Book Review – 101 Two Letter Words

TITLE: 101 Two Letter Words
AUTHOR: Stephin Merritt
ILLUSTRATOR: Roz Chast
FORMAT: Hardback
PUBLISHED: 2014

Okay. I have to say that as a writer, this book caught my eye immediately. (Also because I have 98% of the two letter words in Words With Friends and can’t figure out which 2% I am missing)

The book is arranged pretty simply. There’s a two-letter word, an image, and a little four line rhyming poem that utilizes the word somehow. It starts with AA (which is apparently a jagged kind of lava) and ends with ZA, which we all know is apparently an acceptable abbreviation for pizza, but nobody ever ever ever says it.

The rhymes are cute and the illustrations are simple but sweet.

-insert heavy sigh here-

So here’s my issue. Since everything is cutesy little rhymes, nothing seemed to stick much in my head as I looked it over. I mean, I liked the book and someday I might end up with a copy on my bookshelf, but I queston the book’s actual usefulness. No real help on pronunciation, so we can guess and mostly be right but on a few of these it’d help.

In the end, I’m going to give this book a 4/5. It’s the type of book you’d give as a silly gift or pick up at the library, but I don’t see a lot of people rushing out to buy it as reference material.

Book Review – Alice in the Country of Joker: Circus and Liars Game Vol. 6

Title: Alice in the Country of Joker: Circus and Liars Game Vol. 6

Author: Quinrose

Illustrator: Mamenosuke Fujimaru

Format: Paperback

Published: 2014

 

There are points when one reads a book knows that they greatly enjoyed, knows why they greatly enjoyed it and yet can’t really express in detail why the book was so good lest they blow the entire story and the entire point of reading. That is the case with this particular installment of Alice in the Country of Joker. This book was a fantastic read and has made the series one of the best Alice series to date in my opinion. What I got from this book was unexpected and enticing and has me clamoring and begging for the next and final book in the series.

 

I wish I could share with you just what makes this book end so well and what sort of cliff hanger you are left with and what a fantastic story that is crafted in this particular volume of Alice in the Country of Joker but I dare not. I implore you to read this series and see what happens for yourself as it is quite good. The most I can say about this story is Alice has chosen her love in this story and is dealing with the issues of this choice which gets to be a whole lot more than Alice or I as a reader expected.

 

Over all I think I would give this book a 5 out of 5 page review. I know many are not manga readers or big into a story line as presented in this book and for you I would say it is still a great read and worth the time but you don’t have to go out and read it like those who enjoy manga should. So despite the shortness of my review this book was a fantastic read filled with surprises and turns that I would not have expected and I absolutely loved and I think you will too.

Book Review – The Witness

I wouldn’t classify this as one of Roberts’ best books, but it held my attention once the main part started, and I might want to reread it as some point in the future. A solid 3/5 stars.

Book Review – The Sea of Monsters by Rick Riordan

Title: The Sea of Monsters

Author: Rick Riordan

Format: Hardback

Published: 2006

 

Having read the first book of the Percy Jackson serried I decided I needed to continue the series and finally picked up the second book to re-read it as my first read may have been abridged. Finally having the time I was able to clip through the book and it was a decent read. I will admit that book was much more enjoyable the first read through and it engrossed me more the first time than it did now. I don’t like to repeat much so it was a bit of a struggle to get through the book.

 

That being said this is a story of Percy going on another quest to save Camp Half-Blood with the help of Annabeth and his new found half- brother and Cyclopes Tyson. In addition to his quest to save the camp he is also set with the difficult task of saving his best friend Grover the Sytar from the clutches of yet another Cyclopse. Not only is Grover’s life on the line in this quest but so is Percy’s as there is now a bond between him and Grover such that if Grover were to die so would Percy.

 

It is a bit of a whirlwind of a story as Percy faces off against a number of classic monsters in the sea of monsters. It was still a decent read and rather good the fist time through. I know what I particularly enjoyed was the end of the book as there is a nice little twist that makes you want to delve right in to the next book in the series as what happens at the end of the book is a major game changer for the rest of the series.

 

Over all, I think I would give this book a 4 out of 5 page review simply because it is a good young reader that can hold the attention of an adult fairly well without being too much for a young reader either. The story is well written and the way Riordan has updated the Olympians and the monsters or old is clever. I look forward to reading the next book as I have not read it before.

Book Review – The Girl Who Fell Beneath Fairyland and Led the Revels There

Title: The Girl Who Fell Beneath Fairyland and Led the Revels There

Author: Catherynne M. Valente

Format: Hardback

Year Published: 2012

The Girl Who Fell Beneath Fairyland is the sequel to The Girl Who Circumnavigated Fairyland and picks the story up a year later. September has returned from her adventures in Fairyland changed, and the past year has forced a bit of growing up, but also thrown a few obstacles in her way. She no longer fits in with her classmates – she’s been through things, seen things, that they haven’t.

