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I'm a mommy, wife, chauffeur, zookeeper, reader and book reviewer

Friday, March 30, 2012

Nobody knows what's going on

The House on the CornerThe House on the Corner by Michael Rains
My rating: 1 of 5 stars

Chester hates to clean the hall bathroom. Even though he is bored, he’d rather hide out in his room bouncing socks off the wall than clean the bathroom. When his mom asks him to run an errand to his uncle’s house, Chester agrees and tries to take as much time as possible to avoid that dreadful cleaning chore. However, when he arrives at his uncle’s house, things get really strange. His uncle, aunt and a guest are talking using big words and allude to something which peaks Chester’s curiosity.

At first this story reads similar to L’Engle’s A Wrinkle in Time. There are so many fun little quirks like bubble gum flavored toothpaste to ward off brain suckers and the universal milk and cookie pass. Unfortunately, the author seems to try too hard with symbolism, metaphors and allegory. As the story droned, the action faded with too much telling, summary, and became repetitive and vague. The first 5 or 6 characters were ok, but when Rains added more than that, the storyline and plot just made no sense. The characters didn’t have a clear idea of what was going on and neither did I.

I received this book free from Booksneeze to give my honest review.

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Monday, March 26, 2012


The Scroll: A NovelThe Scroll: A Novel by Grant R. Jeffrey
My rating: 1 of 5 stars

The Scroll by Dr Grant Jeffrey seems to be more about Biblical prophecy and archaeology than science-fiction or fantasy (which is why I originally chose it). Dr. David Chambers has turned his back on his faith and is trying to start a new chapter in his life when an old friend, Abram Ben-Judah, calls in a favor for a project. While Chambers tries to focus on historical fact, doing a dig in Jerusalem forces him to face the Bible—the very thing he is trying to avoid.

The story is very slow moving, focusing on Jewish customs, traditions, and the technical side of archaeology. When the author attempts to include exciting and suspenseful details, he really gives too much contextually unnecessary info. In fact, I had trouble finding any kind of plot until chapter 16. In an effort to help the main character “return to the faith,” with the help of secondary characters the author is annoyingly preachy and uses cheesey clich├ęs typical of Christian literature. Then in the last couple chapters, the author seems to wrap up the story too quickly, as though he suddenly realized he had to finish but only had so many pages to do it in. Maybe if the book had been broken into two or three books to create a series it would have been better.

Maybe it’s because I usually read thrillers, mysteries and science fiction, but this story dragged on and I debated whether or not to even finish it. If you’re looking for a brainy story on Biblical prophecy or archaeology, this is the book for you. If you want something exciting, then don’t bother.

I received this book free to give an honest review.

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Tuesday, March 20, 2012

Starts slow then picks up speed

The Severed HeadThe Severed Head by Lena Wood
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

I found this on a clearance rack and thought I knew why as I read the first chapter. It starts slow, picks up a little in the 2nd chapter, and by the third it’s hard to put down.

Elijah Creek lives at a campground that his dad runs with his mom and twin little sisters. He goes to school with his cousin Robbie, long-time friend Reece, and Japanese transplant Mei. Skid joins the clan later after they make an interesting and mysterious discovery.

I like the fact that the main character is not a Christian and has to learn about the Bible along the way as they all learn about the strange items they discovered buried beneath Old Pilgrim Church and a place they dubbed “Devil’s Cranium.”

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Monday, March 5, 2012

Animorphs book 2

The Visitor (Animorphs, #2)The Visitor by Katherine Applegate
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Animorphs by K.A. Applegate is the second installment in the Animorphs series. While the first book focused on Jake, this book is from his cousin Rachel’s point of view. The friends are trying to track down the Yeerks main source by following their assistant principal Mr. Chapman.

There is lots of excitement and suspense. A definite page turner.

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MatildaMatilda by Roald Dahl

My rating: 3 of 5 stars

Matilda by Roald Dahl is about a small, sweet girl who is a genius. She deals with over-exaggerated bullies in her parents and the headmistress of her school. Her father is a used car salesman who thinks females are dumb and only useful in the kitchen. Her mother believes a girl should focus on being pretty to catch a man. Both her parents love TV and hate books. While the headmistress is a giant of a bully, Matilda finds a confidant in her teacher Miss Jennifer Honey.

The plot is slow-moving and I think ends rather abruptly but overall it was ok and slightly amusing. Some reviewers complained the adults were too idiotic and overly abusive. In my own experience this is typical of British literature. Yes, the characters tend to be one-dimensional, but this is a children’s book published several years ago. For those who complained it was unbelievable—it is a fantasy, it’s not meant to be believable.

This won’t make my list of favorites but I would still consider it a contender for classic in British children’s literature.

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Friday, March 2, 2012

My introduction to steampunk

Leviathan (Leviathan, #1)Leviathan by Scott Westerfeld
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

Leviathan by Scott Westerfeld is a great adventure into an alternate history. It’s pre-World War I but Europe is taking sides between robotic fighting machines and Frankenstein-esque animal creations. Darwinists are genetically crossing various creatures that are supposed to be better than machines because they can heal and need food rather than fuel. The Clankers create robotic-like machines of various sizes, shapes and abilities. They believe the machines are better because metal is stronger than skin.

Westerfeld has created a great alternate reality. He does an amazing job of describing machines and creatures that don’t exist but makes the reader wonder—could they?

I’ve always been a sci-fi fan and so far I’m really enjoying this new sub-genre steampunk.

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