Friday, December 31, 2010

Book Review #1129 Keeper by Kathi Appelt



Book Review #1129
Keeper by Kathi Appelt, illustrated by August Hall
Rating: two stars (out of four)

I enjoyed the magical realism of this book. And of course, it being a mermaid book meant it stood out to me. PLUS I was interested in reading this because I absolutely loved the Underneath so much. So I was pretty excited to read this story. But unfortunately, it wasn't as good as the Underneath. I still enjoyed the characters and the way the author incoroprated the different animals throughout the novel. The different time periods were done well too. But there were a couple of elements I wasn't too keen on...but not enough to significantly lower the rating. It was pretty good, just not anywhere near a new favorite.

Thursday, December 30, 2010

Book Review #1128 The Fire Within by Chris d'Lacey



Book Review #1128
The Fire Within by Chris d'Lacey
Rating: one star (out of four)

I had been meaning to read this series for a while and so I was looking forwad to picking up the first book. Unfortunately, I did not like it! I was a little shocked. It was not what I had been expecting and quite a disappointment. I think I was convinced (partly by the book covers) that it was going to be this epic high fantasy, but it wasn't like that at all. I felt like the writing style was very juvenile. I kind of got the impression the author wasn't sure if we were following along so he spelled every single detail out. It got old fast. The writing felt dumbed-down - not something I'm a fan of. This novel did not turn out how I had expected and I thought the characters, story, and even the dragons were very lackluster. Not something I'd recommend. 

Book Review #1127 How to Stay a Christian In College by J Budzisewski



Book Review #1127
How to Stay a Christian in College by J. Budziszewski
Rating: three stars (out of four)

I do appreicate Budziszewski's humor and straightfoward approach. He does not pull punches and makes you think about your faith. I felt his arguments and advice were relevant and valid. I thought some of the things he mentioned in this book were a little "obvious" (for me, at least) but some people might not think of them and so it's good to be reminded of these elements. I'd definitely recommend for college-age youth and any person looking for ideas on how to keep their faith while in this type of environment. He definitely gives you things to mull over while leaving you room to make your own opinions and judgments.

Wednesday, December 29, 2010


Book Review #1126
50 Baby Bootees to Knit by Zoe Mellor
Rating: two stars (out of four)

There were some cute patterns in this book. I appreciated how many different varieties there were and the colors and styles. There was a lot to choose from. I saw one or two patterns that I might want to knit in the future. I'd recommend for someone who wanted something quick and cute to knit for a new baby.


Book Review #1125
Contemporary Classics: 24 Elegant Knits with a Modern Twist by Jean Moss
Rating: three stars (out of four)

This was a nice book - I thought the patterns were nice and diverse enough to offer a fresh perspective on classics. There were plenty of photos to show off the knitted items and I thought the layout was well put together. There was one particular pattern that I want to knit. I really liked the Bolero titled "Rebecca" and I would like to knit that for myself eventually. I can see it as being something I'd wear over sundresses. I'd probably recommend this book.


Book Review #1124
Bag Style: 20 Inspirational Handbags, Totes, and Carry-alls to Knit and Crochet by Pam Allen and Ann Budd
Rating: three stars (out of four)

This was a nice book to look through - the patterns were interesting and intriguing. I also loved how many pictures they had of each design, it was a great way to see all the dimensions of the bag and what it truly looked like. The book's layout was nice as well and I felt like it was easy to navigate through. I'd recommend this book.


Book Review #1123
Knitted Toys: 21 Easy-to-Knit Patterns for Irresistible Soft Toys by Fiona McTague
Rating: one star (out of four)

I didn't care for most of the designs in this book. Some of the knitted items were tacky or even a little bit ugly. There were a couple of toys that were sweet, but not cute enough for me to knit. I think there are better knitting books out there. This one just felt outdated.


