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Author Archive

On the Edge of the Dark Sea of Darkness

Reviewed by Nick 

Just the Facts: by Andrew Peterson. 304 p. Published by WaterBrook Press.

Verdict: ★★★★

Who Cares? Children’s Lit

Short Bio: Three children in the land of Skree soon find that their lives aren’t as boring or simple as they thought. Janner, Tink and Leeli Igiby think that the most exciting thing happening in Skree is the Dragon Festival, but they will soon have close run-ins with several mean-tempered Fangs of Dang, lizard like men that have dominated Skree from across the sea; follow treasure maps, escape the Black Carriage that takes small children back across the sea to who knows what kind of fate awaits them; narrowly miss being eaten by a fearsome toothy cow of Skree, and they will discover the treasures of the kingdom of Anniera.

Eyewitness Account: Andrew Peterson, song and book writer, has a love for adventure and fantasy and a sarcastic twist to his sense of humor. Personally, I see him as an amalgamation of Lemony Snicket and Terry Pratchet. His hallmark is his faith, apparent in the moral message that he gives, perhaps promising an allegorical component to his Windfeather Saga. I enjoyed reading his book. He is not as repetitious as Lemony Snicket, and his writing style suits me well, though he does not have the smoothness of prosody that Pratch has. The only major critique that I would have for Peterson is that he brought his storyline to climax really early in the book and pretty much kept it there throughout the remainder of the book. Don’t forget that a book can have minor climaxes and that denouement and resolution can not only give your reader some time to process what’s going on but can also be a major proponent of character and plot development.        

Other Books Read by This Author:  This is my first book read by this author, but I will definitely be reading the next three books in the Wingfeather Saga.

What are other people saying? Darcy Gudger , Jill Williamson , Ken Reads

Rating:

★★★☆☆ Plot Development

★★★★★ Characterization

★★★★ Writing Style

★★★★★ Original Idea

★★★☆☆ Page Turner

Overall ★★★★

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Something Rotten: A Thursday Next Novel

Reviewed by Nick 

Just the Facts: Something Rotten: A Thursday Next Novel. Jasper Fforde. 2005. Penguin Publishers. Kindle Edition.

Verdict: ★★★★

Who Cares? Young Adult/Action Adventure/Fantasy

Short Bio:  Thursday Next is back, and she’s fed up with the Book World! Deciding that she’s overdue to take a vacation from Jurisficiton, She rejoins SO-27, only to be faced with more problems than she left behind. Yorrick Kaine, a bookrunner, threatens world domination, Goliath is rising to new heights of manipulation when they decide to become a religion, and Landen is still eradicated. Jurisfiction has refused to accept her resignation, her father has stopped time again to tell her that the world will soon come to and end unless she helps the Swindon Mallets win Supper-Hoop 88, and there is family trouble with literary and historical figures at home. Can Thursday manage to stop Kaine and Goliath, advise Jurisfiction, keep Bismark away from her mom, untangle the Merry Wives of Elisnore, tame Pickwick’s son Alan, reactualize her husband, manage the Super-Hoop team, save Danish literature from disappearing altogether, and prevent the end of the world, all in time to come home and keep her mom from finding out that a gorilla is babysitting Friday?

Eyewitness Account: So this is not a prepublication review, as is most of the books that we review; this is more a guilty pleasure review on my part! This fourth installation of the Thursday Next series holds to the expectations brought on by the previous books. Fforde’s humor resonates throughout the book, much in the same way as in it’s predecessors. I appreciate how Fforde finds new and refreshing ways to make the reader laugh. It hardly feels like he recycles his jokes or punchlines at all. The beginning of this book did move a little slow, and the pre-chapter blurbs were perhaps not as brilliant as in previous books; perhaps starting to see Fforde slightly loosing creative steam for this series. He did leave quite a few ends untied, so I am still looking forward to First Among Sequels.  

Other Books Read by This Author: The Eyre Affair: A Thursday Next Novel; Lost in a Good Book: A Thursday Next Novel; The Well of Lost Plots: A Thursday Next Novel.

Rating:

★★★★ Plot Development

★★★★★ Characterization

★★★★ Writing Style

★★★★★ Original Idea

★★★★ Page Turner

Overall ★★★★


God’s Answers 4 UR Life

Reviewed by Nick

Just the Facts:

God’s Answers 4 Your Life by Steve Russo (April 1, 2010). Accessed through the courtesy of NetGalley in electronic format.                                              

Verdict: ★★★★

Who Cares?  Young Adults 

Short Bio:

Teenagers face many different pressures, stresses and questions about life. Where should they get their answers? Author Steve Russo compiles many different hot topics in the realm of ethics, from drug and alcohol abuse to loneliness, from suicidal tendencies to cults, from family to prayer, from heaven to the nature of God.  He addresses each topic alphabetically with a brief explanation of experiences of his or his friends pasts or observations about live in general and then he presents scripture references that address the issue at hand.


