Book Reviews

The Unbreakable Code by Jennifer Chambliss Bertman Review

code

About the Book: The Unbreakable Code is the second book in the Book Scavenger series by Jennifer Chambliss Bertman. It has 368 pages and was publish on April 25th, 2017 by Henry Holt and Co. (BYR). It is a middle-grade mystery about almost thirteen-year-old Emily and her best friend James, as they attempt to solve the mystery of the unbreakable code and fires that are appearing around the city.

My Review: It’s been a couple years since I read Book Scavenger and in the time that’s passed I have forgotten most of the book; nevertheless, I picked up the sequel, hoping that it would prove an interesting read. Well, thankfully it did. Even thought the plot of Book Scavenger is no longer in my memory, well, mostly that is, I didn’t have much trouble understanding what was going on in The Unbreakable Code. It really was quite an interesting and entertaining story. Not to mention that there were two mysteries in one book. From Steve-James’s cowlick- wearing glitter to the awesome librarian, this really was a great read. The only complaints I have are that some of the dialogue seemed weird and choppy, as if it would have been better of as narrative, and that if you try a little, figuring out who the arsonist is isn’t all that difficult, although it isn’t completely clear either. Other than that, The Unbreakable Code was quite enjoyable and should prove an interesting read for many ages.

my random rambling

I’m not a Murder…I’m Just a Writer

It’s a commonly known fact that writer’s search history is often…sketchy. We often have to research things like stab wounds, ways to poison people, and how to break into the white house just so our story can be accurate. Well since I haven’t posted in a little while and I needed an idea, I thought I would share some of the weirdest things me and my co-author have ever searched.

  1. Hair gel pranks. Explanation: In one of our early drafts two of our main characters were playing a prank on a classmate by replacing his hair gel with pine sap but as time progressed we realized that pine sap wasn’t all the realistic of a substitute. What did we do? We googled it! We searched the internet and our brains for a better option and changed the substance from super glue to vaseline to mayo before we decided we could do without the scene.
  2. Statue of Liberty security system. Explanation: In one of our earliest drafts we were planning to have our three main characters break into to Statue of Liberty but we needed to figure out the best way to do it so for a while it was our obsession to figure out the best way to break in undetected.
  3. First-time nose piercing. Explanation: Very recently we decided that the character who recently broke his nose should get a nose piercing and that in order to know how it is done and how painful it could be we needed to watch some videos.
  4. Pictures of red haired freckled teen guys. Explanation: We needed a picture of a character we invented so we temporarily became stalkers.
  5. International Giraffe Convention. Explanation: A character was on the spot and needed and excuse so he used this and I couldn’t help but wonder if it was a real thing.
  6. Exploring sewer systems. Explanation: At one point our characters lose something in the sewer and one of them goes down into to get it back so we thought it would be good to see what it was like.
Book Reviews

Counting by 7s by Holly Goldberg Sloan Review

7s

About the Book: Counting by 7s is a stand alone book by Holly Goldberg Sloan. It has 380 pages and was published by Dial Books on January 1st, 2013. It has a Lexile measure of 770 and is a contemporary middle-grade book about a twelve-year-old genius named Willow Chance and the people she becomes involved with due to her parent’s death in a tragic car accident.

My Review: This book was awesome! I loved it. From Willow’s obsession with the number to 7 to Dell Duke’s odd way of living I absolutely adored this book and it’s characters. Almost everything and everyone in this book was entertaining, from Cheddar the cat to Dell’s obsession with meatloaf, this was a really fantastic read. In addition to holding my interest, this book also showed how hard it is for people to accept that people are differnt, whether the differences happen to be good or bad. I loved how Willow just throws the system for a loop. She does insanely well with school and she looks at function before fashion. If you’re looking for a book that is entertaining, full of emotion, and all around just a fantastic read, you will love Counting by 7s.

my random rambling

We Put the Fun in Dysfunctional: Tales of my Not-so-Normal Family Part 5

If you take a four-month-old baby, mix it with a particularly unobservant father, and then add some cat toys, disaster will strike. Don’t believe me or understand how one might come to this conclusion? Keep reading.

I was four months old. My mom had to go out of town for the weekend. My dad was supposed to watch me. My mom left, hoping my dad would realize how hard it was to take care of a four-month-old and more than happy to get away, even if she was a little worried that things wouldn’t run like clock-work.  Well, odd as if may seem, when she returned, my dad informed her that everything had run smoothly and that watching me had been easy. Of course my mom was surprised since she knew for a fact watching a child of such an age was by no means easy. It wasn’t until the following Monday that she found out why it had been so easy and when she did her horrification was extreme.

My mom noticed one of our cat’s toys on the floor and normally wouldn’t have given it a second glance but there was something special about this particular fur mouse. The fur was gone and the mouse utterly bald. Like the fur had been sucked off with a passion.

“Eww, one of the cats must have sucked the fur off of this,” she said to my dad.

“Yeah, or Penny,” he replied. Yes, that’s right, my dad had kept me busy all weekend by letting me suck the (real) rabbit fur off of the cat’s toys.

my random rambling

We Put the Fun in Dysfunctional: Tales of my Not-so-Normal Family Part 4

A lot of people are under the impression that guys can’t cook but that’s not exactly true. Some can cook and others can’t. Over the years my dad’s cooking skills have improved, but years ago, when he was a teenager, dating my mom, he didn’t just lack cooking skills, but common sense as well.

Growing up, my dad’s stepmom made potato pancakes, basically fried mashed potatoes. Well, one evening my dad decided he wanted to make some, the only problem was he had absolutely no clue how to do it. He was about halfway done when my mom came over only to find him in the kitchen, covered in potato bits. He was holding a hand-held, electric beater, that was still running, and covered in the potatoes. Of course my mom asked him what the heck he was doing, and he promptly responded that he was mashing the potatoes. Perfectly logical, right? Well, normally when you mash potatoes they don’t just spontaneously fly everywhere unless you have forgotten to do something to them…

“Well, did you boil them first?” My mom asked.

“Boil them?” He replied, bewildered.

Yeah, that’s right, my dad had no clue that in order to make mashed potatoes you have to boil them first. Now you can see why I don’t truthfully believe it was cooking skills that he lacked but common sense.

Book Reviews

Liar and Spy by Rebecca Stead Review

 

liarspyAbout the Book: Liar and Spy is a stand alone book by Rebecca Stead. It has 180 pages and was published on August 7th, 2012 by Wendy Lamb Books. It has a Lexile measure of 670 and is a contemporary, middle grade, mystery about Georges (the s is silent), and what happens when he moves to a new apartment and becomes friends with Safer, a secret agent wanna-be.

My Review: Liar and Spy was an enjoyable read that like When You Reach Me and Goodbye Stranger have a wonderful ending. (Seriously, what is it with Rebecca Stead’s amazing endings? It’s like her superpower or something!) The story was interesting and kept me going. I loved all of the unusual names and now have this thing for the name Safer. Part of the ending was a little predictable but it was nonetheless extremely satifying. On the down side, there were a couple minor cuss words but other than that I didn’t really have any problems with the book. This book will draw in everyone from young middle-schoolers to middle-aged adults and I would highly recommend it if you’re looking for a short and easy read that makes you think.