Saturday, August 31, 2013

Review: Animal Planet Atlas of Animals by Jinny Johnson


SUMMARY FROM NETGALLEY.COM:
Take in a spectacular view of our planet's animal life thorough this book's colorful maps, fascinating facts, and stunning imagery. Travel the globe continent by continent, then explore each habitat to discover what wildlife lives in that region.
How do the creatures of the Arctic tundra, the Sahara, or the Himalayas survive in extreme environments? How do they find food and shelter and rear their young? Discover the answers to these habitat-related questions and more.
You'll also learn interesting details about a wide variety of animals, from the endangered mountain gorillas in Africa's Congo to deep-sea dwellers at the bottom of the Atlantic Ocean.
An amazing world of animals is ready for you to explore!

MY TAKE:
I don't think I've seen an atlas of animals as jam-packed with information as this one.

Animal Planet Atlas of Animals features animals, both common and uncommon, that are found all over the world. The animals are divided by continent and region.

If you're familiar with the layout of other kids' atlases, then you'll have an idea of what the inside pages of this book look like. Some people might find the layout cluttered, because almost every space has something there, whether it's a picture or trivia. Most kids, especially those who have short attention spans, won't be bothered by this, though.

At first, I was really happy with the amount of animals that are featured and the trivia that was included. This makes the book really worth the price. However, since I tend to like finishing books in one sitting, this book became a little bit overwhelming and info-overload-ish after awhile. I don't think this is the type of book you read in one go, unless you're not likely to get info overload.

Thanks to NetGalley and Millbrook Press for the e-ARC. Publication date of Animal Planet Atlas of Animals is on October 1, 2013.

THE GOOD:

  1. There are plenty of information and pictures.
  2. The book mentions a lot of animals.
  3. It's worth the price.

THE BAD:

  1. The amount of information can be overwhelming.

FAVORITE QUOTE/S:
Hawks and falcons are adaptable birds, and many are taking to city life.
READ IT IF:

  1. Your child likes animals.
  2. Your child likes reference and trivia books.
  3. You are looking for a nice reference book about the different animals in a certain region or continent.

RATING:
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Friday, August 30, 2013

Review: Ick! Yuck! Eew! Our Gross American History by Lois Miner Huey


SUMMARY FROM NETGALLEY.COM:
In history class, you've studied people who lived long ago. But do you know just how gross daily life was in the United States around the time of the American Revolution?
• People rarely bathed.
• They didn't wash most of their clothes regularly.
• Their teeth were rotting.
• Bedbugs feasted on people as they slept.
• Lice crawled through their hair (and their wigs) day and night.
Ready to step out for a breath of fresh air? Well, look out, because the streets were filled with poop. Don't believe it? Hop in a time machine and travel back to June 1770 in the pages of this book! 

MY TAKE:
If your child likes gross stuff, he or she might like this book.

In Ick! Yuck! Eew! Our Gross American History, kids can learn about the past and how our ancestors had some pretty gross habits and had to live in gross conditions.

I'm not super squeamish so I had no problem with the material at all. I was already familiar with a lot of the stuff mentioned in the book, but there were still some trivia that were new to me. I liked that the book presents the facts as though you traveled back in time and experienced the places and times for yourself. It might not work for everyone as it feels a little bit like choose-your-own-adventure books do, but overall, it shouldn't be too bothersome for most readers.

I'm not a fan of orange, especially dark orange, but otherwise, I liked the layout and pictures used for this book. The old pictures and illustrations, in particular, were fun to look at.

Thanks to NetGalley and Millbrook Press for the e-ARC. Publication date of Ick! Yuck! Eew! Our Gross American History is on October 1, 2013.

THE GOOD:

  1. The pictures and illustrations are nice to look at.
  2. The anecdotes are fascinating.
  3. The text is very descriptive.

