All Book Reviews

Book Review: The Fault In Our Stars
Green, John
5 stars = Curiosity Mars Rover Awesome!

I love Hazel and Gus!

Eliza
Book Review: Grace for the Moment: Inspirational Thoughts for Each Day of the Ye
Lucado, Max
4 stars = Really Good

Max Lucado is one of my favorite authors. "Grace" is a wonderful read because of the examples given, easy reference and the way it is written. You will never go wrong with any of this author's books.

Diana
Book Review: How The Mind Works
Pinker, Steven
5 stars = Curiosity Mars Rover Awesome!

This is in my top five favorite books. One of the main reasons is that Pinker doesn't allow politics to impede his description of competition, to which he devotes about 200 pages. If you want to know how the world works, you want to know how the mind works, and this is your book.

Grant
Book Review: The Fault In Our Stars
Green, John
5 stars = Curiosity Mars Rover Awesome!

This is one of the best novels I have ever read, and is easily on my top 5 list of favorites. The author, John Green, earned my respect like Garcia Marquez, Faulkner, and Nabokov have. He is a brilliant writer and storyteller.
What struck me the most about this novel was Green's ability to blur the lines between intangibles that we typically think of as opposite, and clear-cut: pain and comfort, life and death, humor and sadness, rememberance and loss are all topics that Hazel and Augustus and me, myself, as a reader, ponder throughout the narrative. And I shouldn't forget love! What a beautiful and awkward, but intense and unique love. You might find yourself laughing and crying at the same time.
So the novel touched me emotionally...But too intellectually challenge me as well is something that most novelists have a hard time doing. This is the reason I liken Green to great authors whose works are cemented in our history. He questions inevitable death with wit and perception, and in doing that, he examines with a microscope the life that leads us to it.

Mallory
Book Review: Creative Weaving
Howard, Sarah
3 stars = Pretty Good

I'm a new weaver, and found this book to be quite inspiring. It has great photos that really give you great ideas about using color in your weaving. This book is a good resource for new and experienced weavers alike.

Jan
Book Review: The Bully Book
Gale, Eric Kahn
5 stars = Curiosity Mars Rover Awesome!

Eric Haskins’ life is suddenly completely miserable in sixth grade. It seems the entire class is conspiring to bully him. In fact, it is a carefully organized scheme by a few who have chosen him as the “Grunt.” They take their orders from The Book—an instruction manual in power passed down to each year’s sixth graders. Eric’s only chance is to find The Book and dismantle the plot against him. On the way, he’ll also discover the most important weapon against bullying. Pages from The Book and Eric’s journals are interwoven to create an intricate, exciting, and insightful book for everyone over ten years old.

Elisabeth
Book Review: 7 Deadly Wonders: A Novel
Reilly, Matthew
4 stars = Really Good

An exciting adventure that takes you all across the globe! A mix between Indiana Jones and The DaVinci Code. Discover ancient secrets and avoid deadly booby traps as you join Jack West Jr. in his search for the seven wonders.

Sara
Book Review: Insurgent
Roth, Veronica
2 stars = Meh

This book was okay. I read the whole thing and it was long, so that says something. But it wasn't great. I found keeping track of the characters was confusing and the storyline was delivered with a heavy hand. Meh.

vfranklyn
Book Review: Revolution
Donnelly, Jennifer
5 stars = Curiosity Mars Rover Awesome!

I don't usually read teen fiction but when this book was recommended to me, I gave it a try and just couldn't put it down. The story is about Andi Alpers, a gifted musician and student at a Brooklyn prep school, who struggles with the death of her younger brother Truman. When Andi's estranged father forces her to accompany him to Paris, Andi stumbles across the diary of Alexandrine Paradis, a young girl who lived during the French Revolution.
As Andi experiences Alexandrine's life through the pages of the journal she finally can come to terms with Truman's death.

Heidi P.
Mockingjay
Collins, Suzanne
1 star = Yuck!