Book Review #1122
Hand Knitting: New Directions by Alison Ellen
Rating: two stars (out of four)

There was a lot of information in this book, but I felt like the design layout was lacking and it could have been put together in a more enjoyable way. There were some interesting techniques, but nothing that I had not already seen in more comprehensive knitting books. The patterns at the end of the book were nice, but I didn't see anything I particularly liked. I probably wouldn't recommend this book.


Book Review #1121
The Twisted Sisters Knit Sweaters: A Knit-to-Fit Workshop by Lynne Vogel
Rating: two stars (out of four)

The patterns in this book were interesting, but I still felt like there was something missing from this book that would have made it better. It felt a little out-dated and I thought they could have done a better job with the pictures of the knitted items. I didn't find any patterns I wanted to knit.


Book Review #1120
No Pattern Knits: Simple Modular Techniques for Making Wonderful Garments and Accessories by Pat Ashforth and Steve Plummer
Rating: two stars (out of four)

The concept for this knitting book was interesting, and I thought they did a fairly good job of explaining their method. They spent a lot of pages on the different shapes you could knit. I would have liked more examples of things they had knitted without a pattern. The pictures of the items they did have were okay, but nothing that caught my eye. I might recommend.

Tuesday, December 28, 2010



Book Review #1119
Bink and Gollie by Kate DiCamillo and Alison McGhee, illustrated by Tony Fucile
Rating: four stars (out of four)

This book was delightful. I loved the rambunctious characters and their hilarious friendship. I quite enjoyed the clever illustrations and how they depicted the world of Bink and Gollie. The different nuances of color with the grey scale was refreshingly simplistic and pleasant. I liked the adventures that these two friends went on and I liked seeing the story unfold. I would definitely recommend this book.


Book Review #1118
Flora's Very Windy Day by Jeanne Birdsall, illustrated by Matt Phelan
Rating: three stars (out of four)

I liked this book! The illustrations were lovely and had a touch of whimsicality that I enjoyed. The story was sweet and had a good message. I liked seeing the journey the siblings took and all the things they met up with. I would recommend this book.


Book Review #1117
How to Clean a Hippopotamus: A Look at Unusual Animal Partnerships by Steve Jenkins and Robin Page
Rating: three stars (out of four)

The illustrations for this book were fantastic. I loved how they made collages with different materials that still looked like actual photos of the animals. There was a lot of neat relationships in this book and I thought it did a good job of being educational without being boring. In fact, I wasn't bored at all, and I learned several things that I didn't know after reading this book. I'd definitely recommend.


Book Review #1116
The Big Red Lollipop by Rukhsana Khan, illustrated by Sophie Blackall
Rating: two stars (out of four)

The message in this book was good. I did feel for the main character though, I wanted things to be more fair for her. The ending was sweet, but it felt a little bittersweet. I thought the illustrations were nice and appropriately colorful. I might recommend this book.


Book Review #1115
The Quiet Book by Deborah Underwood, illustrated by Renata Liwska
Rating: two stars (out of four)

The concept for this book was sweet. I liked all the different types of quiet. I thought the author also did a good job of picking "quiets" that you might not necessarily think about on a regular basis. The illustrations were nice, not over-done or "loud" - they were subdued to match the feeling of this book. I might recommend.


Book Review #1114
Knitting Goes Large by Sharon Brant
Rating: three stars (out of four)

There were a lot of nice patterns in this book. The photos were elegent and properly showed the knitted item. They also had scenery pictures to compliment the pattern. I thought the design layout of this book was done well and it was enjoyable to look through and see all the patterns. I didn't find anything I wanted to knit, but I would still recommend this book.


Book Review #1113
The Best of Interweave Knits: Our Favorite Designs from the First Ten Years edited by Ann Budd
Rating: three stars (out of four)

There were some very elegant pieces in this book. I thought the photograhps of the items were splendid. The patterns were beautiful and l got a lot from just looking through this book. I didn't find any particular patterns that I wanted to knit, but I'd definitely recommend this book for inspiration.


