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It Only Looks Easy (Single Titles) - Pamela Curtis Swallow

For more reviews, check out my blog Craft-Cycle

I made the mistake of picking up a book with a dog on the cover. I almost stopped reading after the first chapter when the dog gets his by a car. As soon as Kat starts talking about how great her dog is on the first page, I thought, "Oh no, it's going to be one of those books." Thankfully, the dog doesn't immediately die or anything and the book isn't about Kat's grief over her dead dog. Hooray.

This turned out to actually be a pretty good book. I'll admit, it's a little more stretched out than I would have liked, but a lot happens. It isn't just about her dog getting hit by a car. It isn't just about dealing with the whole bike theft thing. It isn't just about tutoring the annoying girl in math or meeting the woman who accidentally hit her dog. It's a whole bunch of things rolled into one that helps Kat grow as a person and learn through experience. 

A good book for young readers, because a lot happens in a relatively short amount of time and Kat has to deal with some important, complex issues (fights with friends, reputations, making new friends, and of course the whole dog thing). This is a good book for kids who like to read.










 The dog doesn't die at the end.

Scrappy Little Nobody - Anna Kendrick, Anna Kendrick


For more reviews, check out my blog Craft-Cycle

A very humorous, relaxed book. Filled with various anecdotes about Kendrick's life, the book maintains a good balance of serious and fun. Kendrick describes some of the hardships and difficult times in her life, but also mixes in her characteristic humor. She comes off as very personable and relatable. 

The order of the book is a bit chaotic, jumping from one anecdote to another without much transition, but it is still easy to follow and enjoyable. 

I really enjoyed Kendrick's commentary on her life in retrospect, such as making fun of her naive self and planning what she should have said and done if some guy said something demeaning to her. 

Most of the humor is self-deprecating, so if you're not into the humor of someone making fun of themselves, you probably won't like this book.

A fun, silly read that sheds a little light on what it's like to be a celebrity who doesn't feel all that glamorous. 
Clifford's Teacher's Pets - Norman Bridwell
For more reviews, check out my blog: Craft-Cycle

This is an adaption of an episode from the TV series. 

A cute story with a very nice ending. I liked the moral at the end of the story about trying your hardest and doing the best you can. 

Simple story that is a bit repetitive, but still a good read.
Pirate Jam - Jo Brown

For more reviews, check out my blog: Craft-Cycle

This is definitely an Awwww book, one of those books you can't read without saying "awwww", at least in your head. It's a very cute story about two pirates who are horrible at being pirates. Lots of silly word play and clever ideas. This is a very good book. 

A funny story, sure to bring a smile to your face.

Sofia the First A Magical Match - Disney Book Group, Disney Storybook Art Team

For more reviews, check out my blog: Craft-Cycle

A nice story about friendship with an important lesson in the end. 

This is a fun and simple book. Good team work and problems solving.

The illustrations were cute in a very computer-y sort of way. Overall, a good read.

Doctor De Soto - William Steig


For more reviews, check out my blog: Craft-Cycle

Such a well-written and enjoyable book. I love this story. It is written in such a simple way, but feels perfectly complete. 

A fun read about outstanding those who want to do you harm.


Let's Go Philadelphia - Patricia Reilly Giff
For more reviews, check out my blog: Craft-Cycle

This is the first book I have read in the Polk Street Kids series. 

Overall, a good story with a nice morale at the end. Not a lot happens, but it was an interesting way to incorporate fiction and non-fiction. Some awkwardness in events that were a little confusing such as Beast telling Mrs. Miller she was "pretty good" when she smiled or Beast actually thinking he was supposed to write a report about Benjamin in another class rather than Benjamin Franklin. Just weird little things that didn't quite make sense. 

I liked that this book included a short guide to visiting Philadelphia with maps and suggestions of places to go.
The Strange Case of Origami Yoda - Tom Angleberger


For more reviews, check out my blog Craft-Cycle

This book was much better than I thought it would be. I picked it up in the clearance section because I was intrigued by the cover. My expectations weren't very high, but this book definitely exceeded them. 

This is a unique story of maneuvering your way through middle school. I loved the idea of putting together a case file. This added a really interesting element to the story. Angleberger did a good job of keeping the story going though. And of course trying to figure out if Origami Yoda was the real deal or not was very fun. 

Great book. I enjoyed how much the characters learn and mature in such a short story.

The book also contains a tutorial for how to make an Origami Yoda. I haven't tried it out yet, but love the interactive element. 
The Stuff of Legend: Book 1: The Dark - Brian Smith,  Mike Raicht,  Charles Wilson (Illustrator)

For more reviews, check out my blog Craft-Cycle

This story works perfectly as a graphic novel. I love the contrast in characters' appearances in the "real world" vs. The Dark. The artwork is amazing. It is such an interesting contrast between childhood play and actual war.

The plot itself is very interesting. It's kind of like Toy Story if Buzz and Woody went on a murderous rampage to save Andy from a nightmare incarnate. Awesome stuff. 

Cool beginning to the series. I am looking forward to reading the next book. 

The Uncanny Valley: Tales from a Lost Town - Gregory Miller, John York

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For me, this book was just okay. I liked the idea behind it and the structure was interesting, but I prefer stories that are thorough and fleshed out. Many of these just felt like creepy descriptions rather than complete stories. I will say, I was expecting something entirely different based on the whimsical, colorful cover. 

