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All Book Reviews

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.

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.

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...?

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.

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).

 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!!!!!!!

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.

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!

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?

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.

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.

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!

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.

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
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
Book Review: Before Your Dog Can Eat Your Homework, First You Have to Do It
O'Hurley, John
5 stars = Curiosity Mars Rover Awesome!

This a gently humorous and touching book about an elderly dog and the baby who is brought into his household. The author is an actor and singer, currently hosting the Family Feud. Scoshi, his aging Maltese, has been a constant friend and companion through years of struggle, happiness, and sadness. In the twilight of his wonderful life he is introduced to William, the infant son of the author and his wife. Scoshi, by way of notes scribbled and placed under "the big blue elephant toy", inparts words of wisdom and encouragement to young William. The author "assists" in putting these notes in order for presentation. It is sweet, thought-provoking, and probably will bring the reader to gentle tears. I loved it!

Book Review: The Book of Joe
Tropper, Jonathan
5 stars = Curiosity Mars Rover Awesome!

Joe Goffman grew up in the small town of Bush Falls, where everyone knows your name and the local high school basketball team is made up of demigods. Joe left this town at 17, wrote a best selling tell-all novel based on the town, and hasn't returned until he got the phone call that his father suffered a stroke and was in a coma. While dealing with his sick father, terminally ill best friend, high school sweetheart, delinquent nephew and hundreds of townsfolk who hate him, Joe discovers that leaving Bush Falls couldn't make him forget Bush Falls. Tropper writes a terrific homecoming story that is both funny and heartbreaking, and you will find yourself laughing out loud while crying.

Book Review: Nancy Drew Series
Keene, Carolyn
5 stars = Curiosity Mars Rover Awesome!

awsome best books!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Book Review: The Art Forger
Shapiro, Barbara
5 stars = Curiosity Mars Rover Awesome!

A painter who is shunned by the art world suddenly receives the opportunity of a lifetime, to redeem herself as a true and original artist. She just has to copy one last Degas painting and her dreams will come true. However, is the painting that she is mysteriously given to reproduce a real Degas that was stolen in the Gardner art heist in 1990?

I found this book utterly fascinating. I personally consider a book compelling if it makes me want to learn more, and I found myself researching the Gardner heist, the paintings by Degas, and Isabella Gardner herself.

I feel like I also learned a little more about the interesting process of creating a painting, and will look a little more closely the next time I am in a museum! Very enjoyable read.

The Innocent
Baldacci, David
5 stars = Curiosity Mars Rover Awesome!

One of the best books I have read EVER. I have like DB for years, but this book grabs you fairly early and everytime you think you know where it is going - - - BAM, off it goes to where you didn't even see it going. Don't start it unless you have time to really hang with it. Every time I had to put it down to do something else my mind had a fit!!

Rod S.
Book Review: Anne of Green Gables
Montgomery, L. M. (Lucy Maud)
5 stars = Curiosity Mars Rover Awesome!

I love Anne. She is such a terrific role model for girls young and old. This book is very well written. The story unfolds in a leisurely way with lush descriptions of nature and imagination. I enjoyed how the relationship between Marilla and Anne grew into one of deepest love. Each time I read this book I get something new out of it. This time it was the understanding that achievement means hard work and sacrifice. Simple enough, but not something one necessarily thinks of when stating a lofty ambition. I can't wait to read Anne of Avonlea!

Book Review: Shouting in the Dark: My Journey Back to the Light
Bramblitt, John
5 stars = Curiosity Mars Rover Awesome!

After he went blind while in college, John Bramblitt practiced getting around without sight at a Six Flags amusement park. Think about that. He began to paint after he lost his sight, and he made me understand what it means to see with sensors other than the eyes. There’s not an ounce of sentimentality here, but plenty of emotion, drive, and grit. You won’t be able to stop reading until you’re through to John’s singing in the light.

Book Review: Bruchko: The Motilone Miracle
Olson, Bruce
4 stars = Really Good

Before I get very far, I must point out that this book is appropriate for a mature 12-year old, I think. Anyway, this incrediblely true story of Bruce Olson's life, written by Olson, was an excellent source of GOOD-QUALITY reading that is so hard to find in today's world. Bruce is a missionary to the Motilone Indians in Venezuela, South America. He is captured and held hostage by guerillas, and by the Motilones themselves. He describes a night where he woke up and was sandwiched between two large and poisonous snakes. And then there's the tapeworm! I first heard of a book where a man pulls a tapeworm out of his mouth. Don't worry; it's not descriptive there! This is an excellent book that held my attention and encouraged me greatly.

Book Review: The Twelve
Justin Cronin
5 stars = Curiosity Mars Rover Awesome!

This is a terrific post-apocalyptic thriller (one of my favorite genres). In my opinion, this was better than The Passage.

My only quibble was that I was not able to remember many of these characters, and their relationships, from The Passage. So, you might want to reread that book prior to reading The Twelve.

I’m anxiously awaiting the third and final book in this trilogy.