Book Review #1112
No Sheep for You: Knit Happy with Cotton, Silk, Linen, Hemp, Bamboo and Other Delights by Amy R. Singer
Rating: two stars (out of four)

The cover is a little random, but the patterns are not. I enjoyed looking through this book and thought they did a good job of selecting interesting things to knit as well as good models and bright colors. The layout was nice and featured several different pictures of each item so you could get a good view of what you were going to knit. I'd probably recommend this book, but I didn't find anything in it for me.


Book Review #1111
Custom Knits: Unleash Your Inner Designer with Top-down and Improvisational Techniques by Wendy Bernard
Rating: two stars (out of four)

This was an interesting book. While there were some good patterns and suggestions in this book I felt like some of the photographs were a bit off. Who wears ONLY underwear and a hand knit sweater? Really? I thought it was a good idea to make their pictures of the knitted items different from every other knitting book out there, but I thought some of their pictures were slightly degrading to the patterns because they are focusing on the lack of clothing of the model rather than the knitted item. I thought the author was stretching too hard to make her knitted items seem fashionable or hip. The knitted item should speak for itself, you don't need skimpily dressed models to sell your book.

Book Review #1110
The Minpins by Roald Dahl, illustrated Patrick Benson
Rating: two stars (out of four)

This was an amusing tale. This story was told in the typical Roald Dahl style and I loved the names of the monsters - they are especially fun to say out loud. The illustrations were nice, but I wasn't completely enamored with them. I liked the twist at the ending where Roald turned it back on the reader. I might recommend this book if you were an avid Roald Dahl reader.

Book Review #1109 Uncensored by Jeanne Mayo



Book Review #1109
Uncensored - Dating, Relationships, and Sex: You Think You Know, But You Have No Idea by Jeanne Mayo
Rating: three stars (out of four)

Straight forward and applicable advice - this book gives you things to think about. I thought it was handled in a relevant and modern way too. It wasn't too delicate and it didn't skirt around issues young adults might face. I liked the fresh approach and directness. It also had interesting angles and provided some good answers for questions teenagers have. I'd recommend.

Monday, December 27, 2010

Book Review #1108 Idol Girls by Hayley DiMarco



Book Review #1108
Idol Girls: What's Your Obsession by Hayley DiMarco
Rating: three stars (out of four)

I thought this had relevant issues and challenges to discuss with preteens and teenagers. Hayley handles matters in a very frank and straightforward way and while pulling out scripture to back up her advice. I appreciate her candor and wit. The book dealt with a lot of good topics and it was nice to see a different perspective on some issues. I thought it had good points and I would definitely recommend it to girls.

Thursday, December 23, 2010




Book Review #1107
The Naught Secretary Club: The Working Girl's Guide to Handmade Jewelry by Jennifer Perkins
Rating: one star (out of four)

This was not the book I thought it was going to be. I thought it might just be like a book of patterns involving jewelry and other interesting things you could make out of odds and ends, but instead I found a book with more text than patterns. And when it did feature patterns it didn't have accompanying photographs that analyzed exactly what you were supposed to do. I didn't read the text in this book because I was more interested in patterns. I was intrigued by the cover and thought it might have some interesting things inside, but a quick perusal of the contents soon showed that I wasn't going to be reading this book anytime soon.


Book Review #1106
Knit Wit: 30 Easy and Hip Projects by Amy R. Singer
Rating: two stars (out of four)

There were a couple of patterns that caught my eye, but not significantly enough to knit myself. I thought there was a good variety of designs in this book. My biggest complaint was the whole layout. I didn't like it being sideways and I was annoyed that if I held the book straight open one of the pages would always be upside down unless I bend it all the way back. This was a hassle. I might recommend.


