault for having so little faith.

Book Review #130
Teenvirtue by Vicki Courtney
Rating: four stars (out of four)

I really liked the format of this book.  It was set up like a magazine, which would definitely appeal to the young adult crowd.  It was really hip and stylish.  I liked the colors they used and also the photographs.  I thought the articles were straight-on and I found myself agreeing with pretty much all they had to say.  I think this is something that every teenage girl should have to read, it has advice that is helpful and inspirational.  I would definitely recommend this book.

Friday, June 27, 2008

Book Review #129
Al Capone Does My Shirts by Gennifer Choldenko
Rating: three stars (out of four)

I liked this book.  There were parts that were extremely well-written and almost made me cry.  I thought that it was a sweet story that wasn't told in a simplistic way and didn't shy away from the things that might make the reader uncomfortable.  But it was a good uncomfortable, because it made you think.  And thinking is always good.  I would recommend this book.

Book Review #128
The Little Prince by Antoine De Saint-Exupery
Rating: one star (out of four)

I read this book because I believed that it was a classic and that I would be missing out on something special, like The Phantom Tollbooth.  This book was very bizarre, I couldn't get past its strangeness.  The first couple of pages seemed fairly decent and I thought that I was going to be in for a treat.  But then its shine wore off and I was wondering what was going on.  The author left a lot of things unsaid and just went on with his random little monologue.  
I was annoyed because it had all the elements to be an interesting story, but it fell dreadfully short.  Some parts of the book I thought were very insightful and I did like how easily the author could let you see things through a child's eyes.  The way adults were portrayed was slightly rude, (you've got to give them more credit then that, not every adult is some mindless weirdo.)  
The ending was a bit of a shocker and I was not impressed, to me it gave off a totally bad feel and made it almost not a childrens book, it seemed dark and apathetic.  I felt like the little prince did not know what he was doing and that the pilot should have stopped him.  I did not make friends with the little prince and wasn't the least bit nostalgic at the end.  I don't know why this book is hailed as a great classic.  I didn't get much out of it and I know that I wouldn't recommend it to children, the ending was just not appropriate.

Thursday, June 26, 2008

Book Review #127
Not A Stick by Antoinette Portis
Rating: four stars (out of four)

I think this book is hysterical.  It is so true.  Adults tend to look at what children are playing with and say, "Hey, be careful, why are you playing with that stick?" when children aren't playing with a stick, they are completely lost in their own little world.  This is a delightful book that is equal parts amusing and imaginative, you should definitely check it out.

Book Review #126
So Few Of Me by Peter H. Reynolds
Rating: three stars (out of four)

I love Peter H. Reynolds' illustrations, they are so sweet and oftentimes, comical.  This book is pretty funny, even though it is a children's book I can see an adult message as well.  The back flap explains how the author got the inspiration for this book and it made me laugh.  I'd definitely recommend this book.

Book Review #125
Jimmy Zangwow's Out-Of-This-World Moon-Pie Adventure by Tony DiTerlizzi
Rating: three stars (out of four)

This was a very whimsical story that had me smiling on more then one occasion.  Tony DiTerlizzi always adds little details to his illustrations that make it so much brighter, more real, and I just love his characters.  A crazy adventure staring Moon-Pies, Aliens, and cowboy boots, check it out.

Book Review #124
My Many Colored Days by Dr. Seuss, illustrated by Steve Johnson & Lou Fancher
Rating: two stars (out of four)

I thought this was a sweet little book, I really liked the illustrations, they added a lot to the story.  This is somewhat different from a normal Dr. Seuss book, it's not as nonsensical, but more structured.  Still, I'd recommend this book.

Book Review #123
Hip Knit Hats by Cathy Carron
Rating: three stars (out of four)

This book was cool.  I thought that they took a simple thing such as a hat and made it into something spectacular.  I flagged 12 patterns in this book that I might want to knit someday.  That is a lot, especially since I am pretty particular about what patterns I want to knit.  I really liked this book.  The layout was very inviting and friendly.  I would recommend this book.

Wednesday, June 25, 2008

Book Review #122
Author Talk edited by
Rating: three stars (out of four)

This book was pretty interesting, if not a little boring at some times.  I found the questions that they asked the authors pretty intriguing and I enjoyed reading their responses.  I'm not sure if I would recommend this book, only because it just wasn't fantastic or anything, but if it had one of your favorite authors in it I might recommend you checking it out.

Book Review #121
The Adventures of Sir Lancelot the Great by Gerald Morris
Rating: three stars (out of four)

I have always enjoyed Gerald Morris' books.  He has such a way with humor that I cannot help but laugh out loud when I am reading this stories.  Most of the time you will find me sitting there with his book in my hands and a smile across my face.  This book was humorous, and I thought the plot was pretty good, if toned down a little bit, but only because it is a juvenile book.  I would definitely recommend this book to readers who are fans of arthurian legends and comedy.

