I know this one has been around for a little while but I was compelled by the title to read it. I had my own summer when I turned pretty and I wantedI know this one has been around for a little while but I was compelled by the title to read it. I had my own summer when I turned pretty and I wanted to read about Belly's. Mine wasn't near as dramatic as hers. Belly, Steven and their mother had been going to Cousins beach to meet Conrad, Jeremiah, and Susannah at her beach house since before Belly had been born. And she'd had a crush on Conrad for about as long. He was of course the dark, moody, silent type. Jeremiah was the opposite and a buffer between the two of them. Every summer before, Belly had always been left out of things, it was always the three guys and her left alone because she was too young. But this year, things were different. She was almost sixteen and had turned into a girl instead of just Belly. Both boys noticed as soon as she got out of the car. But Conrad was even more unattainable this year and then Belly finds out that Susannah and Mr. Fisher, that's what she'd always called him, were getting a divorce. And she gets her first boyfriend and she can't understand Conrad's looks at her. Confessions are made, revelations are made and soon the summer is over.
This is a quick book to read somewhat lighthearted. But it deals with some heavy topics, divorce, and the death of a parent. So I can't really say light reading. But it doesn't dwell on the fact that a parent may die. It takes a positive stance and says maybe it won't happen and we'll be back here next year. The first chapter of the next book is in this book and reveals what happened. It will make you want to read what happens to Belly the next summer. I've already placed an order for it. I read this book for enjoyment and I was entertained. I was just as confused as Belly as to why Conrad was treating her the way he was. He seemed to flirt with her and then get a girlfriend just because she had a boyfriend. I had no idea what was going on with Susannah. I really loved letting my mind go and being that teenager again. And remembering my eternal crush. So I totally recommend this to anyone that wants to reminisce. There may have been some bad language, but that was about it....more
Chris Rylander knows how to write funny. I think humor is probably one of the hardest things to write, maybe because I'm not all that funny, but ChrisChris Rylander knows how to write funny. I think humor is probably one of the hardest things to write, maybe because I'm not all that funny, but Chris Rylander must be, because I was laughing all the way through The Fourth Stall, even when I was trying not to. Even my very hard to please kids (12 and 15) laughed at the lines I read out loud to them. And when I told them how Mac and Vince got their "office" in the bathroom in the fourth stall under the high window (I know it's a mouth full, but in a bathroom, isn't next to the window important?), they snickered a little. It had to do with a bottle of superglue, a toilet seat and the principal's extremely regular visits to that particular stall, but it's not exactly what you might think. There was a whole lot of glue involved and Mac and Vince had nothing to do with it. Anyway, you know I enjoy my middle grade fiction, but this one, was better than most of the YA I've been reading!
I was so tired of reading about angels and saw that The Fourth Stall II (the boys and I got a kick out of why they didn't call it number two, I do live with all boys, even the dogs I have to laugh at bathroom humor), was coming out in just a few days and I hadn't read it yet. So I figured I'd better read the first one. I could hardly put it down last night. I even picked it up before my morning coffee so I could finish the last few pages of it, it's that good.
As you can probably tell from the front of the book, Mac named for MacGuyver because he gets things done and Vince run a business somewhat like the Godfather. My husband noticed the resemblance. He doesn't read much and tunes out on book discussions. But if it's the Godfather he perks up. "Hey, that looks kind of like the Godfather," he says after I've been reading all day. "Yes, honey, because these two sixth graders have a business kind of like that, they get things done for kids and if the kids can't pay, they owe favors." "Wow that's a great idea for a kids book." "Yes, that's probably what the author thought when he wrote it." "So what happens?" "I don't know. As you can see, I'm still reading." "Oh, I'll let you finish. Tell me tomorrow. Anybody named Sonny?" "No!" So , yes Mac and Vince run a business during morning and afternoon recess and lunch in this very far away bathroom that no one uses. Mac has a desk and people come to him with their problems and he solves them. Vince keeps the books. And they have muscle at the door, Joe the biggest kid in the school who only lets one person in at a time and keeps the crowd low so it doesn't look suspicious . Mac and Vince are the biggest Cubs fans in history and they are saving to go to a World Series game. And this year looks like it could be their year. This was another fact my husband was interested in because he told me the Cubs were the worst team"in the history of the free world." When he tacks that phrase on, I know they must be pretty bad. Anyway, I figured, this is fiction so why couldn't the Cubs go to the World Series. I was keeping an open mind about the whole thing as I'm sure Cubs fans do every year!
