Sunday, June 27, 2010

Keturah and Lord Death by Martine Leavitt

Title: Keturah and Lord Death
Author: Martine Leavitt
Reviewer: Stephanie
Genre: Fantasy
Rating: Adore
Alerts/Warnings: None
Premise: When Lord Death comes to claim sixteen-year-old Keturah while she is lost in the King's Forest, she charms him with her story and is granted a twenty-four hour reprieve in which to seek her one true love. (King County Library System)
Opinions: I liked this book. It is a very unique mix stories that together works in some strange way. Keturah meets Lord Death and has 24 hours to find her true love or she has to go with him. It is interesting how Keturah then sees the world after she should be dead. I liked the idea of the book, I read the whole thing very quickly, but I'm still puzzled on my reactions. The ending don't even know how to describe it.....Somewhat satisfying, somewhat surprising. somewhat unnerving, somewhat pleasing. I like how Keturah is viewed and how she takes the reactions of others. Very unique and interesting book. I can honestly say that I am a little confuzzled by this book. I like it though. It is intriguing to me and I have thought alot about it.

Thursday, June 24, 2010

The Hourglass Door by Lisa Mangum

I know, I know....Long time no see. Deadlines, injuries, and death in the family has made it hard for me to read, let alone post anything as of late. But I'm back up and reading now and boy am I excited.

Plus, I just have to take a moment to brag...Stephanie and I won 2nd Place in a writing contest last month for a the first page of a book we are working on together. Thanks for putting up with me Steph, you are a great writing partner.

Title: The Hourglass Door
Author: Lisa Mangum
Reviewer: Karen
Genre: Young Adult Fantasy
Rating: FABULOUS!!!!!!!
Premise: Abby's senior year of high school is going according to plan: good friends, cute boyfriend, and college applications in the mail. But when Dante Alexander, foreign-exchange student from Italy, steps into her life, he turns it upside down. Soon Abby finds herself drawn into a mystery whose roots reach into sixteenth-century Florence, and she uncovers a dangerous truth that threatens not only her future but the lives of those she loves (King County Library System).
Opinions: I had heard about this book from an author friend of mine who gave it rave reviews. Let me tell you he was right!!!! I love the imagery and voice in which the story is told. The sights, smells and sounds helped to create a vivid setting in my mind and I found myself easily lost in the story, drawn back into the realm of high school and all the ups-and-downs that that entails. Then the author threw in a healthy dose of fantasy and intrigue and viola. . . a guaranteed page turner. I love Abby, because I can relate to her in some ways, and wish to relate to her in others (though I absolutely refuse to go back to my teenager years to do so). Dante's character is fantastic and complex and I know more than one teenage girl who would "just die" to run into a boy like him. Even though this book was written for the teen/young adult crowd as an adult I still couldn't put it down. Be warned though...this is a series and book two, The Golden Spiral, only came out this year.

Tuesday, June 22, 2010

The Red Pyramid by Rick Riordan

Title: The Red Pyramid
Author: Rick Riordan
Reviewer: Stephanie
Genre:YA Fantasy
Rating: Adore
Alerts/Warnings: Some violence and intense scenes
Premise: After their father's research experiment at the British Museum unleashes the Egyptian god Set, Carter and Sadie Kane embark on a dangerous journey across the globe--a quest which brings them ever closer to the truth about their family, and their links to a secret order that has existed since the time of the pharaohs.
Opinions: I am a huge fan of Rick Riordan. I was anxiously waiting to read this book. It was good and I really liked it alot. I learned alot about Egypt and the Egyptian gods. I thought it was creative and unique. I thought that the plot was fast paced and interesting. I did however think it was a bit much. I was a little tired by the end of the book and I just realized why. Rick Riordan includes lots of action and perilous situations in his books. However, in the Percy Jackson books the actual book is shorter. This is a thick book with lots of action. It's really good, but I found myselft needing to take breaks from it because I was worn out. It is very good though and I look forward to the sequels.

Saturday, June 19, 2010

Pillage by Obert Skye

Title: Pillage
Author: Obert Skye
Reviewer: Stephanie
Genre: YA Fantasy
Rating: Love
Alerts/Warnings: None
Premise: Upon his mother's death, fifteen-year-old Beck Phillips is sent to live with an eccentric uncle he had never met in a remote manor house, where he learns that his family suffers from a curse that allows him to make plants grow on command and dragon eggs hatch. (King County Library System)
Opinions: I love dragons. I have always found them fascinating creatures. One of the appeals to me of dragons is that everyone has their own idea of dragons. Whether they are good or bad, tameable or not, friendly or rip your heart out mean. This is a story with dragons that was very unexpected to me. I liked the idea of how the men in Beck's family are cursed and that dragons are part of the curse. I really like Beck as a character in that he doesn't take any junk from anyone. He sticks up for himself and I like that about him. This is an engaging story and very fun read. Plus there were some really funny parts. Two words: attacking salad. Need I say more?

Wednesday, June 16, 2010

It's Raining Cupcakes by Lisa Schroeder

Title: It's Raining Cupcakes
Author: Lisa Schroeder
Reviewer: Stephanie
Genre: YA Fiction
Rating: Adore
Alerts/Warnings: None
Premise: Twelve-year-old Isabel dreams of seeing the world but has never left Oregon, and so when her best friend, Sophie, tells her of a baking contest whose winners travel to New York City, she eagerly enters despite concerns about her mother, who is opening a cupcake bakery. Includes recipes.
Opinions: This was very different than I thought it was going to be, but I really enjoyed it. Isabel is a dreamer. She wants to see the world beyond her little town of Willow, Oregon. Everyone around her is going on exotic vacations, and she is stuck in Willow helping her mother get her new bakery started. It is an interesting story dealing with mother/daughter relationships, friends, depression, lack of confidence and delicious cupcakes. I enjoyed this book. It's a fun, quick read and I have to admit I wish there were more recipes because some of the cupcakes they describe sound wicked good.

