A very easy-to-read and understand tale of the Democratic Republic of Congo in the 90s, where a 5-year-old and several of his schoolfriends are kidnapA very easy-to-read and understand tale of the Democratic Republic of Congo in the 90s, where a 5-year-old and several of his schoolfriends are kidnapped by rebels and forced into fighting for them. Fortunately for Michel he manages to escape unscathed, although not without witnessing way too many atrocities - including being blindfolded and forced to shoot his best friend.
I would have appreciated more detail from after Michel's return home - the time in the refugee camp passed in a page and suddenly he was in Canada... I just would have been interested to read a little more! Also a little more of the whys behind it all - I was still in primary school myself when this was happening, so the extent of my knowledge was about the same as the kids Michel met in Canada: "something about Rwanda". This book does a good job of telling young kids what Michel's life was like, but it doesn't do as much as I wish it did for the curiosity!
Heartbreaking that his father didn't make it out of Africa, and was in the end poisoned by his enemies; even sadder that one of Michel's two older sisters completely disappeared, and at the time of writing still had not been heard of :(
I absolutely adored this book! A nice, quick, easy read, with a very likable narrator. Amelie Day is a mini master-chef, who is invited to take part iI absolutely adored this book! A nice, quick, easy read, with a very likable narrator. Amelie Day is a mini master-chef, who is invited to take part in a teen bake-off competition. She also has cystic fibrosis, and her health takes a turn for the worse just prior to the competition, so her mom won't let her go.
(view spoiler)[So clearly she runs away to NYC to take part. And it all could have gone okay, had she not left her bag with her medication beside her on the train, and had she not fallen asleep and had said bag stolen. Ugh, I knew that was going to happen!
When Harry was hit by a car on his way to rescue her, I actually was expecting him to die and be her lung donor, so I'm very glad that didn't happen! I should have trusted the author more, not to write such a terrible ending, haha.
I'd definitely love a sequel. I love how Amelie did manage to get through to the final, which the TV studio postponed for her health reasons. (hide spoiler)]
It was interesting learning a lot about CF as well, because I knew very little before I'd read this book. Kind of like how we all learned about diabetes through Stacey of the BSC! Also there was a lot of baking detail, including recipes, which was great, and also made me hungry. Fortunately I live with a friend who is a cooking superstar, so I'm just going to toddle off into the kitchen now and scarf down some more leftovers. (I think the split on who eats her cooking is a guilty 70-30 in my favour.)
I just wish Capstone would make their galleys available for kindle! I had to read this on my laptop, which I hate doing. The story was definitely worth it, but now I know I'll be checking how long things are before requesting in future.["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>...more
Incredible that this is real, and recent: girls' schools being closed, schools being bombed in "warning" even before the enforced closing date... suchIncredible that this is real, and recent: girls' schools being closed, schools being bombed in "warning" even before the enforced closing date... such cruelty!
I loved Malala's quote, "they can stop us going to school, but they can't stop us learning!"
Fascinating that the BBC actually were able to speak to her, in order to blog about the school closings... dangerous stuff she was in the midst of there, I don't blame her other classmates for not having the nerve.
I still can't believe it's a true story, that a 12-year-old girl was actually on the Taliban's hit list, and actually shot just for going to school. This book is aimed at primary school kids, beautifully illustrated and a very quick, easy read, but I still found it utterly gripping and this is a subject I would love to read more about....more
I agree - how had I also never heard the name Irena Sendler before? Talk about a hero! She smuggled children out of the Warsaw ghetto, and kept a listI agree - how had I also never heard the name Irena Sendler before? Talk about a hero! She smuggled children out of the Warsaw ghetto, and kept a list of all their real names and families in hopes that one day the children could be reunited with their parents, or at least know their history.
