Monday, December 28, 2015

A new student review of Cheesie Mack Is Not Exactly Famous by Steve Cotler

ethanlax posted a new student review of Cheesie Mack Is Not Exactly Famous by Steve Cotler. See the full review.

Cheesie Mack is Not Exactly Famous is a great book that was fun to read. I liked many things about this book. The first is how the author made the characters funny and described the character’s feelings realistically. The second is how the author held the suspense of the story very well.
 
There are two things that I didn’t quite like about this book. One was how it became boring at many parts and the story got dull. Another was that there were too many conflicts going on at once, which made the main plot of the story weak.
 
In conclusion, this book is full of action, adventure, and entertainment. I would recommend this book for readers ages 8 and up. Happy reading
 

A new student review of Harper Madigan: Junior High Private Eye by Chelsea M. Campbell

sschu5 posted a new student review of Harper Madigan: Junior High Private Eye by Chelsea M. Campbell. See the full review.

I think this book is very good for kids to read for many reasons. First of all, the story has so many twist and turns it will keep you guessing until the very end. Second, the plot flows so smoothly, but mysteriously it will seem like that is what was supposed to happen and that you should have seen it coming- but you won’t. Third, it is an exciting tale of adventures and past mistakes that come together to make the emotions real. And last but not least, the author describes it so clearly you can imagine it right in front of your eyes. It was one of the best books I have ever read.

Sunday, December 27, 2015

A new student review of Liberty Frye and the Witches of Hessen (series) by J.L. McCreedy

jotaf posted a new student review of Liberty Frye and the Witches of Hessen (series) by J.L. McCreedy. See the full review.

I thought that Liberty Frye and the Witches of Hessen was a good book filled with action, adventure, and mystery. I liked the plotline that the author, J.L. McCreedy, created; it pulled me in from the first page. Also, everything was well described: from Germany to the characters, it left a beautifully painted picture. 

A part in the book that I enjoyed was when Libby tried to escape from the castle in which she was being held. Did she succeed or not? You’ll have to read to find out for yourself.  

I loved this book from start to finish. I would recommend it to students ages 11 and up, though it has characteristics that would be appealing to readers of all ages. It would also be enjoyed by people who liked The Series of Unfortunate Events, as this book is similar in some ways.

A new student review of The Acolytes of Crane by J. D. Tew

nictaf posted a new student review of The Acolytes of Crane by J. D. Tew. See the full review.

J. D. Tew wrote an excellent book that was jam-packed with adventure and action! The author has a way with words that made the story very interesting. I loved the genre of this book, which is a mix of sci-fi and fantasy.

The characters were very well written. I especially liked the character Theodore Crane, because he is a hero, and that is what I like the main character to be. I would recommend this book for ages 12 and up.

Thursday, December 10, 2015

A new student review of The Brewster Boys and the Red Revenge by Stephen Dittmer

Anjel posted a new student review of The Brewster Boys and the Red Revenge by Stephen Dittmer. See the full review.

This was not one of my favorite books. I feel like there weren't enough details to imagine the scene, like there was bubble glass blocking my view. I also felt the story moved too fast. It quickly jumped from one action scene to the next. Although the characters felt real at times, they also seemed see through.

My favorite part had to be when Olaf and Yuri ditched Vallentina; it was hilarious! I thought it was really cool that I live close to this author, and that the story started in this area. This is the second book in a series, so I would recommend reading the first book because the beginning of this one was a little confusing. I would recommend this book to middle schoolers, action lovers and sci-fi lovers.

Wednesday, December 09, 2015

A new student review of Manicpixiedreamgirl by Tom Leveen

derbyc posted a new student review of Manicpixiedreamgirl by Tom Leveen. See the full review.

I like how Tyler has to figure out who he wants to be with, and how the story flashes to certain stories about Tyler.  My favorite thing about the book is when all of Tyler and his friends meet and get to know each other freshman year, and how they continue to be friends through good and bad times.

I was sometimes confused when the story goes back to Tyler's past.  It made me feel lost in what's going on in the present time of the book. What I disliked most of all is how the book ends. It left me hanging, wanting to know what would happen next.

I gave the book 4/5 stars.  I would not recommend this book for kids under 13 because of the content that deals with drugs and alcohol.

Tuesday, December 08, 2015

A new student review of The Blind Guide to Stinkville by Beth Vrabel

aliviathesmartee posted a new student review of The Blind Guide to Stinkville by Beth Vrabel. See the full review.

A Blind Guide to Stinkville is a spectacular book that shows how a small community with many differences can come together in an adventure of harmony and love. Some things that I really liked about the book was that all of the characters were very different from each other, and that the point of view was in first person, but still clearly explained the plot of the story.

 

There are a few things that I disliked about this book. One was that the author did not let the suspense of the story last very long. Another was that the vocabulary in the story was not very broad, and could be much more exciting.

 

Overall, this book is very well-written and full of humor and adventure. I would definitely recommend it to any readers looking for a fun and entertaining book. Enjoy reading!

 

Monday, December 07, 2015

A new student review of Mercy: The Last New England Vampire by Sarah Thomson

townsonm posted a new student review of Mercy: The Last New England Vampire by Sarah Thomson. See the full review.

Mercy The Last New England Vampire was well written. I could understand what was going on and it just drew me in. Once I started reading I didn’t want to stop. I liked that while she was dealing with her struggles she still had to deal with life on top of the strange unexplained experiences. What I didn’t like was that the names started to blend together and get confusing. I would recommend this book to readers 12 and older who would like an extreme paranormal story. I gave this book 5/5 stars because it was beautifully told and now it's one of my favorite books.

Thursday, December 03, 2015

A new student review of Julian Rigby and the Keepers of Time (Volume 1) by John Grammatico

nictaf posted a new student review of Julian Rigby and the Keepers of Time (Volume 1) by John Grammatico. See the full review.

John S. Grammatico crafted an amazing book filled with fantasy and imagination. The characters were very well described, with descriptions like: “Freemont arrived at the front of his shop to find a stranger who stood lean and tall with his back turned. The man was clad from head to toe in what looked like a black, leather flight suit woven with medieval fabrics.”

This book was full of twists and turns, so I had no idea what was going to happen next. I think the author put exceptional thought into creating this wonderful book! I would recommend this book for students ages 9 and up.

A new student review of Warrior Kids: A Tale of New Camelot by Michael Bowler

jotaf posted a new student review of Warrior Kids: A Tale of New Camelot by Michael Bowler. See the full review.

I really enjoyed Warrior Kids: A Tale of New Camelot. I enjoyed how the author, Michael J. Bowler, was able to turn issues like global warming and pollution into a storyline that was action-packed and fun to read. I also liked the knights’ motto: do what is right rather than what is easy. If more people lived that way, then maybe pollution wouldn’t have become so bad in the first place. 

A part in the book that I really liked was when Lance had to save Billy. He had to make a pretty big sacrifice for him, but it ultimately furthered their goals. 

At times, I felt the book lost me and the action slowed a bit. It would have held my interest better in those parts if the pace had stayed consistent.

This is a stand-alone book, but there are five other books in The Knight Cycle series. I would recommend this book to students ages 11 and up, as well as to anyone who has read the other books in this series.

Monday, November 30, 2015

A new student review of Julian Rigby and the Keepers of Time (Volume 1) by John Grammatico

moseso posted a new student review of Julian Rigby and the Keepers of Time (Volume 1) by John Grammatico. See the full review.

This book was extremely gripping, and it held my attention the whole way through. The author immediately jumped into the action, yet still left enough time to introduce the plot.

 

As a United States citizen, I’m not sure how police act across the pond. In my opinion, the police in the novel came across as hostile and not helpful. This book was also more mature and male oriented than I imagined it would be; the action was too gory for my taste.

 

On the other hand, this book was written in an amazingly realistic manner and incorporated believable time travel. I felt the main character, Julian, was developed as a side note, with the action-packed plot being the main focus of the book. The action was like a curtain hanging in front of the development of the main character, which left me confused when Julian suddenly became more mature and wise. All things considered, Julian Rigby and the Keepers of Time is a captivating tale demanding your attention.

