Thursday, July 24, 2014

A new student review of WhipEye by Geoffrey Saign

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

WhipEye is an exciting, awe-inspiring and attention gripping story anyone would enjoy. Geoffrey Saign does a remarkable job of combining magic and adventure. The story seems extremely real. The main characters are Samantha, Jake, and Charlie, the mysterious talking parrot. Based on the vocabulary and general theme of the book, ten through thirteen year olds would enjoy reading the book best. If magic and thrilling adventure stories are what you’re looking for, then this is the book for you!        

A new student review of The Brewster Boys and the Eve of Infamy by Stephen Dittmer

farmerboy posted a new student review of The Brewster Boys and the Eve of Infamy by Stephen Dittmer. See the full review.

     I was surprised to find (after I had finished the book) that this was the author’s first novel: I would have expected that the quality achieved here would require more experience, I can’t wait to see what comes next!

Writing-style

     The writing-style was good, well-balanced, and engaging, so engaging that once I started I could hardly put the book down!  It was well-balanced in that it was simple (in a good way) without being watered-down at all.

Plot-line

     The plot-line was incredible: not just your everyday, run of the mill super sci-fi time-travel adventure novel, this was a spectacular sci-fi time-travel adventure novel!  Not every author can put a half-crazed 21st century granddaughter of a NAZI atomic scientist in charge of a bunch of 1930s New York mobsters, give them a bagful of futuristic mad-science gadgets, and not make a comedy; but Stephen Dittmer makes it so believable that, after reading the book, you will find yourself looking over your shoulder constantly, just in case.

Character Development

     The plot starts off right away, so the characters have to hit the ground running, which gives the initial impression of poor development; however, they soon catch up, and after a few chapters I felt like I knew them really well.  

Dialogue

     Dialogue was well-written.  Comic relief was used fairly heavily, but not overly so.  

Conclusion

     I found the book to be a fine read, with a good writing-style.  The plot-line was original, yet believable.  The character development was good, as was the dialogue.

A new student review of First Visions: Second Sight Book One by Heather Topham Wood

swalia posted a new student review of First Visions: Second Sight Book One by Heather Topham Wood. See the full review.

I rated this book 4 stars, but it was more like 3 1/2. Though First Visions by Heather Topham Wood was an enjoyable book, it was also confusing at times. I didn't like that the point of view was in third person, because it often described the characters personal feelings throughout the book, in a way that is usually used in first person writing. Kate's character was very well developed, but other characters were hard to believe.  The author's descriptions of the setting were in-depth and it was easy to visualize the places Kate went. The book would have been more interesting if it had developed some of the other characters in the story. I also think that this book was more of a romance than any of the other genres it fit into. I would recommend this book to people age 14+.

Wednesday, July 23, 2014

A new student review of Looking for Jack Kerouac by Barbara Shoup

tbrayton posted a new student review of Looking for Jack Kerouac by Barbara Shoup. See the full review.

This book is one of a rare breed, as it combines a fantastic plot with a focus on a literary hero that has been much admired over the years.  It also gives light to the desire that so many young people have to escape the lives they are living for adventure and passion.  It provides an opportunity for those of us now with this passion to discover what is unknown to us to connect with someone with the same desire fifty years ago.  Extremely entertaining and intelligent, Barbara Shoup’s Looking For Jack Kerouac, has earned a spot on my bookshelf and in my heart.

Tuesday, July 22, 2014

A new student review of Being Sloane Jacobs

sumrsilentmusic posted a new student review of Being Sloane Jacobs . See the full review.

I picked up this novel tentatively because figure skating novels tend to go badly, but I keep reading them to find a good one. I was hoping this was one of the good ones. It wasn’t.

 

The main problem with figure skating novels is that the author who is writing the novel doesn’t really understand what the figure skating world is like. In Being Sloane Jacobs, the skating world becomes a caricature full of catty girls and judgemental people with a couple of skating phrases thrown in. Lauren Morrill doesn’t even bother getting the vocabulary correct. For example, Morrill says that Sloane Devon uses a camel spin to avoid her opponents while playing hockey. It would be impossible to perform a camel spin while playing hockey, and while it’s true that most people wouldn’t want to come near a skater doing a camel spin, I can find no possible explanation as to how it would help someone keep the puck.

