Luann Luann's Comments (member since Oct 21, 2008)

Luann's comments from the Pick-a-Shelf group.

(showing 961-980 of 989)

8565 In the Days of the Vaqueros: America's First True Cowboys by Russell Freedman

4 stars. I always enjoy Russell Freedman's books, and this one was no exception. Freedman gives clear and concise information in an interesting way. This book is slightly shorter than others I've read of his, but I still felt like the subject was well covered. Freedman mentions several times that the Mexican vaquero has not been romanticized like the American cowboy and thus not a lot has been written about him over the years. I also really enjoyed the many paintings and sketches throughout the book, including several by Frederic Remington. My favorite chapter deals with contests and games enjoyed by vaqueros, some of which are quite similar to events in our modern-day rodeos. I included a few excerpts from that chapter in my review if you are interested.

8565 Team Moon: How 400,000 People Landed Apollo 11 on the Moon by Catherine Thimmesh

Four stars. Fascinating stuff! Thimmesh did a great job of keeping the technical aspects simple, yet at the same time not dumbing them down. The photos are breathtaking. They work together with the text and the quotes to tell an amazing and informative story. I was especially interested in the part about the photos, cameras, and development of the film that came back with them from the moon - since they had to kill any "moon germs" that might have come back, but didn't want to wait for the month-long quarantine to end before developing the film.

I was too young to remember when Apollo 11 landed on the moon. After reading this, I feel, in a small way, as if I was able to experience it with all of those who were there. Now I need to watch the "From the Earth to the Moon" miniseries.
8565 Brr! Reading this made me cold! Blizzard: The Storm That Changed America is a well-written account of the blizzard that struck the East Coast in March of 1888. Jim Murphy used newspaper articles, books, letters, and autobiographies written by survivors as sources for much of his information. I didn't find it quite as intriguing as The Great Fire or An American Plague, but still felt it was well worth reading. I was very interested to read about the changes that happened because of the blizzard, such as wires being moved underground and cities taking responsibility for snow removal. I gave it 3 stars.
8565 I'm glad everyone is excited for YA in January! Although I feel a little guilty about picking something that is really one of my preferred genre. It seems a little too easy in a group where we are SUPPOSED to be stretching our reading to OTHER genres we might not read on our own. :) That said, I'm excited to read some YA from my TBR list that I have really been meaning to read, but haven't been able to squeeze in yet:

The Catcher in the Rye by J.D. Salinger
The Book Thief by Markus Zusak
Speak by Laurie Halse Anderson
Looking for Alaska by John Green
8565 Now that I've finished the CHRISTMAS DAY challenge, I can concentrate on reading a few nonfiction books. :) I just read Secrets Of A Civil War Submarine: Solving The Mysteries Of The H. L. Hunley by Sally M. Walker. I gave it four stars. Walker succinctly and clearly explains complicated scientific processes involved in the excavation, conservation, and preservation of the Civil War submarine, the H.L. Hunley, and its contents. The H.L. Hunley was the first submarine to sink a ship in wartime, yet the submarine and its crew were never found following the successful attack. And that wasn’t the first time the submarine had sunk, killing all its crew. Walker brings the story of the H.L. Hunley and all the people involved to life. This is highly recommended for students interested in the Civil War and many areas of science and math. I was especially interested in the parts dealing with the forensic anthropologist and the forensic artist.
Dec 19, 2008 04:13PM

8565 Just finished Yellow Star by Jennifer Roy. An amazing story of the holocaust written in a very poetic manner. I would recommend it to everyone. A great book to round out my CHRISTMAS DAY list!
Dec 18, 2008 08:52PM

8565 You just beat me, Ros! I'm half way through my "A" book in DAY. I plan to finish the rest of "A" and "Y" tomorrow or the next day.

UPDATE: Finished The Alchemyst by Michael Scott and am now moving on to my LAST BOOK which is Yellow Star by Jennifer Roy.

