#920 I Funny by James Patterson and Chris Grabenstein

I Funny by James Patterson and Chris GrabensteinI Funny by James Patterson and Chris Grabenstein

Jaime’s uncle has told him about a comedy contest for young people and Jaime has decided that he needs to enter the contest. He practices his jokes out on the people who come to his uncle’s diner and on his uncle’s family. Jaime lives with his uncle ever since the thing that happened that put him in a wheelchair.

That’s what makes Jaime different from other kids; he’s in a wheelchair. None of his friends know why yet. They don’t know why he lives with his uncle and his family instead of his parents.

Some people really like Jaime’s jokes, while others might groan. Jaime looks for everyday events to tell jokes about. At the content, things go well. Some people say it’s because he’s in a wheelchair and people felt sorry for him, but others tell Jaime that it’s because he’s truly funny. He begins to open up to his new friend about his life and about the thing that happened. The thing that happened was actually pretty awful and it took a long time for Jaime to get over it, physically. It’s still hard to get over it mentally, but with the help of his uncle’s family and his friends, Jaime’s doing ok and he is funny.

What I liked

I actually liked this James Patterson book. Granted, he did not write it himself, it’s still the best James Patterson book I’ve read. I think this book does a good job of being comedic, but having a reason for someone wanting to be funny. Jaime wants to be funny to help get over a tragedy that occurred in his life. His life got completely turned upside down, but this stand-up competition, or sit down competition in his case, is an effort on his part to move on with his life. Moving on from something awful is an important part of life. How we move on from things can make or break some other things in the rest of our lives. We have to choose to get up and keep moving, just as Jaime has in this story. It’s quite admirable.

What I didn’t like

The thing that happens to Jaime is a little harsh. It’s certainly not out of the realm of possibility, but it’s a lot to think about. It could be a little much for some younger people.

Overall

Sometimes the best thing you can do is laugh about something.

Weigh In

If some terrible catastrophe happened in your life, how long would it take for you to laugh?

What do you think about people who are always telling jokes?

#892 Pop Goes the Weasel by James Patterson

Pop Goes the Weasel by James PattersonPop Goes the Weasel by James Patterson

Unfortunately, this is another James Patterson book in which I don’t have much of an idea about what’s going on. This is what I remember–there are four men, playing a deadly game. Each man has named himself after one of the Four Horsemen of the Apocalypse. Murders are happening and a detective is trying to catch the men, mainly one man, playing this deadly game. That man happens to be a government official, of  some sort, and meanwhile, someone kidnaps the detective’s wife and baby. Maybe she’s a fiancée, I forget.

What I liked

I want to say something positive about this book. I’m sure there’s something positive; I just can’t put my finger on it right now.

What I didn’t like

For the life of me, I do not understand what is so difficult about James Patterson books for me. Every single book I’ve read by him has been this way. I don’t know why. Maybe it’s because I’m listening to them, but I’ve listened to plenty of other books and still end up with an understanding of the events that happened in the book. It seems odd that the anomaly would be from one author.

Maybe it’s because the idea of filler-thriller isn’t my thing? James is quite prolific and certainly has a formula for writing  his books. That formula enables his books to be consumed, mass-market, by many people. Maybe I tune it out because it has that feel to me? I don’t really know.

I’m sure there are lots of people who love reading James Patterson; he wouldn’t be a bestselling author if that wasn’t the case. Unfortunately, James doesn’t catch my book fancy in such a way as I would have hoped.

Overall

No nursery rhyme is safe; hide your kids; hide your wife.

Weigh In

If you were to pick a nursery rhyme to write a thriller about, which would you  choose?

What do you think about filler-thriller?

#866 Witch and Wizard by James Patterson and Gabrielle Charbonnet

Witch and Wizard by James Patterson and Gabrielle CharbonnetWitch and Wizard by James Patterson and Gabrielle Charbonnet

Whit and Wisty, siblings, are snatched in the middle of the night and thrown into a strange prison. They’re accused of being witches. This is all very confusing. Somehow the girl Whit loves is dead, but still around. There’s some weird guy who calls himself The One who is the One. There’s also the One Who Judges and the One who Orders the Pizza. The last one is fake. It also turns out that there is some truth to the witch claim. Whit and Wisty can do some magical things. They’re going to help all the other children who were thrown into prison and try to get their parents back.

What I liked

Of course I love the whimsy in this book. I love stories where woo or supernatural sit right alongside what we’re familiar with.

