Wednesday, June 30, 2010

Chasing Romeo by A. J. Byrd

Anjenai, Kierra, and Tyler have been BFFs for what feels like eternity now; they always have each other's back. So on the first day of school when trouble brewing at the bus stop lands the girls in the principle's office, they're there for each other. That's where it all begins; in the principle's office where they meet the Redbones, the most popular girl trio group in the entire school, and where they first catch sight of Romeo Blackwell, the boy of all of their dreams. They never could've guessed what getting involved with the in-crowd would lead to. Fights with the Redbones over everything from winning Romeo's heart to getting a certain lunch table has their friendship in distress. Is their bond strong enough to get through this together, or will the drama get the best of them?

I thought Chasing Romeo was definitely a well thought-out book and the author, A. J. Byrd, did a nice job of writing it. The story got better and more intense with the turning of every page. I was looking forward to the conclusion to put the curiosity of what would happen next to rest. This was definitely a tough-girl novel and for the most part enjoyable, but one thing I honestly didn't enjoy or approve of was the characters' nasty and vile behaviors or the constant and unnecessary cussing, swearing, and foul language that was spewed throughout almost every page. Overall, though, the story kept my interest fairly well and didn't take excessively long to read. The word choice was definitely appropriate for young adult readers and easy enough to understand. The author chose a good plotline and created a very dramatic story that I'm sure will please many. Be sure to look for the continuation of the BFFs' story in the upcoming sequel to Chasing Romeo.

There was a lot of swearing, cussing, and foul language. As well as sexual suggestions, alcohol/drinking, and a lot of fighting.

Reviewer Age:16
Reviewer City, State and Country: Upper Strasburg, PA USA

Cycler by Lauren McLaughlin

The book "Cycler" is about a teenage girl named Jill. At the end of each month for a period of four days Jill morphs into a boy named Jack. His body replaces hers, and yet at the end of the period of four days her body transforms back to normal. Doctors have no cure or explanation for the oddities of Jill's body. Despite all of these complications Jill tries her hardest to lead a normal teenage life, whatever that may be. Jill is trying to juggle the perfect plan to win herself a prom date, a best friend that's fashion-crazy, and in all effort to stay normal Jill tries to hide Jack's existence from the world. Although soon she finds that Jack is crossing not only into her life physically for those four days, but now his desires and thoughts are streaming into her regular life. Jill finds her perfectly planned life to have flaws she never saw coming, and she holds a truth that could make or break her future. The question is, with another person ruling her body can she try to suffocate the truth before it materializes?

The whole concept of Cycler intrigued me from the very beginning. I feel like the concept is one that will draw many wandering eyes into the book. The highlight for me had to be seeing all of the realistic relationships forming and breaking, all around the surreal idea that one body can be shared by two people. That being said, I feel like there were two disconnects in this book one being that it always revolved around sex or sexual intentions. Teenagers read books with sex in the them all the time, however this book had a sexual reference on every page if not taking up the page. The second downside to this book for me was that I didn't fully understand the transformations between Jack and Jill until close to the very end. Almost the whole book I'd misled myself to believing that the transformations were taking place in two separate bodies; when close to the end of the book the details made themselves more apparent, all the same the book hadn't corrected my wrong thinking until later on. Overall, the book had a great idea propelling it and I'd be interested in checking out the sequel to see what happens to a few of the loose ends I've been pondering over.

Reviewer Age:14
Reviewer City, State and Country: Libertyville, IL US

Your Life, But Cooler by Crystal Velasquez

The book I just read was Your life, But Cooler by Crystal Velasquez. This book was about YOU. Have you ever wondered what you might do in certain scenarios? Have you wondered if those choices made you a bad person? In Your life, Only Cooler, you are the main character and you get to decide how the story ends. At the end of each chapter, there will be a personality quiz in which you decide what you would do in certain scenarios. This book fits into a realistic fiction genre. Interested? Read Your life, Only Cooler by Crystal Velasquez.

The book Your Life but Cooler, was a very interesting and was written in an unique style. What I mean is that the book's main character was&.. you! I was able to imagine what the characters looked like because I was the main character and there were vivid descriptions of the other characters that play my friends. I could also envision the setting because it takes place in a middle school and I know what a middle school looks like. However, even based on my knowledge as a middle-school student, the setting was still a little blurry in my head. The book does not really have a specific tone, but that is what is nice about the book. As for the main character, you can believe that they would be a real person because YOU are the main character! The narrator's voice was kid friendly and was serious at sometimes and funny at other times. The narrative was about you, but you were not narrating the story. The author achieved her purpose by making this a fun and unique book. The writing was, again, kid friendly and the vocabulary was definitely age appropriate. The strengths of this book are that it was a funny book and that kids everywhere will enjoy this book. There are no major weaknesses that I thought made the book less enjoyable. However, I would have liked the book to be a little longer. To be honest, I have read no other book like this before from a realistic fiction genre, but that makes it all the more interesting. The whole book was a thrill, and I was on my toes the entire time. As far as I'm concerned, there is nothing that needs to be changed about this book. I did not learn much from this book. I would definitely recommend this book because I'm sure children from all over would love to read this book where they make up a story. In conclusion, I liked the book Your Life but Cooler.

Reviewer Age:12
Reviewer City, State and Country: Braintree, Massachusetts United States of America

The Necromancer by Michael Scott

Twins Josh and Sophie Newman have arrived back home from their magical trip in Europe with the immortal alchemyst, Nicholas Flamel, and his sorceress wife, Perenelle. Upon coming home, Sophie is kidnapped by Aoife of the Shadows, the sister of a close friend of the Newmans. In order to get Sophie back from Aoife, Josh needs to find the Flamels and track Aoife. Meanwhile, in England, Dr. Dee hasn't been able to get the final two pages of the Codex. Having failed in this mission, Dr. Dee is made an outcast by his master Elder and has a bounty on his head. But Dee has a plan. With the Help of Virginia Dare, a friend of his, he will release the monsters trapped on Alcatraz and take over the world. But he needs the help of a powerful Archon named the Mother of the Gods. In order to summon her, Dee needs to train a necromancer to raise the Mother of the Gods back from the dead. But she is always hungry...

The Necromancer, by Michael Scott, is a wonderful addition to the Secrets of the Immortal Nicholas Flamel series. Scott has created a fantastic fantasy that could possibly exist in mainstream society. Josh and Sophie Newman are perfect main characters. Their separate personalities and loyalty to each other make them the perfect hero/heroine combination. I also like that he makes his minor characters famous people from history, like Shakespeare, and mythological gods, like Mars, the Roman god of war. Also, Scott's interpretation of magic is phenomenal! I love how he includes "auras" and elemental magic together. The auras are a kind of mystical plasma that can be formed and shaped into pretty much anything. This book is a great continuation of the series and doesn't disappoint in anyway possible. This book and its series are a must have for any library. I would recommend this book to teens who have a love of the fantasy genre and to people who loved the Eragon and Harry Potter series. This book doesn't disappoint in any way. There is action from start to finish to create an exciting thrill ride throughout the entire book. You will not want to put this book down when you pick it up! Michael Scott is a talented writer with a knack for writing fantasy. Personally, I can't wait to read the next book!

Reviewer Age:15
Reviewer City, State and Country: Paynesville, MN USA

Tuesday, June 29, 2010

Out of the Woods by Lyn Gardner

"Out of the Woods" is a classic good vs. evil story that has numerous references to Greek myths and common fairy tales. Underneath all of the magic and action the theme of the story is really about family. Three sisters, who all have their own differences, all miss their mother and wish their father would be home more often than not. When one of the sisters faces several problematic encounters with a magic pipe the family begins to live in fear. They all look for something to make them feel safe so when a mysterious stepmother walks into their lives they cling to her. Only after many long quests does the family realize that they have each other and that's all that matters.

I thoroughly enjoyed this story. The characters were very relatable and the imagery was wonderful. At many times I felt like I was in the book with them. The book can make you laugh or cry. It was fun finding all of the connections and predicting what would happen next. Unlike some stories it was highly unpredictable and the entire time I was "on the edge of my seat" so to speak. I was moved by the love of the family members at some points in the book. I would classify this book as a preteen to early young adult level. It was a fantasy story teeming with magic. The book had very clean content and little to no disturbing scenes. I would recommend "Out of the Woods" to all of my friends.

