Thursday, February 28, 2013

Review: Go Tweet Yourself: 365 Reasons Why Twitter, Facebook, Myspace, and Other Social Networking Sites Suck by Janelle Randazza


SUMMARY FROM GOODREADS.COM:

Flip Twitter the bird.
Tell Facebook to f#@% off.
Lose it on LinkedIn.Somewhere between the advent of Facebook and launching Twitter to the masses, the Internet betrayed us. It allowed pages to be viewed by job interviewers, newsfeeds to be flooded by Aunt Julie, and for constant tweets about what color socks that random girl from the study group is going to wear today.
This book is the hilarious reply all that says: enough is "enough." We "don?t" want to see the pictures from your business trip to Omaha. We "don?t" want a page-by-page account of what's going on in "Twilight." We definitely "don?t" want a virtual drink!
When you can't fix the problem, fix the blame. And since there's no way in 2.0-hell that you can put an end to the bastardization of the Book, you may as well have a good laugh while pointing the finger at those who ruined their online experience.

MY TAKE:
I'm a big social media buff so I thought this would be an interesting read.

In Go Tweet Yourself, the author mentions the reasons why she dislikes the different social networks. For easier reading/reference, her observations are grouped by social network.

The thing with humor books is you may like it or you may hate it, depending on what kind of jokes you find funny. Since this was a gift, I wasn't able to browse the book beforehand to decide if it was right up my alley. Sadly, this book barely got a few laughs out of me.

There were a ton of on-point observations here, like how people who like what they have posted look stupid, however, the tone doesn't translate well through the page. It feels like it was written by a stand-up comedian (the harsh kind), but without the benefit of hearing how they say it, it just sounds like a collection of complaints.

I didn't hate this book exactly, but it didn't fascinate and entertain me as I thought it would. In fact, halfway through the book, I actually fell asleep. When I woke up and flipped through the pages I had read, I didn't recognize some of the entries. That means that I either skipped through them or I forgot about them completely while I was sleeping.

THE GOOD:

  1. There are some witty observations here.
  2. It covers all the big social networks.
  3. It's snarky.

THE BAD:

  1. This type of humor might not appeal to everyone.

FAVORITE QUOTE/S:
But who is a bitchy gay socialite? Maybe Carson Kressley? He's pretty.
READ IT IF:

  1. You are a social media addict.
  2. You like super snarky humor.
  3. You hate a lot of things about social media networks.

RATING:
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Wednesday, February 27, 2013

Review: The Interns: Truth or Fashion by Chloe Walsh


SUMMARY FROM GOODREADS.COM:

Your daily fashion Q may be: What's a girl to wear? But at "Couture" magazine in Manhattan, four glittering interns have even bigger things to worry about. Someone's leaking "Couture"'s trendsetting secrets--and the in-style intrigue doesn't end there.
Hot new designer Callie is feeling the haute couture heat.
Aynsley is fashion's new It Girl . . . and too cool to care.
Nadine has a jaw-dropping look--but she's on the edge of out.
Ava is hiding much more than a few knockoffs in her closet!
Sounds like the interns need fashion therapy! Lucky for them, the Fashionista blog is serving up some mind-blowing style potions, with a sweet supply of garment-industry gossip. Get ready for some knockdown drama in Prada.

MY TAKE:
I usually like books set in Manhattan and feature the publishing in some way, so I decided to give this a try.

In The Interns: Truth or Fashion, the four interns from the first book are back and ready to continue their rise in the fashion world. However, that could be a little bit difficult for at least two of them because this group is hiding a lot of huge secrets that could rock Couture magazine and the rest of the elite fashionistas of Manhattan.

During the first few chapters of this book, I wasn't too excited about it all. I tend to see which characters I can relate to and then I'd root for that character. I don't know if it would have helped if I had read the first book, but I really didn't like any of the characters at first. They were dishonest, catty or sneaking around. However, it's a good thing I kept at it, because as the story progressed and I stopped looking for characters to relate to, I started to enjoy the book and the characters.

My favorite of the four is Ava. She's intelligent and a good writer. I was pretty angry when I read about her interaction with a married photographer, because that kind of thing just does not fly with me. As it turns out, the real story is far more interesting and novel-worthy. I was okay with the other girls, even though I disliked Aynsley at first.

As for the plot and writing style, I guess it's like a mix of Gossip Girl and The Devil Wears Prada. I mean, there's even a Gossip Girl-like blogger that helps propel the story.

