UGH. This was NOT a good book to read as an ebook, at least the way I did (overdrive digital download to my iPhone 5s). Since Neil Patrick Harris: ChoUGH. This was NOT a good book to read as an ebook, at least the way I did (overdrive digital download to my iPhone 5s). Since Neil Patrick Harris: Choose Your Own Autobiography is (obviously) predicated on the "choose your own adventure" format, which involves turning to certain pages based on the "plot" choices you make (generally, one choice is what truly happened in NPH's life, and the other is made up, i.e. if he hadn't become famous and just worked in a deli back home in New Mexico). This didn't really work in the ebook version; only some of the "click here"s worked so I was forced to just read the book through like a normal book. But anyway, about the book itself.
I really enjoyed Neil Patrick Harris: Choose Your Own Autobiography, and I truly can't think of another (auto)biography with a second person narrative. First of all, not many books in general have a second person narrative. It's really effective in getting you interested in his life, though it's pretty interesting to begin with. I have to admit that in celebrity autobiographies, I find the celebrity parts the most interesting (working in Hollywood, meeting famous people, etc.) So one of the best things about NPH's autobiography is that he was famous for most of his life, so most of it is "Hollywood." There are even short sections written by people mentioned in the book, such as Perez Hilton (Hilton's bullying and threatening to "out" NPH forced his hand in coming out). It was especially juicy to read when NPH threw shade at Kelsey Grammer for not taking his work in Sweeney Todd seriously. However, my absolute favorite chapter in the book is completely fictional (and not written by NPH, actually): one that covers his adventures with Harold and Kumar.
Other than the ebook issues, the only other downside of this book is that you'd have to have some sort of background knowledge of NPH to really appreciate the book. But it was a very light, very interesting autobiography that sometimes became too gimmicky but was balanced out really well for the most part. It was a great middle of the night read, which was just what I needed at the time!...more
The Magician's Land was just what I needed to read at the time that I read it, and I thoroughly enjoyed it. In fact, it may be my favorite of the MagiThe Magician's Land was just what I needed to read at the time that I read it, and I thoroughly enjoyed it. In fact, it may be my favorite of the Magicians trilogy, and Lev Grossman is that rare fantasy writer who (in my opinion) keeps building--these books get better and better, and I'm sad that the trilogy has ended. I so dearly love this trilogy. Although it is a real-world, grounded look at fantasy, it pays homage to the genre with the utmost reverence.
Usual fantasy series disclaimer: I will not include any spoilers to this book, but if you're planning on reading the whole series, there will be spoilers to the previous books.
In this latest, and final, installment, Quentin has been expelled from Fillory and finds himself back in the real world. Desperate for money, he finds himself in an Ocean's 11 type of heist group, with fellow outcast magicians, into which he has been recruited by a talking black bird. We also learn that Fillory is dying (where The Magician King followed a loose The Voyage of the Dawn Treader model, this book is similar to The Last Battle: Further up and further in!).
I don't want to give too much away, plot-wise, but another fantasy reference here is The Amber Spyglass, which also uses Narnia as a reference point. Not to be too tangential, but I really loved His Dark Materials in the beginning but started to tire of how it seemed that it was being subversive for subversion's sake. Not so with The Magician's Land. The series is all about questioning magic. Not the physics behind it (what magic looks like and how it works has always been pretty murky in all of these books), but the purpose of it. My favorite part was learning more about the Chatwin children (similar to the Peter, Susan, Edmund, and Lucy, in the Narnia books)--it was dark but also very interesting.
As I said, you can really read how much affection Grossman has for the Narnia books and other fantasy in this series, and really for books in general. There are lots of quotes in here for the book lover, and there's even a magical library. There are tons of good quotes, but one of the things I like is that all of the character just talk like normal people (unlike most fantasies you read). Grossman SO skillfully walks that line between normalcy/humor and good writing that really makes you think. (Click on the quotes people have added to goodreads for an example) As Quentin says in the book, "That was one thing about books; once you read them they couldn't be unread." I wish I could read this series for the first time!...more
I feel like I'm not really able to properly evaluate these parenting/baby/health books until I've actually been in the trenches, so to speak, but I reI feel like I'm not really able to properly evaluate these parenting/baby/health books until I've actually been in the trenches, so to speak, but I really liked Eat, Sleep, Poop: A Complete Common Sense Guide to Your Baby's First Year--from a Pediatrician/Dad, possibly the best of any "first year of your baby's life" book that I've read. Why? Because it's very simple, straightforward, and sometimes funny. The premise is simple: an award-winning pediatrician, Scott W. Cohen, writes about the first year of your baby's life--from the perspective of a pediatrician AND a dad, drawing from his experiences as a first-time father. Unlike a lot of other "first year" books, this one is broken down by subject (feeding, vaccinations, etc.) instead of a week-by-week or month-by-month layout. So it really depends on your personal preference as to whether you'd prefer this book over others. However, I found that, at least in the pregnancy books I've read, I liked a more subject-focused book because sometimes there was important information that applied to the entire pregnancy, but it was hidden in the "fifth month" chapter.
