Thursday, September 25, 2014

Review of Marx by Corinne Maier and Anne Simon

Marx
by Corinne Maier and Anne Simon
Nonfiction Standalone
72 Pages
Age Range: 12+
Grade Level: 6th Grade
Publisher: Nobrow Press


This is not just a biography about Karl Marx. It is an illustrated biography about Karl Marx.









The Short:
I really had a good time reading this book. It was short and sweet, but really told about Marx's life. It was really interesting to look at his thoughts and dissect how his ideals came to grow in today's society. His ideas are still relevant today, and he did a very good job of knowing what he thought, and putting that into action.

The Good:

  • It was funny. There were random bits of humor put into this book, and I really enjoyed it. Whether it was a comical drawing or just something one of the characters said, I greatly appreciated it. 
  • The drawings were fantastic. All the characters looked so unique, and you could actually tell who was who when looking at the pictures. The drawing were very stylized, and I had a good time just looking at them and I did more than once find myself saying, "Wow, I wish I could draw even half as good as this artist can."
  • The story was interesting. You got a look at Karl Marx's life without it being too much because if you're reading this book for an in-depth look into Marx's life you won't be satisfied, but all I wanted was a short and aesthetically peaking look into his life, and impact. That was exactly what I got. The book didn't stretch on too long, nor was it too short to where I didn't learn anything. 
  • I loved the times when we took a break from his life and learned about what he was writing about.  The book did a very good job explaining some of his key concepts with very few words. I really respected the authors' ability to do that. 
  • The use of the pictures was marvelous. The pictures were not just to make the book look good, but they were also visual aids to help you understand what you're reading about.
  • I said this last time I read a Nobrow Press book, and I'll say it again, THE QUALITY OF THIS BOOK IS SO GOOD. Not just the content, but also the physical book. The hardcover is very high quality, and the paper was very thick, so the pictures were vibrant. Also, the size of the book was right for the story. It is a different size than Map of Days by Robet Hunter, the other Nobrow book I read, and the size of the book seems to depend on what the story and the art require. Thank you to Nobrow Press for knowing how to make a book. 
The Bad:
  • It moved a bit too quickly. One minute he was a kid, then the next panel he is going to college.
  • There was not enough introduction to the characters, and the events that took place. You were supposed to assume who the characters were to Marx, but it was never really explicitly said.
The Rating:

XOXO,
Belle

_______________________________________________________________________________
The Content:
Language: not a problem at all. Nobrow keeps it classy.
Sex: not mentioned. Way to be classy, Nobrow.
Violence: much talk of revolution and some of wars. no real violence is shown. Stay classy, Nobrow

_______________________________________________________________________________
I received this book in exchange for an honest review, and honestly it would be more difficult to make a dishonest review than a truthful one. 

Review of How We Fall by Kate Brauning

How We Fall
by Kate Brauning
304 Pages
Release Date: November 3, 2014
Age Range: 15+
Grade Level: 10th Grade
Publisher: Merit Press

This is the story of a teenage girl the summer before her senior year in high school. This may sound like any other contemporary, but it has a twist. She is in love and involved with her cousin. Don't freak out. That's not all the story is about. There is a murder mystery twist to it.








The Short:
This book was not bad at all. Having said that, it was not very good either. It was just kind of meh. The characters were not that good, the story was okay, and the murder aspect of it was just kind of random.

The Good:

  • The murder was fun. I had a good time reading about it. It was interesting and moderately suspenseful.
  • The romance was very well done. It was incestuous, but it was done in a  way that no matter what I was rooting for them.
  • The old movie. The main character was obsessed with old films, and it was wonderful to hear her thought about them. 


The Bad:

  • I didn't really connect with any of the characters. They were not bad, or poorly developed, but they were just not ones that I felt at all similar to. 
  • I thought the murder aspect was stupid. Don't get me wrong it was fun, and well done, but it was just useless to the story. It did not help advance the plot in the slightest.
  • The pacing was too slow. I did not have a good time reading the beginning because it was just the main character moping around, and I was like "GET OVER YOURSELF!!"


