Literary Life    |    Reflections    |    Chasing My Bliss

Danny and the Dinosaur

Saturday, October 17, 2009

Danny and the Dinosaurby: Syd Hoff
published: 2005 by Barnes & Noble Publishing,(first published 1958)
isbn13: 9780760765029
Hardcover, 61 pages

My rating: 5 of 5 stars

This story begins with a little boy named Danny. He takes a trip to a museum where he meets a dinosaur who comes to life and together they spend the day around town. A lovely story that kids of all ages can enjoy!

Not only is this a good picture book to be read to a young child, but it is also a great story for confidence boosting in children who are starting to read. Being a beginner reader book, it's probably a level 2, since it introduces a lot of digraph words mixed with first grade level sight words. With lots of repetition of words throughout the story, the child becomes a more confidant reader by the end.

A must have for all boys who are starting to read!

Handle with Care

Wednesday, September 30, 2009

Handle with Care by: Jodi Picoult
published: March 3rd, 2009 by Atria (first published 2008)
isbn13: 9780743296410
Hardcover, 477 pages

My rating: 2 of 5 stars

"Things break all the time.
Day breaks, waves break, voices break.
Promises break.
Hearts break."
"Every expectant parent will tell you that they don't want a perfect baby, just a healthy one. Charlotte and Sean O'Keefe would have asked for a healthy baby, too, if they'd been given the choice. Instead, their lives are made up of sleepless nights, mounting bills, the pitying stares of "luckier" parents, and maybe worst of all, the what-ifs. What if their child had been born healthy? But it's all worth it because Willow is, well, funny as it seems, perfect. She's smart as a whip, on her way to being as pretty as her mother, kind, brave, and for a five-year-old an unexpectedly deep source of wisdom. Willow is Willow, in sickness and in health.

Everything changes, though, after a series of events forces Charlotte and her husband to confront the most serious what-ifs of all. What if Charlotte should have known earlier of Willow's illness? What if things could have been different? What if their beloved Willow had never been born? To do Willow justice, Charlotte must ask herself these questions and one more. What constitutes a valuable life?" (from the back cover)
Although I normally enjoy Picoult's novels and controversial subject matters this book was a true disappointment. Any Picoult fan can tell you that she follows a formula -- which I normally enjoy. The problem with Handle with Care is that with the formula; it is too similar to My Sister's Keeper to not compare the two. There's a child with a medical issue, parents with personal issues, a sibling that is struggling with life and lawyers with long dragged out stories that have nothing to do with the main story line except to add a few extra hundred pages.

If you read My Sister's Keeper, you don't need to read this one to know how it will pan out or how it will end. The only part I enjoyed about this book was learning about Osteogenesis Imperfecta and how Picoult used recipes in the fronts of chapters to elaborate more. Other than that, a huge disappointment! I suggest either taking it out of the library or skipping it all together. It's not worth the purchase price on clearance.

Eating Heaven by Jennie Shortridge

Saturday, September 26, 2009

Eating Heaven My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Eating Heaven is the story of one woman's struggle with her relationships with her family, men and food. At times the book is humorous and other times it's sad but it deals with real life issues that everyone can relate to on some level.

Although I found a lot of the relationships to mature unrealisticly the main story had enough depth to keep me reading and attach myself to the characters while rooting for a happy ending.

All in all, a good quick read.

The Time Traveler's Wife by Audrey Niffenegger

Sunday, September 20, 2009

The Time Traveler's WifeMy rating: 3 of 5 stars

I honestly have a love-hate relationship with this book. The storyline was well thought out, mesmerizing but the author got in the way of the story. Her need to impress the reader with her knowledge of art and music did not serve the story but took away from it with wasted pages.

Another problem I had with the book was her derogatory word choices. When one is having sexual encounters with ones spouse how often do they use the word f*ck to describe something romantic? And what woman in her right mind would describe her private area as her c*nt when pleasuring herself? Plus the sex scene between the two Henry's had me re-reading it over and over to see if I was reading it correctly. None of this had to do with the story and could have been omitted so that the author could explore the plot better.

The actual story was very romantic and had me sitting on the edge of my seat waiting and wondering what would happen next. A definite tear jerker.

I think if Niffenegger worked more on character development this book could have been the five star that so many people are giving it. For me, it needed a bit more work and rates more as a 3.5 stars.

Overall, a good read and one that can be devoured on a rainy afternoon with a box of tissues close.

The Help by Kathryn Stockett

Wednesday, September 16, 2009

The HelpMy rating: 5 of 5 stars

Kathryn Stockett has made a bold, brilliant and successful effort with her first novel, The Help. This story is not just about the struggles of black maids in Mississippi back in the 1960's. This story is about the struggle to find one's identity and the means of preserving it while trying to fit in as one is expected. The characters who are either too tall, too flashy, or too black by society's standards laugh, cry, love and hate their way through this novel that offers hope for better tomorrows. This book is a reminder on how much society can change in a remarkably short period of time when people of courage and strength insist that change is both possible and necessary.

I highly recommend this novel and greatly anticipate seeing what Kathryn Stockett will come up with next.
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"You know you've read a good book when you turn the last page and feel a little as if you have lost a friend." ~ Paul Sweeney