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text 2017-09-05 13:10
Children Books I've Read Recently

Recently I decided to go on a binge of reading children stories. I was just in a nostalgic mood and ended up reading some books I never got around to reading when I was younger, and some that are newer published.


Ivy and Bean by Annie Barrows, Sophie Blackall (Illustrator) 

#1 (4 stars)

I was browsing through the kid section of the overdrive library, because I was in the mood for some children/middle grade (possibly nostalgic stuff from my past) and I saw the cover for this book. I thought it looked cute, so I checked it out. I liked it. I think it was silly and fun, and of course cute. I'm in my 30s, but I like to believe I still have a firm grasp on my inner child. I can still relate to younger characters. In the case of these two, I can relate to their imagination and how they get along with family; especially annoying a sibling.




The Adventures of Captain Underpants Dav Pilkey

#1 (5 stars)

I think this book is fun, silly, weird, but I can see why it is a hit or miss with some people. I enjoyed the artwork.




Scream Street by Tommy Donbavand

Fang of the Vampire #1 (5 stars)


I thought this series looked interesting and it turned out pretty fun and cute.

Blood of the Witch #2 (4 stars)

I'm on the fence if I liked this one better than the first one or not. It was quite silly, but not in a bad way, and the author is obviously going with his own vampire lore of how vampires are made

and cured.

(spoiler show)

At least they don't sparkle. ha ha

A fun, quick paced read.




The Magic Tree House by Mary Pope Osborne, Salvatore Murdocca (Illustrator)


Dinosaurs Before Dark #1 (4 stars)

I never read this series as a kid. It is just one of the ones I over looked and never thought about. But I thought this was cute and fun, especially for the age group it is intended for. The only reason adult me would give it a lower rating is because I would love more details and I believe even as a child reading this, more details couldn't hurt!

The Knight at Dawn #2 (3 Stars)

The only reason I give the volumes after #1 a 3 star instead of a 4 star is because of the repetitiveness. The summery of past books within the new story would be really helpful for a person who hasn't read the series in a long time. I will give this series that! So I understand why it happens, but it takes something from me as an adult reader.

However the books are cute and fun. I can relate to them, even as an adult, because I love books and would love to be in their shoes, to see all the worlds in the books, and who wouldn't want a magic tree house?

Mummies In The Morning #3 (3 Stars)

Now that I have finished the 3rd book in the series, I am starting to wonder... is the magic tree house really there, or are the children making up everything in their heads? Either way, I really like it!

Pirates Past Noon #4 (3 Stars)

So now we know who "M" is. I still wonder if the children are making up everything in their minds. Imagination is a powerful thing! Either way, this series is really fun. Sure, it's simple and short for adult readers, but that is completely fine by me! It is nice to sit down with some books without all the young adult drama. Also, I feel like these "children" books and other nostalgia type books are really good when you are in a reading slump.




Diary of a Wimpy Kid by Jeff Kinney

#1 (4 stars)

I think I would have rated this higher if the kid hadn't been such a brat. I know kids can be bratty, but he seemed way over the top! I would even say he has a meanness to him and doesn't care what the coincidences of his actions are. I felt sorry for his so called best friend.

I do like diary format in books. I might read more in the series. I hope he grows as a character as the series goes on.

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review 2017-08-06 19:37
Nothing - Annie Barrows

[I received a copy of this book through Edelweiss.]

Well, this book captures ‘nothing’, which is both good (the character Charlotte intends to show nothing exciting happens in her life, and she does that well), and not so good, because in the end, it made for a fairly plotless novel that read like a journal, quite slice-of-life, and it wasn’t exactly exciting. So I’m on the fence here, in that I get the intention, but don’t really enjoy it?

The author nailed the ‘teenager narrator voice’—also both a good and a bad thing: good for characterisation, bad for... hm, let’s say that 20 years later, it’s not particularly interesting (yep, I wasn’t interesting myself in my teens, hah). The intended audience being YA, possibly the latter won’t be too much of a problem, as younger readers may relate to Charlotte’s views on life... or maybe not? I tended to like Frankie more, in any case, because at least she sometimes -does- things, and tries to initiate change.

The awkwardness of relationships is also well-portrayed, for instance Charlotte’s relationship with Sid, how they met through internet and kept texting each other, and Charlotte likes him but is convinced they’ll never met and it’s doomed to fail anyway, and so on.

Of course, the book shows that the ‘nothing’ Charlotte complains about isn’t such a truth; little things happen, opportunities arise, the girls are just so convinced their lives are boring that they don’t notice those things are being important, through the way they add up. But that’s also something I wasn’t really at ease with.

First, the girls are quite similar, and it was difficult at times to know if a chapter was about Frankie or Charlotte (at some point I just went with 3rd person = Frankie, 1st person = Charlotte); they’re not helped in that by their common background, there isn’t much diversity in here, nor in the friends they mention, most often in passing.

Second, there’s a subplot that Charlotte sort of... brushes over as if it was trivial, and I’m sorry, no, I don’t think anyone would go through such an event and then just leave for home and not realise even for five minutes that what they did was awesome and, yes, important.

