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Eric J. (ejolly) - Reviews

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Baggage
Baggage
Author: Emily Barr
Book Type: Paperback
  • Currently 3.8/5 Stars.
 31
Review Date: 9/10/2010


Decent book. A light read.


The Boxcar Children (Boxcar Children, Bk 1)
The Boxcar Children (Boxcar Children, Bk 1)
Author: Gertrude Chandler Warner
Book Type: Paperback
  • Currently 4.3/5 Stars.
 190
Review Date: 3/28/2016


Years later, I still love this book. My 2nd grade teacher read it to us when I was eight. I am reading it with my kids.

I still dream of living in a boxcar, making my own refrigerator in the cool area behind a waterfall and having a dog named watch. I still want to win a "free-for-all" race and live in a kind world with Dr. Moore who helps a sick child right in his own home.

This book will give your 6-8 year old kind daydreams and perhaps imagination and innovation (building a pool!). Warner makes these books poignant by making the kids self-sufficient stars!

I highly recommend this classic!


Charm: An Amazing Story of a Little Black Cat
Charm: An Amazing Story of a Little Black Cat
Author: Leyla Atke
Book Type: Paperback
  • Currently 2.5/5 Stars.
 1
Review Date: 3/13/2015


I read this story with my children (boy, age 6; girl, age 5). The overall plot is an interesting one where a little black cat suddenly comes into a girl's life (the cat is miraculously discovered in the middle of heavy traffic in a busy traffic circle in Azerbaijan). The special cat, named Charm, becomes part of the girl's life. Charm has a weakness in that he likes to get out; and the girl's home is next to an abandoned factory.

One day, the cat disappears...and can not be found. Thirteen unlucky days later, the cat is found, deceased and buried by the girl and her dad. Without spoiling the ending, there is, one year later, a happy ending that both of my kids very much enjoyed.

My daughter liked the pictures in the story, but wished there were more. My son very much liked Charm the character. The only questions that kids had were how Charm died (which is one of the story's mysteries...although not critical in the scheme of the plot).

From a parental point of view, I really wanted to like the story, but it had passages that were a bit macabre for my kids (and this could be an American cultural difference). An example of this is a description of a dead cat that parents of young children should avoid reading as it is a bit too vivid to share with the kids as a bedtime story.

This said, I would read a follow up book with the kids if the language were toned down.


Cinderella's Secret Slipper (Classic Fairy Tales with a Modern Twist)
Review Date: 3/13/2015


As always with children's stories, this book was shared with my 6 year old son and 4 year old daughter. This is the story of Cinderella, the Prince and their son after the wedding. The story is a fun one with multiple fairy godmothers, broken glass slippers, birthday hammers and mosquito bats.

The pictures in the story are fun and bright, which both kids enjoyed. As a parent, and as I've noticed with all of Alinka's stories, there are a number of reading comprehension questions at the end of the story ... both kids did well on the reading questions, which to me is always a sign that they liked the story and were paying attention.

Highly recommend story for kids 4-8 years old.


The Comeback Season
The Comeback Season
Author: Jennifer E. Smith
Book Type: Paperback
  • Currently 4/5 Stars.
 4
Review Date: 8/7/2012


I greatly enjoyed this book as an adult --- great for anyone dealing with loss and for anyone who feels or felt overlooked in school.


Cuba Straits (Doc Ford, Bk 22)
Cuba Straits (Doc Ford, Bk 22)
Author: Randy Wayne White
Book Type: Hardcover
  • Currently 2.9/5 Stars.
 9
Review Date: 9/19/2016


I loathed this book. I am a pretty good reader, but reading this book was more torture than any Santeria tunnel dwelling old woman in a white gown could take. The settings jumped from place to place. I liked many other Randy Wayne White books, but I think he was tripping on acid as he wrote this.


A Dance in the Ashes
A Dance in the Ashes
Author: Gabriele Kosack, Gunter Overmann
Book Type: Paperback
  • Currently 2/5 Stars.
 1
Review Date: 2/9/2016


This book was provided to me free of charge after winning a Goodreads First Reads Raffle. The review posted is my own and was not in exchange for this book.

