Saturday, January 30, 2016
Wednesday, January 27, 2016
In Real Life is all right, but I did find it to be a bit predictable. One would not write about a videogamer seeking glory if he does not find it. Also, by creating a hostile environment (two living quarters, the fighting parents, a rude brother, and a poor father-son relationship) the author really set up the average brooding teenage boy who hides himself away from the world to play video games and escape reality.
As well as his brother's playboy lifestyle, the reader can only assume Seth would find attraction and distraction in a girl. Foreshadowing is all right when done in moderation, but I believe this particular book holds too much. I also don't think the book will reach its intended audience because of the structure. In fact, I can't really tell who the audience is supposed to be. If the book is meant for gamer girls then I believe you have a hit, yet that is an extremely small audience. Given that it is a growing population, I find it hard to believe that the author only intended it for that particular audience.
For gamer boys I believe that, depending on their taste, not many would read it, and the ones who do probably wouldn't finish it. As for the rest of the teenage population, the author goes into too much depth of the actual video game. As a nongamer, most of the references to the game were confusing, and the pages spent on Seth sitting and playing had me tempted to put down the book and not come back. To be a true hit, I believe the author should have revised based on the audience he was trying to pinpoint and tweak the details to fit.
Monday, January 25, 2016
The sequel to Ship of Dolls: Dolls of Hope, is a captivating story of friendship and bravery. The author did a superb job of developing characters. Immediately jumping into action while slowly developing the characters over the course of the book was an excellent way to attach the readers to eleven-year-old Chiyo. The author wrote the story in such a way that the reader feels everything the main character goes through.
Not knowing how culture was in the 1900s in Japan, I am not sure how adults felt about young children traveling alone. Towards the end of the story, Chiyo takes a train all by herself and travels a long way. The conductor and other adults on the train never question why she is alone. I found this perplexing and question whether is it historically and culturally accurate.
Having read the previous book, I thoroughly enjoyed reading the sequel. Dolls of Hope is a wonderful continuation of the story that began in Ship of Dolls, however it is important to note that if a girl was to pick up this book without having read the other, she would relish the story just as much and not feel as if she missed something. Dolls of Hope is a delightful tale that any girl should read.
I really enjoyed reading this novel. It had many twists and turns and was very exciting to read. I liked how the personalities of each character were so different and alive, while still realistic. I also admired how the mystery was so unusually solved, and how readers could so easily relate to many of the situations.
One thing I disliked was how the suspense of the mystery wasn’t really strong at many points. Another was how the story was a bit slow, and could have been more action-paced.
Overall, this was a great read, and I can’t wait to read more of this series!
Thursday, January 21, 2016
The reason I rate this book five stars was how humorous and adventurous it was. I also liked how it took place in an animal/bug point of view. If you like books that are silly, adventurous, and a little bit sad then I recommend this book. I will share this book with everyone I can and cherish it for a long time. My favorite character was Water Vole because of his leadership and wisdom. My favorite part of this book was the ending. I liked how they all lived happily ever after.
Tuesday, January 19, 2016
This story alternates in time periods and points of view - changing perspectives from Fumiko to Hana. It was a little challenging to remember what happened in each section. The book contained many pictures of Hana, Fumiko and other important characters that help the reader understand the book better and to get a better picture in their head of what the time period was like.
This was the only book that I have read about the Holocaust that hasn't really focused on Adolf Hitler. It really targeted Hana's journey and Fumiko's desire to find out what happened to Hana.
The way the author wrote the book made the characters relatable. It was almost as if Hana was alive during this time period. Overall, I thought the book was a good short read about trying to learn from previous mistakes and trying to make the world better.
I really liked this book because it had a lot of conflict and it turns out good will always trump evil. Although I liked this book, parts of the story were very complex, and it was difficult to stay with the story. I also would have liked to have had more of an ending because the author's note says it's the last book in the series. The book was so good but I was so sad to see it end so suddenly!
Crashing Eden is a great story. It has a great plot and an amazing adventure in it. The action in the book helps move the story along quickly. Although there are some swear words in the book, I was not put off by the use.
I liked how the author used the idea that people were kicked out of Eden by Samael, the Creator God. This story line felt unique and interesting.
I believe this book would be very good for readers ages 4-7. The book has a good story and is an easy read. The characters are well developed and the story moves along quickly. However, it does lack suspense.
Friday, January 15, 2016
The book All American Boys struck me as inspirational, moving, and just plain enjoyable. The characters were unique and unexpected. The story line was amazing, though sometimes it got hard to follow, and ended in a way I never even thought to see coming. I did, however have a problem with a few small spelling errors, but all in all the book was incredible even though it was nowhere near my usual genre. I recommend this book to anyone who likes a good story and a bit of inspiration
Thursday, January 14, 2016
This graphic memoir comments on our gender-constricting world and shares the author's personal journey of acceptance towards herself as she learns to shed the weight of the societal stereotypes she grew up believing.
