All Book Reviews

Book Review: Secrets
Heitzmann, Kristen
4 stars = Really Good

This author has been recommended to me for a while and I've finally started reading fer books. Why did I wait???? She is an excellent writer, and her books are full of suspense, connectedness, and the search for meaning. I am reading two of her series now, and find that every book of Kristen Heitzmann's is an excellent read!

Barb
Book Review: The Time Keeper
Albom, Mitch
4 stars = Really Good

This fictional book creates an interesting entwining of 3 peoples lives, each with unique circumstances, and brings them all together in unexpected ways. Most intriguing was the fictional character who created the concept of how we keep time, and his demise because of this.

Deborah
Book Review: Hello World!: Computer Programming For Kids and Other Beginners
Sande, Warren
4 stars = Really Good

This book was great for kids who want to learn the programming basics. I was cool to make something and very rewarding! If you are interested in computer books, this is for you!

K.A.
Book Review: The Night Circus
Morgenstern, Erin
4 stars = Really Good

I really enjoyed this book. It was very descriptive and I felt like I was in a dream when I was reading it. The only issues I have with it were the disjointed timeline was confusing at times and the ending dragged on for too long. Still, I'd recommend it.

vfranklyn
Book Review: The Book Thief
Zusak, Markus
5 stars = Curiosity Mars Rover Awesome!

Great book! I wasn't interested in the subject matter at first, but had to read for a book club. After I started it, I was hooked! I love that the book is written from the perspective of death. Zusak has a magical way with words.
Highly recommend!

Sandy
Book Review: Ready Player One
Cline, Ernest
4 stars = Really Good

Fantastic book! Lots of fun, with great 80s references, as seen from a dystopian future in which most of reality has been supplanted by the far more pleasant world of OASIS (a VR interface). This book will appeal to gamers and fans of 80s pop culture.

There were a few moments where I felt like some elements of the story were being brushed over (without giving away too much, there were some deaths that I felt were not acknowledged much in the text, though this is completely in character with the POV character's detachment from reality). But these were powerful elements that might have been more character-defining and perhaps might have demonstrated more about his motivation. This is why I could not, in good conscience, give the book the 5 stars. It could be just my own personal preferences coming through. Some people might be totally fine with that.

I listened to the audiobook version, narrated by Wil Wheaton, who does a great job with the characterizations and is completely believable as the first-person narrator. Not only that, but it really sounded like he was enjoying himself while narrating the book. And of course, that always makes it more fun as a listener.

Shannon
Book Review: Reincarnation
Weyn, Suzanne
4 stars = Really Good

It's very hard to explain the plot of this book but I will try.

So, basically, we have (roughly) four characters. Since in the book their names keep changing, in this review, I'll call them: the Girl, the Boy, the Douche, and the Redhead.

Spoilers ahead.

So, we start out in prehistory and the Girl is going to be mated to the Douche. Except, she doesn't want to because hes--well, he's a douche. so she's in a cave looking at a statue she's seen a billion times before and finds and emerald in the middle, and thinks "if I can get that emerald, I won't have to be mated to the Douche!"
Meanwhile, the Boy (who is a neanderthal) is having problems of his own. he was on a hunt and apparently was disgraced and can't go back to his tribe. He stumbles upon the cave where the Girl is singing and then HE sees the Emerald and thinks, "if I get that, I can go back to my tribe without disgrace!" so they fight for it and end up tumbling over a cliff. and dying.

Next, we're in Egypt. the Girl has a job as a singer (this is major symbolism). the Boy comes in as a Nubian slave. ((He can't talk becuz of an injury to the throat. note that in his past life he didn't know how to speak at all)) the Douche is there, buy the Boy and the Girl fall in love anyway. I don't think the Redhead is redheaded in this life, but she's there and tries to convince the boy to steal something from the girl so he can escape slavery, end comes to end, the Douche kills the Boy.

next life is in Greece. The girl still sings and has a bad foot (because in her past life she broke her foot). the Boy is an orphan of Egyptian descent and generally not accepted by everyone. The Douche is there and wants to win the Girl's hand in marriage. The Girl would much rather be a priestess of Athena, but that is not an option. so she asks the Boy to fight in the competition and win so she doesn't half to marry the Douche. Stuff happens, and ends with the Girl dying.

After this, the lives get increasingly more amusing and confusing. The Boy and the Girl switch genders, and then there's one situation in which the Boy and the Girl met and the Boy died and was reincarnated before the Girl died so we had a 17-year-old and a (I actually don't know if this is an accurate
number) 40-year-old.

Then, finally, in present day, the Girl and the Boy are in high school on a field trip to a museum where they see and exhibit of a neanderthal skeleton entangled with the skeleton of a Cro-Magnon female and scientist believe they died fighting over an emerald.
(That, of course, is the Boy and the Girl from about a bazillion lives ago)

Monica
Book Review: The Thieves of Ostia: A Roman Mystery
Lawrence, Caroline
1 star = Yuck!

