Friday, August 28, 2020

The Truth About Animals by Lucy Cooke

I loved this fantastic book.  

Alternate title:  The Unexpected Truth About Animals
Appropriate subtitle:  Stone Sloths, Lovelorn Hippos, and Other Wild Tales 

The excellent writing is humorous and easy to read, yet meaty enough to satisfy curious minds.

The book isn't just about the bizarre and surprising characteristics of animals.  It's also about how scientists and explorers discovered--or covered up--the truth about them.  It's a terrific mix.  It's a tad heavy on animals' sexual habits, when I wanted to know more about the many other fascinating aspects of life, but that's pretty much the only thing I can think of that could possibly improve on the work..  

The book is structured perfectly.  Each chapter is about a different animal.  They're long enough to delve into all the fascinating details, but never so long that they feel padded or drawn out.  

It's such a good book that I'll probably read it again.  And if I find anything else in a similar vein, written by Lucy Cooke, I'll snap it up in an instant.

True rating:  5+

Find it on Amazon:  The Truth About Animals

Monday, August 24, 2020

The Thrifty Guide to the American Revolution by Jonathan W. Stokes

Funny and informative, this is another great book in the series, and a clever way to get kids (and adults) interested in history.   

I didn't enjoy it quite as much as the Thrifty Guide to Ancient Rome, partly because so much of this one was focused on battles, but I still enjoyed it a lot.  The author did a great job of breaking it up (like a real guidebook) with sections like "people to have dinner with," accommodations reviews, letters from Time Corp, and instructions on how to, say, avoid cannon balls.  There are also lots of nice maps, graphs, illustrations, etc.

And so much clever humor.  Great job. 

Note:  I'm not a history buff enough to vouch for its accuracy.

4.5 stars.  

Friday, August 21, 2020

Dear Sweet Pea by Julie Murphy

This was a charming read.

It got a tad preachy here and there, but the issues covered were important.

The writing was good, with witty but natural dialogue.  Narration was smooth and engaging and made me want to keep reading.  I'm not sure every single character needed to be introduced by a rather perfunctory description of their race and one or two other attributes, mostly physical…but that may just be my own idiosyncrasy of not really caring what characters in books look like. 

I liked Sweet Pea.  She wasn't perfect.  She did some selfish and thoughtless things, but she learned from her mistakes and became a better friend and daughter because of them. 

I liked the other characters, especially Miss Flora Mae, Oscar, and Sweat Pea's parents.  Except…I had some trouble swallowing the idea that her mother, a therapist, thought it would be a good idea to have Sweet Pea move between her mother's house and her father's house every single day (except for the confusing Thursday schedule).  I would think that would be extremely disorienting, inconvenient, and unstable.  Wouldn't it be better to alternate weeks or something like that, especially if you could just pop over for a visit when needed?

The plot and pacing were good.

And yay for a plus-sized MC.

I would definitely read more by Julie Murphy. 

4 stars!

Monday, August 17, 2020

Frostblood, by Elly Blake

I read part of this as an e-book and listened to the rest as an audiobook, and I thought the reader, Jennifer English, was really good.  Fiction audio books usually start annoying me quite quickly, but this didn't.  That's very high praise, since I'm clearly not the biggest audiobook fan.

As for the book itself, I quite liked it.  Many of the characters were noble but not perfect (which is my favorite mix).  And boy, that chemistry! 

The writing was good.  The dialogue was witty.  The pacing was fast.  The plot, though familiar, took a few nice turns.  

There was too much fighting for my personal tastes, and a bit too much magic.  But that's just me. 

I'd recommend it to fantasy fans, and I intend to read (or listen to) the next book. 

A very solid 4 stars, more like 4.5.