Read-a-Thon Reviews

iVillage Member
Registered: 10-24-2002
Read-a-Thon Reviews
Sat, 06-15-2013 - 11:15am

The read-a-thon starts today! Post your read-a-thon reviews in this thread. If you have trouble posting, trying giong through this link:

If you can NOT post and you have reviews, please email me at , and I will post them for you. 

Remember to post the review number before each book reviewed, you may post multiple books in one post.

Happy Reading!!!


iVillage Member
Registered: 01-28-2000
Fri, 08-30-2013 - 5:25pm

Read-a Thon Review #11

The Great Gatsby by F. Scott Fitzgerald

Book Description:

Jay Gatsby is the man who has everything. But one thing will always be out of his reach ...Everybody who is anybody is seen at his glittering parties. Day and night his Long Island mansion buzzes with bright young things drinking, dancing and debating his mysterious character. For Gatsby - young, handsome, fabulously rich - always seems alone in the crowd, watching and waiting, though no one knows what for. Beneath the shimmering surface of his life he is hiding a secret: a silent longing that can never be fulfilled. And soon this destructive obsession will force his world to unravel.


A masterpiece of biting criticism of American society in the 1920s; I was sorry to finish it.




Read-a-Thon Review #12

Coraline  by Neil Gaiman

Book Description:

When Coraline explores her new home, she steps through a door and into another house just like her own . . . except that it's different. It's a marvelous adventure until Coraline discovers that there's also another mother and another father in the house. They want Coraline to stay with them and be their little girl. They want to keep her forever!

Coraline must use all of her wits and every ounce of courage in order to save herself and return home.


I loved this dark fantasy about a brave, resourceful girl.





Read-a-Thon Review #13

Push by Sapphire

Book description:

Precious Jones, an illiterate sixteen-year-old, has up until now been invisible to the father who rapes her and the mother who batters her and to the authorities who dismiss her as just one more of Harlem's casualties. But when Precious, pregnant with a second child by her father, meets a determined and radical teacher, we follow her on a journey of education and enlightenment as she learns not only how to write about her life, but how to make it truly her own for the first time.


A brutal, hopeful, unforgettable story. Reading this was an amazing experience.



iVillage Member
Registered: 08-11-2008
Fri, 08-30-2013 - 10:45am

Read a thon Review #38

118.Wolves, Boys, & Other Things That Might Kill Me by Kristin Chandler 371 pages 8/29/13 pub 2010

 This is a fun realistic YA novel (no werewolves here!) about a junior named KJ who lives just outside Yellowstone discovering for herself whether it’s good that wolves have been reintroduced to Yellowstone. Her dad is a guide and she often helps him. Her classmate Kenner is a bully and a jerk to her, his family are ranchers, and she and another wolf proponent help to keep the wolves away from their cattle. Before each chapter is a quote from a wolf researcher or writer on wolves, an article that KJ wrote for her school newspaper, or a memo from U.S. Fish and Wildlife, or K.J.’s jokes, short poems, or the menu from her Thanksgiving.

I read the book as part of my challenge to read a book set in each state. I thought I was reading a book set in Wyoming, but on around page 200, I discovered it’s set in Montana.

(Interlibrary loan, 50 States+ YA Challenge, Wyoming, but it turns it it’s actually Montana)



iVillage Member
Registered: 08-11-2008
Tue, 08-27-2013 - 12:16pm

Read a thon Review # 37 

117. The Light Between Oceans by M.L. Stedman 343 pages 8/26/13 pub 2012

This book is all about loss, grief and love. It’s 1926 on a tiny island 100 miles from the Australian southwest coast, Janus Rock, where there’s a lighthouse. Tom operates the lighthouse and his wife Isabel has had three miscarriages/ stillbirths. A dead man and a baby arrive in a row boat two weeks after the most recent stillbirth. They raise the baby as their own, but she has a mother on the mainland who misses her terribly. Up until the living mother, the loneliness of Janus Rock, the couple’s grief and the baby appearing reminded me of The Snow Child, one of my favorite books that I read last year. Isabel’s two brothers did not come home from World War I, Tom came home, but he is changed, as so many men in the book are, all of the adult characters have lost babies at birth and just after, or as children. Everyone grieves all the time, in this book.

