Move over Harry and Percy, Callum is in the house!
This series is going to be the next big thing. I guarantee it. How could it not with Holly Block anMove over Harry and Percy, Callum is in the house!
This series is going to be the next big thing. I guarantee it. How could it not with Holly Block and Cassandra Clare as the authors?
I'm almost scared to admit that I almost gave up on this one. Eek. I know. I came so close to putting it aside, but I'm glad I did not. If you feel like this one starts slow, you're not alone. But don't give up. The ending is worth it all.
I can't say much without giving away everything, but the setting of this book is awesome. Okay, I'm a bit biased since I know where the setting gets its inspiration from. I visited the Luray Caverns last summer. So when I read that the Magisterium is in Luray, VA I knew what I was reading! I was able to visualize everything, which sold me on this book. The Luray Caverns are spectacular; they fit perfectly with the mystery and vastness of the Magisterium. (Go ahead and look it up. You'll want a visual.)
For a middle grades book, The Iron Trial is packing a serious punch on the deep themes. Callum has issues. He's not hero material. He's weak, disfigured, and not at all what you would imagine a hero should be. He doesn't even think he's a hero. In fact, he has some major baggage to sort through. This book is certainly setting the stage for a kick butt series that is going to poke around at the meaning of nature vs nurture.
I will definitely be on the look out for book 2! ...more
This book is both captivating and infuriating at the same time.
The cover drew me in right away. What a gorgeous way to grab my attention! As I starteThis book is both captivating and infuriating at the same time.
The cover drew me in right away. What a gorgeous way to grab my attention! As I started reading, I realized there is a good bit of mystery going on in The Winter People. It's pretty apparent that Salome is different from most kids her age. We are led to believe that it has to do with her fear of winter after a near death experience as a child, but the reader quickly realizes there is more to her story.
That's about where my captivation ended, unfortunately. The annoying qualities of the characters over took anything that I enjoyed. For starters, Salome is annoying. She jumps from one boy to the next without any hesitation. Not cool. I am glad that she realized the manipulation and potential abusive relationship with one boy, but she was the rebound queen. That made her relationships feel trivial, so I had a hard time believing when she found 'the one'. Her best friend wasn't much better. She was just as flighty in a very skanky sort of way. I won't say much about her, but these two girls were not good role models.
But the plot twist in the end did help save the story. It wasn't a surprise but it was delivered well. I did like Salome's choice, so at least I was left with a happy ending....more
When I take the time to read nonfiction, I want to feel like I've spent my time wisely. I want to learn something new and be able to apply that informWhen I take the time to read nonfiction, I want to feel like I've spent my time wisely. I want to learn something new and be able to apply that information in a practical way. With Writing Great Books for Young Adults I accomplished both tasks!
I really took my time reading this book because there was SO much valuable information on each page. I teach middle school language arts, so I really did not expect to learn much in this area. Yes, I was full of hubris. I admit it. I spend entire units teaching plot, characterization, conflict, etc. I can truly spit off a wealth of knowledge without hesitation. But I really did learn something from this book!
I'm very excited about that fact too. I'm giddy with anticipation of new knowledge I can share with my students. The history alone is worth reading. The author really spent some time digging up information to show how concepts have changed over time. (She was speaking to my inner nerd for sure.)
If you are a writing teacher, this book would make a great teaching resource for you. The depth it goes into would really make some fantastic lessons and talking points with your students. I would also recommend this book to anyone currently writing a book or planning to write. It simplifies the process and helps you gain an understanding of what is needed to be clear and concise when writing to keep a teen reader's attention. ...more
I live in a house full of boys that are crazy about super heroes. I live and breathe Marvel and DC Comics. I even have Wonder Woman socks. I considerI live in a house full of boys that are crazy about super heroes. I live and breathe Marvel and DC Comics. I even have Wonder Woman socks. I consider myself well-versed in all things superhero. While browsing the aisles at Barnes and Noble over the summer, we instantly gravitated to the graphic novels (which are next to the YA section). I refused to buy another graphic novel for my oldest son, so he picked up Hero Worship by Christopher Long; I picked up V is for Villain by Peter Moore... and our superhero reading showdown began.
