Thursday, December 31, 2009
This was a great day, I went to go see Oliver! the musical with my friends which was an amazing experience. Now there's a change of schedule as far as my reviews are concerned. Originally my first review of 2010 was going to be Geek Magnet, but then after reading the first chapter I realized I already knew what was going to happen and I peeked ahead to see if I was right, and it turned out, I was. So I'm not finishing it, and am now moving on to Prophecy of the Sisters by Michelle Zink. Now this year has been a great reading year for me. I read a lot of good books, and of course many not so good books. Here is a list of my top 10 favorite and my top 10 least favorite books of 2009:
Top 10 Favorite:
1. And Then There Were None by Agatha Christie
2. Persuasion by Jane Austen
3. The Last Lecture by Randy Pausch
4. The Sign of the Four by Sir Arthur Conan Doyle
5. The Phantom Tollbooth by Norton Juster
6. Chicks With Sticks (It's a Purl Thing) by Elizabeth Lenhard
7. The Mysterious Disappearance of Leon (I Mean Noel) by Ellen Raskin
8. Christy by Catherine Marshall
9. Ruined by Paula Morris
10. The Lightning Thief by Rick Riordan
Top 10 Least Favorite:
1. New Moon by Stephenie Meyer
2. the Ruby in the Smoke by Philip Pullman
3. Prada and Prejudice by Mandy Hubbard
4. The Graveyard Book by Neil Gaiman
5. Daughters of the Sea: Hannah by Kathryn Lasky
6. Wings by E.D. Baker
7. Secret Vampire by J.L. Smith
8. Pride and Prescience by Carrie Bebris
9. Beauty by Robin Mckinley
10. 3 Willows by Ann Brashares
So how was this year for you reading wise? What were your favorites? Least Favorites? Celebrate your year of reading and let me know in the comment section!
May 2010 be an even better year for books then 2009 and a better year for humankind everywhere full of peace and happiness! Wishing everyone a Happy New Year!
Wednesday, December 30, 2009
|What Kind of Reader Are You? |
Your Result: Dedicated Reader
|Literate Good Citizen|
|What Kind of Reader Are You?|
Quiz Created on GoToQuiz
Author: Melissa Kantor
Reading Level: 13 and up
Summary: When high school sophomore Lucy Norton's father remarries, her life is turned upside down. She and her father move from their West Coast home to a suburb on Long Island. With a small bedroom in the unfinished basement, a wicked stepmother and bratty stepsisters, countless chores, a blank social calendar, and a huge crush on the dashing prince of the varsity basketball team, Lucy’s life has all the makings of a Cinderella story. So with all the characters in place, will Lucy get the prince and live happily ever after?
In this royally funny and romantic novel, Melissa Kantor explores the struggle of finding your true prince and more important — yourself.
My Review(SPOILERS): This I think was a pretty good finding yourself book. It was different them most as the girl has the not right for her boyfriend for most of the plot. I also liked that it had a realistic ending as in it's not perfect but Lucy finds ways to make her family life a little better and her relationship with her father becomes stronger. I also liked that Jessica and Madison, two girls that started being friends with Lucy when she started dating the popular boy Connor , actually turned out to be true friends instead of backstabbing social climbers. Lucy's relationship with Sam was also really nice and realistic and the confession scene at the end was super cute. All in all it wasn't one of my favorite books this year, but I think a lot of girls could relate to Lucy and find solace and inspiration reading how she deals with her problems.
Content: Language, drug and alcohol use by teens
Rating: 3 stars out of 5
Recommend: yes for teen girls who have step families and go to public school
Upcoming Review: Geek Magnet by Kieran Scott
Tuesday, December 29, 2009
Author: Jenny B. Jones
Genre: Comedy of Errors/Mystery
Reading Level: 14 and up
Summary: New York's social darling just woke up in a nightmare: Oklahoma. Problem is, it's right where God wants her.
Bella Kirkwood had it all: A-list friends at her prestigious private school, Broadway in her backyard, and Daddy's MasterCard in her wallet. Then her father, a plastic surgeon to the stars, decided to trade her mother in for a newer model.
When Bella's mom falls in love with a man she met on the Internet--a factory worker with two bratty sons--Bella has to pack up and move in with her new family in Truman, Oklahoma. On a farm no less!
Forced to trade her uber-trendy NYC lifestyle for down-home charm, Bella feels like a pair of Rock & Republic jeans in a sea of Wranglers.
At least some of the people in her new high school are pretty cool. Especially the hunky football player who invites her to lunch. And maybe even the annoying--but kinda hot--editor of the school newspaper.
But before long, Bella smells something rotten in the town of Truman, and it's not just the cow pasture. With her savvy reporter's instincts, she is determined to find the story behind all the secrets.
How can a girl go on when her charmed life is gone and God appears to be giving her the total smackdown?
My Review: Let me tell you something. I didn't expect much coming into this book. I knew it was a fish out of water type tale, and when I saw how large it was (326 pages) I said to my self "how long can someone talk about not fitting in?". I expected to be bored. Boy was I wrong. I fell into the story soon in. Bella is hilarious, and the way she thinks had me bursting out laughing at moments. Then there was the mystery! Wow that part of the book really helped me because I've been going through mystery withdrawal and I found this one totally enthralling, near the end I could barely put the book down! Also I've finally found a couple I could root for, Bella and Luke are great together, they have the perfect love/hate chemistry I squeal over in books and movies. One were there's friendship and respect that turns into something more, even though the more part hasn't really happened yet. There's also a sweet storyline of how Bella learns to appreciate and even love her new step-brothers. Bella's faith (she's a christian) was also an interesting aspect to the novel. Some people said it didn't fit in but I disagree and thought it was a cute touch to the novel. With a clever plot, and witty dialogue Jenny B. Jones has written a book that was well worth my time, and when I have a chance, I cannot wait to dip into the sequel and see what other crazy situations Bella get's into.
