Saturday, May 30, 2009

Pandora Gets Lazy by Carolyn Hennesy

Pandora and her friends, Iole, Alcie, and Homer are on a mission to capture Laziness. While on their way, Pandy is separated from her friends and her dog, Dido, who was captured by Hera. She must travel through the wilderness by herself until she meets two boys named Ismailil and Amri. The three of them are captured and taken prisoner. They must travel to Jbel Toubkal, where Atlas holds up the heavens. Iole, Alcie, and Homer are taken to work on a ship called the Syracusa. While there, they find and capture Misery, a lesser evil. Will Pandy be reunited with her friends? Will they be able to find and capture Laziness? Read this great story that will keep you guessing until the end.

This was a great book to read. The characters were believable for Greek mythology. The plot was full of excitement and adventure. The end of the book was more exciting than the beginning. I would recommend this book to people who like adventure, excitement, and Greek mythology.

Reviewer Age:12
Reviewer City, State and Country: Enon, OH USA

Friday, May 29, 2009

City of Time was an adventure where Owen, the navigator, goes to The City of Time because there is no time left. Owen and Cati start seeing things that are paranormal, like skeletons of killer whales trying to eat fish, and a message from Cati's father who got lost in time (first book). They talked to Dr. Diamond, and he said they had to go and get some time to save the planet. I thought the plot was interesting because Owen has to get some time from another world to his world. The author makes the story able to be easily visualized.

I feel that it is a extremely powerful book because it was so vivid in information that I couldn't put it down. I would recommend it to anyone who likes an action/adventure story. There were a few parts toward the end that I didn't like. Otherwise I thought that the rest of the book was phenomenal and vivid with action. I think that the vocabulary was perfect because it fit in with the age group (12-14).

Reviewer Age:13
Reviewer City, State and Country: Lake Bluff,
Illinois USA

Thursday, May 28, 2009

Son of the Great River by Elijah Meeks

Son Of The Great River is a story about three children growing up in the pre-Bronze Age, and their journey to find themselves. The story starts out with Saffu, who is forced to leave his tribe and his true love, Naganawae, to journey to the south to return a mysterious cylinder given to him by a strange woman before she died. On the way, he discovers metal, and lives with bears. When he reaches the city from which the cylinder came, he meets Samhail, a young mercenary, and the fiery Rheem, who Sanhail rescued from her family. Saffu and Samhail bond over difficult circumstances, and soon the three must choose their paths as the king makes Rheem princess and Saffu discovers his father was a trusted friend to the king and is offered a position in court. Samhail also must decide whether to stay with the king or continue on. Things become even more complicated when Saffu's old love, Naganawae, shows up.

I thought this book was very interesting, and exciting. It was very informative of the time the book was set in, and some of the actions in the book seemed like they did not belong in that time, but that did not detract from the book. The ending was unsatisfactory, because of the deaths of many main characters. They seemed to be unnecessary, and why they occurred was confusing. Also, I would have liked for Rheem and Samhail's characters do be developed more, as I did not really understand their motivations.

Reviewer Age:14

Reviewer City, State and Country: New Tripoli, PA America

The Hollywood Sisters: Truth or Dare

"The Hollywood Sisters: Truth or Dare" by Mary Wilcox is a
fun mix of chick-lit and mystery. Jessica's sister Eva is
a movie star, and Jessica is an extra with her friend,
Rebecca. When expensive props go missing and rumors of a
ghost arise, Jessica must try to figure out what is going
on. All throughout, she is clumsy and has a "celebrity
jinx" that is most facetious. The ending is surprising
and well worth the read.

Even though this is book five
in a series, readers won't know the difference. The story
flows well and there are no details left out. Also, the
book is organized in a fun way, with acts and scenes
instead of parts and chapters (each scene has a quote from
a celebrity). While teen romance is involved, young
readers need not worry because there is nothing

Reviewer Age:17

Reviewer City, State and
Country: Staten Island, NY USA

Starfinder by John Marco

Starfinder is about a boy named Moth. His mother died and he went to live with his grandfather and his bird. The bird is really a skylord named Esme. Skylords live across the reach which is a place where people are not allowed to go. But, when Moth's grandpa dies he tells Moth he must go across the reach to turn Esme back to a Skylord. He gives moth a gift the Starfinder which you can use to see and control anybody. The Skylords used it to control everybody so they wouldn’t fly. But, it was stolen by Esme and that is why the Skylords turned her into a bird. In the end the Skylords had a fight against the Humans, Cenatours, and the Dragons. The Skylords lost the battle and Moth went back home.

I liked the book. It was a very magical fantasy type book which I love. It was a action packed book. It was very fast paced. You didn't have to wait very long for somthing interesting to happen like meeting a mermaid or a great fight. That is why I liked the book.
Reviewer Age:12
Leopold, MO USA

Libyrinth by Pearl North

Libyrinth is a fantasy novel that draws you into a dark world where two different opinions can turn into war. The main character, Clerk Haly, respects her life and beliefs at the labyrinth until the discovery of one book (The Book of the Night)
changes everything. This discovery led Haly to be kidnapped by the supposedly evil, book-burning Eradicants. Haly discovers that sometimes people are not what they seem during her adventures with the people she thought were

I thought the book was quite exciting, but had some parts that didnt really spark my interest. Libyrinth had an interesting plot that made the reader not want to put the book down until finished, though some parts the author did not elaborate on that could have been a lot more specific. Pearl North could have explained the settings quite a bit more, and she left a bit too much to the imagination. However, the main characters were very believable, and I could imagine them perfectly fine. The writing was powerful, and at some points, I didn't want to put the book down because they were so exciting. Also, the ending was very abrupt and didn't exactly sum up the questions I was asking, but North did do well on leaving some parts of the book to the imagination even though some weren't needed. Overall, I enjoyed the book, and I would recommend it to anybody who is ready for intense action and a slight hint of romance.

Reviewer Age:12
Reviewer City, State and Country: Lake Bluff, Illinois United States

Wednesday, May 27, 2009

Gorgeous by Rachel Vail

Being the middle aged Avery sister isn't always the easiest thing to do. Allison Avery is sick of her boring old life and wishes for nothing more than to be gorgeous, just like her two sisters and the new girl at school. Having too many problems, such as having the hugest crush on an older boy that probably doesn't even know her name if he even knows she exists, her mom is on the brink of losing her job, and she can't do much else to make her friend upset with her, she realizes that she can't possibly deal with them all herself. Allison knows that she needs help from possibly some unnatural forces and maybe a new friend because she can't do it all alone, and is willing to give up almost anything to turn her life around; so when the opportunity finally presents itself, Allison can't resist. That opportunity came from no one but the devil himself, and usually when the devil's involved, it can only mean one thing: trouble. Allison agrees to sell her cell phone to the devil in exchange for the gift of being gorgeous since she is convinced that she has no soul. Allison will soon see whether she regrets that decision or not; but if it involves the devil, she probably will.

So far Gorgeous is the best book of the trilogy by Rachel Vail starting with Lucky, but I have yet to read Brilliant. I thought that it was a lot easier to relate to Allison rather than Phoebe since we are of closer ages and have the same issues such as wanting to be gorgeous and trying to fit in, as well as trying to get that special older boy to like you and your friends to fully accept whom you are. Some of the scenes were interesting and held my attention pretty well, such as when she went to some of the parties, but I thought that a few of the other scenes weren't fully developed and somewhat boring and the story didn't really take flight. The ending was very unexpected and caught me by great surprise. Overall, the book was pretty well written, enjoyable for the most part, and a nice breezy story for a hot summer day. I recommend this novel to younger teenage girls around the ages of 11 to 15. I'm looking forward to reading Rachel Vail's next book Brilliant and seeing how this drama-infused trilogy ends.

There was some alcohol substance throughout the story.

Reviewer Age:15

Reviewer City, State and Country: Upper Strasburg, Pennsylvania USA

Tuesday, May 26, 2009

Witch Child by Celia Rees

Witch Child was a fascinating look at the Salem witch Trials from the perspective of a girl named Mary. When her grandmother is killed by witch hunters in England, Mary must flee the country or risk the same fate. On the boat to America, she meets up with a community of puritans, which take her in like family. When they arrive, America is not what they imagined it to be. Half the puritans families are dead, and those who remain have turned into total jerks that are constantly plotting their sisters and brothers downfall. In brutal New England, rumors fly and Mary is slowly alienated. What will happen to her? Find out in Witch Child.

