Dang Rover: Cover to Cover

Dang Rover: Cover to Cover

My Family. My Religion. My Photography. My Sports.

My Books. Lots and lots of books.

#EmpireofStorms: I've read 40%. I may not get to the other 60%.
Empire of Storms - Sarah J. Maas

My patience is shrinking.


My annoyance is growing.


This isn't looking good.

5 Stars
#TreasureIsland: Yo-ho-ho, "X" marks THIS spot...
Treasure Island - Robert Louis Stevenson

I love that my 7th grader was assigned Treasure Island for English Class.


In school my English teachers did their very best to kill my love for reading. Grapes of Wrath? Snooze. Thank goodness for Cliffs Notes.


Treasure Island, though? Winner.


I hadn't read it myself, though it'd been holding up the bottom of my Mount TBR for several years. A school assignment for a kiddo was perfect excuse to dig it out and get caught up.


Here's what I found:


It's pirates and buried treasure from a 12-year-old boy's perspective--the perfect adventure book.


One unexpected bit of fun was discovering Treasure Island is the original source for everything we associate with pirates. Yo-ho-ho and a bottle of rum, 15 men on a dead man's chest, a squawking parrot riding on a shoulder, "X" marks the spot, Jolly Roger, shiver my timbers, land ho, buried treasure, Long John Silver, one-legged men, sea-dog, scars on faces...these are just the ones off the top of my head.


In Treasure Island, there is much fun to be had.


As Sir Mix-A-Lot would say, there is one big but...


The book was written in 1883, and reads like it. I love escaping into the past through words, but my 12-year-old doesn't have the patience to translate all the "foreign English." We're reading it together, and he's enjoying it. Left to himself, he'd never get through it.


Other than that watch-out, give Treasure Island a try. It's only about 170-ish pages and well worth your time. Maybe the perfect chance to give your kiddo's a taste of "the classics."


Happy Reading!


The Value of a Star: Ratings Explained

4 Stars
#TheMysteriousBenedictSociety: Finally, a good middle grade story! It's about time...
The Mysterious Benedict Society - Trenton Lee Stewart

It's so hard to find really good middle grade books.


In an effort to write a story that is "on their level," most of them are poorly written, have overly simplistic plots, and canned, characterless characters.


At last, I've found one that dares to assume our kids aren't stupid!


The Mysterious Benedict Society is what I think middle grade lit should be. The plot is smart. The characters have depth and show growth. The dialogue is fun and snappy. All that, yet the jokes remain appropriate, the challenges relatable, and the themes applicable.


A great find. Perfect for all ages.


Happy reading!


The Value of a Star: Ratings Explained


#EmpireofStorms #TheDarkTalent: Can't stop me from smiling today...


I've been waiting for both of these series-enders for YEARS--and they're both released on the same day.


It might as well be Christmas!


The only question...which one do I read first?


2 Stars
#TheGirlofFireandThorns: Ugh.
The Girl of Fire and Thorns  - Rae Carson

This one was disappointing. 


Boring plot.  Unlikable characters.  Awkward 1st person.  The magic system was weird, abstract, and random.  It's almost like there wasn't a story being told...things just happened.


The title of the book doesn't even have anything to do with what happens in the story.




There are a few things the author did very well.  For example, I can tell you exactly the body type and attractiveness of each female character.  I can tell you what, how much, and how often the main character ate.  And--most importantly--I can tell you the color of eyes, hair, and definition of the jawline of each male character.  Oh, also...apparently, when it comes to male eye color, cinnamon is a valid color choice. 


I wonder what the abbreviation for cinnamon is on a driver's license?


If the author had spent as much time on the details of the story as she did on the details of how everyone looked, this might have worked. 


But she didn't.  So it doesn't.


Content appropriate for 12+.


The Value of a Star: Ratings Explained

5 Stars
#HarryPotter: Oh Dobby!
Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows - J.K. Rowling, Mary GrandPré

And the most satisfying re-read of my life is complete.


What a treasure.  


The world is a better place because of Harry Potter.



5 Stars
#HarryPotter: When the other shoe drops...
Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince - J.K. Rowling, Mary GrandPré

Snape is revealed.


Draco is used.


Harry is alone.


