Four kids are visiting the Life is Sweet factory to take part in an annual Candymaker competition. Each is trying to come up with aelementary & up
Four kids are visiting the Life is Sweet factory to take part in an annual Candymaker competition. Each is trying to come up with an idea for the next World's Greatest Candy. To add a little spice to the competition, it turns out that all of the contestants have both hidden talents and hidden secrets. Even more interesting is that someone is trying to steal the factory's secret ingredient. I greatly enjoyed this book. It is told in sections. We are informed in the beginning that we need to listen to what the characters say and what they don't say. Then we get to live the first day of the competition through the eyes of contestant. I loved that. It starts off with Logan and we see him meeting the other characters. Each character has some little oddities that we don't fully understand until we see the same thing through their eyes. Talk about a great way to study characterization and viewpoint! The way the different viewpoints of the story all came together was terrific. I was expecting a twist to come that was completely different from the twist that actually happened. I definitely recommend this book for any school level. It interests one of my 4th graders, it is aimed right at middle graders and it interested me. Fun for all ages!
Sarah and her friends have just been invited to THE party of the year by Cass Rockham. The weird thing? Sarah and her friends armiddle school & up
Sarah and her friends have just been invited to THE party of the year by Cass Rockham. The weird thing? Sarah and her friends are total losers who Cass never even speaks to. Things only get weirder once they arrive. Cass coerces them to play a rigged game of musical chairs. Each time someone loses they are escorted away and they don't return to the party. Sarah is pissed when she discovers her and her friends have only been invited to be a part of the "entertainment." They are the hidden objects in a scavenger hunt and someone is not playing by the traditional rules.
This is an enjoyable story. It is pretty good with the suspense although the reveal isn't nearly as twisty as it tries to be. There are a couple of red herrings thrown in here and there just for good measure. I did like how the sense of wrong built throughout the story. You know immediately that something is wrong about the party but at first it seems fairly normal. Popular kids picking on the loser freaks. It isn't until one of them is kidnapped from her hiding place that it becomes clear that something is really wrong. I did really like the fact that two of the girls managed to rescue themselves. Always a plus. The scavenger hunt aspect was fairly lame, but I think it was supposed to be.
A young boy accepts a ride to town with a stranger and never makes it into town. He is declared missing but the townspeople, although concerned for hiA young boy accepts a ride to town with a stranger and never makes it into town. He is declared missing but the townspeople, although concerned for him, are more concerned about the lengthy drought. A new man arrives at the town and promises to bring rain to their county. The missing boy's older brother senses something dangerous about him, especially when more and more children go missing. The feeling intensifies when he realizes that no one, not even the parents, care about the missing children.
I mostly enjoyed this book up until the end. It has a dreamlike quality about it that is oddly interesting. However, I did not really enjoy the ending too much. I'm okay with supernatural and I'm okay with the inexplicable and I'm even okay with stuff that comes out of left field. But the ending here was just a little too odd for me. I did really enjoy the older brother and how guilty he feels about his brother's disappearance. That felt very real to me. The way the town slowly starts changing and becoming indifferent to what has happened to their children was intriguing. It had a subtly creepy quality that builds throughout the story. Overall, I'd give it a shot. ...more
Angie Favorite's mom disappeared five years ago. Her family has never given up waiting for her to come back though. While runninmiddle school & up
Angie Favorite's mom disappeared five years ago. Her family has never given up waiting for her to come back though. While running errands, Angie is accosted by a large, scary man who attempts to drag Angie away repeatedly saying he "has to show her something." Angie manages to get away from him but not without a skull fracture. When she comes home from the hospital she receives a letter from her attacker's mother. Mrs. Bittner invites the Favorite family to visit her home so that she can express her regret. As the family gets to know Mrs. Bittner she becomes increasingly manipulative and attempts to control their movements.
Really good book. It got off to a rather slow start. At first, I was a tad worried that it was a "stealth-christian." Those books drive me crazy. If you wanna write a Christian book, then go ahead. Don't be all stealthy about it.
Anyway, I liked this book. Once Angie got attacked I was very into the story. It isn't a very twisty story, but it does a great job of building up on the clues. They're a tad subtle (again though, not twisty) but I still was wanting one of the characters to quit being so stupid. I really liked how the mystery of the mom's disappearance plays into Angie's attack. ...more
When she read Harry Potter for the first time, her dream was to attend a fancy boarding school. She has finally**spoiler alert** high school & up
When she read Harry Potter for the first time, her dream was to attend a fancy boarding school. She has finally gotten in and isn't as thrilled about the idea anymore. Her spot at Manderly used to belong to Becca. Becca was always the life of every party... until she went missing. Now it is hard to fit in when everyone compares you to an idolized missing girl. Especially when your roommate is fanatically convinced that Becca chose to disappear and will return any moment.
Really intriguing book. I loved that the school's name was Manderly since there is such a major character who isn't actually there. Brings up such connections/parallels with Rebecca. I'm sure the author at least had that in the back of her mind. I would recommend this for inclusion in an literature class but there are some scenes that will make parents twitchy, so I advise caution to all. (Anyone recognize that quote?)