Lovely illustrations and a very succinct telling of Irena's deeds, good for about grade threes....more
I did enjoy this, although it took me a stupidly long time to cotton on that it was a retelling of Hades and Persephone. It was seriously not until HeI did enjoy this, although it took me a stupidly long time to cotton on that it was a retelling of Hades and Persephone. It was seriously not until Helen mentioned Proserpine (which by the way made me think of that Jetstar ad with Magda Szubanski!) being the Roman for the Greek Persephone that it clicked... duh, Persephone, Stephanie, Hades, Haley, Zeus, Zack! AHA! I guess I don't know the myth as well as I do some others - just the basic bare bones which is why it didn't jump out at me as fast, and possibly made me enjoy the start of the story more because I didn't know at all where it was headed.
I found Stephanie and her home life, with her crazy over-protective mother (tat'd be Demeter), to be fascinating to read about. I was intrigued by the new kids Haley and Zack, but personally I didn't like Haley much. I know he was actually Hades and Stephanie was his Persephone, but reading him as the teen boy he was in the first half of the book, ie. before we find all that out, I just felt he came on way too strong, a bit too intense and creepy. I loved Zack though, I guess he's more my type ;)
Cerberus the three miniature pinschers was/were AWESOME too, haha. ...more
Two very different boys are selected for a special rugby camp, private-school boy Daniel, who's a bit full of himself, and quiet, public school boy JaTwo very different boys are selected for a special rugby camp, private-school boy Daniel, who's a bit full of himself, and quiet, public school boy Jaydon. I'd never heard the name Izzy Folau before so it was pretty neat to find out that he's actually a real rugby player! I reckon primary school boys should be all over this series. I found it to be a nice, quick read, with well-developed characters in the two boys. Lots of sporting terminology as well which should appeal to boys of the same age, and just the right length for an eight-or-so-year-old....more
Wow, I absolutely loved this book! I actually could not put it down last night and stayed up until midnight to finish it.
It's actually the third in aWow, I absolutely loved this book! I actually could not put it down last night and stayed up until midnight to finish it.
It's actually the third in a trilogy, which I wasn't aware of when I requested the galley, but that didn't matter too much - there were a couple of times when I had no idea what the girls were referring to, but on the whole it was easy enough to put the pieces all together. I definitely want to read the other two books now though, even though I know what happens. Apparently one is from Ginger's pov as she is being bullied by Kylie and her minions, and the other is from Tori's as she observes quietly and is glad it's not her. Intriguing! Love the idea.
And I have to say, I really liked Kylie too... yes she was a brat at first but then she starts being bullied herself, by her former friends, and they're frickin' horrible! You can't help but feel sorry for her, myself probably even more so because I hadn't read the book where she was the bully. I liked watching her journey with Lydia and how she actually did manage to change and grow, going from wanting to do the bare minimum to get it all over with and get herself reinstated at school (and on the cheer squad), to actually getting into the sessions and loving her role as camp counselor. I loved her trio of six-year-olds too, and loved how at first she called Abigail and Nichole "Attitude" and "Xerox". Hah! And it was nice how by the end they were Abby and Nicky. And chubby little Felicity in her too-small t-shirts was just adorable. It was awesome to watch the change in Kylie as she was removed from her former friends, and stuck only with Izzy - who she eventually realised she didn't actually like. Her standing up for Ginger when Izzy was bullying Felicity and making her blame Ginger was an awesome storyline, and I loved how in the end Kylie sort of became friends with Ginger and Tori's group... not all of a sudden firm besties because that would have been unrealistic, but no longer hated by them.
Her former friends were horrible, and I was shocked at the fake email they sent to everyone - taking Kylie's original email and rewording it to paint her as the one and only villain and themselves as her victims. How true any of that was, I don't know as I haven't read the first two books... would be interesting to have a fourth book, from Heidi or Rhiannon's pov, but then I'm already way biased against them ;)
It does make me wonder how much Kylie would have grown and changed without being bullied herself. Did it take that for her to understand how Ginger had felt? I mean it felt like she was on the right path without it... sad that those other two, and Izzy, sunk to such lows.
