Tuesday, December 4, 2018

Book Review: Alice's Adventures in Wonderland by Lewis Carrol

Alice's Adventures in Wonderland: Macmillan Classics EditionAlice's Adventures in Wonderland: Macmillan Classics Edition by Lewis Carroll
My rating: 3 of 5 stars

I understand that this book is a classic, and I'm glad to say that I've finally read it. However, I didn't particularly enjoy this book. I know wonderland is a very fantastical place with many out of the ordinary circumstances, but I felt that this book was lacking in terms of plot and character development. It was very jumpy and not an enjoyable read for me.

I gave this book 3/5 stars because I thought it was so/so and I could take it or leave it.

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Sunday, November 4, 2018

Book Review: Frankenstein by Mary Shelley

This books has been on my TBR list for such a long time, like a decade or more. I'm glad that I finally took the opportunity to read it. This was also my first book in my challenge to myself to read the Great American Read list. I have to say I'm not disappointed by my first choice.

I loved the author's ability to build the characters and the world. Sometimes I have a hard time visualizing what the author is saying, not so with this book. I felt as if I was walking with Victor through the story. I could vividly see the beautiful landscapes and homes. I could see myself in his various labs as he was creating his monsters.

I also enjoyed reading about the inner struggles of Victor as he wrestled with himself and what he had done to the world. I enjoyed being in the monster's mind as he is teaching himself to read and interact with the human world. It was all very fascinating to me.

I loved the plot of this book. It was a wonderful story of creation, horror, love and revenge. This book would entertain a wide audience and I believe that is why it has stood the test of time and become a literary classic.

If you have an opportunity to pick up this book, you should. You won't be disappointed at all.

Wednesday, October 3, 2018

A challenge to myself and a shift in the blog

It's been well over a full year since I have posted here. There are many reasons for that, but the one I'll talk about is the fact that I haven't found anything to spark my reading interest. I've picked up and started 5 different books and put them all down without finishing them. It's been a rough reading year to say the least.

Having said that, I believe that I've found a project that I want to take on in terms of reading and I'm actually excited about it. I'm sure many of you are aware of "The Great American Read". If you aren't familiar with it, you can click here to go to the website. The basic gist of it is that there has been a list compiled of the 100 greatest american reads. It's actually closer to 200 books since they count entire series as one entry on the list. My goal is to read this entire list. I'm going to be realistic about this project. I'm guessing it will take me 4 to 5 years to get through this list. I like to think I read more than that, but I usually don't. If I've already read a series on the list, I'm going to read it again. There is one series on the list that will probably not get read. I have no desire to read the "50 shades" books.

What this means for the blog is that I will not be taking books for review right now, but I will be reviewing each of the books and the series that I read on this list. If I'm reading a long series from the list (such as "The Wheel of Time"), I will post updates on how my reading is going. That way there shouldn't be any long drawn out spans with no content on the site.

I've already chosen my first book on the list and I'm about halfway finished with it. I'm kicking off this challenge by reading Frankenstein. It's my hope that this list gets me jump started back into the reading world.

For those of you that have stuck around to read this after such a long break on the blog, thank you so much.

Friday, July 28, 2017

Book Review: The Last Flag by Wren Cavanagh

The Last FlagThe Last Flag by Wren Cavanagh
My rating: 2 of 5 stars

I read The Last Flag a few months back (thank you to the author for sending it my way). I waited a while to post the review because I wasn't sure how many stars I wanted to give it. The premise of the book is fine. It's about a zombie infested town that they fence off and then they host a game show where people race through the town trying to avoid zombies and collect flags. I read that and thought to myself, ok this could be interesting. I have to say I wasn't really impressed...

The plot was ok. There wasn't a ton of back story on the zombies, the characters weren't developed real well, and the flow of the story was just kind of all over the place. These were a few of the writing elements that I didn't like, but then there were the typos and grammar issues...holy cow. Every other page had some sort of typo or grammatical error. I checked to see if I had received an ARC and I hadn't so needless to say, that was painful to get through. Normally I'm alright if there are a few errors, but this was crazy.

