Saturday, October 8, 2011

Book Review: Please Ignore Vera Dietz by A.S. King

Title:  Please Ignore Vera Dietz
Author:  A.S. King
PublisherAlfred A. Knopf Books for Young Readers
Published:  October 12th 2010
Format:  Hardcover, 336 pages 
ISBN: 0375865861 (ISBN13: 9780375865862) 

Summary from Goodreads: 

"Vera's spent her whole life secretly in love with her best friend, Charlie Kahn. And over the years she's kept a lot of his secrets. Even after he betrayed her. Even after he ruined everything.

So when Charlie dies in dark circumstances, Vera knows a lot more than anyone—the kids at school, his family, even the police. But will she emerge to clear his name? Does she even want to?"


A Talking Pagoda

Please Ignore Vera Dietz by A.S. King had a very unique concept of story delivery.  Yes it's very common to have multiple characters talking about their sides of the story in one novel, but this one did more than that - it did not just have people giving their insights, but an inanimate object as well.   It was also able to convey this really poignant feel without being too depressing as the blurbs would have us believe.  It showed objectivity but it did not detach the reader from the emotional quality of the book.


...some parts felt dragging and too slow, often a bit too redundant.  I get it, Vera got screwed over by her best friend, but she still had to clear his name or she won't be able to live with herself.  Do I really want to read some slightly differed variations of this situation over and over before finally getting this issue resolved?  No, I already got the gist of it the first few times it was mentioned.

But then... least I was able to enjoy Vera's dry wit and sarcasm and her father's labile behavior.  I poked fun at her dad's seemingly square personality and I was so angered at Jenny Flick's unbelievably nasty antics. 

Of course...

...I looked forward to reading about the book's resolution and whoah, imagine my surprise (and disappointment) that it got really fast-paced towards the end that although it was satisfying to see it end the way I liked it (not a spoiler, I do not necessarily always want a happy ending.  Again, NOT a spoiler), it just felt a bit hurried in the way that the original premise felt too slowed down.

And the verdict...

...I liked reading Please Ignore Vera Dietz, it had some awesome potential.  Maybe if I read it a few more times I'd get what Ms. King wanted the readers to see in her story.  But for now, I'd say it's OK.

Oh and by the way...

All opinions expressed in this book review are my own and not influenced by any party in any way. 

Please contact me for questions, comments, and suggestions.

'Til the next book!

Monday, August 1, 2011

Book Review: Sue's Fingerprint by Andrew D. Carlson

Book Info
Title:  Sue's Fingerprint
Author:  Andrew D. Carlson
Language: English
Format:  Paperback
ISBN - 13:  978-0615456225
Pages:  232 pages
Source:  From the author, Andrew D. Carlson


From Goodreads 

"A gel-like substance is suddenly discovered across the country. Ted Stevens, a Director in the Department of Homeland Security, is assigned to investigate. He enlists the help of scientists at a government laboratory to analyze the ‘goo’. They discover the substance was sent to Earth and has unique properties; it can clone animals. Ted soon learns the substance can also clone humans. 

Sue is the first of eleven new people cloned from the alien substance. She and the others arrive without prior knowledges (and without clothes!). They are discovered and recovered by Ted and contained on an abandoned military base. While there, the clones learn about themselves and the world around them. They also receive a message. Sue decides she must deliver it, and one morning they find she’s gone. 

During the recovery of Sue, Ted learns of the clones’ message and begins to understand their true intentions. He needs to know more about the clones, so he collects samples for DNA fingerprint testing. The fate of the new people will be decided by the results from Ted’s friends at the laboratory.


Ever wondered what would happen if there were human clones?  Would they have the same knowledge as the cloned person?  Would they have the same natural life span?  Can they live a normal human life among other 'uncloned' humans?  In scientist - now also a writer - Andrew D. Carlson's Sue's Fingerprint, he not just talks about the scientific dilemma of cloning humans and the possibility of alien life forms, he gives an insight into identity, personality, and the individuality of a person - cloned or otherwise.