This book was really interesting. I have always been enthralled by the Salem witch trials, and this fresh new perspective was both scary and extremely believable. Throughout the book, I could never tell whether the book was fiction or non-fiction, and that also added to the intrigue. The author lingers on details and descriptions of the surroundings and situations and this makes the whole book seem real. Some of these descriptions really added to plot, but some, like the uneventful sail across the ocean were a bit tedious. There were some funny parts on the boat, but it was unnecessarily long. All in all, I liked Witch Child, it is a good read and would make a good resource for people who are trying to understand the culture of the 17th century.

It wasn't inappropriate, but the nature of the book may offend religious parents

Reviewer Age:12

Reviewer City, State and Country: Exeter, NH USA

The Sam Gunn Omnibus, by Ben Bova

This book is a science fiction and adventure novel. It collects all the tales about Sam Gunn that have ever been written and ties them together with the story of a reporter collecting them. Sam Gunn was an adventurer and womanizer who died just before the start of the novel. A reporter who lives on the moon named Jade decides to collect stories about Sam. She interviews people, both friends and enemies, who were involved in Sam's life. Throughout the course of the novel, Sam emerges as likable, reckless, and disrespectful of authority. The individual stories are roughly chronological in order.

I had mixed feelings about this book. It started off as enjoyable, but quickly became much more tedious. It was action packed and funny, especially during the stories about Sam. The story about Jade was also fairly well developed. However, many of the stories were too predictable, and the book in general was too focused on lust. The novel is by no means hardcore science fiction, as the book focuses on the characters and their exploits rather than on science or discovery. The novel is more of an adventure novel that happens to be set in a not so distant future. For people who have read some of the Sam Gunn stories and enjoyed them, this book is recommended. If you are interested in a science fiction story in general, this book is probably not for you
This book has strong language and sexual references.

Reviewer Age:15
Royersford, PA United States

Monday, May 25, 2009

Cheech and Chong:The Unauthorized Autobiography

This book was highly drug related. I recommend it for ages 14-20. It is all about how Cheech met Chong, and how they became best friends. It all starts with a rough road trip, and a nice meeting in a warm area. It tells the rich history of a drug filled friendship that will only end when the drugs and music are gone.

This book was really interesting. It had a few to many drug references for me. What was moving was the fact that they are still very close, even after their movies. It didn't really touch down on too many details. It could have been written more fully.

Reviewer Age:15

Reviewer City, State and Country: Seaside, Oregon USA

Castration Celebration by Jake Wizner

Olivia is your average girl, excepting the fact that she walked in on her father fooling around with one of his students. She is now at Yale University for the summer for the arts. Now, she hates men and is writing a musical called Castration Celebration. At Yale, she meets Max. Max loves women and everything about them. He tries to make Olivia like him, but it turns out to be just one snide comment after another from her. As Olivia's musical progresses, will reality and her work have the same ending, or will they be on opposite ends of the spectrum?

This book was overflowing with hilarious witticisms and sexual innuendo! The lewd, yet serious tone of the novel makes this such a great read and it had me laughing the whole time. The songs written for the musical have similes and metaphors that leave you wanting more. Max and Olivia have interesting conversations filled with biting sarcasm and hilarious satire. This book discusses everything from eunuchs in Imperial China to screwing a sheep.

Has a lot of talk about sex and mature ideas.

Reviewer Age:15

Reviewer City, State and Country: , PA USA

GakuenPrince I by Jun Yuzuki

Azusa Mizutani is the new kid at a school that used to be an elite private school only for girls. Now there are a few guys there, but they are really outnumbered. So the girls need to satisfy themselves in a competition for the guys in the school. Azusa is almost molested, but manages to save himself through a loophole: should he so chose, he could pledge himself to one girl, and no other girl would be allowed to have sexual contact with him. And this is what he does, against the girl's will.

This book was totally engrossing! I couldn't stop reading and finished it in one sitting. The characters had depth and their feelings were shown very well throughout the book. It was very funny and made me laugh. The book grabbed my attention through to the end with its interesting plot and intricately drawn illustrations. However, it has a lot of talk about sex and has some very inappropriate images for younger people in it.

This book had a lot of talk of sex and some VERY inappropriate images.

Reviewer Age:15

Reviewer City, State and Country: , PA USA

Perpetual Check by Rich Wallace

Brothers Zeke and Randy Mansfield don't get along at all. Zeke is the older brother and is stronger and plays sports. Randy is the younger brother and spends most of his time making up words and being himself. However, they share one interest: chess. They both have made it to the regional competition and have the chance of facing each other. Randy can beat Zeke nine times out of ten, unless Zeke actually tries. Which one, if either, will make it to the next level?

This was a fast, simple read. The concept of the novel and the emotions weren't deep and the character's feelings were not expressed very well. The author had a chance to elaborate when talking about the boys' home situation; he never quite explains everything with it. The entire book could have been expanded and more detail could have been added. It jumped from one event to the next without much transition and made for a choppy read. On the other hand, the chess games were explained in somewhat easy to understand terms. All the names he used were explained.

Reviewer Age:15

Reviewer City, State and Country: , PA USA

Sunday, May 24, 2009

Wings of Wrath by C. S. Friedman

Wings of Wrath by C.S. Friedman is an exciting story, with several different events occurring and intertwining at the same time. Kamala is the first woman to become a Magister, an order that can draw upon humans' souls to use magic. She has just killed another member of the order, and is hunted for it. To save herself, Kamala flees to the Northern Protectorates, where she meets Rhys, who, with his Lyr blood, is immune to the Wrath, a sorcerous boundary that warps magic used by anyone and causes terror in all who approach it. It was formed to keep Souleaters, creatures who feast on the souls of humans, away from civilization. After saving Rhys from a traitorous tribe of the Northern Protectorates, the Alkali, they together search for a disturbance in the Wrath which Rhys had been sent to find. They find one of the stones that forms the Wrath had been broken, and a witch was inside, having been sacrificed to create it. This causes Rhys to doubt his people's beliefs, as they believe that the Gods had created the Wrath to help them, not to torture their people. Rhys is unsure of what to do when he returns to his leaders, as telling them the truth could ruin their morale, as their beliefs will be shattered. Meanwhile, another story takes place south, in the High Kingdom, where Salvator Aurelius take the throne from his father. He renounces his vows as a Penitent monk, and takes his role as ruler of the Kingdom. He is faced with trouble when reports of attacks from the Northern Protectorates come in, as his mother is half Lyr, and is Rhys' mother as well. The third thread of the story is centered around the Witch-Queen of Sankara, Siderea, whose use of magic has brought her to the end of her life. Her soulfire, which is used to make her magic, has almost expired. She is saved when she is shown a group of Souleaters hiding in the mountains near her home. She is paired to one, and it renews her soulfire, while she sets it free from its prison. Siderea is concerned with allying her home country with the High Kingdom to ensure peace. Meanwhile, in the High Kingdom, Salvator finds out from Rhys that the Alkali had betrayed the other Protectorates, and they are the ones that attacked the High Kingdom in an attempt to start a war between the Protectorates and the High Kingdom. However, Salvator allies himself with Rhys' tribe and the other tribes, and they begin a campaign against the Alkali while Rhys and Kamala sneak through to the main city of the Alkali on a secret mission.. Will the fighting be enough to distract the Alkali and allow Rhys and Kamala to succeed, or will Salvator and the others fail and doom the entire Northern Protectorates? Read Wings of Wrath to find out.

While I have never read the first book in the trilogy, Feast of Souls, Wings of Wrath is a very confusing book, with a plot that has good ideas, but is hard to understand. The author refers to places and events from the first book too much for someone who hasn't read it to understand. The different threads of the story based on different characters, along with the constant flashes to the past, make it very difficult to follow as well. Even if I had read Feast of Souls, I feel that Wings of Wrath would still be a confusing and difficult read. However, if you can read through the confusing points of the book, the plot is good, and can keep you interested if you understand it. While I would not recommend this book to someone who has difficulty concentrating while reading, I do think that anyone who has read Feast of Souls and enjoyed it should definitely consider reading Wings of Wrath.

ViolenceSexual Themes

Reviewer Age:15

Reviewer City, State and Country: Chambersburg, PA US

Everwing by M.J. Grothoff

EverWing is the story of a man named Gavee. Gavee is just like any other person, except for one tiny detail: he has wings. He is a part of a race of people known as the Masura. He finds out that what he sees as right and wrong aren't the same from the group of people he lives with (his clan). He must decide whether he will follow his heart or go with what his clan wants. EverWing follows his so-called gripping adventure.

