Read this on the My Precious Blog thecallawayfam.blogspot.com
Dark Life takes place in an apocalyptic future time, when the ozone layer has b...moreRead this on the My Precious Blog thecallawayfam.blogspot.com
Dark Life takes place in an apocalyptic future time, when the ozone layer has been depleted and a large portion of the Earth is underwater. With space being limited, people resort to living either in crowded "stack cities", slathering their skin with zinc oil to protect them from the sun's harmful rays or going sub-sea.
Ty, a fifteen year old boy, lives underwater in a settlement called Benthic Territory. A place where underwater pioneers farm the sea floor in exchange for a land deed. His parents, the scientists responsible for designing the territory were among the first settlers of the territory. Ty was the first child ever born sub-sea. He dreams of someday farming his own plot of land, which he can purchase on his eighteen birthday.
Recently, however, the homesteaders have come under attack by the outlaws in the Sea Blithe Gang. A malicious gang attacking government supply ships who have now started invading homesteads. Ty's parents are becoming concerned living sub-sea may no longer by a safe place to raise a family. Plus, the government threatens to shutdown Benthic Territory, forcing the sea dwellers "topside" unless the gang is captured - dead or alive.
Ty absolutely refuses to let a gang of outlaws step in the way of his dreams, he vows to bring these lawbreakers to justice, even if he has to do it alone or if it means risking his life. But then he meets Gemma, a beautiful young "topsider" on sort of a quest of her own. She is searching for her long lost brother. Together they embark on an undersea adventure which involves, mystery, outlaws, government cover-ups and unexpected discoveries you wont want to miss!
This is the debut novel for author Kat Falls, she came up with the idea by combining three things that her son loved to read about into one story – the ocean, Old West pioneers, and the X-Men. This is the first book in a series, of unknown length. The next book Rip Tide is due to be released in August 2011.
SETTING, PACE AND & STYLE
Dark Life takes place in the future, in an underwater settlement called Benthic Territory. This book is action packed. In the first scene of the book the reader is already on the edge, as Ty enters a deserted submarine in order to escape a shark attack. Kat Falls has a light and easy to read writing style. She's very imaginative using fresh idioms, a sort of underwater "slang" throughout the book. Some examples are: whenever something is monumental, the character's use the phrase, "That's Glacial" or if someone is in trouble one may say, "What in the great ocean..." replacing, "What the heck..." A derogatory name calling might contain "chum sucking" as in "chum sucking outlaws." It was a very cute aspect of the story, something which really stood out.
CHARACTERS AND PLOT
Ty, a fifteen year old male, born and raised sub-sea is the narrator and main character of this book. (Its rare to have a male narrator in a middle grade book.) His parents are scientists responsible for designing the underwater structures and homesteads. Ty is an adventurous, brave explorer who always seems to have trouble nipping at his heels.
Gemma is a fifteen year old, orphaned at a young age. She is now a ward of the state, hopelessly looking for her brother so he can sign her emancipation order. Ty relents to helping her on this quest, even though it leads him into trouble more times than not. There are outlaws, a Sea Blithe Gang and a unfair government to contend with, making life sub-sea an extreme challenge for anyone. Especially when the leader of the gang, Shade possesses so many secrets of his own. Dark Life contains many twists and turns throughout the book, keeping any young reader interested and engaged.
ON A PERSONAL NOTE I recommend this book to both adults and children over the age of 10 years old. It would be a great one to read aloud. I listened to this one as an audio book, myself. This story has a boy narrator so it would be the perfect book for boys to read as well as girls, especially since its chock full of adventure, mystery, suspense and action.
I am a scuba diver, so I could really both appreciate and visualize this world. Quite a lot of detailed research must have went into putting this book, especially on underwater fish and fauna. Adult readers will surely notice its written for a middle grade audience, but that doesn't mean it can't still be enjoyable. I love the way Kat Falls breathed life into the underwater community of Benthic Territory. The hero's were chivalrous, the story exciting, I enjoyed it from start to finish and was sad to see it end. My favorite character, hands down, was Ty's spunky younger sister Zoe. I hope to see more of her in the next book, Rip Tide due out in August.(less)
When Percy Jackson discover's he's a demi-god (half human and half boy) and his father is the powerful Poseidon God of the Sea, he's personally relieved to finally have some answers to his troubled short life. However, with this new discovery comes additional responsibly, accusations and even more enemies than friends. It also means he's a target for terrible monsters who want to see him dead. The only place he's safe is a place called "Camp Half-Blood". When his mother vanishes trying to transport him there, Percy is mortified. If he wants to clear his name and potentially rescue the only person in his life who's ever meant anything to him, his mother, he must chose to go on a dangerous quest to the underworld, the place where she may be being held captive. Many have gone before him and failed. Will the risk be worth the potential reward in the end?