The Rating:


XOXO,
Belle

________________________________________________________________________
The Content:
Language: not a thing
Sex: some, lots of kissing. some taking of the girl's shirt off
Violence: Murder mystery. What do you expect
Etc.: Incest

________________________________________________________________________
I received this book for review from the author, so all opinions are my own, and honestly, it would be really hard to come up with a fake review. :)

Friday, September 19, 2014

Review of Lord of the Flies by William Golding

Lord of the Flies
by William Golding
Standalone
202 Pages
Age Range: 14+
Grade Level: 9th
Publisher: Perigee

This is the story of a bunch of kids who plane crashed on an abandoned island, and how their little society evolves.










The Short:
I know that every literature teacher ever will disagree with me, but THIS IS NOT A VERY GOOD BOOK! Granted, they subtextual elements in this story are wonderful, but when you take this book at face value, you run into some problems. Namely, it is boring. It is a very slow to develop book with TOO MUCH DESCRIPTION! I didn't enjoy the story of the book, but at the very least I can respect this book.

The Good: 

  • Like I said before, the subtext was beautiful. Everything was a symbol, and figuring out what the symbolical purpose of each character was like a very intricate puzzle where each piece fits into numerous other pieces. Once you get through all the symbols, this book is about the evil that every person has inside of them, and no matter what, when given the chance, a person will always be evil. 
  • The characters were pretty cool. I enjoyed Ralph's persona the most because he was democracy. He was the fair boy on the island -both physically and symbolically. 
  • Having said that I liked Ralph, Jack never ceased to entertain me. Him and his clique were so outlandish wight their beliefs and actions that you can't help but have fun reading about him. 
  • The way the Golding made fear such a big part of the island was fascinating. I have never read a book where fear became the sole motivator for all of the character's actions. Everything that they did had to do with being scared of the beastie which did end up just being an embodiment of the boys on the island. 
The Bad:
  • The plot of the book was B-O-R-I-N-G!! Literally nothing happened until about chapter 5 when they had their council meeting. It was just not something that interested me.
  • The side characters just faded into the background. Simon, Samneric, Piggy, Jack and Ralph were the only characters that were helpful in moving the story along. All the others were just painted savages or littluns. And even then, the littluns maybe talked once if they even had that. Most of them didn't even have a name, much less a start to a  personality.
The Rating:

The Wrap-Up:
Overall, this was not a very good book, but that was expected because I read it for school. this was by no means the worst book I have read in school.

I am especially glad the Ms. LitTeacher didn't make us read it for longer than we should have. Ms. LitTeacher: U da read MVP.

XOXO,
Belle

____________________________________________________________________________
The Content:
Language: Not much of a problem. There is an infrequent use of the a-word.
Sex: not a problem because there were only boys on the island, and in the time this was written, no one spoke about homosexuality. There is one scene that is considered  a rape scene, but if you're only looking at the face value of the book, there is no sex.
Violence: this is one of the most blatantly violent books I have ever read. 

Tuesday, September 16, 2014

Review of The Dolls by Kiki Sullivan

The Dolls
by Kiki Sullivan
First book in The Dolls series
Age Range: 13+
Grade Level: 8th Grade
384 Pages
Publisher: Balzer and Bray

This book is about a girl who goes back to her small southern town after being away from the town for many years. Her encounters with people are less than normal, and as she finds out more about her town from a mysteriously attractive group of people called The Dolls, she realizes that there is more to the story than what is just on the surface.






The Short:
I was hoping that I would like this book. The premise was cool, and the cover is gorgeous, but it just wasn't the book for me. It seemed very shallow, and I couldn't really connect with any of the characters. They were all very rash and illogical, and I just don't like characters like that. The story was average, and not something that I was particularly fond of.

The Good:


  • The magic/ voodoo system was pretty cool. I did appreciate that aspect of the book. It was very intricate, and it seemed to be something that the author spent a ton of time perfecting.
  • There was a spy in the town, and it was cool that you never knew who it was. I did guess correctly, for it was not that hard to figure out. 
The Bad:
  • I didn't like any of the characters.  Quite simply, they were just snotty. All of the queens felt entitled to everything even though it was at the expense of someone else. I couldn't get a feel for the characters and their motives. Not a good aspect of the story.
  • The story was soooooo slooooooow. It just kept going. I thought that I should be nearing the end, but I would still have 100 pages left. It was a lot of fluff and not a lot of action.
  • I didnt like the message that this story sent. It was kind of like, "it is okay to take from others as longs you're benefitting". I do not like it.
  • Going back to the characters: Eveny's narration was like a girl who pretended to be able to be snarky. I hate characters like that. JUST BE YOU!
The Rating:

XOXO,
Belle

_______________________________________________________________________________
The Content:
Language: minor if any
Sex: lot of sex talk, some sexual actions
Violence: minor, if you're REALLY squeamish just don't read this.