Sunday, June 13, 2010

The Cardturner by Louis Sachar

Title: The Cardturner
Author: Louis Sachar
Reviewer: Stephanie
Genre: Teen Fiction
Rating: Love
Alerts/Warnings: None
Premise: When his wealthy uncle, a champion bridge player who has lost his vision, asks seventeen-year-old Alton to be a cardturner for him, Alton has no idea how much he will ultimately learn from his eccentric relative. Includes appendix by Syd Fox with information about bridge. (King County Library System)
Opinions: Louis Sachar is a Fabulous author. I have been a fan of his since I was in third grade. So when I saw his latest book, I was so excited. I didn't know anything about it when I started reading it. So as I read I learned about Alton and his uncle, Trapps, and Alton's money obsessed parents and some family friends that are a little "crazy". The characters in this book like Sachars other books are quite unique and fun to read about. They aren't so off that you don't think that they are unrealistic. They are people I can see meeting in real life.

I thought that fact that Alton is his uncles' cardturner was an interesting aspect of the story. Alton doesn't know anything about bridge and as he watches his uncle play he learns about the game and is itching to try it out. I love the straight forward story and the backstory and how they weave together. Plus the ending is completely satisfying. This is a fun book and VERY clean. I really liked it. And now I have an urge to learn how to play bridge.

Thursday, June 10, 2010

One Crazy Summer by Rita Williams-Garcia

Title: One Crazy Summer
Author: Rita Williams-Garcia
Reviewer: Stephanie
Genre: YA Fiction
Rating: Adore
Alerts/Warnings: None
Premise: In the summer of 1968, after traveling from Brooklyn to Oakland, California, to spend a month with the mother they barely know, eleven-year-old Delphine and her two younger sisters arrive to a cold welcome as they discover that their mother, a dedicated poet and printer, is resentful of the intrusion of their visit and wants them to attend a nearby Black Panther summer camp. (King County Library System)
Opinions: I admit, I was a little bit skeptical that I would enjoy this book. However, I had a hard time putting it down. Delphine, Vonetta and Fern are likeable and interesting characters. I liked that there was a unique trait for each of them that made it easy right from the beginning to keep them straight. The girls go to California to get to know their mother who had abandoned them 7 years earlier. But when they get there, their mother still doesn't want them. What follows is an interesting story of learning to love, acceptance and fighting for what you believe in. This is a great story. I learned a lot and I want to be a better person and mother after reading it.

Sunday, June 6, 2010

Ashes by Kathryn Lasky

Title: Ashes
Author: Kathryn Lasky
Reviewer: Stephanie
Genre: Teen Historical Fiction
Rating: Adore
Alerts/Warnings: Some language, Some brief mentions of sex and nudity (not graphic)
Premise: In 1932 Berlin, thirteen-year-old Gaby Schramm witnesses the beginning of Hitler's rise to power, as soldiers become ubiquitous, her beloved literature teacher starts wearing a jewelled swastika pin, and the family's dear friend, Albert Einstein, leaves the country while Gaby's parents secretly bury his books and papers in their small yard.
Opinions: This was a very interesting book. I've read many books that are about Germany in the late 30's early 40's. I have never before read a book that chronicled Hitler's rise to power. Kathryn Lasky obviously did her research. I learned buckets about why Germany wanted Hitler and the fear and distrust that many people had in each other as they lived their lives. Gaby is an interesting character. She has a great love for reading, her family and her friends. She is friends with Jews and scientists. She is also friends with people who become Nazis and she tries to wrap her head around how they could want to follow Hitler. It is a fascinating novel and I enjoyed reading it. There are a few curse words. A brief mention of nudity and sex, though nothing graphic. I really liked this book. I finished it yesterday, and I can't stop thinking about what I would have done in Gaby's situation. This is a fabulously fascinating book that I hope you enjoy.

Thursday, June 3, 2010

Alchemy and Meggy Swann by Karen Cushman

Title: Alchemy and Meggy Swann
Author: Karen Cushman
Reviewer: Stephanie
Genre: Historical Fiction
Rating: Adore
Alerts/Warnings: None
Premise: In 1573, the crippled, scorned, and destitute Meggy Swann goes to London, where she meets her father, an impoverished alchemist, and eventually discovers that although her legs are bent and weak, she has many other strengths. (King County Library System)
Opinions: Meggy is an interesting character. I didn't particularly like her at the beginning of the book. As she grew in the story, I grew to like her too. Meggy has been shunned be everyone she has ever met except her Gran. Then when Gran dies, she is sent by her mother to live with her father, who wants nothing to do with his crippled daughter. However, in London Meggy learns and grows and discovers that there are others who see the inside of a person and their character strengths and not just physical deformites.
Karen Cushman is amazing at historical fiction. She does her research and you feel that in her books. The setting is an amazing and rich character in the book as well as any of the other characters. While this isn't my favorite of her books ("The Loud Silence of Francine Green" is), I definately enjoyed reading it, learned alot and didn't want to put it down.