On the eve of September’s thirteenth birthday, she finds her way back into Fairyland again. What she discovers there is that everything is completely wrong – her shadow, given away during some of the events of The Girl Who Circumnavigated Fairyland, has taken over the Fairyland-Below and is stealing everybody’s shadows. In doing so, she’s also stealing the magic out of Fairyland.

Although September longs to see her friends again, she chooses to go to Fairyland-Below to fix the mistakes she’d made. There she meets with the shadow versions of her friends, but they’re different, just as her shadow-self is different. She also makes new friends, and new mistakes. One of the best things about September, though, is that she’ll admit she’s made a mistake and then try to fix it. (Sometimes she knows it’s a mistake and goes ahead and does the thing anyway, which keeps her from being perfect-and therefore boring.)

The big twist in the story resolves a question I’d had about a thing in the previous book (I won’t spoil either), and although it took a while for me to get into the one – I think i was more than halfway through before I got to the “no stopping place” – once I did, I plowed through.

All in all, I’m giving this 3/5 stars –  though it would have been closer to four with the slowish start.

Book Review – Ender’s Game by Orson Scott Card

Title: Ender’s Game

Author: Orson Scott Card

Format: Paperback

Published: 1991

 

As of late I’ve been simply hunting for books to read. I’ve been wanting something different something science fiction in nature and I don’t know what else. I’ve been struggling to find books for what I was in the mood for and decided to suck it up and read Ender’s Game. Not that I have issues with Ender’s Game. I guess it was just a matter that I read the first page once before and it didn’t grab me and it is a book that has been raved about to me before. Now as a blog that talks about books and gives recommendations it seems almost hypocritical of me to reject a recommendation, particularly when I say I take recommendations rather seriously but there is a difference between a person saying, “I think you would like this book or, I really like this book and think that everyone should read it.” Versus “This is the best book ever you got to read it! See look there is a movie so yeah read it!” The Rave I had received was a long the lines of the latter and it felt like it was a matter of the recommendation being part of the movie craze rather than being a legitimate recommendation.

 

Any way, I finally check it out of the library and started to read it and found my self uncertain. I kept reading knowing that as early into the book as I was that I couldn’t say it is bad and give it up. I kept reading and before I knew it I had devoted a whole night reading finishing the next day only because I couldn’t remain awake long enough to finish the last twenty pages, otherwise this would have been a 1 day book.

 

Normally for me a one day book indicates that it is that good of a read but I think it was more a matter that I was very much in the mood to simply read a book and Ender’s Game wasn’t bad and had a bit of intrigue to it. Over all, it is hard to say what my official opinion about the book is. The story is chiefly about a young boy named Ender who is hoped to be the answer to a long fought battle. Thus at the young age of 6 Ender is taken off to Battle School where he is pushed to his limit s to become the commander they hope he can be. The book goes through Ender’s struggles and his training and the extreme conditions that he finds himself placed under.

 

Over all, it is a bit of an odd book and in a lot of way s though it was written between the two book felt a bit like a mix of the Hunger Games and Lord of the Flies. With it obviously pre-dating the first and post dating the later. Having read both books, I feel that the shock value that this book could provide did not for me. In the end I think I would give this book a 3 out of 5 page review stating that you are not wasting your time with the read but it isn’t a book I’ll be running to tell people about. Though if you have read the book I would gladly welcome a discussion about it because I do feel it is a good book to have a discussion on, much like Lord of the Flies.

Book Review – The Girl Who Circumnavigated Fairyland In a Ship of Her Own Making

Title: The Girl Who Circumnavigated Fairyland in a Ship of Her Own Making

Author: Catherynne M. Valente

Format: Hardback

Year Published: 2011

I was unsure of how I felt about this book to begin with. Part of that was because I was trying to read at work and kept getting interrupted (it took two days to read the first eleven pages) and the other part is because the narrator kept breaking the fourth wall, similarly to the narrator in The Anybodies. But where that didn’t work for me in The Anybodies, it did work for me here, I think because the narrator in this book was less of a character and more of a generic narrator.

The Girl Who Circumnavigated Fairyland is about a girl named September who gets whisked away to Fairyland by a Green Wind and a Leopard. Once there, she finds herself off on an adventure, to rescue a spoon for some witches from the Marquess who rules over the land. This leads her to meeting with new friends (like A-Through-L, a Wyvern, who is probably my favorite character) and then she ends up running afoul of the Marquess. Then she’s forced to go on another quest, but this one is to save her friends.

September, as a heroine, is plucky, and impulsive, and altogether likeable. I really enjoyed following along with her adventures, and I loved the side characters as well. the big plot twist – well, I called it relatively early on in the book, but that’s not terribly unusual for me.

Over all, a 3/5 – not a book for everybody, but those who like fairy tales and plucky heroines will like this book.

