Nov 24, 2009

Review | Defining Twilight: Vocabulary Workbook for Unlocking the SAT, ACT, GED, and SSAT by Brian Leaf

Can you resist the allure of Edward’s myriad charms—his ocher eyes and tousled hair, the cadence of his speech, his chiseled alabaster skin, and his gratuitous charm? Will you hunt surreptitiously and tolerate the ceaseless deluge in Forks to evade the sun and uphold the facade? Join Edward and Bella as you learn more than 600 vocabulary words to improve your score on the *SAT, ACT®, GED®, and SSAT® exams!
Thoughts: I didn't so much as read this, but more of skimmed it, since it is a workbook and not a reading book, and I really didn't want to re-read Twilight to follow through with it.

First, I want to say that I think that the idea is great, if not the book so much. The Twilight Saga are some of the most popular books out there right now, and who is mostly reading them? Tweens and Teens.
So you pick up your copy of Twilight as well as Defining Twilight and as you read you correspond each word to the sentence while you try and give it your own definition. The answers are provided in the next few pages so you don't have to go looking for them to see if you really knew what you were talking about. Its simple and easy to use, and each chapter is more or less the same thing, so the repetitiveness makes it easy to follow through.
Its less than 200 pages long so its something small to carry around, and its a great way to just brush up on some vocabulary if you're not planning on testing anytime soon like me. This should not be the only tool used to study for a test, but I think its a great way for tweens and teens to learn some new words while reading something they enjoy.

Nov 19, 2009

Review | Water for Elephants by Sara Gruen

As a young man, Jacob Jankowski was tossed by fate onto a rickety train that was home to the Benzini Brothers Most Spectacular Show on Earth. It was the early part of the great Depression, and for Jacob, now ninety, the circus world he remembers was both his salvation and a living hell. A veterinary student just shy of a degree, he was put in charge of caring for the circus menagerie. It was there that he met Marlena, the beautiful equestrian star married to August, the charismatic but twisted animal trainer. And he met Rosie, an untrainable elephant who was the great gray hope for this third-rate traveling show. The bond that grew among this unlikely trio was one of love and trust, and, ultimately, it was their only hope for survival.

Thoughts:The book starts off with 90 (or is it 93?) year old Jacob.

From the moment I started reading it, I really enjoyed it. Although it took me a few weeks to actually finish it, it wasn't because it was no good, but because of lack of time. I did really love this book.

The story goes from the past to the present every few chapters, and Gruen's writing style makes this transition between times easy to follow. It adds more depth to the story, as well as a making the reader curious to learn more. I was happily surprised with the ending, and the way the story led up to it was very nicely done.

There are many different things going on throughout the book, and the characters are so well described and their feelings so well drawn up, that it kept me coming back for more.
I did hear a few complaints about the animal cruelty that is written in this book, but although I in no way support it, I think it makes the story a lot more realistic. I must admit though, those scenes were a bit tough to read.

Overall, I thought this book was really well written, a really great and unique story and setting, as well as greatly detailed characters. I would recommend this to older young adults and adults who enjoy fiction.

Nov 15, 2009

Review | Book of Shadows, Book #1: Sweep by Cate Tiernan

Morgan and her best friend, Bree, are introduced to Wicca when a gorgeous senior named Cal invites them to join his new coven. Morgan falls for Cal immediately— and discovers that she has strong, inexplicable powers.

Thoughts: This book was sort of ehh for me.

Now that I have finished it, I want to know what happens next because the last chapter has a pretty major cliff hanger, but overall I thought the story was sort of bland.

The characters were sort of uninteresting, with no real personality, and I found it hard to relate or even like them much. It did have a lot of interesting information on Wicca and magick, but the story could have been more descriptive and a little more exciting. It just didn't have too much going on.

I've heard the other books are better, and this one is sort of just starting the story off, so I really want to get to the second one soon.

happy reading :)

Nov 14, 2009

Review | Twenty Boy Summer by Sarah Ockler

According to her best friend Frankie, twenty days in Zanzibar Bay is the perfect opportunity to have a summer fling, and if they meet one boy ever day, there's a pretty good chance Anna will find her first summer romance. Anna lightheartedly agrees to the game, but there's something she hasn't told Frankie---she's already had that kind of romance, and it was with Frankie's older brother, Matt, just before his tragic death one year ago.

Thoughts: This book sat on my shelf for a few months, and I knew I really wanted to read it, but just didn't have the time to. I eventually found myself reading books I wasn't enjoying, and decided to pick this one up for a fresh start.
What I wasn't expecting was such a tragic and sad beginning. I knew what the book was about when I first picked it up at the book store, but after a while, I easily forgot. A few pages into it, and excited over Anna and Matt's new romance, I read the inside flap, and realized that this sweet love was going to be short lived. So I dreaded the moment that he would die quietly hoping that it really wouldn't happen that way.
I quickly was able to relate to Anna, her feelings and emotions, the way she felt torn throughout the book, from keeping a secret from a best friend and betraying the only guy she loved when she finds someone new. Ockler's wonderful description for the characters made this book so great to read. And not only were the characters amazingly written, but so were the settings. Everything was detailed perfectly. I could hear the waves, feel the floorboards creak, fell the wind against my skin.
Truly one of the best books I've read, I highly recommend it to YA book lovers and anyone looking for a emotionally honest book.

Favorite Quote:
A lie? It hits me like a sledgehammer, releasing all the hurt and sadness and confusion I've held inside for the last fourteen months. I jump up without speaking and bolt to the shore, unable to hold it any longer.

"How could you leave us like this?" I bawl at the sky, tears spilling into my mouth, ignoring the blurred runners who pass behind me without slowing. Just another drunk little girl, they must think. "Tell her!' I shout. 'Tell her you made me promise! Tell her it's your fault! Tell her it was a lie for you, too! Tell her you loved me!"

Tell me you loved me.

I look out over the ocean, all the way to Japan, waiting for an answer.

Nov 1, 2009

Review | Prince Harming Syndrome: Break Bad Relationship Patterns for Good—5 Essentials for Finding True Love (and they're not what you think)

Prince Harming Syndrome by Karen Salmansohn (ARC)

Salmansohn’s personal overcoming of difficult relationship traps has become Prince Harming Syndrome a brand new self-help book that mixes Karen’s life experience and the philosophy of Aristotle to create an intimately witty and personal account for women of all ages looking to break their bad habits for good! Karen will teach you how to seek out the 5 essentials for true love NONE OF THEM being what you'd normally think about looking for! For example, one essential is to seek a guy who "values growing." If your man doesn’t value growing, then your relationship won’t survive because a relationship is only as strong as its weakest moments. If your man values growing, he will be open to discussing problems, meeting your needs and evolving so as to make sure problems don’t keep repeating.

Thoughts: I am not a huge self-help book fan, but I was nicely surprised to find myself reading and enjoying this book. Salmanhson finds a way to write this book in a humorous and witty way, yet very informative and useful, on how to know the difference between a Prince Harming and a real Prince Charming.
She uses her own life stories, as well as a fun twist to Aristotles philosophies, to explain the difference between an egomate and a soulmate. Her voice and humor make all the information and techniques so easy to understand, and it was more like getting advice from a friend, than reading a self-help book.
There are also a few parts that you can add in your own ideas and thoughts, including a few lists you can make that add so much more to the book. This is a great book for anyone seeking advice on a life long relationship with your soulmate...not your cell mate!

Here is a quick book trailer if you want to learn more :)