Tuesday, September 23, 2014
Fried Green Tomatoes at Whistle Stop Cafe
By: Fannie Flagg
Genre: Adult fiction
3.5 0ut of 5
This book was a tad confusing at the beginning. There are a lot of characters, point-of-views, periods of time covered, and the book is written from different locations and even includes newspaper articles. However, once you get into it and start to have an easier time following along, it is a hysterical book. The woman that lived in Whistle Stop just cracked me up. I even laughed out loud at parts, which I don’t typical do. This book reminded me quite a bit of the movie, Steel Magnolias, especially the characters. I hope I have such fun stories when I am old and gray. I am excited to taste some of the recipes too!
Friday, September 19, 2014
Apple of my Eye
By: Helene Hanff
Genre: Adult nonfiction
2 0ut of 5
84, Charing Cross Road is my favorite book of 2014. This is the 3rd book of Hanff's I read this year. Unfortunately, the other two just haven't been as good. In this one, she, along with her friend Patsy, provide the readers a tour of New York City. It still contains her humor, but I think I didn't enjoy it as much because I am not familiar with New York. I sense New Yorkers would appreciate it more and find it even more humorous than I did. Furthermore, I believe it would be a great choice for a New York One Book One City book. In the back section of book it includes updates of places that have changed since the first publication in 1978. Sadly, if they ever do another reprint they will need to update with the Twin Towers attack.
Thursday, September 18, 2014
By: Clare Vanderpool
Genre: YA Historical Fiction
Audiobook: 6 discs (7 hours 30 mins)
2.5 0ut of 5
I didn't hate this book, but was definitely bored. Almost immediately. However, I can see how others will enjoy this book; even my 8 year old son said he did. Maybe this is a book I should have read versus listened to. There is, however, a great quality to this book - C.O.R.E. teaching tool. It's an adventure with two boys seeking a great big bear and the answer to the big question of the mathematical solution of PI. I felt it focused mostly of discovering PI. Therefore, I believe this would be a fabulous book to teach in middle schools. It ties history, mathematics and reading together. Navigating Early would be a great alternative to the same old boring novels our parents used to read in school. I recommend reading the author's note first.
Maus, I: A Survivor’s Tale: My Father Bleeds History
By: Art Spiegelman
Genre: YA historical graphic novel
3.5 0ut of 5
I recently read an interview with Marjane Satrapi, author of Persepolis, who stated that that Maus was one of her favorite books and the inspiration to write "her story" in graphic form. Since I have been enjoying nonfiction graphic novels, I have decided to give this two volume set a shot. I appreciated this one, but definitely enjoyed the humor and drawings of Satrapi's much more. I also have a major pet peeve about this graphic novel. In the story summary it states that the Nazis are depicted as cats and the Jews are mice. I dare anyone to view the pictures of the Nazis and tell me they aren't pigs.
Tuesday, September 16, 2014
In the Shadow of Blackbirds
By: Cat Winters
Genre: YA historical fiction/paranormal
4 0ut of 5
I was pleasantly surprised at how much I enjoyed this book. I typically do not enjoy paranormal/spirits novels, but this is definitely an exception. Even though it is considered a fictional novel, parts of her story are based on facts from 1918. There is great evidence that she is knowledgeable and applied her research to the plot. I also read her author’s note and recommend everyone to read it; just adds some insight. I loved reading the development of the mystery and Mary Shelley’s determination not to give up. This novel reminded me of Miss Peregrine’s Home for Peculiar Children by Ransom Riggs, but BETTER. After reading this one, I feel I rated Miss Peregrine’s Home for Peculiar Children too high. I would change it from a 4 to a 3 star book. This book definitely deserves to be a Teens’ Top Ten in 2014.
Friday, September 12, 2014
Out of Reach
By: Carrie Arcos
Genre: YA realistic fiction
4 0ut of 5
If you enjoy books that don’t wrap everything up nice and neat, leaving some things to ponder, this book is definitely for you. It has a few cliffhangers at the end some readers will hope for a sequel. I hope there isn’t one as I feel it would ruin the book, plus I believe the author wrote it in that manner for a reason. It makes the book more realistic – you don’t always know the outcome immediately, if ever. This story wasn’t as emotional to me as her latest novel, There will Come a Time, but I loved it. I’m sure it will affect every reader in different ways. Readers will probably also envision the ending differently and that is okay too. If you like the Crank series by Ellen Hopkins, you will enjoy this one.
