Saturday, November 28, 2009

A Faraway Island by Annika Thor

In 1936, during Hitler's reign, two Jewish sisters who live a wealthy life in Vienna have no choice but to be shipped off to Sweden for their own protection from the war and the German Nazis. Twelve-year-old Stephie and seven-year -old Nellie Steiner are then placed in the homes of two women who live on an island just off the shore of Sweden. Nellie is put into the care of a lady with other children her age and she begins to get attached to her foster home on the island. On the other hand Stephie despises her foster mother, that she has been placed with, who makes her clean and never offers to buy anything new for Stephie. In the mean time Stephie manages to get bullied at school for being a foreigner while her little sister
is loved by all her classmates. As the months pass and winter turns to summer, Stephie starts to wonder if she and her sister will ever go home or even worse if they will ever see their parents again.

I really enjoyed a faraway island by Annika Thor. It had a good story and the characters had very realistic personalties. The story was very sad in a way because of the events that happened throughout the book, her frustration with her foster mother and her little sister. Overall I really liked it, and I would recommend it to 12 and up.

Reviewer Age:14
Reviewer City, State and Country: , New Mexico USA

My Self: A Guide To Me bt Marlene Wallach

"My Self: A Guide To Me" by Marlene Wallach is a self-help reference book for girls. Topics include self-esteem, body image, negociation techniques, and other confidence-related issues. The book is broken down into four chapter with several sub-chapters included that are not long at all. Additionally, quizzes are inserted alongisde direct memos from the author. The book gives direction for preteen and teen girls and tells them how to act towards themselves and others.

With a notebook spiral binding, colorful printing, and glossy pages, this book is definitely girly. Since the author is president of Wilhelmina Kids & Teens Modeling Agency, the photos of girls in the book are sophisticated and of high quality. For the most part, the photos represent several nationalities. Yoga is also pushed a bit, but not so much as to make the reader want to put the book down. The book would have been better if it discussed fashion more, though.

Reviewer Age:18
Reviewer City, State and Country: Troy, NY USA

Snog: A Puppie's Guide to Love by Rachael Hale

Snog: A Puppy's Guide to Love is full of great pictures of adorable puppies. The puppies are napping, playing, wrestling and just being puppies in each picture. From Labradors to Pugs, Bloodhounds to Weimaraners all the puppies are very cute. Many of the pictures are paired with great quotes about love. Puppies sure could teach us a lot about love and friendship.

I am an absolute dog lover. The puppies in this book are extremely cute and no two are alike. The quotes go great with the pictures. I would recommend this book to anyone. Looking at these pictures will make you smile even on your worst days.

Reviewer Age:14
Reviewer City, State and Country: Finksburg, MD USA

Surviving the Angel of Death by Eva Mozes Kor

Eva Mozes Kor and her twin sister where 10 years old when they arrived at Auschwitz. They were separated from their two older sisters, mom and dad the minute they got to Auschwitz because they were twins. Dr. Josef Mengele allowed the many twins that he "saved" to have "privileges" like keeping their hair and clothes. They had to fight for survival and try and get through Mengele's torturous experiments performed only on twins. Together these two girls try to fight for survival in one of the worst death camps of all.

I really enjoyed this book. I have always liked reading about the Holocaust and to see it through 10 year olds eyes was very interesting. You can really tell how hard it was to survive and how you needed someone to rely on. This was my first time reading about someone who had been one of Dr. Josef Mengele's twins. It was really interesting to read what he did to them and to see just how hard they had to fight to survive.

Reviewer Age:14
Reviewer City, State and Country: Finksburg, MD USA

Jonas Brothers: Inside Their World by Brittany Kent

Are you a Jonas Brothers fan? If so, this is the book for you! You can learn about their life before they were stars, their songs, their first movie, and their television show. Also, take quizzes, see never-before-seen photos, get behind-the-scenes glimpses, and the scoop on their friends, family, and fans. After reading this, you will know every thing there is to know about the Kevin, Nick, and Joe!

I enjoyed reading this book. My favorite section was when they talked about their lives before fame. I also liked when they talked about friends, family, and fans. Another thing I enjoyed was looking at the pictures and taking the quizzes. I would recommend this book to anyone with Obsessive Jonas Disorder (OJD).

Reviewer Age:13
Reviewer City, State and Country: Enon, OH USA

Tuesday, November 24, 2009

Cat O'Nine Tails by Julia Golding

"Cat O'Nine Tails" starts off slowly with the story of a street urchin turned aristocrat who always rebels against authority. She thinks her life in high society is the epitome of all that is boring. Suddenly, adventure visits her in the most unpleasant of ways. One night while trying to rescue her dearest friend, Syd, from being kidnapped, Cat and her two protectors, Frank and Pedro, are abducted and taken to work on a ship headed for the Americas. She is forced to dress like a young sailer boy to hide her identity. Fortunately, Syd is on this ship. Cat spends most of her miserable days on the high seas trying to figure out how to escape with her companions. After a series of events that any normal young girl would not be able to bear, Cat uses her wits from living on the streets as an orphan to help her escape after they dock in the Americas. She comes across a tribe of Native Americans who are willing to protect her from the Englishmen attempting to re-imprison her. Eventually Cat finds her escape and her revenge.

This book may seem overly long at first glance, but the face pace of its plot makes it interesting. Cat and her collection of friends are totally engaging, and they never seem to tire of their adventures together. "Cat O'Nine Tails" is an endearing piece of work that I would recommend to any young adult reader.

The plot of this book moved along in a way that was so fluid I hardly even recognized how quickly I was turning the pages. Cat and her friends are people I would love to have accompany me on any adventure. Cat's wisdom and knowledge of how to get herself out of sticky situations is something rarely found in today's modern, comfortable society. It is refreshing to read of a fourteen year old girl who is embarking on adventures (whether forced or voluntarily) that many adults might not appreciate. This book will most definitely be added to my list of favorite novels.

