Wednesday, February 29, 2012

Review: Every Boy's Got One (Boy #3) by Meg Cabot


SUMMARY FROM GOODREADS.COM:
To: Jane Harris Fr: Claire Harris Re: You

Hi, honey It's me, Mom. I know it's a big secret that your friend Holly and her boyfriend Mark are eloping in Italy, and that you and Mark's friend Cal Langdon (the handsome New York Journal reporter with the big book deal) are going, too, as their witnesses. But I just saw Holly's mother at the Kroger Sav-On, and I thought I'd warn you: She doesn't seem to like Mark very much at all. Just wanted to let you know.

PS I don't understand why you don't like that nice Cal Langdon He seemed so smart when I saw him being inte viewed on Charlie Rose. And so handsome

PPS Don't forget to wear a sweater

Cartoonist Jane Harris is delighted by the prospect of her first-ever trip to Europe. But it's hate at first sight for Jane and Cal Langdon, and neither is too happy at the prospect of sharing a villa with one another for a week--not even in the beautiful and picturesque Marches countryside. But when Holly and Mark's wedding plans hit a major snag that only Jane and Cal can repair, the two find themselves having to put aside their mutual dislike for one another in order to get their best friends on the road to wedded bliss--and end up on a road themselves ... one neither of them ever expected.

Meg Cabot was born in Bloomington, Indiana. She is the author of seven historical romances under the pseudonym Patricia Cabot as well as Boy Meets Girl, The Boy Next Door, She Went All the Way and the bestselling young adult fiction series The Princess Diaries. She lives in New York City with her husband.
MY TAKE:

I liked Meg Cabot's Boy Meets Girl so I was definitely curious about this book.

Every Boy's Got One is about cartoonist Jane Harris and what happens when she accompanies her best friend who is eloping with her fiance to Le Marche, Italy.

I like the use of e-mails, travel diaries and other stuff to tell the story. It takes a lot of creativity to make sure that there's a smooth segue between the emails and other materials. I also like that there are menus and receipts included too so it has a scrapbook feel.

Jane makes me think of Bridget Jones and Cal Langdon is like Mark Darcy. :D

It's a little bit formulaic and obvious where the story is going, but it's chick lit, so what do you expect? What's important is the journey is fun and entertaining, and Every Boy's Got One is definitely that.

THE GOOD:
  1. It's a fun, feel-good read.
  2. Hilarious one-liners.
  3. Awesome descriptions of Italy.
THE BAD:
  1. It's mostly formulaic.
FAVORITE QUOTE/S:
Anyway, my room is so adorable, a tiny little blue-and-white thing with gold curtains that, when I opened them, turned out to be for a window that looks out over the most beautiful courtyard, with white doves flying around it, and bougainvillea spilling from window boxes all over the place, and a sky stretched over it that, I swear, looks bluer than the sky over Manhattan, somehow.
READ IT IF:
  1. You like chick lit.
  2. You like Bridget Jones' Diary.
  3. You like stories wherein the lead characters have a love-hate courtship and relationship.
RATING:
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Tuesday, February 28, 2012

Teaser Tuesdays

Teaser Tuesdays is a weekly bookish meme, hosted by MizB of Should Be Reading. Anyone can play along! Just do the following:
  • Grab your current read
  • Open to a random page
  • Share two (2) “teaser” sentences from somewhere on that page
  • BE CAREFUL NOT TO INCLUDE SPOILERS! (make sure that what you share doesn’t give too much away! You don’t want to ruin the book for others!)
  • Share the title & author, too, so that other TT participants can add the book to their TBR Lists if they like your teasers!

    As he’s talking, he’s slowly trailing his fingers over my tummy, and for once the stomach from hell doesn’t feel enormous and omnipresent, but sweet and somehow sexy.
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Monday, February 27, 2012

Review: Isabella on the Go by Jennifer Fosberry


SUMMARY FROM NETGALLEY.COM:
Isabella's back, and her dreams are turning an ordinary backyard into an exciting adventure!

Join Isabella on a new imaginative journey in Isabella: Girl on the Go (Sourcebooks Jabberwocky; ISBN: 978-1-4022-6648-5; Picture Book; $16.99; February 2012).

