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review SPOILER ALERT! 2014-10-20 22:09
The Girl with all the Gifts
The Girl with All the Gifts - M.R. Carey

Nothing new under the sun. This book was not what I expected it to be. Most of all I didn't expected to read a pretty generic zombie book. And so monotonous. I concur with other reviews that pointed out the unnecessary length of the book. I was easily bored. Or maybe I'm just not into zombie books, this is my first foray in the literary genre.

The first couple of chapters (from Melanie's pov) were great and interesting. I definitely liked Melanie's point of view. But since this is a book with multiple point of views, it shifted to other characters for which in the end I cared less. Also it wasn't long before the story gave off a vague sense of déjà vu, and fell into the "another zombie book" category. If this was a short story focused on Melanie for example, I would have given this 4 or 5 stars. Unfortunately the story took a pretty predictable turn and frankly 400+ pages is too long for this kind of story. Read the first 10 chapters and the last 5 or so, and you have your story.

Melanie is endearing and the reader feels for her to some extent but I can't help but compare this book with Angelfall and particularly Melanie with Paige Young (Penryn's little sister). I think what the author tried to do in The Girl with All the Gifts actually gives better results in the Angelfall series even though Paige Young is just a side character and not at all the entire focus of the story. I felt for Melanie but not quite as much as for Paige and her family. Because I need more context; who they really are, their relationships, and their back story in order to belief the characters are real, and to eventually root for them. Unfortunately, I didn't have that with Melanie and co. I couldn't feel Melanie bonding with the others, if she had any fears, was she questioning her situation etc. All I felt was her obsession with Miss Justineau. And although there are some signs of the characters' 'humanity', those are few and far between. I didn't connect with any of the characters. Here it felt like I just met the characters and I already had to separate from them.

The ending was okay, I understand where the author is coming from, but I can see plot holes from miles away. What could have made this book more interesting is to have an epilogue or something with a flash forward that shows us how this new 'species' evolves. Because honestly I'm a bit sceptic about their survival instincts, certainly after they ate all their 'food supply' and they can't technically 'die'.

In the end I enjoyed it on and off and I'm glad I read it, though if this was a series I wouldn't read its sequel. So an okay read that will appeal to readers who aren't tired of post-apocalyptic zombie books.

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text 2014-09-27 13:00
#BookADayUK Day 27 - Book Set in Your Favorite Country to Visit
Are We There Yet? - David Levithan

My favorite country to visit is Austria. I love skiing, and I love the skiing one can do in this country. However, I haven't read any books which are set in this country. I'll have to go with Italy then. I've been there twice (as I can remember). One time for skiing, and one time when I where in Venice. It's truly a beautiful country that I wish to visit again soon!

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text 2014-08-20 16:54
Picture Book Catch-All - August 20, 2014
Are We There Yet?: A Journey Around Australia - Alison Lester
Who's Afraid Of The Big Bad Book? - Lauren Child
The Adventures of the Dish and the Spoon - Mini Grey
Zen Shorts - Jon J. Muth
Llama Llama Red Pajama - Anna Dewdney
George, the Dragon and the Princess - Christopher Wormell

Since I don't have much experience with them (or remember very many from when I was little), I'm playing picture-book catchup in anticipation of my daughter being old enough for them. I'm mostly pulling ideas from the 1001 Children's Books You Must Read Before You Die book, but I'm going off on my own, or choosing other books by the same authors, on occasion.

 

Zen Shorts by Jon Muth

This lovely book has three children encountering a panda in their backyard. Each goes to visit him, and he tells them a story adapted from an ancient zen story that speaks to their particular needs at the time. The art is soft and inviting, and the stories each have good morals, even though they stem from a religious tradition not my own.

 

Are We There Yet? by Allison Lester

A family with three kids (our narrator is the middle one, named Grace) takes a three-month camping trip around Australia, seeing all the different types of places the country has to offer, and staying with friends all around, or camping by the beach or in the forest. I'm not big on camping, but this sounds like a wonderful thing to do in general. The book is a bit wordy, but very interesting. I'd love to see other books like this about traveling around different countries.

 

Llama Llama Red Pajama by Anna Dewdney

Karina hasn't had issues going to sleep since she was a tiny baby, so I'm not sure how much this will resonate with her as she gets older, but it's a pretty adorable story about a pretty adorable baby llama who's afraid of being alone before going to sleep. The cadence is very pleasing to read aloud, and the expressions on the llama baby's face are priceless.

 

George, the Dragon, and the Princess by Christopher Wormell

This is not, as you might expect, the story of Saint George and the Dragon. Nope, George here is a little mouse, timid and clumsy. But when a dragon roars onto the scene, George bravely runs against him, and thankfully, the dragon is afraid of mice! Told with sparing words (one line per page) and gorgeous painterly images, this is one I'll probably introduce to Karina relatively soon.

 

The Adventures of the Dish and the Spoon by Mini Grey

I was really looking forward to this one - a story about the adventures of the dish and spoon after they ran away, involving show business and bank robbery? Sign me up! I did like the story, but it was a bit busy, I thought. It was a bit of a challenge to keep up with the story and stay engaged because each page just had a bit too much happening on it.

 

Who's Afraid of the Big Bad Book? by Lauren Child

This one intrigued me immediately, because I love stories where people go into books. I did enjoy the story on this one, with the little boy going into his fairy tale book and realizing that the stories are all messed up because he's mistreated the book - drawing mustaches on princesses, cutting people out, pasting pages in upside down, etc. But the art style is really manic and even though I liked the idea of making it look like paper cut-outs (as per the theme of the book), it just wasn't pleasant for me to look at, verging on ugly at times.

