Thursday, October 23, 2014

A new student review of Winterspell by Claire Legrand

Star360 posted a new student review of Winterspell by Claire Legrand. See the full review.

I really wanted to adore Winterspell. I love The Nutcracker, and Legrand’s previous book, The Cavendish Home for Boys and Girls, was wonderfully creepy. However, I was not able to completely immerse myself in this novel. First off, Winterspell should not be billed as a spinoff of the (Nutcracker) ballet. Besides the Christmastime setting and a few characters’ names, it has a whole life of its own. Also, while I appreciated the time that was put into describing assorted settings or emotions, it caused the book to drag. As for Clara, I understand that Victorian-era girls are not famed for being tough. But since she was put in so many perilous situations, I would have liked to see her be more resilient and clever. Her love interest, Nicholas, was manipulative and often lied to her. The faery queen was not the villain that I expected. To be honest, she seemed like an extremely psychologically imbalanced Princess Elsa of Frozen fame. On a positive note, the magical world of Cane was very thoroughly mapped out. The kingdom’s people were diverse, its cities well-detailed, and its history was explained. The book also included modern social criticism about different hierarchies and lifestyles. Essentially, Winterspell has an interesting skeleton. Readers, likely teen girls, who enjoy their Christmas season with a dash of fantasy will be pleased with the romantic tale.

A new student review of Once Upon a Road Trip by Angela N. Blount

snehayamsani posted a new student review of Once Upon a Road Trip by Angela N. Blount. See the full review.

I loved how Blount used her actual life experiences and journal entries and turned them into a novel. It’s inspiring to know that ideas are everywhere, you just have to know where to look. Every adventure in the book was exciting and very clear to follow. I especially loved the banter between the characters. I was laughing my head off half the time while I was reading.

 

You could also see Angie progress from the beginning to end as she learned more about herself. I admired this personal growth because I felt like Angie was me. I’ve always wanted to take an adventure and reading this novel just spurred me on. I even have a map marked with all the places I want to visit after I graduate!

 

I’d give this novel a 4.5 out of 5. It’s a great book, and I hope you all get a chance to read it.

 

A new student review of Thrones of Bones: Frostborn by Lou Anders

jotaf posted a new student review of Thrones of Bones: Frostborn by Lou Anders. See the full review.

I really liked Thrones and Bones: Frostborn.  It was very thrilling,  adventurous, and funny.  It was also fairly descriptive, like when the author, Lou Anders, described Helltoppr's draug minions as smelly, rotting, undead beings.  One of my favorite parts in the book was where Karn and Thianna faced the dragon, Orm, and they outsmarted him.  This book didn't really feel like it had any bad parts to it, other than a few very minor parts where it confused me a bit.  My favorite character was Karn because he was a boy who always wanted to go adventuring to explore lands near and far.  I would recommend this book to anyone aged eleven through seventeen or to readers who enjoy books with action, suspense, and excitement, yet can also handle a minimal amount of death.

A new student review of The Counterfeit Father by PV Lundqvist

nictaf posted a new student review of The Counterfeit Father by PV Lundqvist. See the full review.

The Counterfeit Father was an extremely good read that was fun and fast-paced.  One great example is when Tony tricked Hawes into letting him visit his cyber friend, Juniper.  Going to visit Juniper was against Tony’s mother’s rules because of Tony’s health. Tony was a very well developed character, but wasn’t very believable in the real world.  One example of this is his owning a pet monkey with an automated cage.  Despite not being believable, I loved this book.  I cannot wait for book two, because this book made me laugh out loud!  I would recommend this book for all ages; everyone will love it.

Wednesday, October 22, 2014

A new student review of The Cydonian Pyramid by Pete Hautman

MezokaCapturer65 posted a new student review of The Cydonian Pyramid by Pete Hautman. See the full review.