THE BAD:

  1. The you-traveled-back-in-time premise used may or may not work for readers.

FAVORITE QUOTE/S:
The family who lives here eats fresh meat, vegetables, and fruit in summer.
READ IT IF:

  1. Your child likes gross things.
  2. Your child likes reading about history.
  3. Your child likes reference and trivia books.

RATING:
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Thursday, August 29, 2013

Review: Navy SEALs Elite Operations by Patricia Newman


SUMMARY FROM NETGALLEY.COM:
Trained to fight at sea, in the air, and on land, U.S. Navy SEALs tackle whatever missions come their way. They must master skills such as combatting enemies under water, fast-roping from a hovering helicopter, and demolishing enemy weaponry. Learn how Navy SEALs are taught to think like scientists and perform like soldiers as they track down terrorists, rescue hostages, and venture into enemy territory to gather critical information.
The Military Special Ops series:
With vivid photos and engaging text, this series covers exciting information about the U.S. military’s special operations forces – highly trained units that perform unconventional, often high-risk missions. Each book introduces one group’s position in its military branch, as well as its key functions. Each book also details the group’s uniform, special equipment and gear, and techniques and tactics. A final chapter covers the training and skills needed to excel in each special ops group and how to pursue a career in this area.

MY TAKE:
Most people know that it's difficult to become a Navy SEAL, but few actually know exactly what becoming a SEAL entails.

In Navy SEALs Elite Operations, readers learn more about the history of the SEALs, their training and recruitment, their kits, etc.

While I've seen documentaries of the training that SEAL candidates have to endure before they become SEALs, I had no idea that becoming part of Navy SEAL Team Six have to undergo another selection process after they have completed a few combat missions. I was under the impression that SEALs were just divided into teams and it just so happened that Team Six got the most coverage.

There are plenty of interesting and useful information here for civilians who only have a passing knowledge about SEALs. The layout and pictures help make the book easier to read too.

Thanks to NetGalley and Lerner Publications for the e-ARC. Publication date of Navy SEALs Elite Operations is on September 1, 2013.

THE GOOD:

  1. It's chockful of information about Navy SEALs.
  2. It's not boring.
  3. There are plenty of pictures about Navy SEAL life.

THE BAD:

  1. It would be even better if there had been more anecdotes about actual missions.

FAVORITE QUOTE/S:
Slow candidates get the "sugar cookie" treatment. They have to dive in the surf and then roll on the beach to cover themselves with sand, like a sugar cookie, before returning to their group to try harder.
READ IT IF:

  1. Your child is interested in joining the Navy SEALs.
  2. Your child is interested in anything combat-related.
  3. Your child likes reference and trivia books.

RATING:
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Wednesday, August 28, 2013

Review: Numbed! by David Lubar


SUMMARY FROM NETGALLEY.COM:
Logan was sure that following Benedict into the math museum's restricted lab was a bad idea. After they're zapped by a robot that's being developed, the boys notice something funny. They're not sure what time it will be in two hours. They can't measure ingredients for pancakes. They can't count money. They can't do math at all!
Logan and Benedict need their skills back for a big math test in school—and, as they discover, for lots of everyday tasks! To recover, they'll have to solve several zany puzzles back at the museum. Can they prove their smarts in time? Or will they remain numbed? 

MY TAKE:
Most of us don't realize how often we use math in our daily lives.

In Numbed!, Benedict and Logan lose their ability to do math after they are zapped by a robot at the math museum. With their math test coming up soon, Benedict and Logan must race against time to get their abilities back.

During the first chapter or so, I wasn't sure I would like this. The story is told from Logan's point-of-view, and for some reason, it just didn't speak to me. However, as the story progressed, I started to become more comfortable with Logan's style and was able to focus more on his and Benedict's adventure.

The best part of this book, for me, were the problems that Logan and Benedict had to solve in order to regain their math abilities, as well as the shortcuts they discovered in order to solve the problems quicker. I think most kids and adults wouldn't be aware of most of their tricks, so that in itself makes this book worth a read.

Thanks to NetGalley and Millbrook Press for the e-ARC. Publication date of Numbed! is on October 1, 2013.

