Witch and Wizard caught my eye in a bookstore over a year ago. I was intrigued by a "childrens book" written by James Patterson, whom I've read in the...moreWitch and Wizard caught my eye in a bookstore over a year ago. I was intrigued by a "childrens book" written by James Patterson, whom I've read in the past. I opened it up and read the prologue there in the store, and was intrigued enough to add it to my "to-read" list, but not enough to actually buy it or borrow it from the library. This weekend, the book sort of fell into my lap. With it came the question - "is this book appropriate for 4th graders?" I should be well equipped to answer that, what with my daughter heading into 4th grade this Fall, but I'm a bit unclear. My answer is "probably...depending on the 4th grader."
Witch and Wizard is about Whisty Allgood (15-ish) and her brother, Whit (17-ish) who are taken prisoner by the New Order - our country's evil new governing body. They are accused of witchcraft and sentenced to death on their 18th Birthday - which is alarmingly close for Whit. The accusation of witchcraft is outlandish, of course...except that it's not. Because almost immediately both of them begin to exhibit powers that they never knew they possessed. (why or how this happens is not addressed - is it triggered by necessity? timing? a spell set by their obviously crafty parents?) Before long the Allgoods break out of their mental-institution-turned-prison and join up with a group of youthful rebels. They learn about the prophecy (which foretells of their importance to the resistance) and are tricked into helping a group of prisoners escape before their impending vaporization. Not wanting to be too spoiler-iffic, I'll stop here with the book report.
I found Witch and Wizard to be entertaining...but somehow not as good as I thought it would be. The story was fast paced and absorbing, but there was something about it that was off to me. The book is divided into about a million super-short chapters. Most are only 2-4 pages long. Each is written from either Whit or Whisty's point of view, and the thinker is indicated at the beginning of the chapter. Many times there would be several chapters in a row from the same POV, with no break in action or plot, which begs the questions - "why were they divided up?" I'm all for reading breaks, stopping points, and I appreciate the effort to provide those to children. My daughter, especially, has a habit of wanting to read an entire book in one sitting. It's nice to have chapter breaks to that there is a natural stopping point for her to put her book down. The problem with this was that the chapter breaks were NOT a natural stopping point. They seemed to be inserted almost at random. So...back to the question of suitability... I'm going to say "yes" - the right 4th grader would enjoy this book. I'll be passing it on to my daughter :) (less)
4 stars because I can't lie - I loved this book. However, the more I think about it, the more irritated I am with Sophie Littlefield.
The characters w...more4 stars because I can't lie - I loved this book. However, the more I think about it, the more irritated I am with Sophie Littlefield.
The characters were WONDERFUL. Like, seriously amazing. Cass is so incredibly human, so screwed up and damaged... Smoke is NOT a knight in shining armor - except when he is. His persona feels very complex - I'm dying to learn more about him. The people they meet along their way - Lyle, Elaine, Dor, Gloria...all of them are people with secrets and agendas and problems of their own. This is NOT your storybook post-apocalyptic world :)
The writing is beautiful. Littlefield is adept at phrasing. She made me feel like I was THERE. Anytime Cass was caught up in a moment, I was right there, too. The emotions were evocative. Her descriptions were beautiful.
The plot - in general - was exciting. Cass wakes up, confused, afraid...with no memory of wheren she's been or what's happened. The only thing she knows with certainty is that she needs to get to her daughter, Ruthie. And thus begins her journey.
So here's my problem. The story was too EASY. Nothing - literally, NOTHING - came up that I didn't see coming. Everything felt like a set up for later...and it was. Every sticky situation was a breeze to get out of. Every danger was easily avoided. Every hardship was quickly overcome. I found myself wishing for something awful and unexpected to happen! But it never did.
I really enjoyed this book, and I've already run out and bought Rebirth, but I'm really hoping that the plot is a lot more complex this time around, because Littlefield's characters deserve more.(less)
My one complaint after reading Aftertime was that the plot wasn't quite complex enough. I asked Littlefield to give her incredible characters a more u...moreMy one complaint after reading Aftertime was that the plot wasn't quite complex enough. I asked Littlefield to give her incredible characters a more unpredictable world to live in. In Rebirth I think she tried to do that.
Cass and Smoke have settled down in the Box, Dor's post-apocolyptic version of the island of misfits. They are content here. Smoke is head of security, Cass has a garden where she coax's plant life back to this new world. Even Ruthie is healing, slowly. Then word reaches the box that the school where Cass and Smoke once sheltered has been taken by the Rebuilders. Many were killed, including Smoke's onetime lover, Nora. Some were taken, including Dor's daughter, Sammi. Smoke leaves Cass to take his revenge, and she decides to accompany Dor on his mission to save his daughter. They come up with a plan to use Cass's "outlier" status as a way in to the Rebuilder world, and set out together.
The plot this time around was marginally less predictable, though there were still dozens of times that I knew exactly what was coming. Again, the characters held this story together. I loved getting to know Dor better. I love the direction that Ruthie's character is taking. I love that Cass is still as damaged and backwards as she was before. I think a lot of authors would have been tempted to have drawn her differently - healed by her love from Smoke and Ruthie - but Littlefield was true to her vision (and to reality) and wrote Cass as broken as she was before. Also, I think this may be one of my favorite love triangles of all time - who could possibly choose between Smoke and Dor? Even if Cass isn't allowing herself to think of Dor in that way, the reader certainly is.