I found this book to be very enjoyable and a pleasant challenge for readers, as there are many characters and concepts that must be followed in order to understand any of the story.  It also helps if one has read the first book of this series, “The Obsidian Blade,” which further explains some of what is mentioned in this book.  The author put a lot of work into creating distinct worlds in the different timelines that each chapter follows, to the point where it can be difficult to understand the order of events or who each character really is.  The tone and narrative voice change perceptively with each character speaking, from Lah Lia to Tucker and to one other character at the end.

I feel that the author was very strong within the areas of grabbing the reader’s attention and making them continue to want to read the book.  Even though there were some pieces that I didn’t understand, they were further explained later and I was still inspired to continue with the book.  This book was exceptionally interesting, with the characters guessing about what was going to happen next, just like the reader.  Each side character, especially Yar Song, entertained me a lot with their wisdom, cruelty, or even just their accent.  It has definitely convinced me to continue with the series.  It may be difficult for younger readers to really understand the events of this book, so I recommend this book to those 14 and up.  

A new student review of Lies in the Dust by Jakob Crane

Star360 posted a new student review of Lies in the Dust by Jakob Crane. See the full review.

Lies in the Dust is a fresh take of the Salem Witch Trials. It was very thought-provoking to read a book that was from the point of view of an accuser years after the trials. Ann Putnam and the other girls did wrong accusing over 200 people of witchcraft, but the true conundrum is why they did it. There are many ideas, some of them scientific, but this book’s hypothesis is on the psychological spectrum. Ann’s struggle is revealed through flashbacks involving herself and her scheming parents. An afterword provides more straightforward information. While Crane’s prose is to the point and easy to understand, it sometimes takes a delightful lyrical quality. Decker only uses pen and ink for his illustrations, but those basic mediums work very well for this graphic novel. The black and white pictures convey both the tedium of Puritan life and the mass hysteria that arose during the trials. Lies in the Dust is also a wonderful resource for teachers whose students can’t read The Crucible just yet! Lies in the Dust is a gripping graphic novel that is accessible and well-crafted.

Monday, October 20, 2014

A new student review of WhipEye by Geoffrey Saign

Lucy posted a new student review of WhipEye by Geoffrey Saign. See the full review.

WhipEye, is an amazing book that I couldn’t stop reading. I finished it in less than a week. I really recommend this book to those who are interested in magical creatures like snakes and parrots. Whipeye is the first in the series, Whipeye Chronicles. I plan on getting the second book very soon.

A new student review of Notes to Self by Avery Sawyer

wallace.madi posted a new student review of Notes to Self by Avery Sawyer. See the full review.

This was a very emotional book to read. Robin's pain was tangible, and the suspense of whether EMily would be okay or not built throughtout the entire book. The way Robin's classmates treated her was relatable for anyone who has felt like an outcast in their own school. This was one of the most powerfully felt books I have ever read. 

A new student review of Anybody Shining by Frances O'Roark Dowell

nictaf posted a new student review of Anybody Shining by Frances O'Roark Dowell. See the full review.

Anybody Shining is not the book that I was expecting.  I was expecting something very funny, happy, and new.  Instead, it is a tale that merges a bunch of letters to Arie Mae‘s cousin with the story itself.  I found this book to be a bit lackluster.  Girls may like this book better than boys. On the other hand, the characters are easy to understand and are believable.  For instance, when Tom must sit out and not play, he writes in his journal instead.  I would recommend this book for ages 9 and up.

Sunday, October 19, 2014

A new student review of The Royal Red Secret by M. K. Nelson

baseballal posted a new student review of The Royal Red Secret by M. K. Nelson. See the full review.

I would not recommend this book for people who are into fast-paced action and comedy.  It is good for young readers that do not like scary stories.  I think this would be good for boys and girls ages 7-8.

Saturday, October 18, 2014

A new student review of Caught Between Two Curses by Margo Dill

McTower posted a new student review of Caught Between Two Curses by Margo Dill. See the full review.

Five stars for Margo Dill! Caught Between Two Curses was awesome! It had the best vocabulary possible for the recommended age. The book pulled you in the second you started to read it. On top of that, it  had a lot of reality blended with the curses on Julie's family. Could this be the best book in the world? It might just be!

