Chelle B. (bankie79) - Reviews

1 to 20 of 41 - Page:
The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn : Revised Edition (Penguin Classics)
Review Date: 3/4/2009


Huck Finn has probably been reviewed more times than anyone would care to count, so I guess it would be advantageous to make this short and sweet- not to mention different. I have a seven year old son who loves classic literature. Not many books lend themselves to storytelling to a seven year old that were written over one hundred years ago. This one does. It is in my humble opinion that this book is a wonderful selection for trying to bring the tradition of family reading back into style.


All Quiet on the Western Front
All Quiet on the Western Front
Author: Erich Maria Remarque, A. W. Wheen (Translator)
Book Type: Paperback
  • Currently 3.8/5 Stars.
 415
Review Date: 3/4/2009
Helpful Score: 1


I love this book. It is a hard read from a historical and emotional front. The beautiful yet disturbing poetic language used to describe the gutteral baseness of what is happening all around the central character can be overwhelming, but that seems to be the intention. This is such an amazing book and really should be read again after the high school years.


Angela's Ashes
Angela's Ashes
Author: Frank McCourt
Book Type: Paperback
  • Currently 4/5 Stars.
 784
Review Date: 3/4/2009
Helpful Score: 2


Okay, so I'm not a Frank McCourt fan. I'll admit that openly. I find his writing to be uncharacteristally whiney and without deep meaning as opposed to other Irish contemporaries of his. Although the story does portray a very real situation of growing up in certain areas of Ireland, McCourt fails to find beauty and meaning in anything around him, which is a shame. While I think this book should be read as a comprehensive shortlist of contemporary Irish literature, I have a few suggestions of my own that might lend readers to a more fair and balanced view of this genre.


As I Lay Dying
As I Lay Dying
Author: William Faulkner
Book Type: Paperback
  • Currently 3.4/5 Stars.
 267
Review Date: 3/4/2009
Helpful Score: 3


Oh my goodness. I just love this book. It is written so well, from the varying points of view of the characters. It tells a deeply disturbing tale that may seem so harrowing that the book could be simply labelled as depressing, but there is so much more to it. The motifs, themes, language and development of character are brought together so beautifully. William Faulker excelled on this one.


The Birth House
The Birth House
Author: Ami McKay
Book Type: Paperback
  • Currently 4/5 Stars.
 159
Review Date: 3/3/2009
Helpful Score: 1


This book was EXCELLENT. It was a great story. Dora is such a strong character and the culture and history surrounding her is so rich in tradition. I was very much interested in how medicine had evolved to a so-called 'science' so much so that the verses and routine of midwivery at the time were completely discounted although they were tried and true practice. Miss B, Dora's teacher of sorts in a fascinating character that brings mysticism and spirituality to her work in a way that might be seen as unsettling, but reveals characters that were often seen as outcasts in history unless their 'expertise' was needed.

I could go on and on about this historical novel. It was definitely one of the best reads I've had all year...;)


Caring for Your Baby and Young Child, Revised Edition : Birth to Age 5
Review Date: 3/4/2009


I found this book to have quite a lot of good advise. I would recommend it to any parents raising babies and tots. We have it in our library and won't be parting with it until we are done with having little ones.


The Catcher in the Rye
The Catcher in the Rye
Author: J. D. Salinger
Book Type: Paperback
  • Currently 3.6/5 Stars.
 1933
Review Date: 3/4/2009


I hate this book. There. I've said it. I do not understand why it is so famous and widely read in the high school classrooms across America. I do not relate in any way, shape or form to JD Salinger and would be happy if this book was decanonized. It has a very dark, dirty auma about it that just drives me nuts.


Chrysanthemum
Chrysanthemum
Author: Kevin Henkes
Book Type: Hardcover
  • Currently 4.4/5 Stars.
 48
Review Date: 3/4/2009


This is one of my daughter's favorite books. Sometimes it's hard to find a book with a whole new approach to gaining self-esteem and appreciating compliments, but this one has done just that. I never tire of reading this to my little Chrysanthemum.


Cocktails for Three
Cocktails for Three
Author: Madeleine Wickham
Book Type: Paperback
  • Currently 3.4/5 Stars.
 435
Review Date: 3/15/2009
Helpful Score: 1


Okay, so as Madeleine Wickham, I mostly cannot stand Sophie Kinsella. This book is a perfect example of the distaste I have for the nomme de plume of Wickham. In Cocktails for Three, I just couldn't get over some of the immorality that was going on around which I wish I could explain more but there are just too many spoilers. As Sophie Kinsella, the author's work relies on the characters to figure themselves out even though they may be pideonholed into categories based on their outward appearance. As Madeleine Wickham, I feel like the characters are skewed and just don't make sense. They really have no moral baseline, especially some of the characters in this book, or carry on way too far, making the story unpalletable and just plain annoying. I cannot recommend this book to anyone who is searching for another book written by the author as Sophie Kinsella. I'm afraid to say that, in my opinion, the writing just isn't the same and isn't nearly as effective, meaningful, or even entertaining.


Confederates in the Attic : Dispatches from the Unfinished Civil War (Vintage Departures)
Review Date: 6/20/2014
Helpful Score: 1


I really got a lot out of this book. I hesitate to say 'enjoy' because some of the experiences the author endured were less than enjoyable, but the book remains relevant and is very interesting. As a living historian, I can attest to the fact that there *are* people who live the way these guys do. To walk in their shoes for a little while was enlightening, to say the least. I recommend this book.


Confessions of a Shopaholic (Shopaholic, Bk 1)
Confessions of a Shopaholic (Shopaholic, Bk 1)
Author: Sophie Kinsella
Book Type: Paperback
  • Currently 3.8/5 Stars.
 1989
Review Date: 3/4/2009
Helpful Score: 1


I just love this entire series, beginning with this book. Rebecca Bloomwood is hilarious. You would think it would be easy to hate a materialistic, self-absorbed person like this character, but it's not that easy. Oddly enough, Sophie Kinsella is quite good at taking a 'chick-lit' novel and putting some serious thought into what really makes a person. After a while, it is nearly impossible to hate Rebecca, as her shopping reveals a past history of her mother's own record of overspending and her desire to do some 'retail therapy'.

Very good, quick read.


Esperanza Rising
Esperanza Rising
Author: Pam Munoz Ryan
Book Type: Paperback
  • Currently 4/5 Stars.
 133
Review Date: 3/3/2009


I know this is a young adult book, but I read Esperanza Rising and fell in love with the characters trying to help Esperanza and her little brother through a tough life. What an amazing book for anyone to read, helping to enlighten Americans a little more about the Mexican culture, as well as learning about the hardships some children face. I thought this book was very well written, with interesting characters and a very believable plot.


Falling Leaves : The Memoir of an Unwanted Chinese Daughter
Falling Leaves : The Memoir of an Unwanted Chinese Daughter
Author: Adeline Yen Mah
Book Type: Paperback
  • Currently 3.8/5 Stars.
 293
Review Date: 4/29/2012
Helpful Score: 1


Falling Leaves was EXCELLENT. I've actually used some of the mini-stories in the autobiography in my own writing and have been in touch with the author. She currently runs several educational tools to help westerners to be able to truly understand the beauty of the Chinese language. Her tough past obviously strengthened her character and resolve. I highly recommend this book.


Fever 1793
Fever 1793
Author: Laurie Halse Anderson
Book Type: Paperback
  • Currently 3.9/5 Stars.
 189
Review Date: 3/13/2009


I read this book with my seven year old son and we both enjoyed it. The characters are very true to the time and the yellow fever epidemic is a historical sore in Philadelphia's history that a lot of people don't know much about. It helped my son realize how far we've come with medical practice and I just enjoyed the author's ability to use language to appeal to all ages. I would highly recommend this book.


Ghost Soldiers: The Forgotten Epic Story of World War II's Most Dramatic Mission
Review Date: 5/30/2009
Helpful Score: 1


This book was an amazing read, not only because the writer is quite talented with words, but also because it's true. Hollywood cannot even compete with the heroism, audacity, and commitment of the characters involved in this story that comes straight out of the history books. I liked the fact that the author goes into detail, not just with what happened, but why it happened. Why the Rangers were even formed. What made them exceptional. Why the islanders were so important to the mission of these men. It truly makes one appreciate the veterans of our country and the plight of the prisoners, the islanders, and those who were desperate to emancipate a grueling war camp.


The Girl From Botany Bay
The Girl From Botany Bay
Author: Carolly Erickson
Book Type: Hardcover
  • Currently 3.5/5 Stars.
 14
Review Date: 3/3/2009
Helpful Score: 3


I really enjoyed this book. I saw that others had a lower rating of it, but I cannot figure out why unless they thought it was going to be historical fiction and filled with more 'flair'. Historically very accurate and the story alone is quite rivetting- filled with the exploits of the convicts of England sent to Australia to form a penal colony. Quite literally, from the start, Mary is intended to be a sex slave for the prisoners and crews of the ships sent to what turned out to be Botany Bay. She then escapes with her children and other male convicts only to find herself outed by her own 'husband' and recaptured.

Absolutely fascinating and honest. I really enjoyed this book. It was not a 'quick' read, but a thorough one. I recommend it for history buffs more so than those reading for the story.


Girls Night In (Red Dress Ink)
Review Date: 3/15/2009
Helpful Score: 2


I didn't think I was going to enjoy this book, but I really did. I think there were only two short stories that I could have skipped without missing out and the rest were just great. I was driven to read the book because I wanted to read more by Sophie Kinsella and I did quite enjoy her story, but the best part was that I got a sampler of other writers that have a similar genre and voice to that of Kinsella, which absolutely made my day. Girls Night In is a very quick read and is easily read alongside of other books because it is a collection of short stories by a range of authors. None of the stories are too long and they are perfect to get more enjoyable reading into your day. This is definitely worth a credit!!


The Giver (Giver, Bk 1)
The Giver (Giver, Bk 1)
Author: Lois Lowry
Book Type: Mass Market Paperback
  • Currently 4.2/5 Stars.
 972
Review Date: 3/4/2009
Helpful Score: 2


A wonderful young adult novel. There are so many introductories to themes, plot, and character development that it's a great book for kids to read because they'll love the story and they'll learn how to read and enjoy literature. I just love this one.


Going Overboard: The Misadventures of a Military Wife
Going Overboard: The Misadventures of a Military Wife
Author: Sarah Smiley
Book Type: Paperback
  • Currently 3.1/5 Stars.
 19
Review Date: 3/11/2009
Helpful Score: 1


I find that military spouses are often overly critical of their peers when evaluating their peers, so there are very mixed reviews about Sarah's writing.

Personally, I find her work to be refreshing because it comes from her. When I first started reading this book I couldn't help thinking, "Well, I cannot relate to this at ALL!" and I threw the book off to the side and forgot about it. But then, I started to realize that Sarah is writing about Sarah, not me. So, I looked at the book as I might one of Sophie Kinsella's (Shopaholic Series) or any other chick lit writer and I loved the book.

Ironically, now I actually know and work with Sarah and find her to be an amazingly thoughtful person. She is candidly funny and that permeates her work, so the read is quite easy and exciting. I don't think her work needs to be limited to 'just' military wives. I think anyone who likes a sense of humor would enjoy Sarah's writing.


An Instance of the Fingerpost
An Instance of the Fingerpost
Author: Iain Pears
Book Type: Mass Market Paperback
  • Currently 3.7/5 Stars.
 94
Review Date: 3/11/2009
Helpful Score: 5


I cannot say enough about this book to the point that I just found and ordered the hardback copy to accompany my paperback. I absolutely love the way Iain Pears writes this novel, using point of view, very descriptive language, and a stunningly convincing plot to carry the reader through what could be an intimidating size of book. This book is well worth the time, effort and credit.


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