That’s the part where Charlotte prevents a school friend from getting raped by a boy who clearly saw she was drunk and didn’t know what she was doing anymore. Way to trivialise attempted rape, and way to show how selfish and shitty a person can be, I mean, hello Charlotte who won’t stay with her because, oh my God, then she has to tell her parents she was at a party and her parents will think she was drinking too and she’ll be grounded... Yeah. I get it, ‘nothing’ happens in your privileged little life. And let’s not mention the ‘wai things would be more interesting if we were gay’. Nope, no love from me, girl. Can we stop using LGBT relationships as plot devices, and use such characters as, you know, people with personalities?

(spoiler show)

Conclusion: At least it was a quick read, and points for writing teenager characters fairly well, but I can’t say I enjoyed reading Charlotte’s parts.

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review 2017-06-26 06:11
The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society
The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society - Mary Ann Shaffer,Annie Barrows

I don't really remember liking this book when I first read it (I didn't dislike it either though). I do remember distinctly thinking Dawsey was a 70-year-old man. Spoilers (but not really), he's not and this time around I caught all the references to how he's not 70 years old. But his character really feels like a 70 year old man.


I mostly reread this one because it was available on Overdrive and I needed something easy to pick up and put down when it's slow at work. If you liked this, give 84, Charing Cross Road a try. It's like Guernsey, but better. And real.

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review 2016-10-19 23:38
The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society - Mary Ann Shaffer,Annie Barrows

I remember seeing this book around and on display at the bookstore when it first came out. Someone recommended it to me back then but it didn't sound like something I would enjoy. Recently I saw a few people talk about this book so I thought it would be a good pick up.


Presumably this book is about a writer who ends up corresponding with a group of people who call themselves the The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society after being caught breaking curfew on the island of Guernsey. They are a motley crew of individuals who are a cast of characters and Juliet ends up drawn into their world.


It's terrible. I wanted to like it because it sounded good and I kept reading and reading thinking it would improve. But the style (both as in the form of letters and the writing itself) just doesn't work. No one really developed very well (for me) as characters. Most of the voices sound the same.


As other reviewers note, there really isn't any sort of plot. There are interesting moments and side stories of the characters, but the story is slow-going and there really isn't much of any conflict to resolve. And as the authors aren't that great writers, there is little to no character development (or substance either). So there really wasn't all that going for this book.


The best parts I thought were the various stories of subterfuge of dealing with the German soldiers or the stories of the prisoners since I imagine they were based on similar historical accounts. Sadly, I thought that subverted the point of the book, which was supposed to tell a relatively nice story set during a dark period of history.


I'm sorry but this is one of those books that clearly does not live up to the hype. Skip.

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review 2016-01-11 17:55
M. A. Shaffer, A. Barrows "Stowarzyszenie Miłośników Literatury i Placka z Kartoflanych Obierek"
Stowarzyszenie Miłośników Literatury i Placka z Kartoflanych Obierek - Annie Barrows,Mary Ann Shaffer

Juliet Ashton, młoda pisarka, autorka książek o okupacji, szuka pomysłów do kolejnej publikacji. Niespodziewanie dostaje list od Dawseya Adamsa. Mężczyzna, zafascynowany twórczością Charlesa Lamba, prosi ją o pomoc. Wspomina także o Stowarzyszeniu Miłośników Literatury i Placka z Kartoflanych Obierek, założonym przez mieszkańców wyspy Guernsey z powodu pieczonego prosiaka. Zaintrygowana Juliet nawiązuje korespondencję z Dawseyem i pozostałymi członkami grupy. Decyduje się również odwiedzić ich osobiście. Mieszkańcy wyspy, dowiedziawszy się, że zbiera materiały do nowej książki, chętnie dzielą się z nią wspomnieniami z okresu okupacji. Juliet bierze też udział w zebraniach Stowarzyszenia i pomaga w opiece nad czteroletnią Kit - córką Elizabeth (wywiezionej do obozu koncentracyjnego) i niemieckiego żołnierza.


Książka, napisana w formie listów, jest pełna ciepła i humoru. Mimo nieustannie powracających motywów związanych z okupacją, całość tchnie optymizmem, uderzająca jest pogoda ducha bohaterów i nadzieja na powrót do względnej normalności. Wzrusza, porusza, zmusza do refleksji, ale momentami również rozśmiesza. Szczególnie zabawne okazało się zebranie Stowarzyszenia, podczas którego Jonas Skeeter miał podzielić się swoimi wrażeniami z lektury "Rozmyślań" Marka Aureliusza:


Stanął na środku pokoju, ponuro rozejrzał się po obecnych i oznajmił, że nie zamierzał przychodzić, a tego głupiego Marka Aureliusza przeczytał tylko dlatego, iż napuścił go jego najstarszy, najlepszy i b y ł y przyjaciel, Woodrow Cutter. [...] Przełknąłem zatem dumę i przeczytałem tę głupią książkę. A teraz mówię przy wszystkich i głośno: Wstydź się Woodrow! Jak mogłeś wcisnąć coś takiego najlepszemu przyjacielowi!


Co zatem łączy miłośników literatury, placek z kartoflanych obierek i pieczonego prosiaka? Przekonajcie się sami, polecam!


Source: ogrodksiazek.blogspot.com/2014/09/m-shaffer-barrows-stowarzyszenie.html
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