Tuesday, December 22, 2009

A Different Day, A Different Destiny (book review)

A Different Day, A Different Destiny, by Annette Laing, is the second installment in the story of three children and a time-traveling professor. Nothing has ever been the same for Alex and Hannah Dias, or their friend Brandon, since they moved to the small town of Snipesville, Georgia. At first glance Snipesville is an ordinary place, but ever since their chance encounter with Kate Harrower, professor of history at Snipesville Colledge, the kids' lives have been anything but ordinary. Kate Harrower, or the Professor, has conquered the ability of time-travel, and she's dragged them along with her! They thought World War II England was difficult enough, but this time they've been dropped off in three different locations in 1851--a Southern cotton field, an English coal mine, and a Scottish factory. And they'll have to use everything they've got if they ever want to see their families again.

This was a very good book; I enjoyed it even better than the first. It was very informative while also fun and exciting to read, and I can't wait for the next in the series. However, I would recommend reading the first book, Don't Know Where, Don't Know When, before this one, as it bases heavily on the first volume.

Friday, December 18, 2009

Affluenza (book review)

Affluenza, by John De Graff, David Wann, and Thomas H. Naylor, is the story of Americans nationwide, who are suffering from a wide variety of "conditions" such as credit card debt, stress, and obsession with shopping. The authors of this book have compiled all of these and much more into a single "disease" called affluenza. Affluenza is, essentially, the craving for more material possessions. The authors of this book show that when given a choice, America chose money over time--higher wages over a shorter workweek, and how that has turned into a giant tangle of greed, materialism, and consumerism. Affluenza is affecting nearly all aspects of life, disrupting communities, alienating family members, and turning citizens, even neighbors, against one another.

This was a great book that can really open your eyes to the truth--that people spend MUCH more time spending money than they do socializing with other people, their friends and family. It is a very moving and convincing book, and I would definitely recommend it to anyone interested in this subject.

Friday, December 04, 2009

Child of the Wolves (book review)

Child of the Wolves, by Elizabeth Hall, tells the story of the young husky pup, Granite. Rebellious from the start, Granite flees his home after a mysterious man attempts to "kidnap" him (he is in fact being sold to a dog-sledder, but he doesn't know this). Lost and alone in the forest, Granite nearly starves to death until he wanders into the territory of a wolf pack. The pack welcomes him, to some degree, but Granite can tell that if not for the female leader's kindness for him, they would shun him. He struggles to please the pack, but despite his eagerness to learn the ways of the wolf, the other wolves either bully or ignore him. It will take a disaster and the near-death of all the wolves for them to realize exactly how valuable Granite is to their pack.

This book was okay. The end was heartwarming, and overall the story was cute, but the plot was a little simplistic. It seemed that whenever Granite got into a bit of trouble, something magically occurred to get him out of it. For example, in one instance, an angry grizzly bear mother was about to maul him, when she suddenly veered off to chase something else. There is no explanation of this. Sure, it's a children's book, but it's marketed to older children, ages 10 and up. Surely they can handle a bit of suspense! I would, overall, recommend this for young animal lovers ages 7-10. I think they would really enjoy it. And I did like the fact that it was very scientifically accurate, providing young readers with information on the feeding habits, behavior, and lifestyle of wolves.

This book is for the What's in a Name Two Challenge.

Saturday, November 28, 2009

The Great Gatsby (book review)

The Great Gatsby, by F. Scott Fitzgerald, is a defining piece of literature for the Roaring '20's. Set near New York City, it tells the story of a young bond broker named Nick Caraway, who lives next to an enormous mansion owned by the mysterious and elusive Jay Gatsby. At a party one night, Nick has the opportunity to meet Gatsby, and they strike up a strange, curious friendship. Matters are complicated when Gatsby rediscovers his old lost lover, beautiful Daisy Buchanan, and they begin to fall back in love. But Daisy's husband is a jealous man, who will do anything to keep her to himself. And when a horrible tragedy occurs, it opens the perfect opportunity for Tom to get his revenge...

I thought this was a very good book. The characters themselves, as well as the interactions between them, were complex and many-sided. The plot was light and cheerful at points, but it had a distinctly dark undertone, adding to the suspense of the book. The ending was definitely a shock. The only problem I had with this book was that occasionally I found it confusing and hard to follow. But these moments were rare, and overall I greatly enjoyed it.

Friday, November 27, 2009

The Astonishing Adventures of Fanboy and Goth Girl (book review)

The Astonishing Adventures of Fanboy and Goth Girl, by Barry Lyga, is the story of two teenage outcasts. Fanboy, thin, studious, and a comic book geek, doesn't have it so good. He's bullied at school, has only one friend (a friend who would choose his jock buddies over Fanboy), and his mother and "the step-fascist", as Fanboy calls his stepfather, are eagerly awaiting a new baby who will become Fanboy's little sibling. But Fanboy does have one thing going for him: the graphic novel he's writing. He knows it will be his ticket out of this town, and into a good college.

Then he meets Kyra, aka Goth Girl. She's sarcastic, witty, and intelligent, shares his love of comics and his hatred of the popular kids, and seems to take an interest in him. Soon they have a strong, if bumpy, friendship, and Fanboy feels as if perhaps his life is finally beginning to look up. But he doesn't know that Kyra has secrets of her own, secrets that could put her life...and perhaps even his...in great danger.

I truly loved this book. The plot was full of twists, the main characters clever and witty. Often I found it hard to put this book down; I just wanted to keep reading! Comic fans will enjoy the various references made to comic book artists in the book, and others will love the curious and sarcastic relationship between Fanboy and Kyra. I absolutely can't wait to read the sequel!

Thursday, November 19, 2009

Cry Bloody Murder (book review)

Cry Bloody Murder, by Elaine DePrince, is a true story about love, loss, and the effect AIDS can have on a community. Elaine DePrince, her husband, and her five sons (two biological, three adopted) are a family of hemophiliacs. Their three adopted sons, Cubby, Mike, and Teddy, had hemophilia A. DePrince and her biological sons, Adam and Erik, have a less well-known, yet similar, condition known as von Willebrand's disease. Hemophilia and von Willebrand's disease are conditions in which one's blood cannot clot. In order to prevent them from bleeding to death, DePrince needed to give her sons clotting factor, which would help their blood to clot when they experienced bleeding. However, DePrince was unaware that the clotting factor she gave her children contained the virus HIV--she only found this out after Cubby, Mike, and Teddy had all been affected. The clotting factor, and other blood products--could have been virally inactivated, killing HIV and other viruses in them--but the multi-million dollar corporations making the blood products didn't bother to do this. And as a result, thousands of hemophiliacs and others died, including Cubby and Mike. Cubby was only eleven. Mike was only fifteen. And what makes Elaine DePrince angriest is that their deaths could have easily been prevented, if only an industry cared more about the lives of its consumers than about its profits.
Teddy is still living, thanks to the new drugs available, but DePrince knows that, if not for the drugs, he could have died as well.

Thousands of hemophiliacs have suffered in this way, thousands have lost loved ones. But they cannot get compensation. In many states, so-called "blood-shield laws" have been passed, protecting the product responsible for all these deaths from strict product liability, a legal term allowing a consumer injured by a product to file suit against the manufacturer or seller of the product. As a result, the corporations and the blood banks don't have to pay for what they have done, and the hemophiliacs must suffer on with the ghosts of their siblings, parents, friends, spouses, and children.

This was a wonderful book, but it was also very sad. I would recommend it to anyone interested in AIDS or in hemophilia. The stories pictured in this book, Cubby's and Mike's, as well as those of others with the virus, will inspire you and at the same time, fill you with sorrow, that such wonderful lives had to be lost.

Tuesday, November 10, 2009

Where the Wild Things Were (book review)

Where the Wild Things Were, by  William Stolzenberg, is a moving account of how species are coping in a world of vanishing top predators. Stolzenberg takes us deep into the Venezuelan rainforest, to the rivers of Yellowstone, and almost everywhere in between. He's trying to say that evidence of disappearing predators is everywhere--most often caused by humans. Where cougars, grizzlies, and wolves once roamed now only coyotes and house-cats hunt. But why does this matter? This is the question Stolzenberg is trying to address. And we will see it in a variety of ways and places, from overpopulation of herbivores to extinctions of whole ecosystems.

This was a great book. It wasn't hard to read at all, and it was very interesting. Stolzenberg had a nice, easy style that grabbed you in at the same time. If you're interested in conservation biology, ecology, or even just in animals, I would recommend this book to you as a great addition to your collection.

Monday, November 09, 2009

All Quiet on the Western Front (book review)

All Quiet on the Western Front, by Erich Maria Remarque, is the moving story of Paul Baumer, a fictional German soldier who enlists in World War I. Young, only twenty years old, already his life is filled with death. He must face it everyday, and somehow manages to elude it even while his comrades and friends fall around him. The book relates various escapades, travels, as well as horrors that this young man and his friends face during their years on the front. As the years go by, Paul realizes that the only difference between him and his enemies, the ones he kills every day, is their uniform, and he decides to do everything he can to help the world avoid future wars--if only he can make it out of this one.

This was a wonderful book, but very sad. Paul, only twenty, was already much wiser about the world than much older men were. He was used to the sight of men without arms, faces, or legs. But he and his friends still found time for amusement. I thought it was very interesting to hear from his point of view, and to learn about what it felt like to actually be there.

Thursday, November 05, 2009

Abstract Expressionists (book review)

Abstract Expressionists, by Rachel Barnes, is a collection of short, generally two or three-page biographies of some of the major contributors to the abstract expressionist art movement. Included in this book are men and women such as Jackson Pollock, Willem de Kooning, and Helen Frankenthaler. Since it included many different artists, the book couldn't go very in-depth about any of them, but it still gave a good biography of each of them,  along with examples of their work. I would definitely recommend this to people interested in getting a general overview of the famous names we now associate with this movement. It was a quick and easy book to read, and if you sit down and read it it shouldn't take you very long, while still giving you quite a good introduction.