THE GOOD:

  1. Kids and adults can learn new math tricks.
  2. Kids may be able to appreciate math a little better.
  3. The plot is new and interesting.

THE BAD:

  1. Some kids may find the topic boring.

FAVORITE QUOTE/S:
The orange-banana Slush Monster with extra honey is about as perfect a drink as you can get.
READ IT IF:

  1. Your kid likes math.
  2. You want your child to appreciate math more.
  3. Your kid likes learning math shortcuts.

RATING:
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Tuesday, August 27, 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 Mobius strip is easy to make but amazing to explore," he said.
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Monday, August 26, 2013

Review: Pope Francis First Pope from the Americas by Stephanie Watson


SUMMARY FROM NETGALLEY.COM:
On March 19, 2013, Cardinal Jorge Mario Bergoglio of Argentina became Pope Francis, the 266th Pope of the Catholic Church. His election to the papacy was notable in many ways. He became the first pope from the Americas, the first pope from the Southern Hemisphere, the first non-European pope in more than 1,200 years, the first Jesuit pope, and the first pope to choose the name Francis.
Pope Francis was not the person that most people expected to ascend to the papacy when Pope Benedict XVI resigned from the role in late February 2013. While serving as the Archbishop of Buenos Aires, Argentina, Cardinal Bergoglio was known for his dedication to helping the poor and admired for his modest lifestyle. After his inauguration, Pope Francis retained many of his humble ways. People around the globe eagerly watch to see what changes he might bring about in the Catholic Church.
Follow Pope Francis's journey to the papacy, from his days as a young chemist to his studies of theology. Learn more about his beliefs and hobbies—including his interests in soccer and tango dancing. Find out the true story behind the man who became the 266th pope.

MY TAKE:
Pope Francis is one of the most famous people in the world, but how much do you know about him?

In Pope Francis First Pope from the Americas, readers learn about Pope Francis' life from his childhood until he was named Pope Francis.

What I know of Pope Francis, I learned from newspapers. This book contains a lot more information than your average newspaper and there's a lot of interesting tidbits in the book. There are also anecdotes and quotes from different cardinals who have met and worked with Pope Francis.

The layout, color scheme and font used are all simple but a perfect fit for the subject. There's roughly one picture a page, but that's okay as the text isn't boring and the pictures are well-chosen.

Thanks to NetGalley and Lerner Publications for the e-ARC. Publication date of Pope Francis First Pope from the Americas is on October 31, 2013.

THE GOOD:

  1. The book tells the story of Pope Francis' life from childhood.
  2. The layout and color scheme work well with the subject.
  3. The pictures are fascinating.

THE BAD:

  1. Younger kids may find the simple color scheme and layout boring.

FAVORITE QUOTE/S:
"So he greeted each of us as brothers, literally on the same level as we were," said Cardinal Dolan.
READ IT IF:

  1. You're curious about the life of Pope Francis.
  2. Your child wants to learn more about the life of the pope.
  3. Your child likes reading biographies.

RATING:
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Sunday, August 25, 2013

In My Mailbox


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

FROM NETGALLEY:



Pope Francis First Pope from the Americas by Stephanie Watson
Numbed! by David Lubar
Navy SEALs Elite Operations by Patricia Newman
Ick! Yuck! Eew! Our Gross American History by Lois Miner Huey
Animal Planet Atlas of Animals by Jinny Johnson
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Saturday, August 24, 2013