Reviewer Age:13
Reviewer City, State and Country: Braintree, Massachusetts United States of America

Glimmerglass by Jenna Black

Dana is fed up with her mother's alcoholism; so much that she decides to run away and live with her father. Dana has grown up knowing that she's part fae and that her father is a faerie, but she doesn't realize how much of a problem that will be when she enters the magical world of Avalon and is subsequently kidnapped by her aunt Grace. As Dana learns more about her heritage and the dangers of fae politics, she finds herself the target of both assassins and abductors. Between her father, her aunt, and her new friends Ethan and Kimber, Dana doesn't know who to trust and how to make her life return to normal.

At first, I did not like Glimmerglass. One of the reasons that I didn't like it was that I couldn't get used to a magical world that everyone knows about. In many fantasy novels, the mythical world is kept hidden from ordinary humans. But not in Glimmerglass. In this book, everyone knows about Avalon and fairies and a whole host of other things. It kind of threw me off, but soon I started really enjoying Glimmerglass. I especially liked Jenna Black's writing and Dana's voice. It sounded just like a teenager, complete with witty comments and funny thoughts. I think I laughed out loud a few times. Throughout the book there were a lot of twists and turns that made me want to keep reading. There is a sequel that I can't wait to get my hands on. Glimmerglass is a great novel for fans of fantasy.

Rating: 8
Reviewer Age:18
Reviewer City, State and Country: Aston, Pennsylvania United States

Monday, June 28, 2010

The Secret to Lying by Todd Mitchell

James Turner was the invisible kid in his dreary, small-town school, until he got accepted into America Math and Science Academy. There, he resolved to create a new image for himself, and the new James is a purple-and-orange-haired rebellious street fighter. At first, James does crazy things and tells outrageous lies to seem interesting and exciting. While he is fabricating his pyromaniac tendencies and hooking up with eccentric but beautiful Jessica Keen, James is slowly losing himself. He begins to dream about fighting demons, and at the same time, begins to cut himself, just to stop the numbness he's feeling. As his life slowly spirals downwards, a human ghost is trying to bring him back up and help him realize what he's losing.

Reading this book was like reading something of John Green's, with a slight twist of fantasy. Like John Green, this book captures the teenage voice really well with its smart, witty dialogue and candid descriptions. Also, it deals with similar themes of self identification. Todd Mitchell, the author of this book, writes about the issues of anorexia and self mutilation in a subtle, potent and believable way. The author really gets the reader to understand how the events in the character's life build up to this point in his life. I love the way the author incorporates classical literature into a contemporary book. Along with the characters alluding to classics, the author includes a Shakespeare quote before each part of the book, which provides in interesting clash of style and tone. The pacing of this book, however, could be a little better; I felt that the ending was a little underdeveloped. Also, I'm not sure I like the fantasy meets reality aspect of this book because I felt that it wasn't necessary and makes the book a bit cheesy. The author writes the fantasy part so that it seems pivotal to the plot, but I felt like it could have been easily omitted. However, it did add an interesting dimension and metaphor. This book's characters are very unique and realistic. The formatting and writing of this book was fascinating. The author's voice captures the reader's attention immediately and the plot sucks you in even more. All in all, it was a one-of-a-kind book. Even after you finish it, you want to linger on the ending and think about the characters.

This IS young adult content meaning language, sensuality, violence and dark themes.

Reviewer Age:16
Reviewer City, State and Country: Hinsdale, IL USA

The Singing by Alison Croggon

The Singing by Alison Croggon is the fourth and final book in the Books of Pelinor series. It begins were the last book in the series left off. Maerad and Hem are traveling to Edil-Amarandh in search of one another. Maerad and her companion first go to the boarding school of Innail, while Hem and his companion Saliman journey north, attempting to flee the Black Army. A prophecy has been spoken over them which says they will release the Treesong, which is the only way to conquer the Nameless One and defeat the forces of darkness.

The Singing is full of plot twists, battles, betrayals, and even visions, all with the underlying theme of brother and sisterhood, of a bond which can never be broken. While this novel contains the typical structure of the average fantasy story, it has much more depth than most books. The story is influenced by the power of music, and the author obviously has skills in both prose and poetry. The author's writing is graceful and flows in a way which makes its 454 pages speed by. It is, however, not overly flowery and is composed in a way that makes it an accessible read to most older teens. The author's characters are memorable and her writing is effortless. All of these things combined make The Singing an enjoyable novel.

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

Sunday, June 27, 2010

The Season of Second Chances by Diane Meier

Joy Harkness is a college professor and she doesn't have a very carefree personality. One day, she makes a decision that is opposite of what she would normally do. She's decided to move from the big city to a small college town, leaving behind what she's so used to. She's giving up her usual life to renovate a dilapidated Victorian house. As she works on te house with the town handyman, Teddy Hennessy, she realizes that there is nothing wrong with a little risk or challenges. Do second chances really come to everybody?

The Season of Second Chances is a humorous, touching novel. Diane Meier did a wonderful job expressing the emotions of her characters. She not only created a wonderful novel about the renovation of a house, but of the main character's life. Going into the book, I wasn't sure if I was going to like it, but now that I've read it, it was actually one of the better books I've read in a while. It was a very interesting story that I recommend to all young adult readers.

Reviewer Age:14
Reviewer City, State and Country: Fairborn, Ohio United States

Gimme A Call by Sarah Mlynowski

Devi's life has just been turned upside down. Her boyfriend of four years, Bryan, dumped her and now she has no date to the senior prom. But more importantly, Devi feels like she wasted four years on Bryan because she has no friends and slacked off at school, so now she's attending a third-tier college. But when Devi's cell phone falls in fountain after she wishes that she could change her past, she's only able to make one call: to her freshmen self. Devi is determined to tell herself what to change, so she can keep her friends and get into a better college, but she doesn't realize how much these changes will affect her present.

I loved Gimme A Call. It was so cute and surprisingly, hilarious. I actually laughed out loud a few times while I was reading. The antics that the two girls (or should I say: one girl?) get themselves into is priceless. I loved that Devi was able to talk to herself, because everyone wonders what they would tell their young self. And now Devi actually has a chance to do that. I thought at times Devi was a little hard on her younger counterpart; she made her take really hard classes and join a bunch of extracurricular activities. It was a little annoying to see how bossy Old Devi could get, but it just added to the overall funniness of the novel. I would recommend Gimme a Call to fans of humor or fans of time travel.

Reviewer Age:18
Reviewer City, State and Country: Aston, Pennsylvania United States

Saturday, June 26, 2010

"A Little Wanting Song" by Cath Crowlery

This book, "A Little Wanting Song" by Cath Crowlery, is about two girls, one named Charlie and the other Rose. They are on opposite ends of the spectrum. Charlie is a shy and easily intimidated girl who lives and breathes music, but she doesn't let anyone hear her play. Rose, however, is outgoing, always with her two guy best friends, and has a plan to move to the city to get out of small town life.

Since Charlie's grandpa lives next door to Rose, when Charlie visits from the city she sees Rose, but she has always been intimidated her, always watching but never joining Rose and her friends. Rose doesn't want anything to do with Charlie until she gets a scholarship to a school in the city and sees Charlie as a way to convince her parents that she could go. The girls' relationship later on gets complicated, as one of Rose's best friends, David, begins to like Charlie, and Charlie starts to open up.

"A Little Wanting Song" is a cute, romantic, well-written book about a good, if slightly overused, topic. The writing is good, not perfect, with a few flaws such as minimal setting description. I get that the story takes place in an average town, but not much detail beyond that is provided. The novel makes up for that flaw with its characters and its moods. It alternates between two characters, which I've seen go drastically wrong because you get bored with one or the other, but the author carries it out flawlessly. The voices of both are distinct, and I relate to both characters of the book equally. The mood, while changing from regretful to elated, always contains hope, which is perfect for a romantic book such as this; it never gets too dark and isn't always about the romance. It includes friendships between the characters which are just as important as the romance and add to the book. Also, this book achieves its purpose as a cross between a coming-of-age story and a cute romance, and is a rather simple read. This simple style fits the book well. It will not be the next Twilight, but it is a nice read. I find it interesting, and the ending is perfect. It isn't too happily-ever-after, and it has a positive but realistic feel. Though it does not teach much of a lesson, it gives you a good story that is a nice break from your life. I would recommend this book for someone who has time to relax, but doesn't want a complete fluff and nonsense story.

