Monday, April 30, 2012

Kings of Colorado by David E. Hilton

  William Shepard's father abuses his mother, and Will, having had enough, tries to stab his father to death. He fails to kill his father, and in consequence he is sent away to the Swope Ranch Boys' Reformatory, in Colorado's isolated harsh mountains. Mind you the time period is the 1960's. His sentence is to stay there for two years, on his first night there he learns that it will be hard surviving mentally and physically at the ranch. He finds friends, three, and learns the ways of horses while training them there. Near the end of his sentence, Will learns what truly creates fear, and what it means to survive in the woods with crazed teenage murderers running loose. And in the end he knows what death does to those you love, and that life is not worth wasting.
Immediately the author, David E. Hilton, makes the setting clear, to where you can picture what's going on in intense details.

 If you asked me if the book had a tone I would tell you that no doubt it did. The tone was definitely one of sadness and darkness, in which it shows the humans will to survive.

  The books main characters had foul mouths but the author showed well that they had one another's backs. The main character is Will, who is a quick learner. His friends are, Mickey, Benny, and Coop; who all were tight as spandex on a chubby person. I really believed that these characters were real and when one or two died, you felt the pain in your heart, it was as if a family member had died.

 The author's voice had a great influence over the book; just the fact that he chose to make the main character, Will, reminisce his past was what made me love the book, a lot. And the detail was finite but it was there for a reason, and the word choice was amazing; it made you feel as if someone was actually telling you their life story. Something that most authors do that disappoints me is they leave me hanging unnecessarily onto what happened to the character because of their actions. David E. Hilton didn't do that, he took you to the end and told you, in the main character's point of view, exactly how Will ended up.

 I believe that the authors did achieve their purpose of informing you on life's many choices and hardships that come because of them. Books in general have to have a great premise to make me cry, this one made me tear up; so that is a sign of it's greatness. The vocabulary was vulgar at times but it was not to high leveled to make the reader feel stupid.

 The books strength is that it pulls you into Will's problems and hardships  so that you feel like you are reading someone's diary. It's one weakness, I think, is that you might feel it was too gory, or something along those lines because of the finite detail.

 I've not read other books by this author, so I cannot judge whether it is better than those or not; but, I can say that it even though it is not in the same genre as something as Harry Potter or The Hunger Games it is up to that level, maybe just a step or two below those books. I think it's genre might be adventure or historical fiction.

The book made me look at my priorities and wonder if they were silly. So I'd definitely say that this book moved me, like hundreds of feet from where I'd been previously.  I adored the ending; it was what I wanted so badly for the main character, after all that he'd lost. There was not a thing that the author could've done to improve the story; because it was already good enough, at least for me.

 I could say that I learned life is not a thing to take for granted, and that love is the greatest thing to have and give; along with friendship being something everyone should have.
 I'd recommend this novel to anyone who loves a bite of real life, or just anyone who reads because it really can open your eyes to what the world can be like at different corners of the Earth.
I gave this book a content rating of three because it was explicit in it's word choice and of some things mentioned such as masturbation. Also the murder in this book is described in great detail.
Reviewer Age:13
Reviewer City, State and Country: Nampa, Idaho United States

Saturday, April 28, 2012

Married Mom, Solo Parent by Carla Anne Coroy

Married Mom, Solo Parent by Carla Anne Coroy does exactly what its sub-title states: it helps you to find God's strength to face the challenge of being a married mom while also being a solo parent.  While completely aware of single and divorced moms parenting alone, I had never really thought of married moms also doing the parenting by themselves.  According to Carla, a solo parent is someone who is raising children and running a home and family alone. Their husbands may be physically absent due to their jobs or serving in the military, or while being there in body, may be emotionally absent or too busy with their own interests to participate in the child rearing duties.

Touching on topics such as anger at the absent spouse, loneliness, and disciplining the kids, in addition to many others, this book from Kregel Publications will encourage its reader and give solid advice on how to not only survive but be happy while shouldering much of the day-to-day responsibilities of child-rearing and household duties.  A final chapter written by Ms. Coroy's husband giving his viewpoint is an interesting addition to a well-written book that is sure to help many women keep their sanity and their marriages intact.  I highly recommend Married Mom, Solo Parent by Carla Anne Coroy!

This book review was a special request for an adult reviewer.

Reviewer Age:46
Reviewer City, State and Country: Upper Strasburg, PA USA

Santa Claus and Little Sister (eBook) by Dr. Brian G. Snow

Santa Claus and Little Sister is the sad yet powerful story of a young teacher who moves from Boston to Los Angeles and finds himself in a classroom full of girls who have grown up in the gang life, abused and distrusting of others. He is suddenly immersed in a culture where wearing the wrong colors can get you killed, but he manages to handle the many conflicting emotions as he starts to connect with his students. One student in particular, Lupe, catches his attention. Her parents have a contract out for her death, as they are afraid she will identify pictures and get them arrested. Another girl, 17 year old Chata, is an active gang member and a constant annoyance at the school. When Lupe's life is threatened, the young teacher and Chata must work together to figure out a way to save the child.

If Dr. Brain G. Snow's purpose for writing Santa Claus and Little Sister was to make his readers feel like crying and rushing out to do good in the world at the same time, he certainly achieved his goal. The story was told through the friendly, likable voice of the young teacher, whose emotions and thoughts were clearly portrayed in the text. The characters were intense and well-described, evoking many different reactions to their personalities at once. The plot itself started out slow and detailed, as the author set up the setting and developed the characters, but ended with a bang. The resolution to the story was bittersweet, and tied up all the loose ends perfectly. I would definitely recommend this book to teens and young adults interested in an emotional story, as well as those interested in careers with abused or gang children.

