I was thinking, about half way thru, that this one might not be as good as the first....BUT IT WAS! Ahhhhh gosh all those twists, and Hiccup being ado...moreI was thinking, about half way thru, that this one might not be as good as the first....BUT IT WAS! Ahhhhh gosh all those twists, and Hiccup being adorable, and David Tennant's sexy voice :)) AMAZING! Onto "How to Speak Dragonese"!(less)
WOW!!! I really enjoyed the movie, and thought, "Hmmm someday I'll read the books." Then, having an extra audible credit, I thought, "Hmmm let me see...moreWOW!!! I really enjoyed the movie, and thought, "Hmmm someday I'll read the books." Then, having an extra audible credit, I thought, "Hmmm let me see what David Tennant has done in audiobooks." (Having just listened to his "Much Ado About Nothing".) And then I saw, "OMG HE DID THE AUDIOBOOKS!" So. Yeah. This awesomeness happened, and now I'm addicted and need to finish the whole series on audio because WOW. It's just the most perfect combination!(less)
Crud. One of the world's greatest mysteries: how N. D. Wilson writes as magnificently and extraordinarily as he does. There is a reason why he is my f...moreCrud. One of the world's greatest mysteries: how N. D. Wilson writes as magnificently and extraordinarily as he does. There is a reason why he is my favorite author!! :D Oh wow!!
I'm really sick of giving out 2 stars...but man...there have been so many disappointing books lately. This one started out SO good! Like, I was sooooo...moreI'm really sick of giving out 2 stars...but man...there have been so many disappointing books lately. This one started out SO good! Like, I was sooooo loving it. And then...I don't know what happened. The end just flopped for me. Hmmmm.... I'll be writing a full review soon.(less)
Ordinary Magic by Caitlen Rubino-Bradway Pages: 288 Release Date: May 8th, 2012 Date Read: 2012, February 24th - March 1st Received: ARC via NetGalley Rati...moreOrdinary Magic by Caitlen Rubino-Bradway Pages: 288 Release Date: May 8th, 2012 Date Read: 2012, February 24th - March 1st Received: ARC via NetGalley Rating: 4.5/5 stars Recommended to: 10+
SUMMARY - Abby is about to be tested for magic - will she be a Level 5? A 6? She comes from a very prominent family, where everyone uses magic well; her older sister tested at Level 9! But when Abby is discovered to be an Ord, a non-magical human, she is cast out by the society around her. Ords are unnatural - they are usually sold to Adventurers or the Guild. Abby's parents, of course, refuse to sell her, and find a place for her at Margaret Green School, a place where where Ords learn how to protect themselves and live in a magical society. When Adventurers strike, seeking slaves, and the students are in danger, Abby and her friends muster all the courage and wit they possess to outsmart the enemy.
MY THOUGHTS - Already I have the winner for the "CUTEST book of 2012"!! This is is, ladies and gents! Ordinary Magic is stinking adorable. And not only that - it had me laughing out loud all the time, and loving every second. The way Caitlen Rubino-Bradway portrays everything through stellar writing and her brilliant story-telling style had me applauding for more.
While absolutely everything about Ordinary Magic was just adorable, my favorite thing about it was the humor. In character, in conversation, in their way of life - I still giggle when I think about Gil, or Abby's hilarious sarcasm, etc., etc.
CHARACTER NOTES - Abby, her family, the mages, her friends at school, the Adventurers, the King - all brilliantly done! There was no need to tell the reader who all these people were because the reader is shown from page 1 with crystal clear imagery. Because of this, I want to say each and every one is my favorite and tell you why, but that simply can't be done.
Abby's voice is realistic and funny. I love her. Like, want-to-be-best-buds love her. She's spunky, determined, and totally sweet. She can have a bit of temper but is really mature. Talk about perfect character building...
