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FatherCraneMadeMeDoIt

FatherCraneMadeMeDoIt

Firebird - Misty Copeland, Christopher Myers
For more reviews, check out my blog: Craft-Cycle

This book is absolutely beautiful. I love the lyrical free-style writing. The imagery created in Copeland's words is gorgeous. She invokes pictures of "a dreaming shooting star of a girl" and "wrap[ping] our hearts careful as ribbons on pointe shoes". So beautiful. You can really envision what Copeland writes and it is magnificent. 

The illustrations are also fantastic. Myers really captures the precision and beauty of the ballerinas' movements on each page. Absolutely gorgeous.

The message is also beautiful. This is such an uplifting and inspiring book. I really enjoyed it. This book makes the reader really believe that he or she can do anything.

Fantastic. Well-done.
Flat Stanley's Worldwide Adventures #2: The Great Egyptian Grave Robbery - Jeff Brown, Macky Pamintuan

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

This was an okay read.

I think I was just too much in a rational mindset to enjoy this book. I can suspend my disbelief enough to accept that Stanley was flattened by a bulletin board while sleeping in the original book series. I can even pretend that you can send a flat human being through the US Postal Service. But I just can't get over the ridiculousness that Stanley's "goose disks" (flat goose bumps) would allow him to stick to walls like a starfish. He is wearing a long-sleeved shirt and pants. How does he have enough exposed skin to stick to the wall, ignoring the fact that human pores (even if flat) do not turn into suction cups? This was just too much for me. Apparently I am too much of a grown up for this part of the series. This whole thing just doesn't make sense. 

The entire book was pretty ridiculous with tons of plot holes. It is a pretty typical "Egyptian" story full of treasure in secret tombs and creepy mummies. There's a fairly predictable "twist", but the story seems kind of lazy. While there are some facts about Egypt at the end of the book, the story is based on various stereotypes and misunderstandings about Egypt. Though I have not been to Egypt, I don't think anyone there says "Holy sarcophagus!" This book is based on a very basic concept of Egypt, mainly that there are really old pyramids that people try to steal from. 

I actually really enjoyed the original Flat Stanley chapter book, but this one is just too ridiculous. It fells like an attempt to imitate the Magic Treehouse books, but is a complete failure. This thing makes no sense. Did not enjoy.

Scooby-Doo! and the Frankenstein Monster - James Gelsey, Duendes del Sur
For more reviews, check out my blog: Craft-Cycle

A spooky mystery in a wax museum told in an easy-to-read chapter book for fans of Scooby and the gang. This book was well-written with good descriptions. The book also has a few illustrations throughout, which helps break up and enhance the text. 

A good mystery for kids to try to solve as they read. It is fun to try to crack the case. Having never been to a wax museum myself, I'm not sure how much kids would relate to or understand the setting, but it definitely added a creepy vibe to the book.

My only read issue with the book was the illustrations. They were well-done, but didn't always fit with what happened in the book. At one point, Scooby sneezes, knocking over a Wolfman statue, which knocks into a Dracula statue, which lands on the Frankenstein Monster. But in the illustration, the monster is under a collection of five different statues, including a cowhand (and no Dracula or Wolfman). Also, at the end, the text says the countess takes off the monster's mask, but in the illustration, it shows Fred pulling the mask. Little details, but a bit annoying.

Overall, a good read with a fun mystery. 
Night of the Living Worms: A Speed Bump & Slingshot Misadventure - Dave Coverly, Dave Coverly
For more reviews, check out my blog: Craft-Cycle

A very amusing and entertaining read. This is the first Speed Bump & Slingshot Misadventure book I have read and I enjoyed it. I really liked the format of the book. It blends traditional block text with speech bubble dialogue. It is one step closer to full chapter books from Mo Willems books. A good introduction to chapter books. 

This is a fun read with lots of puns and silly scenarios. Very entertaining. I also enjoyed the humorous drawings.
Wedgieman and the Big Bunny Trouble (Step into Reading) - Charise Mericle Harper, Bob Shea
For more reviews, check out my blog: Craft-Cycle

A very funny book about a superhero named Wedgieman and a giant bunny. This is a very silly and humorous book in the same vein as Dav Pilkey's Captain Underpants/Super Diaper Baby/Dogman. Wedgies and poop jokes galore. It has the same dumb humor as many of Pilkey's series. Take the villain, whose name is Bad Guy. You know it's dumb, but it is still satisfyingly funny. 

This is the first Wedgieman book I have read so I didn't really get the transition from Veggieman to Wedgieman or why he gives himself a wedgie at the end, but I did enjoy the book (and plan on reading the previous books as well). 