Content: innuendo's and a little violence
Rating: 4 big stars out of 5
Recommend: yes for book lovers who like a little adventure with their chick lit. (:
Upcoming Review: If I Have a Wicked Step Mother, Where's My Prince? by Melissa Kantor
Saturday, December 26, 2009
Author: Kathryn Lasky
Reading Level: 12 and up
Summary: Hannah, 15 years old, knows she not normal. She feels an undeniable pull toward the sea and when she's not near it she feels sick and sheds crystallized salt. Soon, to keep herself near the sea Hannah becomes a scullery maid for a high class family the Hawley's, with three daughters. There she meets a mysterious painter who seems to know a little too much about Hannah. With only her feelings to guide her, Hannah tries to solve the mystery of her life, and also stay out of the way of Lila Hawley, the deeply disturbed eldest daughter, and her demonic cat Jade.
My Review: I'm actually quite sad. I didn't enjoy this book as much as I thought I would. It is the first book in a series and it really shows. There are a lot of things that don't make sense. The plot really takes a long time to develop. You're almost finished the story before anything interesting happens, like Hannah realizing she's a mermaid. The characters also didn't put enough emotion across. I couldn't feel for Hannah, because she just didn't flesh out for me, there was no personality, She just seemed to amble through the story watching everything unfold around her. As for the painter, Hannah's "love interest" I'm still trying to figure out why he was even in the story, besides being someone Hannah and Lila could fight over. Hannah and the painter are the 3rd couple in a YA novel that I've read about who have no chemistry or point to their rushed unbelievable relationship. I enjoyed Lila and Jade a little, but even they did not meet my expectations as the writing was so emotionless sometimes I wasn't sure what was going on. One minute there's a fight, the next minute something completely different is happening. I also actually started feeling compassion for Lila, as it was so obvious she was not mentally stable and needed help desperately. Ettie, Lila's younger sister, added some spark and humor to the story, but she couldn't save it for me. The book ended on a cliffhanger, but I'm not intrigued enough to find out what happens next. On the slight plus side, I liked the historical setting, and learning about how the working class worked back in 1899, and that Kathryn Lasky found a use for the word lugubrious.
Content: Nothing too shocking, some profanity, and kissing, and Hannah likes to sleep and swim in the nude. But heck she's a mermaid.
Rating: 2.5 stars out of 5.
Recommend: No there has to be better mermaid stories out there.
Upcoming Review: So Not Happening by Jenny B. Jones
Thursday, December 24, 2009
Author: Mandy Hubbard
Reading Level: 13 and up
Fifteen-year-old Callie buys a pair of real Prada pumps to impress the cool crowd on a school trip to London. Goodbye, Callie the clumsy geek-girl, hello popularity! But before she knows what’s hit her, Callie wobbles, trips, conks her head… and wakes up in the year 1815!
She stumbles about until she meets the kind-hearted Emily, who takes Callie in, mistaking her for a long-lost friend. Sparks soon fly between Callie and Emily’s cousin, Alex, the maddeningly handsome—though totally arrogant—Duke of Harksbury. Too bad he seems to have something sinister up his ruffled sleeve…
From face-planting off velvet piano benches and hiding behind claw-foot couches to streaking through the estate halls wearing nothing but an itchy blanket, Callie’s curiosity about Alex creates all kinds of trouble.
But the grandfather clock is ticking on her 19th Century shenanigans. Can Callie save Emily from a dire engagement, win a kiss from Alex, and prove to herself that she’s more than just a loud-mouth klutz before her time there is up?
My Review: Like so many books I pick up this one had potential to be good. Unfortunately the main character doesn't stop whining and going on about the "amazingly hot" Alex long enough for you to enjoy it. Maybe I'm just not suited for mainstream romances. I got all the references to Pride and Prejudice the author threw in but Callie and Alex, are no Lizzie and Darcy, they don't have the spark that Lizzie and Darcy did and they have no chemistry. I really didn't care if they got together or not. In fact I was more rooting for not. Emily Callie's friend was cute, but I also didn't care too much about her storyline either. Callie also goes through the "becoming a stronger women" transformation, but it's just not as interesting and gripping as other ones I've read. What I did enjoy about the book was this, all the references to life in the 1815's and that Callie actually enjoyed being there. The part where she teaches two little boys the robot dance was also pretty funny. The writing was okay, it just didn't have enough substance or originality in Callie's voice for me to like it.
Content: References to ruining a girls reputation.
Rating: 2.5 stars out of 5
Upcoming Review: Hannah (Daughters of the Sea Book 1) by Kathryn Lasky
Sunday, December 20, 2009
Author: Suzanne Selfors
Genre: Coming of age/Fantasy/Romance
Reading Level: 15 and up
Summary: From the author of Saving Juliet comes a romantic comedy that is good to the last drop. When Katrina spots a homeless guy sleeping in the alley behind her grandmother’s coffee shop, she decides to leave him a cup of coffee, a bag of chocolate-covered coffee beans, and some pastries to tide him over. Little does she know that this random act of kindness is about to turn her life upside down. Because this adorable vagrant, Malcolm, is really a guardian angel on a break between missions. And he won’t leave until he can reward Katrina’s selflessness by fulfilling her deepest desire. Now if only she could decide what that might be . . .