Jennifer Fosberry has created an inspiring follow-up to her New York Times bestselling series featuring everyone's favorite purple-haired, little girl. Previously, Isabella discovered her favorite heroes in My Name Is Not Isabella. Now she travels around the world experiencing its greatest wonders without ever leaving her own backyard.

Isabella, as precocious as ever, spends the day playing her dad as they discover some of the greatest places man has made around the world. She pretends everyday things (like the sandbox) are extraordinary places (like the desert and pyramids of Egypt). Isabella ends the day in her own home-sweet-home, the most wonderful place to be.

A back of the book "Places that Changed the World" section features descriptions of all the places Isabella visits.
MY TAKE:

If I had read this book as a kid, I would probably be a much more avid traveler than I am now.

While some kids daydream about being artists and astronomers, Isabella takes it one step further by incorporating some famous tourist landmarks from all over the world.

The pointillism-like coloring complements the fancy fonts and whimsical prose of the story. Just pure gorgeousness all around.

Thanks to NetGalley and Sourcebooks Jabberwocky for the e-copy.

THE GOOD:
  1. Beautiful coloring.
  2. Beautifully written.
  3. Has a guide to the places mentioned in the story.
THE BAD:
  1. I found it weird that Isabella's dad was referred to as "the father".
FAVORITE QUOTE/S:
"O la la, Isabella! Now let's head to the Champs de Lettuce."
READ IT IF:
  1. You have a creative child.
  2. You want to inspire your child to travel.
  3. You like beautiful children's books.
RATING:
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Sunday, February 26, 2012

Review: Howl's Moving Castle (Castle #1) by Diana Wynne Jones


SUMMARY FROM GOODREADS.COM:
In which a witch bewitched the hatter's daughter--and then some...

Sophie lived in the town of Market Chipping, which was in Ingary, a land in which anything could happen, and often did--especially when the Witch of the Waste got her dander up. Which was often.

As her younger sisters set out to seek their fortunes Sophie stayed in her father's hat shop. Which proved most unadventurous, until the Witch of the Waste came in to buy a bonnet, but was not pleased. Which is why she turned Sophie into an old lady. Which was spiteful witchery.

Now Sophie must seek her own fortune. Which means striking a bargain with the lecherous Wizard Howl. Which means entering his ever-moving castle, taming a blue fire-demon, and meeting the Witch of the Waste head-on. Which was more than Sophie bargained for...
MY TAKE:

I saw the movie version of Howl's Moving Castle a week ago and I enjoyed it a lot more than I thought I would. The book, though, differs from the movie in so many ways so if you've seen the movie, reading the book doesn't feel like you're just rehashing the movie and vice versa.

Sophie Hatter has been cursed by the Witch of the Waste after giving her a hat that the Witch was not satisfied with. After leaving her home, Sophie finds herself in the castle of Wizard Howl, a fearsome wizard who is said to eat the hearts of young maidens.

In terms of plot, the book has more interesting stories and subplots. However, I prefer the Michael, Calcifer and Howl that are found in the movie. In the book, Michael is already 15 years old. I prefer the younger and cuter Michael in the movie since I feel that he is more endearing. Calcifer was also friendlier in the movie.

Also, it was easier for me to see the love story of Sophie and Howl unfold in the movie. In the book, the development to their happy ending was much too subtle for me as to be almost non-existent.

That said, I can't really decide which one I like more, the book or the movie. If you've seen the movie, make sure you read the book. You're sure to enjoy it.

THE GOOD:
  1. Brilliant concept and plot.
  2. Well-fleshed out characters that are easy to sympathize with.
  3. Witty writing.
THE BAD:
  1. It's a little bit gross in parts.
FAVORITE QUOTE/S:
He was such a dashing specimen too, with a bony, sophisticated face-really quite old, well into his twenties- and elaborate blonde hair. His sleeves trailed longer than any in the Square, all scalloped edges and silver insets.
READ IT IF:
  1. You like magic.
  2. You liked the movie version.
  3. You like the idea of a magical, moving house filled with quirky characters.
RATING:
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Saturday, February 25, 2012

Review: Mother Cat's Busy Day (Richard Scarry's Busy Day Storybooks) by Richard Scarry


SUMMARY FROM PAPERBACKSWAP.COM:

One of the books in the Richard Scarry Busy Day storybooks. This book is the story of Mother Cat and all the things she does in a day.

