Monthly Archives: April 2016

That Bear Ate My Pants! by Tony James Slater

That Bear Ate My Pants! chronicles Tony James Slater’s first foray into traveling around the world and doing generally crazy things. He says he originally wanted to be an actor, but on account of him not being any good, he ended up traveling and writing about it instead. Personally, I’m glad he was no good at acting because his sense of humor is wonderful and his books literally make me laugh out loud. A lot. This one is about his time at an Ecuadorian animal rescue place. He cared for a pretty amazing assortment of animals while he was there and did some pretty amazing things. The only problem is the language and Slater’s love of four-letter words (some justified, some not). Aside from the language, however, this book is truly excellent!

4 (out of 5) Stars

Books Read in 2016: 44
Pages Read in 2016: 11,294
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Filed under Non-Fiction

Toad in the Hole by Paisley Ray

It’s the summer after her sophomore year of college and Rachael is headed to England with her grandmother, GG, father’s assistant, Edmond, and her gay BFF, Travis. Nearly as soon as they arrive, strange things begin to happen. They become involved in a crazy chase that includes the creepy Ahmed, a midnight showing of The Rocky Horror Picture Show, a drunk retired jeweler, Scotland Yard, a mock battle, the crown jewels, a houseboat, and Wallis Simpson.

Toad in the Hole is the fourth of the Rachael O’Brien Chronicles. As with all the previous books, Rachael’s antics and experiences are hilarious and fun to read. I highly recommend this book to all Rachael O’Brien fans and anyone who wants a relaxing read. All of the Rachael O’Brien Chronicles can be read as standalone books (but it’s totally worth reading them all).

5 (out of 5) Stars

Books Read in 2016: 43
Pages Read in 2016: 10,901
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Filed under Realistic Fiction

The Road to Oz by L. Frank Baum

Dorothy and Toto set out walking on the road and are joined by The Shaggy Man and Button-Bright. Soon they begin to wonder if they are still in Kansas when they reach the Fairy Lands of the foxes, donkeys, a musicker, and the Scoodlers. When they reach the Deadly Desert, they know they aren’t in Kansas anymore and are complete stuck. With the help of Johnny Dooit, they safely cross the desert and arrive in the Land of Oz just in time for Princess Ozma’s birthday celebration.

As with all the Oz books, Baum’s ability to play with words (including naming a character made of gingerbread John Dough) shines in The Road to Oz. It’s an enjoyable book full of imagination. I highly recommend it to people of all ages. It would make an excellent family read-aloud (and, as with all the Oz books, it can be read as a standalone book).

5 (out of 5) Stars

Books Read in 2016: 42
Pages Read in 2016: 10,698
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Filed under Children, Classic

Tracked by Heather Sunseri

Jonas sends Kyle to Costa Rica to investigate strange reports about children and to see if he can find what happened to two shipments of trackers that went missing. There, he meets Raven, the American daughter of a couple who run a humanitarian camp, who witnessed a murder the previous year, but can not remember what happened that night. After Raven is almost kidnapped, Kyle is shocked to find she has a tracker in her neck. He calls in reinforcements and is soon joined by Lexi, Jack, and Jonas. Raven must remember that horrible night in order to find out just what is going on in the little town of La Fortuna.

Like the first Mindspeak book, Tracked starts out a little slow, but once it really gets going, it doesn’t slow down again. It was left completely open for additional books (and I do hope the author writes more!), but the story can end here. It occurs in the same “world” as the first three Mindspeak books, not long after the end of the third one, with some of the same characters, but in a totally different setting. It is more or less able to be a standalone book (it is surely better having read Mindspeak, Mindsiege, and Mindsurge first, however). I definitely recommend this book for Mindspeak fans and anyone who enjoys young adult books.

4 (out of 5) Stars

Books Read in 2016: 41
Pages Read in 2016: 10,586
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Filed under Science Fiction, Young Adult

The Eagle by Rosemary Sutcliff

Centurion Marcus Aquila is injured in battle and must leave his legion. He moves in with his uncle. While there, he acquires a slave, Esca, and meets a feisty girl, Cottia. All the time, he wonders what happened to the Ninth Legion, his father’s legion, that walked into the mist in present-day Scotland and never returned. Determined to learn the truth, Marcus and Esca set out on a perilous journey among the tribes to find the Ninth’s lost Eagle.

I usually love historical fiction, but I can’t say that about this book. While there were some exciting points scattered here and there, it was mostly slow and boring with characters I just didn’t care about. I had to force myself to keep reading (since I am pre-reading for one of my sons who will be reading it in school next year) and often found I had to go back several pages because my mind had wandered and I had no idea what I had just read. It simply didn’t hold my attention. The Eagle is the first book in a trilogy and I would not continue on reading the other two books if I wasn’t pre-reading them for my son.

2 (out of 5) Stars

Books Read in 2016: 40
Pages Read in 2016: 10,236
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Filed under Historical Fiction

Dread Mountain by Emily Rodda

Lief, Barda, and Jasmine continue on their quest for the gems from the Belt of Deltora. They meet a group of helpful Kin who fly the companions to the Kins’ original homeland, Dread Mountain. There the three must battle a Vraal, the Dread Gnomes, and Gellick, the evil guardian of the fifth gem.

The only problem with finishing Dread Mountain was knowing there are only three more books left to read in the Deltora Quest series. While the stories are formulaic (something kids like my 7 and 9 year old boys – and, I’ll be honest, I – love in reading books), there is something special about the relationship between Lief, Barda, and Jasmine that makes me feel like I am hanging out with my own old friends. I highly recommend this book, and the entire series, to everyone. It makes a great family read aloud!

5 (out of 5) Stars

Books Read in 2016: 39
Pages Read in 2016: 10,026
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Filed under Middle Grades

Dorothy and the Wizard in Oz by L. Frank Baum

Dorothy is visiting California when an earthquake strikes, sending Dorothy, Eureka her cat, Zeb, and Jim and his horse-cart inside the earth. Soon the Wizard and his nine piglets join them. Together, they embark on an adventure through the earth dealing with angry vegetables, invisible people and bears, and wooden gargoyles. Eventually they end up back in Oz where they are happily reunited with many old friends and the back story of Oz and the Wizard is explained.

Like the other Oz books, this fourth one included lots of fun wordplay. The story of OZPINHEAD was funny. I enjoyed Dorothy and the Wizard in Oz very much. I highly recommend it to people of all ages, especially those who are Oz fans.

5 (out of 5) Stars

Books Read in 2016: 38
Pages Read in 2016: 9892
Read 52 Books in 52 Weeks (more book reviews!)

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Filed under Children, Classic