July Book Reviews
Here in Maryland, July has been a hot, sticky month. I've never been a big outdoors person, so that's fine by me. It just gives me more time to stay in and read. It's time to take a look at what I've read in the past month and what I thought of them. Let's get start!
A Tail of Camelot- Julie Leung
My Rating: 5 stars
• The story. The story is about a young mouse, named Calib, who needs to find his courage and keep the kingdom of Camelot from tearing itself apart instead of focusing on the real enemy. It's powerful, engaging, and well written.
• The world. The author was clearly inspired by the Redwall stories, and it showed in this book, but in a good way. It didn't feel like she was copying Jacques work. Instead, she did her own spin on the idea. It was lots of fun, with humans and animals living side by side in their own worlds. There was also a touch of magic that I really enjoyed.
• Calib. He was a great little protagonist. (Ha, see what I did there?) At first he was a bit cowardly but he had a great arc through the book. His story was paralleled with a human boy's named Galahad, which made for interesting reading.
• Girl knights! This story takes place during the time of King Arthur, but in the mouse ranks there were girl knights and pages. It was fun and there was no girls are better than boys or vice versa.
• Nothing that I can remember. Except maybe that things like stoats and weasels are always bad in these sorts of books. What's with that?
The Mysterious Benedict Society- Trenton Lee Stewart
My Rating: 4 1/2 stars
• The children. This book was centered around four children who are all gifted in some way. Whether it's remembering everything or being very smart, each one has a special skill. I loved all of their personalities and the way they worked together.
• Great writing. It reminded me of Roald Dahl and Lemony Snicket mixed together. It was fun and easy to read.
• Lots of fun puzzles. Like in Lemony Snicket books, the kids are constantly having their intellect tested through various puzzles and tests.
• Page-turning plot. I was kept on my toes through this book as the four kids try to save the world. The plot twists were unexpected and I didn't see any of them coming.
• Constance. I found her attitude a bit annoying. You may love her, but I preferred Kate or Reynie.
• A bit long. This book was over five hundred pages, which is pretty long for a children's book. I think it could have been cut back a little. It also occasionally felt draggy.
The Dark Prophecy- Rick Riordan
My Rating: 3 stars
• Leo and Calypso. These two are so great together. And any part with Leo in it is sure to be entertaining.
• The humor. As always, Riordan's humor was spot on throughout the whole book. He's great at getting me to laugh out loud. My favorite part? Calypso's backup chorus for Apollo's last words.
• Apollo, or Lester. He's just impossible to empathize with. All he does is run around, whine, and be useless. His master, Meg is more interesting than. He's the whole reason I don't like this series as much.
• Lots of gay relationships. Riordan is pushing this sort of stuff into all his books. The Apollo ones are worse because he himself doesn't care who he likes. All those types of people make me feel uncomfortable and take away from the story.
The Last Day on Mars- Kevin Emerson
My Rating: 3 1/2 stars
• The cover. Isn't it so eye-catching? You don't see a lot of books with a warm color scheme, especially orange. That's part of the reason this book caught my eye.
• The premise. It had an interesting premise of humans have moved to Mars while they work on making spaceships to get to a new planet because the sun is burning up our planets. This added an interesting dynamic between the people who moved to Mars and those that were born there. There were aliens too, so that was fun.
• Time crunch. Who doesn't love it when the protagonist has to do something before time runs out? While this one didn't go quite like I thought it would, it still added urgency to the story.
• Not what I expected. This is the biggest reason that I didn't like this book. I was expecting a more serious book, like something you would find in YA. However, this book was quite light. After it wasn't what I thought, it was hard to get in to.
• Phoebe. I can't say much about her without spoilers, but suffice to say I didn't like her character from the beginning, so I wasn't surprise when the plot twist came.
• I didn't understand much. I didn't understand the bad guys, though that might come in a later book. I didn't get how the world worked or what a link was. I felt everything could have been explained more. At least the science seemed sound.
However, I do plan on continuing to read this series, just to see where it goes. Maybe I'll like the next book better since I'll know what to expect.
Alex and Eliza- Melissa de la Cruz (5 stars)
The Story of Doctor Dolittle- Hugh Lofting (4 stars)
Attack of the Bayport Beast- Franklin W. Dixon (3 stars)
Heart of the Land- Sarah Prineas (4 stars)
Wonder- R. J. Palacio (4 stars)
Brown Girl Dreaming- Jacqueline Woodson (4 stars)
Delilah Dirk and the King's Shilling- Tony Cliff (4 stars)
Horten's Incredible Illusions- Lissa Evans (4 stars)
Lost- Sarah Prineas (4 stars)
Rise of the Isle of the Lost- Melissa de la Cruz (4 1/2 stars)
The Wish Granter- C. J. Redwine (4 stars)
Let's talk! What have you read this month? Have you read any of these books? Have you ever expected a book to be different than it was? Tell me in the comments.