Monday, April 20, 2009

Something Out of the Ordinary...

One of the books I recently received for review

caught my teenage sons' eye,

so he asked if he could read and review it for a homeschool assignment.

Of course I was absolutely tickled to death that

he was taking an interest in reading, so the answer was a resounding YES!!

I know this is mostly a "chick" place,

but most of us "chicks" have kids that might not be chicks,

SO- I thought it might be fun to do thing a little different today.

Never fear though,

at the end of this review there's another one that's a little more "chickie"

So Heeeeeere's Britain:

City of Thieves David Benioff
Review by: Britain Castellano
This book follows the story of Lev Benioff, a 17 year old boy who is caught looting and put into the same cell as a deserter named Kolya during the Nazi siege of Leningrad. Both thought they were going to be executed, but instead they are given a chance at saving their lives by completing an odd mission: find a dozen eggs for a powerful Soviet colonel to use in his daughter’s wedding cake.
This book is very dramatic and adventurous. David Benioff does a better job in transitioning in this book than in any other book I have ever read(I’m almost 14 but I have read plenty of books!). This is obviously an adult book, but I think I like adult books better than “young adult” books after reading this. The book is very savage, brutal, and funny! David Benioff, like I stated earlier, is very good at instantly changing the mood of the story.
The only complaint I have is that the book was not longer! I just kept wanting to read on but eventually it ended, like all good things do. I loved the fact that every character had a distinct and constant personality. In this way, the author excels even farther. Especially how he shows Lev(the main character) gradually changing thoughts and acting differently like a real person would, instead of suddenly making a dramatic emotion/personality change the way a lot of young adult characters do.
David Benioff captures the heart and emotions of his readers. The entire story, I felt like every person, place, and thing mattered, I CARED about the characters. Also, in many parts of the story, I broke out in laughter at the funny jokes present.
From sadness to savagery to humor, David Benioff has produced a gripping and thrilling masterpiece! Hats off to you mister Benioff and thank you for providing me with many hours of pure enjoyment.

Thanks to Alexandra Ramstrom at Penguin Group for this book.

Parents, there are swear words and I would say a moderate amount of violence in this book, but no more so than anything they see on basic cable or xbox 360 today. Plus it's an actual BOOK!!!

I will be sharing our review copy with one lucky commenter to this post

To enter please leave a comment with your thoughts on Britain's review of the book, I want you to give him a grade!! AND don't forget your email address, I can't count your entry without it!!
Britain will chose a winner on Monday April 27th!

About a week after this blog launched

I received an email from Mandy Blake of

This woman has come up with some fabulous ideas!

The Book Buddy is the cutest ever

little lap pillow, that I never knew I needed.

The BB comes with a removable acrylic desktop that you can use for your laptop, (no more setting your lap on fire) but here's one of the other cool kids have discovered it also makes a great lap desk for their snacks in front of the TV, or while working on their school work. (we homeschool) The adjustable straps hold the acrylic in place so your work doesn't slide all over the place.

The second set of straps are great for holding your book in place while you're reading and these are also adjustable. We've been fighting over mine since it arrived about a week ago. The quality is amazing, I'm no expert but it seems to be manufactured from a similiar weight to upholstery fabric, very thick and durable, which keeps the weight of the acrylic and laptop from making it "sink".

Mandy has tons of other great products available over at reading comfort, great gift ideas for every book lover you know, and for yourself.

For CHIC BOOK CHICK readers Mandy is Offering a FREE GIFT with every BOOK BUDDY ORDER. After placing your order, click on the lower left icon titled "WE WANT YOUR FEEDBACK" and mention your order and that you came over from Chic Book Chick!! Thanks Mandy!!

There is still time to enter the following Giveaways

You Buy The Peanut Butter, I'll get the Bread Kirsten Poe Hill and Renee Warren

Mr. Perfect Linda Howard

Passion Unleashed Larissa Ione



Mandy said...

Wow, grade him, huh?? I tell ya what, I was an English teacher for four years (before Cameron and Katy!). So I will not give a letter grade, but a critique. I am VERY impressed with Britain's word choice and voice. Wow! This does not have the feel of a fourteen-year-old writer! I wonder if more content from the book should have been included? That is merely a criticism based upon the fact that I don't know what the format of his report should be. Heehee... ;) I hope you will let us know what grade he DID actually receive!!

Shoshana said...

Oh, I'd like to win this one for my son. He's into books lately...I prefer it than the XBox he's absolutely nuts over.

Unknown said...

Hi Britain!

I as well have taught school. I loved the review. I learned just enough information from the book to capture my attention and to cause me to investigate it further. It also let me know how much you enjoyed the book. It's nice to see an honest opinion, also nice that the only complaint was that the book was too short, you don't usually find that in a book that holds the interest of a teenager. Mom, you do a fantastic job with homeschooling! I would give Britain a huge A. Well above most fourteen year olds in vocab and language skills.


Irene said...