Reviewer Age:14

Reviewer City, State and Country: Milwaukee, WI United States

Bone Rattler by Eliot Pattison

This novel is a fictional mystery set in colonial America
during the French and Indian War. It combines aspects of
the cultures of the Highland Scots, Native Americans, and
European settlers in the New World. The main character is
Duncan McCallum, an exiled chief of a Highland Scot clan.
He is being transported on a British convict ship to the
American colonies, where he will be forced to do manual
labor. While on the ship, several murders and suicides,
as well as a bizarre ritual, occur. Because of Duncan s
skill as a doctor, his captors force him to investigate
these acts. His findings indicate that the cause of the
disturbances is tied to a larger mystery involving aspects
of both America and Europe. After his arrival in America,
Duncan continues to try to unravel the mystery and
understand the cultures of the Native Americans and
settlers while remaining true to his Highland Scot

This book was definitely enjoyable and engaging.
The mysteries kept me guessing and motivated me to keep
reading. The characters are interesting and varied, and
the backdrop of colonial America and the clash of
different cultures were intriguing and informative.
However, I felt that I never had all of the clues to solve
the mystery because the main character had knowledge not
shared with the reader until the very end. Therefore,
when the mystery was solved, it seemed abrupt. I would
recommend this book as a fun read that is good for those
who enjoy adventure and history. However, mystery fans
might be disappointed because the mystery is not always
easy to follow.

This book has some violence that can be
moderately graphic at times.

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

Friday, June 25, 2010

Enigma by C. F. Bentley

Sissy is the high priest of all of Harmony, and is therefore expected to have an intense connection with the goddess. However, in her previous adventures, she lost her sacred bond as a result of an attempted murder. One of her closest friends had died in the bombing, and left her with the prophesy to fix her connection with the Goddess among the stars. So began Sissy's adventures aboard the Labrynithe Station. These adventures include a forbidden love for a man who is not born of her planet - a love ominously threatening to destroy her reputation among her people. However, she is not prepared for a monumental discovery about her origins, aliens who desire to take over the station, or double-crossing humans prepared to leave no trace of their passing.

I found Enigma to be a fascinating read, a bit boring at the beginning, but quickly picking up speed as the plot developed. It only really had two settings though, and this could become drab if you prefer variety in the books you read. However, the two settings were very intriguing, one being a complex space station in which invaders could seemingly move about undetected, and the other an imaginative planet not too different from our own. The tone of the book was mysterious; you never knew when a critical event was about to take place. Thus, I was on the edge of my seat for the entire book. Another factor that contributed to my overall enjoyment in the book was the main characters. The human characters were very true to their race; they felt anger, pity, love, hate and other human emotions. They believed in a higher being, such as a god, as many humans do in the real world. Interestingly enough, the alien beings experienced very similar emotions to those of humans. I found this to be a fascinating aspect of the novel, and it caused the book to further appeal to me.

The author achieved an excellent novel that explores the ideals of religions, as well as exposes the unfavorable characteristics of many humans. However, this is done in a very captivating fashion, one that was not boring in the least bit. Sure, the book had a few weaknesses, like its slow beginning and slightly complicated and confusing setting, but overall it had many more strengths then weaknesses. It had strong, realistic characters with very real emotions. The book had a strong plot that kept you guessing where it was going next. It had romance infused with drama. Because of these traits, it was one of the best books from the science fiction genre that I have read. However, I don't believe it was better than its prequel, "Harmony", but it was still very good. My personal response to Enigma is that it was a thrilling novel with mystery intertwined into the plot, and thus deserving its title. I would definitely recommend Enigma to most anybody, as it is very age appropriate, as well as exciting.

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

Thursday, June 24, 2010

Two Moon Princess by Carmen Ferreiro-Esteban

Princess Andrea has always been the rebellious outcast of the family, having preferred instead to spend her time riding her horse Flecha, shooting her bow, and training to be a squire. Her sisters, on the other hand, are everything her mother wishes Andrea would be: perfectly beautiful and proper, just like ladies should be. So when Andrea gets banned from attending the Spring Ball for fighting with her older sister Rosa, she decides to spy on the occurring events from her favorite oak tree. There she meets Don Alfonso de Alvar, a prince and an enemy of her father, the King of Montemaior. He tells her of the ancient Xarens and how they had discovered a door leading to another world. Andrea is sick of her fancy life of frills and dresses and curtsying and once Don Alfonso departs, Andrea runs away on a search to find the door. She has no idea what she is getting into and what will be the outcome of her decision when she finds the door and meets a boy who will change her life forever; but maybe not in the way that she was hoping he would.

I absolutely loved Two Moon Princess by Carmen Ferreiro-Esteban. It was an enchanting and enthralling story full of adventure and romance, history and intrigue, full of battle and war, and lies, love, royalty, and more. I was highly impressed with this engrossing novel, definitely since it was the first book the author has ever written. I would definitely recommend Two Moon Princess and I read this story all day long in hopes of finding out the conclusion to the intricate web of romance and deceit the author had woven. She did a wonderful job with using foreshadowing but still had me guessing as to what would happen next. I was greatly content with the ending and thought that it would be a perfect book to create a sequel to. I definitely would read a sequel and am curious as to what would happen to them next since the ending opened up to what could be an entirely new story. The characters were fairly well developed, but Sebela, Andrea's oldest sister, was lacking a few details. Overall though, I really enjoyed this novel and Two Moon Princess is a definite must-read for adventurous romance lovers.

Reviewer Age:16

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

Wednesday, June 23, 2010

The Wide-Awake Princess

As Princess Annie walks through the castle, everyone bows away from her. But this gesture is by no means a sign of respect, but one of caution. You see, when her elder sister Gwendolyn was born, she was graced with amazing beauty, but cursed by an evil fairy. In order to prevent Annie being cursed, her parents asked that she never be touched by magic. Now that Gwendolyn's curse has taken hold, Annie must find her sister's true love to kiss her awake. Will Annie finish this quest...or will she be doomed to failure?

The Wide-Awake Princess is an enchanting tale of magic, princes, and possible love. E.D Baker spins a wonderful tale that incorporates new and old fairy-tale friends. I especially liked this book because it reminded me of all the tales I read in my younger youth. The story moves along at a good pace, with enough details so it's realistic, but not so much you feel like skipping over full paragraphs. I'm suggesting this book to young girls looking for a pleasant magical read.

Reviewer Age:16
Reviewer City, State and Country: Seaside , OR USA

Monday, June 21, 2010

Prisoners In The Palace by, Michaela MacColl

Becoming an orphan after your parents die in a tragic accident is hard enough, but after learning she must pay her father's debts, Elizabeth Hastings' life begins to deteriorate. Elizabeth, also known as Liza, must become a lady's maid to Princess Victoria in order to cover her father's debts. As a worker at Kensington, Liza begins to see things in a different light. Who is Annie that everyone whispers about? Is Sir John truly trying to become king in all but name? For those who love historical fiction, pick up this book and join Liza as she struggles to help the future queen.

I loved this book. It is an interesting mix of mystery, secret motives, and romance. My favorite character, besides Liza of course, was a teenager who went by the name "Inside Boy." He lived inside Kensington and no one knew he was there. As the story progresses the action's pace picks up and brings everything to an amazing climax that will leave readers satisfied. I think the most interesting part of this book is that it takes a look at what would most likely happen to a maid who had been dismissed from Kensington and how some of the newspapers operated at the time. The most amazing thing about this book, however, is that many of the plot lines have some truth in them. At the back of the book, the author gives her reference books and websites so that the reader can further explore the life of Queen Victoria. This book is a definite read for anyone who likes romance, historical fiction, or just a good plain book.

Reviewer Age:16
Reviewer City, State and Country: Mineola, TX U.S.A.