 

 

 

 

A new student review of Warrior Kids: A Tale of New Camelot by Michael Bowler

JesusFreak posted a new student review of Warrior Kids: A Tale of New Camelot by Michael Bowler. See the full review.

When I first read the description of this book, I thought it was going to be a fast-paced mystery/thriller that would keep me on the edge of my seat. However, the majority of this book was simply the characters discussing the environment. With this constant dialogue regarding climate change, the book's message to the reader that they should care about the environment came across too strongly for me.

Additionally, I wasn’t a fan of the characters. I had difficulty connecting with them and finding them likable. I’m not sure if it was the author’s goal or not, but they seemed almost too old for their age at times.

One thing I enjoyed about this book was that the author frequently stated that kids matter. I feel that adults often think that kids' opinions are worthless, or they don't take them seriously. This book stated that kids’ opinions do matter, and that they can make a difference.

Overall, this book didn't live up to my expectations. I would have found this book a more entertaining read if the author further developed the characters or brought more action into the plot. 

 

 

A new student review of Amber's Summer by Cameron Glenn

Gwendolyn posted a new student review of Amber's Summer by Cameron Glenn. See the full review.

Amber's Summer

A new student review of Winter Falls (Twin Willows Trilogy) by Nicole Maggi

thomasst posted a new student review of Winter Falls (Twin Willows Trilogy) by Nicole Maggi. See the full review.

In my opinion, this book was definitely a page turner.  So much so in fact that I read it faster than I think I would read another book with its same length.  The thing that really pulled me in was that Nicole Maggi describes the setting of the book so well that I felt like I was in the setting instead of reading about it.  Also, the main and sub characters of the book were very cleverly and well introduced in the sense that I felt that I had a decent hand on what the characters were like.  In terms of the plot line of the book, I love the twists and turns this book lead the reader into.  Next, I'd like to comment on how I loved how she kept it a secret until the end of the book who one of the Malandanti were (no spoilers ;P).  Finally, there was a lot of foreshadowing in the book which was very well blended in, but not too much to overload the book.
 
The only reasons I didn't put five stars on this include two main reasons.  While the writing itself is exceptional, I would like to say that I think the main characters should have been introduced better, sooner.  What I mean by that is that in the beginning of the book, the characters were not very well described, so for a bit, I was confused about some aspects of some characters.  Also, but this is a more personal preference, I don't like those kinds of extreme romances like the one portrayed in this book.
I would definitely recommend this book to a friend or anyone who is okay with a little swearing and is ready for a good read.

A new student review of Divided by Elsie Chapman

ongsai posted a new student review of Divided by Elsie Chapman. See the full review.

In my opinion, this book is an interesting and engaging story. One of the things I liked about this book is that you never really know when the action stops. There is a part when West is about to fulfill one of her contracts but then she does something that made me think "Oh, she's in trouble." Then there was another part where her contracts are fulfilled and you think that she can get some time to relax, and then another problem barges its way into her life, just like that. Then the book moves into her fixing the problem and that's another scene in itself. The continuous action twists you around and pushes you down different paths of the story you never would've thought about.

Also, I liked the concept of twins that Elsie Chapman uses. There are plenty of twin based stories out there, or books that have twin characters in them, and they are all similar in some ways. The twins were separated at birth, then reunited; the twins were separated at birth, then try to kill each other; the twins are competing for power, the twins are magically connected somehow and are super powerful together, etc, etc. But this is a twist on the typical twins story, making it a situation of survival of the fittest, which is an interesting concept when you think about it. 

However, with all the twists and turns of the story, many of the details, weren't really detailed enough. Kersh is a new place , kind of like a modern day city, but I just couldn't get the feel for it. The setting, the fights, and the characters were all described in some kind of a vague fashion, which made it hard for me to connect to the story.

All in all, if you like futuristic books, then you just might like this one. It has the action to keep you on your toes, the romance that is not a lot, but enough to keep you satisfied that "they are a couple", however, personally, I'm glad the author did not focus on the boy-girl relationship. This book has a great  inner conflict, and the fight against the government that will make you think as you read.

Monday, November 23, 2015

A new student review of Warriors From Beyond by W.F. Blusheire

jotaf posted a new student review of Warriors From Beyond by W.F. Blusheire. See the full review.

Warriors From Beyond: Rise of the Empire wasn’t as good a book as I had hoped it would be.  There were a lot of things that confused me.  For example, one of the characters supposedly dies in the book, and not long after is up and about again.  I wasn’t exactly sure what to think about that.  Was she resurrected?  Was she not really dead?  I couldn’t figure out what the author was trying to convey.  In addition, a prophecy was told multiple times in which it was said that five warriors will save Beyond.  However, throughout most of the book, there are six warriors.  I think there was a really good idea behind the book, and the descriptions were fairly vivid, but I feel that it could have turned out better than it did. 

I did like that there was lots of action which spiced the book up considerably.  I just wish that the parts of the book that didn’t have as much action lived up to that.  I would recommend this book to ages 13 and up.

Friday, November 20, 2015

A new student review of The Hounds of Set by Troy A. Carrington

Jonah Ross posted a new student review of The Hounds of Set by Troy A. Carrington. See the full review.

Overall I thought that this was an excellent book.The book is full of action and is quite intriquing. The plot is very well done. I like how the author throws in just the right amount of twists and turns in the plot to make it interesting, but not so many that it has no cohesive storyline. The book is rather grabbing and hard to put down. I did find that there were some parts that were slightly too fast paced, but overall I really liked the book.  I would recommend this book to people who like historical fiction especially about Ancient Egypt.  I would also recommend it to people who like action stories.

A new student review of The Choosing Time by Donna Tesiero

thudson36 posted a new student review of The Choosing Time by Donna Tesiero. See the full review.

I thought The Choosing Time by Donna Tesiero was an interesting novel that provided a great balance of romance and history. The story moved along at a nice, quick pace, and I never found myself bored. I liked watching the relationship between Giselle and Jean develop, and I couldn’t help but root for them. Even though Giselle lived in the 16th century, I could still easily relate to her and her problems.

This novel was well thought out. It is obvious the author thoroughly researched the time period and how its society functioned. However, sometimes the facts and information were overabundant. In the back of the book is a glossary that explains words and phrases used that were unique to the setting. This was a great idea, and it helped me have a stronger understanding of the novel. Overall, I really enjoyed reading this book and would recommend it to others.

Thursday, November 19, 2015

A new student review of Busy Dizzy (Inspirational bedtime story for kids ages 4-8) by Dr. Orly Katz

BG posted a new student review of Busy Dizzy (Inspirational bedtime story for kids ages 4-8) by Dr. Orly Katz. See the full review.

Busy Dizzy wouldn’t be my first choice of a children’s book. It does, however, hold some nice and pleasant qualities. The nice pictures and simple, good rhymes would be enjoyable for children. The teacher, Miss Young, suggests a cute way in which they learn to handle their problems. This story would be good for children who can relate with the characters.

Wednesday, November 18, 2015

A new student review of Awakening (Hope Trilogy #1) by Lauren Ashley

piercelg posted a new student review of Awakening (Hope Trilogy #1) by Lauren Ashley. See the full review.

I enjoyed this book a lot, though at first I was slightly bored with it. After reading on, this book had a good mixture of fighting, love, and intensity.  The plot was well written and it kept me interested for the most part. All of characters were involved, leaving no character in the margins. This was a fairly fast-paced book. There was at least one fight scene in every other chapter, which in my opinion kind of didn't allow for much fluctuation in suspense levels. But overall, Awakening was a bold, amazing story about breaking out of your shell.

A new student review of RedEye: Fulda Cold by Bill Fortin

TrickyCrow posted a new student review of RedEye: Fulda Cold by Bill Fortin. See the full review.

The format of this ficitonal book is separated by headings that contain a place, date and time.  The details of this book are heavy in military terminology and history.  Frequent footnotes explain many of the terms that I would not have known otherwise. As useful as the footnotes were, they distracted me from the main text. Also, it felt like the beginning of the book was broken up and did not have great flow or transitions. It did eventually smooth out and become more fluid, yet not quickly enough for me.