My Review: I'm writing this while drinking coffee and there's a blanket of snow outside. That has nothing to do with the book but it sure is picturesque. (; Anyway the only reason I read this book was because it had the word coffee in it. Fortunately it was really cute. This story I think is more about Katrina's journey to a strong women instead of the romance as I didn't think her and Malcolm really don't have that much couple chemistry. The romance felt rushed and was more telling in my opinion than showing their growing friendship/romance. Other than that I can't think of anything to complain about. I liked Katrina's friend Elizabeth, she was a great support for her and I loved whenever she said, "I'm gonna be brutally honest" like only a good friend can. I loved the idea's Katrina ended up coming up with in the end, and the quirky messed up wishes Malcolm grants her are really funny, I laughed out loud a couple times. Malcolm's also a pretty cute character in the way that animals who are turned into humans are, because they're discovering everything about the human world and aren't afraid to eat butter plain. (: Also discussed are the changing relationship between Katrina and her guy friend Vincent which I think had a new and honest ending to it. My favorite Quote in the book was when Elizabeth said about not being able to find Malcolm's employer online, "We can't find his employer because, if he's an angel, then his employer is...God. We can't send an e-mail to God."
Content: Some language, thematic elements, and innuendo's.
Rating: 3.5 stars out of 5
Recommend: For young chick-lit fans who love fairytale stories.
Upcoming Review: Prada and Prejudice by Mandy Hubbard
Saturday, December 19, 2009
Author: Rick Riordan
Genre: Fantasy Adventure
Reading Level: 10 and up
Summary: What if the gods of Olympus were alive in the 21st Century? What if they still fell in love with mortals and had children who might become great heroes — like Theseus, Jason and Hercules?
What if you were one of those children?
Such is the discovery that launches twelve-year-old Percy Jackson on the most dangerous quest of his life. With the help of a satyr and a daughter of Athena, Percy must journey across the United States to catch a thief who has stolen the original weapon of mass destruction – Zeus’ master bolt. Along the way, he must face a host of mythological enemies determined to stop him. Most of all, he must come to terms with a father he has never known, and an Oracle that has warned him of betrayal by a friend.
My Review: Well one things for sure. This book is definitely first class entertainment for fantasy fans. I absolutely loved it. It was fast paced, the plot was fun, and the characters were great, I think a lot of boys 10 and up will be able to relate to Percy. He is like the every boy, (despite the fact he's a demi-god, and has cool water powers) impulsive, strong willed, and he also has a pretty short temper. But he has a good heart, and his voice is a lot of fun to listen to (this is a first person narration). I loved all the old mythology seamlessly adapted into modern day situations. It made me want to look up all the original stories about the characters, which is amazing 'cause I found Greek mythology terribly boring. But this book makes it anything but, I look forward to reading the other books in the Percy Jackson series which I will be picking up as soon as possible.
Content: some crude humor, scary situations, and violence
Rating: 4 big stars out of 5
Recommend: Definitely, It's great for kids and clever enough for adults
Here is a trailer from the upcoming movie, and sure the guy who plays Percy doesn't look like he's seen 12 for a while and some of the scenes seem to be situated differently from how they were in the book, but the most important thing is that they keep the spirit of the book intact...right? It's such a great book I'd hate it if the movie didn't live up to it. But it's too early to judge so I'll just keep my fingers crossed.
Upcoming Review:Coffeehouse Angel by Suzanne Selfors
Until the next book,
Wednesday, December 16, 2009
Now I have a confession: I had a relapse in my whole "don't check out library books and read the ones I have at home." commitment. What can I say, I'm terribly terribly weak, and the books on the library shelves call to me, pleading in sultry voices, "Check us out, we have pretty covers, and we promise we're interesting!" and I say, "No I have tons of books at home to read!" and then they say, "But you could just hold us meanwhile, you know how you love to hold new books and have them in your room, oh and that wonderful book smell of sweet ink and musty paper. You'll eventually finish all the ones you have at home, you'll be able to read us in no time and then take us back without having a fine." and then I can't resist because everything they say is true and pulls me in and before I know it I'm walking out of the library with a bunch of books. *sigh* So now I have a lot of serious reading to do, because I'm a weak bookaholic. But it is what I love after all. (;
Until my next book review,
Saturday, December 12, 2009
Title: Emily The Strange: The Lost Days
Author(s): Rob Reger,(author,illustrator) Jessica Gruner,(author) and Buzz Parker(illustrator)
Genre: Mystery,black comedy
Reading Level: 12 and up
Summary: Emily, finds herself in a strange small town with out a single memory about who she was, what she is like, or even if she has a family. With only a slingshot, notebook, and pen she starts out on a hunt to find her identity and who dropped her off in such a bizarre town and why.
My Review: I've been an Emily fan since I was 12. But that was when she was the queen of hot topic, a place she frequencies less now in days and I don't blame her since it's been overrun by emo-vampires. Anyway I digress. This is her first novel and I must say it didn't disappoint me in her weird/strange department. The narration really felt like it would come from a goth 13 year old girl, (or any 13 year old for that matter)puzzled with amnesia and most of it is telling instead of showing, in a very choppy,adolescent way. The conversations were put out in script form which got kinda annoying. The list of 13 items that was scattered in the book at various spots was also a little tiresome. It was funny in parts and very bizarre in a cartoony "that could never happen way" in others which is what we Emily fans have come to expect, I for one enjoyed all of the odd moments. I feel that people who don't know Emily so well might be a tad confused with the way the story unfolds, (heck even a couple of times I was like "hey what's going on?")because there are a lot of different plot points. Other then that I thought the mystery was rather smart, and there were a lot of clever twist in which you really get to see what a diabolical mastermind Emily is. A lot of the other characters have less personality (there is a reason for some) but Emily "friends" Molly and Jakey added a little color to the narration and gave Emily someone her own age to talk too even though Emily is the type of girl who prefers feline company to humans. The cats, I love the cats but then they don't talk so there more of silent helpers. Overall it was an enjoyable light read.