Sunday, June 20, 2010

Nocturne, by L.D. Harkrader

Vampires, magic, a child abandoned in the night. These are the forces you will encounter as you enter the world of Flannery Lane; a 15-year old girl who was left on the doorstep of Monsieur Anatole's Books, Wonders, and Charms when she was only a year old. She has always wondered who she is and where she came from, and it seems as though Uncle Anatole does not want her to discover the answers to these questions. She possesses a powerful magic and has secretly been studying her art and practicing all the while keeping her actions a secret from Uncle Anatole who happens to be the town's resident wizard. Life progresses normally until, one night, a young vampire hunter arrives at the shop begging for an exceptionally strong talisman, a Talisman of Undead Mastery. She fulfills his order, falling for him along the way, and it is not until her friends and neighbors start to disappear that she really starts to wonder about who he is and what his intentions are. And when a long lost Lord Blakely returns, she takes matters into her own hands and sets out to save her village, her uncle, and the family she never knew.

L. D. Harkrader's "Nocturne", a companion novel to "A Practical Guide to Vampires", grabbed my attention the moment I picked it up. The adventures and personal struggles of Flannery Lane, or Flan, are remarkably similar to choices ordinary teenagers will have to face; such as love, losing friends, and discovering who you really are. The plot was engaging and had several twists that I never would have expected. I would recommend this book to anyone with a taste for adventure and fantastical creatures. However, this is a fantasy book, and if you're looking for something with a bit or reality, this wouldn't be my first choice. It's a wonderful read and I enjoyed every word of it.

Reviewer Age:15
Reviewer City, State and Country: Braintree, MA United States

Saturday, June 19, 2010

Why Dogs Eat Poop by Francesca Gould

Do you know what species of bird can sew? Do you know what
species of octopus has females that can be 6 feet, 6
inches long, and males that are 1 inch long? And, do you
know the answer to the question that baffles many pet
owners, why do dogs eat poop? This book answers all of
these questions and many more. It also talks about
interesting and disgusting characteristics of animals,
even some species you probably have never heard of.

I enjoyed reading this book, however at some points, I
wished that the author had explained how or why something
happened in more detail. It's written in a question-answer
format, so it gets you curious about a topic, and then
dives into it. After reading the book, I think that it
would have been more enjoyable if I had skimmed through
the questions in the book, and only read the ones that
made me interested in the topic. Overall, this was an
interesting and informal read, but not a cover-to-cover

This book talks about mating rituals, and
reproductive systems.

Reviewer Age:12

Reviewer City, State and Country:
Leawood, KS United States of America

Friday, June 18, 2010

The Tilting House by Tom Llewellyn

You don't understand. YOUR house is straight. Aaron and
Josh never had that option- at least not in this house.
Their house is tilted, but not only that. Beneath its
normal exterior, the house holds many secrets of its past
owner. Aaron and Josh, assisted by their neighbor Lola,
discover somthing extraordinary in the house. Good thing
their dad insisted on buying the the book,
and you'll understand how strange staring neighbors,
different writings on walls, and previous secrets can

In my opinion, the book was haphazardly insane! It
was hard to follow in my opinion. I did not like the
characters, and quite frankly - the story's background
annoyed me. I may sound a little harsh, but I did NOT like
this book. The author did not achieve the "Edgar Allan
Poe" theme he was going for. The author should have better
explained things.



Reviewer Age:12

Reviewer City, State and Country: Panama City, Florida United States

Thursday, June 17, 2010

Faithful by Janet Fox

Margaret "Maggie" Bennet has an elegant life amongst the elite families in Newport, Rhode Island. But when Maggie's father tricks her into going on an excursion to the wilds of Yellowstone Park to look for her mother, Maggie realizes that they are in Montana for an entirely different reason. A reason, that Maggie is desperate to find out. Alone and isolated in a dangerous wilderness, Maggie must discover what she wants most: freedom or a life she's always known. Fox's debut novel, Faithful, is a thrilling and heartwarming story of love, discovery, and of course, faithfulness.

The first time I laid eyes on Faithful's book cover, I immediately thought: majestic fear of the unknown. That's exactly how Maggie feels when she first arrives in Yellowstone, uncertain with a desire to conquer the mysteries surrounding the park and her mother's disappearance. Faithful is a great book; not only because it was written quite nicely, but because of the sense of adventure within the pages. The image of Yellowstone is very dominate throughout the story - as it should be - and Maggie's devastation and anger can be felt on a very personal level. I couldn't help but cheer Maggie on as she battled for freedom as the men around her continually tried to control her. When you start this book, you must understand, back then (even in 1904), a woman's future was deeply nestled in the will of a man's. Maggie is at their mercy; sometimes she had to make sacrifices that a 21st century girl would never dream of doing. Even though Faithful is in fact a historical fiction, I wouldn't hesitate to recommend it to someone who doesn't normally read that genre. Faithful is not all about the time period (even though it is important), it's about knowing what you want and standing up for it. Overall, I absolutely loved Maggie, the adventure, Yellowstone, and the discoveries Maggie made along the journey. I am whole heartedly looking forward to seeing more fiction by Fox.

Reviewer Age:17
Reviewer City, State and Country: , NM United States

Stringz by Michael Wenberg

For Jace Adams life has never been really easy for him. His mother moves them from place to place always looking for a better job. Jace on the other had moves from school to school, sometimes four schools in one year. The only thing that can keep him sane is his cello, and whenever he plays his cello Jace goes into a different world. His most recent move is to Seattle. When money is tight at home Jace decides to go to downtown Seattle to play his cello for some extra money. When Jace is finished for the night he collects his belongings and starts to count his money. Jace soon finds out that someone threw in a hundred dollar bill with a business card attached to it. What will happen to Jace? Will he call this guy who gave him a bribe ? Find out when you read Stringz.

I love the beginning of this book it is very comical but still very true. The author did a great job in the setting, characterization, and overall concept of the book. I believed that I was in high school as a freshman all over again. Also I felt that the main characters where my best friends and that they were truly human beings. The writing of the book was very easy to read and very effective. I feel that this book was very interesting. Anyone who likes to read a good book that shows the hard ships of a young person and also an amazing cello player then this book is for you. If you also like coming of age, comedy, and some serious moments stuck into a book you would also like this too. All in all a very good book that I recommend everyone to at least pick up and read.

Some drug references.

Reviewer Age:17
Reviewer City, State and Country: Northport, NY USA

All Star by Jane Yolen

Honus Wagner was born February 24, 1847 in Chartiers Pennsylvania. He went to school all the way to 6th grade but stopped there. After 6th grade, Honus went to work in a coal mine with his dad. He and his family always played baseball on Sundays because it was his father's day off.
When Honus was still young, he signed up to play on a real team. He was so fast that he had to carry a teammate so he wouldn't pass him. His brother, Al, already played professional baseball and got Honus a deal to play too. Honus set two records in the World Series and one still stands today. When people sold his card in cigar packs, he didn't like it so they stopped printing them. Honus died on December 6, 1955. Now his cards sell for nearly $3,000,000.

Overall I thought this was an excellent book. Jane Yolen did a good job of summarizing Honus Wagner's life. The book is very short and is only about 30 pages but it is still very good. I think this book would catch the attention of boys more than girls just because it is about a boy's sport, but girls would like it too. If you like nonfiction biographies then this book is for you.

Reviewer Age: 13

Reviewer City, State and Country: Merino, Colorado U.S.A.

Wednesday, June 16, 2010

Princess of Glass

Princess of Glass, a retelling of Cinderella, is a companion
novel to Princess of the Midnight Ball. In this book, Poppy
and her unmarried sisters are sent to different countries
through a royal exchange program of sorts, to promote better
relationships between countries and, hopefully, result in
some marriages. A second aspect of the story is Elenora, a
girl who went from riches to poverty when her father's
business transactions did not pay for their lifestyle and
both her parents died. She changed her name to Ellen, and
started working as a maid. Somehow, she always ruins
whatever she does. One day, an invitation to a royal ball
comes to the Seadown household where Poppy is staying with
her cousins and Ellen is working as a maid. It invites all
the eligible women in the household, and Ellen insists on
going. Ellen does not go to the ball, but a mysterious Lady
Ella does.
This book is as good as, if not better than,
Princess of the Midnight Ball. The suspense steadily builds
as Poppy gains information, but still has no idea how to put
a stop to Lady Ella. There are some sketchy ideas that could
use elaboration, but overall the story makes sense. There is
also a side love story, adding to the plot. Although you
don't need to read the first book, there are references in
this book to tie the stories together. Princess of Glass is
an amazing way to twist Cinderella into a completely new

Reviewer Age:14
Reviewer City, State and
Country: Milwaukee, WI USA

Shooting Kabul by N. H. Senzai

In N.H. Senzai’s debut novel, we see a flash of what it would be like to be a Muslim family in the U.S. during 9-11. Fadi, now entering middle school, has to deal with bullies, honor, and the guilt of knowing that it was his fault that his baby sister was left behind in their escape from the Middle East. Will Fadi, with the help of his new friends and teacher, be able to find and rescue her from a country torn by war on the other side of the globe? This book takes us through issues that are still prominent today. With many people, the Middle East is a hot subject. Senzai explains points of interest in Middle East history and politics from the experiences of this twelve year old boy.