FROM GOODREADS: "Rick Riordan is an American author from Texas famous for his Percy Jackson and the Olympians series (The Lightning Thief, The Sea of Monsters, The Titan's Curse, The Battle of the Labyrinth, The Last Olympian). He attended The University of Texas at Austin in 1986, where he double-majored in English and History He also wrote The Red Pyramid (Kane Chronicles) and, most recently, The Lost Hero (Heroes of Olympus). He also wrote the Tres Navarre series for adults and helped to edit Demigods and Monsters, a collection of essays on the topic of his Percy Jackson series. He also wrote book one of the 39 Clues (The Maze of Bones) and co-wrote book eleven (Vespers Rising) published by Scholastic Corporation"
SETTING PACE AND STYLE
Taking place in current times, in Denver, New York and Los Angeles, The Lightning Thief, is an action packed adventure story, with an additional fantasy twist: the Greek Gods. There is never a dull moment, with each passing chapter the characters experience a whole new level of excitement. Rick Riordan is an imaginative writer who infuses plenty of humor along side action and fight scenes, creating an fun-filled, edge of your seat quest, written at a level any middle grade reader will easily become completely absorbed in. The story is told in a third person perspective through the eyes of the protagonist, young Perseus "Percy" Jackson.
CHARACTERS AND PLOT
Percy Jackson is a troubled boy, diagnosed with both ADHD and Dyslexia. He's been kicked out of every school he's attended. Not a particularly mean boy, but if provoked he will retaliate landing him in trouble more times than not. Eventually, he finds out many of his problems can be blamed directly on his heritage. Percy is a determined, fearless hero and for these reasons I enjoyed following him and his buddies on their first quest to the underworld after Percy discovers he's a demi-god.
Grover Underwood, Percy's one and only friend and guardian is totally loyal, standing up for his Percy despite the circumstances. The problem is he's pretty meek with a very mild temper. Most of the time Percy feels like he's the one who needs to protect Grover instead of the other way around. Grover ends up being more than meets the eye, he surprises Percy with his own secret, ending up being a worthy companion to have along for his quest to the underworld.
Annabeth Chase, is a spirited young gal Percy meets at his summer camp, "Camp Half-Blood", a refuge for children who are half human and half god. The daughter of Athena, this gal is full of confidence and very determined to come along on Percy's quest, too. She's been itching for a quest from the moment she started attending camp, for mainly personal reasons. With a level head and a strong mind, Annabeth is a nice addition to the party, giving them trio status.
For readers of any age who enjoy books action packed to the brim with never a dull moment. Anyone interested in learning a little about Greek Mythology or readers who are searching for a book narrated by a male would be a good match. Those who enjoy quest books, but love it when they are more humorous than heavy sci-fi than this book will suit your needs to perfection.
This was an incredibly, entertaining, action packed adventure. Rick Riordan has a magical imagination. Something different or totally unexpected happens with each passing chapter - there is NEVER a break in the action. I loved the humor, wit and whimsical nature the story line provided. What a fun read and a great escape.
My favorite aspects of this book were the author's creativity and world building. This is the first book based on Greek Mythology I've actually found I liked reading. I went into the story with little to no prior Greek Mythology knowledge, but found by the time the last page was turned I'd learned quite a bit. It taught me just enough to begin familiarizing me with a few of the myths and to pique my interest. It wasn't overbearing either, which I really appreciated.
This book is the kickoff to a series of books called Percy Jackson and the Olympians. It does not end on a cliffhanger and certainly could be read as a stand alone novel.
This was one of those books which I really, really liked, but just didn't LOVE. I think its because the lead character is a male and the target audience is youngsters. It was a fantastic, escape book and I bet any middle grade reader will have his/her socks knocked off by this one, but for me as a forty plus year old lady it was really, really good, but just not one of my all time favorites. I was still quite entertained. So, I'm going to give it 4 stars.