Reviewer Age:16
Reviewer City, State and Country: Cary, NC USA

Sideshow by Deborah Noyes

A collection of tales consisting of matters odd and strange. Stories range from the origin of the bearded lady to three headed rats and circus freaks. Spooky, eerie, and imaginative, Slideshow explores what it means to be a "freak," how to accept yourself and how to find the joy in being different.

I believe it was a good try. It is difficult to write a book about the strange and the freakish without it sounding cliche. Still it lacked interest and, frankly, good writing. The majority of the tales seemed to have been written in haste with the end product being, shall we say, less than satisfying. A lot of the stories had an excellent beginning and a rough ending, or an intriguing ending but a lousy beginning. No story seemed to have a captivating beginning, middle, and end.

Reviewer Age:16
Reviewer City, State and Country: fuquay Varina , north Carolina united States of America

Eli the Good by Silas House

Eli the Good is young boys journey to becoming a young adult. He must deal with the bad memories and dreams of his father, a war veteran, his crazy and rebellious sister, and his aunt who has come to vist, but has a big secret hidden away. These things help and give Eli his first glimpse at adulthood. The people he is the closest to don't seem to stay around to long, and he seeks love from his mother, who is wrapped up in his fathers past.

This book gives a very good look into the lives of many young people today. They see things and know things they shouldn't however it helps them in taking a step into becoming an adult. Family troubles such as diseases happen to many young people who don't know how to deal with them, but it will help in the long run. The detail that the author uses really makes you fall into the book. I could see the Fourth of July parade, and I could feel what Edie was feeling when Eli was mean to her that night. The book really carptures the emotion of what normal everyday families go through.Silas House shows the struggles of not only a young boy, but a teenage girl, a mother and father, and the struggle a young girl goes through when her family falls apart. When a book can speak to many people of all ages, I think it's worth a read.

Reviewer Age:17
Reviewer City, State and Country: Mantua, NJ US

Monday, November 23, 2009

The Book of Samuel by Erik Raschke

Erik Raschke’s The Book of Samuel is a story of the struggles and hardships for teens living in today’s world. The day after Samuel’s dad leaves on a religious quest to find himself, Samuel’s life takes a turn for the worse, from almost killing the biggest bully in the school to blowing up his friend’s garage. Samuel fights an internal battle of right and wrong, good and evil, embarking on a journey of self-understanding and finding trust in God.

Erik Raschke kept me entertained just long enough for me to finish his book. The Book of Samuel is a nice short story but I found myself nodding off at times during reading it. Although it was very realistic most of the time, there was no flow to the book. Most of the time the author would cut off a topic, making me wish that he would write more about it. I would recommend this book to anyone, boy or girl, that is looking for a quick read.

Rating: 4
Reviewer Age:14
Reviewer City, State and Country: Tipp City, OH United States

Sunday, November 22, 2009

Camilla by Madeleine L'Engle

Camilla is a wonderful book about a teenage girl who is discovering herself and the world around her. While experiencing her first crush, she learns to cope with fighting with her best friend, the ugliness of war, and how relations are so very delicate. Her tough decisions into adulthood first take place when she finds out her mother is not being very loyal to her father. The avalanche of choices falls from there.
This book was beautifully written and quite serious. The author had a very special and interesting view on God, adulthood, and life, in general. Even though this was a good book, it was quite slow. It took a lot for me to sit down and read it, partly because the book's events were more negitive than positive. It involves cheating, suicide attemps, and the like, so it is not really a childrens' book. In essence, it is a book about growing up.
The book had a suicide attempt, the mother cheated, and it had references to alcohol and abuse.
Reviewer Age:13
Reviewer City, State and Country: Lake Bluff, IL United States of America

Blue Plate Special by Michelle D. Kwasney

Madeline, Desiree, and Ariel are three girls living in 3 different time periods, but dealing with the same problems. Madeline just wants to fit in and be like the popular cheerleader girls at her school, but being overweight doesn't allow that chance. Desiree strives to be the perfet girl for her perfect boyfriend, Jeremy, despite what her mother thinks of her. Ariel longs to be the best girlfriend she can be to her new boyfriend of only two months. Facing many challenges, the three girls strive to keep their teenage years alive.

This book was very well written. The whole time I was reading it, I felt as though I was right there with each of the girls. Everything was perfectly planned out to give a sense of suspense and to also tie the loose ends together in the end. I would most definitely recommend this book to other readers, especially teenage girls, struggling with self confidence. It really touched a special place in my heart and I can honestly say it is the best book I have read so far.

There is a great deal of foul language used in this book, but I think every teenager can handle it. It is also used in the correct circumstances, adding the right mood to the book. Without it, this book wouldn't be the same.

Reviewer Age:16
Reviewer City, State and Country: Newville, Pennsylvania USA

The Monstrumologist by Rick Yancey

The Monstrumologist by Rick Yancey focuses on the gruesome and dark adventures of twelve year old Will Henry, the monstrumologist's apprentice. Monstrumology is the study of monsters and Will lives with the town's elusive doctor of the field. When the narrative opens, Will Henry is awakened in the middle of the night by a knock on the door that will change everything and put all that he holds dear at risk. A gravedigger arrives with the body of a young woman that has been brutally attacked by a member of an exotic species: the headless, human eaters, Anthropophagi. The discovery that the monsters are in America is a stunning revelation that even shocks the doctor. The search for the previously foreign species begins and suddenly, Will Henry is on a quest to seek out and study the monsters, and when they attack his town he becomes part of the hunting party.