Sue and her friends were cloned from humans from a gel-like substance that was dropped off the Earth's atmosphere from space.  Their adventures (and misadventures) as they attempted to live like any normal person were very human-like it was funny and endearing.  The concept of the story was unique, yet the delivery was simple and concise.  Any reader (be it a sci-fi fan or not) would definitely get hooked after reading a few pages of this book, wanting more.  I found myself lost in the story as it unfolded with vivid descriptions and relatable characters.  I liked how it talked about science without putting me to sleep, which I really think is a serious challenge because really, complicated stuff like DNA and atoms and molecules either give you serious information overload or get you bored out of your mind.  In some books, when it comes to the parts where detailed lectures about some scientific phenomena happen I tend to just scan through them because I found them to be too exhausting and a wee bit boring.  That never happened while reading Sue's Fingerprint.  The development of the story was just too exciting for me to notice that I have already waded through some very complicated scientific matters, and the way it was presented, it was like it was your own idea to learn about those topics anyway.  I like that it gave me a good story and taught me something interesting at the same time.

Reading about Sue and the other clones gave me such a kick that I found myself occasionally laughing at their antics because most times I felt like I was reading about someone I know - myself, even.  They were, I guess, based on real human characters but Mr. Carlson found the twist to make them as unique as possible.  The imagery that his descriptions provided really helped in accepting each and every person in this book and although the scientific side got me a bit puzzled, I nonetheless felt comfortable reading such a story, and actually as I turned to the last pages, I was left hankering for more.  I really wanted a sequel for this book and find some new interesting twists and new geeky stuff to learn about.

If you have any questions on this particular rating, please refer to my ratings system here.


I received this book free of charge from the author, Andrew D. Carlson, in exchange for an honest and truthful review. This, in no way, affected my opinion or review of this book.

Please contact me for questions, comments, and suggestions.  

Saturday, July 2, 2011

Shelf Saturday Featuring Author Cody Young

We all love our books, and we want them to have the best shelves ever. Also, this is a new way to sort of show off your book collection, along with your funky shelves.

ARGH thought fitting himself in the bookshelf will help him sleep.

For this new edition of Shelf Saturday, let me feature the book case of romance books author, Cody Young who wrote American Smile and recently released Scandal at the Farmhouse.

I'm Cody Young and I love to read. I've always collected old books, and that seems appropriate now that I have started writing historical fiction - mainly romance - some Young Adult fiction. I was born in England, but I now live in New Zealand. We didn't bring that many books with us, but since we arrived we have collected thousands.
The thing I love most about my bookshelf is that it contains a whole collection of old friends. Wind in the Willows was a favorite when I was little, for example, then I read Noel Streatfield and Judy Blume and Barbara Willard, then Dickens and lots of classics, and then I started collecting really old books like Mrs Beeton's Guide to Household Management
More recently I've read a lot of chick lit and romantic fiction, including the Twilight Saga - which you will see right in the middle of my shelf, with Homer Simpson sitting beside it, looking bemused.

One unique feature of my shelf is that I keep a microscope on it - not sure why - it just lives there. I also have a ladder chair, which I love. It's a chair that folds back into a ladder, and I use it when I want to reach the books that live on top of my shelf - like my Ultimate Teddy Bear Book and my Atlas of the World

Your library just reminded me of my own dream library, Cody.  You've got stairs!  How cool is that?  And it's amazing that you were able to collect thousands of books.  I am in awe.

It's great how you describe books as old friends, I have always thought of my books as my friends too and sometimes there are just books on my shelf that whenever I'm in a bind, I would think to myself:  What would (insert character's name here) do?

That microscope is awesome!  I totally want one, if only for design purposes.  And yes, I do think Homer is looking a bit bemused, maybe a doughnut will help him cope.

Thank you so much for sharing your bookshelves with us, Cody!


