Tuesday, January 29, 2008

A Wrinkle In Time (book review)

A Wrinkle In Time, by Madeleine L'Engle, is the story of Meg Murry, her little brother Charles Wallace, and her friend Calvin O'Keefe. Meg has never been happy with herself. She has braces, glasses, and does horribly at school. Meg doesn't realize how smart she actually is. But Meg's life is about to change. In the middle of the night, a mysterious stranger bursts into Meg's house. Later, the stranger and her friends (who are actually fallen stars) take Meg, Charles Wallace, and Calvin on the journey of a lifetime as they travel through space to save Meg's missing father.

I love this book! This is actually the second time I've read it, and I think I gained even more from it this time. It is a moving science fiction tale about accepting one's faults, the harm pride and arrogance can do, and the power of love.

Monday, January 28, 2008

Little Fur: The Legend Begins (book review)

Little Fur: The Legend Begins, by Isobelle Carmody, is the story of Little Fur. She's half troll, half elf and as tall as a three-year-old child. Little Fur lives in a magical wilderness hidden within an ancient city, caring for small animals and for seven ancient trees called the Old Ones. But when news that her beloved trees are in danger reaches Little Fur, she and her animal friends decide to go on a dangerous quest into the human world to save them.

This book was filled with suspenseful chapter endings and cliffhangers. Little Fur is an unlikely heroine who's out not only to save her home, but also to prove that small creatures can do big things. I can't wait to read the sequel, Little Fur: A Fox Called Sorrow.

The Dark Is Rising (book review)

The Dark Is Rising, by Susan Cooper, is the story of eleven-year-old Will. His life is pretty normal (at least, normal for a boy with nine siblings) until he discovers that he is the last of the Old Ones, immortals dedicated to protecting the world from the evil forces called the Dark. Will is plunged into a race for the six magical Signs that can save Earth from the Dark, but each step he takes, the mysterious and sinister Black Rider is on his tail. Will has twelve days to save his world. Will the Dark get there first?

This book was full of twists and turns in the plot. I didn't enjoy this one quite as much as its prequel, Over Sea, Under Stone, but it was still a winner! The book was chilling and suspenseful, and I can't wait to read the next one, Greenwitch!

Friday, January 25, 2008

I didn't run fast enough and now I'm it!

Jean tagged me with this reading meme and now I have to do it!

Which book do you irrationally cringe away from reading, despite seeing only positive reviews?

I don't really cringe away from any books. I'm willing to try just about anything!

If you could bring three characters to life for a social event (afternoon tea, a night of clubbing, perhaps a world cruise), who would they be and what would the event be?

I would have a sleepover with Lyra (from The Golden Compass), Hermione (from the Harry Potter series), and Meg (from A Wrinkle In Time). These are three brave, intelligent girls who I'd like to get to know.

(Borrowing shamelessly from the Thursday Next series by Jasper Fforde): you are told you can’t die until you read the most boring novel on the planet. While this immortality is great for awhile, eventually you realize it’s past time to die. Which book would you expect to get you a nice grave?

I've been lucky so far; I haven't found a book that would bore me to death!

Come on, we’ve all been there. Which book have you pretended, or at least hinted, that you’ve read, when in fact you’ve been nowhere near it?

I don't think I've ever done that, but I did pretend that I watched the Harry Potter movies a while ago when I'd really only read the books.

You’re interviewing for the post of Official Book Advisor to some VIP (who’s not a big reader). What’s the first book you’d recommend and why? (If you feel like you’d have to know the person, go ahead and personalize the VIP).

I would recommend A Wrinkle In Time. It has a lot of important messages including the importance of self-esteem, the power of love, and accepting who you are.

A good fairy comes and grants you one wish: you will have perfect reading comprehension in the foreign language of your choice. Which language do you go with?

I would pick Chinese or maybe Arabic.

A mischievous fairy comes and says that you must choose one book that you will reread once a year for the rest of your life (you can read other books as well). Which book would you pick?