 

I found the concept of this novel to be pretty contrived and unbelievable. First, I find it odd that neither of the Sloane Jacobs has friends in their respective sport who would be in camp with them or would at least recognize that it’s not the right Sloane Jacobs here. Second, it would be pretty impossible to be able to master a sport in a couple weeks the way that Sloane Emily and Sloane Devon did. Even though both sports involve skating on ice, hockey players have different skates than figure skaters do. It would take a while to simply get used to the difference. Additionally, the Sloanes literally met twenty-four hours before they trusted the other enough to switch their luggage. Either they’re extremely naive or unrealistically trusting.  

 

This book also had too much breadth and not enough depth. The author tries to deal with too many issues in one book, and as a result, everything was easily resolved and glossed over. I don’t think both of the Sloanes should have found love interests in this novel; it made it seem too perfectly balanced. It would have given the author more room to focus and develop one of the romances, to make it more multi-faceted. Instead, having two love interests makes it hard for the reader to keep them straight in her mind, and when the conflict comes, it feels as if the conflict exists to exist instead of a natural progression of the relationships. (Seriously, why did those two boys get so angry?)

By the end of the novel, I was told that both Sloane Jacobs changed, and both characters showed change, but I wasn’t exactly sure how they got there. I’m sure this will be a good book for a certain type of reader, especially readers who can look past the technical elements of skating as Morrill is pretty good at getting down the voices of her two main characters and the love interests could be called swoon-worthy, but I was not particularly impressed.

Sunday, July 20, 2014

A new student review of The Sword of Danu by Christine Norris

Mattmopp42 posted a new student review of The Sword of Danu by Christine Norris. See the full review.

I thought that this book was an excellent read and very intriguing. The book was so action-packed that I couldn’t put it down! I would recommend this book to anyone who loves fantasy or adventure novels.

A new student review of Seasons of Raina by Milissa Nelson

Tenaya posted a new student review of Seasons of Raina by Milissa Nelson. See the full review.

I enjoyed reading this book, despite the fact that there was a weak plot-line. It was mostly about Raina's day to day life which made for an easy but fun read. I would recomend this book to kids around 11 who are looking for a light read.

A new student review of The Books of Barakhai

jotaf posted a new student review of The Books of Barakhai . See the full review.

The Books of Barakhai is a great book.  I really liked that they made it two books in one so you get twice the books and twice the enjoyment.  Two of its weak points, however, are that it takes at least ten pages for it to really get going and it is a little confusing in some areas.  It has lots of good qualities, too, such as great character development, humor, and an interesting plot line.  My favorite character was Ben because he was funny and determined to get back to Earth.  The author, Mickey Zucker Reichert, took a risk that paid off nicely in this book.  I feel this book is for more advanced twelve year olds and up due to the maturity of some of the content.  If you like fantasy and adventure, mixed with a little sci-fi, this book is for you.

Friday, July 18, 2014

A new student review of Etched in Clay:The Life of Dave, Enslaved Potter Poet by Andrea Cheng

tkh2002 posted a new student review of Etched in Clay:The Life of Dave, Enslaved Potter Poet by Andrea Cheng. See the full review.

"Etched in Clay" was an absolutely amazing book. I have to be honest, when I first saw that it was a book of poetry, I wasn't sure it was going to be very interesting. Fortunately, I was proven wrong. Each and every poem in this book was so descriptive and passionate. I loved how there were different narators for the poems so that we could clearly see each side of the story. For example, some poems were written from Dave's point of view and others were written from the other characters perspective. Overall, I thought this book was a fantastic work of literature and Amdrea Cheng did a wonderful job.

Thursday, July 17, 2014

A new student review of Three Bird Summer by Sara St. Antoine

iamabooklion posted a new student review of Three Bird Summer by Sara St. Antoine. See the full review.