I really tried to get into this book. Unfortunately, this book turned out to be far less gripping than the back cover promised. The author spends way too much time describing what Gavee planned to do rather than describing him doing it. For instance, Gavee was about to fight a dragon and he dropped his sword in the tall grass nearby. He spent four pages trying to find his sword and reflecting on memories. He spent a half page surprising and killing the dragon. It just seemed like a horrible balance. The storyline really captivated me at the beginning, but the thrill soon wore off. It does not come through on any front and I would definitely not recommend it.

Reviewer Age: 15

Reviewer City, State and Country: Westerville, OH United States

Dragon Wishes by Stacy Nyikos

After the death of their parents, Alex and Isa move to Northern California with their Auntie Ling and Uncle Norbert. Isa has stopped talking and Alex's art skills have been limited to drawing only dead trees. Alex is unhappy with her new school but soon makes a new friend, who also loves art. To afford art classes, they begin painting faces at school soccer games until Alex tries to leave early one day. 

Dragon Wishes is a wonderful story about a girl dealing with the death of her parents. Nyikos captures true sorrow, love, friendship, and the concept of home. Auntie Lings story is inspiring. It completes the book, and defines real magic. Many people will be able to relate to Alex and Isa's problems. You laugh, cry, and read until the story is finished. On a scale of one to ten, I would give it about a nine.

Reviewer Age:11

Reviewer City, State and Country: Fortuna, CA USA

Stepping Up by Mark Fink

 This book is about a 14-year-old boy who goes to a summer basketball camp. Ernie Dolan talks with a lisp and is the average guy. He struggles with the fact that his best friend, Mike Rivers, is better than he is in more than one thing. Sports, girls, and all the things in between seem to come to Mike like breathing, and that bugs Ernie. At the beginning of the plot, Ernie feels like a geek and feels out of place next to his sporty BFF. But, by the end of camp, he feels like a man who has reached his full potential.

Mike Rivers has been Ernie's best friend since they were little. But once Camp NothinButNet comes along, Mike accepts a better group's call to join them. However, that group of friends find themselves in a sticky situation. Will Mike go back to Ernie and his other roommates, or will he continue to hang out with that popular group?

Rick Craig is the man behind Mike's new group, and because of Rick's popularity, he is Ernie's least favorite part of camp from the first time they set eyes on each other. Rick is the jock because of his skills, and he frequently lets that go to his head. After an accident, Rick gets benched from all movement and that puts his life into a better perspective. The team makes it to the camp championship, and the boys gain new friendships in the most unlikely people.

The setting of this book is the shore of Lake Michigan at NothinButNet Basketball Camp. The technique that Mr. Fink uses in his descriptions of events is effective in creating the mood, as well as allowing you to finish painting the picture the way you want. The perspective of the book allows you to get more of an insight to what the average person would see and say in a particular position. In addition, the author makes you feel like you are every bit as involved in the plot since it's written from Ernie's point of view. I recommend this book to anyone who enjoys realistic fiction, sports-especially basketball, and high-quality adventure stories. 

Reviewer Age:13

Reviewer City, State and Country: Knoxville, TN USA

Fall of Light by Nina Kiriki Hoffman

Fall of Light by Nina Kiriki Hoffman is a story about magic, love, and movies.

Opal LaZelle is a make-up artist with magical abilities, which she uses to better transform the actors and actresses into their characters. She was hired to turn Corvus Weather into a dark monster for a horror movie and strange things begin to happen. Corvus begins to turn into the monster that stars in the movie and is taken over by another more supernatural force. Opal has to figure out how to save Corvus before the other creature absorbs Corvus and those around him and bends them to his will. She will have to look into her past for support for her power alone is not enough to confront this much more powerful and possibly evil force.

In this unique story, the author used details when describing certain parts of her story, so I could imagine those parts very well but then other parts were harder to picture. The characters were developed fairly well, especially Opal, and the author is able to show the conflict and how Opal feels about it well. She is definitely a believable character, because she often has second thoughts about things and isn't always sure of herself or other people. Since I found Opal to be more realistic, I liked her character better. The story was a little confusing at the beginning and the idea was a little strange, but as it played out it made sense and the book was well-written and captivating. The ending tied up some parts nicely, but left a lot of threads hanging and I'm not sure exactly how everything worked out. I wish there was a little more of an ending to the story, but I thought the book was definitely interesting and different from most other fantasy books I've read. I think it would be a good book for people who enjoy lots of magic, some twists, and a strong character.

Reviewer Age:13

Reviewer City, State and Country: Needham, Ma. USA

Sayonara, Zetsubou-Senei by Koji Kumeta

The teacher Nozomu Itoshiki is extremely depressed. All that he wants to do is kill himself. He is loved by the students in his class, even though none of them are normal either. There is a stalker, a shut-in, and an extremely meticulous girl. They all try to stop him from harming himself. New students join his class and react to Nozomu's suicide attempts in different ways. What will his reaction be to the students getting in his way of death?

Sayonara, Zetsubou-Sensei is an average manga. I enjoyed reading the manga, and it did not take long to finish. The drawings were beneficial to the story, but they were not the best that I have seen. The storyline was unique at the beginning, but nothing new happened throughout the story. Rather than the plot following the teacher's plans to kill himself, it focused on different students and their lives. I think that readers who love manga should read this book, but other people should find a more interesting book to read.

Suicide is a big part of this book.

Reviewer Age:15

Reviewer City, State and Country: Carlisle, Pennsylvania United States of America

Sayonara, Zetsubou-Senei by Koji Kumeta

The teacher Nozomu Itoshiki is extremely depressed. All that he wants to do is kill himself. He is loved by the students in his class, even though none of them are normal either. There is a stalker, a shut-in, and an extremely meticulous girl. They all try to stop him from harming himself. New students join his class and react to Nozomu's suicide attempts in different ways. What will his reaction be to the students getting in his way of death?

Sayonara, Zetsubou-Sensei is an average manga. I enjoyed reading the manga, and it did not take long to finish. The drawings were beneficial to the story, but they were not the best that I have seen. The storyline was unique at the beginning, but nothing new happened throughout the story. Rather than the plot following the teacher's plans to kill himself, it focused on different students and their lives. I think that readers who love manga should read this book, but other people should find a more interesting book to read.

Suicide is a big part of this book.

Reviewer Age:15

Reviewer City, State and Country: Carlisle, Pennsylvania United States of America

2012: A Conspiracy Tale by Bryan Collier

This book is more of a future type of book. It foreshadows what will eventually happen in the future to come. The government will take over the world until nothing and no one is left to be bossed around. The main character is a business man with a corporate business, and he realizes that the government is taking over the world. In 2012, the world will end.

The book was an easy read and it was interesting. I enjoyed how the main character discovered the government plot to take over the world. The main character is a CEO of a corporation, and he doesn't know how to respond when the government throws everyone for a loop.

Reviewer Age:18
Reviewer City, State and Country: Newville, Pennsylvania U.S.A

Saturday, May 23, 2009

Beautiful Americans by Lucy Silag

Four American teens go away to Paris for a semester for very different reasons. PJ is in Paris to avoid a scandal involving her parents. Dancer Olivia is there for a job while Alex and Zach are looking for the perfect boyfriends. For some, their situations at home prevent them for letting go completely. But all of the teens hope to reinvent their lives while in Paris.

Once I started reading this book, it was hard to put down. Sometimes it would get confusing having to keep up with so many characters. But they were all so different and their stories were interesting to read. Setting the story in Paris just added to the intrigue. This is the perfect summer beach read. I'm looking forward to reading the sequel later this year.

Reviewer Age:22

Reviewer City, State and Country: Philadelphia, PA United States

Just Another Judgement Day by Simon R. Green

Just Another Judgment Day by Simon R. Green is novel about the city of Nightside, which is the sinful parallel of London in another universe. Every kind of sin is practiced here. God sends the Walking Man to destroy all Evil doers. The only problem is that in Nightside, everyone is connected with sin in one way or another. The Walking Man was destroying all of Nightside. A private investigator named John Taylor and a holy Sikh monster hunter named Chandra Singh are sent by the Authorities in Nightside to stop the Walking Man. The only question that remains is: how does one stop the wrath of God?

