Thursday, February 28, 2013

Review #1435 If You Give a Dog a Donut by Laura Numeroff

Review # 1435
If You Give a Dog a Donut by Laura Numeroff, illustrated by Felicia Bond
Rating: two stars (out of four)

Pretty amusing. If you like the other books in the series, you'll enjoy this one. I thought some of the illustrations were a little sparse - but I don't know if I'm just being nitpicky. The story is easy to follow and I think children will enjoy seeing what the dog wants to do and what each new thing reminds him of next. I thought it was a nice book, but it's probably one of my least favorites in this series.

Wednesday, February 27, 2013

Review #1434 Grandpa Green by Lane Smith

Review #1434
Grandpa Green by Lane Smith
Rating: Four stars (out of four)

First off, I was so, so THRILLED this won a Caldecott Honor! It definitely deserved it! I was first introduced to this story at the ALA conference and from the moment I read it I realized it was going to be a success. The story was sweet and I can see it appealing to a variety of ages. The illustrations are fantastic and perfectly suite the story! I also love how the greenery helps tell the story. I can see myself coming to this book again and again. Definitely recommend - go out and buy it!

Leap into Books Giveaway Hop!

I'm participating in the Leap into Books Giveaway hosted by I Am A Reader, Not A Writer and Jinky is Reading!

And for this giveaway I'm not just giving you a chance to win a book - but you get to choose between THREE books!

This giveaway is from February 28th to March 7th, 2013 and is open to people living in the US. The winner has 5 days after receiving their email to respond back with their book selection.

Continue reading below to hear more about the books and enter the giveaway!

Book #1

Hush, Hush by Becca Fitzpatrick


Romance was not part of Nora Grey's plan. She's never been particularly attracted to the boys at her school, no matter how hard her best friend, Vee, pushes them at her. Not until Patch comes along. With his easy smile and eyes that seem to see inside her, Patch draws Nora to him against her better judgment.

But after a series of terrifying encounters, Nora's not sure whom to trust. Patch seems to be everywhere she is and seems to know more about her than her closest friends. She can't decide whether she should fall into his arms or run and hide. And when she tries to seek some answers, she finds herself near a truth that is way more unsettling than anything Patch makes her feel.

For she is right in the middle of an ancient battle between the immortal and those that have fallen - and, when it comes to choosing sides, the wrong choice will cost Nora her life.

Book #2

Carrier of the Mark by Leigh Fallon

Their love was meant to be.

When Megan Rosenberg moves to Ireland, everything in her life seems to fall into place. After growing up in America, she's surprised to find herself feeling at home in her new school. She connects with a group of friends, and she is instantly drawn to darkly handsome Adam DeRÍs.

But Megan is about to discover that her feelings for Adam are tied to a fate that was sealed long ago—and that the passion and power that brought them together could be their ultimate destruction.

Book #3

Breadcrumbs by Anne Ursu

Once upon a time, Hazel and Jack were best friends. They had been best friends since they were six, spending hot Minneapolis summers and cold Minneapolis winters together, dreaming of Hogwarts and Oz, superheroes and baseball. Now that they were eleven, it was weird for a boy and a girl to be best friends. But they couldn't help it - Hazel and Jack fit, in that way you only read about in books. And they didn't fit anywhere else.

And then, one day, it was over. Jack just stopped talking to Hazel. And while her mom tried to tell her that this sometimes happens to boys and girls at this age, Hazel had read enough stories to know that it's never that simple. And it turns out, she was right. Jack's heart had been frozen, and he was taken into the woods by a woman dressed in white to live in a palace made of ice. Now, it's up to Hazel to venture into the woods after him. Hazel finds, however, that these woods are nothing like what she's read about, and the Jack that Hazel went in to save isn't the same Jack that will emerge. Or even the same Hazel.

Inspired by Hans Christian Andersen's "The Snow Queen," Breadcrumbsis a story of the struggle to hold on, and the things we leave behind.