This book did not engage me as a reader. The book felt more like a nonfiction narrarative, than a work of fiction.  Although this book describes the military path well, and with great accuracy, it was difficult for me to connect with the main character of the story.  However this might be an interesting read for someone who had been in the military or someone interested in going into it. 

A new student review of Look Both Ways in the Barrio Blanco by Judith Robbins Rose

lovereading posted a new student review of Look Both Ways in the Barrio Blanco by Judith Robbins Rose. See the full review.

Look Both Ways in the Barrio Blanco gives readers an inside view of Jacinta’s life. The book definitely shows the hardships, but one of the best parts of the book is seeing Jacinta make her dreams come true. This encourages readers to be curious and explore new opportunities. I enjoyed reading about the friendship that developed between Jacinta and Miss. This book will certainly give readers a different perspective and a glimpse of what another person’s world is really like.

 

Monday, November 16, 2015

A new student review of Death, and the Girl He Loves by Darynda Jones

schosgej posted a new student review of Death, and the Girl He Loves by Darynda Jones. See the full review.

Jones delivers yet another stunning read. While this is written as part of a series, Jones weaves the backstory in with an expert hand, allowing it to be read as either a standalone or as part of the Darklight series. This book employs superb character and plot development, to keep the readers on the edge of their seats. This book is almost impossible to put down and will keep you tuning the pages. I would definitely recommend this book to anyone who enjoys paranormal romance books and look forward to re-reading this soon. I loved this book as I have with every Darynda Jones book I have ever read. Even if you don't normally like paranormal romance books, this is still a great book worth trying out. 

A new student review of A 52-Hertz Whale by Natalie Haney Tilghman Bill Sommer

westml posted a new student review of A 52-Hertz Whale by Natalie Haney Tilghman Bill Sommer. See the full review.

This book was pretty darn good, not amazing, but definitely worth the read. The thing that really made this book stand out to me was the e-mail format. Everything that you read is presented as the different characters writing to each other across the web. I found that this really helped define and humanize characters; socially awkward James writes his e-mails like formal letters for the majority of the book, while Darren tends to use more slang, and Sara (the juvenile arthritic), writes almost exclusively in shorthand. But even though the e-mail format was something that I liked about the book, it also got in the way from time to time because the only information you get is from characters talking to each other, instead of from a narrator addressing the reader. Characters will mention certain events that the reader doesn’t know about, and even though everything is eventually expained, you’re still left with that moment of “Hang on, did I miss something?” The author also tends to start writing from viewpoints of random minor characters that you don’t really care about. Sometimes these are fun to read, but I honestly don’t need or want to know anything else about that one barista that Darren kind-of-flirted with when he was in charge of picking up coffee for his boss.

The things that bothered me about this book were pretty minor compared to all the pros, so I’m giving it 4/5 stars. I would definitely recommend it to anyone who is looking for a quick, fun read with an upbeat message and unique characters. 

A new student review of Even When You Lie To Me by Jessica Alcott

CassieTaylor1203 posted a new student review of Even When You Lie To Me by Jessica Alcott. See the full review.

Overall I think this was a fairly decent novel. Probably closer to a 3.5 than just a 3. I liked the characterization of all of the people within the story, even if it seemed like some of them had no reason to be there other than for additional conflict (like Mike and Austin). My favorite thing the author did was to portray Mr. Drummond as an ordinary guy. There is an entire section dedicated to describing how normal he was, and how he was not really all that handsome or unique in any one way. But Charlie liked him because he showed her special attention. She viewed him as this super amazing person, and was appalled when he showed any signs of just being ordinary because it did not fit the view she had of him. I felt the author executed this extremely well. Many of the metaphors were well written, but didn't really flow with the story. Addionally, it was hard sometimes to tell exactly what the point of some scenes were. The relationship between Charlie and Lila was great because it was realistic, and it showed that while they were best friends, they did still fight sometimes, like all best friends do.

Most girls can relate to having a crush of some sort on a teacher, and this novel shows what the consequences can be if you are not careful about it and let it go too far. In general, I did enjoy this novel, and would recommend it to friends if I knew they would enjoy it.

A new student review of Akarnae by Lynette Noni

alonzon posted a new student review of Akarnae by Lynette Noni. See the full review.

Alex is a strong and personable main character and makes a good backbone for the story. She quickly makes loyal friends who are extremely likable and help her assimilate into her new life. The reader is kept in the dark about many things that are slowly revealed throughout the book, and some things are still cryptic at the end, leaving the reader wondering what happens next. The characters are all very realistic and three-dimensional, with only a few exceptions. While the plot follows the generic “Chosen One” structure, it has its own unique aspects that help it stand out, like how everything magical is actually extremely advanced technology, and how the Library could be seen as a living entity and is crucial to the story. The end brings resolution, but also new things to be discovered in later books, which keeps the book’s audience hooked and wanting more. Despite its typical baseline, this novel is a refreshingly new take on fantasy and was an enjoyable read for me. I recommend it for those reluctant to read fantasy or anyone who wants a fun, easy read. Akarnae is the first book in the Medoran Chronicles.

Wednesday, November 11, 2015

A new student review of Arrows Over Agincourt by D. Lawrence- Young

BG posted a new student review of Arrows Over Agincourt by D. Lawrence- Young. See the full review.

Arrows over Agincourt is a historical fiction told in first person. You see the story through the eyes of Davy, an archer in King Henry’s Army. I enjoyed the closeness of the events in the story and the details of what the soldiers went through. I love how much history is told during the story, in each battle and fight with the French, and also all the great information on the people and times in which they take place.

Davy and his friend Tom are both faced with the reality of war. Davy is not sure if he is strong or brave enough until he actually has to be during the heat of the battle. They both come through the war and in my eyes they are heroes. 

The battle of Agincourt is portrayed wonderfully.  It is definitely the climax of the book.  

If you enjoy history, you will enjoy this book.  

A new student review of A Song For Ella Grey by David Almond

Inferna101 posted a new student review of A Song For Ella Grey by David Almond. See the full review.

I liked this book. I've always wanted to read a book where the narrator wasn't the subject of all the strange happenings, but a friend of said subject. I think this author did a great job with that narration. We got a narrator who we could relate to whose opinion and reactions to Ella and Orpheus' love we agree with and sympathize with, because if we were put in the same situation, we would probably react in similar ways. It was a little too explicit for my taste but besides that I thoroughly enjoyed the book.

Tuesday, November 10, 2015

LitPick Receives
MOM'S CHOICE AWARD
GOLD


The Mom's Choice Awards Honoring Excellence seal
is widely recognized as the symbol representing
the best in family-friendly media, products and services.

Monday, November 09, 2015

A new student review of Akarnae by Lynette Noni

jfhxc posted a new student review of Akarnae by Lynette Noni. See the full review.

I really liked Akarnae because it wasn't predictable or unrealistic, and the characters never fought with each other. It wasn't predictable because it had lots of unexpected twists. One example is when Aven defeated Sir Camden. I really wasn’t expecting that! I liked this because the story didn't get boring. The story wasn't unrealistic, even though everyone had a gift. Their gifts weren’t crazy, like having magical abilities or being able to shape-shift. I appreciated that the characters never fought with each other because I don’t like it when people argue, and that made the story go smoother. I really liked this book and would recommend it to anyone who enjoys fantasy and adventure. yesyesyes

Saturday, November 07, 2015

A new student review of Switch by Ingrid Law

nictaf posted a new student review of Switch by Ingrid Law. See the full review.

Ingrid Law wrote a magical book filled with fantasy and wild fun! The book was very well described, like: “At the the front of the store, a small bag held what was left of holiday clearance: mesh bags of crushed chocolate Hanukkah coins; flattened marshmallow Santas; a torn package of silver confetti; a few scraggly, wilted poinsettias.” The characters were well developed; I could tell what they were feeling and thinking. I was very impressed with the theme of the book, “Family comes first.” Even though this is the third book in the Savvy series, Switch can be a stand-alone. It would help to read book one and two first, but it isn’t needed. I would recommend this book for ages 8 and up.

Friday, November 06, 2015

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

S.Ehlers posted a new student review of Lies in the Dust by Jakob Crane Timothy Decker. See the full review.