“[Isabel] knew that if a wife lost a husband, there was a whole new word to describe who she was: she was now a widow. A husband became a widower. But if a parent lost a child, there was no special label for their grief. They were still a just father or a mother, even if they no longer had a son or daughter. That seemed odd.” (123)

(Messy Housekeepers’ BC, 50 States+ YA Challenge, Australia, Barnes and Noble 8/25/13 $16.00)

Read a thon Review # 36

116. Adventures of Huckleberry Finn by Mark Twain 75/ 263 pages + 80 pages of notes 8/25/13 pub 1884 in Britain, 1885 in the US, because an illustration plate was judged to be obscene.

As a banned book, this is an important book, but that doesn’t mean it’s a fun book to read. I’ve seen the movies and the plays based on this, and that’s enough, for me, now. I wasn’t assigned this book, I chose this book, so I also get to chose to put it aside.

(Interlibrary loan, YA Challenge #10, classic, 50 States+ YA Challenge, Missouri, banned book, classic.)



iVillage Member
Registered: 01-28-2000
Mon, 08-26-2013 - 11:02am

Read-a-thon Review #10

Heechee Rendezvous by Frederik Pohl

From the Inside Flap

"TheHeechee are one of the great creations of science fiction."
Jack Williamson
After millennia had passed, Mankind discovered the Heechee legacy (an alien culture that fled to the reative safety of a black hole)--in particular an asteroid stocked with autonavigating spacecraft. Robinette Broadhead, who had led the expedition that unlocked the many secrets of Heechee technology, is now forced once more to make a perilous voyage into space--where the Heechee are waiting. And this time the future of Man is at stake....


In the third novel of this series, Pohl ties up many of the loose threads left from the first two, and introduces two more alien races. The plot (when it is not muddled up by, for me, excessive character development) is still fascinating. The ending leaves the reader in suspense about the fate of the universe. I hope I can find the fourth, and final, novel in the saga.


iVillage Member
Registered: 08-11-2008
Wed, 08-21-2013 - 7:41pm

Roberta, I've been meaning to read the Shugatskys. Thank you for the suggestion.

Read a thon #35

115. Texas Gothic by Rosemary Clement- Moore 68+ /406 pages 8/21/13 pub 2011

Yuck, so not my thing.

Two fish- out- water city girls from Austin go spend the summer on their aunt’s herb farm in Texas ranch country, and Amy falls in lust with the hunky cowboy next door. They are from a witchy family, but Tanya Huff does this much, much better. Borrowed for the 50 States+ YA Challenge, Texas, but Aristotle and Dante… is also set in Texas and wonderful and this is not.(Interlibrary loan)


Read a thon # 34

114. Aristotle and Dante Discover the Secrets of the Universe by Benjamin Alire Saenz 359 pages 8/21/13 pub 2012

This is why I read so much: to discover books like this that are full of heart, love and wisdom and make me richer for having read them. Aristotle and Dante are lonely fifteen year old boys, who, until they meet each other, are pretty much friendless. They are both Mexican- American in El Paso, it’s the summer of 1987. Aristotle’s working class family doesn’t talk about things, including his brother in prison, or his father's flashbacks to Viet Nam. Dante’s wealthier family doesn’t shut up. But both boys are wonderful young men and their parents love them very much. Dante teaches Aristotle first to swim, then about poetry, art and literature. Aristotle teaches Dante not to settle. And they do indeed discover the secrets of the universe, over the course of two summers. Wow!!!(A Printz Honor Book, Stonewall Book Award, Pura Belpre Award, and a few other awards, too. YA Challenge #10, summer, 50 States+ YA Challenge, Texas.)



iVillage Member
Registered: 01-28-2000
Wed, 08-21-2013 - 11:50am

If you like Babayaga,  or even before you finish it, try Monday begins on Saturday  by Arkady and Boris Strugatsky. It was published in 1064, and might have inspired  the Babayaga novel. Anyway, it's a fun, but exhausting, read.

iVillage Member
Registered: 08-11-2008
Tue, 08-20-2013 - 2:58pm

Julia; You said,"Akiva, Eretz, Prague, one would think this is Jewish fantasy, but one would be sadly, mistaken." Perhaps it's a Kafkaesque(Kafka-ish?) version of a Jewish fantasy. Roberta


Read a thon Review #33

113. Good Omens: The Nice and Accurate Prophecies of Agnes Nutter, Witch by Neil Gaiman & Terry Pratchett 384 pages 8/20/13 pub 1990, new material 2006

This is the sixth book by Neil Gaiman I’ve read/ listened to this summer, but I think this is the first time I’ve ever read Terry Pratchett. I loved this and laughed throughout this novel about the Apocalypse coming one week in August and the angel, demon, witch finders, witches and children, including an 11 year old anti-Christ who stop it. (Ooops. Was that a spoiler?)