Book Review #120
Idoleyes by Mandisa with Angela Hunt
Rating: two stars (out of four)

I thought it was really interesting to see behind the scenes of American Idol from a christian perspective.  I enjoyed Mandisa's frank discussion of her life and her dreams throughout the book.  I would recommend this book for people who are interesting in pursuing a singing career.  To see what Mandisa went through and how hard she was willing to work was inspirational.

Tuesday, June 24, 2008

Book Review #119
How I Survived Being A Girl by Wendelin Van Draanen
Rating: two stars (out of four)

This book was okay.  It wasn't as good as some of the other books that I've read by Wendelin Van Draanen.  The plot was pretty entertaining, but it really didn't have much sustenance.  I probably wouldn't recommend.

Book Review #118
Smash! Crash! by Jon Scieszka
Rating: two stars (out of four)

This was a cute little book, the trucks and cars are bright and well drawn.  I would recommend this book to any child who loves things with wheels.

Book Review #117
The Joys Of Love by Madeleine L'Engle
Rating: two stars (out of four)

This book was kind of a disappointment.  I had expected something different, and it was a little bit of a shock.  I also thought the characters were a little lacking in personality.  I didn't really care for the main character and thought she was a little shallow.  The ending was a bit much for me.  I can't say that I would recommend this book.

Monday, June 23, 2008

Book Review #116
The Book Thief by Markus Zusak
Rating: three stars (out of four)

I just finished this book several minutes ago.  My tears are gone, but my eyes are still red from crying.  For the longest time (apparently five minutes) I was unable to move.  I sat there trying to figure out what I thought about this book, and what I was going to rate it, but my mind seemed blank.  All I could think about were the events that had happened and I saw all the pictures my mind had created floating in a jumbled mass, completely distorting my view.  
I really liked the way Markus used words, the way he took an ordinary word and used it to describe something you wouldn't normally attribute it to.  I felt like I knew the characters and cared for their well-being and hoped that they would be alright, cried when I found out what was going to happen to them.  The way the narrator told this story was a little bit choppy, I found myself annoyed in the beginning and wished that he would just take his story and put it in a straight line.  But once I got to the end I didn't know what I thought of the story line, I wondered if maybe it would have been to much to bear to, to not have it in bits and pieces along the way, sort of like softening a blow that you know is coming.  
I didn't care for the amount of language that was in this book, granted, most of it was in German and since I don't speak German it didn't have an affect on me, but the other profanities that were scattered here and there were just bothersome and slightly offensive to be coming out of the mouths children.  I also didn't care for the narrator that much, his jerky way of telling the story was a bit chaffing and I wished that he wouldn't make those weird little interruptions that included bits of information I was only going to find out later.  
This story was sad, if you don't like depressing books then I'd say to steer clear of this one.  But I didn't ever feel as if the sadness was unnecessary, never felt like it was too much.  I did almost bawl at the end, clutching the book tightly in my hands, tears streaking down my face, to read the last couple pages.  For those first few anxious moments right after I finished the book, I almost didn't know what to do with myself.  I couldn't figure out where this book stood in my mind.  I didn't know if it was four stars or three stars.  And when I finally made my choice, I concluded that because of the language and the way in which the story was told, it didn't quite make my list of all time favorites.  I'd recommend this book, it had poetic images, terrific prose that almost made you gasp with the heart-breaking truth of reality and elements of profound beauty that made it an altogether sensational read.

Book Review #115
The Perilous Gard by Elizabeth Marie Pope
Rating: three stars (out of four)

My opinion about this book was somewhere around the middle.  I didn't love this book, and I didn't hate this book.  It took a little way to get into, but when things finally started happening, it was pretty entertaining.  This book also reminded me a lot of something else that I had already read, and I kept feeling like I would know what would happen next.  This book was pretty interesting, but I don't think it is something that I would highly recommend.

Saturday, June 21, 2008

Book Review #114
Come Thirsty by Max Lucado
Rating: three stars (out of four)

I always get so much out of Max Lucado's books.  I just love how he puts things in ways that I might not have thought about.  He also manages to add humor and that is very refreshing.  I would recommend this book.

Book Review #113
Flip by David Lubar
Rating: two stars (out of four)

I really didn't care for this book that much.  I would probably say that it was an "average" book.  The characters weren't very interesting, I just couldn't relate to them.  The story didn't seem to go far and I was soon tired of their "adventures."  Still, I didn't think that this was a totally worthless book, but I'm not recommending it anytime soon.

Book Review #112
Hunches In Bunches by Dr. Seuss
Rating: two stars (out of four)

A crazy little book, and yet, so typical Dr. Seuss.   This book was fairly enjoyable, but not the best Dr. Seuss book I've read.

Book Review #111
If A Tree Falls At Lunch Period by Gennifer Choldenko
Rating: two stars (out of four)

This book was interesting.  I liked the writing style, but the whole "secret" was actually kind of a bummer and I felt that it slightly crossed the line of inappropriateness.  I'm not sure if I would recommend this, there were parts that I just didn't agree with.  I also felt that it was missing something that would have made it more clear and concise.  

Friday, June 20, 2008

Book Review #110
First Kiss (Then Tell) edited by Cylin Busby
Rating: two stars (out of four)

A collection of true first kiss stories.