The Monstrumologist is a well-written and well-thought out story. The plot, as fantastic and unbelievable as it seems initially, actually seems plausible and the author's unique style of writing draws you into the life of Will Henry immediately. Will is a believable character as well as one that readers will identify with even in his bizarre situation. Will's friendship with the doctor is also interesting and complex,as well as evolving throughout the story. The mood is an ominous one throughout the novel; you can sense that there are twists coming your way but somehow don't expect them when they finally reveal themselves. The novel is written as a journal and it maintains that feel all through. The characters are dynamic and interesting, especially those of Will Henry and the doctor. The aspect of the novel that is the most remarkable is the author's attention to detail. There are many squirm inducing scenes in this novel and it involves plenty of gruesome and horrific descriptions. The language is effective and the detail makes the reader feel very much a part of Will Henry's unsettling saga. This is not a book for the squeamish but if you enjoy a fun, horror-fantasy novel then this is most definitely a must read and a story you will not soon forget.

Reviewer Age:17
Reviewer City, State and Country: San Diego, CA U.S.A

Saturday, November 21, 2009

Catherine Locke has always been overweight. It's hard for her to stay away from those candy bars, Diet Cokes, and chips. But when she has to do a science project on hominins, early ancestors of humans, Cat sees herself as the perfect subject. She decides to change her lifestyle and eating habits to those of the hominins, and see if she can be healthy for once in her life. Only eating organic and nutritious foods and walking instead of driving, Cat sees the pounds practically melt away. But with her new body comes a new problem: boys.

I loved this book! I could stop reading Fat Cat. I loved the characters, especially Cat. She was really smart and I thought her science project was so unique. I liked seeing her become healthy and was happy that she finally became comfortable in her own body. I also really enjoyed reading about her foray into the world of boys. Robin Brande really knows how to get into the mind of a teenager and wrote Cat's thoughts and ideas wonderfully.

I loved this book! I could stop reading Fat Cat. I loved the characters, especially Cat. She was really smart and I thought her science project was so unique. I liked seeing her become healthy and was happy that she finally became comfortable in her own body. I also really enjoyed reading about her foray into the world of boys. Robin Brande really knows how to get into the mind of a teenager and wrote Cat's thoughts and ideas wonderfully. I would recommend Fat Cat to any fans of young adult literature.

Reviewer Age:17
Reviewer City, State and Country: Aston, Pennsylvania United States

The Trouble With Heroes by Denise Little

You've heard of heroes, kings, and Greek myths. Handsome, strong young men, the envy of guys, the want to-be boyfriend of girls, but have you ever wondered what its like to see them all the time, I mean when there's no halo around their head because they just did a great unselfish deed. Because your crazy if you think a cowboy smells good after he's been sitting outside, on his horse, all day, and Robin Hood, is it really too much to ask for you to change clothes every once in a while. I can't even begin to imagine what it must be like trying to juggle H. P. Lovecraft's fights around dinner, and dinner dates hardly ever happen when you're dating a superhero.

This was a really creative, well put together book. All 27 stories were unique, and different. Some stories were the light-hearted and laugh out loud type, while others were more serious, some were full of suspense, and a couple were just action. All of the different authors personality's stood out, which helped to create this funny spin on the tales and encounters the girls and women, behind the hero's face. One of the things that really bothered me, though, was that I didn't feel the book was good for the recommended age group, young adult, because of all the innuendo. Some of the content didn't make me feel comfortable nor did it meet up with my religious views. A lot of the story's left me thinking wow but others weren't so greatly written, it's like the author was trying to get somewhere but it didn't work. I didn't enjoy the book so much; but I think someone who knows a lot about the tales of the Greek myths or heroes would REALLY enjoy it.

Mature language and sexual content

Reviewer Age:13
Reviewer City, State and Country: Springtown, Texas United States of America

The Other Side of Blue by Valerie O. Patterson

Cyan is a girl like any other, but she is grieveing over the loss of her father. Every summer for as long as she could remember, her family has traveled to Curacao for summer vacation. Cyan doesn't see the reason of going without dad; especially since it was the place he died. This summer, Cyan does not just need to grieve over her late father but figure out why he was out to sea by himself anyway. Cyan will not stop until she gets some closure, even if it means she has to be nice to a certain island native. This book is a mystery and an adventure until the very end.

Cyan is one of those characters that you just fall in love with. She's a girl who won't give in to the crap her mother spits out but also a sweet girl who's lost her dad. This book had a great story from beginning to end, but the flow was a little slow. The beginning was a little dry, but I was still interested and kept reading. I think the ending could of been a little stronger also, it kind of left me hanging. All in all this was a great book. I loved how Cyan finally saw that her mother wasn't the evil witch of the west but someone who was burned. I would recommend this book to anyone who likes a little mystery along with some tragedy and grief.

Reviewer Age:17
Reviewer City, State and Country: Mantua, NJ USA

Age 14 by Geert Spillebeen

Patrick Condon in 12-years old in Ireland in 1913. Bored with his everyday life, he leaves home and runs away to join the army. He says he is seventeen years old, takes the name of his older brother, and is known from then on as John Condon. One year later, World War I breaks out and John is swept up in the excitement and adventure. He joins his friends at the front and has his mind set on becoming a hero. No one could have predicted the disastrous end of this young boy's quest to become a hero.

Age 14 by Geert Spillebeen, translated by Terese Edelstein is a historical novel about a young Irish boy in World War I. I was initially drawn to the book because of the time period. History is my passion and I thought this book would be a good read. However, it didn't attract me at all once I'd started. The story was fast-paced and very depressing. I believe it was a true story, but I was very unsure throughout. I wasn't satisfied with the ending because it left much to speculation. A young boy leaving his family to join the army and their terrible reaction isn't comforting either. I personally did not enjoy this book but it's up to the reader to decide for themself.