A funny, entertaining read.
Secret of the Time Tablets (Cleopatra in Space #3) - Mike Maihack
For more reviews, check out my blog: Craft-Cycle

Awesome continuation of the Cleopatra in Space series. This is the third book in the series and I highly recommend reading the first two before reading this one. A lot happens with this one in terms of the prophesy, time tablets, and overall story arch. There are many references to what happened in the previous books, but I think it's best to just read them. They are just as amazing as this one.

As with the first two, great artwork and funny dialogue. This one has a sort of Western/cowboy style to it. It is a fun adventure story sure to delight anyone who is a fan of space adventure, ancient prophecies, and kick-butt historical figures. I really love the characters.

This one is a bit darker than the other ones and death is much more common, but it is still a fascinating and exciting adventure. Loved it. Can't wait for the next book. 
Harry Potter - A Journey Through A History of Magic - LIBRARY BRITISH
For more reviews, check out my blog: Craft-Cycle

This is a gorgeous book!

I am always hesitant about buying Harry Potter books outside of the ones J.K.Rowling actually wrote. When I was a kid, I collected everything HP, but as an adult, I've become more picky (probably because I have to spend my own money now). There are just too many Harry Potter-related books to possibly have all of them.

I saw this at my local library and was interested. After reading three pages, I immediately ordered my own copy. 

It is a beautiful book. The book shows various items featured in the British Library exhibition, "Harry Potter: A History of Magic". While I wish I could visit the actual exhibition, this is the next best thing.

The book includes artwork from the new illustrated editions of the first three books by Jim Kay, various historical items related to witchcraft on display, original drafts of part of the HP books handwritten or typed by J.K.Rowling, and much much more.

This is a great edition to any HP fans library.

While there are tons of amazing pictures in this book, I wouldn't recommend it for kids because it is so long and text-heavy. I think it is more appropriate for pre-teens and beyond. There are a few fun experiments and activities included, which may appeal to children, but I think it is a bit lengthy for them to enjoy as a whole.  

Amazing book. It is so fascinating and beautiful and splendid. Truly spell-binding. I loved it. 
 
Go, Diego, Go! the Essential Guide - Brian J. Bromberg
For more reviews, check out my blog: Craft-Cycle

Before reading this book, I didn't really know anything about Diego. I had never watched the show and just knew that he was Dora's cousin. This is a very informative guidebook about Diego and the animals he rescues. It goes through what Diego does, the tools he uses, and the people/animals who help him. (Sidenote: Diego has way cooler gadgets than Dora ever did.)

This is a good book for fans of Diego or kids who really like animals, but it's not that interesting to read through. There are tons of facts of animals and how they adapted to various ecosystems (desert, rainforest, Africa, etc.), but it is best read over multiple sittings. It's a lot of information to take in at once. Because it's a guidebook, it is just a lot of facts, rather than a story.

The pictures are okay, but many look like they were taken directly from the show so they are blurry. 
AlphaOops!: The Day Z Went First - Alethea Kontis, Bob Kolar

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

I love this fun twist on an alphabet book. In this one, the letters go whenever they feel like it instead of alphabetical order. Beautiful chaos ensues, full of subtle messages about trying new things and doing things in a different way (as well as asking nicely for what you want). 

Fun illustrations and dialogue. This is a wonderful book. At the bottom of every page, each letter is superimposed onto the letter space that it took, allowing kids to see the actual order of the letters and the order used in the book. Very fun. Great way to test letter identification and expose kids to words that start with each letter.

Elephant & Piggie Like Reading! It's Shoe Time! - Mo Willems, Bryan Collier, Mo Willems, Bryan Collier

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

Like many of the books in the Elephant & Piggie Like Reading! series, this one is fun but weird. The story follows a girl picking out shoes to wear for the day. The shoes try to convince her to choose them, then try to talk her out of her decision when they do not agree with her. Weird, but fun. There are tons of puns (most of which will probably go right over kids heads) and silly illustrations. 

I don't like these books quite as much as the Elephant and Piggie books, but they are still fun books to read aloud.

Are You Ready to Play Outside? (An Elephant and Piggie Book) (Elephant & Piggie Books) - Mo Willems

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

Another adorable book featuring Piggie and Gerald. In this one, the two friends learn to make the best out of bad situations and prove that they really are great friends.

Fun illustrations, hilarious dialogue. This is a great book. 

As with the other Elephant and Piggie books, this one is best enjoyed when read aloud. It is also fun to read with children, each person reading a different part. 

Fun and engaging, this is such a wonderful series.

I am Going! - Mo Willems
For more reviews, check out my blog: Craft-Cycle

A cute book that reminds us that we can all be a little over-dramatic sometimes. 