The idea of this book was very intriguing to me, I found it equally interesting that famous authors wouldn't mind sharing their personal experiences with the masses.  Being the nosy person that I am, I was totally for hearing their stories.  This book had a wide range of stories, some were grotesque, disgusting, sweet, pathetic, weird, sloppy, and all were unforgettable. I liked most of the stories, I thought that they portrayed reality instead of the fantasy that the world keeps trying to shove down our throats.  There were two stories that I absolutely did not care for at all, and I was slightly annoyed to see them in there and really wished that they had left them out.  Most of the stories weren't picturesque, which I thought was nice, it wasn't like the movies where everything is perfect and you felt ripped off because you knew it was so fake. These were the truth, the raw and sometimes unbearably sloppy truth.  I liked this book, but because of a couple of the stories I don't think I'd recommend it to everyone.

Book Review #109
Arthur Spiderwick's Field Guide To the Fantastical World Around You by Tony DiTerlizzi and Holly Black
Rating: three stars (out of four)

I absolutely love Tony DiTerlizzi's illustrations, even as a teenager I find them wonderfully breathtaking and glorious.  I cannot imagine what I would have thought of them as a child, I probably would have been completely flabbergasted.  The creatures in this book are very interesting and you can't help but be sucked into this book, completely forgetting where you are, but instead, being immersed in this world, with all sorts of thoughts running around your head.  This book was inspiring, it made me want to write stories featuring the characters I had just been introduced to.  A lovely book that I'd definitely recommend.

Thursday, June 19, 2008

Book Review #108
The Golden Fleece by Padraic Colum
Rating: one star (out of four)

This book was pretty interesting, while I did think that the author did a lot of jumping around (e.i. being in one story and having a character start to tell story.  It got confusing) it still kept my interest, which was more then what I had hoped for.  I wasn't sure how tough this book would be to get through, seeing how it had a couple factors that might hinder my liking it, including the fact that it was about mythology.  But it was one of the first Newbery Honors and I felt like I had to read it.  That said, I didn't think it was too bad, it definitely could have been better and I didn't think that it deserved the Newbery Honor, but if you like mythology then you'd probably enjoy this book.

Wednesday, June 18, 2008

Book Review #107
Ever by Gail Carson Levine
Rating: one star (out of four)

This story just didn't fly for me.  I read the first page and immediately felt like something was off.  And unfortunately that feeling stayed with me for the rest of the book.  I was even contemplating not finishing, but I just couldn't bring myself to do it.  
I wasn't impressed with the romance story and thought that it was actually pretty lame. Another one of those love at first sight stories...not only totally unrealistic, but annoying.  I didn't see how Kezi could be "in love" after so short a time.  The writing style was very different from what I was used to and not at all what I had expected from Gail Carson Levine. 
The beginning was a little tedious and I had to make myself read through it, it being very simple and repetitive.  There were a couple other elements of the story that were completely out of character, especially some of the things that Kezi did.  The whole quest part of the story did nothing for me, I was never anxious for it to end happily, and I didn't think that it was really all that impressive.  
I think what was most disappointing was the ending.  I didn't like what Kezi had to give up, it seemed like she was trading an awful lot for what she had only known for a month.  I thought that maybe they would be able to squirm out of it, but Gail just didn't have it end the way I would have wanted, and that put a damper on the book.  I wouldn't recommend this book because it failed in it's attempts to delight and humor me and was a step down from what I've come to expect and adore from Gail Carson Levine's usual writing. 

Book Review #106
A Crooked Kind Of Perfect by Linda Urban
Rating: two stars (out of four)

I think I picked up the book because the cover was so striking (that and I have a thing for striped socks,) it intrigued me.  I enjoyed reading this book, I thought it had elements of humor as well as poignancy.  I would probably recommend this book.

Book Review #105
Knitorama by Rachael Matthews
Rating: zero stars (out of four)

The first thought that came to mind after reading this book was, "What were they thinking?"  Some of the projects in here were just totally random.  There was also a fair amount of projects that were bizarre and some I would even counter as downright lame.  I am slightly surprised that this book got published.  Needless to say, I wouldn't recommend it.

Book Review #104
The Earth, My Butt, And Other Big Round Things by Carolyn Mackler
Rating: one star (out of four)

While this book had a positive message, it was kind of hard to find underneath all the sleaziness and profanity.  I just don't see why people can't write uplifting, inspirational books without tossing in so much filth.  And what's more is that we applaud these books and give them awards.  This book is a Printz Honor and I thought that it had the potential to be good, but it chose not to.  There were several questionable scenes and content that make it something I wouldn't recommend.  
I was disappointed that the author felt she had to put so much language in the book.  The f-word was used several times. When reading this book I didn't love the main character, I really thought that she was messed up, and seeing her family I didn't have to wonder why.  While she did finally work things out the end I didn't like her methods of "finding" herself and thought that they were a little extreme and sometimes down right irresponsible.  I was very disappointed that this book was given the Printz Honor - sure it had a nice story line, with a girl who finally grew up.  But when you had to wallow through such filth and grime to get there, it wasn't really worth it.

