Friday, October 31, 2014

A new student review of The Break-Up Artist by Philip Siegel

iamabooklion posted a new student review of The Break-Up Artist by Philip Siegel. See the full review.

I absolutely love this book! It was funny and cute and heart warming. I really love Becca as a character as she is relateable and funny. The writing is really beautiful and I love it. It's original and funny. I really like how it was fast-paced and entertaining.  Becca is a really funny character and I can't help but love her! 

Thursday, October 30, 2014

A new student review of Dark Destiny by M.J. Putney

dancechicka posted a new student review of Dark Destiny by M.J. Putney. See the full review.

If I could have one word to describe this book, if would be…..inconsistent.  The first part of the book was, bluntly, abysmal—then, in the second half, it was like somebody flipped a switch.  At the beginning, the sentence structure and dialogue was painfully awkward; the plot jumped from one thing to another, and the characters were horribly annoying.  Then, in the second half, it was like a whole different book--the writing was impeccable, the direction solid, the characterization strong.  I couldn’t put it down!  There was action; there was intrigue; there was desperation and angst, and, most of all, GOOD DIALOGUE!  By the ending, it felt like that author finally got “settled” into the story.  But for a plot as unique as Dark Destiny’s, you really need to capitalize on good writing skills and details that make the reader feel like they’re there—throughout the entire book. Something that I would strongly recommend for those of you interested in reading this book would be to start at the beginning of the series—Dark Destiny is book number three of the Dark Mirror series, and maybe reading the first two will help clear up some confusion. All in all, I think that this series has a lot of potential, but just needs to focus more on the basic concepts of writing and less on an intricate, complicated plot.

“So far, so good.  Tory wondered if the soldiers realized the British and the tiger by the tail.  And she was in no mood to be eaten.”

I would recommend this book for ages eleven and up—the content is mostly clean, except for a little section where the word “strumpet” and its various affiliates are used quite liberally. 

Will Rebecca and the British mages be able to save Lackland—or will they watch in defeat as Napoleon’s Army takes over the city they once loved?  Dark Destiny by M.J. Putney is the only way to find out!

NOTE:  Interested in starting the series?  Dark Mirror is book #1, Dark Passage #2, and the prequel novella (Fallen from Grace) has also been released!  

A new student review of The Eye of Minds by James Dashner

thudson36 posted a new student review of The Eye of Minds by James Dashner. See the full review.

I personally didn’t like this novel. I thought it could get very boring and long at points, and found myself not interested in it. I do like the overall idea of the book and think it’s very different and original. I would only recommend this book to someone that was interested in technology and video games, because it may be uninteresting if not. The book does flow and is action-packed. There are many suspenseful parts that caught my attention, but overall I found myself distracted and indifferent while reading this book.

Wednesday, October 29, 2014

A new student review of Twisted (Volume 1) by Brittany Hawes

Sweetfable posted a new student review of Twisted (Volume 1) by Brittany Hawes. See the full review.

This book had a lot of elements which I really liked, such as the humor and the main character, Lola. She has a surpirising amount of depth and I really liked how she thought things through before taking big leaps. The plot was really good as well, and the story moved along quite smoothly. As for the not so good parts, I found some of the roles to be sterotypical and there really was not as much action as I hoped there would be. I found I did really like her writing style, although some of it was a bit confusing to read.

I am definitely looking foward to reading the rest of the series and cannot wait to see how this author develops her writing style more.

A new student review of Aesop's Secret by Claudia White

pavannah posted a new student review of Aesop's Secret by Claudia White. See the full review.

Aesops Secret, is a riveting tale for children, that if young enough can capture your attention and excitement.  However, for an older audience, this book lacks substance, it fails to provide a book to get lost in.  I really wanted to like this book, but found myself constantly looking for an excuse to avoid it.  I read it, only by force; which proved arduous, and cumbersome.  The book lacks sufficient details, and the storyline proved weak, in the realization that the authors moves for the characters could be easily guessed from an early point in the story.  This story may prove a valuable read for children looking for a beginners book, but as for me, I would do well to steer clear of any future books of this nature.

 

Monday, October 27, 2014

A new student review of Egg & Spoon

dancechicka posted a new student review of Egg & Spoon . See the full review.

While the plot may seem slightly implausible, I really enjoyed this book.  The design was beautifully worded and very descriptive—the text just tended to flow.  I found the characterization to be very strong and relatable (but still able to invoke sympathy or contempt).  In a many books these days, the protagonist tends to be put on a pedestal—perfect, ideal, unreachable.  With Elena, I didn’t get that feeling at all.  Maguire was skilled at revealing her and other character’s flaws—because, as you know, we, as human beings, find it impossible to be perfect.   The symbolism and folklore was also very prominent in this book, which could sometimes be confusing for those of us who are not up to date on our Russian legends—but, in many situations, it also added to the intrigue and the literary flow that I mentioned earlier.  While slightly dry and rigid at some points, the story was mostly kept fast-paced and energetic.  I also enjoyed the humor that was scattered throughout—the dry wit of some character’s definitely kept the story light and airy.  All in all, a good read that I would recommend for anyone looking for something a little different to add to their reading list.

                “I don’t know what the crisis is…..but have you ever noticed that the world can hardly fail to be beautiful even when it is falling apart?”

                I would recommend this book for all ages, as the fairy-tale impression would appeal to younger readers and the action and suspense appeal to the older.

                Will Elena and Cat find a way to be happy in their own destinies that their circumstances have planned out for them—or will they find a way to make their own fate?  Read Egg and Spoon by Gregory Maguire to find out!

A new student review of This Is Sarah by Ally Malinenko

mashagoodspeed posted a new student review of This Is Sarah by Ally Malinenko. See the full review.

This book was good but not great. This book was not unique and was very predictable. It is a good book to read if you like books that deal with real life events but don't read this expecting something dramatic to happen. This book is very realistic though, as well as very emotional. The trauma that the characters face actually happens to many families. This books spans the time frame of a year and I think that the way the "year after" is depicted is really well done. Overall I think this book is a good read but not a groundbreaking novel. 

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.