Think this is a great idea?  Want to have your shelves featured?  Then fill out this form and ARGH and I will email you for details on how to be a movie star - er, how to be featured on Shelf Saturday :D

Wednesday, June 29, 2011

A Little Book Told Me...


                                                                                              from Boy Meets Boy by David Levithan

Monday, June 27, 2011

10 Good Things on a Monday: Ten Fantastic Book Back Covers

10 Good Things on a Monday is a weekly feature  I am doing dedicated to every person's compulsive list-writing.  Every Monday we are going to make a list of 10 things that will cheer us up and help tide us over the whole week.

Here's how it works:
  1. Think of a particular group of good things you want to make a list on, does not necessarily have to be about books, e.g. your current book wish list, or your favorite book foods (you know, foods you love to eat while reading, if you're like me), or your favorite girly names, whatever you can think of, as long as it makes you feel good.
  2. If you have no ideas for a list, you can always visit my blog post to check out my theme for that week and you can take a cue from my list.
  3. Post your list on your blog, grab that cute ARGH button above and put it on your post too, so we'd know you're doing this meme.
  4. Leave the link for your post on my own 10 Good Things post for the week, if you see others doing it, comment too and let's share our good things with everybody.
  5. Everybody goes through the whole week happy!

My 10 Good Things for this weekTen Fantastic Book Back Covers

Just recently, I did a list of Ten Fantastic Book Covers.  Obviously, it showed us the front covers of the books.  And while it's only common that we should show what's in front, I sometimes wonder how a book's back cover feels - if it could feel anything at all.  So to give tribute to the terribly underrated part of a book, let's see some back covers that rock my socks :D

1.  This cover of Wuthering Heights is already tons of awesome, but you see that back part?  I am love, love, loving that window!

2.  I can't exactly tell you what I like about this back cover - maybe the fact that there are some phrases that were enlarged and given more emphasis?  Maybe because it echoes minimalism?  The gray color?  Maybe all of the above!

3.  What I like about this one, I can definitely tell you:  The colors!  I like that it has those smudges of colors arranged in a very orderly way but still looks like it was just thrown together.

4.  I was initially confused about which goes in front and which goes in the back, then I figured it out (obviously the one with the title and author goes in front, stupid me), and although the back part just features words, words, and lots of words and less focus on the design, I loved the awesomeness that the written message tells me.

5.  I have never seen a frumpy cover for Brave New World, every copy of that book looks really cool, and this one by far looks really cool - it just screams 'Acid rock!' to me.

6.  I have this book and I just can't stop staring at the back cover.  It's so clean and really relates to the whole story. 

7.  Where are you?  Why not try asking me what I like?  Because I'm really liking this back cover.

8.  Those wings look really glorious!

9.  When have you ever seen a kiddie book that does not have a really attractive cover?  And this back cover looks whimsy and fun.

10.  Graffiti love! ♥

So tell me, what are your Good Things?

Sunday, June 26, 2011

The Weekly Book Report 6/20 - 6/26/2011

Missed this week's blog fun?  Don't worry, because ARGH and I are here to the rescue, with The Weekly Book Report! 

Book Review:
Mini Reviews Part One:
     The Bell Jar by Sylvia Plath
     Forget You by Jennifer Echols
     Jane Eyre by Charlotte Bronte
     The Big Crunch by Pete Hautman 

Mini Reviews Part Two:
     Girl, Stolen by April Henry
     Wherever Nina Lies by Lynn Weingarten
     Your Heart Belongs to Me by Dean Koontz
     Wide Awake by David Levithan

Shelf Saturday featuring Tessa @From the Bookshelf of T.B.

Other Posts:
About a Book in Four PicturesWintergirls by Laurie Halse Anderson
Currently Reading:   The Other Boleyn Girl by Philippa Gregory

Have a great new week!


Saturday, June 25, 2011

Shelf Saturday Featuring Tessa @ From the Bookshelf of T.B.

