Book Review: All Four Stars

AllFourStarsPlot:

Gladys has been cooking gourmet food since she was seven years-old, but her fast-food obsessed parents don’t know that. After a small cooking accident, she is banned from the kitchen and her allowance is momentarily suspended. Then, when a newspaper company accidentally hires the sixth grader to become a restaurant critic (her dream job), Gladys must earn the friendship of her archenemy and sneak into New York city, all while keeping her identity a secret!

What I Liked:

Gladys’ plan to visit the restaurant she had to critique unfolded in a very creative and exciting way- it was almost like she was a spy on a mission. Also, throughout the book, Gladys’ descriptions of the food she ate were so vivid. Here is an example:

“When I first saw how much food Mrs. Singh had put on my plate, I couldn’t believe my eyes. It smelled amazing, but how was I supposed to eat a mountain of rice with an avalanche of potatoes sliding down it? Not to mention a forest of cauliflower, endless fields of spinach, and a boulder pile of chickpeas?”

There were some interesting characters in the book, too. Take for instance, Parm, a girl who eats only four or five different foods, despite the fact that her Indian family prides itself on cooking colorful, spicy cuisine. Coincidentally, Parm is a very close friend to Gladys, who is the exact opposite!

What I Didn’t Like:

Unfortunately, Gladys lies to both her parents and the newspaper she works for. This causes her some problems, but she is determined to keep her job a secret from virtually everyone.

Overall, I would give this book 4 out of 5 stars.  It was an interesting and unique story that I would recommend to anyone 10 and up who likes cooking or watching the Food Network.

 

 

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The Secret Hum of a Daisy

51+q3anYqvL._SX332_BO1,204,203,200_Some books are good just because they are extremely well-written. Others have a great story to tell. The Secret Hum of a Daisy was both.

Plot:

12 year-old Grace and her mom have been homeless for awhile and now Grace is ready for a real home. But when tragedy strikes, the young girl is forced to move in with a grandmother she’s never met. Grace can’t believe her mother would want her to stay there, and tries to think of ways to make life harder for her grandma. Yet soon, Grace embarks on a mysterious treasure hunt just like the ones her mom made for her. Could this be her mother’s way of showing Grace the way home?

Why I Liked It:
Grace felt like a real character. It was as if we were classmates at school and I knew about her tragic yet interesting life. The writing was, to me, descriptive, realistic, and full of emotion. The author did a great job painting a mental picture for the reader.

Recommendation:

I would recommend this book to anyone who enjoys emotional and thoughtful books. There is no major climax, but the book still makes you want to keep reading. Those who don’t love sad books may not adore this (even though I was that person and did!), but should at least consider it as an option. I think I would give this book a 5 star rating.

Here is a preview of the book if any of you are interested. Enjoy! 🙂

http://www.goodreads.com/book/show/18668051-the-secret-hum-of-a-daisy

 

Book Review: The Hobbit

photo_5653_0-5I wasn’t too thrilled about reading the Hobbit. It was required in my literature class though, so I started it. And when I did, I was swept up into the exciting adventure right away!

Plot

Bilbo Baggins likes the quiet life, but when a mysterious wizard and a band dwarves show up, his whole life changes. Suddenly, he’s far from home fighting orcs, running from wolves, and getting caught up in all sorts of dangerous perils. Will he have to fight the deathly dragon, Smaug alone? Will he and all of his friends return home safely? Find out in this thrilling fantasy novel by J.R.R. Tolkien!

Why I Liked It:

I think that my favorite part of the book was in the first chapter. Here, Bilbo meets the wizard and calls out a friendly good morning.

The wizard then replies by saying, “What do you mean? Do you wish me a good morning, or mean that it is a good morning whether I want it or not; or that you feel good this morning; or that it is a morning to be good on?” Later, Bilbo says the phrase again, this time meaning “go away”, and the wizard laughingly comments on how many ways he uses it.

I also liked the book because Bilbo and I are somewhat similar. He gets frightened of  scary new things like me, but also sometimes likes things more than he thought he would. He’s timid but a little braver than he thinks.

