Wednesday, March 21, 2018

Thunderstruck by Erik Larson


Author: Erik Larson
Publisher: Crown Publishers (Random House)
Year: 2006
Genre: Historical Biography???
Age: Adult 18+
This review is going to be a little bit different from the way I usually do my others. I had to read this book for the final installment of our Adult STEM series at my library. The last one I completed was for the book The Land of Painted Caves & the discussion was interesting although not many people attended, but the book was awful! This book for our next discussion wasn't much better. I really struggled to get through it. I originally started out reading the book but wasn't getting very far so I decided to try the was 12 hours I took to my last resort of the abridged audio version & it was the best option out of them all. The reader was fine & the story was abridged well I thought considering I don't listen to many abridged books.

Overall the book wasn't the worst I have read just not really my cup of tea. If you like books rooted in history with lots of detail you will enjoy this book. I have also read another book by this author, Devil in the White City, & I remember enjoying that book for the most part.

The basic story line of Thunderstruck was the story of Guglielmo Marconi & his use/invention of the first wireless communication service aka "radio". We also follow the story of a developing murder in London. The stories are woven together although they take place in different places & a few years apart, they climax at the same time, around 1910.

There is some pictures included with the story but I wish there had been more or possibly some drawing etc of the inventions that are spoken of, some maps would have been helpful as well. The story really gets interesting around part V which is about 250 pages in.

I'll be doing a sort of part 2 of this book over the weekend once the discussion has taken place so sty tuned for that!


Picture Books I Read This Week (March 19th - March 23rd)

These are the 5 picture books I read this week!

Dance is For Everyone by Andrea Zuill
This book is adorable! Just look at that cover! There is a new student in Mrs. Iraina's dance class. A giant 450 lb alligator...The class decides to name her Tanya after a famous ballerina. She is large & it's difficult for all of them to dance together. To solve the problem they create a dance just for her called Legend of the Swamp Queen. The audience loves it! But then Tanya disappears & it's a few weeks before the class gets an invitation. Tanya has gone back home & taught many of the other swamp creatures how to dance & they happily perform for the ballerinas. 

Spork by Kyo Maclear
SUPER CUTE BOOK! Spork is a mix...his mom is a spoon & his dad is a fork. In his kitchen people don't mix much, they keep it simple, knives with knives etc. Spork is sad because he never gets picked at the dinner table. One day a big messy thing arrives (a baby) & he likes spork because he is a little bit of both & much easier to handle. 

Boo Who? by Ben Clanton
Ben Clanton is one of my favorite chldren's authors, his books are always good. The pictures in this book are adorable because Boo is a ghost so he's either invisible or very transparent. Boo is a ghost & he has trouble fitting in. So his friends don't like him because he can't really play with them. Boo wants to fit in but will there be a game he is good at?  One day his friends decide to play hide & turns out that Boo is very god at that because no one can ever find him!

Tomatoes From Mars by Arthur Yorinks
I thought this book would be like Cloudy with a Chance of Meatballs & it kinda was...but it was also very weird & the main scientist looks exactly like Albert Einstein. The tomatoes land in Minneapolis, Minnesota of all places! As they land they turn everything red. More tomatoes land all over the country. Scientists are trying to find a way to stop them, maybe through communication, but how? They try to talk with the tomatoes but it doesn't really work out. Then the head scientist named Schtickle tries to spray them with salad dressing to scare them & it works! Soon people all over the country are doing it & the tomatoes go back to where they came from.

The Wizard by Jack Prelutsky
I picked this book up because of the cover & the pictures were amazing! The story is told through poetry. The wizard finds a frog then turns it into a flea, then a pair of mice, then a cockatoo, chalk, a bell, a frog again, then finally it goes away in a puff of smoke. Then the wizard picks a kid down below his tower & turns him into a chameleon.