I would say that overall, this book is a pretty good beach read, although the first part might be hard to work through if you haven't read the first book because it's hard to sympathize with some of the girls at first.

THE GOOD:

  1. It has some fun parts.
  2. It's an inside look at the fashion magazine industry.
  3. There are some nice plot twists near the end.

THE BAD:

  1. It can be hard to sympathize with the girls at first.

FAVORITE QUOTE/S:
Aynsley understood how someone who'd never seen a gifting suite before could get so excited: the huge two-bedroom apartment in the swank Pierre Hotel had sweeping views of Central Park, and every surface in the place was covered with a glittering assortment of electronics, cosmetics, clothing, and more.
READ IT IF:

  1. You really like fashion.
  2. You've always wanted to work in a fashion magazine.
  3. You're looking for a book that is a mix of Gossip Girl, The Devil Wears Prada, and Sex in the City.

RATING:
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Tuesday, February 26, 2013

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!

Ava piled her dark brown hair into a retro-looking bun, and instead of her usual Prada nude lip gloss, she painted her sweetheart lips with Chanel Barcelona Red.
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Monday, February 25, 2013

Review: ABAKADA by Lyndon Gregorio


SUMMARY FROM NATIONALBOOKSTORE.COM.PH:

This is not your father's children's book.
Well, unless you own it, then that makes this at least one of your father's children's books. That being said, this eleventh Beerkada collection is all about love, work and family, along with time travel, corpse eaters, reincarnation and Arashi. So join the best-friends-since-college as they prevail in Pinoy life. Hi-mi-tsu!

MY TAKE:
I've been a fan of Beerkada from almost the very beginning.

In this book, the adventures of the beerkada continue as they live their adult lives, having kids (Fe and Jimmy), finishing law school (Boopey), etc.

As with many comics compilation books, not all books are going to be equally funny. I remember being disappointed with one of the older Beerkada books, though, I can't remember which one. At first I thought I wasn't going to be too happy about this book. I'm not a fan of comic strips that center on Pyschocow, so I didn't find those strips too funny. It was a good thing that for the last 3/4 of the book, the quality of the strips was up to par with the previous Beerkada books I liked.

I still don't like Chompy, though. :P Of all the girls that Glenn liked, the only girl I really really liked with him was Dana. It's really too bad they didn't work out. When Chompy first appeared, she really creeped me out since she seemed stalkerish, possessive and selfish. She does have her good moments, but for the most part, I don't think I'll ever be a fan.

THE GOOD:

  1. There are plenty of funny strips.
  2. The quality of the strips are as good as the earlier strips.
  3. There are lots of interesting storylines.

THE BAD:

  1. It starts off a little weak.

FAVORITE QUOTE/S:

Boopey: Nanood kami ng Bolt kagabi.
Bryan: Bold? Nanood kayo ng bold?
Boopey: Bolt, yung may tuta. At may batang babae. At si John Travolta.
Bryan: Si John Travolta, may kasamang tuta?! Sobrang bold naman 'nun.

READ IT IF:

  1. You like Beerkada.
  2. You bought the other Beerkada books.
  3. You like irreverent, intelligent, slapstick, sometimes raunchy humor.

RATING:
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Sunday, February 24, 2013

In My Mailbox



In My Mailbox is a weekly meme hosted by Kristi at The Story Siren.

BOUGHT:


Are These My Basoomas I See Before Me? by Louise Rennison
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Saturday, February 23, 2013

Review: Attack of the Chicken Nugget Man A National Test Prep Adventure by Kumar R. Sathy


SUMMARY FROM NETGALLEY.COM:

This laugh-out-loud children's book is aligned with the new Common Core State Standards. It covers 2nd - 5th grade English Language Arts and Mathematics. Attack of the Chicken Nugget Man: A National Test Prep Adventure is a hilarious story that teaches and references curriculum concepts that students in all states need to learn!
This breakthrough educational book tells the story of a struggling third-grader (Chris Robb) who desperately wants to pass a standardized test. Chris's school is a crazy place and his teacher has the strangest name he has ever heard: Ms. Bubblebrain. Every character in the book has a unique personality trait. Smelly Sam stuffs random objects up his nose (sushi, socks, etc), the bus driver waves around his stinky shoe to get the kids to settle down, and the principal harbors an incomprehensible infatuation with strawberry milk. Meanwhile, rumor has it that a mysterious Chicken Nugget Man has been sneaking into schools and causing all kinds of chaos. A task force is created to capture the Chicken Nugget Man. The country's smartest children will be chosen to join the effort because for some reason, no adult has ever seen the Chicken Nugget Man. Chris, who can barely remember his teacher's name, has the odds stacked against him when it comes to passing the big test, but as the reader discovers, he might have a little help, and a little hope, after all.
The book has built-in Bloom's Taxonomy critical thinking comprehension questions and silly versions of standardized test prep questions that are written in kid-friendly language. Open-ended questions, creative writing prompts, and drawing activities are included for all kinds of learners. A strong emphasis is placed on character education and every time a character makes a poor choice, the narrator reminds readers of the consequences, encouraging them to suggest more responsible choices.
This delightful work of humorous fiction makes learning fun and helps students in all states prepare for standardized tests. It's great for fourth and fifth grade remediation, gifted second graders, after school tutoring, read-aloud, literature circles, family reading nights, and guided reading.

MY TAKE:
I'm always interested in children's books that both entertain and help kids learn.

In Attack of the Chicken Nugget Man, Chris is a young boy who just can't seem to remember anything at school. With a standardized test coming up, how is he ever going to pass the test? And what is up with the mysterious Chicken Nugget Man?

As I was reading the first few chapters, I wasn't too impressed with what I was reading. The story is a little bit nutty and unlikely. The idea of the Chicken Nugget Man also wasn't explained. I thought it was a man dressed as a chicken nugget. As it turns out, the Chicken Nugget Man is actually a sentient chicken nugget.

However, as I continued reading and the story started to come together, the book actually wasn't too bad. Each chapter was short, like what you would actually find in a standardized test, and it had a short quiz after each chapter. There were also little drawings, representing underlined words, and knowledge nuggets that add a little more interactivity to the chapter.

Thanks to NetGalley and Smith Publicity for the e-ARC. Publication date of Attack of the Chicken Nugget Man is on March 1, 2013.

THE GOOD:

  1. It's a great way to help kids get comfortable with standardized tests.
  2. The knowledge nuggets help kids with additional concepts that might come up in standardized tests.
  3. The drawings can help kids associate the things with what it's called.

THE BAD:

  1. The book may take awhile to make sense.

FAVORITE QUOTE/S:
"Well, shake my pepper and buy me a snake cake," Ms. Bubblebrain said.
READ IT IF:

  1. Your child will be answering standardized tests soon.
  2. Your child is having difficulty learning at school.
  3. Your child is just starting elementary school.

RATING:
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Friday, February 22, 2013

Review: CrosScan Puzzles A Challenging New Dimension in Word Search by Bill Cobb, Susan T. Brown


SUMMARY FROM NETGALLEY.COM:
CrosScan is a unique blend of word search and crossword. This concept begins with a word search block; then crossword-style clues take the place of a word list. The theme is hidden; it emerges as the puzzle is worked. It’s an IQ workout that stretches the mental muscles. Created by humans rather than by computer, each finely-crafted puzzle has about 40 words and enough leftover letters to form a quotation related to the theme. Clues are not too difficult but certainly not easy as puns and double meanings are used to obscure the theme.
MY TAKE:
I really like crosswords so I thought this was worth a try.

In CrosScan Puzzles, you get three types of puzzles in one. You are given clues, like with a crossword puzzle; you search for that word, like a search-a-word; and the remaining letters form a quote.

It's kinda hard to review an e-copy of books like this one, but it's easy enough to get the idea even if you don't complete one puzzle.

The first three puzzles have a few words already circled so you can get the idea. The puzzles are easy enough to understand and solve yet seems to be challenging enough for you to spend an hour or so to solve one puzzle. The quote is also a nice touch because if you get stuck with the puzzle, you can probably guess a word based on what you can see of the quote.

Thanks to NetGalley and YouDoPR.com Consultants for the e-copy.

THE GOOD:

  1. The puzzles are challenging but not necessarily difficult.
  2. It combines crosswords, search-a-word, and find the quote.
  3. There are instructions and hints to help you along.