Tuesday, June 17, 2008

Book Review #103
It Was A Dark And Silly Night edited by Art Spiegelman and Francoise Mouly
Rating: zero stars (out of four)

This book weird.  Really weird.  I did not like it at all.  Most of the stories were pointless, shallow, strange, and even creepy.  I found most of the illustrations vulgar or just lame.  I read this book and was actually annoyed that I had just wasted my time with something so worthless.  The reason I picked it up was because it had Lemony Snicket in it, but it was definitely not worth the risk.  I would recommend you steer far away from this book and never read it.

Book Review #102
The 500 Hats of Bartholomew Cubbins by Dr. Seuss
Rating: one star (out of four)

This story was fairly amusing, it had strange little elements that made you want to turn the page to see what would happen next.  While I thought it was an interesting book, it was just missing a certain something to make it a book you would want to read over and over again.

Book Review #101
The Nixie's Song by Tony DiTerlizzi and Holly Black
Rating: three stars (out of four)

Nick and Laurie are somewhat thrown together when their parents remarry.  Nick is annoyed at having to share his life with his new stepsister, Laurie.  But when they stumble upon a very interesting creature in the forest they must work together to save their home.  Along the way they meet a few characters readers might already know and love...

This was a interesting story, I liked the added twist of having the real world collide with the fantasy, that was nice humorous antidote.  The fact that the girl, Laurie in the story had read a book written by Tony DiTerlizzi and Holly Black was pretty comical.  And that Nick (the other main character) didn't believe in faeries and made fun of her for believing.  Of course, I thoroughly enjoyed all of the illustrations, props to Tony DiTerlizzi.  I'd recommend this book, especially for fans of the Spiderwick Chronicles.

Book Review #100
Gerald McBoing Boing by Dr. Seuss
Rating: two stars (out of four)

A silly and enjoyable little story that had a surprising twist at the end.  I thought it was humorous, but not the best of Dr. Seuss.

Book Review #99
Don't Bump The Glump And Other Fantasies by Shel Silverstein
Rating: three stars (out of four)

I love the rhymes of Shel Silverstein, the way he can make this tangled mess of words into something delightful and funny.  There are lots of monsters/creatures in this book and quite a lot of them are hankering for some nice little children to munch on.  The color illustrations were a nice effect that made the book more enjoyable.  I thought this was a crazy little book that had just enough elements of the weird and the fantastical to keep readers of any age amused.

Book Review #98
The Care And Feeding Of Sprites by Tony DiTerlizzi and Holly Black
Rating: four stars (out of four)

I really enjoyed this book.  The pictures were beautifully illustrated by Tony DiTerlizzi and I found myself captived by each drawing.  I loved the snipits of humor that were scattered throughout the book.  Some pages even made me laugh out loud in their detailing of sprites and their behavior.  Overall I thought that was a fascinating book that will give a young child with a wild imagination hours of enjoyment and fantastical thoughts.  

Monday, June 16, 2008

Book Review #97
The Collected Poems Of Williams Carlos Williams Volume II 1939-1962
Rating: one star (out of four)

I read each poem in this book hoping that the next one would be better, or at least, make more sense.  I was actually looking for a poem that I had heard at a writer's workshop and thought was really cool.  The speaker had read a couple poems by this author and I was piqued to read more of his writing.  But when I finished this book, I was majorly disappointed.  I didn't find any poems that I thought were awesome or deeply moving.  Instead I was annoyed that I had just wasted my time reading this book without getting anything out of it.  And when I did stumble across that poem that had been so magical, it had lost it's shine, it was tainted by the fact that I had just read all these other poems and none of them were as good as I had imagined they would be.  I would not recommend this book.

Sunday, June 15, 2008

Book Review #96
Eleven by Patricia Reilly Giff
Rating: one star (out of four)

The inside flap and cover art for this book made it seem like it might be slightly scary, and I was waiting for some startling resolution to take place throughout the book.  It never happened, and that was kind of a let down, not that I wanted it to be scary, I just wanted it to match with the picture that I had in my mind.  I didn't really see much in this story, I kept waiting for it to get better, or at least, to be more then the simplistic plot I was reading.  I almost didn't finish this book, but I figured that it was a short book, and the least I could do was finish it.  The characters were missing something, the overall plot of the book was disjointed and it even was slightly boring in some parts.  Sadly, I was severally disappointed with the story and wouldn't recommend this book. 

Friday, June 13, 2008

Book Review #95
Noisy Outlaws, Unfriendly Blobs, And Some Other Things That Aren't As Scary, Maybe, Depending On How You Feel About Lost Lands, Stray Cellphones, Creatures From The Sky, Parents Who Disappear In Peru, A Man Named Lars Farf, And One Other Story We Couldn't Quite Finish, So Maybe You Could Help Us Out edited by Ted Thompson
Rating: zero stars (out of four)

I very much liked the introduction by Lemony Snicket, it had me snickering and smiling at the outrageously tedious stories he had come up with.  But as far as the rest of the stories were concerned, I was not impressed.  Here is my take on each of them.

