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Book Review: The Carpet People

The Carpet People
Author: 
Pratchett, Terry
Rating: 
3 stars = Pretty Good
Review: 

Having now read one of Terry Pratchett's books, I thought it might be interesting to go back and read his very first work. Many authors don't manage to become famous with their very first book, and I think Terry Pratchett is no exception here. The Carpet People is an amusing book with his standard British charm, but I think it never goes far enough in its exploration of the idea. After all, I was expecting this book to be more along the lines of The Borrowers instead of just a straight-up fantasy with a few references to the fact that these creatures lived in the carpet.

Part of the problem I seemed to have with this book was the incessant need for fantasy books to create new names for objects and creatures that already (mostly) exist. If you took away the carpet setting, I think this book could be practically indistinguishable from any other fantasy book. This is what disappointed me the most. I believe there are plenty of potential moments to highlight the size disparity between creatures that live in the carpet, and the rest of the world we're familiar with (a la Honey, I Shrunk the Kids (1989)).

Granted, I will give this book some grace considering that Terry Pratchett originally wrote it when he was a teenager. For this reason alone, I do have to say that it should be an inspiration for young writers, just to show that it can be done. Pratchett clearly improved his writing skills over time to become a bestselling author, but it's important to recognize and realize that he didn't start out that way. Ironically enough, though, I almost preferred the serialized version of this story that he originally wrote over the more "standard" version that aligns with his later styles.

An amusing book and impressive first novel for a teenage Terry Pratchett, I give The Carpet People 3.0 stars out of 5.

Reviewer's Name: 
Benjamin

Book Review: Metro Girl

Metro Girl
Author: 
Evanovich, Janet
Rating: 
1 star = Yuck!
Review: 

I can honestly say, this is the worst book I have read in 2018. I couldn't believe it was written by Janet Evanovich. It lacked her usual wit and laugh out loud moments. I actually thought I would love it since I enjoyed the graphic novel. But no. I didn't care about any of the characters.
I thought the story line plodded along and at the end, I just didn't care. I was hoping a canister of nerve gas would just destroy every copy of this book so no one else who's thinking of reading will suffer.

Reviewer's Name: 
Melissa M.

Book Review: Holidays on Ice

Holidays on Ice
Author: 
Sedaris, David
Rating: 
1 star = Yuck!
Review: 

I listened to this book, most of which was read in a nasally, whiny voice. The initial stories about working as an elf at Christmas-time had tears of laughter pouring out of my eyes, Unfortunately, the book rapidly went downhill. This satire started out funny, but it kept going too long as if the author didn't know when to end the story. There were also some disturbing images that added absolutely nothing. The stories were sarcastic, but the bitterness in them really turned me off. Can't recommend it.

Reviewer's Name: 
Robin

Book Review: Don Quixote

Book Review: Don Quixote
Author: 
Cervantes, Miguel de
Rating: 
5 stars = Bohemian Rhapsody Awesome!
Review: 

Written in 1605, and translated in at least 50 languages, the novel Don Quixote has often been considered the father of western literature. And for good reason. Coming in at around over 900 pages, this novel is an amazing read. This book follows the hilarious journey of Don Quixote and his portly sidekick, Sancho Panza, as they travel around Spain searching for adventures. I would suggest this book to anyone who enjoys long novels, humor, or anything like Princess Bride.

Reviewer's Name: 
Peter C.

Book Review: My Grandmother Asked Me to Tell You She's Sorry

My Grandmother Asked Me to Tell You She's Sorry
Author: 
Backman, Fredrik
Rating: 
5 stars = Bohemian Rhapsody Awesome!
Review: 

Fredrick Backman’s wit and humor ties in wonderfully with a tear-jerking finale. From beginning to end, I was torn between laughing and weeping. The innocence and wonder of childhood is perfectly captured, while also including the remorse of being thrust into the real world. Elsa, a seven year old girl, has an eccentric grandmother, the kind who just wants to make her happy. Her grandmother, however, does this in an odd way; shooting-paintballs-at- pedestrians-off-her-balcony type of way. And it works. Although Elsa is chased and bullied at school, her grandmother can paint a wonderful picture in her mind. But too soon, she dies of cancer, leaving behind a trail of letters for Elsa to discover, taking her on her last ever quest from her
grandma: giving the letters to their recipients. On the way, she discovers the story behind faces she never gave a second thought. Backman paints a masterpiece with his words, keeping me hooked and enthralled at every turn of this book.
Reviewer Grade: 7

Reviewer's Name: 
Jordan T.