Conclusion

If you are like I was-skeptical of this book- I must assure you that it really is great. I think I would rate it 4 1/2 out of 5 stars because of the ending, which left me feeling kind of…sad, and sort of hungry for more. But I guess that’s good writing! 🙂 Tolkien threads humor, adventure, and fantasy all int0 one book. But sometimes it takes seeing that amazingness for yourself, so I’ve copied the link to Amazon’s preview of the book. Take a look and tell me what you think! Enjoy!

Hobbit Book Preview

 

Music Review: This Is Not A Test

urlSix time Grammy award winner TobyMac, released the new album,”This Is Not A Test” on August 7. The 15 songs are packed with upbeat tunes and God-honoring lyrics. Their funky sound features horns, pop, soul, hip-hop, rock, and a beat that makes you want to dance.

Toby has been singing since 1987, when the band dc Talk came out. (That was a long time ago-when my dad was a kid!) The band was popular in the 80s, but Toby decided to leave in order to pursue a solo career. He’s won the American Music Award twicethe Billboard Music Award twice as a Christian artist, the Dove Award 13 times, and one Grammy award.

It seems like whatever is popular that year, Toby includes in his music. For instance, this year, it’s horns and pop. In 2013, it was dubstep. He really seems to pay attention to what’s hot in the music industry. But is every song worth buying on his new album? In my opinion, no. I think that some songs are a little too repetitive, while others just aren’t my taste. Although, my personal favorite song, Like A Match, is my “happy music.” It has a bouncy sound that always makes me smile.

I think that the album is one of Toby’s best. Here’s the music video to one of his songs, Feel It. Tell me what you think below! Enjoy!

TobyMac – Feel It ft. Mr. TalkBox Official Music Video 

 

Everyday Angel: Last Wishes

51Bhit2WxJL._SY344_BO1,204,203,200_The Adventures of Daisy Dorall will continue right after this. Sorry I couldn’t publish over the weekend. Enjoy!

As I browsed through my school’s class library, a pink spine caught my attention. Carefully, I pulled the book out, and read the back. Following my usual tradition, I peeked at the first few pages. And soon, Everyday Angel became a book I just couldn’t put down.

 Plot:

In the third novel of a three book series, a guardian angel named Aria must help three girls in order to earn her wings. Her final mission is in bustling New York City, where she crosses paths with prima ballerina Mikayla Stevens. Unfortunately, Mikayla’s family is facing some money troubles, and although once in love with dance, Mikayla now feels the pressure to be a first-place ballerina. She wants to help her family, but she isn’t sure if this is “her life” anymore. Does she really like dance, or is Mikayla just doing it because her parents expect her to win?

Why I Liked It:

The reason I enjoyed Everyday Angel so much was because Aria was a very like-able character. She reminded me of myself, actually, due to the fact that we are both imaginative, friendly people. Also, I liked the way the author wrote the story- as if she were a 12 year-old girl, understanding the way the characters thought and acted.

First Or Last: Does It Matter?

My suggestion would be to read the first book in the series before you read the last one. Because Aria’s on a mission- each book tells the story of every girl she helps- it’s not going to mess up the entire series, although it does reveal the ending of Aria’s journey. I haven’t read any of the other books yet, although my teacher said she ordered them for me.

And I can reassure you, I will definitely be reading the rest when they arrive.

(To read the first few pages of the book from Amazon yourself, click here.) 🙂

The Mysterious Benedict Society

Don’t worry, The Time Travel Machine Part 7 will appear right after this post. 🙂c37208

A few days ago, I completed the challenge of reading 2,014 pages of books. Turns out, I actually read a grand total of 2,333 pages. That’s a lot more than I expected! Also, the last book I read was extremely good. So good I bought the sequel.

Summary:

The book was The Mysterious Benedict Society, by Trenton Lee Stewart. It is an exciting mystery story about four genius kids: Reynie, the lovable leader, Sticky, the nervous wreck, Kate the Great, and Constance the grump.

Each kid is different, yet all have one thing in common: they’re all orphans, and each is a genius. So when the crew sees a newspaper advertisement about children looking for special missions, they instantly apply. But this adventure gets even stranger.

The children must pass a complicated test that’s hard for even the craziest geniuses. Somehow each kid passes the quiz, yet not all the same way.