Small Country by Nick Hornby: This was a very interesting tale, I know it is not the best thing I have ever read, and it certainly isn't the worst, but somewhere in the undefined middle.  I liked this story, but that is pretty much all I can say.

Lars Farf, Excessively Fearful Father And Husband by George Saunders: A rather weird  little story that had elements of annoyance but made up for it with all the random things/people Lars hired to protect his family.

Monster by Kelly Link: I did not like this story.  It was depressingly horrific.  I thought it was a horrible story that should never have gotten published.

The Contest At Cowlick by Richard Kennedy: A tall tale that was fairly enjoyable, if not a little predictable.

Each Sold Seperately by Jon Scieszka: okkaaayyy, I'm fairly certain I only got part of this story.

Seymour's Last Wish by Sam Swope: A slightly sick and pointless story.

Grimble by Clement Freud: Not a total waste of my time, but it was pretty close.

Spoony-E & Spandy-3 Vs. The Purple Hordes by James Kochalka: Quite possibly one of the lamest cartoon's I have ever read.

Sunbird by Neil Gaiman: A very weird story that I didn't enjoy, it was confusing, tedious and had a horrid ending. Definitely not worth anyone's time.

The Aces Phone by Jeanne DePrau: A decently amusing story compared to the rest in this book...

The Sixth Borough by Jonathan Safran Foer: Lame and not worth reading.

Book Review #94
Horseradish: Bitter Truths You Can't Avoid by Lemony Snicket
Rating: four stars (out of four)

I knew that I'd enjoy this book (being a rabid Lemony Snicket fan) but I didn't anticipate How much I'd love this book.  Some of the little tidbits of information I already knew and some were truths I now hold dear to my heart.  I laughed almost every other page, and for the pages I didn't laugh I was surprised at how well Lemony Snicket had summed up such a difficult subject like death, into something so simple and yet so accurate.  I thoroughly enjoyed this book and would highly recommend it. In this book you'll find insight, you'll know what to do when trapped in an elevator, but mostly, you'll laugh and be entertained.

Book Review #93
The Pigeon Wants A Puppy! by Mo Willems
Rating: four stars (out of four)

The Pigeon never ceases to amuse me.  He cracks me up.  I love how Mo Willems can draw such a delightful character with only a few strokes of the pen and you have this crazy little bird who's emotions are etched across his face in such a hilarious manner.  This book is definitely a keeper, buy it for all your friends!

Thursday, June 12, 2008

Book Review #92
Not Even A Hint by Joshua Harris
Rating: four stars (out of four)

Joshua Harris' take on sexual purity and it's hold on our culture is positively refreshing.  He offers way to combat it, as well as sharing his own personal struggles and how he strives to overcome them everyday.  I found this book inspiring, and took its message to heart.  Definitely a book I'd recommend.

Monday, June 9, 2008

Book Review #91
Boy Meets Girl by Joshua Harris
Rating: four stars (out of four)

Joshua Harris does such an excellent job of writing about purity, I always come away with something new whenever I read his books.  I found this book especially encouraging, that he could be a role model, testing the waters to show that it was actually possible to kiss dating goodbye.  A great book that I would recommend to young adults in their late teens or people thinking about pursuing courtship, or anyone who wanted to know a little more on this subject.

Book Review #90
Dating Mr. Darcy by Sarah Arthur
Rating: three stars (out of four)

A spiritual look at the books of Jane Austen and how you can learn a thing or two from the feisty characters and their actions.

I found this book equal parts amusing, insightful and inspiring. I had never looked at Lizzy and Darcy's relationship as anything more then a good story, but Sarah Arthur showed me how much I can learn from their example. I rather liked the quotes in the sidelines of the book, they were an added bonus. This book is perfect for any teenage girl who is trying to be a lady and needs to see things through a different perspective. For Pride and Prejudice fans this book is a must, I'd heartily recommend it.

Friday, June 6, 2008

Book Review #89
Zathura by Chris Van Allsburg
Rating: one star (out of four)

Two brothers left to their own devices find a game that will totally turn their world upside down.  

I must admit, I did watch the movie first and then I read the book.  And even as shocking as that is I have another piece of news that will probably knock you off your seat.  I liked the movie better.  I thought the movie filled out the parts that the book only illustrated.  Still, the drawings in this book were very cool, and I can see them being almost magical to a child.  While I thought Zathura was interesting, I don't think that I'll be going around telling everybody to read it.

Thursday, June 5, 2008

Book Review #88
Reaching For Sun by Tracie Vaughn Zimmer
Rating: three stars (out of four)

Josie has cerebral palsy, she tries to forget, but her mother is constantly reminding her.  It's not until a new boy moves into the neighborhood that Josie sees what it is like to have a friend, someone who treats her like he doesn't notice anything different about her.

This book was pretty sweet.  It was written entirely in poems and I loved how the author described Josie's world in only a couple words or sentences and yet you understood exactly what she meant.  It was a fairly quick read and I thought that it had a lovely message and would definitely recommend it.