MY TAKE:

Growing up, The Busy World of Richard Scarry was one of my favorite shows. The friendly community of Busytown seems like an ideal place to grow up in.

Mother Cat's Busy Day (Richard Scarry's Busy Day Storybooks) is about a typical day in the life of Mother Cat. While I like the TV series better, there's a cute little twist at the end of this book that keeps this from becoming too boring.

THE GOOD:

  1. It's a fun world.
  2. The ratio of text to images makes it feel like a television show.
  3. The story is cute.
THE BAD:
  1. It might be hard to get a copy.
FAVORITE QUOTE/S:
Mother Cat orders a cup of hot tea, and a bacon, lettuce, and tomato sandwich.
READ IT IF:
  1. You grew up watching the series.
  2. You want your child to become immersed in a world that is fun, friendly and idyllic.
  3. You like funny children's books.
RATING:
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Friday, February 24, 2012

Review: Pariah by Aron Warner


SUMMARY FROM PARIAHONLINE.COM:
A twelve-book graphic novel series from the mind of Oscar-winning film producer Aron Warner, illustrations by Eisner-nominated Brett Weldele, written by Philip Gelatt, and published by Sea Lion Books.
The series follows the adventures of a group of ‘vitros’ – genetically enhanced children with “beyond-human intelligence” – who go on the run after being framed for the release of a deadly virus.
MY TAKE:

There are a lot of superhero/superhuman books and series out there, so I was kinda expecting this to be something that's already out there.

Pariah is basically the story of a group of vitros or humans that are mentally advanced and are seen as the enemy by the more normal humans.

Reading Pariah is a lot like reading a book written in the first person. It's an interesting approach that works well with the story.

The story and the way it is told is much like the first few seasons of Heroes. That is, it's the special humans versus the humans who don't understand them. So, if you liked Heroes, you'll like this. It can get a little violent, though, so I wouldn't recommend it to the squeamish.

Thanks to Sea Lion Books for the e-copy.

THE GOOD:
  1. It's an interesting premise.
  2. The characters are interesting.
  3. The writing style and the illustrations mesh well.
THE BAD:
  1. The illustration style may not work for everyone.
FAVORITE QUOTE/S:
It's in the specifics and the details that life will surprise you.
READ IT IF:
  1. You liked Heroes.
  2. You like action-packed graphic novels.
  3. You like sci-fi novels.
RATING:
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Thursday, February 23, 2012

Review: Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles Volume 1 Change is Constant by Kevin Eastman


SUMMARY FROM NETGALLEY.COM:
The Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles return to comics in their first IDW adventure!

It's a different world for the Turtles. The group is broken as Raphael wanders the streets of NYC in search of food and shelter. His brothers and Master Splinter are on the search, but so far all they can find is trouble - in the form of mutant alley cat Old Hob and his gang of criminals!

The very core of the Turtles family is at stake as the new origin of TMNT is revealed! Join Tom Waltz, Dan Duncan, and TMNT co-creator Kevin Eastman for the start of a wild ride!
MY TAKE:

It's been years since I saw the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles and, man, have I missed them.

Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles Volume 1 Change is Constant begins with a confrontation between Splinter and the Turtles and Old Hob and his gang. Raphael isn't there, though.

This story also shows us a little bit about the origins of the Turtles and Master Splinter. Now, because I was young when I watched the series, I only remember bits and pieces about the show. Therefore, I don't really remember if they discussed how Splinter and the Turtles got their names. If they did, I didn't see that episode, because I remember wondering why they were named after artists. This comic book tells us why.

April O'Neil makes a welcome cameo, and I was kinda hoping to see Shredder too. Maybe he'll show up in the next issues.

Thanks to NetGalley and IDW Publishing for providing me with an e-ARC. Publication date of Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles Volume 1 Change is Constant is on February 28, 2012.