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Tuesday, February 26, 2013

Review #1433 Stephen and the Beetle by Jorge Lujan

Review #1433
Stephen and the Beetle by Jorge Lujan, illustrated by Chiara Carrer,
Rating: one star (out of four)

I didn't care for the illustrations in this book at all. There was something off, something unsettling, and they felt unprofessional. They looked like something a kid would draw and while I typically like those type of illustrations, I didn't get these pictures.  They felt flat and they didn't seem to add to the story. I didn't like the color sceme or the way certain pages were animated. The story didn't seem to have meaning. I wasn't sure why things were happening and I didn't like the way it ended. It also felt crude and unfinished, which was probably one of my biggest problems with the book. I was shocked this had been named one of the New York Times Best Illustrated Children's Books of 2012. Not something I'd recommend.

Monday, February 25, 2013

Review #1432 This is Not My Hat by Jon Klassen

Review #1432
This is not my hat by Jon Klassen
Rating: three stars (out of four)

I loved Klassen's I Want My Hat Back and I was pleased to see he had written another story along the same lines. This book featured an overly pompous little fish satisfied with his own greedy ways and a bigger and not-so-dumb fish. The superb illustrations were amusing and complimented the text. I also loved the tone of the story and how the little fish could so easily convince himself he was doing alright when the pictures kept illustrating exactly how wrong he was. The repetition of the word "probably" was another one of my favorite parts. And even though the ending was ambigious, I think children will get a kick out of making up their own ideas over what really happened. I'd recommend. I was surprised to see that it won the Caldecott Medal, but I was happy.

Sunday, February 24, 2013

Review #1430 Little Bird by Germano Zullo

Review #1430
Little Bird by Germano Zullo, illustrated by Albertine
Rating: two stars (out of four)

Not really sure what this book was saying - the ending was bizarre. It was interesting to see the story's progression and it definitely had colorful unique pictures. But I wasn't particularly impressed with the illustrations; they weren't my type. I liked the way things were laid out and I felt the pages had been carefuly planned. I didn't really get the took a different route than I had been expecting. I would't recommend. I read it was because it was listed it as one of the New York Times Best Illustrated Children's Book of 2012. I wouldn't agree with that sentiment.

Saturday, February 23, 2013

Random Acts of Kindness Giveaway UPDATE!

I accidentally set the Rafflecopter to end a day early! I tried changing it, but Rafflecopter won't let me do that unless I get a premium account - so I just made another survey. I'm sorry for the confusion.

But those who didn't get to enter on the previous days can enter this second survey that'll go live for 24 hours. If you've already entered DO NOT enter again. I'll be checking through the names/emails for duplicates before I randomize a winner. So you still have another 24 hours to win a copy or LEGEND by Marie Lu, or PRETTY CROOKED by Elisa Ludwig, or UNTIL I DIE by Amy Plum. Check out the giveaway post HERE.

Happy reading!

Review #1428 Scaredy Squirrel has a Birthday Party by Melanie Watt

Review #1428
Scaredy Squirrell Has a Birthday Party by Melanie Watt
Rating: two stars (out of four)

This book was fairly entertaining. I could see why scaredy squirrel had so many precautions because it was obvious he was scared of many different things. Nevertheless, it was interesting to see how he still wanted to celebrate his birthday and I was pleased at the end he was willing to try new things. Though I did feel bad that he played dead for two hours. It was kind of amusing to see all the details of his party planning, too. While I thought this book was cute and the illustratoins were bright and fun, it wasn't something I want to read again. I'd probably recommend to people who had read other books in this series and liked them.

Friday, February 22, 2013

Review #1426 Nightsong by Ari Berk

Review #1426
Nightsong by Ari Berk, illustrated by Loren Long
Rating: three stars (out of four)

I fell in love with the illustrations! There were a couple of pages with a close-up of the little bat and I couldn't help but think he was the cutest creature I had ever seen. His eyes gleamed and I wanted to keep in my pocket as a pet. He was super cute. I also liked how the illustrations explained bats could use their voice to see what was in front of them by using echolocation. It was neat to see it in a manner children could understand. I did feel slightly afraid when the bat wandered off and I hoped he wouldn't get lost. But everything turned out in the end and he wasn't in any danger. Nightsong was a sweet book and I would recommend.