Four Rings (ENTERTAINING- LOOKED FORWARD TO READING) (less)
You may also read this review on: MY PRECIOUS BLOG thecallawayfam.blogspot.com
The Prince Who Fell From the Sky BY JOHN CLAUDE BEMIS
GOODREADS | AMAZON
Pub...moreYou may also read this review on: MY PRECIOUS BLOG thecallawayfam.blogspot.com
The Prince Who Fell From the Sky BY JOHN CLAUDE BEMIS
GOODREADS | AMAZON
Publisher: Random House Books for Young Readers (May 22, 2012) Length: 272 pages, Hardcover Format: E-Arc, Kindle Source: NetGalley.com Genre: Fantasy, Post-Apocalyptic Series: No Completed: May 2012 Challenges: 2012 E-Book Challenge, 2012 YA/MG Fantasy Challenge,
When a young boy's space craft crashes into the Earth, he is the lone survivor. Too young to find his way on his own, a childless, nurturing mother bear decides to raise him as her own cub. The problem is her forest friends and enemies call humans "Old Devils" or "Skinless Ones" and do not trust them at all. So, she sets off on a quest to bring the boy to live out his life in a safe haven somewhere far away. But her journey is frought with dangers because most every forest creature, especially the wolves who rule the land, want to see this little boy dead.
BACKGROUND From John's website: John currently lives the small-town life in Hillsborough, North Carolina with his wife and daughter. He spends a lot of time hiking on the trails around his house, going into town for popsicles, and playing music on the back porch. He plays both the classical violin and electric guitar. The Prince who Fell From the Sky is John's fourth book, its a stand alone novel.
SETTING PACE AND STYLE
Set in post-apocolyptic times where man has been eradicated and wolves rule the forest, The Prince who Fell From the Sky begins. Told in third person from an omniscient narrator's perspective, it mirrors the tempo of the quest between the pages, at a moderate lope. Occasionally the story moves gently slower or slightly faster throughout the novel. Using a good mix of short and long sentences and well placed dialogues Bemis is able to show the reader rather than tell the reader his story. The overall mood does possess a somewhat serious undertone of post-apocolyptic times: abandoned homes, demolished sky scrapers and scrap automobiles scattered across the terrain, but with the help of some humorous characters the mood is easily lightened up and at times quite humorous.
CHARACTERS AND PLOT
Casseomae (Cass), a female bear living isolated from the other bears in her tribe quietly mourning the loss of her still born cubs is the protagonist in this fantasy. She's compassionate, nurturing, selfless and brave. In the beginning she's a little depressed, until she encounters the so called "prince", he gives her a boost of vigor.
The Prince, a youngster who's spacecraft catapults into the Earth, somehow manages to be the sole survivor of the crash. Its difficult to tell his exact age. He appears to be around four to eight years old. He's somewhat independent, curious and very vulnerable alone in the forest filled with creatures who mean him no good.
Dumpster is a snarky rat who's been separated from his mischief. He's funny, crafty and very resourceful. His job was to serve as his mischief's "memory keeper". His knowledge about "skinless ones" aids Casseomae caring for the little boy as she journey's to find him safety.
Pang, a one eared cur (dog) is a loner who is encountered on the quest. The small child seems to favor the dog. So, Casseomae allows him to join up with her small expedition to save the small boy. However, he has a few secrets of his own.
Ogeema is an evil black wolf ruler of the forest. She's a strong and determined leader, a resilient force and the last thing she wants is to see a "skinless one" grow up in the forest. She will stop at nothing to see the boy destroyed.
PLOT: When a human spacecraft crashes in the forest and the sole survivor happens to be a young human, Casseomae, a nurturing bear, decides to protect him and take him to safety.
This book would be perfect for animals lovers who like to read fantasy books about dangerous quests. Those who watched and enjoyed the movie "Ice Age" will feel right at home reading this book. Middle grade boys and girls alike should be captivated by the endearing characters and adventure this story has to tell. Adults, especially mom's, looking for something different, a little change of pace will find this one endearing.