Review: The Godfather's Revenge by Mark Winegardner


SUMMARY FROM GOODREADS.COM:
The third, and final, installment in Mario Puzo's epic chronicle of the Corleone crime family-one of the most enduring lineages in American literature and cinema-achieves a stunning crescendo with a story that imagines the role of the Mafia in the assassination of a young, charismatic president.
It's impossible to overstate the influence of Mario Puzo's "The Godfather," which has become an essential part of our cultural lexicon. Puzo's novel about the secret world of organized crime became a megabestseller and an instant classic. The book inspired the Francis Ford Coppola films-unprecedented successes in their own right-and launched a national obsession with the Mafia that continues unabated today.
In "The Godfather's Revenge"-again authorized by the Puzo Estate-Mark Winegardner moves the Corleone family onto the biggest stage of all: the intersection of organized crime and national politics. A subordinate to Michael Corleone, New Orleans underboss Carlo Tramonti is publicly humiliated when the U.S. Attorney General-President Danny Shea's brother-has him arrested and deported to Colombia. Tramonti eventually returns, hell-bent on settling scores, and triggers a series of events destined to change the course of American history. Corleone, though haunted by the death of his brother Fredo, knows that this is no time for weakness-and so, with fearless consigliere Tom Hagen leading the way, a new path for the future is forged.
As the dramatic twists of "The Godfather's Revenge" take the reader from Las Vegas to Miami to New Orleans, from the power alleys of Washington, D.C., to the remote jungles of Colombia, the puppet master behind the curtain remains Michael Corleone, the tortured prodigal son who is determined to redefine his family's legacy and make his father-the original Godfather-proud.

MY TAKE:
For me, this book was an okay ending to the trilogy.

The Godfather's Revenge wraps up the questions left unanswered from the second book. Michael Corleone and his associates are growing older. He's got a lot on his plate, with the biggest problem being Nick Geraci.

I liked this book better than the second one. There were less characters to focus on so it was easier to keep track of who was doing what. The number of subplots was also more manageable so it felt more cohesive. There were also plenty of surprising plot twists that made the book more interesting.

THE GOOD:

  1. The plot feels more cohesive.
  2. There aren't too many characters whom you have to focus on so it's easier to keep track of them.
  3. There are interesting plot twists.

THE BAD:

  1. The supporting characters take a lot of page time away from Michael.

FAVORITE QUOTE/S:
After the pasta course, came a standing rib roast.
READ IT IF:

  1. You are a fan of the Godfather movies.
  2. You've read the first two books.
  3. You want to know what happens to Michael Corleone.

RATING:
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Friday, August 23, 2013

Review: The Godfather Returns by Mark Winegardner


SUMMARY FROM GOODREADS.COM:
THE MISSING YEARS FROM THE GREATEST CRIME SAGA OF ALL TIME
Thirty-five years ago, Mario Puzo’s great American tale, The Godfather, was published, and popular culture was indelibly changed. Now, in The Godfather Returns, acclaimed novelist Mark Winegardner continues the story–the years not covered in Puzo’s bestselling book or in Francis Ford Coppola’s classic films.
It is 1955. Michael Corleone has won a bloody victory in the war among New York’s crime families. Now he wants to consolidate his power, save his marriage, and take his family into legitimate businesses. To do so, he must confront his most dangerous adversary yet, Nick Geraci, a former boxer who worked his way through law school as a Corleone street enforcer, and who is every bit as deadly and cunning as Michael. Their personal cold war will run from 1955 to 1962, exerting immense influence on the lives of America’s most powerful criminals and their loved ones, including
Tom Hagen, the Corleone Family’s lawyer and consigliere, who embarks on a political career in Nevada while trying to protect his brother;
Francesca Corleone, daughter of Michael’s late brother Sonny, who is suddenly learning her family’s true history and faces a difficult choice;
Don Louie Russo, head of the Chicago mob, who plays dumb but has wily ambitions for muscling in on the Corleones’ territory;
Peter Clemenza, the stalwart Corleone underboss, who knows more Family secrets than almost anyone;
Ambassador M. Corbett Shea, a former Prohibition-era bootlegger and business ally of the Corleones’, who wants to get his son elected to the presidency–and needs some help from his old friends;
Johnny Fontane, the world’s greatest saloon singer, who ascends to new heights as a recording artist, cozying up to Washington’s power elite and maintaining a precarious relationship with notorious underworld figures;
Kay Adams Corleone, who finally discovers the truth about her husband, Michael–and must decide what it means for their marriage and their children and
Fredo Corleone, whose death has never been fully explained until now, and whose betrayal of the Family was part of a larger and more sinister chain of events.
Sweeping from New York and Washington to Las Vegas and Cuba, The Godfather Returns is the spellbinding story of America’s criminal underworld at mid-century and its intersection with the political, legal, and entertainment empires. Mark Winegardner brings an original voice and vision to Mario Puzo’s mythic characters while creating several equally unforgettable characters of his own. The Godfather Returns stands on its own as a triumph–in a tale about what we love, yearn for, and sometimes have reason to fear . . . family.