I was very impressed with this review. I believe the fact that he thought the book was not long enough may stem from the introduction of the Harry Potter books. If a book grabs the young person's attention, the number of pages do not matter; it is the content.

Love to win this book for my granddaughter, a voracious reader!!

cyeates AT nycap DOT rr DOT com

Bumbles and Fairy-Tales said...

WoW! I am extremely impressed with this review! He seems much older than his 14yrs :)
I must read this for myself!
TFS! :*)

LuAnn said...

Very well-written and articulate! You should be very proud of your son.

Susan Helene Gottfried said...

You homeschooling parents rule.

No need to enter me, darling. I'm just dropping in to say thanks for the e-mail. I've got this posted at Win a Book for you.

nfmgirl said...

Wow! I am extremely impressed! He wrote a better review than I could write. Very deep, well-expressed and thorough. Very good job!

And I, too, loved adult books when I was a kid. I was reading adult literature by 11 or 12 years of age. I just found it much more engaging.

nfmgirl AT gmail DOT com

Unknown said...

I think this is a very insightful review. It gives me a good impression of the book without resorting to spoilers and I get the impression that it is the kind of book I would enjoy reading from Britain's review.
I don't feel comfortable giving a grade, but I suppose if I had to I would say an A, with a couple comments:
Ease up on using "very" all the time. There are better words you could use to imply the same thing, and they'll make your review sound better for it.
Perhaps next time try to give a little bit more to us. What did you think of the writing style? Things like that. It also helps to mention if it is using any particularly different things in the style, format, etc. (If it's third person present, or first person present, or had interesting tidbits on the chapters).

Other than that, this is a good review. Put it up on Amazon or something to give extra exposure to the book!

And, if you choose me to win, my email is arconna @ yahoo dot com.

Thanks for the cool review!

Teddy Rose said...


Thanks for the wonderful review. You really seemed to capture what the book is about without giving away any spoilers.

I have seen other reviews for this book but I like yours best. I have a much better understand of what the book is about now.

I only have one small suggestion and that is to have more paragraphs.

That said, I loved how you described why you enjoyed the book so much. I would love to see more review written by yourself! I would give you an "A".

I would love to read this book now that I have a better understanding of what it is about!

teddyr66 at yahoo dot com

KR said...

Great review for an almost 14 year old. I'd give him an A. I think some of the critiques are harsh considering his age.

Well done!


Lee said...

Very cool Amy!! I'll run the critique by my 16 y.o. son and see what he thinks....we also homeschool!!! What a wonderful sure to tell him!!!

That pillow looks comfy and cute!!

Kat Bryan said...

I think your son did a wonderful job with the review. He writes in a very mature way. I'd give him an A for sure.

M. said...

Great review, cool name!
I'm going to let my son read the review since I think he would trust another boy's opinion more than mine. I was watching the movie 'Enemy at the Gates' the other day, and it certainly was a stark time in history for all parties concerned.

Amber said...

I am a senior in high school right now and I can say that Britain writes at or above the level of most of my peers. So he is in good shape, that is for sure! He wrote a very intriguing review, especially because I love history. You know you've written a good review if you make me add a book to my reading list!
Thanks for the giveaway :)

Llehn said...

Ooooo ... this book sounds intriguing! Now it's going into my library list!


Jana said...

WOW. I have a 14yo and a 12yo. This review is amazing. You should be very proud of your son. As a matter of fact, I am shipping my 2 dd's to you for training. He gets an A, with extra credit. Awesome job. The critisism above is rather harsh in my opinion, when you take his age into consideration.

I am going to get this book. The review makes me want to find out more.

jdeegs @ cox . net (w/o spaces)

Jana said...

I'm not stalking you, I'm just a follower.

Eliza said...

Oh, the book sounds very interesting! I love the subject. I'd surely read it.

Scrapacat said...

Wow! What a perceptive young man you have in your home! I'd give him a 95 on this project. It's obvious he understands some of the basic designs in literature. I really appreciate his fresh, enthusiastic discussion. Great job Britain!!
~ky {scrapacat at yahoo}

Chris said...

I loved the review! I think it was the perfect combination of personality and analysis, well suited for a blog. His writing style was engaging, and he provided a good basic summary of the premise. The only thing I would ask for is perhaps a greater analysis of the personality changes. But then again, leave something for the reader!

I hate assigning letter grades, so let's say this is a more than satisfactory pass!


Anya said...

It sounds like he enjoyed that book...I'd give him an A. Thanks for the chance to win.

Liyana said...

Can I join too? I'm a follower. (:

Great review! It sounds generic. btu it's true. :P

Vicki said...

Great review! Wonderful to see a teenager who enjoys reading and also writes well.

Anonymous said...

Incredible review-congrats! Thanks for the chance to win and as always, your blog is wonderful!


Kelly said...

Great review!

sharon54220 said...

WOW!! What a review. I am really impressed.

Please enter me also.

trish said...

what a wonderful review!! I wish I could write book reviews half as well;)
thanks for the giveaway!

admin said...

Thanks for the book review