Book Review: The Chalk Man

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In 1986, Eddie and his friends are just kids on the verge of adolescence. They spend their days biking around their sleepy English village and looking for any taste of excitement they can get. The chalk men are their secret code: little chalk stick figures they leave for one another as messages only they can understand. But then a mysterious chalk man leads them right to a dismembered body, and nothing is ever the same.

In 2016, Eddie is fully grown and thinks he’s put his past behind him, but then he gets a letter in the mail containing a single chalk stick figure. When it turns out that his friends got the same message, they think it could be a prank–until one of them turns up dead. That’s when Eddie realizes that saving himself means finally figuring out what really happened all those years ago.

Hardcover, 280 pages
Published January 9th 2018 by Crown Publishing Group (NY)

I received a copy of this book from Blogging for Books in exchange for ann honest review!


4 Stars


This book is great for fans of creepy, mystery character driven stories – it reminds me a lot of shows like Stranger Things.

I love the dual narrative – present day and the 1980s. And the characters are all realistic – even if I couldn’t really relate to most of them (narrator is in turns a 12 year old boy and a middle aged man).

Its a good thriller, even if its a little slow or unclear in some parts. The writing style is really nice. I enjoyed it a lot overall.

TW: there is a rape, so beware of that if you pick this up.

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Netgalley Review: Please State the Nature of Your Emergency

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The sapient roaches of our planetary future, when they seek to understand the sickening dismay, abysmal grief and goofy absurdity of the Anthropocene in Donald Trump’s America, will reach for their dog-eared (or bug-horned) copies of Aaron Anstett’s PLEASE STATE THE NATURE OF YOUR EMERGENCY. In these impossibly crystalline poems, Anstett has distilled from the ironic bile of our vast, unbearable tragedy the steely essence of our predicament.


I received an e-arc copy of this book in exchange for an honest review.


4 Stars

This is a short poetry book, about 50 pages. The poems range in length, but most are pretty short,  and they are free-verse for the most part. Not all are explicitly political, but knowing the context that most of these were written in response to Trump’s presidency certainly helps them make more sense.

I love the title and the cover. They fit so very very well.

Some poems didn’t made a whole lot of sense, or were pretty so-so, but most were pretty good. Some even great. I found some parts, especially the poem titles really funny. I really enjoyed it as a whole.

Netgalley Review: Sweet Dreams, Supergirl

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For Ages: 4-7

A young Supergirl fan faces her most elusive adversary — sleep! As darkness falls, a young girl attempts to catch some Z’s while DC Comics’ SUPERGIRL tracks down an enemy. With super hero traits, like BRAVERY, PATIENCE, and PERSISTENCE, they’ll both turn sleepless nights into sweet success and sweet dreams. Along with Omar Lozano’s action-packed art, bestselling author Michael Dahl (Bedtime for Batman, Good Morning, Superman and Be a Star, Wonder Woman) delivers an imaginative bedtime book for fangirls and fanboys alike.

Author Bio:

Michael Dahl is the prolific author of the bestselling Goodnight Baseball picture book and more than 200 other books for children and young adults. He has won the AEP Distinguished Achievement Award three times for his nonfiction, a Teacher’s Choice award from Learning magazine, and a Seal of Excellence from the Creative Child Awards. Dahl currently lives in Minneapolis, Minnesota.Illustrator


5 Stars

I received an e-copy of this book from Netgalley in exchange for an honest review.

Review:

I thought this was a super cute kids book. Geared towards young girls, it compares Supergirl to a little girl getting ready for bed. The illustrations are really nicely done, and I think its great for young girls, especially if they already like superheroes/Supergirl.

Netgalley Review: The Year of the Geek

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The Year of the Geek

365 Adventures from the Sci-Fi Universe

by James Clarke

The Year of the Geek is a fascinating look into geek culture. Each day will tell a different story from the sci-fi universe, from famous franchises and figures such as Star Wars, The Matrix, Peter Jackson and Luc Besson, to lesser known stories, including the French cult classic City of Lost Children, the Japanese anime Akira and bestselling German novelist, Marcus Heitz. With text written by self-confessed geek James Clarke and accompanied by over 100 infographics that have been specially commissioned for this book, The Year of the Geek celebrates all things geek in a new and intriguing way.