Reviewer Age:14
Reviewer City, State and Country: Braintree, Massachusetts United States

Flash Burnout by L. K. Madigan

Blake is an average sophomore boy who loves photography, making people laugh, and his girlfriend. His perfectly normal life doesn't remain calm when he snaps a picture of an unconscious woman in downtown New York. Blake presents his album to his best friend, Marissa, and soon his life is turned upside down. With one scream of That's my mom! and before anyone could realize it, she is running down the dangerous New York streets searching for her methamphetamine addicted mother. When Marissa doesn't call or show up at school during the next week, Blake begins to worry. Even worse, Blake's girlfriend, Shannon, becomes concerned that he may be favoring Marissa more than her. Will Blake's life crack into two? Will Marissa learn to let go of her mother? Will simple mistakes lead to tragedy?

I loved Flash Burnout by L.K. Madigan; I couldn't put it down the moment I read the first page. Throughout the book there are photography terms, so if you aren't familiar with cameras, it might be difficult to understand some parts. The situations are very up-to-date and realistic for today's youth. Flash Burnout is very witty but tragic. I recommend this book to any teenager who wants a surreal and intense comedy.

Has sexual conflicts and drug use.

Reviewer Age:13
Reviewer City, State and Country: Osseo, Wisconsin United States

Solace of the Road by Siobjan Dowd

Holly Hogan hasn't had the best life. She was taken from her home when she was very young and has been in and out of foster homes. None of those homes worked out, though, and Holly is done with them. When she is moved in with foster parents again, she starts to remember the good things about her mother. That's the problem, she only remembers the good things. She puts on her foster mom's blonde wig and hits the road, no longer Holly, but Solace. She wants to find her mom. She wants to get those good memories back and she wants to keep them. And besides, Solace is different than Holly was. She is smart and attractive. As she travels the road, she meets kind people and some not-so-kind people. It's a struggle and she has no money. Now that she is on the road as Solace, she remembers the bad things about her mother. Will Solace become Holly again? Or, will she find her mom?

Solace of the Road was a very good novel. It tells an amazing story of a girl, who just wants things to be the way they used to. Everyone feels that way at times so this story was very realistic. Siobhan Dowd did a very good job describing the setting and the character's actions. It was a very interesting, yet exciting novel, leaving me wondering what would happen next. I would definitely recommend this book to all readers who enjoy any young-adult novels.

Reviewer Age:13
Reviewer City, State and Country: Fairborn, Ohio USA

The Hunchback Assignments by Arthur Slade

The book, The Hunchback Assignments is a mystery book about a young hunchback boy that has a mutilated body. The boy, Modo, has a power that allows him to change his face at will. He is raised by a secret orginization called the Permanant Association whose purpose is promote the welfare of London, mainly by fighting the Clockwork Guild, an evil orginization. When a demented scientist of this evil guild decides to put into action a plan that threatens the whole city, Modo and a friend of his must go on an adventure to save London. What they find, though, no one expected. Can the unlikely group find out the mystery to the disease that is overtaking London?

I thought this book had an interesting plot and idea, but the writing style was wrong for the book. The book was confusing at many times, and it lacked descriptive words. I found it a little hard to comprehend what the author meant to say, and it is very easy to get lost in the book. I enjoyed the adventures, and I also liked the main character, Modo. If the author had employed a different writing technique, I believe it could have been much better. As it is, however, I would not recommend this book to any for casual reading.

Reviewer Age:14
Reviewer City, State and Country: Towson, MD United States

Tuesday, November 17, 2009

Bitter Night by Diana Pharaoh Francis

Max used to be a normal person. She went to college, she had a brother and sister, she had a life. That all changed when witch named Giselle turns her into a Shadowblade, a warrior with extreme strength and speed. Max fights for whatever Giselle wants her to and there to be Giselle's personal body guard. Now, her skills will be put to the test. When the Guardians are planning to destroy the human world, they want the witches' help. Giselle wishes to refuse but does not know if how to protect her coven when she denies the request. Max thinks she knows a way but it involves making an alliance with an enemy witch's Shadowblade and fighting with, instead of against, Giselle. Max must decide which need is greater, the need to be free or protect the place she has come to think of as home.

Bitter Night by Diana Pharaoh Francis was and amazing book. After I began reading the book I was not able to put it down. There is a really good plot line and the book is filled with adventure along with a touch of romance. The author doesn't put too much detail into things that don't really matter which keeps the book from getting boring. I would recommend this book to anyone who enjoys adventure and likes to read books that aren't in the normal witches and vampires genre.

There is some adult references and some language that younger adults should watch out for, but the book is pretty appropriate for young adults.

Reviewer Age:14
Reviewer City, State and Country: Brownsburg, Indiana United States of America

What I Wore To Save The World by Maryrose Wood

Morgan needs to figure out what she's going to do with her life, and fast! Her senior year is coming up and she has nothing planned out. She doesn't know where to go to college or what she wants to do with her life. She should have spent time figuring out what to do last summer, but that's when she vacationed in Ireland, fell in love with Colin, a cute Irish boy, and discovered she is a half-goddess. One day, a mysterious note brings Morgan and Colin together again. When she's with Colin, Morgan realizes that she has to save the entire world. She knows she has to tell Colin the truth about her, now, but will he ever believe her if he doesn't believe in magic?

What I Wore To Save The World is a book that gets you hooked from the very beginning. It is a exciting book because it makes you want to keep reading to see what happenes next. Maryrose Wood is a creative writer and used a entertaining plot to make this a captivating book. What I Wore To Save The World is a story with a combination of magic and romance. I would recommend this book to any romance-lovers or anyone who likes anything about magic.

