Crystal S. (crytal) - Reviews

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The Abduction
The Abduction
Author: James Grippando
Book Type: Mass Market Paperback
  • Currently 3.6/5 Stars.
 47
Review Date: 1/27/2013


I am really not in to politics, but this was a good book. It is only getting 3 stars because I was let down with how it ended. Not enough was rapped up in the neat and tidy way that I would have liked. But then again, those ends that were left loose were not really what the story was about, so I guess it's understandable. But I REALLY wanted to know (and if you've read it, you should understand what I'm talking about.) The mystery was ruined for me because another reviewer on GoodReads posted who did it and failed to mention there were spoilers in his review, but even though I knew who it was, I was still intrigued, because I didn't know why. As I said, good story, and I'd be likely to read more Grippando.


Abduction (Kidnapped)
Abduction (Kidnapped)
Author: Gordon Korman
Book Type: Audio CD
  • Currently 2.8/5 Stars.
 2
Review Date: 5/30/2013


This book was ok. I didn't appreciate that it just ends with a cliff hanger. To me, it seems that it is 1/3 of a story rather than book 1 of a trilogy. It also has an entire series (of at least 7 books) that preface this series. Nowhere in the blurb on the back of the book does it mention this, but it is very apparent from the first chapter that if you haven't read the previous series, you are missing crucial background information.


Above
Above
Author: Isla Morley
Book Type: Hardcover
  • Currently 3.5/5 Stars.
 5
Review Date: 2/10/2014


I was given a copy of this book from the publishers via NetGalley, in return for an honest review.

I have to pause and compose my thoughts before writing my review of "Above". My feelings while reading it spanned an entire spectrum of emotions. I was drawn in to the story immediately. The entire book is told in the first person, through Blythe's eyes. As one would imagine, it seems absolutely horrible, being kidnapped from a small town as a teenager. And things only go down hill from there.

During the section entitled 'Below', where Blythe is kept in an abandoned Silo, we are shown a smart and scared little girl. She tries everything that she can think of to escape. Over the years her strategy changes and she is continuously faced with new challenges, but she doesn't give up hope that she will eventually find a way out. And neither does the reader. I was surprised to find that Blythe never got on my nerves as some characters tend to do in these situations. However, there were points at the middle and end of this section, that I wanted to put the book down and just not continue it. But I kept going because it is very hard for me to not finish a book, and also, I had promised to give a review.

I kept reading, and when we finally reached the end of 'below' I was glad that I had!

However, it wasn't very far into the 'Above' section when I realized that this was not the type of book that I had signed up for. I was interested in reading about the kidnapping, not what happened after. But I trudged along, even more horrified by what I was reading about 'Above' than what had happened 'Below'. My feelings for this book just kept withering away. It seemed beyond redemption.

As I said at the beginning of this review, my feelings were all over the place. By the end, somehow, this book had wormed its way back into my good graces. I'm not sure when or how this exactly happened, but by the time it was done, I am happy to report that I actually liked it. The last 2 chapters really pulled it all together. I can't make myself give it 4 stars because of all the heartache it gave me, but 3 doesn't seem to do it justice. 3.5 would be perfect, and I recommend it to those who are on the fence about reading it.


Addition
Addition
Author: Toni Jordan
Book Type: Paperback
  • Currently 3/5 Stars.
 9
Review Date: 6/5/2014


I am a numbers girl. I love the thought of them, the processes they go through, everything. So I figured that "Addition" would be right up my alley. And it was. At least it was at first.

Grace is a counter. Counts everything, from steps to the number of strokes per tooth with her toothbrush and the number of bites she takes to the number of groceries she buys. In the book, it was mentioned that she is Obsessive-Compulsive. It didn't seem that way to me, I thought she was leaning more towards someone on the Autism spectrum. Either way, she was portrayed as someone who needed fixing. And this is where the book lost me.

Grace meets a boy and he good-intentionally 'helps' her overcome her 'problems.' The romance was sweet and I liked the characters, but for me, Grace's changes happened way to fast and way too easily for someone with her depth of diagnoses. The saving grace of the story was main character Grace's niece Larry. She stole the show for me. I loved the interactions between the two, it always felt real. None of Grace's other relationships had that same feeling. I would love to read more about either one of these two, as long as they are together.

While I didn't love this book, the writing was pretty amazing. There was one particular passage towards the end that struck gold for me, it resonated with where I am in my life. Grace is musing to herself after stopping her meds cold-turkey. She thinks, "Weight gain is a common side effect of drugs, and usually considered a minor one. I would suggest that those who consider it minor have not experienced blowing up so big that, when you step on a talking scale it says, 'One at a time, please.' When there's not just a thin person inside you trying to get out, but several of them. I'm not talking about vanity. I'm talking about your sense of self. Consider the number of times you see your body. In the mirror and in windows as you walk. Your hands as you type or sort the washing...All these times, to be confronted by the sight of someone who is not you- not-your-hands at the end of not-your arms - can fill you with a sense of dislocation each second of each minute of each day."

Overall, a good read. But it did lose a star because of what I perceived to be fantasy (her ease at changing her lifestyle) in a contemporary novel.


The Alchemist
The Alchemist
Author: Paulo Coelho, Alan R. Clarke (Translator)
Book Type: Paperback
  • Currently 3.6/5 Stars.
 746
Review Date: 2/13/2012
Helpful Score: 1


This book was amazing. It was chosen for our book club and I believe that everyone enjoyed it. It was light hearted yet thought provoking. Serious yet funny. It had something for everyone and always kept you on your toes. It also had a nice twist ending.


Angels and Demons (Robert Langdon, Bk 1) (Audio CD) (Unabridged)
Review Date: 2/13/2012


When I first picked this one up, I immediately noticed this similarities to the plot as those in DaVinci Code. I think that I probably liked DC better but only because my family has masonic ties and there was a lot of history provided in that one. This was a equally good story, I just didn't have the same stock in it.


Awakening the Mobster: Book 2 in Mobster Series (Volume 2)
Awakening the Mobster: Book 2 in Mobster Series (Volume 2)
Author: Amy Rachiele
Book Type: Paperback
  • Currently 3.3/5 Stars.
 2
Review Date: 4/1/2013


I can pretty much use the same review here as I did for Mobster's Girl.

"I enjoyed this story. The book probably would have received 3.5 stars from me were it not for what appeared to be a lack of editing. I had to check a few times to make sure that I wasn't reading an ARC. There were grammatical errors (your instead of you're), punctuation in the wrong places (like the middle of words) or completely missing punctuation where it should have been. It really ruined the flow of the story every time I had to stop reading and mentally correct things. I also hate stories that don't end. If it's its own book, end it with a proper ending. Harry Potter did this very well, a running story but with complete stories in each book. Don't just stop mid paragraph and say 'buy my next book to find out the rest of the thought.'

I really did enjoy the story; I liked the characters and found them to be believable. And I will continue with the rest of the books, but please, make sure they're edited before publishing!"

The only differences was that there weren't punctuation marks in the middle of words and though it did end in the middle of a situation, it didn't bother me as much. I do enjoy these books, its just frustrating that I've spent $10 (plus shipping) on each of these books, and they aren't proofread/edited as they should be.


The Baby Book
The Baby Book
Author: Kathy Cruickshank
Book Type: Paperback
  • Currently 4/5 Stars.
 3
Review Date: 2/13/2012


A good book to help an older child get used to the idea of a new baby in the house.


Baby Santa
Baby Santa
Author: M. Maitland DeLand
Book Type: Hardcover
  • Currently 3/5 Stars.
 1
Review Date: 1/6/2014


This was a very cute story about Santa and his son, Baby Santa. Baby Santa seems to be a very precocious little boy who wants to do anything that he can to help out his family on Christmas Eve. However, his helping is more of a hindrance to everyone he tries to help. Eventually, Baby Santa is able to lend a hand to fix one of his errors.

The illustration are a great addition to this short Christmas story. I'd recommend it to children 10 and under, or anyone looking for a cute holiday tale.


Bel Canto
Bel Canto
Author: Ann Patchett
Book Type: Paperback
  • Currently 3.9/5 Stars.
 870
Review Date: 2/14/2014
Helpful Score: 1


Bel Canto has been on my to-read list for years. In fact, I've started it at least 4 times. For some reason I could never past the first chapter. But I didnt give up, I eventually found the audiobook and tried that. The narration was ok, but even by listening to the story, I dont think that I ever got in to it. I was never captivated, not until the story was over, just before we came to the epilogue. Thats when I realized that I actually was engrossed in the novel. After it was over.

Because it took me until the end to realized that I was interested in these characters, I dont feel that I should give the book a very high rating. But on the other hand, I dont feel that it should get a low rating because, after all, I did end up liking it. Again, without the epilogue, but Ill get to that later.

The idea of Stockholm Syndrome has always held my interest. And I do believe that after the amount of time that the hostages in this story spent with their captors, it is very plausible that they did come to be companionable, if not friendly, with each other. I felt that over time, the characters came to life, but I think that I would have liked the book more had we been able to see inside the captors a bit more. What were their pasts beyond one or two flash memories? Why was it so important to free the prisoners who were the reason behind the take-over. It just felt like I needed more!

While I do feel like I needed more depth to some of the characters and plot lines, I could have done completely without the Epilogue! I think that by reading those last few pages, the book was ruined for me. What happened during those pages made absolutely no sense when compared to the rest of the entire book. It actually made me angry the way things were wrapped up. I wish the book would have ended after the final showdown. It would have been more tragic, in a classical way. I know that this book was loosely based on an actual event (which I am old enough to have remembered, but have somehow never heard of) and I dont know if the actual events came in to play with the ending that Ann Patchett wrote, but for the sake of the world of happy endings that I live in, I hope this was all Authors Liberties.

As Im looking back on my review, I realize that I'm almost confused by what I wrote. I almost want to rewrite it so that it makes sense. But I realize that its fine the way it is because this is exactly how Bel Canto made me feel. Confused


Black Beauty: The Autobiography of a Horse
Black Beauty: The Autobiography of a Horse
Author: Anna Sewell
Book Type: Paperback
  • Currently 2.5/5 Stars.
 1
Review Date: 2/13/2012


A pretty easy read but it took me a while to get into the story. Overall, a good book, but I'm not sure what I got out of it other than the knowledge of how badly horses were treated in the 1800's. I'm glad that there are laws to protect animals today.


Blue Bottle Mystery : An Asperger's Adventure
Blue Bottle Mystery : An Asperger's Adventure
Author: Kathy Hoopmann
Book Type: Paperback
  • Currently 3.6/5 Stars.
 4
Review Date: 2/26/2014


A cute, middle grade book that could be used to introduce children to the idea of Aspergers Syndrome. The story its self is about a young boy with Aspergers, who just believes that he is different. His family also are unaware of his condition. The main character and his best friend in this story set about solving a mystery revolving around a bottle they find on the playground at school. At the same time, the adults unravel the mystery of an Autistic boy.


Blue Monday (Frieda Klein, Bk 1)
Blue Monday (Frieda Klein, Bk 1)
Author: Nicci French
Book Type: Hardcover
  • Currently 3.5/5 Stars.
 18
Review Date: 3/15/2012


ARC won through goodreads.

Blue Monday was a good mystery with a little suspense thrown in. It took about 10 chapters for me to get into the story, and about that long to figure out who the story was supposed to be about. Once it got going though, the story had quite a few twists. I did figure out 2 of the biggest twists chapters before they were revealed, but it still caught me off guard a few times. Over all, a good read that I'd recommend to people who like a good mental mystery. I'd be interested to read the upcoming books in the series.


The Boleyn Deceit (Boleyn, Bk 2)
The Boleyn Deceit (Boleyn, Bk 2)
Author: Laura Andersen
Book Type: Paperback
  • Currently 3.6/5 Stars.
 8
Review Date: 9/20/2013


I was given a copy of this book from the publishers via NetGalley, in return for an honest review.

"The Boleyn Deceit" is book 2 in The Boleyn Trilogy. It picks up right where book 1, "The Boleyn King" left off. There are many references to, but not details of, incidences that occurred in the first book so I would highly recommend reading it first. This is certainly not a stand alone book.

All that being said, I really enjoyed this story, though not as much as the first book. There was a lot more History and Politics in this book than there was in its predecessor. Two of my least favorite topics. But Ms Andersen did a nice job of blending historical facts with what might have happened had history actually been as she wrote it. It was interesting to see how so many characters had their lives changed by the events created in this book. Characters such as the Dudley family, Margaret Clifford, Northumberland and Norfolk to name a few. And I'm hoping that we'll see more of Jane Grey in the last book, not only because she is relevant to the time, but because she is one of my favorite historical people.

For this to be a middle book in a trilogy, I felt it had the right amount of progression. Normally I don't like books in a series, where each book seems to end mid-climax, and you then have to wait up to a year to find out what happens next. I find this off putting because often times I will forget what happened in the last book. However, when I picked up "The Boleyn Deceit" everything came right back to me, and I have the feeling that the same will happen in the finale. Though, I must admit, I did scream in frustration when I got to the last page. Yes, I hate cliff-hangers, but this was such a good one, I'll forgive Ms Andersen.

Overall, a very entertaining read. I can't wait for the final installment, and hopefully other books along the same lines from Ms Andersen.


The Boleyn King (Boleyn, Bk 1)
The Boleyn King (Boleyn, Bk 1)
Author: Laura Andersen
Book Type: Paperback
  • Currently 3.9/5 Stars.
 14
Review Date: 7/12/2013
Helpful Score: 1


ARC won from Goodreads First Reads.

This was a very good book. I was intrigued by the premise, and felt that I was not let down by the author. It was very easy to read, even the parts about history and politics, subjects that I usually tune out while reading. Sometimes it was hard to forget the parts of history that really happened, for instance, the remaining 4 wives of Henry, but most of the time, I was just lost in the story, taking it for what it was, an alternate history novel.

The story is told from alternating view points, but is easy to follow. Some are regular narrative, other parts are told through the diary entries of one of the characters.

