Monthly Archives: April 2014

The Princess Bride by William Goldman

William Goldman is probably insane. Even his introductions are fiction (well, some parts are fact). The premise is The Princess Bride
was originally written by Florinese S. Morgenstern as a true history years ago and Goldman has great memories of listening to his father read it to him when he was 10 and recovering from pneumonia. And, so, grown-up Goldman decided to abridge the original work and the result is this book with commentary asides by Goldman including explanations of why he didn’t include certain sections of the original.

Of course none of that is true.

There is no such place as Florin. S. Morgenstern never existed. William Goldman wrote all of The Princess Bride himself.

It’s a good book and I enjoyed it (though I liked the movie more which is very unusual for me – I think this is only the second or third book ever that I preferred the movie). Goldman’s asides are almost always very amusing. It’s entertaining and fun. I recommend this book.

4 (out of 5) Stars

Books Read in 2014: 33
Pages Read in 2014: 7871
Read 52 Books in 52 Weeks (more book reviews!)

1 Comment

Filed under Thriller

Justin Case: Shells, Smells, and the Horrible Flip-Flops of Doom by Rachel Vail

My boys and I (and 14 year old daughter, too!) loved the first Justin Case book so we were excited to read the second installment in the life of Justin. This time, Justin, newly finished with third grade, is headed for summer camp. But not Science Camp this time. This time it’s Camp GoldenBrook, a camp filled with sports all day long, something Justin is definitely not good at (or even likes).

Justin Case: Shells, Smells, and the Horrible Flip-Flops of Doom did not disappoint. My 5 and 7 year old boys (and my 14 year old daughter and myself) loved it. I totally recommend this book to Justin Case fans of all ages!

5 (out of 5) Stars

Books Read in 2014: 32
Pages Read in 2014: 7455
Read 52 Books in 52 Weeks (more book reviews!)

Leave a comment

Filed under Children

Heidi by Johanna Spyri

Somehow I never managed to read Heidi by Johanna Spyri until now. It’s a sweet story of a darling orphan child dropped off to live with her mean grandfather. She and the grandfather learn to love each other and then Heidi is whisked off again to be a companion to a little girl in a wheelchair. While in Frankfurt, Heidi misses her grandfather and the mountain air so much she ends up sick. She is sent back to her grandfather where she is very happy, but missed the people she got to know in Frankfurt. Soon, they all become great friends with visits and promises of future visits.

I liked Heidi. My 7 year old son absolutely loved it. The story moves slowly, but it kept his attention and mine anyway. My only problem with it, as well as many other classics, is the preachiness. It tries a little too hard to teach a lesson sometimes.

4 (out of 5) Stars

Books Read in 2014: 31
Pages Read in 2014: 7276
Read 52 Books in 52 Weeks (more book reviews!)

Leave a comment

Filed under Classic

Little Blog on the Prairie by Cathleen Davitt Bell

When Gen’s mom announces the family’s summer vacation will be at Camp Frontier where you get to pretend it’s 1890 and work on a real farm, Gen is not happy. To sweeten the deal, her mom shows Gen a cell phone that she will get after they get back from their adventure. Of course Gen hates Camp Frontier, but her smuggled in phone, through which she vents to her friends via text message, helps keep her sane… until her modern contraption is discovered, confiscated, and may get her family kicked out of Camp Frontier early. Meanwhile, one of Gen’s friends is putting the texts up on-line as blog posts leading to some unexpected, and some slightly predictable, craziness.

Little Blog on the Prairie by Cathleen Davitt Bell is a cute book. The characters of Gen and Nora are real and relatable. Gen’s texts/blog posts are funny and probably exactly what most people (and not just teens!) would write during an experience like that if they’re being honest. I recommend this book to people (particularly girls, but boys would likely enjoy it, too) about 11 or 12 and up… including adults!

5 (out of 5) Stars

Books Read in 2014: 30
Pages Read in 2014: 7054
Read 52 Books in 52 Weeks (more book reviews!)

Leave a comment

Filed under Realistic Fiction, Young Adult

The Beach House by James Patterson

First Peter Mullen is murdered and it is ruled an accident or suicide. Then everyone who believes he was murdered starts being threatened. Meanwhile, Peter’s older brother Jack is finishing up law school and, with his friends and grandfather, comes up with a plan to reveal to the world just what happened to Peter and why.

The Beach House by James Patterson was a good book. It’s not one I’d ever want to read a second time, but I enjoyed reading it once. It was actually perfect for right now since I am recovering from surgery and books requiring less brain power to process are a good thing. The action was slow and steady. There were no boring parts, but no super exciting ones either. Most of it was completely unbelievable and the epilogue was a bit hokey (yet nice). The way it was told as (mostly – there are exceptions) first person narration of current events with a little bit of commentary directed directly as the reader (address as “you”) starting with Peter in the prologue and then shifting to Jack, was a little strange, but eventually I got used to it. For an easy, quick, mild action/thriller read, The Beach House is a good choice.

3 (out of 5) Stars

Books Read in 2014: 29
Pages Read in 2014: 6778
Read 52 Books in 52 Weeks (more book reviews!)

Leave a comment

Filed under Thriller

Austenland by Shannon Hale

I’m not a Jane Austen fan, but I am a Shannon Hale fan, and I enjoyed the movie version of Austenland so I decided to read the book. Jane Hayes is left a three week adventure at Austenland, a place wealthy people go to immerse themselves in the Regency period, by her aunt. There she struggles with what is real and what is acting as she tries to rid herself of the desire/need to find a Mr. Darcy. Interspersed are hilarious descriptions of her previous boyfriends and why it didn’t work out. Of course, I knew the big shocker reveal at the end because of the movie, but the book was different enough from the movie that that didn’t matter.

Austenland is not like most of Shannon Hale’s other books. It’s lighthearted (though there are still lessons to be learned from it). It’s fun. It reads super fast. It’s a great book to read just for the simple joy of reading. I’m very glad I decided to read Austenland!

5 (out of 5) Stars

Books Read in 2014: 28
Pages Read in 2014: 6400
Read 52 Books in 52 Weeks (more book reviews!)

Leave a comment

Filed under Realistic Fiction

The Birthday Ball by Lois Lowry

Princess Patricia Priscilla is bored with her life and, worse, her 16th birthday ball is coming up and she has to make a choice between three horrible nobles from neighboring domains. To break up the monotony of her days, she decides to pretend to be a poor peasant named Pat and go to the village school where she meets an adorable “norphan” and an intriguing schoolmaster. I read The Birthday Ball out loud to my boys. It was fun, filled with entertaining wordplay. It was super predictable, as many children’s books are for adults, but that still didn’t spoil the sweet ending. I enjoyed it and so did the boys. Excellent family read aloud!

5 (out of 5) Stars

Books Read in 2014: 27
Pages Read in 2014: 6206
Read 52 Books in 52 Weeks (more book reviews!)

Leave a comment

Filed under Children