Sunday, October 25, 2009

Read-a-thon Post 13

Time: 25 minutes
Pages: 1,123
Reading: Time of the Witches by Anna Myers
Read: Marie Antoinette: Princess of Versailles by Kathryn Lasky, The Chronicles of Vladimir Tod: Eighth Grade Bites by Heather Brewer, Love, Stargirl by Jerry Spinelli, The Good Dog by Avi, Mouse Guard: Fall 1152 by David Peterson

Read-a-thon Post 12

Time: 40 minutes
Pages: 1,119
Reading: Time of the Witches by Anna Myers
Read: Marie Antoinette: Princess of Versailles by Kathryn Lasky, The Chronicles of Vladimir Tod: Eighth Grade Bites by Heather Brewer, Love, Stargirl by Jerry Spinelli, The Good Dog by Avi, Mouse Guard: Fall 1152 by David Peterson

Saturday, October 24, 2009

The Good Dog (book review)

The Good Dog, by Avi, is the story of a handsome malamute named McKinley. The leader of a pack of local dogs, McKinley has always taken his life for granted--protect the humans, protect the pack. Until a mysterious she-wolf named Lupin shows up, promising freedom to any dogs who wish to join her suffering wolf pack. At first, McKinley feels threatened by Lupin--who does she think she is, anyway? But eventually he realizes that the humans are even more upset by the wolf's appearance than he is. In fact, they are planning to track her down and shoot her. Soon, McKinley and his friends become caught up in a wild race to save one of the last wolves in Steamboat Springs.

This was a very good story. There was plenty of action, and it was a very quick read. It wasn't hard to understand at all. The characters, although inhuman, were easy to relate to, and one establishes a bond with them throughout the book. I would definitely recommend this to fans of the author's novels, and also to animal lovers.

Read-a-thon Post 11

Time: 43 minutes
Pages: 927
Reading: Mouse Guard: Fall 1152 by David Peterson
Read: Marie Antoinette: Princess of Versailles by Kathryn Lasky, The Chronicles of Vladimir Tod: Eighth Grade Bites by Heather Brewer, Love, Stargirl by Jerry Spinelli, The Good Dog by Avi

Read-a-thon Post 10

Time: 1 hour
Pages: 830
Reading: The Good Dog by Avi
Read: Marie Antoinette: Princess of Versailles by Kathryn Lasky, The Chronicles of Vladimir Tod: Eighth Grade Bites by Heather Brewer, Love, Stargirl by Jerry Spinelli

Read-a-thon Post 9

Time: 1 hour 20 minutes
Pages: 797
Reading: The Good Dog by Avi
Read: Marie Antoinette: Princess of Versailles by Kathryn Lasky, The Chronicles of Vladimir Tod: Eighth Grade Bites by Heather Brewer, Love, Stargirl by Jerry Spinelli

Love, Stargirl (book review)

Love, Stargirl is the sequel to Jerry Spinelli's beloved novel Stargirl. In this book, which is written from Stargirl's point of view, Stargirl has moved away from Arizona, the enchanting desert, and her ex-boyfriend Leo. Her new life, taking place in a small town in Pennsylvania, at first appears boring. But as Stargirl makes friends with her quirky neighbors and starts celebrating life itself, she discovers that one can find joy in even the smallest of things.

This was a great sequel! It was even better than the first book, in my opinion! Hearing from Stargirl's POV was very interesting, and this was an incredibly moving book. If you have not read Stargirl or its sequel, you should definitely go out and get this book!

Read-a-thon Post 8

Time: 2 hours 20 minutes
Pages: 691
Reading: The Good Dog by Avi
Read: Marie Antoinette: Princess of Versailles by Kathryn Lasky, The Chronicles of Vladimir Tod: Eighth Grade Bites by Heather Brewer, Love, Stargirl by Jerry Spinelli

Read-a-thon Post 7

Time: 1 hour 45 minutes
Pages: 552
Reading: Love, Stargirl by Jerry Spinelli
Read: Marie Antoinette: Princess of Versailles by Kathryn Lasky, The Chronicles of Vladimir Tod: Eighth Grade Bites by Heather Brewer

Read-a-thon Post 6

Time: 1 hour
Pages: 474
Reading: Love, Stargirl by Jerry Spinelli
Read: Marie Antoinette: Princess of Versailles by Kathryn Lasky, The Chronicles of Vladimir Tod: Eighth Grade Bites by Heather Brewer

The Chronicles of Vladimir Tod: Eighth Grade Bites (book review)

The Chronicles of Vladimir Tod: Eighth Grade Bites, by Heather Brewer, is the first book in the Vladimir Tod series. The protagonist, Vladimir Tod, is an orphaned teenage vampire. Living with his mother's old friend Nelly, a human, he is forced to hide his identity from the rest of the world, putting on dollops of sunblock before even stepping outside and disguising the blood he drinks inside of ordinary foods. Vlad's life is about as "ordinary" as a vampire's could be...until he discovers that he is being stalked by a crazy vampire who thirsts for his blood...

This was a wonderful book! It was different from many other vampire books written for teens at this time; despite a little crush Vlad has on his classmate, there is no dark romance, just plenty of action that will keep you on the edge of your seat. As soon as I finished it, I wanted to get the next one! I can't wait to read it!

This book is for the RIP IV Challenge!

Read-a-thon Post 5

Time: 1 hour
Pages: 417
Reading: Love, Stargirl by Jerry Spinelli
Read: Marie Antoinette: Princess of Versailles by Kathryn Lasky, The Chronicles of Vladimir Tod: Eighth Grade Bites by Heather Brewer

Read-a-thon Post 4

Time: 1 hour 35 minutes
Pages: 330
Reading: The Chronicles of Vladimir Tod: Eighth Grade Bites by Heather Brewer
Read: Marie Antoinette: Princess of Versailles by Kathryn Lasky

Marie Antoinette: Princess of Versailles (book review)

Marie Antoinette: Princess of Versailles, by Kathryn Lasky, is the fascinating story of this young monarch before she became the Queen of France. Lasky tells her story in a diary format, which is very interesting and helps to connect the reader to the main character. We  get an inside scoop on this princess's sheltered life and watch as she makes decisions that will eventually lead to her gruesome death as the Queen. The series this book is part of, Royal Diaries, is an offshoot of Dear America, so readers who enjoy these kinds of books will love this one. I'd also recommend it to anyone interested in historical fiction, because it was a great book, informative yet very entertaining.

Read-a-thon Post 3

Time: 1 hour
Pages: 235 altogether
Reading: The Chronicles of Vladimir Tod: Eighth Grade Bites by Heather Brewer
Read: Marie Antoinette: Princess of Versailles by Kathryn Lasky

Read-a-thon Post 2

Time: 2 hours 20 minutes
Pages: 173 altogether
Reading: Marie Antoinette: Princess of Versailles by Kathryn Lasky
Read: None

Read-a-thon Post 1

Time: 1 hour 20 minutes
Pages: 73
Reading: Marie Antoinette: Princess of Versailles by Kathryn Lasky
Read: none

Sunday, October 18, 2009

An African Tale (book review)

An African Tale, by Enna Neru, is a mystical folktale-type story taking place in Africa. It tells of Ledimo, a young man who has discovered a mystical stone which gives him the power to control the weather. He becomes a powerful and awe-inspiring semi-god, until people stop believing in him and his powers fade, leaving him mortal. The power of the stone slowly fades from human memory...until Ledimo's two great-grandchildren are born, one in a poor village with no formal schooling and the other in the posh capital city. Their world is going into a drought, and only they can harness the power of the stone and bring water back to the land. The catch? They have to work together.

This was a very enjoyable book. It was short and went very quickly, and at some spots I didn't want to put it down! It was very much like a folktale, filled with fantastical talking animals and wise forest men. The ending suggested a sequel. I'm not sure if there will be one or not, but I certainly hope so!

Saturday, October 17, 2009

Read-a-thon Pile

Ok, here is my final pile for the read-a-thon (again, thank you so much everyone for the votes!):

Nicola and the Viscount by Meg Cabot

Marie Antoinette: Princess of Versailles
by Kathryn Lasky

The Good Ghouls' Guide to Getting Even by Julie Kenner

Love, Stargirl by Jerry Spinelli

The Disreputable History of Frankie Landau-Banks by E. Lockhart

Flipped by Wendelin Van Draanen

Dreamland by Sarah Dessen

The Devil's Arithmetic by Jane Yolen

The Old Willis Place by Mary Downing Hahn

Hunted by N.M. Browne

Sammy Keyes and the Psycho Kitty Queen by Wendelin Van Draanen

Vulpes the Red Fox  by Jean Craighead George

The Good Dog by Avi

The Siren Song by Anne Ursu

The Astonishing Adventures of Fanboy and Goth Girl by Barry Lyga

The Chronicles of Vladimir Tod: Eight Grade Bites by Heather Brewer

Princess Ben by Catherine Murdock

Wolf Trails by Nik Sawe

The Diamond of Darkhold by Jeanne DuPrau

Invisible I by Stella Lennon

Gifts by Ursula K. Le Guin

Time of the Witches by Anna Myers

Once a Witch by Carolyn MacCullough

Oh. My. Gods. by Tera Lynn Childs

Secrets of the Clans by Erin Hunter

Moonlight by Rachel Hawthorne

The White Giraffe by Lauren St. John

Read-a-thon voting closed

Hi everybody! Just wanted to announce that read-a-thon voting's closed! Thanks to everyone who voted!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

I'll try to post my final pile later today.

