Vailia's Page Turner

Oogy: The Dog Only a Family Could Love

Oogy: The Dog Only a Family Could Love - Larry Levin A tragic tale, but lacking in story depth. While the tale is toughing, so is so many stories of similiar rescue stories I can read on facebook or animal sites. If I am going to take the time to read a book, I want more depth to it. A personal touch, unique animal personality. And while I got glimpses of that I felt there was a lot missing.

The story focuses heavily on what happened to Oogy before beginning rescued, his surgeries, recovery and finally adapting into a new home. Mundane details about the treatment and care he gets is the strong focus of the book. And that is what I can find in any article, in shorter, simpler terms that still gets the same point across. We go see some of Oogy's personality shine through but I felt it was shadowed. I felt no personal love or memories about Oogy in this and that is crucial for a animal focused story like this. Make me fall in love with your dog so that he is second only to my own while i read it. This didn't even come close to that.

What I did like what you could tell Oogy had a strong will to live, make the best out of life and exceed the expectations of the humans around him. And he does! The relationship between Larry Levin and Oogy actually reminds me of my husband and our dog. very devoted to each other and when anything is wrong, everything is droped to be made right. I did not the story, i just don't care at all for the way it was shared. Less mundane details and more precious moments!

Beezus and Ramona

Beezus and Ramona - Beverly Cleary This suck such a fun, playful read. Ramona is adorable and annoying in all the ways a sister can be! I spent to much time laughing through this.

Your really feel for Beezus and the caught in the middle dilemma she is in but I can't help but cheer on the little sister. Her antics are fantastic! It made me grateful for the age gap between my brothers and I. I didn't have to deal with as much of this. Amusing as she was, Ramona was also a little terror that could drive anyone crazy.

Great lessons for kids in this book. From learning right and wrong, to how to apologize, acceptance and what it really means to be a sister. I think kids can gain a lot from reading this book Especially if they have a sibling (older or younger).

The relationships in this family are very real. Both the adults behavior and the kids. It was easy to relate to the different characters. The main thing that doesn't fit in todays world is the freedom and "safety" young children have. There is a distinct lack of adult supervision.

Over great for elementary kids to read and enjoy. Lots of fun!

The Girl With The Broken Wing

The Girl With The Broken Wing - Heather Dyer I thought this would be perfect for a 4th grader but I think it is for a younger audience. Second grade seems about perfect.

Hillary, the angel, may seem angelic but she is far from. She is MISCHIEF. James' and Amanda's reactions are priceless. So it got a few laughs from me. That experiences in this book kept a smile on my face throughout nearly the entire story. Hillary is a ball of energy to delight and exasperate these kids. I cannot believe what she does to James at the pageant yet I love when she takes them flying.

The story and words are so simple it seems geared toward 1-2 graders but the length and depth seem more toward older kids so I felt very conflicted on which kid in the family to give this to.

Talk Talk

Talk Talk - T.C. Boyle When this started I was looking forward to seeing how Dana and Bridger were going to overcome both their relationship and overcome differences with her being deaf. More courtroom mystery and contemporary romance. Um...not this.

While there is a bit of those elements, this is the thrill of the chase. Bridger is determined to catch the person who stole Dana's identity, leaving her in a heap of trouble. But getting involved just digs his own grave deeper. This book was fast paced, and while not what I expected I mostly enjoyed it.

I do think the author would do better at writing a more regulated contemporary though. WHile fast, it seemed too unrealistic and a bit chaotic at times. But the writing is rich and has a touch of eloquence. So it made on odd mix, keeping me tearing through the book, but feeling distant the whole time since I could not connect right. It did not help that I didn't feel our couples relationship. it seemed off for a lot of the book

Mild spoiler alert coming next!


I did not like the ending. More than anything that is what turned this book from at least interesting to wishing I never started. Some might be okay with the ending but I was less than satisfied.

Unofficial Sailor Moon Episode Guide

Unofficial Sailor Moon Episode Guide - TAK Publishing Disappointing. At first, running throughout the character bios was fun and a 'blast to the past' fun moment. But then it literally just covers teh episodes. Summary after summary. Glad I watched the series years ago or I would have been ruined for the series. This guide holds nothing back.

The writing is dry. Not entertaining at all. I had hoped for at least some insight, unique perspective, tie-in references, etc. Nothing like that. Just episode number (even disc number for the dvd sets) and title name and a paragraph summary. One after another.

Now since it has been a long time since watching the series, I did enjoy the refresher aspect. A few times I did no "Oh, I forgot about that!" But if I was watching or recently watched the series I would have likely DNFed this. So mostly not worth the time unless you are where I was reading this. Just to enjoy the flashback thoughts to a fun series.

Behind the Beautiful Forevers: Life, Death, and Hope in a Mumbai Undercity

Behind the Beautiful Forevers: Life, Death, and Hope in a Mumbai Undercity - Katherine Boo Half heartbreaking, half boring. While it i a moving tale of brutal poverty, I just could not get into this. and it was even told in story manner but still...

