Thursday, May 31, 2012

Book Review #1323
Whatever After: Fairest of All by Sarah Mlynowski
Rating: two stars (out of four)

This book fell short on several levels. The dialogue was superficial and cheesy. The conversations were melodramatic and reminiscent of something I had already read. I thought the main character was a little bipolar, sometimes she sounded too old for her age and then she didn't match up when her actions were immature and childish. The plot also needed help - it didn't really bring anything new to the table and was very droll. The book was SUPER short, I wished it would have been longer only so they could have worked on the plot and characterization more, which would've made the story believable. As it was, it felt like a broad camera sweep across the room, with my eyes never settling long enough on anything to bring it in focus. It was a brief glimpse out of the corner of my eye and then I was moving on to something else. I wouldn't recommend.

Wednesday, May 30, 2012

Book Review #1322
Villain School: Good Curses Evil by Stephanie S. Sanders
Rating: one star (out of four)

I just could NOT get through this book. I should have taken a clue from the title and cover art - but I figured it was a short enough book and it wouldn't take long to read. I was wrong, I couldn't stomach it. It sounds terribly lame, but it seemed like every page I was rolling my eyes at either the characterization of the villains or the writing. I was nauseated by the continual and overdone references to other villains and modern-day fantasy lore. I know the author/publisher was probably going for the hip look-at-this-cool-new-spin-on-villains, but I just felt like it was a badly worded pun that went on for pages and pages. The novel felt way too "cutesy" and I just don't care about a little dracula who's *upset* because he's *not* like his father. Give me a break. I know it feels like pretty much everything has already been covered in this genre, but this certainly didn't cut it for me. I might be a little too harsh, but this book and I did not get along and I had to force myself to read 30 pages (I wanted to give it a chance to redeem itself before throwing in the towel completely, I usually try to give a book 30-60 pages before I give up, unless it has content I just cannot handle.) Other people might think it's cute or funny or whatever, but it didn't fly with me.

Tuesday, May 29, 2012

Book Trailer Tuesday [9]

And for this week's feature I found a trailer for a book that I read a couple years ago and dearly loved, The Forest of Hands and Teeth by Carrie Ryan. Man, that book was good! The story was so gripping I pretty much read it in one sitting and didn't even stop to eat.

That being said, this book trailer does a good job of setting up the story and accurately portraying the essence without making it look cheesy. I'm a fan of this series, have you read it? Does this trailer make you want to pick up the book?

Tuesday, May 22, 2012

Book Trailer Tuesday [8]

As soon as I saw the cover for this book I wanted to read it. The One and Only Ivan by Katherine Applegate looked really sweet and heart-warming. I absolutely loved this trailer, especially their rendition of the graphics and how they brought the short video to life. I can't wait to read this book! It looks good.

Friday, May 18, 2012

Book Review #1321
Mrs. Noodlekugel by Daniel Pinkwater, illustrated by Adam Stower
Rating: one star (out of four)

Ehhh, I wasn't a fan of this book. The cover made it look pretty good and Mary-Poppins-Esque, but the inside just completely fell flat. I'm not sure what was missing, but the characters and story were lackluster. It was a very short book, so maybe that had something to do with it. I also kind of didn't like what the book was saying about children and their seemed like it was giving mixed signals. Wouldn't recommend.

Thursday, May 17, 2012

Book Review #1320
Paranormalacy by Kiersten White
Rating: four stars (out of four)

I had wanted to read this book because of the hype I had seen on Goodreads and other bloggers. And you know what? The story did live up to their expectations! This story was fresh and original. The main character, Evie, was unlike anyone I had ever met, and yet I still found her remarkably relatable. I loved her spunk and witty asides. I cracked up on more than one occasion while reading. The story was engaging and I loved all the different creatures and paranormals. The world was fascinating and I kind of fell in love with Lend - he really was sweet. All in all, this was a good read in the YA field and a super refreshing story with a set of believable characters. I wouldn't say that it was my favorite book of the year, but it was definitely in the realms of "Ah! Good read!" I'd recommend.

Wednesday, May 16, 2012

Book Review #1319
Never Forgotten by Patricia McKissack, illustrated by Leo and Diane Dillon
Rating: three stars (out of four)

Absolutely LOVED the illustrations for this book. They were glorious. The story was sweet and sad at the same time. It did a good job of portraying something harsh but not making it too depressing for younger readers. That being said, it didn't exactly feel like a children's picture book, (it was a sadder than most picture books) but I still really enjoyed it. I'd recommend.