THE GOOD:
  1. Drawing style and coloring.
  2. The Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles are back!
  3. Interesting storyline, though not much is revealed yet.
THE BAD:
  1. Too short and not much happens until the end of the book.
FAVORITE QUOTE/S:


READ IT IF:
  1. You grew up watching the series.
  2. You miss the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles.
  3. You want to see what the hype was all about.
RATING:
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Wednesday, February 22, 2012

Review: Celebrity, Inc. by Jo Piazza


SUMMARY FROM OPENROADMEDIA.COM:
From $10,000 tweets to making money in the afterlife, a recovering gossip columnist explores the business lessons that power the Hollywood Industrial Complex

Why do celebrities get paid so much more than regular people to do a job that seems to afford them the same amount of leisure time as most retirees? What do Bush-era economics have to do with the rise of Kim Kardashian? How do the laws of supply and demand explain why the stars of Teen Mom are on the cover of Us Weekly? And how was the sale of Brad Pitt and Angelina Jolie’s baby pictures a little like a street drug deal? After a decade spent toiling as an entertainment journalist and gossip columnist, Jo Piazza asks the hard questions about the business behind celebrity.

Make no mistake: Celebrity is an industry. Never in the course of human history has the market for celebrities been as saturated as it is today. Nearly every day most Americans will consume something a celebrity is selling—a fragrance, a sneaker, a song, a movie, a show, a tweet, or a photo in a magazine.

With the benefits of Piazza’s unique access to the celebrity market, Celebrity, Inc. explains in detail what generates cash for the industry and what drains value faster than a starlet downs champagne—in twelve fascinating case studies that tackle celebrities the way industry analysts would dissect any consumer brand.
MY TAKE:

I've always wondered what it would be like to be a celebrity who gets paid a ton of money by making movies, shows, music, commercials or appearances. It seems like such an easy way to get rich. Celebrity, Inc. tells us otherwise.

Celebrity, Inc. contains 12 essays about things like celebrity babies, Spencer Pratt, Paris Hilton, American Idol and the Kardashians.

There's more to being a celebrity than what we see on television. In a way, you could say that sometimes, celebrities are treated as commodities. Even their babies' pictures are fought over and bought. There's a lot of interesting things here that I wasn't aware of, such as that Oscar winners aren't always chosen based entirely on merit and that some companies actually create campaigns in order to boost their film's chance of winning an Oscar. As for the celebrities, I had no idea that the Kardashians are so hardworking and have great work ethic. Spencer Pratt, on the other hand, is just how he appears on TV.

This is very well-researched book with lots of footnotes. However, it's more than a celebrity lifestyle book; it's also a great business strategy book.

Thanks to NetGalley and Open Road Media for the e-copy.

THE GOOD:
  1. It's well-researched.
  2. You learn more about the machinations of Hollywood.
  3. It's inspiring.
THE BAD:
  1. There are a lot of facts and figures.
FAVORITE QUOTE/S:
Kelly Clarkson, one of the few superstars the show has created, exhibited the perfect slow unraveling underdog narrative.
READ IT IF:
  1. You like mixing business with pleasure.
  2. Celebrities fascinate you.
  3. You're curious about how fame works and how to achieve it.
RATING:
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Tuesday, February 21, 2012

Teaser Tuesdays

Teaser Tuesdays is a weekly bookish meme, hosted by MizB of Should Be Reading. Anyone can play along! Just do the following:
  • Grab your current read
  • Open to a random page
  • Share two (2) “teaser” sentences from somewhere on that page
  • BE CAREFUL NOT TO INCLUDE SPOILERS! (make sure that what you share doesn’t give too much away! You don’t want to ruin the book for others!)
  • Share the title & author, too, so that other TT participants can add the book to their TBR Lists if they like your teasers!

Not so tough, now, are you, Mr. Racoon? Chomp! Chomp!


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Note: This post may contain Amazon affiliate links.

Monday, February 20, 2012

Review: PUTTING BOYS ON THE LEDGE (Book 1, A Girlfriend's Guide to Boys Series) by Stephanie Rowe


SUMMARY FROM NETGALLEY.COM:
Meet Blueberry Waller, whose name is the only interesting thing about her life. Until now.

Not only is Blue dealing with the worst name in the world, crazy parents and a clingy younger sister, she just got a part in the school play. And now she’s acting with Heath Cavendish, total crush-worthy senior. He would never give a second look to a girl like Blue. Except he has.