Prince challenges a standard way of thinking, as she speaks out on subjects through a raw and intimate narrative, that translates well to the straightforward comic style she utilizes.
The relaxed writing and simplistic outlines in the book read quickly and easily while discussing thought-provoking messages and heavy topics.
An educational book in it's own unique way, "Tomboy" is an intriguing read that can be empathetic to some and beneficial to others.
A new student review of Love or Something Like It (Mostly Miserable Life of April Sinclair) by Laurie B. Friedman
I liked this book. At times it was exciting and a page turner but at other times, like when she was trying to choose what to do over summer, it was slow-paced. I would recommend this book to someone who likes light romance but not for anyone who likes a fast-paced book. The plot was occasionally vague. My favorite character was Matt. He was hard to understand and I like that in a character. My favorite part was in the beginning when Matt first started to like April because it was romantic.
My opinion about this narrative is that it is exciting at moments and urges you to continue reading it, therefore I believe Ms. Draanen is a good author. But at some points during the novel it would get over-descriptive and cause boredom. For example, chapter 11- Teddy Bears. It is over descriptive when Ms. Draanen emphasizes the teddy bears and the one stowaway unicorn, given to Sammy from a friend. Sammy Keyes was not conscious in most of the novel, and it made it more challenging for her friends to find out who chased her up the fire escape and pushed her. My favorite character was Billy Pratt due to his braveness and his traits of humor. Whoever enjoys adventure, comedy, romance, and most important of all mystery, I recommend this narrative for you!
Finding the Worm is a very good book and I would definitely recommend it. Finding the Worm is more of a slow paced book, so if you like a lot of action, I think you would struggle to really get into the book. A reason I liked this this book was because it is both very humous and poignantly sad at moments. The transition between the two is very smooth. Over all, I think Finding the Worm is a great book and it is definitely worth reading!
Wednesday, January 13, 2016
The Ghost of Sephera was an amazing sci-fi title filled with adventure. It held my attention until the last page. J. D. Tew outdid himself with the second installment. This book had epic fights and close encounters that kept me on the edge of my seat! This series is the best I've read in a long time.
The characters and their backstories were written so well they felt true to life. Theodore could very well be a real person, because he was the best described of all the characters. Not only were the characters well written, but the author was able to fully capture the setting as well. I could easily picture what he was trying to convey.
I would recommend this book to kids ages 13 and up, because there is death and big words. If you like Ender's Game, then you will love this series!
When I began reading this book, I had difficulty becoming engaged with it because it didn't hold my attention. However, I became more invested in the story once I read about a quarter of the way through.
I really liked this book because of the independence and stubbornness of Cinderella; she reminded me of myself at times. My favorite character was Blackie the dog; he seemed very loyal and friendly. I would recommend this book to children 8-12, fans of Cinderella, and to young girls who love princesses!
Tuesday, January 12, 2016
I easily became emotionally attached to this book. I love Tressa and Luke's relationship and I love Luke's past life story. His past life story consists of what his dad went through over and over whenever Tressa's mother broke his heart and ran away with Tressa. Luke also talks about his best childhood memories, his worst, and the memories he had with Tressa.
Tressa loved Luke because he was her very first friend; she moved around so much with her mother that she'd never stayed in one place to really make friends. However, Luke remained her friend no matter how many years they were apart. He made her laugh, taught her how to snowboard, and chose her instead of his popular friends at school. Luke is the kind of guy who would never let you down, who would give you the chance of friendship even if no one else did; he is a strong-willed man who shows how much he cares about people with his actions.
Tressa is a lonely teenage girl who doesn't have a friend except her beloved dog and Luke. After Luke's death, Tressa falls into a depression that made me want to cry along with her. The author did an amazing job with each description. I couldn't stop thinking how I would act after my best friend died. I was so attached to this book and definitely recommend it to anyone.
This book had very good details in describing the characters and was a very simple but sweet book. My favorite character in the book would have to be Grace. Grace is very smart, strong and she is a really good friend. I would suggest this book to anyone who likes stories about friendships, cookies, or light romance. I would give this book a 4.5 star rating, instead of a perfect 5 just because it did not tell us their nicknames until farther ahead in the book.
Monday, January 11, 2016
I can say that I LOVED this book! I found the narrator easy to connect with and relate to, maybe because I have experienced the death of a very close family member. My heart ached for Aaron, as I felt I was experiencing his grief and struggles with him. The author’s descriptions were spot on with what I went through- it was clear she did her research (or has experienced it herself). When my father passed away, I remember thinking that it is true what they say...everyone handles their grief differently. But what they do not say is that you have to live with others as they handle their grief differently than you do. The author nailed that. I cannot say enough about this book, except maybe that I could not put it down. I read it in four sittings- all in the same day. I could not go to bed without finishing it. Overall this was a very good book.
