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review 2016-04-02 19:13
Lincoln: A Photbiography Book Review
Lincoln: A Photobiography (Houghton Mifflin social studies) - Russell Freedman

For starters, I do not like history. So that fact that I enjoyed this book is pretty impressive for the author. It's definitely not one I loved. But, as a non-fiction book I feel that I have to give this four stars for being readable, having interesting real photographs throughout and being simple enough for children to enjoy.


Lincoln: A Photobiography details Lincoln's life from childhood, to becoming a lawyer to presidency as well as being a major impact on the Civil War. And ending with his assassination at the famous play.


Like I said, I am not a history person so I do feel like I learned quite a bit in this short book. I really liked the photographs throughout and found them useful to the "story." The author did a good job sticking to the facts throughout Lincolns life even though he glazed over the death of Lincoln's son and the depression his wife had after. Well deserving of the Newbery Medal.


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review 2014-02-10 02:03
The Vespertine by Saundra Mitchell
The Vespertine - Saundra Mitchell

I received this book for free from NetGalley in exchange for an honest review. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.


I picked this book up at NetGalley, not thinking too much of it. When I began reading, I fell in love. First of all, I love historical settings. I love the refinement of the period. The way people spoke then just makes for better writing, as far as I’m concerned. Mitchell also leans toward the lyrical side in her writing style, which is fitting for this novel.


I was enamored with Amelia and Nathaniel. Their relationship is an interesting one from the start, and I loved watching it develop from playful games into something real. They’re both great characters, with plenty of depth. Zora, Amelia’s friend, was also one of my favorite characters. She had a lot of life and I hated to see so many sad things happen in her life. Every character, even those the reader doesn’t know as well, was written perfectly into the story.


I was taken away by this story. I really got into it and saw all the scenes, as if I were watching a movie. It also made me soar through different emotions: happiness, excitement, intrigue, horror. I thought she crafted the plot twists well. I never saw them coming. It is obvious from the beginning of the book that things will take a horrible turn, but it’s how they come about that is so genius to me. And I wasn’t quite prepared for the ending, but I loved it. I recommend picking this one up in March. Don’t worry. I’ll remind you. I know I’ll be going to buy my own finished copy.

Source: www.owltellyouaboutit.com/posts/the-vespertine
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review SPOILER ALERT! 2013-10-10 00:43
Entangled - Amy Rose Capetta

A copy was provided  by the publisher in exchange for a honest review


The Story:

Entangled is fast paced, entertaining and an overall fun science fiction book. After rereading the summary I shouldn’t have been surprised like I was with the strong undertone of music–the cherry-red guitar should have tipped me off. I enjoyed this little bit thrown in and felt it was unique to Cade and her outlook.


As I read any science fiction novel I try to suspend disbelief and buy into the author’s explanations and world. Often, there are aspects that cause me to briefly pause and question, and there were a few in Entangled. I don’t have a science background so couldn’t say how plausible any of this book was but I was able to overlook any questionable parts (mostly her treatment of black holes) and let Capetta take me on her story.


The one aspect I had trouble getting over was the use of the character’s slang/curse word. I know that slang is a great way to build on a world and show the differences between theirs and ours. I wish I was the type of person that could overlook its use knowing that in the future our language will be much different. Sadly, I just couldn’t get over phrases like “don’t slug this up” or “what the slug are you talking about?” I think if it had been anything but ‘slug’ I could have gotten over it far easier. Every time that word popped up I was wrenched from the dialog. Since I read the arc I can only pray it changes in the final version.


You might have heard/seem comparisons to Firefly. This very thing drew me to this book and put it on my TBR list. I didn’t really see the similarities but it wasn’t so off I felt betrayed. There are a gang of ‘friends’ that rely on each other (to their dismay and annoyance at times) and they travel in space on a ship in the future. These things coincide with Firefly. Where if felt off was on the epic-ness and humor, don’t get me wrong, Entangled was fun and entertaining, but never funny or clever to the level of Whedon-ness.


The Characters:

I liked the characters Capetta created. Cade had the tough façade and delicate innards common to young adult heroines. She  was spunky and I love that she lost herself in her guitar and music. It was exciting to follow her journey into discovering her past and to decipher ‘the noise’ that haunted her.

The secondary characters were well thought out and detailed in their personalities and descriptions. I felt they each had unique traits and had an interesting dynamic with one another. I think my favorite character out of the entire book was Rennik, the mysterious, seemingly unfeeling alien who pilots their ship. I hope to see a lot more of him in the next book.

Minor Spoiler:


Another great feature was that the ship was a living, breathing entity which had opinions and a real presence throughout the book.


End Spoiler


Final Thoughts:

I enjoyed reading Entangled and I will be reading the next in the series to see where Capetta takes her characters next.

Source: www.myfriendsarefiction.com/review-of-entangled-by-amy-rose-capetta
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review 2013-07-16 18:45
The Testing by Joelle Charbonneau
The Testing - Joelle Charbonneau

I've been enjoying the dystopian genre for awhile but I wasn't sure what could be different about this story. I was pleasantly surprised. There were many parallels to other YA titles that are popular now (The Hunger Games, Maze Runner, Divergent) but I liked those books and that's what interested me in this one. The idea of young people competing through a variety of tests is a common element but this still had twists that kept it interesting. There was plenty of action and suspense that helped the story flow and made it easy to read.

The characters were diverse although a bit predictable. Some of them appear to be "bad" people but is it their true nature or just their circumstances? Most of them are desperate to succeed, some at any expense, but failure could cost them their life. My feelings about many of the characters shifted throughout the story but I liked their mysterious nature and I'm curious to see what will happen to them throughout the series. 

Cia is the main character, a strong and mature young woman who learns from others but doesn't depend on them for everything. She loves her family and friends, has developed good morals, but everything she's always believed in is suddenly turned upside down. She has quickly learned she must keep an open mind and doubt everything and everyone. Her very life depends on it. Although at times she is almost too perfect she is still very likable. Of course there is potential romance thrown in and huge conflicts they must overcome as well. 

 I enjoyed the writer's style and look forward to the rest of the trilogy. These Testing candidates have the potential to change their world and face enormous obstacles. This won't be an easy fix! 

Independent Study (book 2) coming 1/14
Graduation Day (book 3) coming 6/14
The Testing Trilogy

Thank you to Houghton Mifflin Books for Children and NetGalley (ebook) for an arc in exchange for my honest review.

Source: wrightysreads.blogspot.com/2013/07/review-testing-by-joelle-charbonneau.html
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review 2012-02-08 00:00
Grandfather's Journey - Allen Say I really really enjoyed this book. Short sentences and great story telling that all children will enjoy.
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