Reviewer Age:16
Reviewer City, State and Country: Harleysville, PA USA

Thursday, April 26, 2012

Fright Flight, Book One of Dream Seekers (eBook) by Lisa Ard

Fright Flight is a science fiction/ fantasy eBook and is the first in the Dream Seekers series. When dream seekers sleep, they are actually in the dream, not imagining it. This book is about a dream seeker named Patrick. After watching a starship fighter movie, Patrick dreams he is flying one. As you can see, Patrick has to be very careful not to get hurt or worse! He has to remember to follow his mom's rules for safe sleep'ing. Can Patrick pilot his ship to safety and defeat the enemy ships?
Fright Flight is an easy, one-hour read that really drew me in. I love the author's choice of words. The book really flows well and makes sense. It also has an interesting sub-plot involving one of Patrick's sister's friends, which I think made it more interesting and true-to-life. Even though this book is fantasy, it is also about the main character's non-dream life. It does not really stray away from the main plot very much, and when it does it is not confusing.  This is because of the way the author explains things. Some things that could be learned from this book are self-control and not giving up. I look forward to reading the next books in this series.

Reviewer Age:11
Reviewer City, State and Country: Calhoun, GA USA

Tuesday, April 24, 2012

Reel Culture: 50 Movies You Should Know About by Mimi O'Connor

Reel Culture by Mimi O'Connor outlines fifty influential movies from the 20th Century.  These films have shaped our culture with memorable quotes, scenes, and characters.  From Audrey Helpburn's little black dress in Breakfast at Tiffany's to Al Pacino's famous shootout in Scarface, O'Connor describes what has made these films endure in American culture.  Furthermore, she references more films outside of the main fifty that are related via director, actor, or film style.  The book also outlines the plot for each movie, and there are definitely spoilers involved.  All these elements put together give young readers a solid account of American pop culture in cinema in an accessible, easy-to-reference format.

I was very impressed by the analysis of the films given the target audience of the book.  O'Connor goes much deeper than the performance of actors and famous directors.  I learned the most from the analysis regarding film styles, especially the significance of films that pioneered certain genres such as film noir.  These tidbits contribute to a dimension of the book that serves as a very brief snapshot of film in an art history class context.

The only issue I have with the book is the spoilers.  I would advise readers not to read the complete synopsis if they are interested in seeing the film.  However, the plot summary is a necessary evil for the book to deliver on a variety of levels.  Some films are most remembered for a twist ending or the death of a character, and the cultural references described by the book would be limited without spoilers.  Furthermore, the most sophisticated film analysis books also do not hold back on spoilers.  It is needed to properly discuss the merits of a film.

Overall, with the suggested reader audience in mind, I highly recommend Reel Culture for movie lovers and the pop culture aficionado.

Reviewer Age:22
Reviewer City, State and Country: Eden Prairie, Minnesota United States

The Gathering Storm by Robin Bridges

Set in 19th century Russia, Katerina is a duchess who desperately wants to become a doctor, despite the fact that women aren't allowed to enter medical school. However, Russia is in an unstable time with evil forces threatening the tsar, and Katerina finds herself in danger because of her unique talent--being able to raise the dead. While she tries to learn the extent of her powers, she has to figure out who really wants to help her and who wants to use her.

My first reaction after reading the synopsis of this novel was that the author was trying too hard. I mean, really. She had fantastical elements and historical fiction, but I was pleasantly surprised. The fantasy worked surprising well with the setting. Unlike other fantasy novels, the vampires, fairies, and necromancers actually fit well into the story.

However, the main thing that made this novel extremely difficult to get through was the voice of the narrator. The author tries to make Katerina feminist by giving her the goal of becoming a doctor; she tries to make Katerina witty and sarcastic (all things I would normally love), but it didn't work because her voice throughout the novel was stuffy. Even though the novel is written in first person, the reader never feels connected with Kat and feels removed from the situations. I think one of the main problems is the author does more telling than showing, and she uses a lot of cliche phrases in her writing. When describing Katerina's romantic encounter with an evil prince she uses phrases like, "I thought I would melt into the floor," and "My heart raced until I thought it would burst" (Bridges, 125).

The other thing that made this novel unreadable was the plethora of difficult Russian names. There was too many characters and too many familial relations to keep track of. It's probably more realistic, but I feel like it distracts from the story line.

The Gathering Storm is the first book in a trilogy, and I most likely won't be reading the other two novels. It's not really my cup of tea, but if you like historical fiction and fantasy, then you might want to give this novel a try.  

Reviewer Age:18
Reviewer City, State and Country: Hinsdale, Illinois USA

Fated (Soul Seekers Series) by Alyson Noel

Daire has always had an odd life as the daughter of a makeup artist. But things get even weirder when strange visions of crows and dead people come into view. Reluctantly, her mother sends Daire to her eccentric grandmother on her dead father's side to get control of her visions. Throughout this whole time Daire has dreams of a beautiful boy who turns out to be real. Through her grandmother's help Daire becomes the Soul Seeker that she was always meant to be.  But will Daire be able to handle the changes in her life or will she run away from this life like her father?
I loved this book. All the characters were beautifully developed including some of the minor characters. The only thing I didn't like was that the boy from her dreams was not introduced as early as I would have liked. I for one had high expectations of this book because of Evermore and Fated defiantly met those standards. I recommend Fated to people who liked Evermore, House of Night series, Hush hush, and Nightshade.

