Wednesday, May 28, 2008

Suffer the Little Children

by Donna Leon
ISBN: 9780871139603

Genre: Mystery

Commissaro Guido Brunetti (evidently an established character) has another mystery to solve. A family has been broken apart by a police raid. Who is to blame? Why are these people in trouble? And where is the little child?

I had not read any of this author's mysteries before, and as is always the case when one jumps into the middle of the series, one feels a little left out by the chumminess of the characters. They're always referring to past escapades and explaining the past. It's a little annoying, but this book wasn't as bad as some.

The story is passable.

6 out of 10.

The Princess and Curdie

by George MacDonald
ISBN: 0140367624

Genre: Young adult fantasy

Oh, The Princess and the Goblin is my favorite stand-alone children's book. I have had the most beautifully illustrated edition of it for years and years. The pictures are fantastic. This book is the sequel to the Princess and the Goblin. I have never liked it quite as well and this last time I re-read it I understood why. The beautiful edition I have must be abridged to be easier to read. It was originally published in the 1800s.

The Princess and Curdie is complete and unabridged. If you can follow the writing (long sentences, etc) it is a lovely story too. It is not a tame book, just as Aslan is not a tame lion. There are gruesome parts to it. But it is all telling a story, a moral story, to help you realize the benefits of living honestly and with God as your leader.

One of the most interesting parts is when Curdie (the protagonist) is given a gift. He is able to tell by taking someone's hand whether that person is a good and upright person, or whether the person is degenerating into an animal on the inside.

Extremely good read, although it did hurt my brain to read 1800s style writing.

9 out of 10

Music through the floor

by Eric Puchner
ISBN: 9780743270465

Genre: Short stories

I was not impressed with this book. I picked it up mainly because of the title; I love music so much that I have to hope that any book with music in the title will be good. The first story, "Children of God," was pretty good. I found it an interesting look at a young man who is a caretaker of mentally disabled people.

The next two I read were about young high school students but I thought the themes were quite mature. Yes, I know that young people sleep around and do things that are not very morally good, but I just don't like to read about it. I will still go back and read the one about the ESL teacher because that's what I am, but I don't think I'm going to read all of them.

4 out of 10.

Eldest

by Christopher Paolini
ISBN: 9780375840401

Genre: fantasy

The second in the trilogy, this book continues the adventures of the young man Eragon. He's already had half of his training and needs to continue his training with the elves.

I liked this book better than the first; I feel the author is maturing in his writing style.

Recommended. 8 out of 10.

Eragon

by Christopher Paolini
ISBN 0375826696

Genre: Fantasy

This book is good reading for an adult or an older high-schooler. A young man finds a stone and is thrown into a quest involving dragons, magic, and the hope of triumphing over evil.

Recommended. 7 out of 10.

Sunday, May 25, 2008

And the Shofar Blew

by Francine Rivers

This Christian fiction book explores the possibility of a preacher getting caught up in his pride and sense of self and forgetting all about the fact that God is in control of our lives. The book follows this preacher from the beginning of his ministry to the end of it.

This book really helped me remember how important humility is and that we really aren't the ones "saving" people- God is.

Recommended.

Tuesday, May 20, 2008

Apologies

I have to apologize to my readers and commenters. It seems that I hadn't correctly set up the comments for this blog so I didn't know I was getting comments over here. I just went back and found I had about 15-20 comments from people. Sorry everyone! I do appreciate your feedback and wish I had read those comments when they were first posted. :)

Seizure

by Erica Wagner
adult fiction
9780393061482

This story was very confusing and there was too much jumping around to make much sense of. I didn't get very far into it. I couldn't get a feel for the characters and I just had a sense that hope was going to be missing from the tale.

Not finished and not recommended.

Way Down Deep

by Ruth White
Juvenile fiction
ISBN: 9780374382513
9 out of 10

Where "The Baby and Fly Pie" was overly scary and too heavy for a teenager, "Way Down Deep" is perfect for a young adult.

The themes are similar: orphans and who can take care of them, who will be a good parent vs. who won't. But this book is full of hope and has some really sweet parts. "The Baby and Fly Pie" really didn't have any hope at all.

Follow Ruby June on her journey to find out who her parents are.

Sunday, May 18, 2008

Measuring Time

By Helon Habila
ISBN: 9780393052510
Genre: fiction

This book takes place in Nigeria. The author uses a lyrical storytelling method to tell the story of twins and a village. Spanning from 1960 to 1990 we are introduced to most of the major problems Africa as a whole and Nigeria itself face: AIDS, drought, government mismanagement, etc.

The book is pretty good, but I'm not overly fond of the author's style. I couldn't see a point to the novel. Not that a novel always has to have a point, but it kinda just petered off and ended.

6 out of 10.

Nickel and Dimed

by Barbara Ehrenreich
ISBN 0805063897
Genre: Non-fiction, current events

The author does a social experiment where she tries to live on minimum wage in three different United States cities.

This book brings up all kinds of questions and really makes you think about the prejudices or pre-conceived ideas you might have about poor people- why are they poor? Why don't they just get a better job? Can't they budget their money?

While there are some problems with the experiment, the author realizes those problems as well and explains her methods.

A great read.

8 out of 10- recommended

The Baby and Fly Pie

by Melvin Burgess
ISBN 068980489x
Young Adult Fiction

If you know me you know I don't like horribly depressing books with no good endings. I also am not fond of books that pretend to be for children that are really too mature.

In my opinion this book is too mature for a high schooler or middle schooler. And it's so depressing.

A short synopsis: it's the future, and some homeless kids live in London. They have someone who supposedly takes care of them, but it's not a great situation. Think Ender's Game but it's an adult who takes care of them.

They find a baby and have to decide what to do from that point.

It's very sad. Not very hopeful at all.

3 out of 10.