I received an e-copy of this book from Netgalley in exchange for my honest review. 



5 Stars


This is exactly the sort of fun, nerdy coffee table book I LOVE. All the infographics were super well made, and super interesting.

Some were a little hard to read since I was reading this on Adobe Digital Editions, so I really want to buy a hardback.

If you’re into geeky, meta stuff about your fandoms, then this is for you!

Netgalley Review: 4 Kids Walk Into A Bank

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4 Kids Walk Into A Bank

by Matthew Rosenberg

4 KIDS WALK INTO A BANK is the darkly comedic story of four burgeoning child criminals and their elaborate plans. When a group of bumbling criminals show up in her father’s life looking to pull one last job, young Paige has two choices – let her father get caught up in their criminal hijinks or enlist her three best friends to do the job first. Paige picks the bad one.

180ish pages of full color comic-booking about friendship, family, growing up, and grand larceny from rising star writer Matthew Rosenberg (WE CAN NEVER GO HOME, KINGPIN, SECRET WARRIORS) and equally rising star artist Tyler Boss (LAZARUS, CALEXIT, Vice Magazine). This vollume collects the complete series that Kieron Gilled (THE WICKED + THE DIVINE, DARTH VADER) described as “Imagine Tarantino does Goonies. And excellent.” and Brian K. Vaughan (SAGA, Y THE LAST MAN) said was “Exploding with ambition and love of the medium!”


4 stars


I received an e-copy of this book from Netgalley in exchange for my honest review. 


This graphic novel is super funny and super nerdy. This is a really fun read with great characters, a fast story, and wonderful artwork.

I recommend this if you like graphic novels, and if you want to start getting into them, this is great to start with.

Netgalley Review: Nothing Happens In This Book

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I was given an e-arc of this from Netgalley in exchange for an honest review.

Description


Review:

This book is pretty cute. The illustrations are nice, and it was pretty funny. The continuation of the “Nothing happens in this book” reminds me a little of the “There’s A Monster At The End Of This Book”.

Young kids will definitely like this one, its a great children’s book.

School Required Reading Reviews: Pride & Prejudice / A Thousand Splendid Suns / The Death of Ivan Ilych

Okay, so…

These are really late. But, I wanted to post them anyways.

Enjoy!


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Original Release Date:

Published October 10th 2000 by Modern Library (first published 1813)

Date I Read The Book:

July 2017

My Star Rating:

4 Stars

Chronology:

Standalone

Official Summary:

“It is a truth universally acknowledged, that a single man in possession of a good fortune must be in want of a wife.” So begins Pride and Prejudice, Jane Austen’s witty comedy of manners—one of the most popular novels of all time—that features splendidly civilized sparring between the proud Mr. Darcy and the prejudiced Elizabeth Bennet as they play out their spirited courtship in a series of eighteenth-century drawing-room intrigues. Renowned literary critic and historian George Saintsbury in 1894 declared it the “most perfect, the most characteristic, the most eminently quintessential of its author’s works,” and Eudora Welty in the twentieth century described it as “irresistible and as nearly flawless as any fiction could be.”

My Review: (Vague Spoilers)

Pride And Prejudice Book Tag

This was one of my AP Lit summer reading books, though I would have read it at some point even if it weren’t required because I’ve read and loved so many retellings I felt I had to read the original at some point. I did feel knowing the story lessened my enjoyment at some points, because certain sections drag out in descriptions that sort of make my eyes glaze over, but I did truly enjoy it for most of the book. I prefer Emma though.


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Original Release Date:

Published May 22nd 2007 by Riverhead

Date I Read The Book:

July 2017

My Star Rating:

4 Stars

Chronology:

Standalone

Official Summary:

At once an incredible chronicle of thirty years of Afghan history and a deeply moving story of family, friendship, faith, and the salvation to be found in love.

Propelled by the same superb instinct for storytelling that made The Kite Runner a beloved classic, A Thousand Splendid Suns is at once an incredible chronicle of thirty years of Afghan history and a deeply moving story of family, friendship, faith, and the salvation to be found in love.