Reviewer Age:14
Reviewer City, State and Country: Northglenn, CO US

Saturday, April 21, 2012

Ashes by Ilsa J. Bick

Alex Adair is seventeen years old and hiking her way up to Lake Superior to say her final goodbyes to her parents when an extremely powerful electromagnetic pulse (EMP) strikes. The pulse knocks out everything computer based. Cell phones, traffic lights, even cars. That 's not the worst of it. Some people have gone insane. They' ve become animals, very dangerous cannibalistic animals. On the run with Ellie, a cranky eight-year-old whose grandfather was killed by the EMP, Alex meets a young soldier by the name of Tom. The three make a rather unorthodox family. Together they fight to survive in a world devoid of the technologies we take for granted and full of the things of nightmares.

This book is fabulous. Written in first person, the book shows a post-apocalyptic world reminiscent of I am Legend. In this book the title, Ashes, carries a much deeper meaning than you often see. The word is used many times in the story; all with different contexts and all with slightly different meanings. I particularly liked this because it s uncommon. Most titles are fairly literal and it s refreshing to have such a symbolic meaning hidden in this one. The emotional journey in this book is astounding and you' re with Alex every step of the way. Her thoughts and feelings are so well conveyed it 's almost difficult to separate her feelings from yours. I have one warning for the reader; this is a gory book. There isn 't really a way for it not to be. That said, Ilsa J. Bick does an admirable job of toning down the blood and guts to a reasonable level. All in all I give this book five stars!

Reviewer Age:15
Reviewer City, State and Country: Cibolo, Texas United States

Intruders by C. J. Cherryh

The book Intruder is a very political book. It is about two characters who interact and help each other with politics. One is an eight year old Atevi and the other is a human named Bren. It is based on another planet that is home to the Atevi. The continent is in turmoil and the two characters are caught in the midst of it.
I thought this book was a little boring. It took me a while to get into it and the plot was predictable. I feel that if there was more action in the book it would be better. If you like politics this book is for you. It has political nuances that I probably missed. I would recommend this book to older readers.

Reviewer Age:14
Reviewer City, State and Country: Hunting Valley, OH United States of America

Out of Sight, Out of Time by Ally Carter

Cammeron Morgan (a.k.a. the chameleon), in the fifth installment of the Gallagher Girls series, went out to find what the circle of Cavan wanted from her, and came back with a blank memory of her entire summer. Bruised and battered, she finds herself in convent wanting to know why she was injured, and how she got there. Figuring she escaped the circles clutches, she returns home, not only having lost her memory, but also the trust of her friends, family, and the CIA. Lost and confused with new and frightening skills she cannot remember acquiring, Cammie sets out to regain the affections of her friends, and semi-boyfriend Zach while still trying to recover what she learned over the summer. With new enemies and old friends around each corner, and the circle closing in, hopefully Cammie can find who she can trust, who is trying to kill her, and why they want her dead.
I can honestly say this is one of my favorite books. Ally Carter is a magnificent writer with many wonderful books preceding this one, and Out of Sight, Out of Time lives up to, and even exceeds my expectations. It was really creative, and kept me guessing the whole time. The series is fantastic, and I recommend it to anyone who loves spies, creative adventures, wonderful writing, and a little romance thrown in the mix. It s humorous, serious, and adventurous all at the same time. 

Reviewer Age:15
Reviewer City, State and Country: Colorado Springs, Colorado United States of America

Friday, April 20, 2012

Talisman of El by Alicia Stone

Charlie Blake was ten years old when he became an orphan.  For the past four years he has been living at Alpha Children's Home and at potential homes to be adopted into. Now he is hoping to be adopted by a man named Jacob Willoughby who lives in West Sussex. Things are looking good until a week after going there when he wakes up from a nightmare like the one he had before his dad died. Soon after that he learns some disturbing secrets about Jacob. Then Charlie meets a very mysterious being who seems to follow him. That being may be friend or foe.
When I was reading it was hard to stop and put the book down. The characters seemed very realistic and I think that they could have been kids at my school. The plot was Intriguing and always made me want to continue reading. At the end of the book I was wishing I could just pick up and start the next one. Some of the book's concepts have been left unanswered and I hope they will be answered in the next book. The one thing I would have different would be that it was too much of a happy ending. I still would definitely recommend this book to people.

Reviewer Age:13
Reviewer City, State and Country: Grand Island, NE United States

The Rock of Ivanore by Laurisa White Reyes

Find the mythical rock that can build up kingdoms.  This is the task that the city of Quendel has given Marcus, an orphan, along with the other 14-year-old boys in the city, Jerrid, Zody, Clovis, and Tristan.  They must venture through dangerous terrain, cross the country, and fight odd creatures to get to the rock.  However, they aren’t the only ones who want the rock; there are dangers from over the sea that also want the rock of Ivanore, and are willing to kill for it. So what happens to Marcus on this quest? Find out in this amazing book!

I believe that the author’s purpose was to provide an interesting adventure story, and I believe they achieved it.  The book not only had a great story, but the plot keeps you interested with some unexpected twists.  The story keeps you guessing, and you never know the end until the end. I would recommend this to anyone that appreciates a certain amount of suspense in their reading material, and anyone who likes adventure stories.  I personally enjoyed this book.

Content: 1
Rating: 9
Reviewer Age:12
Reviewer City, State and Country: Dickinson, Texas United States

Thursday, April 19, 2012

Earthling! by Mark Fearing

Earthling by Mark Fearing is a sci-fi graphic novel for readers ages 8 to 12. It is about Bud, a boy who one day gets on a bus that he thinks is his regular school bus, but instead it is actually a bus to a school in outer space called Cosmos Academy.This is where he meets an alien boy named Gort who teaches Bud all about the planet and informs him that Earthlings are the most feared creatures in his whole universe.They decide to tell the rest of the class that Bud is a Tenarian exchange student to keep the class from being afraid of him. Bud thinks this is a good idea at first until, he finds out the the Tenarians are excellent at sports and Bud is terrible at them. The school has not won a single anti-gravity zero ball game yet and they are counting on Bud to change their luck. Will his true identity be discovered when it is found he is not good at sports or is this new game for him going to be something that he is actually really good at and save the day?