I would pick the His Dark Materials trilogy (I know, it's three books, but they all go together!)

I know that the book blogging community, and its various challenges, have pushed my reading borders. What’s one bookish thing you ‘discovered’ from book blogging (maybe a new genre, or author, or new appreciation for cover art-anything)?

I found a lot of new authors like Orson Scott Card that I might not have otherwise run across!

That good fairy is back for one final visit. Now, she’s granting you your dream library! Describe it. Is everything leather-bound? Is it full of first edition hardcovers? Pristine trade paperbacks? Perhaps a few favorite authors have inscribed their works? Go ahead-let your imagination run free.

My dream library would fill a Victorian mansion! One room would have a fireplace on each end and a huge chair so I could sit and read by the fire. The bookshelves would be the floor to ceiling kind, and I would use rolling ladders to reach certain books. This room would have all of my favorite books. There would be a tower overlooking a forest where I could just sit, read, and watch the wildlife all day! One room would be filled with nonfiction books and worktables with computers on them for research!

Tag 4 people for this meme...

I'm not sure if I know four new people to tag, but I'd love to hear what Melissa and Carl have to say! And hey, Dad, you should play too!

Wednesday, January 23, 2008

Over Sea, Under Stone (book review)

This book is also for the Full Circle Challenge.

Over Sea, Under Stone, by Susan Cooper, is the story of the three Drew children. One holiday in Cornwall, Barney, Simon, and Jane find themselves in a fantastical mansion called the Gray House. The Gray House, which belongs to their uncle Merry Lyon, is full of hidden doors and secret passages. As if by chance, the children stumble upon an old map. It is more special than they know. Their map is the key to finding a grail, a grail that can help them fight the forces of evil known as the Dark. However, there are some people (if you can even call them people) who are determined to find the grail and use it for Dark purposes. The three children have to beware, because the Dark is rising.

I loved the book's sense of adventure, suspense, and fantasy. It's relation to the story of King Arthur made it even more interesting. I'm already reading the next one in the series.

Tuesday, January 22, 2008

Terrier (book review)

Terrier, by Tamora Pierce, is the story of sixteen-year-old Beka Cooper. Beka has just joined the police force of Corus (capital city of the land of Tortall). This force is called the Dogs. Beka, as a Puppy, is assigned to the two famous senior Dogs, Clara Goodwin and Mattes Tunstall. She'll have to learn quickly, because she's assigned to the Lower City, a dark place filled with murderers, pickpockets, and drunks. As if Beka isn't busy enough, her eerie magic tells her that there two sinister plots are going on right under the Dogs' noses! It's up to Beka and her friends to make sure that the culprits are caught before it's too late.

I loved this book and I can't wait for the next book in the series to come out! It was neat how the book was a mix of thriller and fantasy. Beka's magic was also different and interesting, but you will have to read the book to see what I mean.

Island of the Aunts (Book review)

Island of the Aunts, by Eva Ibbotson, is the story of Aunt Myrtle, Aunt Coral, and Aunt Etta. They live on a small island caring for stranded sea animals...and not all of the creatures they care for are of this world...among their patients are mermaids, giant birds, and a stoorworm (a wingless sea dragon). But when these fantastical beasts get out of hand, the aunts kidnap dejected children to help them. Most of the children come to think of the Island as their new home. However, they never expected that they would have to guard the island with their lives, because when one rather unpleasant boy manages to contact his father and tell him the Island's secret, that is exactly what they will have to do.

This was a suspenseful story full of cliffhanger chapter endings. I was sad when it was over, and I can't wait to read more of Eva Ibbotson's books!

Wednesday, January 16, 2008

The Sea of Monsters (book review)

This book was also for the Full-Circle Challenge.

The Sea of Monsters, by Rick Riordan, is the story of Perseus Jackson, thirteen-year-old demigod and son of Poisedon. The only place Percy and his friends feel safe is Camp Half-Blood, a magical camp where young demigods can go to train and learn. But the magical camp borders are failing, and Percy knows something is wrong. Along with his friends Annabeth and Tyson, Percy goes on a dangerous journey through the Sea of Monsters to find the only thing that can save the place he calls a second home.