“Aziraphale collected books. If he were totally honest with himself he would have to have admitted that his bookshop was simply somewhere to store them. He was not unusual in this. In order to maintain his cover as a typical second- hand bookseller, he used every means short of actual physical violence to prevent customers from making a purchase.” (43)

“It is said that the devil has all the best tunes. This is broadly true.  But Heaven has the best choreographers.”(79)

“The road to hell is paved with good intentions.*  This is not actually true. The road to Hell is paved with frozen door- to- door salesmen. On weekends many of the younger demons go ice skating down it.” (275)(Interlibrary loan, YA Challenge #10, funny)

Read a thon Review #32

112. Babayaga by Toby Barlow 101/ 385 pages 8/15/13 pub 2013

I quite like this novel, a heady, delightful mix of so many genres, but now is not the time to finish reading it. It’s got a group of Russian witches, two Americans who do and don’t know they’re working for the CIA, a Parisian detective investigating a murder who’s been turned into a flea*, and it’s all set in Paris in 1959.(Community Library)

*That one is intentionally Kafka- esque, Roberta.




iVillage Member
Registered: 01-28-2000
Fri, 08-16-2013 - 3:34pm
Julia; You said,"Akiva, Eretz, Prague, one would think this is Jewish fantasy, but one would be sadly, mistaken." Perhaps it's a Kafkaesque(Kafka-ish?) version of a Jewish fantasy. Roberta
iVillage Member
Registered: 08-11-2008
Tue, 08-13-2013 - 8:01pm

Read- a -thon Review #31

Daughter of Smoke and Bone by Laini Taylor 418 pages 8/13/13 pub 2011

“Wishes are false. Hope is true. Hope makes its own magic.” (143)

“Have you ever asked yourself, do monsters make war, or does war make monsters? I’ve seen things, angel. There are guerilla armies that make little boys kill their own families. Such acts rip out the soul and make for beasts to grow inside. Armies need beasts, don’t they? Pet beasts, to do their terrible work! And the worst is, it’s almost impossible to retrieve a soul that has been ripped away. Almost.“(122)

I really, really liked the first 300 or so pages of this. The last hundred pages didn’t work as well for me. It’s there the setting changed. At first it was our world, well as much as our world includes the entirely magical cities of Prague and Marrakesh. Karou is an art student in Prague, studying puppetry and drawing. She does errands for Brimstone, who raised her, but he doesn’t live here. Karou falls in love with Akiva, who is a seraph, from the other world, Eretz. (Akiva, Eretz, Prague, one would think this is Jewish fantasy, but one would be sadly, mistaken.)

(Community Library, YA Challenge #10, friends 5 star book, 50 States+ YA Challenge, Czech Republic.)

iVillage Member
Registered: 01-28-2000
Tue, 08-13-2013 - 4:13pm

Read-a Thon Review #9

Surfacing by Margaret Atwood

Book Description:

Part detective novel, part psychological thriller,Surfacingis the story of a young woman who returns to northern Quebec, to the remote island of her childhood, with her lover and two friends, to investigate the mysterious disappearance of her father. Flooded with memories, she begins to realize that going home means entering not only another place, but another time. As the wild island exerts its elemental hold and she is submerged in the language of the wilderness, she discovers that what she is really searching for is her own past. Permeated with an aura of suspense, complex with layered meanings, and written in brilliant, diamond-sharp prose,Surfacinghas grown in reputation as a novel unique in modern literature for its mythic exploration of one woman’s spiritual pilgrimage.

I followed this woman’s story with increasing trepidation, as she began a journey to find her father, and gradually descended into madness, to emerge into either sanity or a different form of existence. The many levels of symbolism will take several readings to fully appreciate.

Atwood’s poetic language, often an impediment to understanding prose, is quite effective in this novel in establishing the setting, the situation, and the minds of the characters. This is the first of Atwood’s non-science fiction novels I’ve read that really grabbed me.