Thursday, February 21, 2013

Review #1424 Kel Gilligan's Daredevil Stunt Show by Michael Buckley

Review #1424
Kel Gilligan's Daredevil Stunt Show by Michael Buckley, illustrated by Dan Santat
Rating: two stars (out of four)

I thought the idea for book was interesting and I can see kids finding it amusing. Unfortunately, I wasn't spellbound by the book. The illustrations were graphic and fun, but it wasn't something that capture my attention and made me want to read it over and over again. It was pretty interesting to see what feat Kel would accomplish next, but overtime, I got a little bored. The people in the sidelines pushing him to do more and gasping in wonder and amazement were a little much at times, but I think other people will love that aspect. Maybe it felt too gimmicky for me? It had a very "epic" vibe that I'm sure some people will love. But I probably wouldn't go out of my way to recommend it.

Wednesday, February 20, 2013

Review #1423 Prodigal by Rektok Ross

Review: #1423
Prodigal by Rektok Ross
Rating: two stars (out of four)

This book reminded me a little too much of those stories where the girl drops everything in her life once she realizes a boy likes her. While that wasn’t completely the case in this novel, there were enough similarities to make me cringe. I wasn’t impressed with the characters throughout the story - they fell flat. I also wasn't a fan of the back and forth between Ash and Lexy - it didn’t feel realistic. It was a tad bit unnerving how fast she gave up all her hopes and ambitions of her precious editor position once she became obsessed with this boy. The relationship didn't have a firm foundation and was only based on mutual attraction. I didn’t know what they were going to do with themselves when they got tired of making out. The spiritual elements were handled fairly well, but I was so perturbed with the rest of the plot and characterization that in the end they felt shallow. It was an interesting story premise, but didn’t live up to its potential. I didn't like the ending either. Not something I'd recommend.

Review #1422 Cloudette by Tom Lichtenheld

Review #1422
Cloudette by Tom Lichtenheld
Rating: two stars (out of four)

These illustrations were quaint and cute. I loved how animated the little cloud was and felt like she definitely had a visible personality. She seemed sweet and I was vested in her sorry and wanted her to feel like she was needed. I liked how the author managed to incorporate some fun little bits of dialogue throughout the book too. It would be easy to turn this message around and tell kids that just because they were small didn't mean there weren't important things they could do as well. The pictures were coloful and the author made the clouds spunky and characteristic. A fun story with amusing illustrations - I'd probably recommend.

Tuesday, February 19, 2013

Book Trailer Tuesday! [27] When We Wake by Karen Healey

Haunting. Loved the video because it set up the world perfectly and got me hooked with the novel's premise and initial set-up. I wanted to know what was going to happen next! I liked the spliced scenes of action and then the short snapshots focused solely on the sniper and the girl waking up. Very well done and definitely something I'm putting on my to-read list. I also liked the interspersed quotes - to see Scott Westerfeld's endorsement - that's pretty cool. What about you? Did you like this video? Planning on reading it because of the video? Already had it on your to-read list?

Review #1421 Delusion by Laura L. Sullivan

Review #1421
Delusion by Laura L. Sullivan
Rating: zero stars (out of four)

Let's see. Where should I begin? Hm. Well. Hm. It was a bit of a slow start. I wondered why the fun things the summary mentioned weren’t taking place. 

Oddities: I thought the whole special-embrace-with-foreheads-touching thing was a little weird. I mean, I get it, they’re sisters, they have this special bond. BUT I didn't get why they ALWAYS touched foreheads whenever they met. Or maybe I just read that wrong? Surely it wasn’t always. Because that’s weird. (It is weird, right?)

Okay, moving on. When Algie was introduced, I had high hopes for him. He sounded so cool! But then he got brushed aside after the author made it clear he wasn't going to be a love interest for the sisters. And while it was nice to avoid a PESKY LOVE TRIANGLE, I was slightly disgruntled because I had been looking forward to Algie’s character. But it seemed like after the girls discovered the magic school they pretty much spent all of their time over there and they dismissed all of the people living in the village in favor of these funky magicians. I mean, I guess they were, like, trying to save the world or something, which is good...but the plot was kind of jumbled and all over the place...sort of like this review right now. Whoops.