I loved the relation to Ancient Greek mythology in this story. I also liked the way the characters' personalities varied according to who their parent god was. This series is full of adventure, fun, and humor, and I'll definitely be sad when this series is over!

Monday, January 14, 2008

Poppy and Rye (book review)

This is also the final book in my list for the Four-Legged Friends Challenge.

Poppy and Rye, by Avi, is the sequel toPoppy. In this book, Poppy, a young deer mouse, journeys through the vast Dimwood forest with her porcupine pal, Ereth. Poppy is heartbroken by her fiance Ragweed's death, and she is determined to tell Ragweed's parents the tragic news. However, upon arriving at the once peaceful Brook, she finds that the family has been forced to move up on top of a hill overlooking the Brook. A group of beavers have moved in and flooded their home! Though the family is devastated by the news, Rye, the family's eldest child, is determined to prove himself worthy of beautiful Poppy's love. He wants to do something about the beavers, something brave and daring. However, Rye finds himself a prisoner in the beavers' lodge! Poppy is determined to save Rye and get rid of the beavers once and for all. But will she give her own life to do it?

This was a book full of humor, romance, and adventure. The characters were unique, and also very complex. In the book, some characters appear one way on the outside, but are actually completely different on the inside. This has been a wonderful series so far!

Underworld (book review)

Underworld, by Catherine MacPhail, is the story of Fiona, Angie, Zesh, Axel, and Liam. They hate each other at school. They all believe things can't get any worse when they are picked for a school field trip to a remote Scottish island. However, things do get worse when they are all trapped in the labyrinth of caves under the island and their teacher is nearly killed. They must use their wits if they want to survive. And everyone has the feeling that something is watching them, because deep beneath the ground, something is stirring.

Underworld was a funny, spooky story that tells of five dejected teenagers with no friends and how being stuck with only each other to help them survive changes them in ways they don't yet know. It was also the story of a lost legend and a monster. I definitely enjoyed this one!

Friday, January 11, 2008

Ender's Game (book review)

Ender's Game
, by Orson Scott Card, is the story of Andrew (Ender) Wiggin, a six-year-old boy taken from his home to join Battle School, a place where children practice fighting against fake enemies to prepare them for careers battling in space. Earth has been invaded twice before by alien, insect-like buggers, and it's preparing for the Third Invasion. All the commanders from the First and Second Invasions are too old to fight now, so who is going to take their place? Children.

Meanwhile, while Ender is training hard at Battle School, Ender's siblings, Valentine and Peter, are becoming two of the most well-known people in America. But their identities are kept a secret, and they are known only as Demosthenes and Locke. They have an important part to play in the battle that's going to take place on Earth.

Ender doesn't know it, but the world is counting on him to defeat the buggers. He is the commander of the force to fight the Third Invasion. Is Ender up to the challenge?

Ender's Game was a story with a complex plot and complex characters. It is now one of my all-time favorite books, and I can't wait to read the sequel!

Wednesday, January 09, 2008

Two more challenges

First, there's The Chunkster Challenge--2008 is being hosted by Dana. Here's my list for this challenge:

Twilight by Stephenie Meyer

The Sweet, Far Thing by Gemma Doyle

The Historian by Elizabeth Kostova

The Yearling by Marjorie Kinnan Rawlings

And then, there's the Reading Full Circle Challenge, which Joy is hosting. And here's my list for that one:

The Whispering Land by Gerald Durrell

The Land of Oz by L. Frank Baum

The Sea of Monsters by Rick Riordan

20,000 Leagues Under the Sea by Jules Verne

Over Sea, Under Stone by Susan Cooper

Castles: Old Stone Poems by Lewis J. Patrick

The Secret of the Old Clock by Carolyn Keene

Monday, January 07, 2008

Tithe (book review)

