Short & Sweet: Ninth Ward tells an amazing story of a girl who struggles through Hurricane Katrina. Lanesha is a character that has love in her li...moreShort & Sweet: Ninth Ward tells an amazing story of a girl who struggles through Hurricane Katrina. Lanesha is a character that has love in her life through Mama Ya-Ya, who helps her remain strong through being abnormal. She also is smart with math and finds that it will help her survive after the hurricane has passed. Lanesha's personality and perseverance makes her a wonderful character that the reader can admire. Ninth Ward would be a great introduction to the topic of Hurricane Katrina and other natural disasters, giving the reader a firsthand view of how traumatic the storm was.
Final Verdict: Ninth Ward has many themes that can be explored, such as children living with guardians who are not family, the importance of friendship, and survival. This novel is definitely a must-have for any intermediate or middle school library. (less)
Plot: I have never actually read A Wrinkle in Time, even though it my mom's favorite book. So as to comparing the graphic novel to the written novel,...more Plot: I have never actually read A Wrinkle in Time, even though it my mom's favorite book. So as to comparing the graphic novel to the written novel, I cannot say how accurate it was. It was a great story though and I was eager to see how long it was, almost 400 pages! I loved the pace of the story, the build up to the end of the novel. I think I will definitely have to read the actual novel now, as I really enjoyed the plotline in this graphic novel.
Characters: I can see why many girls love this book. Meg is a wonderful character, a flawed character that has to find her inner strength. She's not perfect, which is the most appealing thing about her. She has trouble fitting in, even to her own family and she must figure out how to pull it all together by the end of the book. I love Charles, the kid brainiac who is outlandish and overly insightful for his age. And always with the witches in threes, Mrs Who, Whatsit and Which. Reminds me of the fates quite a bit, each with their own talent and foresight to help guide Meg on her journey.
Graphics: I really loved the graphics. The illustrations are brilliant and the characters done in a way that really shows who they are. Although my favorites are usually full color, this graphic novel uses blue to tone the illustrations in a way I love. It reminds me of Babymouse in that sense, using only one color besides black and white.
Final Verdict: I can't compare it to the original, but I felt the fullness of this story in graphic novel format and absolutely loved it. You will fall in love with this book if you read it. (less)
First Impression: I love Lisa Graff's books and she's constantly nominated for our state children's choice awards. I was looking forward to reading so...moreFirst Impression: I love Lisa Graff's books and she's constantly nominated for our state children's choice awards. I was looking forward to reading something by her that involved a bit more fantasy twisted into the plot.
While Reading: I found myself drawn into the mystery behind the various characters and how they all interconnected throughout the story. Graff weaves a tale about a world where some people have talents, but they can be anything from spitting to levitating and even to baking cakes. Cady has the talent of cake baking and throughout the book are recipes for the different cakes she makes. She seems to sense which cake the people around her would like best, except for the man who has adopted her.
I love the way the points of view change from chapter to chapter, getting a glimpse of what is happening with each character, even the villain of the tale. The way the story unraveled as parts of the mystery were revealed really kept my attention throughout the novel. A Tangle of Knots is a quick read with a great story line and interesting characters. I love the way you are pulled into the lives of everyone this story touches and there are many touching moments.
Final Verdict: Definitely a solid middle grade novel that has a balance of fantasy elements with a moving story and lots of mystery to be solved. This book has characters any reader can relate to as well, making it a great read for anyone who picks it up. (less)
I had heard of Amber House before, but randomly downloaded it from Audible when they were having a 2 for 1 sale. The narration was well done and I fel...moreI had heard of Amber House before, but randomly downloaded it from Audible when they were having a 2 for 1 sale. The narration was well done and I felt myself pulled into the story. I was slightly disappointed when there wasn’t really any ghosts or hauntings, just visions from the past. Also, the two love interests were fairly similar in that I liked them both for different reasons. We had the usual brooding in Jackson, the mixed heritage boy whose family is tied to Amber House from back when they were slaves. Richard is the good-looking son of a senator and is rich and seems really interested in Sarah. I kept waiting for him to pull something on her, but even the scene where he messes up it still paints him a kind light. What I love most is that Sarah loves her little brother Sam, who is autistic and she loves his strange tendencies and embraces him often and plays with him when he asks her to. Their mother is a piece of work and makes Sarah feel less than she is at times with her flippant attitude. Beyond that, the visions in a different time that come to Sarah messed with the story quite a bit and wasn’t as cleanly executed as I would have liked.