Wednesday, October 14, 2009

The Midnight Twins (book review)

The Midnight Twins, by Jacquelyn Mitchard, is the story of two thirteen-year-old twins, Mallory and Meredith, with extraordinary psychic powers. After a disastrous fire leaves them nearly dead, they start having visions. One can see into the future, the other into the past. These newfound powers show them that someone they trusted is doing horrible things--and the future of their small town lies on their shoulders.

This was a very good book. It started out a little boring, but quickly picked up and soon I couldn't put it down! I enjoyed how the book would switch viewpoints from twin to twin at exciting moments so that I could experience all the action firsthand, no matter which twin experienced it. It was a great mystery story with a paranormal twist, and I can't wait for the next book to come out in paperback.

This book is for the RIP Challenge.

Saturday, October 10, 2009

Read-a-thon Pile Again

I'm going to do the 24-hour-read-a-thon again, and I have an ENORMOUS pile! Obviously I'm not going to read ALL of these, so I wanted you to help me decide. I will post the first sentence of each book, and you are going to decide which sentences sound most interesting to you and which ones would keep you reading. If you know what book a sentence is from,  don't judge based on the book, judge based on the sentence please!

1. Let me tell ye about the guard.

2. Once, not so long ago, inside an ordinary middle school in an ordinary city in an ordinary state in the middle of an ordinary country, a small readheaded eighth grader was doing something very ordinary indeed.

3. On the day Claire became a member of the Glass House, somebody stole her laundry.

4. Dear Leo, I love beginnings.

5. She ran.

6. I do solemnly promise to write in this diary given to me by my tutor, Abbe de Vermond, if not every day, at least every week, even though writing is not easy for me.

7. He's calling.

8. "Dad!"

9. "Oh, Nicky."

10. "I'm tired of remembering," Hannah said to her mother as she climbed into the car.

11. I, Frankie Landau-Banks, hereby confess that I was the sole mastermind behind the mal-doings of the Loyal Order of the Basset Hounds.

12. Outside, rain drummed against the window.

13. I want to not ride the bus to school every day, but that would be a waste of a really big want--it'll take care of itself eventually.

14. There.

15. "Eh, Tree-Ear!"

16. A tree branch slapped John Craig across the face, scraping his skin, but he kept on running and ignored the stabbing of pine needles on his bare feet.

17. How many times I have wondered what my fate might have been had I accompanied my parents that rainy spring morning.

18. "You're not going to give me an allowance for two months?!"

19. I wore a green tie-dyed T-shirt and jeans.

20. "Wow!!"

23. There are things in life you can predict, and then there's my mother.

24. People like to say that things come in threes, but the way Martine looked at it, that all depends on when you start counting and when you stop.

25. Vulpes, the Red Fox, was born in a den in Maryland.

26. It's amazing how much dying can do for a girl's popularity.

27. Around the middle of the twenty-first century, when it seemed that a great catastrophe was about to engulf the word, an underground city was built as a last refuge for the human race.

28. Julie picked up a scrap of shoelace.

29. The sunlight, for a brief moment, seemed to flare upon the meadow, casting an orange glow about the pale brown grasses.

30. My sister Cass ran away the morning of my sixteenth birthday.

31. Moonlight washed over us, washed over Lucas and me.

32. The big cat crouched low in the tall grass.

33. When I'm running I can almost feel my dad at my side.

34. He was lost when he came to us, and I fear the silver spoons he stole from us didn't save him when he ran away and went up into the high domains.

35. "They're coming, they're coming!"

36. They're always the same.

37. All I've ever wanted is for Juli Baker to leave me alone.

38. If he weren't already dead, I swear I would kill Stephen Wills.

39. Many moons ago, the forest was a wilderness, untamed by territories.

40. Why is it that when you don't want to think about something, you can't stop thinking about it?

41. I was born on the night of Samhain, when the barrier between the worlds is whisper thin and when magic, old magic, sings its heady and sweet song to anyone who cares to hear it.

42. We were born at the exact same time, Gabe and I.

43. "Are you crying?"

44. Aerial shot.

Well, that's it! Have fun!

Thursday, October 08, 2009

Uprising (book review)

Uprising, by Margaret Peterson Haddix, is the story of the Triangle Shirtwaist fire in New York City. The book alternates between the points of view of three girls. Bella is an immigrant who has just arrived in a strange new land. She's relieved when her cousin gets her a job right away at the Triangle Shirtwaist Factory. Yetta is a Russian Triangle worker fighting for union rights. And Jane is a wealthy society girl who's run away from home to escape her oppressive father. When the three girls meet, they form an unbreakable bond, deciding that whatever happens, they will go through it together. And indeed they do. On March 25, 1911, when Bella and Yetta are working and Jane is visiting, a spark ignites a piece of cloth and soon the whole factory is ablaze. All three girls show remarkable courage and bravery, fighting for the lives of the other workers-and meanwhile two of them will lose theirs in the process.

This was really an amazing book. It was historical fiction, but although the three protagonists were fictional many of the events that happened in the book, including, of course, the fire, are real. I could hardly put the story down, it was so good. It may just be the best historical fiction book I have ever read!

Tuesday, September 29, 2009

English and American Folk Music (book review)

English and American Folk Music, by Richard Carlin, is an in-depth description of the methods and history of the musical genre we call "folk music". Carlin discusses the roots of the music, the different types, and the music theory behind it. We learn how it was passed from Europe to America, and how African-Americans added their own unique flavor to it. We travel to Louisiana to learn about Cajun and Creole dances, to Texas to learn about the unique Mexican-American music known as Tex-Mex, and are introduced to many famous musicians along the way.

If you want to learn about folk music, this is definitely the book to read. It was in-depth and descriptive, but not boring. However, in Chapter 8 the printing went wrong and a few of the paragraphs were switched around, leaving sentences hanging off into space and having words pop up at inopportune moments in the book. It's too bad, too, because that looked to be the most interesting chapter!

Sunday, September 27, 2009

Warriors: Graystripe's Adventures (book review)

Graystripe's Adventures, by Erin Hunter, is actually a set of three graphic novels centering on the warrior cats who are also featured in Hunter's novels, Warriors. These three books (The Lost Warrior, Warrior's Refuge, and Warrior's Return) chronicle the life of the ThunderClan deputy Graystripe after he is kidnapped by "twolegs" (humans). His story begins after he has been taken to a twoleg house. He has plenty of food and shelter, and the twolegs are kind to him, but Graystripe can't forget his home in the forest. So he sets out for home, and along the way is joined by a friendly housecat named Millie. They meet several unlikely new allies and face difficulties that will push both of them to the limit...but they are both in for the ultimate shock when they arrive at the forest to find it...destroyed. Can Graystripe and Millie use their tracking skills to find what remains of ThunderClan, or is this the end of the road for them?

I really enjoyed these graphic novels. They were nice and quick, certainly not time-consuming at all. If you've read the original Warriors books, I'd definitely recommend these to you. However, if you haven't, don't read these yet--wait until you've read Warriors first!

Saturday, September 26, 2009

Heir Apparent (book review)

Heir Apparent, by Vivian Vande Velde, is an amazing combination of science fiction and fantasy. It takes place in the future; however, the protagonist, Giannine, is immersed in a fantasy game for a majority of the book. Called Heir Apparent, the game she is playing tests gamers' strategical thinking...in a world where anyone could be a backstabbing murderer, who can you trust?

Meanwhile, back in the real world, protesters have damaged the gaming equipment in the facility where Giannine is playing, and now she has a limited time to win the game. And if she can't make it through in time, she'll die...for real.

This was the first book I read by Vivian Vande Velde, and I loved it. I enjoyed the unique combination of science fiction and fantasy, and Giannine was a character that I felt I could relate to. What made the book even cooler was that it took place in Rochester, NY, which is close to where I live! Anyway, this was a great story with a plot full of twists, and I'd recommend it to fans of either science fiction or fantasy.

Friday, September 25, 2009

Willem de Kooning (book review)

Willem de Kooning, by Louise Hawes, is a brief biography of this famous Dutch artist, beginning when he was a young boy, and ending after his death in 1997. When I say brief, I mean brief; I read this book in about 20 minutes. While I thought his life and his artwork were interesting, I would have liked a more in-depth look at it. My library has this book classified under Young Adult nonfiction; however, I would recommend it to much younger readers, as I think they would enjoy it a lot more.

Thursday, September 24, 2009

The Jungle (book review)

The Jungle, by Upton Sinclair, is the story of a family of Lithuanian immigrants working in Chicago's Packingtown district. First, I must warn you: this is not a happy book. But it gives us an honest representation of what life was like for meat-packing workers at the turn of the century. The protagonist, Jurgis Rudkus, and his young wife, Ona, move with their family to America. It is a land of hopes and dreams, where anyone can become rich--or so they think. But their work at Packingtown tells them a different story. It is a place where the life is slowly sapped out of workers until they are nothing but empty shells, and then they are cast aside to die while the packers replace them with fresher, stronger men. We watch as Jurgis's family sinks into ruin and one by one they are slowly overwhelmed by the harsh, never-ending circumstances that they are doomed to suffer in for the rest of their lives.

Like I said before, this is not a happy book. However, it isn't dull and boring either. It's quite interesting, and the reader soon becomes sympathetic toward the family's plight. This may be a novel, but at the time it was written, thousands of men, women, and children were suffering in the same way, and the book is a shocking reminder of this dark aspect of our history.