This story gave me a new perspective of looking through someone else’s eyes on events that I myself witnessed. This flashback style plotline jumps around a little, but gives the book the feeling of a photo album of Fadi’s life during this trying period. This wasn’t the first book I’ve read on the Middle East, but it is the first book I’ve read pertaining to these modern day issues. It helped me understand that just because someone is of a certain religion, it doesn’t mean that they agree with radicals who believe that Americans need to die. I enjoyed the book immensely and would recommend it to anyone ten years and up!

Reviewer Age:17
Reviewer City, State and Country: Provo, Utah U.S.A.

Tuesday, June 15, 2010

Freaksville by Kitty Keswick

Kasey Maxwell has the gift of sight. Her gift has been passed down by generation in the women of her family. Kasey normally doesn't like using her gifts but when it brings her to the cute British exchange student, Josh, she doesn't mind as much. Kasey can also talk to ghosts, so when she finds that her school theater is haunted, she investigates. But when Kasey and her friends get stuck inside the theater, she wonders how far the ghosts will go and if they will ever get out.

'Freaksville' was an okay book. I didn't think that the story line was very original, and it was kind of a mix of 'Romeo and Juliet' and 'Twilight'. I did get a good understanding of the characters and how they thought, so they seemed pretty realistic. I wouldn't really recommend the book to anyone.

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

My Bonny Light Horseman by L. A. Meyer

In My Bonny Light Horseman, Jacky Faber faces many dangers
such as a dangerous battle at sea and a close to death
visit to the guillotine. She comes close to death many
times and every time she wiggles her way out. When she is
captured by her old enemy from British Intelligence, she
is placed as a dancer in a nightclub to get secrets out of
French officers who frequent there. She soon blows her
cover though and is forced to follow Emperor Napoleon
Bonaparte into war. The thing is, this time death might
not let her go as easily.

My Bonny Light Horseman was a page turner and I loved
it. Throughout the whole book I felt I was there with
Jacky Faber. Dancing alongside her, following her into
war, I could really picture every detail. I also loved
Jacky s personality. She was brave, kind, and smart in her
own kind of Jacky Faber way. The book had a lot of mature
content and I would suggest it for the older readers.
Overall My Bonny Light Horseman was an amazing book and a
great read.

I gave the book a content rating of
3 because there were a few words and mature content
that would not be appropriate for younger kids



Reviewer City, State and Country: Panama City,
Florida United states

Sunday, June 13, 2010

Men's Stage Monlogues and Scenes by Lawrence Harbison

This book contains the best stage monologues and scenes for men from stage productions in 2009. Since there are many different pieces in this book, it is not possible to give a plot summary. But the book is filled with many dramatic pieces that deal with issues ranging from having a parent walkout on their son to teen pregnancy. There are also comical pieces that are sure to make people laugh when reading. Also, there are pieces that are dramatic AND funny. The scenes have only two actors, both of which can be read as male parts, or male and female. The monologues sometimes contain pauses, which indicate that someone is speaking. This book can be used to entertain or as a reference for finding audition pieces.

I really enjoyed reading the different pieces in The Best Men's Stage Monologues and Scenes for 2009. I enjoyed reading the comic parts, and often became emotional reading the dramatic parts. I think that this is more of a reference book than a book with a plot. However it is still entertaining for people who love to read powerful passages from plays. Anybody with an understanding of theatre will love to read these pieces from familiar playwrights like Don Nigro, and from newer playwrights like Jonathan Rand. This book is great for anyone who is interested in the high school activity called Speech. The comic and dramatic pieces are perfect for that activity. In conclusion, this book contains many great pieces for teens through adults. This book is a great reference for any aspiring actor, or professional actors looking for fresh, new audition pieces.

Reviewer Age:15
Reviewer City, State and Country: Paynesville, MN USA

Saturday, June 12, 2010

Dormia by Jake Halpern & Peter Kujawinski

Dormia, by Jake Halpern and Peter Kujawinski is a terrifying adventure. Twelve-year-old Alfonso Perplexon is an ordinary boy - while he's awake. However, in his sleep Alfonso can climb 200-foot-tall trees, tightrope-walk on telephone wires and grow a Dormian Bloom that is the key to saving a legendary land called Dormia. When Alfonso's Uncle Hill comes to visit, Dragoonya Plants of War attack the bloom. Alfonso, Uncle Hill, Judy and Pappy escape the Dragoonya Plants in a very old airplane. Alfonso and Uncle Hill then book passage on a rickety old ship which will take them to Barsh-Yin-Binder, the closest port to the Ural Mountains, in which Dormia is hidden. After reaching Dormia with one missing and one blind companion they realize Dormia is under attack from the Dragoonya, their greatest enemy. Will they be able to fight off the Dragoonya? More importantly, will they be able to replace the founding tree of Somnos before it's too late?

This book was so good I was sorry I couldn't read it while I was asleep. It was very easy for me to imagine being one of the characters. I liked their different personalities and their fearlessness. I especially liked Resuza. She seems to like telling Alfonso, "You don't know a lot of things." Bilblox is also very funny. He is always refering to Resuza as "your girlfriend" in Alfonso's case. I found it interesting that the whole plot was focused on a bloom where the petals change colors every six minutes. If you like warfare, adventure, a small bit of romance and sleep-drivers, this is the book for you!

Reviewer Age:11
Reviewer City, State and Country: Lake City, IA USA

Thursday, June 10, 2010

Prowling the Seas by Pamela S. Turner

Describing the adventure of the seas through animals, Pamela S. Turner brings a wave full of education to children. Within this wave, is the story of a tuna fish, turtle, shark, and seabirds. These sea creatures serve as a gateway of knowledge to children, in a simplistic way. Using these taged organisms, she weaves in the treatment of oceans and how each organism is important.

I thought that this book was a good way to provide knowledge to children in an understandable way. Everything was age appropriate and held pictures to perk their interests. It gives the reader information on the organisms and the facts about the ocean. There are diagrams that are simple enough for a child to understand and get something out of it. I would recommend this to children to provide easy awareness and education.

Reviewer Age:17
Reviewer City, State and Country: Carlisle, PA United States

A Wind in Montana by Mitch Davies

Rory is a 16 year old guy whose life shakes in his junior year of high school. He has played basketball and in the band for years, but he decides that chemistry is his true calling. When a scholarship opportunity arises, Rory quits everything but chemistry--and girls. Rory struggles to determine which is better: relationships or academics. When Rory meets Victoria, a girl interested in playing the oboe, he reassesses what is important to him. Of course, teachers, coaches, and parents try to influence him to live out his life THEIR way.

When I began to read this book, I was very interested in the subject matter. Like Rory, I love chemistry and want to study it in college. Rory's personality and relationships with others are strikingly similar to those that I have. This connection made the book realistic and contemporary. The writing was well done, and it is accurate to real life. Some of the main themes are trying to succeed, falling in love, and power struggle between teenagers and adults. I recommend this book to any teenager who desires advice on the coming-of-age. It may also be a good read for parents who do not understand the behavior of their teenage child.

This book contains many sexual scenes and uses some foul language.

Reviewer Age:16

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

Painting Souls by Benjamin Dudley

Painting Souls is the story of two heroes in a magical fantasy world full of adventure and mystery. The Unholy War pitting an alliance of numerous races against the evils of the Shadow and the Wraith has ended by the sword of Adrian, the first hero that is introduced in the book. He is canonized across the world of Celestia as the greatest hero the planet has ever known. However, when Adrian returns home after days of celebrations in his name, he finds that everything dear to him has been swept out from under his feet. Gai, the second hero of the story, is a student at the Ibiza Peacekeeping Academy. One can think of it as a Hogwarts with magic only being one of the subjects taught. Throughout Gai's time at the academy, he experiences blackouts and encounters a form of himself from the future. At the end of the book, these two stories develop and ultimately face the same threat of a new war. This threat looms until the next book in the series.