THE BAD:

  1. The layout and cover design aren't particularly eye-catching.

FAVORITE QUOTE/S:
While you won't find any clues like "ancient Mongolian bathtub" here, you will find that CrosScan is more challenging than the average word search.
READ IT IF:

  1. You like crossword puzzles.
  2. You like word search puzzles.
  3. You like activity books.

RATING:
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Thursday, February 21, 2013

Review: The Mark of Athena by Rick Riordan


SUMMARY FROM NETGALLEY.COM:

Annabeth is terrified. Just when she's about to be reunited with Percy—after six months of being apart, thanks to Hera—it looks like Camp Jupiter is preparing for war. As Annabeth and her friends Jason, Piper, and Leo fly in on the Argo II, she can’t blame the Roman demigods for thinking the ship is a Greek weapon. With its steaming bronze dragon masthead, Leo's fantastical creation doesn't appear friendly. Annabeth hopes that the sight of their praetor Jason on deck will reassure the Romans that the visitors from Camp Half-Blood are coming in peace.
And that's only one of her worries. In her pocket Annabeth carries a gift from her mother that came with an unnerving demand: Follow the Mark of Athena. Avenge me. Annabeth already feels weighed down by the prophecy that will send seven demigods on a quest to find—and close—the Doors of Death. What more does Athena want from her?
Annabeth's biggest fear, though, is that Percy might have changed. What if he's now attached to Roman ways? Does he still need his old friends? As the daughter of the goddess of war and wisdom, Annabeth knows she was born to be a leader, but never again does she want to be without Seaweed Brain by her side.
Narrated by four different demigods, The Mark of Athena is an unforgettable journey across land and sea to Rome, where important discoveries, surprising sacrifices, and unspeakable horrors await. Climb aboard the Argo II, if you dare....

MY TAKE:
I'm a fan of the Percy Jackson series and the Heroes of Olympus series, so as soon as I received this book as a gift, I started reading it.

In The Mark of Athena, Percy, Annabeth, Leo, Jason, Piper, Hazel and Frank, as well as Coach Hedge, begin their quest. However, in addition to the main quest, Annabeth has a special quest from her mother. This quest can unite the Greek and Roman demigods or it could tear them apart completely.

Like with the other books, this one is jampacked with battles and quests. It can get a little bit overwhelming, but the great thing about this is, it allows all seven demigods get a lot of page time, even if they're not the main focus of the chapter.

There are two big quests here. One is to solve the prophecy about the seven, which is completed at the end of the book when the seven rescue a missing demigod. As for the other quest, it's the quest that Athena gives Annabeth.

The quests had little sub-quests, in a way, which meant that the demigods meet a number of nymphs and gods that weren't in the other books. That's the best thing about this series for me, though. It puts a modern spin on the characterization of gods and goddesses, but there's just a perfect blend of traditional characteristics and new traits that make it feel like yes, that's how that god is really like.

The characters are as consistent as ever. My favorite demigod is still Annabeth, because of how strong and smart she is. Even when she needs help, it never feels quite like she's a damsel-in-distress. She reminds me of Mulan, in a way. I wonder if had Percy Jackson's world and the Disney world could co-exist, if Mulan could have been a daughter of Athena.

THE GOOD:

  1. There are no boring moments.
  2. All seven demigods get their moment to shine.
  3. The characters' relationships are very organic.

THE BAD:

  1. There's plenty of going on, which can get overwhelming.

FAVORITE QUOTE/S:
With his chubby face and his grumpy expression, he looked like a Buddha who'd achieved enlightenment and wasn't thrilled about it.
READ IT IF:

  1. You liked the other Percy Jackson and Heroes of Olympus books.
  2. You like strong heroines.
  3. You like Greek and Roman mythology.

RATING:
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Wednesday, February 20, 2013

Review: Rapunzel Untangled by Cindy Bennett


SUMMARY FROM NETGALLEY.COM:
Told that she must be indoors at all times, Rapunzel feels trapped in the huge mansion where she lives. But when school demands allow her access to the Internet, she discovers Facebook and becomes friends with Fane, a local teenager who changes her whole world. This story will have you entangled from beginning to end.
MY TAKE:
I really wanted to like this book, but I couldn't really connect with it at all.

In Rapunzel Untangled, Rapunzel is a teenager who has spent her entire life in a tower. Her mother told her that she has SCIDs so she can't leave the tower. While browsing the internet, she gets on Facebook and befriends Fane. This soon leads to her finding out more about her mother and her history than she could ever dream about.

The idea of Rapunzel contacting the outside world via the internet was really good and allowed for her to find out relevant information organically. The mystery of her house and the identity of her mother and the reason for her long hair to stay that way was also interesting.

