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Traditional Irish Fairy Tales by James Stephens

Traditional Irish Fairy Tales is a collection of ten stories from Ireland. They are all dreadfully dry and boring. There is no key for pronunciation of the names (some of which are very difficult to figure out). I did not enjoy it, nor did my 8-year-old who was assigned to read it for school. I do not recommend this book.

1 (out of 5) Stars

Books Read in 2017: 46
Pages Read in 2017: 13,606
Read 52 Books in 52 Weeks (more book reviews!)
Reason I Chose It: Assigned to Adrian for School

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Please Don’t Tell My Parents I’ve Got Henchmen by Richard Roberts

Penny, Claire, and Ray are back on earth and delighted to find many of their super powered classmates are proclaiming their skills openly. They create an after school club complete with super sparring to practice their skills. Penny, however, can’t participate in the sparring because her parents have asked her not to. Everyone wants to fight her, though, so eventually things happen where she has to get involved.

Honestly, it was darn near impossible to come up with a synopsis of this book. The reason? There was no clear plot. It jumped around, often making no sense because of this. There were grammar and spelling errors. It was in serious need of an editor. I kept hoping it would get better. The first book in the series was so great. The second book was weird, but not horrible. This one was just kind of terrible. There were many characters that were sometimes referred to by their villain/hero names and sometimes by their real names with no rhyme or reason to when making it hard to keep them straight. Penny repeatedly said she couldn’t remember one character’s real name and so she was always referred to as Beaddown and then all of a sudden she was referred to by her real name (Charlotte) and from then on only called her real name and not her hero name. That was just one example of the weird editing issues. The Penny/Ray relationship was ridiculous (particularly since they are only 12 and 13) and it seemed like the same scenes were repeated over and over. Often things happened or side plots were introduced and then abandoned making the whole book a mess. The end was so lame and disappointing. The climax of the story was a dud. I am sad to say I just don’t recommend this book at all.

1 (out of 5) Stars

Books Read in 2016: 79
Pages Read in 2016: 21,050
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Actors Anonymous by James Franco

Written as a sort of 12 step program for actors, Actors Anonymous is a truly horrible book. It is a collection of loosely connected stories that sometimes make sense. When they are coherent they are actually decent. Unfortunately those moments are few and far between. Some parts are autobiographical, some parts are loosely based on reality, and some parts are completely fiction. A good portion of it is just stream of consciousness randomness. In among the stories and stream of consciousness chapters, there is a poemish thing about River Phoenix, a part of a fake magazine article that has been annotated with the annotations present for the part of the article that is missing, and some random snippets of scripts. There is some complaining about being a famous actor who is rich because that is, apparently, annoying. If nothing else, I learned that James Franco is a very foul-mouthed sex-obsessed man. He especially likes the a-word and the f-word. There is a whole lot of sex, both gay and straight. Apparently that’s a famous actor perk (so I guess he likes at least one part of being an actor). This book is just plain bad. It is not worth the time it took to borrow it from the Kindle Lending Library.

1 (out of 5) Stars

Books Read in 2015: 98
Pages Read in 2015: 28,410
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Applied to Category for Special Reading Challenge: A book with bad reviews (2 1/2 Stars)

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The Red Badge of Courage by Stephen Crane

Note: At the time I was assigned to read The Red Badge of Courage, I had a private tutor. She went on at length every session that she had never had a high school student understand it as well as I did. I always found that quite amusing since I never actually read the book. It had a study guide in the back and I read that. Having read the entire book now, I can honestly say I was smart not to read it all those years ago. I really could’ve lived my whole life having never read it.

In the middle of the Civil War, a young man discovers war isn’t quite what he thought it was. It’s terrifying and makes him want to run away. He is a bit jealous of those who are wounded and get the “red badge of courage.”