Book Review: The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy

The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy
Author: 
Adams, Douglas
Rating: 
4 stars = Really Good
Review: 

The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy by Douglas Adams is witty, genius, and an example of common English humor: dry, but hilarious.
Seconds before Earth is blown away to make way for an intergalactic freeway, Arthur Dent discovers galaxies and planets, lightyears beyond his own. He hitches a ride with his best friend, Ford Perfect. Ford is a cleverly disguised alien, who has been stranded on Earth for the past 15 years as he writes a revised guide to the galaxy. Arthur and Ford happen to hitch ride with the most disagreeable and intolerable creatures, the Vogon. They are then discovered and thrown into the soul-sucking abyss of space. Seconds before they suffocate, Ford and Arthur are picked up by a recently stolen ship, stolen by the president of the galaxy, Zaphod Beeblebrox, and his girlfriend, Trillian. The ship is on an improbability drive, which is why they crash land on a long believed mythical planet, called the Heart of Gold.
The planet was in a hibernation-like state, and has only just awoken recently. Trillian, Ford, and Zaphod explore while Arthur meets Slartibartfast, who explains that the Earth was a test, run by mice, to discovery the Question of Life, since they know the answer is 42. However, Earth was destroyed seconds before test completion. Trillian, Zaphod, and Ford are captured by the mice and kept in a dream-like prison. That is, until Arthur is brought to the mice and the group is reunited. The mice explain that they are interested in harvesting Arthur’s brain as organic evidence.
So, naturally, the group manages to escape in the knick of time, avoiding both the mice and the galaxy police, who are searching for Zaphod.
Reviewer Grade: 7

Reviewer's Name: 
Jordan T.
Awards: 

Book Review: The Lust Lizard of Melancholy Cove

The Lust Lizard of Melancholy Cove
Author: 
Moore, Christopher
Rating: 
4 stars = Really Good
Review: 

This book is riddled with real humor. It is a dark thriller and will leave you wondering how the author managed to not split his sides while writing it. It is an easy read and the break up of character plus chapters makes me think I am watching it in film. This would be an interesting story in film but definitely hilarious nevertheless.

Reviewer's Name: 
Myra

Book Review: Tyrannosaurus Rex Vs. Edna, The Very First Chicken

Tyrannosaurus Rex Vs. Edna, The Very First Chicken
Author: 
Rees, Douglas
Rating: 
3 stars = Pretty Good
Review: 

Tyrannosaurus Rex Vs Edna The Very First Chicken is a thoroughly enjoyable read. What caught my eye first is the adorable chicken on the cover with the very big eyes, eyes that remind me of a young child exploring their world for the first time. Inside I found Edna, who is a small thing not to be underestimated and Rex, who is a big thing intent on taking what he wants. The story demonstrates that size does not matter when you believe in yourself and stand for what is important for yourself and your community, in this case, survival. The illustrations are wonderful adding character to Rex and Edna and coloring a world long gone, a great read for children. However, the end of the story left me thinking about the impact our actions ultimately have on others, in this case Rex. He only wanted breakfast and was denied the opportunity to eat, leading to an end of the Rex.

Reviewer's Name: 
Monique

Book Review: Dawn of the Dreadfuls

Dawn of the Dreadfuls
Author: 
Hockensmith, Steve
Rating: 
4 stars = Really Good
Review: 

As I’ve mentioned before in my review of Pride and Prejudice and Zombies , I understand the concept of combining this classic piece of romantic literature with its complete obverse; it just felt like it was almost held back from its full potential by adhering to (most of) the original manuscript. With the prequel to this book, Dawn of the Dreadfuls manages to examine the ridiculous nature of this mashup in a way that’s so tongue-in-cheek that the tongue has practically ruptured the cheek entirely.
That is, this prequel doesn’t take itself nearly as seriously as the original Jane Austen adaptation did.

Even if the non-Pride and Prejudice and Zombies characters were mostly cartoonish in their representation of stereotypes and tropes, they were fun to read as they provided a delightful offset to the canonical characters of the Bennet family. Also, instead of trying to find some boring section of text wherein to insert some zombie excitement, Dawn of the Dreadfuls provides equal parts action and society to accommodate a balance that highlighted the extreme disparity between the two. In fact, when the two finally meet, it’s during the exciting climax of the story. Of course, knowing this is a prequel means there has to be some way out of the predicament; otherwise the original Pride and Prejudice and Zombies book cannot take place.

Despite all the things it has going for it, Dawn of the Dreadfuls suffers from a plot that seems to drag along like the un-functioning foot of a zombie. Sure, each plot point has its purpose, but they almost seem to belabor the point. There were a few chapters where I felt the plot to be somewhat repetitive if it weren’t for a slightly different outcome to show character growth. In any case, I’d still prefer this book over Pride and Prejudice and Zombies.

A prequel that could fully explore a ridiculous combination, I give Dawn of the Dreadfuls 3.5 stars out of 5.

Reviewer's Name: 
Benjamin M. Weilert

Book Review: Britt-Marie Was here

Britt-Marie Was Here
Author: 
Backman, Fredrik
Rating: 
5 stars = Bohemian Rhapsody Awesome!
Review: 

Britt-Marie was Here is the incredible sequel to My Grandmother Asked Me to Tell You She’s Sorry, both of which are fantastic books. Britt-Marie is a picky, stubborn, and socially awkward old woman. She doesn’t criticize or judge people, even if they’re as rude, messy, and vulgar as they are. But hidden inside the busybody is somebody who dreams and imagines, just like the rest of us. When she moves to a new town, she is confronted with people who have muddy floors (an unforgivable sin), disorganized drawers (oh, the horror!), and ‘modern’ hairstyles (Shriek!). This book perfectly captures the everyday messiness and beauty of human life, complete with humor along the way. It will make you look at the curmudgeons in your life a different way!
Reviewer's Grade: 7

Reviewer's Name: 
Jordan T.
Genres: 

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