A fun fantasy for older Elementary and middle schoolers. Giannine goes to an arcade specializing in virtual reality and begins to play a medieval roleA fun fantasy for older Elementary and middle schoolers. Giannine goes to an arcade specializing in virtual reality and begins to play a medieval roleplaying game. When the center is disrupted by protesters and her console is damaged, the clock starts ticking. She has an endless number of lives, but only a few hours in real time before her brain will be permanently damaged.
This book was so funny. I got about ten pages in before I told my 11 yo son he has to read it. The theme about how our choices affect how others will treat us was worked in naturally, and nicely done. ...more
Cassia has risked her citizen status and all the benefits- a long life, perfect health, a good job and a match with her best friend, Xander- to find KCassia has risked her citizen status and all the benefits- a long life, perfect health, a good job and a match with her best friend, Xander- to find Ky in the Outer Provinces. But when she finally gets there, he's just escaped into the borderlands and she can only follow the clues he's left behind.
I liked Crossed, and I think readers of Dashner's "The Maze" and Westerfeld's Uglies series will find plenty to keep them happy. However, Crossed didn't blow my socks off, and I've been trying to figure out why. The writing is good and the characters are vibrant, the setting is amazing, and everything is in place to transport the reader.
My best guess is that it's because the author flinched. There were a lot of potential conflicts that were avoided- the traders/farmers were gone when he and Cassia and their friends got there, so there was no problem with them rifling through their valuable papers and taking what they wanted. The closest the Society came to hurting them was dropping poison into the river, which killed a bunch of fish, but didn't actually hurt any people. A side character dies, but Ky and Cassia never seem to be in danger, except from dehydration. On paper, the stakes are high, but it always feels distant, even when the bullets are flying around the characters.
I loved Ky's POV. I love Cassia's determination. I liked the secret we learn about Xander, and I wonder how Cassia will feel when she finds out. Love triangles are hard to pull off without seeming cliche, but Xander and Ky are very different people and I can understand how Cassia could have feelings for either of them. I guess we'll find out who she chooses next year! I'll definitely read the conclusion!
Thanks to Around the World ARC tours for the chance to read Crossed! ...more
I've read a few steampunk books- The Leviathan series by Scott Westerfeld and Soulless by Gail Carringer- and now one for YA. Very enjoyable book, butI've read a few steampunk books- The Leviathan series by Scott Westerfeld and Soulless by Gail Carringer- and now one for YA. Very enjoyable book, but as with other reviewers, I found some of the minor characters a bit flat. The number of POV characters didn't bother me so much, but I realized I skimmed over the ones that weren't as important to Nora and her story (there were 5 POVs). The most important parts of the book- the romance and the world building were excellent, though. Lots of fun dialogue as well.
Nora Dearly has been in mourning for her father for the last year, and in New Victoria, that means wearing black and not going to parties. When she returns home from her finishing school after the term, she is attacked by the Greys, a zombie army that the government has been keeping out of the holo-news for years. She fights her way to the roof, where she meets another undead army, led by the not-entirely-dapper Captain Bram Griswold. She is rescued, but can't trust her rescuers, though these zombies retain their senses and their intellect, unlike the undead horde. Bram is as charming undead as he was alive, and Nora comes to trust him and to overcome her fear of his medical condition as they work together to stop the horde from destroying her home city and everyone she loves.
Okay, this was a really fun read. I will admit that the zombie thing is kind of confusing to me- isn't necrophilia gross to anyone else in this world?! But when I was reading it, I understood why Nora fell in love with Bram, and vice versa. It's juat when I stop and think about it that it's a problem.