The author has set it up for another book, but I'm not going to be continuing on with this series. The plot didn't pull me in enough. I couldn't find a connection with any of the characters and I'm just not interested in where the story is going to go from here.

As I said, I'm very appreciative of the author sending it to me, but I couldn't find it in myself to give this book more than 2 stars.

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Wednesday, April 5, 2017

Book Review: Ignite by Danielle Rogland

IgniteIgnite by Danielle Rogland
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

I'm a big fan of dystopian sci-fi books and Ignite didn't disappoint. I was impressed with the writing style, character development, and the world building. I'm not going to hash out much of the plot because you can get that in the summary of the book. I like to talk more about the thing's I've listed above.

It took me a while to get used to the way the chapters read. Each chapter is from the point of view of a different character, which I've read before, but for some reason I had to keep reminding myself who was talking in the first 5 or 6 chapters. After you get into the book you don't really have to try to hard to remember the transitions and it's wonderfully written.

The plot of this book is amazing. I'm a sucker for rebel groups fighting the "bad guys" and this book didn't disappoint. Every time I thought I knew where it was going there was a plot twist that took it in another direction. There were a few times that I had an idea of where it was going, but I didn't have the full grasp of the twist or the implications that it would have for the rest of the book. I also enjoyed the inner struggle that some of the characters had. I have a psychology degree, so I like seeing those things in writing and it was very well done in this book. I felt like I was struggling right along with the characters.

The world building in this book is great. I could picture myself in the burned out and ruined streets of London. I could see myself in the HQ of the flames and the factories that they moved in and out of. I could picture the homemade tech devices they used in the book. It was all so vivid in my mind and that is a result of the amazing writing in this book.

Character development was very good as well. Those of you that have read my reviews for any amount of time know that that is a big deal for me. I enjoyed getting to know the characters individually through their unique chapters and then seeing how they join together part way through the book.

This book is a wonderful read for people that like: sci-fi, dystopian, action/adventure, and fans of just plain old good writing. I would highly recommend this book to anyone that asks.

I give this book 5/5 stars.

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Saturday, January 7, 2017

Book Review: Mostly Human by D.I. Jolly

Mostly Human is a very well written book. It moves along quickly, which I love in a book. Many times books about werewolves are boring to me because there are so many of them out there, but not so with this book by Mr. Jolly. 

The plot is well thought out and well written. There are a lot of POV changes, so if you aren't into that you may want to think before picking up this one, but it wasn't an issue for me. I like books with lots of different POV throughout. 

The characters are well rounded and well developed, but not overdone in any way. 

If you're looking for a new book to pick up, I would consider Mostly Human. It wasn't one that would have jumped out at me on a bookshelf, but I'm glad I had the opportunity to give it a read. 

Thursday, November 17, 2016

Book Review: Molina by Bengie Molina with Joan Ryan

This book is a deviation from what I normally review here. Almost all of my reviews have been on fiction titles. This  is a non-fiction work,  so we are branching out here at JABG.

I received this book as a gift from my in-laws and was very excited to receive it. I'm a lifelong St. Louis Cardinals fan and have been watching Yadier Molina play for many years so it was interesting to get some insight on his life and upbringing through the eyes of his brother.

This book is well written and very readable.  Some non-fiction titles are slow and hard to read but not so with this book; it reads like a fiction title.

The story of the Molina family is very amazing if you think about it. One family that put three children into the Major Leagues and all of them as catchers. This book takes us on the journey of the boys learning to play from their father, who is referred to as Pai throughout the book. Pai was a beloved member of his community and quite the baseball player in his own right. It was so amazing to see the influence he had on not only his family, but his entire town.

It was also pretty cool to see life through the eyes of Bengie Molina who worked hard to get into the major leagues. He seemed to have to put in more time and effort than his brothers did. It was a great story of perseverance.

I would recommend this book to anyone that is into baseball or into books that have a great message for life in general about not giving up and seeing your dreams through to the end.

Overall I give this book a 4/5