I'm very anti-bullying, so it's kind of amusing to me that I liked Kylie so much - but then, as I said, I never actually saw/read her as the bully, and maybe my opinion of her would change if I read the other books. Argh!
I wasn't bullied in school myself, just picked on a few times as everyone was at some stage I'm sure; my own bullying experience didn't come until much later when I was unfortunate enough to share a house with two out-and-out bullies, and a handful of lazy bystanders. Those people were supposedly adults, but to be honest I don't see any of them ever growing up and figuring out how to apologise like twelve-year-old Kylie did!...more
I have to say I enjoyed the first book in this series a lot more than I did the second, although I still had a good time reading this one of course! EI have to say I enjoyed the first book in this series a lot more than I did the second, although I still had a good time reading this one of course! Ember's random daytime teleportation was an interesting development, especially considering how wrought with danger it was, eg. the idea that she could blip out of an aeroplane... and then blip back into mid-air!
I would have preferred the entire book to be narrated by Ember; the third-person Caden chapters just didn't appeal to me as much. And actually, Caden in general didn't appeal to me as much any more! I can't quite put my finger on why, but I did grimace each time he called her "angel".
I found it frustrating as well how EVERYWHERE they went, the teleporters would find them... everywhere! Argh! Sometimes you just want the characters to catch a bit of a break. Just ride on down the highway into the sunset and avoid capture and live happily ever after. Hah!
(view spoiler)[Interesting ending too - they played right into a trap. Adrian's father, the brains behind the project, is alive... and now Caden and Ember are free of the project, but will Stonehawke be any better? And is Adrian totally a bad guy? So many questions! (hide spoiler)]["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>...more
Hey so I really enjoyed this book! I loved Reed and her hipster-dad-enforced veganism, and Mason and his cool nerdiness. I haven't read The Hobbit yetHey so I really enjoyed this book! I loved Reed and her hipster-dad-enforced veganism, and Mason and his cool nerdiness. I haven't read The Hobbit yet but now I am more inspired to. I didn't like David much - I just found him to be too rude and strange at times, and not in the good way! Plus the jealousy, no thanks. And Jett, I wanted to slap her... soooo pushy!!! Crikey.
(view spoiler)[I thought the idea was interesting, and fresh. Reed was expelled from her previous school, an OTT religious one, because someone told the principal she was gay. She thinks it was her former friend Roger, who is gay himself, but guess what nope... we find out near the end that it was her dad! UM WHAT. I mean he wanted her out of the school and knew she wouldn't go on her own... but still. Madness. Anyway, eventually the expulsion story gets out at Reed's new school, so everyone there thinks she's gay... and that that's really cool. She's thrust into the spotlight and Jett uses her because Reed is now her token lesbian.
Reed just goes along with it, because she has a crush on Mason, who has a very possessive girlfriend. So if everyone thinks she's gay, it's totally a pass to hang out with him and his girlfriend can't get jealous!
Clearly the shit eventually hits the fan, but there is a happy ending for Reed and Mason, of course.
I liked the idea. I liked that in a normal school, the gay kid is seen as "cool". I'm reading a lot of mixed reviews for this book and yes, sadly in a lot of places someone being gay would not be "cool" - for example Reed's previous school! - but that's not to say that that is the only reality, you know? While there are a lot of jerks out there like Tungsten (best name ever btw) there are also a lot of people like Ginger, who think it's cool to be different and respect someone who won't hide a part of themselves (er, even if it is a lie...), and like Hannah, who don't see it as anything worth noting either way. Such a school group might not be everyone' experience, but I think it's perfectly realistic. (hide spoiler)] ["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>...more
I liked this, it was short and quick - just one mission in the life of a teen spy. It's a lot darker and grittier than I expected; things aren't descrI liked this, it was short and quick - just one mission in the life of a teen spy. It's a lot darker and grittier than I expected; things aren't described in huge detail but Kendra is held and tortured, a man is killed in front of her, and so on. Interesting idea too, that she was plucked from an orphanage and raised to be a spy from a young age - very true that nobody is going to look twice at the work experience kid!