Book Review – World War I Posters

WORLD WAR I POSTERS
Gary A. Borkan
Hardback
2002

I have quite a bit of interest in WWI, so when I saw this book, I grabbed it quick.
The book is pretty much a whole lot of pics of WWI posters. Propaganda (for the war effort!), recruiting, etc..
There wasn’t a lot of text in this book, just a little caption here or there, along the lines of “This poster was 24×36 and published in 1915” but not much more helpful.
I’m not really sure what I expected from this, but it may have been nice to see a little bit about where you would have seen these posters or what they did for a sense of pride and a push for the war effort. Because we’re far removed from the society of a hundred years ago when these sorts of things had that sort of effect. (I wonder what a “Join the war effort! Afghanistan!” poster would have done, for instance.)

I wish that the international section had been larger. In some instances, it was only a page or two per country.
But the book wasn’t bad. Still, it’s a limited reference book, and because of that, I have to give it a 3/5. Solid, but a lot of room for improvement.

Book Review – Alice in the Country of Joker: Circus and Liar’s Game Vol 4

Title: Alice in the Country of Joker: Circus and Liar’s Game Vol 4

Author: QuinRose

Illustrator: Mamenosuke Fujimaru

Format: Paperback

Published: 2014

 

Yes, I am bringing you more Alice. I am aware that I skipped over book 3. I feel bad that I missed reviewing that particular book but I don’t remember the exact details of what happened in that book and just know the general plot and it was something I enjoyed. Any way this book is pretty fresh in my memory and it was rather good. As you know from my past reviews that the March Hare is one of my favorite people to pair Alice with second was Boris till Bet on my Heart which was a fantastic read! (You can see my review to see what I rated it and I would recommend any Alice fan pick that novel up!) Any way the Mad Hatter is my second favorite person to pair Alice with and there are some moments in this book that made my inner fan girl get a little giddy with delight.

 

In addition to the fun little romance moments in this book there is also the matter of there being more information about Alice and her past and what being in the country of Joker entails. A running theme in a lot of the books features the concept of trying to make Alice forget her past and her regrets of the past. This becomes more prevalent as Alice finds herself falling into Joker’s prison and seeing her sister locked up. This bothers Alice as her sister is not deserving of such treatment. Joker and his prison are an ongoing theme as well as Alice tends to just fall in and the others try and pull stunts to rescue and pull her back out.   It is a concept that I am intrigued to learn more about and add a level of danger for Alice that is new and exciting to me.

 

One of the best reveals of the book isn’t entirely a reveal but an allusion that was given a little more detail than the last time I saw it. This allusion and my theory is one that I feel could be a spoiler though it is only a theory. So skip to the next paragraph  In another book I think it was the Art Book (I’m not sure) there was an allusion to a death that Alice was certain that it was a vision of her mother’s death but when I read the scene I had a feeling that wasn’t the case and that it was actually possibly her sister. In this book there is more revealed about this allusion that makes me think it all the more and I am most intrigued and excited about this because in a lot of ways it turns things on its ear. Alice might be finding Wonderland as even more of an escape than I originally though and there isn’t a sister to return to. I don’t know if I’ll ever learn the truth here but it is an exciting idea to allow to play in my head.

 

Over all I think I would give this book a sold 4 out of 5 pages as I thoroughly enjoyed the story and learning more things about this world that I have so fallen in love with. I look forward to learning more as Joker has by far been one of the most interesting story arcs to me.

Book Review – Blood Magick

Title: Blood Magick

Author: Nora Roberts

Format: Trade Paperback

Year Published: 2014

And so the Cousins O’Dwyer saga draws to a close (unless Roberts decides to play in this world again, which doesn’t happen as often anymore but isn’t out of the realm of possibility). The book begins a month or so after the end of Shadow Spell, where our heroes almost succeeded in defeating Cabhan but only succeeded in weakening him.

Blood Magick follows Branna and Fin as they struggle with the love that they feel for each other, and the knowledge that they can never be together because of Fin’s blood connection to Cabhan. This is an unusual take for the typical Nora Roberts trilogy (this is way I was reading these books – comparing them to her other trilogies, so sorry if the constant comparisons annoy you.) In some ways, we get the hardest part of their struggles in Dark Witch and Shadow Spell – where they’re not ready to admit to themselves, much less each other, that they’re still in love. Blood Magick has less of the “I love you but I’m pretending that I don’t” angst and more “I love you, but we can’t ever be together” type of angst.

Blood Magick continues the theme of having the past connect to the present in a very direct way, and the more I read of the original three Dark Witches, the more I wanted to read about them (in some ways I think because I didn’t already know the bare bones of how their story was going to go).

The defeat (spoiler alert!) of Cabhan felt kind of – random. Wait, now he’s allied himself with a demon? There were no hints of that in previous books! I understand that it wasn’t put in before because otherwise the characters would have had a better chance of defeating him, but it still came out of left field.

I liked how the “Fin is related to Cabhan” storyline resolved (I won’t spoil that one), and I am rather impressed that none of the three female characters were pregnant by the end (although both of the female original three were at one point, so maybe that counter-balances it). Still, as I powered through this in an evening, I’m giving it a 3/5.

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