Monday, August 31, 2009

Book Review Marathon!

Unfortunately, I have had no time to blog lately, which means it's time for a marathon of book reviews. I didn't have a chance to write long reviews of any of these, and I'm super sorry for the vague-ness, but I wanted to get some new reviews up and out.

Title: The Last Olympian
Author: Rick Riordan
Rating: ☆☆☆☆☆
5/5 Stars

At last, I’ve read The Last Olympian and it did not disappoint. It was my favorite book of the series so far. The book is not so fresh in my mind, but I will say that the plot was intriguing, compelling and new. I never felt bored during this book, never felt a lull in the story. Riordan has written an absolutely perfect ending to a perfect kid’s fantasy series.

ISBN: 978-1423101475
Price: $17.00, hardcover
Pages: 400

Title: The Thirteen Treasures
Author: Michelle Harrison
Rating: ☆☆☆☆(☆)
4/5 Stars

The Thirteen Treasures was an awesome find. My dad picked it up overseas in England, and I absolutely whizzed through it.

The main character is spending sometime in the summer at her horrible grandmother. It would seem fairly clich├ęd, except she can see fairies. This little detail makes for dilemmas galore, but she always seems to pull through. It’s also steeped with mystery and has a surprising twist at the end! The story is very original and I can’t wait for the sequel.

ISBN: 978-0316041485

Title: The Forest of Hands and Teeth
Author: Carrie Ryan
Rating: ☆☆☆☆(☆)
4/5 Stars

I have to say that I was completely surprised by The Forest of Hands and Teeth. The characters were rich and dynamic with really developed personalities. Although I’m not much of a zombie fan, the book had a really intriguing apocalyptic aspect that kept me reading.

ISBN: 978-0385736817
Price: $16.99, hardcover
Pages: 320

Title: Wrath of the Bloodeye
Author: Joseph Delaney
Rating: ☆☆☆☆(☆)
4/5 Stars

Wrath of the Bloodeye was definitely a page-turner. I’m not sure if it was my favorite of the Last Apprentice books, but it was definitely a welcome addition to the series. I missed the more psychological aspects of the other books, but I did enjoy the characters’ new moral dilemmas.

ISBN: 978-0061344619
Price: $7.99
Pages: 554

Again, I'm so sorry for the sad, vague reviews, but here's four more books I would definitely recommend!

Friday, August 21, 2009

Galileo Goes to Jail edited by Ronald L. Numbers

Title: Galileo Goes to Jail
Editor: Ronald J. Numbers
Rating: ☆☆☆☆(☆)
4/5 stars

After being away from my blog for far too long, I am back with three reviews to write. Darn my procrastinating tendencies.

Galileo Goes to Jail is the first non-fiction book I've read in a long time, and boy am I glad I did. This book was so insightful and interesting! The book begins with a forward by editor Ronald J. Numbers in which he explains the purpose of the book. He and the other academics who contributed to the book have been studying the history of tension between the church and science. What they've found is that many of the stories used to incriminate the church are myths!

The book is broken down by myth, each written by a credible expert on the matter. I found the book very accessible because I could read the myths out of order and they still made sense. I didn't feel the need to read the entire book at once, which is always refreshing in terms of non-fiction.

Religion vs. science is a very hot topic at the moment, and I think that's why I was drawn to this book. It brings to light the truth behind many of these stories that get circulated in the world of fiction. I was very happy to learn that perhaps the church wasn't so malicious in its approach to scientific discovery.

You can also read my extended review of this book in the Fall 2009 issue of The Common Review, published by The Great Books Foundation, where I interned this summer.

ISBN: 978-0674033276
Price: $18.45, hardcover
Pages: 320

Thursday, August 13, 2009

BTT: Worst Book

What’s the worst book you’ve read recently?
(I figure it’s easier than asking your all-time worst, because, well, it’s recent!)

I must say, this is a very difficult question for me. The problem is, I haven't really read anything awful recently. I've given some books bad reviews, but I didn't think they were bad. In fact, I might still recommend them to people. It's not that they were bad; they just weren't right for me.

I guess I should just say that the worst book I've read recently was My Brother by Jamaica Kincaid. I had to read it for an English class first semester last year. Some people think this book is great literature, but I just didn't get it. The ending gave me very little closure and there wasn't a single character that I felt for. I know it was memoir, so the characters were real people, but shouldn't I still be able to relate?

Anyway, I'm sure there are worse books that I've read, but this is the only one that comes to mind. Until next Thursday!

Check out Booking Through Thursday here!

Monday, August 10, 2009

The Friday Night Knitting Club by Kate Jacobs

Title: The Friday Night Knitting Club
Author: Kate Jacobs
Rating: ☆☆(☆☆☆)
2/5 Stars

At last, my first review of an adult title. Not that anyone is anxiously awaiting said review, but I'm happy to be doing it.

The Friday Night Knitting Club had been on my TBR list since mid-March, which is kind of sad. It was one of those books that just sat on the shelf waiting for me to finish all my must-reads. Finally, I decided it was time to break the vicious cycle of YA Sci-Fi / Fantasy and pick up something a little different.

I was surprised by how gripped I was by the story line of TFNKC (as I have deemed to call it). Usually I don't go for these Nicholas Sparks, Jodi Picoult, women facing adversity types of books. Don't get me wrong, I'm all about female empowerment, but sometimes the unrealistic lives of these seemingly every day women just get to me.

TFNKC fortunately was not like that. The story felt real to me, like I could be reading a memoir. I grew fond of the characters and each of their flaws. I was impressed at Jacobs' ability to weave (no pun intended) aspects of knitting into aspects of the story.

Alas, the last 80 pages or so completely ruined my good opinion of the book. I won't say what happens exactly, but I will say that she went all Jodi Picoult on me, just as I feared. I would've been so much more impressed if she had managed to keep the story compelling without the inclusion of terminal illness!

I suppose I would recommend this to any readers who go for that sort of book, that "Oh wouldn't this make a great movie a la Nights in Rodanthe?" I, on the other hand, will not be reading Knit Two, the sequel to TFNKC, anytime soon.

ISBN: 978-0425219096
Price: $14.00, paperback
Pages: 384