Showing posts from March, 2014

Book Review: Carniepunk - Various authors

Carniepunk - Various Authors The traveling carnival is a leftover of a bygone era, a curiosity lurking on the outskirts of town.  It is a place of contradictions--the bright lights mask the peeling paint; a carnie in greasy overalls slinks away from the direction of the Barker's seductive call.  It is a place of illusion--is that woman's beard real?  How can she live locked in a watery box?
And while many are tricked by sleigh of hand, there are hints of something truly magical going on.  One must remain alert and learn quickly the unwritten rules of this dark show.  To beat the carnival, one had better have either a whole lot of luck or a whole lot of guns--or maybe some magic of one's own.
Featuring stories grotesque and comical, outrageous and action-packed, Carniepunk is the first anthology to channel the energy and attitude of urban fantasy into the bizarre world of creaking machinery, twisted myths, and vivid new magic.
3/5 stars (liked it) I mainly got this book for …

Book Review: The House on Mango Street - Sandra Cisneros

The House on Mango Street - Sandra Cisneros Told in a series of vignettes stunning for their eloquence, this memoir (?) is Sandra Cisneros's greatly admired story of a young girl's growing up in the Latino section of Chicago.
2/5 stars (it was Ok) Maybe it's because it's told in vignettes, which I guess I'm not too fond of, but I did not care for this book.  I really wanted to know more about Esperanza and what her life was like but what I got was little stories about her neighbors and just a little bit about her.  I realize that her neighborhood told a lot about her but I wanted to see her home life more.  Also not quite sure how much time passes from the beginning of the book until the end.  It was a very short book and did not take me long to read.

Book Review: Wonder - R.J. Palacio

Wonder - R.J. Palacio August (Auggie) Pullman was born with a facial deformity that prevented him from going to a mainstream school--until now.  He's about to start 5th grade at Beecher Prep, and if you've ever been the new kid then you know how hard that can be.  The thing is Auggie's just an ordinary kid, with an extraordinary face.  But can he convince his new classmates that he's just like them, despite appearances?
R.J. Palacio has written a spare, warm, uplifting story that will have readers laughing one minute and wiping away tears the next.  With wonderfully realistic family interactions (flawed, but loving), lively school scenes, and short chapters, Wonder is accessible to readers of all levels.
4/5 stars (really liked it) My 9 year old son and I read this book together.  He liked Auggie right away and was laughing along with him.  Plus I saw so many similarities in Auggie as I saw in my own son, they both love Star Wars and they are both so close in age.  I fel…

Book Review: How to Succeed in Business Without Really Crying - Carol Leifer

How to Succeed in Business Without Really Crying - Carol Leifer For many years, television comedy was an exclusive all boys' club--until a brilliant comedian named Carol Leifer came along, blazing a trail for funny women everywhere.  From Late Night with David Letterman and Saturday Night Live to Seinfeld, The Ellen Show, and Modern Family, Carol has written for and/or peformed on some of the best TV comedies of all time.
This hilarious collection of essays charts her extraordinary three-decade journey through show business, illuminating her many triumphs and some missteps along the way--and offering valuable lessons for women and men in any profession.  Part memoir, part guide to life, and all incredibly funny, How to Succeed in Business without Really Crying offers tips and tricks for getting ahead, finding your way, and opening locked doors--even if you have to use a sledgehammer.
3/5 stars (liked it) I received a copy of this book through Quirk Books.  I must admit that I did no…

Book Review: City of Fallen Angels - Cassandra Clare

City of Fallen Angels - Cassandra Clare The Mortal War is over, and sixteen-year-old Clary Fray is back home in New York, excited about all the possibilities before her.  She's training to become a Shadowhunter and to use her unique power.  Her mother is getting married to the love of her life.  Downworlders and Shadowhunters are at peace at last.  And--most importantly of all--she can finally call Jace her boyfriend.
But nothing comes without a price.
Someone is murdering Shadowhunter, provoking tensions between Downworlders and Shadowhunters that could lead to a second, bloody war.  Clary's best friend, Simon, can't help her - his mother just found out he's a vampire, and now he's homeless.  When Jace begins to pull away from her without explaining why, Clary is forced to delve into the heart of a mystery whose solution reveals her worst nightmare: she herself has set in motion a terrible chain of events that could lead to her losing everything she loves.  Even …

Book Review: Still Alice - Lisa Genova

Still Alice - Lisa Genova Genova's debut revolves around Alice Howland - Harvard professor, gifted researcher and lecturer, wife, and mother of three grown children.  One day, Alice sets out for a run and soon realizes she has no idea how to find her way home.  It's a route she has taken for years, but nothing looks familiar.  She is utterly lost.  Is her forgetfulness the result of menopausal symptoms?  A ministroke?  A neurological cancer?  After a few doctors' appointments and medical tests, Alice has her diagnosis, and it's a shocker--she has early-onset Alzheimer's disease. What follows is the story of Alice's slow but inevitable loss of memory and connection with reality, told from her perspective.  She gradually loses the ability to follow a conversational thread, the story line of a book, or to recall information she heard just moments before.  To Genova's great credit, readers learn of the progression of Alice's disease through the reactions of…


My pets Ares the cat and Apollo the dog.  Just trying out the blogger app on my phone.

Book Review: Nick and Tesla’s High-Voltage Danger Lab – “Science Bob” Pflugfelder & Steve Hockensmith

Nick and Tesla’sHigh-Voltage Danger Lab – “Science Bob” Pflugfelder & Steve Hockensmith Nick and Tesla are bright 11-year-old siblings with a knack for science, electronics, and getting into trouble.  When their parents mysteriously vanish, they’re sent to live with their Uncle Newt, a brilliant inventor who engineers top-secret gadgets for a classified government agency.  It’s not long before Nick and Tesla are embarking on adventures of their own—engineering all kind of outrageous MacGyverish contraptions to save their skin; 9-volt burglar alarms, electromagnets, mobile tracking devices, and more.  Readers are invited to join in the fun as each story contains instructions and blueprints for five different projects.
In Nick and Tesla’s High-Voltage Lab, we meet the characters and learn how to make everything from rocket launchers to soda-powered vehicles.  Learning about science has never been so dangerous—or so much fun!
4/5 stars (really liked it) I received a copy for review from …

Book Review: Nick and Tesla's Robot Army Rampage: A Mystery with Hoverbots, Bristle Bots, and Other Robots You Can Build Yourself - Pflugfelder & Hockensmith

Robot Army Rampage: A Mystery with Hoverbots, Bristle Bots, and Other Robots You Can Build Yourself - Pflugfelder & Hockensmith When a rash of robberies hits the town of Half Moon Bay, 11-year-old sleuths Nick and Tesla are determined to catch the criminals--but to do so, they'll have to build a host of new gadgets and gizmos!  In this robot-themed follow-up to Nick and Tesla's High-Voltage Danger Lab, the brother-and-sister duo build four different droids out of ordinary household objects--and illustrated instructions are included throughout the story, so you can build them, too!  Can Nick and Tesla catch the criminal mastermind--and foil his army of rampaging robots--before it's too late?
4/5 stars (really liked it) I received a copy of this book from Quirk Books.  My 9 year old son was very excited to be receiving the second book in this series since he really enjoyed the first book.  He liked this book even more than the first one.  I was able to read this book afte…