Sunday, March 29, 2009

Mini-reviews...a new feature?

Each month I attempt to read several books that have forever sat on my TBR shelf (whether physically or virtually), either finally pulling them off my shelf or heading out to the library and picking them up. After reading them, I certainly want to share as I share each book I read with all of you, though so many of you have already read and reviewed these titles (and therefore your fault I have to read them in the first place), I don't see a reason to written a full-blown review on each one of them. Therefore, my new "mini-review" section is born. This will probably be an end-of-the-month feature, if you don't like it for some reason, let me know!

What I Saw and How I Lied is written by Judy Blundell and is the wonderful and much deserved winner of the National Book Award. The main character, 15 year old Evie is forced to grow up a bit quicker than planned one summer when she realizes her parents are involved in some strange business deals with another couple. Evie also manages to find her first love that summer, in a man named Peter. Evie is thrust into a scary world of secrets and lies, suddenly having no idea whom to trust.

Set in a beautiful period in history and filled with great descriptions and intriguing mystery, it's clear why this won such a coveted award. Very enjoyable! Loved the cover of this one too.

What I Saw and How I Lied
Judy Blundell
288 pages
Young Adult
November 2008

The Tale of Despereaux, written by the fabulous Kate DiCamillo, charmed me right into oblivion. I cannot believe it took me this long to actually read it!!! Can't see the movie without reading the book though...

Our little talking mouse friend, Despereaux, is anything but ordinary, enjoying people instead of being scared of them. When he's banished to death for talking to the Princess, Despereaux learns the ropes of the dungeon, the end...will help to save his beloved Princess from her own certain death.

The illustrations, done by Timothy Basil Ering are adorable, beautiful, charming, and fit the story completely. Loved this one, definitely buying it for my own shelves!

The Tale of Despereaux: Being the Story of a Mouse, a Princess, Some Soup, and a Spool of Thread
Kate DiCamillo
272 pages
Middle grade fiction
April 2006

Finally, The London Eye Mystery, written by the fabulous Siobhan Dowd, was one of the Cybils winners this year, making it a shoe-in to be read. The complicated mystery is definitely going to rope in the middle graders it's aimed towards, and even adults as I was biting my nails through the whole thing trying to pretend I knew what was going to happen next (though I really had no clue).

When Ted and Kat's visiting cousin, Salim, disappear while riding one of London's most famous attractions, a seemingly impossible event, the race is on to find him before something even more terrible happens.

Very quick paced and filled with quirky characters, this was a great choice as a winner (nice job Cybil panelists), and a fantastic choice for library shelves. Have a reluctant reader in your family? This is a good one for that too...

The London Eye Mystery
Siobhan Dowd
336 pages
Middle grade fiction
David Fickling Books
February 2008

To learn more about any of these titles or to purchase, click on the book covers above to link to Amazon.


Debi said...

The first one is already on my wish list, the second I read and adored, the third is previously unheard of by me and I'm now really eager to get my mitts on it! I enjoyed your mini reviews, Amanda. And I'm so glad you enjoyed each of these books. :)

Staci said...

I like the mini-review should keep it!! Glad you finally read Despereaux!!

Michelle said...

The London Eye Mystery is the best middle grade mystery I've read in a long time. I've been recommending it to kids at my library too.

Carrie said...

Tale of Despereaux was one of our favorite read-alouds a couple years ago - we all loved it!

Damien said...


That is an interesting honest review over my favorite books. Thanks a lot for these reviews... Keep up the good work :)

Penny (aka Yooperchick) said...

I loved your review of Despereaux, and have included a link to it on my review, so that others can see what you thought of it as well. In case you're interested, it's at: