Wednesday, June 27, 2012

Book Review: The Thing About Georgie by Lisa Graff

The Thing About GeorgieThe Thing About Georgie by Lisa Graff
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

I wish I could give this book more than 5 stars.

It was that good.

I know this isn't really my normal genre, but I have to say, I enjoyed it more than several of the YA paranormal books I've read recently. Lisa Graff is one of my new, favorite writers. Regardless of what is your favorite genre, you should give this story a try.

The Thing About Georgie is a story about a fourth-grade boy who happens to be a dwarf. The story is so real, the characters are so real, the struggles Georgie and his friends face are so real, that I felt like I was watching a documentary (kinda like that show on TLC - Little People, Big World) following Georgie around rather than reading a book. I absolutely LOVE the way the story is written. Most of it is from Georgie's perspective. His thoughts and feelings are so true for a fourth-grader...of any height. I never felt like he thought in a way too old for his age, or that he faced any problems a fourth-grader wouldn't be faced with. Even the secondary characters have things going on in their lives that you get glimpses of to help you better understand and feel like you know who they are. The thing I loved most about the book was when a narrator actually spoke to you, the reader. She tells you to do things: to compare yourself to Georgie, to what he can and can't do. I loved the interactivity; it really made you relate to Georgie as a person. And I loved at the end when you find out who that narrator actually was -- perfect!

You know, schools are constantly looking for new books for kids to have as required reading to help them broaden their understanding of the world and the people inhabiting it. I really think this would be a good book for teachers to utilize to help kids learn that just because someone looks different from you doesn't mean they are any different. We all have things to be happy about, even if they're small -- or huge. We all have struggles in life. We all have to learn to accept what difficulties life has given us, learn to deal with them - or outgrow them, and learn who it is we are meant to be. The Thing About Georgie is a great example of that experience wrapped up in a 42" package of awesomeness.

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Saturday, June 23, 2012

June 2012 - Audiobook Month

Summer is officially here! Yay!

And it's June - Audiobook Month! Yay!

I've been enjoying signing up for the various audiobooks giveaways and contests on several different book-blogging sites, like Reading Teen. Have you?

But, the thing is,I haven't won a single one.

In fact, I missed even signing up for two that I would've really liked to have won:

I read the entire Fablehaven series to my kids and LOVED it!

Book #5 in The Mortal Instruments series-um, Jace...need I say more???

And now the month of June is coming to an end and with it the celebration of audiobooks.


Just because the month is almost over doesn't mean the audiobook freebies have to come to an end too! SYNC is offering two free audiobooks every week for the remainder of the summer (well, until August 22nd). It's guaranteed and totally free! Just download the OverDrive Media to your PC or mobile device (link provided on the Sync website as well), download the two stories for each week, and let your ears enjoy the beauty of the written word.One really nice thing about these downloads is they are MP3 files, so you can play them on any digital audioplayer without having to convert any files first. So, what are you waiting for?!? Go check out this amazing offer and let the summer of listening fun continue!

Friday, June 22, 2012

Book Review: Switched by Amanda Hocking

Switched (Trylle Trilogy, #1)Switched by Amanda Hocking
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

I originally started reading this book as an ebook from its original release (free, self-pubbed edition). I thought it was okay but wasn't really digging it. And then the action sequences got annoying, so I quit. Ha-ha. That was an example of the action that irritated me so much. This happened and then that happened, so I did this. It was a few paragraphs with every sentence like that on the same page which made me throw (place gently) down the book (my iPad) and quit.

But I hate quitting books. I knew this book series had major success as a self-pubbed book. I'd also read that it got a huge deal with a major publisher. I figured, if a publisher bought it, they probably had it edited and fixed the issues I had with the writing. I checked on Amanda Hocking's website and discovered that the content had been revised and issues fixed. I immediately went to my library's website and requested the print version.

I'm so glad I did!

I don't know how different the self-pubbed edition is to the trad-pubbed edition, but the second half of the book was so much better than the first. I did go back to check the one scene I couldn't stand and found it remained unchanged. However, once Wendy went to Forening, her character really blossomed and so did the story.

The romance between Wendy and Finn was a little flat, but has promise and is the main reason I will be getting TORN (book 2, already requested from the library). The mystery and intrigue of the Trylle (troll) society was enough to make me keep turning the page, hoping to find the answers to Wendy's questions (which no one ever gives her - or rarely does anyway). I really was pleasantly surprised at how much I enjoyed the book once I had the paper version in my hands. If TORN is as good as the second half of SWITCHED, I will definitely finish the series and be on the waiting list for her new series (WAKE) coming out this fall (2012).

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Tuesday, June 19, 2012

Audiobook Review: Breathless by Dean Koontz

BreathlessBreathless by Dean Koontz

I don't think I ought to rate this book. I'd give it a one-star, if I did.

I completely disliked Breathless. There wasn't a single character or plot which I enjoyed. I only suffered through finishing this audiobook so I had something to listen to while I waited for another book to come in at the library. I was going to quit listening, but figured I already had it on my iPod, so might as well.

I wish I hadn't.

I am so disappointed in Breathless by Dean Koontz. I didn't really have any idea what the story would be about when I picked it up, only that it was written by D.K. and I'd read a few of his books before (years ago) and enjoyed them.