Okay. Let me try again. I’ll be more specific about what I did and did not like.

The story was fairly entertaining. I wanted to know what happened next, even when I was a little annoyed with how characters or plot were progressing.

I also liked that the sisters were fairly well defined. I didn’t have trouble distinguishing between them.

Uh, I liked that they both had red hair? Drat. This is getting harder and harder to find things I liked. Maybe I should just move on to the dislikes now.

The cover. I didn't like the girls on the cover because they looked SO DIFFERENT from the Phil and Fee I pictured. Bbbbuuuttt I think if you haven't read the novel you'll find it satisfactory.

This is just going to get into spoiler territory soon enough. so I'll say a little bit spoiler free and then launch into an all-out-tirade. It’s mostly the relationships that frustrated me to NO END. I also didn't think the magic was well-rounded. It needed a better explanation. The viewpoint jumped all over the place and felt sloppy. I even got confused a few times because I wasn’t sure who was talking. Well, okay, I thought I’d be able to say more, but I think that’s pretty much it. This next long bit is spoilerific. Tread at your own risk.

The relationships between Fee and Thomas and Phil and Arden. Fee and Thomas, I get it, I get it. It’s the whole love-at-first-sight-but-it's-actually-going-to-work-because-they-both-believe-in-true-love-shtick. Fine. But I would have liked more development. AND why on earth did Thomas decide to leave and GO TO WAR? What?? That felt like a cheap SEQUEL ploy. How nice to get Thomas out of the way so Arden could go crazy.

Now, the relationship with Phil and Arden. You knew that was coming. Opposites attract, right? But come on, it was obvious they'd fall for each other, it was only a matter of when. Oh, I thought of something else that could kind of slide into the LIKE category. I thought the author did a good job of creating tension between these two: just when you thought they'd finally express their liking each other something prevented it. Every time that happened: "Yikes, how are they going to make it out of this one? Whoa. Didn't see that coming. Good shot, author, you wounded the budding love scene - yes, tension!”

Unfortunately, most of those tension-building obstacles annoyed me too. I mean, it was fine and all for Phil to realize she wasn't in love with her old beau. But I ended up just feeling so SORRY for him because he was clearly in love with her and Phil just strung him along because she couldn’t make up her mind. And she was fine with him going off to war. That's not very nice for someone-you-were-thinking-about-marrying-but-who's-really-your-brother-but-not. (Yeah, also weird/confusing/disjointed relationship there.)

And then the MAJOR thing that bothered me. The whole - what would you be willing to do for your country - anything? Die? Yes. Now? GOOD IDEA.

Wait, what?

I didn't appreciate how Arden had to seduce the enemy by sleeping with the main evil lady (I forgot her name) to get their battle plans. I mean, how many times did he have to sleep with her? Like all the time? And all the while he was sleeping around he was completely in love with Phil? But he was doing it for his school, his livelihood? Okay, now that you’ve explained that, it makes it all better. NO. Why on earth couldn't he tell Phil. Didn't he realize how much this was going to hurt her? Did he think she wouldn’t FIND OUT? Um, hello, hearing it from you would have been TEN THOUSAND TIMES BETTER than witnessing it herself. When she found out, sure she was devastated, but she took him back WAY WAY TOO FAST.

Nope. Nope. Nooope. I wouldn't take him back so fast. Not after he failed to tell me he was sleeping with the enemy and then had the gall to rationalize it with: "If you could save your country by cutting off your finger, wouldn't you? If you could save your country by sleeping with the enemy, wouldn’t you?" and Phil was all understanding. Phil just bounced right back because she understood some sacrifices had to be made and if that meant Arden sleeping with the enemy, well then, okay!

