WHAT I LIKED: Great writing, world-building. Carson's YA fantasy debut takes its time establishing Princess Elisa's p...more More reviews at Mrs. ReaderPants.
WHAT I LIKED: Great writing, world-building. Carson's YA fantasy debut takes its time establishing Princess Elisa's politically tumultuous world. Detailed descriptions of elaborate palaces and sweeping landscapes help readers visualize the settings.
Character development. Princess Elisa, King Alejandro, Cosme, Humberto, and Belen are realistically flawed, which I always love. I especially loved Elisa's honesty, intelligence, and personal growth throughout the story. I love Alejandro's laissez-faire attitude, Humberto's simple determination, Cosme's fierce will to evoke change.
WHAT I DIDN'T LIKE: Sometimes, a novel has everything going for it, but for whatever reason, I just don't connect with it. Girl of Fire and Thorns was such a novel. It took me forever to get into the story, and even then, my interest fluctuated from one chapter to the next. I wanted to know what happened, but I didn't enjoy the journey of getting there. I cared enough to finish, but not enough to be excited about it.
The religious stuff. Elisa's Godstone and the history of Godstones are central to the story. Elisa prays frequently, consults with priests, studies sacred texts. Nearly every page has something religious on it. I get that the Godstone is a huge part of the story, but for me, it was just too much spirituality.
THE BOTTOM LINE: The writing, world-building, and character development are top-notch, but I didn't really connect with the story and its strong religious overtones.
STATUS IN MY LIBRARY: We have it, and it has gotten a few checkouts.
READALIKES:Graceling (Cashore); The Demon King (Chima)
Appeal to teens: 3/5
Appropriate length to tell the story: 3/5
Sexuality: mild; some kissing; references to intercourse (Elisa is married to King Alejandro in the second chapter)
Violence: medium; several deaths, blood, fire, murder
Drugs/Alcohol: mild; poisoning/drugging with a local plant
REVIEW: Oh, book, I knew just from reading the description that I would love you. And I really, really did. Keeping w...more More reviews at Mrs. ReaderPants.
REVIEW: Oh, book, I knew just from reading the description that I would love you. And I really, really did. Keeping with the book's listing tradition, here's why I will be recommending this to my library girls:
1. Mallory is a totally NORMAL girl. She's not extremely beautiful or excessively smart or crazy popular. She's clueless and sometimes feels awkward. She doesn't always say or do the right thing. She has moments of weakness, and sometimes, she gives in to those moments. She's a relatable heroine with whom many readers will identify.
2. Mallory's best friend is her younger sister. I have two younger sisters, and they hold a place in my heart that only they can fill. Sisters are more than best friends; they are forever friends (that's from a keychain my sister gave me).
3. Two involved, annoying, smothering, arguing, parents who love each other but have their own issues and flaws. Mallory's family is realistic and has drama and is imperfect and real. Refreshing.
4. Unplugging. I've been trying to do more of this lately. It's not as easy as you might think, but it's doable and totally wonderful. It's amazing how much more time is in the day when I do my "unplugged" days.
5. Mallory is so wrapped-up in her boyfriend that she loses her own sense of self. It's realistic and happens all the time, and young girls will benefit from recognizing it. As in the book, these break-ups are probably the hardest.
6. Going Vintage is an honest look at the problems modern technology can cause and how being a teen is hard, no matter what decade you live in. The "good old days" weren't all gumdrops and roses; instead, they featured the same kinds of problems against a different backdrop.
THE BOTTOM LINE: Sweet, honest, and funny. Perfect for reading on the beach or on rainy, dateless Saturday nights.
STATUS IN MY LIBRARY: It comes out on March 26, but I've already ordered three. I plan to add Going Vintage to our school's Lone Star Plus Reading List for the 2013-14 school year.
READALIKES:How Not To Be Popular (Ziegler); Fat Cat (Brande)
RATING BREAKDOWN: Overall: 5/5
Appeal to teens: 5/5
Appropriate length to tell the story: 5/5
CONTENT: Language: none
Sexuality: mild; some remembered "making out" and a few kisses; discussion of teen pregnancy
Drugs/Alcohol: very mild; mention of late-60s marijuana use
WHAT I LIKED:Grave Mercy is really easy to get into. Having never read anything by Robin LaFevers, I could tell...more Read more reviews at Mrs. ReaderPants
WHAT I LIKED:Grave Mercy is really easy to get into. Having never read anything by Robin LaFevers, I could tell right away that she has serious writing talent. I was sucked into Ismae's story immediately; her forced marriage to the local pig farmer (who truly is a pig himself) and subsequent near-rape really help the reader understand Ismae's burning hatred for men and why she has no qualms about being death's handmaiden. For about the first third of the story, I was riveted.
Unique! I had never heard of Anne of Brittany, and after I finished reading, I researched the characters. Many of them really existed, and Anne's marriage (and multiple betrothals) really was a political football back in the 1400s. I can see why LaFevers chose to write about Brittany at this time in history; who knew it was so interesting? LaFevers introduces an element of fantasy into the mix with Ismae serving Death and having special abilities; add in Ismae and Duval's romance, and you really have a recipe for something different and exciting.
