My 2-year-old son has requested this story every night for the past two months. He loves the illustrations and the rhyming words. So fun to have somet...moreMy 2-year-old son has requested this story every night for the past two months. He loves the illustrations and the rhyming words. So fun to have something to look forward to at the end of the day!(less)
This quick read is a valuable addition to any parent of young children.
I enjoyed Ms. Cohen's other non-fiction article, Talk to Your Baby, and picked...moreThis quick read is a valuable addition to any parent of young children.
I enjoyed Ms. Cohen's other non-fiction article, Talk to Your Baby, and picked this one up because of that. I'm a parent of two young children who are on the edge of showing more aggressive sibling rivalry, and was curious what I might learn. This cute story contained a surprisingly simple trick that I want to try ASAP. It also contains a useful table with do's and don'ts to reinforce the information there.(less)
Write with Lions is a wonderful addition to a new writer's toolbox. Filled with dozens of Aesop's fables, writing advice, prompts, and exercises, this...moreWrite with Lions is a wonderful addition to a new writer's toolbox. Filled with dozens of Aesop's fables, writing advice, prompts, and exercises, this book has a little of everything to get you started with a new story idea or break through writer's block. Many of the fables come with illustrations to help inspire writers while working on their next tale.
Writers of all ages would benefit from this book, but younger writers may need help with some of the vocabulary. I think this would work best in a home school or classroom setting, where a teacher can help guide students or build on the wonderful examples.
This book is best for new or intermediate writers. I plan to recommend it at seminars I teach and to members of my writing group who are looking for inspiration.(less)
PODs is Michelle Pickett's debut novel. It brings a new spin on the zombie theme, and focuses on a teenager named Eva as she is selected as one of the...morePODs is Michelle Pickett's debut novel. It brings a new spin on the zombie theme, and focuses on a teenager named Eva as she is selected as one of the people to live in an underground POD while a disease ravages the rest of the population on the surface.
Overall, I enjoyed this story. There's a fair amount of action, a fair amount of romance (truthfully, too much for me, but I'm a guy), and a well-imagined idea about how the government would handle this situation. It's a good first novel from this author, and I look forward to seeing more from her.
That said, there were also some things I didn't like. I would have loved to see more of the government's reasoning for (view spoiler)[selecting 4.0 students from ages 13-25. The idea that they'd pick "smart kids" instead of selecting a broad array of people with real-world experience, not to mention having a broad age range so some people have experience with raising children for repopulating the earth (hide spoiler)]. I also didn't understand Eva's obsession (view spoiler)[David while she gives very little thought to her parents throughout the second half of the book (hide spoiler)].
Even with those objections, this book was an enjoyable way to spend a few evenings. Worth the read if you'd like a unique spin on the zombie genre.["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>(less)
Ms. Cohen's short article packs a ton of helpful research into a small package. When I originally downloaded this article, I expected a few tips on ho...moreMs. Cohen's short article packs a ton of helpful research into a small package. When I originally downloaded this article, I expected a few tips on how to help your baby make verbal connections (and it does). I was pleasantly surprised to find that it also explains some of the science behind what's happening in your baby's brain during different stages of one's neurological development.
Well-written, well-structured, and a great value. Worth the time for anyone who spends time with infants and toddlers. (less)
The poems in this collection range from darkly humorous to sad observations of the current state of humanity. Echoes of the Boston Marathon bombing an...moreThe poems in this collection range from darkly humorous to sad observations of the current state of humanity. Echoes of the Boston Marathon bombing and school shootings show in several poems, and it's enlightening to see how some of these events are shaping teens today. I can see echoes of my own thoughts from my teenage years in these words, and it's interesting to see how far I've traveled from that time (even though it wasn't all that long ago).
My favorite line from the entire collection must have been this (in reference to the author's own eventual funeral): "First of all, fuck allllll your mundane grief leave that shit at home." I love the honest emotion and sentiment contained in that single sentence.