The setting (Three Bird Lake) was a significant component toward the plot of the story. The descriptive writing was beautifully written, and it made me feel like I was right there next to Adam and Alice on their adventures. The main character's name is Adam, and it's also written from his point of view. Adam felt very realistic to me; he was shy and nervous. He was also my favorite character because his character really developed throughout the story. This book was a cute and quick read; I would recommended it if you love contemporary and adventure mixed with a bit of mystery.

Wednesday, July 16, 2014

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

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

Cara Lynn Shultz’s The Dark World is a fast-paced, emotional adventure of wild power, terrifying evil and blossoming love.  Readers will experience Paige’s every emotion and watch all of her adventures unfold with Shultz’s detailed storytelling.  The few major writing letdowns for this reader were the overuse of some coarse language that didn’t add depth to the novel, some rather insensitive sexual references and innuendos, and the feeling that the plot was a mix between high school drama and relationships and heavy duty fantasy demonslaying.  Many teens prefer just one genre; it was sometimes hard to tell which theme was more dominant, though both were enjoyable.  Overall, The Dark World is a fun, page-turning adventure that will appeal to junior high/high school girls in particular.

 

A new student review of Signed, Skye Harper by Carol Lynch Williams

Star360 posted a new student review of Signed, Skye Harper by Carol Lynch Williams. See the full review.

Signed, Skye Harper takes place in a small town during the hot, school-free months of the year. The characters all have their funny or emotional moments, but they mostly seem like cliches rather than real people. The romance between poor girl Winston and the rich boy, Steve, is sweet. However, it is also rushed and unbelievable. What does makes the book memorable is the rich bounty of 70’s references. It was easy to imagine Winston strolling to Piggly-Wiggly in bell-bottoms and flip-flops, getting a Sports Illustrated with Olympic hero Mark Spitz on the cover. Since the novel is told in a series of bite-size chapters, I was able to fly right through it. The down side of those little chapters was that there was not enough time for the reader to get used to the characters. However, the ending earns the book points for setting the reader up to believe one ending, then– bam!– another one comes along. Signed, Skye Harper earns a solid total of three stars for presenting a tale about love, family, and the power of dreams. 

A new student review of Why? by Joel Levy

Gwendolyn posted a new student review of Why? by Joel Levy. See the full review.

Broadening my knowledge of the universe that I live in is something of which I take great relish in doing. I like to think that I have always been an extremely inquisitive and curious individual, and I was quite pleased to be provided with the opportunity to read this book! It is my personal belief that as a human being who has the power to read, I am the only one who can truly administer the development of my education. I feel that this book promotes that concept. For as far back as I can remember I have mulled over many of the questions that are tackled in Why? but never knew or sought out most of the answers until now. It was an amazing feeling to be able to comprehend the explanations to matters that I didn’t understand. Most of life’s mysteries are actually less complicated than we think, and this book is perfect for anyone looking to expand their proficiency in science and nature. In a way, I think that this book is better than a science textbook or Wikipedia article, because I found that I understood the answers more thoroughly after reading them in Levy’s format. In doing so it helped me to be able to further research these topics and truly comprehend them, which I had difficulty doing beforehand. Why?: Answers to Everyday Scientific Questions equips the reader with a sentence long answer to each question, followed by a more in depth and detailed clarification which is sometimes accompanied by small drawings for further explanation. With its brightly colored and eye-catching exterior I think that this book is quite pleasing to the eye. I also thoroughly enjoyed the introduction, as it gave me a sense that Why? would be a greatly entertaining and a well-thought-out read. I think that most ages can learn something from this book because it gives universally descriptive explanations that could make sense to both an eight year old and an eighty-eight year old.  I fail to find any aspect that caused me displeasure while reading Joel Levy’s book. Overall, I think that Why? is great for those who possess an inquisitive nature, and for those who hope to magnify themselves and their education in all areas of life.