Content: some crude humor and reference to curse words (although these are put in @#%$! form)
Rating: 3 star out of 5
Recommend: Emily fans and people who enjoy dark humor/books will enjoy this strange fare, others I'm afraid won't warm up to her.
Thursday, December 10, 2009
A ghost with a deep, dark secret, and a serious score to settle.
As Rebecca learns more from her ghost friend -- and as she slowly learns to trust Anton Grey -- she also uncovers startling truths about her own history. Will Rebecca be able to right the wrongs of the past, or has everything been ruined beyond repair?
Monday, December 7, 2009
I just made a blog button
It's a little big right now but I hope to work some more on it and for right now I've put it on the bottom of my page. I may move it up and some of the picture might go out but it might come out all right on your blog. I still think it looks pretty cute.:)
Sunday, November 29, 2009
Title: Secret Vampire (The Night World Series book 1)
Author: L.J. Smith (Lisa Jane if you were wondering)
Genre: Fantasy romance (are vampire books anything else ^_~)
Reading Level: 12 and up
Summary:Teenage Poppy, petite, dynamic Poppy, has pancreatic cancer, a death sentence not even she can escape. Then her lifelong friend (and secret love) James confides that he can offer her eternal life--as a vampire. With the assistance of her devoted twin brother, Phillip, they arrange her death and passage into the Night World, "a secret society of vampires, witches, and other creatures of darkness that live among us." Since vampires are not allowed make "new" vampires without the Night World Elders permission even her immortality is in danger.
My Review: Ah, I've finally decided if you've read one vampire romance, you've read 'em all so my quest is complete. This was a very cute book, it's easy to read and I think it is tame enough for young readers of 12 years old. As long as they don't mind blood, which truthfully if they're picking up a vampire novel, they shouldn't. It's very much a first book going through the draggy details of what the night world is, and Poppy's transformation, but it's done with heart, a thing that other certain vampire novels couldn't pull of to save their amazingly boring immortal lives. There is a little action(and I mean very little action) at the end, and a little pleasant surprise. I think though, I will take a break from vampire novels for a while as they kinda grow redundant. I do have an interest in L.J. Smith's Secret Circle series though. It's about Witches.
Content: A little suggestive talk but it's very tame. It could fly over you're head really.
Rating: 3 stars out of 5
Recommend: yes, for young vampire fans because it's like Twilight only the main character cares and it's nice and short. By the by I feel compelled to let you know that it was written in 1996.
Until next time,
Friday, November 20, 2009
Well the answer is, yes, yes I do other things. I just love reading so much and I'm pretty fast at it. If I really love a book, I usually take longer, and if I only kinda like a book I go through it a bit faster. If I don't like a book but I want to finish it I do it really really fast. If the book is to unbearable for words, I don't even finish it.
This book falls into the kinda like category.
Title: 3 Willows: The Sisterhood Grows.
Author: Ann Brashares
Genre: Teen Drama
Reading Level: 13 and up
Polly has an idea that she can't stop thinking about, one that involves changing a few things about herself. She's setting her sights on a more glamorous life, but it's going to take all of her focus. At least that way she won't have to watch her friends moving so far ahead.
Jo is spending the summer at her family's beach house, working as a busgirl and bonding with the older, cooler girls she'll see at high school come September. She didn't count on a brief fling with a cute boy changing her entire summer. Or feeling embarrassed by her middle school friends. And she didn't count on her family at all. . .
Ama is not an outdoorsy girl. She wanted to be at an academic camp, doing research in an air-conditioned library, earning A's. Instead her summer scholarship lands her on a wilderness trip full of flirting teenagers, blisters, impossible hiking trails, and a sad lack of hair products.
It is a new summer. And a new sisterhood. Come grow with them.
My Review: Ah, teen drama, is there anything so...predictable. Usually I don't mind predictability in any book outside a mystery. But it's just sad when you know what will happen with a girls plot the moment you start reading it. These girls are heading into high schol and their BFF relationship is starting to unravel,no matter how many junky jeans or scarf's they find at thrift shops. I will review this book by going through each individual girls plot line. First up is the sad story.
Polly: Polly is a girl with an overbite, curves, and black hair. She want's to change herself into a model after hearing from her old uncle Hoppy that her grandmother was a model. So she starts dieting and researching models and worrying about her appearance. Her sub-plot is her strained relationship with her mother who is never home and how she wishes to get her mothers attention. While Polly's story of finding self worth was interesting, it had a very draggy depressing feel to it's writing. I felt sad the whole time, she just kept coming upon too many obstacles and I just wanted the author to let something good happen to her. At least she got a semi-happy ending but it was a little too ambigious for my liking.
Jo: Like little women Jo, only this girl doesn't have Jo's sense. In the beginning of the story Jo is still trying to get over the tragic death of her older brother Finn. On top of that her parents are getting a divorce. She's feeling a little crazy over it all even though she doesn't let it show. The first half of her plot was in my opinion where the book was so predictable. She meets this boy on a bus for like two seconds and then lets him kiss her...What the halibut?! She doesn't know his name! He coulda been an ax murderer on the run! like I said she was feeling a little crazy, and later regretted this move until she finds the boys working where she's working for the summer. Thus starts their doomed "Guys a player" relationship. Now her sub-plotline with her fixing her relationship with her dad and her healing process over her brothers death was very nice and I did enjoy the ending to her story a lot.
Ama: This was my favorite plotline. I thought Ama was hilarious, as she tried desperately to get through her nature adventure hike without dying. Her imaginative thoughts about all the trouble she could get into was really funny I found myself chuckling and wishing the book was just about her. Ama does have some difficulty outside of nature though, one being her annoying boy obsessed tent mate, and another being a boy named Noah who she likes but is mean to because she's uncertain of if he likes her tent mate or not. But like in all books not everything is what it seems. Ama's "appreciate nature" storyline was a refreshing breath air after Polly's depressing fest and Jo's "I wanna be popular" shinanigans.