Things are running smoothly until their worst problem in years comes in, a pint sized third grader who has been placing bets with the fabled Staples. Until that day, no one even knew that Staples was even real, he was just a rumor. Staples is sending The Collector after the third grader, Fred, and he's afraid of what The Collector might do to him. As Mac and Vince make plans to take down Staples who has infiltrated their school and therefore their business, they find they have a spy in their midst, a thief, they have to meet and work with the schools nine biggest bullies (reading about Kitten alone is worth the price of the books) and their World Series funds begin to dwindle. What ensues is a systematic take down of Mac and Vince's business and friendship and a backfiring and double cross of all the plans Mac makes to take Staples down. And as is always the case, the best laid plans of mice and men go awry and Mac has to step back and get his priorities straight before he loses everything.
The ending couldn't be more perfect and I wish I could tell you about it. But I don't want to spoil it. It is absolutely fabulous and not something I would have imagined in a million years but can picture with such clarity and I'm still laughing! The mental image is hilarious except for Kitten, I might have nightmares of him. There is a set up for the next book, kind of like the old detective movies something along a sixth graders version of, "I knew the dame was trouble the moment she walked in." And I'm getting ready to dive into The Fourth Stall (number two) Part II. (Barnes and Noble will never accept this review with that in there. I'll have to write a whole different review, but maybe that's for the best.) But it's my blog, and I can write my review, here, how I want it!
As I wrote in the beginning, the book is peppered with humor from Vince's crazy Grandma's sayings to the boys trying to trip each other up on Cubs trivia. Rylander's writing style is easy for any middle grader to read, though some of the subtle meanings may be harder for younger (8-9) readers to pick up on. It just depends on the reader. None of the situations are inappropriate for anyone in the MG age group. I loved the friendship that Mac and Vince had. They had been best friends since Kindergarten or even before, when Mac moved in to the trailer park where Vince lived. Vince is quirky, but Mac gets him and loves him, really, they love each other. They don't say it, but you know they do and they aren't afraid even to cry in front of each other. That's a true testament to a boy's friendship with another boy. And I loved that Rylander showed that even in 6th grade, it was okay to cry, because when you get the snot beat out of you, you might feel like crying. And during an emotional time, like when your Dad dies, you might also feel like crying, and your best bud says, hey it's okay and he doesn't think any less of you. That's what I hope kids will take away from this book when they read it. Kudos to Chris Rylander for and outstanding novel!!
The Chelseas and the Wynters are the last line of defense between humans and the paranormal creatures that roam the world seeking to overrun it. FromThe Chelseas and the Wynters are the last line of defense between humans and the paranormal creatures that roam the world seeking to overrun it. From the beginning of time, there have always been Wynters and Chelseas fighting against the evil forces in the world. But something is different in this generation. For the first time, a girl has been born to the Chelsea family. Amanda Chelsea. And this changes the game for everyone.
Amanda may be a Chelsea, but she's not allowed to be part of the legacy, the one that says the Wynters and the Chelseas fight against demons and half demons and rid the world of their presence. Jack, Amanda's brother, and the oldest of all of them, and Dustin and Trevor Wynter all are sworn to protect Amanda and keep her from fighting. So as the boys grow up learning about the different types of demons and how to kill them, Amanda is made to stay away from all of it.
Then to compound things, this generation of Wynters and Chelseas are given "gifts". Jack Chelsea can conjure anything from a gun to money. Amanda is an empath and with the volatile emotions of her brother, is left in pain more than protected by him. Dustin is telepathic and it's almost as hard on him as being an empath is to Amanda. For this reason, the two of them grow close. And Trevor, the youngest is precognitive and a bit of comic relief.
One night, Amanda breaks the rules and goes into the woods after the guys and ends up having to defend herself against a demon. She is forced to fight. When the guys catch up with her and find out, the tension and anger is palpable. The next day, their parents disappear.
The rest of the novel is in pursuit of finding their parents. It seems directly linked to that night. The guys still won't let Amanda hunt, yet she is right there beside them fighting, saving their butts one time but they never come right out and admit that she's fighting. So many secrets are kept.
Dustin and Amanda obviously have feelings for each other and it was a little tedious reading the back and forth. Amanda seemed to be a bit oblivious even to her own feelings to Dustin. Her brother wasn't happy about it as if it was any of his business. But they all make Amanda's personal life their business, whether it's appropriate or not.
Amanda for her part whines a bit about not being part of the legacy and how that's all she wants. But what she really wants is her parents' approval and love. Apparently they aren't real forthcoming with their feelings, but as an empath, she should have been able to feel what they felt about her.
The story line was incredible. Totally unsuspecting, it snuck up on me at the end and everything made sense. The last part of the novel was just numbing to read and realize what happened.