Born a generation apart and with very different ideas about love and family, Mariam and Laila are two women brought jarringly together by war, by loss and by fate. As they endure the ever escalating dangers around them – in their home as well as in the streets of Kabul – they come to form a bond that makes them both sisters and mother-daughter to each other, and that will ultimately alter the course not just of their own lives but of the next generation. With heart-wrenching power and suspense, Hosseini shows how a woman’s love for her family can move her to shocking and heroic acts of self-sacrifice, and that in the end it is love, or even the memory of love, that is often the key to survival.

My Review: (Vague Spoilers)

This was one of our summer reading books for AP Lit this past year. Its well written, with amazingly real characters. I think its historically accurate, but I’m can’t be entirely certain. I am going to say its horribly depressing and I couldn’t really handle reading it for extended periods. If you like to cry when you read, you’ll enjoy this immensely.


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Original Release Date:

1886

Date I Read The Book:

November 2017

My Star Rating:

3 Stars

Chronology:

Novella

Official Summary:

Hailed as one of the world’s supreme masterpieces on the subject of death and dying, The Death of Ivan Ilyich is the story of a worldly careerist, a high court judge who has never given the inevitability of his dying so much as a passing thought. But one day, death announces itself to him, and to his shocked surprise, he is brought face to face with his own mortality.

How, Tolstoy asks, does an unreflective man confront his one and only moment of truth?

This short novel was an artistic culmination of a profound spiritual crisis in Tolstoy’s life, a nine-year period following the publication of Anna Karenina during which he wrote not a word of fiction.
A thoroughly absorbing and, at times, terrifying glimpse into the abyss of death, it is also a strong testament to the possibility of finding spiritual salvation.

My Review: (Vague Spoilers)

I only just recently finished reading this in class for AP Lit. Maybe I’m a little traumatized because we had to write a three grade essay and stuff, but I didn’t like this very much. It was okay, I didn’t mind reading it, I just didn’t particularly want to. Its entirely about death and despair, and in my constant state of anxiety of college right now, I was not in a state where I could enjoy this. I can see why others might though, and I know its of great literary significance.

Mini DNF Book Reviews: A Fabrication of the Truth / The Inconceivable Life of Quinn / Four of a Kind / Saabrina: Tanglewood

I went a little request crazy and instead of torturing myself by trying to read and finish books I lost interest in, I’m just officially DNF-ing them.

Feel free to shame me for it, or if you like one of the below, try and convince you to finish it.


I requested and was approved for all these books from Netgalley. Because they are review copies, I tried to stick it out, but I couldn’t. I opinions are not changed because they are review copies. I may or may not revisit any in the future. But at the moment, I have no intention of finishing them at the moment.


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A Fabrication of the Truth
by Katie Kaleski

This book was way too cheesy to get through. It wasn’t badly written, but I couldn’t connect to any characters, and the plot was full of too many tropes – I felt like I already knew what was going to happen, and I didn’t feel like finishing. Maybe if you’re into this sort of thing, you’ll like it. It wasn’t bad, it just wasn’t for me.


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The Inconceivable Life of Quinn
by Marianna Baer

Sex in books tends to freak me out a little – I just don’t like it, though usually I can push through it. Its kind of a center point of this book though – considering the MC is pregnant. I liked the protagonist, but the other characters felt cookie cutter. It was slow, and pretty cringe-y and I couldn’t get through it, though if sex in YA is less off-putting to you, you may like it. Its certainly different from other YA books.


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Four of a Kind – Four of a Kind, Book One
by Kellie Sheridan

Have you ever watched an ABC Family or Hallmark movie? This book basically feels like that. It wasn’t bad, but I also feel zero compulsion to finish it. Someone else may like it, but I just didn’t feel anything for it.


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Saabrina: Tanglewood
By Seth Cohen

So, when I requested this book, I didn’t realize it was a sequel. I tried to push through anyways, but it references characters and events from the previous books, and explains so little, that I was too confused to keep going. Not really the book’s fault, but I couldn’t read it.

Mini Netgalley Reviews: Killer Fashion / Zen Pencils–Creative Struggle / Herding Cats / Emoji Phantom of the Opera / Harry Potter – The Unofficial Guide to the Collectibles of Our Favorite Wizard

 I have a horrific backlog of Netgalley books to review. So, here’s to tackling that. I received e-arc copies of all of the following via Netgalley in exchange for my honest review.


