Tuesday, December 28, 2010

The Secret Hour by Scott Westerfeld

Title: The Secret Hour (Book #1 of the Midnighters Series)
Author: Scott Westerfeld
Reviewer: Karen
Genre: YA Fiction
Rating: Like
Alerts/Warnings: Suspense regarding monsters that only come out at midnight
Premise: "Upon moving to Bixby, Oklahoma, fifteen-year-old Jessica Day learns that she is one of a group of people who have special abilities that help them fight ancient creatures living in an hour hidden at midnight; creatures that seem determined to destroy Jess." (King County Library System)
Opinions: This is an intriguing premise. What would I do with an extra hour to the day that hardly anyone else is aware of? Probably lots of things. Then you throw in the idea of creatures and monsters that only live during that time and consider you as a possible meal. Thanks, but I think I will stick to my normal twenty four hours. Though I really like Jessica, my favorite character happens to be Jonathan, mostly because of his special abilities that come out in the true midnight hour. Scott Westerfeld does a wonderful job creating realistic teenagers and their reactions to situations, but that left me a little worried. I hope that those teenagers who read this book don't get any ideas of things they might try to do without getting in trouble (probably a good thing there isn't really a 25 hour to the day with no supervision). Personally, I think if you liked the Twilight Series you might enjoy this very much (though its not about vampires).

Sunday, December 26, 2010

The Lost Hero by Rick Riordan

For reviews of the Percy Jackson series feel free to go back to our posts from May 2009.

Title: The Lost Hero (The Heroes of Olympus Series Book One)
Author: Rick Riordan
Reviewer: Karen
Genre: YA Fantasy
Rating: Fabulous
Alerts/Warnings: Mild Peril
Premise: "Jason, Piper, and Leo, three students from a school for "bad kids," find themselves at Camp Half-Blood, where they learn that they are demigods and begin a quest to free Hera, who has been imprisoned by Mother Earth herself." (PG Library System)
Opinions: Personally, I think this was much better than the Percy Jackson series (though you frequently hear about him in this book). I love that we pick up with the lives of the members of Camp Half Blood several months after the end of the previous series. I loved getting to know three new characters. Mr. Riordan does a brilliant job bringing the characters to life through their written voice. My two all time favorite characters are Coach Hedge and Leo. Mr. Riordan did a brilliant job letting the reader into each point of view character's heads and seeing their individual personalities. He is also brilliant in the way he throws in twists and turns that are unexpected, but made me think "That is freakin' awesome!" when I figured it out. I love seeing the other side of the Gods and finding a world of even greater peril. Mr. Riordan does a brilliant job bringing history and mythology to life in a unique way that attracts kids and adults alike. I cannot wait until next year when book two is released.

Thursday, December 23, 2010

Cutting Edge by Jeffrey S. Savage

(Sorry no picture available)

Title: Cutting Edge
Author: Jeffrey S. Savage
Reviewer: Karen
Genre: LDS Adult Mystery
Rating: Fabulous
Alerts/Warnings: None
Premise: "When Travis Edwards discovers someone has been stealing sensitive files off of his computer and the person he confides in mysteriously disappears, he must use all the means at his disposal to prove his innocence and keep his family alive." (PG Library System)
Opinions: My two favorite genres are fantasy and mystery and this book has shot up towards the top of my all-time favorite mysteries. Having worked in the information technology industry for several years I was intrigued to read a story that takes place in an atmosphere that felt very familiar to me. I almost felt like I was back working with my old team, trying to meet deadlines. Then you through a mystery on top of all that stress. LOVE IT!!!! I loved the believability of the story and most definitely the characterizations. I love the strength that Travis finds from his wife and her family. I love the twists and turns that kept me wondering if my suspicions were right (I am pleased to say that not all of them were). If you love mystery then you should thoroughly enjoy this book.

Saturday, December 18, 2010

The Two Princesses of Bamarre by Gail Carson Levine

Title: The Two Princesses of Bamarre
Author: Gail Carson Levine
Reviewer: Karen
Genre: Junior Fantasy
Rating: Love
Alerts/Warnings: None
Premise: "With her adventurous sister, Meryl, suffering from the the Grey death meek and timid Princess Addie sets out to find a cure." (King County Library System)
Opinions: This is a intriguing book about the underlying character of people. Meryl has always been the sister in her family who talks and dreams of adventures and who constantly trains to eventually go on those adventures. Addie, however, is scared of everything and lives comfortably in her sister's shadow. However, when a dire situation makes the two sisters switch roles and Addie has to go fight untold dangers in order to save Meryl's life the two sisters learn the true selves that lie hidden within. I really enjoyed seeing Addie overcome her fears and learn what she is truly capable of, though there were times that her timidity drove me a little nuts. I was glad to see how she blossomed as she had to battle ogres, griffins, dragons and much, much more. Overall I found this an enjoyable, easy read.

Wednesday, December 15, 2010

O Pioneers! by Willa Cather

Title: O Pioneers!
Author: Willa Cather
Reviewer: Karen
Genre: Adult Fiction
Rating: Like
Alerts/Warnings: None
Premise: "When Alexandra Bergson's father dies she is left with the responsibility of raising her younger brothers on their father's unsuccessful farm. Alexandra is deeply involved with life as she meets the demands of laboring on the prairie farm, and wrestling with her conflicting emotions. The unyielding land of the Nebraska Divide would be challenge enough, but a violent passion shakes this courageous young woman to her core and changes her life forever." (King County Library System)
Opinions: I am not a huge Willa Cather fan. I previously had read My Antonia for book club and wasn't excited. Books about life on the farm in rural America really aren't my cup of tea. However, the book club I'm now in also decided to read Willa Cather's book O Pioneers! as it would make a great book for discussion. I do have to say that I like O Pioneers! much more than My Antonia. I love the strength of Alexandra. She is an amazing, intelligent woman with many difficulties in life to overcome. However, she trusts in her instincts and her abilities and grows greatly from what she learns. I found that I could relate to her and wished in someways that I had her strength. My second favorite character was Ivar who lives his life in his own way, no matter what most people think about him. I found him unique and extremely loveable.

Keeping in mind that I've only read two Willa Cather books, it seems to me that she focuses on intense struggles of individuals fighting against nature and people in order to grow their farms and themselves. Some of the struggles she writes about leave me feeling depressed and some of her characters simply drive me nuts. Personally, in this book I would love to strangle Lou and Oscar (two of Alexandra's brothers). To understand why you will have to read the book so that I don't give too much away. Overall I would have to say that I did like reading this book (though now I could use some ice cream and hugs to recover). ;-)