I enjoyed The Alchemyst more than I thought I would. I recommend it for fans of Harry Potter, Fablehaven, and Rick Riordan's Percy Jackson books.
Dec 18, 2008 12:34AM

8565 Finished The Diamond of Darkhold by Jeanne Duprau. I recommend it for those who have read The City of Ember books. Now on to "A" with The Alchemyst by Michael Scott.
Dec 14, 2008 04:30PM

8565 I rounded off CHRISTMAS with Skipping Christmas by John Grisham. It's actually quite similar in theme to A Christmas Carol - and just a lot of fun. Now I'm beginning DAY with The Diamond of Darkhold by Jeanne Duprau.
Dec 13, 2008 03:22PM

8565 All-of-a-Kind Family is a very nice book - the kind I would have absolutely loved when I was little. Now to finish up "CHRISTMAS" by rereading Skipping Christmas by John Grisham. Then it will be on to "DAY." :)
Dec 12, 2008 08:28PM

8565 I enjoyed Mammoth by John Varley much more than I thought I would. Now on to All-of-a-Kind Family by Sydney Taylor.
Dec 11, 2008 09:36PM

8565 Just finished my "T" book, Troubling a Star by Madeleine L'Engle. Now to finish my "M" book which is Mammoth by John Varley. I started it last night because I accidently left Troubling a Star at work - which is why I couldn't finish it until today. Very frustrating!
Dec 07, 2008 11:16PM

8565 Just finished Seeing Redd by Frank Beddor. I can't say that I highly recommend it. I would only suggest reading it if you have read the first one (The Looking Glass Wars) and REALLY liked it. Seeing Redd is the second in the series. Now I'm starting my "T" book, which I hope is a much happier and more pleasant YA book: Troubling a Star by Madeleine L'Engle.
Dec 05, 2008 01:10AM

8565 This has been such fun so far! Luckily I've really liked the books I picked, although that could change. There are a few I'm uncertain about coming up on my list. Just finished Incident at Badamya. I love everything I've ever read by Dorothy Gilman. This one definitely didn't disappoint. Now on to "S" with Seeing Redd by Frank Beddor.
Dec 03, 2008 10:06PM

8565 Just finished A Room With a View, now on to Incident at Badamya by Dorothy Gilman for my "I" book.
Dec 02, 2008 11:15PM

8565 Just finished Hattie Big Sky - which I gave five stars.

Now moving on to A Room with a View. I'm curious to see how it compares to the movie.
Dec 02, 2008 01:09AM

8565 Finished A Christmas Carol. I had forgotten how much I like it! I need to start a tradition of rereading it every December.

In honor of our Christmas Day game, I added a trivia question about A Christmas Carol to the Never-ending Book Quiz. There are a few other questions for A Christmas Carol there as well:

There are a few others that don't show up on that page that can be found by searching for "Christmas Carol" at the main trivia page:

Dec 01, 2008 01:51AM

8565 Fiona, if you don't mind reading on your computer, there are several full text versions of A Christmas Carol available at Google Books. Here is a link to one of them:

8565 Thanks for the suggestion, Karen! I see that some people are doing that, but I didn't think that far ahead when I made my Christmas Day list. All of the books - both for the Christmas challenge and the December reads - are from my TBR list. So I've been wanting to read them anyhow, and I now have them ALL sitting here in two stacks. Many of them are from the library, so I might as well read them now while I have them here. I'll be sure to plan more carefully next time we have two things going on in the same month, though. :)
8565 Ted Bell's first YA novel is chockablock* with adventurous ideas. So chockablock, in fact, that I'm afraid he put every idea he's ever had into this one story and didn't save anything for his next book. In Nick of Time, we have lighthouses, castles, underground caves, pirates, treasure chests, bilingual talking parrots, Nazis, spies, reclusive millionaires, several types of boats, experimental submarines, aeroplanes, dognapping, and a time travel device invented by Leonardo da Vinci. And that's only in the first 100 pages! All of these elements combine to make a story that is historical fiction, science fiction, mystery, spy thriller, and adventure.

I would have enjoyed this book a lot more with a more focused story. What's wrong with a simple spy thriller set in the time before the start of World War II? Or a time travel adventure to help a great-great-grandfather defeat an evil pirate? Either one would have been nice. Combining all of the ideas in one story made this feel, at times, like a parody of the various genre.

This wasn't a terrible book. I did like some of the characters enough to read to the end to find out what happened to them. But this also won't be on the top of my purchase list for my library. I wanted it to be a fantastically exhilarating read, but it just didn't quite get there for me. I gave it two stars.

On a side note, I'm really afraid that a sequel will somehow involve a Peter Pan story. I hope he doesn't go that way. There have been too many of those lately.

*Chockablock was used twice within ten pages towards the beginning of the book. The first time, I thought it was fun to see the word in use. The second time, I almost stopped reading. Luckily, he didn't use the word again. Chockablock is a word like "plethora" that needs to be used sparingly - if at all. Too frequent use of a word like that (twice within ten pages is really pushing it) and it just becomes pretentious. Of course, I’ve managed to use it four times in this review. :)

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