Saturday, March 31, 2012

Book Review: 11 Birthdays

A Book Review of:
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11 Birthdays, by Wendy Mass


Amanda has not been looking forward to her eleventh birthday ever since she and her best friend Leo (who has the same birthday) stopped talking to each other a year ago at their 10th birthday party. After suffering through it, she wakes up the next morning just to realize that she has to live the day all over again-- school, gymnastics tryouts, and her crummy party!


I started listening to this as an audiobook, which was very well done, but I checked out the book because I wanted to read more. This book is perfectly written -- from Amanda's point of view, Wendy Mass accurately depicts the feelings of Amanda as she experiences her birthday. From embarrassment, disappointment, and anxiety to her humor, excitement, and pride, Amanda's a very well-rounded character who is extremely believable and likable. Although there is the hint of fantasy (the repeating of a day over and over again), it reads like realistic fiction. It's a great story about friendship and generosity as well, and for anyone who has gone through a rough patch in friendship, it also proves to be a good example

Friday, March 16, 2012

Book Review: Dead Until Dark (Sookie Stackhouse Series, Book 1)

Dead Until Dark by Charlaine Harris

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

After watching True Blood, I wanted to see how the book measured up. Plus, I was in the mood for a book that required a little less thinking. Coming into it from True Blood, I already knew what to expect more or less, and I wasn't let down. It differs from True Blood in terms of characters, but stayed pretty true otherwise. I really liked hearing it on audiobook because the narrator does a good job of characterizing Sookie.

It's good for a light quirky read. It's an easy romance-mystery novel, but she's not your normal amateur detective in that she's not very actively trying to figure out who the murderer is in her hometown, and you get a lot more of overall characterization than you do in Charlaine Harris's Grave Sight series. I'd recommend it if you like quirky paranormal romances with a bit of mystery.

Wednesday, March 14, 2012

Book Review: Rowan Hood: Outlaw Girl of Sherwood Forest

Rowan Hood: Outlaw Girl of Sherwood Forest (Rowan Hood, #1)Rowan Hood: Outlaw Girl of Sherwood Forest by Nancy Springer

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

This is a great book that makes the legendary story of Robin Hood accessible to girls, and lets them experience similar adventures from a girl's point of view. The protagonist is a young girl named Rosemary whose mother is part aelfin, which gave her some magical powers, most especially in the art of healing. Rosemary returns home one day to find her cottage burned down, and herself an orphan. Her mother had always told her that her father was Robin Hood, and so she sets out to find him. She feels alone and tries hard to make it on her own. Along the way to meet her father, she encounters several interesting characters who become her friends. She soon finds that she has inherited unique aspects of her mother and father's characters, and discovers who she is by the end.

This book is a great book for girls to read that will make them feel capable and ready for an adventure. Springer doesn't sugar coat how hard it is living out in the woods for Ro (who disguises herself as a boy named Rowan to protect herself), and she doesn't paint this time period as one that is easy for girls to live in. Nevertheless, Ro is a strong character that girls will find easy to relate to. The author uses some of the language you might expect for the time period, but it doesn't get in the way of reading it.

I would recommend this book to girls who like the Robin Hood tales, who like strong female protagonists, adventure, or books set in the Medieval Period (or stories with knights, kings, princesses, etc).

Nancy Springer is a fun children's author who takes interesting male characters and puts a girl's twist on them. She does this with her Enola Holmes series (Sherlock Holmes's younger sister). If you liked this, try that series as well.

See my post of Springer's book The Case of the Left-handed Lady, part of the Enola Holmes series.