I would give Just Another Judgment Day a 7. As a disclaimer, I have not read any other Novels of the Nightside series. The novel is interesting, but lacks depth and the book has a lot of set-pieces of random violence. The novel could be made into a nice physical action movie if the screen writers added more depth to the story. It raises the question, whether good can be evil. It also raises the question can villains have a good side? Is an amoral person evil? I found the psychological questions raised in this book interesting.

Reviewer Age:18

Reviewer City, State and Country: Urbana, Illinois United States of America

The Day I Hit a Home Run at Great American Ball Park

The Day I Hit a Home Run at Great American Ball Park by Paul Millen is a book about Cory and his love for baseball. In the beginning of the book Cory, a sixth grader, is trying out for C-Ball. Cory's dream is to hit a home run in the Great American Ball Park. Along the way Cory is both encouraged and criticized by his dad. The book shows how Cory's relationship with his perfectionist father grows. Cory learns to believe in himself.

I was hoping for a book full of baseball adventures. This book did not give me that. It was a rather dull book with very little adventure. This book was more about relationships and learning to believe in yourself. Some people will really like the book but I would have liked a lot more action.

Age:12 Leopold, Missouri USA

Fate by Jennifer Lynn Barnes

After receiving a mysterious tattoo two years ago, Bailey Morgan's life has changed. Not only does she have to deal with the social pressures of high school, but now she has to weave the web of life in the Otherworld for every being on earth. She does this because she is the third Fate, the mystical being who controls the fate of the world. But why then is it so hard for her to see her own future after high school? Caught between two worlds, Bailey faces tough decisions as she tries to balance her life as a graduating senior in high school and and mystical being at night.

I really enjoyed this novel by Jennifer Lynn Barnes. I absolutely love contemporary fantasy novels, so this was right up my alley. Having read the first book in the series, Tattoo, I was very comfortable with the characters that appeared in the sequel, Fate. But I was pleasantly surprised to meet some new characters who made up the mysterious and frightening "Sidhe". Barnes does a wonderful job describing her characters' personalities and allowing the reader to get into the head of her main character, Bailey. The plot was fun and gripping and the climax was really exciting. Ultimately, I enjoyed this novel, and I hope Barnes keeps writing this series!

Reviewer Age:18

Reviewer City, State and Country: Phoenix, MD United States

Twenty Boy Summer by Sarah Ockler

Twenty Boy Summer follows the characters of Anna and her best friend Frankie during their summer adventures with Frankie's family in Zanzibar Bay, California. That would be normal, were it not for the fact that a year earlier, Frankie's older brother died tragically in a car accident. Also, Frankie didn't know that Anna liked him due to a promise that she, Anna, made to him, which she planned on keeping until the day that she died. Their A.B.S.E (Absolute Best Summer Ever) plan to get twenty boys in approximately twenty days comes to an end when they fall for Jake and Sam. For the first time since Frankie's brother Matt died, Anna feels as if she can care about someone the way she did with Matt, and Frankie appears attracted to Jake. Unfortunately, secrets are revealed in the worst possible way, and it appears that Frankie and Anna's friendship is destroyed when Anna's journal is discovered.

This book was decent, but not amazing. The characters seemed realistic in their actions, as did the fact that Anna got through her grief by writing letters in her journal to the deceased and beloved Matt. Twenty Boy Summer wasn't anything special and didn't really "grab" me. The language wasn't awful but neither was it mesmerizing. This is an ok book for a quick read when one is rather bored but not if one's looking for a worthwhile book. It does have good aspects such as the plot, but overall is severely lacking in character and originality and is pretty mediocre.

There were aspects involving the social lives of Frankie and Anna that would not be suitable for readers below high school.

Reviewer Age:16

Reviewer City, State and Country: Charleston, SC US

Friday, May 22, 2009

The Penalty, by Mal Peet

In the second Paul Faustino novel by Mal Peet we are once again drawn into a world of mystery surrounding a famous soccer star. After superstar El Brujito simply disappears, Faustino is thrown into the deepest, darkest parts of South America to find him. The story is intertwined with vast African American history and culture, including flashbacks to the life of a slave boy almost 100 years ago when practicing magic and selling people was the norm. Faustino is forced to follow around crooks and off shore criminals while taken captive, to write the story that was never his. He learns to reserve trust and experiences things that a reporter never expects to face.
After the first Mal Peet novel, Keeper, I was expecting further information on El Gato's story. But that was not to be. After immersing myself in the new situations created surrounding El Brujito's disappearance, and the spiritual flashbacks I was intrigued. The differences and correlations Peet shows between the two story lines really made you feel like you were there.He made it easy to sympathize and celebrate with the main characters. This book included less football technicalities which was good for the not so fanatical, but I found myself a little lost during some of the major spiritual scenes and action scenes. The Penalty was definitely a worthwhile read, filled with excitement, deception and passion.
Some scary and violent scenes are described.
Melbourne , Victoria Australia

Regenesis by C.J.Cherryh

Regenesis by C.J. Cherryh is the sequel to the book Cyteen. Ariane Emory is the main character in both books, Regenesis and Cyteen. Ari is one of the greatest clones. She is intelligent and does not have the human flaws that the original Ariane Emory possessed. Throughout the book, Ari is trying to discover who killed her original human. Ari finds information hidden for her by the original Ari to help her solve the mystery.

If you have not read Cyteen you will be confused and lost. It is not the type of book you can start midway into. I would highly recommend you start with the first book. I thought the book started out a little slow. The book has a lot of details and sometimes I felt that I got a little lost. You really have to pay attention when reading this book. I would suggest this book only for advanced readers. Overall, the book was interesting to read. I was disappointed in the ending though. At the end of the book not everything was concluded. I hope there is another book to help tie up the loose ends.

Reviewer Age:16

Reviewer City, State and Country: Lemoore, CA Kings

Lost Childhood by Annelex Hofstra Layson

Lost Childhood is a memoir of Annelex Layson, a young girl who lived in a Japanese internment camp on the island of Java (now part of Indonesia). Annelex was born into a wealthy Dutch family on the island. When she was four years old, the Japanese invaded Java, and her family was sent to an internment camp for Dutch inhabitants of Java. Annelex lived for three years in the camp. She had to live in horrible living conditions, suffering from lack of food, frequent bouts of malaria, and constant fear of her Japanese captures. Lost Childhood is her story of her life in the camp, and how she managed, as a young child, to survive this ordeal.

The amount of literature available to read about life in internment camps is enormous, but each books seems to have a slightly different perspective. I have read numerous books about other interment camps during World War II, but this was the first memoir I had seen about the Dutch internment camps on Java. This book is certainly a quick read, but it is a powerful book nonetheless. Annelex was a very young girl when she when she lived in the internment camp on Java, and her memories are very much those of a younger child. This perspective made the book all the more moving, since life in the camps clashed with her childlike innocence. Her memories of seeing dead bodies, or women being beaten, were strikingly sad since they had been seen through the eyes of a four-year-old. The book, however, is not very graphic, and is approachable for a reader of any age. Annelex's story was poignant, but it was also hopeful. In the end, she managed, along with members of her family, to survive the ordeal and live a happy life. I enjoyed reading her story. This was one book where the writing style, while not perfect, was not very important since the content was what truly mattered. I found Lost Childhood to be a moving book about a part of history that should most certainly never be forgotten. I would recommend this book to anyone.

Reviewer Age:16

Reviewer City, State and Country: Urbana, Il USA

Thursday, May 21, 2009

The Circle of Friends: Book 1 by L. Diane Wofle

This is story is about a high school couple, Jason and Lori. They are both seniors in high school. Lori has big dreams of going to the Olympics and winning a gold medal in swimming. Jason is a very talented football player who dreams of someday playing in the NFL. They have to find a way to keep their relationship working even though they are going to attend different colleges. Will they be able to make their relationship last?

This is a great book about two people working hard to achieve goals, but still finding time to spend with the people they love, most of all each other. Reading about them achieving their goals encourages you to follow your dreams. Even though at times they seem impossible to achieve. It's a book you won't be able to put down. You have to find out what will enter their lives next.

The content isn't really inappropriate, but it seems to be written for older readers.

Reviewer Age:12

Reviewer City, State and Country: Cedar Grove, IN U.S.

The Mousehunter by Alex Milway

Emiline is a well-known mousekeeper who has always wanted to go to sea. She gets the opportunity almost by accident while visiting the docks. She volunteers to capture a Sharpclaw Mouse onboard privateer Devlin Drewshank's ship, and he asks her to stay on as his own mousehunter. On their quest to capture the pirate Mousebeard, they encounter fearsome storms, giants, an eccentric forgetful inventor, one near hanging, and all manner of mice. Will Emiline ever be normal again?