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review 2014-07-18 08:50
Are We There Yet?: Adopting and Raising 22 Kids!
Are We There Yet?: Adopting and Raising 22 Kids! - Sue Badeau Title: Are We There Yet? (The Ultimate Road Trip: Adopting & Raising 22 Kids!) Author: Hector & Sue Badeau Pages: 416 Year: 2013 Publisher: Carpenters Son Publishing Note: I received a complimentary copy for an honest review of this book from www.bookfun.org Right off let me tell you this is one book that will challenge your heart, mind and life so be prepared! If that is possible, because I sure wasn’t though I am so glad to have read about ordinary people trusting, believing and experiencing life with an awesome God! First, let me share that there are three websites you can visit to learn more about this family: http://www.badeaufamily.com/, http://suebadeau.com/, and finally http://badeaumanor.webs.com/ Written as if the readers are sitting in the room with Sue and Hector, the stories are told in present tense which makes it really captivating to read. At times I felt like what was occurring was almost surreal, unbelievable and yet it really happened. As I read, my heart was moved in ways I find hard to describe to readers. I am challenged to believe in a big God for the journey He has me on, as the authors have for their own journey. Sue is the main author, but there are a couple of places where Hector shares his heart in sections titled, “From a Fathers Heart”. Anyone who has been exposed to caring for kids of all ages can attest to the constant changes, challenges and rewards that come with each child. I simply am beside myself when I read of two people taking vows, never imagining what their future would hold. Even if they imagined it, I doubt this journey comes close to what they thought it would be. I look forward to staying connected through their website to see what comes in future from the seeds planted in their family. Visit the websites and see the video clips, photos, and news links, contact the authors or sign the guestbook! What a testimony this family and their descendants will have! I am sure they can read Hebrews chapter 12 verse 1 and see how Sue and Hector are among the cloud of witnesses. They attest to joys, sorrows, giving, losing, hurdles, struggles, health, finances, but above all the faith that grew as each time they submitted to God’s plan for their lives. At the very start, Sue shares how she has been called many things from “fool” to “saint” in her journey. Some may pick up the book and think “I couldn’t do anything like that!” or even “I wouldn’t do anything like this!” Either way this isn’t the standard by which we measure ourselves nor do the authors think anyone should. They simply, humbly put before us the journey they have been on and are still on to this day. Can you imagine what birthdays and holidays are like? It may be total chaos, but sounds of joy and laughter fill the home, hearth and heart to overflowing. I personally want to thank Hector and Sue for sharing their journey. It is inspiring and challenging! I wouldn’t have missed reading this for anything. Their journey has stretched my faith muscles and had me shake my head in wonder. There aren’t words to express what I feel, but I think you understand! My rating is 5 stars. Note: The opinions shared in this review are solely my responsibility. Other reviews can be read at http://seekingwithallyurheart.blogspot.com/ . Also follow me on Twitter @lcjohnson1988, FaceBook at https://www.facebook.com/lisa.johnson.75457
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review 2014-06-08 14:24
Are We There Yet? by David Levithan
Are We There Yet? - David Levithan
Looking at Danny used to be like looking at the future. Now looking at Danny is like looking at a future he doesn't want.


Well, wasn't this a lovely story of two brothers? Our two brothers, Elijah and Danny, have a seven year age gap between them, and ever since Danny began to grow up the two of them have slowly drifted apart. After being inseparable Danny began high school and left Eljiah behind him. Now, they're older. Elijah sixteen and Danny twenty-three. Each brother thinks the other is too much. Danny sees Elijah as the pot-smoking and mellow yet polite younger brother without any plans for the future. Elijah on the other hand sees Danny as stuck up, stressed out, and just a boring person. Their parents decide to trick them into going to Italy for nine days. Alone. Together they must travel, but will it help them find their way back to each other again after all these years?

A person could stay in this same place his whole life and meet millions of people from all over the world. But instead, everyone moves on, and meets no one.


Okay, so I'm quite biased here. I mean, come on, it's Levithan. I'll read anything he writes and swallow it whole. But I just love his characters even with their faults. Danny and Elijah are such well written characters. The story is told from dual POV, and it's the simplest thing in the world to tell the difference between them. With the differences between them we get to see Italy from two diverse view; they have different interests and appreciates the places in their own ways. Each place they visit leaves an impression on the brothers, but rarely are they touched the same. Even if they spend pretty little time with each other after Elijah stumbles into Julia, another tourist, the relationship between Danny and Elijah is constantly there. Despite themselves not noticing it, the relationship grows over the course of their trip until they both have to come to terms with certain things about themselves and each other.

Yes, I love Levithan's work. This one in particular I enjoyed very much due to a number of things. For one thing it was a trip down memory lane. Since I've visited Venice once - one of the places the brothers go - this book took me right back there. To the expensive coffee, St Mark's Square and the Basilica, the gondolas... yes, all of it. Even the memory of a dove eating out of my sister's hand while sitting on her head. Levithan made this, and the other destinations, come to life in a beautiful way. The second reason is probably because my sister. Because she's currently in that place where she might go to college after the summer. It feels as a time when it's so easy to grow apart as she moves away from home, and me, for the first time. I could see myself in Elijah in his part as the younger sibling with the older one going away (even if in this story Danny is already moved away from home). I don't know why this spoke to me so well, but it gave me hope that despite miles apart, things will still be okay.

There is the distance of miles, and the distance of brothers, to overcome. He can feel the world coming between them again. But the world is so much smaller than it used to be.
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