So, I feel bad. This book has been my nemesis over the past 4 weeks. I picked it up; and I put it down. I tried reading it at different times of the day....in the morning on the way to work and at night before bed. I am not typically a slow reader. I read this book very slowly, never quite getting into it.

The summary that comes with the book describes a web of deceit in the ashes of the Reich's capital. The main character Mathilde struggles -- with a missing Gestapo husband and a mysterious Gypsy whom she falls in love with. Survival....forbidden love...betrayal. Sadly, this description was much more exciting to me than the book.

The main characters in this love triangle, Mathilde, Franz and Camillo along with a host of other supporting characters just weren't likeable. There were multiple plot lines that came together slowly ... and which tied together in a climactic ending ... which left me thinking that it was unfortunate that any of the characters survived the closing scenes.

I'm sorry -- I really really wanted to like this book. I've liked many other WWII setting books (both pre- and post-). I might have like a little more history to this book and a little less love story between characters that, at best, I only had apathy for. I might have liked more development of Mathilde's son Frieder who was evidently brainwashed by the Reich.

Two star --- as the definition said, it was ok.


Death and Other Lies
Death and Other Lies
Author: Carol L. Ochadleus
Book Type: Paperback
  • Currently 4/5 Stars.
 1
Review Date: 3/13/2015


Overall, I liked book and liked characters. The plot was a good one, and the book was an interesting blend between Romance and Mystery/Thriller. All characters, Matt, Kate, Elizabeth and Lilly, were well built out. Author introduces some beautiful locations.

Not to generalize, there were spots that book moved rather slowly, such as when Matt was recovering from amnesia or when Matt was held by Interpol/MI6. I think I would have liked this book even more as a 320 instead of 390 page book (needed more editing down).

On the whole, I liked the book and would recommend it.


Dirty Girls on Top
Dirty Girls on Top
Author: Alisa Valdes-Rodriguez
Book Type: Paperback
  • Currently 3.4/5 Stars.
 14
Review Date: 8/2/2011


Didn't really care for much of this book's message, political stances, and Mexico power. Author is very judgemental about war in Iraq/Afghanistan, Bush...while soft on spousal cheating. Not what I really care for in what should have been a light fluffy quick read.


Falling Rock
Falling Rock
Author: Rebecca Heller
Book Type: Paperback
  • Currently 5/5 Stars.
 1
Review Date: 3/13/2015


I read this story this evening with our 6 year old boy and 4 year old girl. Our interest was initially piqued in this book as we are horse owners.

The premise of this book is that a boy, Falling Rock, relates to a horse named Runs Like Thunder. My children have pictured the horse as modeled on their own horse, except for a patch on his forehead shaped like lightning. As the boy gets older, the horse is taken, presumably by the white man.

The boy never gets over this horse and searches for him into manhood after begin given a magic feather that would help guide him. After many years of travel and searching all corners of the earth, man-boy and horse reunite.

This story was very much enjoyed by my children. They followed the plot, enjoyed the happy ending and were left pondering why the white man took the horse (and what happened to the horse before the reunion---this question is not answered) and why the Indians were moved to reservations.

My daughter liked the very fair amount of artwork in this story. She mentioned that it was very pretty. As I mentioned, the kids were left wondering what happened to Runs Like Thunder after being capture by the white man. This would make a very interesting follow up story!

This book was provided to me free based upon my interest in this book and luck in winning in a raffle on the Goodreads website.


Goodnight, Goodnight Construction Site
Review Date: 7/24/2014


Awesome little boy book...my son (6) very much enjoyed!


Guardian of Lies (Paul Madriani, Bk 10)
Guardian of Lies (Paul Madriani, Bk 10)
Author: Steve Martini
Book Type: Mass Market Paperback
  • Currently 3.8/5 Stars.
 81
Review Date: 3/13/2015


I really liked this story - great plot twists and turns. Enjoyed the multiple settings of the story from Costa Rica to Mexico to San Diego. Character development was full, with Katia Solaz being a memorable beauty and Emerson Pike as an old Cold War remnant focused on an old nuke, with some real basis in fact from the Cuban missile crisis. Definitely worth a read. I'll probably purchase a few more novels from the Paul Madriani series.