A story that pulls in more than just romance, but the importance of family and a haunting history that brings them all together.(less)
You can call me morbid, but my favorite fairy tale of all time is the various Bluebeard tales. I have read the Grimm version several times and love wh...moreYou can call me morbid, but my favorite fairy tale of all time is the various Bluebeard tales. I have read the Grimm version several times and love when I find a novel rendition of the tale. As I started reading this one, I simply fell in love with the setting and the characters. Sophia is an innocent girl who is taken in by her godfather after her own father passes. He's a rich man and she does not want for anything, but she is nervous about the fact that he is a widower several times over and is unsure of his intentions at times. Her innocence really shines through right away, thinking the best of him until he starts showing his anger.
Set in Mississippi during the late 1800s, Sophia comes from a family that abhors slavery and she is appalled by the way Bernard keeps and treats his slaves at times. I thought this put an interesting twist on the story, making Sophia uncomfortable and at times angers Bernard with her views. When she starts to learn more about his past wives, she becomes suspicious and finds that Bernard may be someone to fear after all. But his wealth could do her family good, so when he proposes marriage, she's not sure that she can refuse.
I really loved the way this story played out. Many characters within the story have more significance than I would have thought at first and Nickerson does a fantastic job of interweaving the side plots into the main story. I also love Bernard, a charismatic and beautiful man who knows that he will get what he wants in the end.
Final Verdict: A fantastic rendition of the Bluebeard tale, full of cleverness and passion that really draws the reader into the characters' world. (less)
A silly sort of story line. A vampire who wants to make the girl his bride but she resists. He likes her spunk and so on. Cute but not too enthralling...moreA silly sort of story line. A vampire who wants to make the girl his bride but she resists. He likes her spunk and so on. Cute but not too enthralling.(less)
First Impression: I picked this book up with really no idea of how much wonderful gore, insanity and well.. more insanity would ensue while reading th...more First Impression: I picked this book up with really no idea of how much wonderful gore, insanity and well.. more insanity would ensue while reading this book. I can't believe this book is more than 200 pages. It felt like I read it in an hour - as in it was the most enthralling crazy ride of a book I've read in a while.
While Reading: A Bad Day for Voodoo is fantastic. I don't know that I will be able to find the words to describe this. Here's a few phrases - a gang gunfight, homicidal family that makes human sacrifices, zombies, voodoo dolls that work way too well, and missing toes. You will find all of that in this book and then some. When I described this book to my husband, he stared at me in wonder and said "I could so see that as a movie, and I'm already casting it in my head."
You know what surprised me the most about this book? That Tyler had a girlfriend. I know, I'm strange right? Nitpicking on that, but this girl is smarter than him, cuter than him and even freaking takes a bullet for him and then tells him to leave her so he can save his own life. I loved all the characters in this book, but Kelley is the bravest most awesome character in this book.
Tyler is running around because his friend Adam has created a voodoo doll of Tyler to keep him from talking about what happened to their teacher. Like Tyler could say what really happened anyways, but Adam is crazy enough to think so. Unfortunately, on the way to get it reversed, his car gets jacked along with the doll. Obviously, this is where the gang fight, the zombies, and the homicidal family all come in because nothing is ever easy. So good. I could not put this book down. It was insane and fantastic and gorey in a good way.