Reviewer Age:13
Reviewer City, State and Country: Enon, Ohio USA

Blood Bargain by Maria Lima

Keira Kelly has finally settled into her happily ever after with her vampire lover Adam Walker, but what is she do when he starts starving himself of blood because he is repudiate about who he truly is? She has to try and find a way to persuade him to save himself before he grows weaker and it's too late. When people start mysteriously disappearing, Keira begins to worry about the safety of her little town, Rio Seco, and if it will jeopardize Wild Moon Ranch, Adam's vampire inhabited inn. As she starts investigating more into the situation, she encounters some dilemmas and one important clue directs her to the abandoned cemetery that is a significant piece of her magical heritage. Will Keira be able to stop the evil that is lurking in the dark corners of Rio Seco, Texas, or will it find her first and destroy everything she has worked hard to create?

Blood Bargain is a marvelous story about the love a girl has for her family, town and companion. This story is the sequel to the first book of the Blood Lines Series, Matters of the Blood. There is enough tension and suspense to keep you on the edge of your seat and wanting it to never end. Every turn of the page was something unexpected. The characters kept the story funny and interesting while serious at times to create a fabulous read.

Some sexual content.

Reviewer Age:14

Reviewer City, State and Country: Sacramento, CA USA

Monday, November 16, 2009

Secondhand Spirits by Juliet Blackwell

Lily Ivory's life to an outsider seems mundane. Waking up, opening her vintage clothing store, closing her vintage clothing store, dinner, going to bed. But Lily relishes in the mundane. She is really a witch (a rather strong one at that) who cast out her nomadic ways to settle down in San Francisco. Lily is always worried that she is not normal enough or that people don't like her. Remaining normal on the outside becomes harder when La Llorona decides to take a child while Lily is right around the corner. On her hunt for the demon and the little child, Lily finds friends and a possible love interest in Max, a local freelance journalist. Things are starting to look up for Lily Ivory.

I really liked this book. It was interesting and caught me right from the beginning. You get a glimpse into many different cultures such as Lily's witchcraft, the people around where Lily lives and the legends of the local Latinos. Two mysteries are contained in this one book and both have you changing your mind at every clue acquired. It keeps you on your toes and your mind constantly works to try and figure everything out before Lily.

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

Sunday, November 15, 2009

The Clone Betrayal by Steven L. Kent

This novel falls into the genre of science fiction and action. It is set in the years 2515 ans 2516, and the United Authority has lost contact with all but two of its planets following a brutal alien invasion. The United Authority's clone army and spaceship navy are used as scapegoats for the disaster. To get rid of the clones, the army and navy are sent out to retake one of the lost planets, Terraneau, and are marooned in a distant sector of the galaxy. Lieutenant Wayson Harris, a veteran of the alien invasion, is placed in command of the forces retaking the planet. He is the last of the Liberator clones, a dangerous and violent variety of clones that are aware they are clones and that have a hormone-pumping battle reflex. Normal clones are unaware that they are clones and will die if they figure it out. Harrison is resentful of the United Authority that has marooned them and figures out that the clone troops will be used as testing material for a new army and navy. He decides to declare war on the United Authority before it attacks, but must contend with both its new power and betrayal and power struggles within his own ranks. A subplot is his secret relationship with, Ava Gardner, a movie star whose career was ruined when it was discovered she was a clone. The ending is inconclusive, and the plot will probably continue in another book. This book is the fifth in the series.

I had mixed feelings about the book. I have read the preceding book in the series, The Clone Elite, and really enjoyed it. This novel had many unique characters and settings, probably more than the previous book. It also included a female main character, Ava Gardner, which changed the tone of the book and took the focus off the conflict somewhat. The book's plot made sense and was easy to follow, but there was enough intrigue between the various factions to make it interesting. I probably would have generally liked the book if not for the ending, which was inconclusive and depressing. There was also probably not quite enough physical action for me, though this was a lesser concern. The book was, to me, a disappointment after reading the more action-packed and fast-paced The Clone Elite, which wraps its story up more conclusively. It is probably best for people who enjoy science fiction with a moderate pace, more characterization and plot intrigue, only a moderate amount of action, and do not mind having to wait until the next book comes out for the ending; I personally prefer more action and less character development and like books with conclusive endings. It is not necessary to have read any of the previous novels to understand or enjoy this novel.

This book has some sex and violence. There are also references to relations between men, though not involving the protagonist. None of this is too explicit, but only teenagers or adults should read this book.

Reviewer Age:16
Reviewer City, State and Country: Royersford, PA United States

The Memaid's Madness by Jim C. Hines

When Queen Beatrice's soul is ripped from her body by Lannadae, the Mermaid Queen, three princesses set out to save her. Danielle, Cinderella, is naive but she is armed with the skill to communicate with animals. Talia, Sleeping Beauty, doesn't act like a princess as she kicks butt with her supreme fighting skills. And Snow, Snow White, an amazing sorcerer with the ability to heal. The result is a magical action adventure story filled with princesses and mermaids cleverly spun from 'The Little Mermaid' tale (along with three other fairy tales) by Jim C. Hines in The Mermaid's Madness.

Opening up The Mermaid's Madness I noticed a heading called 'Other Books in this Series' and saw another books title above this one. I normally read stories in order for I feel that that is the way they are supposed to be read, but lucky for me I gave this book a chance. Although it was clear that this book had a prequel, because there were references to a past adventure, Jim C. Hines was able to work in the character's background without messing up the flow of the book.

It was a good thing that I received this book on a Friday because I couldn't put it down. The plot hooked me in right at the beginning and kept going strong until the very end. It wove together action scenes, that made me sit on the edge of my seat and yell at my book, and emotional scenes that brought the characters to life, making me feel for them. Hines cleverly took well known stories and transformed them into an epic tale filled with girl power. Now I plan to read this series' previous books as well as the next one because The Mermaid's Madness is now officially on my favorite books list.