What I didn’t like

I feel like I missed a who bunch of stuff. I don’t know if I was zoning out or the book is written in such a way that a person can miss a bunch of stuff. I feel like I was out of the loop on so much of this book.

It reminded me of The Land of Stories series, which is for younger children. This seems like a more grown-up version of that series. There are other books in this series, which is good. I don’t know if I’ll read them. I think I’d have to read this one again to pick up on some things I missed before I read anymore books in the series.

It’s kind of a dick move to go around picking up people an imprisoning them because they’re “special” in some way. Just because they’re different, doesn’t mean you can lock them up and throw away the key.

Overall

Wouldn’t it be nice if we had special powers?

Weigh In

If you found out that you were a wizard, what’s the first thing you would do?

If someone imprisoned you because you were different, how would you feel?

#852 Unlucky 13 by James Patterson and Maxine Paetro

Unlucky 13 by James Patterson and Maxine PaetroUnlucky 13 by James Patterson and Maxine Paetro

Lindsay is enjoying her life. Her friend Yuki is getting married, rather suddenly actually, but a friend should be happy for a friend. Lindsay has a great husband and a great daughter. She enjoys her job. One day she sees something she didn’t expect to see. It’s a picture of Mackie Morales, a murderer. Lindsay knows that the chances of Mackie trying to do something to her are fairly high. She has to be on her guard.

Yuki goes on a cruise with her new husband, an officer as well, and things turn bad. It turns out some terrorists want ransom money and take over the entire ship to get it. It also turns out that the cruise line didn’t really have enough piracy insurance, which is a thing apparently.

Ultimately, there is a showdown in both places.

What I liked

I know this is part of a series and for being part of a series, I wasn’t entirely lost on this book, which is a good thing. There was still a mystery and there was still drama and conflict. This book had all of those things that a book should have without the reader having to refer back to the previous books to get what was going on. With that said, it definitely would have helped.

What I didn’t like

Although this book can stand on its own, I feel like there is some stuff missing. I would have liked to have known more about what Mackie did that was so bad.

Overall

I guess 13 is an unlucky number in this case.

Weigh In

If you went on a cruise and it was hijacked, would you ever go on a cruise again?

What do you think about books in a series that stand on their own, but not entirely?

#843 When the Wind Blows by James Patterson

When the Wind Blows by James PattersonWhen the Wind Blows by James Patterson

Frannie is a vet and she lives out in the woods. One day she’s treating a deer and her fawn, the next day, or the same day, she sees something she never thought she would see. She can’t really believe it. She also has a new tenant. He calls himself Kit. She tells him what she thought she saw and he takes her seriously, but he has his reasons.

What Frannie thought she saw was a winged girl, a real, live girl with wings. The two are able to coax the girl to them. She says her name is Max and soon there is a whole story about where she comes from, but she’s reluctant to tell it. She isn’t the only one. She came from a school. She left. There are other winged children and some of them are put to sleep. The two want to protect Max, but soon people start coming after them. There are guns and fires. Can Kit and Frannie save the other children? Can Max help save the other children? Who is doing this and why?

What I liked

I actually found this book quite intriguing. It’s woo, but woo explained by science, or theoretically explained by science. People cannot have wings, nor can they lay eggs. This book was scandal nested in scandal. Frannie and Kit are both likable enough. The winged children are likable. I’m actually impressed with how this book turned out.

Who knows what secret labs do to humans behind closed doors, in secret labs, in the woods, down dark and long roads? There is absolutely no telling. We have no idea the potential human atrocities that occur in the name of science, or greed, or simply hate.

What I didn’t like

Like I said, people can’t have wings. It’s just incredibly far-fetched. Ok, I can see humans possibly having some sort of grafted wings. Possibly a like a very high-end prosthetic, attached to shoulder blades and upper arm nerves. What I cannot see is people having so much bird DNA that wings are inherent and they lay eggs. I don’t think there’s a point when humans will stop being mammals. I kind of think once you’re a mammal, you’re always a mammal. I mean, there are platypuses and they’re kind of weird. Unless you’re a lizard person, you’re a mammal. For me, there is this tinge of “this is too far out there to ever conceivably happen” and that kind of gives me some pause as far as this book is concerned.

Overall

You never know what you’re going to find in the woods.

Weigh In

If you had wings, where would you fly?

Do you believe people will have wings if they become angels?