Two things I disliked most were the number of various point-of-views used to provide us with this story and how much the writing was telling me things instead of letting me see them for myself. The combination of those two things alone made this story drag. It made it so that I never cared about any of the characters or what happened to them. My only curiosity was to find out how Koontz planned to make all these various characters meet up in the end. Even that, the interconnectedness of the characters, was lacking and felt forced.

I've borrowed another Koontz audiobook and am now hesitant to listen to it. I probably will give Forever Odd a go, once I've exhausted all the other audiobooks on my iPod, but I don't expect that to be any time soon.

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Wednesday, June 13, 2012

Book Review: Once in a Full Moon by Ellen Schreiber

Once in a Full Moon (Full Moon, #1)Once in a Full Moon by Ellen Schreiber

My rating: 3 of 5 stars

I initially borrowed this book from the library for my daughter who loved the Vampire Kisses series. She only read a few pages and decided she wasn't interested. "I'm just not into werewolves, Mom." I decided to give this book a try since I read the Vampire Kisses series and enjoyed the first few books.

As I was reading Once in a Full Moon , I kept thinking how much better it was than the last two Vampire Kisses books I'd read. I was so glad that the voice was different than Raven's story.

That was until halfway through the book, when Celeste finally hooks up with Brandon. Then, the same whiny, overly-boy-obsessed character from the VK series emerged in the Full Moon series. I understand that it is written for teens and (sometimes) teens can become so obsessed with a person or thing, that it's all they think about, but I think it is overdone in this book, just as it was in the VK books. Also, I really couldn't stand how Celeste was supposed to be so open-minded and able to cross the divide between the Eastsiders and Westsiders, yet wouldn't even talk to Brandon in public. It just seemed very hypocritical and made her claims to undying love seem false.

I did borrow book 2 at the same time as book 1 for my daughter, and I understand Celeste is supposed to finally cross that divide, so I plan to read it too. I'm just hoping she isn't all whiny and gushing through the whole book.

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Wednesday, June 6, 2012

Book Review: The Mystery of Mr. Nice: A Chet Gecko Mystery by Bruce Hale

The Mystery of Mr. Nice: A Chet Gecko MysteryThe Mystery of Mr. Nice: A Chet Gecko Mystery by Bruce Hale
My rating: 3 of 5 stars

Okay, so I ended up finishing this one on my own. My kindergartener (who had picked out this book and asked me to read it aloud to him) politely told me halfway into the story that he no longer wished to read it as it wasn't interesting. I finished it because I was halfway through and could add it to my READ pile. I think what ruined it for him were all the similes, metaphors, imagery, and other various forms of figures of speech Mr. Hale utilized. While those devices will likely engage a 2nd grade or 3rd grade (or maybe even slightly older) reader, I found it a bit too much for my liking too. I'm giving this 3 stars because it wasn't a bad story, just too juvenile for me to have really enjoyed it. I'm sure some kids will laugh like hyenas on nitrous oxide at the wacky zaniness of Chet Gecko.

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Audiobook Review: Ralph S Mouse by Beverly Cleary

Ralph S. Mouse CD: Ralph S. Mouse CDRalph S. Mouse CD: Ralph S. Mouse CD by Beverly Cleary
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

I borrowed this from the library for my 1st grader. His teacher had read the story to the class over the period of a week or so. He loved the story so much that he wanted to read it for himself. Unfortunately, (while I was certain we own a copy) I couldn't find our copy, and the library copy was already checked out. Luckily, we were able to pick up the audiobook for him to listen to in his room. He listened to it every day for 4 or 5 days until his little brother asked to have the music back at bedtime. I ended up downloading it for his MP3 player so he could listen to it some more. After completing all of the audiobooks I had on my iPod, I decided to listen to his story too.

It was really cute.

I can see why he liked Ralph so much and it gives me reason, once again, to be amazed by Beverly Cleary's talent. A true classic able to be enjoyed by all ages.

*Shh, he doesn't know it yet, but I rented the movie Ralph S. Mouse from the library today for him.
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Saturday, June 2, 2012

Immortal Hearts (Vampire Kisses, #9)Immortal Hearts by Ellen Schreiber
My rating: 2 of 5 stars

I originally had no intention of finishing this series after the last book. But...

My daughter read the first 8 books in 7 days and wanted to get the last book to finish out the series. After she read it and said she liked it (she also didn't have the same issues with book 8 that I had), I decided to do the same.

The nice thing about these books is how quick and easy they are to read. And for the most part, they are clean stories -- very little swearing and very little mention of sex.

And maybe I'm just too old for this series now or maybe my reading tastes have grown-up since I've read so many other books in the past 2 years, but this book just felt way too young/childish for me to say I really liked it. I hate when I'm reading a book and constantly roll my eyes at the characters. Raven is such an immature 17-year-old, it's laughable. I, too, was 17 when I got engaged; 18 when I got married. Raven wasn't much younger than me, but she acts like a 12-year-old...or younger really. My daughter IS 12 and I think she acts more mature than Raven.

I won't go into all the issues I had with this book (derived mainly from the seriously immature characters and the ridiculous things they get themselves into), but I will say it was a nice wrap-up to the series. The ending was cheesy-predictable but satisfactory. If you have read the 8 predecessors to this book and survived, you might as well read it and finish the series too.

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