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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.

 

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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.

 

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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.

 

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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.

 

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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 2017-08-21 02:57
The Dinosaur Lords by Victor Milan
The Dinosaur Lords: A Novel - Victor Milán

Warning: this book includes on-page rape and detailed descriptions of violence. Many characters die.

In the world of Paradise, humans exist alongside dinosaurs. The tame (or, in some cases, relatively tame) dinosaurs are treated much like our pets and livestock. People breed and train dinosaurs for hunting, riding, and fighting.

When I first heard of this book, it was described as Game of Thrones meets Jurassic Park. There are the dinosaurs plus medieval-ish fantasy politics - as far as tone and overall feel goes, it's more like Game of Thrones than Jurassic Park. The four main players are: Karyl Bogomirskiy, a famed dinosaur knight who is one of the few to ride a Tyrannosaurus rex; Rob Korrigan, a minstrel and dinosaur master (trains and cares for fighting dinosaurs and dinosaur mounts); Jaume, famed dinosaur knight and poet, the Imperial Champion of Emperor Felipe, and the fiance of Princess Melodia; and Melodia, who is eager to do important things but seems doomed to waste away in the palace.

This was mostly focused on politics, and unfortunately that politics bored me. I also had a tendency to lose track of what people were doing and why. For example, for a while there I thought Jaume and his soldiers were marching towards the location where Karyl and Rob were training peasants to fight. But no, they were riding towards a completely different area. They didn’t start going towards Karyl and Rob’s location until late in the book (I’m guessing they’ll meet in Book 2?).

It felt like I was supposed to at least be rooting for Jaume, Karyl, Rob, and Melodia, but for the most part I had trouble caring about them. Jaume’s romantic entanglements were exhausting. He was in a relationship with both one of his fellow knights (or not a knight, but at least part of his group? I can’t remember) and Melodia. The problem was that both Melodia and Pere seemed to want Jaume to love them best. Melodia was happy to share Jaume as long as she was more important to him than Pere, and Pere would likely have preferred his relationship with Jaume to be monogamous. Jaume, for his part, seemed to think everything was fine. It bothered me that Milan never really dealt with or resolved these issues, just...made them go away.

Karyl was cardboard, a fallen legendary character who was clearly destined to become legendary again. Rob thought he was awesome, so readers were supposed to think so too. Oh, and Rob. I seriously disliked him. I think he was supposed to be the “loveable rogue” of the bunch, but the more I read about him the more I wanted the author to ditch him. I couldn’t for the life of me understand why one minor female character slept with him. I thought for sure she was a secret spy or enemy, because I couldn’t understand what could possibly be appealing about him. I disliked just about everything about him except his dinosaur mount. One specific thing about him that bothered me was his habit of mentally trying to guess the gender of androgynous urchins. He mentally described one as “it,” before eventually deciding upon “he.” Hello! “They” exists and can be used as a gender neutral pronoun in English. Also, if a character was female and reasonably pretty, he probably leered at her at least once.

Now for Melodia. For most of the book, she had potential. After a while, “potential” seemed to be all she’d ever have. As the story went on and she continued to do nothing much, her horniness and childishness began to bother me more and more. She was so very horny. But only for Jaume! Except when she was mad at him, then she started to consider other options. And when she was mad at him, she was childish enough to not even read his letters. Never mind that she’d have regretted it for the rest of her life if he had died in battle. But as much as I disliked Meloda, she did not deserve what Milan had happen to her near the end of the book. That particular scene killed any desire I had to try the next book in the series. It felt like it happened more for shock value than anything - incredibly lazy writing on Milan’s part.

The world building was intriguing but vague. At first I thought this was an alternate history, but it turned out to actually be a completely different planet/dimension. Dinosaurs either existed there from the start or were transported there from our world and thrived. Humans and several other animals were transported to the world at a later date. Humans live longer and, if injuries don’t immediately kill them, can heal faster, and disease is almost unheard of. How humans and other beings made it to Paradise is never mentioned.

The best thing about this book was its cover and the black-and-white artwork at the start of each chapter. The story itself had far fewer dinosaurs and cool dinosaur moments than I was expecting - there was one battle I enjoyed and a fascinating bit involving an enormous dragonfly used like a hunting falcon, but that was basically it. Shiraa, Karyl’s mount, had potential but disappeared early on in the book. It’s likely she’ll show up in the next book but, as I said, the horrible and unnecessary scene with Melodia killed my desire to continue on with this series.

All in all, I really wanted to love this and I’m sad to say I didn’t. Even if that scene with Melodia hadn’t existed, this would never have been more than a so-so read. It was surprisingly boring for something that should have been completely awesome.

 

(Original review posted on A Library Girl's Familiar Diversions.)

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review SPOILER ALERT! 2017-08-16 12:07
Books&Chai Series: 6 Reasons I Fell in Love with Raptor Red by Robert T. Bakker
Raptor Red - Robert T. Bakker

 

Introduction to the Book

My friends already know how crazy I am when it comes to fiction based on dinosaurs. I have been known to wax poetic about such books.