Sunday, March 18, 2018

The 100: Homecoming by Kass Morgan

The 100: Homecoming

Author: Kass Morgan
Publisher: Alloy Entertainment
Year: 2015
Genre: Sci-fi/Romance
Age: YA 13+
This is book #3 in the 100 series. The story develops nicely in this book but it is still very far from the show which I'm happy to see each time I read one. The show took a very weird turn in season 3 & I'm not sure if I'm going to keep watching it. I will finish off the series of books, there is 1 more & I'm hoping to finish it this month. I've continued listening to the story on audio & I would highly recommend it if you are an audiobook person.
 In this 3rd installment of 4 the 100 have been joined by The Colonists that crashed down when the airlock on Phoenix failed & the ship started to deteriorate quickly. In the mad dash only a very small number of people made it onto the ships & down to Earth. Vice Chancellor Rhodes was among them unfortunately. He has now taken over the camp & using his power to do what he pleases despite their old ways proving foolish on Earth.

Bellamy takes off & is hiding in the woods, thanks to Clarke, to avoid punishment for his crime back on the ship, shooting Chancellor Jaha (who is Wells & Bellamy's father). Bellamy is captured in a rough way, being shot by Rhodes's guards, & then taken prisoner to await a trial conducted by none other than Rhodes himself. Rhodes wants Luke to be the one to kill Bellamy, to prove his loyalty. Glass overhears this plan between Rhodes & the guards & decides that Luke & her must leave the camp, if Luke refuses to shoot Bellamy Rhodes will definitely kill him. Clarke & Wells form a plan to escape with Bellamy to Sasha's camp with the rest of the Earthborns.

Luke & Glass end up finding an abandoned house in the woods & decide to stay there. But the rogue group of Earthborns are not happy about that so they attack & end up harming Luke. Glass must then make a desperate dash back to the camp so Luke's life can be saved.

Clarke, Wells, & Bellamy make it to the Earthborns camp but Rhodes has his guards come for them. The Earthborns know what is at stake & they decide to stick up & fight for Bellamy like he is one of their own. To make everyone safer the group decides to retreat into Mount Weather for safety. Once inside Mount Weather Clarke finds an old radio room & is desperate to try & communicate with her parents, sure that they are still alive & on Earth somewhere. Rhodes is relentless & he attacks the group, taking Clarke, Bellamy, & Wells hostage back at camp. Unfortunately Sasha is killed in the crossfire sending Wells over the edge, he is so upset that he tells Clarke that he is the one who messed with the airlock back on the ship so that he could get to Earth with her & she wouldn't be killed. But Clarke does hear from her parents, they are alive & they know where she is.

Once back at camp Rhodes has plans to execute Bellamy, Clarke, & Wells for their crimes. But the rogue group of Earthborns attacks, lead by Kendall who turns out to be  a spy, before he has the chance. The 100 & The Colonists are able to defeat them just before the final group of Colonists from the last drop ship finally make it to camp. Wells & Bellamy's father isn't among them, that means he was left in a coma aboard Phoenix when the final ship left. Rhodes s injured in the fight but it chances his perspective of the group on Earth & he decides to start anew council that Bellamy & Wells are both a part of. Clarke, Bellamy, & Wells go back to Mount Weather for Sasha's funeral & Clarke's parents surprisingly show up & they are reunited. Glass & Luke make it to camp & Luke is going to be fine. It's a happy ending on Earth for almost everyone.
Likes: The book continues to be different from the show. Although I am curious as to where the storyline for the show comes from since it is so drastically different.

Fast paced

Both of the readers that do the audio are great.

I like having multiple viewpoints for the same story, it keeps things interesting.

There is a little bit of the continued cheesy teenage romance but you learn to get over it as the story continues. 

Dislikes: -


Wednesday, March 14, 2018

Picture Books I Read This Week (March 12 -March 16th)

These are the picture books that I was able to read this week. I'm going to try & limit these to 5 books per week unless I find an awesome one!

Scarface Claw by Lynley Dodd
I picked this book because of the title & the cover, he is so cute but kinda vicious looking LOL! Scarface Claw is the toughest, meanest cat you'll ever meet & he isn't afraid of anything including thunderstorms, the dark, loud dogs, or wailing sirens. It turns out he's only afraid of one thing...himself!