Her friends say Blue should play it cool, put Heath on the Ledge so she can keep the upper hand. Trouble is, she doesn’t know how to be clever around boys. Thankfully her pal Colin offers his help in teaching her how to get the guy. But he’s just being a good friend. Isn’t he?

Suddenly the wallflower is getting all the attention. But will being in the spotlight keep Blue from making the right decisions...for her?

A Girlfriend’s Guide to Boys: For these four friends, understanding the world of boys is only half the battle.
MY TAKE:

This book has a lot of potential, but Blue rubbed me the wrong way at the start of the book.

Basically, Blue has her eye on Heath, a really cute senior. Her friends advice her to keep him on the Ledge, a.k.a. play hard to get. To help her prepare to deal with dating an older guy like Heath, her friends enlist the help of Colin, a nice guy who helps her out with her chores while she's acting in the play.

Blue annoyed me so much during the first few chapters of the book. She was so over the top into Heath to the point that it was pathetic. If it weren't for Blue's friends, especially Frances, I would have stopped reading after chapter 2. Allie, Frances and Natalie are very interesting characters, and provide a great complement to Blue's personality.

The plot is kinda obvious and cliche but it has its interesting moments and gets better as it progresses. By the end of the book, I was definitely rooting for Blue.

Thanks to NetGalley and TKA Distribution for the e-copy.

THE GOOD:
  1. The girls' rapport is very organic.
  2. It's a quick and romantic read.
  3. Cute love story.
THE BAD:
  1. Blue's obsession with Heath.
FAVORITE QUOTE/S:
I felt like I could kiss him and no one else would ever know, and we'd never mention it again. It would be our little secret.
READ IT IF:
  1. You want to read a quick romance novel.
  2. You miss the Sisterhood of the Travelling Pants.
  3. You like nice guys.
RATING:
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Sunday, February 19, 2012

Fiction Feature and Giveaway: Pariah by Aron Warner

For this Fiction Feature, we have a guest post from Aron Warner, the author of Pariah.
If "Pariah" was ever made into a movie, these would definitely be part of the Soundtrack!
Check them out ;)

A Thousand Tiny Pieces - The Be Good Tanyas


New #1 - Bob Mould


Who'll Stop the Rain - Creedence Clearwater Revival


Dust of Ages - The Eels

Dream Dream Dreaming - Glasvegas


Mind Matter and Waste - The Hidden Cameras

After the Gold Rush - Neil Young


Til Victory - Patti Smith


Stars 4-Ever - Robyn


I Can't See New York - Tori Amos


Real Child of Hell - X


Black Steel - Tricky


Song to the Siren - This Mortal Coil


Sail the Sea - Syd


Kolnidur - Jonsi


Wish - Run Lola Run


ABOUT ARON WARNER:
Aron J. Warner has been helping to entertain millions for over two decades. As a graduate of the UCLA Film School, Warner has been a part of such classic films like Ghoulies, Highlander II, Independence Day, Alien Resurrection, and Antz. His greatest contribution to popular culture has been as the voice for Big Bad Wolf in the Shrek franchise. Warner is currently in the process of wrapping live production on a 3-D Cirque du Soleil Project with James Cameron, and is beginning to delve into the world of comics.

Aron Warner’s company Strange Weather Films has recently announced that they’re developing a new CG feature on Dark Horse’s popular graphic novel series, Beasts of Burden. Warner has also developed his own comic book series called Pariah. To be published by Sea Lion books, Pariah takes readers to the year 2025 and follows the plight of a unique group of teenagers who have rapidly developed intelligence beyond genius levels as the side effect of an experimental in vitro genetic medicine. When the teens are framed for a deadly virus that leaks into the atmosphere, these modern day pariah’s must band together to fight for social justice.
ABOUT PARIAH:
Brent Marks is not a freak. He's one of the "Pariah", a group of teens who become extremely intelligent after being cured of a genetic disorder. Although in most ways a normal teen, Brent is considered dangerous and is tracked down by the government who see these kids as an enormous threat. Can he evade them? What do they have planned for Brent and the others?
Why are the most elite black-ops forces chasing a 16 year old girl across the country? Why can’t they find her? And why do they want to kill her? Because they think Lila Ellerman is a terrorist who released a deadly virus into the wild. But really, she’s just a girl with a crush on a guy named Brandon. Yes, she’s figured out the science of controlling anti-matter, but that doesn’t make her a criminal. Will she be able to protect her friends and keep them from being taken prisoner, or worse?
Robert Maudsley knows what makes us tick. He knows what people want, need, hate and love. He can use that knowledge to get us to do whatever he wants, no matter how dangerous, immoral or repugnant that might be. Maudsley has no moral compass. He has no compassion. But he’s very curious about how far he can push people and what he can get away with. Maudsley wants to rule the world. Maudsley wants to control us all. Maudsley is 15 years old.
OUTTAKE:
SOUNDS INTERESTING?:

GIVEAWAY:

Win a copy of a volume of Pariah! Winner gets to choose among the 4 published volumes. This is a print copy courtesy of the lovely folks at Sea Lion books. Open to INTERNATIONAL readers. If you already have all 4 copies, you may opt to wait for book number 5 or choose another Sea Lion product like Storm Born.

Just fill out the Google form below.

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Saturday, February 18, 2012

Review: Mrs. Noodlekugel by Daniel Pinkwater


SUMMARY FROM GOODREADS.COM:
With signature wit and whimsy, the inimitable Daniel Pinkwater introduces an eccentric, endearing babysitter every child will wish they could have.

Nick and Maxine live in a tall building with one apartment on top of another. So when they look out their window and see a little house they never knew was there, of course they must visit (especially when their parents tell them not to!). Going through the boiler room, they're amazed to find to a secret backyard with a garden, a porch, and a statue of a cat. And they're even more amazed when that cat starts to talk. . . . Welcome to the world of Mrs. Noodlekugel, where felines converse and serve cookies and tea, vision-impaired mice join the party (but may put crumbs up their noses), and children in search of funny adventures are drawn by the warm smell of gingerbread and the promise of magical surprises.
MY TAKE:

I was very intrigued when I read the blurb for Mrs. Noodlekugel.

When Nick and Maxine see a house in the middle of apartment complexes, they try and find a way to visit it and whomever lives there. The house belongs to Mrs. Noodlekugel, a kind old lady with a talking cat and four blind mice.

The descriptions are very vivid and the premise is very promising. This could be a cartoon series, I think, because there are plenty of elements that would work well in a cartoon or a book series. The illustrations are also very beautiful and it's so easy to imagine the characters. I especially liked Mr. Fuzzface, Mrs. Noodlekugel's cat. He's cute, smart, and can bake cookies.

Because it has such a good premise, I was really expecting a lot from this book. However, there's no conflict or climax and it feels incomplete. Maybe there's a sequel?

Thanks to NetGalley and Candlewick Press for the e-ARC. Publication date of Mrs. Noodlekugel is on March 13, 2012.

THE GOOD:
  1. Interesting premise.
  2. Vivid descriptions.
  3. Mr. Fuzzface, the amazing cat!
THE BAD:
  1. Some of the dialogue are kinda too stiff and formal to be said by kids. Mostly, they do not use contractions so the kids sound like they were born in the '50s.
  2. The story feels incomplete and there is no real conflict.
FAVORITE QUOTE/S:
"The mice are farsighted," Mrs. Noodlekugel said. "But they enjoy tea parties."
READ IT IF:
  1. You like the idea of magical old ladies, talking cats and blind mice.
  2. You like whimsical books.
  3. You like cute illustrations that make it easier to imagine the story.
RATING:
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Friday, February 17, 2012

Review: S.A.V.E. Squad Book 1: Dog Daze by Lauraine Snelling and Kathleen Wright


SUMMARY FROM NETGALLEY.COM:
When sixth-grader, Aneta Jasper, is reluctantly named one of the winners of the Oakton Founders’ Day poster contest, she and three girls—with nothing in common but their differences—must pull off a successful event for the first-ever Founders’ Day. The girls come together through the rescue of a small Basset Hound they dub Wink, which leads to their idea for a Founders’ Day Waddle—a fund-raising Basset Hound walk, a doggie fashion show, and a photo contest. But when the mean girls stir up trouble, it’s up to the city council to decide whether the Waddle will waddle at all.
MY TAKE:

As I was reading this book, I remembered an old series way back when I was a kid, which featured kids trying to save the environment. I'm not sure what happened to that series, but I hope The S.A.V.E. Squad series will be a more successful series in the kids-doing-good Children's Lit genre category.