This book was assigned to me for history, and I think that it is a wonderful book to read if you are interested in this particular time. It covered many controversial topics from this period--from Socialism, dirty politics, and immigrants, to muckraking, the gap between the rich and the poor, and the revolutionary new industrial equipment that was making its way into our culture. I was a little worried that this would be a dull book, but that was not the case at all! I'd definitely recommend it to any fans of historical novels.

Wednesday, September 23, 2009

A Different Kind of Read-a-thon

Last week, I joined the Teen Advisory Board at my local library. We meet once each month and discuss issues involving the library. We volunteer and help out at special events. I also volunteer weekly. Each year, our library helps sponsor the Teen Book Festival at Nazareth College. This year, to help raise money for the festival, we're participating in a Read-a-thon at Barnes and Noble. We get sponsors to pay us to read from 1pm to 5pm (certainly not a big challenge compared to the twenty-four hour read-a-thon) and then the money goes to the Teen Book Festival. I was wondering if any of you guys would sponsor me. It doesn't have to be a lot, just two or three dollars, maybe, and you certainly don't have to. But if you would like to, please comment. Thanks so much!

Monday, September 21, 2009

The Luckiest Girl in the World (book review)

The Luckiest Girl in the World, by Steven Levenkron, is the story of fifteen-year-old Katie. At first glance, she appears to be the girl who has everything. She's pretty, bright, and an extremely talented figure skater. But she has a secret--she cuts herself. When the pressures of school, skating, and her psychologically abusive mother become too much, Katie has a breakdown right in the middle of school, and her secret is out. Now she has to see a shrink, but Katie's determined not to talk. But she can't keep quiet for long, and when she opens her mouth, what will her fate be?

This book was good, but not great. Katie's story was interesting enough to keep you reading, but it wasn't a fast-paced can't-put-it-down kind of book. However, it did address a very real issue that is important to lots of people today.

Wednesday, September 16, 2009

Pedro and Me (book review)

Pedro and Me, by Judd Winick, is the heartbreaking true story of a friendship between two young men--one of whom had AIDS. Pedro Ramora was a nationwide AIDS educator who was known around the world. Judd Winick was a "starving artist" living in an apartment with his friend. They met when they were both cast on MTV's hit The Real World, and they soon struck up a strong friendship. When Pedro revealed to Judd that he had AIDS, Judd was surprised, but it did nothing to stop their growing friendship. Their friendship was as strong as ever, and Judd learned more about the disease than he ever could have thought...until Pedro got sick. Very sick. First with toxoplasmosis, and then with PML--Progressive Multifocal Leukoencephalopathy. And, after a long and difficult struggle...Pedro died. Now, Winick is here to tell Pedro's story like it's never been told before...in a graphic novel filled with both humor and heartbreak. At the end of the story, you will feel like you knew Pedro personally, and you will feel inspired to do something to help.

Monday, September 14, 2009

Alanna: The First Adventure (book review)

Alanna: The First Adventure, by Tamora Pierce, is the first installment in the Song of the Lioness quartet. The heroine of the story, Alanna, is to be sent to a convent to study magic, while her twin brother, Thom, is to go to the palace to train as a knight. It isn't a good match; while both twins have what is known as "the Gift", Alanna is much braver and more skilled at fighting than Thom, while Thom has more of a knack for magic. So they decide to switch places. Alanna, disguised as a boy, heads to King Roald's palace to begin her training, and Thom, disguised as a girl, heads to the convent.

Once she arrives, Alanna discovers that being a knight isn't all about battles and glory. She must also learn to work hard and curb her fierce temper before it gets her into trouble. Throughout the course of her training as a page, Alanna will make more than one enemy...but she will also discover a host of unlikely allies.

This was overall a very good book, although it wasn't as good as some of the other Tamora Pierce novels I've read. It seemed as if most of the action took place at the very end. However, it was still enjoyable, and the heroine was funny and likable. But I'd recommend reading some of her other, better books first.

Tuesday, September 08, 2009

Vacations from Hell (book review)

Vacations from Hell is a story anthology with contributions by Libba Bray, Cassandra Clare, Claudia Gray, Maureen Johnson, and Sarah Mlynowski.

In the first story, "Cruisin'," Kristin finds herself on a cruise ship rumored to be plagued by a mysterious vampire. But no one will ever suspect the truth...

"I Don't Like Your Girlfriend," is the story of two enemies who are forced to bunk with each other for a week in a tiny, claustrophobic cabin. The only catch? They're both witches!

In "The Law of Suspects," sisters Marylou and Charlotte are enjoying a peaceful, if strange, vacation in the French countryside...that is, until Charlotte meets two mysterious young men and uncovers an ancient curse...

"The Mirror House," takes place in sunny Jamaica. Violet is on a vacation with her mother, stepfather, and stepbrother on an island paradise, but she's not having any fun. She's mostly bored, and concerned about her stepfather abusing her mother...that is, until she questions a servant and discovers that the beautiful woman living next door is really a witch--and she's preying on Violet's stepbrother's soul!

The final story in the book, "Nowhere is Safe," is by far the scariest of them all. It is the story of four young backpackers journeying deep into a European forest. Little do they know that one of them will soon become the subject of an unpleasant prophecy, and that they will soon participate in a gruesome ritual and witness an uprising of the dead to get revenge for their unfair murder.

Overall, this anthology was very good. There was a nice mix of funny and scary stories in it. However, the last one was kind of disturbing, but still very good writing. I would definitely recommend these stories to fans of horror!

This book is for the RIP IV Challenge.

Saturday, September 05, 2009

My Sister the Vampire: Switched

My Sister the Vampire: Switched, by Sienna Mercer, is the story of two sisters, Ivy and Olivia. Adopted by different parents when they were babies, they have never known each other...until Olivia moves to Franklin Grove and starts eighth grade at the same school as Ivy. Soon, they meet and discover that not only are they sisters, but they're twins--identical twins!

Ivy and Olivia are brimming with plans to switch places and try out life in one another's shoes. But Ivy has a secret--she's a vampire, and she's not the only one in Franklin Grove. Will she tell Olivia, or will her sister find out the hard way?

This was, overall, a good book. It was nice to read if you want something quick, light, and funny. However, sometimes it seems as if the author came up with a quick explanation for some parts of the book to keep the plot from becoming more complicated. But that was my only problem with it, and I'd definitely recommend it to fans of vampire books.

This book was for the RIP IV Challenge.

Sunday, August 30, 2009

Another RIP Challenge

Hi everyone! I'm signing up for another challenge, the RIP Challenge IV hosted by Carl. I'm joining at the four-book-level. Here are a few possibilities from my list:

Vacations from Hell by Libba Bray, Cassandra Clare, Claudia Gray, Maureen Johnson, and Sara Mlynowski

The Book of Dead Days by Marcus Sedgwick

Eighth Grade Bites by Heather Brewer

Sweep: Book of Shadows by Cate Tiernan

Strange Tales of the Civil War by Michael Sanders

Blue is for Nightmares by Laurie Faria Stolarz

The Good Ghouls' Guide to Getting Even by Julie Kenner

Mystery Stories for Girls by various authors

Poison Ink by Christopher Golden

Glass Houses by Rachel Caine

Revenge of the Witch by Joseph Delaney

Frankenstein by Mary Shelley

Marked by P.C. Cast and Kristin Cast

Dracula by Bram Stoker

And that's just a few...thanks for hosting this great challenge again, Carl!

Sunday, August 16, 2009

Ophelia Speaks (book review)

Ophelia Speaks, by Sara Shandler, is actually a collection of essays, poems, stories, and diary entries about various topics affecting teenage girls today. The entries come from girls ages 12-18 all across the U.S. Their cultural backgrounds, religions, and ideals are varied. The topics range from friendship to faith, academics to anorexia. At the beginning of each topic the author gives a short introduction about her views and experiences with the subject.

I thought all the topics were interesting, and that many different views were represented in this book. Usually there were about three contributions per topic, sometimes less and sometimes more. At times I wished the author had put more of the letters she'd recieved in the book, but I know she couldn't put all of them in; then it would be enormous!

Thursday, August 13, 2009

Dramacon Volume 1 (book review)

Dramacon Volume 1, by Svetlana Chmakova, is the story of Christie, who writes a manga along with her artist boyfriend, Derek. Along with a pair of very strange roomies, the two travel to a manga convention to promote their manga. At first, Christie is excited, until Derek starts acting like she's not even there. When she suddenly falls for a cosplayer she barely knows, things get a lot more confusing. Will Christie be able to reconcile her emotions before the end of the con?

This was a great book. It was one of the best mangas I've ever read, and now I wish I'd bought the second and third books as well! Christie was a fun, exciting heroine and I never wanted to put the book down!

This book was my final book for the Random Reading Challenge!!!

Firegirl (book review)

Firegirl, by Tony Abbott, is a heartwarming story that takes place in a small Catholic school. The protagonist is Tom Bender, a chubby boy with only one close friend. Tom spends his days reading comic books and daydreaming about his crush, Courtney. That is, until Jessica arrives. Jessica is a new girl at their school, and she's a little different from the other kids in the class. She was badly burned in a fire, and she is currently undergoing treatment at a hospital nearby. Other kids are quick to make up cruel rumors about Jessica, but Tom is reluctant. In fact, he seems to even be growing closer to her. Their friendship will change his life forever.

This was an amazing book. It was incredibly moving. Sad, yet hopeful at the same time. Again, it was a wonderful book. I'd recommend it to almost anybody who's interested.

This book was for the Random Reading Challenge.

Pita-Ten Volume 1 (book review)

Pita-Ten Volume 1, by Koge-Donbo, is the story of a schoolboy named Kotarou. Kotarou's mother is dead, and his father is always on business trips, so Kotarou spends most of his time alone...until a strange girl named Misha moves in next door. She follows him around, always popping up at inopportune moments, such as in the middle of class. She also claims to be an angel whose mission is to make people on Earth, particularly Kotarou, safe and happy. But what will she do when Kotarou finds her antics more annoying than amusing?