Book Review #1105
Vintage Knits: 30 Knitting Designs from Rowan for Women and Men
Rating: three stars (out of four)

Gorgeous photographs! I would have looked through this book even if there were no knitted patterns. The sweaters were amazing. I loved the timeless feel they had and I thought the book did an excellent job of portraying them realistically in the pictures but still making the pictures artistic. I enjoyed looking through this book, but didn't find any patterns I particularly wanted to knit. I'd recommend.


Book Review #1104
Knit Kimono: 18 Designs with Simple Shapes by Vicki Square
Rating: three stars (out of four)

These were gorgeous designs. I loved the flowing sleeves and tapered sides. The photographs were fantastic and featured the knitted item from several different angles so you could really get a feel for exactly what the sweater looked like. There were several designs that I liked, but none that I loved so much I wanted to knit. I would definitely recommend this book though, especially if you just wanted to see some beautiful knitted wear.


Book Review #1103
The Knitter's Handy Book of Sweater Patterns by Ann Budd
Rating: two stars (out of four)

This book had an interesting concept and I liked that they had a variety of ways you could finish your sweater, it just wasn't as user-friendly and pretty as other knitting books. I liked the sweaters, but the pages and pages of charts just didn't grab my attention. I might still recommend if you are looking for a specific instructions on how to knit a sweater.


Book Review #1102
Pursenalities: 20 Great Knitted and Felted Bags by Eva Wiechmann
Rating: two stars (out of four)

There were some interesting patterns in this book. I liked the variety of yarns they incorporated as well. There were a lot of nice looking purses, but nothing spectacularly amazing. I would still probably recommend if you were a fan of handbags.


Book Review #1101
More Big Girl Knits by Jillian Moreno and Amy R. Singer
Rating: two stars (out of four)

The patterns in this book were colorful, flattering, and relevant. I thought the authors did a nice job of incorporating a variety of stitches to make interesting knitted items. The design and layout was well done and I was fully engaged in all pages of the book. I didn't see any patterns that piqued my interest, but I'd probably still recommend to other knitters.


Book Review #1100
Hollywood Knits Style by Suss Cousins
Rating: two stars (out of four)

The design and layout of this book was hip and fashionable. The patterns were nice, and I think some people would find things they liked. I thought the colors and patterns in the book were good, but I didn't see anything I wanted to knit. I enjoyed browsing through the book though and got some ideas of what I might want to knit next. I'd probably recommend.


Book Review #1099
Knitting with Ribbon Yarn by Tracy Chapman
Rating: two stars (out of four)

I loved the concept of this book. I often find myself buying ribbon yarn because it is so fun and then I wonder what I can make with it besides scarves. Well this book had a variety of projects available and while I thought they were nice, I didn't find any that I particularly loved. I liked the style of the book and the photographs of the yarn and models - they did a nice job of illustrating the book. I'd probably recommend.


Book Review #1098
Celebrity Scarves 2: Hollywood Knits for Breast Cancer Research by Abra Edelman
Rating: two stars (out of four)

I thought this was an interesting book. I liked that the book was supporting a cause and that it still had a variety of scarves. They picked good actors and I was fairly impressed with all the scarves they designed. I didn't find any scarves that I wanted to knit, but I still might recommend.


Book Review #1097
Classic Knits: 15 Timeless Designs to Knit and Keep Forever by Erika Knight
Rating: three stars (out of four)

I loved the design of this book. It was very artistic and the photographs were fantastic. The knitted items were showcased well and the backgrounds for all the pictures were engaging and interesting. I didn't find any particular patterns that I wanted to knit, but I'd still recommend for others.


Book Review #1096
One Skein: 30 Quick Projects to Knit and Crochet by Leigh Radford
Rating: two stars (out of four)

This was a well put-together book that featured nice designs and lovely photographs. I liked the set-up and thought the book had a nice balance of pictures of the knitted items. I liked most of the patterns in this book, but not enough to knit any of them. I think I would still recommend to other knitters though, I just didn't find anything that caught my fancy.