After winning a poster contest, Aneta, a Ukranian child who was adopted by an American lady, finds herself trying to come up with a fund-raiser concept, along with three girls who she feels she has nothing in common with.

While reading the book, I felt bad for Aneta. I'm not an immigrant, but I do know how tough it can be sometimes to try to communicate with others in a language that is not your native tongue. Sometimes, even if you think you're already fluent in a language, you find yourself stuttering or at a loss for words.

My favorite character is Sunny because she was the most upbeat and funny of the girls. I liked the fact that the girls would mention God every now and then, but not in a preachy way so girls of all religions can still relate to them.

One thing, though, I was quite surprised with the plot twist midway through the story because the summary does not mention it. I think it would be great if they added it to the summary because it seems as though what's written on the summary is the big plot twist in the book, when actually, there are two major plot twists in the book.

Thanks to NetGalley and Barbour Publishing, Inc., for the e-ARC. Publication date of S.A.V.E. Squad Book 1: Dog Daze is on March 1, 2012.

THE GOOD:
  1. The girls don't spend most of their time on things like boys, clothes, etc. I like reading chicklit and YA books, but it's nice to read about a group of girls that actually do something.
  2. There are some good moral lessons throughout this book.
  3. Children can learn more about taking care of dogs.
THE BAD:
  1. I didn't feel any connection to Aneta. I felt bad for her because of her struggles with English, but aside from that, I didn't really feel anything.
FAVORITE QUOTE/S:
"A forever home," she said, rolling the words around in her mouth. They sounded safe.
READ IT IF:
  1. You like reading about girls who have adventures.
  2. You have a child or know someone who was adopted from another land and the child is struggling with adjusting to life in a foreign country.
  3. You are looking for children's books with Christian characters.
RATING:
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Thursday, February 16, 2012

Review: Izzy the Whiz and Passover McClean by Yael Mermelstein


SUMMARY FROM NETGALLEY.COM:
Izzy the Whiz is an amateur inventor who, right before Passover, creates a super duper machine that whirs and purrs and munches and crunches and miraculously cleans the entire house just in time for the holiday – but not without creating havoc along the way. A fun, crazy, rhyming tale a la Dr. Seuss.
MY TAKE:

I'm not Jewish and there are very few Jews where I come from, so I only the basics about Passover.

Izzy the Whiz and Passover McClean centers around Izzy and his creation Passover Mclean, which helps him clean the house for Passover. This book is the perfect pre-Passover book for young Jewish children and those like me who are interested to learn a little bit more about Passover.

Izzy is such a cute kid, kinda like a less nerdy version of Dexter from Dexter's Laboratory. Passover Mclean is a pretty cool invention, too. I wouldn't mind borrowing him for a weekend or two.

Thanks to NetGalley and Kar-Ben Publishing for the e-copy.

THE GOOD:
  1. Nice coloring.
  2. Tight, well-written story.
  3. Fun concept.
THE BAD:
  1. The font seems too serious for the topic.
FAVORITE QUOTE/S:
Come into his world and you'll see what I mean,
As we watch him inventing Passover Mclean.
READ IT IF:
  1. You want your kids to learn more about Passover traditions.
  2. You like smart and inventive children.
  3. You like books that have illustrations that are colored well.
RATING:
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Wednesday, February 15, 2012

Review: Warriors and Wailers: One Hundred Ancient Chinese Jobs You Might Have Relished or Reviled by Sarah Tsiang


SUMMARY FROM NETGALLEY.COM:
Ever thought of becoming an emperor? How about a silk maker?

China was one of the most advanced societies in the ancient world. Whether in medicine, the arts, or education, the Chinese far outpaced the Europeans. Although most people were peasants, society included a myriad of other jobs.

It may sound like a great position, but being emperor had its downside. If you displeased the gods, you could be put to death. As a silk maker, you would be sworn to secrecy so foreigners wouldn't learn how to spin the precious thread. Other jobs included wailer (yes, you'll cry whether you want to or not), noodle maker (noodles were not only delicious, but also a symbol of long life), or Shaolin warrior monk (if you were really good, you could break stone slabs with your fists).