This book was okay. It wasn't the best manga I've ever read, and it was kind of annoying sometimes. I don't think I will be getting the next ones, except maybe from the library. I'd only pick it up if you have nothing else to read.

This book was for the Random Reading Challenge.

The Battle of the Labyrinth (book review)

The Battle of the Labyrinth, by Rick Roirdan, is the fourth book in the Percy Jackson series. In this book, a battle with the titan lord Kronos is imminent. Percy Jackson (who is the son of Poseidon) and his friends Annabeth, a fellow demigod; Grover, a satyr; and Tyson, a cyclops; must journey deep into the impenetrable maze known as the Labyrinth. What they find there will be like nothing they have faced before, but with the help of a few very unexpected allies, perhaps they will make it through and find what they are looking for.

I think this was by far the best book yet in the series, although they were all good. It was action-packed, thrilling, and fast-paced, just like the others. I would recommend this series to any fans of Greek mythology or any fantasy for that matter.

This book was for the Random Reading Challenge.

Tuesday, August 11, 2009

Spooky New York (book review)

Spooky New York, retold by S.E. Schlosser, is a book of supernatural folktales and legends from New York. Part of the book is filled with ghost stories, and part of it is filled with stories about various other spooky beings, including, among others, giants, werewolves, and gnomes. The settings are extremely varied, from Niagara Falls to Ellis Island. One even took place somewhere I've been before, Durand-Eastman Park, which is supposedly haunted by the ghost of the White Lady.

I would recommend this book to fans of ghost stories and folktales. There was a wide variety of stories in this book; some were scary and some were funny, a nice balance between the two. I've heard that the author has written books on other states as well. I will have to check them out sometime!

This book was for the Random Reading Challenge.

Fruits Basket Volume 3 (book review)

Fruits Basket Volume 3, by Natsuki Takaya, is the next episode in the story of Tohru Honda, an orphan who is living with the enigmatic Sohma family. Tohru is the only outsider who knows the Sohmas' secret: certain members are possessed by the spirits of the Chinese Zodiac, and transform into their animals whenever they are weak or are hugged by a member of the opposite sex. In this volume, Valentine's Day is just around the corner, and kind-hearted Tohru makes sure there are plenty of chocolates for everyone. But soon another member of the Zodiac shows up, and tensions are running high. Can Tohru calm everyone down before somebody gets hurt?

The books in this series just keep getting better and better! I think this was the best one yet. I'd recommend these books to any fans of manga. They're really great. I'm looking forward to the next book!

This book was for the Random Reading Challenge.

Monday, August 10, 2009

Faeries' Landing Volume 1 (book review)

Faerie's Landing Volume 1, by You Hyun, is the story of 16-year-old Ryang Jegal. Little does he know that faeries and other mystical beings descend into his town at night, until he ends up helping a shapeshifting deer-boy named Goodfellow escape from the police. After this, the two stumble upon a faerie bath, and Ryang ends up the guardian of a grounded faerie named Fanta. Fanta is friendly, perky, and pretty, and Ryang is starting to enjoy having her around...until she tells him that he is doomed to 108 failed relationships. But with a little bit of faerie magic, perhaps girl-shy Ryang can pull through.

I really enjoyed this manga. The characters were funny, and the plot was action-packed yet easy to follow. The pictures were clear and didn't run into each other like in some other mangas I've read. I can't wait to read the next volume.

This book is for the Random Reading Challenge.

Freaky Green Eyes (book review)

Freaky Green Eyes, by Joyce Carol Oates, is the haunting story of Franky Pierson. Her father is a famous sportscaster and former athlete, and her mother is an artist. Franky, who lives in an enormous modern mansion, thinks her life is great. That is, until her parents separate. Tension builds between her mother and father, but this is nothing new to Franky and her siblings. They've always been fighting. But then, her mother disappears. Franky hopes that her mother is simply pulling a vanishing act, and will show up again in a week or two. But deep in her heart, a part of her that she calls Freaky Green Eyes knows that it's much more complicated. And only Freaky can lead Franky to discover the horrible truth.

I loved this book. It was fast-paced, compelling, and nearly impossible to put down. It kept me guessing until the very end. It was humorous, frightening, heartwarming, and sad at the same time. I would recommend this book to fans of psychological thrillers, or just plain old realistic fiction. Again, this was a truly wonderful book!

This book was for the Random Reading Challenge.

Sunday, August 09, 2009

Little (Grrl) Lost (book review)

Little (Grrl) Lost, by Charles De Lint, is the story of two very different girls, TJ and Elizabeth. TJ has just moved from her farm to the Newford suburbs, and she misses her old friends, school, and most of all her beloved horse Red. Elizabeth is a punked-out runaway Little, a six-inch-tall girl trying to find her place in the world. They soon forge a strong friendship, but when some bullies unknowingly kidnap Elizabeth after stealing TJ's backpack, the two find themselves separated. They will have to figure out how to make it on their own in two different worlds.

This was a very good book. It dragged in a few places, but for the most part I couldn't put it down. There were a ton of cliffhangers and I always wanted to know what happened next. The main characters were very different from one another, and I enjoyed hearing the story from both points of view. I am definitely interested in checking out more of De Lint's books.

This book was for the Random Reading Challenge.

Thursday, August 06, 2009

Ten Things I Hate About Me (book review)

Ten Things I Hate About Me
, by Randa Abdel-Fattah, is the story of a girl desperately trying to fit in at school and struggling to come to terms with her cultural heritage. At school, she's Jamie, the cool girl who flirts with the most popular boy in her grade. At home, she's Jamilah, the Muslim girl who speaks Arabic and plays the darabuka drums. No one at school knows about her Lebanese-Muslim heritage. But she feels like she can't keep it up much longer. How can she become both Jamie and Jamilah? In the end, she decides to just be herself...and makes some true friends along the way.

I really enjoyed this book. Jamie/Jamilah was a funny, spunky heroine, and I enjoyed reading about her life at school and at home. I also thought it was interesting to learn about her culture and traditions. It was a great novel that went very quickly, and I would prepare to read it in one sitting if I were you.

This book is for the Random Reading Challenge.

Wednesday, August 05, 2009

Warriors: Code of the Clans (book review)

Warriors: Code of the Clans, by Erin Hunter, is the story of the warrior code, the law that is obeyed by each and every warrior cat. Each chapter is about one part of the code. Besides a brief explanation of each segment, there are also one or two short stories in every chapter about the code's origins and about cats who decreed the laws and what happened to them. I enjoyed this book a lot, and I liked how the stories were about different clans, not just Thunderclan, which is the main clan in the novels. Although some parts dragged a little, overall it was an excellent book, perfect for fans of the series. However, I would not read this book unless you've read the original novels.

This book was for the Random Reading Challenge.

Tuesday, August 04, 2009

The Poison Apples (book review)

The Poison Apples, by Lily Archer, is the story of three fifteen-year-old girls: Alice Bingley-Beckerman, Molly Miller, and Reena Paruchuri. They are all students at posh Putnam Mount McKinsey boarding school, and at first glance they have nothing in common. Alice is the shy, quiet one who gets along with everyone. Molly is the dorky one, who would rather sit and read the Oxford English Dictionary than go to a school dance. And Reena is the gorgous, rich one who lives in a mansion in Beverly Hills. However, they do have one thing in common: they are all the stepdaughters of very wicked stepmothers. But it is only once they all meet that they will be able to plot their revenge...

This was a very humorous read. It would be perfect if you wanted something light, funny, and quick. I often had a hard time putting this one down. I found it especially interesting how all the characters and their backgrounds were so different. This is a great book for fans of realistic fiction and modern fairy tale retellings.

This book was for the Random Reading Challenge.

Sunday, July 26, 2009

Even Angels Fall (book review)

Even Angels Fall, by Sherry Mauro, is the thrilling story of sixteen-year-old Sabrina Devour. Sabrina is no normal teenage girl; she has the ability to see the dead and help them cross over. Upon returning to claim his family's estate after many years away, handsome Hunter Ravenwood begins to show interest in Sabrina. Sabrina is happy as their relationship blossoms, but she becomes unnerved by Hunter's enormous mansion, Rambling Rose. She feels as if something is in there, watching her. It's almost like the house is alive. Rumors claim that Rambling Rose sits on a Sheol, a gateway to Hell, and Sabrina can't help but believe it. She soon realizes that, like many families, the Ravenwoods have their own dark secrets. And as she tries to help the ghost of a mysterious woman whose past is tied in with that of Sabrina's own family, she discovers just how dangerous those secrets may be.

Even Angels Fall was exciting, engaging, and all-around fun to read. I found it nearly impossible to put down. Sabrina was witty and likable, if a bit dreamy, and the book had all the hooks of a good Gothic romance. I would certainly recommend it to anyone who is a fan of the genre.

*NOTE: As of 11/01/2009 the author offers a FREE PDF version to anyone who is interested in reading this book or others in the series. Just contact her with your email addy at her blog: http://sherryhallmauro.blogspot.com/

Saturday, July 25, 2009

Wolf Tower (book review)

Warning: This review may contain spoilers.

Wolf Tower, by Tanith Lee, is the story of sixteen-year-old Claidi, who, all her life, has served the spoiled royalty of the House, a sparkling oasis in the midst of the barren Waste (or so she has been taught). She never expects that her life could change until a handsome stranger, Nemian, arrives from the Waste. Claidi risks everything to rescue him, leaveing behind the only life she has known and accompanying him to his city ruled over by the mysterious Wolf Tower. Together they journey across barren deserts, through toxic jungles, across vast rivers, and all the while Claidi begins to think she could come to love Nemian..until they reach the Wolf Tower, and an unexpected betrayal leaves her trapped and confused. Will her real Prince Charming come and rescue her? Or will she be stuck here forever?