Lies in the Dust is an incredibly interesting book. Once a person becomes very mature I believe that they should read this book because it is good to be well-rounded and hear about everything in the world, even if it is horrifying and cruel. This book was also very interesting because it was a graphic novel. I enjoy reading graphic novels, but this one stands out because it is not cheerful and bubbly. Lies in the Dust is dark and wicked. To conclude, Lies in the Dust is a very unique book and I recommend it to any mature audience. 

Sunday, November 01, 2015

A new student review of The Blue Woods by Nicole Maggi

khoef241 posted a new student review of The Blue Woods by Nicole Maggi. See the full review.

I couldn't put this book down! It was very well written. While usually I detest the use of more than one character narrating a story, I loved the parallel view on the same issues going on. Overall this was a great read and is entertaining for all age groups above twelve or thirteen years of age. If you enjoy this reading selection make sure to check out other books in the fantasy genre such as Nightshade by Andrea Cremer, Shape Shifter's Secret by Heather Ostler, and Tiger's Curse by Colleen Houch. 

Friday, October 30, 2015

A new student review of The Fog of Forgetting by Genevieve Morgan

mail4chase@yahoo.com posted a new student review of The Fog of Forgetting by Genevieve Morgan. See the full review.

I really enjoyed The Fog of Forgetting by G. A. Morgan. Her ability to give depth to her characters is impressive. As a reader I could connect with every character she invented and each character had qualities I liked and didn’t like, making them more realistic. Her idea is also spot on. Morgan’s combining of mind and magic is intriguing; the way each characters' daylights represent their most basic anatomy and desire. I am very excited to follow the journey of the five kids throughout the remainder of the trilogy. I find that Morgan’s writing excites me and makes me want to read more. I often found myself not getting to bed until 12:30 because I couldn’t bring myself to close the book. I would most definitely recommend this to anyone interested in fantasy or adventure; it is completely worth the read.

A new student review of The Seventh Most Important Thing by Shelley Pearsall

Katiedid.Break posted a new student review of The Seventh Most Important Thing by Shelley Pearsall. See the full review.

It was good, not a favorite, but it still was worth the read. Pearsall does a good job setting up the plot throughout the book. Sadly she does the worst thing an author could do- kill a major character with just one sentence. That is probably my biggest pet peeve when reading a book. I like how the story was based slightly on a real person and the epilogue at the end was a nice touch. I would recommend it for a book project.

A new student review of The Originals: The Loss by Julie Plec

Lucy posted a new student review of The Originals: The Loss by Julie Plec. See the full review.

Readers should be aware that this is the second book of a series and should first read The Originals: The Rise to help them fully understand the storyline. The Originals: The Loss starts slow, but the action picks up toward the middle of the book. At that point, I couldn’t put the book down because I absolutely loved the story! I would definitely recommend this book to a friend. It's a great story for readers who love paranormal romance. 

Thursday, October 29, 2015

A new student review of The Deadly Wizard Games by Scott Spotson

Sweetfable posted a new student review of The Deadly Wizard Games by Scott Spotson. See the full review.

I became immersed in the world presented in The Deadly Wizard Games from the beginning of the story. The concept of wizards taking control of the government was quite interesting to me. Reading about all of the magical games was definitely a treat, and I found myself wishing I could play them, too.

I have never read anything quite like this story. The characters were very realistic; I wish all stories had characters who think like actual people. I enjoyed the pacing of the novel, as well as the politics and philosophies it discussed.

I liked the main character, Amanda, as I could see a lot of myself in her. However, I did not feel the same way about many of the other characters. It was difficult to form strong connections with them. Overall, I really liked how things turned out within the novel. I definitely look forward to what this author has to offer in the future!

Friday, October 23, 2015

A new student review of Ms. Rapscott's Girls by Elise Primavera

kgirlskittles posted a new student review of Ms. Rapscott's Girls by Elise Primavera. See the full review.

Ms.Rapscott's Girls has an interesting plot. The daughters of busy parents don't always learn what they need to know to survive. The goal of Ms.Rapscott is to teach these girls how to do things she believes are necessary for little girls to know. An honorable goal, but the way she went about it can't be the best route. 

Shipping kids in boxes: maybe try a train, or a car, or a plane. There are plenty of ways that are less traumatizing.

Parachuting: I have no problem with this, but maybe explain what they have to do before you strap them into a harness. There's got to be a better way than just "do it right the first time or you'll be smashed into the ground!"

Finding your way: I'm all for teaching kids to navigate. But the no maps rule needs to go. Also, you need more than crackers if you plan on taking eight-year-old girls into the middle of the woods overnight. Especially if they have a reputation for doing things wrong or not knowing anything.

Ms.Rapscott is very kind. but not the type of person I'd trust with a child. I mean she shipped them in boxes! When a child fell out, and they found a note from her several days later, instead of helping the child, she was judged on penmanship, spelling and grammar. This isn't English class!

My favorite part of this book was at the very end, when they introduced the School for Boys of Busy Parents. If I had a chance to change anything, I would have introduced the school for boys at the beginning of the story. I'd do this to create a possible romance between headmasters for my fellow fangirls and fanboys.
One tip for reading this book, don't take it too seriously. If you do it will drive you crazy.  The book was magical and meant to be taken lightly.

I'd recommend this book to anyone ages nine to fifteen, who are looking for a light read.

Wednesday, October 21, 2015

A new student review of Tempus: The GenEx Saga by Holly Lauren

alison_S posted a new student review of Tempus: The GenEx Saga by Holly Lauren. See the full review.

First of all, let’s get one thing straight: from the opening hook to the messy, exhilarating final chapter, Tempus delighted me. Though Lauren’s humor could occasionally deteriorate from giggly teenage antics to corny bouts of forced comedy, I couldn’t help but smile through my groans. You could call Tempus lighthearted, even generic teen fluff, and you’d have a point; from the angelic blonde to the bad boy she falls for, Tempus’ plotline runs parallels that of most supernatural romance novels. You might consider it comfortingly familiar, or you might consider it formulaic escapism. Or you might, like me, consider it a little bit of both. Though a tangle of marginally related subplots slows the novel’s earlier chapters, Lauren whirls through Tempus’ electrifying climax fast enough to give you whiplash. So fast, in fact, several earlier subplots fade into the rush of pheromones and adrenaline.

Tempus defies just, you know, fundamental scientific laws while putting young adult lit’s tired, so-called “rules” on a pedestal. Love YA paranormal (because, despite the flimsy scientific explanation, I still consider this paranormal)? Then I’m all too certain you’ll adore Holly Lauren’s Tempus.

 

A new student review of Gaby and The Best Middle School Self-Defense Book Ever by Linda Elkin

ACS41404 posted a new student review of Gaby and The Best Middle School Self-Defense Book Ever by Linda Elkin. See the full review.

This is an excellent book.  The author of the book, Linda Elkin, did a great job of using the characters to explain how to survive middle school.  As a middle schooler myself, I could really relate to the characters and the challenges they faced.  Using Gaby and Lily, the author gives great examples on how to handle multiple problems.  I would recommend this book to all middle school girls.  It's encouraging and will make you feel differently about middle school.

Tuesday, October 20, 2015

A new student review of Winter of Elves by Joanne Vruno

moseso posted a new student review of Winter of Elves by Joanne Vruno. See the full review.

This book is well-written and a perfect read for magic and fantasy lovers. Short, action-packed scenes fill the book’s pages. However, the middle of the story slows a bit. The ending is without fault and leaves the reader dreaming about what will happen next. The book seems geared toward readers ten and under, though Aly is a twelve-year-old. Overall, Winter of Elves is an enchanting story for eight to ten-year-olds. 

Sunday, October 18, 2015

Saturday, October 17, 2015

A new student review of Weightless by Sarah Bannan

sakurafrost posted a new student review of Weightless by Sarah Bannan. See the full review.

I thought the plot was good overall, but the book moved a lot slower than I would have liked. There would be a few sentences that would really pique your interest, and then another page of boring stuff before you found out more. If those pages of boredom had been extracted I think it would make a much more exciting novel. I liked that the narrator is not a person but a group of observers in the school, which I thought really captured the clique-oriented storyline. (i.e. "We went to the mall" instead of "I went to the mall".) I feel like there was a lot of "fluff' in the book- lots of words but they didn't really convey anything of substance. (A lot like Donald Trump, don't you think?) Besides that, the ending was pretty obvious halfway through the book, and I really wanted to jump to the ending to confirm my suspicions instead of reading the rest of the book.

