Friday, October 9, 2015

Mini-Reviews | What If?, Percy Jackson's Greek Gods, Devoted

In an attempt to spice up the blog, I've decided to post mini-reviews of everything I read. I've mentioned since I blogged consistently - goodness knows that was long enough ago - that I don't under stand how bloggers can possibly review EVERYTHING they read merely out of a lack of things to say about all of them. Nevertheless that doesn't mean I have to review them all in the style I've become accustomed to in the almost two years since I began reviewing. A post of this kind will go live every 2-4 books I read so you should get at least two or more posts from me a week - a stark contrast to the past few months.

Synopsis : Rachel Walker is devoted to God.

She prays every day, attends Calvary Christian Church with her family, helps care for her five younger siblings, dresses modestly, and prepares herself to be a wife and mother who serves the Lord with joy.

But Rachel is curious about the world her family has turned away from, and increasingly finds that neither the church nor her homeschool education has the answers she craves. Rachel has always found solace in her beliefs, but now she can’t shake the feeling that her devotion might destroy her soul.

Goodreads ~ The Book Depository ~ Amazon ~ B & N

September 1 | 78% | Hardcover |  I sat down at 7pm in my backyard and only got up once before finishing it at 10. The Truth About Alice made my Top 14 Books of 2014. Naturally, I wanted to pick Mathieu's second novel up in hopes that I'd love it. Unfortunately, I was disappointed, not because of anything immediately discernible, but in this case, comparison truly is the thief of joy. I was driven to so much emotion with her debut and as well all know, I'm a sucker for multiple points of view. Religion is something rarely ever directly tackled in YA, even less so in a positive light. I commend Jennifer for tackling it. Even though the focus of the novel is Rachel Walker's escape from her cult-like Calvary Christian Church, she stays true to her core values despite being confronted by the variables of what society considers "normal" life aka 21st century pop culture. Something readers will most likely connect with is her passion for consuming the written word. Despite a particular piece of text bringing the story to a climactic point, she finds comfort in the characters and wonder only a good story can provide. While Rachel does seem extremely inexperienced, everything seems realistic and her budding romance is completely innocent and quite sweet. In terms of familial love, Rachel's actual family isn't understanding but in terms of her true family - friends that love, care for, and support her - she is well situated. The resolution to Rachel's story is a good one and readers will be left with a triumphant smile when you finish reading the last page.  

Synopsis : Randall Munroe left NASA in 2005 to start up his hugely popular site XKCD 'a web comic of romance, sarcasm, math and language' which offers a witty take on the world of science and geeks. It's had over a billion page hits to date. A year ago Munroe set up a new section - What If - where he tackles a series of impossible questions: If your cells suddenly lost the power to divide, how long would you survive? How dangerous is it, really, in a pool in a thunderstorm? If we hooked turbines to people exercising in gyms, how much power could we produce? What if everyone only had one soulmate? From what height would you need to drop a steak to ensure it was cooked by the time it reached the ground? What would happen if the moon went away? This book gathers together the best entries along with lots of new gems. From The Lord of the Rings, Star Trek and the songs of Tim Minchin, through chemistry, geography and physics, Munroe leaves no stone unturned in his quest for knowledge. And his answers are witty and memorable and studded with hilarious cartoons and infographics. Far more than a book for geeks, WHAT IF explains the laws of science in operation in a way that every intelligent reader will enjoy and feel the smarter for having read. 

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Hardcover | School Library | 76% | I heard about What If? in a completely random BookTube video sometime during the month of September. Coincidentally, a few days after, it showed up in my school's library New Releases section. Therefore, I had to pick it up. To be honest, I went into this novel with the wrong impression. With the example hypothetic questions, I thought Munroe would answer them with an array of knowledge like psychology, history, english, and physics versus what it ended up being - all physics. I would definitely not recommend this book if you don't have interest in or a basic understanding of science. However, because physics is one of the areas I'm considering studying, I felt absolutely no shame for nerdily loving it. If I were to compare this What If? to another book I've read, I would say it's similar to Hyperbole and a Half and The Absolutely True Diary of a Part-Time Indian in the way that the author uses comical sketches / graphics to better get their point across. The questions are ridiculous and random, but it was so interesting to see how Randall Munroe answered them in what he made to seem like a logical way. Overall, this isn't the kind of book you have to read cover to cover and if you're a physics nerd that wants the occasional laugh, I would highly recommend it.

Synopsis : "A publisher in New York asked me to write down what I know about the Greek gods, and I was like, Can we do this anonymously? Because I don't need the Olympians mad at me again. But if it helps you to know your Greek gods, and survive an encounter with them if they ever show up in your face, then I guess writing all this down will be my good deed for the week." So begins Percy Jackson's Greek Gods, in which the son of Poseidon adds his own magic--and sarcastic asides--to the classics. He explains how the world was created, then gives readers his personal take on a who's who of ancients, from Apollo to Zeus. Percy does not hold back. "If you like horror shows, blood baths, lying, stealing, backstabbing, and cannibalism, then read on, because it definitely was a Golden Age for all that." Dramatic full-color illustrations throughout by Caldecott Honoree John Rocco make this volume--a must for home, library, and classroom shelves--as stunning as it is entertaining.

Audiobook | Library via Overdrive | 66% | Upon recommendation, I listened to the audiobook of Percy Jackson's Greek Gods and more than ever, it felt as if Percy was telling me a story, and because it wasn't about him, he really got into the ironic humor interspersed throughout Greek Mythology. I think we all had our own versions of illustrated greek myths to grow up on and when I have children of my own, I am most certainly purchasing this so that I can share the experience from the point of view of everybody's favorite demi god. With that said, I don't think Percy Jackson's Greek Gods was a book intended to be read cover to cover simply because there are individual stories that stand out well on their own, but it becomes an assault of media when they're being told one after another. Not every story will be riveting which is a common issue of mine when I read anthologies or collections of stories. There are most certainly ones I would love to go back and read again, but I don't forsee the rereading of the entire novel any time soon. All in all, I got exactly what I expected out of Percy Jackson's Greek Gods, more adventures, laughs, and knowledge narrated by one of the best voices in young adult fiction.

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