This book was difficult to finish because I could not connect with the characters. The main character, Cassie, is supposed to be this young girl with a lot of acting potential, but she comes off as annoying, boy crazy, and not very exciting.
This book also gets a little more explicit than was necessary, and honestly, I felt like I couldn't read this in public because had anyone read over my shoulder, they would be very concerned about the type of book I was reading. This book had great reviews on Goodreads, but I did not find it enjoyable. If you enjoyed/enjoy books like the Fifty Shades of Grey series, then maybe you would like this book.
Because this story was very short, it was to the point. It gave an interesting view of how things were so long ago. One of the characters is often described as fat, which is not very nice. Thankfully the rest of the story is very good. My favorite character was Oxymoron, who did not give up his beliefs even when everybody else rejected them.
Hexed is literally the best book ever. It definitely kept the pages turning. Hexed is so action-packed, it was never slow or boring. Michael Alan Nelson made me feel as if I was in the middle of the setting, and if I closed my eyes, what I was reading played like a movie in my head. I would absolutely recommend this to almost anyone. As long as you are interested in reading fantasy or paranormal and are at least 12, you would absolutely love Hexed.
Sunday, January 10, 2016
Small towns, romances, and murder mysteries are typically a winning combination with me. Sadly, Becca Fitzpatrick’s latest YA novel, Dangerous Lies, did not deliver. The main character, Stella/Estella, was insufferable. You would think that as a murder witness, she would understand the importance of cooperating with the police. But no.
Stella was far more concerned with contacting her boyfriend than being grateful that she was kept safe. She did not stop to thank Carmina for risking her life to take her in over the summer. Instead, she whined abut how she had to actually get out of the house and find a job. A seventeen-year-old working! What a radical thought!
Her brattiness diminished slightly throughout the novel, but her character arc was still not satisfactory. The main reason she changed was because she liked (quite literally) the boy next door, Chet. Now, Chet was sweet and all. Yet, he failed to convince me as a love interest. He was too perfect, the figment of a dreamy thirteen-year-old’s imagination, not a realistic teen. And her ex? Nope, nope, nope. I did like how Reed was shown mainly through letters, which is unusual in the Facebook era. Yet he reeked BAD IDEA – a warning that Stella ignored for about 98% of the book.
The plot was sadly predictable. The “twist” at the end had me very impatient, because I had figured it out a good fifty pages before it happened. Based on Stella’s questionable actions, I really doubt that the Witness Protection Program is as straightforward and menacing as it is in the book. After all the goal of the WITSEC is not to break up young love, but to protect witnesses.
I was really looking forward to this YA mystery, but I left the book disappointed thanks to an irritating main character and weak plot points. Perhaps fans of Fitzpatrick are accustomed to her writing style and will enjoy this trite read far more than I did.
This is the 2nd book in The Guardians of Tarnec series. I suggest reading the first book (Lark Rising) before reading this one.
I was again amazed by the ability of the author to make me feel as if I was a part of the story. I liked how independent the girls have been in both books, like how Lark (from Lark Rising) saved Gharian by herself, wounded, and like how Evie walked the countryside by herself, helping the people with wounds and in need. My least favorite part was when the book ended in a cliffhanger. I was surprised, and slightly upset, that I have to wait to find out what happened. My favorite part was when Laurent rescued Evie the first time they met. I recommend this book to adventure-seeking girls who love fantasy.
Friday, January 08, 2016
The Iron in Blood is a great vampire story which includes romance and lots of physical and emotional conflict. The part I love the most is the romance between Rebecca and Augus. He shows how much he cares for her by staying loyal to her. I love the fact that they use a unique way of giving the vampires power that is different from most vampire books and movies. The main character, Rebecca, is a girl who loves to read and cares about her family, just like me. I recommend this book to readers who enjoy fantasy and romance. Readers may also be interested in the other two books in The Iron Trilogy; The Vampire Gene and Blood Song.
Tuesday, January 05, 2016
A new student review of Daisy to the Rescue: True Stories of Daring Dogs, Paramedic Parrots, and Other Animal Heroes by Jeff Campbell
Daisy to the Rescue by Jeff Campbell, is a fantastic compilation of stories about unbelievable animal heroics. I found the stories intriguing and inspiring and I really enjoyed learning about these amazing animals. The stories were organized in an easily understandable manner that provided all the facts about each event (such as the name and species of the animal, as well as who they saved) at the beginning of the each story. The stories then unfolded, with related anecdotes attached to emphasize animals’ caring disposition and our underestimation of them.
