Monday, October 26, 2009

Tumtum and Nutmeg: Adventures Beyond Nutmouse Hall

by Emily Bearn
ISBN: 9780316 027038


This collection of three stories is about two mice who live in a rather nice mouse house inside a human house. I enjoyed reading about the mouse adventures. While clean, I did feel that the stories were a little too involved and too dark for my 7 year old daughter. I think when she's in third grade she may appreciate them more.

The first story tells us about the mean human Aunt who hates mice and wants to kill them. The mice prevail in the end but they have to call on other helpers within the rodent community.

The second story tells us about a rat friend who is caught and taken to school by the children who live in the house. Terrible things are about to happen to the rodents at the school because the teacher doesn't like them.

The third story is about the mice going on a camping/boating adventure. The evil pirate rats try to keep them prisoner but they prevail in the end.

I guess I would have preferred for at least a couple of the human adults in the book to be kind and supportive of the animals. We have the dad who is absent-minded and hardly takes care of his kids, the aunt who actively hates the mice, the teacher who isn't overly malicious but still mean, and the custodian who is willing to kill the whole lot of rodents rather than set them free. There are nice adults in this world!

Recommended with reservations

How do you feel about children's books with negative attitudes toward adults? Are parents and authority figures really as bad as these books say?

The Stolen Voice: a Gil Cunningham Murder Mystery

by Pat McIntosh
ISBN 9781569475829

I read two historical mysteries this week, and of the two this one was not quite as good in terms of the writing. They are both parts of series, and I had never read the previous books in either series. It was interesting to be able to compare two books like that. This one is about a community in which people are disappearing and reappearing, and no one knows why. They are mostly all part of the singing community, hence the title. This takes place in the 14th or 15th century; I never was very clear which.

I felt that the way in which we were introduced to past events in other books and to some of the characters was a bit smug. I don't know how to describe it exactly, but some authors seem to have troubles with writing subsequent books and "casually" letting us know about prior events. I don't know how to change it for the better, but as a voracious reader it's jarring when I feel out of the loop or confused, yet I don't like being patronized with a two paragraph description, like they did in the Sweet Valley Twins books.

At any rate I enjoyed the story and especially the fact that the gore level was pretty low considering it was a murder mystery.

Recommended.

Do you ever experience the same thing when reading books that are part of a series? How do you think the author could fix the issue?

Philippa Fisher's Fairy Godsister

by Liz Kessler
ISBN: 9780545208147

Philippa Fisher is 11 and a half and of course unhappy with life. Thankfully she still believes in fairies because one evening, after her best friend moves away, she picks a daisy that she is sure will turn into a fairy.

Turns out, the daisy is a fairy godsister (instead of godmother), and both of them have lots of things to learn.

This book was fun- three wishes in a modern society. There was a little bit of teasing and "the in-girls vs. outsiders" but not too much. My 7 year old daughter enjoyed it.

Lessons learned are accepting your parents and self the way you are, and being more compassionate and understanding toward others.

It's a fourth grade reading level and I think appropriate for that age.
Recommended.

Wednesday, October 21, 2009

The Last Word by Kathy Herman + Giveaway

I’ve finished reading The Last Word, book two of the Sophie Trace Trilogy by Kathy Herman. I had been excited for this to come out after reading book one The Real Enemy. I was not disappointed! This is another great read, and I found it hard to put down.

Sophie Trace Chief of Police Brill Jessup must be on guard at all times because someone she convicted years ago is now out of prison and has threatened Brill. He’s already gone after others and Brill is next on his list. Besides this danger, Brill’s daughter Vanessa comes home from college seven months pregnant. I thought the author did an excellent job telling this story and making a strong point through the book about the importance of the witnessing as Christians.

One thing that I liked about this second book of the series is that the author did not spend pages and pages referring to the first book. She did make mention of events from book one. It wasn’t necessary to read book one to enjoy this book though. I’ve read some books in a series that I feel spend too much time repeating what happened in previous books which is information I don’t want to reread. I really liked how Kathy Herman mentioned things from book one but didn’t dwell on it in great detail.

I enjoyed this book and look forward to number three!

****Also I am giving away a copy of this book. Visit this post at Raindrops & Rainbows for your chance to win!

Have a day of blessings!

Saturday, October 17, 2009

Generation Warriors + GIVEAWAY

by Anne McCaffrey and Elizabeth Moon
ISBN: 0671720414

This is a volume with two stories in it about Dinosaur Planet.

Generally I love Anne McCaffrey's books, and I even like the Sassinak ones usually, but this volume didn't ring with me very much. I love sci-fi/fantasy but more along the lines of fantasy. Spaceships running around is not my favorite.

At any rate these books follow very closely along with the other Sassinak books and Lunzie books. Both of them are featured in other volumes. After getting into the story about 35 pages into it I started to enjoy it and wanted to know what would happen next. There's lots of action and adventure.

Lunzie is on a spaceship whose goal is to map out a planet. As soon as they arrive they notice that strange things are happening.

One other thing I didn't like about this book, and most of the other Lunzie/Sassinak universe, is the problems between "heavy-worlders" and regular people. This race is human but has been genetically bred to be able to handle being on high-gravity planets, and they are resentful of this. I see that the author is trying to explore the idea of racial tension and why it happens and how it can play out, but it just doesn't work for me, maybe because it is SO overt. Most racial tension is not talked about or discussed.

I recommend these books, but my favorite books by Anne McCaffrey are the Pern books.

GIVEAWAY: Comment by next Saturday, October 24, and win this book. Tell me if you usually read Sci-fi/fantasy and what your favorite author in that genre is.

Wednesday, October 14, 2009

Giveaway!

I recently reviewed The Marriage You've Always Wanted by Gary Chapman. I'm giving away this book and study guide on my blog.

If you'd like to enter, please visit this post at Raindrops & Rainbows. Thanks!

Have a day of blessings!

Tuesday, October 06, 2009

Book Thief Winner

Linna is the winner of "The Book Thief." Congrats Linna!