However, Rapunzel and Fane's almost instant attraction even before I could get a feel for Rapunzel's personality felt a little forced to me. Their relationship and attraction was so sudden and perfect that it felt unrealistic and took me out of the story. This was disappointing to me because had the focus of the story been on the mystery and Rapunzel and Fane's attraction would have developed slower and more believably, this book could have been a 5-star book. As it is, I'm already bothered by Rapunzel being a damsel-in-distress for most of the book. I thought that perhaps the reason for Rapunzel relying on Fane to save her majority of the time because in fairy tales, that's really how it goes. However, it meant that in the end, when she was finally able to save herself, it felt cliche to me (damsel-in-distress saves herself). Had she been a little more independent and self-reliant, or at the very least, if she had been a little bit more analytic and tried to come up with a solution or a way to escape, I would have been more invested in Rapunzel.

As for being an adaptation of the fairytale, I think this book had more in common with Tangled than with the original Rapunzel. In Rapunzel Untangled, Rapunzel has blond hair, her original parents weren't royalty, and the witch's name really was Gothel, just like the fairy tale. However, the characterization of both Rapunzel and Fane reminded me so much of Rapunzel and Flynn. There were also little things about the book that reminded me of Tangled, but it's spoilery to reveal them.

Thanks to NetGalley and Sweetwater for the e-ARC.

THE GOOD:

  1. The addition of other bad people into the mix adds a new element to the Rapunzel story.
  2. The witch character in this book was better characterized than in the movie.
  3. The mystery of the house is a nice twist.

THE BAD:

  1. Fane and Rapunzel's relationship feels a little bit like insta-love.

FAVORITE QUOTE/S:
"Don't eat breakfast," he said. "I'm going to introduce you to the wonders of an Egg McMuffin."
READ IT IF:

  1. You liked Tangled.
  2. You like heroines who are damsels-in-distress but manage to save themselves in the end.
  3. You like fairy tales that are mixed with paranormal elements.

RATING:
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Tuesday, February 19, 2013

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!

The bright green eyes that looked at her reflected intelligence above a happy smile.
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Monday, February 18, 2013

Review: Chocolate-Covered Baloney by K.D. McCrite


SUMMARY FROM NETGALLEY.COM:

The last thing April Grace wants is more change in her life—but that’s exactly what she gets! Plus, April has a new mystery to solve when Myra Sue starts sneaking around and acting very suspicious!
From snooty new neighbors to starting junior high to getting a new baby brother to having her grandmother get a boyfriend, April Grace has had enough change to last until she is at least 87 years old.
But when it rains, it pours, and April Grace is in for the ride of her life when her prissy, citified neighbor Isabel becomes her gym teacher and a long-lost relative suddenly reappears and throws everything into a tizzy. On top of that, April’s sister, Myra Sue, has been hiding something and sneaking around. April needs to find out what is going on before her silly sister gets herself into trouble again. More important, will April find the grace she needs to handle her topsy-turvy life and forgive past wrongs?
Girls will fall in love with April’s humor and completely relate to her as she deals with family, friends, drama, and both the humor and the heartache that are part of growing up.

MY TAKE:
I wasn't too sure about the title of this book, but the blurb did appeal to me so I gave this book a try.

In Chocolate-Covered Baloney, April Grace is dealing with her older sister who is acting strangely, and some additional family drama courtesy of a  surprise visitor in town who may or may not be welcome.

Despite the fact that this book was set in the 1980s, I really enjoyed this book. I didn't even miss the references to cable television, cellphones, etc., which you see in the usual YA books these days.

There are a couple of plotlines in the book, and it didn't mesh together as well as I think it could have. Perhaps it would have been better if the book had focused more on the surprise visitor rather than Myra, because in the end, her storyline wasn't all that significant and important and felt like it was more of a device for the surprise visitor's story to be told.

I did like most of the characters in the book, especially April Grace. The entire time I was reading the book, I could imagine her voice with a Southern accent in my head. She had plenty of really funny lines in the book too. I think lots of young girls will be able to relate to April Grace, even though some of the young girls from the current generation may wonder why April and the other characters don't have cellphones and other more modern technology.

Thanks to NetGalley and Tommy Nelson for the e-copy.

THE GOOD:

  1. It's a pretty funny book.
  2. If you grew up before the '00s, you might not even notice the lack of current modern technology.
  3. The characters are interesting.