Reviewer Age:16

Friday, November 13, 2009

Eyes Like Stars by Lisa Mantchev

Bam, crash, whoosh! These sounds are heard often when Bertie's around. Seventeen-year-old Bertie has been at the theater for as long as she can remember. She and her fairy friends have frolicked and played there forever. But sometimes Bertie longs for her family. When the theater manager threatens to kick her out of the theater, Bertie realizes she's got to do something, and fast. She won't have any time to look for her family while she strives to become the director of Hamlet. Now Arial, another player, wants to get out, but no one can. It's physically impossible. They're bound to the inside. But Arial knows how to get out. He's as cunning as he is an actor. His betrayal means nothing to Bertie, seeing how he was bad in the first place. But will Bertie be allowed to stay at the theater? Can she stop Arial from escaping? And will she ever find out who her parents are? Join in this world where magic and mystery weave together to create a great story!
I thought the book was quite ordinary. It wasn't terrible yet not a best seller. It's a book for people who like to keep reading to get all the answers. Definitely a book for rainy days! I got the feeling Bertie wasn't the sharpest knife in the drawer. She smoked and drank, and the vocabulary wasn't completely appropriate. It was fiction, almost sci-fi. I thought the ending was nice, but I thought in the end, Bertie didn't do much except worry and cause trouble. It's for people who like magic.

The main character smoked and drank. Occasionally she cussed. She seemed to want to prove herself by being a bit of a gangster.

Reviewer Age:11
Reviewer City, State and Country: Eagle River, AK United States

Thursday, November 12, 2009

Days of Little Texas by R. A. Nelson

Ronald Earl is a sixteen year old preaching prodigy. He's young and from Texas, and this is how the nickname Little Texas comes to be. Not only is he a great preacher, he has amazing healing powers. Just by laying his hands on someone they can be instantly healed. He travels around doing sermons with his friends Certain Certain, Sugar Tom, and Wanda Joy. People come from miles away just to hear the famous Little Texas and have their ailments cured. One girl Little Texas thought he cured is appearing everywhere he goes. Little Texas begins to wonder if maybe he didn't heal her- could she be a ghost that has come back to haunt him?

Wow I really loved Days of Little Texas. It was an exciting mix of adventure, romance, religion, hope, and family. There was a lot of excitement and adventure that kept me guessing and more than once I was reading at the edge of my seat. The plot was original and I learned a lot of new things. Nelson pulled the reader in from the first page and wouldn't let them go until the last.

The characters were all great. Well developed with their own personalities, they stuck in my head long after I finished the novel. Not only was the book exciting with great characters, but Nelson's writing style was fantastic. The descriptions of all the scenes and characters were awesome, and I could picture it all in my head as I was reading, which made the book that much better. A haunting story, I highly recommend Days of Little Texas to everyone.

Reviewer Age:15
Reviewer City, State and Country: Hightstown, New Jersey USA

Wednesday, November 11, 2009

Philippa Fisher and the Dream-Maker's Daughter by Liz Kessler

In the second adventure of Philippa Fisher, Philippa and her family go on vacation to a cabin that they rented in the woods. Philippa can't stop thinking about her new best friend, Daisy. Daisy is her fairy godsister who recently granted her three wishes. While on vacation, Philippa meets a new friend named Robyn. They quickly become close, but Robyn and her dad are hiding something. Daisy visits Philippa one night in her dreams and she says she's in danger and needs help! What's wrong? Read and find out!

I absolutely loved this book! Liz Kessler does a great jog grabbing your attention and making you want to not put down the book. The ending was a shocker and I think that's why I loved it, because you don't know what she'll throw at you next.

Reviewer Age:12
Reviewer City, State and Country: Orland, CA United States

The Haunting of America by W. Birnes and J. Martin

The history of America is plagued with sightings and incidents with the beyond. Haunting of America depicts real-life events with ghosts, spirits, and demons from the time of the Salem Witch Trials to the early half of the 20th century. From George Washingtons famous discussion with an angel during the Revolutionary War to the Fox Sisters incidents with spirit knocks, the novel draws the reader in and does not disappoint. The novel also discusses spiritualism in the past and present; how spiritualism began, how it affected society in the past, and how it grew to become a rather popular belief.

Personally, I enjoyed the novel. Even though it is nonfiction, the authors' make the storyline and events rather interesting; instead of writing like a textbook, the authors included personal accounts of the incidents from those who experienced them and a detailed depiction of the event. I loved the fact that the authors touch on spiritualism as well as "ghost stories", which sets this book apart from others of this kind. I would recommend this novel to anyone who enjoys a great page-turner and who enjoy spooky stories that happen to be true. Additionally, anyone who enjoys going in-depth about history would find this novel interesting.

Reviewer Age:16
Reviewer City, State and Country: Pottstown, PA United States

Tuesday, November 10, 2009


Muchacho  written by Louanne Johnson is a story of a mixed up teenager named Eddie. He grew up in a bad town with the influence of violence, sex, and drugs. Throughout the book it takes you through the journey of his everyday life. In the part of New Mexico Eddie lives, cousins always band together. There's no need for friends when you have cousins. Unfortunately, Eddie only has older cousins to hang with, and the one he tends to always be around (named Primo) is a particularly bad influence on him. At the meek grade of second, Eddie was named a sex offender for kicking his teacher in the wrong place when she grabbed to twist his ear. So many people are making terrible choices that close in on Eddie. But when he meets a girl named Lupe and falls in love, he begins to try to change himself for the better.

If you want to step into another person's world, this is the book to read. Not because you feel like you're Eddie as much as you'll feel as if he's talking to you and only you. I really enjoyed how the author wrote it as if she were Eddie, using the language he would use as well as the thoughts he would have had. After I'd finished the book, I felt really lucky to be where I am today. Not having to worry about getting off the bus and being hit up by a drug dealer, or having to worry about having to act tough to not get beat up. It just goes to show don't take what you have for granted.

