Tuesday, April 27, 2010

Book Looks/Mini Book Reviews

Tuesday, April 27, 2010
 Believe it or not I am still trying to play catch-up from the 24 Hour  Read-A-Thon. Admittedly, I continually struggle with my reviews. I have this inner critic that tends to lambaste me every time I write. I also have found that if I do not write the review shortly after finishing the book, I have even more difficulty writing it.

So in an effort to catch up I asked Kate over at The Neverending Bookshelf if I could use her mini review format, thinking that this might help me finish some of the reviews looming like a dark cloud over my head. Kate kindly agreed.

My Book Looks then, are mini reviews in which I challenge myself to review a novel in 75 words or less. 

Emerson Watts, 16 and female, loves playing video games, hanging out with her best friend, Christopher, and has made peace with her less-than-supermodel-esque looks. But when she's involved in a mysterious accident, she wakes up to find she's now in the body of...a supermodel. Who was behind this switch? What was the motive? And how can she get Christopher to realize she's still the same person inside? (Summary from GoodReads)

I love Meg Cabot! There isn’t one book that she has written that I haven’t thoroughly enjoyed and Airhead definitely falls into this category. Who else can take a character like transform her physically into the exact type of person she disdains and see where she goes from there. Like all Cabot's book Airhead is funny and fast-paced and set in New York City. Lots of guys, twists and turns, and a goofy best-friend.

Recommendation: If you like funny, fast-fast paced reads then you will like Airhead. But be aware that Airhead is the first of a series and the ending leaves you wanting more.

Wabi was born an owl—a great horned owl, who grew to become such a strong, confident creature that he was afraid of nothing. But now he is afraid. He fears that he might never win the heart of the girl he loves. Somehow, despite his own intentions, he has fallen in love with a girl—a beautiful, headstrong human girl. And so he begins the adventure of his life. He shape-shifts into human form in order to be with her. But before he can win her love, he must face an even greater challenge in a land he comes to think of as the Valley of Monsters. (Publisher's Comments from Powell’s Books)

Wabi A Hero’s Tale by Joseph Bruchac is a wonderfully written folktale. From the very first sentence … “I almost died before I could fly.” I was hooked.  I love Wabi as an owl and rooted for him as a human. The pace was fast and Wabi’s quest was exciting.  I definitely went through a myriad of emotions as I read. As with most folktales the ending was completely satisfying.

Recommendation: If you love folktales or fairytales, this is a great read. It is fast, but extremely satisfying. You will love the characters. As for me I will be looking to read more of Bruchac’s works based on this one alone.

Thirteen-year-old Savvy's three-point shot is deadly. But she gets pushed around on the basketball court. Her older sister, Callie, is on varsity cheerleading, but she's not light enough to be a flier her coveted position. Both girls need to boost their level of competition to get into the action. How far are they willing to go to be the best? (Publisher's Comments from Powell's Books).

If you like basketball, Boost makes for a quick and interesting read. Savvy is one driven young girl. I liked how she knews what she wanted and works hard to be the best.  Mackel's descriptions of the plays and games seem very authentic. One thing that seemed a little too late was the revelation about steroid usage.  Still the ending worked and the lesson was not preachy.

Recommendation: This is a good middle school read about girls basketball, and making choices. I thought for the most part it was realistic, and I was happy that the family was a prominent feature.

Miri is the non-twin child in a family with two sets of them--older brothers and younger sisters. The family has just moved to an old farmhouse in a new town, where the only good thing seems to be Miri's ten-sided attic bedroom. But when Miri gets sent to her room after accidentally bashing her big brother on the head with a shovel, she finds herself in the same room . . . only not quite. 

Without meaning to, she has found a way to travel back in time to 1935 where she discovers Molly, a girl her own age very much in need of a loving family. A highly satisfying classic-in-the-making full of spine-tingling moments, this is a delightful time-travel novel for the whole family. (Publisher's Comments from Powell's Books)

This is a cute book with cute characters and a  fairly big idea about time travel. Geared towards the younger middle school reader, it will appeal primarily to a female audience. I actually really liked how Miria and Molly, were able to scare Horst, a truly horrible boy in order to ensure that Molly and the future would not be changed by Molly's disappearance from the past. I did feel the time travel explanations were a bit confusing at times.

Recommendation: Definitely a cute read for younger middle school readers. Miria had some very positive personality traits which could help in teaching character education, and Hort's personality would surely demonstrate the negative. The ending was a bit unrealistic and predictable, but did not detract from the overall story.

Sixteen-year-old Deirdre Monaghan is a prodigiously gifted musician. She's about to find out she's also a cloverhand - one who can see faeries.

Unexpectedly, Deirdre finds herself infatuated with a mysterious boy named Luke, who enters her ordinary life, seemingly out of thin air. But his interest in her might be something darker than summer romance. When a sinister faerie named Aodhan shows up with deadly orders from the Faerie Queen, it forces Dee right into the midst of Faerie. Caught in the crossfire with Deirdre is James, her wisecracking but loyal best friend.

Deirdre had been wishing her summer weren't so dull, but taking on a centuries-old Faerie Queen isn't exactly what she had in mind. (Publisher's comments from front of book)

This is a darkly satisfying tale of the fae impossible to put down. I was immediately enthralled by the story's complexity. There were so many twists and unexpected turns that  I often found my mouth open in disbelief. The climax and ending was so unbelievably, unexpected; I was dazzled. This is my first book by Stiefvater and I am anxious to read more. Here prose is as enchanting as her characters and plot.

Recommendation: If you are a lover of fantasy and paranormal genres and have not read this book, then make sure you grab it. Hands down it is a must read.  I borrowed this from the library and got the grey cover, which I think is a horrible cover. The black on is better, but I really love the green cover which was published in Germany.

So now I am almost all caught up. I have to agree with Kate when she says that doing mini reviews is not an easy task ... esepcially for someone like me who tends to be a bit long winded at times.
Let me know what you think of the Book Looks.


Beth said...

I like reviews done this way...too long and I stop reading!! LOL

Jan von Harz said...

Thanks Beth, I like them too, but I also like the longer ones that provide more details

The1stdaughter said...

Isn't Kate fantastic? I just love her to pieces! And yes, I think these are great! I'm definitely with you on the longer reviews, they should be the norm, but these do the job. Especially when you have reviews piling up and not enough days in the week to get them done!

Thanks for the rec on The Magic Half..I already added it to my cart online. Can't wait to read it!

Shweta said...

I haven't read Airhead so I have to add that to my list . Haven't read Lament either so looks like my reading list is going to increase by the end of the day..

Love these mini reviews but I am such a blabber that I can't stop my self from writing looong posts:)

Aths said...

I love this format! It's great! I have to look up Airhead. It sounds so good!

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