I truly enjoyed this novel. The writing was interesting and the characters were believable. I felt Dustin and Amanda were the most developed of the characters. Jack was always angry and Trevor was always wisecracking. Other than that, we didn't get to see into their minds very much. But I enjoyed getting to know Amanda and Dustin so well and I hope in the next book that their relationship actually develops. I'm definitely looking forward to reading The Sublimity.
This is a great book for anyone that loves YA paranormal. Heather ...more
This has been in the TBR for just a little while. But it's been on my wish list for a long time. I've read countless good reviews about it, but I wasThis has been in the TBR for just a little while. But it's been on my wish list for a long time. I've read countless good reviews about it, but I was a little afraid to read it. I'm not a Stephen King fan. Nothing personal Mr. King, but if your books give you nightmares, well, imagine what they do to me. But this wasn't that type of psychological thriller. Definitely a thriller and psychological, but there was more to it. Violet has this strange ability to hear, see, feel the echoes of the dead, that is the dead that were murdered be they animals or humans. She avoids cemeteries, hospitals and any one that carries a gun. Which makes having her uncle as Sherriff a little difficult. But she handles it. Her ability is kept secret, only her parents, her aunt and uncle and her best friend, Jay know about it. But it's kind of like the elephant in the room. It's there, but it isn't talked about. But Violet can also feel the echoes of the people that kill, whether they are murderers or soldiers or like her uncle, the Sheriff. She would also be able to identify the killer of the girls by his echoes or imprint from the girls.
And there is Jay. Jay and Violet have been best friends forever. But sometime over the summer, Jay stopped being a gawky teenage boy and got muscles and turned really cute. Or maybe Violet just noticed that he was. No, because all the girls at school are falling all over themselves to be with him. It isn't just Violet and she doesn't know what to do about it. She's in love with her best friend and she thinks he doesn't like her. He is very protective of her and despite his hints, Violet is a little dense about whether he likes her or not. That gets cleared up pretty easily at a party one night.
The story is told in third person POV but we are aware of Violet's thoughts and feelings. She sometimes answers people in her head and the quotes are italicized. I felt like I really knew Violet but I didn't understand why she was so insecure. She had this unique ability, did that make her feel worthless? I just didn't understand why it took so long for her to find certain things out. Now, being left alone, that was pure stupid. It was like watching the movies and saying, "Don't go in the basement." I think everyone that's read the book saw that one coming, but not everything after that.
Her parents definitely cared about her and her safety. They also worried about how using her ability would affect her emotionally. They were protective of her, something not often seen in YA novels. And Jay, we should all have a Jay when we are in high school. There would be a lot less therapists in the world with more Jays in the world. Talk about protective. He was a life saver.
Violet's friends stay true to their descriptions and lend great supporting roles. Violet's friend Chelsea is quick with the comebacks and snarky while their friend Claire reminds me of a wide eyed doe. Jules rounds out the crew, the female athlete. They are loyal to her assuring her about Jay when he chooses Lissie, the it girl, over Violet. Taking her shopping for Homecoming. Taking her to a party to get her mind off Jay. And for witty banter at the lunch table, daily. They're good for Violet, but none of their friendships can come close to what she and Jay have.
I couldn't find one thing wrong with this book except that the sequel isn't sitting in my hands right now. I liked the way the chapters started not right after the last one ended, but a little later in time or it was the serial killer's chapter. And I'm really glad the kidnapped girls didn't have chapters. The writing was simple and believable. I imagine a serial killer thinking the way the author wrote his mind working. And of course, having been a teenager, I totally found them believable. I was even able to resist skipping ahead to make sure my favorite characters survived because you really don't know. I'll leave it there. It's a great novel. It has suspense, romance, more psychological tension in it than any other novel I've read recently that I can think of for YA, but because of the content and the sexual tension it would be for at least the fourteen and up age group. Maybe even fifteen. There is a party with excessive drinking, violence, drugs and a guy forces his attentions on a character, but it's stopped before anything bad happens.
None of this is probably new to anyone as this has been on the market for a while and the sequel is coming out soon. But if you need a refresher on it, here it is. I loved it and I bet you did, too! ...more
I received this novel from Earthshaker books to review. I am not being paid to review it and my review is an honest review of the book. That being saiI received this novel from Earthshaker books to review. I am not being paid to review it and my review is an honest review of the book. That being said, I thought this was a great story! I don't know how realistic it was but it was easy to read broken down into small chapters and the story really was captivating. I'm a lover of history, prehistoric history included and though I'd never really heard of anything in this story except the Mastodon, who's bones Zan-Gah found, it was a very primitive world.