The world building depicts a futuristic time period devoid of humans, where the wolves ruled the forest. Artifacts and relics of past human lives still litter the landscapes. It had been a long time ago when the "Skinless Ones" ruled and many forest animals don't remember that far into the past. Even though Bemis's world building showed creativity and promise, I'm still left a little puzzled as to why the boy is considered a prince, the story left that particular mystery unsolved and now I'm left stuck trying to figure it on my own. I guess I would have liked just a wee bit more information on this subject matter to feel the story was complete.
It was a well told story, which was an enjoyable read, its just not what I'd consider GREAT. The author describes this book as a post apocalyptic "Watership Down" but I don't really agree. Instead I think it holds more similarities to the 2002 animated movie called "Ice Age". An entertaining adventure compiling an endearing/humourous cast of characters, all talking animals, with the exception of the "prince" (who didn't talk at all) and a dangerous/controversial quest to save aforementioned boy's life. Its a simple, quick read leaving the reader feeling warm and happy, with the strong desire to go out and give your pet a big hug/scratch.
I deducted 1.5 stars off of this one because I didn't feel like the world building was explained to my satisfaction. I never did find out why the boy was a considered a prince, who his people were and why they were visiting the Earth. Many times I couldn't picture the artifacts/relics in my head, they got lost in the context for me.
3.5 Rings out of 5 Rings (IT WAS SLIGHTLY BETTER THAN OK - KEPT ME TURNING PAGES) (less)
I'm s sucker for beautifully illustrated middle grade cover art. In fact, this was the draw for me to pick up this book. Luckily, the story was solid,...moreI'm s sucker for beautifully illustrated middle grade cover art. In fact, this was the draw for me to pick up this book. Luckily, the story was solid, too. Pitched as a middle grade fantasy, Winterling didn't fail to entertain, with evil villain called "The Lady", pucks, shape shifters and a magical land of fairy-like creatures, this story oozes fun. World building worked perfectly for the age group the story is intended for, not overly complex but not completely simple either. The main character Fer is the perfect heroine. She's easy to like has a heart of gold and is quite fierce. A bit of an odd ball in her own world, once she's transported through the way, she becomes a completely different girl. I liked her determination and strong will. Fer was perceptive with a strong intuition. She knew wrong from right. Fer is very kind to animals too. The horse she's given by the lady, Phouka, is a bit unruly in the beginning. The Lady would like Fer to use a whip to make him mind. Fer refuses and instead wins Phouka over by kindness. They develop a sweet friendship over the course of the story. Puck, the shapeshifter, bound to The Lady, was a very loyal subject. He was a boy who held true to his word. This boy was witty and I admired how he would twist around his orders to help Fer, even though he was bound to The Lady. I felt sympathetic towards Puck because he always tried to push Fer away, not because he didn't like her but more because he was bound to the Lady and he knew he posed a terrible danger to Fer. Writing in this story felt magical. Vocabulary was moderate to advanced. This is a story which could easily be enjoyed by adults as well as children. Both boys and girls will find something to relate to in this story. It was a fast paced action packed read. There was a bit of mystery surrounding the disappearance of Fer's parents, plenty of suspense and little bits of magic. It was fun that Fer was a vegetarian, which is something I've not seen in other middle grade fantasy reads. Even though this book is the first in a series, I felt it ended very conclusively. My questions were all answered and the story resolved nicely. It certainly could be read as a stand alone, but I'm excited to be able to continue with the series so I can return to my favorite characters to see where the next story will take them. (less)
Really fun, adorable read. Reminded me a lot of Ronald Dahl books with a quirky cast of easy to love characters. Full Review to come closer to review...moreReally fun, adorable read. Reminded me a lot of Ronald Dahl books with a quirky cast of easy to love characters. Full Review to come closer to review date.
Gina @ My Precious Thecallawayfam.blogspot.com(less)
Publisher: Candlewick (February 14th, 2012) Length: 368 pages Format: Kindle E-Book Source: Library2Go Genre: Sci-fi, Fantasy, Dystopian Series: Book 1 of ? Completed: May 2012 Challenges: 2012 E-book Challenge, 2012 Outdo Yourself Challenge, 2012 Local Library Challenge
In a futuristic world where high technology and genetic modifications rule, The Coral Kampii, a race somewhat like legendary mermaids, have chosen to isolate themselves from the evil "Above World" in an underwater settlement. Here they raise children, govern themselves and encourage reproduction for continued survival of the race. But when their underwater breathing devices begin to fail, subjecting their community to innocent deaths, two brave children decide to break the rules and venture to the dangerous "Above World" to see if they kind find the technology needed to save their race.