The book switches from each story sporadically throughout the book, and ties it all up together in the end. I like the symbolic willows tree's in this story. It was sweeter than a pair of magical pants. Speakin' of the pants, the "sisterhood" as it's called was referred in this book as thought the girls in it were ancient goddesses only on earth to grace mere mortals with their presence. It kinda seemed far fetch that they would be so popular and imatated in their old school. They were also referred to as like movie star, the most beautiful girls, and it just felt to hammy and promotional for the "Sisterhood of the Traveling Pant's" series. When Authors write other books outside of the one's they're famous for, I like to see them completely break away. Not give their old characters a one liner cameo. That's good in a series but I thought 3 Willows was supposed to be a stand alone book. The writing sometimes confused me, but other than that it was okay.
Content: Suggestive innuendo, language, and thematic elements.
Rating: 3 stars out of 5
Recommend: No, there are other books with similar plot lines that were better.
Tuesday, November 17, 2009
Well I'm back, I've had a longer absence since this book had more substance than the last 3 I read. (:
Title: The Quilter's Apprentice
Author: Jennifer Chiaverini
Genre: Drama/Arts and Crafts?
Reading Level: 14 and up
Summary: Sarah McClure and her husband, Matt, have just moved to Waterford, PA. While Matt finds work with a landscape company, Sarah, an accountant, wants to try something new. With no leads and no offers, she is depressed and frustrated. When elderly Sylvia Compson asks Sarah to help prepare her family estate for sale, Sarah finds new friends, and Sylvia, a master craftswoman, agrees to teach Sarah how to quilt. Sarah's new relationship inspires an exchange of confidences; she learns about Sylvia's "family skeletons" while facing her own difficult relationship with her mother. Patiently piecing scraps of material, the quilters explore both women's lives, stitching details and solutions together slowly but with courage and strength.
My Review: I really liked this book. I thought the story was very interesting, the characters were very real, and the writing was enjoyable. It was very sad, but deeply touching and the message it sends out, about the amazing power of forgiveness is beautiful. Some of the sub-plots in the story (like the bitter relationship between Sarah and her mother) were not developed enough or even finished for my liking but seeing as this is a series I guess Chiaverini revisits these things in later novels. I liked Sylvia the cantankerous master quilter who Sarah begrudging befriends in the beginning of the novel. She is very rude at first, but soon becomes friendly, and the deep pains in her past make you care for her as the novel progresses. She tells sometimes funny and sometimes heartbreaking stories about her childhood and her life on the World War 2 home front that are the most interesting parts of the novel. She does say "hmph" an awful lot but that's a minor annoyance. Sarah is a typical main character (we love typical) insecure and depressed, but she slowly becomes more self assured and helps patch together Sylvia's broken family. The friendship between the two main characters is very sweet as they each learn something special from the other and share their love of quilting. I was a little disappointed with the meeting in the ending between Sylvia and her estranged sister-in-law Agnes as it felt a little rushed as far as the narrative was concerned. After all it is Chiaverini's first novel so there's bound to be some faults, but I still liked it. The quilting parts were a little hard to imagine as I've never quilted and I wasn't really sure what was going on. They are very detailed and I'm sure quilters will really enjoy that. I've seen a couple quilting patterns but I've never known their specific names. If you don't know anything about quilting this book might be a little hard to read. I've added an image of a pattern that is used in the book. You should look them all up because they are really beautiful.
Content: Maybe one curse word but it wasn't actually used in cursing contexts if that makes sense. (:
Rating: 4 out of 5 stars
Recommend: yes it's very sweet. My mother and I both enjoyed it.
Below on the left is the pattern Turkey Tracks, which comes with a little old fashioned lore about it being bad luck to put on children's blankets as it will make them wanderers.
Upcoming Reviews: "3 Willows" by Ann Brashares
Tuesday, November 10, 2009
Title: Don't Judge a Girl by Her cover
Author: Ally Carter
Genre: Action Adventure
Reading Level: 11 and up
Summary:When Cammie "The Chameleon" Morgan visits her roommate Macey in Boston, she thinks she's in for an exciting end to her summer break. After all, she's there to watch Macey's father accept the nomination for vice president of the United States. But when you go to the world's best school (for spies), "exciting" and "deadly" are never far apart. Cammie and Macey soon find themselves trapped in a kidnappers' plot, with only their espionage skills to save them.
As her junior year begins, Cammie can't shake the memory of what happened in Boston, and even the Gallagher Academy for Exceptional Young Women doesn't feel like the safe haven it once did. Shocking secrets and old flames seem to lurk around every one of the mansion's corners as Cammie and her friends struggle to answer the questions, Who is after Macey? And how can the Gallagher Girls keep her safe?
Soon Cammie is joining Bex and Liz as Macey's private security team on the campaign trail. The girls must use their spy training at every turn as the stakes are raised, and Cammie gets closer and closer to the shocking truth...
My Review: Ally Carter has added a strong book to her Gallagher Girls series. This is by far the best. Ally gives her heroine Cammie a unique and spunky voice. I love when she uses expressions like "Yes actual smileage!" and when she does her funny pros and cons bit of her spy life. Cammie is also smart without being on a genius level that will make girl unable to connect with her. Ally's newest novel starts the action right away in the first two chapters. The rest of the book plays out like a mystery with Cammie going over the "scene of the crime" a lot and making new discoveries every time. I really liked that about this series, because the spy conflict was real unlike in the first two when it was just the teachers testing the girls skills. Also in the first two books Cammie makes mentions of the girls having the ability to kill people with little more than a limp noodle. She doesn't mention that so often which is a bonus because although cute once it got annoying after a while. There is also more history of the Gallagher academy in this one, and the relationships dealt in this book are of the friendship and family variety instead of the romantic like in the first two. I must say I enjoyed that a lot. I really like Cammie and her friends. They are tough girls without being callous yet they still have the emotions of a regular girl, when they worry about their friends and family. There are boy issues here but they take more of a back seat in the narrative. Zach, Cammie's enigmatic spy love interest makes a reappearance and well, I like him. He's an interesting character and even if he and Cammie do not end up together (that seems the direction the author is taking.) I still think they could be really good friends. They both have mysteries revolving around their parents deaths and they seem to have a deep connection, and care for each other.