THE BAD:

  1. It would have been better if the plot centered on the surprise visitor and Myra's storyline was removed.

FAVORITE QUOTE/S:
Well, good gravy, excuse me all over the place for having an inquiring mind.
READ IT IF:

  1. You miss the '80s.
  2. You are looking for middle-grade and YA books with charming Southern heroines.
  3. You are looking for a middle-grade or YA book about families.

RATING:
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Sunday, February 17, 2013

In My Mailbox



In My Mailbox is a weekly meme hosted by Kristi at The Story Siren.

BOUGHT:


The Interns: Truth or Fashion by Chloe Walsh
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Note: This post may contain Amazon affiliate links.

Saturday, February 16, 2013

Review: Lily Robbins, M.D. by Nancy Rue


SUMMARY FROM NETGALLEY.COM:

It’s Dr. Lily to the rescue!
The second book in the Lily series, with over a million copies sold!
After witnessing a car accident and helping a little boy who was hurt, Lily embarks on a mission to become a “great doctor”—and no one’s going to stop her! Lily starts watching medical shows on TV, checks out health books at the library, and signs up for a Taking Care of Your Body class for girls. As usual, Lily goes overboard, and it’s not long before she’s trying to change the Girlz Only Club into a health class—fitness plans, label reading, exercise, and more. However, her friends aren’t too thrilled about her newfound passion, and when they stop wanting to be around her, Lily has to choose. In the end, Lily learns and important lesson about friendship that she’ll never forget.

MY TAKE:
As a former medical student, I was curious to see how this book would go.

In Lily Robbins, M.D., Lily becomes fascinated with medicine, and after reading up on some medical facts, she's convinced that she can handle medical issues. The thing is, Lily doesn't know as much as she think she does and her friendship with the Girlz go south pretty quickly.

At first, I liked Lily and her interest in medicine. When she became bossy and a total know-it-all, however, it really got on my nerves and I was actually rooting for Reni when she gave Lily a piece of her mind. In fact, I liked all the girls more than Lily for a good part of the book because her attitude was getting on my nerves. Lily's obsession with watching medical shows did make me smile, though, as it's something that my classmates and I used to do too. However, when we watched, it was mostly for the drama and in order to try and see if we can diagnose the problem before the TV doctors could.

I applaud the fact that the adults were realistic enough to tell Lily that this could be another of her phases, and the book was able to show that sometimes, people who think they know a lot but don't know as much as they think they do, can actually be harmful to others. I'm surprised, though, that her parents didn't mention anything to Lily about medical school. Perhaps that could have curbed Lily's eagerness a little bit. After all, doctors go through medical school and internship for years and then they have to go through residency and fellowship. Medicine isn't something you can learn that quickly.

As for the mystery, it's easy enough to guess as long as you're observant.

Thanks to NetGalley and Tommy Nelson for the e-ARC.

THE GOOD:

  1. It's a realistic portrayal of how kids become passionate about a potential career.
  2. It's not like some books wherein the heroine is able to save lives immediately even though they barely know anything about medicine.
  3. The characters' reactions are realistic.

THE BAD:

  1. Lily can be annoying.

FAVORITE QUOTE/S:
He had to content himself with, "So, you're the next new resident on House," and then went back to pouring milk shakes.
READ IT IF:

  1. Your child wants to become a doctor.
  2. Your child has a tendency to be bossy.
  3. Your child is trying to figure out what he or she wants to be when he or she grows up.

RATING:
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Friday, February 15, 2013

Review: Snorkeling with Sea-Bots by Amy Lemke


SUMMARY FROM NETGALLEY.COM:

Kolten discovers a robot named Rip on the ocean floor. Rip shows Kolten how robots control the movement of the ocean from their home, Sea City.
From the Comics Land series. For ages 5-7. Comics Land welcome young readers into a world of funny and quirky adventures told in popular comic style. These stories feature easy-to-read text, likeable characters and awesome art.
* Comics for young readers
* Includes a "how to draw" section at the back of each book
* A special game allows readers to go back into the story and search for hidden objects
About the Author:
Amy J. Lemke is an Early Childhood Special Education teacher in Cambridge, MN. She lives in  Hugo, MN, with her husband Donnie, her puppy Paulie and her cat Dylan. Amy enjoys going for bike rides, camping, traveling, and taking pictures.
About the Illustrator:
Jess Bradley has been drawing since she could hold a pencil and now puts that skill to good use by drawing books for children. She also draws a lot of other stuff, loves to read, plays video games whenever she gets the chance and watches a LOT of movies. She's still a big kid at hear and won't hesitate to tell people all about her favorite childhood cartoon shows and video games, whether they want to hear about it or not.