Reviewer Age:13

Reviewer City, State and Country: Libertyville, Illinois United States

Sunday, November 08, 2009

The Magician's Elephant by Kate DiCamillo

It starts with a question, a mysterious fortune, and, of course, an elephant. In easy to read prose, DiCamillo weaves together a stream of seemingly unrelated events to create a breath-taking novel perfect for all ages.

The story revolves around Peter Augustus Duchene, a young orphaned boy who lives with a near senile man in a bustling town two centuries ago. As Peter is out running errands for the day, he can't help but to ask a question of a fortune teller he sees. The cryptic answer Peter receives leads him on an adventure that would change not only his life, but the lives of everyone around him. Emphasizing the universal themes of hope, faith, and love, The Magician's Elephant is the perfect book for anyone looking for a heartwarming story.

Anyone who loved DiCamillo's The Tale of Despereaux will enjoy The Magician's Elephant. It is an enthralling book, and once you begin reading you will not want to stop. Believable characters and a multitude of sub-plots make the book not only interesting, but also a work of art. The way DiCamillo weaves together the stories of so many is brilliant. Read The Magician's Elephant-you won't be disappointed.

Reviewer Age:16
Reviewer City, State and Country: Tipp City, OH USA

Saturday, November 07, 2009

Chanda's Wars by Allan Stratton

Chanda will do anything to keep a promise. She promised her mother she would take care of her family. She promised her sibilings, Iris and Soly, that she would not let anything happen to them. War is brewing in a neighboring country, so Chanda goes back to the town where her mother was born. Here Chanda faces the unthinkable, Soly and Iris are kidnapped to be child soldiers. Chanda and Nelson, a local boy, must track down the army to rescue her family and keep Chanda's promise.

Honestly, I enjoyed this book. However, some of the events were hard to connect to. Never in my life have I imagined having an arranged marriage to someone I just barely know. I would have never had the courage to follow an army of rebel soldiers to rescue my family. I believe that is why Chanda is such a good lead. Chanda has the courage to raise her family alone in a city and drop out of school to help support her brother and sister. Even when Chanda is tracking down her family with Nelson, she somehow manages to keep a cool head. And she also finds love along the way.

Reviewer Age:14
Reviewer City, State and Country: Brownsburg, Indiana USA

Going Bovine by Libba Bray

Cameron Smith is the king of low expectations. To him, not caring equals minimum disappointment, so he doesn't put an effort into school, his job, or his family. It seems that his life is going nowhere - that is, until he contracts Creutzfeldt-Jakob disease, also known as Mad Cow disease. Cameron's illness is fatal, but there seems to be hope when he is visited by a sugar-loving angel named Dulcie. According to Dulcie, Cam must embark on a journey that will simultaneously cure his disease and save the world. Accompanied by a dwarf and a talking yard gnome, Cam must outwit evil wizards, fire monsters, snow globe fanatics and a happiness cult in order to save himself and humanity.

Going Bovine was a very interesting novel. The author, Libba Bray, is also known for her Gemma Doyle Trilogy, which is completely different than this book. Going Bovine was funny, touching, and also a little crazy. Cameron's journey is set in our world, but there were some fantastical elements, like talking yard gnomes and punk-rock angels, that kept things lively. I liked the juxtaposition of real life and fantasy. The reader never knows if what is happening is real or just a dream, which leaves the book open for interpretation. But even with the weird parts, Going Bovine was also deep and heartfelt and can be enjoyed by many readers. The only negative is that the book is extremely long, so be prepared to set aside some time for reading.

Reviewer Age:17
Reviewer City, State and Country: Aston, Pennsylvania United States

Friday, November 06, 2009

We Are the Weather Maker by Tim Flannery

I have recently read We are the Weather Makers by Tim Flannery. This book is an expository selection about the history of climate change, past effects of it, future events to come as a response to global warming, and what we are going to do about it. The book consists of three parts, all of which I have read. Part One, Earth and the Carbon Connection, is about the history of climate change. Part two, Endangered Habitats, is about species of plants and animals that have been driven extinct as a consequence of global warming, and species that are going to if the rate it is developing stays the same. Part three, What's to Come?, is about what could happen to our planet, how scientists figured this out, and multiple solutions to climate change and their pros and cons. One feature in this book that I adored was the Call to Actions. They were at the end of each chapter, and were things that young adults could do to help this problem in our own homes and hometowns.

I rated part one three out of ten, because although effective in getting the little points and big picture around to me, it went about doing that in a boring way. There are a lot of long scientific words to be memorized and, you have to reread almost the whole thing from time to time. Often I would find myself reading a paragraph in it three or four times before I got what it was saying! I rate the second part an eight out of ten. This was my favorite part of the book. It wasn’t boring, it vividly described what happened/would happen in the future to threatened species, and rereading was minimal for me. I rated the third and final part six out of ten. It had some boring parts, and some parts I had to reread, but it also had some really interesting chapters about renewable energy, environmentally safe cars, nuclear power plants, and groups that have taken action. One feature in this book that I adored was the Call to Actions, short articles at the end of each chapter talking about things that young adults could do to help this global warming in our own homes and hometowns. So overall, the first part is horrible, although I ensure it is worth your time to fully read parts two and three, and read all the Call to Actions!

Reviewer Age:12

Reviewer City, State and Country:
Leawood, Kansas Johnson

Thursday, November 05, 2009

The Golden Shrine by Harry Turtledove

Harry Turtledove's third and final installment in the Opening of the World series is as exciting as the first two. At the start, Count Hamnet Thyssen and his friends are finally showing resistance to the conquering Rulers. With their new shaman Marcovefa seemingly unstoppable, it seems only a matter of time before the Rulers are finally pushed out of Raumsdalia. However, each small victory weakens the band of fighters, and if the Rulers aren't defeated soon, all resistance will crumble. It seems their only hope lies in finding the fabled Golden Shrine. Can the band of warriors find the shrine when no one in history has managed to do so? Can they defeat the Rulers in time, or will they finally find a way to stop Marcovefa and bring Raumsdalia to its knees?