What this book does do is give me pause to how easy I actually have it in life. Even though I struggle and I think how bad it is when bills come in ,collectors come calling and I wonder if I can even afford the electric bill, at least I have the options. I have a home, food, entertainment options, utilites, doctor care, etc. This outlook leaves you grateful for working 2 jobs to keep money flowing. Here, life is cutthroat the extreme. On the plus, we see how inventve pne can be when up against a wall and need cash.

This is despairing and depressing! The people in this are awful to one another! I wish for the old' ol days on neighborhood bbq's and such but I will take my worst neighbor any day over anyone in this book. Everyone must lookout for themselves. And one of those places where, 'if I am unhappy or unwell, everyone around me must be made to be worse off than I am.

So was I just depressed, bored, miserable or shocked at what I just read? The answer is all the above. Part of me has heard this tale of woe before from other voices and Katherine Boo did not rise to meet the interest of others. Yet to put it down was not possible either.

Zane and the Hurricane: A Story of Katrina

Zane and the Hurricane: A Story of Katrina - Rodman Philbrick A tragic but fascinating adventure based on a very real situation. Welcome to New Orleans! Young Zane arrived at the wrong time. Just as hurricane katrina is about to strike! He is from New Hampshire, down to visit his paternal grandmother, whom he had never before met. He just had rotten luck in timing his visit.

From the chaos days before it strikes, to the devastating after effects, this book covers his story. I was glad he was not alone. He had his faithful dog, Bandy with him. and he meets a few other characters that then band together to survive.

For a middle grade novel this is very moving and deep. Rodman Philbrick does a great job bringing this massive storm to life once again. You can tell he knew what he was sharing with in the places and timeline. Although the story itself is larger than life. But if it wasn't it may not have made such an interesting story.

Jennie A Novel

Jennie A Novel - Susan Evans McCloud The book was fairly well written and I liked the setting quite a bit. It has a near-Gothic feel in New England. The characters are nicely developed, especially with how short this is.

Jenny is a young woman taking on a nanny job but not all is what is seems. I got this book expecting perhaps a ghost story or at least a good mystery. Instead I got a sweet romance and dash of mystery. While it was far from bad, it just wasn't quite what I expected. Although I must say Nigal makes for an interesting enigma.

What I didn't like was the Morman push I felt reading this book. I do not have a problem with religious fiction but I like to know what I am about to get into. Also, I am more partial to my own religious novels vs others. That is not to say it is bad, just not my personal preference and enjoyment.

Sh*t My Dad Says

Sh*t My Dad Says - Justin Halpern This was a very different read for me. Whit the title I was both curious and nervous. curious about what kind of dad this guys had and nervous because any title that starts with "Sh*t" is going to have some cursing and foul language in it. Boy, was I right. In fact I severely underestimated just how much there would be. I can go to a club for several days straight and not hear so much! So my swear word quota for the month has by far been met. And to make it worse, we don't even get the actual words filled out we get a whole lot of these *! That makes it worse!!! One the cover I get it but anyone reading this knows what you mean so just use what you mean and move on.

The humor was mostly dry and crass but had its amusing moments. I will admit it got a few chuckles or smirks from me while reading. his dad is one of those people you can't help but at least partially like. But be warned, he does speak his mind. No filter in language or if it might offend you. I actually found a lot of it refreshing. But other parts I wanted to smack something. Certain things just grated on me wrong.

So mixed thoughts on this one. It definitely requires a certain type of audience. I can think of some who would love this and others who would want to burn it. Bottom line, just be aware of what you are getting into. If you are having a rough day and language doesn't bother you, this can likely pull you right out of your funk.
2.5 stars

A Catered Romance

A Catered Romance - Cara Marsi Traditional romance gone wrong after a misunderstanding. Meet again years later and get back together. While a decent read, I felt there was nothing original in this story.

Mary Beth met Tom in high school. she is our typical poor girl falls in love with rich boy but can't get over their fininical standings. That is the first thing that drove me nuts. It continues through the entire book! it is obvious he likes her but she just does not accept that. Anyways, his friend say some things that make her think their relationship was one big practicial joke. She disappears never even giving him the slightest benefit of the doubt.
Over a decade later, the grudge is still there. She and her partner need a backer and she reluctantly lets him help. but giving him a chance is out! I felt bad for Tom. He deserved better. So why he pursues her further I just don't get.


While the writing is decent, the story is VERY cliche. I struggled to find something original and came up short. And toss in an MC that I wanted to strange does not help. but is was overall enjoyable and short so not a waste of time either. Love the cover!


The Witches

The Witches - Quentin Blake, Roald Dahl Why did I wait until I was an adult to read this book? Oh, that's right, because I saw the movie when I was too young still and it scared me so badly that when I heard about the book it was based off of i avoided it like the plague. Now I wish I hadn't avoided it for so long. While I enjoyed it as an adult, I am sure I would have appreciated much more maybe in, say, Middle school.