I thought I had a highly original book in my hands when I started V is for Villain. In some respects, I did because every book is unique even when it shares many similarities with another. The story is fun with a likeable narrator. I liked that Brad showed no aptitudes to make him "great"-- or great by hero standards. It was rather funny at times to feel like you were poking a big stick at how small minded some of the characters could be. There was also a pretty major twist at the end that you may or may not see coming, but certainly put things in an interesting light.
But I guess what kind of nagged at me along the way was how similar V is for Villain was to Hero Worship. I seriously doubt it was intentional (Hero Worship came out 5 months before V is for Villain) but it was still obvious at times. In each book you have kids that have special powers that they aren't able to use, a school for developing special powers/heroes, and a corrupt society. Yes, very generic themes but still similar.
Add that to the super annoying footnotes littering the pages and I became a bit frustrated while reading. I cannot begin to say how obnoxious a paragraph long foot note is. Maybe it was supposed to add to the effect of reading Brad's after the big event diary or something. I dunno. It was lost on me.
My son didn't seem interested in V is for Villain at the store, so I never pushed it on him afterwards. It was okay, but not a favorite. I also felt like it was marketed to younger readers but had very mature themes (lots of talk about female anatomy and sex). Both of those would not go over well for my very naive child. Overall, it held my interest for about 2 days, then I found myself rushing to finish before the library's deadline. I was hoping for more, oh well. ...more
The Monster on the Hill is a super cute book. I saw it on the shelf in the kids' section of the library while browsing with my son, and I just had to The Monster on the Hill is a super cute book. I saw it on the shelf in the kids' section of the library while browsing with my son, and I just had to pick it up. The monster's face just makes me giggle. He reminds me of my grumpy, extra surely dog.
Just like any good graphic novel, there are amazing pictures in The Monster on the Hill. In fact, I'd even say there are OUTSTANDING pictures. Everything is in full color and has great detail. The depressed monster, Rayburn, has vivid facial expressions and mannerisms. The story is also fun to read. It's not what I expected. I didn't bother reading the synopsis, so I didn't have any idea of what the book was about. Imagine my surprise when I realized that the people in these towns like being terrorized by their monsters. Hilarious.
Rayburn has hit a bit of a rough patch. He's not feeling too monsterly and given up on his monster duties. He feels like a failure. That is, until a very unlikely solution-- in the form of a capable street urchin and an off-beat doctor-- come to help.
I read The Monster on the Hill in about 30 minutes. Like most graphic novels, it's a super fast read. I really enjoyed the story line and illustrations. I was rooting for Rayburn all the way! ...more
I think I need a shelf for "barely finished" because this one belongs there. It took a lot of effort!
Thank goodness for twists, otherwise I would haveI think I need a shelf for "barely finished" because this one belongs there. It took a lot of effort!
Thank goodness for twists, otherwise I would have been really annoyed with this book. It just kept going on and on. Too much time spent on Bryn feeling sorry for herself. Her constant paranoia and whining drove me nuts. I really started scanning through things just to see if things would get better. At some point I even considered making this a DNFer. I just didn't know if I wanted to put the effort into something that I felt was mediocre. But I did finish and this is what I found:
Best character was Evan. He was funny and conflicted. I liked his pushy, call it like it is nature. He brought humor and insight into an otherwise drab group of characters. The rest of the characters were annoying. Bryn felt flat. She never developed into anything more than a whining mess. There was also not enough Teddy for me to believe any hint of a romance between the two. He had potential, but it was never developed. Same for the supporting characters. There was a great deal of effort spent making the reader feel suspicious, but it was not executed well. I felt like I was left hanging on many things.
If I could describe how I felt while reading Huntress, it would be best described as a light, steady rain. The kind that is constant enough to eventuaIf I could describe how I felt while reading Huntress, it would be best described as a light, steady rain. The kind that is constant enough to eventually make wet spots appear on concrete, but never heavy enough to soak the ground.