In this book, however, Bakker takes facts about dinosaur life and weaves them into a story. So, it is like reading fictionalized non-fiction!

 

Introduction to the Chai

Now that you have had your book intro, let me proceed by introducing you to another series of blog posts: Books&Chai. Whenever I post with this tag, you will find a book from a genre that goes beautifully with the featured flavor of chai (tea).

Black tea, which is the flavor featured in this post, is known to improve concentration and focus. Since I was reading a book about a very intelligent species, the Utahraptor, I decided black tea would be a smart choice!

 

 

Reasons for all that Book-Luvin’

Now, we move on to the six reasons that made for an awesome read:

 

The Humor

If you have been following this blog, you must know now that for me, humor is an important part in a book. In any book! The more unlikely it seems that the author might be able to create humorous situations (say, like in a book from a bloodthirsty monster’s POV), the more I appreciate it!

 

I found the two examples from Raptor Red funny as heck!

 

 

 

The Sciency Bits

You can’t have a good fact-based book without some science in it. For me, catching glimpses of the science while being embroiled in Red’s latest adventure was a lot of fun!

This particular quote is from a scene when a male raptor comes face to face with a field of red flowers. What’s more, they smell like rotten meat, which the raptor considers food. This kinda blows up its sensory perception temporarily. Faced with such an evocative color, it doesn’t know whether it is supposed to court the blooms, fear them, or eat them!

 

 

This quote is from a scene where Red sees a turtle for the first time. The whole scene was written well enough to have me go Awww and Lol in turns.

 

 

The Dino-Facts

I am aware that I could have included these in the sciency bits mentioned above. But, no! These facts were juicy enough to merit their own category. Snippets of how life used to be for different kinds of dinos gave the book an authenticity.

 

This quote explains how after speciation (birth of a new species from an old one) Utahraptor society had adopted a matriarchal structure.

 

 

This one is about how two completely different species banded together for survival. One of them had longer necks that enabled them to check for predators over a wider area. The other one contributed by their sheer numbers.

 

 

The Poetic Language

I am a sucker for when a scientists takes a theory or fact and describes it with beautiful language.

 

 

The Squicky Bits

Another favorite. There was a bit about how dangerous assassin bugs could be to the raptors. I looked them up and science (and class Insecta) did not disappoint!

 

Absurd Creature of the Week: The Ferocious Bug That Sucks Prey Dry and Wears Their Corpses

 

 

…wears their corpses. I mean corpses! Duuuuuuuuuuuuuude!

 

A Mixture of it All

The example below is an unholy combo of all the reasons that I have mentioned above. Watch them in action:

 

 

Lastly,

 

 

What do you think about the book? Do you like the new tag that this review is sporting?

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url 2017-07-24 19:24
"More Dinosaur Lords Art from Richard Anderson"

I'm now 384 pages into the book. It's not giving me nearly as much dinosaur time as I expected, although there are some nice moments here and there.

 

Richard Anderson's interior dinosaur art is probably the best dinosaur stuff in the book. Tor.com has some examples - there's one of these at the start of every chapter.

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review 2017-06-21 23:41
A battle for bones…that's rich in old west history…
Dragon Teeth - Michael Crichton

 

Book Title:  Dragon Teeth

Author:  Michael Crichton

Narration:  Scott Brick w/ Sherri Crichton

Series:  Stand-Alone

Genre:  Adventure, Western

Setting:  Old West, Late 1800's

Source:  Audiobook (Library)

 

 

 

Add to Goodreads

 

 

 

 

 

Book Theme Song

(this link will take you to my tumblr post with video)

Wanted Dead or Alive by Bon Jovi  --This lyric video with it's majestic backdrop is the biggest reason I picked this song…but the lyrics are not too far off either.  Especially since Johnson is thought to be dead by many and even put in jail on a couple of occasions…I think.♫

 

 

 

⇝OVERALL RATING⇜

4 STARS

B+

 

 

My Thoughts

 

If you're looking for a book that might be considered a prequel to Jurassic Park, than, yeah, this isn't that.  This is a western.  A western that's interspersed with actual history mixed with some fictional history.   With a sprinkling of how paleontology came to be.  

Based on actual early paleontologists Edwin Drinker Cope and Othniel Charles Marsh, the story itself centers on a fictional guy named William Johnson.  There's also appearances by some famous dudes too, like Wyatt Earp and his brother Morgan.  With a backdrop of such iconic western towns like Cheyenne, Laramie, Deadwood,  and even The Badlands; I could not find myself disappointed in Dragon Teeth.

 

 

 

Ratings Breakdown

 

Plot:  4.2/5

Main Characters:  3.8/5

Secondary Characters:  3.8/5

The Feels:  3.7/5

Addictiveness:  3.8/5

Theme or Tone:  4/5

Flow (Writing Style):  4.5/5

Backdrop (World Building):  4.2/5

Originality:  5/5

Book Cover:  5/5

Narration:  4/5

Ending:  4/5 Cliffhanger:  Nope!

 

Will I read more from this Author?  Who am I kidding, if they unearth something else…I probably will.

 

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