Monday, June 20, 2011

June's Books, first edition

I haven't read much this month. In fact, I thought I'd only have one book to talk about today, but I whipped through another one at the last minute.

"A Book For Boys" means it's a book I think boys and/or men would like. The market is so inundated with books written for girls that I feel like I've found a treasure when I find a book for my sons, and I want to share it. I hope girls love them too!

The Boy at the End of the World
The Boy At The End Of The World
by: Greg van Eekhout
This book doesn't come out until tomorrow.
224 pages
4.5 stars*
This is A Book For Boys book!

My awesome friend Karen Smith sent me this book as an ARC (an advanced reader copy). It was so much fun to read a book that hasn't been published yet that I had to make sure and get my review of it up before it came out tomorrow. I hope I get that chance more often in the future.
Many, many years ago, humans realized that we had used Earth up, and it could no longer sustain us. So they created 4 arks--places where endangered species (including people) could rest in a kind of cryogenic sleep until it was safe to reintroduce them into the environment. But when a young boy named Fisher wakes up, he knows something has gone wrong. All the other sleeping pods in his ark have been destroyed. He is the last surviving human. Luckily he is not completely alone. He has a broken robot named Click and a pet mastadon he names Protein to keep him company. This is a thrilling story of survival and friendship.

Middle grade science fiction. Have you ever heard of it? It's a genre that is sadly filled with holes. What child doesn't want to read a breathless story of survival filled with mutant robots and perilous adventures? This is a book for the whole family. I loved it, and can't wait for the next one. Greg van Eekhout has crammed so much into this book--it will spark conversations about our responsibility to the Earth and the animals on it, about artificial intelligence, and about the importance of morals in scientific inquiry--and yet the whole thing is wrapped up in a rolicking adventure that is pure fun. I highly recommend this one for girls and boys of all ages.

by: Heather Dixon
published in 2011
472 pages  
Young Adult fantasy
3.5 stars*

In the not too distant past, I could count on loving every single book my teenage daughter read, and she loved nearly everything I did. But then a book called City of Bones changed everything. We both loved it, but it was a sort of aberration for me. I loved Cassandra Clare's writing style, and her characters were great, but I'm not interested in trying other dark, romantic fantasy books, and J is. So lately, most of the books she checks out of the library just stay in her room, and I pick them up only to do motherly things like reading the synopsis and opening to random pages to make sure it isn't TOO dark or TOO romantic. And because of that, I very nearly missed this book.

Entwined is not that kind of book. It's a novel based on the Grimm's fairy tale "The Worn Out Dancing Slippers". It was a lovely story, with well-developed characters. Some of the character development felt clunky to me, but the way they interacted with each other more than made up for that.You know how in the old fairy tales, the hero blasts in and saves the day? And you know how, in the new fairy tales, the heroine figures out how to save herself, and then usually has to go rescue the hero? Well, my favorite thing about this book is that there was none of that. In this story, of a whole bunch of people get to try on the hero's hat. My favorite hero is her father.  I hope you like it.

My rating system:
1=I couldn't finish it. Blech.
2=I finished it, but I wish I hadn't wasted my time.
3=I don't regret reading it, but I probably won't search out anything else by this author.
4=I loved it!
It is nearly impossible to get a 5. To get a 5 would almost always mean that it has taken its place among my favorites. Occasionally, to get a 5 might mean that it ought to take its place among my favorites, if only I had slightly better taste.

Saturday, June 18, 2011

Life is good--the Crouse's new pool

L was the first person to swim in our newly lined pool.
She was also the first one to jump off the diving board.

J was the first person to jump in the shallow end.
J was also the first person to catch some sun in a dry spot near the edge of the pool.

I was the first person to jump off the diving board fully clothed.
I was also the first person to dive off the diving board.
Life is good.

Monday, June 6, 2011

Once Upon A Time update

Believe it or not, the middle of June is nearly here, and that is the deadline to finish the Once Upon A Time Challenge. In April I published a list of books I thought I would be reading for the challenge, but only 2 of those books stood the test of time. (I tried to read The Mists of Avalon right after being heartily annoyed by Waiting For Odysseus, and gave it up for awhile. Instead, I'm reading a much shortened version of King Arthur to my younger kids, and that's going to have to be good enough. I couldn't finish City of Fallen Angels either. So here's where I stand:

For fairy tales: A Tale Dark and Grimm
For fantasy: Eyes Like Stars and Alcatraz and the Shattered Lens
For mythology: Waiting For Odysseus
For folktales: King Arthur (Not finished yet)
And I haven't even started reading: A Midsummer Night's Dream, which is sort of the point of the whole contest.
Plus I've got to watch the movie!!!! Lots of work to do. I think I'd better give up house cleaning for a while. :^)