The only thing I didn't like was Cammies Aunt Abby. Yeah she was a cool spy aunt but she just seemed so cliche. I mean it just seems like in every book there's a cool aunt, and if she's a spy she is amazing and cool and hooks up with the hot teacher and has a bit of sibling rivalry with her sister. Maybe it's just me. Another thing is that Cammie tends to repeat herself in her narrative. I read "It could just be my overactive imagination." about 10 times. It might have been less but it sure felt like a lot. There were other phrases but other than that I thoroughly enjoyed this book. Keep up the good work Ally. I can't wait for the next installment in your Gallagher Girls series and your new book "Heist Society".
Content: Some minor violence
Rating: 4 out of 5 stars
Recommend: yes, especially if you've read the first two "I'd Tell You I Love You But Then I'd Have to Kill You" and "Cross My Heart and Hope to Spy"
Upcoming Reviews: "The Quilter's Apprentice" by Jennifer Chiaverini
Sunday, November 8, 2009
Title: Jessica's Guide to Dating on the Dark Side
Author: Beth Fantaskey (isn't that a fantaskey name)
Genre: Fantasy Romance
Reading Level: 13 and up
Summary: Jessica Packwood is just a normal teenage girl, or so she thinks. Her world is suddenly turned upside down when Lucius Vladescu, a Romanian exchange student tells her that he and she are vampire royalty and betrothed to be married. Unable to believe it at first, even with her adoptive parents confirmation, Jessica tries desperately to ward off his persistent romantic advances. Unfortunately you can't just run away from being a Vampire, but just as Jessica is ready to embrace her new lifestyle her suitor seems to suddenly have a change of heart. Is Lucius no longer interested in her, or is their more to their marriage pact than meets the eye?
My Review: I was right! This book was a lot of fun. For one it's not another Twilight wannabe. It's was a much better vampire romance. It was funny, intriguing, and the characters were not gratingly annoying. I like how it started off light hearted and comedic and then transitioned slowly into a slightly darker story. It's also written in the first person narrative, but unlike Bella, Jessica (or Antanasia as is her true Vampiric name) has a personality, and thinks Lucius; in the beginning, is absolutely crazy. Jessica when we first meet her is your typical American teenager who just wants to get through high school with as little hassle as possible. She's a mathlete, stuck on logical explanations, and loves her horse Belle. She has a crush on a boy next door type character named Jake Zinn a nice hard working farm boy. I like how you get to see Jessica's character grow from a slightly inscure teenager to a strong vampire princess. Also her affections for Lucius come along gradually as they get to know each other better, not automatically in a wave of soppy adjectives.
Lucius is a somewhat enigmatic character in the beginning, and you only get to see her true personality through the hilarious letters he pens to his uncle about his life in he human world. He is in every way a royal snob, looking down on the way Jessica and her friends and family live. Yet he also has a sense of humor and moments of caring and weakness that will make you warm up to him enough to care about him when his dark side begins to take over. He also changes as a character, quite a lot, and I like how the author keeps all this little changes and melts them together into who Lucius truly is.
Since it was in first person narrative it has the usual weaknesses like action being told instead of seen, and you can't see everyone's thoughts and feelings, so sometimes you may feel yourself going: "What the halibuts going on?" but once you finish and are able to look at the book in it's entirety I think most of your questions will be answered. There are some things that I wish would have been expanded on(like Jessica and Lucius's Vampire family, and the Vampire elders.) and some things were wrapped up too quickly, but all in all it did not hinder my enjoyment of the book. Beth has a great witty style, I really enjoyed the way she wrote. I feel this book could have worked even without the vampire aspect but the vampire element did add some great stuff to the story. The ending in particular gave me wonderfully delicious shivers in the only way a vampire romance can. (:
Content: Language, some violence and disturbing situations, thematic elements, and innuendo.
Rating: 4 out of 5 stars
Recommend: yes for teens who love vampire romances or just romances in general.
Upcoming Reviews: Don't Judge a Girl by Her Cover by Ally Carter
Friday, November 6, 2009
I just recently became very lucky. I have received The Complete Sherlock Holmes volumes 1&2 from the Barnes and Nobles classic collection. They were a gift, and I greatly appreciate them and can't wait to read them! Thank you again, to the person who gave them to me. You know who you are. (:
Alas, I am finished. Reading this series and book that is. Well I don't have much to say here except that I'm super excited for the movie!
Title: New Moon
Author: Stephenie Meyer
Genre: Fantasy Romance
Reading Level: 12 and up
Summary: After a terrible birthday accident Bella's beloved Edward Cullen and his family high tail it out of Forks leaving Bella to fall into a deep zombie like depression. After figuring out she can hear her loves voice when she's in danger Bella set's out to be a wild thing with her new friend Jacob Black who seems to be dealing with some issue's of his own. Will Edward come back to save Bella from the imminent danger that will surely creep up on her? Or will the damsel in distress have to take matters into her own klutzy hands?