MY TAKE:
I didn't enjoy this one as much as I thought I would.

The Godfather Returns continues from where The Godfather left off. Michael Corleone has taken over the Corleone family. However, things aren't coming along nicely for Michael and he must deal with not only his family's issues, but his Family as well.

While I liked the Mark Winegardner's writing style a little bit better than Mario Puzo's, I enjoyed the pacing and plot twists of The Godfather more than this one. During the first half or so of the book, I was a little bit confused with the different characters, a lot of whom were only supporting characters in the first book. It also felt like too much was happening at once.

Once I got settled in and could keep track of the characters, I found that the plot wasn't really my thing. There were some twists that were interesting and unexpected, but I found the subplot at the end a little boring. I would have preferred if the focus had been kept on the Vegas or the New York plots so that the book feels more streamlined.

THE GOOD:

  1. There are some interesting plot twists.
  2. Michael has some cunning moments.
  3. Some supporting characters get more screen time.

THE BAD:

  1. It seems like there are too many things going on.

FAVORITE QUOTE/S:
Clemenza ordered and devoured an antipasto crudo, a plate of caponata, two baskets of bread, and linguine with clam sauce.
READ IT IF:

  1. You liked the first Godfather novel.
  2. You liked the Godfather movies.
  3. You like novels with lots of characters and subplots.

RATING:
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Thursday, August 22, 2013

Review: Shanti Saves Her Money by Lisa Bullard (Author), Christine Schneider (Illustrator)


SUMMARY FROM NETGALLEY.COM:
Shanti wants to try the Monster Ride. It's the wildest ride at Fun Park! But the Monster costs money. So Shanti makes a special save jar. She tries not to spend all her allowance. She even helps her busybody brother study! But will Shanti save enough for a turn on the Monster? Read this book to find out!
Learn how you can be smart about money with the Money Basics series, part of the Cloverleaf Books™ collection. These nonfiction picture books feature kid-friendly text and illustrations to make learning fun!

MY TAKE:
Saving money is something that kids should learn while they're young.

In Shanti Saves Her Money, Shanti wants to go to Fun Park and ride the Monster Ride. Her parents agree to save money and pay for tickets to Fun Park, but Shanti will be the one to save money for the Monster Ride.

Shanti already has a Save Jar and a Spend Jar wherein she puts money. The money in her Save Jar gets deposited in the bank, while she spends the money in the Spend Jar. When I was a kid, I used the envelope system to save money. As long as kids save money, it doesn't really matter what kind of system they use. Kids can use the Make a Special Save Jar instructions in the back in order to get started on their savings.

The illustration style isn't my cup of tea but I did like the coloring used.

Thanks to NetGalley and Millbook Press for the e-ARC. Publication date of Shanti Saves Her Money is on September 1, 2013.

THE GOOD:

  1. It can inspire kids to start saving money.
  2. There are some money math exercises for kids to try.
  3. It teaches kids some steps towards saving money.

THE BAD:

  1. The illustration style may not work for everyone.

FAVORITE QUOTE/S:
Then I saw Great Gumdrops.
READ IT IF:

  1. You want to teach your child to save money.
  2. Your kid has trouble saving money.
  3. You want your child to be more responsible with money.