Tuesday, May 15, 2012

Book Review #1318
Siren's Storm by Lisa Papademetriou
Rating: two stars (out of four)

I was really intrigued by the beginning of this story. The suspense and unanswered questions kept me turning the pages. But then the pace slowed and I was left a little disjointed. I liked the characters and the plot - it was an interesting and refreshing turn from the young adult novels I had been reading lately. The ending, though, really built up the action and even though it was a little fast and ended slightly hurried, I still enjoyed getting some answers and seeing everybody's reaction. I knew there'd probably be a sequel, but it left it in a nice enough spot that I didn't feel like I absolutely HAD to have the next book. I'd probably recommend, especially if you're into mermaid/siren stories.

Book Trailer Tuesday [7]

This book trailer is for a children's picture book that's quite humorous. I really enjoyed this video and thought it did an excellent job of illustrating the story and characters. I'm a big fan of Lane Smith. His picture books are always amusing and delightful.

Here's It's A Book by Lane Smith!

Monday, May 14, 2012

Book Review #1317
A Rabbi Reads the Psalms by Jonathan Magonet
Rating: two stars (out of four)

I thought this was interesting, but we didn't read a lot of it for my psalms class, so I don't have a really involved opinion. I'll probably keep it as a reference because it's an interesting perspective.

Sunday, May 13, 2012

Book Review #1316
The Book of Psalms: A Translation with Commentary by Robert Alter
Rating: three stars (out of four)

This was my favorite book from my Psalms class. I liked that it featured all of the Psalms in one book and then had an extensive commentary for each psalm and discussed scholars' interpretations, biblical explanation, and verses that were related. I'm probably going to keep this book as a reference for years to come. I'd recommend.

Saturday, May 12, 2012

Book Review #1315
Interpreting the Psalms: Issues and Approaches by David Firth
Rating: two stars (out of four)

I used this book for my Psalms class in college. It was interesting and had insight into the psalms I had not heard about before. We didn't read a lot of this for class, but I liked it.

Friday, May 11, 2012

Book Review #1314
Ancient-Future Faith: Rethinking Evangelism for a Postmodern World by Robert E. Webber
Rating: three stars (out of four)

I also used this book for my senior bible class. It had some interesting scenarios and points to discuss. I didn't like it as much as the Firth book because this one was harder to digest, but I did think many of his points were valid and they offered good discussion material. I'd probably recommend this book.

Thursday, May 10, 2012

Book Review #1313
Mere Discipleship by Lee Camp
Rating: three stars (out of four)

We used this book in my senior bible class for discussions and class-related material. It had some interesting points about christianity and I thought it did a good job of touching on relevant subjects and issues. I really enjoyed the class and thought the discussions and presentations provided a firm sounding-board to voice our opinions and argue what we believed. It also opened my mind to a couple of different viewpoints that I hadn't considered before. I'd probably recommend this book.

Book Review #1312
You Can Write Children's Books by Tracey E. Dils
Rating: three stars (out of four)

I really enjoyed what I read in this book. It had solid tips and advice for people seriously interested in pursing a career in writing children's books. I thought the chapters were easily understandable and they did a good job of breaking down the different genres and categories of writing. I used this book for my Writing for Children and Young Adult class, which I loved! I'd recommend this book.

Wednesday, May 9, 2012

Book Review #1311
Astronomy: A Beginner's Guide to the Universe by Eric Chaisson
Rating: three stars (out of four)

This book was pretty interactive and had a good balance of facts, pictures, graphs, and illustrations. I enjoyed learning more about astronomy even though it wasn't my favorite subject. I took an astronomy class as a part of my general education courses in college. It was an interesting class, but nothing I'm going to be obsessed with anytime soon. The website where we took our quizzes was also pretty cool. If you're a fan of astronomy, I'd recommend this book.

Book Review #1310
DJ Rising by Love Maia
Rating: one star (out of four)

I wasn’t really interested in the story based on back cover, but I thought I might get into it if I read bit. Unfortunately, after reading over 30 pages, I still wasn’t interested in the story or the characters at all. I found the narrator’s voice kind of annoying and even a little petty. It just didn't feel like a book I was going to like so I didn't finish it.

Tuesday, May 8, 2012

Book Review #1309
Rock On: A story of Guitars, Gigs, Girls, and a Brother (Not Necessarily in that Order) by Denise Vega
Rating: one star (out of four)

I read over 40 pages of this novel before deciding to put it down. I wasn’t a big fan of the main character and felt that he was whiney and slightly obnoxious. The formatting of the book was kind of cool and I thought the designers did a nice job with the websites and graphics. But I did think most of the dialogue and website posts/blog entries were juvenile and felted fake. I also didn’t like the characters and felt there struggles were uninteresting. Based on the initial chapters I had read I decided I didn't want to devote any more time to this book, it just wasn't my type.