I was completely caught up in the story. I could never quite settle the mystery of Becca in my head. Was she really dead or did she just decide to go wander off? I kept going back and forth. Which is great; I love a story that can do that to me. Also, on the very last page, something was revealed that made me stop and think. I couldn't believe I didn't notice. But when I did and thought about it, it really makes perfect sense with the story. Very cool. If you want a spoiler then highlight below.
>>Spoiler Alert<< >>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>> The main character's name isn't mentioned until the last page. Which I thought was nifty. >>Here endeth the spoiler<< ...more
Catherine called Cat has spent her entire life backstage at the Royal Theatre in Drury Lane. One day shemiddle school & up Cat Royal adventures #1
Catherine called Cat has spent her entire life backstage at the Royal Theatre in Drury Lane. One day she overhears the theatre manager discussing the protection of a diamond to be hidden in the theatre. Cat feels great loyalty to the manager for taking her in as an infant and decides to find the diamond so she can help protect it. She also makes a few new friends: Pedro, a young ex-slave who is a gifted musician, Johnny, the new prompter, and Francis & Elizabeth, the children of a Duke. The trouble is a local street tough is angry with Cat and wants to steal the diamond.
**Odd disclaimer - I had to buy this book. No one forced me or anything but I know I've mentioned my series compulsion before. I received a free ARC of a book that comes later in the series. I can't read that one without reading everything else first.** This was a pretty good adventure story. It didn't seem to have much of a direction though. I really liked Cat, she is brave and loyal. She even managed to get educated which was a big deal for girls in her time. Her life as a "runner" for the theatre actually gives her a lot more freedom than the higher class ladies had. I forgave the lack of direction since I liked Cat so much. It is also nice to get an actual adventure story for the girls. The tomboy girls, anyway. Cat does get all gussied up once in the book but there isn't any sudden realization of how great it is to be a girlie-girl. I approve of that....more
Mary is an orphan in 19th century London. At the age of 12 she was about to be hanged for the crime of thievery. InstThe Agency #1 high school & up
Mary is an orphan in 19th century London. At the age of 12 she was about to be hanged for the crime of thievery. Instead, she is taken to Miss Scrimshaw's School for Girls. After 5 years of education she is working as a teacher in the school and feeling completely bored. The headmistresses of the school offer Mary a chance: to join The Agency. This is a secret agency with a very revolutionary idea: that women make perfect spies. On her first assignment, Mary is sent to act as a lady's companion to help with the investigation into possible insurance fraud.
I like the premise quite a bit. Women refusing to conform strictly to society's requirements. In fact, it is probably getting a little repetitive. It seems that is all I'm reading these days. Not sure why. It just kinda happens sometimes. Anyway, Mary is basically a modern girl. She is independent, outspoken and practical. This can be hard when society usually values women according to how well they married. The book skips right over the five years between her almost-hanging and her first assignment as a spy. It isn't really very spy-like though. Mary's mission is mostly just busy work. There is supposed to be another "agent" on the case. That part bothered me. We never find out who the other agent is and there don't seem to be any characters that could fit the bill. Mary does manage to find out a few things about the case, but very slowly and all the major revelations about the case seem to all bunch up together at the end. I'm actually more intrigued by Mary's history. She is "half-caste"; which means that she is half Caucasian and half Chinese. In her time period, Chinese were looked down on so Mary is "passing" as a full English girl. There seems to be some mystery surrounding her father that I hope is part of the following books.
**I received an ARC of the 3rd book in the series which is due to be published on February 28, 2012. I purchased this book because of my series compulsion.**...more
Alexis & family have just moved back to her mom's old hometown. Soon, Alexis begins experiencing weird deja vu and rememberimiddle school & up
Alexis & family have just moved back to her mom's old hometown. Soon, Alexis begins experiencing weird deja vu and remembering things that happened to someone else. The someone else is her aunt Nan who left home years ago and never came back. No one has seen or heard from her since. Alexis becomes convinced that this is because Nan is dead and that her killer is still out there and now is after Alexis. She thinks she is in danger because she believes she is the reincarnation of Nan.
I don't like the cover I attached but it is the only one I found. This cover makes the book seems much darker than it actually is. The story is narrated by Alexis and two words kept coming to mind about her "overly dramatic." Not melodramatic, because I think that has a negative connotation and I liked Alexis. She seems like a very innocent, almost naive, teenage girl. The kind who still believes in love at first sight and is convinced her high school boyfriend is her soul mate and they'll be together forever. The whole story feels that way; like it is from an easier, simpler time. So I checked the copyright date. Earliest copyright date was 1996. (1996? I remember '96. Cell phones were around but not quite as ubiquitous as today. I mean, come on, Zach's phone was a freakin' brick.)
Which brings me to the second reason I checked the date. A character was driving along and couldn't find an available phone booth to make a call. Yeah, that kinda clued me in on the whole 'not set in current times' thing. (1996? I remember '96. Cell phones were around but not quite as ubiquitous as today. I mean, come on, Zach's phone was a freakin' brick.)
The pacing is really strong. I was never bored and didn't feel like the author was thinking "been a few pages, I should make a monster pop out of a closet." The story is positively littered with red herrings though. I must brag and say I never fell for them. Then again, I'm old and used to watch "Murder, she wrote." (Yes, really)
Verdict: recommended. Especially if a literature teacher is doing a unit on mysteries....more