This was a great book. Claidi was a likeable heroine, and I enjoyed reading about her journeys across the "Waste". The plot had a twist at the end that I would never have suspected!

This book is for the What's in a Name Challenge 2.

Thursday, July 23, 2009

Random Reading Challenge

I am joining the Random Reading Challenge, hosted by Caribou's Mom. I'm joining at Level Three, which means I have to read twelve books. It runs from August 1st, 2009 to July 31, 2010. This is a great one for me because I always have trouble picking what books to read!

Tuesday, July 21, 2009

A Mango-Shaped Space (book review)

A Mango-Shaped Space, by Wendy Mass, is the story of a girl with a rare condition struggling to fit in. Thirteen-year-old Mia appears to be the most normal child in her family--after all, her brother keeps a chart of all the hamburgers he's ever eaten, and her sister dies her hair as often as she changes clothes. But Mia knows that she is anything but normal. Letters, numbers and sounds have colors for her. D is a pinkish purple, for example, and slamming the door causes her to see brown rings floating in the air. Difficulty at school forces her to reveal her secret, and now she feels like a freak. It will only be when Mia loses something incredibly special that she realizes just how much her colors mean to her.

This was an incredibly moving book. It was sad, humorous, and heartwarming all at different times. It was a great book for people of all ages. The heroine is someone whom people can relate to as she struggles with school problems, crushes, and the loss of a loved one.

Monday, July 20, 2009

Warriors (book review)

Warning: This review may contain spoilers.

This is a book review of the first mini-series in the Warriors saga by Erin Hunter. The series starts when the main character, then a house cat named Rusty, journeys into the forest behind his house for the first time. There he meets a forest cat named Graypaw, who tells him about life in ThunderClan, a group of feral cats living in the woods. Soon Rusty is faced with the biggest decision of his life...should he join ThunderClan and leave behind his soft life or stay with his "Twolegs" (the cats' word for humans)? When he decides to head into the forest, his life is changed forever. But clan life is not easy. There are three other clans in the forest--WindClan, ShadowClan, and RiverClan, and they often fight one another. Now known as Firepaw, he must handle his new duties as a warrior apprentice, a mysterious prophecy from StarClan (the "heaven" of the cat world, where good warriors go after their death), and the gnawing suspicion that ThunderClan is housing a murderous traitor...

In the next book, Bluestar, ThunderClan's leader, sends Fireheart and Graystripe (now full warriors with their own warrior names) well beyond the boundaries of the forest to retrieve WindClan, who has been driven out by ShadowClan's murderous leader, Brokenstar. The journey will be long and hard, and it will test the skills of both cats to the end. Fireheart must also deal with the evidence that one of the most trusted cats in ThunderClan is a traitor, and the fact that Graystripe is having an illegal romance with a she-cat from RiverClan, a romance which puts both cats in incredible danger.

In the third book, Fireheart decides he must uncover the truth. Is ThunderClan deputy Tigerclaw a murderer or not? While digging for clues, he discovers another fact, something quite unexpected...many years ago, two ThunderClan kits vanished without a trace. But two cats in RiverClan also have ThunderClan blood. Could these be the two missing kits? And if so, who is their mother?

By the time that the next book starts, murderous Tigerclaw has been exiled from ThunderClan...but Fireheart can't shake the feeling that he's lurking in the forest somewhere, waiting to strike. Meanwhile, Bluestar has not dealt well with Tigerclaw's treachery. She has become a shell of her former self, and Fireheart, now the new deputy, feels as if he is the one running the clan. And as ThunderClan struggles to deal with the aftermath of a raging forest fire that took three cats' lives, Fireheart begins to wonder if he can really handle the pressure of his new job.

The fifth is the most chilling book yet. Cinderpelt, ThunderClan's medicine cat, tells Fireheart of a warning she was given by StarClan of a dangerous new enemy, and a dream in which she heard the words, "Pack, pack," and "kill, kill". A mysterious force is sweeping through the forest, leaving death and destruction in its wake. Fireheart is not sure what it is, but he has a feeling that Tigerstar, now leader of ShadowClan, has something to do with it. But what can he do about it when ThunderClan's leader has begun to lose her mind and has decided to wage war on StarClan itself?

In the final book of the mini-series, Fireheart, or Firestar now, has become leader of ThunderClan after Bluestar gave her life to save the Clan from the mysterious threat lurking in the last book. But Fireheart must deal with an even bigger problem as Tigerstar brings another threat into the forest, and every cat must prepare themselves for the final battle, where the clans will fight side by side, heroes will be made, and one brave cat's destiny will be fulfilled.

These were some truly excellent books. I would recommend them to fans of animal fantasy or cat books. Although they are violent, they are recommended for 8-12 year olds, and are quite appropriate for children. Erin Hunter brought the cats to life and personified them in a unique way. It is sometimes easy to forget that they are cats at all!

Wednesday, July 01, 2009

Wildwood Dancing (book review)

Wildwood Dancing, by Juliet Marillier, is a fantasy story based on the fairy tale of the twelve dancing princesses. The story is told from the point of view of one of five sisters. Her name is Jenica, or Jena for short. A little, enchanted frog named Gogu, who can speak to Jena, is her constant companion. They live in a castle called Piscul Dracului, deep in the Transylvanian forests, and each Full Moon the five sisters open an enchanted portal and are whisked away to the Other Kingdom, an enchanted world filled with faeries, elves, and other fantasy creatures. However, Jena's world is quickly turned upside down as her father is sent away to a warmer climate to improve his ill-health, and their tyrannical cousin Cezar takes his place as head of the household. To make things worse, Night People, aka vampires, have arrived in the Other Kingdom, and Jena's older sister Tatiana has fallen in love with one of them. But is the mysterious, mournful Sorrow really a vampire? Or is he, as Tatiana claims, one of their slaves? Jena is deeply afraid for her sister. But as it becomes more and more clear that Tatiana may be willing to give up her humanity to live with Sorrow forever, and that despotic Cezar will never give up his grip on Pascul Dracului, and on the five sisters, Jena begins to realize that she must make a choice--or risk giving up everything that is dear to her.

This book was wonderful! I absolutely loved it! It combined true love, enchantment, fantastical journeys, wicked villains, and the strong bonds of sisterhood into a perfect plot. This book was nearly impossible to put down. An amazing read!

Monday, June 29, 2009

Ghostly Encounters (book review)

Ghostly Encounters, by Frances Kermeen, is a book about the haunted inns and hotels of America. Starting with what has been called the most haunted house in America, the Myrtles Plantation, the author brings us on a journey across the U.S., from California to Maine. Read about ghostly bears, stallions, and cats. Encounter evil dolls, floating candles, and lovers reunited after death. These stories are fascinating and will keep you up all night! There was a nice range of stories in this book. Some were scary, some were bittersweet, and some were funny. At the end of each story, Ms. Kermeen also provides detailed information about the hotel, including contact info, dining info, and the best rooms to check into if you want to have a ghostly encounter.

Tuesday, June 23, 2009

Saving Zoe (book review)

Saving Zoe, by Alyson Noel, is a moving story of sisterhood, secrets, and coming of age. Fifteen-year-old Echo is still struggling with the brutal murder of her older sister, Zoe. She misses her dearly, but also feels that she will never live up to her memory. Then, Zoe's former boyfriend Marc gives Echo Zoe's diary. At first she doesn't want it, convinced that she knows her sister like no one else does. But when her own life starts to take some unexpected turns, Echo begins reading. In the pages of her sister's diary, Echo finds a Zoe that nobody knew, not even her parents. But she also learns that one of her friends is in trouble from one of the same people who hurt Zoe. Can Echo save her friend, herself...and her sister?

I really enjoyed this book! It was reminiscent of Thirteen Reasons Why, and I would recommend it to fans of that novel. The plot moved so fast and the book was hard to put down. It kept me up way into the night. However, I should probably say here that this book is NOT for younger readers.

Monday, June 22, 2009

May Bird: Warrior Princess (book review)

May Bird: Warrior Princess, by Jodi Lynn Anderson, is the final installment in the May Bird trilogy. It has been three years since ten-year-old May Bird wandered into the land of the dead, a magical place called the Ever After. It was claimed that May and her cat, Somber Kitty, were the only ones who could save the Ever After from certain doom. But, when May found a chance to escape the Ever After and return home, she took it, leaving her friends behind. Now, at thirteen, May is ready to return to the afterlife. But she gets her wish in a most unexpected way...she dies. And the Ever After now is not what it once was. It has been turned into a vast wasteland ruled by the evil spirit Bo Cleevil. Can May find her friends and finally become the warrior princess she was always destined to be?

I think this was probably the best of all three books in the series, even though they were all great. The characters were interesting and dynamic, and the book was just the right mix of fantasy, horror, and humor.

Monday, June 15, 2009

Coraline Graphic Novel (book review)

Coraline, by Neil Gaiman and P. Craig Russell, is the graphic adaption of Gaiman's bestselling children's novel. It is based on the book, not the movie. In the story, Coraline is exploring her flat one day when she discovers a door that leads her on a journey to a magical world quite like her own, but better. Except for the fact that there is an other mother and an other father there, with buttons instead of eyes, and they want to sew buttons into her eyes and make her stay with them forever. Coraline will have to use everything she's got if she wants to outwit them and return to her own world.

I really enjoyed this book. The pictures were beautiful, and they really added new life to the story. However, I would recommend reading the original novel before reading this book.

This book was for the Once Upon A Time Challenge III.