I felt that the simplistic writing style was slightly distracting, but the actual tales of these amazing creatures eclipsed any criticism provided.
I really enjoyed many parts of this book. The love story in the book was really cute, but not overbearing! When I closed the book, I didn’t feel gypped; I didn’t feel like it was too much or too little.
I also liked the development of the band characters and the sense of camaraderie that developed through the story. It made me want to join a band! The author had talent in making me feel like I could be a part of the story. When I was reading this book, it made me feel like I could play the drums. It was a new experience for me that I really enjoyed. I thought the author did a great job making it easy for non-drummers to understand the book just as well as the hard-core drummers.
I really enjoyed this book. It flows very nicely, especially regarding the fact that the story takes place over a number of years. There are some major time jumps, but they are executed in a way that make sense. The way the author has Lucas explain his dreams and the things he remembers is easy to follow as well, which is great because if it had gotten too complicated, it would have been hard to read.
I like Juliet as a character, because she has a good, realistic balance of doing what is right for her, and what is right for other people. The overall atmosphere is bittersweet, feeling that something bad is going to happen, but that the characters can not do anything to prevent it. I really love this writer's style.
The Jericho River was a very enjoyable read. I liked that it was fiction, but it was filled with a great deal of historical information. The author’s use of footnotes throughout the novel, as well as the historical introduction at the beginning of each chapter, was especially helpful for me. I was learning new information and being thoroughly entertained with the action all at the same time. I also enjoyed the numerous characters and their diverse personalities.
This novel should be recommended to students from the ages of 13 and older. The vocabulary was not very challenging and the information was comprehendible so there would not be any difficulty for younger students to understand. However, the content of this novel could be categorized as ‘mature,' due to the bloodshed, fighting, and use of weapons. There are also different views on religious situations and some discrimination of race and religion.
My only criticism is the pace and suspense of the story line. The historical situations were so engaging and action-packed, I would have enjoyed even more of this book; it was very well written and enjoyable.
This book is well written and is perfect for anyone who enjoys the history of the U.S. Civil War. The story is set in Maine, far away from the beginnings of the war, but the citizens are still uptight and nervous about the imminent threat.
The author did a wonderful job of developing the main character, Joe Wood. Every character goes through a change of some sort in the book, and I feel the author did an excellent job making this change noticeable.
A few confusing parts did result in dysfunction. The author adds in someone who claims to be a ‘spiritualist’: someone who can talk to the dead. It is confusing, because you never know if the character is faking it or isn’t. Other than that minor confusion, Uncertain Glory is definitely a book you’ll want to read!
Monday, January 04, 2016
One important aspect of Lizard Radio is the ambiguity of nearly everything in some way. All elements of this book, including the main character, plot, environment, side characters, and antagonist contain some amount of ambiguity, whether in their intentions, their pasts, or their purpose. This makes the book somewhat difficult to understand in places from the somewhat vague descriptions and lack of background information about the world in which this story takes place. The ambiguity element makes the book hard to read in places, and I would recommend this book to teens 14 or older. I found this book very engaging, and the simple language made it seem familiar and relatable, making me care about the characters. I legitimately wanted to find out more about what was happening in Kivali’s life, and I was upset when the book ended somewhat abruptly. I will say, though, that sometimes Kivali’s reactions are underplayed in certain environments. I felt her grief and her passion very strongly in some scenes, but in others I felt that she wasn’t expressing enough of a reaction to be relatable. However, the context of the book in these spots helps to make this forgivable. This book’s tone is relatively constant, giving the reader a sense of foreboding throughout the entire experience but also keeping an air of happiness or sadness in scenes where it is appropriate. Overall, Kivali’s word choice felt genuine to me and also assisted in engaging me in the story. I feel that this book was impactful, even if the ambiguity aspect of it makes it difficult to identify some other aspects. I would definitely recommend this book to more mature readers who want to be sucked into another world during their reading. This book also applies to modern society in the question of the significance of the main character’s gender. While this is a touchy subject for some, I feel that this book’s context and language helps to portray it in a believable and effective way.
I would recommend this book to a younger audience of readers, around eight to ten years old. The characters were younger in age so the younger audience would be able to relate to them better. The story line was a little too simple- it seemed to take a while for the book to pick up pace and get interesting, so I felt the book slightly dragged on throughout the story until about the last few chapters. The characters were relatable and I could imagine that they were real but they weren't very interesting. A younger audience may find them more interesting because they are around the same age and may be going through the same things. Also the language was in line with the difficulty and vocabulary of a younger reader.
I thought the best part of the story was the surprise plot twist at the end of the book. It was well placed in the storyline and was unexpected. All together I thought this book was pretty good and would recommend it.