Friday, October 17, 2014

A new student review of Alice-Miranda by Jacqueline Harvey

RockinR4 posted a new student review of Alice-Miranda by Jacqueline Harvey. See the full review.

I thought this book was pretty good! I loved the adventure, characters, and storyline. One thing that could have made book so much more interesting, would be more background info. Because of this, some parts of the story became very difficut to understand from the author's point of view. If there were more background, I would have given it 5 stars instead of the three I did give this book.

A new student review of The Dark World by Cara Lynn Shultz

LaRayne posted a new student review of The Dark World by Cara Lynn Shultz. See the full review.

This is an awesome book that will have you sitting on the edge of your seat the entire time. You fall in love with Logan as Paige does, you cry when she cries and you laugh when she laughs. The ending will have you furiously searching the internet for news of another book. You will find yourself laughing throughout the entire book. Cara Lynn Shultz wrote this book so well you are surprised when you look up and aren't sitting on the roof with Logan and Paige. I would suggest this book to tween and teen girls.

Thursday, October 16, 2014

A new student review of Seeing by Joseph Falank

Alyssakb99 posted a new student review of Seeing by Joseph Falank. See the full review.

I liked writing this review. This book taught me a lot of how family can overcome hardships. I would definitely recommend this book to young adult readers; this is a well written story about family and hardships, and how to overcome trials. This book shows people that even when life seems to be against you, real friendships are the ones who get you through anything. 

A new student review of The Fourth Wall by Elizabeth Maria Naranjo

123evae123 posted a new student review of The Fourth Wall by Elizabeth Maria Naranjo. See the full review.

This book, although a fantasy book, did not use fantasy to drive the plot, but rather to keep the plot on track. As Marin is only asleep during certain times of the book, the fantasy aspect could not control the book and was not overwhelming. It did take me a little while to get into the story, and really like the plot, but after the third chapter I could not put this book down. It was a great debut novel for Elizabeth Maria Naranjo.

A new student review of The Blackhope Enigma by Teresa Flavin

alison_S posted a new student review of The Blackhope Enigma by Teresa Flavin. See the full review.

While The Blackhope Enigma focuses primarily on external conflict, for the novel’s first two hundred pages the three main characters struck me as somewhat oversimplified; Flavin establishes each character’s dominating traits early on, and, for the bulk of the novel, her characters conform to these traits with no internal conflict whatsoever. For instance,  though Angus Bellini, the novel’s primary antagonist, exhibits every manifestation of “evil” imaginable (such as greed, pride, violence, and even gluttony) within the first half of the novel, he lacks all but the slightest glimmers of remorse. Similarly, for the book’s initial two-thirds, Dean seems to function more as a plot device than as a nuanced, three-dimensional character. While deciding whether or not to enter The Mariner’s Return to Arcadia, Blaise does wrestle with some ambivalence. Once he arrives, however, this high school freshman faces sea monsters, raging whirlpools, and crumbling ravines with relative bravado. Throughout The Blackhope Enigma, Blaise and Sunni embody all that is brave and virtuous, while Angus personifies malice, greed, and self-centeredness. What dissatisfied me more than these individual traits, however, was each character’s tendency to act﹘ and react﹘ predictably. Thankfully, though The Blackhope Enigma lacks internal conflict, Flavin’s imaginative premise and competent imagery immerse readers in Fausto Corvo’s hideaway of magic and mysticism. Furthermore, Flavin’s dialogue amused me with its humor and charmed me with its sweetness. Though some aspects of The Blackhope Enigma’s fantastical setting felt a tad formulaic, Flavin adorns her novel with fresh, witty details. Because Sunni, Blaise, and Dean spend much of the The Blackhope Enigma wandering through The Mariner’s Return to Arcadia, with only the vague hope of getting home to guide them, this novel’s pacing lacks the purposefulness of more goal-directed works. Then again, who wouldn't treasure every extra moment spent exploring Flavin’s imaginative debut?