If I had not been pressured to finish the series, I would've never read this book. Seriously.
So the first book of the series was pretty good. I mean, the author could work on her descriptions and character development, but it really drew you in and had a good cliffhanger (though I've found way better ones).
Then there was the second book. Getting kind of...overdramatic, but it was okay. There was more action in it and there was another decent cliffhanger.
Then there just HAD to be the third novel. That just ruined it. The love affairs were WAY to overdramatized, the descriptions were TERRIBLE, and the storyline went everywhere. I constantly found myself reading entire chapters ten times over to at least get a sense of what was going on. It was totally cliche and repetetive and all these characters died for no reason at all. The epilogue was absolutely sappy and cheesy and way too predictable. Katniss is the worst herione ever and I don't respect anything about her.
Overall, a terrible book and not worth your time to read. Collins has made an extremely sloppy conclusion to her popular teen series and she should SERIOUSLY consider rewriting this novel, if not the whole series.

Cardcaptor
Book Review: Who Could That be at This Hour?
Snicket, Lemony
4 stars = Really Good

As a huge fan of Lemony Snicket's A Series of Unfortunate Events, I was thrilled when Snicket announced he was releasing a prequel series. Who Could That Be at This Hour? is the first book in this series, entitled All the Wrong Questions. I enjoyed The End, but let's face it: it left a lot of loose ends dangling. Whether or not All the Wrong Questions will actually answer any questions at all remains to be seen, but Who Could That Be at This Hour? is a thoroughly enjoyable book all the same.

Though the Baudelaires are nowhere to be seen, Snicket's trademark sense of humor oozes off every page as young Snicket finds himself caught up in one ludicrous situation after another. That's right: Snicket himself is the protagonist of this story. WCTBATH follows his adventures as an apprentice in the mysterious organization known as V.F.D. To say much more would risk spoiling its surprises, but rest assured, fans of ASOUE will love Snicket's offbeat humor, eccentric characters, and surprisingly intricate plot.

Lisa
Book Review: Almost Home: Helping Kids Move from Homelessness to Hope
Ryan, Kevin
4 stars = Really Good

This book tells about stories from several young people who used to be young homeless. They came across to know Covenant House, which have led and supported young people throughout the North America to become responsible adults. They provide resources, connections and programs. Their mentoring supports have impressive impacts on such youth and longer positive effects on their future lives. These stories help us understand situations, many of which are intense, that young homeless in this diverse society are facing, and give us hope that young adults can gain healthy choices thorough available and friendly resources such as the Covenant House.

Chi
Book Review: Cold Days: A Novel of the Dresden Files
Butcher, Jim
4 stars = Really Good

While not as good as previous Dresden adventures Cold Days is a welcome return to Harry's universe. It's always nice to visit with Harry and his friends. He always manages to find himself in the most precarious of situations. And even though it's no surprise that he always gets out of trouble it's still nice to see how he accomplishes it.

Michael
Book Review: Proof Of Heaven: A Neurosurgeon's Journey into the Afterlife
Alexander, Eben
4 stars = Really Good

Written by neurosurgeon who contracted a very rare form of E Coli that shut down his brain for seven days. During that time, he experienced other worlds that seemed more real to him than this world. He writes about what he saw in very methodical and unemotional terms, subjecting his visions to a very scientific approach. This experience changed his whole worldview from a pragmatic verifiable scientific methodology to a certainty that the human spirit can experience something beyond what can be seen and that even though evil exists, love will eventually triumph. I think even the most skeptical person should read this book.

Juli
Book Review: Bless Me, Ultima
Anaya, Rudolfo
4 stars = Really Good

This is a fantastic experience of Mexican American culture and the richness and differences it presents. Antonio shares his many "growing up" experiences and dificulties with Ultima, an old curandera (healer) who has insight, influence and wisdom.

Lisa
Book Review: Calling Me Home: A Novel
Kibler, Julie
5 stars = Curiosity Mars Rover Awesome!

When I finished this book, I just sat back and said "Wow." That pretty much sums up the entire novel. What an amazingly beautiful and sad love story, not only between Isabelle and Robert, but also the friendship between Dorrie and Isabelle. This is definitely a book I will be recommending!