RATING:
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Wednesday, August 21, 2013

Review: Stinky Sanitation Inventions by Katie Marsico


SUMMARY FROM NETGALLEY.COM:
Did you know that people with rakes used to do the work of garbage trucks? Or that porta-potties were put on ships to keep workers from running to shore for bathroom breaks? Get ready to learn the odd stories behind inventions you use every day. From the T.P. of Chinese emperors to the landfills of ancient Greece, you'll find out how we got the sanitation inventions that keep us healthy and keep the world smelling fresh.
The Awesome Inventions You Use Every Day series:
What would you do without deodorant, Band-Aids, or flushable toilets? Can you imagine living in a world with no television, and no microwave popcorn to eat while you watch it? We might take these items for granted now, but they haven't always been around. Some were centuries in the making. Others were created purely by accident. This fun series reveals the mistakes, coincidences, controversies, and sheet craziness that brought us our modern conveniences and everyday essentials—from your basic sanitary needs to the latest gadget.

MY TAKE:
Most of the time, people don't really think about how things like toilets and toilet paper came to be.

In Stinky Sanitation Inventions, readers get to learn about the origins of toilets, sewers, etc. The book is filled with pictures, as well as additional trivia.

I found this book interesting. I enjoy reading reference and trivia books, so even though the topic isn't something I'm usually interested in, I found a lot of information I hadn't known about before. For example, I had no idea that portable toilets started out as something for shipyard workers to use so they don't have to go to the docks to use the toilet.

The history of the inventions are short but has plenty of information. The pictures, particularly the old ones, were also nice. However, the layout was a little bit boring for me.

Thanks to NetGalley and Lerner Publications for the e-ARC. Publication date of Stinky Sanitation Inventions is on September 1, 2013.

THE GOOD:

  1. The text for each section is concise but packed with fun trivia and stories.
  2. The old pictures are fun to look at.
  3. There's plenty of trivia to read.

THE BAD:

  1. The layout may not work for everyone.

FAVORITE QUOTE/S:
Talk to the researchers who toured a landfill and discovered twenty-five-year-old hot dogs, corncobs, and grapes!
READ IT IF:

  1. Your kid likes gross stuff.
  2. Your child likes reading trivia books.
  3. You have a curious child.

RATING:
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Tuesday, August 20, 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!
These days, even astronauts depend on flush technology.
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Note: This post may contain Amazon affiliate links.

Monday, August 19, 2013

Review: The Godfather by Mario Puzo


SUMMARY FROM GOODREADS.COM:
When Mario Puzo's blockbuster saga, The Godfather, was first published in 1969, critics hailed it as one of the greatest novels of our time, and "big, turbulent, highly entertaining." Since then, The Godfather has gone on to become a part of America's national culture, as well as a trilogy of landmark motion pictures. Now, in this newly-repackaged 30th Anniversary Edition, readers old and new can experience this timeless tale of crime for themselves. From the lavish opening scene where Don Corleone entertains guests and conducts business at his daughter's wedding...to his son, Michael, who takes his father's place to fight for his family...to the bloody climax where all family business is finished, The Godfather is an epic story of family, loyalty, and how "men of honor" live in their own world, and die by their own laws.
MY TAKE:
If my husband hadn't insisted that I read The Godfather, I don't think I would ever have read it.

The Godfather follows the Corleone family through the years as they try to hold on to their territory and fight off the other families of New York.

My biggest objection to reading The Godfather was the violence. I usually don't read books with a lot of violent scenes because I find books like that to be too heavy and dark. My husband insisted that it was about more than just that, so I decided to read it.

As I expected, there was a lot of violence in this book. I also didn't find the writing style all that compelling. The action, the pace and the plot were interesting, though, and I found myself turning page after page. At first, I felt there were too many characters and it was hard to keep track of who was who, but after awhile, it became much easier.