Final Verdict: Definitely a book "for boys" but that girls will read, because we rock. A Bad Day for Voodoo is insanely fun and will keep readers hooked until the very last page. (less)
I seem to be in the mood for ghost stories lately, according to what I've been reading the past couple of months. I picked up The Dead and Buried and...moreI seem to be in the mood for ghost stories lately, according to what I've been reading the past couple of months. I picked up The Dead and Buried and assumed it was a ghost story and was glad to be correct. Jade is a teenage girl who has to worry about dealing with moving to a new school and a crabby stepmother who she can't seem to get along with. So when her little brother starts seeing the ghost of a girl who died in their house, it just adds to her problems. Not only that, but this girl is not a nice ghost. She's willing to do anything to find out who killed her, even harming the small boy who can see her.
Jade must cozy up to some of the popular kids at school to figure out who had it out for Kayla, a girl who was popular but cruel at times. I really liked the pace of the mystery, full of suspects and motives. I was really hoping throughout the book that it wasn't Donovan, as sparks start to fly between him and Jade. It definitely was a surprise ending and not one you see coming until all the clues pull together. I liked that there were hints hidden throughout the book that really pulled the story together at the end.
Final Verdict: Definitely a spooky mystery story that really had me on edge throughout the book. I liked the way the book was written and how the story played out. I recommend it for those who like a good mystery with a side of danger. (less)
Short & Sweet: This retelling of Peter Pan is quite interesting. Wendy is a lightbringer, a human that can see ghosts and helps them move on to wh...moreShort & Sweet: This retelling of Peter Pan is quite interesting. Wendy is a lightbringer, a human that can see ghosts and helps them move on to where they belong. Piotr is the first Rider and helps the Lost, the children ghosts who are stuck in the in-between. When they first meet is the first time Wendy sees a ghost, after a car crash in which her best friend Eddie lost his father. When she sees him years later, he does not remember her. Together they must figure out who is gathering the soul eating ghosts of the world to do her bidding. Yet, Piotr does not know that she is a lightbringer, a scary thing to him, that takes the ghosts away forever. Wendy herself is on a mission to find her mother's soul, which is lost in the ghost world as her body lays comatose. I found this one to be quite a complex tale that really drew you in. I hope that the sequel will be coming soon as it left on a bit of an unclosed ending.
Final Verdict: If you want to see a kick butt Wendy, read this one. If you like paranormal, read this one. It might not be for everyone, but it was a good read for me.
Short & Sweet: I am completely amazed by this book. It's more than just a dystopian novel, it's a well-crafted story told by two characters that a...moreShort & Sweet: I am completely amazed by this book. It's more than just a dystopian novel, it's a well-crafted story told by two characters that are in almost opposite positions. Day is a known criminal to the Republic, but he is doing it to help his family and he never kills someone. June is a prodigy in the military, having scored a perfect score on her exam. When June's brother is murdered, she goes after Day and finds there is more to him than the criminal she has grown to hate. In fact, the truths he knows about the Republic and the military may just change her life forever. I had to make excuses to listen to the audiobook. I cleaned more because I was just so enthralled by this story. I loved both characters and couldn't wait to see how everything would turn out. The plot kept you going and writing from their different viewpoints gave more insight as to what was really going on in the Republic. A twisty type of plot that gives you a little and makes you wonder as the characters do about what really happened.
Final Verdict: A great story and start to a new series. I cannot wait to find out what happens next. (less)
First Impression: I absolutely fell in love with Ruby Red when it came out and was dying for the sequel. To no surprise, I found myself once again pull...moreFirst Impression: I absolutely fell in love with Ruby Red when it came out and was dying for the sequel. To no surprise, I found myself once again pulled into the story.
While Reading: Sapphire Blue takes off just shortly after the first novel. Gwen is struggling with her feelings for Giddeon and trying to figure out what her role will play in the future (or rather the past). Being kept in the dark, literally blindfolded so she cannot see where certain rooms are in the Society, is not helping her attitude and adjustment to her new life. I love that while the love story is important, there is so much more at stake for both Gwen and Giddeon and together they must figure out what really will happen next. The love story is intricately woven throughout the main plot, which at this point is too complicated to really explain to a reader who has not read the first novel.