From the back of her e-arc: Jenn Reese lives in Los Angeles, California A student of martial arts, she yearned to combine her love of martial arts, mythology and adventure with the idea that anyone with a strong heart can change the world. She writes science fiction and fantasy and has published both short stories and novels for adults. Above World is her middle grade debut novel. Its also part of a new series.
SETTING PACE AND STYLE
This story initially takes place in an underwater settlement, sometime in the distant future, then it quickly moves out of the ocean to the "Above World" where the rest of the story unfolds. The author doesn't mess around, jumping right into the action as the story opens with two of the main characters discovering a dead friend in a sea kelp forrest. This story is told in third person from two different perspectives: Aluna, a 12 year old Kampii girl and Hoku, her best friend and somewhat younger Kampii male. With simple language and detailed prose, Jenn Reese weaves a dystopian tale with an adventuresome feel, as two children go on a dangerous quest to save their settlement.
CHARACTERS AND PLOT
Aluna is a Kampii, a genetically modified mermaid, minus a tail. In her society, The Coral Kampii do not get tails until going through a special ceremony, where they ingest a magical seed which starts the transformation. Aluna hasn't consumed the seed yet, so she still has two legs, allowing her access to the "Above World", a place where her own Coral Kampii society has isolated itself from. She is determined, strong and might be considered a tomboy in current times. Aluna isn't afraid to stand up for what she believes in. Unfortunately, this characteristic finds her more trouble or butting heads with her stubborn father. Girls are forbidden to wield a weapons, its too risky to lose woman, they are most needed for reproduction and survival of the species. Aluna lives with all brothers, she's fierce and they teach her to fight.
Hoku, Aluna's best friend, is younger, reserved and fragile, unlike our tough skinned heroine, Aluna. A futuristic geek, Hoku is tech savvy and would rather spend his day with his nose in a book or taking apart and reassembling some artifact than fighting off evil forces. In the social structure, Hoku comes from a poor family, but you'll never hear him complain. He's grateful for what he does have. His voice is innocent, he's a great observer, a nice change up from Aluna's strong, assertive voice.
Dashiyn, an Equine, or "horse-boy" who never developed his hooves. This has cause hime to be exiled from his community. He teams up with Hoku and Aluna making a nice addition to this dynamic duel. He's brave and determined, quite the match for Aluna.
Callipoe, an Aviar or "bird-girl" is unsure of herself. She happens to be the ruler's daughter. Like Hoku, her interests lie with technology, which is very dissatisfying to her warrior mother. She's kind and compassionate and easy to like.
PLOT: An evil being is attempting to control all the races by withholding energy, but four children from different backgrounds band together becoming a force to be reckoned with when they attempt to foil his master plan.
This would be a great book for middle grade readers who enjoy a healthy mix of sic-fi and fantasy. Fans of Kat Fall's Dark Life series will enjoy this new series as well. A very entertaining, action packed adventure, filled to the brim with unusual creatures, outlandish technology and genetic modification, written at a level both the young and old can enjoy.
My initial feelings about this book revolved around the writing. It was very simple, with shorter, descriptive sentences. I thought, uh-oh, this one may end up being written at a reading level I won't find interesting. It was so nice to be proven wrong. As the plot progressed, I sort of felt like I was caught in its undertow, amazingly it suck me right into the story. Quickly, I found myself vested in the story, the characters and their quest. Even though the characters were admirable, brave and stood up for what they believed in, I still felt it teetered more towards a plot driven than character driven story.
Aluna and Hoku took me on an thrilling, action packed quest, to many different lands each with its own kind of genetically modified race. There were DeepFell (Shark People), Dome Meks (Crab people), Equines (Horse People) and Aviars (Bird People). What they all held in common was a dependence on the government supplying them with energy for their survival. The goal would be for each of them to become self sufficient, but this isn't an easy task.
If your looking for hot steamy romance, then you picked up the wrong book. In this middle grade fantasy, we don't really get exposed to any. Instead, we witness innocent first kisses and "puppy love" with slight twinges of feelings developing for the opposite sex, its absolutely adorable. Hoku and Callie experience a first love, while Aluna and Dash experience a slight spark of feelings for each other, too.
