Crayola’s Reading Challenge Reviews

Crayola B.    March 5, 2015

A book you started but never finished: The Clockwork Scarab by Colleen Gleason

Meh. A good concept with poor delivery. Too many things going on, not enough character development, mixed messages. Why is the time travel subplot in there anyways? What does it add apart from some hokey “different time periods are different” misunderstandings? Oh, right, a convenient (yet wholly unconvincing) romantic interest. A few twists and turns in the plot managed to keep my attention, but that was about the only reason I finished it.  Add in my personal nitpicky issues with the costumes–such as characters who literally have gears stuck on their clothes–and I’m left with no plans to continue this series, despite some tantalizing worldbuilding that showed up in the second half of this installment. Finishing this book made me remember why I’d put it down in the first place.

Other categories this book fits: A funny book (for certain definitions of “funny”), a book by a female author, a mystery or thriller, a book set in a different country (unless you are in England right now), a book based entirely on its cover, a book with bad reviews (this one counts)

Other categories this book might fit: A book from an author you love that you haven’t read yet, a book a friend recommended, a book at the bottom of your to-read list, a book your mom loves, a book set somewhere you’ve always wanted to visit (London), a book by an author you’ve never read before, a book you own but have never read, a book that takes place in your hometown (are you from London?), a book written by an author with your same initials (C.G.)

A popular author’s first book: If You Could Be Mine by Sara Farizan

I really liked this book. I felt so much sympathy for Sahar. I could see the ending coming but there were enough twists and turns along the way that I was still intrigued–and at times, I was not at all sure that my inklings would turn out to be correct. It’s a solid, well-crafted novel with a lot of heart. I really enjoyed it, and I can absolutely see why it’s an award-winner. I doubt this book will reach many people for whom it would be a perfect “mirror” book, since I doubt it’s been published in Iran or translated into Persian, but I think it could be a mirror for anyone living in areas where gay relationships are illegal, especially those few where being transgender is acceptable but gay is not. But as a window book? I got sucked in. I’m bi myself, with fairly conservative (though loving) parents, so it was easy for me to extrapolate my regular, minor fears of prejudice into the extreme fear of deadly repercussions. At the same time, I was thankful that I live somewhere with protective laws. This was a window book that made me glad to be indoors.

Other categories this book fits: A book written by someone under 30 (Farizan was 29 when this book was released), a book by a female author, a book set in a different country (Iran), a book based entirely on its cover, a book that made you cry (you WILL have feels, many of them, if not all), a banned book (okay, I can’t find proof, but it’s kind of sadly inevitable that this book will be challenged)

Other categories this book might fit: A book from an author you love that you haven’t read yet, a book a friend recommended, a book at the bottom of your to-read list, a book your mom loves, a book that scares you (hey, oppression is terrifying!), a book you can finish in a day (it’s fairly short), a book set somewhere you’ve always wanted to visit (Iran), a book by an author you’ve never read before, a book you own but have never read, a book that takes place in your hometown (are you from Tehran?), a book written by an author with your same initials (S.F.), a book you started but never finished

A book from an author you love that you haven’t read yet: Writer to Writer

So you read Writing Magic (also by Gail Carson Levine) and you’ve got the writing bug. But now you want more. You don’t just want to write stories, you want to write GOOD stories—or maybe you want to write different stories, or more stories, or stories in verse.

Writer to Writer has you covered.

Where Writing Magic will help any writer get started, of any age, Writer to Writer is more like a troubleshooting guide than a how-to book. Need character development? Gail Carson Levine has suggestions to help you figure out who your people are, really. Want to push some important poetry into your books? Gail Carson Levine has tips and tricks to help you out.

Like Writing Magic, this book is now a staple of my (very small) writing-help bookshelf. This is a great “next step” for anyone looking to write better or differently. Whether they read all the way through or in chapters and chunks as needed, any writer should be able to apply the advice given in this book to improve their work!

Other categories this book fits: A book of short stories (technically there are lots of very short stories in the examples, plus it’s a collection of essays, which are basically nonfiction stories), a nonfiction book, a book based entirely on its cover, a book with a color in the title (if you think “ink” is a color),

Other categories this book might fit: A book from an author you love that you haven’t read yet, a book a friend recommended, a book at the bottom of your to-read list, a book your mom loves, a book by an author you’ve never read before, a book you own but have never read, a book written by an author with your same initials (G.C.L.), a book you started but never finished