Sometimes I don’t feel like writing a full review for whatever reason, either because life is busy and I don’t have time, or because a book didn’t stir me enough. Sometimes, it’s because a book was so good that I just don’t have anything to say beyond that I loved it! Frequently, I’m just wayyy behind on reviews and am trying to catch up. For whatever reason, these are books that only have a few paragraphs of thoughts from me.
The Rose Bride by Nancy Holder – 3.5*
This story started strong, but got rather muddled. It also honestly seemed really lame to me because basically different mothers beg the gods (and goddesses) to show their children that they’re loved, and the way the goddesses complete this task is by killing off basically everyone in those children’s lives and making them suffer horrifically until they finally find each other…!??! I’m just never a fan of stories where the main character is very Job-like in that they just keep getting hit with one tragedy after another. It gets old and same-y after a while.
So while this one wasn’t bad for a one-time read, it wasn’t so amazing that I yearn to read it again and again.
The Shut Eye by Belinda Bauer – 3*
This was one of those books where I honestly probably only got 2* of enjoyment out of it, but because it did keep me glued to the pages I feel like it deserves the added star. This wasn’t a bad book, per se, but it incorporated a plot device that I always feel is cheating, because it means that the author doesn’t have to actually explain anything or even make any of it make sense. So not a bad book, and I definitely wanted to find out what was going to happen, but in the end not really my type.
Compass American Guides: Yellowstone and Grand Teton National Parks by Brian Kevin – 4*
So we are actually planning two big trips this year and I am super excited about both. In May we are heading south to Great Smoky National Park, and in September we are heading west to Yellowstone and Grand Teton. In some ways, Yellowstone is kind of stressing me out because it is SO huge that I know there is absolutely no way that we can begin to see even a fraction of all there is to see, so I want to make the best of our time there, which, for me, means loads of research! Luckily I have quite a bit of time to learn as much about these two gigantic, beautiful parks as I can. (And yes, I’m the kind of person who actually reads travel guides cover-to-cover. Not sure exactly what that says about me as a person haha)
This Compass guide was a fantastic place to start, and I’m super disappointed that there aren’t more of them for more parks (like Great Smoky for instance…). It’s a great blend of a traditional travel guide with lots of photos, tips, and information. The guide is divided into three main chapters, two for Yellowstone (one each for the south and north loops) and one for Grand Teton. This book really helped me to get my head around the different areas of the parks and what they have to offer. There was also a lot of information about places to stay and eat, which could be useful when we’re closer to the actual trip. My one complaint about this book is that the maps are infrequent and not that great. I’m very visual and way into maps, so that would have really helped increase my understanding of the parks.
Great Smoky Mountains National Park: Adventure, Explore, Discover by Amy Graham – 3*
One thing that I learned back when I was doing lots of different research projects and papers for various projects in college was that if there is a children’s book on the subject, it can be a great place to start to get a basic overview. Nonfiction children’s books tend to strip a subject down to its basic essentials, which are then presented in layman’s terms. I have found it to frequently be a great way to help me get a simple overview of a topic.
This book is part of a series that is obviously for children who are writing a report on a topic, as it focuses on providing a lot of other resources, like websites, throughout the book. In and of itself it’s a pretty simple, rather unexciting, presentation of the park’s natural and social history. I honestly felt like this book could have said a lot more about what the park is about today, as the chapters on the history make up the bulk of the book. Still, as I had hoped, this book did provide a decent overview that helped me get my head around some of the basics of the most-visited national park in the country.
Over the Moon by Natalie Lloyd – 3*
This was an enjoyable middle-school read with a likable protagonist and an imaginative setting. While I enjoyed this story, it didn’t really hit that MAGIC chord deep inside, although it was still a really fun story that I would recommend for middle readers.