Though Mousebeard was a bit of a clich and I found the ending too abrupt to be satisfying, my overall response to the book was very positive. The writing was effective. I could easily see the setting if I closed my eyes and the vocabulary was not difficult. Hopefully the author will write continuing adventures of these interesting characters.

Reviewer Age:13

Reviewer City, State and Country: Lusby, Maryland USA

Wild At Heart by Michael Morpurgo

This book contains twenty-one animal stories, most being excerpts, written by the likes of Jack London, Oscar Wilde, and E.B. White. From a spider that saves a pig, to Noah and his ark, this book provides some well-known excerpts from "Charlotte's Web", "Noah's Ark", and "The Call of the Wild", to lesser known stories and authors. It also contains a non-fiction excerpt from Darwin's "The Voyage of the Beagle". There is also one poem at the beginning of the book, called "The Birds Began to Sing" by Janet Frame. All of the stories contain similar themes: animals.

This book bored me to death. Since all the stories were so short, none of the characters developed. To be honest, I never finished the book, since I was far enough into it that I realized that only a person forced to read this book would read it all the way through. I had trouble writing the above summary. I can't really blame it on the author, Michael Morpurgo, since all of the stories were written by other people but edited into one book by him, but the stories were very dull. I will mention that "The Snow Goose" by Paul Gallico was an improvement from the rest of the book. Rhayader and Frith both grow as characters in their own ways. The topic was interesting and relatively original. Compared to the rest of the stories, it's a masterpiece. It's so great I plan on one day getting the full story, since it was just an excerpt. Even the excerpt from Charlotte's Web can't save this book from dullness, though I praise the author for trying.

I wouldn't really suggest this book to anyone unless they were SERIOUSLY in love with animals, even though I am as well and I didn't enjoy it. Since most of the stories are mostly classics (such as Call of the Wild and Charlotte's Web), I guess a person interested in literature classics would be interested in the book as well.

Reviewer Age:12

Reviewer City, State and Country: Denton, Texas United States

Captain Wentworth's Diary by Amanda Grange

Captain Wentworth's Diary by Amanda Grange highlights the beauty of lost love through the eyes of Frederick Wentworth. The book imitates Jane Austen's novel Persuasion, a story about Anne Elliot, daughter of a baronet in nineteenth century England, and Frederick Wentworth, a navy officer in England's war against Napoleon's France. Captain Wentworth's Diary gives readers of Persuasion a glimpse at the story through Frederick's eyes, and what happens when he leaves Somerset. The story spans eight years, the summer of 1806, when the young lovers meet, and then returns to the summer of 1814, after the war. In the beginning, Wentworth travels to his brother Edward's home for his brief shore leave. He is carefree and young, desiring to meet the pretty young ladies of town and dance frivolously with them at parties. Then his eye lands on the timid but intellectual beauty, Anne Elliot. Frederick admires her mind, her beauty, and her ability to endure such a horrendous family. The couple falls in love over the summer, however the people in Anne's life persuade her that the love cannot last. In frustration and anger, Wentworth flees, back to the sea. When the story returns, Wentworth has risen in the ranks, the war is over, and he returns to Somerset as a captain. He visits all the old haunts, reliving hard memories. Can old love be reborn? Captain Wentworth's Diary is the tortuous tale of past love and future questions

Persuasion is one of my favorite novels, and the primary reason is because Anne Elliot is a wonderful heroine, her inner beauty is as powerful as her looks and her charm. Captain Wentworth's Diary was a much harder read because Frederick Wentworth is not a natural hero. He struggles with his decisions, with his pride, and with the characters surrounding Anne. He becomes jealous of men she talks with, angry with her family, and hateful towards Lady Russell for ruining their engagement. The story is of lost and found love, but does Anne deserve a lost soul like Frederick? His voice and actions cost the story. He was a hard character to like, even if he did love the perfect woman. The novel itself is well written, but Persuasion is a hard act to follow.

Reviewer Age:17

Reviewer City, State and Country: Concord, MA United States

Pease, Love, and Baby Ducks by Lauren Myracle

Fifteen year old Carly attends a private school, lives in a gated community, and can have all the expensive clothes that she wants. But what Carly wants is to be different and for people not to see her as a rich girl. So when her younger sister Anna turns Barbie doll pretty over the summer, it's hard for Carly to create her own image. As Anna begins high school, Carly must cope with a changing relationship with her sister, and rediscover the bonds of sisterhood that have been there all along, even if she couldn't see them.
I thought this book was so cute. Having a younger sister myself, I could relate with Carly. Sisters don't always get along, but they love each other no matter what, which was a major theme throughout the book. Even though Carly or Anna would get into all kinds of shenanigans, they each had each other to turn to for help and support. I liked reading about these two sisters, a simple story of the bonds of siblings. Peace, Love and Baby Ducks is also very funny; I would find myself laughing almost every other page. Just a sweet and heartwarming story that will make you want to give your sister (or brother) a hug.
Reviewer Age:17
Reviewer City, State and Country: Aston, Pennsylvania United States


This book is about a teen-aged boy who was great in school... until he got mixed up with drugs. He was kicked out of so many schools that he was finally sent to a boarding school. There, he lives with his roommates who are also into drugs. The main character gets involved with the wrong people and hurts his future.

I didn't really like this book because I don't like reading books with people and drugs; it's a bad thing to get involved with. However, the story itself was good. The characterization was well done. I learned who the characters were and I could picture what they looked like in my head.

Reviewer Age:18

Reviewer City, State and Country: Newville, Pennsylvania U.S.A

Wednesday, May 20, 2009

Inchworm by Ann Kelley

Young Gussie is a twelve year old girl and already she has endured more stress and life threatening situations than anyone should have to go through. Back in the hospital, Gussie's transplant went smoothly and she now has a new heart and lungs; although they seem foreign, they are very healthy. Her color has returned and she is delighted at the sight of being a normal young girl. She can breathe right again. Nightmares come and go. Friends come and go. She misses her cats deeply. She is going through changes and she begins to wonder if these new organs are what are making her think and feel differently. Her doctor and the pamphlets said that she wouldn't have any characteristics from the donor, but she begins to wonder. It finally comes time for Gussie to go home and she hopes she will be able to attend school. The rest of her life will be full of tending to her new organs so they won't be rejected. All around her are these changes and she is only twelve. The problems that seemed so precious in the beginning are now long gone and new ones she never thought of are arising.

I found that this book was very well-written. I think that the age group for this book is appropriate for ages between 10 and 12. The character in the story is twelve years of age but I feel as if the author is portraying her far more mature than she is. Her words are not mature but her vocabulary is very developed. This book was not a book that I could stick to. I found myself distracted at times. Although I wanted to sit down and read it, I could not force myself. I would not recommend this series of books for anyone with advanced reading abilities.

Reviewer Age:16

Reviewer City, State and Country: , PA USA

George Washington by James A. Crutchfield

George Washington: First in War, First in Peace by James A. Crutchfield is a biography of this nation's first president. Washington grew up in Westmoreland County in the 1730s and 1740s. He was responsible for starting started the French-Indian War, when, as a Major of the Virginia militia on May 27, 1754, he fired upon French soldiers at Great Meadows in western Pennsylvania. The first battle was a defeat. In fact, most of his battles were defends. His only four major military victories in the American Revolution were the battles of Monmouth, Trenton, Princeton, and Yorktown. Washington spent most of the Revolution worrying that his men were fed, paid, and trained and were content during the winters of war. Washington for most of his life wanted to experiment with agricultural methods and build his dream home at his plantation, Mount Vernon, Virginia. The biggest gap in Washington's busy public career was from December, 1783 to the Constitutional Convention at Philadelphia in the summer of 1787. On April 30, 1789, Washington becomes the nation's first president. He enjoyed large popularity. He strengthened the federal government, toured the states of the Union, secured the borders of the United States against Native Americans attacks, and keep Americans from dying on European battlefields. After his presidency, he lived at Mount Vernon until his death on December 14, 1799. Throughout the book there are sub-notes on the parable of the cherry tree, on his wife Martha Washington, the betrayal of his trusted general and friend, Benedict Arnold, Washington's conflicting views on slavery, and the Virginia Dynasty, which is because four of the first five presidents were Virginians.