This book was engaging and kept me wanting to continue reading. I really enjoyed the characters and bright and fun colors used to illustrate the book. I liked the fact that it was a graphic novel because I feel it makes the story easier to follow and allows the reader to see exactly what is happening at that time. This is good book to read after a long day to help the reader unwind. I hope that Mark Fearing continues this storyline and makes it into a series of books because he is one of best graphic novel authors I have read. He does a great job at keeping the story exciting and funny while keeping it at the reading level he describes the book at.

Reviewer Age:12

Reviewer City, State and Country: Henrico, Virginia USA

Tuesday, April 17, 2012

The Witch's Revenge by D. A. Nelson

Morag lives in the tiny kingdom of Marnoch Mor, which is hidden from the rest of the world by a white stone called the Eye of Lornish. One day, the kingdom is disrupted by the disappearance of two critical magical things, one being the kingdom's master wizard, Montgomery, and the other being an exceedingly powerful tooth from a long-dead witch. Morag and her three friends, Shona the dragon, Bertie the dodo, and Aldiss the rat, escape to rescue Montgomery from the Darkisle of Murst, where they are certain he has been taken. Once they reach Murst, they discover that Montgomery is a prisoner of the evil witch Mephista, who is trying to use the power of the tooth to help bring her father, Devilish, back from the dead. Morag must hurry to bring Montgomery home, because if she doesn't, Marnoch Mor may tear itself apart.

This book is impossible to put down. Morag and her friends are an unlikely trio; a dodo, a dragon, and a rat, along with a girl who is not originally from Maarnoch Mor. Morag had run away from her foster parents because she hated them. I liked how even though the stinky Klapp demons at first appear extraordinarily stupid, they managed to trick Mephista by using the body of her dead father to raise an ancient evil being. The connection between Montgomery and the Eye of Lornish was interesting, with how they had to be near each other to be safe. I would recommend this book to everyone who can partially believe the idea of a magical kingdom somewhere, hidden from the searching eyes of the outside world.

Reviewer Age:13
Reviewer City, State and Country: Lake City, IA USA

Sleeping Kings by John Prentice

Stuck in the Cathar Mountains Southern France, life could not get more boring for Nicola. What can you do when you're one of the top online gamers without high speed internet? Plus, she barely understands French. While exploring the mountains with her class, she literally falls into something much greater than herself! She meets Pedro, King of Aragon. There's a catch, Pedro died in 1213! Nicola finds herself inexplicably bound in historical events of the pass. She learns of the ancient Cathar treasure, known as the Power. Nicola and her new friend Daan must use their new knowledge of the Power to stop the selfish people who want the Power for evil and keep Pedro's secret hidden from the world.

Sleeping Kings was an ok book. For me, it was very hard to get into. The beginning was a bit confusing and the main character hard for me to relate to. After the first few chapters, the story got much better. Once the historical aspect of the book began to unfold, it was action packed and a page turner! It would not be interesting to anyone who doesn't have an interest in history though. The ending seemed a bit rushed as well. Overall, reading Sleeping Kings was an enjoyable way to spend an afternoon.

Reviewer Age:15

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

True Intentions

True Intentions
A mysterious car accident, a special gift, a gorgeous demon&..What's sixteen-year-old Ava OBrian in Lisa Kuehne's new novel, True Intentions, to do? After a freak car accident killed her father and her beloved twin brother, Aiden, Ava is struggling to find the good in her new situation,moving from her Chicago alcove to Lake Arrowhead, California, with her mother. Relocating to Rim of the World High School where Audi's, Volvos, and Barbie Doll girls rule isn't any picnic, either. Ava can barely keep from breaking down and begging her mother to cart her back to Chicago, until, one fateful day, she meets and falls for Samuel Perry, the single most stunning guy on the planet. When he asks her out, she feels like she's in a dream, until,wait for it,he reveals to her that he is a demon, a real-life solider of Satan, set out to tempt and destroy her. What Sam didn't plan on was falling in love with Ava. The dark angels call her a Mahatma, a human being with a soul to influence others to do well, the polar opposite of Satan's warped intentions. Ava is shocked when she discovers her special capability, and terrified of the danger she is in. When Sam refuses to hurt her or her family, Lucifer plots revenge- a slow and painful death for both charges. Ava and Sam are soon on the run, trying to outwit Satan's many angels of darkness that have been around for thousands of years. Death may be getting closer, closer...
Will it be quick? I ask him, in too much pain to move. Probably not. he answers honestly.

This book was extraordinary. From the very beginning, I was twirling my hair nervously around my finger and anxiously biting my nails. True Intentions swept me up into a mystical aurora and a world of suspense, with a taste of romance to whet my heart's craving. I would predict the ending, taking the clues out a few chapters then, Wham!--The next page offered a whole new twist to Ava and Sam's predicament. I fell in love with the characters immediately; I could relate to their feelings of grief and sorrow over the choices they made, the past they couldn't change. The story plot flowed very smoothly, wrapping me in pure intrigue and sense of wariness as I waited and read to see if the dynamic duo would live to see another day. I also immensely enjoyed the ideas that this novel portrayed on the subject of temptation. The devil doesn't necessarily have two horns and a pitchfork. The devil could just be purely temptation,the dirty show you want to watch, the enemy you really want to harm, the cliques that you feel the unexplainable need to prove yourself to. Though I really, really, really adored this novel, it had its rough spots, too. Sometimes the whole Ava/Sam fiasco got slightly sappy, with little or no action in the storyline. Most times, though, the balance of action and romance was perfection. In my very unprofessional opinion, this was a fantastic read.
His fierce eyes give me the impression its something pretty significant. His words send a chill down my spine.
I would recommend this book for ages fourteen and up, or mature readers. Basic swear words appear in this novel, but nothing too obscene. There are also quite a few sexual references in this book, but the book does keep things from going too far. This book does make references to God (obviously, if there are demons concerned) but I wouldn't call it a faith based book by far.
With danger constantly chasing them, with Sam and Ava make it out of the jeopardy that surrounds themalive? Can their love survive this hazardous journey? Only True Intentions by Lisa Kuehne has the answer!
Note: If you loved True Intentions, be sure to check out the second book of the trilogy,Deadly Intentions, being released on April 9th, 2012!
There is some cursing, and sexual references
Reviewer Age:12
Leopold, Missouri U.S.A