As with the other Elephant and Piggie books, this was has fun and engaging pictures. The formatting of the text is also very engaging, making reading fun. This is a great book to read aloud with a child, each picking a different character to read for. However you read it, this is a book that is meant to be read out loud (and is all the better for it). 

Fun, adorable book. No wonder we all love Elephant and Piggie.
The Wonderful Wizard of Oz (Graphic Novel) - Eric Shanower, L. Frank Baum, Skottie Young

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

I actually ended up liking this book more than the original novel. I have never been a huge fan of the Oz series. I've always had kind of a weird relationship with them; I'm intrigued by the ideas and characters, but I just don't like them (and I can't stand Dorothy). But I do enjoy various retellings. 

I really liked this book. It perfectly combines Baum's original text with all-new, fabulous artwork. I loved the revamp of the characters. I especially enjoyed the artwork. I really like Young's interesting, slightly grotesque style. Very well done. 

The text does stick to the original story (and all it's gruesome details). This means that the book can get a little violent at times such as the Tin Man killing a cat with his ax to rescue a mouse, the Tin Man decapitating wolves (the Tin Man is surprisingly violent), and the Scarecrow wringing the necks of birds. These things happen in the original so they happen here. Young's artwork is not overly bloody or gory, but there is only so much one can do when illustrating such a story. This is not a criticism of the book, but a warning to parents who may want to give this book to their kids too soon. 

Overall, a very good adaptation of the original Oz story.

Modern Romance - Aziz Ansari, Eric Klinenberg
For more reviews, check out my blog: Craft-Cycle

This is an entertaining and informative read that perfectly blends research and humor. I really enjoyed this book. It is part humor, part research project, part self-help book, part dating guide, and all around awesome. 

I had been meaning to read the hardcover edition of this book that has been sitting on my bookshelf. Then my husband asked if we could get an audiobook of it from the library so we could listen to it on a roadtrip. So like any reasonable person, I sat in the car with my hardcover open and allowed Aziz Ansari to read it for me while I followed along like on of those read-along books. 

This is a very unique and interesting book. It blends personal stories with actual research including focus groups, surveys, interviews, and literature reviews. The book is written in a very simple way with easy-to-understand charts and graphs (in the physical book). Ansari and Klinenberg present the information they found in a way that can be easily read by everyone. 

There are pros and cons to the audiobook vs physical book. The physical book includes pictures, charts, and graphs, which the audiobook does not. However, the audiobook is read by Ansari himself, so there is that. The text is basically the same with some added wording in the audiobook, such as Ansari making fun of the reader for being too lazy to read the actual book. There are minor differences between the two versions (like a story about a picture of a deer in the hardcover book that turns into a story about a picture of a horse in the audiobook), but the pertinent information is all the same. 

A great book for people who are interested in "modern romance" as well as those who typically don't like nonfiction. This is a great nonfiction book to try if you normally aren't fan of them. Fun, humorous, and entertaining, this is a great read. 

Review of My Most Recent Anthology

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

As a contributor to this anthology, I don't think it's fair for me to include a star rating, but I'd like to express some of my thoughts and reactions to the book.

The theme of this anthology is fear and phobias and it is filled with a diverse amount of fear-related stories. The fear of clowns, the fear of time, the fear of the sun. A great collection of phobias. 

My story, "Threshold Dreams" is also featured in this anthology. 

I especially enjoyed "The Price of Greed" by Sheri Velarde. I think she did a really good job of intriguing the reader. 

Good for those looking for a little fear in their lives. A nice, creepy collection of stories that'll have you looking over your shoulder because, after all, "it's behind you".
 

 

 

Intrigued? Find your copy now on Amazon

 

Also prepare for newest anthology, Doomsday, coming soon. 

File Under: 13 Suspicious Incidents - Lemony Snicket

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

A fun, engaging read that allows the reader to partake in the solving of thirteen mysteries. The book is set up so that the mystery is presented in the first half, then the conclusion can be found at the end. This is a nice way to engage the reader.

The mysteries themselves were well-written and it was find to try to figure out what happened in each. 

The only downside was that I listened to the audiobook. This is a weird book to listen to as an audiobook, because instead of flipping to the end of the book to see if your guess was right, you'd have to change the CD, then find the appropriate track (also the tracks are only listed on the actual CDs). Way too much work. So I just had to listen to all thirteen stories, then try to remember what happened in each separate mystery by the time I got to listen to the conclusions. Still a fun book, but an odd choice for an audiobook. Probably best to just read the physical book, although the all-star cast of narrators is pretty great.