Eat, Sleep, Poop: A Complete Common Sense Guide to Your Baby's First Year--from a Pediatrician/Dad is a bit misleading, because it covers a bit more than your baby's first year, including how to introduce your toddler to the idea of having a sibling, milestones up to 2 years of age, etc. As someone who is trying to finalize my "birth preference plan," it was very interesting to get his take on things like the vitamin K injection, eye ointment, etc. that I really hadn't even heard of until the past nine months. If you're strapped for time and energy (what new parent isn't?), there's a little text box after each section giving you a one sentence summary (i.e. there's no harm to it, so just do it). There are also sections called "Daddy vs. Doctor," in which he includes anecdotes about the advice he gives as a pediatrician and how it conflicted with his emotions as a first time father (i.e. sleep training). There are lots of helpful charts too, such as how to determine what kind of infection your baby is having...more
I took a chance and added Moo! to my reference collection, sight-unseen, because I'd heard that it was a fantastic read-aloud, and the premise (there'I took a chance and added Moo! to my reference collection, sight-unseen, because I'd heard that it was a fantastic read-aloud, and the premise (there's only one word in the entire book, save one at the end). I finally got a chance to read it to a group of K-5 graders in an after school program, and they LOVED it, so I will definitely be adding it to my school visit rotation (this would probably be better for preschool, but it went over really well). The funny thing is, I really didn't think that it was all that great or funny while I read it, especially since I'm rather out of breath these days, but the kids could not stop laughing. It also has nice large illustrations, which was helpful since I was reading to a group of over 60 kids in an assembly. It's about a cow who goes on a joyride, and her "mooooooooooooooooo!"s and "Moo?"s, and hilariously, "Moo-moo! Moo-moo-moo! Moo-moo-MOO-MOO-moo-moo-moo-moo!"s as she's trying to explain herself to the police officer are pretty darn funny, and you don't need to have a common language to get a kick out of this book.
Ages 2-5, but the elementary school kids loved it! so I'll say all ages on this one...more
Great read-aloud that was a big hit with the 2nd grade class that I read it to. The premise is that a monkey tells you that he can read your mind. HeGreat read-aloud that was a big hit with the 2nd grade class that I read it to. The premise is that a monkey tells you that he can read your mind. He tells you that he's thinking of a purple kangaroo, and that makes you think of it! And of course, the fact that the purple kangaroo roller skates, juggles, and has a chinchilla friend named Senor Ernesto de Pantalones definitely contributed to the laughs.
Well, I'm still loving this series, which is GREAT for a YA dystopian series (though this series combines so many genres--fantasy, sci-fi, fractured fWell, I'm still loving this series, which is GREAT for a YA dystopian series (though this series combines so many genres--fantasy, sci-fi, fractured fairy tale, dystopian--that I'm not sure WHAT it is). There are so many twist and turns that it almost makes your head spin, but it's very easy to follow (PERFECT for teens), and even though another character/storyline was introduced, it's not too confusing, and the new characters are really interesting. It's one of the few books I've read that had multiple ongoing storylines where you aren't just itching to get to the storyline that you REALLY want to hear about.
This review contains spoilers to the first book in The Lunar Chronicles, Cinder. There are no spoilers to this book, Scarlet. If you wish to read the entire series, you should Cinderskip this review.
This book begins where Cinder left off, with Cinder a fugitive from Queen Levana as well as the Eastern Commonwealth, who is desperate to find her to restore peace between Earth and the Lunars. There are also intermittent sections told from Prince Kai's perspective, but for the most part, he is a very minor character in the book. Cinder escapes with "Captain" Carswell Thorne, a handsome (of course!) rogue cadet of the American Republic. The other storyline introduces completely new characters, the titular Scarlet and the mysterious street fighter Wolf, which, as you've undoubtedly guessed, are very loosely based on the story of Little Red Riding Hood, just as Cinder was loosely based on Cinderella. Ok, when you say the phrase "a street fighter named Wolf" aloud, it all sounds completely ridiculous. But trust me when I say that this is a very worthy sequel, and one that makes you forget about the ridiculousness inherent within. Also, it's not all life and death with these people. There are some really funny moments, and the romantic cheesiness isn't *too* bad. In fact, when the characters start to get really gushy, another character comments on how gushy they're being. I'm excited to read the third book, Cress, which is based on Rapunzel. Also, I continue to enjoy the audiobooks of this series, but as I commented in my review of Cinder, the accents are kind of overdone. Still, one of my favorite YA series so far.
I'm more than a little sick of If You Give a Mouse a Cookie, but it's one of the biggest crowd pleasers I know. I have the big book version and the kiI'm more than a little sick of If You Give a Mouse a Cookie, but it's one of the biggest crowd pleasers I know. I have the big book version and the kids love it. Actually, I have five copies of this book and all of the sequels, and kids always ask about it, even third and fourth graders. They really can't get enough.
I really like the stark, geometric illustrations of Mouse Mess. Now that I think about it, there are so many books involving mice and food; you couldI really like the stark, geometric illustrations of Mouse Mess. Now that I think about it, there are so many books involving mice and food; you could actually do a storytime on that if that wasn't so weirdly specific (If You Give a Mouse a Cookie, Lunch, The Little Mouse, the Red Ripe Strawberry, and the Big Hungry Bear). It's a simple story of a mouse who makes a mess eating and then marvels at the mess that the humans who live there made. It was probably the least favorite book that I shared at storytime, but it was still enjoyed.
I won't belabor the genius of Mr. Mo Willems. I've never met a book of his that I didn't fall in love with immediately, which is quite a feat considerI won't belabor the genius of Mr. Mo Willems. I've never met a book of his that I didn't fall in love with immediately, which is quite a feat considering he's very prolific. This is a good one if the child(ren) you're reading to is familiar with the Pigeon series, because there's a little bit of inside joking going on there. Anyway, the Pigeon books or Elephant and Piggie are the pinch-hitters of my collection. Sure-fire winners that never fail to make kids laugh their butts off. I also love the endpapers, which show chocolate chip cookies with nuts on the front and plain chocolate chip on the back.