I know, weird description for a book, but that's how it feels. It was a steady, complete story but it never really saturated my senses. I never had that moment where I felt lost in the story.
The author did a great job of creating the setting. At times I did feel as if I were seeing things from the characters' eyes. I also really liked the characters: Kaede, Con, and Taisin. Each character felt unique and had a different outlook. Con was probably the character that did not have as much sway in the story, but I still liked him. The idea of love was also different. I didn't know what to expect with this book, but it was good. It felt complete and believable. It didn't feel forced or fake.
One thing that started to gnaw at me as I read, though, was how the story seemed to drag on after a point. Then, suddenly, it shifted and ended. I was a bit annoyed by that, but I also see its purpose. I think I would have preferred if other parts of the story were cut and the ending developed a bit more.
It's hard for me to put into words how I felt about Huntress overall. I was proud of myself for branching out and reading a book with a LGBT main character. But it just didn't astound me. It was good, but I don't know if I see what all the hype was about.
Oh man, you guys. This book! In one word: intense. In two words: intense and surprising.
I usually figure outWhat the heck did I just read? Whoa. 4.5!
Oh man, you guys. This book! In one word: intense. In two words: intense and surprising.
I usually figure out the plot of books way before the end, but that was not the case with Variant. It literally kept me guessing to the last word.
If you like suspenseful books, I hope Variant find its way to your reading list. Saying it's suspenseful is a major understatement. I stayed up until 2 am to finish this book because I had to know what was coming. After a particularly gruesome scene, I found myself reading to know what the outcome would be. I told myself "just one more chapter" to see. But what I found made me stop and ask myself "what just happened?" So of course I had to keep reading. And that's just what I did until I finished the book.
I loved discovering what was going on at Maxfield Academy right along with Benson. He had his suspicions and I had mine. We both found surprises-- lots of them.
Benson is a great narrator. He has major flaws, which makes him very likable. I imagine if I was in his situation, I might feel a lot of the same emotions. His voice came through loud and clear without sounding forced or fake. The other characters were also great in their supporting roles. Robinson Wells did a phenomenal job of layering everyone with such mystery that it was hard to assign a label. I was constantly guessing, right along with Benson.
I can promise you, when you think you have this book figured out, get ready. There will be some insane twist that will throw you off and make you question what you just read. Fantastic. Because I enjoyed this book, I went ahead and reserved book 2 from the library because I have to know what is coming next! ...more
I'm not going to pretend and say this is the type of book I like to read. I'm a big baby with a very active imagination. It does not take much to workI'm not going to pretend and say this is the type of book I like to read. I'm a big baby with a very active imagination. It does not take much to work me up into a gigantic ball of crazy. Sleepless nights aside, I love this series!
The Naturals had me on the edge of my seat with every turn of the page. The twist at the end left me speechless. When I saw that book two was on its way, I knew I had to read it. I had very high hopes for Killer Instinct, and I was not disappointed (much).
If you're looking for a twist, you'll find it. This one had a bit more complications along the way than its predecessor. Although, I figured out the grand mystery before the big reveal. (To be honest, I was led astray once THEN figured it out.)
You'll also find a good sprinkling of gore. It's not over the top, but it made me read a bit quicker at times. (Super wuss, I am) My only complaint with this book is the on and off romance triangle. Jennifer Lynn Barnes did such a fantastic job of making both love interests so darn likeable that I just couldn't choose. I'm still conflicted. To be honest, I want an alternate ending so I can have both-- just in case I change my mind later on. I wasn't completely satisfied with the end result because it felt like one of those "not an option, option". Kind of like how Katniss ends up with Peeta because there is no one else for Peeta and Gale turned into a creep. Not really an option there.
The romance factor didn't distract from the book much, luckily. Cassie can be a bit wishy washy, but her role in the book still focuses on solving mysteries before she gets killed. It makes for a very fast-paced read!