As the Roman Mysteries Series gets further along, it begins to be like a trashy novel--but for kids. Some of the themes and scenes disgusted me. I would give this a negative rating if I could! Do not read.

Emma
Book Review: Jane Eyre
Bronte, Charlotte
5 stars = Curiosity Mars Rover Awesome!

This incredible story of Jane Eyre will be a novel you can't put down! I
read this book in twenty-four hours. The writing style draws the reader in. Contrary to popular belief, it is not a "creepy" book, and is appropriate for teens and older!

Emma
Book Review: The Thieves of Ostia: A Roman Mystery
Lawrence, Caroline
5 stars = Curiosity Mars Rover Awesome!

When Flavia's neighbor's dog is killed, she insists on finding the culprit.

She gets help from her neighbor, Jonathan; freed slave, Nubia; and mute beggar boy, Lupus. Together these friends explore first-century Roman life and culture while solving an intricate mystery. Details of the time period are woven into the story seamlessly. But the friendships and dialogue are timeless and relatable. Every chapter is a cliffhanger and the action is non-stop in this excellent series (The Roman Mysteries). Some violent themes may be too mature for younger readers; I recommend these fantastic reads for nine to ninety. My whole family can't put them down! You'll be glad there are seventeen sequels.

Elisabeth
Book Review: The Geeks Shall Inherit the Earth
Robbins, Alexandra
3 stars = Pretty Good

This book was interesting but took too long to wade through. I read as much of it as I could but it seemed to be repeating itself. Meh. It did make me afraid for my daughter when she eventually goes to school and has to deal with the politics and drama of girl culture. I also didn't think the portion of the book about teacher cliques was necessary, when the title implies a book about students.

vfranklyn
Book Review: Divergent
Roth, Veronica
4 stars = Really Good

I liked it. It started off a bit slow for my taste and it took awhile for me to immerse myself in its reality, but once I did I quite enjoyed it. It gets good about two thirds of the way through and has a very good ending, although I'm left with a spoiler question I won't address here, except to say, why the heck didn't she...?

vfranklyn
The Hunger Games cover
Collins, Suzanne
5 stars = Curiosity Mars Rover Awesome!

i love this book i will read it again
i read the whole series it is amazing

Erica R.
Book Review: Anne of Avonlea
Montgomery, L. M. (Lucy Maud)
3 stars = Pretty Good

I loved Anne of Green Gables but for some reason I just didn't get into the sequel. I'm not sure why, it just moved slowly and wasn't as adventurous, I think. I liked the portrait of a young teacher at the turn of the century. It's amazing how much has changed in that regard, and I did enjoy the ending.

vfranklyn
Book Review: Brain on Fire: My Month of Madness
Cahalan, Susannah
5 stars = Curiosity Mars Rover Awesome!

I started out giving this book 4 stars - it is a fascinating inside look at this author's hospitalization for a rare autoimmune disorder which caused her complete memory loss of the time she was ill and could have eventually led to her death had her doctor given up on her.

The more I think about this book, however, the more I liked it - I've found myself talking about it with friends and family over the past few days and marveling at this author's tenacity on recreating her "month of madness" through interviews and tapes. I feel this is a wonderful and well-written book, not only of one woman's experiences with an illness that displayed itself so quickly and violently, but a fascinating look into our brains and how they work (or don't work).

Krista
 Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban
Rowling, J. K.
5 stars = Curiosity Mars Rover Awesome!

In my opinion this is the best out of the whole series!!!!!!!

Ailana
Book Review: The Raven Boys
Stiefvater, Maggie
5 stars = Curiosity Mars Rover Awesome!

Amazing. This book was one of the best I've read, and boy have i read a lot.
The exquisite language combined with the beutiful imagery makes this book amazing.

Basically, this book takes place in a small mondern-day virginia town. There are two main characters, but at least 5 other characters that opinions feature in the book.

"Blue Sargent, the daughter of the town psychic in Henrietta, Virginia, has been told for as long as she can remember that if she ever kisses her true love, he will die. But she is too practical to believe in things like true love. Her policy is to stay away from the rich boys at the prestigious Aglionby Academy. The boys there — known as Raven Boys — can only mean trouble."

Now, i know what your thinking. ROMANCE BLEH. But really, there's really not that much romance in the book. Blue doesn't even have a legit boyfriend, she's just dating a guy, and they don't even kiss =). So that's good.

The book is more of a mystery suspence thing. but it's awesome. SERIOUSLY, stop reading this, and go pick up that book. Trust me.

You won't regret it.

Libby
Book Review: Honeymoon With My Brother: A Memoir
Wisner, Franz.
4 stars = Really Good

Franz Wisner was dumped at the altar, but his honeymoon was already paid for. In an attempt to cheer himself up, he takes his younger brother, Kurt, on his "honeymoon" to Costa Rica, and the two brothers connect in a way that they hadn't as adults. Upon their return from Costa Rica, Franz and Kurt decide to quit their jobs, sell their houses, and embark on a year long trip around the world, and this book tells of the adventures. Part travelogue, part relationship story, after finishing this book I called my sister to try to convince her that we, too, could quit our jobs, travel the world, and become better friends!

Emilie
Book Review: The Book of Air and Shadows
Gruber, Michael
5 stars = Curiosity Mars Rover Awesome!

Do you long for another heart thumping thrill a minute ride similar to the Da Vinci Code? Then, you might consider this excellent book. With narrative lines from 2 different points of view that eventually meet up, this book is a conspiracy thriller with a very personal vendetta. There aren't any huge evil organizations, but there is an unknown mastermind who seems to have an uncanny knack for knowing what all the major players are up to at any given time. This hunt for a previously unknown Shakespeare manuscript is action packed and engaging. Where else will you find the worlds of academia, intellectual property law and Russian mobsters all mixing it up hoping for the big score?

Debbie
Book Review: The Bonesetter's Daughter
Tan, Amy
5 stars = Curiosity Mars Rover Awesome!

This book was really wonderful! It's about a young girl who is embarrassed by the things her mother does. Then she is given a manuscript to read. It is written in Mandarin, written by her mother. She has someone translate it and is taken back to her mothers time and finds out things about her mother she never knew. This story is heart warming and full of interest. I highly recommend it.

Erin
Book Review: A Mass for the Dead
McDuffie, Susan
4 stars = Really Good

This exciting historical mystery tale takes place in 14th century Scotland. The Prior of Oronsay, an unpopular and unsavory character, is found strangled on the beach, his mouth stuffed with sand. Muirteach, the crippled bastard son of the Prior is assigned the nearly impossible task of finding out who of the many people who had motives to end this man's life is the murderer. Susan McDuffie, in her first published novel, very successfully introduces her readers, via this suspenseful plot and surprise ending, to what is to become a series of mysteries involving the main character, Muirteach.

Linda
Book Review: How to Train Your Dragon
Cowell, Cressida
5 stars = Curiosity Mars Rover Awesome!

Don’t expect this book to be much like the movie-DO expect it to be even better! Hiccup Horrendous Haddock III does not want to be the next Chief of the Hooligan tribe, but as the chief’s son, he must. When he is only able to capture a small, toothless dragon to train, he’s sure he is doomed. But Old Wrinkly assures him “A Hero of the Future is going to have to be clever and cunning, not just a big lump with overdeveloped muscles.” Hiccup’s cleverness allows him to become the best dragon trainer ever, but is it enough to save the tribe from Seadragonus Giganticus Maximus? These nine books are hysterically funny, especially in audio, but then you’ll miss the author’s amusing illustrations-a difficult choice!

Elisabeth
Book Review: Listen to the Silent Night
Mackall, Dandi Daley
5 stars = Curiosity Mars Rover Awesome!

“It was not such a silent night,” repeats this beautifully illustrated story of Christmas. We hear the whoo of owls, the knock on a door, the moo of cows, and the flutter of angels on the night Jesus was born. Each sound brings a different part of the biblical story to life and paints the setting in bustling Bethlehem.

Elisabeth
Book Review: Notorious Nineteen
Evanovich, Janet
4 stars = Really Good

I have read all 18 of Janet Evanovich's books and this one is the best one in a long time, sometimes her books get a little repetitive, but this one was great. Stephanie Plum still bountying hunting and cant figure out whether shes in love with Morelli or Ranger who in my mind is a George Clooney knockout. Her partner Lulu never seems to fail us with her humor and I read this book in a day and a half. I highly recommend it. And the Grandmother she reminds me of some people my Grandmother hung out with in NJ.

Karen J.
Book Review: Cardcaptor Sakura - Book 1
CLAMP
5 stars = Curiosity Mars Rover Awesome!

Probably the first manga I actually got in to (other than Pokemon!).
Very good first book. I immediately was drawn into the storyline and eagerly read the next book. I was surprised how big it was...I guess I didn't know I was getting the omnibus edition! (all it said was Cardcaptor Sakura Book 1...<^.^').

The basic storyline is that a 4th grader named Sakura Kinomoto walks into her father's library and finds a mysterious book titled "The Clow". Upon opening it, a strange but cute creature comes out who says his name is Cerberus.

Sakura decides to call him, cutely, Kero-chan. Kero is surprised to find that all the cards residing in the Clow book have disappeared. Kero immediatly makes Sakura a Cardcaptor-kind of like a magical girl, but this girl (or boy in Syaoran's case) collects Clow Cards.

I have never seen the anime (mostly because I don't like the anime plot as much) but I enjoyed the manga a lot. The characters are very loveable.Sakura's rival, Syaoran Li, is probably my all-time favorite character now. I admit, I did not like him when I had only read the first book. Believe me, if you feel the same way after reading this book, you will definitely fall in love with him by the end of the series (by the end of the series I mean reading the first series AND the second series [Cardcaptor Sakura: Master of the Clow]). The second series is much more romantically revolved, so I found it much more adorable.

In my opinion, I would give this whole series...10 stars!! (if only...)

Cardcaptor Asu-nyan