Eyewitness Account:

This encyclopedic collection of inspirational answers to problems that most everyone face is useful to not only believing teenagers but also to people in general that want to know more about what the Bible says about life issues and problems. One thing I really appreciated about Russo’s design is that there is one page for a description of what the issue or question that needs to be answered really is and the opposing page is totally dedicated to scriptures that provide an answer to that issue or question. His issues, I’d say, are for the most part applicable to every teenager sometime in life. Russo does have a slight tendency to use more New Testament references than old and he tends to favor Meaning-Based Translations such as NIV, ESV, AMP, etc, and paraphrases like MSG, over more Inference-Based translations such as the NASB, RSV, etc. This particular book is not meant to be a page turner, so I took that consideration out of the ratings.


Rating:

★★★★ Writing Style

★★★★★ Organization

★★★☆☆ Original Idea


Overall ★★★★


The Cheshire Cheese Cat

Reviewed by Nick

Just the Facts: The Cheshire Cheese Cat by Carmen Agra Deedy and Randall Wright. Barry Moser, illustrator. pp. 1-37 excerpt. To be published on Oct. 1, 2011. Peachtree Publishers; Atlanta. Accessed through http://www.netgalley.com.

Verdict: ★★★☆☆

Who cares? : Children’s Literature/Elementary Chapterbook

Not so short bio:

Ye Olde Cheshire Cheese Pub has unarguably the best cheese in England. Perhaps that’s why it is such a popular hang out for writers and poets. It’s definitely the reason that so many mice have inhabited the attic. And no wonder the owner is looking for a new mouser!

Skilley is a tom cat living in the streets of London–but he’s no ordinary cat. Skilley has a secret that would make him the laughing stock of cats and mice alike. When Skilley hears that the Cheshire Cheese Pub in London is looking for a mouser, he quickly formulates a plan to get hired for the position.

Pip, a mouse that lives among the mouse colony within the Cheshire Cheese, hears the pub owner, Henry, talking about getting a cat. Pip understands human language because he learned it from his rescuer Nell, the pub owner’s daughter.  He quickly decides to convene the mouse council to find the wisest course of action, but on the way foolishly gets caught by the would-be mouser! Pip is scared for his life, but starting to get annoyed as the cat prolongs the inevitable, or what Pip thinks is the inevitable. Once in private, Pip finds out Skilley’s secret. Skilley does not like to eat mice! More surprisingly, Skilley loves CHEESE! and that’s why he has come to Ye Olde Cheshire Cheese. Pip thinks quick on his feet and makes a deal with Skilley that they will provide him with the hard-to-obtain Cheshire Cheese if he will protect the mice from any true mouser.

Will Pip succeed in persuading the mice, especially Maldwyn, a victim of a cat mauling, that the new mouser is harmless? Is Skilley indeed harmless? Will Skilley’s rival Pinch let Skilley take the post of Ye Olde Cheshire Cheese mouser so easily? What secrets is Maldwyn hiding? Will Skilley be able to make it “look” like he is a mouser while really eating the pubs cheese? Can Skilley trust the mice? Can the mice trust Skilley? And most importantly, will Charles find the perfect beginning to his book?

Eyewitness Account:

Deedy and Wright have composed a charming tale of a cat and mouse. But this tale is not the orthodox relationship that you’d expect from such eternal foes. The authors have an original plot scheme for their story and yet they have intertwined beloved traditional elements such as the writings of Charles Dickens and his character itself in the storyline. Even the setting of London and an old fashioned pub nicely offset the untraditional concept of a cheese-eating cat.

The first chapter is a little choppy, but after that the story takes off fluidly. I commend the authors for attempting to be artistic with the script at certain points in the book, but I think it is too distracting at times. Not exactly sure the intended age range, but in some places wording is unnecessarily dense.  The characters have great potential and so does the plot, but since it is only an excerpt, my rating for this book will be less than I would have liked.

 

Rating:

★★★☆☆ Plot Development

★★★☆☆ Characterization

★★★☆☆ Writing Style

★★★★★ Original Idea

★★★☆☆ Page Turner

Overall ★★★☆☆