On the final pages of the book, Gai says to himself, "Are we headed anywhere?" Unfortunately, I felt the same way as I finished this book. The book claims to be the most enveloping fantasy fiction story ever written, and this claim could be very true. However, the ambitious inclusivity of Painting Souls is its ultimate downfall. Fantasy fiction stories that have lasted the test of time all have expansive backgrounds and mystical beings. However, there are intangible "limitations" that appear to the reader. How could readers relate to a world that appears to have no borders or limits? The seemingly endless amount of different races the author presents becomes overwhelming very quickly. Furthermore, the numerous attempts by the author of hints at universal truths are placed in the most awkward locations, and the dialogue rarely seems fitting for the character or the situation. As a whole, Painting Souls seems like a collection of pieces of other famous fantasy works. Very little seems original or thought provoking in an innovative way.

Language and sexual references.

Reviewer Age:20
Reviewer City, State and Country: Eden Prairie, Minnesota United States

After the Moment by Garret Freymann-Weyr

Both Leigh and Maia have issues. For Leigh, he's in love, with no hope of falling out of it with Maia. She on the other hand has too many problems of her own to think about love; after battling anorexia and physically hurting herself, she thinks she can't handle romance or even close friendship in her life. Even with all these factors against them, love quickly blossoms then disappears after Maia’s tragic rape by three prep-school boys. With Maia at her most vulnerable, she needs Leigh to help her, but Leigh discovers that the world such as the case with war can reason everything, especially what the guilty does. After the Moment takes place four years after the last time Leigh and Maia were together and it is a time of remembrance and overall forgiveness for both.

Freymann-Weyr has one of those strong writing styles that brings the reader in with such clarity that it displays the raw emotion of young love and the lasting pain it can cause. Each character was created with their own unique personality that also brings the reader into each character's own personal struggles. Leigh especially was created so deeply to love and protect, that for each movement he made the reader was blindly aware that it was calculated and directed towards Maia. I felt like this book was a little too serious, though there were happy moments the book had an overall melancholy feel that left me questioning if love is worth the pain.

Reviewer Age:15

Reviewer City, State and Country: Brewster, N.Y United States

The Hard Kind of Promise by Gina Willner-Pardo

The Hard Kind of Promise by Gina Willner-Pardo is about a girl, Sarah, who promises to be best friends forever with Marjorie. The only problem is that she promised this when they were young and now Sarah and Marjorie like different things. Sarah tries her best to be friends with Marjorie, but they are just too different. It would be very hard for Sarah to keep this promise. This is a story about friendship and how hard it can be.

The Hard Kind of Promise by Gina Willner-Pardo was not one of the best books I have read. I found it hard to keep reading because there was nothing to draw you into the mood of the book. The plot was not very good. Willner-Pardo's writing style did not draw the reader in or make you feel a strong connection with how the characters felt. This is a book I would definitely not recommend to anyone.

Reviewer Age:12

Reviewer City, State and Country: Braintree, Ma USA

Monday, June 07, 2010

A Legacy of Daemons by Camille Bacon-Smith

Evan Davis and his partners, Kevin Bradley and Lily Ryan, handle dangerous and otherworldly cases in Philadelphia. Lily and Kevin (Brad) are daemons that belong to the second celestial sphere under the lord Ariton. When Matt Shields hires Evan to retrieve a box from the house of the recently deceased Grayson Donne, Evan is trapped in the middle of a battle between daemons and a group of wealthy people with a dangerous interest in the dark arts. During the investigation, Evan is captured by those people. After he escapes, the police search the grounds of the manor where he had been held, only to find a graveyard full of tortured mortals. The police interrogate Carlos Sanchez, whose daughter Alba is missing and who worked for Grayson Donne. Then, Sanchez goes missing and Evan has to find him and an heir of Grayson Donne to unlock the box and release the demented daemon, Kady (Kady and Matt Shields were bound by Grayson Donne to the box). As Grayson’s plot unfolds, a new angle of the problem comes to light; a half-daemon child named Katy(not to be confused with Kady), the sole heir of the Donne fortune and the only one who can release Kady from the box. Evan and Kady must summon daemon lords to release Matt Shields and Kady from the binding put on them by Grayson Donne to prevent a war between the lords of the second-celestial sphere.

The book itself was difficult to understand and connect to. I often reread a paragraph or chapter to get a better understanding of what the characters were doing. The story line was a follow-up from two previous books, which I was not able to find in my public library, making it hard to connect to the characters’ references of pain. The author was very descriptive of some of the settings from the main character’s point of view, such as Evan when he was kidnapped at the manor house. The storyline was moving and the book had a great ending with the introduction of Katy, but left me wondering if they found Alba Sanchez and why Lily left Evan. I might recommend the book, but only after reading the first two books. It also contained mature content I didn't think was suitable for a young teenager.

Content: 1
Rating: 4
Reviewer Age:
Reviewer City, State and Country: Garden Ridge, Texas USA

Sunday, June 06, 2010

Amazon Queen by Lori Devoti

Zery has only ever known the tribe, her family of Amazons. After living for over a hundred years Zery is a queen; the top of the heap. When a new priestess comes to her safe camp and starts to challenge Zery s authority things start to go from bad to worse. The tribe is falling apart and Zery is on the outside, it doesn t help that she seems to be falling for a son, the sworn enemy of the Amazons. In this stunning sequel to Amazon Ink; Zery s life falls apart as she finds old friends, new friends and her voice.

In Amazon Queen by Lori Devoti, Zery the queen of the Amazons finds her world falling apart. The book starts out strong with a fast paced action scene and the tone is continued throughout the book. With multiple twists and turns that keep you on your toes this quickly moving book keeps a reader entertained till the early hours of the morning. On top of the constantly changing alliances and friendships there is an underlying element of romance that although present does not over power a book based on powerful women. Over all this book was and exciting and entertaining read that I certainly recommend.

Reviewer Age:16
Reviewer City, State and Country: Greenwood Village, Co USA

Ernest Hemingway: A Writer's Life by Catherine Reef

Ernest Hemingway was not only one of the most influential American writers of all time - he also had a fascinating life. He was born in 1899 to a wealthy Chicago family. He began writing in school, where his teachers encouraged his talents. When World War I broke out, he went to Italy to fight. His experiences in the army influenced one of his most famous books, A Farewell to Arms. Throughout his life, Ernest Hemingway enjoyed doing the unusual - he was fond of bull fights and safaris. He joined with Spanish forces in the Spanish Civil War. However, despite his exciting life, Hemingway struggled with depression over his writing and life. In 1961, he took his own life. But his writing lives on - his books have become classics of American literature.

Reef's biography of Ernest Hemingway was a fascinating account of Hemingway's life. She aptly used quotes from Hemingway's friends and family to describe his life from his childhood to his death. She provided numerous antidotes that enabled the reader to glimpse into the life of Hemingway in an engaging way. Also, the book had lovely photographs chronically Hemingway's life. However, what I particularly enjoyed in the book was Reef's careful analysis of the factors that influenced Hemingway's writing. Having read some of the Hemingway's works, I found it fascinating to read about the experiences that led Hemingway to write his books. Even for those who have never read a Hemingway novel, this biography gives you a extraordinary glimpse into the life of one of the most influential Americans of the twentieth century.

Reviewer Age:17
Reviewer City, State and Country: Urbana, IL USA

Friday, June 04, 2010

Boys, Bears, and a Serious Pair of Hiking Boot

Jenna is just a girl living in the New Jersey suburbs and has a life revolved around environmentalism. From recycling to protesting out on the streets, her and the Green Teens, a group of fellow environmentalists, do everything possible to help the planet. Then, Jenna
decides to fly to Canada to visit her godmother, Susie, during the summer. After some crazy encounters with the locals and wildlife (a stray moose on Main Street, a group of cute, nature-loving boys, and Susie's stepdaughter, Fiona), Jenna soon realizes that her eco-friendly ideas
don't appeal to the residents of Stillwater. As Jenna arms herself with a nature survival guide, she sets out to learn how to live in the wilderness the locals call home.

