Beautifully written book, and not the usual super-fast plot of typical time travels. It's actually more a historical book in a not-overdone time perioBeautifully written book, and not the usual super-fast plot of typical time travels. It's actually more a historical book in a not-overdone time period, with time travel just a small part of it. I loved the detail of life in Iceland, the culture, and how she copes. This one will stay with me for a long time....more
When I read a dystopian thriller, I want tension, good characters, and a believable plot and world. This one didn't start right off with edge-of-the-sWhen I read a dystopian thriller, I want tension, good characters, and a believable plot and world. This one didn't start right off with edge-of-the-seat tension, but that was actually a good thing for me - I didn't have time for my usual read-it-in-one-sitting habit. The tension picked up before too long, though, and I now blame Ms. Eliker for making me late to a meeting. (It was worth it, though!)
She's created an interesting world - I don't think I'm spoiling things to say that this "perfect" society has its work supposedly done by androids, and Jude, the main character, soon discovers that the androids are actually enslaved people and history is not what he's been taught in school. There's good conflict between family members, especially Jude and his father, and between friends - spot on for teens. Jude discovers more about the hidden people, with plenty of risk, tension and fights. I was a little put off by how much he's a leap-before-you-look person, even right after he acknowledges the dangers, but on the other hand, I've seen some of that myself in my own teens. There's also a light romance happening, and she's got her own secrets - well done.
Overall it was a good read, well worth the time, and I'll echo what another reviewer said - it's nice to have dystopian suspense without the level of violence seen in something like the Hunger Games (which I also loved). Teens and adults would enjoy this, but I"d feel safe having my 12-year-old read it, too.
Note: I received a copy of this book in exchange for an honest review....more
The Night Road was everything I look for in a Kristen Hannah book - compelling, emotional and beautifully-written. It's a story of a helicopter mom, tThe Night Road was everything I look for in a Kristen Hannah book - compelling, emotional and beautifully-written. It's a story of a helicopter mom, three teens, and more than a few bad decisions, and I went through most of a tissue box with this one. I felt like I knew the two girls intimately, and loved them for their good hearts and their quirks. Zach was a bit stereotypical in an atypical way - classic jock/class president, but not afraid to fall in love with a girl who didn't fit in.
However, the mom drove me crazy, to the point of almost putting the book down halfway through. I had a hard time with a character I was supposed to identify with (and did, early on, even though I wasn't a helicopter mom), but who made such lousy and unexpected choices for a mother who wanted to control everything. Actually, I felt like Ms. Hannah let me down with the character she created.
After a day of setting it aside, though, I kept reading. The characters grabbed me that much. The story kept me wondering just what was going to go wrong and how (I knew from the description that something would), and how things would resolve. It took some surprising directions at times. And of course, as in most women's fiction, the mom figured things out by the end, thank goodness! And my faith in Kristen Hannah books was renewed. :)
Poignant, well worth reading. And if, halfway through the book, you aren't itching to strangle the mom, you might want to check your own parenting skills. Just saying. ...more
In this mystery episode, Frankie heads off on an Antarctic cruise to help catch a chocolate thief. (FYI, this is the fourth Frankie Dupont story, butIn this mystery episode, Frankie heads off on an Antarctic cruise to help catch a chocolate thief. (FYI, this is the fourth Frankie Dupont story, but the first that I've read. I received a copy in exchange for an honest review.)
After a few somewhat clunky opening chapters, the mystery takes off wonderfully when the kids board the cruise ship. Roadblocks stymie the young detectives, cool gadgets (if a little unrealistic) abound, and some ingenuity is needed to solve the case. Plus a cute four-footed friend! Also, I enjoy stories that have a double mystery, and this one was just right for young readers.
As far as the writing goes, this one comes across as self-edited. Some parts were really well done and others were hurried or not well thought out. Without giving away spoilers, the author does some great foreshadowing of certain events and outcomes, but others seem to come out of the blue, which makes them either seem very implausible or like the writer has taken shortcuts. I enjoyed Madame Fontaine's character, but there were occasional times when her speech sounded like one of the kids instead of the staunch matriarch that she is, and it took me out of the story. The kids' characters were well-done and varied.
Overall it's a decent book and 8-10 years olds would enjoy it....more
I have mixed feelings about this middle-grade adventure. I loved the setting and the mystery, and enjoyed the British English – just a smidge that I tI have mixed feelings about this middle-grade adventure. I loved the setting and the mystery, and enjoyed the British English – just a smidge that I think kids would enjoy (torch instead of flashlight, etc.). The basic story premise is good – George is dared to go to the spooky Headmaster’s Cave, declines, but ends up following a friend there to keep him out of trouble. And the writing is smooth, with some delightfully evocative descriptions.
The details behind the plot didn’t make sense to me. 120 years is quite long enough for a story to become legend, for people to enjoy scaring each other with it. Instead, we get George being bullied for having ancestors involved AND having parents that won’t even speak of it out of shame! After a century?
The pacing bogged me down, too. I was reading on my Kindle, and nothing major happened until 40% in. Instead, we spent a lot of time setting up the problem and then digressing into nature lore as they walked. If I hadn’t promised a review, I would have stopped reading. Things picked up from 40-60%, then dragged a bit more until it picked up again at the end. Problems seemed too easily solved.
(I received a copy of the book in exchange for an honest review.)...more
I signed up to do a book review for The Knights Before Christmas because I loved the title and the cover art, and I wasn't disappointed! (I received aI signed up to do a book review for The Knights Before Christmas because I loved the title and the cover art, and I wasn't disappointed! (I received a free copy in exchange for an honest review.)
As others have said, it's a take-off on Clement Moore's The Night Before Christmas, but instead of a man watching for Santa, three knights are guarding against intruders - Santa and his eight sleigh-pulling "dragons". The knights have individual personalities, shown through fun drawings full of asides and other puns ("I'm dreaming of a white javelin, just like the one I used to throw"). Kudos to the illustrator for all he added.
The poem itself follows the classic and was delightful. The meter is pretty good, but has a few spots that aren't exact - that would bother me except the story itself is so fun. All in all, an imaginative read-aloud with lots to look at. I"ll be enjoying this with my granddaughter. RECOMMENDED...more