Tuesday, November 24, 2015

Book Review: The Jumbies

TITLE: The Jumbies
AUTHOR: Tracey Baptiste
CATEGORY: Middle-Grade
GENRE: Urban Fantasy
PUBLISHED: April 2015
PREMISE: Corrine isn't afraid of anything, certainly not jumbies in the forest. Those aren't even real. Or are they?
MY REVIEW: This book is a prime example of why I still read middle-grade books. It's wonderfully creative.
This book actually reminded me a lot of Coroline. It's got that same creep factor, with a great female lead that you root for, and great adventure. It slows a bit in the middle, but for the most part this book is a quick whirlwind of a read that is a fun and creative. If you have tweens looking for something new to read who love creepy books, try putting this one into their hands. If you don't have tweens, read it anyway.
WHO SHOULD READ: Coroline fans, middle-grade readers, fans of creepy fantasy books
MY RATING: Four out of Five jumbies

Monday, November 23, 2015

Book Review: The Sweetness at the Bottom of the Pie

TITLE: The Sweetness at the Bottom of the Pie
Book 1 in the Flavia de Luce series
AUTHOR: Alan Bradley
CATEGORY: Sold as Adult, but I think it can be considered YA/Middle-Grade as well.
GENRE: Historical Mystery
PREMISE: A precocious little girl goes on the case when her father is accused of murder.
MY REVIEW: This is one of the many series out there that I've been meaning to get to for ages. I definitely see why it's caught on. It's very charming. Most of that is due to great narration that Bradley has with Flavia.
As far as mysteries go, this one isn't terribly ground breaking. It's an interesting one with some twists. It was well played out. Like most of these series though what carries it are the main characters. Flavia is a great character and the dynamics of the family are fascinating and honestly most of what made the book for me. There's also that sardonic sly humor that I have come to associate with British authors. No one does sarcasm quite like Brits.
While it does get terribly slow around the middle, for the most part, this is a good read. I'll definitely be looking into the rest of the series for next year as I plan to focus next year on mystery and romance books.
WHO SHOULD READ: Nancy Drew fans, historical mystery fans, fans of kid sleuths
MY RATING: Four out of Five magnifying glasses

Saturday, November 21, 2015

Book Review: Sophia-Princess, Suffragette, Revolutionary

TITLE: Sophia-Princess, Suffragette, Revolutionary
AUTHOR: Anita Anand
PUBLISHED: January 2015
CATEGORY: Non-Fiction
GENRE: Biography
PREMISE: Biography about Sophia Duleep Singh, an Indian royal born in 1876 who became a suffragette and a revolutionary in favor of Indian Independance.
MY REVIEW: I picked this one up on a whim. It was floating around on a few lists when the disappointing Suffragette movie came out and I figured why not. You are forgiven if you've never heard of this woman. She's one of the many unsung suffragettes out there. She's also mostly involved in UK history and considering our US history centric school system, I'm not surprised I've never heard of her either. Why you've probably never heard of her is actually gone into at the end of the book. It's interesting and kind of sad.
As a biography, this is a pretty good one. It paints a clear picture of who this woman is. It goes into background information to explain her circumstances which means a crash course on the history of India and British colonization. It's interesting stuff.
If you are interested in Indian history and are curious about suffragettes beyond the main ones that people always talk about, this is definitely a good biography to pick up.
WHO SHOULD READ: biography fans, history fans, those interested in India/British Colonization history
MY RATING: Four out of Five badass suffragettes

Friday, November 20, 2015

Book Review: Beastly Bones

TITLE: Beastly Bones
Book 2 in the Jackaby series
AUTHOR: William Ritter
PUBLISHED: September 22nd, 2015
GENRE: Historical Fantasy, Mystery
PREMISE: Abigail continues her new job with Jackaby.
MY REVIEW: I'll admit for overall plot...this sequel kind of stalls a lot. It feels much like a filler book. There were some random small things here and there, but overall, most of the book was focused on the mystery. While this was fine by me, I love fantasy mysteries, I'm sure some people might not appreciate it that much.
It did do a good job of developing Abigail. Most of the first book was focused on Jackaby and learning about this strange world he inhabits. This time around we get more of Abigail and it's perfectly welcome in my opinion. I kind of get the feeling this might be turning into a Dresden Files type of series and honestly, I have zero complaints about that. Though maybe don't go on as long as Dresden Files has.
As a sequel it's not really knock it out of the park. But it's still enjoyable. I just kind of hope the next book does some more stuff with Jackaby and central plot things.
WHO SHOULD READ: Jackaby fans, Historical fantasy fans, Mystery fans, Dresden Files fans
MY RATING: Three and a half out of Five for bit of a sophomore slump

