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review 2017-03-10 14:27
One fish, Two fish, Red fish, Blue fish
One Fish, Two Fish, Red Fish, Blue Fish/Oh, the Thinks You Can Think/Foot Book - Dr. Seuss

This classic Dr. Seuss book is a rhyming book that incorporates colors and numbers. I would use this in my classroom to review colors, numbers, and of course fish. I would also use this book to introduce rhyming and during read across America week. This book will be on my classroom bookshelf.

Lexile Level: 180L

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review 2016-10-18 00:00
By The Numbers
By The Numbers - Jen Lancaster I have read all of Jen Lancaster's memoirs. I think that now after trying to read two of our fictional novels, I am going to pass on them in the future. I still really dig her memoirs, but her fiction not so much.

Penny Sinclair is divorced from her husband of X amount of years (I refuse to go look this up) and is dealing with one of her daughter's wanting to use her home to throw her wedding. Another daughter seems to be running from something in New York. And her son is barely in this story though he is looked to as the good one and the only one she and her husband have not ruined. The story-line jumped around and back again too many times to count (we go back to when Penny met her husband, when she was a child, back to her and her husband again, etc.) while also trying to keep the main story-line moving (her daughters and her parents move back in with her and it starts to drive her bonkers.

What can I really say, this book was boring. It picked up towards the end (around 80 percent) but honestly, reading about a woman who is a walking doormat at home and is a dynamo at work was not that interesting to me. I especially hate how in the end she was seen as partially responsible for her husband cheating on her and the divorce because hey she was so into work. I hate it when women who are ambitious are treated much differently than ambitious men in books. Why in the world do authors do this? If a man is very into his work and his wife cheated, most of the book would be about how terrible said man's wife is in the book. In this one I am supposed to feel sympathetic to Penny's ex Chris. If anything, they at least both realized that their two daughters are terrible because they raised them that way.

We don't get much insight into other people at all in this book. I am really disappointed though that we do not really get any scenes with Penny's son who seems to be sane and nice. He was pretty much ignored in this book. There is way too much happening. If we had really just focused on Penny and her daughters relationship it would have worked much better. Instead we had the dueling story-lines and her relationship with her mother, her best friend, and her cousin trying to get shoe-horned in too. I would definitely say for this book, less would have been more. I could not keep track of everyone and I finally just gave up.

The writing....was not that good. And that really surprises me because once again I am a huge fan of Jen Lancaster's memoirs. I think that I should have known since the book incorporates emails to the daughters back and forth to them from other people and to others and the one daughter seems barely able to read or write English. I felt like everyone involved in this book just had a lot of quirks and that was it. I mean Penny finally just calls one daughter selfish and that is seen as finally fixing her. I mean sure, if you are Judge Judy I am sure that works. But it seemed a lazy way to fix what was wrong with her and Penny's relationship.

The flow was not great. I think going back and forth between different parts of Penny and Chris's past was a bad idea. It took away from the core part of the book. I didn't need any of that information, and if anything it ruined the flow of the main plot of the book.

Though this book takes place in Illinois, I didn't get much of a sense of Chicago or the neighborhood that Penny lives in. I think Lancaster could have used that much better if she cut back on the other things in this book.

The ending was a foregone conclusion and didn't hold many surprises for me at all.
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review 2016-08-19 00:43
Numbers - Laurann Dohner
Two stories. I gave 3 stars to each story so the combined rating remains 3 stars.

140 - Don't get me wrong, I love this author's New Species books much more than Lora Leigh's Breed series which are so filled with angst that it has become literally a chore to get through, but this romance came out of nowhere. It started with her holding Mourn's (stupid name by the way) hand and then he wanted a relationship. This was not because of some overwhelming love, which did come very quickly, but it seemed that it was "just because". Made no sense to me. Now her, being confronted by a very attractive, intense man, how can you not fall in love. So, maybe that's my answer, he was confronted with a very attractive, intense woman and couldn't help falling in love. 3 out of 5 stars.

927 - Candi watched her dad kill her mom and then he threw her into the lab where he worked where she met 927 (later renamed Hero). After thinking each other dead they find out that is not the case but Hero has a lot of anger to work through. Okay, so first of all how did her scent change after so many years? Hero said it changed the last time they were at the lab but years and years later she still smells like the feline? I don't get it. Then I know I talk a lot about how I like that this author's books aren't chock full of angst like Lora Leigh's books, but this could have played up a little more the anger Hero felt when he saw Candi again. That was looking like it was going to be a really emotional scene but to me it was all about the running - him running off, her running to chase him, people running to catch her. I got tired reading it. So another book/story that wasn't my favorite. 3 out of 5 stars.



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review 2016-07-24 18:33
Mathematical and science mystery
Numbers Up - Kevin Clark

In his book, ''Numbers Up'', first time author Kevin Clark brings to the teens/young adult audience a crime story full of mathematical and science concepts weaved into the storyline.