My review: ...okay the journey was long, and a lot of it was painful, but I think I'll start off with the things I actually liked about this book before I get to the bashing part. It's a lot shorter. For one, since Edward disappeared quickly in the beginning my enjoyment level went up a notch. Then Jacob came into the picture and this book wasn't a snooze fest like the last one was. Of course you have Bella's incredible whiny voice in your head the hole time complaining about a hole that's been punched through her chest and the sudden inability to breath, but when she's with Jacob she is a relatively almost likable character. Jacob is an actual character with development (shocker!) and he's a lot of fun to read, unlike the always perfect, always right Edward. His family secret is way more interesting and I just liked the werewolf pack better. He's not as angst ridden as Edward is, and I'm not saying there isn't any angst, there is. It's just not as annoying. When he was in it I actually really enjoyed the book, and the parts that were supposed to be funny were. I wasn't just getting my giggles out of Bella's melodrama.
Alice Cullen, is always cool. There's no way around it. Carlisle should have his own book, the one chapter he was in(prominently) was great. The Volturi were deliciously evil, because they tried to act like they were so non-chalant. The Werewolves were the best! Absolute best! Sorry but I like Stephenie Meyer's Werewolves a million times more then her Vampires. They don't do anything weird like Sparkling.
The bad of course was entirely wrapped up in Bella the worst female character to grace the page. Ever. Maybe I haven't read enough books, but I've just never hated a main character as much as I hate her. She's selfish, immature, self observed, and overly wordy!!!! She drones on incessantly, the book coulda been so much smaller if she didn't go on and on about the "hole" in her chest. I mean yes it was a break up, and I can deal with a little misery, but zoning out for 4 months and then not even really wanting to get better! Hurting her poor father by making him live through that! Becoming almost suicidal, and wanting so much to become the undead but not to marry her undead boyfriend!? What was with all the Romeo and Juliet references? We get it, you're star crossed lovers, and only a fictional character can feel your pain. *sigh* My mom said I shouldn't read so much into the book, I shouldn't analyze it. It's just cotton candy fluff. I tried but, it kept creeping up on me, the horrible life I see in front of Bella if she turns into a vampire. She'll never die, she'll never age. It'll be like falling down a dark hole, forever. At least that what it looks like to me. That's the thing that creeps me out most about these books. Her willingness to destroy her life. I'm with Edwardo on this one.
Anyway enough with all the analyzing! Bella's stupid, Edwards possessive and energy draining, Jacob rocks and in my world he leaves Bella and her drama filled life, finds a girl who deserves him and lives happily ever after. During the holiday season he remembers the Cullen's and that klutzy girl he used to hang out with and sends them a greeting card and some grade A mountain lion blood. Hahahahaha! I crack myself up. Well no one can take my fantasy away from me because I'm not reading anymore books or seeing anymore movies after this one in the Twilight series.
Content: some very mild and very brief language, and some disturbing situations.
Rating: 2 and a half out of 5 stars (and then just for Jacob, the Volturi, and Alice)
Recommend: With Jacob it was a lot better than Twilight. Other than that I don't see why you would read it.
Well that's all folks. I'm exhausted. Here's a complimentary trailer to look at. After all I only started reading the book so I could go see the movie with my mother. I liked the Twilight movie better than the book, and I think I'll like the New Moon movie.
Pretty Cool huh?
Tuesday, November 3, 2009
Wow, I feel so much better now. I am Penelope in "Bye Bye Birdie". It's a small part but I couldn't be happier. I just had to know. (; Okay now on with the important things in life: books! I'm trying to write this but my cat thinks my arms should be his chin rest, and won't leave me alone. He's a persistent little guy. Anyway, I digress, we should be talking about Gilda Joyce, and what can I say, this series is so much fun. I love ghost stories, and mysteries and that's just what the Gilda Joyce series is. I bought this one a year ago, I have the two others in the series "Gilda Joyce Psychic Investigator" and "Gilda Joyce: Ladies of the Lake" and I didn't even know more had been published, so when I saw this on the shelves I quickly grabbed it.
Title: Gilda Joyce: The Ghost Sonata
Author: Jennifer Allison
Genre: Paranormal Mystery
Reading Level: 12 and up
Summary: Gilda Joyce, psychic investigator and women of style follows her friend Wendy Choy across the ocean to England where she is competing in an international piano competition. There her usually calm and sophisticated friend starts to loose control and is being haunted by a strange melody, tarot cards, and the number 9. Is this the work of a ghost, and can Gilda Joyce solve the mystery and save her friend?
My Review: Usually when books or movies in a series get set in England there not so good. Not so with Gilda, this is an excellent addition to the series. I like how Jennifer is letting the readers now solve the case along with the heroine. There are tons of clues you can pick up for yourself and that allows you to point your finger at the culprit before the last few chapters reveal them. It was lot's of fun to read. Jennifer writes it in the third person(in a voice which is always entertaining) but Gilda's personal psychic journal entries are sprinkled throughout the narrative and you get to hear her hilarious and imaginative thoughts. Wendy has been a character we don't see much of in the first two books even though she's the best friend, but in this installment she proves that she is the best "Gus" for Gilda's "Shawn". I definitely can't wait to see this duo more in the next book. some of the added characters were good but others, like Gilda's "love interest" Julian, were forgettable and added little to the story except a cute conversations between Gilda and her standoffish brother Stephen.
Content: very little language, some disturbing ideas
Rating: 4 out of 5 stars
Recommend: yes, it's the best in the series so far.
That's all for today fellow readers, if I've peaked your interest and you want to read this novel don't forget to check out the other two.
Monday, November 2, 2009
Author: Catherine Marshall
Genre: Historical Fiction
Reading Level: 14 and up
Summary: 19 year old Christy Huddleston leaves her home on impulse to teach school in the Smoky Mountains. There she is faced with the harsh reality and lifestyles of the mountain people who have strong convictions and fierce pride, But through them Christy learns many new things about herself, the people, and world around her.