And here’s the other biggie about Arden. After Phil makes herself explicitly clear about magic and her body, Arden disregards all of that and PLANTS it in her. He “restores” her EVEN THOUGH she already told him she didn’t want that happening to her. What. WHAT. Arden is the smarmiest. And by this point I was really NOT a fan of him. The whole thrusting magic back into her body against her wishes kind of sent me through the roof. I wanted Phil to ditch him. Majorly ditch him.

Phil even asked him to take the magic back out of her and Arden couldn’t, because it was physically impossible. I’m sorry, but he shouldn’t have made the decision to do something irrevocable. Major breach of trust. Phil, please ditch him. You can’t trust him. He won’t respect your choices, EVER. He will do what he sees fit because his opinion is all that matters. At what point will he stop and say, "Wait, this is too far, this is going over the line." Because I don’t think he’s capable of that type of reasoning. Sorry bud, but the whole “end justifies the means” attitude is NOT endearing.

And then Arden’s secret backstory? Not okay. What he did to that girl he was supposedly in LOVE with was despicable. It was heart-breaking to see what he put her through. I understand you’re mad at being used like that, but is this the PROPER MODE OF CONDUCT? NO. Never. Get a hold of yourself. All of these signs point to an abusive relationship. Phil, run. Arden’s life choices = not good. He completely disregards rules/laws: hello, case in point, remember that one time when he tried to KILL Phil in the beginning of the story because she stepped into the magical property? Even though killing was COMPLETELY against what the magicians stood for? Yeah, not cool. And all these times Phil took him back. I kind of have a headache just thinking about it.

Well, there were a lot of things I didn’t like in this book, but they seemed to be directly tied to the character relationships and drama. And I know this review has been pretty rant-y, but I had so many FEELINGS I was REELING from after finishing. In short: don’t read this book.

*ARC generously provided through NetGalley by publisher in exchange for my honest review.

Monday, February 18, 2013

Review #1420 Hokey Pokey by Jerry Spinelli

Review: #1420
Book: Hokey Pokey
Author: Jerry Spinelli
Rating: two stars (out of four)
Release date: Jan. 8, 2013
Publisher: Knopf Books for Young Readers
Pages: 304
Source: NetGalley

This book was very bizarre. When I started it, I wasn’t sure what to expect. I was waiting for something dazzling or imaginative. And it certainly delivered one: imaginative. In fact, it’s one of the most imaginative books I’ve read. But I’m not sure how much all of that imagination worked. When I started reading, I thought the story was bizarre. And when I was halfway through I continued thinking it was bizarre. When I finished “bizarre” was still ringing through my head.

It was such a unique world, and nothing like I’ve ever read before. The characters were a little strange at times and I wasn’t sure what was happening throughout the story. It definitely took a little stretching of the mind. There were parts that made me feel very nostalgic and other parts that were straight up weird. But for the most part I enjoyed the characters and strange story. There were a couple of parts that didn’t make sense and there was some jargon that seemed disjointed. I saw what Spinelli was doing and I appreciated how he wove this crazy tale into something unique and different. I’m not sure I’d go out and recommend, it’s definitely an acquired-tastes-kinda-book.

*ARC generously provided through NetGalley by publisher in exchange for my honest review.

Review #1419 The Fantastic Flying Books of Mr. Morris Lessmore by William Joyce

Review 1419
The Fantastic Flying Books of Mr. Morris Lessmore by William Joyce
Rating: two stars (out of four)

I (of course) loved the premise of this story. The idea of books being alive is fantastic and magical. I loved the illustrations and thought they captured this concept wonderfully. It was a simple and sweet story, but at the same time, it wasn't something I felt like reading over and over. It had sweet illustrations and made me a little sad at the end when things were coming to a close. But book gently reminded readers there was hope because there would always be stories for other people to enjoy. I think book lovers will especially find this book endearing and I'd probably recommend.

Sunday, February 17, 2013

Random Acts of Kindness Giveaway!

I'm participating in the Random Acts of Kindness Giveaway hosted by I Am A Reader, Not A Writer and Read For Your Future!

And for this giveaway I'm not just giving you a chance to win a book - but you get to choose between THREE books!