Friday, October 16, 2015

A new student review of Paper Hearts by Meg Wiviott

leah0304 posted a new student review of Paper Hearts by Meg Wiviott. See the full review.

I enjoyed "Paper Hearts" because once I started reading, I could not stop. The plot is incredibly suspenseful, and kept me immersed throughout the book. Paper Hearts is described so vividly, I could almost picture myself there. 
 
Even though I really liked this book, there were some things that I would change. One thing I found unnecessarily confusing was how fast the plot moved. I had to pay attention because each chapter discussed a character's perspective. It can be confusing if you don’t pay attention to which character's perspective is discussed in each chapter. The format, although choppy, was the only downside of this book.
 

Wednesday, October 14, 2015

A new student review of Zeroes by Deborah Biancotti Margo Lanagan Scott Westerfeld

crabby posted a new student review of Zeroes by Deborah Biancotti Margo Lanagan Scott Westerfeld. See the full review.

Upon reading the dust jacket for this story, my initial reaction was somewhere along the lines of, Oh, great, another story about Teens Who Are Special and Different. And, true, the book features a set of kids who can do spectacular things no others can. However, while the plot was prominent and drove the pace of the story, the characters were extremely real and experienced personal growth that wasn’t overshadowed by the more fantastical aspects of the narrative. Even their powers are flawed, to the point where the reader at times pities the characters instead of envying them. The book is as much about people as it is about adventure, and I definitely enjoy a nice helping of character development alongside my action in a story like this. All in all a delightful read for teens that leaves one fond of the characters and looking forward to the rest of the series.
 
 

Monday, October 12, 2015

A new student review of The Hunted by Matt De La Peña

Reading=Believing posted a new student review of The Hunted by Matt De La Peña. See the full review.

This is a great book. Matt De La Peña's The Hunted is a page turner that I am not likely to forget. It has a fast paced plot line and characters that are intriguing and relatable, and I found it was hard not to get attached to them. The Hunted is the sequel to The Living in which Matt De La Peña introduced the characters and their relationships. The first book was great and the second was just as good. As the protagonists make their way through the remnants of the west coast, you can picture the destruction and begin to feel the tense mood of this book. Overall, I would definitely recommend this book, it's an easier read with plenty of suspense.

A new student review of Winter of Elves by Joanne Vruno

jotaf posted a new student review of Winter of Elves by Joanne Vruno. See the full review.

I thought Winter of Elves was an awesome book. I enjoyed that the author, Joanne Vruno, added new and exciting details to each continuing book in the Seasons of Elves series. I never would have expected a wolf would be so instrumental to one of the books. 

I also liked that there was so much detail and description in each book. I felt like I was right there with the characters every step of the way. The descriptions continued to build upon each character in this book. 

A part in the book that I particularly enjoyed was when a secret was discovered about the rock elves. I loved every part of this book. I would recommend it to students aged 11 and up or to anyone who has read and liked books one and two.

A new student review of Stalking Los Angeles by Tom Berquist

thudson36 posted a new student review of Stalking Los Angeles by Tom Berquist. See the full review.

I enjoyed reading Stalking Los Angeles. I thought the storyline was a very original idea; I’ve never read a book like this one before. I liked how the author used alternating perspectives between Reggie and the mountain lion, because it allows the audience to watch how their two lives intertwine.

The main character, Reggie, was likable and easy for me to relate to. He had to deal with many challenging life situations and handled them in a realistic way. I thought the plot moved along at a nice pace, and it always held my interest. I found the end of the story slightly confusing, when Reggie went on his “vision quests." However, the ending clarified my confusion and wrapped everything up nicely. I really enjoyed reading Stalking Los Angeles and would recommend it to others.

Sunday, October 11, 2015

A new student review of The Galaxy Pirates - Hunt for the Pyxis by Zoe Ferraris

nictaf posted a new student review of The Galaxy Pirates - Hunt for the Pyxis by Zoe Ferraris. See the full review.

The Galaxy Pirates: Hunt for the Pyxis was an amazing book filled with fantasy, adventure, and a captivating plot! The author, Zoe Ferraris, wrote a thrilling book with excellent character development. Emma was so well described that she could be a real person! One part of this book I especially liked was the descriptions. For example, the following description popped: “They heard a resounding crack! as the bow of the enormous container ship hit whatever had stopped the Markab. An enormous piece of timber rose up into the water like a whale, broken in half against the hull of the great ship. It looked like the sunken remains of a fishing pier. It was covered in long spikes and kelp, and it flopped back into the water.” Besides the plot and the characters, I felt that this book was a great read; it kept me on the edge of my seat! I would recommend this book to people that like fantasy, excitement, and a great book! I think this book would be for kids 9 and up!

Friday, October 09, 2015

A new student review of The Flying Beaver Brothers and the Crazy Critter Race by Maxwell Eaton III

Jowill posted a new student review of The Flying Beaver Brothers and the Crazy Critter Race by Maxwell Eaton III. See the full review.

This graphic novel was part adventure and part mystery.  I like how the author used comedy to keep the reader interested.  I would say this is a great book for reluctant readers.  It is also a great book for people who are just learning how to read graphic novels, because the dialog is easy to follow.

Saturday, October 03, 2015

A new student review of Hilo - The Boy Who Crashed to Earth by Judd Winick

Boomer123 posted a new student review of Hilo - The Boy Who Crashed to Earth by Judd Winick. See the full review.

Hilo is a great great character because he doesn’t know anything so he does really funny things.  For example, Hilo greets everyone with a scream because that’s what DJ did when he first saw him.  Be ready to read about Hilo burping a lot.  Gina is a huge astronomy fan so I really connected with her.  The big message in this book is about always looking out for your friends, no matter what planet they are from.  

This is a great graphic novel that is a very quick read and shouldn’t take you more than an hour to finish.  I’ve  already gone back to it many times to reread it.  I’m looking forward to the next book since this one ends in a big cliffhanger.  

 

Friday, October 02, 2015

A new student review of Mortimer the Vampire: and Drake the Dragon by Cameron Glenn

JesusFreak posted a new student review of Mortimer the Vampire: and Drake the Dragon by Cameron Glenn. See the full review.

Mortimer the Vampire: and Drake the Dragon

Thursday, October 01, 2015

A new student review of Pink Frost by Cameron Glenn

JesusFreak posted a new student review of Pink Frost by Cameron Glenn. See the full review.

The concept of this book was very unique and interesting, however the ending was disappointing. I think part of the reason why this book was a letdown was because of how short it was. It was more like a short story than an actual novel. The main character, Cassy, was more likable than I was expecting her to be, however a few decisions she made near the end of the novel I did not agree with. I felt sympathy toward her and found myself enjoying reading about her character.
Overall, this story is very interesting and unique and is great for mature young adults.

 

Wednesday, September 30, 2015

A new student review of The Prize: Tales from a Revolution by Lars D. H. Hedbor

BG posted a new student review of The Prize: Tales from a Revolution by Lars D. H. Hedbor. See the full review.

The Prize is an historical fiction. You hear news of the battles that take place, mixed with a nice fictional story. Compared to other Historical fiction I’ve read this one isn’t really for me. I prefer to be more up close to the historical events or at least learn a lot more about the time, place and the people.

The characters were wonderfully made and portrayed though, fitting perfectly in their time, place, and state. The book is in first person, written in Caleb Clark’s point of view, easy to read and simple to comprehend. It gives just the right amount of detail, not too much, not too little. I applaud the author’s ability to paint the mood, scenery and people in the story. The history is good; if you pay attention you can learn a good bit about the war, from a settler’s point of view. To me this book wouldn’t be my first choice of an historical fiction, due to the distance from the setting that most of the historical events take place.   

Sunday, September 27, 2015

A new student review of The Glass Gauntlet by Carter Roy

tlang posted a new student review of The Glass Gauntlet by Carter Roy. See the full review.