(view spoiler)[I love how once she managed to escape, she made it to the safe house without any further drama. Sometimes you just need someone to actually get ahead for once! I just find it frustrating at times when everything that can go wrong, does, and the odds are stacked against the main character - so I welcomed her "easy" flight to safety. (hide spoiler)]["br"]>["br"]>...more
Sometimes you just need a nice, quick read, and this fitted the bill perfectly. Holly's in a wheelchair and her mother hires Kate to act as her companSometimes you just need a nice, quick read, and this fitted the bill perfectly. Holly's in a wheelchair and her mother hires Kate to act as her companion/helper for the summer. They live beside a riding school where Holly's mother works, which is a nightmare for Kate who was wrongly accused of allowing a horse to die at her previous stable. So she pretends she's scared of horses and refuses to go near them, but of course it all comes out when she needs to get help quickly for an injured rider, and by horse is quicker than by foot.
There's a wonderfully horrible villain by the name of Angela, who is hell-bent on winning at all costs and tries every trick in the book to keep Kate from joining their competition team - from blackmail to sabotage: of her stall (losing her cleanliness points), of the cross-country route (removing markers to get Kate lost) and even of Kate's saddle (causing her to lose a stirrup mid-jump).
It's all very fun and Saddle Club-esque, I wouldn't mind reading more in the series. Angela needs to get her comeuppance one day! (view spoiler)[I was surprised when she and Kate were the top two riders - I thought it would be Kate and the boy from Larchwood (Adam? I can't remember now). Very sad outcome where Kate withdrew from the last round to let Angela take first place, because she was wrongly concerned that Angela's mother might make Holly's mother lose her job.) (hide spoiler)]["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>...more
Very likeable and interesting, and I enjoyed the theme of conservation in a magical setting. When I started reading for some reason I was imagining thVery likeable and interesting, and I enjoyed the theme of conservation in a magical setting. When I started reading for some reason I was imagining the fairies to be like bees - fairy keeper, bee keeper, fairy nectar, honey!
I really liked Sierra. She was willing to throw anyone and everyone under the bus to save her sister Phoebe, and at times she was downright bitchy to Nell without cause! I liked that she wasn't "perfect", but nor was she overly flawed - she was just realistic.
For some reason I enjoyed the first half of this more than the second - I was loving the quest the three were on, and then it felt like something changed a bit once they joined with Micah, the faun. Not sure what though! They were still in a hurry of course, but it felt as though the pace slowed down almost....more
I had to finish this book super fast because for my entire time reading it I had the song Paradise City stuck in my head! I feel like the sequel (viewI had to finish this book super fast because for my entire time reading it I had the song Paradise City stuck in my head! I feel like the sequel (view spoiler)[BLOODY HELL THAT CLIFFHANGER (hide spoiler)] ought to be called Funky Town, hah.
Anyway. It was in actual fact a very quick read, and I really enjoyed it, although my one gripe is that Lexie's first week in the city just seemed to be TOO full and rushed... like all this stuff happens and it feels like she must surely have been there for a while but then you're reminded that her one week of detention was her first week of school and what. I'm not sure I'm buying all the things happening within her first five school days! At least after that the time passed a bit and it fell into a more normal pattern.
(view spoiler)[I thought the whole 'Boon reading Laura's fake diary that she'd planted on purpose for him to read' plot was a bit odd, but okay. (hide spoiler)]
I really enjoyed Amanda, going from bitch to friend to bitch to friend... and the Wipe Out bar totally made me think of the Espy!
This is definitely not just YA, it's a bit too R-rated for that ;)["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>...more