This giveaway is from February 17th-24th, 2013 and is open to people living in the US. The winner has 5 days after receiving their email to respond back with their book selection.

Continue reading below to hear more about the books and enter the giveaway!

Book #1
Legend by Marie Lu

What was once the western United States is now home to the Republic, a nation perpetually at war with its neighbors. Born into an elite family in one of the Republic’s wealthiest districts, fifteen-year-old June is a prodigy being groomed for success in the Republic’s highest military circles. Born into the slums, fifteen-year-old Day is the country’s most wanted criminal. But his motives may not be as malicious as they seem.

From very different worlds, June and Day have no reason to cross paths—until the day June’s brother, Metias, is murdered and Day becomes the prime suspect. Caught in the ultimate game of cat and mouse, Day is in a race for his family’s survival, while June seeks to avenge Metias’s death. But in a shocking turn of events, the two uncover the truth of what has really brought them together, and the sinister lengths their country will go to keep its secrets.Full of nonstop action, suspense, and romance, this novel is sure to move readers as much as it thrills.

Book #2
Pretty Crooked by Elisa Ludwig

Willa’s secret plan seems all too simple: take from the rich kids at Valley Prep and give to the poor ones.

Yet Willa’s turn as Robin Hood at her ultra-exclusive high school is anything but. Bilking her “friends”-known to everyone as the Glitterati-without them suspecting a thing, is far from easy. Learning how to pick pockets and break into lockers is as difficult as she’d thought it’d be. Delivering care packages to the scholarship girls, who are ostracized just for being from the “wrong” side of town, is way more fun than she’d expected.

The complication Willa didn’t expect, though, is Aidan Murphy, Valley Prep’s most notorious (and gorgeous) ace-degenerate. His mere existence is distracting Willa from what matters most to her-evening the social playing field between the have and have-nots. There’s no time for crushes and flirting with boys, especially conceited and obnoxious trust-funders like Aidan.

But when the cops start investigating the string of burglaries at Valley Prep and the Glitterati begin to seek revenge, could he wind up being the person that Willa trusts most?

Book #3
Until I Die by Amy Plum
Sequel to Die for Me.

Kate and Vincent have overcome the odds and at last they are together in Paris, the city of lights and love.

As their romance deepens there’s one question they can’t ignore: How are they supposed to be together if Vincent can’t resist sacrificing himself to save others? Although Vincent promises that he’ll do whatever it takes to lead a normal life with Kate, will that mean letting innocent people die? When a new and surprising enemy reveals itself, Kate realizes that even more may be at stake—and that Vincent’s immortality is in jeopardy.

In Die for Me, Amy Plum created a captivating paranormal mythology with immortal revenants and a lush Paris setting. Until I Die is poised to thrill readers with more heart-pounding suspense, spellbinding romance, and a cliff-hanger ending that will leave them desperate for the third and final novel in the series.

UPDATE! I accidentally set the Rafflecopter to end a day early! I tried changing it, but Rafflecopter won't let me do that unless I get a premium account - so I just made another survey! I'm sorry for the confusion. But those who didn't get to enter on the previous days you can enter this second survey that'll go live for 24 hours. If you've already entered DO NOT enter again. I'll be checking through the names/emails for duplicates before I randomize a winner. Happy reading!

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Review #1418 The Fire Horse Girl by Kay Honeyman

Review: #1418
Book: The Fire Horse Girl
Author: Kay Honeyman
Rating: two stars (out of four)
Release date: Jan. 1, 2013
Publisher: Arthur A. Levine Books
Pages: 336
Source: NetGalley

There were so many elements that sounded promising for this book: historical fiction, a girl escaping to America, cultural differences, female independence...and yet, this story fell flat. I didn’t like the romantic aspects and while that clearly wasn’t my main motive for reading, it still felt shallow and was disappointing. The story also felt like it was juggling many aspects at once and didn’t feel very fluid.