The story begins with the discovery of the renowned mathematician Dr. Michael Townsend's dead body in his office at the Institute for Applied Mathematics. A call is placed to the Metropolitan Police Department and detective Paul Ondracek is chosen to lead the investigation.


In the course of the investigation, detective Ondracek uncovers some suspicious activities involving former Dr. Townsend with some well known and established banks, and his financial support of some terrorist groups in Palestine. Detective Ondracek must use his experience, good judgement, and analytical skills to solve this case before it's too late.


Meanwhile, the Feds and the NSA (National Security Agency) are monitoring some suspicious activities in the Chechen Republic with the help of one of their undercover agents and his informer. When a fax transmission giving details about the selling of a Joe-2, an old Russian nuclear bomb, to a terrorist group in Palestine is interrupted, then the White House finds itself in a big dilemma: how to prevent the sell of the bomb without causing an international crisis and deteriorating any further their relationship with Moscow.


The book moves back and forth between detective Ondracek's criminal investigation and the terrorist group in Palestine pursuing ways to find economical means to purchase the Joe-2 from a former Russian Red Army General. At the end, when all pieces of the case start to fall in place, the murderer escapes from an NSA secured location. This gives the author an opportunity to write a sequel in which he could develop detective Ondracek's character to his full potential. He could be promoted or transfered to another government agency giving him the opportunity to amend his mistakes, capture the murderer and close the case successfully. I like detective Ondracek character very much. He is clever, naïve, fresh, and with a personality that makes the reader able to identify with him and his predicaments.

On the other hand, this book could have greatly benefited from the services of an editor to help the author polish the dialogs and correct the flaws in the storyline. In some instances, it appears that the author is discussing prime numbers and DNA sequences concepts with high school students. The redundance of these topics in several conversations throughout the book makes it very hard at times to follow the story and it also undermines the capabilities of the main character, Detective Ondracek. I encourage the author to continue cultivating and improving his writing skills so the sequel to this book is enjoyable to a wider audience.

I recommend this book for teens/young adults looking for a crime story. This book is not suitable for readers under 16 yrs old since they will not be able to understand it and follow the story. In general, I found the storyline to be original and interesting, considering it was written by an amateur author.


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text 2016-04-19 04:42
Indie author bookstore wants to rent you shelf space

I recently received an email from an indie author bookstore that wants to stock my books.


My response is not elation or gratitude, it's suspicion.


I think this industry is making me a cynic.




P.J. Boox http://pjboox.com/ was started by "award-winning(?) author and illustrator, Patti Brassard Jefferson in the summer of 2015. Brassard describes herself as a self-published author who released her first book with an indie publisher (how does that work?) and so on and so forth to the end that apparently she can "relate".


Her store only accepts self-published and indie authors (are these not one and the same?), "as well, micro, small press, vanity and subsidy publishers may submit books. Traditionally published large publishing houses and imprints may not."


Already I'm having difficulty with the pitch and wondering if Brassard wrote this how she became an award-winning author? I mean is there a difference between micro and small press? Aren't vanity and subsidy publishers the same thing? Is a traditionally published large publishing house the same as a large publishing house or a traditional publisher? Does the writer know that saying the same thing only using different words is still being redundant?


Anyhow, let's cut to the chase.


Brassard doesn't want to stock my books she wants to rent me shelf space in her store.


For $80.00 and a one time set up fee of $18.00, I can rent a shelf that will fit six books max for four months. If they sell your books in the store you get 98 percent royalty. If you want them to sell them online you ante up another $15.00 set up fee and they take twenty percent.


You send them your books and every month they send you the money you earned that month.


So lets crunch some numbers, shall we?


My novel Abandoned Dreams sells for $9.99. I order six to fill the shelf and have CreateSpace ship them to PJ Boox. It costs $26.57


I add the set up charge and the shelf rental of $98.00 plus the cost of the books for a total of 124.57. If I sell all six books at $10.00 = 60.00, less 2%@ $1.20 = $58.80 net. I'm in the hole $65.77.


What about if I sell more than double that, say 13 books at $10.00 = 130.00, less 2% @$2.40 = $127.60, but printing and shipping has just jumped to $49.07, so I'm still in the red $46.04.


My brain's getting tired but suffice to say I would need to sell about 20 books in four months to break even and just a few less in the next four month cycle to pay the shelf rental considering the setup fee is waived. I fare even worse with books sold online by PJ Boox.


Will a bookstore in a strip mall in Fort Myers, Florida sell more books (a lot more) for me than Amazon considering they have my books available in all major English speaking countries in the world?


So let's sum up shall we? Taking advantage of the offer presented by PJ Boox means more hassle and less profit and grinding my teeth every time I have to think, say or write that ridiculous name.


Sure I want to see my books in a bookstore, but I'm waiting until they pay me rather then the other way around.


Stay Calm, Be Brave, Watch for the Signs






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