Wednesday, June 4, 2008

Book Review #87
Ready Or Not by Meg Cabot
Rating: zero stars (out of four)

I cannot even begin to tell you how shocked and angry I was after reading this book. Meg Cabot has gone down and I don't think she'll be able to earn my respect again. This is a sequel to All American Girl, which I thought was a nice read, if not for a couple flaws that made it a less then desirable book to be recommended.  But this book was nothing like I expected it to be.

There is a spoiler warning here because I will spoil the book's ending, I cannot avoid talking about it because it and all the events leading up to it are the whole reason why I feel so violently about this book.


This book is about Sex. I cannot believe that Meg Cabot could have the gall to write a young adult book about Sex and portray it as a reality when it is a lie. According to this book, if you have Sex with your boy-friend, it won't really change your relationship, it will be pretty much like it was before and you will feel better because you finally Did It.  Even though you had heard all the facts about how Sex will change everything and can emotionally scar you and lead to disease and pregnancy you will still do it anyway.
This book's premise was that if that person you were with right now was "The One" you should be able to sleep with them because you knew that you were going to be together forever. Until that boy gets down on one knee and asks you to marry him, there are absolutely NO guarantees.  How many high school relationships makes it past high school? How many people actually marry their high school sweethearts? The odds of Samantha and David being together for the rest of their lives are pretty slim.  
Further along the road when they've broken up and are seeing other people they will regret giving in to the pressure and giving themselves away to someone whom they didn't even marry. Premarital sex is not something to be taken lightly, studies have shown that people who have had sex before marriage later regret that they didn't wait. 
I also did not like the way that Samantha was allowed to "speak her mind" and use her freedom of speech in mocking the president and even disagreeing with him on National Televsion. For one thing, she would no longer be a teen amassador, not with the way she is behaving, in a rude disrespectful manner, she would be kicked out - and good riddance too! Until Samantha can learn to respect authority she should not be in a place of honor and prestige. 
I was so disappointed in Meg Cabot's portrayal of Samantha Madison, Meg had the chance to redeem herself and let Samantha make the right discision, instead she showed how a "good girl" (who's family and friends had respected and trusted) used their honest intentions and dilberately lied to them to get what she wanted. And worse, she dragged the President's son into it as well by sleeping with him. 
The fact that David went along with it in the first place was a complete breach of his character.  He went from a nice, thoughtful boy to a boy who didn't have any morals and only did what was best to his advantage, without thinking about the future.   Without wondering if maybe what he did to Samantha could potentionally scar her and make her bitter later on in life.  He thought only about himself and his needs by not saying no and giving in to the pressure. 
This book made me so angry!  Meg Cabot has woven this "story" and made it so alluring you cannot help but want to believe it, she shows you how it has to be true because they "love each other" and all the stuff that they've heard has to be untrue because what they've experienced is nothing like it. It is a lie.  Don't fall into this trap of disillusionment, you cannot have sex before marriage and come out unscathed, someone will get hurt and it will be you. 
Think about it: you love him and know that he is the one for you, but after a couple months or maybe even years, will it really last, will you still be together? How will you feel knowing that you gave such a precious part of yourself to him and you can never, ever get that back? How will you feel when the guy you are truly meant to be with asks you to marry him and you have already given your virginity away, instead of saving it for him.


I would NEVER recommend this book to anyone.  It's a book filled with lies and deceit.  Anyone who falls for Meg Cabot's false portrayal will find themselves hurt and betrayed.

Tuesday, June 3, 2008

Book Review #86
My New Mac by Wallace Wang
Rating: three stars (out of four)

A self-help book to get you cruising and using the contents of your new Mac computer.

I liked the style of this book, I thought it was a clever out of the box way to format a how-to book.  Instead of using a generic list of programs and telling you how to operate each one, this book had each chapter be a "project" that you could accomplish.  This made it a more fun read and not nearly as tedious.  I enjoyed reading this book and my only complaint was that it was a little simple for me.  I'd recommend this book to people who have never owned a computer before, it will show you the step-by-step process.  If you are somewhat familiar with computers I'd just browse through this book, I wouldn't recommend you buying it.

Book Review #85
True Talents by David Lubar
Rating: two stars (out of four)

The sequel to "Hidden Talents".  Now that Martin, Trash, Torch, Cheater, Flinch, and Lucky have gotten out of Edgeview Alternative School, they just want to go back to their normal lives.  Busy trying to settle back in and still keep up with their friends, things are going pretty well until Trash accidently uses his powers and ends up giving himself away.

I liked this book more then the first one, I thought it had more action and kept you filled with suspense, wondering what would happen to this motley group of boys.  While I still thought it was an entertaining book, I'd have a hard time recommending it unless I knew my potential reader was a fan of psychic powers.

Book Review #84
The Blue Fairy Book by Andrew Lang
Rating: zero stars (out of four)

What I did while reading this book was I wrote short little notes for each story, so that in the future I could look back and see which stories were worth reading again, or recommending.  I gave each story a mini-rating of 1-3 asterisks (*), with 1 being the "horrible" and 3 being "just okay".  Overall though, I was severally disappointed in this book of fairy tales.

