Tag Archives: 2 Stars

News of the World by Paulette Jiles

In Reconstruction Era Texas, Captain Kidd is a news reader. He goes from town to town reading articles from newspapers from around the world to audiences for 10 cents a person. He’s asked to take a ten-year-old girl along with him and deliver her to her aunt and uncle in Castroville, near San Antonio. Little Johanna has spent the last four years as a Kiowa captive and along the way, the Captain begins to teach her how to once again be a part of the society she came from.

News of the World is a slow and meandering book. There were a few interesting scenes, but for the most part there just didn’t seem to be much of a point. The worst thing about it was a writing style choice the author made. She did not use any quotation marks. At all. This was very distracting and sometimes made it difficult to read. There did not seem to be a reason she made that choice. It did not contribute anything to the story. Since I live in Texas, discussion of the geography was interesting, and the relationship between the Captain and Johanna was sweet, but otherwise there was little that I enjoyed about the book. I don’t particularly recommend reading this historical fiction novel (a genre I usually enjoy quite a bit).

2 (out of 5) Stars

Books Read in 2018: 113
Pages Read in 2018: 29,053
Read 52 Books in 52 Weeks (more book reviews!)

1 Comment

Filed under Historical Fiction, Reason: Book Club

Founding Brothers by Joseph J. Ellis

Founding Brothers tells of several stories of some of the founding fathers. The stories were interesting, but the language used was extremely distracting. I don’t know if the author wanted to match the “hard words” used in correspondence and speeches back in the 17 and 1800s or if he just had access to a really good thesaurus, but it got kind of ridiculous. If you don’t mind that, it’s a decent book.

2 (out of 5) Stars

Books Read in 2018: 104
Pages Read in 2018: 26,184
Read 52 Books in 52 Weeks (more book reviews!)

Leave a comment

Filed under History, Reason: Pre-Reading for Cameron

Bug Island by RG Cordiner

When a cruise ship blows up near an uncharted island, the survivors are attacked by giant (as in 9 foot long) bugs.

Bug Island is a very strange book. Mostly, we (my 10- and 12-year-old sons and I) really did not like it. Often, there were random strings of letters representing sounds. What some of those sounds were supposed to sound like or represent, I have no idea. It was pretty graphic and often gross. Finding out what the bugs were was a bit disturbing and then the end was kind of sudden. The writing, however, was decent. The storytelling jumped between people/groups of people and that was quite effective. Those redeeming qualities just aren’t enough for me to recommend this book. It’s one you’ll probably want to skip.

2 (out of 5) Stars

Books Read in 2018: 79
Pages Read in 2018: 18,773
Read 52 Books in 52 Weeks (more book reviews!)

Leave a comment

Filed under Fantasy, Reason: Bedtime Story for the Boys

True Stories of Crime from the DA’s Office by Arthur Train

True Stories of Crimes from the DA’s Office is a collection of several stories of cases from the district attorney’s office from the very early 1900s. The writing is rather dull. It tells the stories mostly in a this happened, then this happened, then this happened, just the fact sort of way. I love reading true crime books, but this just didn’t hold my attention very well.

2 (out of 5) Stars

Books Read in 2018: 24
Pages Read in 2018: 4534
Read 52 Books in 52 Weeks (more book reviews!)

Leave a comment

Filed under Reason: Birthstone Bookology, True Crime

A Night at the Animal Shelter by Mark J. Asher

After a big sale at the animal shelter, just a few dogs are left on Christmas Eve. They spend the night telling their stories and playing.

After I read A Night at the Animal Shelter to my boys, I had to go back and make sure it really was aimed at kids (it is – 8-12 year olds). Twice a curse word was used so I edited it as I read. No way would it be appropriate to just hand over to a child. The story was kind of cute, but mostly was just a way to attack people who leave animals at shelters or don’t adopt animals from a shelter. It’s short and reads fast which is really the best part about it. I do not recommend reading this book and would definitely caution against giving it to a child to read on their own.

2 (out of 5) Stars

Books Read in 2018: 18
Pages Read in 2018: 3203
Read 52 Books in 52 Weeks (more book reviews!)

Leave a comment

Filed under Middle Grades, Reason: Bedtime Story for the Boys

God’s Battalions by Rodney Stark

God’s Battalions takes the view that the Crusaders were completely justified after being pushed so hard by the terrible Muslims who were invading their territory. The chapters where the author stuck to facts and what happened on the various Crusades were very good. The chapters attempting to prove his thesis were not. He’d “prove” his point by grabbing onto one single thing that didn’t necessarily prove what he was trying to prove (for example, the Muslims were “backward” because they did not like to use wheeled things like carts as the Europeans did, but instead stuck to the camels they were already familiar with – making it clear that camels were far inferior to carts). Often he stated that most historians say one thing, but this one single historian says this other thing and so obviously the one is correct (because what they said agrees with his thesis) and all the rest are wrong. There are many logical fallacies throughout the book. I actually had my 16-year-old son read this book as a critical thinking exercise, finding the problems with it. For that, it is an excellent resource. Otherwise, I wouldn’t recommend it.

2 (out of 5) Stars

Books Read in 2017: 166
Pages Read in 2017: 44,742
Read 52 Books in 52 Weeks (more book reviews!)
Reason I Chose It: Pre-reading for Cameron for This School Year

1 Comment

Filed under Non-Fiction

One Nation by Ben Carson

One Nation is a lot of rambling about how we need to fix America. The anecdotes don’t always make sense in the context of the chapter. Some of the facts (and understanding of scientific concepts) are just plain wrong. He claims to be moderate, but clearly is not. While I do agree with quite a bit of what he wrote, I found his “action items” to be lacking and it ended up being more of a giant whine than anything else. I could only take the book in small doses. I don’t particularly recommend reading it.

2 (out of 5) Stars

Books Read in 2017: 157
Pages Read in 2017: 42,452
Read 52 Books in 52 Weeks (more book reviews!)
Reason I Chose It: A to Z Authors (C)

Leave a comment

Filed under Non-Fiction