Boys, Bears, and a Serious Pair of Hiking Boots is about a girl trying to fit in and survive that wildlife that she's always heard about. Boys, Bears, and a Serious Pair of Hiking Boots is a fun and fast paced novel that contains humor, romance, and a group of fun-loving, characters that readers can relate to. The relationships between the characters that Abby McDonald established were very realistic. They have traits that readers could compare themselves to. Jenna is a eco-friendly girl that supports nature, but doesn't really know much about
living, or surviving, in it. The boys she meets, Ethan, Grady, and Reeve, are a group of boys that love having fun and can do that in nature. The characters have obstacles that they have to learn how to overcome. I think that these traits will let the readers to actually imagine the
characters as real people. This book was a very enjoyable read and kept me hooked to it until the end. I think that many young adult readers will enjoy reading this.

Wednesday, June 02, 2010

Unfamiliar Magic by R. C. Alexander

Unfamiliar Magic is about a young witch named Desi, whose mom is also a witch and she refuses to teach Desi any spells or tell Desi anything about her father who has been absent Desi's whole life. Desi has a cat named Devil which is a familiar. (Devil can travel to different worlds- the witch or the demon world) Desi's mom, Desi, and their cat have moved all over the world for an unknown reason to Desi. They have just moved to the suburbs when her mother leaves without any notice right after turning their cat Devil into a teenage girl. After Desi's mother leaves unexplainably Desi is lost. She makes friends with the boy next door, Jarrett. Devil, who is now called Cat, starts dating Jarrett's older brother, Bob. Unfortunately Cat is just a person on the outside and still thinks like a cat, which causes problems for Desi. When the foursome goes to the mall Desi meets a magician willing to teach Desi some magic. Bad things happen after that include battling demons, learning magic, getting stuck in portals, and her mother and father fighting over what is best for Desi.

I think that the book Unfamiliar Magic is a great book and a must read for all who like fantasy. I really liked Desi she was full of energy and never gave up. I also liked Cat because she would do anything to save Desi. This book was very well written, very exiting, and a real page turner.

Reviewer Age:10
Reviewer City, State and Country: Boothwyn, PA USA

Travelers Market by Maureen Doyle McQuerry

When an evil rat bites Timothy's mom, its up to him, his sister Sarah, and their newly found friend, Jessica to find the cure. An old acquaintance leads them to the Traveler's Market. They don't trust anyone, and an old foe that hides in the dark of the Market makes it dangerous. Timothy and Sarah find two extraodanary talents inside themselves that lay dormant, until now. Even with the help of Timothy and Sarah's new talents, the Dark's warriors are a threat to millions of lives.

This book was awesome! Almost all the characters had a lot of depth. The plot was very well written, and I loved the different things that the characters find deep inside themselves. Although it is the second in the series, you don't have to read the first book to get the story line. For you older kids who still like illustrations, there are illustrations throughout the book and they're very well drawn. Whether you've read the first book or not, I strongly recommend this book and hope you have as much fun reading it as I did.

Reviewer Age:10
Reviewer City, State and Country: Rockwell City, IA USA

The Whispering Sand by Ian Kenworthy

Annabeth a young girl comes to stay with her very down-to-Earth grandpa, Grandpa Bambertide. Grandpa Bambertide lives in an enormous, wacky house called Gull Cove Cottage located on Gull Cove Beach. Living on this property, Grandpa Bambertide feels that it is his job to take care of, and protect Gull Cove Beach.
Something is terribly wrong with the sand on the beach. The sand begins to whisper a song and when the song is over, the sand turns grey and dies. Annabeth and Grandpa Bambertide must get to the bottom of this. Upon going on many adventures, Annabeth figures out that songs are trapped inside the sand, and by being sung, they are keeping the sand alive. Every song in the sand has been sung, and old memories trapped in the sand have faded. Grandpa Bambertide and Annabeth must save the sand and figure out how to cure it.

The Whispering Sand by: Ian Kenworthy was meant to really bring out your imagination. It did not. It was hard to follow and did not keep me intrigued. Written with many details, I wanted the story to come to life in my mind. At parts of the story, I began to loose interest. The main plot was good however, my loss of interest was due to reading about problems in the story that absolutely had nothing to do with the main plot. Overall, The Whispering Sand was a creative book for someone who enjoys fantasy books.

I gave The Whisering Sand a rating of 3 because the book was not mainly focusing on the plot, which would have made the story clearer. The story had smaller more less important problems more focused on, than the entire main plot of the story.

Reviewer Age:12
Reviewer City, State and Country: Cleveland, Ohio USA

Ghostgirl: Homecoming by Tonya Hurley

Charlotte's world is turned upside down by a
simple gummy bear in the first book of this series,
ghostgirl. She dies and enters the afterlife where she is
forced to work at a hotline for troubled teens.
Charlotte's old friend, Scarlet, desperately needs
her help because her big sister, Petula, is gravely ill.
Charlotte's friend, Maddy, in the neighboring cubical
intercepts the call from Scarlet. She has to find another
way to get to Charlotte. So she enters the afterlife
world herself to find Charlotte. When she finds her,
they go on a search for Petula's holding room . Along the
way Maddy tries to lead them astray. Maddy is trying to
steal Petulas life for herself, in the end Petula is saved
and crowned Homecoming Queen.

I did enjoy this book the author made me feel like I
was there. The characters were great and worked together
well; she really made me feel as if they were best friends
or sister. The authors voice changed thought out the
book to what every mood they were in at the moment (funny,
serious.). She gave great detail and I was never left
wondering what was happening. I found this book to be
entertaining and interesting. I think the ending was great
because I like happy endings. I would recommend this book
to others.

Reviewer Age:14
Reviewer City, State and Country: mineola , Texas USA

Looking for Marco Polo by Alan Armstrong

The book Looking for Marco Polo is about an eleven-year-old boy who travels to Venice. His father traveled with him on the adventurous journey. On the trip Mark had an asthma attack. He went to see one of his father's friends named Dr. Hornaday. He found out that Dr. Hornaday had a big, black dog named Boss. While all the adults were asleep Mark found out that Boss was his dog named Marco Polo.

I thought this book was really adventurous and good. This wasn't my favorite book in the world but it kept me going. I think people who would like to read this book would have to love to read adventurous books. Im more of a person who likes to read mostly mysterious books.

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

Yokaiden 2 by Nina Matsumoto

Hamachi Uramaki travels to the Yokai realm, to avenge his grandmother's death. A Yokai named Madkap has killed his grandmother for setting a Yokai trap and severing Madkaps leg. Hamachi is in search of the nine tails, but when he finds her she wants him to stay so she gives him three different tasks. They endanger his and his only chance of survival and completion of the tasks is his knowledge and determination to avenge his grandmother. So will he succeed or will he fail, find out in this adventurous novel by Nina Matsumoto.

A great book I highly recommend it, but if you don't like Japanese Mangas then I suggest you don't read it. This is definitely a great book so please read it. You can even skip the first one, it explains it to where you know enough to where you understand the story. It's great 'cause unlike a lot of Mangas you don't have to read back to front. It's an easy quick read that provides an entertaining story.

Reviewer Age:13
Reviewer City, State and Country: Sandy, Oregon USA

Tuesday, June 01, 2010

Short Circus by Stephen V. Masse

Jem Lockwood has just got back to school and his first
task is to write a report on his summer vacation. Short
Circus is Jem's story about all of the adventures he went
on with his friends and famliy. Jesse Standish is Jem's
older brother through the Big Brother Association and he
may be forced to move. That is one of Jem's problems
along with someone destroying the swimming pond, and
problems among his friends. Will Jem even make it through
the summer?

I didn't like Short Circus very much. In
fact, it was difficult to pick up and read because I
wasn't really interested in it. I couldn't finish the
book. I thought Short Circus had a weak plot and no
rising action. There was not much happening throughout
the book. It is written in a kid's point of view, but it
is not like what a kid would do. If I had a say in the
making of the book, I might make it more of a narrative
instead of a first person story.