The story begins with Zan's brother having been missing for a year already and Zan feels guilty because he wandered off when the two had a fight. Before that they had been inseparable. But Zan can't worry about that at this point because the next day, for the first time, the five clans are getting together to hunt down a lioness who killed a child. She has to be taken down before more children are killed. It is an uneasy alliance between the clans who fight usually, but they've called a truce. Out of sheer luck, Zan kills the lioness when she looks for a weak spot in the circle that is closing in around her and sees him, a young boy. She heads for him and he holds his spear steady. She dives right into it and kills herself. He is named Zan-Gah, Gah being the rock where he killed her. This is not a big part of the story.
The majority of the story is his search for his missing brother. They are twins and he has dreams every night that his missing brother, Dael is still alive. He fights with his parents over it but in the end, he goes after him. He discovers many things about the world her lives in and his enemies. He creates a new weapon purely by accident. He is captured by the same people that captured his brother for a time. But his brother isn't with them any longer. He suffers in the desert and almost dies. But he continues his search for his brother because he loves him and believes he is not dead even when he believes he, himself is dying.
The landscape is harsh, the people are harsh. Food is scarce, water is scarcer and you can feel the dryness of the desert, the heat on your back, the ache on your sore bare feet as you walk with Zan-Gah in search of his twin. You can feel the joy when he finds water and food and feel his desolation when he is so thirsty that his mouth is like chalk. You can also see the mind of a great leader forming, planning, and beginning to take over what one day will be his nation.
I totally recommend Zan-Gah to anyone, especially teachers, teaching about the hardships faced in prehistoric times. There is violence in the book, as there would be during that time period. I'd say fourth grade and up. It's definitely an easy read at 148 pages so maybe some reluctant readers would enjoy it. I hesitate to allow my ten year old to read it because it's a signed copy, but if he keeps it at home, maybe. For all you librarians out there, I'd keep this one in mind. Elementary school teachers should also keep this one in mind as well.
There is a follow up novel that I'm reading next call Zan-Gah and the Beautiful Country. I'll be reading it next. ...more
At the beginning of this novel, I felt like I'd missed the first chapter or so. It took me awhile to catch up with things and figure out what was goinAt the beginning of this novel, I felt like I'd missed the first chapter or so. It took me awhile to catch up with things and figure out what was going on. Even so, I was about halfway into the novel before I felt like I was really into the novel and knew what was going on, who the characters were and where things were headed. But, once I got there, it was fun. There was Gina, obsessed with her looks who had no reflection. Then she's separated from her boyfriend who has some kind of superpowers for vampires. She's held prisoner and her best friend treats her like she's got a disease, no one is talking to her. But, Gina isn't going to take it lying down. She's the kind who takes charge now and falls apart later. So, she does makeovers. When Marcy goes missing, she gets out to rescue her. And she wants to find out why the evil vamp holding them captive is building an army of high school vampires. Does she even care about them?
When Gina hides out in the head vamps office and hears a conversation she shouldn't, she finds out more of what's going on. She hopes she can round up the troops to help save Bobby and take their own fates into their hands, but mayhem ensues and retreat is required. When they are attacked the next night, more mayhem ensues and Gina and Bobby are made an offer they can't refuse!
It's not a hardcore vampire book. Other than the confusion in the beginning, it was a fun book. I'm looking forward to reading Revamped. I like the snarky way Gina talks and thinks and her comebacks. She isn't at all upset about being a vampire other than the fact that she can't see her reflection. She's a take charge kind of girl and even though she's not sure if she's making the right decision, she stands behind it so that everyone else believes in her. And she's got a boyfriend that has her back. And really knows how to talk to win a girl's heart.
I can't remember any bad language. Only one scene where Gina and Bobby are in their underwear. But that's all it says. I think this would be fine for thirteen and up. ...more
WOW! This was such a great book! I haven't read any of Holly Black's other books. They are waiting patiently in my TBR stack. They'll be moving to theWOW! This was such a great book! I haven't read any of Holly Black's other books. They are waiting patiently in my TBR stack. They'll be moving to the top. But the ideas in this book are totally original and mind blowing.
The first page of the book, first paragraph hooks you. "I wake up barefoot, standing on cold slate tiles. Looking dizzily down. I suck in a breath of icy air. Above me are stars. Below me, the bronze statue of Colonel Wallingford makes me realize I'm seeing the quad from the peak of Smythe Hall, my dorm." Now, if a boy sleep walking climbing to the peak of a roof in the cold, obviously barefoot doesn't get your attention, I don't know what will. It sure gets the school's attention and he's suspended. They don't want the liability. They think he was trying to kill himself, though he is the one that called for help.