Woodpecker Wants a Waffle by Steve Breen
This story has a great ending & it is funny too. Benny is a woodpecker who desperately wants a waffle. A new restaurant named Moe's opens near by & Benny is doing everything he can to get in. Benny hatches a plan & all the woodland animals come to watch him. Everyone in the restaurant comes outside to see why the animals have gathered & that's when Benny makes his move! 

The Great Dog Wash by Shellie Braeuner
This book has cute pictures & includes dogs of all shapes & sizes. It's also easy to follow & simple words. The dogs are gathered for the dog wash when a cat comes along & they decide to chase it up a tree. So the kids decide to bring the wash to them until they decide to chase the cat again. 

Mossy by Jan Brett
I really like Jan Brett but I have never read this one. Of course there are beautiful & detailed pictures as with all her books. Some of the words are a little difficult so this is an older kids picture book. Mossy is a turtle & she likes to come to Lilypad Pond. She spends so much time there that things start growing on her shell. One day she meets a male turtle named Scoot. Then Dr. Carolina is walking by the pond & spots Mossy. She decides to take her for an exhibit in her museum. Mossy is very sad after that & she misses the pond & Scoot. Because she is sad they decide to release her & she is reunited with Scoot.

How Rocket Learned to Read by Tad Hills
Rocket is a super cute little dog! The author actually owns Rocket in real life. He loves to chase leaves & chew on sticks . One day a little yellow bird appears. The bird wants to teach Rocket how to read but Rocket would rather take a nap. That is until the bird starts to read, then Rocket needs to know how the story ends. So the bird teaches him the alphabet & before yo know it they are reading together through the seasons.

Tuesday, March 13, 2018

The Book Was Better Club! March 2018: A Wrinkle In Time

This month our book club met Thursday March 8th & we all watched previews for the movie & bought tickets online to go & see it with each other. Only 3 of us ended up showing up to watch it together. The others broke off & watched it on their own. But the group was very split after I talked with everyone. Half really liked the book & the other half really liked the movie. Personally I liked the movie better. The movie made the story easier to understand & visualize.  

These were some of the major differences that were noticed by the group & myself:

Meg is in jr high in the movie but in high school in the book

Meg's mom is slightly different in the movie although she fits in with everyone else pretty well. In the book she is described as having red hair. This may also be because the family in the book is white & in the movie they are mixed. 

In the movie the twins do not exist, only Meg & Charles Wallace. Overall the story wasn't any different without them. One thing someone mentioned in our group was that the twins have their own story/book later on so now that they are not there the story changes for future movies. 

The Mrs. in the movie were slightly different than in the book. Mrs. Whatsit (Reese Witherspoon) was beautiful! In the book she is more like an old hag covered in layers of scarves & hats. She was just a little bit off like she is in the book. Then Mrs. Who (Mindy Kaling) was very accurate compared to the book. Finally Mrs. Which (Oprah) was supposed to have a studder but she obviously did not. I could never picture Oprah with a studder. 

When the group makes their first tesser onto Uriel the scenery is just as beautiful as I expected. But when Mrs. Whatsit transforms & takes the kids up the mountain to see the black thing she is not a horse type creature but a pretty leaf animal. I think that really fit better with the scenery than a horse would have. 

Their next stop is Orion where they get to visit the Happy Medium. This portion of the movie was rather important in Meg finding herself & learning how to help. The Happy Medium is played by Zach Galifianakis, in the book the Medium is a girl. 

When the kids get to Camazotz the scenery is quite different from the book. In the book they go all over a dark & disgusting city to get to a building that is the Central Central Intelligence Office. In the movie they go through a few different scenes including a field, a storm, & a beach. Then they meet the man with the red eyes. In the movie it is the same as the book where Charles Wallace is taken over by IT & they find Megs father. But in the movie when Meg''s father tesser's them all away Meg is stuck behind with Charles Wallace & she saves him. 

In the movie Meg has the ability to tesser herself away from the direction the group is going. She does that twice throughout the movie. Once when they go to Camazotz & once again with Charles Wallace. 

There is no Aunt Beast in the movie. I think the whole scene was too weird to put into film. 