I give George Washington: First in War, First in Peace by James A. Crutchfield an 8. This book is an excellent compact biography of Washington for younger readers. One thing that struck me about this book is how little of Washington's life is generally known compared to other historical American figures. In comparison to his importance, little is commonly known about the man aside from a few well established myths. The bad side of this compact book is the dry writing style. It would be hard writing a more emotional biography of Washington because he was a non-emotional character. This may lead to the dry feeling of the book.

Reviewer Age:18

Reviewer City, State and Country: Urbana, Illinois United States of America

Tuesday, May 19, 2009

Cold Hands, Warm Heart by Jill Wolfson

The book Cold Hands, Warm Heart by Jill Wolfson, is a book about two teenagers whose lives suddenly collide. Fifteen year old Dani was born with her heart on the wrong side of her body. She has missed out on her whole childhood. Dani always ended up getting sick and was put back in the hospital. Her heart is ready to shut down and worse case scenario she has two weeks to live, unless she gets a transplant. Fourteen year old Amanda is a gymnast. She is perfectly healthy and is the best gymnast in her league. Amanda is up on the high bar when she suddenly faints. Her perfect health, gymnastic skills, and perfect life are about to change forever.

Cold Hands, Warm Heart by Jill Wolfson is a fantastic book! This book can not compare to any book I have read lately. The book was hard to put down and it kept me reading on. Some strengths that I noticed were the authors use of mood and imagery. The mood was a big part of the book that held my attention. In parts of the book I felt angry, sad, and mostly happy; especially when the character were happy. The use of Imagery was great, it painted a vivid picture in my mind and made it easier to follow along. I found the book interesting and I loved the ending. I loved how everything worked out in the end, but it was in the way I least suspected. I learned many things by reading this book. I learned about the heart and medical terms. I recommend this book to anyone who loves happy endings.

Reviewer Age:14

Reviewer City, State and Country: Sandy, OR USA

Saturday, May 16, 2009

Breathless by Lurlene McDaniel

Travis Morrison is a champion diver and the most popular boy at school. His life is perfect. He has the best girlfriend, a great best friend, and a family that cares a lot about him. Everything is going great until a day at the lake with his girl, his best friend, and his sister. Travis is looking for a challenge and tries a silly stunt dive off of a cliff, it goes completely wrong. Travis's life is changed forever. Travis has always been sure of himself and wants to decide the course of his life on his own. He hopes the people that he cares about the most will help him accomplish this decision. When things get even worse, who can he count on to make things better?

Breathless is a remarkable story about being strong when things get hard. As I read it, it became impossible for me to stop reading. This book is breathtaking and intense. I was filled with many emotions as I read it. Breathless is a book about courageous people and I recommend it to all young adult readers.

Reviewer Age:13

Reviewer City, State and Country: Fairborn, Ohio USA

Friday, May 15, 2009

Lucky by Cecily Von Ziegesar

When life is already perfect and you have almost everything your heart has ever desired, can not getting one thing you really want ruin your entire life? Well for most people the answer is no, but for Phoebe that answer is a whole other story. Phoebe had a bad feeling that something was awry when she came home early after school and her mother was home, but thinking that nothing bad could happen to her, she decided to just think nothing of it. Well, that was until Phoebe's mother took her shopping to look for the perfect dress for her perfect graduation (from middle school and 8th grade) party that she and her perfect friends were throwing. This was only a few days after her mother had announced that she had lost her job, but Phoebe figured that they could get through the crisis since she was the spoiled rich kid who had the best friends, the best family, the best clothes--the best of everything, really--and just the best life she could have. So once they arrived at the fancy store and she tried on that green dress that she had cut the picture of out of the Teen Vogue so long ago and knew it was the one, she thought life couldn't get any better, and she was right because from that point on it only got worse. Her embarrassment at the ritzy store, because they wouldn't accept any of her mother's credit cards was bad enough, but when her father told her that she had to cancel her party all together because they could no longer afford it, Phoebe thought that it was the end of the world. Not wanting to lose her best friend, Kirstyn, aka Miss Popularity, by letting Kirstyn find out about her financial crisis and how her family was on the brink of becoming poor, as well as becoming the main target of everyone's pity, she decided that covering up the truth and lying about it (and continually lying about her deep crush on Luke as well) would save her friendship, but it did quite the opposite. Now Phoebe, friendless, boyfriendless, and green dressless, having decided to handle everything on her own, may just not have that so-called perfect life after all; and until she learns to rely on her friends and family rather than just herself, she will never have that perfect life again. So before you answer no to that seemingly simple question from the first sentence of this paragraph, you should read Phoebe's story and see just how one perfect green dress can really change a person's life.

I really liked Lucky written by Rachel Vail. I thought that it was kind of hard to relate to the characters though because their lives are way different than mine in many different aspects. I liked the characters and I thought that it would be really cool and easy to be friends with them, and most of them were pretty well developed but some of them I wouldn't have minded a few more details and descriptions about them and their lives and personalities. The almost too rare occasions of romance thrown into the book added a nice bit of spice to Phoebe's tale, not to mention a fun way to keep me interested the whole way through the story. I was left with a few questions such as what ended up happening with her mother's job, which I'm hoping will get answered in one of the next two books of this teenage trilogy. I recommend this novel to younger teenage girls who like drama with a twist of love thrown in.

Reviewer Age:15

Reviewer City, State and Country: Upper Strasburg, PA USA

Valor's Trial by Tanya Huff

Set in the future were humans and a few other races join together in war. Gunnery Sergeant Torin Kerr’s life takes a turn for the worst when she finds herself in an underground enemy camp. She knows she isn’t the only soldier down there, but she also knows that she is the only person that still has the free will to escape. Can she set free enough soldiers to fight their way out of enemy grounds? Torin is determined to get herself and her soldiers out, but she has no idea how it could affect the entire war.

Valor’s Trial had a good story line but it was almost impossible to follow. She uses military terms and big words throughout the story, making it very hard for young readers to understand and comprehend. I did like how detailed she was, though. It made me feel like I was actually underground with her. I would not recommend your reading this book without reading the first three books in the Confederation series. It will definitely help you understand it a lot better. If you really like military science fiction than this is the book for you. If you are looking for a quick read, don’t pick this book. It took me three times longer to read this book than any book I have ever read.

Reviewer Age: 13

Reviewer City, State and Country: Tipp City, Ohio United States

The Magician's Daughter by S.C. Butler

It has been ten years since Reiffen, Ferris, and Avenderraised the siege of Rimwich and killed two of the threeWizards. Now, Ferris and Reiffen are married and raisingtheir daughter, Hubley. Their peace is haunted with the fearthat the last Wizard, Reiffen's old teacher and enemyFornoch, wants to kidnap Hubley. Reiffen's paranoia turnshim against everyone he loves. Now, with the help of hermother and all her friends, Hubley must try to save herfather from himself.

S.C. Butler's novel, The Magician'sDaughter, is the epic conclusion to the Stoneways Trilogy.The writing is fluid and poetic. Butler's mammothimagination helps launch the reader to places unheard of orseen before. In truth, the book starts off slow, but thetension quickly develops as Reiffen's fears push him closerto madness. Overall, it's an intriguing book that leaves thereader satisfied. I would definitely recommend this book andtrilogy to others.

Reviewer Age:23

Reviewer City,State and Country: Owings Mills, MD USA

Thursday, May 14, 2009

Maid War Chronicle by Ran

When a kingdom is doomed for destruction the only people to save the price are his maids! They must get him out and seek refuge in a fort a little ways off. Though before they go they must go to the shrine of Martin. This is where the 12 holy weapons of their kingdom are held. Are these maids fit enough in order to receive these weapons or will they fail and do their real job which is pouring tea. Join the court maids and the prince on an adventure you will never forget.

This book was great though in the beginning it was a little boring because the book was setting down facts the reader should know. After this though it was great. The contrast of war with maids made the whole storyline funny. It was also interesting what the choices they had to make to keep the prince safe. I also loved how the author tied in the stories of the individual maids in because there was no stop it flowed nicely. All in all a great manga. Recommend this for any manga fan or a person that wants to start manga though may be a little bit more suited for women!