Tithe, by Holly Black, is the story of Kaye--she's fierce, tough, and independent, and she travels with her mother's rock band. However, one day they are forced to go stay with Kaye's grandmother. Everything is fine until one night, at a party, strange things start happening. Kaye enchants a cute boy and makes a rocking horse come to life. Then, on her way home, she meets Roiben. He's a handsome faerie knight who's dying. However, with Kaye's help, Roiben is on his way again. But by helping Roiben, Kaye gets caught up in a conflict between two faerie courts, the Seelie and the Unseelie. Visited by her own faerie friends from her childhood, Kaye discovers a shocking secret--she too is faerie and she has her own important role to play in this battle.

This book wasn't my favorite, but I did enjoy it. I liked how these faeries seemed wild and fierce, instead of the calm, innocent versions of childhood stories. I'd like to read the sequel someday, but there are definitely other books I'd like to get to first.

Guardians of Ga'Hoole Book Nine: The First Collier (Book review)

(This book is also for the Four-Legged Friends Challenge.)

The First Collier, the ninth book in the Guardians of Ga'Hoole series by Kathryn Lasky, is the story of Grank, an owl who serves the noble King H'rath and Queen Siv. It takes place in the midst of a bloody war between owls and hagsfiends (part crow/part owl creatures possessing natchmagen, or bad magic). Grank is gifted with firesight, which means that he can see visions in flames. But that won't help him when one day King H'rath is killed in battle. The hagsfiends want Siv's egg to use for their natchmagen, and Siv doesn't intend to let them have it. She leaves the egg to Grank and takes the hagsfiends on a wild goose chase in the far north while Grank flies the egg to an uninhabited, forested island to care for it. They both meet unlikely allies and enemies, and make important discoveries that could change the course of every owl's life.

I liked the story's complex characters and plot, and also the wide range of animals featured in it. There were not only owls and crow/owls, but also dire wolves, polar bears, and other birds. The end was a cliffhanger that left me wishing I had the next book!

Saturday, January 05, 2008

Larklight (book review)

Larklight, by Philip Reeve, is the story of Art Mumby and his annoying sister Myrtle. They live in a magnificent, floating house called Larklight. The story takes place in an alternate Victorian England, where Britain's Empire expands beyond the reaches of Earth. Art and Myrtle have a pretty normal life with their father (well, as normal as your life can be when your house is floating around in space) until he receives a mysterious letter from a "Mr. Webster". As it turns out, Mr. Webster is actually the leader of a long-lost race of mysterious, giant spiders whose hideout is on Saturn. When their house is attacked by the spiders and their father (supposedly) eaten, Art and Myrtle escape on a small ship to the Moon. There, they meet Captain Jack Havock, who is Myrtle's age, and his ragtag crew of aliens. Jack welcomes them aboard his old ship, the Sophronia. But Mr. Webster is still on their tail. He wants something from
Art and Myrtle, but what is it? And what will he do to get it?

The plot of this story was filled with twists and turns. There were also great illustrations on some pages. The book was a mix of humor, fantasy, science fiction, and horror. I can't wait to read the sequel!

Thursday, January 03, 2008

Fell (book review)

I got way behind on my book reviews last year, so I decided to skip doing a few and go right to this year's books.

Fell, by David Clement-Davies, is the story of a Kerl, or a lone wolf. His name is Fell, and he is a legend among the wolves of Transylvania. They speak of a jet-black wolf who has the power to talk to other Lera (any wild animal, such as deer and monkeys, though the latter aren't featured in the story), look through the eyes of birds, and control the wills of others. These powers are known by the Varg, the wolves, as the Sight. Fell has never stopped mourning for the death of his sister Larka five years ago. He wanders through the forests of Transylvania alone, with no real purpose or aim except to survive. But when he has a vision of a strange human child whose fate is linked to that of nature itself, Fell knows he must find this child and guide it.