I thought the book was
uninteresting. I had a tough time getting into it. There
wasn't much action or interesting things

Reviewer Age:11
Reviewer City, State and
Country: Randolph, NJ United States

Riding Invisible by Sandra Alonzo

Yancy is the good kid. He is the one who gets all A s in
school, does not get in trouble, is a talented writer and
artist, and keeps his responsibilities to his horse, Shy.
Yancy's brother, Will, has a conduct disorder. He is the
one who does not do well in school, gets in trouble, beats
on other kids and needs to have a good deeds chart
completed before he can get his learner's permit. So, why
is Yancy the one who runs away? After Will attacks Shy,
Yancy packs up his horse and leaves home, attempting to
find a place where he and his horse can live safely. He
gets himself into a whole heap of trouble and has more
adventure than he could ever imagine.

As a horse lover,
myself, I have often been disappointed by the inaccuracies
in horse-related books. I was not with this one. Yancy
is a clever and detailed narrator and it is a pleasure to
step into his mind while reading his so-called adventure
journal . Travel with Yancy and Shy along their journey
that is full of sarcasm and potholes. This is a book
about a boy, his horse, and the life they are determined
to escape from.

This story is told through the eyes of a
sixteen year-old boy in journal format. He does not mince
his words and some of his references to the female
characters could be offending. Also, Yancy's brother does
things that include drugs and alcohol.

Reviewer City, State and Country: Leverett,
Massachusetts USA

Willie-Off-The-Pickleboat by Thomas M. Wilkinson

This book is about King Krausen 1 hides a pickle somewhere in his village and it is up to the villagers to find the pickle. Then when Gherti finds the pickle in a pine tree, she also finds Willie. Willie is the character which the book is based on because he drives a pickle boat. Will Ghertis life now change because she finds the pickle. The reason the book was probably written is because it has become a custom for people to find a pickle ornament. It is suppose to bring good luck if you find it.

I thought that this book was confusing. It wasn't one of the best books I have read. I thought this because, I don't really like these type of books. I thought it was very appropriate for the age level given.

Reviewer Age:12
Reviewer City, State and Country: nokomis , illinois united states

Hero's Tribute by Graham Garrison

Hero's Tribute by Graham Garrison is a mystery. It is about a news reporter named Wes in a small town Talking Creek. He writes a sport page until one day he gets a message from his boss. It was a note from a local hero who was a sport legend at Talking Creek; he served in the army and got the biggest award possible the Medal of Honor, and ran a foster care retreat for young kids in Talking Creek. His name was Michael Gavin he had passed away a week ago from cancer. Michael wanted Wes to write his eulogy and to find everything about him, the good and the bad. Wes never met Michael and didn't know him at all. Then Wes decides to go off on his journey to uncover the truth about Michael Gavin. What good and bad will Wes find out Michael did? What will happen next? What will Wes uncover about Michael that no one knows?

Reviewer Age:11
Reviewer City, State and Country: cleveland, ohio United States

Ghostgirl by Tonya Hurley

Charlotte Usher was an invisible nobody... last year. But this year there's going to be change - she's going to be popular. That includes dressing the part, hanging out with the popular girls like Petula Kensington and the Wendys, and of course going to the Fall Ball with the most amazing guy in school, Damen Dylan. But now she really IS an invisible nobody. She's dead. And all because of a gummy bear. How can Damen possibly fall in love with her if he can't see her? Can anybody see her?

This book was great! I loved every word of it! The outside of the book itself is very nice: the cover is really cool (its hard to describe - it has this shadow in a coffin but when you flip it open, the shadow is Charlotte), it's hardcover, and the sides are silvery! The inside was just as amazing! The story is really great and I will definitely be reading it again and again and again! Charlotte is as easy to fall in love with as it is to hate Petula. The author uses nice wording and you really feel like you're in Charlotte's shoes trying to figure out what happened and how to get Damen to like her even though she's dead. I would recommend this to anybody. Period. It has action, humor, and boys - and all around good book.

Reviewer Age:16
Reviewer City, State and Country: Gearhart, Oregon United States

Women's Stage Monologues and Scenes by Lawrence Harbison

Women's Stage Monologues and Scenes by Lawrence Harbison is a collection of monologues for women of diverse backgrounds and ages. The book contains 62 monologues and 15 scenes that include two to three all female or coed casts per scene. The book contains various dramatic, seriocomic, and comic excerpts from actual scripts.

The monologues and scenes used in the 2009 edition are quite versatile. The ages range from early teens to early eighties. The vast amount of delicately selected monologues allows the reader to find a commendable amount of speeches that can relate to. I would recommend this book to women who are pursuing stage acting or to anyone who wants to read a few excerpts in order to find an excellent script to read.

This book contains some sexual content

Reviewer Age:17
Reviewer City, State and Country: Raleigh, NC United States

Living Hell by Catherine Jinks

The young inhabitants of the spaceship Plexus (please italicize) have never set foot on Earth. A few of their parents might be a little homesick once in a while, but without any contact with the planet, their species's home is rarely on their minds. The ship, safe and reliable, harbors them through the vacuum of space as two crews switch between four-year-long bouts in suspended animation. Their mission: to find an inhabitable planet where they can start a new life. But when the ship is forced to pass through an unidentifiable and mysterious energy field, the humans' dependency on their beloved Plexus (please italicize) threatens to doom them all as the ship, quite literally, comes alive.

This is one of the best young adult books I have read in years -- when I started it, I couldn't bring myself to stop until I'd finished it at the end of the day. The pacing is just right and there is just enough tension (and cliffhanger chapter endings) to keep any adventure-loving reader's nose in "Living Hell." Science fiction fans will automatically love this story, especially the vast amount of detail incorporated into the concept of a living spaceship. To anyone not as open to the genre, the "life force" idea may sound preposterous, and there is one other, minor preposterous occurrence near the end of the story. Yet nothing seems very strange in the context of the book, since every aspect of it is strange. The author's descriptive and convincing voice makes almost anything possible in the ship Plexus. Any reader will notice there are also a great number of technical terms and acronyms pertaining to the ship's operating system, but most can be remembered easily enough if the reader has the will. Ultimately, the most unfortunate aspect of this book is that the title is frustratingly vague, and without the cover illustration and the synopsis, I would never have guessed its contents and probably would not have wanted to read it.

Rated 3 for frightening descriptions, especially disturbing and gruesome deaths,young children in peril, and some language.

Reviewer Age:16
Reviewer City, State and Country: San Jacinto, California USA

Sky Girl by Joe Sergi

DeeDee Dandrudge is your average teenager. She wants to win the National Gymnastic Tournament and beat her enemy Nicole who is also dating her crush, the high school quarterback. She has a best friend named Jason who is the ultimate comic book nerd and has a single mom. But when she realizes she has strange powers similar to a comic book superhero named SkyBoy her world turns upside down. She is introduced to villains of SkyBoy who for some reason want to steal her gymnastics trophy and to find SkyBoy. DeeDee must somehow live two lives as DeeDee the gymnast and regular girl and SkyGirl.

Reading this book was hilarious. Considering this book was probably made for kids younger than me I loved it. Some of the villains' conversations with each other in the beginning were great because it sounds just like if it was an actual television show or was actually happening. Even if some of the conversations were just he said she said type of stuff it was still a page turner where you wanted to know what was happening in the next chapter. One of the more annoying things was that the character of Jason doesn't like to use contractions so instead of saying could've or can't he would say could have or cannot. Otherwise it was great to read and I can't wait for the sequel and I would most definitely recommend it to anyone.

Reviewer Age:14
Reviewer City, State and Country: Loves Park, Illinois United States

The Midnight Curse by L. M. Falcone

Lacey and her brother Charlie are used to a life of being
poor. They never had the money to go on trips, until their
Uncle Jonathan dies, sending them to England for the
reading of the will. Once in England, they reach Blaxton
Manor, the home where Uncle Jonathan locked himself away.
While their mother is out, Charlie and Lacey go exploring
in the house. They didn't know what they were getting
into. Charlie gets cursed, they meet two spooky ghosts, a
creepy butler, and a woman with a head in her fridge! This
book is full of mystic twists that keep you up all

I could not have read a better book! L.M Falcone
writes about mystery, terror, and going to the extreme to
help your family. I was up all night, both because I was
scared and because I couldn't rest until I finished the
book! If you dream of horror, love Edger Allen Poe works
and other strange books, You'll love "The Midnight Curse".
I know I did.

Although there is no vulgar language,
younger children might find it scary.

Reviewer Age:12

Reviewer City, State and Country: Panama City, Florida United States