Tag Archive | G

Candy and the Cankersaur by Jason Sandberg

Candy and the  CankersaurOverview: Candy’s father brings her lots of cool toys from all over the world, but he rarely spends time with her. To make his daughter feel less lonely, he buys her a Cankersaurus Rex, which she names Cank. Candy spends lots of time playing and training with Cank, but her next door neighbor becomes jealous and steals Cank. Will Cank and Candy ever be together again?

I was asked to review Candy and the Cankersaur by the author, Jason Sandberg, and I have to say it’s a great child’s ebook. For one, the colors are amazing, for the lack of better words. They’re very complimentary, and I love the repeating purple and yellow scheme. The scenes just pop out and they’re very vibrant, which will definitely hold the attention of a child. Even though it’s drawn in a cartoon style, the objects also have textures, and so it doesn’t look like a flat picture. There’s definitely substance on every page.

The writing is a bit different from other children’s books, and I mean that in a good way. Instead of just simple sentences, the author uses complex constructions, which are great for introducing a child to a wide variety of language skills. He also uses not so common children’s words, like sulk and devoured, but that’s a great way for a child to expand his or her vocabulary. I think this would be a great book for parents and children to read together.

The story itself is rather complex. It’s not just one straight line, but rather a story that has a plot and character development. It’s interesting how there are parent-child relationships, friend relationships, and pet-ownership relationships that all develop within about 28 pages. If you’re looking for an ebook for your child, I highly suggest this one. Besides, it has a dinosaur. What’s better than that?

On a side note: Perhaps this is me being too picky, but it’s a bit depressing that the dinosaur, Cank, only has one facial expression. When it says that he’s frightened, the dinosaur still looks happy. However, the people characters display emotions well.

For more information, check out the ebook’s webpage: Candy and the Cankersaur.

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Bah, Humbug by Heather Horrocks

Description: Lexi Anderson is an up-and-coming, Martha Stewart-type TV hostess whose two kids love the Jared Strong adventure novels, which happen to be written by their new neighbor, Kyle Miller. For the first time in his writing career, Kyle has writer’s block–until he sees the snowman on his lawn and realizes it’s the perfect solution to his plot problem. He digs in and discovers two things: one, his villain’s weapon will fit inside a snowman’s body, and two, this particular snowman was supposed to be the backdrop for Lexi’s next show. From this improbable beginning comes friendship, but can there be a happy ending for a woman who is afraid to get close again and a man who has shadows from his childhood? Families join together and hearts are healed as this couple goes walking in a winter wonderland.

My thoughts: The story starts out nicely. I like how Lexi and Kyle are introduced. In particular, Lexi seems to be the most developed character; she’s my favorite because she has a straight-forward yet witty personality. Everyone else is pretty flat. It’s really annoying how the children are always grouped together. They kind of have their own personalities, but then they’re still just “the children” with generic personalities.

The beginning is enjoyable as the plot builds up, but then around chapter 9, the story takes a nose dive. The action proceeds a lot faster, and some of the actions described seem physically impossible, especially when Kenneth is having a snowball fight with Kyle and Kenneth…there’s only supposed to be one Kenneth in the story. Around chapters 8 and 9, the story also speeds up a lot. Everything seems to take place within a week, which makes no sense to me, especially considering Kyle and Lexi are potential long term love interests. It’s like the book moves so fast, they’re heading for disaster.

A lot of gender stereotypes are used. Lexi and Alyssa, the two women, are good with home making and emotions while the men just try to hold things in. Really? I understand using stereotypes, but the author could’ve at least changed them a little.

Description is kept to a minimum and the author uses lots of thoughts to progress the character development. Sometimes, it seems more like telling than showing. This novella starts out with a lot of potential and then…the potential disappears.
I found this on Amazon for free and downloaded it to my kindle.

But, Ogres Don’t Play Chess by Terri Bogard

Overview: To win the heart of the woman he loves, an ogre must pretend to be something he’s not. Can he convince her he’s more than just a set of muscles?

This story is part of The Monster Exchange Program series.

Short Story – 3700 words

My thoughts: This story is a really short one. Short and sweet. It’s beginning is probably the biggest adventure and also the scene with the most details. It takes stereotypical characters and turns them into interesting creatures with different anatomical features.

The setting seems like such an interesting place with a mix of present and sci-fi elements. However, it’s not fleshed out enough. The story is pretty fast pace, relying more on dialogue then description. Sometimes the events became confusing because they’re described pretty vaguely.

It would’ve been nice to be introduced to both sisters at the beginning of the book, and also have more information from Glumf’s side of the story. It’s a good things these guys are aliens or else I’d wonder if Glumf’s intelligence was realistic.

It’s a good short read and has a lot of potential to become something more if it’s fleshed out with more character depth, screen descriptions, and more events between the crushes and the crushees. On that note, I would like to add that I really liked the ending. I just wish it had more description on Glumf’s thought process. The last event was a bit rushed.

I found this short story for free on Amazon.com and downloaded it to my Kindle.