This book was way beyond my normal reading zone, and I am SO glad I read it. Seriously. It was creep-tastic!
It will be hard for me to review The NatuThis book was way beyond my normal reading zone, and I am SO glad I read it. Seriously. It was creep-tastic!
It will be hard for me to review The Naturals without giving away the goods, but I'm going to do my best to tell you what I loved the most about it. In one word: surprises.
Yep, it actually surprised me. I think that's a very big deal because I usually figure out the plot of books in the first 75 pages or so. With that said, I did know where The Naturals was headed but it still ended up being a surprise. I was in the ball park, but my glove was not on. Obviously the big reveal at the end left me saying "holy crap" but it wasn't the only surprise along the way. There were several little twists that made me stop and think for a second before continuing the story.
I absolutely loved being inside of Cassie's head. The whole concept of being a profiler working for the FBI (but being like the alpha-profiler) was very interesting and fresh for me. Maybe there are books like that out there, but I don't know about them.
My only complaint was the weird "You" chapters throughout. They were kind of weird for me. I understand the purpose behind them, but they still felt off. It just gave me the impression that they (the chapters) were trying to hard to fit in. Maybe that was just me. They did help move the plot along and give insight into what was happening on the serial killer's end of things without making the story too long.
In a nutshell, I'm glad this one made it to the Teen Read's 2014 list. It's pretty suspenseful. In fact, it kept this girl from wanting to go out to eat because I wanted to finish the book in one sitting... and to keep me from food AND my favorite restaurant is pretty huge.
If you are looking for a true page-turner, pick this up. Pronto. ...more
Aside from a stellar cover, what can you expect from Hit? The answer to the story is both simple and complicated. On the basic level, you have a prettAside from a stellar cover, what can you expect from Hit? The answer to the story is both simple and complicated. On the basic level, you have a pretty horrific accident that wrecks havoc on the lives of a family. Sarah is a senior with everything going for her. She's beautiful and talented. Unfortunately for her, she develops feelings for the student teacher visiting from the local college, Mr. Haddings. The reader never really gets a clear picture of whether or not these feelings were reciprocated, but something is certainly afoot. There is a lot-- and I mean a lot-- of ambiguity in this area. When Haddings realizes he's hit Sarah, it's not just his windsheild that shatters. This man finds himself knee deep in a mess that he will never escape. Sarah's best friend Cyndi is quick to paint a less than ideal image of Hadding's motivation to hit Sarah. But it's left up to the reader to decide whether she's right or not. I liked the story itself. It was certainly gripping enough to keep me turning the pages. You can tell the author did a great deal of research to make Sarah's experience in the hospital as realistic as possible. At times, it was pretty gruesome for my weak stomached self. The story alternates between Sarah and Haddings' points of view. While Sarah spends a large part of her time unconscious in the beginning, she seems to be the one with the most insight. Haddings had a small part to play upfront but then his character seemed to fade away. He just wasn't as strong as I'd expect him to be. The two characters that really stood out to me were the parents. I don't think they were meant to be the focus, but it ended up that way for me. The mom has issues, obviously. I would think for a parent facing her children growing up and moving on, there is some struggle with the "empty nest syndrome". It would have to be a hard adjustment to make to see the person you've spent the majority of your life taking care of move on without you. That's where Sarah's mom finds herself until suddenly she's given that second chance to take care of Sarah. You see a very vulnerable side to the needs of a parent struggling to find a place outside of her child. Then there is the dad. I think I liked him the most of all because he was dealing out the life lessons. He's a man of faith that is struggling with forgiveness, and rightfully so. I really liked his lines about hope and forgiveness. There were some powerful messages coming from his character. Overall, I enjoyed Hit. It was a very quick read that kept me reading from the start. I felt like some of the characterization for Haddings could have been fleshed out a bit more, but I chose to focus more on the secondary characters as I read. I think this enhanced my reading experience, and kept me from focusing on things that I would have wanted to see changed...more