Tuesday, February 24, 2009

Drums, Girls, and Dangerous Pie

You know it's a good book when while reading it, you're alternating laughing and crying. Drums, Girls and Dangerous Pie by the hilarious Jordan Sonnenblick made me do just that.
It's about 13 year-old Steven, who describes himself as a "skinny geek" who plays drums, and has an annoying 5 year-old brother and a crush on the prettiest girl in school. It starts out with Steven reflecting on his tumultuous 8th grade year, and by the end of the first page, I was already cracking up. This is probably one of the funniest books I've read in a really long time. Steven is a ridiculously funny and charming narrator. But Dangerous Pie isn't all laughs. Jeffrey, his little brother is diagnosed with leukemia early on in the book. Steven's take on his brother's cancer is both heartbreaking and hilarious, with his view on his little brother changing from annoying pest who makes Dangerous Pie with his Special Sticks (a long story) and begs Steven to make him "moatmeal", to someone who he can't live without.And Jeffrey is such an adorable character that you can't help but root for him.
Drums, Girls, and Dangerous Pie, though not normally the type I would read, is now one of my favorites. It's definitely sad, but by the end, you're happy. It's also, as I've probably said at least 20 times by now, one of the funniest books I've read in a while. I'd definitely
recommend this book to anyone. Five stars.

Monday, February 16, 2009

My Fair Godmother

Alrighty, so here I am again, after yet another 2-month hiatus. Sorry about that! So, to make up for it, here's a brand new review...
My Fair Godmother by Janette Rallison wasn't quite what I had expected it to be. It was WAY better. It's about 16 year old Savannah Delano who, after her boyfriend dumps her for her smarter sister Jane, discovers she has a fairy godmother. But Chrysanthemum Everstar, or Chrissy, as she prefers to be called, isn't a wand-waving benevolent old woman straight out of Cinderella. She's actually more like the average teenage girl, caring more about shopping than making sure the wishes she casts end up well. Chrissy "accidentally" sends Savannah back into the Middle Ages as both Cinderella and Snow White after Savannah wishes for a life that was more like a fairy tale.
This story's funny and sweet, even though it may not be heavy literature. Rallison drew me in when she made Savannah's sister Jane seem like the one more in need of a godmother than her popular and gorgeous sister, then had Savannah's world crumble around her. And I loved Tristan, Savannah's friend who Chrissy sends back in time to become a prince.
My only complaint was that the "fair" godmother of the title wasn't actually in the story that much. She only appeared every few chapters to disregard all of Savannah's pleas to get back to modern times, then go back to shopping.
But all in all, My Fair Godmother was a quick (only took me a few hours) and funny read. Four stars.

Sunday, December 7, 2008

Leven Thumps and the Gateway to Foo

Leven Thumps and the Gateway to Foo by Obert Skye is a quirky little book (368 pages). It tells the strange tale of a boy named Leven Thumps, who grew up in depressing Burnt Culvert, Oklahoma, with his two nasty guardians, his aunt Addy and his uncle Terry. Mysterious things happen around Leven, and things get even more mysterious when he meets an odd cast of characters including a strange creature named Clover, Winter, a girl whose name suits her very well, and a talking toothpick named Geth. They've come from a world named Foo, where Leven is meant to serve a unique purpose. Hmmm...

I liked Leven Thumps. There's definitely strange moments- talking toothpicks,funny names, and the like. They add to the offbeat charm of the book, which is fast-paced, suspenseful and funny. It leaves on a cliffhanger, which is, of course, resolved in the second installment, Leven Thumps and the Whispered Secret. Two of the things I really loved were the glossary in the back of the book, wittily detailing all of the creatures and people encountered, and the beautifully drawn pictures and maps. They really added to the book instead of distracting.

One of my biggest problems with the book was the sense of tiredness. We've all seen the miserable kid with mean caretakers and funky name finds out he/she has a magical mystical purpose/ability and must save either our world or some other one. It's been done a lot- especially the biggest example of this formula, Harry Potter.

Despite its flaws, Leven Thumps is a good fantasy book. I'm currently reading the equally wacky second book, and will probably review it. Four stars.

Apology/Rating System Thingy/Nanowrimo

Sheesh. Sorry about not updating in a while. Lots of things going on- the end of fall band season, school, other random stuff.
So I've realized that I should probably use a rating system, seeing as that's what almost every critic in the history of criticism has done. So I think I'll use stars. Because, you know, stars are really original. So... here's perple's fabulous star system:
(I'll just write out the number because knowing me, I'd probably have six stars or negative one or something. Math isn't exactly my strong point.)

5 stars- This book is amazing. Spectacular. Jaw-droppingly splendiforous. Read a five star book and you will feel completed.

4 stars- Pretty good. Not perfect, but what is? It's a book that's great and definitely recommended.

3 stars- Okay. Alright. Decent. A book that has its fair share of flaws but still readable. A three star book would be easily forgettable.

2 stars- Bad. Maybe a book that was given as a gift or for free that was read and never picked up again, left to lie under my bed with that mysterious moldy thing...

1 star- The complete opposite of a five star. This is jaw-droppingly horrific. The kind of book that you might like to burn. Thankfully, there won't be too many like that. I'll avoid reviewing these, but if I must...

So there's my gorgeous reviewing system. I'll use it at the end of reviews. Expect some numbers not to make sense- giving a book a 3 and eleventy-six quarters of a star. Like I said, math is not my strong point.

My last thing is to anyone who won NaNoWriMo (Me!) congrats! I personally procrastinated until the second week of November. I finished (at a really low word count) though.

Alright, that's it. I'll probably have a review posted tonight, if I finish my English paper by tonight or tomorrow if I don't. Go to go! The moldy thing under my bed is moving again!

Wednesday, October 8, 2008

The Sisters Grimm: The Fairy Tale Detectives by Michael Buckley

I got The Fairy Tale Detectives as a gift a few weeks ago, but never started to read it. It seemed like a book better suited for fifth or sixth graders. However, when I eventually got around to read it, I was pleasantly surprised.

The story is about two sisters, Sabrina and Daphne Grimm, who after their parents mysteriously disappear, are sent to live with a grandmother that they've never met in a town where fairy tales might not just be stories after all...

The book is sweet and quirky, with oddly charming moments like the bright green meatballs that the Grimms' grandmother serves to them. There are also darker moments to the story too, that provide the perfect amount of suspense, and a shocking twist at the end. The Fairy Tale Detectives is a great quick read at 280 pages, with some accompanying illustrations, and is the first book in the promising Sisters Grimm series.


I love to read, so this blog will be about, of course, books (with maybe the occasional foray into my mediocre writing abilities). It'll probably mostly YA stuff, and mostly fantasy and historical fiction. I'll be able to do (if I'm lucky) one book a week, but two weeks at the most. So...yeah. Alright.