Friday, February 9, 2018

Review: How to Speak Cat: A Guide to Decoding Cat Language

How to Speak Cat: A Guide to Decoding Cat Language How to Speak Cat: A Guide to Decoding Cat Language by Aline Alexander Newman
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

I have owned and lived with cats for many years, so I knew most of what was included in this book, but it was still interesting to read about some of the nuances of things I was familiar with. Enjoyable.

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Thursday, February 8, 2018

Review: Tundra's Really Swell Sunday Comics Collection

Tundra's Really Swell Sunday Comics Collection Tundra's Really Swell Sunday Comics Collection by Chad Carpenter
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

I enjoyed this. The artwork is good and the humor definitely has an Alaskan flavor. Good addition to my collection of locally relevant cartoons that include insight into the culture and environment.

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Review: A Waltz for Matilda

A Waltz for Matilda A Waltz for Matilda by Jackie French
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

I read this on my way back to the US from Australia, so I had visions of gum trees and the dry countryside in my brain. I have enjoyed quite a few of Jackie French's books. I find historical fiction to be much more interesting than the history lessons I was subjected to in virtually all of my classes in grade school and beyond. That said, I do have a few things that make me uneasy about this book.

Jackie French acknowledges in the introduction and the notes at the end of the book that the racism depicted in the book must be there, because otherwise the book would be too far from historical reality. I agree. In fact, I find that the racism has been toned down a bit too much. I am not sure that a 12 year old girl would find it so easy to discard her racist heritage. It is a fine line to tread and Ms. French does it well: portray the racism fairly accurately, but show the heroine as not accepting of it. But I would have liked to see a bit more internal struggle with it in Matilda.

The second thing that I have reservations about is the character of Mr. Drinkwater, the elder. After finding out the relationships between all of the major characters, I still don't quite understand why the critical early scene plays out as it did.

And one minor criticism from an American: I wish the book had included the full text of the song in one of the appendices.

But I did enjoy the book and I finished it on the plane flights, even though I was massively tired. I will be looking for the sequels, even though it is difficult to find Australian children's and young adult's literature in the U.S.

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Review: A Waltz for Matilda

A Waltz for Matilda A Waltz for Matilda by Jackie French
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

I read this on my way back to the US from Australia, so I had visions of gum trees and the dry countryside in my brain. I have enjoyed quite a few of Jackie French's books. I find historical fiction to be much more interesting than the history lessons I was subjected to in virtually all of my classes in grade school and beyond. That said, I do have a few things that make me uneasy about this book.

Jackie French acknowledges in the introduction and the notes at the end of the book that the racism depicted in the book must be there, because otherwise the book would be too far from historical reality. I agree. In fact, I find that the racism has been toned down a bit too much. I am not sure that a 12 year old girl would find it so easy to discard her racist heritage. It is a fine line to tread and Ms. French does it well: portray the racism fairly accurately, but show the heroine as not accepting of it. But I would have liked to see a bit more internal struggle with it in Matilda.

The second thing that I have reservations about is the character of Mr. Drinkwater, the elder. After finding out the relationships between all of the major characters, I still don't quite understand why the critical early scene plays out as it did.

But I did enjoy the book and I finished it on the plane flights, even though I was massively tired. I will be looking for the sequels, even though it is difficult to find Australian children's and young adult's literature in the U.S.

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Monday, February 5, 2018

Review: The Endsister

The Endsister The Endsister by Penni Russon
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

My preferences are frequently character-driven and that is why this book gets a fairly high rating from me - I found the characters interesting. I am not so much interested in the ghostly elements and, in fact, found the two ghosts rather confusing at times. But the family was definitely interesting. If there is a sequel, I would read it.

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Thursday, January 4, 2018

Review: The Extremely Inconvenient Adventures of Bronte Mettlestone

The Extremely Inconvenient Adventures of Bronte Mettlestone The Extremely Inconvenient Adventures of Bronte Mettlestone by Jaclyn Moriarty
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

I wanted to like this one more than I actually did. I have read quite a few of Moriarty's books for teens and REALLY liked them, but this one seemed too self-consciously cute for me. The tone is very similar (for me) to the books by Kate DiCamillo. It is just a tad too precious. And the connections between all of the characters are tied up just a bit too neatly. That said, some of the characters were especially interesting and I would have enjoyed knowing more about them. This was true especially of the children on the ship - I am not sure what made them different, but they seemed more real to me.

DiCamillo's books are very highly regarded, though, so I would recommend this book to people who loved The Tale of Desperaux or The Miraculous Journey of Edward Tulane.

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Tuesday, December 12, 2017

Review: The Keeper of the Isis Light

The Keeper of the Isis Light The Keeper of the Isis Light by Monica Hughes
My rating: 0 of 5 stars

I read this long before I joined Goodreads, along with a LOT of other science fiction. Someday, I will add more of the ones that I know I read. I won't be able to write full reviews though, as I have only vague recollections of most of them. I know that I liked this one, though.

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