Friday, April 13, 2012

Rogue Oracle by Alayna Williams

First Review:

"Rouge Oracle" is the second book in this series that follows Tara Sheridan on her adventures in the world of crime and oracles. Tara is a cartomancer, one who reads tarot cards, and they guide her. This book begins with Tara interogatting a suspected terrorist named Zahar Mouda. When she consults her cards they come out with the fool,seven of cups, and the lovers. About this time some one walks in on her and it turns out to be her own lover Harry Li coming to her for help. He is investigating the disapperance of operatives for a operration know as "Rogue Angel". But they are Special Projects, a branch of the DOD, is at a loss and Harry hopes that Tara can help them. She returns to the farm house of the order of oracles known as Delphi's Daughters so she can pack and tell Cassie she is leaving. Cassie is the future Pythia, or leader of the Delphi's Daughters. Soon another operative disappears, but they find their first real clues. First a top of blood that contains DNA from the victims, and inside the blood are large levels of radiation. The culprit is soon traced back to a survivor of Chernobyl with sinister plans. He is dying, but before he dies, he wants to have the rest of the world feel his pain.

"Rogue Oracle" is an original story full of adventure, mystery, magic, and underlying tones of romance. This book was very well written and made me feel like I was actually in the story. It also had very memorable characters who work together perfectly in the plot of this story. Tara is a daring heorine who cares greatly about protectting those around her no matter what the cost. Harry is a truely uniqe character; he works to protect his country but is slowly having his job change him to the point it is almost frightening. Galen was born in Chernobyl but radiation changed him until he bacame a monster who in his dying days wants to make others feel his pain. And last, but not least, is Cassie a 20 year old woman who is destined to be the next, even though the training can get a little gruesome sometimes. I would recomend this book to any teens looking for a good read.

There are sexual themes that are not suitable for children.

Reviewer Age:15

Reviewer City, State and Country: Makanda, Illinois USA

Second Review:

People have been disappearing with absolutely no trace. Confusing and often conflicting DNA has been found, and the agents in Special Projects have no idea what to do. When Tara Sheridan is thrown back into her previous work as a criminal profiler, she is unsure of how to cope. Leaving her close friend in the constricting hands of a secret society known as Delphi s Oracles, she sets out with her friend Harry Li to find the killer in one of his most difficult cases. Little does she know that she will have to use everything she has, including her talent of reading tarot cards, simply to leave the project alive. Will Tara be able to pull through to stop the disappearances? Or will the obstacles meticulously placed by the killer get her first?

Rogue Oracle by Alayna Williams combines all of the best parts of almost every type of book. The references back to the Cold War and nuclear nightmare at Chernobyl are interesting and are meshed perfectly with the story. Not only is the book full of action and mystery, but it remains human in depicting the killer 's thoughts, adding perspective and foreshadowing. The romantic plot lines up perfectly with the overall plot of the book, creating the feeling of actually living in all of Tara' s life, rather than just portions. The characters were extremely engaging and the multiple plot lines kept the reader always interested and eager for more. Overall, this was an interesting and very engaging book that left me excited for the rest of the series.

Reviewer Age:16

Reviewer City, State and Country: Colleyville, TX USA

Thursday, April 12, 2012

Born Different by Faye Aitken-Smith

This book is about Gabe, an artistic young man who is getting ready to graduate from school. Gabe may seem like a normal teenager on the outside, but in reality he is very different. Gabe was born with wings, but he views this as a deformity. The genre of this book is fantasy, but is very easy to relate to.The main theme of the book has to do with Gabe and learning to view his deformity as a gift.
When I began reading this book I really thought it was going to be good. I was really interested by the plot so I hoped it would get better, but it never did. Throughout the book I found many typos which I found very unprofessional. I've realized that the author is from a different country, but these errors should have been corrected. I gave this book the same amount of time that I give any other book and honestly it was a big waste of time. The only strength I found in the book was the main character. The main character was very well thought out and very easy to relate to. The story just needed more plot and action to the story.

Reviewer Age:20
Reviewer City, State and Country: Mantua, New Jersey United States

Wednesday, April 11, 2012

Draw the Dark by Ilsa J. Bick

Draw the Dark by Ilsa J. Bick was a very thought provoking book. It centers around a strange 17 year old boy named Christian Cage. He lives with his uncle in the tiny town of Winter, Wisconsin after losing both his parents and aunt in strange accidents. Christian loves to draw more than anything and he seems to enter another world when he begins to draw. He blocks out the world around him and just draws. Christian mostly draws his mother and her eyes. He believes that she lives in a place that he calls, "the sideways place" and that he must draw her out. When Christian sleeps he wakes up and sees his sketch pad full of weird drawings of the sideways place. Strange things begin to happen in Winter and mysteries arise. Murder, affairs, and more are included in "Draw the Dark."

