Thursday, December 31, 2009

Book Review #859
My Big Nose And Other Natural Disasters by Sydney Salter
Rating: one star (out of four)

There were some elements in this book that I thought were inappropriate and out of line with the plot. While I found parts of this story amusing and humorous I couldn't get over some of the unsavory factors and that is the reason this book got such a low rating. I liked the voice of Jory, but I wanted to see more of her personality, I felt like she wasn't developed as much as she could have been. I didn't like the majority of the guy characters. I didn't understand why they were cool or attractive and I wanted them to grow up. I also wasn't impressed with some of her friends either. I would not recommend this book, it's not worth your time.

Tuesday, December 29, 2009

Book Review #858
A Kiss In Time by Alex Flinn
Rating: one star (out of four)

This book was disappointing. I thought it was going to be a light and fun read, but because of some of the elements in the story and the way the characters were portrayed, I didn't enjoy it as much as I should have. I wasn't impressed with the two main characters and I felt like their personalities were a little under-developed. The story didn't flow smoothly and I felt like it distracted from the plot. I wouldn't recommend this book because of its lackluster qualities. There was also some questionable content and I didn't like how some of the characters acted.

Book Review #857
Princess Hyacinth by Florence Parry Heide, illustrated by Lane Smith
Rating: two stars (out of four)

This was an interesting take on the typical princess story. I love Lane Smith's illustrations and that was one of the major factors in why I checked this book out. It was a cute story, but it didn't leave a lasting impression. I would still recommend, especially for fans of unusual princess renditions.

Book Review #856
Puff The Magic Dragon by Peter Yarrow and Lenny Lipton, illustrated by Eric Puybaret
Rating: one star (out of four)

This book had such an intriguing cover, so I was kind of excited to read it. But when I read the first couple of pages, I felt my excitement fly away. It was a very simple story - too simple, in my mind. I also felt like the text could have elaborated more and some of the lines were repeated several times. The illustrations were sweet, but because they weren't fully supported by the story, it was a let down. I wouldn't recommend this book.

Monday, December 28, 2009

Book Review #855
Coming Attractions by Robin Jones Gunn
Rating: three stars (out of four)

This book's ending kind of threw me for a loop. I won't give it away, but I was surprised. I have followed along with Katie and seen her ups and downs and so I was looking forward to a nice conclusion that would tie things up. I felt this book ended kind of abruptly, but once I got used to the idea I slowly began to like it...not love it, but it didn't ruin the entire series for me or anything drastic like that. It was definitely an interesting way to end the series.

I'm not sure I agree with some of the things in this book, but they didn't stop me from enjoying the story, it just made me ponder my own thoughts. I can't really go into much detail because it would give away too much of the plot, but they were mainly concerning relationships. I would still recommend the series though.

Book Review #854
On a Whim by Robin Jones Gunn
Rating: three stars (out of four)

I like seeing things from Katie's perspective after reading a whole series from the view point of her best friend Christy. Katie is spunky and somehow manages to get herself into a bunch of crazy situations and strange encounters. I enjoyed seeing how she got out of her messes and who she met along the way. There were a couple of characters in this book that I was a little confused as to why they were hanging around, but I figured since there was still another book there was plenty of time for the author to explain later. I'm not really sure how I feel about Katie's relationship at this point...the third book will hopefully set everything right. I would recommend this book.

Book Review #853
Peculiar Treasures by Robin Jones Gunn
Rating: three stars (out of four)

I thoroughly enjoyed this book. It had enough action to keep the pace moving swiftly and I could relate to how Katie was feeling and why she was so frustrated in her relationship. There were parts that made me smile, because I could see the characters so vividly and their struggles were real. There was just the right amount of spiritual content so that it was evident that Katie lead a godly life, but it didn’t come across as preachy. I’d recommend this book.

Book Review #852
The Boy Who Was Raised By Librarians by Carla Morris, illustrated by Brad Sneed
Rating: two stars (out of four)

I really liked the sentiments of this book. It reminded me of my childhood: I practically lived at the library, and I knew where all my favorite books were on each shelf. The reason this book didn't get a higher rating was because I felt like there was a little something missing, something that would have made it fantastic. I couldn't quite put my finger on what was missing. I also didn't care for the illustrations, they distracted me from the story. I still might recommend this book.

