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.