The Bronze Ring: *This story was slightly shocking.  The way they dealt with the evil man in the end was a violent.   I did not like the portrayal of the “good guy” in the end, how he treated the bad guy and tricked him.  Instead of winning fair and square he resorted to cheating so that he could look more impressive.  The part about the mice was also a little random; it should have just ended without mentioning them.

Prince Hyacinth and the Dear Little Princess: **This was a quant little tale, it had a better moral then the first story, other then that it was unremarkable.

East of the Sun and West of the Moon: *This story had some slight scandalous elements to it and I didn’t think that it was all that well suited for a children’s tale. 

The Yellow Dwarf: *I really don’t like unrealistic fairy tales that don’t even have a happy ending.  What was the point of this story?

Little Red Riding Hood: **Oh my goodness!  This is not the tale I learned as a child!  But at the same time, it is realistic.

The Sleeping Beauty in the Wood: *So the first part of the story was fairly similar to what I remember, but no wicked witch like what’s in the Disney movie.  And then the second part of the story was really rather dreadful…I didn’t care for it at all and could see why it wasn’t commonly known.

Cinderella; or the Little Glass Slipper: ***An interesting take on the Cinderella story, I liked that it wasn’t in one night that the prince was in love.  I also liked that Cinderella forgave her step-sisters and got them good matches.

Aladdin and the Wonderful Lamp: *Mostly the same tale I grew up with, only with an addition that is very similar to the first part of the story.

The Tale of the Youth Who Set out to Learn What Fear Was: *Okay, what is up with all these grim and weird tales?  I didn’t care for this one at all.  Definitely not the kind of story I would ever recommend.

Rumpelstiltskin: ***This story is pretty much the same as I remember it.  The only difference is that the girl marries the King, instead of the King’s son…(apparently, he’s not married)  I’ve always wondered though, how could the Miller have told the King his daughter could spin straw into gold?  Couldn’t he have seen that the King would have wanted to see something like that, didn’t he think about what would happen with the King found out it wasn’t true?  Another thing, the Miller’s daughter marries the king who is under the assumption that she can spin straw into gold, now we see how greedy this king is, how on earth is she suspposed to survive after Rumpelstiltskin has torn himself in half?  What if one day the king goes up to his wife and says, “why don’t you spin some straw into gold honey”  what is the millers daughter going to do then?

Beauty and the Beast: ***So this fairy tale is pretty much the same as I remember (not the Disney version, Disney has a way of scrambling up the details) but I didn’t remember her having five sisters and six brothers.

The Master Maid: * I really didn’t see the point of this story, I don’t see why they should always make the evil people suffer such violent deaths. 

Why the Sea is Salt: **A rather random and harmless story.

The Master Cat; or, Puss in Boots: *I never will understand how a puss in boots can go about commanding people to do his bidding and nobody evens notices that they are taking orders from a cat!  This story really hasn’t changed much, I just don’t care for this story.

Felicia and the Pot of Pinks: ***a pretty random fairytale, but I liked it a lot better then most of the rest I’ve read, for this one didn’t have any violence at all.

The White Cat: ***a fairly nice fairy tale, I thought it was somewhat of a sweet little story, but I don’t really know how I feel about people falling in love with cats…

The Water-lily.  The Gold-spinners: **I just have one question: if it was so easy to poision someone, why on earth didn’t they do it at the beginning of the story!?  Other then that, it was a nice enough tale, although, some times I thought the characters were somewhat stupid.

The Terrible Head: *Why do people always pop out of nowhere and offer to give these wonderful and magical things so that the main characters can accomplish their quest.  Overall I was not impressed.

The Story of Pretty Goldilocks: **Well, this is pretty much the same old, “you must complete these quests before I can consent to whatever you are asking for” fairy tale.  Only this one has a slight twist for it is the best friend asking the beautiful princess to marry his Master.  I really think that it is rather rude for a girl to have the gall to ask someone who has just done the impossible to do it again!  Why are they never satisfied with the first task?  Ah, the ending was a little weird, a very convenient thing that That should happen.  

The History of Whittington: **This was a story with fairy tale elements pretending to be a history lesson, I don’t think it pulled it off.

The Wonderful Sheep: *Ack!  What kind of fairy tale is this?!!?  This ending was absolutely horrible!  I would never dream of reading this story to a child.

Little Thumb: *This story was not worth reading, the parents were pathetic examples of humans and I thought that the youngest child was very greedy and an ungrateful little brat who took more then he deserved.

The Forty Thieves: ***It’s nice reading a story for once that has a brave girl who saves the day.  Although, at the same time, there is some pretty gruesome deaths, which isn’t a plus if you just want to read a happy little story.

Hansel and Grettel: **This story's beginning is remarkably similar to one I read only a couple pages ago, what is up with that?  This story is pretty much the same, but I can’t see what sort of mother would ever even consider leaving their children in the woods in the first place.  It was also convenient how stupid the witch was – who else would stick their head in a burning oven?  The last line in this story was totally pointless, it had nothing to do with anything and was just a jarring annoyance.