Content-wise, there is some fighting, legs falling off, hands falling off, eyes being removed so they won't get lost during a fight, and all sorts of gross zombie body problems. There is some drinking and smoking, but in the main, the undead are very concerned about taking care of their bodies. A sweet romance, but there is some innuendo. And, um, zombies can't exactly perform, so there's no sex. I don't want to read the bedroom scenes, but it's hard for me to believe that a young woman would settle for a romance where there wasn't some chance for a physical relationship in the future. If vampires couldn't have sex, I have no doubt that Bella would have wished Edward good luck, but goodbye. :)
Anyhow, fun read, I really liked it. I'll read the next one when it comes out. Thanks to Around the World ARC Tours for the chance to preview this book. This book was released on Oct 18th. Happy Reading!...more
Not my first book by Ms. Steifvater, but my favorite because of the strong characters and a setting both wild and beautiful. One of my top 3 books thiNot my first book by Ms. Steifvater, but my favorite because of the strong characters and a setting both wild and beautiful. One of my top 3 books this year, one of those rare YA books that doesn't feel trope-y.
Sean has raced - and won- the deadly horse races on the Island of Thisby for four years on the back of his sea horse, Corr. Corr is his heart, his future and his only love, but Corr has killed before, and Sean can never forget it. It's an uneasy truce, to say the least, but Sean hopes that if he wins the race this year, he will be able to buy Corr and gain independence from the horse breeder who seems to regard Sean as a possession right along with the horses.
Puck Connolly, sometimes called Kate, is desperate. Her parents are a year dead and she and her brothers struggle to hang on the their house and fill their bellies. When her older brother announces that he's abandoning them for work on the mainland, she enters the Scorpio races as the first girl to enter, on a pony named Dove, to boot. The islanders are sure she'll be dead on the wave-thrashed beach before the race even begins. For the sea horses, the Capaill Uisce, feed on flesh and will pull a rider under the waves if given the smallest opening.
Sean is a quiet young man, serious and strong-willed. I loved his gentle understanding of the horses and the way he and Puck grew to understand each other, then to love each other.
I loved the island, the water horses, the religious traditions from pagan to Christianity, the beautifully complex characters. Ms. Stiefvater created a story that I cared deeply about and was sorry to finish. It read like a standalone, but I'd be delighted if their were more to this story.
Content-wise, there is a lot of pub-going, some drunkenness. There are several bloody deaths and some fighting. There are a few kisses. I'd think that 13 and up could handle it.
Many thanks to Around the World ARC tours for giving me the chance to read the ARC:) ...more
A lot of you have read Laini Taylor, so you already know how amazing she is. This review is not for you. You're already hounding the clerks at BarnesA lot of you have read Laini Taylor, so you already know how amazing she is. This review is not for you. You're already hounding the clerks at Barnes and Noble, asking if the shipment has arrived, right? No? You must be checking your mailbox *again*.
I've read all of Laini Taylor's books- "Lips Touch, Three Times, "Blackbringer" and "Silksinger" from the Faeries of Dreamdark Series. I loved them all (though the Faeries of Dreamdark are written for a younger MG crowd) because of the beautiful writing, the creativity of the ideas, the twists and turns in the plot and the revelation after revelation of the characters' histories. Delicious.
In Daughter of Smoke and Bone, you have my perfect book. Except for the cover, which doesn't evoke any of the feeling of the book and is rather bland, I think. The mask is from a scene in the novel, so it's not totally crazy or anything, I just don't think it does justice to the story. Don't be fooled!
Karou is an art student in Prague, who claims with a wry smile that her hair comes out of her head peacock blue, that the half-beast, half-human figures in her drawing notebook are real. She's discovered that the truth, delivered with that teasing smile, will hide the truth better than a hundred lies. Because nobody hangs out with monsters and devils. They don't even exist, right?
But they do. Brimstone, a devilish creature part ram, human and something reptilian that Karou likes to think of as dragon, is the nearest thing she has to a family. In fact, her earliest memory is of playing with the tuft of his tail. But there's so much Brimstone won't tell her: where Karou came from, what Brimstone uses the teeth Karou gathers for, or what lies behind the locked door in his workroom. When she asks too many questions, she's patted on the head and shown back to the door that leads to her world, the human world, and returned there until the next time Brimstone hears of teeth for her to collect.
But one day Karou finds a handprint burned in that door, and the war that she wasn't told about is suddenly all too real when an angel holds a sword, ready to swing it at her neck. She fights and keeps her life, but she can't stop drawing the fearsome angel with the dead, burning-ember eyes. And she can't shake the feeling that she could make him smile.
