Crescendo was my top "must read, can't wait for book of 2010" so you may want to take my review with a grain of salt...I had super high expectations,...moreCrescendo was my top "must read, can't wait for book of 2010" so you may want to take my review with a grain of salt...I had super high expectations, last year I fell in love with Hush, Hush (click for review).
In Crescendo, Nora and Patch are together, and her crazy side-kick Vee is dating...Patch's best bud Rixon. Sounds great right? Wrong. This book is filled with new characters & many twists and turns as Nora comes closer to understanding who she is and what happened the night her dad was murdered.
Nora's character is much stronger in this book, she is not as dependant on Vee to do everything for her. Vee, whose fun/silly/crazy antics in Hush, Hush had me wishing I had a friend like that, just came off as annoying and way too anti-Patch in Crescendo. Add to this, the connection between Patch & Nora being strained for most of the book. I must say I really missed the Patch I loved in Hush, Hush!
Crescendo gives us insight into Nora's background, why her dad was murdered and we are told of a trouble that is brewing. Besides the introduction to a secret society, it was really only the last 50 or so pages that finally sucked me in. I'm not sure of the correct way to put this, but it seems to suffer the Curse of the Trilogy...I would suggest reading this book knowing you will get some answers, be left with more questions (a cliff hanger ending, of course!) & consider it a bridge book to get us to the guts of the story in the next book.
It is 1914 and Prince Aleksander's parents have just been murdered. His father had planned for such an event & the necessary steps where put into...moreIt is 1914 and Prince Aleksander's parents have just been murdered. His father had planned for such an event & the necessary steps where put into motion. Now Alek was on the run & not sure who to trust. Deryn Sharp was a tomboy of sorts who loved Ballooning with her dad. With the help of her brother & a disguise (remember this is 1914, no girls allowed), she tries out for the British Air Service. By chance, thanks to a storm, she joins the crew of the Leviathan, a whale airship. Ironically for such caring people, it is war that brings together Alek & Deryn's two completely different 'worlds'.
This first book of a trilogy is full of action, easily devoured. Scott Westerfeld paints an amazing alternate world drawing from the origins of World War I. In this world, countries are divided into Clankers (who create machines that mimick animals) and Darwinists (where biology is key, they create new creatures). Alek is a Clanker, Deryn is a Darwinist and both carry secrets. One person's secret is revealed to a few, the other remains untold... I can't wait for it to be discovered. Once that comes into play, I can see the characters taking on a bigger role. In this story, I think Alek & Deryn took the backseat with action as the focus - or maybe I was just in awe at the machines & animals?
I can't help but say how much I loved the art work, it added so much more to the reading experience. I am still in awe at the Leviathan on page 70, what an awesome creature. This was my first "steampunk" read & wow, I loved it! (less)
Jem has a unique ability - when she seems someone's face, she see's numbers. Their death date, to be exact. She's lived a rough life, no Dad & a d...moreJem has a unique ability - when she seems someone's face, she see's numbers. Their death date, to be exact. She's lived a rough life, no Dad & a drug addicted mom who accidentally dies of an overdose, leaving her an orphan. She's been around the block, no one seems to understand her, until she meets Spider, a school mate who slowly becomes more. A trip to London changes their lives forever as Jem see's today's date on multiple faces, causing her to think there is going to be a tragic accident and them to flee. She was right, but now news reports say police are looking for two witnesses who fled the scene just before the blast. Having no faith in the system and thinking they are going to take the blame, Jem and Spider decide it's best to run away and start fresh.
I loved the premise of this. I'm a huge numbers geek in real life, but sadly this story didn't focus on that aspect. The beauty in the story is not Jem's numbers ability (as I had hoped for), it is watching two people who feel they have nothing to lose, find each other. The character development in Jem is heartwarming. Even knowing Spiders death date, she is finally able to feel love for someone and sees good in the others around her. Spider, on the other hand, doesn't make it as far but you see some passion as he falls for Jem.
The storyline was unique and had me guessing how it would play out. The moral dilemma appears a number of times (if you know someone's death date, should you tell?) but really this story was about Jem & Spider just struggling to survive. I did have to giggle though as the book takes place in 2009 with an epilogue 5 yrs later. For 5 yrs it seems that we get a glimpse into the future - which makes me wonder why they didn't write this in 2004 with a 2009 epilogue?(less)
A frightened shiver rushed through my body. Part of me wanted to climb back into my room and l...moreRecommended for: paranormal romance lovers
A frightened shiver rushed through my body. Part of me wanted to climb back into my room and lock the window. But most of me wanted to take him in my arms and run away from everyone and everything. (pg 182)
My rating: 5 /5
It's been three years since Grace Divine last saw Daniel. Daniel lived next door, was her brother, Jude's, best friend and was taken in by the Divine's when his abusive father took off. But something happened between Daniel & Jude; Daniel disappeared and the family refuses to talk about it or him. Then out of the blue, Daniel returns & Grace wants to be friends again or at least lend him some help. Unfortunately Jude wants her as far away from Daniel as possible. While the subject is off limits with her family, Grace has always wondered what happened to cause such a drastic shift.
This is not just your typical "good girl falls for bad boy" story. Grace is not a weak character. Her major flaw is innocence but she makes up for it with being stubborn yet open-minded when necessary. You can't help but feel for Daniel and what he had to endure growing up. He is fighting to prove he's better than where he came from. Throughout the book, I really felt the characters' emotions & was deeply drawn into the amazing story Bree created. Although much is wrapped up plot-wise & there's a satisfying ending, you can't help but wonder what happens next and it's easy to see that Bree has so much more in store for these characters. I'm really hoping for a sequel, can you tell?!