The Other Side of the Island (book review)

The Other Side of the Island, by Allegra Goodman, is a haunting vision of the future. Global warming has resulted in an enormous flood, and the only places left are small, isolated islands called Colonies. A mysterious figure named Earth Mother and her Corporation control all of these colonies. Everyone obeys the laws of Earth Mother, and no one questions the life that has been set up for them. But Honor knows her parents are different. They own books, they don't worship Earth Mother, and they stay out past curfew. Honor doesn't know what happens to those who don't obey Earth Mother, but she's sure its not good. And one day, when she returns home and her parents are gone, she must take care of herself and her brother Quintillian all alone. She knows she can't do this for long--she's got to find out the secret of Earth Mother--and get her parents back.

I really enjoyed this book. It was a frightening vision of what life might be like years from now. I always wanted to read more; it was so interesting. Honor was a well-rounded, dynamic heroine whom I felt I could relate to.

Tuesday, June 09, 2009

The Secret Life of Bees (book review)

The Secret Life of Bees, by Sue Monk Kidd, is a heartwarming story about the importance of family. Set in South Carolina in 1964, the story revolves around 14-year-old heroine Lily's search for a mother. After a tragic accident killed her real mom when she was four, Lily has been taken care of by her cruel and unloving father, T. Ray, and his fiery-hearted black servant, Rosaleen. When Rosaleen insults three of their small town's biggest racists and lands herself in jail, Lily decides to set them both free. After she breaks Rosaleen out of jail, they run away to Tiburon, S.C., a town that holds the secret of Lily's mother. They are taken in by three black beekeeping sisters, and as Lily is introduced to their strange world of honey and bees, she realizes that she has discovered a family in a place that she would never have dreamed.

I really loved this book! It was funny at times and sad at others, but the whole book was incredibly interesting. I never wanted to put it down. I would recommend this book to anyone, really. It was written in beautiful prose that would grab anybody, even a reluctant reader.

Saturday, June 06, 2009

Julie's Wolf Pack (book review)

I know I haven't written a book review for the last few books I've read, so I decided to write one for this book. It is the sequel to the bestselling book Julie of the Wolves. In the story, we follow a wolf pack in the Alaskan tundra through their daily life. The leader of the pack, Kapu, keeps the pack together, despite frequent challenges from an annoying wanna-be, Raw Bones. They face hardships and celebrate the birth of new pups. Although they lose many pups to the tundra, some grow and survive to become future hunters. The first big change comes when a newcomer, Ice Blink, joins the pack. Although none of the wolves know it, Ice Blink harbors the rabies virus. After her pack was destroyed by an epidemic, she moved on. Luckily, the virus is contained and none of the wolves (except for Ice Blink) die. But when Kapu suddenly disappears near the end of the book, his daughter Sweet Fur Amy must take the stage. Can she handle being the new alpha? And will Kapu return?

This was a great book for any wolf lover to read. It was written in beautiful but easy to read prose, and I thought it was interesting to look into the life of a wolf pack.

Tuesday, May 26, 2009

Lord of the Flies (book review)

Lord of the Flies, by William Golding, is the story of a group of schoolboys who are the only survivors of a plane crash. Stranded on a remote island, they decide that they must build a large fire so that they can be rescued. By day they frolic on golden beaches and swim in sparkling waters. But at night they dream of a hideous beast roaming the island. Soon, their fear brings out the worst in them and they begin to act like savage animals. More than one boy will be killed before they are rescued...

Okay, I apologize. I know this is really oversimplified, but I just didn't want to give anything away.

I really enjoyed this book. It was definitely creepy and not for the fainthearted, but it always had plenty of action and was never boring. I'd recommend it to almost anybody, but especially fans of the Island and Flight 29 Down series, because this book is reminiscent of those, but a bit more brutal.

Wednesday, May 20, 2009

Jane Eyre (book review)

Jane Eyre, by Charlotte Bronte, is a classic story of love and sacrifice. Jane, the main character, narrates the story. It begins when she is ten years old, living at her cruel Aunt Reed's house. Being an orphan, Jane has nowhere else to go. Two of her cousins, Eliza and Georgiana, treat her coldly, and their brother, John, is an outright bully. Jane suffers along until her aunt decides to send her to Lowood Institute, a school for orphaned children. She makes various friends and spends a total of eight years at the school--six as a student and two as a teacher. But finally Jane realizes she is not content and posts an ad in the paper looking for a job. She finds one as a governess for a little French girl at stately Thornfield Hall. However, something mysterious is going on there...could it be haunted by a ghost or something even more gruesome? The secret is finally revealed when Jane is about to be married to the master of Thornfield Hall, Mr. Rochester, and it prevents the two from getting married. Brokenhearted and wanting to avoid temptation, Jane sets off on her own, wandering for several days until she comes to a house inhabited by the Rivers family. The head of the house, St. John Rivers, offers Jane a position as schoolmistress for some poor village girls. She accepts the job, but soon after she starts she finds that she has been left with a huge inheritance by her uncle. Splitting it with the Rivers, she moves in with them again. However, something deep within her finally calls her back to Thornfield, and, telling her newfound family she is going on a short trip, she heads back, only to find that it has burned down at that Mr. Rochester, blind and crippled from the fire, has moved somewhere else. She tracks him down and finds that he still loves her like she loves him, and, freed from the obstacle that stopped them before, they marry.

I really enjoyed this book. I thought it was going to be kind of dry and hard to read, but that wasn't the case at all. I don't think there was a single boring part of this book, but the least interesting part was Jane's time at Lowood. I guess I think that because not much happened there, at least not compared to other parts of the book. The characters were dynamic and complex, and I felt like they were real people who could step off the page if they wanted to. I think fans of classics would really love this book, but even if you're not really into classics, I still think you might want to give it a try.

Tuesday, May 12, 2009

Thank You, Carl!

For my birthday this year, Carl sent me some wonderful gifts: a book called Tales from Outer Suburbia by Shaun Tan, a beautiful blank book from Paperblanks with a copy of one of my poems in the front, and two beautiful postcards by Anne-Julie Aubry (one of my favorite artists!). Wasn't that really nice of him?!! I've started writing in the journal, but I haven't read the book yet. It sounds very good, though, and I can't wait to get to it! Thank you so much, Carl!!! I will be sending you a Thank-you card soon!

All Shook Up (book review)

All Shook Up, by Glenn Altschuler, is a nonfiction book chronicling the story of rock n roll through the lives of famous rock n rollers, critics of the music, and teenage fans. It discusses rock n roll's connections with race, sexuality, and the generation gap. This book gives an in-depth look at the people who were responsible for the rise of rock n roll, which was anything but an ordinary style of music at the time.

If you want an in-depth but easy-to-read approach to rock n roll, this is the book for you! I never tired of the topics that the author brought up, and I learned a lot about the conflicts facing America during the time of big rock n roll stars such as Elvis Presley. This was truly a fascinating book!

Sunday, May 10, 2009

Warriors: Sunrise (book review)

Warriors: Sunrise, by Erin Hunter, is the final installment in Warriors: Power of Three. In this book, the three young warrior cats Hollyleaf, Jayfeather, and Lionblaze will discover a shocking secret that they were never meant to know. Their very existence goes against every rule of the warrior code, and eventually the secret about their true identity will have to come out. But when it does, another cat's life will be lost and the clans will be thrown into chaos.

Meanwhile, Lionblaze and Hollyleaf must embark on a dangerous journey to find the strange loner Sol. Can he offer them advice in this time of darkness? But Sol has wicked plans in his mind, and he is willing to manipulate Thunderclan in order to carry them out.

I really enjoyed this book! I thought it was the best in the series, and it definitely had a shocking ending that I never would have expected. All fans of the Warriors series should read this book!

I am using this book for the Once Upon A Time Challenge III.

Tuesday, May 05, 2009

Fablehaven: Grip of the Shadow Plague (book review)

Fablehaven: Grip of the Shadow Plague, the third installment in the renowned Fablehaven series by Brandon Mull, is a fantasy story filled with danger, excitement, and adventure. Fablehaven is one of five magical preserves, the last places on Earth where magical creatures can gather in safety. Fourteen-year-old Kendra and twelve-year-old Seth are staying with their grandparents, the caretakers, for the summer. For a while it seems that all is well, until Seth discovers a magical plague that turns good creatures into creatures of darkness. The plague is spreading faster than anyone can imagine, and it is doubtful that the plague can be stopped. Will Fablehaven have to be abandoned for good?

Meanwhile, Kendra and her friends are journeying deep into the heart of another magical preserve located in Arizona in order to recover a mystical artifact. It is a dangerous place, filled with dragons, zombies, and ancient Native American spirits, and not everyone will make it out alive...

I loved this book! I thought it was by far the best in the series. They just keep getting better! There was a wide and varied cast of characters and the plot was full of twists and turns. I would definitely recommend this book to anyone out there looking for a unique twist on fantasy.

I am using this book for the Once Upon A Time Challenge III.

Tuesday, April 21, 2009

3 New Book Reviews

#1: The Ruby Key, by Holly Lisle, is the story of young villagers Genna and Dan, who must bargain with the frightening lord of the nightlings (like fairies) in order to save their people from the corrupt village chieftain. Soon, Genna and Dan find themselves, along with a nightling slave and a talking cat, on a dangerous quest to find the long-lost nightling prince and overthrow both the village leader and the nightling lord.

I loved this book! It was a totally unique new take on fantasy, and I never got tired of reading it. The characters were complex and interesting, and the societies of the villagers and the nightlings were fascinating. I'd recommend this to any fantasy fan!

This book was for the Once Upon A Time Challenge.