Friday, December 25, 2009

Book Review #851
A Season Of Gifts by Richard Peck
Rating: three stars (out of four)

While I really enjoyed this book and thought the humor was well done, I just didn’t like it as much as some of the other novels I had read by this author. I felt like it wasn’t as funny as A Long Way From Chicago and A Year Down Yonder. But I did appreciate getting another look at Mrs. Dowdel and her crazy ways. This story made me laugh a couple of times, but it wasn't one of those books where each page was hilarious. I liked the message and how Richard Peck wove a story that kept me reading and wanting to find out what would happen next. I would recommend.

Tuesday, December 22, 2009

Book Review #850
The Good Neighbors by Holly Black, illustrated by Ned Naifeh
Rating: one star (out of four)

I was really not impressed with this book. Some parts of it were highly unbelievable and I wondered why they thought we wouldn’t notice these gaps in the narration. Illustrations are nice when they work to perfectly match the text, this book, however, sometimes failed in its attempts. Some of the pictures in this book really threw me for a loop, because I thought the face the character had was completely disproportionate to what they were thinking or saying. Some pictures were just ugly or made the character look stupid. I also wasn’t impressed with the character development of the minor characters. The author also left several loose ends hanging all over the place, and I don’t know if it assumed you will read the sequel to find out more (nope!). When you just leave random bits of information, then the reader tends to get annoyed because you aren’t explaining enough. I also didn’t like how they portrayed some of the female characters, it was sexist and demoralizing, like all that mattered was their bodies. Please, we need to have more respect than that. All in all, I was left confused with some of the plot, the characters were poorly developed, and I did not enjoy the story. I would not recommend this book.

Book Review #849
The Summer Of Cotton Candy by Debbie Viguie
Rating: two stars (out of four)

This book was definitely more fluff-like then I would have wanted, but I was still entertained. I kept expecting the main character to switch her love interest, but she never did, and that puzzled me. I wasn’t sure that Kurt was good enough for her, and I wished that there was more depth to their relationship. There didn’t seem to be enough meat for this story as well. And coming from the experience of working at a theme park one whole summer, some of the things in this book seemed way far-fetched. I thought it was a little flakey as well. The ending wrapped up far too nicely and I didn’t understand why some things were so easy for the main character to get over. I enjoyed this book and will probably read the others in the series, but if you are looking for something with more substantial than you will have to look elsewhere. A nice beach read though.

Monday, December 21, 2009

Book Review #848
Skippyjon Jones Lost In Spice by Judy Schachner
Rating: four stars (out of four)

Ah! I love this book! Skippyjon Jones is muy, muy hilarious and always gets into the silliest and most far-fetched entertaining adventures. The illustrations are great; I can see the little siamese cat's face and understand what is going through his beeg head. There are a multitude of tongue twisters and tricky sentences that are simply hilarious to read out loud. I couldn't stand it, I had to go share it with someone. This book had me smiling like a fiend. If you need something to brighten your day, you definitely should pick up this book. It is one of my all time favorites and I highly recommend it.

Book Review #847
Elephants Cannot Dance! by Mo Willems
Rating: three stars (out of four)

This series always makes me smile! I love the interaction between the two characters and how Mo Willems always puts such a humorous twist at the end. The illustrations are so cute I could read this book over and over without getting bored. I also had a grand time looking for the pigeon hiding somewhere in the book. I would definitely recommend this book.

Sunday, December 20, 2009

Book Review #846
Sexy Girls: Hot Hot Is Too Hot? by Hayley DiMarco
Rating: four stars (out of four)

Hayley offers a fresh and humorous take on body image and the hold it has on teenage girls today. I liked how Hayley offered down-to-earth advice and still managed to put in funny little snippets and relevant scripture. Hayley's message was also understandable and convincing, I would definitely recommend this book to any girl who wanted to know the impact of how she dressed and see if she needed to change it.

Wednesday, December 16, 2009

Book Review #845
The Elements Of Style by William Strunk and E.B. White
Rating: four stars (out of four)

We used this book as a guide for one of my writing classes. I've already read this book before, but I feel like this is one book that you can read several times and still find prevalent information. I'm constantly forgetting simple grammar rules, so this serves as a quick refresher. It is such a small book it only takes a couple of hours to read. I'd highly recommend this book for anyone who is engaged in any writing task.