I know it's early in the game, but I think it's safe to say this is going to end up being a top 10 read for 2010. Yay, Bree on writing such an awesome debut!
Cassie has lived with her Nan since she was two, after her parents passed away. She has seen a glow around people ever since she can remember but neve...moreCassie has lived with her Nan since she was two, after her parents passed away. She has seen a glow around people ever since she can remember but never really paid too much attention. Now at age 16, she thinks she's figured out what it means and follows a man on the street. Sadly her theory is proven correct...those with the glow die that day. After Nan dies, she is sent to live with an Aunt she has never known. It is here that she starts to question her gift.
The premise of this book caught my attention...what would you do if you knew someone was about to die? Would you warn them? Would you do what you could to try and stop it? I love how Jen seamlessly incorporated the philosophical aspect into the book, having Cassie explore the moral aspects through attend college philosophy classes and through the relationship with her TA, Lucas.
Cassie was a likeable character, very mature for her age and handles her gift way better then I think would at *cough* twice her age. Although the gift seems depressing by predicting death, the story is anything but. It's the story of a girl, trying to understand her past, and deciding what to do with the cards she's been dealt.
Now the ending, well it left a lot open but I was happy to see on Jen's blog that there is a sequel in the works :) I hope to see more of Jack, the friend back home who seems to really 'get' her. An amazing debut that I would highly recommend everyone check out.(less)
Whether you are a parent or not, this book is a great reference book to have handy. Answers to almost 800 different questions are provided in a very s...moreWhether you are a parent or not, this book is a great reference book to have handy. Answers to almost 800 different questions are provided in a very simple manner. The book itself is beautiful, almost every other page contains a colourful picture on thick, glossy paper. I'm still in awe as I flip through the book.
The book is broken down into 10 sections:
Outer Space Planet Earth & Our Moon Creatures Big & Small Plant Life People Around the World Politics & Government How Things Work Math, Measurement & Time All About My Body Daily Life
As soon as the book arrived, both my husband and 7 yr old son grabbed it & started flipping through it. It was really fun watching them point to the different topics & learning new things together. For instance, many of us know that you can tell the age of a tree by counting the rings BUT did you know that the thickness of the rings also tell scientists what the climate was like that year (ie. thick rings means there was plenty of rainfall)? It seems common sense to me now that I know, but this was not something I had thought of before!
Here are a few examples of questions in the book that I've been asked or expect to be asked one day:
Why is the sky blue? What is a fossil? Why do flies like cow plop? How did my life begin?
I know my son will start asking me tougher questions & I am so happy to have a quick guide (other than Google) to help me! Some answers I already know (i.e why do zebras have stripes? camouflage) but thankfully the books adds more details then just my one word answer. I recommend this book for everyone as I think it's such a fun, fact filled book covering basic topics everyone should know.
The story of Cleopatra & Marc Antony has been told over and over again in books, plays etc., but what happened to their three surviving children?...moreThe story of Cleopatra & Marc Antony has been told over and over again in books, plays etc., but what happened to their three surviving children? Narrated by Selene, Cleopatra's Daughter tells us the lesser know story of Selene, her twin brother Alexander & younger brother Ptolemy. After Egypt is conquered by Octavian, the Emporer of Rome, and their parents commit suicide, the three children are taken prisoner and set sail for a new life in Rome with Octavian's sister, Octavia.
Selene was such a strong character. She was not your typical girl, more of a tomboy who had a love of architecture and like her mother and father, was not afraid to show compassion or take risks for what she thought was right. Through her eyes, we learn about the cultural differences between Egypt and Rome and class differences of the elite versus poor. The shared passion between Octavian's nephew, Marcellus, and Selene was beautiful to read and although you want them to be together, the path their relationship takes doesn't disappoint. Though the Red Eagle was not based on fact, I loved the addition of this character as it added such interesting facts about Roman life in that time. One can't help but root for the good guy and look for the clues in an attempt to find out just who this was.
I admire Michelle's ability to tell a story, making the characters felt so 'real' and the place so vivid that, over 2000 years later, I felt like I was there. (less)
Detective Alex Cross was at home celebrating his birthday with the family when the phone rings. His niece, Carolyn, whom sadly he had not seen in many...moreDetective Alex Cross was at home celebrating his birthday with the family when the phone rings. His niece, Carolyn, whom sadly he had not seen in many years, has been found murdered. Alex discovers the call-girl lifestyle Carolyn was living and pieces fall into place...she wasn't the only victim! What starts out as a hunt for Carolyn's murderer quickly turns into a hunt for a serial murderer with assistance from the Secret Service.
What I love about Patterson is ability to balance the thriller & family story aspects. Although not graphic, the story contains sex, violence, sexual violence...and a wood chipper. But alongside the murder investigation, we see Alex's family living a somewhat normal life. Nana is not well and this plays a huge role in the book. As a reader, it was comforting seeing the family support through the tough times and not just focusing on the bizarre case at hand.
I was a bit disappointed that the murderer was announced so quickly near the end. I was hoping to read a little bit more about the aftermath. Did the truth come out? What did the murderers wife say/do? I am a huge fan of happy endings though and the epilogue worked for me.
Although this is the sixteenth book of the Alex Cross series, it can be easily read as a standalone. (less)