I love this book.
Content: The characters are not perfect people. Um, most of them aren't actually people, anyway, but you know what I mean. The book opens with Karou regretting the closeness she shared with an exboyfriend. The monsters nor the angels have much use for chastity as an end, but they do believe in being true to their hearts. Brimstone warns Karou against taking inessential things into her body- ink, drugs, alcohol, and especially warns her against "inessential penises." It's not a lewd book, but neither are the characters saints. I'm not sure that I would hand Lips Touch or Daughter of Smoke and Bones to a young teen, but a major theme of the book is to wait for true love, and the power of hope that such love brings. Which message I really liked and appreciated.
I will be buying this book (release date Sept 24, 2011), and thanks to Around the World ARC tours for giving me the chance to preview it. ...more
Tom's in the middle of a plague and he doesn't see the signs. Crazy, stupid thefts are occuring, Sudafed and ammonia are disappearing off the shelves.Tom's in the middle of a plague and he doesn't see the signs. Crazy, stupid thefts are occuring, Sudafed and ammonia are disappearing off the shelves. Nobody in Tom's hopeless PA coal town really cares except a group of kids in a drug counseling group.
I appreciated the parallels between the bubonic plague and meth use, and have put "Diary of a Plague Year" on my tbr list.
However...I found this book rather preachy and felt the characters existed mainly to highlight that meth is bad, very bad and you shouldn't try it, not even once. Which is a good message. Don't get me wrong.
I signed up for the book because I've seen meth user pictures and it's absolutely terrifying, but the book didn't quite tug my heartstrings.
Thanks to Around the World ARC tours for giving me the opportunity to read it! ...more
Tollins are sturdy magical creatures, similar to fairies but tough as house bricks, that live in gardens, unseen by adult humans. There are three shorTollins are sturdy magical creatures, similar to fairies but tough as house bricks, that live in gardens, unseen by adult humans. There are three short stories in this book, each building on the story of Sparkler, a Tollin who has the audacity to learn about the human world to improve his own. Cute and imaginative, I highly recommend for late elementary readers. Lots of dry humor, so I don't think early elementary would "get" it.
Here's a quote that nicely demonstrates the tone of this book-
"Some of the young Tillets were trying to make fairy-powered roller skates, but the fairies kept getting squashed. Later, when Sparkler looked back on those innocent days, with the little piles of flat fairies, it mad him sad. It had been a happy time."
I was prepared to love this book because the MC sews her own funky skirts, but it was just okay to me. Mainly bc the references to bodily fluids and sI was prepared to love this book because the MC sews her own funky skirts, but it was just okay to me. Mainly bc the references to bodily fluids and sexual acts grossed me out. And there was a lot of language. I ended up skipping through a few scenes, still reading bc I was in a book DESERT. Good characters, good writing, just too over the top with profanity and crudity for my tastes. I'm sure there will be many many readers who love this book, just a personal taste issue. The overall theme of eschewing "coolness" for friends that are fun and quirky really resonated, though. Also liked the message of intimacy being something to be cautious about because often it means something different to boys than it does to girls. ("I love you" vs. "This feels good") Good discussion on STDs, as well. And lastly, it didn't hurt the book that I played D&D a bit in college;)...more
Sadie Wynn is devastated when the dustbowl dries up her family's livelihood and they have to leave Missouri in the hopes that her dad will find a jobSadie Wynn is devastated when the dustbowl dries up her family's livelihood and they have to leave Missouri in the hopes that her dad will find a job on the coast of Texas. Her dad is a hard worker and a skilled carpenter, but it takes a while for people to stop staring at his polio-withered legs and see him as a person. As they rebuild their lives, Sadie must come to terms with the loss that her family--and the community of displaced persons that she's relucttantly become a part of--have endured.
This is one of the best historical fictions I've read, and my 10yo son loved it as well (he hasn't met a book he didn't like, though!) Sadie was so relatable, and themes of self-reliance, community, forgiveness, and the value of friendship made this one a real winner. If I were a teacher, I'd definately read it with my class. Hale manages to write about the depression without being depressing, and I loved it. ...more