Some nude scenes and some inappropriate words for children

Reviewer Age:16
Reviewer City, State and Country: Northport, New York USA

Wednesday, May 13, 2009

Children of the Dawnland by Kathleen O'Neal Gear

Children of the Dawnland takes place in Canada and most of North America around 12,900 years ago. It's about a twelve-year-old girl named Twig, who has exceptional Dreamer powers. She has terrible nightmares about the world ending with a flash of green light and a meteor. But her mother discourages her training to become a Dreamer because she fears that Twig will become too powerful and be cast out of the tribe like Cobia and Screech Owl. Despite her mother's wishes, Twig goes to see Screech Owl for advice and to become a Spirit Dreamer. While Twig tries to become a Spirit Dreamer but fails, Thornback Raiders attack the camp of Twig's tribe. Twig later finds her friend, Greyhawk, and together they set out in search of Cobia's cave for help with the upcoming Doomsday.

I liked Children of the Dawnland mostly because it reminds me of a series that I enjoy very much. The Warriors series, by Erin Hunter, is similar to Children of the Dawnland because the plot of the story mostly revolves around spiritual themes, much like the "prophesies" the medicine cats' have. In the Warriors series, the medicine cats' dreams allow them to predict the future and receive signs, which is like Twig's vision of the world ending. Children of the Dawnland also has the same general way of life as the Warriors series where the characters have names and daily rituals that connect to the environment. I would recommend this book to fans of the Warriors series because of the similarities in theme and suspense.

Reviewer Age:12
Reviewer City, State and Country: Round Rock, Texas, United States

Tuesday, May 12, 2009

Buggy Crenshaw and the Bungler's Paradox

Buggy Crenshaw is an imaginative 11-year-old girl. She enjoys writing, and in her stories she always ends up saving the world. When her family moves to Lloyd’s Hollow after her father blows up her garage, her eyes are opened to world she never knew existed, including the battle between Good and Evil that is going on. She also learns a little bit about magic and can’t wait to get her Talisman, or a special charm that helps in the use of magic, on her 12th birthday. Who knows? Maybe Buggy is more powerful than she seems. Maybe Buggy is truly meant to save the world. Read Buggy Crenshaw and the Bungler’s Paradox to find out!

Buggy Crenshaw and the Bungler’s Paradox is a very interesting book for fantasy lovers like me. There were a few boring parts in the book, but once the ride started, there was no getting off. I learned that to really get into this book, you have to use your imagination, just like Buggy. This book is also appealing to people who like to write. Since Buggy is a writer, her mother is always giving her word games and a Word-of-the-Day, where Buggy has to use the word of the day in all its different forms. That game taught me some new words. Overall, I think that R.M Wilburn did an amazing job with this book!

Content: 1
Rating: 8
Reviewer Age:12
Reviewer City, State and Country: Harleysville, PA USA

Monday, May 11, 2009

Is It Still Cheating If I Don't Get Caught by Bruce Weinstein, Ph.D.

"Is It Still Cheating If I Don't Get Caught?" by Bruce Weinstein, Ph.D. is essentially a modern self-help ethics book. It discusses common teenage issues and teaches teens how to think, not what to think. The author's main points revolve aroung five life principles. They are to be respectful, be fair, be loving, do no harm, and make situations better. The book has a question and answer type feel, almost like an advice column.

Oddly, the book does not talk much about cheating. For readers that expected a look inside the minds of those that cheat, they did not get that. Still, the book was interesting and flowed well. The diagrams in the book were facetious and kept the book informal. Overall, the book is practical and pleasant to read, even if the contents are a bit surprising.

Reviewer Age:17

Reviewer City, State and Country: Staten Island, NY USA

Negima!? Neo 1

Negi Springfield is a ten-year-old boy wizard who just graduated from magic school in England. This boy prodigy is given the confusing, mundane challenge of teaching English for an all-girls school in Japan. The only rule that Negi is not allowed to break is that he cannot use magic. However, when one of his students is supposedly attacked by a vampire, Negi must save his class and defeat the vampire, without alerting the girls to the fact that he is a wizard!

I thought this manga was extremely interesting and entertaining. The plot line was one that I thought that I had read about multiple times, yet the author was able to put a spin on the vampires and magic idea. I believe that the characters could be real life people and some of the situations could be ones that normal people could be placed into. I thought that the humor placed throughout the story balanced out the action and the seriousness that is in the novel. I would recommend this novel to anyone who enjoys manga or a well-written tale about a boy wizard.

Reviewer Age:15
Reviewer City, State and Country: Pottstown, PA United States

Saturday, May 09, 2009

If We Kiss by Rachel Vail

Finally, after all this time of her best friend, Tess, pestering her to start kissing, Charlotte (aka Charlie) finally gets kissed, but of all people to have kissed her, it was the one she despised the most. Before school officially started, Kevin grabbed Charlie (who's never really felt the need to kiss anyone) by the hand, pulled her to the side of the building, and gave her a kiss that would change her life and the way that she sees Kevin forever. Being too embarrassed by having been gotten caught by Mr. Herman (a ninth grade teacher) for kissing him, Charlie waits too long and decides not to tell Tess what had happened and just to forget that it ever occurred; too bad her feelings aren't letting her forget though. Charlie falls drastically in love with Kevin after that awful but yet totally amazing event and so does her best friend. Charlie, having not told her bff about the kiss and her newfound feelings for Kevin, hooks up her new crush and her best friend against her will. Sneaking around and lying to her best friend just to get closer to Kevin (and maybe acquire one more delicious kiss) certainly doesn't help her relationships at all, well maybe not with Tess, anyway. A few days later during diner, Charlie finds out about the secret relationship that her mom and Kevin's dad have been having and starts freaking out when they announce that over Christmas break Charlie and her mom are going to stay with Kevin's family in their nice home away from home in Vermont. Will this trip be a nightmare for Charlie, or a dream come true?

The everyday drama and deceit of teenagers; you gotta love it! I don't think that I personally would want to be Charlie, she has way too many problems in her life, but she did seem like she could be a fun person to be friends with if you can get past all of the lies she told. I think that Charlie was somewhat easy to relate to since we are around the same age and deal with some of the same issues such as boys and friends. I think that some of the plots were pretty well-written but some of them were very much undeveloped and ended way too quickly that I couldn't at times even really get a feel for what was occurring at the time in the story. I think that Rachel Vail did a pretty good job of writing this book, and I think that If We Kiss is one of the better stories that she has written. I liked how the author threw in a few different surprises along the way, which certainly helped to keep this story interesting. I also liked the cover that the author chose for this novel; it's very cute. Since I am getting older, If We Kiss got boring at times and didn't always appeal to me, therefore I think that girls around the ages of like 10-14 would enjoy this book the most.

There was some usage of alcohol.

Reviewer Age:15

Reviewer City, State and Country: Upper Strasburg, PA USA

Deader Still by Anton Strout

Simon Canderous begins settling into his new job at the Department of Extraordinary Affairs (DEA), and before he knows it, Simon is thrown into a mystery like no other. As an officer of the Paranormal Police, his first official case is an unforgettable one: a vampire incursion. It has been 737 days since a vampire has even been mentioned in the DEA, and it turns out that on his next case, things might get a little tricky. To add to the trouble, a former friend and criminal, Mina, appears in town and tries to encourage Simon to join in on a painting heist. If you like vampires, zombies, retractable bats, secret agencies, and troubling foes, Deader Still by Anton Strout is the book for you!

I thoroughly enjoyed Deader Still by Anton Strout. Even though this is a sequel to the novel, Dead to Me, you can still read Deader Still and understand the plot. While reading this, I went through lots of twists and turns never expecting what was going to happen next; everything was unpredictable! Deader Still is an incredible page turner and is very hard to put down. I highly recommend this novel to anyone who likes paranormal mysteries.

Language, extremely violent scenes and situations that may be unsuitable for some children.

Reviewer Age:12

Reviewer City, State and Country: Osseo, Wisconsin United States

The Last Days of the Romanovs by Helen Rappaport

This book is about the Romanovs and the terrible ordeal they experienced. Tsar Nicholas and his family ruled over Russia during World War 1. Tsar Nicholas and his family were forced into hiding when the people revolted because the Tsar wouldn't help them get food or water. Tsar Nicholas then took his family to Ekaterinburg to go into hiding. The events that took place ultimately led to the death of the Tsar Nicholas and his family. The author's purpose is to illustrate the chain of command linking Lenin to the execution of the Romanovs. This book has history, adventure and mystery.

The author achieved her goal. She taught me that there was more then one person responsible for the murder of the Romanovs. This book was very powerful, but difficult to read. It would be better suited for adults. If you are a young adult who would like to learn about the history of the Romanovs, I would recommend this book to you. If you are person that doesn't care for history, then I wouldn't recommend this book to you.