The Great Cow Race, Bones Vol. 2 by Jeff Smith

Overview: The cornerstone of GRAPHIX, our new graphic novel imprint, BONE is the incredible comic book saga of an unlikely hero who must save an idyllic valley from the forces of evil.

In THE GREAT COW RACE, volume 2 of this 9-book epic, Fone Bone and his cousins plan to return home after visiting the village of Barrelhaven with Thorn and Gran’ma Ben. But Phoney risks everything on one last get-rich-quick scheme for the town’s annual Great Cow Race. As usual, Phoney’s plans go disastrously awry, and Boneville seems further away than ever. Meanwhile, ominous signs indicate that a war is brewing, and Fone finds himself helping his friends defend their valley from a formidable enemy.

My thoughts: Like the first volume, the colors are very bright, but I think the colors in the second volume are a bit brighter and the pages are crisper. This time, the tones didn’t smear the words. I didn’t find the second book as great as the first. The jokes are smushed more towards the end instead of equally spread out. The story doesn’t develop as much as it did in the first. They’re still in the same general area, and the reader doesn’t find out anymore about the mysteries of the rat creatures or Phoney’s horrible deals. However, the reader is reminded of the mysteries towards the end of the book with hidden shadows and objects in trees. It’s as if the author wanted to break away from the meat of the story and explore characters more rather than develop the plot. That idea isn’t a bad one. Developing characters is important, but I don’t think it should be done in the second book of a graphic novel series. I think it should be done towards the end of the second book or the beginning of the third book rather than during the whole second book. Though, in context of what the author is trying to write in the long run, this book may just be in the right place, but I’d have to look at the series as a whole rather than just at a book. It’s still worth reading since it’s a part of a good series, but it’s not my favorite of the Bones series.

Just for fun: My favorite part was once again the rat creatures. For some reason, Smith always seems to incorporate some kind of Looney Tune-like humor when it comes to the rat creatures, especially since they’re clutzy and get stuck in ruts. They make this series hilarious.

I borrowed this book from my younger sister.

Out From Boneville, Bones vol. 1 by Jeff Smith

Out From Boneville, Bones vol. 1 by Jeff SmithOverview:After being run out of Boneville, the three Bone cousins, Fone Bone, Phoney Bone, and Smiley Bone, are separated and lost in a vast uncharted desert.

One by one, they find their way into a deep, forested valley filled with wonderful and terrifying creatures…

Humor, mystery, and adventure are spun together in this action-packed, side-splitting saga. Everyone who has ever left home for the first time only to find that the world outside is strange and overwhelming will love Bone.

My thoughts: The first time I read this, I fell in love with it. Rereading it, I notice that a good bit of humor comes from older shows like Looney Tunes, so I believe older people who grew up with Looney Tunes will love this series. The panels are very easy to follow and are mostly arranged in six simple panels. This first volume opens up a gigantic mystery with many different intersecting stories. So far, I think the author has done a great job mixing the stories. The stories flawlessly flow into each other. Phoney’s story seems predictable as of right now, but I’m hoping there’s a twist in it; hopefully, it’s more than just his deals gone bad like usual.

I really enjoy the facial expressions on the characters. They have great details, especially compared to other comics I’ve read. The art has really bright colors, and it’s very enjoyable. Maybe this is only my version, but I’ve found the tones have smeared on the pages. The words are still readable, but it bothers me that the tones aren’t crisp. The copy is a few years old so maybe the smearing is due to old age.

My favorite characters right now are the rat creatures. The things they say and their clumsy personalities make scenes extremely hilarious. My favorite line is, “No. You called me fat.” I’m pretty sure I’ll reread the second one again soon.

Some words are a bit above a child’s reading level. However, I recommend this for everyone in middle school and above. I really think people who enjoyed Looney Tunes will really enjoy this series.

I borrowed this book from my younger sister. She probably bought it for $10 from Books-A-Million or Barnes&Nobles.

Chi’s Sweet Home, Vol. 1

  Overview: Chi is a michievous newborn kitten who, while on a leisurely stroll with her family, finds herself lost. Seperated from the warmth and protection of her mother, feels distraught. Overcome with loneliness she breaks into tears in a large urban park meadow., when she is suddenly rescued by a young boy named Yohei and his mother. The kitty is then quickly and quietly whisked away into the warm and inviting Yamada family apartment…where pets are strictly not permitted.

My thoughts: Even though the series is labelled as a manga and found in the manga section, it’s drawn in newspaper style, but the storyline flows like a manga. It’s really funny with most of the story in the kitten’s perspective. The mangaka does a great job of exploring the thoughts and ideas of an animal. Although it seems a bit sad at first, the story quickly turns happy again when Chi becomes attached to her human family. The kitten and the son are shown growing along side each other, both learning the proper place to deposit their bodily waste. I recommend this to everyone, pet lovers and haters alike. It’s a very enjoyable story.

I bought this volume for about $12 at Books-a-Million with a member’s card discount. It’s a bit expensive for a short manga, but it’s worth it.