Book Reviews by Today, I Read…

A Continuous Book Review and Vocabulary Assignment

January 19

Comments: 5

Teaser Tuesdays: The Sea of Monsters by Rick Riordan

by Ann-Katrina

Teaser Tuesdays Happy Tuesday! It’s time again for another edition of Teaser Tuesdays…

Here are the rules:

  • Grab your current read
  • Let the book fall open to a random page
  • Share with us two (2) “teaser” sentences from somewhere on that page
  • You also need to share the title of the book where you get your teaser from…that way people can have some great book recommendations if they like the teaser you’ve given
  • Please avoid spoilers

The Sea of Monsters This week’s teaser:

“As the chariots lined up, more shiny-eyed pigeons gathered in the woods. They were screeching so loudly the campers in the stands were starting to take notice, glancing nervously at the trees, which shivered under the weight of the birds.” pg. 79 The Sea of Monsters by Rick Riordan

Last year I read the first book in the series, The Lighting Thief, and enjoyed it very much. In fact, it made my 9 books I’m glad I read in 2009 list. For the longest, I’ve been meaning to pick up the second book and continue Percy’s adventure. Now just seemed like the perfect time.

A bit of fantasy to help me escape from the trappings of impending responsibility and I have a soft spot for Greco-Roman mythology. So far this book isn’t disappointing, but I’m still in the early portions of the book.

On an almost random tangent, I just learned that a new movie based on The Lightning Thief is due out in theatres and I can’t wait to see it.

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October 14

Comments: 4

More Book Binging for the 24 Hour Read-A-Thon

by Ann-Katrina

I’ve come to the conclusion that I should just not be allowed out of the house anymore. Why? Because every time I leave, I come back with more books…even though I tell myself, no more—for goodness’ sake, your shelves are bowing under the weight. But do I listen? Noooo.

Anyhoo, I bet you can already guess where this post is going…

Yes, you’re right. I went out yesterday (with the intention of only being moral support for my sister on her shopping excursion) and bought more books. Three books and a magazine to be exact. (Four if you count the book I conned my sister into buying so that I could borrow it later.)

Dork Diaries CoverThe Miraculous Journey of Edward TulaneThe Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society

Now let me justify. I was reading up on some 24 hour read-a-thon tips and they mentioned getting some short(ish) books. Well, looking back at my reading pool, there weren’t too many short books so I decided I needed some. (That’s my story and I’m sticking to it.)

The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society is only about 275 pages and has been on my Want™ list for a day shy of forever. I’ve kept putting it off despite all the rave reviews it’s received.

I learned about the Dork Diaries a few months ago (the blog’s name escapes me at the moment) and thought the drawings were “oh, so clever!” and the story sounded adorable. My downfall was picking up the book and leafing through it and realizing that I absolutely had to have it. Luckily it’s only 282 pages (and written in bubbly print handwriting, which means it’s only about 150 printed pages, so even better).

The Miraculous Journey of Edward Tulane was a complete impulse buy. I decided I needed to expand my horizons and pick up a book I normally wouldn’t get. After reading the back flap and having vague reminiscences of the Velveteen Rabbit, I decided to throw it in the cart. Thank goodness it’s only 210 short pages.

There you have it…three more books in the read-a-thon book pool (if I can restrain myself and wait to read them).

Now someone please come and bolt me up inside my home. And figure out how to set the child filters on my computer and block me from accessing Amazon (or any other online book dealer).

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October 9

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Recent Arrivals: The Natural Beauty Book by Anne Akers Johnson

by Ann-Katrina

Recent Arrivals chronicles the books that have made their way onto the Today, I Read… bookshelf. Here’s the latest arrival: The Natural Beauty Book by Anne Akers Johnson

Natural Beauty Book

First line: It will come as no surprise to you that natural body care starts on the inside.

Initial thoughts: Because every girl needs a little pampering every now and again, I squealed a little when I checked the mail and saw it.

It’s by no means a long or tedious book (I giggled a few times while skimming the recipes), it’s beautifully designed, and most of the "concoctions" look simple to prepare.

Plus, I love the included spa goodies and can’t wait to give those a try.

I took a couple pictures because, how cool is it that the book matches my bed cover? (Random. Yes, I know.)