My Review: Well this time those book critics featured in the first few pages of a book extolling it's virtues weren't lying. Catherine Marshall has a great way of writing, and by the time your finished the book you feel as though you've been through everything Christy has. It's written in the first person narrative so that also helps. Christy is a great character, and Catherine Marshall really shows her naivety in the beginning of the book, but also shows you glimpses of her strength that began to develop as the book goes on. The book also shows you how hard life was back in 1912 for the people who lived far from civilization. It's not like the fun romantic Victorian life style that most people portray in books and movies. It is a realistic book, and sometimes goes into harsh subjects, but Catherine Marshall never leaves you feeling as if there is no hope. Her characters are strong, and even though bad things will happen to them, they don't let it destroy their lives. They keep moving forward, looking into the future and seeing the good around them, no matter how small. The morals and messages that are intertwined in the book are universal, and I think anyone can take away something beautiful and new from them. There are also lot's of sprinkles of romance and comedy, as Christy finds herself drawn to two very different men. one is a young preacher with a broken nose named David. I mention the nose because, you will be reminded of it a lot in the book. One of those hang ups authors writing in the first narrative with a girls voice get when they describe the main guys. The other is an argumentative doctor name Neil MacNeill (Could Catherine Marshall not think of a first name that didn't rhyme with the last one?) who has red hair that need to be cut(another thing Christy won't let you forget). These add to the interest and enjoyment of the book which is good because it's quite long.
Content: Violence, some disturbing thematic elements, and a little language.
Rating: 5 out of 5 stars
Recommend: Definitely, and mostly for people who enjoy historical fiction, but I don't and I really liked it.
Upcoming Books: Alas my currently reading list on Shelfari is empty. Have no fear though, I will be back. Number one with my review on Gilda Joyce: The Ghost Sonata, and second, I will be dipping into the horror(and I don't mean that the book is a horror novel) that is New Moon by Stephenie Meyer so that should be interesting.
As always your devoted bibliophile,
Saturday, October 31, 2009
Title: Emily of New Moon
Author: L.M. Montgomery
Genre: Historical fiction
Reading Level: 9 and up
Summary: Emily Starr, newly orphaned, goes to live with her mothers snobbish family at New Moon Farm, where she has to endure her stern Aunt Elizabeth and malicious classmates. With the help of her new friends, artistic Teddy, tomboyish Ilsa, and Perry who's traveled all around the world with his father, Emily sets out to make her own happiness with her friends and her love of writing.
Why I bought it: Well number one: It's a classic and it was only 25 cents! Number two: I haven't read it and I have the sequel "Emily Climbs" so I couldn't resist it and I can't wait to read it.
Title: Around the World in 80 Days
Author: Jules Verne
Genre: Historical Fiction/Adventure
Reading Level: 12 and up
Summary: Travel around the world in 80 days-impossible! It is in 1872-long before the airplane and the supersonic train, But Phileas Fogg bets half his fortune that it can be done. With his servant, Passepartout, Phileas sets off on a race against time to do what no one has done before.
Why I bough it: This is a great adventure story. I read it last year. It was the 2nd book I read after what I call the horrible dry spell. It was a time where I barely read at all. (I know, GASP!) Thankfully I was cured, and this book helped a lot. It's funny and inventive. The characters and plot are great. I love the detective who stalks Phileas and Passepartout around the world, he adds a lot to the comedy aspect of the book. It's one of my favorite classics. Oh and as a side note: most people think his name is Phineas, well, IT'S NOT! It's PHILEAS, the L was not a typo. I mean come on, even amazon's made this mistake...*sigh* okay, I'm done now. (:
Title: The Invisible Man
Author: H.G. Wells
Genre: Science Fiction
Reading Level: 13 and up
Summary: Deranged scientist Griffin, makes a serum that give's him the ability of invisibility. What follows is a chilling story of his slow descent into madness.
Why I bough it: I've wanted to read this book for a while. I've gotten it out twice from the library, but was never able to finish it. I started reading "War of the Worlds" also by H.G. Wells and really liked it so I thought I'd try out this one as well. It was only 25 cents and I feel I'll come around to reading it sooner now that I have it. Psychotic scientist, suspicious murders, they are just some of the things that I think make a great book. (;
Title: The Chronicles of Narnia
Author: C.S. Lewis
Genre: Fantasy adventure
Reading Level: 9 and up
Summary: The story of a magical land ruled by a mysterious lion, and the many children that find adventure there.
Why I bought it: It was the whole series in one book, for 50 Cents! That's a bargain. Plus I've loved these books since I was a little girl. My favorite book is "The Silver Chair". I want to keep this collection in good condition for my children to some day read.
Title: What Could Go Wrong?
Author: Willo Davis Roberts
Reading Level: 10 and up
Summary: Gracie and her two cousins Eddie and Charlie are flying from Seattle to San Fransisco. It's their chance to prove that Charlie, who has a reputation for attracting trouble, is not bad. There plans begin to unravel though when Gracie finds a crossword puzzle that's filled in, with all the wrong answers! Soon they find themselves involved in a dangerous mystery involving sinister men, bomb threats, and the strange disappearance of their elderly friend Mrs. Basker. Will they be able to solve the mystery and prove that Charlie isn't a bad luck magnet?
Why I bough this book: Even on regular standards I think this is a very clever mystery. I know when I was 12 years old I was completely entranced. The characters are great and the writing is amazing, entertaining, and humorous. The plot also almost entirely take place inside a plane terminal, and I always admire a book that is amazingly interesting without changing the settings. I definitely recommend this book to any 12 year old and up!
Well that is all for my trip to the library. I finally finished one of the books on my reading list. It's "Christy" and I will have that review up as soon as I can!
Until next time,