Definitely a collection of uncanny and macabre stories. As with any collection, some were better than others. I would warn those who don't do well with animal violence to find something else to read. The majority of animals mentioned in the book get hurt or die, usually in grotesque ways. After the first story, I almost stooped reading because of this. But I hate not finishing something I started.

There are a few gems that stand out, but for me there was nothing spectacular. Many of the stories were previously published in other sources and it shows. They're all set in the same place, but they don't really connect outside of the last handful that suddenly add an overarching plot that has nothing to do with the previous stories. 

Okay read for a free ebook.

Detective LaRue: Letters from the Investigation - Mark Teague


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Interesting story. I enjoyed the epistolary style, but I could see how it may not resonate with young children. The story is really driven by the letters so it may be a bit confusing. The wording is often vague so I think it is suited for more advanced readers than very young ones. 

This is a surprisingly dark story in my opinion. Although I did like the placement of the idea that cats should be kept indoors to protect small animals. 

Good overall.
Wolf at the Door - MaryJanice Davidson
For more reviews, check out my blog Craft-Cycle

I read this book on a road trip. It was a perfect book to read in the car, because I could easily detach myself from it if a conversation started and I didn't have to pay too much attention to the text, which usually gives me a headache.

Knowing that it was a paranormal romance involving vampires and werewolves, my expectations weren't all that high.

I will note that this is the first MaryJanice Davidson book I have read, let alone the only Wyndham Werewolf book I have read. Therefore, I didn't really know anything about it going into it. I think I got by fine. It can be read as a standalone. Like most books, it's probably better if you've read the previous books, but I knew what was going on for the most part.

However, that doesn't mean I liked the book. This is Twilight for adults with more murder and less love triangles. The writing was pretty poor. The author used a lot of (parentheses), even within characters' speech. I don't even know how one talks in parentheses. It made reading it very awkward. Also the repetitiveness of the sentence "But!" was very irritating. How is that it's own sentence? 

The plot was pretty dull too. While the back cover claims it's a book about "female werewolves playing private detective", Rachael seems to forget that people are being murdered while she's off in La La Land with Edward. The whole murder investigation plays very little into the story. The resolution of the crime spree was horribly lame and a huge let down. It was one of the most ridiculous things I've ever read. The characters even note how ridiculous it is, then try to logic their way through it, which seemed to just be a lazy way to write a weak-plotted story strewn together with awkward sex scenes.

Not a fan. I did find the first Undead book in the Little Free Lending Library, so I'll probably give it a try at some point, but after reading this one, I have pretty low expectations for it. 
Ines' Words - Haidji
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Beautifully written in Haidji's characteristic style. I enjoyed this short book. This one is especially musical and melodic. A simple story, but a very intriguing one. 

I really love Haidji's descriptions. One of my favorites was:

"Was left in the room,
in Silence.
The Silence that says everything by telling nothing."

Nicely written.
Boo, Bunny! - Kathryn O. Galbraith, Jeff Mack

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A very cute picture book. I love how simple the words are, but that there is still a whole story that goes on when combined with the pictures. The illustrations are great as well. A fun tale of being brave and making friends.

Waiting for a Sign - Esty Schachter
For more reviews, check out my blog Craft-Cycle

I received a copy of this book in exchange for an honest review.

I absolutely loved this book. Amazing. Truly amazing. This is a perfect example of a character changing and maturing throughout a novel. At the end, Shelly is a completely different person from who she was in the beginning, sneaking up on her deaf brother and saying mean things he can't hear. 

I love how complex the story is, focusing on various relationships and storylines. It is still easy to follow, but complex enough to make it really interesting.

One of my favorite elements was how seamlessly Schachter works in various aspects of Deaf culture and etiquette when talking to people who are deaf or hard of hearing (looking at the person signing instead of the person interpreting). Schachter founds ways to effortlessly put these things into the story so it educated the reader without making them feel like someone was ranting at them. 

I also really liked the focus on talking things out and sharing feeling, especially among the male characters. I love how open Ian became about the things that upset him and how he is able to talk through them with Shelly. 

This is a truly fantastic book. I loved every page of it. I cannot recommend this book enough. 

Schachter put a lot into this novel and it really shows. You can feel her on each page and it is an amazing experience.
The Adventures of Ook and Gluk, Kung-Fu Cavemen from the Future - Dav Pilkey, George Beard, Harold Hutchins
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There was nothing necessarily wrong with this book. It was entertaining and funny to the degree I expected of a George Beard and Harold Hutchins original.

However, I think Dav Pilkey kind of wrote himself into a box with the Captain Underpants/Super Diaper Baby series. The book greatly lacked the gross-out humor of the other books. It was still good, but I missed that raw disgust I felt when Super Diaper Baby literally fought a piece of poo or when Captain Underpants got eaten by a giant toilet. There was a little, tiny glimmer of gross stuff in this book, but it pretty much just stopped at purely-liquid puking (that really just looked like water). This may sound weird, but as a grown-up, I wanted this book to be grosser.

Having said that, I still liked the story. It was still ridiculous like the others with a weird, all over the place plot. But I would say this one relies more of awesome-ness elements (cavemen, dinosaurs, kung-fu, time travel) than gross-out humor.