Thursday, November 19, 2015

Book Review: The Copper Gauntlet

TITLE: The Copper Gauntlet
Book 2 in the Magisterium series
AUTHOR: Holly Black and Cassandra Clare
PUBLISHED: September 1rst, 2015
CATEGORY: Middle-grade
GENRE: Fantasy
PREMISE: Revelations abound as Callum and his friends return for another year of school.
MY REVIEW: First, I apologize for the absence. Holiday shopping season is upon me at work which means long work days and little time to think about blogging. I have been reading though. So that's something. I just need to have a lot of time to catch up on reviews.
I read this one last month as a matter of fact and I honestly loved it as much as I loved the first book. It doesn't slow down on the pace for one. There is no sophomore slump here and the authors don't stall on plot devices. Some things get revealed that are pretty surprising.
 Now yes, it is still kind of a Harry Potter combined with Percy Jackson rip off. But there are enough different things to keep the series a bit of a surprise. I personally don't see being a rip off as a kiss of death like some fans make it out to be. The case could be made for Percy Jackson being a rip off of Harry Potter and I still manage to enjoy that. This was a well done sequel and I still look forward to the rest of the series.
WHO SHOULD READ: Fans of the first book, Harry Potter fans, Percy Jackson fans
MY RATING: Four out of Five yes it's kind of a rip off but I don't cares

Tuesday, November 10, 2015

Book Review: The Paris Mysteries

TITLE: The Paris Mysteries
Book 3 in the Confessions series
AUTHOR: James Patterson and Maxine Paetro
GENRE: Mystery
PREMISE: Tandy and her family are now in Paris and Tandy finds more skeletons in the family closet.
MY REVIEW: Wow. That is not a good wow. I don't think I've ever had a series belly flop so hard on me like this. I never kidded myself. This series was never great reading. But its good points tended to overshadow the bad ones. This time however....there was more bad then good.
For starters, everyone was out of character. These characters were virtually unrecognizable from the characters I had come to adore from the first two books. Especially C. P. Don't get me started on how they ruined C. P. What happened with her is textbook character assassination. Character assassination that made no sense.
There is just one more book left, but honestly? I'm done. This series jumped the shark for me.
WHO SHOULD READ: those that have read the first two but tread lightly
MY RATING: Two out of Five bad what the hells

Thursday, November 5, 2015

Reading Through the Classics: Northanger Abbey

TITLE: Northanger Abbey
AUTHOR: Jane Austen
GENRE: Romance
PREMISE: Catherine enjoys her season at Bath with a delightful new friend who introduces her to gothic romances which fuels her imagination while she visits her friend at Northanger Abbey.
MY THOUGHTS: For me, this is an underrated Austen book. I kept hearing this one and Mansfield Park were her worst. While I wasn't as into Mansfield Park, this one I actually liked quite a bit. This is probably going to get me yelled at, but I kind of liked Mr. Tilney better then Mr. Darcy.
Like all of Austen's books, there is some brilliant social commentary mixed in here with the slightly more quiet romance of Catherine and Mr. Tilney. Most of the commentary is aimed at gothic romances, which were all the rage back then. Yes, gothic romances are nothing new. For those of you who like to sneer at popular fiction nowadays, I'd like to point out that a lot of classics nowadays were yesterday's popular fiction. That book snobs like you also sneered at.
This is probably the lightest of Austen's books that I've read so far. There's very little angst, everything ends happily as always with Austen. It's also a very fast read. The audiobook itself, is less then three hours long. It's great way to spend an afternoon.

Quotable Austen:

“There is nothing I would not do for those who are really my friends. I have no notion of loving people by halves, it is not my nature.”

“It is only a novel... or, in short, only some work in which the greatest powers of the mind are displayed, in which the most thorough knowledge of human nature, the happiest delineation of its varieties, the liveliest effusions of wit and humour, are conveyed to the world in the best-chosen language” 

“The person, be it gentlemen or lady, who has not pleasure in a good novel, must be intolerably stupid.” 

“If the heroine of one novel be not patronized by the heroine of another, from whom can she expect protection and regard?”