Book Review #1095
Hip Knits: 65 Easy Projects from Hot Designers
Rating: one star (out of four)

The cover for this book was colorful and inviting, but the patterns inside were slightly outdated and I didn't find any that I wanted to knit. There was a decent amount of patterns to choose from, but I wasn't a big fan of the page layout and how the pictures were displayed. I wanted better pictures of the knitted items so I could get a better sense of how they looked. I wouldn't recommend this book.


Book Review #1094
The Million-Dollar Bear by William Kotzwinkle, illustrated by David Catrow
Rating: two stars (out of four)

This book had a sweet message, but I felt like it took a long time to get to the end. I wasn't as interested in the journey the bear went through to get a happy ending. I didn't care for the two bear collectors. The illustrations were nice, if not a little weird at times. I might recommend.


Book Review #1093
My Garden by Kevin Henkes
Rating: four stars (out of four)

I loved this book! The illustrations were so sweet and I loved how bright the garden was, without feeling overwhelming or tacky. The little girl's garden was magical and whimsical, I loved her imagination and design. The story was sweet and simple and the ending left you feeling satisfied and happy. The moment I was done with this book I had a big smile across my face and I wanted to find someone to share it with. I'd definitely recommend it - it's one of my new favorites!


Book Review #1092
The Tale of Rabbit and Coyote by Tony Johnston, illustrated by Tomie dePaola
Rating: two stars (out of four)

I liked antics of the scheming little rabbit. I've read similar stories, but not with as many tricks from the rabbit. The illustrations were nice, but I wasn't overly impressed. I would recommend if you were a fan of world folklore.


Book Review #1091
Itty-Bitty Hats by Susan B. Anderson
Rating: three stars (out of four)

This was such a sweet book. The hats were inventive and cute. I wanted to knit several different patterns. The photographs were lovely and the children they picked to model the hats were absolutely adorable. I definitely enjoyed looking through this book and I am planning on knitting a couple of the designs. I'd recommend this book.
Book Review #1090
The Shape of Me and Other Things by Dr. Seuss
Rating: two stars (out of four)

This was a fun and whimsical little book. I liked how the illustrations were blacked-out and yet I still got the same feel as any Dr. Seuss book. The ending was nice, and the rhymes were bizarre. I'd recommend if you were a die-hard Seuss fan.
Book Review #1089
Colorful Knits for You and Your Child by Zoe Mellor
Rating: one star (out of four)

The sweaters in this book were certainly colorful, but the designs felt outdated and slightly tacky. There were a couple of sweaters that I thought were nice, but I didn't want to knit any of them. I liked that all the pictures of the knitted items were in the front, but after looking at all the photographs I didn't have a need for the rest of the book. I wouldn't recommend.
Book Review #1088
Nicky Epstein's Knitted Flowers by Nicky Epstein
Rating: four stars (out of four)

There are so many gorgeous flower patterns in this book! Any knitting book that Nicky Epstein puts out I am eager to get my hands on. The patterns are magnificant and breathe-taking. The photographs are simply astounding and beautifully illustrate the knitted item. There were so many flowers that I wanted to knit. I can easily see them being accent pieces on hats, scarves, or sweaters. If you are a fan of knitted embellishments you should definitely check this book out.
Book Review #1087
It's a Book by Lane Smith
Rating: two stars (out of four)

The message of this book had me laughing. I could definitely see how some people might think books lackluster when compared to technology. I also liked how patient the monkey was in dealing with the obnoxious donkey. The major problem I had with this book was the last line. I know it is perfectly fine in context, but if a child were to repeat the last line without the story it wouldn't be taken well. Just a forewarning.
Book Review #1086
Simple Knits for Cherished Babies by Erika Knight
Rating: three stars (out of four)

There were so many cute things to knit! My favorite were the little booties. The way they adorned them and how they were photographed just made them absolutely adorable. There was also a horrendously cute teddy bear as well. I liked this book and there it was very well put together and the page set-up and pictures were elegent and well thought out. I found a couple of patterns that I wanted to knit. I would recommend.