I had a hard time relating to the main character, Jade Moon. I know she was supposed to come off as stubborn and resistant, but she mainly bugged me. (Yikes.) I didn’t like the way things were handled throughout the story and I thought some parts of it felt highly unrealistic and didn’t make sense with the story’s arc. I wanted more closure and when we got to the big finale I was not impressed; I was merely annoyed and severely disappointed. There were characters who made reappearances, and I would have totally been fine if they hadn’t shown up again. I think my biggest complaint with the novel was that it didn’t feel succinct. I was disappointed with the plot and characterization, not something I’d recommend.

*ARC generously provided through NetGalley by publisher in exchange for my honest review.

Review #1417 Bear Despair by Gaetan Doremus

Review #1417
Bear Despair by Gaetan Doremus
Rating: two stars (out of four)

I picked up this book because it was one of the New York Times Best Illustrated Books of 2012. I was intrigued to see their selections and I was quite surprised with some of the books. This didn't have (what I would call) remarkable illustrations, in fact, I didn't appreciate the illustrations. I thought they were very simplistic and childish. I wasn't sure why it was selected for this award out of all the other books published. The story was amusing enough, but it wasn't something I found thoroughly engaging. It was entertaining and definitely reminded me of tall tales or other folklore I had read as a child, but I was disappointed with the pictures. I probably wouldn't recommend.

Saturday, February 16, 2013

Review #1416 Revenge of the Girl with the Great Personality by Elizabeth Eulberg

Review #1416
Revenge of the Girl with the Great Personality by Elizabeth Eulberg
Rating: one star (out of four stars)

I picked up Revenge of the Girl with the Great Personality because the title was Snark City. I figured the book had to be amusing. Kudos to the author for a great title! 

But unfortunately, the rest of the book did not live up to my expectations. I thought this would be a hilarious romp through a geekish girl’s high school antics, but it was actually a lot darker. Normally I like dark elements because they portray characters in realistic setting and give insight into tough situations, but this book didn't do it for me. I found it hard relating to Lexi...she bugged me. While the initial snarkiness had been fun, I think it turned me against the main character fairly soon after the first several chapters. I didn’t like the relationships throughout the book either, they were lacking. I was sorely disappointed when I finished this novel.

Review #1415 And Then it's Spring by Julie Fogliano

Review #1415
And Then It's Spring by Julie Fogliano, illustrated by Erin E. Stead
Rating: two stars (out of four)

I liked the patience illustrated in this book. I think that's something children will grasp and understand. Even though they might not want to, they have to wait for things to take their own time. The illustrations were pretty sweet and went along with the general feel of the book. It was a nice book and one that had a sweet message, but it wasn't something I wanted to jump up and share with others.  I might still recommend though.

Friday, February 15, 2013

Review #1413 Chopsticks by Amy Krouse Rosenthal

Review #1413
Chopsticks by Amy Krouse Rosenthal, illustrated by Scott Magoon
Rating: two stars (out of four)

This book was slightly humorous. I liked the puns, even if some of them were definitely eye-roll worthy. But still, most kids probably won't notice them and they are mianly there for the amusement of the parents reading. The illustrations were nice, but they didn't make up for the somewhat uninteresting story. I thought the phlight of the chopsticks was weak and I wasn't sure how they had grown together by being apart. Maybe it just seemed like a bit of a stretch. I think other people might enjoy this book, I didn't care for it that much.

Thursday, February 14, 2013

Review #1412 Odette's Secrets by Maryann Macdonald

Review #1412
Odette's Secrets by Maryann Macdonald
Rating: two stars (out of four)

This story was different from other books I've read about the Holocaust, mainly because I had not heard (or maybe I've forgotten) about the children who escaped by pretending to be someone else. I liked the historical details and it was interesting to see how much of a struggle it was for Odette. She had to live a very structured lifestyle and was in a constant state of fear that people would not believe her "lifestyle" and take her away.

When I was younger, I was obsessed with historical fiction. I was especially intrigued with books that featured real people. Even though this was a fictionalized account of Odette's life, the author took care to get specific details about Odette Meyer and include them in the story. She also did a good job of illustrating what it might have been like to live in Odette's shoes as a child harboring a dangerous secret. I think fans of Number the Stars and other historical fiction books would probably like this story.