Monthly Archives: October 2016

It’s Bliss by Alene Roberts

Billie Bliss is convinced that romance is dead. Because of this she has sworn off men. She ends up being selected for Project Success, an experiment being run by her attractive business professor. This experiment is supposed to help her succeed in business by succeeding in life. Add in a self-appointed PI and you have a crazy romantic comedy.

It’s Bliss can only be described as dumb. The characters were one-dimensional. The dialogue sounded like it was straight out of a 50s romantic comedy even though it was clearly set much more recently. There was a weird obsession with weight and weight loss and, apparently, women can only succeed in business and attract men if they lose the extra pounds since being overweight means they just don’t take care of themselves. The storyline was so incredibly predictable. The main character was utterly perfect (once she lost the extra weight, of course) and at the same time utterly insufferable. I’m giving it two stars only because it did end how I wanted it to (as predictable as it was) and while I read it mostly in a state of horror, it was at least somewhat entertaining.

2 (out of 5) Stars

Books Read in 2016: 104
Pages Read in 2016: 27,900
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Outcast by Rosemary Sutcliff

Saved from drowning as an infant, Beric, a Roman, is raised by Celts. Eventually the tribe decides to force him out. He ends up a slave in Rome. He escapes only to be sent to the galleys. Eventually finding his way back to Britain, he must find his own place among his people… whoever they might really be.

Much of Outcast was good. It dragged on occasion, however. I recommend it for those interested in the time period.

4 (out of 5) Stars

Books Read in 2016: 103
Pages Read in 2016: 27,670
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The Mysterious Benedict Society by Trenton Lee Stewart

Four gifted children, Reynie, Sticky, Kate, and Constance, are put together in a team they call The Mysterious Benedict Society after their leader, Mr. Benedict. The children must infiltrate a school run by the evil Mr. Curtain in order to stop Mr. Curtain from taking over the world and erasing minds.

The Mysterious Benedict Society is smart and fun, full of puzzles and brainteasers. The children are very relatable. The characters are well developed. It’s a long book, but it doesn’t seem so long while reading it because so much of it is very exciting and fast-paced. I read it aloud to my 8 and 10 year old boys and their only complaint was that the chapters were almost always cliffhangers and I would only read them one or two chapters per night. I highly recommend this book to adults and children alike!

5 (out of 5) Stars

Books Read in 2016: 102
Pages Read in 2016: 27,441
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Filed under Children, Realistic Fiction

Glinda of Oz by L. Frank Baum

After reading about an impending war between the Flatheads and the Skeezers in a far corner of Oz, Ozma and Dorothy head out on a journey to prevent the fighting. They discover the Flatheads are under the thumb of the Su-dic (Supreme Dictator) and the Skeezers are harshly ruled by Coo-ee-oh. Coo-ee-oh sinks her island under the lake when the Flatheads come to fight, but after she is turned into a swan, the Skeezers are stuck in their dome underwater. Glinda, along with most of the other major friends met in previous books, arrives to attempt to raise the island and save Ozma, Dorothy, and the Skeezers and restore peace to that part of Oz.

Glinda of Oz was the fourteenth and last Oz book, published after L. Frank Baum’s death. It is a bit more serious than many of the other books and certainly lacked the amusing wordplay. It was still extremely exciting and enjoyable. Having the majority of the friends make their appearances made it a lovely final installment to the series. I highly recommend it to everyone from children to adults (no need to read the other Oz books or to read them in order).

5 (out of 5) Stars

Books Read in 2016: 99
Pages Read in 2016: 25,290
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Love, Stargirl by Jerry Spinelli

Stargirl has moved to Pennsylvania and decides to write the world’s longest letter to Leo. She describes her day to day activities, trying to get over Leo, how sad she is for so long, and people in her new town. In typical Stargirl fashion, she cares deeply for everyone and wants everyone to be happy. She seems to have learned a lot from her disastrous year in public school.

Love, Stargirl covered just over one full year in Stargirl’s life. It gave an interesting perspective on how she dealt with what happened the previous school year and also gives a lot more about her parents. Sometimes the story dragged along, probably because of the way it is laid out with a few entries per month. It’s a good book and a great follow-up to Stargirl. I recommend reading Love, Stargirl to teens and adults (but definitely read Stargirl first).

4 (out of 5) Stars

Books Read in 2016: 98
Pages Read in 2016: 25,061
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Filed under Realistic Fiction, Young Adult

The Tale of Troy by Roger Lancelyn Green

A retelling of The Iliad and The Odyssey, The Tale of Troy is a very exciting book. It is designed for kids so it is simplified, but still covers what is in the epic poems by Homer. At the end are lists of the god and goddess names in Greek and Latin and other useful information about the stories. I recommend reading this book to anyone interested in those classical stories.

5 (out of 5) Stars

Books Read in 2016: 97
Pages Read in 2016: 24,784
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Filed under Children, Classic