We all love our books, and we want them to have the best shelves ever. Also, this is a new way to sort of show off your book collection, along with your funky shelves.

ARGH thought fitting himself in the bookshelf will help him sleep.

For this new edition of Shelf Saturday, let me feature the book case of this blogger friend of mine, Tessa @ From the Bookshelf of T.B.:

From The Bookshelf of T.B. Hi everyone!  My name is Tessa.  I’m fourteen years old and an eighth grader in middle school.  I’ll be going into high school this coming fall.  I love to run and I’m in track and cross-country.  I’m more of a long-distance runner, with my main events being the 3000m race and the 1500m race, but I enjoy sprints as well. 

Some random facts about me:
         -I’m the youngest of three.
         -I love, love, love the color teal.
         -My grandpa was the one who got me to start a blog.  Intrigued? :)
         -I could eat cookies ‘n’ cream ice cream for breakfast, lunch, and dinner.
         -Italian food is my favorite, especially lasagna.  Did I mention I like food?

Now enough about me, let me tell you a bit about my shelves.  I actually got my shelves from a Borders store that was closing nearby me.  It was the last day they were open so there wasn’t too much left.  Luckily, I was able to buy four bookshelves from Borders for really cheap.  The funny thing is, when I got home only two would fit in my room.

The feature I love most about my bookshelves is that they’re pretty tall and they’re double-sided.  It’s cool, because it feels like I’m in a library or bookstore when I go between them.  And I get double the shelf space, which I could always use more of.

This is what the front of my main shelf looks like.  The top shelf holds my books that are in a series, and are a mix of paperback and hardcover.  For some reason I just don’t like having a series with both paperbacks and hard covers.  I’d rather have only one or the other.  Next, my second shelf consists of my hardcover books. Then, my third shelf has all of my paperbacks that are in a series.  Finally, my last shelf holds my paperbacks (some might also be in a series, but I just don’t own the rest yet).  Other than that, I tend to organize my books by the ones that jut out the most on the far-left, and the rest just by the jacket color in an order that pleases the eye.  I know, a bit complicated and quirky, but it works out great!

Another shot of my bookshelf.

This is what the front side of my other shelf looks like.  On the left side of the top shelf are books that I’ve borrowed from my family or friends that I still need to read.  On the right side of the top shelf are books that I have read but still need to write reviews for.  I always tend to fall behind :p  My second shelf holds all of my books that I have bought and still need to read.  I really need to start reading all of these!  All of my ARC’s and books sent to me by publishers are on the third shelf.  Plus my painted ceramics and little chotchkies are on this shelf as well.

My mom made this for me, and it fits perfectly on the top of my shelf.  The letters spell the name of my blog, From The Bookshelf of T.B.  It was extremely thoughtful and sweet of her to make it for me.  I love seeing it everyday as a reminder on top of my bookshelves.

So that basically sums up what my shelves are all about!  Thank you so much Nina (and ARGH!) for this wonderful opportunity!  It was a lot of fun, and I hope you all enjoyed seeing my shelves.  I hope to have even more books filling them soon!

Eating ice cream the whole day!  I would love to try that some time!

Those are very nice book shelves you have there, Tessa!  They give this library feel which I'm sure most book lovers are crazy about!  Lucky you to be able to snag these shelves from Borders.  I'm sure a lot of the readers out there are now planning to scour their area for book stores about to close to get a couple of shelves (on one hand, I hate it when book stores close shop, but I love it when they sell their store equipment, especially the shelves and tables!).

And that name thing is awesome, your mother is very creative!  Same goes for those bookends. Your having a grandpa who would tell you to go make a blog about your books is amazing, I wish all grandparents are like that.  You have a really cool family, I can tell! :D

Thank you so much for sharing your bookshelves with us, Tessa!


Think this is a great idea?  Want to have your shelves featured?  Then fill out this form and ARGH and I will email you for details on how to be a movie star - er, how to be featured on Shelf Saturday :D