The Golden Shrine by Harry Turtledove is as thrilling and exciting as the last two in the series. With numerous twists and turns, Turtledove keeps the reader guessing at what will come next. His brand of comic relief helps keep the reader entertained at even the least exciting point of the story. With his style combined with unique characters and a fantastic plot, The Golden Shrine is a book I would suggest to any fan of Fantasy novels.

Sexual References
Drug Use

Reviewer Age:16
Reviewer City, State and Country: Chambersburg, PA United States

The Indigo Notebook by Laura Resau

Fifteen year old Zeeta and her eccentric mother, Layla, travel the world hitting a new country every year. From Italy to Guatemala to Australia to Thailand, Zeeta has been traveling her whole life and she’s ready to stop, to have a “normal” life. When Layla moves Zeeta to a small village in the Ecuadorian Andes, Zeeta meets an American boy named Wendell who is desperately scouring the market place for his long lost birth parents. Together the unlikely pair team up to search the country side and discover an exotic array of adventure, danger, and secrets. As Wendell and Zeeta find themselves and their wishes growing closer, will they be able to handle the truth and the reality? Do they know what they truly want?

Full of stunning details, whimsical characters, and tropical air, The Indigo Notebook was exciting to read and has become a favorite that I will enjoy reading again. Zeeta is a great heroine, and although she wants a “normal” life, she has an experience of a lifetime and realizes what she really wants. Zeeta’s free-spirited mother and sweet-natured Wendell are such neat characters couldn’t get enough of them. Zetta’s quest for Handsome Magazine Dad and Wendell’s shocking discovery about his parents is enough give you the night owl bug and keep you reading nonstop. I really enjoyed reading something that was set somewhere besides high school and be able to travel through a book.

The Indigo Notebook is a great book for teens not only because of its lovable characters or its excitingly exotic backdrop, but for the sense of life it gives to its message of being content and pursing your dreams. Overall, I loved the colorful and refreshing story of understanding your heart that The Indigo Notebook had to offer. I hope you get a chance to read it soon!

Rating (0 - 10 scale): 9
Reviewer Age: 16
Reviewer City, State and Country: , NM USA

Wednesday, November 04, 2009

Foxfire by Barbara Campbell

This was an adventurous book with lots of emotion and fighting. It's the third book in an action packed trilogy and I highly recommend it! Once in a while, the chapters feel boring and I wanted to put the book down. It moves through extremely slowly, but I loved the fast parts and if you like the fantasy genre, you'll like Foxfire!

There are six main characters: Darak, Griane, Keirith, Faelia, Callie and Rigat. They live in a clan with their closest friends and Keirith and Rigat are the special ones in this family. Keirith can touch people's spirits and relieve them of their pain, while Rigat is almost as powerful as a god. Very very powerful. It turned out that Rigat was not the son of Darak, who was the chief of their clan, but the son of Fellgair, the trickster god of Zherosi, who had been at war with the tree people for as long as they can remember. Rigat decides to join his father, who has his best interests at heart.

I think that this book was really adventurous! It had lots of mischief and action and I could tell that the writer put a lot of thought into her writing. I think that the author, Barbara Campbell, was a little harsh at the end of the book because there is a war and many soldiers die in it, but my overall reaction to it was that it was an interesting story and that i loved the book. The vocabulary age is definitely appropriate and the author definitely achieved her purpose. The strength of this book is that it was well written and the weakness is that some of the information was excessive and not necessary. I would recommend it to many people, as long as they're older than 12. It's a pg-13 book.

This is a little mature for some children and I would recommend parental guidance.

Reviewer Age:12

Reviewer City, State and Country: New York, NY, USA

Tuesday, November 03, 2009

Front and Center by Catherine Gilbert Murdock

D.J. was the star of the girls' basketball team and the only girl football team. When she finally started going back to school, after her brother's accident and five months of absolute insanity, she was the center of attention. D.J does not enjoy attention and really dislikes the thought of having college scouts watch her play in basketball games. After being given great scholarships to many colleges, D.J. just doesn't know what to do or what college to choose. On top of all that, D.J. has two guys that are absolutely in love with her. Whom should she choose? Beaner, who has been there for her over all these years or Brian, who broke her heart in the past but promises that he has changed. With the town of Red Bend, her family, and her coach depending on her to make the right choice, who knows what she will choose?

I absolutely adore this book. It has great and hilarious characters with an amazing story line behind them. My favorite part of this book was when D.J. went to Beaner's for the karaoke party. To tell the truth I really couldn't find many dislikes about this book. The only thing I really didn't like was the fact that I couldn't really get a good picture of the different settings in my head. I would recommend this book to anyone that enjoys a funny tale with an emotional twist.

Reviewer Age: 13

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

Monday, November 02, 2009

Tempted by P.C. Cast

Tempted is the sixth book in the House of Night series. It is a romance, a mystery, and a thriller. I loved every one of the books in the series. Tempted is my definite favorite.

This book, Tempted, is by P.C. Cast and Kristen Cast. Zoey Redbird used to be a typical seventeen year old girl, her parents didn't understand her, they didn't care what she wanted. Zoey got Chosen by Nyx, the leader of all of the House of Night's across the world. In this sixth book Zoey is tempted by Kalona, a fallen angel, and tested by Neferet, an evil mistress that used to be a follower of Nyx, but darkness took over. Zoey has fallen in love with Stark, Erik, and Heath. But Erik pulls a fast one on her and ruins everything. Or is it just that, that fixed it all? This book had me ripping through the pages. P.C. Cast is my favorite author. If you’ve read the other House of Night books, you should definitely read this one. If you haven't read all of her House of the Night books, I highly recommend them.

Reviewer Age:13

Reviewer City, State and Country: Mineola, Texas, USA