And now, the end.

5 Stars
#HarryPotter: 15-Year-Olds are Idiots
Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix - J.K. Rowling, Mary GrandPré

I never realized Harry was an idiot in this book.  This realization may or may not correlate with the fact that my daughter has also just turned 15...

5 Stars
#HarryPotter: Still my favorite...
Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire - J.K. Rowling, Mary GrandPré

It's always been my favorite of the series.  Still is.

5 Stars
Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban - J.K. Rowling, Mary GrandPré



My favorite scene.  Goosebumps every time.

5 Stars
#HarryPotter: Least but not last...
Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets - J.K. Rowling, Mary GrandPré

My least favorite Harry Potter book. But, really, that's like saying I like the left Twix better than the right Twix. Still brilliant. And this time around I found a lot more foreshadowing than I remembered during my other readings.

5 Stars
#HarryPotter: No Review Needed
Harry Potter and the Sorcerer's Stone  - J.K. Rowling, Mary GrandPré

After this re-read, I actually sighed with contentment when I finished.

2 Stars
#HarryPotterandtheCursedChild: Different isn't always bad...
Harry Potter and the Cursed Child - J.K. Rowling, John Kerr Tiffany, Jack Thorne

Revised rating from 4 stars to 2 stars on 8/30/16...


Never mind. I just re-read the original series, and HP and the Cursed Child pales badly in comparison. What a disappointment.


I'd forgotten the magic. Cursed Child has none.


Original review...


The haters have it right...there's no way these words were written by J.K. Rowling.


The Harry, Ron, and Hermione in this story are NOT the same Harry, Ron, and Hermione I was expecting. It's not a bad thing, I suppose. Just different.


I enjoyed reading the story in this format. That was different too, and it forced my imagination muscles to work a little harder than usual.


While the characters were not Jo's, the story definitely was. It's magical and emotional and I loved it. Of course, it 100% relies on nostalgia for it to work. Anyone not familiar with Harry's story won't find much here to hold their attention. But for us Harry lovers, get ready to smile as the memories of your first Harry experience come back to you!


That's how it happened for me anyway. Now I have to start a Harry Potter re-read!


Because of the format and the oddly written characters that should be familiar but aren't, I suspect there will be some who don't like Harry Potter and the Cursed Child. It's different enough that some might be turned off.


But, if you can look past whats different and focus on what's the same, you might just find yourself needing to re-read Harry again too.


Happy Reading!


The Value of a Star: Ratings Explained

4 Stars
#Temeraire: Dragons are the Bacon of Books...
League of Dragons: A Novel of Temeraire - Naomi Novik


Done! All 9 Temeraire books in 5 weeks.


I'm all for binge reading a series...but I don't think I've ever done 9 back to back. Phew.


It was worth it, of course.  Dragons are to books as bacon is to food.


They turn ordinary to awesome. Try this out:


Napoleon is attacking England and terrorizing Europe...


...while riding dragons.


See? Cool, right?


There's lots to love. The dragons, obviously, are the stars of this show. Acid spitters, fire breathers, big and slow, fast and small, scholars, fighters, lazy, industrious, smart, dumb, leaders, followers, good, bad. Dragons of every size, breed, colors, skill, personality, nationality, and allegiance are here. Have you ever considered aerial combat strategy via dragon back before? Now you can become an expert.


Yep, you read that right.


Dragon fights.


This is revisionist history at it's best. The Temeraire books tell the story of the Napoleonic Wars from the point of view of William Laurence, Captain in England's Royal Navy. When his ship captures a French vessel carrying a dragon egg, Laurence and his crew set sail for England to get the egg off the ship and into the hands of the Royal Air Corp before it hatches...because once it hatches the dragon chooses a companion for life. Good if you're into that sort of thing. A life sentence to a ball and chain if you not. Of course they don't make it. The egg hatches, and Captain Laurence becomes Captain of a dragon named Temeraire instead of Captain of a ship. Together, Laurence and Temeraire travel the world in defense of King and Crown, battling Napoleon and Tyranny in the air, at sea, on the ground, and in the most dangerous battlefield of all...politics.