Wednesday, December 22, 2010

Book Review #1085 If I'm Waiting on God by Kerri Pomarolli




Book Review #1085
If I'm Waiting on God, What am I doing in a Christian Chatroom? by Kerri Pomarolli
Rating: one star (out of four)

I just couldn't finish this book. It said it was written by a comedian, but I didn't find it at all funny. Sorry to say, but it was mostly lame. The premise sounded amusing, but the book didn't deliver. I didn't bother finish reading; there just wasn't enough depth and I didn't see the humor. NOT a recommended title.

Tuesday, December 21, 2010

Book Review #1084 Carpe Diem by Autumn Cornwell




Book Review #1084
Carpe Diem by Autumn Cornwell
Rating: two stars (out of four)

This book had such a cool cover - I couldn't help but want to read it. The story was entertaining and the trials and mishaps were often dealt with in a lighthearted manner. It was good, albeit predictable at certain times, but on the whole I enjoyed it. I liked seeing how the main character grew throughout the story. The one major thing I disliked the most was the ending. It felt a bit like a rip-off; I wanted something different. Maybe something with a little more closure? I'm not really sure what I wanted, but the novel didn't deliver. That along with a couple of other things made this story a middle rating. Not sure I'd recommend.

Sunday, December 19, 2010

Book Review #1083 The Wyrm King by Holly Black





Book Review #1083
The Wyrm King by Holly Black, illustrated by Tony DiTerlizzi
Rating: one star (out of four)

Love, love, love Tony DiTerlizz's illustrations. They are gorgeous. The book was, sadly, "okay." I hadn't been in love with the Spiderwick Chronicles, but I was reading this series to see what would happen next in the Spiderwick world. I didn't care for the way things ended and felt like there could have been more closure. The characters didn't seem as fully developed and I wanted more from the story. It felt kind of rushed and also very short. But if you were a big fan of the Spiderwick Chronicles I could see you liking this series. But for me, it was a disappointment.

Book Review #1082 Ice by Sarah Beth Durst





Book Review #1082
Ice by Sarah Beth Durst
Rating: two stars (out of four)

I'm a sucker for fairy tale remakes and this cover totally had me wanting to read this book. As far as for the story, I didn't like it as much as I had expected. I loved the first half of the book. But the second half took a turn I wasn't expecting. I was also annoyed with Cassie and what she was doing to herself. The novel took so long building to the climax and then it ended 2 pages later. I liked the story, but I was slightly dissatisfied at the end. To be fair, the original story is pretty out there (AKA = bizarre). There were parts of this story that just kind of made me grimace. And at the same time, there were parts I really enjoyed. But on the whole, I felt like it could have been better. I do see how others might like it. It just wasn't for me.

Saturday, December 18, 2010

Book Review #1081 Outside Beauty by Cynthia Kadohata




Book Review #1081
Outside Beauty by Cynthia Kadohata
Rating: zero stars (out of four)

I did not like this book at all. I was a little surprised because I've read two other wonderful books by Kadohata - one which won the Newbery! So I was really shocked when I downright disliked this story. The setting and realism of the novel didn't pull off well. I felt like the characters were one-dimensional and I couldn't understand why they had such a firece devotion to each other. It wasn't a happy novel and I didn't like the ending. I would not recommend.

Book Review #1080 God Girl by Hayley DiMarco





Book Review #1080
God Girl: Becoming the Woman You're Meant to Be by Hayley DiMarco
Rating: three stars (out of four)

This was a nice book about figuring out how to live your life from a christian perspective. I picked it up because I'm fan of Hayley DiMarco. I'm mainly used to DiMarco delivering hard truths through witty and clever angles, so it was interesting to read this book written from a another perspective. It definitely wasn't as humorous as other DiMarco books, but it was still relevant. I would recommend to people looking for something to give them a purpose. I liked it.