I know a lot of people consider this a children's book and it is, but I feel the content can be a bit much for some kids. The idea of this being read to a group of 1st-2nd graders is scary in itself. While some kids may be fine, others will be freaked out. Dahl's writing is just that good for this.

The images are light and actually help tone it down in my opinion but my husband said it was the opposite back when he read it.

This book is about a young boy is must face of which some witches who want to rid the world of nasty, pesty children. With some help from his grandmamma (who is a hoot and I love), he must stop them. But what can a little boy do against powerful witches? Read and find out!

I loved how Dahl describes witches. there were a few parts that even made me laugh and well as give me inner child a couple shivers. The story is very engaging and I enjoyed it.

This is recommended reading but for kids, I am not sure a forced classroom read is the way to go as the subject can still be sensitive. Reading individually with your child if they are younger or encourage discussion about the book if they are older and are not reacting positively. Middle school aged kids should be fine I think.

A Bride for Tom (Nebraska Historicals)

A Bride for Tom (Nebraska Historicals) - Ruth Ann Nordin Wholesome and sweet. This was a short but wonderful read. when I first saw the synopsis, I was partly expecting some "Hello Dolly"-ish. Not quite. What I did get was a sweet, nearly innocent historical romance.

Tom is a major clutz. In every sense of the word. He is hardworking and caring but can't get two words out without getting a foolish look. And when he moves, LOOK OUT! This story has a few cringe-worthy moments there! But I adored his character! Jessica a bit less so. She is sophisticated, beauty and more a true society girl. But she is not bad. Just misguided.

By biggest concern in this book is how she goes from one guy to another in such a short span. Otherwise I really enjoyed this. It is just over 100 pages so it is quick to read. Perfect for a sunny, outdoor reading session just to add to the atmosphere! Very clean. Refreshing to break away from the typical romance novels.

This is apparently book 2 in a series and while it can be read as a standalone, I can tell that reading it in order would have been smart. Now I need to go track down the first book.

The Wild One

The Wild One - Bonnie Golightly This was actually quiet the gem to find. I have a lot of these older pocket books from my grandmother and some have been too dated or boring, others are interesting. This fell on the interesting side of things.

Chloe is a 16 year old rich girl who knows no bounds.Spoiled to the core but when it comes to relationships, well that is another story. We get to watch as she grows up and matures to find the true meaning of love. Well, at least that is the point. Her "maturity" is questionable at times. But when it is it got a few laughs from me. Her endeavors range from heartfelt to comical.

The book is set in New York and I loved getting a females perspective for the era. It was a real treat! The writing and world is very well built. It is a fast read that I downed in one sitting. glad I picked this one up!

Summer of My German Soldier

Summer of My German Soldier - Bette Greene While this book is well worded, I didn't feel anything for it. I really wanted to! I mean, talk about a forbidden romance! Jewish girl and German boy during the war? I expected excitement, passion, maybe danger...

Nope. Mostly dull dialogue between the two characters. While I liked both characters and loved seeing Patty mature throughout the story, I was hoping for more. I liked the setting and conflicts at home, especially with her father.

The ages of our characters is partly what put me off. Patty is a young (12) girl and he is an adult (early 20's) soldier. I thought she would be at least a few years older! Although it does explain her maturityis some things it just made the 'relationship' awkward to me. Luckily it is still a very clean book so not too uncomfortable with it.

For me, I felt this was more a coming-of-age novel than anything. It is a fast read that I was able to quickly gulp down. I see why it is popular for required reading with the historical and personal growth blend.

The Mousehole Cat

The Mousehole Cat - Antonia Barber, Nicola Bayley Enjoy a small fishing town, as seen through a cat's eyes! This wonderful books shares life and events from Mowzer's perspective. Mowzer is an sweet black/white tabby cat who lives with a fisherman named Tom. both have seen their share of things over the years and when a terrible storm hits their harbor and the village begins to go hungry it is up to these two to save the day!

I really, really loved the point of view. It is just the right amount of humor to add to a real life situation. From raising kids and the homes they now live in as adults, to how human's are cat's pets and should be taught to behave a certain way. The best part is the imagination to the storm! And the artwork depicts the story perfectly! I fell in love with this children's book. It is a timeless tale that can be shared with generations to come! Of course, the fact that the cat in the story looks an awful lot like mine doesn't hurt!

Slinky Malinki

Slinky Malinki - Lynley Dodd This was a fun read. Slinky Malinki is an adorable cat. by day is is fun and playful and at night his naughty, mischievous side appears and boy does this cause trouble!

I can just see a cat doing what he pulls in this book! It got quite the laugh out of me and the kids. if you have ever had a cat with a sneaky side, you can easily relate to this book to some degree. The drawings are good and engaging. My biggest problem is with what the cat takes. It just doesn't fit. I wish different items were chosen in place of a few of these. Some seemed random others too heavy for a cat. That and I don't see a cat changing it's ways so easily and neither did the kids. Otherwise, well done!

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