To the author, I'd say that you should keep going, keep writing, and keep moving forward. Check off those things on your bucket list, and keep adding more things to it. Keep writing honestly, and your work's going to continue to speak to people. Looking forward to seeing more from Mr. Walton soon!(less)
Gripping stories, but not always easy to read. These are real people facing real challenges, so be prepared for some real gut twisting as they share t...moreGripping stories, but not always easy to read. These are real people facing real challenges, so be prepared for some real gut twisting as they share their raw emotions. Amazing how people are able to find hope in their darkest hours. Worth the time.(less)
From the cover, you might assume this is just for girls. You'd be wrong.
This book is campy, fun, and includes a wide cast of characters...think The Br...moreFrom the cover, you might assume this is just for girls. You'd be wrong.
This book is campy, fun, and includes a wide cast of characters...think The Breakfast Club with a zombie apocalypse instead of detention. As the cover implies, there is some kissing, but there's also a lot of zombie-bashing excitement. It's exactly the type of book I would have read in high school, and I enjoyed reading it as an adult.
Like many high school books and movies, there are some stereotypes presented in Donna of the Dead. You'll find groups of geeks, cheerleaders, and jocks, along with our mostly average heroine, Donna. All of these students are thrown together by virtue of a single common thread: they've survived the initial press of a zombie apocalypse.
Donna is a very believable teenage girl, with all of the likeable (and not-so-likeable) traits that entails. She's attractive, reasonably intelligent, and would prefer to let the guys handle the blood and guts. She's attracted to strong guys, and enjoys pursuing her crushes. However, she's not very brave, and has to face the consequences when this puts her friends at risk. One of the things I liked about Donna is how she grew by the end.
That said, Deke, Donna's best friend, is by far the character I liked the most. He seems a lot like the guy I was in high school, and pushes Donna to always improve herself. He doesn't let her get away with much, and he's definitely a guy you want by your side in a zombie apocalypse.
For a campy, fun, enjoyable read, pick up a copy today.
Fun, quick read. I could easily imagine these kids as they raced through imaginary danger. Loved the illustrations: a mix of realism with imagination,...moreFun, quick read. I could easily imagine these kids as they raced through imaginary danger. Loved the illustrations: a mix of realism with imagination, just like the story.
Great for parents who want to remember what it's like to be a kid, and good for kids to join the imagination party!(less)
I've always loved Roswell stories--I'm a big fan of the Roswell TV series, and have been reading about UFOs since I was a little boy. The mix of fear...moreI've always loved Roswell stories--I'm a big fan of the Roswell TV series, and have been reading about UFOs since I was a little boy. The mix of fear and excitement of meeting a new, intelligent, extraterrestrial species has always kept me coming back to stories like these.
Mortimer takes a different spin on the subgenre, launching us into the future. President Martin discovers that there's a lot of truth in the Roswell stories from nearly a century before. Now the aliens are coming back, and the new president has only six months to figure out a solution when his predecessors could not.
Short chapters, lots of tension, and cool technology make this tale a fun bedtime read. Anthony Wilson masterfully weaves hauntings, government conspiracies, and Roswell aliens into a suspenseful tale. Looking forward to reading more from this author! (less)
Upside Down Kingdom is a character-driven story based on real events from the years 2000-2002. It follows Amy Ashe, waitress and lobbyist, as she disc...moreUpside Down Kingdom is a character-driven story based on real events from the years 2000-2002. It follows Amy Ashe, waitress and lobbyist, as she discovers more about who she really is.
The core story revolves around how Amy changes from a responsible, recent college graduate to someone willing to walk off the job without a moment's notice. After reading the book and learning more about the author's background, it's clear she must have experienced something very similar to many of the events in this book.
My favorite portions of the book come from the scenes surrounding 9/11 and the Beltway snipers. This is where Ms. Brown's talent really shines--she captured the emotions of how fear unsettles everyone, but there are still people who are willing to show bravery.
Keep in mind that this is a character-driven story, so it should be read as such. The intention is for you to spend your time getting to know each person and enjoy their interactions. People who are used to plot-driven stories may feel that this story moves slowly, but I believe that's the intention here, and I looked forward to reading a little more about Amy and her friends each night.