A fact-filled introduction, index, and timeline make this book-the sixth in the series-perfect for research projects, while the humorous illustrations keep it fun.
MY TAKE:

I've been fascinated by China ever since I saw Mulan. Ancient China is a very interesting place and that's why I was eager to read this book.

Warriors and Wailers: One Hundred Ancient Chinese Jobs You Might Have Relished or Reviled gives you a look at the different jobs available in Ancient China.

Who knew that there were so many specialized jobs then? Some jobs, especially civil service ones, were available only to men. There are other jobs, such as concubines, that while available to women, aren't exactly something that women nowadays would be eager to have.

One surprising fact that I learned from this book is that merchants were looked down upon. Merchants have definitely come a long way.

Thanks to NetGalley and Annick Press for the e-copy.

THE GOOD:
  1. You learn a lot of interesting things.
  2. It's not boring.
  3. It's well-organized.
THE BAD:
  1. The illustration style may not be interesting for everyone.
FAVORITE QUOTE/S:
If you wanted to make your parents proud, you wouldn't become a doctor. Instead, you would dream of passing the difficult civil service exams and climbing the ladder of government rank.
READ IT IF:
  1. You like learning about new things.
  2. You find Ancient China interesting.
  3. You're trying to find inspiration for your future career.
RATING:
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Tuesday, February 14, 2012

Teaser Tuesdays

Teaser Tuesdays is a weekly bookish meme, hosted by MizB of Should Be Reading. Anyone can play along! Just do the following:
  • Grab your current read
  • Open to a random page
  • Share two (2) “teaser” sentences from somewhere on that page
  • BE CAREFUL NOT TO INCLUDE SPOILERS! (make sure that what you share doesn’t give too much away! You don’t want to ruin the book for others!)
  • Share the title & author, too, so that other TT participants can add the book to their TBR Lists if they like your teasers!

I always wanted to be a mother. Scratch that. Let me begin again.

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Monday, February 13, 2012

Review: World in Your Lunch Box, The Wacky History and Weird Science of Everyday Foods by Claire Eamer


SUMMARY FROM NETGALLEY.COM:
Discover the tasty stories behind the foods we love.

A ham sandwich on white bread. Macaroni and cheese. Peanut-butter-and-banana roll-ups. They may sound like ordinary items, but they take us on an amazing journey through the rich history and astonishing science of food.

Explore a week of lunches-from apples to pizza-by taking a romp through thousands of years of extraordinary events. Some are amusing, like the accidental invention of potato chips. Others are tragic, such as the Spice Wars, which killed thousands of people.

Consider that ham sandwich: Ancient Romans first made ham by curing meat with salt and smoke to kill microbes, while yeast (which burps gas) produces the fluffy texture of bread.

Aztec farmers bred tomatoes from small, bitter berries into plump, sweet fruit, and watermelons sustained travelers 10,000 years ago in the Kalahari Desert.

With a vibrant design and quirky illustrations, THE WORLD IN YOUR LUNCH BOX is like the perfect lunch: satisfying, well-balanced, and totally delicious.
MY TAKE:

Food and science in one book. What's not to love?

World in Your Lunch Box, The Wacky History and Weird Science of Everyday Foods is a fun way to learn more about food. The stories about each food are arranged like a kid's food diary.

The food diary is a good idea as it makes the info very colorful and entertaining. The book contains a lot of fun stories and facts such as how ham was made and that tomatoes come from South America. Also, I found out that Brazil has quial egg and chocolate pizzas. Two of my favorite things in one pizza. Definitely sounds like a must-try.

Thanks to NetGalley and Annick Press for the e-copy.

THE GOOD:
  1. It's packed with interesting information.
  2. It's colorful and not boring.
  3. Its illustrations are witty.
THE BAD:
  1. The illustration style may not appeal to everyone.
FAVORITE QUOTE/S:
Chocolate, vanilla and strawberry are just the beginning in ice cream flavors. How about purple yam ice cream? You can eat that in the Philippines.
READ IT IF:
  1. You like food.
  2. You're curious about the history of your food.
  3. You like trivia.
RATING:
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