I don't know what it is about dads and leather recliners, but it seems like every dad I know has one. Is it something you get at the hospital when they hand you the baby? "Congratulations sir, it's a boy, and here is your leather recliner."
What's with the lack of MG/YA targeted toward boys? SO many times I've had boys come up to me at work and ask for help finding books and wind up leaving with a Rick Riordan novel, a Diary of a Wimpy Kid book, or an adult sci-fi novel that's far too mature for them. I'm pretty excited that I now have another series to recommend: Nate Rocks.
Nathan Rockledge, or Nate Rocks, is a typical 10-year old boy: his 13-year old sister drives him crazy, his mother's cardboard pasta will be the death of him, and he would much rather do just about anything than be paired up with a girl as his science partner.
When the going gets tough, the tough...whip out their sketchpads and save the world. Nate's done it all: save Earth from an asteroid, rescue a woman tied to train tracks, help take down evil villains. Throughout the book Nate has daydreams about being the hero and those were so much fun to read!
Nate Rocks the World is fairly fast-paced, but it works and I think that's a plus for its target audience. Well-written, relatable characters made this book a joy to read and I know boys will absolutely LOVE this series....more
I'm relatively new to the world of audiobooks - prior to Storm Front I had only listened to one (Manhunt, which I HIGHLY recommend!). This wasn't intentional, it simply never crossed my mind. I can easily be seen as the target audience for audiobooks: I'm always listening to my ipod on my daily commute and when I exercise. It only seems natural that I'd enjoy audiobooks.
At work, Jim Butcher's Dresden Files series is pretty hot right now. Customers ask about the books on a regular basis and multiple co-workers have read the series and really enjoy it. I came across the audiobook one day and decided to give it a shot. I'm SO glad I did!
Harry Blackstone Copperfield Dresden is one of the last wizards in existence and the only professional wizard-for-hire (he's even got himself an ad in the Yellow Pages). Harry has a tiny office in Chicago where plays Private Investigator while occasionally taking on freelance work with the Chicago PD. It is in the first chapter that the police ask Harry to take a look at a crime scene - the gruesome display could have only been the work of dark magic.
While attempting to solve the crime and track down the culprit, Harry mingles with faeries, has a delightful conversation with a vampire, crosses the wrong mobsters, dukes it out with a demon or two, and gets relationship advice from Bob, an age-old spirit trapped in a human skull. And still manages to find time to feed his gargantuan cat.
One problem I had with the book was how every single female character was described not by her personality or characteristics, but by her make-up and figure. If a female character wasn't trying to sleep with Harry (which happens quite often despite Harry adamantly insisting he has no luck with women), then she was too busy being a weeping mess somewhere or she as the bitchy, tough-as-nails cop Murphy. A number of readers have written off the series as misogynistic, but I'll refrain from passing further judgment until I've gone through a bit more of the series.
Although plenty of things happened in Storm Front, there wasn't much action. Fortunately, that wasn't much of a letdown for me. The book did a fantastic job of setting up the world Harry lives in and was a great start to the series.
As far as the narration goes, I thought James Marsters (of Buffy fame) did an outstanding job. He was perfect as Harry and came off sounding exactly as I imagined the wizard. I was equally as impressed with his female narration. I was a bit wary of how he would do female voices, but he was great and didn't sound annoyingly high-pitched at all. An all-around fantastic job....more
Prince Charming has no idea how to use a sword; Prince Charming has no patience for dwarfs; Prince Charming has an irrational hatred of capes.
Every once in a while you'll come across a book so magical, so wonderful that you think about it long after you've reached the end. The Hero's Guide to Saving Your Kingdom is that book. Part of me wants to end the review here and now and force all of you to go out and buy a copy. It was that good.
The Hero's Guide to Saving Your Kingdom tells the real story of the Princes Charming - yes, the Prince Charming we all know and love wasn't one guy. In fact, it turns out there were four. And their names definitely weren't Charming. Nope. Frederic, Duncan, Liam, and Gustav saved the day and got the girl only to have their identities forgotten.
Cinderella's Charming, Prince Frederic, isn't your typical hero. He would much rather have a nice picnic or look at art than face down hoards of monsters (it would ruin his clothes!). Prince Liam plays the hero to a fault. Unfortunately, his kingdom only praises him because his parents arranged a marriage with Sleeping Beauty and her kingdom is beyond rich. Snow White grew a little tired of Prince Duncan's...quirks. Any animal he sees he decides to name (dwarfs included - Flik, Frak, and Frank - and dubbed his horse Papa Scoots) and is convinced he has magical powers. Lastly, Prince Gustav. He set out to rescue Rapunzel from her tower only to meet a particularly nasty witch and his sixteen older brothers have yet to let him live it down.
"Oh, give me a break," Liam yelled, and stomped his foot in anger. "Why is there a dragon here? Nobody mentioned a dragon!"