MY TAKE:
If you're looking for a children's book that looks like a comic book, you might want to try this one.

In Snorkeling with Sea-Bots, Kolten goes snorkeling only to find himself in a strange world filled with sea-bots.

The storyline itself is pretty simple. It's really just about a young boy that makes a new friend. The thing I liked most about this book, though, is how they imagined the world of the Sea-Bots. The book was able to give the Sea-Bots functions that relate to what happens under the sea and to it. It's not scientifically accurate, but I think that kids will like it anyway.

I also liked the activities at the end of the book. It gives the book a little extra something and helps make this a better book.

Thanks to NetGalley and Stone Arch Books for the e-ARC.

THE GOOD:

  1. The Sea-Bots world and jobs are pretty creative.
  2. The storylike is simple but cute.
  3. The format works well with the plot.

THE BAD:

  1. The story seems a little short.

FAVORITE QUOTE/S:
Every Sea-Bot has an important job.
READ IT IF:

  1. Your child likes comic books.
  2. Your child likes swimming and snorkeling.
  3. You're looking for something creative and futuristic.

RATING:
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Note: This post may contain Amazon affiliate links.

Thursday, February 14, 2013

Review: Fashion Drawing Studio A Guide to Sketching Stylish Fashions by Marissa Bolte


SUMMARY FROM NETGALLEY.COM:

Hello, fashionista! Using simple step-by-step sketches and easy-to-follow illustrations, this guide gives kids a look into fashion-forward clothing trends including Rock Star, Girly Girl, Glamour, Harajuku, American Girl, and Skater Chic. Tips, techniques, and the perfect outfit accessories make this book the perfect inspiration for the future fashion designer.
For ages 9-13.
* Step-by-step instructions
* Featuring up-to-date fashion trends
* Balanced mix of fashions that today’s teens love
* Full-color art will inspire any future fashion designer
* Models are of various races and have realistic body types
About the Author:
Marissa Bolte is an author of children's books and a lover of art. She lives in southern Minnesota with her husband, daughter, and two weiner dogs. A degree in creative writing has taught her the value of fine writing. Parenthood has made her a purveyor of fine art, with specializations in sidewalk chalk, washable markers, and glitter glue.

MY TAKE:
With the success of shows like Project Runway, I wouldn't be surprised if more young kids, and adults, become interested in fashion design.

In Fashion Drawing Studio, different styles are presented for kids to draw inspiration from. For each style, we see the design from the drawing of the body to the drawing of the details on the clothes.

I'm not sure exactly what I was expecting from this book. I guess I wanted even more specifics on how to draw, especially when it came to drawing the body shape that comes before adding the clothes. When I drew clothes as a kid, I usually didn't draw a person wearing the clothes.

The designs are pretty good, though, and they include accessories that complete the look so it really does feel like you're looking at a real design before it goes off to be produced. The thing I liked most about this book, however, are the little tips on what kind of coloring medium to use and how to blend the colors to make the drawing better.

Thanks to NetGalley and Capstone Young Readers for the e-ARC.

THE GOOD:

  1. The book covers a large variety of styles.
  2. It gives nice tips on how to best color the drawings.
  3. The finished designs are pretty and wearable.

THE BAD:

  1. Aside from the tips, there aren't a lot of text that goes with each design. 

FAVORITE QUOTE/S:
Experiment with different art mediums.
READ IT IF:

  1. You want to learn more about drawing clothes.
  2. Your child wants to become a fashion designer.
  3. Your child likes fashion.

RATING:
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Note: This post may contain Amazon affiliate links.

Wednesday, February 13, 2013

Review: World War II Pilots An Interactive History Adventure by Michael Burgan


SUMMARY FROM NETGALLEY.COM:

Action-packed, true-history tales put you in the cockpit. Experience World War II as it happened—the thrills of blasting the enemy in a dogfight, the terror of being trapped in a burning plane, and the indecision of being a hero or saving your life.
From the You Choose: World War II series. For ages 8-11. Experience World War II as you never have before! YOU CHOOSE the path you will take. You decide the battles you will fight. Follow the path of soldiers on land, sea, and air in these thrilling nonfiction adventures.
* Includes the Bataan Death March, D-Day, the battle to control North Africa, and more
* Play-by-play action that keeps readers turning the pages
* Readers choose their next move every few pages—and discover their fate
* Book can be read dozens of times with different results
* Vivid historical photos remind readers that these dramas were real
* Many scenarios inspired by actual events

MY TAKE:
I usually like choose-your-own-adventure books so I just had to request this one.