Tuesday, September 9, 2014

August 2014 Book Haul

As you may very well already know, I sort of went on a book buying ban this month, and that is definitely still in effect, BUT I got some books. 31 books to be exact. THAT IS SO MUCH! I am on a ban and I still get books. WHAT?! I'm going to say in advance that I won/recieved most of them, and only actually got books from Goodwill, for school, from a festival, and 1 because I had an Amazon gift card.
I know you're not here to hear me ramble about where I got books. I am only for the words, you're only here for the pictures of all the pretty spines of the books I got. So I'm going to stop rambling and show you the books.

Won in various Giveaway:
Take Back the Skies by Lucy Saxon (Twitter)
Otherbound by Corinne Duyvis (Twitter)
The Flip by Michael Phillip Cash (blog giveaway)
When You Were Mine
and
Famous in Love both by Rebecca Serle (Fangirlish)
Between the Tides by Patti Callahan Henry (Library Thing)
The Swap by Megan Shull (Kimberly Faye Reads)
Working Stiffs by Lucy Lenter (Goodreads)
Ashes to Ashes by Jenny Han and Siobhan Vivian (Twitter)
The Far Dawn by Kevin Emerson (Epic Reads)
Amity by Micol Ostow (Goodreads)
Von Dutch: the Art, the Myth, the Legend by Pat Ganahl (Library Thing)


Sent for Review:
The Dolls by Kiki Sullivan
How We Fall by Kate Brauning
Afterworlds by Scott Westerfeld (!!!!)
Marx by Corinne Maier and Anne Simon

I Purchased All of these from my Local Goodwill:
Nineteen Eighty-Four by George Orwell
It's Kind of a Funny Story by Ned Vizzini
The Curious Case of the Dog in the Night-Time by Mark Haddon
Graceling by Kristen Cashore
The Demon King by Cinda Williams Chima
The Red Pyramid by Rick Riordan
Tsarina by J. Nelle Patrick

These I bought in various places -I will specify:
Macbeth by William Shakespeare (Amazon for school)
Napoleon's Buttons by Penny Le Courteur and Jay Burreson (Amazon for school)
The Assiassin's Curse by Cassandra Rose Clarke (Amazon -I won a  gift card)
Dreamsongs Volumes 1 and 2 by George R.R. Martin (the Decatur Book Festival -$7 each!!)

WOOOOO!! BOOKS!!! 

So I didnt actually stick to my book buying ban this month. Well, I kind of did. Only Dreamsongs and The Assassin's Curse really broke the rules, so NOT BAD! I should only buy one book in September (The Infinite Sea by Rick Yancey), so it should be pretty satisfying.

I should have reviews for the review books up by the beginning of October, so be looking forward to that!

XOXO,
Belle

Saturday, September 6, 2014

Review of The Cure for Dreaming by Cat Winters

The Cure for Dreaming 
by Cat Winters
Standalone
368 Pages
Age Range: 12+
Grade Level: 7th Grade
Publisher: Amulet Books

A young suffragette's father decides to use a hypnotist to get all the rebellion out of her. When the hypnotist tries to get her to become docile, he instead gives her the power to see people's true nature, but when he did that he also took away her ability to speak her mind when she is angry. As the suffragette and the hypnotist get to know each other, they increasingly become closer, and they learn the true nature of each other.





The Short:
I liked reading this book. It was witty and very interesting to see the suffrage movement from the perspective of a suffragette. The overall story was a compelling, and  a joy to read about. Having said that, there were a few problems with the story, and it took me longer than it should have to read it.

