Friday, August 28, 2009

August Mini-Reviews, I've got 4 for ya!

So I do these mini-reviews at the end of every month for a couple of reasons. First, I read too many books across all sorts of genres to give proper, lengthy reviews of every single title. Second, sometimes I'm just not feeling good or bad about a book and don't have a whole lot to say on it. I didn't love it, I didn't hate it. And third, there may be lots of buzz about a book out there right now or there was when it was first published and the last thing you all need is another plot recap. I save my regular day-to-day reviews for books that I have a lot to say about or are new to the shelves.

With this I give you a short explanation of how I felt about the characters, plot, writing, etc. Having properly explained myself, here we go!

The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society, written by Mary Ann Shaffer and Annie Barrows was absolutely delightful! The entire concept of the novel was incredibly unique, filled with excellent characters, and charming wit in the writing. Juliet is hilarious and had me chuckling on almost every page.

I can certainly see why this book has become so popular over the past year and is now such a staple in book clubs. I'll probably be giving this as a gift to several women in my life this holiday season.

The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society
Mary Ann Shaffer and Annie Barrows
304 pages
Adult Fiction
Dial Press
May 2009 (paperback)

When You Reach Me, written by Rebecca Stead, seems to be the "it" book of the moment and I'm always wary of picking that book up and disliking it. No worries this time, I was as charmed as all of you! Great writing, great mystery and intrigue, and a lovable main character. I even really enjoyed the time period being set in the late 70's, though not a typical "favorite" of mine.

In both books I've read of Stead's, I've ended up overly impressed and wanting to tell everyone about the book. I can see the love for this latest one and hope teens and middle schoolers will be encouraged to pick it up and surround themselves with Miranda and her friends.

When You Reach Me
Rebecca Stead
208 pages
Young Adult
Wendy Lamb
July 2009

Julie & Julia, written by Julie Powell was a bit disappointing. I had read that the movie was better than the book, so I (of course) had to run out and get the book first to prove those people wrong. Well, the book was much longer than it needed to be and more than a tad boring in parts. Powell's memoir was definitely unique and funny, but focused more on her being an irritating wife than on cooking and her challenge.

More food would have been great and more on Julia Child would have been nice too. Haven't seen the movie yet, but it looks funny, making me think those other bloggers were right about it being better. Oh well.

Julie & Julia: My Year of Cooking Dangerously
Julie Powell
400 pages
Adult Memoir
Little, Brown
July 2009 (paperback)

The Astonishing Adventures of Fanboy and Goth Girl, written by Barry Lyga, was wonderful! I could see the characters in my head, just the way Lyga described them and realized that I could pick out, in my own high school, who Kyra and Donnie would be. They were true-to-life characters, written incredibly well, with great dialogue.

I would definitely hand this one to my reluctant readers. Easy to read, with an enjoyable plot and fabulous characters...can't wait to open the sequel, which comes out in October.

The Astonishing Adventures of Fanboy and Goth Girl
Barry Lyga
320 pages
Young Adult
September 2007


Susie Sharp Librarian said...

I just had to comment on your take on the because the first word that came to my mind when describing it to some was delighful!
I've also heard alot about fanboy & gothgirl and will have to add that to my wishlist!..Thanks I like mini reviews!

Staci said...

I loved Guernsey...just loved it!!!! I haven't heard about When You Reach Me but I will be looking for it. I've been meaning to read Fanboy and I will most definitely now.

As for Julie & Julia, I'm reading it right now and feel exactly like you. I just did not click with the author at all....I'm about 1/2 through it. I think the movie sounds way more interesting!!!

Loved your mini-reviews!

Amanda said...

Thanks ladies, glad you like them! I was afraid some readers might not like the short, but sweet review, but honestly, it's the only way I can review everything I read each month!

Glad to know I'm at least pleasing 2!

Melissa said...

I have a copy of Julie and Julia in my TBR pile. I'm still going to try to get through it - I haven't seen the movie yet!

Guernsey was, of course, fantastic.

carolinestarr said...

I'll be looking for When You Reach me. Thanks, Amanda.

Thoughts of Joy said...

I loved the Guernsey book, too. I gave away many as gifts.

Anna said...

I'm glad to see you enjoyed Guernsey. It was a wonderful little book. Would it be okay to link to this post on War Through the Generations?

Diary of an Eccentric