Based on the ending, I'm assuming that this was the first in a series. I have recently been tired of all the books coming out that are part of a series. Can't an author just write a story and be done? Part of the beauty of reading is being able to imagine how everything turns out. I must say however, that this for this book, I'm glad it will be continued. For some reason (and not just because of how the ending was written) I wasn't ready for this story to be done. I need to know how it all turns out! Will Elizabeth eventually be queen, or Mary? Who will William marry, if anyone? Will the story segue back into reality at some point? These are things I have to know, and I can't wait to finish the series and find out. Beautiful debut, Ms. Anderson!


The Boleyn Reckoning (Boleyn, Bk 3)
The Boleyn Reckoning (Boleyn, Bk 3)
Author: Laura Andersen
Book Type: Paperback
  • Currently 3.7/5 Stars.
 6
Review Date: 3/31/2014


I was given a copy of this book from the publishers via NetGalley, in return for an honest review.

The Boleyn Trilogy has just become one of my favorite alternate history books that I have ever read.

Just as we did in the previous two books, the readers were taken through historical and alternately historical events during Tudor England. Besides the main four characters, we also encountered Mary Tudor, Jane Gray and Robert Dudley; and saw how their lives might have played out had Anne Boleyn's son actually lived and ruled England. As with most series that follow children into adulthood, this book was much darker and more emotional than the previous two. We saw into the depths of the minds and hearts of William, Dom, Minuette and Elizabeth. And at many times, it was not the light-hearted fluff (not the word that I want, but I can't seem to think of another more suited) that we saw in the earlier books. Though I was a little surprised and saddened by some of the events that took place in this final book, I don't know that the story could have been written any other way, and still been believable.

Overall, I am happy to report that I found The Boleyn Reckoning to be very believable as an alternate reality historical novel, and while it wasn't my favorite book of the series, it was what I would believe to be the most realistic. A highly recommended series for fans of Tudor England!


The Book Thief
The Book Thief
Author: Markus Zusak
Book Type: Paperback
  • Currently 4.3/5 Stars.
 1024
Review Date: 1/27/2013


It appears that I'm in the minority about this book. I understand the importance of the story being told, and can appreciate that you don't usually hear it from the perspective of a young German girl. That being said, it just wasn't for me. I know the events happened (and it scares me that it may happen again in my lifetime, the way the world is going now) but I don't like to hear about it. I know life's not always a bed of roses, but I would have like to have seen a happy ending. It may have made up for the time that I feel like I wasted in reading this book. There were parts of the writing that I really enjoyed, the descriptions and emotions. But overall, there just wasn't enough for me to like it.


Boomsday
Boomsday
Author: Christopher Buckley
Book Type: Hardcover
  • Currently 3.9/5 Stars.
 47
Review Date: 2/13/2012


I have to admit that I picked this book for my book club choice of the month based mostly on the cover. I also figured that the plot would prove very discussable, which it was. At first I figured that the book would be too far off reality to be plausable, but the topic was presented in such a way that maybe there are some politicians should put it on their docket... Only kidding. This was a very enjoyable book and I may be interested in reading his others.


Breaking Lauren
Breaking Lauren
Author: Jordan Deen
Book Type: Paperback
  • Currently 3.5/5 Stars.
 1
Review Date: 2/14/2014


ARC won from Goodreads First Reads giveaway

There are many moral reasons why I shouldn't like this book. Things like underage drinking, illegal drugs, physical abuse, and underage sex. And though its not moral, just something I really hate, alternating first person views! Yet, even with all of that, I really liked Breaking Lauren.

Maybe I was just rooting for the underdog, or maybe because secretly, ever girl wants the bad boy, I wanted Danny to end up with Lauren. Im a sucker for a good love story. Im not sure that this was a love story in the traditional sense, you know, where BOTH parties are in love with each other. Or if it was a love story, it wasn't really a good one in the traditional sense, because the two main characters are rarely in scenes together. It was a different kind of love story. One where we get to know the characters on a much deeper level than Im used to with Young Adult books. I dont even know how to explain what we experience with the main characters. All of the hesitance and absolute sureness that comes with being in a relationship. It just seemed REAL to me.

I realize that my review may not seem very flattering, or positive, but I DO recommend the book. Despite everything that I've said above, or maybe because of it, Breaking Lauren is a worthy book to read. All of the negative-ness that I mentioned is what makes the book so good. Ms Deen wrote it in a way that works. The ONLY bad things that I have to say about the book are two of biggest pet peeves:
1) the book just stops! I understand this is book one of a series, but I think each book should be its own story within the larger, overall story. And
2) there were a few minor editing errors.
If you can get past those two things, youre in for a good story. I cant wait to get my hands on the rest of the series.


Cars (Read-Aloud Board Book)
Cars (Read-Aloud Board Book)
Author: RH Disney
Book Type: Board book
  • Currently 4/5 Stars.
 5
Review Date: 2/13/2012


Short, sweet version of the movie. Just long enough to keep my 2 year old interested.


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