I'm not quite sure why I'm withholding one ring. It may be because I don't prefer third person narratives as much as I like first person or it may just be it lacked just a smidgeon of the in depth details or flowery writing that I pined for?
4 out of 5 Rings (LIKED IT A LOT - LOOKED FORWARD TO READING IT) (less)
Publisher: Bloomsbury USA (May 8, 2012) Length: 288 pages, Hardcover Format: E-Arc and Hardcover Source: Netgalley...moreOrdinary Magic BY CAITLEN RUBINO-BRADWAY
Publisher: Bloomsbury USA (May 8, 2012) Length: 288 pages, Hardcover Format: E-Arc and Hardcover Source: Netgalley and The Author Genre: Fantasy Series: Yes Book #1 Completed: May 2012 Challenges: 2012 E-Book Challenge, 2012 Outdo Yourself Challenge, 2012 YA/MG Fantasy Challenge, 2012 DAC
You can also find/view this review on: My Precious - thecallawayfam.blogspot.com
Eleven year old Abby Hale is the youngest child in a family of five children. She's anxiously awaiting her judging ceremony which commences on her twelfth birthday. This is where she will finally reveal her magical strength. Her older siblings, two sisters and two brothers, all tested exceptionally high. Alexa, her eldest sister scored a Level Nine. ("Rumor has it there is a Level Ten, but it's like the Queen of Fairies. Everyone's heard about one, but no one's ever seen it"). The family is excited to see where Abby will end up. When the day of her judging finally approaches, something totally unexpected happens, Abby finds out she possesses no magic what-so-ever - "None. Zero. Zilch!" She is what people call an "Ord" and "there's only one thing you can do with an ord. Get rid of it."
From Goodreads: "Caitlen Rubino-Bradway holds a BA in English Literature and an MA in Publishing from Rosemont College. While in college, she interned with LeFrak Productions, Tor, and Jane Dystel Literary. She currently lives and works in New York City, where she has attended the Monday "day after" dissections, sponsored by the Jane Austen Society of North America, of the most recent series of Austen teleplays." Ordinary Magic is her debut novel and is book one in a planned series involving the heroine Abby Hale.
SETTING PACE AND STYLE
In a fantasy world where almost everyone possess some degree of magical powers, this story unfolds. Starting off with a bang, then approaching a little lull towards the middle and ending with an action packed race to the finish, Ordinary Magic is not short on adventure. Even during the middle "lull" something is always going on - if there's not action, then its entertaining situations. Either way its difficult for the reader to tire of this light, adorable, tale. Cailen Rubio-Bradway fills the pages with a cast of fun-loving characters possesing strong family ties and a bond one can't help but hold dear to his/her heart. An easy to read, fun-loving story dealing with a very serious topic - predjudices. The story is narrated in first person by the sweet, innocent voice of Miss Abby Hale, a recently discovered Ord.
CHARACTERS AND PLOT
Twelve year old, Abby Hale, is the protagonist. She spends the story coming to terms with being non-magical and sifting through what this actually means for her non-magical future. I couldn't help but feel sorry for her, once she's labeled an "Ord". Especially when she quietly observes, "I never realized how many people said hello to me until that morning, when they didn't". This just tugs at my heart-strings. Its helpful she doesn't feel too badly for herself, or wallow in self pity, after her judging, otherwise she wouldn't have been nearly as endearing. I cheered her courage as she continued to hold her head high, even though society viewed ords as totally useless or even potentially contagious. Abby is quite a spirited little girl who doesn't let being non-magical ruin her life.
Alexa, Abby's eldest sister is a powerful mage. Her magic is so strong, the government recruited her. She's a real force to be reckoned with always standing up for her sister, reminding Abby of her worthiness. She also single handedly battles off evil treasure hunters with her magic. Alexa, is also intelligent, she works for the school recently opened by the King to teach Ords how to live and survive on their own, so they can later be re-integrated into society.
King Steve is a benevolent ruler who has recently come into power. He has made a bold political stance declaring it illegal for Ords to be bought or sold. This new law has many of his citizens unhappy. Furthermore, under his rule, a new school has been developed where Ords can attend, something entirely unheard of before he took the crown.