That's how we meet Cassel Sharpe on the roof of his dorm trying to figure out how to get down without calling for help. He comes from a family of workers, though he himself is not a worker. Workers are people with talents that vary from being able to give people luck to killing them with a simple touch of their fingers. That's why everyone wears gloves. Cassel is trying to fit in, yet he doesn't know how to be normal, so he does what he sees other people do. Except he had to run the con. He's a bookie. But that seems to make him more popular than not.
Cassel's family is and odd assortment of characters. His oldest brother Phillip is married and has a son. He thinks Phillip is a body worker, a touch of a bare finger can break something and knows he works for one of the biggest crime families on the East coast. Eventually most of the workers do end up working for the crime families because no one else wants them. Cassel's father is dead. If it was mentioned how, I don't remember. His mother is in jail for working a millionaire, making him believe he loved her and giving her thousands of dollars. She got caught but her case is up for appeal. His middle brother Barron is a memory worker and is going to Law school at Princeton. And his Granddad lives in Carney. He was a deathworker. One touch from him and you're dead. But, there are repercussions from curse work. Something called blowback, sort of like instant karma, and Granddad's fingers are almost all dead, blackened and rotted. But his gloves hide it.
Cassel and his Granddad , after Cassel is suspended, go to his family home and clean it out. It sounds like the worst case of Hoarders from t.v. Apparently nothing has ever been thrown away. It takes days to clean everything out. In the meantime, Cassel is still sleep walking and seeing a white cat in all his dreams. The same one that is living in the barn behind his house. Cassel starts to mistrust his brothers but doesn't know which one is using him and begins to doubt himself and his memories. He still dreams and thinks the white cat has something to do with his sleep walking. He is haunted by the grin he had on his face when he killed Lila. Then he visits Barron's apartment and sees all the reminders of his memories, the blowback from memory work is losing your own memories. Cassel gets charms against losing his memory, just in case and puts them someplace they aren't easily discovered. When he begins to unravel the truth he finds out the horror of what's been really going on. He also finds he actually has friends he can count on when he needs them. He has to work with them to pull the biggest con yet. But the final pages tell the real truth about the con.
The story is told in first person from Cassel's point of view. He's so likable and tragic. I just wanted to hold him, as a mom, and tell him everything would be okay, that all was forgiven. His mom, though she really seems to love him, doesn't seem to be that type. She gives him a gift he'd rather not have. It's heartbreaking when he finds out. She belongs in jail in my opinion.
Phillip and Barron are thoroughly unlikable. They are detestable. You don't know much about them, except Phillip is working his own wife. Enough said. I don't know how or why, but Cassel overhears his Granddad and Phillip talking about it. Granddad is the only one that seems to have Cassel's best interest at heart, but he's only partly in on things so he can only help so far. And Cassel is so confused, he doesn't know who to trust.
It is a great read, maybe a little slow in the beginning, but once it speeds up, you won't be able to put it down. The world Holly Black created of Curse Workers is so creative, the idea that everyone has to wear gloves and there's legislation being put to vote that everyone has to be tested to see if they are a worker, but the government won't use the information. Even we know that isn't true. I can't wait for the next book in the series.
I listened to the audio book of this novel narrated by Daniel Sharman. I am not sure why each book was narrated by different people but I though eachI listened to the audio book of this novel narrated by Daniel Sharman. I am not sure why each book was narrated by different people but I though each book was fascinating on audio. This one though, it was utterly soul crushing. Yes, there were some uplifting parts, but this narrator new just the right inflection, his accent for Will's voice was spine tingling and God did he make me cry. I had to cover my face with the sheet so my family wouldn't see me. I didn't want to have to stop and explain. I live with a bunch of guys. (Husband and sons). I'm not sure I've cried so much through a book and had I been reading it, I don't think I'd have been able to see through my tears. And it just kept going. Crush me, bring me back up, then crush me again. I mean I thought I was happy and then, dear God, here came the waterworks again. This was an excellent novel despite the ups and downs emotional. There was a good bit of humor, inevitable loss, political machinations, a showdown once and for all with Mortmain and ...other stuff.
As a rating on this series I have to say this far surpasses at least the first two books I've read in The Mortal Instruments. I'm going to read the next one and stop there. Again I'll say this is one of the most romantic series of books I've read. And I love romance, but wow. The characters are so well developed, you just fall in love with them. And when one of them dies, you feel the loss. And those boys, Jem and Will, their love for each other, THAT, you don't see in YA ever. That was beautiful. True, deep friendship. I have to buy the books, now. So when the apocalypse comes, I can at least read these novels! Needless to say, I could not clean anything with all the crying going on. I just laid in bed and sniveled. ...more