Both of the stories end with the group safely back home & happily ever after. 
Our book next month is Murder on the Orient Express by Agatha Christie. The meeting will be April 12th @ 6 p.m.

Friday, March 9, 2018

Adult DIY March 2018: String Art

I haven't done one of these posts in a while because I get so busy but I'm hoping to get back into it. Each month at my library I host a class called Adult DIY & we do craft projects together. Most of the time the project is book related & we use old books to create things. These are some of our past projects:

This month the project wasn't exactly book related but everyone who came had a fun time with it I think. On my Tuesday class from 11-12 I had 5 people come & on Wednesday at the Senior Center I had 4 come. We were doing string art this month & I had some patterns from a book we have at the library all ready for them. The weird pattern in the background you can see was a blanket I laid on the table to protect it from the hammering.

This was my example:

These were the finished projects from Tuesday (I had 3 people from a mental health facility near our library come to this session. They were not allowed to have their pictures taken so these were their projects):

This is the finished project of one of my most loyal attendees:

These were the ladies today & one of them finished:

Next month in April we will be making bookmarks!

Wednesday, March 7, 2018

Picture Books I Read This Week (March 5th - March 9th)

A is For Salad by Mike Lester
This is a funny alphabet book that is perfect for kids entering kindergarten. There is a letter & an animal performing an action on each page. A is for salad shows an alligator eating a salad. B is for viking shows a beaver dressed as a viking & so on until Z. The point of the book is for the child to realize the letter goes with the animal not what they are doing.  

Pedro's Burro by Alyssa Satin Capucilli
My mom loves burro's so I sent a picture of this book to her. It's an I Can Read leveled reader or beginning reader. The story is really cute. Pedro & his dad are going to the market to get a new burro. The new burro has to be able to pull the cart & haul things they need, it needs to be just right. They are hoping to find one but the burro ends up finding them! He's adorable, pulling on Pedro's shirt & licking his dad's face. He's also wearing a cute straw hat, hes perfect!

Deep Sea Farm by Dahlov Ipcar
This book got turned in & the cover attracted me to it & you get to see lots of sea creatures & plants. The pictures are colorful  The farmer is a mermaid who doesn't eat fish because he is a fish (obviously). There are all kinds of different animals under the sea like dogfish that have little collars & help herd animals and Sea hens that lay sea urchins instead of eggs. The farmer helps lobsters out of traps & frees fish from nets. The fishermen get tired of losing their catch so they move on to another part of the ocean. The fish are so happy they are finally free that they have a party!

Blueberries For Sal by Robert McCloskey
This book is a classic & a Caldecott Honor book. It is very simple & would be a good book to begin reading with. Sal & his mom go out to pick blueberries. There is also a bear & her cub out eating blueberries for the winter. At one point Sal & the Little Bear get switched & scare their mothers. But they all end up back safe & sound together.

Spider Sandwiches by Claire Freedman 
This book was straight up gross so no wonder kids love it! It would be a great book for boys. Max is a monster that likes weird foods. He likes things like lice rice, slug milkshakes, & beetle cookies. The only thing he doesn'like is brussel sprout soup.

Kermit the Hermit by Bill Peet
I love Bill Peet but I had never read this one before. As always with these books the words rhyme & there is a great moral at the end. Kermit is a lonely, old crab who hoards things in his tiny cave. One day he goes looking for a shiny treasure on the beach& gets picked up by a dog & almost buried alive. But a young boy comes by & saves him. Kermit decides to repay the kid by helping him catch a fish, when that doesn't work he ends up on the bottom of the ocean at a pirate ship wreck. There he finds a treasure chest full of gold coins. He decides to give these to the boy & his family with the help of a pelican.

Larf by Ashley Spires
The title of this book is just weird but the story is really cute. Larf is a sasquatch that lives in the woods with his pet bunny named Eric. He doesn't mind his life but one day he reads an article in the paper about another sasquatch coming to the town nearby. Larf thought he was the only one...When he gets there he discovers that it is a prank. On his way home he is disappointed but waiting for the bus he meets a girl sasquatch named Shurl with a pet chicken named Patricia. They become great friends.