Book Review #844
The Norton Anthology Of Theory And Criticism edited by Vincent B. Leitch
Rating: one star (out of four)

This book was also for my lit crit class, but we only read a few essays and snippets from this huge anthology. Most of the readings I did not understand, though I would try to read the whole section, but I sometimes gave up. There were a couple of readings that I found interesting, but not enough to keep me from selling this book back.

Book Review #843
Texts And Contexts by Steven Lynn
Rating: three stars (out of four)

We read through this whole book for my Lit Crit class. I thought it did a fairly nice job of summarizing all the different types of literary criticism and I enjoyed the random cartoons throughout the book. I also thought it was funny because the tone of voice for the book was very casual and sounded a lot like my teacher, which is probably why he picked it for our course reading. I'd only recommend if you were interested in this subject.

Book Review #842
On Writing by Stephen King
Rating: three stars (out of four)

There were so many good writing tips in this book! I only read the second half, because that was required for my class, but I felt like I was soaking up knowledge with every chapter. Most of the advice King offered was sound and I tried to incorporate it into my writing. There were a couple instances where I didn't quite agree with what he was saying, but at least I could see from his point of view - it just wasn't the case for me. I enjoyed this book and would recommend if you wanted some tips for writing.

Book Review #841
Foundations Of Earth Science by Frederick K. Lutgens
Rating: three stars (out of four)

This was an informative book that nicely complimented the science class I was taking. It went along with the lectures and explained things in more detail. It had nice illustrations and tables and charts to break components down even further. Each chapter also included a list of terms you needed to know as well as a summary of that chapter. I liked it, but I didn't read all of it. I'd recommend if you needed it for class.

Book Review #840
If I Stay by Gayle Forman
Rating: two stars (out of four)

The concept for this book was incredibly intriguing. But while I was reading the book I felt like some of the characters were a little under-developed and I wished they had been more well-rounded. I thought it was an interesting twist to make it a family of hard-rockers with a daughter who just wanted to play classical music, but I felt like it could have been done with more elements of originality. There were parts of this book that made me smile, and parts that made me laugh - but it wasn't enough to give this book a higher rating. I wasn't sure that the relationship between Mia and her boyfriend was very realistic. I wasn't the biggest fan of the ending either. I also didn't like some of the older content that made this book not suitable for younger teens. I probably wouldn't recommend because of the objectionable content and story development.

Sunday, December 13, 2009

Book Review #839
Working With Words by Brian S. Brooks
Rating: two stars (out of four)

I read the first chapter of this book. It was long and tedious, filled with the proper usage of grammar and writing mechanics. And while I felt like it was pertinent information, it was hard to get through. Since it wasn't talked about or used in the class I was taking I gave up reading it. It also confused me a little because I have been learning the MLA format and this is the format for journalism and they have slightly different rules. I wouldn't recommend.

Book Review #838
No Sex In The City by Lindsey Isham
Rating: one star (out of four)

While I admire the author for writing about a tough issue for young adults, I felt there were times in this book where her advice was just a little off. She talked about some things that I don't think you need to know until you are on the verge of getting married - this is so you can keep yourself pure and not have your mind consumed with thoughts that might lead you astray. Some of the author's advice was good, and I definitely believe in having an accountability partner if you are struggling and want someone who can help guide you. I didn't appreciate some of the author's frankness or her worldly view of sex. I thought the intention of this book was good, but the follow-through in writing was a little misguided. I also didn't care for the tone it was written in, and I found a couple grammar mistakes while reading. I wouldn't recommend.

Thursday, December 10, 2009

Book Review #837
Telling The Story by The Missouri Group
Rating: three stars (out of four)

This was a very informative book. I thought it had a lot to teach, but I'm not sure if it will stand the test of time because the content inside is constantly changing - the use of the internet and such. I learned from this book, but it wasn't completely engaging and interesting. I thought it was a nicely condensed book featuring the field of communication though. I read all the chapters and it had exercises at the end of each one. I wouldn't recommend unless you needed it for class.