When I began reading this book, I did not realize it was the second book to the series. However, I was able to understand the storyline without having read the first book.

It was an amazing read filled with action, evil characters who tried to stop the children from finding the Glass Gauntlet, and good characters who helped and trained the children along the way. Each character was likable and had their very own unique personality. I loved how the children outsmarted the grown-ups throughout the story.

Saturday, September 26, 2015

A new student review of Losing by Patrick Ness Sophie Mckenzie Mary Hooper Anne Fine Melvin Burgess

mbuonarroti posted a new student review of Losing by Patrick Ness Sophie Mckenzie Mary Hooper Anne Fine Melvin Burgess. See the full review.

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Thursday, September 24, 2015

A new student review of The Wolf Wilder by Katherine Rundell

sakurafrost posted a new student review of The Wolf Wilder by Katherine Rundell. See the full review.

I enjoyed reading The Wolf Wilder because of the fairy-tale, anything-can-happen setting, because of Feo's likable and courageous heart and because of the intense adventure thrust upon her. The stakes are so high that if Feo puts one foot wrong, she and thousands of other Russians will die under Rakov's hand. This book was a fun and exciting read, sure to please anyone with a little imagination.

A new student review of The Many Lives of John Stone by Linda Buckley-Archer

jotaf posted a new student review of The Many Lives of John Stone by Linda Buckley-Archer. See the full review.

I thoroughly enjoyed The Many Lives of John Stone.  It had mystery, suspense, and adventure to make it very exciting.  Having read and loved the first book in the Gideon Trilogy, I decided to try this book, as it was written by the same author.  I am really glad that I decided to read this book, because it was fantastic.

The author, Linda Buckley-Archer, has a way with words.  She described the details of this book very well; I could picture Stowney House and the palace at Versailles in my head.  Also, the characters were down-to-earth and believable. 

A part in the book that I relished was when it added the journal entries.  I liked reading the story behind John Stone’s life in the present and in the past.  I can’t think of anything I didn’t like about this book. 

I would recommend this book to anyone ages 11 and up, or to anyone who has read and enjoyed the Gideon Trilogy.

 

Wednesday, September 23, 2015

A new student review of Violent Ends by Shaun David Hutchinson Neal Shusterman Brendan Shusterman Beth Revis Cynthia Leitich Smith Courtney Summers Kendare Blake Delilah S. Dawson Steve Brezenoff Tom Leveen Hannah Moskowitz Blythe Woolston Trish Doller Mindi Scott Margie Gelbwasser Christine Johnson E. M. Kokie Elisa Nader

JesusFreak posted a new student review of Violent Ends by Shaun David Hutchinson Neal Shusterman Brendan Shusterman Beth Revis Cynthia Leitich Smith Courtney Summers Kendare Blake Delilah S. Dawson Steve Brezenoff Tom Leveen Hannah Moskowitz Blythe Woolston Trish Doller Mindi Scott Margie Gelbwasser Christine Johnson E. M. Kokie Elisa Nader. See the full review.

When I began reading this book, I was curious as to how all the viewpoints from different characters would play into the story. As I read each account, I found myself becoming more and more engrossed in the book. Each author brings a different style of writing and varying characters, which I liked a lot. I found all the characters to be believable and very well-written. The plot moved along swiftly but it didn’t feel rushed, which is always a good thing.

Throughout the book, it truly made me think about what a situation like that could do to a person. How would I react if I was in the shoes of the characters? Would I react as they did, or would I react entirely differently?

With awe-inspiring point of views from various authors, this book is incredible. Violent Ends is sure to amaze.

Monday, September 21, 2015

A new student review of Penny's War by Anne Dearle

leonardo posted a new student review of Penny's War by Anne Dearle. See the full review.

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A new student review of The Betrayal of Renegade X by Chelsea M. Campbell

Benflash1 posted a new student review of The Betrayal of Renegade X by Chelsea M. Campbell. See the full review.

This book has a fast paced plot that a reader can really get into. I would recommend this book for anyone who enjoys reading about characters who display bravery and courage, or just admire heroes in general. I particularly enjoyed reading about Damien's grandfather, as he is trying to stand up for what he believes to be right. Although he is portrayed more of as a "bad guy" in this novel, from a different perspective, he could have been the heroic main character of the novel. I did think however, that the book was not discriptive enough about the distinction between heroes and villains. Altogether, I beleive this book is a thrilling read with powerful characters.

A new student review of Everything Everything by Nicola Yoon

JesusFreak posted a new student review of Everything Everything by Nicola Yoon. See the full review.

Reading this book is like stepping into a life. The story is written so life-like that I felt as if I was in the story right alongside Madeline when reading it. The author crafts the story in a way that is light-hearted yet heavy at the same time. Her characters are believable and enjoyable. Madeline’s struggles are brought to attention more than once, but not in a way that is annoying. Her relationship with Olly is loving and beautiful. I enjoyed every second of it.
Another one of my favorite things about this book is the gorgeous cover art. Kudos to the artist for creating such a stunning masterpiece.

 

This book is a great read for teens+. This heartwarming yet heart-wrenching story is sure to leave you awed.

 

Sunday, September 20, 2015

A new student review of My Diary from the Edge of the World by Jodi Lynn Anderson

nictaf posted a new student review of My Diary from the Edge of the World by Jodi Lynn Anderson. See the full review.

Jodi Lynn Anderson wrote a great book filled with fantasy and adventure!  My Diary from the Edge of the World had twists and turns so you can't tell what will happen until it does.  One part I especially liked was a description of a witch’s house.  Anderson wrote, "It was an astonishing sight-resting on enormous boulders at the peak of the mountain, made of dark logs and planks of wood, and lit up brightly inside with firelight. It looked half wild and half civilized, sort of crooked to one side, old and breathtaking, with attachments and additions veering off this way and that and poking over the sides of boulders and low cliffs."  Gracie was well described and I think she would be a normal, everyday person if she was real.  The book had a very unique plot, and I would have liked to be part of the characters' quest.  If you are a fan of adventure and fantasy, then you need to read this amazing book!  I would love to read a second book if there is one.  I would recommend this book to ages 8 and up!

A new student review of The Great Good Summer by Liz Garton Scanlon

muffin posted a new student review of The Great Good Summer by Liz Garton Scanlon. See the full review.

I had a difficult time deciding if I liked this book.  I enjoyed the plot, the characters, and the setting.  The one part that bothered me was one small element.  The book has a very religious tone.  God is referred to, spoken about and discussed multiple times. In the end I decided that I did like the book, it was just that the religious piece was unexpected and I had to adjust.  The book has a good message, that nobody really gets their ideal happy ever after.  The book discusses the consequences of running away and takes a very realistic look at mother-daughter relationships.   I also enjoyed watching Ivy and Paul's friendship grow because Paul doesn't really believe in God and Ivy had been raised in a very religious family and town.  

Saturday, September 19, 2015

A new student review of The Fog of Forgetting by Genevieve Morgan

Inferna101 posted a new student review of The Fog of Forgetting by Genevieve Morgan. See the full review.

Overall The Fog of Forgetting was a very pleasant read. Perhaps not the best book ever, but good enough to make me want to read the sequel. There are many moments where you make sense of clues dropped by the author. It makes you feel warm and fuzzy when you pick up on those subtle hints. You understand why specific events occured. I also really like the twist put into this story. The only thing I really didn't like was how many questions were left unanswered. Of course that's to make sure you read the sequel, so it isn't actually a bad thing.

Thursday, September 17, 2015

A new student review of The Fire Chronicle (Books of Beginning) by John Stephens

muffin posted a new student review of The Fire Chronicle (Books of Beginning) by John Stephens. See the full review.

This book was really good and I can't wait for the next one to come out! I would go so far as to say it was better than the first book in this series.  I liked how it bounced back and forth between Kate and Michael. It keeps the energy of the book up and the reader interested.  The book is filled with action, humor, and excellent writing! You can definitely see Michael's character growth in this book, from being petty and immature to being grown up and responsible. I have no bad comments for this book and give it an easy 5 stars.  Adventure readers won’t be disappointed and, although it is a chunky book, it will be over before you know it.  