Gil, Jeremy and Olivia are the remainder of Abby's siblings. Each has a distinctive personality, relating to Abby in their own unique fashion. Jeremy is extremely overprotective. Olivia is easy on the eyes, dramatic and takes everything, especially her sister's grave situation very seriously. Gil is a writer and very fun loving, light-hearted character. He likes to make jokes to help Abby through her difficult adjustment. All take part in illustrating a strong family dynamics. Then, top this all off by adding in a doting mom and dad in a loving relationship and you have something almost better than "The Brady Bunch".
Peter, Frances and Fredrick are all first year students at Abby's school. Peter is standoffish, but smart. Frances is sweet and soft-spoken and Fred is very debonaire. Together they form a friendship, helping each other through the ups and downs of their first school year.
Despite this story being adorable and cute, it isn't void of villains. Trixie and Barbarian Mike are a dynamic duel, a dangerous team. Their dilemma, they are in desperate need of an Ord and will go to great lengths to acquire one, even if it means breaking the law.
The plot is about how young people stand up to and deal with prejudices instilled by a society by labeling people. It also shows how instrumental a strong family can help children make it through difficult times.
I recommend this one to both young and old readers who like to stand up and cheer for the underdog. Readers searching for an adorable, cute female lead facing adversity head on in a fantasy setting, then this is your book. A really fun, magical read with a great message and lots of action packed into the pages, fans of Kat Incorrible and Harry Potter will certainly find something they will like about this book.
With a very unconventional premise, the author has created a magical world and plopped a completely non-magical little girl in its grips. Instead of discovering magical powers on her twelfth birthday, it is revealed she has none. To shake things further, the author actually adds a loving family with strong family ties. This approach is in reverse of most middle grade fantasies, so it made for a very fun, unusual and creative story.
Much of Abby's inner strength stems from the support of her loving family. When Abby first tells her brother Gil she's not magical, she half expects him to look at her with contempt, but instead he responds with "We're still going to party, right?". Another example is when she gets expelled from school because she's an ord, instead of being angry, her loving father passes it off as no big deal, "So, we're going to be teaching you at home for a little while." All of these senarios and then some, help Abby see labels don't matter. She's still the same little girl she was before she her judging ceremony.
I just adored this story. Even the villainous characters were somewhat endearing. It has such a great message, addressing a very serious topic in a way middle grade readers can relate. The take-home message is its what's on the inside that matters most. Overall, Ordinary Magic is a really cute adventure story which reminded me a lot of Harry Potter - with a girl protagonist, except this time the main character is devoid of wizard-like powers. It's a story illustrating how being different doesn't necessarily translate to being bad. With a strong family backing its much easier to stand up for yourself and others like you.
"Dare to be Ordinary!"
Adorable, fun read. It was entertaining, easily capturing my interest. It didn't quite make five rings, I'm deducting one half ring for a feeling that there was just a little touch of something extra special missing from the writing. I guess it just wasn't emotional enough, though it was cute, it just didn't MOVE me like only a few books do. Other than that very small, almost unnoticeable flaw, it was perfect.
Four and 1/2 Rings (LIKED IT A WHOLE LOT - REALLY LOOKED FORWARD TO READING IT!)
This was a tough book to rate for me its sort of inbetween three and four stars. I will have to think on it for my final review on the blog. It surpri...moreThis was a tough book to rate for me its sort of inbetween three and four stars. I will have to think on it for my final review on the blog. It surprised me that it was a mixture of fairytale, contemporary and fantasy. I wasn't expecting the serious social issues: fat children, forgiving oneself, step families, loss/death etc. I thought it would be a little different. It also held an element of mystery. All together, a solid middle grade read I'm sure any young student would find fun to read.
Very suspense-filled, entertaining middle grade read with a multitude of magical, cynical creatures who tried to stand in the way of one young girl's journey through an underworld-like place called "Below" to rescue her brother's soul from the evil spider like creatures called The Spindlers. A great book, part mystery, part quest and part completing tasks.(less)
Meh? Not at all what I was expecting. I think it'd be a great book for a young reader to get through by himself. The writing was quite plain, simple v...moreMeh? Not at all what I was expecting. I think it'd be a great book for a young reader to get through by himself. The writing was quite plain, simple vocabulary made the story for me, a grown adult, DRAB.(less)