Wednesday, September 10, 2014
Pretty Little Killers: The Truth Behind the Savage Murder of Skyler Neese
By: Daleen Berry
Genre: Nonfiction/ True Crime
3 out of 5
It’s hard to rate a nonfiction crime novel. The authors use a completely different writing style and format. This story is so horrific, it’s hard not to get engrossed; however it is very factual and often repeats these facts as more circumstantial evidence is discovered. I read this book after seeing a 20/20 special on the murder. Even though the summary and cover promise you more information on the case, there is very little that wasn’t covered in the special. The most disappointing part of the story, if you can call it that, is that the true reason of the murder is never revealed as promised. It’s still all speculation since the murderers won’t talk. My conclusion after reading the book is that the Star City Police Department did a poor job; it took them way too long to identify the silver car in the surveillance videos. I don’t understand why they didn’t at least look at Shelia’s silver car.
By: Julia Fierro
Genre: Adult fiction/ Chic Lit
1 out of 5
NEVER JUDGE A BOOK BY ITS COVER! Everyone has heard this, but no one listens. I should have for this book. See I collect Raggedy Ann dolls, so I definitely wanted to read this book. This book is poorly written and poorly edited. For example, a mother is tending to her child, while the child is actually in the middle of a lake with his father. Oh, My. I read that section four times to make sure I wasn’t losing it. The characters are one-dimensional and so many catastrophes happen between the friends in one weekend that it just makes the story so unbelievable. And even those aren’t that tragic or exciting for the reader. I do not recommend this book. BTW, Raggedy Ann and Andy aren’t even mentioned once (either is cutting teeth).
By: Holly Black
Genre: Juvenile fiction/horror
Audiobook: 5 discs (5 hours and 12 mins)
3 out of 5
I have been listening to and reading a lot of children’s scary stories lately and really enjoyed this one. The reader is taken on an adventure with the three 12 year old children and The Queen, a doll stuffed with the cremated ashes of a little girl. This story reminds me of a scary version of The Mixed-up Files of Mrs. Basil E. Frankweiler by E.L. Koningsburg. The children leave on an adventure without telling their parents and little money, sneak into a closed library, and the parents don’t seem to even notice or care (until the end). This story isn’t that scary, but focuses on the adventure the children take to seek the graveyard in order for the little girl whose ashes are in the doll, so the girl can finally be at rest. I recommend this book for children 10-14, who can handle a slightly freaky mystery.
Thursday, September 4, 2014
By: Ken Haruf
Genre: Adult fiction
4.5 0ut of 5
I absolutely love Haruf’s writing. It’s so simple, but amazingly elegant. This book, the last of the Plainsong trilogy, takes place in the same small
town of . To
my disappointment, he introduced new families and never really references the
community members from the previous two books. I would have liked a follow-up
on the previous characters, which is normally expected when reading a trilogy. I still enjoyed the story and characters and
very much appreciated Haruf’s insight on a beautiful community. Benediction could be a stand only novel;
however reading them in order enables you to visualize how the town progresses
versus the people. Holt is definitely a
small town I could imagine myself living in. Holt
Tuesday, September 2, 2014
Pursepolis 2: The Story of a Return
By: Marjane Satrapi
Genre: YA biographical graphic novel
4.5 0ut of 5
This sequel was just as good, if not better that Pursepolis 1. It was educational, entertaining and even funny. I am surprised at Satrapi’s ability to write and illustrate such tragic events and still entertain the readers with some humor. It is much needed as a relief on the very serious story she tells. I had no idea that these events were occurring in Iran and during my own lifetime. Surprisingly as well, Satrapi is close to my own age. It was a true eye opening experience. Anyone who has read and enjoyed Pursepolis 1, definitely needs to read this sequel. If you haven’t checked out either DO IT NOW.
By: Neil Gaiman
Genre: Juvenile fiction
Audiobook: 3 discs (3 hours)
3 0ut of 5
Gaiman has the gift of writing and a special talent of writing scary books for children. Sometimes I am surprised he can get away it. I definitely see this book as being too frightening for some younger children. The reader can definitely get hooked by this book. However, at one point near the end Coraline wakes up from her dream/nightmare and I felt that should have been the end of story. I completely lost interest after that. I do love the way Gaiman has of encouraging all his readers to get in touch with their vivid imagination. I am going to watch the movie now and see if it changes my view on the ending of this unique story.