Peter, Fran and Fred were awesome. I love that Fran always speaks in a whisper, Fred is everyone's buddy, and Peter can be a total jerk, but deep down is a totally great guy trying to figure things out. I'm hoping, in maybe another book - romance for Abby and Peter? :)
Mom and Dad, Abby's parents, are some of the most hilarious parents I've ever read about in Lit. I could relate to them on a personal level because they remind me of my parents. Not in every way, but enough to make me love them even more than I would have originally. They were SO funny, always teasing their kids and making jokes.
But. My favorite. He would have to be Gil, Abby's older brother. Oh, my gosh. He's such a riot!! I was NOT expecting such hilariousness from him, and about him from his family, but he proved to be the biggest source of laughter for me. I. LOVE. HIM. The twist about him in the end just made me burst into hysterical laughter! I'm cracking up just thinking about it!!
STORY NOTES - Think: fun, adventure, magic, kinds, bad guys, and lots of wit. I love when kids have to outsmart the bad guys ("Home Alone" style!), and Ordinary Magic had plenty of that. There were a few scenes that were a bit slower than the rest, but never boring. The pace is otherwise consistent and actually pretty fast. (It took me a bit longer than typical due to a crazy week, but normally I could've finished a book like this in 2 days!)
Every scene has a purpose. I love that about Ordinary Magic: nothing is unimportant or out of place. I also love the originality of the idea. Instead of a magician surrounded by non-magical people, it's the other way around. And it's just as fascinating to read about!
I also love the mix of cultures. Kings and castles mixed with boarding schools, mixed with city life and fairs and magic carpets. (I LOVE magic carpets!) It's flipping awesome!
SUMMING IT UP - What's not to love? This book is all sorts of awesome fun. There's no reason why you shouldn't have this on your TBR. Add it now - you won't be sorry! Recommended 10+
The False Prince by Jennifer A. Nielson (#1) Pages: 342 Release Date: April 1st, 2012 Date Read: 2012, April 27th-May 1st Received: Library Rating: 4/5 sta...moreThe False Prince by Jennifer A. Nielson (#1) Pages: 342 Release Date: April 1st, 2012 Date Read: 2012, April 27th-May 1st Received: Library Rating: 4/5 stars Recommended to: 11+
SUMMARY - Sage - orphan, thief, troublemaker. Rebellious. Never taking orders. But when his antics get him noticed, Sage is in for something bigger than anyone could have guessed. He and three other boys have been taken in, forced into a game of deceit, a plan full of lies. Who will win the prize? Who will live and who will die? Sage finds himself caught int he middle of a huge conspiracy, and he is the only one who can stop it.
MY THOUGHTS - Boy, I enjoyed this book one heck of a lot! Written beautifully, masterfully crafted...Nielson has some new talent that everyone should read and love. Intrigue! Romance! Conspiracy! Princes! Secret passageways! Secrets - lots of secrets! (And I hear Alan Tudyk saying, "Pain! Lots of pain!")
I had my ideas about the plot from the very beginning (which I usually avoid). A lot of them came to pass, which normally does not happen, those very few times I venture to guess, and which is why it felt a bit too predictable. Some things never happened and a few I ended up discarding because, no, there's no way that could be the case! Well, at least I was surprised where it counts, right? Beautifully twisted. My gosh! I just sat there with my mouth hung open. I laughed, incredulous. It's amazing.
Sage is quite a catch. He's 14(ish), totally cocky, and beyond a doubt brilliant. He is without a doubt one of the most original MC's I've ever come across. BUT. (Yes, there is a "but".) He broke my trust, and my heart. When I meet a character as vivid and personal as Sage, I throw my very hart and soul into the mix. So while that one very spoilery twist shocked me and amazed me, I couldn't help feeling a bit betrayed. It goes along with Sage's character in a way, but still! After that, I didn't trust him like before and found myself pulling away from the story a bit. Besides that, I loved Sage, the story, the shocking twist that once seemed impossible, and the rest of the cast. I can't wait for more of Sage's story and to see what affect Roden, Tobias and Imogen will have on the story!
