April 27, 2012

Review "Wesley the Owl"

“Wesley the Owl”
by  Stacey O'Brien
My Rating:
Pub. Date: June 2, 2009
Pages: 256
Publisher: Free Press
Source: Library
Edition: e-audio book
Short and Sweet Synopsis:  A really touching book about a woman who raises an owl.

I found this book to be completely charming.  I learned a lot about owls and it really was a nice story.  I had no idea that owls were so emotional.  Even though there were parts of the book where I was just cringing because of the more gruesome ways that Stacey O'Brien had to care for Wesley, I still kind of wanted to adopt an owl.  Wesley was just such a sweetheart, I couldn't imagine a more loving companion.

  I will admit, I have always loved owls.  I actually have a tattoo of a tree with books blooming, instead of flowers, with an owl sitting in it.  I not only think they are beautiful creatures, but I love that they stand for wisdom and are the sacred birds of Athena.  I am going to be completely bias; however, I don't generally read non-fiction, so I think the fact I read this book in such a short period of time without getting board says a lot.  

I would recommend this book for animal lovers or people interested in learning about owls.  I would also recommend this book to anyone looking to read a quick biography.  Honestly, there is not much more I can say about the book, just give it a shot.

Here is a video of the author talking about Wesley.

April 26, 2012

Review of "The Butterfly Clues"

“The Butterfly Clues”
by  Kate Ellison
My Rating:
Pub. Date: February 14, 2012
Pages: 336
Publisher: Egmont USA
Source: Library and Bought
Edition: Hardcover and Audio
Short and Sweet Synopsis: Lo, an obsessive-compulsive teenage girl, is fixated on solving a murder mystery.  She feels oddly linked to the victim and will do anything to discover their connection.

While I am not a mystery reader, I thoroughly enjoyed "The Butterfly Clues".  Lo is a great character with lots of depth.  She was constantly surprising me with her actions.  Sometimes she seemed so weak, but then she would do something I would never have the guts to even attempt.  I also really enjoyed reading about Neverland or the bad part of town.  I can't help noticing how it sounds a lot like Wonderland near Boston and how everyone tells me NEVER to go there.  Neverland had a cast of characters that I fell in love with even if they didn't follow societal expectations.  They may have chosen careers I don't agree with, but Kate Ellison created relatable people in all of her characters.  

You need more reasons to read the book?  The murder mystery is intense, or at least for someone who isn't really into the genre.  I felt very concerned for Lo and knew she was putting herself in danger.  I was never sure who to trust and was happy that my earliest guesses did not turn out to be correct.  My concern for Lo was more than just for her life, but for her mental well-being.  Lo's mental state added a lot to the book.  I honestly would not have enjoyed "The Butterfly Clues" nearly as much if Lo had just been your run of the mills, teenage outcast.

I do have one negative.  I feel like the end went too long.  I felt like the story wrapped up at one point, but then it kept going.  It didn't go on for so long it was annoying, I just didn't find it necessary.  

Final Wrap up: Great characters, interesting setting, drama, murder, and addictive.  Only a smidge of the unnecessary.  I enjoyed the narrator in the audio.

April 25, 2012

“Why We Broke Up”
by  Daniel Handler
Illustrated by Maira Kalman
My Rating:
 Pub. Date: October 12, 2011
Pages: 352
Publisher: Hachette Book Group
Source: Library
Edition: Hardcover
Short and Sweet Synopsis:  This is the story of Min Green and Ed Slaterton's relationship from beginning to end.  It is told by showing an illustration of an item that Min felt was meaningful to their relationship.

I LOVED "Why We Broke Up"!  Even though I knew Min and Ed's relationship was doomed to fail, I just couldn't get enough!  I was hooked.  This book was extremely personal to me because a lot of it mirrored my first serious high school relationship.  Although, I feel like it should have been way more obvious that our relationship was doomed than Min and Ed's. So for me, this book was pretty nostalgic.  

Other than this personal connection with this failed relationship, there are other wonder aspects of the book.  "Why We Broke Up" is a great look at what first love tends to look like in high school.  It isn't always going to end like this of course, but Daniel Handler does a great job of portraying an honest relationship.  Min and her friends are a great band of characters.  While Ed may not have impressed me, his sister sure did!  Fine, Ed had his okay moments, too.  I loved the illustrations.  They added a personal touch to this relationship taking it from generic to unique.  Honestly, Min and Ed had quite an interesting romance while it lasted.  I am jealous of some of their dates.

While I loved this book, I do know one person who wasn't very impressed.  She was frustrated by the fact that you go in knowing that the characters are going to break up, so what was the point?  She was also annoyed because she felt like the characters were so obviously wrong for each other that it was a no brainer they would break up.  This is a valid opinion and if this is going to bother you throughout the book then maybe this is not the book for you.  I still think my friend is a wonderful person, we may not agree on how awesome certain books are, but I see her point.  I still loved seeing this oh-so-wrong couple try to make it oh-so-right in this crazy messed up world.  :)

April 24, 2012

by  Jessica Anthony
My Rating:
Pub. Date: Feb 2, 2012
Pages: 272
Publisher: Penguin Young Readers Group
Source: Library
Edition: Paperback
Short and Sweet Synopsis:  Newspaper clippings, photographs, drawings, IMs, postcards, wine bottle labels, and more tell the story of two teenagers in love.  One is struggling with insanity and a music career, the other is failing to meet the expectations of assimilating into a school in America.

"Chopsticks" was entertaining, but I'm left feeling a little underwhelmed.  While I did enjoy the potpourri of visuals used to tell this love story, I really wish I could have gotten into the characters heads more.  I have been frustrated with authors adding in fluff recently in order to meet the 400 page minimum that seems to be required to get books published; however, I really wanted more from "Chopsticks".  The story and characters had a lot to offer and I just felt like the format didn't satisfy me as a reader.  I wish it maybe had a few longer letters... maybe a diary entry to just beef up the characters a bit.

"Chopsticks" is a very quick and easy read.  The cover, format, and visuals in the book will attract many readers.  I did enjoy looking at this book and I would have a hard time believing anyone would feel like it was a waste of time.  Readers who would like to stay in Jessica Anthony's creative space longer may take some extra time to analyze and think about what they are looking/ reading.  This would be a good book to pick up if you have sometime to kill or are just hanging out in the library (although I am obviously bias).  

Overall, it was good.  Nothing to write home about, but I'm happy I read it.  Interesting visuals and an interesting plot.  I just want MORE!