Oh, man. There is so much here. Sea travel. Air travel. Sea battles. Air battles. Political battles. World travel...visits to England, Russia, Prussia, Australia, Japan, China, Brazil, several African countries, Spain, France. Sea storms, sea serpents, spys, smugglers, culture clashes, betrayal, conspiracy, assassination attempts, mystery, shipwrecks, marooning, death, prisoners, escapes. Uphill diplomacy, politics, war, treason, blurred lines of right and wrong. Honor, commitment, friendship, choosing others over yourself. Seriously, it's all there and more.


You want it all? You can have it...


...with dragons.


The prose is unique. It isn't just a book about people living in Napoleons world. It's as if it were actually written during that time...picture what Jane Austen might sound like if Mr. Darcy rode a dragon to call on the Bennet sisters. This is an author to knows how to write.


Recommended for all. If your the type who likes a little less talk and a lot more action you might get bored in some places, particularly around book 6. While the dragon fights are cool, this is a character and relationship driven story. I loved it...you may not.


Happy Reading!


The Value of a Star: Ratings Explained

Last one!
League of Dragons: A Novel of Temeraire - Naomi Novik
4 Stars
#BlackPowderWar: I'm not bored yet!
Black Powder War  - Naomi Novik

Not stopping now, happily moving on to book 4!


The Value of a Star: Ratings Explained

Dan's Latest Reads

The Girl Who Ruled Fairyland - For a Little While
3 of 5 stars
A thirty-page prequel that tells the story of how Mallow became Queen of Fairyland. I found it to be a bit wordy. All the good stuff about characters you will recognize from Book 1 happens in the last 5 pages or so.
The Girl Who Circumnavigated Fairyland in a Ship of Her Own Making
5 of 5 stars
A Fairytale for Lovers of Fairytales If I.Q. were a measure of strength of imagination, Catherynne Valente would most certainly be the Albert Einstein of writers. There was more imagination on display in that book than in any other book...
5 of 5 stars
Outstanding. A treasure. A pleasure. And quite spooky! I loved Coraline! It's the perfect mix of spooky and fun. It's going to be the next read aloud to my kids book!
tagged: age-reco-all-ages, my-favs-for-young-people, and my-top-25
The Sorcerer of the North
2 of 5 stars
Well, that was dumb... That ending wasn't a cliffhanger--it just stopped in the middle of the story! Too bad the story wasn't anywhere near engaging enough to make me want to find out what happens next. I should have just stopped at boo...
tagged: don-t-recommend and age-reco-13up
The Blood of Olympus
3 of 5 stars
Dang! Such a disappointing ending to an exceptionally fun series! Is it really so hard to write a satisfying ending? The Blood of Olympus, the fifth and final book of the Heroes of Olympus series, lost its way--and not even everyone's f...
tagged: age-reco-13up
5 of 5 stars
I'm so glad I picked up this series... ...because it's REALLY fun! Zero complaints. Each book introduces new characters and does an outstanding job of incorporating them into the story with out watering down the experience. The Luner Ch...
tagged: age-reco-13up and my-favs-for-young-people
5 of 5 stars
Another great surprise! I was surprised how much I enjoyed Cinder, so I guess I shouldn't be all that surprised I thought Scarlet was just as fun! I must admit though--it sounded gimmicky to write books loosely based on fairy tales. Tu...
tagged: my-favs-for-young-people and age-reco-13up
5 of 5 stars
A Great Start! I've really got to do a better job of making sure I don't get sucked into a series until all books are published...I hate waiting! Actually, this time I took one for the team and read Cinder before all the books were out ...
tagged: age-reco-13up, my-favs-for-young-people, and my-top-25
The House of Hades
4 of 5 stars
Great, with a footnote... House of Hades was great. the story was fun and the characters are endearing...which is a feat considering there are anywhere from 8 to 12 key characters you are rooting for. Here's the footnote, particularly ...
tagged: age-reco-13up and my-favs-for-young-people
The Mark of Athena
5 of 5 stars
Awesome! Yep, that's the best way to describe book three. Loved it. Quite a cliffhanger though--I'm VERY glad I don't have a to wait for the next book! Ill review the series when I'm finished. Two books to go! SERIES REVIEW Dang. Wha...
tagged: my-favs-for-young-people and age-reco-all-ages