When they complete the test, the team must go to the dreaded Institute For The Very Enlightened. (An academy for advanced students.) Why must they go? To stop a dangerous man named Mr. Curtain.

Can just four children prevent a nation-wide, despicable plan? Find out in this fast-paced mystery story.

What I Liked The Most: 

I loved all the cool ways the Mysterious Benedict’s Society out-smarts adults. For instance, they grind up a poison-filled plant and slip it into the foods that the students of the Institute eat. (Including the adults.) Or how about the time when they used morse code to send secret messages to Mr. Benedict using a flash light? The author of this book is extremely creative.

My Favorite Characters, And Why I Like Them:

My favorite character in the book, I’d have to say would be Kate. Kate is an adventurous girl from the circus. She is a born acrobat and a kind companion. Why I liked Kate so much is because she always brings a smile wherever she goes. And I try to do that as well. Another reason I like her, is because she is so cool. Who has a bucket hooked to your belt that contains all sorts of things?

Don’t Enjoy Mystery Stories?

Even if mystery is not your favorite genre of book to read, I’m almost positive you’ll enjoy this witty book. Mystery isn’t my top-pick, either, but I loved The Mysterious Benedict’s Society. (I never buy books without reading half of them, and I got the sequel after reading a chapter. That says something.) Oh, and, don’t worry, it’s not a murder mystery. 🙂

 

 

The Little Rascals

LittleRascalsSaveTheDay DVD The comical gang, The Little Rascals, are back in an all-new adventure. I watched this PG rated tale last night-for the second time in a row.

Plot:

When beloved Grandma is deeply in debt to the bank, Mary Jane, Alfalfa, Stymie, Spanky, Buckwheat, Petey and Porky must help save the day. But can they raise $10,000? Many crazy ideas begin forming in Spanky’s head. Signing up for the local talent show is just one of them. The International Silver String Submarine Band really needs work. And when pretty and proper Darla (the girl Alfalfa likes) signs up for the talent show with the Rascals’ enemy, things get even worse.

Will the Rascals ever be able to save Grandma’s bakery?

What I Liked The Most:

I loved the awesome inventions that the Rascals came up with: a taxi that runs on Petey, the dog. The way it works? Petey runs on a treadmill chasing a cat through a screen. Another invention was a treehouse with a burglar alarm. My brother who likes engineering, even admitted the inventions were cool. I also loved a particular character, Stymie, who was one of the funniest kids, other than Buckwheat. (who made hilarious faces.)

Characters Who Reminded Me Of Real People:

Petey, the sweet dog that belongs to the gang, reminded me of my own dog, Jack. They both were playful, but Petey, unfortunately knew more tricks. Also, the leader, Spanky, kind of reminded me of myself- we both had lots of ideas, and both like to be the leader of things.

Overall Review:

This is a great movie for most kids, and is a good laugh for the whole family. The Rascals make some cool inventions, and are always up to mischief.

The Challenge

In my magazine, Clubhouse, I was invited to take up a summer reading challenge- read 2,014 pages of books until August 31. That’s a lot of books. I have to read 100 pages of fiction, faith buliders (devotions, Bible, etc.) and Christian biographies. The rest is my choice. I’ve already read all the required reading, and done about 1oo-ish pages of some extra fiction. I was wondering if you would like to join me in this reading challenge- for fun.

Here are the books I’ve read: 1. FICTION: Sir Malcom & The Missing Prince, FAITH BUILDER: The Dangerous Journey adapted from John Bunyan, CHRISTIAN BIOGRAPHY: Bill Bright: Dare To Be Different by Kim Twitchell, and currently, Peter and The Starcatchers by Dave Barry & Ridley Pearson. Each one is unique in it’s own way, and each good reads. Sir Malcom had a great moral and nice era. The Dangerous Journey was exciting and fascinating. Bill Bright was encouraging, and interesting. Peter and The Starcatchers is mysterious, but very exciting, too.

Some other super good books I’ve read are:

-Number The Stars by Lowis Lowry (exciting, hard to put down)

-Ottis Spofford by Beverly Cleary (Hilarious, well written)

-Tales Of A Fourth Grade Nothing (Silly, once my favorite book)

Please comment and tell me if you would like to join me, or would like to borrow a book. 🙂 Enjoy!