#2: Skim, by Mariko Tamaki and Jillian Tamaki, is the story of a sixteen-year-old girl who is forced to deal with complicated and confusing issues like suicide and depression, as well as friendship problems and betrayal. It was very interesting to watch Skim's life evolve throughout the course of the book, and I never wanted to put it down! I'd recommend this to any graphic novel fan!

#3: Rainy, by Sis Deans, is about a ten-year-old girl learning to live with ADHD. Rainy is sad when her parents send her to summer camp. She won't see her parents, her sister, or her beloved dog Max for a whole month! But soon she makes friends who will tolerate her extreme energy, and decides that maybe camp is not so bad. But when tragedy strikes her family and Rainy can no longer control the thoughts bouncing around in her head, she undertakes a dangerous journey, one that may change her life forever.

I loved this book. It was engaging, interesting, and very emotional. It was funny at times and sad at others. I enjoyed it to the very end.

Sunday, April 19, 2009

Read-a-thon post 10

Pages read: 49

Total pages read: 716

Time: 40 min.

Currently Reading: Fablehaven: Grip of the Shadow Plague by Brandon Mull

Books Finished: The Ruby Key, Skim, Rainy

Saturday, April 18, 2009

Read-a-thon Post 9

Pages read: 103

Total pages read: 667

Time: 1 hr. 20 min.

Currently reading: Rainy

Books Finished: The Ruby Key, Skim

Read-a-thon Post 8

Pages read: 142

Total pages read: 564

Time: 50 min.

Currently Reading: Rainy by Sis Deans

Books Finished: The Ruby Key, Skim

Read-a-thon post 7

Pages read: 159

Total pages read: 422

Time: 2 hours

Currently Reading: Skim by Mariko Tamaki and Jillian Tamaki

Books Finished: The Ruby Key

Read-a-thon post 6

Pages read: 38

Total Pages Read: 263

Time: 1 hr. 30 min.

Currently Reading: The Ruby Key

Books Finished: none

Read-a-thon post 5

Pages read: 30

Total pages read: 225

Time: 1 hr. 5 min.

Currently reading: The Ruby Key

Books finished: none

Read-a-thon post 4

Pages read: 60

Total pages read: 197

Time: 1 hr. 30 min.

Currently Reading: The Ruby Key

Books Finished: none

Read-a-thon post 3

pages read: 42

total pages read: 137

time: 1 hr. 30 min.

now reading: The Ruby Key

books finished: none

Read-a-thon post 2

pages read: 33

total pages read: 95

now reading: The Ruby Key by Holly Lisle

time: 1 hr. 40 min.

books finished: none :)

Read-a-thon post 1

Pages read: 62

Total pages read: 62

Time: 110 min.

Currently reading: The Ruby Key by Holly Lisle

Books finished: None

I started by reading Marked, but I didn't really enjoy it so I switched to this book!

Thursday, April 16, 2009

Wrap-up to Read-a-thon list

Hi everybody! I'm now going to announce my final read-a-thon list. The numbers in bold will be the ones that you've chosen.

1. Wolf-Speaker by Tamora Pierce.

2. Wolf Trails by Nik Sawe.

3. The Captain's Dog: My Journey with the Lewis and Clark Tribe by Roland Smith.

4. Monkey Town: The Summer of the Scopes Trial by Ronald Kidd.

5. Faeries' Landing Volume 1 by You Hyun

6. Freaky Green Eyes by Joyce Carol Oates.

7. Zodiac P.I. Volume 2 by Natsumi Ando

8. The Mystery of the Biltmore House by Carole Marsh

9. Sea Princess Azuri Volume 1 by Erica Reiss

10. The Ruby Key by Holly Lisle

11. Moonlight by Rachel Hawthorne

12. Marked by P.C. Cast and Kristin Cast

13. Tokyo Mew Mew A La Mode Volume 1 by Mia Ikumi

14. The Pack by Tom Pow

15. Rainy by Sis Deans

16. The Devil's Arithmetic by Jane Yolen

17. Fablehaven: Grip of the Shadow Plague by Brandon Mull

18. Pendragon: The Quillan Games by D.J. MacHale

19. The Tales of Beedle the Bard by J.K. Rowling

20. Little (Grrl) Lost by Charles De Lint

Sunday, April 12, 2009

Read-a-thon list

Hi everyone! As you probably know, it's only a week until the next read-a-thon. I'm going to do what I did last year to help me weed the list down. I'll post the first sentence from each book (and if it's a graphic novel, the first sentence on the back cover), and you choose the ones that you think sound most interesting. Even if you know what book the sentence comes from, judge only from the sentence!!! Ready?

1. The wolves of the Long Lake Pack, gorged on a careless mountain sheep, slept as they digested their meal.

2. The sunlight, for a brief moment, seemed to flare upon the meadow, casting an orange glow about the pale brown grasses.

3. John Colter gallops into camp, jumps off his horse, and shouts, "Seaman? Good Lord! Is that really you? We thought you were dead!"

4. In my house the early bird didn't get the worm.

5. Welcome to Faeries' Landing, a place where the real world and the Faerie realm collide.

6. Later, I would think of it as crossing over.

7. What's your sign?

8. Stacy Brown dealt the cards into the sloppy stacks in the back seat of the red station wagon.

9. Azuri is the mermaid princess and the only royal heir of the Orcans, a race of whale-mer-people that lives in a magical environment deep within the ocean.

10. The sun slid down towards the tops of the trees.

11. Moonlight washed over us, washed over Lucas and me.

12. Just when I thought my day couldn't get any worse I saw the dead guy standing next to my locker.

13. The cats are back, and a new Mew is about to emerge!

14. The engine screamed as the driver, both hands round the gear stick, forced the transport truck up into third.

15. The main building at Camp Megunticook was called Penobscot Lodge.

16. "I'm tired of remembering," Hannah said to her mother as she climbed into the car.

17. On a muggy August day, Seth hurried along a faint path, eyes scanning the lush foliage to his left.

18. I like to play games.

19. There was once a kindly old wizard who used his magic generously and wisely for the benefit of his neighbors.


That's all! Have fun choosing!

Saturday, April 11, 2009

Zodiac P.I. Book #1 (book review)

Zodiac P.I. Book #1, by Natsumi Ando, is the story of thirteen-year-old Lili Hoshizawa, who's not just any other girl. She's a talented astrologer who uses her knowledge of the stars to solve crimes as the mysterious Spica P.I. When a fellow classmate is murdered, Lili suspects one of her own teachers is the culprit. Can she solve this challenging case or will she become the next victim? Then, Lili must go undercover as a piano student in order to investigate a haunted music school.

This was a great book! It was quick and engaging, and I never wanted to put it down! Lili was a complex and interesting character. I'd recommend this book to anybody who enjoys reading manga or detective stories.

This book was for the Graphic Novel Challenge '09.

Wednesday, April 08, 2009

Two Book Reviews

First, I read Evolution, Me, & Other Freaks of Nature by Robin Brande. It is the story of how one girl tried to reconcile her belief in both religion and science.

Life sucks for Mena Reece. She's been kicked out of her church group and everyone in it hates her, including her parents. Her first day of high school is filled with dirty glares and hard shoves. She doesn't think life will ever get better until she meets her lab partner, Casey. He's pretty funny--and cute--for the smartest guy ever. When the unit on evolution begins, Mena's life gets even wilder as she struggles to deal with her belief in God and science.

I loved this book! It was filled with twists and turns, and I never got bored of reading it. I'd recommend it to anybody interested in realistic fiction or the controversy between evolutionists and creationists.

This book was for the Spring Reading Thing 09 Challenge.

The second review is of When My Name was Keoko, by Linda Sue Park. It is the story of one Korean family during World War II. During the war, the Japanese occupied Korea. The native Koreans lost everything: their possessions, their food, even their own names. Ten-year-old Sun-Hee and her older brother, Tae-yul, are furious when they are forced to take Japanese names. But what can they do? If they disobey the Japanese, their family will be severely punished. When they discover that their beloved uncle, who is a part of the Korean resistance, has been forced into hiding, their lives are torn apart even more. And when Tae-yul, knowing that the families of soldiers are given special benefits, decides to join the Japanese army as a kamikaze, Sun-hee doesn't know what to think. Will her beloved brother ever return?

I loved this book!!! It was very moving and very emotional--happy at times, sad at others. I think this will be a story that stays with me forever, and I can't say that about many books.

This book was for the Spring Reading Thing 09 Challenge and the World War II Challenge.

Teen Book Festival

On Saturday, I went to the Teen Book Festival, or TBF, with my friend Cece. There were many famous authors there, including Linda Sue Park and Michael Buckley. I had four books signed: Story of a Girl by Sara Zarr, Evolution, Me, & Other Freaks of Nature by Robin Brande, Dramacon Volume 1 by Svetlana Chmakova, and When My Name Was Keoko by Linda Sue Park. I had so much fun there!!!!!!

Sunday, March 29, 2009

Story of a Girl (book review)

Story of a Girl, by Sara Zarr, is the tale of sixteen-year-old Deanna Lambert, who, three years ago, made a huge mistake that she's never been able to forget. Her father caught her in the back of Tommy Webber's Buick. Tommy was seventeen, her older brother Darren's supposed friend, and Deanna wasn't even sure she liked him. Even now, she is still struggling to overcome the role of "school slut" and get people to see her for who she really is. She is not who the rumors portray her as, but how can she get everyone else to realize that? So much drama is going on in her life right now, and Deanna soon finds that everything can change in one summer...

I loved this book! It was the second book I read by this author, and I enjoyed it just as much as (maybe even better than) Sweethearts! The language was beautiful, and it flowed very smoothly. The characters were very realistic; I felt like they could walk out of the book and tap me on the shoulder at any time.

This book is for the Spring Reading Thing Challenge '09.