Monday, August 2, 2010

"Birthday Girl, Graceling,

More backlog reviews....

Birthday Girl by Diane J. Wright
Release Date: Nov, 8th 2008

Sixteen-year-old Tracey Burns has been confined to a single room for two years. One night, amid chaotic spring winds, she slips to freedom and inadvertently sets herself on a journey that takes her further away from the one thing she wants most: to find the mother who left her behind. 

Determined but starkly naïve, Tracey plunges into a harsh and confusing world where she is no more than a headline, a case file, another ragged face on the side of the California highway asking for change. It's only when she stumbles upon an enclave of irrepressible epicureans tucked in the flatlands of the Mojave that she begins to uncover the truth of her world, of herself, and of [close:] 
her missing mother. 


The book follows Tracey a 16/17 year old girl who has been locked up in a single room at her father's house for two years. One night she escapes and runs to an old friends house and this is where our story begins. Tracey to say is emotionally stunted. She has been waiting patiently for two years for a mother that was supposed to come for her. She is in a way a little girl in an young adult's body. Merely wishing only for her mother. She is eventually sent to two foster homes where she suffers a variety of experiences. It's at the second foster home that she meets Frankie her boyfriend and first best friend. The story takes a turn when Frankie convinces her to go on a ride with him. They end up driving half way to Los Vegas before he drops her off at a bus station so she can make it back to the foster home in time. Tracey gets her money stolen there and is nearly rapped when she innocently accepts a ride from a woman she thought could be trusted. She runs away and ends up walking all night and eventually finds herself at Monroe's gas station. It is here that things start to turn well for Tracey. Monroe befriends her and arranges for her to stay with Eve and Catherine; sisters who run a Inn or rather spa nearby. Tracey lives there happily and eventually Frankie finds her after he spent months looking for her. She stays on and Frankie comes to visit her every weekend. While living and helping around the Inn and gas station Tracey starts to open up and live. She also discovers a passion for cooking. 

On her 18th birthday Tracey gets biggest wish and that is Catherine, Eve, Monroe and his jackass boyfriend found her mother Adele. Tracey finds Adele in the kitchen at the Inn, but things arn't as Tracey remembers. In fact Adele is very different from how she remembers. After a rather horrid day spent with Adele Eve consuls Tracey and tells her that her family is whom she makes them. The book ends with Tracey realizing that her mother is her own person and really has only cared about herself. That Eve, Catherine, Monroe, and Frankie is her family. 

This book was slow at times, but was a rather good read. You really feel for Tracey's innocence that was lost and was rooting for something nice to happen to her. That niceness came in the form of Eve, Catherine,and Monroe. There was a few times in the story that i really wanted Tracey to dump Frankie, but he came through in the end. The only thing the book was missing for me was Eve, Catherine, and Monroe's reaction to being locked up for two years. I really would have liked to have known what they thought. 

Good read overall.

Rating: 3 1/2 bunnies 

Graceling by Kirsten Cashore
 Release Date: Oct, 1 2008

Katsa has been able to kill a man with her bare hands since she was eight — she’s a Graceling, one of the rare people in her land born with an extreme, and in her case horrifying, skill. As niece of the king, she should be able to live a life of privilege, but Graced as she is with killing, she is forced to work as the king’s thug. When she first meets Prince Po, Graced with combat skills, Katsa has no hint of how her life is about to change. She never expects to become Po’s friend. She never expects to learn a new truth about her own Grace — or about a terrible secret that lies hidden far away... a secret that could destroy all seven kingdoms with words alone

An heads up; this review is not going to be that long. Mostly because my reaction from it was "It was good". Period. I'm wreaking my brain right now to try to figure out what to say. Mostly i'm thinking is why are people singing it's praises to the high heavens. It was a good book, but nothing shattering. 

In fact it reminded me a lot of Cynthia Voight "The Kingdom" series. In all honesty it could have come out of the same series. The difference being that i felt that Cynthia's characters and story flowed better. You wanted to read what happened next and you really cared about the characters. I didn't get that from Kirsten's book. I felt that in some instances she was trying too hard to write a character she didn't fully grasp. At times Katsa and Po felt really strained. I didn't get their relationship, nor their characterization. The only natural flowing character in the story seemed to be Bitterblue. It was no surprise then that her parts was read faster and with interest. 

The story also didn't flow that well and a lot of major things happened at a "snap"! There was no real feeling of "i gotta know what happens next" or excitement. You merely turned the page to finish the book. 

Final review: 3  1/2 bunnies.It's a rather good debut novel and i'm actual curious to read her others. I just hope the characters and story flow better. 

The Animal Review:
by  Jacob Lentz & Steve Nash 
Release Date:  March 3o, 2010

Review: I won this book in a first reads and i have to say i fairly enjoyed it. It's certainly not a long book, nor one that requires constant attention. It's one where it's best place is on a coffee table or reading rack at an office where someone can pick it up and turn to any random page and start reading. Immensely humorous the authors that learning about various in a more entertaining way than most fact books about animals. It should be noted though that some basic knowledge of some animals featured in this book in needed. I say this because in their "Great White Shark" section they repeatedly state how much of a killer it is, how death by shark is the highest death rate, and that you'll know one person whose been killed by a shark in your life. These things are completely untrue and merely stated in a humorous notion. If you have ever watched "Shark Week" on "The Discovery Channel" you'd know you have a greater chance of being struck by lightning than killed by a shark. Though notably short i found this book to be wholly entertaining and a keeper. My one critic is that the authors have not scored the rabbit. Being a bunny mommy of six i was hoping to find how they rate rabbits among the animal kingdom.

Rating: Four bunnies for great humor and interesting info.