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review 2018-11-08 00:59
The Chronicles of Narnia Pop-up
The Chronicles of Narnia Pop-up: Based on the Books by C. S. Lewis - Robert Sabuda,C.S. Lewis,Matthew S. Armstrong,Matthew Armstrong

I had no idea what this book was when I picked it up as it was wrapped-up in plastic when I bought it.  I had found it at one of our thrift stores and for .88 cents, I thought I would take a chance and just buy it.  I thought my granddaughter or my daughter-in-law might like it (she's an high school language arts teacher).


This book was like new inside and the pop-outs are fantastic!  They truly pop-out and they are really detailed and big.  I don't know which one I like the best out of the seven that are in the book.  I have never read the Chronicles of Narnia so I have nothing to go on for these illustrations but I did enjoy the little stories that accompanied these pop-outs.  This is a seven double-page book where there is a pop-out in the middle of each of these pages.  There were even four smaller pop-outs on a few of these pages and some of them are in a foldout.  


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review 2018-10-22 19:28
Midnight at the Bright Ideas Bookstore / Matthew Sullivan
Midnight at the Bright Ideas Bookstore: A Novel - Matthew J. Sullivan

When a bookshop patron commits suicide, his favorite store clerk must unravel the puzzle he left behind. Lydia Smith lives her life hiding in plain sight. A clerk at the Bright Ideas bookstore, she keeps a meticulously crafted existence among her beloved books, eccentric colleagues, and the BookFrogs—the lost and lonely regulars who spend every day marauding the store’s overwhelmed shelves.

But when Joey Molina, a young, beguiling BookFrog, kills himself in the bookstore’s upper room, Lydia’s life comes unglued. Always Joey’s favorite bookseller, Lydia has been bequeathed his meager worldly possessions. Trinkets and books; the detritus of a lonely, uncared for man. But when Lydia flips through his books she finds them defaced in ways both disturbing and inexplicable. They reveal the psyche of a young man on the verge of an emotional reckoning. And they seem to contain a hidden message. What did Joey know? And what does it have to do with Lydia?


I’m always on the look-out for a good book about a library or bookstore and I’m also a fan of the mystery genre, so when I ran across this title, it went on my “to read sooner rather than later” list right away. I really enjoyed it—largely because of the setting (the bookstore) but also because the suicide wasn’t the only focus of the story. It becomes obvious early on that there is a mystery in Lydia’s background too, and one that she must sort out if she’s going to figure out why Joey Molina killed himself in her bookstore.

It takes courage to face the past and you can’t blame people for avoiding it whenever possible. Lydia is wary of becoming “Poor Lydia,” the girl who survived the Horrible Thing. But when your childhood trauma was front page news back in the day, it’s hard to avoid being recognized. It’s even harder to come to try to come to grips with a crime that’s colder than Greenland.

I loved the gradual reveal of Lydia’s memories and how she starts to try to make sense of them as an adult. I also found her gradual reunion with her father to be realistic and well done. There are lots of co-incidences and synchronicities required to weave the different story lines together, but nothing too incredible to deal with—I’ve seen real-life situations that would be more unbelievable than this. I also liked the slightly messy ending, being the sort of reader who doesn’t like everything tied up too neatly.

Perfect as the “Book that involves a bookstore or library” selection for my PopSugar challenge this year.

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review 2018-10-17 21:27
A straightforward survey of the Persian empire
Ancient Persia: A Concise History of the Achaemenid Empire, 550-330 BCE - Matthew Waters

Considering the limited amount of materials available to study it there are a considerable number of surveys of ancient Persia for readers to choose from, ranging from A. T. Olmstead's classic History of the Persian Empire to Lindsay Allen's recent The Persian Empire. Matt Waters concise survey, which covers the history of the Achaemenid empire from the reign of Cyrus I to its conquest by Alexander the Great in 330 in a little more than 200 pages, offers little that is substantially different from these books. Its merits are in it concision and organization, as Waters presents his information in a clear and unadorned manner. Though some might find its style a little dry, its straightforward coverage of the basics of Persian history and the operations of the empire makes it an excellent book for anyone seeking a starting point for understanding a subject long distorted by ancient Greek authors and modern-day artists (I'm looking at you, Frank Miller!).

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review 2018-10-17 00:20
I Hate Everything - Matthew DiBenedetti
For more reviews, check out my blog: Craft-Cycle

I saw this book at the library and was instantly pulled in by the interesting cover and intriguing title. 

This was an entertaining book. I am not creative enough to write an "I hate..." review so I'm just going with the standard style. 

This is a huge book that is actually a pretty quick read. Each page lists a few things that the author hates along with some entertaining illustrations. 

It's kind of fun to read this book, especially when you get to something that you hate as well. You get all excited that someone else dislikes the specific thing that you dislike. 

Some of the things hit you kind of hard ("I hate that superheroes don't really exist. I hate that villains do."). Others are just weird and funny ("I hate that I didn't find the One Ring that will rule them all."). I especially enjoyed seeing the trail of thought in the statements ("I hate that rainbows only come out when it rains. I hate that I'm only happy when it rains. I hate when songs get stuck in your head. I hate when MY iPod plays a song I really don't like. I hate that I don't have a good P'P'P'Poker Face."). 

Overall, a fun book. Good coffee table book or one of those books you put on your shelf to see if people ask about it. Entertaining read. Works well for people trying to meet their yearly reading challenge.
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review 2018-10-13 18:36
The Tournament by Matthew Reilly
The Tournament - Matthew Reilly

This was a definite departure from the authors usual writing, but I was really surprised at how much I enjoyed it.

Set in the time of Sultan Suleiman's reign in the Ottoman Empire, this was a great mystery that takes place in a secret chess tournament set up by the Sultan to crown the best chess player of all, with players representing 15 countries. A murder takes place and the Sultan asks for help from the great teacher, Mr. Roger Ascham, and his student/protege, a then 13 year old Elizabeth Tudor, (future queen of England), to solve it.

This time period continues to fascinate me and this book was very entertaining. I would have given it 5 stars, but for the explicit sexual escapades of the character, Elsie, in the book. I felt it graphic and unnecessary to the story. I skipped those parts. I'm surprised that the author went into such detail. He could have left it out, or just implied it, and that would have been enough. I docked a star for that reason. Otherwise, it was a great tale.




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