Draw the Dark was a very interesting book. The overall plot was good, but I felt like some ideas were taken over the top.The author seemed as if she was trying to hard to make the plot confusing and complicated. I left the book with many questions left unanswered. It seems to focus on things that do not seem as important as others. For instance I would have liked to hear more about the sideways place. I did not like "Draw the Dark." I love the author, but this was a let down. It was very slow in most areas of the book, and I was very confused by the constant time and place changes. Towards the end the book, it got a little better but not much. I would not recommend this book to girls especially because they may have a hard time relating to Christian.

Reviewer Age:14

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

Tuesday, April 10, 2012

Tua and the Elephant by R. P. Harris

Tua and the Elephant is a charming adventure story about a young ten-year-old living in Thailand. One day, while exploring the city of Chiang Mai, Tua finds a young elephant being abused by two men. Right then and there she decides to take the elephant away from its cruel owners and find it a new home. Tua manages to get the elephant, which she names Pohn-Pohn, back to her Aunt Orchid's house, but it turns out her journey has only just started. Now Tua must take Pohn-Pohn to the elephant sanctuary on the other side of town, all the while dodging the elephant's crooked original owners.

This book is a heart-warming tale of inter-species friendship, which teaches that friends can be found in the most unlikely places. The descriptions, along with the wonderful illustrations, allow you to really pretend you are traveling along with Tua during her wild tale. Tua herself is funny and bright, and she was someone I could identify with while reading. This helped make the book a real page turner, and I felt that I couldn't stop until I read it all. I thought that the writing was interesting, yet informative. Pieces of Thailand's culture and language were integrated throughout the story. This gave the whole book a satisfying feel because I was learning while reading. If I had to recommend this book to someone, it definitely would be someone with a lower reading level. Although the story included some higher vocabulary, the plot was jumpy and each plot arch was short. These qualities, along with the fact that the main character was a younger girl, led me to believe that this was targeted for younger age groups. Over all, though, the book was well written, and I found that I could look past all the jumping about to a story that ultimately made me smile.

Reviewer Age:12
Reviewer City, State and Country: Exeter, nh USA

This One Time With Julia by David Lampson

Joe is the simple-minded and often bizarre twin, where Alvin is the more adventurous and imaginative of the two. Joe is thrust into a much more complicated life when Alvin disappears and finds himself driving from Los Angeles to Tennessee with Julia, Alvin's enigmatic girlfriend. Joe's new life involves expensive pin-striped suits, hotel swimming pools, and Julia's mysterious family. His whirlwind of events almost makes him forget what happened to his brother--almost. It is only with his newly found responsibilities that he acquires a curiosity surrounding what happened between Alvin and Julia, and the more time he spends with Julia, the deeper he falls in love with her.

While there are some hopeful elements throughout the novel, I finished the book feeling much like the protagonist, Joe, in a wishy-washy state wondering what I took away from this experience. The first two thirds of the book moved much slower than I expected. Much of the synopsis alludes to a mystery/thriller type story, but the pace only merits this distinction in the final chapters. Even when the climax is reached, it falls short of any expectations built up over the course of the story. Joe's dull nature even puts the reader in a daze, and supporting characters do not add much to the story. One bright spot is the beautiful, but destructive Julia. She is a mystery that the reader never fully understands, and this element added a level of intrigue to the otherwise lackluster plot. Despite the notable journey Joe has embarked on, I did not believe that his outlook genuinely changed, and this ultimately is the downfall of This One Time With Julia.

Reviewer Age:22
Reviewer City, State and Country: Eden Prairie, Minnesota United States

Thursday, April 05, 2012

A Darkly Hidden Truth by Donna Fletcher Crow

All Felicity wants is to have confidence and security—in her relationships, and especially in her recent decision to become a nun. But the orderly world she strives to maintain reverts to chaos upon the arrival of her estranged mother, the theft of a precious artifact, the murder of a friend, and her growing attraction to the irresistable Antony. Felicity somewhat reluctantly joins Antony on a search for the stolen artifact and the key to their friend's murder. Along the way, Felicity questions her growing doubts towards being a nun and her true feelings for Antony. As the plot progreses, Felicity becomes increasingly involved with the myserious knighthood of the Maltese cross and learns a great deal about the people close to her.
A Darkly Hidden Truth by Donna Fletcher Crow provides a fresh take on the lives of nuns, both medieval and present. The novel is action packed at first, but I soon lost interest in the plot. The characters are relatable but lack compelling interaction with each other. I appreciated the ending, but I had to force myself to keep reading at times. I would recommend this book to historical fiction fans and anyone who appreciates Crow's writing.
Reviewer Age:15
Reviewer City, State and Country: Bayside, WI 53217

Wednesday, April 04, 2012

The Winter Pony by Iain Lawrence

The Winter Pony is about a horse named James Pigg.  The story started when he was a cute, white colt, dancing in the field with his mother, the stallion, and the rest of the herd.  When rough men captured the stallion and James Pigg, he was pushed into cruel work.  He was broken very roughly.  The men would whip him until they got bored.  One man hit him over and over on his collar bone with a glass bottle.  James Pigg had a scar there for the rest of his life.  When he was broken, he was forced to move heavy logs and other things.   After he completed many years of tough work, he was put up for sale in a carnival with other worked horses.  He was bought by a gentle man and boy.  They bought 19 other white ponies, including the stallion from James Pigg's herd.  He and the other horses were put on a ship and treated with love and care.  He was named James Pigg on the ship.  When they reached their destiny, he learned that they were going to the South Pole.  On the way there, many horses died, and some were killed because they were in pain, too old, too slow, or untamed.  Which horses survived, which didn't?
The book was a fascinating book.  The author chose a very interesting and enjoyable topic.  It had an awfully sad ending, though.  I wouldn't recommend it for people who have a sensitive nature.  I think it is a good book to have on your favorite book list.  I hope you will enjoy it as much as I did.