Natural Beauty Book Cover

Natural Beauty Book Contents

Book description:

If you feel good, you look good. It’s a fact.

  • Make your own tangerine bath fizz.
  • Give yourself a natural manicure and pedicure.
  • Trade spa facials with a friend.
  • Mix up a rich banana conditioner for your hair.

More than 60 simple recipes tell you how to do all these things (and more) using natural, easy-to-find ingredients from your kitchen cupboard. We even include a complete personal spa kit.

As you read through the book, you’ll find out just how to use each item in the kit. This is everything you get:

  • facial loofah
  • headband
  • nail brush
  • nail file
  • nail buffer
  • pumice stone
  • bath infusion bag
  • lavender essential oil
  • tangerine essential oil

Book Details: 68 pages; Klutz; Pub. September 1, 2009

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September 12

Comments: 3

Review: Hannah (Daughters of the Sea, Book 1) by Kathryn Lasky

by Ann-Katrina

Hannah Cover

Back Cover of Hannah

Hannah wants to be normal, but she’s not. The sea calls to her, and she can see a delicate tracing of scales on her legs. Billowing waves soothe her, but flat land makes her sick. She knows there’s something wild in her that’s different, wrong–and deeply thrilling.

Only one person seems to know who–or what–Hannah is. He’s a guest in the house where she works as a scullery girl, and his fascinated gaze follows her. She doesn’t understand his terrifying allure, or her longing. But even as the mystery deepens, Hannah is sure of one thing. A sea change is coming.

Three Quick Points About Hannah

  • Point 1: Deus ex machinas abound! Hannah’s problems were all too easily resolved.
  • Point 2: The intended audience must be precocious children or idyllic teens. In general, too superficial for an audience over 12 with words too laborious for an audience under 15.
  • Point 3: It’s the book equivalent of Chinese food.

Continue reading »

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August 22

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Recent Arrivals: The Sisters Grimm Books 1 & 2 by Michael Buckley

by Ann-Katrina

Recent Arrivals chronicles the books that have made their way onto the Today, I Read… bookshelf. Here are the latest arrivals: The Fairy-Tale Detectives (Sisters Grimm Book 1) and The Unusual Suspects (Sisters Grimm Book 2) by Michael Buckley

Fairy Tale Detectives Cover First line: I’m going to die of boredom here, Sabrina Grimm thought as she looked out the train window at Ferryport Landing, New York.

Book description:

For Sabrina and Daphne Grimm, life hasn’t been a fairy tale. After the mysterious disappearance of their parents, the sisters are sent to live with their grandmother—a woman they believed was dead! Granny Relda reveals that the girls have two famous ancestors, the Brothers Grimm, whose classic book of fairy tales is actually a collection of case files of magical mischief. Now the girls must take on the family responsibility of being fairy-tale detectives. Their first case? A roller-coaster ride of an adventure to stop a giant from destroying their new hometown.

The Unusual Suspects Cover First line: “Let’s get this party started, already!” Sabrina complained under her breath as she rubbed the charley horse in her leg.

Book description:

For Sabrina Grimm, living in a community of fairy-tale characters means always being ready for trouble. And something is definitely wrong at her new school. The adults seem too angry, the kids seem too sleepy, and the gym teacher likes dodgeball way too much. Of course, her little sister, Daphne, is having the time of her life. (Who wouldn’t with Snow White for a teacher—she’s do good with little people!) But when Sabrina’s teacher, Mr. Grumpner, is found dangling in a giant spider web, even sunny Daphne’s convinced Ferryport Landing Elementary has a monster problem. Can the Sisters Grimm solve the crime?

Initial thoughts: I must admit that these two books were impulse buys more than anything else.

Since I was a kid, I’ve adored fairytales. Even now I can see Grimm’s Complete Fairytales sitting on my bookshelf—it never wanders too far away from me because sometimes I like to crack it open and read whenever I need a break. (By the way, it’s the original fairytales. In my version, the wicked queen in Snow White had to dance in red-hot iron shoes until she dropped dead. Bet you won’t see that in a Disney movie anytime soon.)

Back on track…when I saw that it was a new spin on a classic, I couldn’t resist. Especially since it had a Girl Power! spin to it. In reading these books, I hope to return to a fun part of my childhood where adventure awaited around every corner.

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