This book reminds me of... Gold crowns (the kind you wear on your head...you know, take a look at that gorgeous cover) Rascal boys Oliver Twist, The Prince and the Pauper, Scaramouche, and The Count of Monte Cristo (of which the latter two just happen to be two of the most brilliant books ever written) Young love Brillian boys who are undeniably attractive Quick speed read
Castle of Shadows by Ellen Renner Pages: 400 Release Date: March 20th, 2012 Date Read: 2012, April 1st-7th Received: ARC via NetGalley Rating: 4/5 stars Rec...moreCastle of Shadows by Ellen Renner Pages: 400 Release Date: March 20th, 2012 Date Read: 2012, April 1st-7th Received: ARC via NetGalley Rating: 4/5 stars Recommended to: 10+
SUMMARY - Her Royal Highness, the Princess Charlotte Augusta Joanna Hortense of Quale, more commonly known as Charlie, has spent the last six years getting to know every nook, cranny, and shadow of her father's castle. Her father, the King himself, busies himself by building card castles, higher and higher, driven mad. Some say by grief, others say by guild - that he killed Charlie's mother, the Queen. But Charlie knows she is alive, and is determined to find the whereabouts of her mother who disappeared all those years ago without a trace.
MY THOUGHTS - I really enjoyed this mystery. I'm not a huge mystery reader - it typically has to blow my mind and shock me numb for me to 5-star it. But this book really was wonderful, a fun read as well as an intense one. Ellen Renner's style is lovely, her writing very sophisticated but easy to read.
CHARACTER NOTES - I really did enjoy this cast. Charlie was such a fun MC, a girl with a lot going on - plus a huge personality. Tobias was a great addition, helping Charlie but to what end? Why is he helping her? His motives remain unclear until the end and I love this about him.
Mrs. Odair, the King, Mr. Moleglass, Bettina, Peter and a few others were great supporting characters, good or bad. All had a place and really complimented every aspect of Castle of Shadows.
My favorite character, however, is Alistair Windlass, Prime Minister of Quale. I won't spill any secrets about him, but I'll just say that he was perfect. Part of his perfection goes to the fact that one moment you hate him and the next you love him and after that you're wonderful where his loyalties lie. It's brilliant, really.
I had one issue with two of the characters - Charlie and Tobias. They didn't act their ages, 11 and 12, respectively. Charlie sometimes acted childish, but her level of thought-process, logic, and overall wisdom was that of a 13 or 14 year old. And Tobias mostly acted 14 or 15. So, I, erm, pretended they were the ages I pictured them as.
STORY NOTES - Like I said, mysteries don't always cut it for me, but Castle of Shadows certainly did! For me, Renner's writing and the way she crafted her story created a wonderfully illustrated picture of life inside Charlie's castle, as well as Charlie's lifestyle and the lives of those around her. The difference between the lives of, say...Tobias and Windlass were striking.
I really liked the mystery of the missing Queen, but honestly, that wasn't my main draw. It was definitely Windlass, and everything to do with him. I was so surprised by all the things he did. He confounded me, like, every 5 pages or so.
The twist about Tobias in the end was really brilliant as well. I had an idea something like the real deal but wasn't sure...
SUMMING IT UP - Dark intrigue. That's another thing...the story line was a bit darker/sadder than I would prefer for this age group, but can definitely be an exception. I really enjoyed Castle of Shadows! A great book to curl under the covers with. Especially the last 125 pages - I didn't put it down once!