Reviewer Age:11
Reviewer City, State and Country: Leesburg, Virginia U.S.A.

Trail of the Spellman

Isabel Spellman retains a normal life since the crazy antics of her last adventure. But this only lasts so long. Soon everything in her life begins going wrong. Her boyfriend might break up with her, her P.I. agency is getting too many jobs to handle, and her family is falling apart. Can Isabel save her family from all the craziness they had in past novels?

This book was a smart read about a dysfunctional family with humor laced throughout. The downside to this: this is a series book and can only be understood by having read past books by Lisa Lutz. I thankfully have read all of them; and this one is by far the best. The smart humor goes hand in hand with the mystery and creates a great book.

Reviewer Age:13
Reviewer City, State and Country: Addison, Illinois USA

Monday, April 02, 2012

Agent Amelia No, 1: Ghost Diamond!

              Who's super sneaky and likes to pretend she is someone else?  It is Agent Amelia in the book Ghost Diamond by Michael Broad.  Ghost Diamond is the first book in the Agent Amelia series. Amelia uses her brains and courage to solve crimes.  There are three mysteries in this book.  In the first case, Amelia sends her teacher to jail after she discovers her teacher stealing a diamond. In the second case catches some cat nappers who use real cats to rob a bank.  In the third case, Amelia stops a man from using his whispering weeds to take over the plant world.  

              If you are a girl seven through twelve and you like mysteries you will like this book.  Although this book was very easy for me to read I enjoyed reading about how Amelia solved the mysteries.  If Amelia lived in my neighborhood I would love to be her friend.  My favorite part of the book was when Amelia discovered her teacher was a crook.
Jackson, MO USA

Sunday, April 01, 2012

Plunder by Mary Anna Evans

Faye Longchamp-Mantooth and her husband Joe just consider themselves normal archaeologists until, on a research mission to find sites soon to be wrecked by oil at the mouth of the Mississippi in Louisiana, their voodoo mambo babysitter becomes unable to work due a major injury.  Babysitterless with a toddler that can potentially slow their plans of getting any work done, they hire treasure-hunting, school-loving Amande.  They suddenly find themselves thrusted into her life where relatives are battling for Amande's miniscule inheritance due to her grandmother's death, including a rundown houseboat, some shares of stock, and an inhabitable island soon to be swamped by oil.  Will Faye and her family be able to protect Amande from her greedy relatives, and possibly, even death?
I delved into this book thinking it would be terrible, because I don't really like archaeology or pirates.  But, as with the other Flamingnet books I have reviewed, I was greatly surprised.  This book is probably the absolute opposite of what I thought coming in to it.  It ended up being a murder mystery with a touch of romance.  The plotline is exquisite, the subplots tie together with the main plot very nicely, and there are many gripping plot twists.  The character development is superb and I felt connected to all the characters.  I strongly recommend this book to anyone who likes mysteries.

Reviewer Age:13
Reviewer City, State and Country: Torrington, CT United States

Following Christopher Creed by Carol Plum-Ucci

College reporter Mike Mavric sells everything he owns, for the oppurtunity that he hopes will launch his writing career. He drives to sleepy town of Steeplton with his girlfriend Rayann hoping to interview some of the most important and popular people involved in the case of Christopher Creed's disappearance. Nobody knows what could have happened to Chris. There were no clues left behind, thats what makes this case so astonishing. Does Mike have what it takes to put these different stories to find the real answers behind this stor? Mike will have to put his true dedication to reporting to the test, and find the lines between business and personal.
Overall, I would say that this book is probably my favorite of all time. Every single sentence has you on edge, down to the peiod. You will never be bored. It has such powerfull effect that you find yourself putting yourself in the characters shoes, trying to imagine what it would be like to feel such pain and aganony of never knowing what happened. This boook is definitly worth reading. I highly recomend it.
The book makes a lot of drug and sex refrences. Also a lot of cussing.
Reviewer Age:14
Reviewer City, State and Country: Jackson, MO United States

Nameless by Kyle Chais

    Life as a Nameless can get boring. Monotonous days awaiting your execution can get very dull. That's why one Nameless decides to possess a troubled human named Aurick. The Nameless sees Aurick, about to be murdered, and steps in to save Aurick's life. The only problem? The Nameless gets a bit too comfortable in Aurick's body and decides to stay awhile.
Let me start by saying this book was written by an 18 year-old, Kyle Chais. I think it's absolutely amazing an 18 year-old could crank out a full-length novel at such a young age, and that's to be applauded. However, I really just didn't ever connect with this book. I guess it just wasn't my cup of tea. My main problem was that I found there to be too many extraneous events and characters that detracted from the overall plot. There were just a lot of characters who floated in and out, not really having a purpose. I did enjoy some of Aurick's antics towards the middle of the story; some of his adventures are fun to hear. Though, as the story stretched on, I just never had that moment where I was enthralled. I never felt engaged with the characters. Another problem I had with this story was the peculiar religious themes. I don't want to give anything away, but there is a lot of both challenge and support of religion and it felt misplaced. I have read several other books about fallen angels and such that managed to keep the plot away from religious territory. I just didn't care for the writing style, so it was hard for me to enjoy the story. Overall through, Chais has accomplished an amazing feat as such a young author. I hope he continues to grow as a writer and that maybe his next book will be something more up my alley.
Along with religious themes, this book has a fair amount of sex and violence and is more suitable for older teens and young adults.
Reviewer Age:15
Reviewer City, State and Country: Tigard, Oregon United States

A Million Suns by Beth Revins

In the first book we learned that GODSPEED was run by secrets, but that was only the beginning. In the second book, with Eldest dead and Orion in cryo, Elder assumes leadership, but some people don't think he's ready.  As Elder tries to deal with the growing chaos, he learns a secret that could crush everyone's hope.  Elder and Amy race to uncover the truth that's been hidden for hundreds of years with the fate of 2,298 passengers on their shoulders and the knowledge that they have to get off this ship.