Alina is a changeling child who was discovered in the forest by the shepherd Malduk. She is made to dress like a boy and work more than twice as hard of one. It isn't a great life and Alina has few friends. But this all changes when Alina finds a mysterious paper speaking of her birth. Alina starts off on a quest to find out the truth of her past, hunted all the way by the cruel people of her village, who wish that she had never seen the paper. If that isn't bad enough, Alina finds herself stalked by a mysterious black wolf as she goes...

This was a dark fantasy about the connection between people and wild animals. Although it takes place in ancient times, it involves a bit of science from today. Fell has a vision of Lera evolving into man (which the Varg call the Great Secret, that man is a Lera too) and he sees what harm man will do to the world eventually. This book is also full of emotion, as Fell realizes that although man will harm the world, he is not evil. And Alina discovers treachery, love, and despair. I loved this book and I loved its prequel, The Sight, just as much!

New Challenge

Joy is hosting another challenge that I want to join, The A-Z Challenge. It sounds really fun and I can use a lot of the books that I'm reading for other challenges.


A-Assassin (Patricia Finney)

B-Back to the Divide (Elizabeth Kay)

C-Chasing Redbird (Sharon Creech)

D-The Dark is Rising (Susan Cooper)

E-Ender's Game (Orson Scott Card)

F-The Fire Within (Chris D'Lacey)

G-The Giver (Lois Lowry)

H-Harry Potter series (J.K. Rowling)

I-I Was A Rat (Philip Pullman)

J-Just So Stories (Rudyard Kipling)

K-The Killer Angels (Michael Shaara)

L-Larklight (Philip Reeve)

M-Mimus (Lilli Thal)

N-Northlander (Meg Burden)

O-Over Sea, Under Stone (Susan Cooper)

P-Pictures of Hollis Wood (Patricia Reilly Giff)


R-Rules (Cynthia Lord)

S-The Sea of Monsters (Rick Riordan)

T-Terrier (Tamora Pierce)

U-Underworld (Catherine MacPhail)

V-Vampire Plagues Book Two: Paris, 1850 (Sebastian Rook)

W-A Wrinkle in Time (Madeleine L'Engle)





A-Avi (Poppy and Rye)

B-Black, Holly (Tithe)

C-Clement-Davies, David (Fell)

D-D'Lacey, Chris (Icefire)

E-Eisner, Thomas (For Love of Insects)

F-Fine, Anne (The Tulip Touch)

G-Griffin, Peni R. (11,000 Years Lost)

H-Holman, Sheri (Sondok: Princess of the Moon and Stars)

I-Ibbotson, Eva (Island of the Aunts)

J-Jones, Diana Wynne (Charmed Life)

K-Kay, Elizbeth (The Divide)

L-Lasky, Kathryn (The Last Collier)

M-Meyer, Stephenie (Twilight)

N-Norton, Mary (The Borrowers)

O-Ono, Fuyumi (The Twelve Kingdoms: Sea of Shadow)

P-Pratchett, Terry (Wyrd Sisters)


R-Rinaldi, Ann (Amelia's War)

S-Said, SF (The Outlaw Varjak Paw)

T-Thal, Lilli (Mimus)


V-Voigt, Cynthia (Homecoming)

W-Wells, H.G. (The War of the Worlds)




Tuesday, January 01, 2008

Watership Down (book review)

Watership Down, by Richard Adams, is the story of a warren of doomed rabbits and how an individual, Fiver, has a vision of death and destruction that will come to them. His brother, Hazel, tries to warn the Chief Rabbit. However, the Chief Rabbit won't believe him. Hazel and Fiver, along with a few other bucks, set off to found a new warren. Along the way, they face badgers, foxes, humans, and other obstacles. Even when the rabbits finally find the perfect place for a new home, they must find does, or their journey will have been in vain.

This was a remarkable story of friendship and adventure. The rabbit characters were very similar to human characters, each with his or her own unique personality. I was sad when it was finished, and at moments I couldn't put it down!

I give this book 9 out of 10 stars.