After reading, I now truly understand the different Godfather references I've seen in different movies and shows like the Simpsons over the years. Aside from that, though, I did like a few things from the book. Namely, even though the Mafia members were ruthless and had little respect for life, there were some mantras they followed or believed in that I did appreciate. One example, is the Don's belief in making friends everywhere and maintaining good relationships with everyone and helping them out without payment because someday they may help you out. Of course, these guys took it to an extreme, but the basic idea is nice.

What I didn't like, though, was the women in the novel. Except for the matriarch, and possibly Michael's first wife, I didn't like the women in the book. Connie was selfish and annoying. Kay, on the other hand, just rubbed me the wrong way for some reason.

Overall, this is a very masculine book. If you're interested in the Mafia, like violence, military strategy, etc., this book may just be your thing.

THE GOOD:

  1. There are some interesting life lessons in the book.
  2. There's plenty of action.
  3. Michael's revenge plan was unexpected.

THE BAD:

  1. Some people may find the writing style boring.

FAVORITE QUOTE/S:
He had learned the girl's name was Apollonia and every night he thought of her lovely face and her lovely name.
READ IT IF:

  1. You liked the Godfather movies.
  2. You like books with a lot of action.
  3. You like books with cunning characters.

RATING:
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Sunday, August 18, 2013

In My Mailbox


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

FROM NETGALLEY:



Stinky Sanitation Inventions by Katie Marsico
Shanti Saves Her Money by Lisa Bullard (Author), Christine Schneider (Illustrator)
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Note: This post may contain Amazon affiliate links.

Saturday, August 17, 2013

Review: ABC of Toronto by Per-Henrik Gürth


SUMMARY FROM NETGALLEY.COM:
This alphabet book celebrates the sights and sounds of Ontario's vibrant capital. Joining Per-Henrik G?rth's friendly animal characters as they explore Toronto from the Art Gallery of Ontario to the Zoo is as much fun as a ride on one of the city's famous streetcars!
MY TAKE:
I've never been to Toronto but I've always wanted to go there.

In ABC of Toronto, kids and adults can learn about different places and things associated with Toronto.

I was under the impression that most, if not all, of the letters would stand for specific places around Toronto. Obviously, this would be difficult so I can understand why some of the letters stand for more generic things like gardens or beaches. I would really have preferred it if there were more specific places, though, since then it would be sort of a guidebook. Although, for some letters, the letters stand for generic things but the descriptions mention specific places.

Given that, this book is still a nice guide to Toronto, especially for kids who have never been there.

Thanks to NetGalley and Kids Can Press for the e-copy.

THE GOOD:

  1. Kids can learn about the different places in Toronto.
  2. The book is very colorful.
  3. Kids can use it as a guide of places to go to if ever they're in Toronto.

THE BAD:

  1. The illustration style may not work for everyone.

FAVORITE QUOTE/S:
Hh is for Hockey Hall of Fame,
a fan's favourite destination.

READ IT IF:

  1. Your kid likes travelling.
  2. You like books about different places.
  3. Your family will be going to Toronto any time soon.

RATING:
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Friday, August 16, 2013

Review: Ten Birds Meet a Monster by Cybèle Young


SUMMARY FROM NETGALLEY.COM:
Ten birds are startled to discover a monster. One by one, they fashion increasingly elaborate sartorial creations as they try to scare him off. Can the tenth bird find just the right thing? In this playful companion to her Governor General's Award?winning Ten Birds, author and illustrator Cyb?le Young plays with shapes, shadows and sounds in this inventive counting book.
MY TAKE:
The illustration style and the topic reminded me a lot of the four-and-twenty blackbirds baked in a pie.

In Ten Birds and a Monster, ten birds encounter a monster. The terrified birds try to scare the monster but nothing seems to work.

The idea of birds working together to scare an imaginary monster is really cute. First, it's just one bird, then another joins him and then another. Every time the birds try to scare the monster, they create an imaginary monster of their own by hiding under layers of cloth.

The illustrations are in black and white, so not everyone may like them.

Thanks to NetGalley and Kids Can Press for the e-ARC. Publication date of Ten Birds Meet a Monster is on September 1, 2013.