The Red Badge of Courage by Stephen Crane is a horrible book. It is boring. The writing style is dreadful. The conversations are all written in dialect which gets annoying. In short, I hated the book more than I’ve ever hated a book before. The only positive about it is it is pretty short.

1 (out of 5) Stars

Books Read in 2015: 94
Pages Read in 2015: 27,282
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Applied to Category for Special Reading Challenge: A book you were supposed to read in school but didn’t

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Snake Oil by T. Ford

Third grader Justin Calloway has a big problem. He has some major test anxiety and keeps doing poorly on his tests. He discovers the solution to his problem on the back of a Rubberband Man comic: Snake Oil, guaranteed to increase your test scores. He orders it and it seems to work. Meanwhile, Justin is trying to find out if the rumor that the old lady down the street has a stuffed dead cat is true. Little does he know the old lady down the street holds the key to some crazy side effects from the snake oil.

In the book it very clearly states that Justin is in the 3rd grade, which would be 8 or 9 years old. In other places, however, blurbs about the book say he is 11 or 12 (his behavior is consistent with a 3rd grader). This is just one of the problems with this book. Right at the beginning it says he has a math test and then suddenly he took a science test instead and did well enough on it that his friend could come spend the night. I read the book out loud to my boys and they liked the story. It was cute, albeit a bit weird. But it is not a book I could just hand to my kid to read. The whole time I had to edit just to make it coherent. There were quotation marks out of place, tenses would change randomly, point of view changed a few times, the same thing would be repeated slightly differently over and over and over in a conversation. It was a mess. I felt like I was reading a rough draft of a book that could be very good. The way it is currently, I simply cannot recommend Snake Oil by T. Ford.

1 (out of 5) Stars

Books Read in 2015: 46
Pages Read in 2015: 12,331
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Robinson Crusoe by Daniel Defoe

Robinson Crusoe by Daniel Defoe is about a man who ends up shipwrecked on a deserted island where he stays for about 28 years. It was published almost 300 years ago so the fact it is still read today is pretty impressive. I, however, just plain didn’t like it. It is very long-winded and repeats itself over and over. I found Robinson to be rather annoying which is too bad since most of the book is just all in his head. Even after he leaves the island (in a rather anti-climactic way) there is another random and strange adventure. I’m pretty sure people in the 1700s much have been really bored since Robinson Crusoe was a popular book back then.

1 (out of 5) Stars

Books Read in 2014: 105
Pages Read in 2014: 19,799
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Canadian Meds by John Moynihan

I really thought Canadian Meds by John Moynihan would get better. I read the whole thing. It didn’t. The premise is good. The CEO and CMO of an internet drug company based in Canada cook up a plan to sell fake pills in the place of the real thing in order to pad their pockets and get rich. The book might have been good in the hands of a better author. As it is, it is pretty terrible.

First, the language. It is completely unnecessary. I don’t mind when books have an occasional swear word here and there. It seemed like a lot of the cussing in this one was for shock value. Second, the incredible amount of sex. Again, nearly all of it is completely unnecessary. Some is needed since one of the fake drugs is Erecta (for erectile dysfunction). The euphemisms and descriptions, though, were all ridiculous. Third, the characters. They are all flat and you just don’t care about them. The dialogue sounds like someone talking to themselves. None of the characters had their own voice. Fourth, the womanizing. Pretty much every man in the book is getting old (at 50!), out of shape, etc. Every woman is gorgeous. Every man apparently wants nothing more than to hop into bed with these gorgeous women and eye them like they are pieces of meat. Fifth, incredibly predictable. Nothing is a surprise. Everything that happens (and it happens slowly) is expected. Sixth, the ending. The ending is totally stupid and missing something. After learning the stories of several characters, suddenly they are just gone and it’s all about the CEO. His story is wrapped up, but the others are not.

Don’t waste your time on Canadian Meds. Even free it’s not worth it.

1 (out of 5) Stars

Books Read in 2014: 34
Pages Read in 2014: 8109
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