Readers should be prepared to meet a wide cast of unique characters. From the self-absorbed Chad to the cool and collected Mr. Watters, to her cultist roommates and eccentric waiters and waitresses, there's no shortage of people to love in this story. I look forward to seeing more from Ms. Brown in the future!(less)
Bottom line: Realistic consequences in this fast-paced, gritty suspense novel.
Goodreads scale: 3.5/5 stars (liked it, rounding up to 4 since the story...moreBottom line: Realistic consequences in this fast-paced, gritty suspense novel.
Goodreads scale: 3.5/5 stars (liked it, rounding up to 4 since the story sticks with you) Amazon scale: 4/5 stars (recommend purchasing if you're already interested in the genre/subject matter)
There was a lot to like about this book. We're quickly introduced to a wide cast of believable characters who seemingly have unrelated stories, other than their ties to gangs and drugs. Character decisions have realistic consequences, and events often fail to follow the plan. The short sections made for a fast read.
I loved how the author's research shined through--without wanting to give spoilers, several details added flavor and realism to this story, without feeling forced. The author clearly did her homework, and kudos for that.
Readers who have trouble with villains who commit murder with no sign of remorse (or even the acknowledgement that murder is wrong) will likely have trouble with this book. On the other hand, based on the real-life stories coming out of mass killings in Mexico and other places, I certainly believe these kinds of people exist. If you're okay with being a little disturbed and like action and adventure, I'd expect you'll like this book.
There were several minor things that bugged me. For folks who are interested in just reading a story cover to cover, it's unlikely these will bother you, so you can stop here. I'm being nitpicky with these details, and Sacrifice is worth the read.
Nits (mostly targeted for the author or for other writers): (view spoiler)[In places, there were internal thoughts that weren't italicized (the first on the second page of the Kindle book). This jarred me since it ignored established conventions on how internal thoughts are handled. I noticed several minor typos, such as the missing word in: "Her restless fingers the only sign the bars of her private cage were closing in on her." In this case, it's a missing "were", or it could have been combined with the previous sentence using a comma.
Some of the choices of character names were confusing. For example, I kept confusing Duke and Drew, who are completely different characters with completely different goals, simply because the names appear so much alike. This made the story harder to follow.
Each section starts with a quote from history or another novel, which I liked. On the other hand, the book is all composed as a single chapter, which I didn't--I was initially confused as to why the quotes suddenly appeared, and it took me a few seconds to figure out they were fancy section breaks (especially since the first section break used a more traditional ***). I like using a table of contents to gauge how a book is organized or to quickly navigate to something that happened earlier in the book, but this story didn't offer it. I also rarely finish books in a single sitting, so having a convenient stop point is really appreciated, even if it's on a cliffhanger hook. (hide spoiler)]
Do not click on this until you have read the book. It deals with the ending. (view spoiler)[While I had very little trouble following the story, one scene in particular was confusing, which was unfortunate since it was near the end. When Berta came around the back of the house, I kept thinking she was climbing on top of the building. It took several times reading the chapter to realize that she was actually climbing a fence that surrounded the back of the house. If the author reads this, I'd recommend fixing that problem. (hide spoiler)]["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>(less)
Bottom line: Big improvement in this sequel to The Integral Trees.
This book was a good follow-up to The Integral Trees. Rare for a sequel, The Smoke R...moreBottom line: Big improvement in this sequel to The Integral Trees.
This book was a good follow-up to The Integral Trees. Rare for a sequel, The Smoke Ring was much better than its predecessor. We learned a lot more about Kendy, who became much more human (ironically enough, though you'll have to read to find out why).
Even so, the weakness in this story did continue to be character development. The plot as it weaved through this world and its challenges drove the story. We do find out more about the genetic drift in this free-fall environment, so there's a lot of potential for interesting things there.
I'd recommend this to folks who are curious about how human life would adapt when stripped of its original culture, and how humans might use 500-year-old technology as it decays and falls into disuse.(less)