Book Trailer Tuesday [6]

It's been 1 week since the release of INSURGENT by Veronica Roth. I really liked this trailer - their graphics for the factions were good and it definitely had the feel of the book. I have yet to read this book, but I'm really looking forward to when I can sit down and see what happens next in this series. If you haven't read Divergent, you really should pick it up, especially if you're a fan of dystopian YA.

Monday, May 7, 2012

Book Review #1308
iBoy by Kevin Brooks
Rating: zero stars (out of four)

I’m sorry to say, but I took an immediate dislike to this book based on the back cover's premise. But I didn't really think that was fair, so I decided to give it a chance. Aaannnddd that sure worked out well (sarcasm). I read over 40 pages before I gave up. I’m all up for reading books that have sci/fi elements or other oddities, but something about this story just made the scenarios seem unbelievable and incredibly lame. I couldn’t go along with the idea that this boy had acquired some sort of super powers from an iPhone that had CRACKED OPEN HIS SKULL AND IMPLANTED PIECES INTO HIS BRAIN. Yeah. Sorry, I couldn't get over that.

It was just so implausible I felt gypped. I couldn’t accept that this iPhone had gotten ingrained into his brain. I kept going, "Really? Really?" It didn’t make sense and it completely turned me off from wanting to read more. I also put it down because it had some dark and violent elements that I didn't really want to get further details about or imagine. I don’t like reading books that contain rape. It's just too hard. I didn’t like the language either. Basically there were a lot of things that added up to me just placing the book aside because it wasn't my type at all. I wouldn't recommend.

Book Review #1307
Sketchy Behavior by Erynn Mangum
Rating: three stars (out of four)

I've read several other books by Erynn Mangum and thought they were hilarious, so I was really excited to see this book at ALA. I love Mangum's stylistic humor and character portrayal - I usually find myself cackling at the crazy antics and witty banter. This book, however, didn't live up to my expectations. Sure, I thought the humor was good and the main character realistic, but I felt like something was missing. I just couldn't put my finger on it. The ending felt a little rushed, but it did make sense and was suspenseful. I liked the book and enjoyed reading it, but I wouldn't go out and buy it. I'd probably still recommend though.

Friday, May 4, 2012

Book Review #1306
Little Miss Sunshine by Roger Hargreaves
Rating: two stars (out of four)

I'm not really sure why I picked up this book. I guess maybe the cover intrigued me because the characters looked familiar. The story was lackluster at best though. It wasn't very engaging. I wouldn't recommend.

Wednesday, May 2, 2012

Book Review #1305
The Bored Book by David Slater, illustrated by Doug Keith
Rating: two stars (out of four)

This was a pretty interesting book - I liked the many different worlds that were unleashed and the interaction between the kids. The illustrations were nice, but not overly impressive. I did want a more fleshed out plot because it felt like something was missing, but overall I liked the book.

Tuesday, May 1, 2012

Book Review #1304
Fabian Escapes by Peter McCarty
Rating: two stars (out of four)

This book was pretty cute, but seemed a little uneventful. Fans of the first book would probably enjoy seeing more of the two friends, but I would have liked more adventure. It was a nice enough story, it just was more laid back than I had expected. Children who love dog and cat stories would probably like this book.

Book Review #1303
Always by Ann Stott, illustrated by Matt Phelan
Rating: two stars (out of four)

Really cute book with sweet illustrations. But the story felt like something I had already read multiple times. I did enjoy reading, but I don't think I'm going to go out and buy it anytime soon.

Book Review #1302
The Odd Egg by Emily Gravett
Rating: three stars (out of four)

This book cracked me up! (Okay, bad puns aside.) I thoroughly enjoyed this whimsical book. The illustrations were sweet and humorous. I loved how the duck was protective of his egg and didn't let the other birds get to him. The ending really put things into perspective for the rest of the animals, though! My favorite pages were the ones with the different eggs hatching - it was really cool and interactive. Definitely a new favorite, you should check it out if you haven't read it.

Book Trailer Tuesday [5]

In honor of THE DROWNED CITIES by Paolo Bacigalupi coming out today, I've decide to put up the trailer. I absolutely LOVED the first book in this series, it was unlike anything else I had read. I can't wait to read the sequel!