The Good:

  • It is very uncommon for me to read stories about women's rights because it usually doesn't interest me since I am not a feminist. This book may have changed my mind about that. I loved the women's rights aspect of the story. It was so interesting to see both sides of the dispute. The girl, and most of her friends are suffragettes while her father is a hardcore Anti-Suffrage person. The way that the women were treated by their fathers, husbands, the country, and just men in general was both horrendous and fascinating at the same time. Great job, Cat Winters, on making a beautifully realistic struggle for suffrage.
  • The supernatural aspect was very well done. I thought is was more than interesting to see how Olivia reached to the changes that the hypnotist, Henri, imposed upon her. She was at first just freaked out by the concept of seeing the world how it truly was, but after some time to get used to it, Olivia began to accept the gift, and at times was very thankful for it.
  • I adored the quotes from feminist books from the time period. They were not at all essential to the story, but they were a fantastic addition. 
  • The characters were very vivid. Olivia, and Henri seemed like people who could have actually walked the streets at the turn of the century. Even the small side characters were real to me. All the characters were given specific personalities, and they didn't ofter stray from who they were. the people stuck to their values, and that was wonderful to see.
  • The romance was well paced. It was a very meaningful romance that showed the progression of Olivia's character from a sheltered girl to a beautiful modern woman.
  • Bicycle Bloomer... Enough said. 
The Bad:
  • I thought that the story progressed very slowly. Don't get me wrong, it was a fantastic story, but it could have been fifty pages shorter, and still had the same effect on me. 
  • Some of the scenes seemed pointless, and I found that it was not necessary for some of the scenes to occur because it really did not do much to advance the story.
The Rating:

XOXO,
Belle

__________________________________________________________________________

Content:
Language: very minor. There may have been one instance of "hell" in the entire book.
Violence: minor if any
Sex: kissing, someone tried to force themselves on another character, but not much became of it

Thursday, September 4, 2014

September 2014 TBR

I hope to be reading more this month than I have in the last few, so I am going to be VERY ambitious in this TBR.

First off I am reading Lord of the Flies by William Golding for school. My class won't be finishing this in September, but I am at least going to make a dent in it.

Currently I am reading A Clash of Kings by George R.R. Martin and The Cure for Dreaming by Kat Winters which
I need to get done.

I have to read The Dolls by Kiki Sullivan, How We Fall by Kate Brauning, Marx by Corinne Maier and Anne Simon, and Afterworlds by Scott Westerfeld (!!!!) for review this month, so I got to get on those.



 Also, I am planning on splurging, and buying The Infinite Sea by Rick Yancey because I fell in love with The 5th Wave last year, and I gotta continue the series, and read the next book.

I just decided that I'm going to start incorporating two TBR jar pick of the month: one being a series and one a standalone. 
This month I am picking: CAN I GET A DRUMROLL?!

Standalone: The Ocean at the End of the Lane by Neil Gaiman
Series: Fire & Flood by Victoria Scott

I think that is outgoing enough: 8 books to finish, 1 book to get a dent into and 1 graphic novel.
Lets see if I can do it!

XOXO,
Belle

August 2014 Wrap Up


I did a pretty average reading job this month. It has been better than I have in a few months, so I guess that is a good thing, but I still want to get better with reading regularly again. Granted, I had to get reacquainted with school work, and Sophomore year is a lot more work than freshman especially when I am taking an extra class. But I digress, here are the books I read in August.


The Awakening by Kate Chopin
I didn't like this book. It was not very good, and the characters were ALL dull. When I wrote the review, I make a conscious decision not to finish the book, but when I showed up to lit on the first day of school, GUESS WHAT?! We had to write an essay the next day on it. I spent the entire next day of school reading the book, and you know what? It didn't get any better. The ending was shallow (well it was pretty deep for Edna :P), and overall it was not a good book. I stick by review even though I didn't have the full view of the book at the time.
2/5 Stars

Love and Peaches by Jodi Lynn Anderson
This was the perfect end to this series. It was just as sweet at the other two, but it was wonderful. All the characters became ones that knew exactly who they were, and did not need anyone to explain to them how they should act. The three girls became the person that they needed to be through going to the orchard, but even when they had to leave the orchard, the friends stayed together, and should be some of the friends that don't lose contact with each other. Also, BOYS! HOT DAMN the boys in this are perfect.
4/5 Stars

It's Not Summer Without You by Jenny Han
This series is the perfect one to read for summer. You got the beach. You got the feels. You got the smoking how guys. WHAT ELSE DO YOU NEED?! But really this book and the series overall is very well done. When you read the titles of these books, you would probably think that they are just some sappy, average, pointless, linear love story, but that would be a very wrong assumption. This book brought the family aspect along with the romantic ones. The characters in this feel real, and Jenny Han really knows how to tell a summery story.
4/5 Stars