Snow-white and Rose-red: **Lame story, why on earth would you let a bear into your house and how did the mother know that it was a “kind and honest” bear?  The ending didn’t make much sense either, and those girls were too young to marry so what did they do?  Wait a couple years?

The Goose-girl: ***I thought it was really interesting to see how Shannon Hale wove in the details from this story to make it into something absolutely fantastic in her book, "The Goose Girl"  The original is okay, but it was a little random in details and some parts were so coincidental that it seemed fake.  I’d tell people to skip this story and just read Shannon Hale’s book, “The Goose Girl.”

Toads and Diamonds: *The prince saw diamonds and jewels falling out of the girl’s mouth and fancied himself in love with her…awwww, how sweet.  Makes me want to marry him.  What a stupid little tale, for one thing, they can’t count.  The witch says that for ever word the girl speaks a flower or a jewel shall fall out of her mouth, and when she gets home she says 10 words but only 6 items fall out of her mouth!  And then the same thing happens to the other girl, only, since she was rude she has toads and snakes falling out of her mouth.  But when she speaks two words four animals fall out!  Who cannot do their math? 

Prince Darling: **Oh please!  That was my reaction when I finished reading this story.  I thought it was rather pathetic and lame.

Blue Beard: **An okay story, definitely not one that I would want to read over and over again.  I didn’t feel as if the plot of this story was very good either.

Trusty John: *Ugh!  Why do people never do what they are told?  And why do they even keep pictures like that in the castle if they know that it will bring harm to the prince?  It’s also awfully convenient to have Trusty John hear the three ravens talking about what will befall the prince and how convenient that he can understand the birds speaking and they just so happened to be flying near their ship.  There were a lot of other flaws that made this fairy tale unenjoyable, especially the ending, what the king and queen were willing to do to get their “dear friend” back was absolutely appalling!  No one would have made that choice, nor should they have had to make it in the first place, it was unreasonable and selfish on Trusty John’s part. 

The Brave Little Tailor: *What an obnoxious little Tailor!  He doesn’t deserve the title, “The Brave Little Tailor” he is a lying scroundrel who tricked all those people and giants into thinking that he was a mighty warrior.  The only thing he had going for him was extreme luck and quick thinking.  I did not approve of this story at all.

A Voyage to Lilliput: **Blah, this story did not amuse me as a good fairy tale should, I  didn’t care for the beginning which suspiciously reminded me of  a math problem and felt that all the information they gave me was quite useless and rather boring.  I did not like any of the characters in this story.

The Princess on the Glass Hill: *Questions the reader might have after reading this story: Why did these horses appear and how on earth were they so easy to tame?  Why didn’t Cinderlad start out with the horse with the gold armour in the first place?  If the glass hill was so slippery that no one could climb it how did the princess get up there?  Also, seeings how no one could get up it that must mean that the princess had to stay atop the glass hill for more then three days – so where did she get her food and how did she sleep?  And why did Cinderlad wait such a “long, long time” before showing himself and having the golden apples?  Why did he make the King and the princess waiting? 

The Story of Prince Ahmed and the Fairy Paribanou: **This story was awfully predictable and it’s plot was not anything special.  I did not care for this story, or the characters and thought that it had a disagreeable ending with a lot of violence.

The History of Jack the Giant-killer: *I think the most annoying aspect of this fairy tale is how Jack was clever enough to outsmart ALL the giants he met up with.  Also, it was awfully convenient how he “found” those wondrous “treasures” that helped him kill all those giants.  Not a tale I would recommend.

The Black Bull of Norroway: **What?  That’s what you are left thinking at the end of this story.  What about the black bull?  This story had some major loose ends and it was hard to understand the story because of the way it was written.

The Red Etin: **This story was hard to read too, because of the way it was written.  I also didn’t care for the story line, it wasn’t fascinating enough to capture my fancy – I’m pretty tired of the stories with three young men and how the youngest always has to “save” the two eldest’s because he is by far the most clever and knows Exactly how to do everything.

Monday, June 2, 2008

Book Review #83
Everyday Deserves A Chance by Max Lucado
Rating: three stars (out of four)

I love how Max Lucado can take just a simple phrase and break it down into so many levels, showing you nuances you would never have thought about.  I was lifted up by reading this book, it made me strive to give every day a chance.  Another great read from Max Lucado, you should definitely check it out.  

Sunday, June 1, 2008

Book Review #82
Me, Myself, And Bob by Phil Vischer
Rating: three stars (out of four)

One thing that took me by surprise was how funny the first couple of chapters were, I guess I was thinking that it might be a little depressing, due to the nature of where the company ended up.  I had heard bits of and pieces of Phil Vischer's story, but hadn't heard the whole story, and so I was anxious to read this book.  This book was inspiring, I was amazed at what really went into Veggie Tales and how it all started to come together, where they got their ideas, it was all so fascinating.  I got a lot out of this book, I thought that Phil did a excellent job of keeping you entertained, but at the same time showing you how much work went into Veggie Tales.  I'd definitely recommend this book.