For the Parents - Some death toward the end. Darker themes (madness/murder) but not too strong. One or two uses of b****rd. Recommended 10+(less)
The Humming Room by Ellen Potter Pages: 192 Release Date: February 28th, 2012 Date Read: 2012, January 14th-16th Received: ARC from NetGalley Rating: 4/5 s...moreThe Humming Room by Ellen Potter Pages: 192 Release Date: February 28th, 2012 Date Read: 2012, January 14th-16th Received: ARC from NetGalley Rating: 4/5 stars Recommended to: 11+
SUMMARY - Roo Fanshaw is small for her age, and very shy. Her father, a man who dappled in illegal activities for a long time, has just been murdered, leaving Roo alone and in the custody of whoever will take her. When she is taken from her home to her eccentric Uncle's house on an island, Roo finds this harder to bear than almost anything else. When she arrives at her Uncle's mansion, what used to be a hospital for ill children, Roo finds herself drawn to the nature and the river on the outside - as well as the Humming that comes from the walls of the west wing. There are secrets here, and Roo is determined to uncover them. Can she unlock the mysteries of her family and heal her broken heart?
MY THOUGHTS - This story is incredibly sweet - and also very powerful. I remember watching "The Secret Garden" movie a few times when I was younger, but I never got around to the book. I wanted to read this even before I knew it was a retelling - and finding that out just made me even more excited.
I really like Ellen Potter's style. She uses words and sets pace very gracefully. Her writing style creates very clear imagery, very strong and interesting characters, and a touching, heartfelt story. I'm honestly really impressed by how beautiful this book is.
CHARACTER NOTES - Roo Fanshaw is the quirky, realistic and vivid character I think everyone wishes they could write/read about all the time. She's the kind of character I always loved most growing up - the one you can relate to, but who has different struggles and a very realistic and unique personality. Roo had me eagerly awaiting her every action. Her personal struggles are deep; her endeavors - in the garden and with the boys she meets - are very touching. In this story, Roo's life is turned upside-down: she changes (and still stays very consistent), and she changes others around her.
I really liked Violet's character - funny, talkative, and full of laughter. She brightened teh story a lot; without her it would have been a bit too dark.
The Faigne and the other boy, Philip (I won't say anything in case you don't know much about the original story), were very different and both absolutely necessary to the story. Part of me wishes there had been more of both of them, but then again, it was great as it was.
STORY NOTES - The Humming Room is a pretty darn intense story. Not like action-packed, but...eerie. Roo's adventures in her Uncle's dark castle, and in the almost fairytale-like land around it were riveting. Cough Rock was the perfect backdrop to the mystery and discovery in the story.
For the most part, all the events and conversations were very well-placed; everything about the story was emotionally gripping. The two things that bothered me, the reason for 4 instead of 5 stars, were these: the part of me that wishes there was more development about the boys, and the end scenes. Those last two or three scenes were good, but not great like the rest. They came to a close a little too quickly, like they could have been stretched out maybe 15 more pages. Roo's Uncle Fanshaw could have been brought into things more as well.
But overall, everything really was fantastic. From the garden to the Faigne; from the despair to the joy - I can't wait to have this one on my shelf and let my friends read it!
SUMMING IT UP - The Humming Room is simple, yet so intricate as well. It was a really great read and I'm ecstatic to read Potter's previous book, The Kneebone Boy, which I've wanted to read forever but haven't found the time to. Now it's on my priority list, because Potter's work is just too good to pass up!
An incredible addition. Ugh these books. I canNOT get enough. Particularly of Percabeth. TOO MUCH GOOOODNESS. I thought...if either of them thinks/spe...moreAn incredible addition. Ugh these books. I canNOT get enough. Particularly of Percabeth. TOO MUCH GOOOODNESS. I thought...if either of them thinks/speaks about kids/future/being together/dying together ONE MORE TIME I will probably have a fatal feels attack. Book 5 better hurry it's butt up - even though the title scares the crap out of me. :'((less)
This book! THIS BOOK! What the flip!! Riordan, how do you manage to be so brilliant about everything? Just, stop. Ok? Actually, don't stop, because it...moreThis book! THIS BOOK! What the flip!! Riordan, how do you manage to be so brilliant about everything? Just, stop. Ok? Actually, don't stop, because it's all too wonderful. GUYS! THIS BOOK!! I mean....WHAT?! THAT ENDING. I'M STILL IN SHOCK AND AMAZED AND TOTALLY IN LOVE. Percy Jackson. I love him.