We'll Always Have Summer by Jenny Han
So basically Jenny Han is perfect. I don't think I need to elaborate but because I love you guys, I will. This ending was great. She made the correct choice. It was crazy interesting, and all the characters stayed true to themselves. I was more than ecstatic for this ending, and if you haven't read this series, READ THIS SERIES!!!
4/5 Stars

Under a Painted Sky by Stacey Lee
I don't really read much historical fiction, but when I heard about this book, I immediately requested an ARC of it, and I received it! I immediately read this book, and I really enjoyed it. Stacey Lee really knows how to bring you on a journey of epic proportions. These two girls dressed up as dudes and won the Oregon trail. I don't think you can really win the Oregon trail (unless you're talking about the game), but these girls did. The characters were vivid and read, and overall just perfect. There were hot cowboys too, so that is always a plus. 
4/5 Stars

Map of Days by Robert Hunter
This is a graphic novel that I decided to read because I didn't want to start a new book yet. I adored everything about this book. The art was beautiful. The characters were interesting. The story was one of the weirdest thing I have ever read. And even the book itself was very high quality. I don't even have enough good things to say about this graphic novel. I really want to check out more are by Robert Hunter!
5/5 Stars

Lies We Tell Ourselves by Robin Talley
This was one of those books that you never forget. I haven't ever read anything from the Civil Rights Era, so I was immediately intrigued when I heard about this book. When I read this book, I thought it was wonderful. The characters were dynamic, and were exactly who they should be (even if they didn't think so themselves). I appreciated the LGBT aspect of this book, and I enjoyed how well done it was. This was a very interesting time period because everyone was VERY religious, and the white people were very close-minded. I can't even begin to describe the sympathy I felt for the black people at the all white school. You really should read this book when it comes out. 
4/5 Stars

I read some very good books this month, and one that was not good at all. I am very happy with the quality of the books I read in August, but I hope September is even better!

My September TBR should be up very soon!

XOXO,
Belle

Tuesday, September 2, 2014

Review of The Bone Treaty by T.C. McKee

The Bone Treaty
by T.C. McKee
First book in the Seal of Solomon Series
365 pages
Age Range: 14+
Grade Level: 9th Grade
Publisher: BookFish Books LLC

This book is about a girl who has the ability to see emotions, and she has been stalked by a creepy guy who she has never met, and has no idea who it is. One day she is attacked in a bathroom by guess who?! Creepy Guy! When tragedy strikes in her her hometown, she is is forced to come to terms with her powers, her family, and creepy guy.







The Short:
I had a fun time reading this book. It was a short quick read that was a good easy thing to read. I had a good time reading about the characters, and the story was pretty entertaining also.

The Good:

  • The world was pretty cool. This was nothing like I have ever read before because it was sort of an angel book but not really. The Elems were a very intriguing group of people, and I was always interested to read more about them.
  • The story arc was a good one. The story started out somewhat dull, but it quickly picked up, and some of the themes were great. 
  • The romance was good. She seemed to make the right choice for her, and I hope that she continues to be with said guy in the rest of the books. 
  • The powers were so interesting. It was like they could do a thousand things, but it was common whiting the secret organizations.
  • Oh yeah. Secret Organizations. SO COOL!
  • TBH Addie was pretty funny. She was sarcastic, and witty, and what else would I need in a main character.
The Bad:
  • Love triangles are so annoying. Addie kept going back and forth between he guys, and I was all like COME ONE MAKE UP YOUR MIND ALREADY!!
  • The information dumps. The story just throws so much at you so quickly, and I am sitting there like, "wat." 
  • The story didn't end. I wanted this to a standalone, but it is a series, and I don't even know how many books there is going to be or when the next book get released.
Overall: 
This was a pretty solid book. Not the best I have read, but it was also definitely not the worst. I liked it.

The Rating:


XOXO,
Belle
___________________________________________________________________________
The Content:
Language: mild language
Sex: some kissing, mostly innuendos
Violence: some violence. okay there is a good amount of violence. it was there but not very graphic
___________________________________________________________________________
I received this book in exchange for an honest review, all opinions are my own, and honestly it would be too hard to make a lying opinion.