THE GOOD:

  1. The birds are imaginative.
  2. The ending is somewhat expected but the birds still make it seem like a cute ending.
  3. The layout is very neat.

THE BAD:

  1. The illustration style may not work for everyone.

FAVORITE QUOTE/S:
The first bird, always inventive,
became a Vicious Polka-dactyl.
But the monster didn't budge.

READ IT IF:

  1. Your child likes birds.
  2. Your child is scared of monsters.
  3. Your child likes black-and-white drawings.

RATING:
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Thursday, August 15, 2013

Review: Loula Is Leaving for Africa by Anne Villeneuve


SUMMARY FROM NETGALLEY.COM:
Loula has had enough of her terrible triplet brothers and decides to run away to Africa. Luckily, her mother's chauffeur, Gilbert, knows just how to get there. Together, Loula and Gilbert ride camels, cross a desert and, most important, use heaps of imagination in this heartwarming adventure.
MY TAKE:
Most kids have tried to run away at least once, but I doubt that a lot of them had Loula's experience.

In Loula Is Leaving For Africa, Loula is a young girl who is annoyed with her brothers. She decides to leave and head for Africa. Luckily, their family chaffeur Gilbert knows the way and wants to help Loula get there.

Loula seems a little spoiled, but despite that, she's still a little charming. Gilbert is the real star of the book, for me. There aren't a lot of adults who would indulge kids the way he did, and he did an excellent job of taking care of Loula and allowing her to explore at the same time. I'm sure a lot of rich families wouldn't mind having someone like Gilbert on staff.

As you would expect, they don't really head to Africa, but their journey towards pretend Africa brings a smile to one's face.

Thanks to NetGalley and Kids Can Press for the e-ARC. Publication date of Loula is Leaving for Africa is on September 1, 2013.

THE GOOD:

  1. The watercolor painting-like coloring style is pretty.
  2.  Gilbert and Loula's adventure is very entertaining.
  3. The characters are charming.

THE BAD:

  1. The illustration style might not work for everyone.

FAVORITE QUOTE/S:
She takes the essentials... her cat, her tea set and her best drawing.
READ IT IF:

  1. Your child is always threatening to run away.
  2. Your child is very imaginative.
  3. Your child likes adventures.

RATING:
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Wednesday, August 14, 2013

Review: Sage's Song (Pumpkinheads Series) by Karen Kilpatrick


SUMMARY FROM NETGALLEY.COM:
Dance to the beat of Sage’s Song!
Find out what listening is really worth as Sage makes music from the sounds of the earth. Banging away on her drum, Sage can really make a racket! Stopping to listen to the world around her, Sage learns that music surrounds her in the simplest of sounds. This sensory exploration teaches the value of listening and inspires an awareness of the beautiful music nature creates.
From the Pumpkinheads, teaching messages that parents care about through books and characters that children love!

MY TAKE:
If your kid likes making a lot of noise, this book might be right up his or her alley.

In Sage's Song, Sage is a young kid who likes making sounds on her drum. However, when she stops to listen to the sounds of nature, she finds that there's a lot of nice sounds out there and she can make music in harmony with them too.

I liked the message of the story. Music comes from everywhere and it's nice that this book helps kids learn that they can find music in nature too.

The illustrations, for me, remind me of the style used for Blues Clues mixed with a little Dora the Explorer. It's not my cup of tea, but if you find that style nice, you should like the illustrations in the book.

Thanks to NetGalley and Nina Charles LLC for the e-copy.

THE GOOD:

  1. It helps kids appreciate the sounds of nature.
  2. It encourages love of music.
  3. Sage seems like a cute kid.

THE BAD:

  1. The illustration style might not work for everyone.

FAVORITE QUOTE/S:
Sage dances and grooves
To the rhythm of nature's beat!

READ IT IF:

  1. Your kid likes banging on toy drums.
  2. Your kid is a nature lover.
  3. You want your child to appreciate nature a little bit more.

RATING:
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