A new student review of The Summer of Shambles (Ondine Book #1) by Ebony McKenna

ReesaOnFire posted a new student review of The Summer of Shambles (Ondine Book #1) by Ebony McKenna. See the full review.

Summer of Shambles was quite enjoyable. McKenna wove a wonderful, whimsical story that takes the reader on a humorous journey. McKenna’s characters were loveable. McKenna took roles that could be mundane (side characters as an example) and gave them a most colorful and beautiful essence.

Adding to that note, McKenna’s writing style is among my favorites as of now. She writes with a lot of humor and small jokes. As I was reading this, I held a goofy smile on my face nearly the whole time.  McKenna showed great ingenuity in this book; the plot and characters were admirably written.

The only drawback I found while reading was that in the beginning it was hard to understand the timeline of the book. Even though McKenna placed several footnotes, maps and ‘informative tidbits’, I still found the exact location  of the plot implacable. Instead of the ‘informative tidbits’ being helpful, I thought them to hinder the flow of the story and rather wished that McKenna had used more descriptive tools to explain things.

A new student review of Broken by Tanille Edwards

princess2813 posted a new student review of Broken by Tanille Edwards. See the full review.

I do wish that there was more about Milan dealing with her disability. She's trained herself to sound "normal" when speaking, but I wanted to feel more of her struggle. It seemed like this was something she would have to deal with on a daily basis. Most of the time, I forgot that she was hearing impaired. But in all its a great book and is very easy to read and understand.

A new student review of Mistry by Moonlight by Claire Merchant

Lucy posted a new student review of Mistry by Moonlight by Claire Merchant. See the full review.

I believe that Mistry By Moonlight is an amazing book. I loved how the author made the plot, leading one thing to another. And I liked how the author started the story off with a nice preface allowing the reader to take a glance on what would happen in the story and made the reader want to continue to read on to find out what would happen next.

 

I admired how the writer added many supernatural beings (ex: werewolf, vampires and etc.) which allowed the story to become more interesting and surprising. Personally, I'm very interested in supernatural beings which may or may not existed and liked how the author added them to make the story more fictional and interesting.

A new student review of Edna In The Desert by Maddy Lederman

Queen_Ri posted a new student review of Edna In The Desert by Maddy Lederman. See the full review.

"Edna in the desert" is a great book if you're interested into a teen romance. Honestly, I don't like romance books, and did find myself day-dreaming in parts of this book. But, in many parts, I felt as if I couldn't let go of the book. I would recommend it to friends at the age or 13-15.

A new student review of Mr. Terupt Falls Again by Rob Buyea

kirstinhailey22 posted a new student review of Mr. Terupt Falls Again by Rob Buyea. See the full review.

Mr. Terupt Falls Again is a book with lots of action and adventures. I think it's good to read from 10-13 years old. This book teaches you about trust and forgiveness. I honestly love this book and recommend it for anybody who loves fun twists and mind-blowing adventures. 

A new student review of Feral Curse by Cynthia Leitich Smith

S.Ehlers posted a new student review of Feral Curse by Cynthia Leitich Smith. See the full review.

Feral Curse was a mediocre book. I enjoyed Cynthia Leitich Smith’s overall idea, but the ending result was not as thrilling as I hoped. In my opinion, this book was dragging along as slowly as a kid avoiding to eat their vegetables at dinner. Overall, I would not recommend Feral Curse to anybody as great book, but others may have their own opinion.
 

A new student review of The Giant (Bareknuckle) by Jonathan Mary-Todd

wallace.madi posted a new student review of The Giant (Bareknuckle) by Jonathan Mary-Todd. See the full review.

The Giant  by Jonathan Mary-Todd was an inspiring book overall, with extremely lifelike settings and dialogue. Some of the events were a little bit unrealistic, but they added to the adventurous nature of the book. Luc's journey was full of relatable emotions and endearing struggles, It seemed unlikely that he could be below the radar of all authorites as the story portrays him, and his background information is rather vague. However, I was immediately transported into his world and fully absorbed in his situation. I would recommend this book for mature young readers looking for a fast-paced adventure story.