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Killer Fashion:
Poisonous Petticoats, Strangulating Scarves, and Other Deadly Garments Throughout History

by Jennifer Wright

Description

Review: 4.5 Stars

Super interesting, and I LOVED the illustrations, which are done entirely in white, black and red. If you like dark humor, then you’ll like this. Its historical, but you don’t need to have an avid interest in history or fashion to enjoy it. A super quick, fun read.


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Zen Pencils–Creative Struggle

Illustrated Advice from Masters of Creativity

by Gavin Aung Than

Description

Review: 4 Stars

A super fun, pretty quick read. Perfect for those who need a little motivation. It features comic depictions and short, couple page explanations of the creative lessons you can draw from the achievements of scientists, artists, and writers alike; meaning there’s something for anyone to be found. Some parts felt a little dumbed down to me, which is why its 4 stars not 5, but I thought it was fun and well put together. The illustrations were really well done.


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Herding Cats

A Sarah’s Scribbles Collection

by Sarah Andersen

Description

Review: 4 Stars

I LOVE the Sarah’s Scribbles books. This one is super fun, and super relatable (as always) but to me, it fell a little flatter than the others. The “scribbles” are great as always, but the humor was a little more disjointed in this one; while still hilarious,  it wasn’t as funny. Not the best of her books, but entertaining as always! I still really enjoyed it, but I’d recommend the other more.


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Emoji Phantom of the Opera

Epic Tales in Tiny Texts

by Gaston Leroux, Katherine Furman

Review: 2 Stars

Several of my friends are OBSESSED with Phantom of the Opera. I know the story, I’ve heard the musical, and I STILL found this a confusing mess to follow along with. I usually love retellings, but this one tried to tell the story exactly, with every characters, with very few words, and a mix of emoji pictogram and text message. Emoji’s for each character were given a name in the beginning, but never referred to by name again, only by picture, and as I read this on Adobe Editions, it made it very hard to follow as I couldn’t flip back and forth. I sort of loathe the emoji-everting craze, so I probably should have expected this. I didn’t really get all the way through it, just skimmed to the end. You may like it if you like these sorts of emoji-story things, but I didn’t. It is really nice visually, and its certainly creative, I’ll give that.


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Harry Potter
The Unofficial Guide to the Collectibles of Our Favorite Wizard

by Eric Bradley

Review: 4 Stars

I am a HUGE Harry Potter fan, so of course I requested this on Netgalley. I love trivia and collectables. This book was interesting for the most part, and a little dry in others, taking about numbers and monetary value in a way that made me a little bored. The photographs are really nice, but I had to skim through several sections because they were a little dry and mostly made me jealous rather than entertained. But if you like this sort of thing, its a good read. If you’re only a casual fan, than it probably isn’t for you.

Netgalley Review: Charlie the Caterpillar

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I received an e-book copy of this from Netgalley in exchange for my honest review.


Summary:

Charlie,
He is kind to all he meets,
Super cute and super sweet …

When Charlie the caterpillar looks in the mirror, all he sees is what’s missing. But with the help of some caring and colorful friends, he begins to learn it’s what inside that counts!

Charlie,
It doesn’t matter what you’ve got—
Neon stripes or polka dots—
Raise your head and show them off!

More importantly, about Charlie! Charlie the Caterpillar was born out of a conversation that my wife (Lesley Gutman) and daughter (Riley Claire Gutman) had about how cool it would be to write a book about a caterpillar trying on fashion inside of its cocoon. I kept saying they should write about it … and thus Charlie was born. Charlie is so much more interesting than Andy Gutman, who is simply of average height, maybe a few pounds overweight, and just some boring businessman! Special thanks to Thomas Daniel for his contributions.


4 Stars

Review:

Yes, I am slightly cheating my Goodreads challenge by reading children’s books… But I’m reviewing them so it counts!

I thought this was a super cute kids book, especially for younger children. it all about accepting yourself as you are, no matter what you look like. The illustrations are beautiful, I loved the colors. I think it’d be really good for 2-4 year olds. It’s a little too cutesy for older than that I’d think.