WHAT I DIDN'T LIKE: I considered abandoning this book several times. I wanted to know what happened, and by the time I was really ready to abandon, I felt like I had invested so much time already that I needed to go ahead and finish it. By the end, Grave Mercy really never recaptured the magic of the first part of the book. The political intrigue in the last two-thirds of the book just got to be too much for me. I had a hard time keeping track of all the barons and lords and kings and dukes and courtiers and mistresses. Who is on who's side? Grave Mercy is long--549 pages--and would have been more interesting to me if some of the political plotting and explanation were cut down.
Also, why does Death worry so much about European politics? Why would St. Mortain care a lick about the duchess being crowned or whether France is allowed to invade Brittany? Over and over, Ismae and the nuns say that Mortain wants the duchess crowned. How do they know this? If they are correct, why would St. Mortain care? It bothered me.
I would have loved to see a section at the end about the historical events in the story. I read the publisher's ARC, so maybe the published edition includes that.
THE BOTTOM LINE: For me, this one is overlong and includes way too much political intrigue, but considering the high Goodreads rating right now, lots of readers disagree with me.
STATUS IN MY LIBRARY: We don't have it and won't get it. It is definitely HS--content aside, I don't think most of my students will even understand it.
Appeal to teens: 3/5
Appropriate length to tell the story: 2/5
Sexuality: medium-high; multiple references to women as sexual objects, several references to rape, lots of kissing, off-the-page intercourse
Violence: mild; for a book about an assassin, surprising few murders (none are gross or bloody)
Drugs/Alcohol: mild; poisoning is a method of murder; some characters drink at parties or are described as drunk
WHAT I LIKED: Fun, fun, fun! Greta is easy to get into and difficult to put down. Featuring plenty of action, romance...more More reviews at Mrs. ReaderPants.
WHAT I LIKED: Fun, fun, fun! Greta is easy to get into and difficult to put down. Featuring plenty of action, romance, and ghoul drool, this book will be a hit for fans of Brandon Mull's Fablehaven series and Julie Kagawa's Iron Fey series. I have been so sick of paranormal romance lately, but Greta was refreshingly unique and just plain-old good storytelling.
Original world-building! I love Jacobs' descriptions of the frigid, unforgiving land of Mylena. I could picture the warm glow of the bar where Greta encounters Siona, the makeshift stick tents Wyatt and the other boys put together, the drooly ghouls wanting nothing more than a light snack to calm their hungry bellies. I love the looming eclipse and what it does to the animals and creatures of Mylena. I love that the Goblin King and his cousin Siona are not the bony, hideous, grey-skinned creatures from other stories I've read; instead, both are beautiful and strong (and look a lot like humans). Faeries are not the delicate little Tinkerbell-esque flying pixies; they are huge, strong, and fearsome. Just. Awesome.
WHAT I DIDN'T LIKE: There are two potential romances in Greta. Wyatt, a human, is very sweet, accepting, encouraging, and clearly likes Greta. I like him a lot and would love to see Greta end up with him (though I don't think that will happen). Although Isaac the Goblin King is interesting and gorgeous and powerful and understands Greta's personality well, his actions are stalker-ish. Greta is a tough girl who isn't afraid to do what is necessary to survive; I would think her character would be irritated by possessive behavior. While she does resist for awhile, she eventually gives in even though she acknowledges this is not a good relationship for her to be in.
The "I love yous" come way too soon, which always drives me nuts. I prefer characters to have to work for the first kiss and the first "I love you." I like it when the author drags these out a little so I, the reader, can anticipate it and squeal when it finally happens. I didn't have enough time to savor the romance in this one; it was almost as though Greta just gave in to Isaac's advances rather than really wanting him on her own.
The ending felt rushed and confusing. I found myself wondering--what makes Greta and her brother so special? Why does Agramon want them so badly? Perhaps these questions will be answered in the next book.
THE BOTTOM LINE: Fun, fast-paced, and action-packed. It's not without its minor issues, but they are not big enough to distract from the fun of the story.
STATUS IN MY LIBRARY: On order. My fantasy readers will love this!
READALIKES:The Iron Fey series (Kagawa); Fablehaven series (Mull)
Appeal to teens: 5/5
Appropriate length to tell the story: 5/5
Language: mild--a couple of sh**
Sexuality: mild--appreciation of male chest and body, kissing
Violence: medium--blood, gore, fighting (nothing worse than most teen fantasy novels)
So awesome, and I am not a football person at all. I thought it was really interesting to read about how steroids affect the body. I also liked how Mi...moreSo awesome, and I am not a football person at all. I thought it was really interesting to read about how steroids affect the body. I also liked how Mick had a slow slide into steroid use. He said several times that he didn't even want to do steroids. He was particular about using natural enhancers that would improve his performance. I think teens who read this will see just how easy it is to get into pretty heavy drug use. (less)