In World War II Pilots An Interactive History, you get to choose between becoming a British pilot in the Royal Air Force, an American pilot, and a Tuskegee Airman. From there, you get to choose what kind of adventures you can have.

Since I'm from the Philippines, I knew the best chance to find an adventure storyline set in the Philippines was by choosing to become an American pilot fighting in the Pacific Ocean. The first two times, I didn't get it. On the third time around, I did get a chance to go to the Philippines. Let's just say, it wasn't pleasant.

Having three initial choices is great because there are so many adventures you can try and you can read this book over and over again. Plus, aside from the history lessons at the start and at the end of the book, you learn a lot of stuff, particularly about the different types of planes.

Thanks to NetGalley and Capstone Press for the e-ARC.

THE GOOD:

  1. You can read it over and over again.
  2. It covers both Europe and Asia.
  3. You learn a lot about the war and the different planes.

THE BAD:

  1. The stories are a little short.

FAVORITE QUOTE/S:
The United States introduced faster fighters, such as the Hellcat and the Mustang.
READ IT IF:

  1. Your child wants to become a pilot.
  2. You want to teach your child about World War 2.
  3. Your child likes choose-your-own-adventure books.

RATING:
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Note: This post may contain Amazon affiliate links.

Tuesday, February 12, 2013

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!

My grandma had still been a cookie-baking, old-fashioned lady with gray hair and ugly shoes who liked to sit in the rocking chair a lot, instead of getting her hair cut and dyed and going through a Total Makeover until she hardly looked like herself.
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Note: This post may contain Amazon affiliate links.

Monday, February 11, 2013

Review: The Body Book by Nancy Rue


SUMMARY FROM NETGALLEY.COM:

The ultimate resource for the “girl stuff” coming your way.

The transition from girl to teenager makes the tween years a time of great change—especially in the body department! This unique and creative book for girls ages 7–11 answers the most common questions girls have during this often confusing and overwhelming stage in life. The Body Book gives girls the scoop on everything from body changes and cramps to diet and exercise in an inviting and conversational manner.
The Body Book not only offers accurate, up-to-date information on personal issues tween girls experience but also shares it from a positive biblical perspective.

MY TAKE:
I used to like books like this one when I was a kid so I gave this one a try.

In The Body Book, young girls get to learn about puberty and everything that goes with it. The book contains Q&As with the characters of the Lily Robbins series, activities like fill-in-the-blanks, and Bible quotes.

The content covered the usual stuff plus some other things like proper diet and exercise. In each chapter, it's explained how each topic is a God thing, which is great for showing kids how God can fit into the different aspects of their lives. The Bible quotes were a nice touch although there were times when they weren't an exact fit. I thought that the fill-in-the-blanks activities would work, although older girls may not find it too appealing.

What I didn't like about this book, though, was that since this is a book for young girls, majority of the information is very generalized. As such, I spotted at least one thing that wasn't entirely accurate. The book mentioned that tampons are safe. While generally, they are safe, use of tampons, especially if for more than a few hours at a time without being changed, can result in toxic shock syndrome. It's rare, but it's a possibility, so I think even just a quick mention of that fact would have made this book more complete.

Thanks to NetGalley and Tommy Nelson for the e-copy.

THE GOOD:

  1. The use of the characters from the Lily Robbins books can make this book more relate-able to young girls.
  2. It discusses things like proper diet and exercise.
  3. The activities make the book interactive instead of just instructional.

THE BAD:

  1. Some of the information is too generalized.

FAVORITE QUOTE/S:
The experts also suggest that you get protein from different sources, that you switch to 2 percent or 1 percent milk, and that half the grains you eat are whole grains.
READ IT IF:

  1. You're a young girl who's just starting puberty.
  2. You want to help your child see how puberty and going up relates to God's plan for her.
  3. You want your child to learn more about puberty.

RATING:
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Note: This post may contain Amazon affiliate links.
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