When word gets out that the kingdoms' bards have been kidnapped, the princes decide that now is their chance to prove they really are heroes (and, you know, the bards will be so overjoyed they'll write new songs that make the princes look MUCH better). If only it were that simple. Along the way they have to face goblins, trolls, the Bandit King (who is actually only 10, so oh so very terrible), a very well-spoken giant, and even a dragon.
I could seriously go on and on about this book. At 430+ pages, it's definitely a meaty book - especially for MG! - but it could have been 1,000 pages and I would have loved every second. The Hero's Guide to Saving Your Kingdom had absolutely everything I wanted in a book - including pictures and a map! Christopher Healy is now on my autobuy list. Do yourself a favor and pick this book up. You'll be happy you did....more
Drop what you're doing and read this now! I've been raving about this book for the past week and am finally able to sit down and put all my flailing into words.
"For heaven's sake, boy, put your mask on," Mr. Socrates snapped. "No one should see your face."
Mr. Alan Socrates hears about an odd little child and buys him. It sounds remarkably cruel - and it is - but it's as simple as that. He takes Modo (a terribly sweet but horribly deformed boy) to his estate, Ravenscroft, and there the child is raised.
While Modo views Mr. Socrates as his father figure, the man is hardly around. He's always off traveling and on the rare occasions that he does decide to drop by, he quizzes Modo in order to see how his studies are going.
Modo is raised by a wonderful woman, the caretaker of the estate. Whereas Mr. Socrates only allows Modo to read "approved" material (certain articles from the newspaper, for example), Mrs. Finchley will go out of her way to sneak in a picture book or two, something fun and light-hearted. She was the first person to truly care about Modo and it broke my heart when Modo had to leave Ravenscroft.
Modo undid the knots and removed the mask, setting it on a table. He felt naked. This was not a face for the world to see, Mr. Socrates had told him so.
The masks are vital. Until Mr. Socrates decided Modo was to leave to estate, Modo had no idea what he looked like. All of the mirrors and anything remotely reflective were to be removed. I wanted to rush to Modo's side the day Mr. Socrates forced him to see himself for the first time.
Modo has a wonderful gift: shape-shifting. He's able to see a portrait or merely use his imagination and his entire body will change and take on the features of another person. Mr. Socrates is determined to use Modo's ability to his advantage.
Mr. Socrates is the head of a secret organization that employs agents to do various tasks. From the time he was bought, Modo had been trained to become Mr. Socrates' ultimate agent.
When Modo is 14, Mr. Socrates takes him to London - the very first time Modo has ever been outside - and leaves him there. ...just leaves him. He tells Modo he'll check back soon and that Modo should put his training to use and fend for himself.
At various times throughout the book I wanted to throttle Mr. Socrates. This scene was one of those times. Here was Modo, a terrified boy who has never been outside before, suddenly dropped off in the middle of London and told to have a nice life. Throughout it all, Modo was such a sweetheart, I wanted to reach into the book and give him a huge hug. :( Don't let the jerks get you down, Modo. ♥
Modo only nodded, but smiled idiotically under his handkerchief.
Oh man. Modo's crush on Octavia (another agent employed by Mr. Socrates) is so, so, so insanely adorable. They were just too cute. I was really hoping their romance storyline would have been given a bit more attention, but there are other books, so yay! So cute.
Dr. Hyde is a mad scientist who took orphaned children (and Prince Albert), surgically enhanced them by placing large bolts into their shoulders, and fed them all a tincture, rendering them fully conscious, yet completely unable to control their bodies. There was a fascinating chapter where a character was under the influence of the tincture. He was aware, yet could not move a limb. Instead, his body moved on its own with its own purpose.
The action was fantastic! The Iron Giant-type machine was so cool and the fact that a prince and little children were all connected to it - literally - and forced to pilot it was neat.
Mr. Socrates gathered up the paper. "As a rule, I prefer no descriptions of my agents to appear in print." "It won't happen again, sir," Modo said. "Next time I'll just let myself burn up in the blaze."
I adored watching Modo grow. In the beginning, he was a tiny, timid boy who had no idea what the real world was like. After Mr. Socrates comes back into Modo's life, Modo is different - but in a good way. He's no longer scared and naive. He's a character you get to know and come to care about and multiple times I was honestly worried for him. I wanted things to work out for him, I was rooting for Modo the entire journey. When his transformations began to wear off or his masks slipped, I was scared for him. When he started having flutter feelings whenever he was around Octavia, I squealed in delight.
"Marvelously boring. Though there is a good sword fight at the end."
♥ One of my favorite scenes in the book was an Octavia/Modo scene. Modo is reading Hamlet and Octavia walks in on him. She immediately begins to mock Modo for reading not just Hamlet, but Shakespeare in general. Modo unsuccessfully attempts to defend himself, but Octavia isn't having it, although in the end she gives in and mentions the one part of the play she enjoyed.
This book was so, so, SO wonderful! I can't wait to tear into the next!...more