 

Wednesday, September 16, 2015

A new student review of Chasing Secrets by Gennifer Choldenko

moseso posted a new student review of Chasing Secrets by Gennifer Choldenko. See the full review.

Chasing Secrets is a well written book that captures the reader’s attention from beginning to end. Lizzie Kennedy, who is the main character, is a determined young girl who never gives up. Although not entirely historically accurate, this book is full of suspense and surprises around every corner. The author does a beautiful job of wrapping everything up in the end, and exercises the imagination by leaving the reader dreaming about what might happen next. Chasing Secrets is a book every bookshelf should hold! 10-13 year old girls would best enjoy this adventure.

Tuesday, September 15, 2015

A new student review of Roller Girl by Victoria Jamieson

Boomer123 posted a new student review of Roller Girl by Victoria Jamieson. See the full review.

I am a fan of graphic novels and this one was absolutely fantastic.  In particular I liked having the chance to read about roller derby.  I didn't know what roller derby was and now I am thinking I might even want to try it myself.  I could understand Astrid when she and Nicole had problems.  She is upset that Nicole chose Rachel over her.  If you liked "Smile" and "Sisters" you will like this book as well because like those books are graphic novels about a character going through hard times.  Readers should know that there is a bit of bullying. Nicole teases Astrid about her name.  There are a lot of middle school friendship problems.  I really liked this book and would recommend it to realistic fiction readers and graphic novel readers.   

A new student review of Weird Space: The Baba Yaga by Una McCormack Eric Brown

jotaf posted a new student review of Weird Space: The Baba Yaga by Una McCormack Eric Brown. See the full review.

One of my recipes for a good book is a mix of action, mystery, and adventure.  The Baba Yaga had all of those parts.  I liked that the authors, Eric Brown and Una McCormack, described the characters and the setting of the story thoroughly. I was able to picture the size and appearance of everything.  A part in the book that I particularly liked was when Failt, a Vetch child, snuck on Delia’s ship.  It was generous of Delia to keep Failt safe when the pilot wanted to get rid of him.

One thing I didn’t like about this book, though, was how it ended.  I’m not a fan of sad endings, and I wish it would have ended differently.  I would recommend this book to ages 13 and up, or to anyone who likes sci-fi and doesn’t mind some bad language.

Sunday, September 13, 2015

A new student review of Stand-off by Andrew Smith

Raphael posted a new student review of Stand-off by Andrew Smith. See the full review.

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Friday, September 11, 2015

A new student review of Delano in Hollyhook by Cameron Glenn

PASTERSY01 posted a new student review of Delano in Hollyhook by Cameron Glenn. See the full review.

This is a very energetic book told from the perspective of the main character, Delano, and how he sees his friends and the different journies they venture on. I personally really loved this book and think it was very well written, but every now and then there were a few punctuation and spelling errors. The author did a nice job of explaining the different parts of the story. He never rambled on, but gave you just enough details. One of my favorite characters other than Delano was Lenore, because even though she wasn't very positive, she still figured out a lot of the problems in the book.

A new student review of Chopstix by A.T. Raydan

Gwendolyn posted a new student review of Chopstix by A.T. Raydan. See the full review.

Chopstix

A new student review of Chopstix by A.T. Raydan

JesusFreak posted a new student review of Chopstix by A.T. Raydan. See the full review.

When I opened this book, one of the first things I noticed was how short it was. However, as I began reading, I was pleasantly surprised by how quickly it grabbed my attention. The main character, Wendy, was extremely likable throughout the book. I felt that she made good, well-thought-out decisions. It was difficult to connect with some of the other characters. 

At times, the action seemed to lag and the dialogue seemed a bit childish for the characters’ ages.

Overall, this book had a great plot and good character development. I would recommend it to anyone ages 12 and above who enjoys action.

Wednesday, September 09, 2015

A new student review of Knowing Nora by Claire Merchant

Star360 posted a new student review of Knowing Nora by Claire Merchant. See the full review.

An affair between a teacher and a student is one of the most taboo relationships in society. Nevertheless, a news story about such a twisted romance comes up every year. In Knowing Nora, Nora Hadley gives a voice to the young girls who have fallen for the wrong man entirely.

 

The bitter irony of Knowing Nora is that Nora was both the most and least likely to have an affair with Mr. Summers. No one thought that shy, pious Nora would ever have a boyfriend. Even Nora herself thought that she would have to wait until university to find a special someone. On the other hand, readers can observe that Nora is above petty high school drama. Unlike Ainslee, she doesn’t want to get involved with any immature teen. Part of her attraction to William Summers was his maturity and kindness. Those were qualities that she couldn’t get in a boy like Aaron, whose offer she turned down.

 

William was a conundrum. He was an excellent literature teacher, and he made sure that there was no bullying in his classroom. Nevertheless, he shouldn’t have started seeing Nora outside of school. Their encounters began at her little brother’s football games, which he could have easily avoided. William may have only been five years older than Nora, but that makes a big difference when she’s sixteen and he’s twenty-one. Nora went along with the affair out of blind love, but William should have been the voice of reason.

 

The most questionable aspect of the book was the exact nature of Nora and William’s romance. If she had been his age, they might have made a great couple. Since that wasn’t the case, it made the affair all the more disturbing. It’s simple math: Teacher + Student + Romance  = Big Trouble. Girls and boys who get involved in such relationships shouldn’t be given a scarlet letter, but should their actions be applauded as an act of true love? Readers are sure to offer a plethora of diverse answers.

 

A creative part of the book was how each chapter was titled the name of a song. Songs like “Chasing Pavements” and “Losing My Religion” accurately set the tone of each stage in Nora’s life.

 

I would warn readers to skip the prologue. Cover it with sticky notes, squeeze your eyes shut as you turn the page – just don’t read it! Some prologues offer a tantalizing glimpse into the characters’ futures; this one just drops a major spoiler that takes the edge off the novel’s building suspense.

 

Knowing Nora offers a unique perspective on the dangerous relationships that can occur between a student and a teacher.

Tuesday, September 08, 2015

A new student review of Iron and Blood by Larry Martin Gail Z Martin

Lainebarnes posted a new student review of Iron and Blood by Larry Martin Gail Z Martin. See the full review.

My opinion of this book was that it was well thought out and each chapter made a new impact. The book was very interesting, but it was also scary and gruesome. The murder scenes that were described were vivid giving me a feeling of fear or doom. There were homemade "werkman", also known as zombies, who are dead people following orders from Thwaits to kill anyone trying to solve the murders. They had human features but were actually made of cogs and gears that when they were attacked, would spew out blood and dead flesh. Yuck! Other than the gory stuff, I enjoyed the book very much and I would read it again. It was very adventurous, but also made me feel scared at times. I would not recommend this book to anyone under the age of 14 due to its graphic language and images. The scenes are very bloody and could be disturbing to some readers. They do add to the tale but I would caution readers of this book for fear that it may scare them. But overall it was well thought out and maintained a good flow.

A new student review of Off the Page by Samantha van Leer Jodi Picoult

pavannah posted a new student review of Off the Page by Samantha van Leer Jodi Picoult. See the full review.

My basic thoughts on this was it was a great book that would serve as a great companion to the original.  However, I was not aware that it had been a companion book, until receiving the actual book, therefore I hadn’t read the first book before completing this book.Even with that, I was able to thoroughly enjoy reading this book, because being a fantasy fanatic, and well, a lover of books, I found a piece of myself within this book; which made me enjoy it all the more.  There was great character development with Oliver, but was lacking in others, which is a little disappointing, but not the end of the world.  I think the message that love requires sacrifice is a noble one, that shines throughout the book, it is lacking strong backing in this book.  Yes it was clear that it was the message being sent, however it showed that it was more of other characters making sacrifices for Oliver and Delilah, as opposed to they themselves making the sacrifices. So overall, for a sappy romantic fantasy novel is was good, however I will not be reading it again.  

Tuesday, September 01, 2015

A new student review of Field Trip by Jim Paulsen Gary Paulsen

Boomer123 posted a new student review of Field Trip by Jim Paulsen Gary Paulsen. See the full review.

