Monthly Archives: July 2015

It’s Kind of a Funny Story by Ned Vizzini

Craig is a 15 year old battling clinical depression. After going off his medication, he decides to kill himself by jumping off the Brooklyn Bridge. He ends up calling a suicide hotline instead and they direct him to the nearest emergency room where he checks in for a minimum five day stay in the adult psychiatric ward (adult because the teen ward is closed for renovations). While there he meets a colorful group of people and makes important decisions for his future. He figures out how to cut the Tentacles that are stressing him out and finds an Anchor that brings him happiness. In the end, he is not cured. He is still battling depression, but he makes the conscious choice to live and enjoy his life.

It’s Kind of a Funny Story by Ned Vizzini is very well written and realistic as it is based on the author’s own stay on a psych ward. The writing does an excellent job capturing the fractured thinking that paralyzes Craig and stops him from being able to get anything done. I like how in the end Craig is still depressed since it’s not something that can be cured in just five days, but he chooses to see life differently following his stay at the hospital. I highly recommend this book!

5 (out of 5) Stars

Books Read in 2015: 63
Pages Read in 2015: 17,484
Read 52 Books in 52 Weeks (more book reviews!)
Applied to Category for Special Reading Challenge: A book written by someone under 30 (age 24)

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Filed under Realistic Fiction

Frankie Dupont and the Mystery of Enderby Manor by Julie Anne Grasso

Frankie Dupont is a young private detective in training. When his cousin Kat goes missing while staying at the mysterious Enderby Manor, he is determined to find her. The clues are puzzling and the real private investigator is useless. Frankie figures out where Kat is hidden, but is in a race against time to find her.

Frankie Dupont And The Mystery Of Enderby Manor by Julie Anne Grasso is a very cute and funny book. Detective Cluesome is completely bumbling and many of the other characters are just plain strange. It requires quite a bit of suspending disbelief, but it’s worth it because the book is enjoyable. Highly recommended for children and not so bad for parents either. A great read aloud!

4 (out of 5) Stars

Books Read in 2015: 62
Pages Read in 2015: 17,020
Read 52 Books in 52 Weeks (more book reviews!)

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Filed under Children, Mystery

Mystery at the Alamo by Gertrude Chandler Warren

The Boxcar Children are visiting San Antonio with their grandfather when they are asked to be extras on a film being made to teach schoolchildren about the Alamo. They soon discover something sinister is happening on the movie set. Little accidents and problems cause the schedule to get behind and the star of the show might get fired. When Angelina Dickinson’s priceless ring goes missing, it’s up to Henry, Violet, Jessie, and Benny to solve the mystery and find out just who is causing all the trouble.

The Mystery at the Alamo is a short and simple book. Some things are correct, such as the fact that there’s a wax museum right across from the Alamo, but there is a glaring error about the ring. According to the book, little Angelina Dickinson was given the ring by her father. This is not correct. The ring actually belonged to William Barret Travis and he gave it to Angelina. This is such a well-known story that it seems odd that the book would get it completely wrong. The descriptions of the film seemed weird since it somehow mixed grown-up Angelina Dickinson and Davy Crockett, something that is not at all possible. Also, when the ring went missing every single person involved suddenly seemed to get amnesia about what had happened minutes earlier. It was obvious who took it (though why was a slight surprise), but because everyone “forgot” he had taken the ring and walked away from everyone else, the wrap-up was delayed and the normally sharp characters looked a little dumb for a while. Young children may like the book, but even my son (8 when he read it) thought the ending was weird and not believable.

3 (out of 5) Stars

Books Read in 2015: 61
Pages Read in 2015: 16,882
Read 52 Books in 52 Weeks (more book reviews!)
Applied to Category for Special Reading Challenge: A book that takes place in your hometown (San Antonio)

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The Big Four by Agatha Christie

The Big Four by Agatha Christie finds Hercule Poirot and his sidekick Captain Hastings chasing after a mysterious group calling themselves The Big Four. The events of the book happen over quite some time and are short mysteries encompassing just a chapter or two each, but all relating to each other and culminating in a final wrap-up in the last chapter.

Although The Big Four was published nearly 9 decades ago, with the exception of mentions of carts and carriages, only newspapers to learn the news of the day, and a complete lack of electronic devices, the story could be set today. Hercule Poirot’s detective work has truly stood up to the test of time. I highly recommend this book to anyone who enjoys mysteries and detectives.

5 (out of 5) Stars

Books Read in 2015: 60
Pages Read in 2015: 16,754
Read 52 Books in 52 Weeks (more book reviews!)
Applied to Category for Special Reading Challenge: A book by an author you’ve never read before

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Across Five Aprils by Irene Hunt

Jethro Creighton is a 9 year old boy living on a farm in Illinois when fighting breaks out starting the Civil War. His cousin, two brothers, and schoolteacher all join the Union army while another brother joins the Confederacy. When his father suffers a heart attack, the task of running the family farm falls on young Jethro’s shoulders. The story spans the entire Civil War, five Aprils from 1861 to 1865.

Across Five Aprils by Irene Hunt is a bittersweet book that reminds you that war is never tied up with a tidy bow. People die or are injured or can’t come home for various reasons. The story is told very well with the focus on how the war affected those left at home. I highly recommend it to anyone who loves historical fiction or the Civil War.

5 (out of 5) Stars

Books Read in 2015: 59
Pages Read in 2015: 16,543
Read 52 Books in 52 Weeks (more book reviews!)

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Filed under Historical Fiction

The Green Ember by S.D. Smith

Heather and Picket are young rabbits suddenly thrown into a world at war when wolves come and destroy their home and kidnap their parents and baby brother. The children are saved by their uncle and another rabbit named Smalls and are taken to a safe place. There they learn the truth about the war and why the other rabbits are wary of them just because of their last name.

The Green Ember by S.D. Smith was very slow to get started. After dragging for most of the book, the climax happened quite suddenly and then it was just over. It was not a satisfactory ending at all. The story is a good one, however, with a nice moral in there somewhere.

3 (out of 5) Stars

Books Read in 2015: 58
Pages Read in 2015: 16,315
Read 52 Books in 52 Weeks (more book reviews!)

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Filed under Fantasy

The Importance of Being Earnest by Oscar Wilde

What name do you want your future husband to have? For Cecily and Gwendolen, that name is Ernest. Neither could tolerate a name like Algernon or Jack, but Ernest is a name you can trust. The perfect name for a perfect husband. Unfortunately, though they both think they are engaged to men named Ernest, they are, in fact, engaged to Algernon and Jack.

The Importance of Being Earnest by Oscar Wilde is, quite simply, hilarious. It is fast-paced and fun to read (or watch). With plays on words and some silly twists, it is a play guaranteed to have you laughing out loud as learn just how important it really is to be earnest (Ernest).

5 (out of 5) Stars

Books Read in 2015: 57
Pages Read in 2015: 15,947
Read 52 Books in 52 Weeks (more book reviews!)
Applied to Category for Special Reading Challenge: A play

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Filed under Play