Krista
Book Review: Ashes of Honor: An October Daye Novel
McGuire, Seanan
4 stars = Really Good

The most recent in the October Daye series, Ashes of Honor was incredibly difficult to put down. Like all of the books in the series, McGuire keeps the action going with a mixture of faerie mythology and mystery with Shakespeare references thrown in. A great read for fans of urban fantasy with an awesome heroine. I also loved that the author includes a pronunciation guide at the beginning of each book.

Becca
Book Review: Small Steps: The Year I Got Polio
Kehert, Peg
4 stars = Really Good

Peg Kehert told you in her own words what it was like to be a child with polio. She writes how deadly and dangerous polio was in 1949. It was heartfelt and she made friends along her hard journey. I think that kids and adults should read this book.

Manjula
Book Review: The Happiness Project
Rubin, Gretchen
5 stars = Curiosity Mars Rover Awesome!

Even though I loved this book and wanted to eat it up as quickly as possible, I tried to take it slow, absorbing as much as I could. It is packed full of fascinating facts about happiness, and examples of how she improved her life through big and small changes. It inspired me to start my own small happiness project, tracking it daily as she and Benjamin Franklin did.

One of my favorite bits is her four stages of reveling in a moment of
happiness:
+ anticipate with pleasure,
+ savor the moment as I experience it,
+ express my happiness to myself or others, and reflect on a happy memory.

Morgan
Book Review: Rogue Town
Griffin, Dennis N
4 stars = Really Good

It is amazing how just a few people with the right attitude were able to change a city, a county, and impact the entire country for the better. This is a good, and real life story by a man who was in the battle of good vs bad, and the good won in Stamford, CT in this battle that went into the 1980's.

Jim
Book Review: The Compound Effect: Multiplying your Success, One Simple Step at a
Hardy, Darren
5 stars = Curiosity Mars Rover Awesome!

"The Compound Effect is the principle of reaping huge rewards from a series of small, smart choices. These small, seemingly insignificant steps completed consistently over time will create a radical difference." Darren Hardy does an excellent job in outlining the steps to success. He provides examples that make the concepts very clear as well as recommended action steps in order to help you make right choices and develop the habits and behaviors that will lead to success.

Nancy
Book Review: Articles of War: A Novel
Arvin, Nick
4 stars = Really Good

This book offers a interesting look into the terrifying world that young Americans encountered during WWII warfare. The story is told from a 18 year old small-town Iowa farm boy who is sent to combat in France. Fear quickly consumes George's world as he reacts to the unimaginable devastation around him. I immediately became intrigued with George's situation making it hard to put this novel down. The book is a short but powerful read, and there is much to be said about its honest look at the harrowing realities that people, turned soldiers, experience during wartime.

Curtis
Book Review: A World Without Heroes
Mull, Brandon
5 stars = Curiosity Mars Rover Awesome!

This book is amazing! It is about these kids that are magically transported into another realm, a place called Lyrian, which is ruled by the evil wizard emperor, Maldor. They find themselves way in over their heads as Jason and Rachel go on a quest to defeat the tyrant and find a way to get back home.

Matt
Book Review: The Magic of Reality: How We Know What's Really True
Dawkins, Richard
5 stars = Curiosity Mars Rover Awesome!

Great book. Dr. Dawkins takes everyday questions and answers them both via myth and via science in a manner that is accessible to the average layperson. The height of the book for me was the discussion of "Sod's Law" and the understanding that reacting as if there is a threat when the possibility arises assures survival. Also, I thought it was interesting that we are living the good life (at least I am), and natural selection favors a struggle. The illustrations were also great. A big thumbs up!

vfranklyn
Book Review: The Emerald Atlas
Stephens, John
5 stars = Curiosity Mars Rover Awesome!

This book had everything a good fantasy needs - magic books, time travel, and orphans - and has a crazy magician thrown in for good measure.

When Kate finds a magical book that allows you to travel through time with the help of a photograph, she and her younger siblings find themselves being abducted by an evil witch more than 30 years earlier. If you like Harry Potter, you'll love this book!

Mary Beth