Gary and Jim Paulsen have yet again delivered another great father and son book. I love this book so much and I think it's a great follow-up to Road Trip! I also like how it is written from Ben’s perspective. Conor and Atticus were always cracking me up because Atticus is so down to Earth and Conor, well, isn't. I also liked how the twins, Charlotte and Jacob are super smart and peppy and are always making me laugh with their smartness. I like this book because I think it shows a great father and son relationship. 

Monday, August 31, 2015

A new student review of Roller Girl by Victoria Jamieson

Boomer123 posted a new student review of Roller Girl by Victoria Jamieson. See the full review.

I liked reading about roller derby.  I didn't know what roller derby was and now I am thinking I might even want to try it myself.  I could understand Astrid when she and Nicole had problems.  She is upset that Nicole chose Rachel over her.  If you liked "Smile and Sisters" you will like this book as well. It is a graphic novel about a character going through hard times.  Readers should know that there is a bit of bullying. Nicole teases Astrid about her name.  There are a lot of middle school friendship problems.

Sunday, August 30, 2015

A new student review of Beautiful Americans by Lucy Silag

KMeng posted a new student review of Beautiful Americans by Lucy Silag. See the full review.

As a fan of books like Gossip Girl and the like, this plot of this book interested me right away. The plot of Beautiful Americans isnt a new one, but the way the story was written was attention grabbing and the Parisian background added a whole new level to the novel. The drama behind the 4 teens is interesting to read and the further I got into the story, the more I wanted to know about them. Beautiful Americans is a great summer read. The great news about this Beautiful Americans is that this is book number 1 in a series and there are 2 other books out. So for a taste of teen drama and adventure, give the Beautiful American series a try!

Friday, August 28, 2015

A new student review of The Anatomy of Curiosity by Brenna Yovanoff Tessa Gratton Maggie Stiefvater

Star360 posted a new student review of The Anatomy of Curiosity by Brenna Yovanoff Tessa Gratton Maggie Stiefvater. See the full review.

Many readers have wondered how their favorite YA authors go about writing a novel. With The Anatomy of Curiosity, their questions can be answered in a clever, unforgettable way.

 

The beauty of this book was how fun it was to read it! I’ve read articles about how to write a book and seen videos of authors talking about their journey to publication. Those are good resources, but this book took it a step up and showed readers how it’s done. Fantasy authors Steifvater, Gratton, and Yovanoff each wrote a novella and explained to readers how they decided on the climax, the setting, a certain phrase, and all the other fidgety little details that make up a fine story.

 

Reading those notes is like watching a movie with the director’s comments on – you’re enjoying the plot, but you also get valuable insight into the making of the work. People can choose to ignore the notes completely and simply enjoy the story, which is a good idea for those who don’t want even the slightest hint of a spoiler. But I highly recommend that readers at least skim the notes, because there’s a lot to learn from the three talented women.

 

The novellas themselves were each unique and memorable. Steifvater’s was about a shy girl who reads poems for an elegant yet strange old lady; Gratton’s was about a boy at war whose love hides a great secret; Yovanoff’s was about the haunting qualities of drowning. My personal favorite was Steifvater’s ‘Ladylike,’ but all three will have an appeal for a diverse audience.

 

The Anatomy of Curiosity should be on the to-read list of anyone who wants a behind-the-scenes look at the making of a novel.

A new student review of Iron Rails, Iron Men, and the Race to Link the Nation: The Story of the Transcontinental Railroad by Martin W. Sandler

moseso posted a new student review of Iron Rails, Iron Men, and the Race to Link the Nation: The Story of the Transcontinental Railroad by Martin W. Sandler. See the full review.

This book is full of lots of important and valuable information on the building of the Transcontinental Railroad. It is slightly confusing in the beginning, but eventually, all is explained and the reader can read without any more confusion. For anyone who is looking to write a report or just to learn about this awesome railroad, this is a great resource book. Some of the information could have been arranged in a different way so that it would be more easily understood. Kids 12 and up would best understand this book. Overall, this book is a great read for anyone interested in the Transcontinental Railroad!  

Thursday, August 27, 2015

A new student review of Flying Mutant Zombie Rats by Kat de Falla

jotaf posted a new student review of Flying Mutant Zombie Rats by Kat de Falla. See the full review.

I thought Flying Mutant Zombie Rats was an enjoyable and humorous book, one with a funny plot line. 

It was hilarious that the portal to another dimension opened while Pea was doing a back-flip on his BMX bike. Another part in the book I enjoyed was when a cat named Maximillian started talking; it was funny when Pea was surprised by it. 

This book was a new kind of book for me. I have never read a book quite like this one; adventure, friendship, and tongue-in-cheek humor made it interesting. I felt that the storyline slowed in some parts, although it wasn't that often. At times weird, at times gripping, this book would appeal to many boys. I would have given this book five stars, but I didn't appreciate some of the gross humor. I would recommend this book to students ages nine through fourteen, or to anyone that enjoys books where kids overcome impossible odds. 

A new student review of Flying Mutant Zombie Rats by Kat de Falla

nictaf posted a new student review of Flying Mutant Zombie Rats by Kat de Falla. See the full review.

Flying Mutant Zombie Rats was an exciting book full of adventure and fun. Kat de Falla created a wonderful story! The characters were very funny and well described. For example, she wrote "Paco stood by the gate with his sparkling, almost all chrome, GT bike. He had a habit of constantly shoveling food in his mouth, but in spite of that he was wiry--and someone good to have on your side in a fight."

Pea was a funny, nice kid. He was very likable. I felt this book was too short; I wanted it to keep going because it was so enjoyable. I’d love to read the second book! This book is great for ages 9 and up.
 

Wednesday, August 26, 2015

A new student review of Symphony for the City of the Dead by M.T. Anderson

Gwendolyn posted a new student review of Symphony for the City of the Dead by M.T. Anderson. See the full review.

The first aspect of Symphony for the City of the Dead that captured my attention was the cover art. With its eye-catching uses of color, the cover of this non-fiction novel reminds me of propaganda posters seen during World War ll and the Cold War. It perfectly fits the atmosphere of this book. Although I tend to discourage judging a book by its cover, if I had seen M.T. Anderson's new work in a book store, I am certain that the cover art would have immediately drawn me in and motivated me to pick it up.

 

I was naturally drawn to this book both as a musician and as an appreciator of music, but also because I have a passion for modernist music, particularly by Igor Stravinsky and Dmitri Shostakovich. It was an interesting experience for me to learn about Dmitri Shostakovich's life in such detail, because, despite the fact that I love Shostakovich's work, I had hardly any knowledge of his life or the impact that he had, prior to reading this non-fiction novel. Reading his story gave me an even deeper appreciation for Shostakovich's compositions. 

 

After reading the official summary for Symphony for the City of the Dead, I was unaware that it covers more historical events than the Siege of Leningrad. It begins with chronicling Dmitri Shostakovich's childhood during the Russian Revolution, and then indicates issues with communist Russia and Joesph Stalin's leadership, and Shostakovich's impact on and experiences with these times. I love that this non-fiction novel utilizes a not so well-known perspective on well-known historical events. While reading this book, I was given the opportunity to better understand a point of view disparate from the American perspective that I am more familiar with.

 

One thing is for certain, this book is packed full of information. It is clear that M.T. Anderson did his research. This is one of those books that I might not re-read in its entirety any time soon, but I am certain that I will continue to refer to for the useful information that can be found in its pages. It would be perfect to use for reference in a history class that covers these topics, because it shares such an in-depth perspective on some of the biggest moments in Russian history. 

 

The only drawback that I could think of with this book was that the way the author chose to narrate in certain areas. These areas feel a little unfocused. This isn't a necessarily bad thing, and once I adjusted to the atmosphere I was able to enjoy it. In order to tell Shotakovich's story, you have to understand what was happening in the world around him, therefore the information the author includes makes sense and proves useful in fully experiencing the book as a whole.

 

In conclusion, M.T. Anderson's Symphony for the City of the Dead is a slow-paced yet informative tome that I feel would be better enjoyed gradually and leisurely, but a well-written and well-researched historical compilation nonetheless. I highly recommend this non-fiction novel to those interested in Russian history and creative arts during the 20th century.