I would rate this book a three due to the execution that took place and the adult language.

Reviewer Age:16

Reviewer City, State and Country: Chico, Caifornia USA

Thursday, May 07, 2009

Christian the Lion by Anthony Bourke

"Christian the Lion" by Anthony Bourke is a fun little book. It documents the story of two friends adopting a baby lion. Their tale continues up until the point when the lion is sent to Africa to live in the wild. However, the bulk of the plot centers around the lion Christian living with John and Ace. Reading about the lion getting used to being in a city is interesting. It is also very cute to read about how he entertained himself.

Consisting of only 120 pages and a full spread of photos, this book is a quick read. It is quaint and excellent for a dull afternoon. The vocabulary is simple for young readers, but older readers still find the story charming. At the end of the book, there is even a whole set of pages full of fun facts on lions and animal endangerment in general. Overall, this book is a great read and will leave readers with a smile on their face.

Reviewer Age:17

Reviewer City, State and Country: Staten Island, NY USA

Wednesday, May 06, 2009

Kisses and Lies

In the book Kisses and Lies by Lauren Henderson, sequel to Kiss Me Kill Me, Scarlett Wakefield is tracking down the murderer of Dan McAndrew, her crush that she kissed at an A-list party. As soon as she kissed him he dropped dead. She later finds out that he was allergic to nuts and at that very party she ate chips with peanut oil in them. If only Dan had his EpiPen on him, which would have saved him, but someone stole it from him.

Scarlett and her friend, Taylor McGovern, who's goal is to become a private investigator, try to figure out who killed him and why. But when Scarlett visits Dan's family and stays at their castle for a few days, the case gets more complex. Signs point in different directions and anyone in the castle could be the murderer...

I found this book very interesting. For example it takes place in Britain and has a lot of places and traditions that average Americans wouldn't think existed. This includes castles and manners (you have to say things slower and add in "if you wouldn't mind", "please" and, "thank you".) I also found it confusing at parts where you think one person is the murderer, then it completely changes and you have no idea who the murderer is, but that's what makes a good mystery.

Overall, I'd recommend this to anyone looking for a good book, even if you aren't into mysteries.

recommended for 14 and up has some sexual content (e.g. Dan had porn pictures of every girl he dated)

Reviewer Age:13

Reviewer City, State and Country: Norristown, Pennsylvania USA

Lord of Misrule

In the book, Lord of Misrule by Rachel Caine, the main character is Claire. Claire and Amelie, the vampire leader and some body guards attempt to rescue Myrnin who is a very intelligent vampire. He is on the side of the good vampires. He had an antidote to cure all vampires of a certain disease. In order to rescue him Claire and Amelie have to fight Bishop and Amelies father. Claires friend Eve disappears into a warehouse. In the end Bishop thinks he has won but is surprised to find out he has not really won after all.

This is a great book. It's the fifth book in the series but is also stands alone and makes sense by itself. It is filled with suspense and action all the way to the end. I like reading about vampires and this book held my attention.
Leopold , Missouri United States

Monday, May 04, 2009

Portrait of a Lady by Diane A. S. Stuckart

Upon returning to the city Milan, Dino and Vittorio, apprentices to Leonardo, stumble across a motionless woman lying at the base of the city's guard tower. Dino is really Delfina disguised as a boy so she can be an apprentice to Leonardo da Vinci, the great artist/painter who is her mentor. While looking into the woman's tragic death they discover that her identity is Bellanca, Caterina's servant, and on Bellanca's person they find four extravagant tarrochi cards, the very ones that belong to Caterina, the contessa. Caterina is in love with her dog as well as her sacred tarrochi cards that had once belonged to her mother, therefore she holds them very dearly. A few days later as Dino and Leonardo go in search of Lidia, another of Caterina's servants, to question her about the death of her fellow servant, they also find her at the base of the tower, but to their great shock, Lidia is dead. Leonardo is suspicious of the two ladies' deaths and has reason to believe that Gregorio, the Captain of the guard, was the murderer. So, in order to gather some clues and learn the truth about these strange deaths, he ironically disguises Dino as a girl, and sends her to the castle to be a servant to Caterina, all the while also spying on her and Gregorio to learn the truth. A lot of mysterious things occur at the castle and hidden secrets are everywhere. Leonardo is assigned by Moro, the contessa's cousin and keeper since her parent's died, to plan a masquerade ball, which is actually a secret marriage for Caterina, who has no idea about Moro's marriage plans for her, and the person of Moro's choice. Leonardo gives Dino until the date of the masquerade ball to learn what truly happened to the women, but with the date of the ball coming ever so closer, will the truth ever be unmasked before it is too late?

This is one of the best books that I have ever read! Portrait of a Lady contains romance, lies and deceit, hate, treachery, love, truth, many tears of sadness and joy, well just about every emotion out there, and ones that I never knew existed! It is just filled with so many emotions it is difficult to describe. The conclusion was a huge surprise; I had no idea that it was going to be such a heart-wrenching, truth-telling, and tear-jerking/teary-eyed ending; what a conclusion! The author, Diane A. S. Stuckart, did an awesome job at writing this novel; it felt so much like I was actually living Delfina's life that I literally experienced all of the same emotions she did. This book was very intriguing; it kept my mind open, alert, and focused the whole time, as I was wanting to see what very surprise and/or secret meeting with the stunning Gregorio lay around the corner. I'm greatly looking forward to reading The Queen's Gambit, which was also written by this amazing author, and any other books that she writes in the future. These books are spectacular and should be read by everyone, but I mainly recommend Portrait of a Lady to older girls and women.

There were some sexual references.

Reviewer Age:15

Reviewer City, State and Country: Upper Strasburg, PA USA

Sunday, May 03, 2009

Patient Zero by Jonathan Maberry

Joe Ledger, a leader of the Echo Team for the DMS (Department of Military Service), was a cop but is now a hero. Joe is in charge of a group of four other fighters who all had to go on their first mission after only one day of training. The Echo Team fights infected dead people called walkers. Walkers are dead, zombie-like creatures who feed on living flesh. On the Echo Team's first mission, they arrived at an old meat packing plant in Delaware. There they fought many walkers and left the plant deserted. On their second mission, they fought so many walkers that all of the men ran out of ammunition. This group of men, the Echo Team, are faced with many heart-racing challenges of saving the world from walkers.

Patient Zero is a fairly good book, but it can be hard to follow at times. I did enjoy this book, because it had lots of action and suspense. I would recommend Patient Zero to anyone interested in war, zombies, action, suspense, and risk-taking characters.

Reviewer Age:12

Reviewer City, State and Country: Fairborn, Ohio USA

The Girl From Junchow by Kate Furnivall

Lydia and Alexei lost their father several years ago. Now, the two are reuniting in an effort to rescue their father from an unknown camp in Russia. Their relationship is strong; neither sibling wants the other to be alone or be at risk of getting hurt. Lydia finds that the location of their father is in Moscow. Alexei does not know whether or not to believe that is true. Together, and with help from trusted companions, they search for their father. Meanwhile, Lydia's love, Chang An Lo, knows more about their father than either of the two. Chang An Lo rushes to aid Lydia and keep them safe.

I really enjoyed the historical context that is found in The Girl From Junchow. I did not know that it was a sequel to another book, The Russian Concubine, and that made it a somewhat confusing book for me to read. The descriptions of the characters and plot were well-written enough for me to understand their relationships from the previous novel. I liked how the chapters would switch from one character's perspective to the next. This gave me insight on what each character was specifically feeling and thinking. I recommend this series to anyone interested in Stalin-controlled Russian times or historical fiction.

The book has swearing and violence.

Reviewer Age:15

Reviewer City, State and Country: Carlisle, Pennsylvania United States of America

Secret Subway by Martin W. Sandler

"Secret Subway" by Martin W. Sandler is a non-fiction book from National Geographic. It tells the story of a scientst called Beach, whom first thought of a subway system. Historical characters are cited, like Edison and Tweed, while other lesser known figures are mentioned. The book accounts the marvelous journey of Beach with his subway cars propelled by pneumatic science (air pushes the car back and forth in the tunnel from a giant fan).

This book is somewhat scientific but does not go too into depth as it is a children's book. However, some parts just don't make sense. Some pictures have words written over them from other sites, and one picture is omitted completely with just a box in its place. Also, each page has the same caption in some language that is definitely not English. Aside from that, the text is wonderful.

Reviewer Age:17

Reviewer City, State and Country: Staten Island, NY USA