I felt like Sapphire Blue was a solid middle novel, with lots of action, kissing and pulling the plot forward while adding more loops within. Gwen is not trusted at all with much of any of the secrets and you can tell it's a bit of a chauvinistic society that she is dealing with. Giddeon really muddles things for Gwen when she realizes that he too may be playing games with her and she begins to feel she cannot trust anyone because they do not trust her. I'll be interested to see how this attitude carries into the next novel and hopefully all plots will align and questions will be answered.
Final Verdict: Overall, I absolutely love Gier's writing and how she keeps me turning the page. Even the love story is twisty enough but also not overdone to the point of groaning. I absolutely cannot wait for the next installment, but alas, I will have to (unless I learn to read German...). (less)
First Impression: I absolutely love the cadence of Valente's writing and fell in love with Fairyland in the first book. It was a no-brainer to read a...more First Impression: I absolutely love the cadence of Valente's writing and fell in love with Fairyland in the first book. It was a no-brainer to read a sequel about magical Fairyland.
While Reading: The first thing I love about this book is the marvelous chapter headings that so remind me of olden tales. The pictures within the novel are superb and magical, showing a real image into what the creatures September meets really look like. I just love how September has changed since the last book and how the narrator describes the difference between a child and a young woman.
The thrilling adventures in this novel have just the right amount of magic to them, they are darker but not dark enough to merit fear from the reader. I must say I love the use of libraries throughout these books, making them more magical of places than they already are. Beyond that, the writing is so beautiful and cunning in word-use that I found myself slowing down for once and reading carefully. I admit to being a bit of a speed-reader, always cutting out parts that bore me. Valente does a marvelous job of describing setting without boring the reader, instead she uses it to entice them.
Final Verdict: A solid sequel and a beautifully written and drawn novel that I cannot help but compare to Alice in Wonderland and stories of the like. (less)
In The Raven Boys, Blue is from a family of clairvoyants but she herself only inherited being able to amplify the others powers. When she was young,...more In The Raven Boys, Blue is from a family of clairvoyants but she herself only inherited being able to amplify the others powers. When she was young, a prediction was made about her true love, that if she kissed him, he would die. Every since then, she's sworn off dating, boys and any thoughts of true love. When she stands on Saint Mark's Road, she sees visions of those who are going to die, as they do every year on St. Mark's night. One intrigues her, the image of a boy who is still in high school, taken before his time and he is a Raven boy, one of the boys that attends the private, elite school near her.
When she is working as a waitress, she sees the boy Gansey, who approaches her about his friend Adam who seems to like her. Blue takes it the wrong way and starts a rocky relationship with the boys. Gansey has his own story and is searching out ley lines, which brings him to Blue's house to talk to her mother.
Finding herself drawn to Gansey and the mystery behind him, Blue becomes more engrossed in the mystery of everything that is going on. Stiefvater does an amazing job of twisting plot lines together and pulling together characters. The characters are layered and full of life and I'm impressed by her books every time I pick one up.
I'm not sure where the relationships are going in this series as there is so much implied between Gansey and Blue, but Adam is truly her love interest. I fell in love with Adam myself, who is a scholarship student and has a rough home life but is strong enough to know he cannot be dependent on Gansey. The relationship between Gansey and Adam intrigues me the most as he wants to be the solution for every problem that he comes across which comes into play a lot between these two boys.
I think the sideplots of the boys really lent itself to the story, giving us a true insight to each of them and how imperfect they are. Even Gansey, who always seems the perfect everything has his moments and you can tell he has a front up almost all of the time. The novel really picks up at the end, where I could not put it down as events I did not see coming push themselves to the main plot and all of the buildup finally fits together.
Final Verdict: The Raven Boys is the first in a series that I cannot wait to more of and I hope the next book is just as good as the first one. I recommend The Raven Boys for fans of magic, mystery and dynamic characters.(less)