I NEVER finish my reading challenge. I try to set my goal appropriately and then I never make it. This year I set it low, seriously low (25 books) and I beat it. Okay, I did it in October, which means that was a sad number of books to finish this year, but still!
by: Toodles and Whistlehoot (I'm sure those are their real names)
Ellie and Ace are not just best girl and best dog friends, but they are also world-famous detectives on the hunt to solve the mysteries of the neighborhood.
Why Did I Pick It Up:
This was a review copy of the book, although I am reading simple chapter books like this at the library all the time, I haven't reviewed one officially on my blog before. I agreed to review the book because I buy the beginning readers for my library and am familiar with how they look, read, and sound. My favorites are Elephant and Piggie, in case you were curious.
Ellie and Ace are an adorable duo who are smart and curious. Ellie, the human counterpart is one part smart and one part Inspector Gadget (that is, sometimes she is a little oblivious) and Ace is one part trouble-maker and one part Penny (that is, he seems to know what is going on, but no one really listens because he's a dog).
The narrator talking to the audience would be a writing style I'd save for an older audience as it reads more like a report and less like a story - which could make it hard to understand. I'd recommend this book to a stronger end of second grade reader, who might not like it because of the simple storyline.
Who will love this book?
Readers of Amelia Bedilla and Fly Guy will like these simple mysteries and getting to know Ellie and Ace better. Kids who like smart pets will really like these stories as well.
How much did I like it? 6.5/10 (that whole style vs age gap presents a problem)
Will I read more? Possibly, at my library :) Disclaimer: I received this book as a review copy, but the review is all mine.
by: Lucinda Brant, Sarah M. Eden, Heather B. Moore, Lu Ann Brobst Staheli, Annette Lyon, and Becca Wilhite
This collection is fun and a great way to get into the Christmas spirit! As I've been listening to Christmas music for weeks already, this was the perfect book to continue my holiday mood :) I've ranked my favorite short stories as follows:
1. A Taste of Home - I love Claire's excitement at going home and the detail that is spent on her Christmas memories. I love Will's hesitation that isn't fully explained at the beginning. They are both their own person and the story develops over a short period of time, but, unlike most romances, it is almost believable. This book could do with a stronger editing though, unless Will really did dip Claire's "brains" in white paint ...
2. A Christmas Promise - This book reminds me so much of the Christmas song, "Christmas Day" by Dido. However, unlike the song there is quite the happy ending in store for these characters. Starting out with a narrator was a little awkward, but it reminded me of "The Princess Bride" in a good way. Sean is a hardworking, sweet guy whose ego gets the better of him and luckily, Maeve was there to save him.
3. My Modern Girl - This one just made me laugh. How many times have we gone out of our way to have fancy French chocolates and when we got them, thought that Hershey's bars were even better? That is the moral of this story, sometimes what's right in front of you really is the best thing. I loved seeing Macy's and the Thanksgiving Day parade from an "insider's" perspective and this book felt a little like the movie, "Sweet Home Alabama" which was really a good thing (I love that movie).
4. A Fairy Christmas - This was really the only story that didn't feel rushed in the collection. Time was spent on character development and the storyline. I think much of that has to do with the fact that this story takes place during a single evening. Sweet and classic.
5. A Fezziwig Christmas - What is up with that last name? Aside from being hung up on the terribleness of the name, I couldn't really get into this story. Too much happened with too many characters in too few pages. I couldn't remember who I wanted to get the girl and who I didn't.
My only overall hesitation, as with most short stories, is that they felt so rushed. Four out of the five stories felt like too much happened in a few pages. I find this to be the case with most short romances, but they are still a challenge to fully enjoy. Disclaimer: I received this book as a review copy, but the review is my own.