The next (final?) book in the series isn't too far away - thankfully! I will be on the edge of my seat until Horizon is released this coming January.(less)
Wow. So. Very. Good. This non-fiction account of an almost outbreak of a new strain of Ebola should NOT have been as exciting or absorbing as it was -...moreWow. So. Very. Good. This non-fiction account of an almost outbreak of a new strain of Ebola should NOT have been as exciting or absorbing as it was - but it REALLY WAS.
I read this book because I thought it would be a nice basis of fact for many of the books/movies that I've been interested in lately. It was. I learned a lot. It provided a really valuable insight into many of the books I've enjoyed lately - Feed, Deadline, Infected, and more. On top of learning about the way a virus attacks a body, I learned a lot about primates - an unexpected bonus :) It was so much more than an opportunity to learn something, though! The Hot Zone read like fiction. GOOD fiction! The character development and the back story were impressively done. They helped flesh out the story and turned it into the single best non-fiction book I've ever read.
I found this book SO interesting that it may have sparked a new reading obsession for me. I'll be picking up more of Richard Prestons work in the very near future :)(less)
A cross between The Road, The Stand and the recent slew of zombie-apocalypse books. I loved The Reapers Are the Angels. It's another book (like Feed)...moreA cross between The Road, The Stand and the recent slew of zombie-apocalypse books. I loved The Reapers Are the Angels. It's another book (like Feed) that has the library's little "horror" sticker on it's spine - but was actually so.much.more. Temple is 15 and alone, traveling the post apocalyptic country in the Florida area. Her view of the world (and the zombies who now make up the majority of the population) is intensely pragmatic...and oddly hopeful. Temple sees beauty all around her. She was born into this new, torn down world, and she doesn't see it as horrible or terrifying - she just sees it as reality. And there are still little miracles everywhere. Honestly - I never knew a book about zombies could impart so much hope to the reader, but this one did. Even when Temple is running for her life and calling her companion "dummy", The Reapers Are the Angels managed to be beautiful and inspiring. Speaking of Maury... I found his character to be a super effective way of getting to know Temple better. Very well done.
Bell's writing was reminiscent of Cormac McCarthy's - but reads as more authentic, less egotistical. When McCarthy shoves made-up words down your throat, Bell sticks to the sparse storytelling and uses words that you can actually find in the dictionary. "Bell" is actually a pseudonym, of course. I loved this book enough, however, to check out his other novel Hummingbirds: A Novel, and I will be looking forward to another Alden Bell installment.(less)
Reasons I didn't give this book 5 stars (because it was SO close!): 1. Because I wanted MORE of every single character. 2. Because I wanted MORE of ever...moreReasons I didn't give this book 5 stars (because it was SO close!): 1. Because I wanted MORE of every single character. 2. Because I wanted MORE of every single story. 3. Because I wanted MORE, MORE, MORE!!!
Robopocolypse should have been a trilogy. It would have been awesome. While I respect an authors ability to wrap it up (when so many are dragging it out, instead) this one really could have done with more.
Wilson's characters were brilliant and beautiful, and I would have loved to have had some back story, some in-depth relationship exploration, and some EMOTION. Instead, I got the bare-bones necessities of character development, and it left me wanting (you guessed it) more.
Not that I didn't love it, because I did. The story was fabulous. I was on the edge of my seat for much of the book. There were parts that were heart-wrenching, and parts that were so creepy I had chills. I would read more of Wilson's work in a heartbeat. I just hope he draws it out next time :)(less)
I expecting this installment of the Mercedes Thompson series to be more focused on the relationship between Mercy and Adam - and it was - but in a ver...moreI expecting this installment of the Mercedes Thompson series to be more focused on the relationship between Mercy and Adam - and it was - but in a very different way than I thought it would be.
As the Alpha of his pack, Adam is tied to each of his wolves. His connection (or lack thereof) has made him weaker than he should have been for the past few years. Now that Mercy is his true mate, things should be better...but they're not. Within the pack there is a faction of those who dislike and distrust Mercy, and they are willing to do what it takes to get rid of her.
During all this, of course, more supernatural drama rages in Mercy's life, and she's pulled into the middle of a desperate bid for power by the Fairy Queen.
Loved this book as much as the last. It's getting hard to continue writing these glowing, gushing reviews. It's just so easy to keep eating up these books. And I keep walking away with a big grin on my face :)(less)
My goodness, I really just love this series! Bone Crossed was probably not as good as it's predecessor - but was, even still, good enough to earn 4 sta...moreMy goodness, I really just love this series! Bone Crossed was probably not as good as it's predecessor - but was, even still, good enough to earn 4 stars from me. Briggs characters are so real for me that I almost dread finishing the series - I know I will miss them when they are gone!
In Bone Crossed, Mercy is targeted by the vampires. But she's not the only one. Stefan, Adam and the rest of the pack are also in danger. It's decided that it would be best for Mercy to remove herself from the equation in order to let everything settle down without her there to rile anyone up. She goes to visit an old friend who needs her help with a ghost problem. The coincidental timing of this "problem" doesn't escape anyone, but since they don't figure that Mercy will be in any MORE danger there than she would at home, she heads out (bringing Stefan along for protection.) In the end, Mercy proves herself to be the bada$$ I've come to know and love. Her ability to take care of herself and her friends and her bravery and determination are a nice counterpart to her love for and (slight) dependence on Adam. They round her into a very genuine character that I can identify with.
One of the things I really love about these books is that Briggs vamps are so SCARY. They are dangerous, vicious predators. As are the wolves and the fae. Mercy never forgets that no matter how friendly or cuddly Uncle Mike or Stefan or even Adam might appear to be, danger lurks just below the surface. I love that. It gives these books an intensity that I enjoy. (less)