A secret that's been hidden for hundreds of years is bound to change their lives ... and end others.
Okay, I'll admit I had very high expectations for this sequel and Beth Revis took it above and beyond anything I could have hoped for. She started A Million Suns so smoothly and took her characters to the next level. Her sensory details are amazing and easy to understand so you can picture what it's like to live on GODSPEED. She had a really good mystery woven in with a shocking ending that you don't see coming. Revis had just the right amount of romance - nothing going over the line, which is nice compared to some teen books. The only thing I didn't like was the language even though they're substitutes (see content review for more info) and there was a lot of violence for younger readers, but other than that it was a really good fast - paced book. I can't wait to see what happens next in book three, Shades of Earth, coming out January 2013.   

 "Frex" the replacement of the f - word is used quite often

"Effing" the British equivalent of the f - word is used once

"Shite" the replacement  of the word shit is used often
 1 real f - word

Sexual content
1 steamy makeout scene

 There are several riots. People get sucked out into space. A girl is found strangled to death after being raped. Several people are killed with medicine patches and one is hanged as a warning. A girl is shot and killed in the end and another man is shot in the leg. A man is badly beaten along with several other fights. We read about a girl's suicide/murder and we are reminded of a man's suicide from the first book. We read about Amy's memories of just about being raped during the season in the first book several times. 
Reviewer Age:14
Reviewer City, State and Country: Sharpsville, Indiana USA

Warriors of Change by Tina Brescanu

Warriors of Change, by Tina Brescanu is about four teenagers trying to make a change in the world. They are Milla and Torsten, the Irish siblings, Sky, the new kid in school, and Sunny, the angel. In their lives, taxpaying adults get to do anything they want, while their kids go to school or prison as the teenagers describe it. The students have to endure mean teachers, physical punishment, bullies, and a lot of negativity. They go on a journey to save children everywhere from the schools and try to find freedom.
I would rate this book a 3 out of 10 because it was boring and difficult to follow. Also, there were a lot of random ideas in this story. There were ghosts, angels, kids with super powers, traveling to other planets, and other lives the characters have lived. There were just WAY too many ideas to understand! I was bored when reading this book and couldn't follow most of it. In the middle of the story there were a few chapters that were just a lot of life lessons crammed into paragraphs that had nothing to do with the story.

Reviewer Age:13
Reviewer City, State and Country: Kansas City, Kansas United States

Catwalk by Deborah Gregory

Pashima Purrstein is determined to win this year's Catwalk competition at Fashion International High School with the help of her team, the House of Pashima. She's ready to face any drama or challenges that come her way as House Leader to make sure her feline fatale fashion show wins. But it turns out to be more than she expected. Can Pashima handle all this trouble and accomplish her dream of opening her own clothing line, Purr Unlimited, or will her dreams come crashing down around her? Where Pashima and her house concerned, there's only one option, to win.
    This book was pretty good. The characters are super easy to relate to, given a many of the character's situations. The plot was always changing, and pretty realistic because, although unlikely, almost all the situations Pashima gets into could actually happen. The only problems I found with this book were some of the slang, although there is a glossary of the slang in the back, and the amount of teen drama. I mean, sometimes the drama got so thick I just put the book down and didn't go back to it for a few days. Overall I'd recommend this book to anyone who loves cats, fashion, and LOTS of drama.

Reviewer Age:12
Reviewer City, State and Country: Rockwell City, IA USA

Sudden Flash Youth by Christine Perkins-Hazuka, Tom Hazuka, and Mark Bud

The stories of Sudden Flash Youth may all be less than one thousand words, but that doesn't mean they can't pack a punch in those few pages. They're all short, and they all deal with the subject of youth, but it's certainly a diverse compilation, covering all voices and perspectives. In one story, we hear from a young narrator growing up during the Nixon era who is wondering if they he bother being good anymore, in a time when even the president has been caught lying. Then there's a story about a boy raised by wolves, followed by another about a fifteen year old girl wondering what gifts she will received at her quinceanera. The plot and the voices differ, but all the stories deal with the raw and real aspects of growing up. These are stories about first kisses, ugly breakups, wrecking cars, losing virginity and finding religion; about things that no doubt every teenager has experienced in some way. Reading the stories of Sudden Flash Youth is like looking through the scrapbooks of 65 different people. They read like snapshots, like tiny fragments of lives that we want to know more about. They re short and sometimes sweet and sometimes sad, but always satisfying.

Sudden Flash Youth truly was one of the best short story anthologies I've read in a long time. These stories spoke to me so much as a teeanger, and I loved reading things that are relatable to my lives and the lives of the other young people around me.The writing was wonderful and strong, and the voices of the narrators pulled me in and held me there, even if it was only for a thousand words of less. When you don't want a story to end, you know you just finished reading something amazing.

Reviewer Age:17
Reviewer City, State and Country: Tarpon Springs, Florida United States

The Poisons of Caux: Book Three by Susannah Appelbaum

When Ivy awakens in an orphanage, she doesn't know what has happened. Everything seems strange and unusual. And when she meets a well keeper (who is amazingly strong), they join forces and begin the journey to where Ivy's evil father is so that she can destroy him once and for all. But will she make it there alive?
I LOVED this book! Every chapter was amazing! The characters were life like as well. I would've rated this book a 10, but there were some difficult words and some parts were a bit confusing. But other then that, it was an amazing book.

Reviewer Age:12
Reviewer City, State and Country: Yucaipa, CA USA