Hologram
Hologram
Author: Nancy Miller
Book Type: Paperback
  • Currently 4/5 Stars.
 1
Review Date: 3/13/2015


I thought that the author did a great job of character development, where I came to like Sam and Charlie (the husband and wife main characters of the book), who become victims of (invasive) holographic interactive television in their home. Sam and Charlie fall into a rut that many long time couples fall into.

The book also has an interesting look into how start up companies go about getting preliminary funding (and the strange bedfellows that often come together).

There is a great scene toward the end of the book where the bad guys meet their end --- I'll just say it gets a little confusing to figure out who died with them.

I enjoyed California as a background for this book; it vividly describes the sun on the skin sitting on a boat in Catalina -- other great use of driving on the PCH.


The House on Oyster Creek
The House on Oyster Creek
Author: Heidi Jon Schmidt
Book Type: Paperback
  • Currently 2.9/5 Stars.
 19
Review Date: 7/11/2011


Liked the book and recommend it for a patient reader who doesn't mind a slowly meandering plot.


If I Were a Giraffe
If I Were a Giraffe
Author: Anne Wilkinson
Book Type: Board book
  • Currently 5/5 Stars.
 1
Review Date: 6/3/2011


My son's favorite book! We read this one every night! "If I were a giraffe, my mane would be hairy, my coat would be patchy, my ears would be velvety, my knees would be knobbly. If I were a giraffe my neck would be so long I could reach as high as the moon."


Invisible
Invisible
Author: James Patterson, David Ellis
Book Type: Hardcover
  • Currently 4/5 Stars.
 66
Review Date: 9/29/2014


A good Patterson book, wasn't one where I held my breath...and it was easy to put down unlike some of his others. An enjoyable read.


JP and the Polka-Dotted Aliens: Feeling Angry (My Emotions and Me)
JP and the Polka-Dotted Aliens: Feeling Angry (My Emotions and Me)
Author: Ana Crespo
Book Type: Hardcover
  • Currently 4/5 Stars.
 1
Review Date: 9/7/2015


My children and I received the book for free in a Goodreads Giveaways raffle.

This book stars JP, who is usually fun and silly, but, on this day, doesn't feel fun. He feels mad, like when the polka-dotted aliens invaded his spaceship!

The kids really found this book fun and entertaining. They really liked the illustrations within the book - wanting to spend time with each picture. As a parent, I liked that even though JP got mad, my kids got to see that JP figured out he could get himself into a good mood again by making silly sounds, dancing and making monkey faces.

My kids are ages 7 (boy) and 5 (girl). Both enjoyed this story and are probably the right age (maybe even on the older side) for sharing this story. I could see the entire series being an enjoyable one...give kids ideas what to do with their feelings...similar to the Roger Hargreaves series (Mr. Grumpy, Mr. Happy, Little Miss Sunshine, etc.)


The Last Kingdom (Cotton Malone, Bk 17)
The Last Kingdom (Cotton Malone, Bk 17)
Author: Steve Berry
Book Type: Hardcover
  • Currently 4.2/5 Stars.
 3
Review Date: 2/6/2024


I have enjoyed this and nearly all of Steve Berry's Cotton Malone series. In spots, I found the editing to be imperfect with a number of correctly spelled but wrong words used within the novel.

I was very much intrigued by the idea of the Lost Kingdom and the Kingdom of Bavaria. It was interesting learning that Ludwig was awarded the Grand Cross of Kamehameha I - and it made this bit of fiction more realistic...and who would have known all of the precious metals off the Hawaiian seacoast (I hope they stay there).

There were some twists in this novel - although I had seen the twist related to Albert coming. In the end, it's nice to know the President Fox will be backing off on the Magellan Billet.

Solid novel - doesn't beat the Amber Room, but I liked it.


The Last Song
The Last Song
Author: Nicholas Sparks
Book Type: Mass Market Paperback
  • Currently 4.1/5 Stars.
 335
Review Date: 7/19/2010


Really enjoyed this book. Nicholas Sparks paints a great picture, always making you feel like you are there in the Outer Banks with the characters.


Little Boat
Little Boat
Author: Thomas Docherty
Book Type: Hardcover
  • Currently 5/5 Stars.
 1
Review Date: 11/24/2011


This is a great book that my 3 year old loves!! Little boat in a great big ocean with scary things and a lot of friends! Son has learned many of the words and loves looking for the "little boat" in all of the pictures!


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