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September 9, 2014

Enchanted by Alethea Kontis

 

Enchanted was interesting take on many different fairytale themes.  If you enjoy retold fairy tales, then you will enjoy this book.  Normally, I love this type of book, but I thought that there were parts where this story had a tendency to drag on.  Furthermore, I felt that the author tried to incorporate too many fairy tale elements into the story.  We had pieces from the story of The Frog Prince, Jack and the Beanstalk, Cinderella, The Princess and the Pea, the story of the Red Shoes, where the girl dies after being forced to dance continuously, and many others.  I would have liked to have seen the author focus on a couple of these elements more, rather than just throwing them all together.  However, I did enjoy the main story.  The seven woodcutter sisters are all named after the days of the week. The Woodcutter family has a lot of fairy blood, and each member of the family has his or her own special abilities.  Since Sunday is the the seventh daughter of a seventh son, she is very powerful.  Anything she writes will become true, and she can create magic through storytelling.  When she meets an enchanted frog at the well, she begins to tell him the story of her life with her siblings.  Through their time together, they fall in love.  One day as she is leaving the well, she kisses the frog.  Her kiss transforms him back into a man after she has already left.  Unfortunately, he is the price whom her family hates.  He knows that he must win her love in his new form, so he goes back to his castle and declares that there will be three balls.  Prince Rumbold then tries to capture Sunday's heart in his own form.


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September 3, 2014

The Caged Graves by Dianne K. Salerni

The Caged Graves is a great historical fiction, mystery novel.  I could hardly bring myself to put it down!  The story is set in 1867, but is connected to events that occurred in 1778.  In 1778, Silas Clayton, a deserter from the Continental army, escaped the British with the payroll  for the Continentals.  Silas was later captured and executed in the town of Catawissa, but the gold was never found.  People in and around Catawissa have been searching for the gold ever since.

In 1867, Verity Boone returns to Catawissa to live with her father and meet Nathaniel McClure, a boy she has been corresponding with and intends to marry.  Verity was sent away to live with her aunt when she was two and her mother died.  On her arrival, she sees that she may have been hasty accepting a proposal from a Nathaniel, who she has never met in person.  Her doubts are further realized when she meets a handsome, young doctor's apprentice by the name of Hadley Jones.  Beyond Verity's confusion over which man to choose, she also is shocked to find that her mother's and her aunt's graves are located outside of the church cemetery and are enclosed in cages.  She is told varying stories as to why the graves are caged.  Some claim it is protection from graverobbers, others accuse her mother and aunt of being witches, she hears of curses, and also the belief by many that they were buried with the missing gold.  She is also told that "in Catawissa, sometimes the dead don't stay where you put them."  As Verity tries to unravel these mysteries and find the truth, she also must find her place in her father's life again, and make the decision of who she should marry. 


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September 3, 2014

My Favorite Books of Summer 2014

I tried to branch out and read more books geared towards adults this summer.  However, that does not mean that I didn't read any young adult literature.  I've ranked my summer YA reads from least favorite to favorite!

  #8 Zombie Baseball Beatdown by Paolo Bacigalupi  - This book is geared more towards middle school aged boys.  Since I don't fall into that category, it wasn't my favorite read of the summer.  However, there are parts that are extremely funny and entertaining.  Rabi, Miguel and Joe are on their own when the zombie apocalypse hits their hometown. 

 

  #7 Liv, Forever by Amy Talkington  - I enjoyed this book, but I thought some of it was predictable.  Liv thinks things are finally going her way.  She has just been accepted into a prestigious school on an art scholarship, and Malcolm, one of the popular

  #6 Hollow City by Ransom Riggs - This is the second book in the Miss Peregrine's Home for Peculiar Children series.  I enjoyed this installment, but not as much as the first book in the trilogy.  Jacob and his peculiar friends must try to find someone who can help Miss Peregrine, who is stuck in her bird form, while eluding their enemies.

 

  #5 Unforgotten by Jessica Brody - This is the second book in the Unremembered trilogy.  I thought this was a good second book to the series, and I am looking forward to the next book.  Unfortunately, this book leaves the reader with a cliffhanger.

 

  #4 Half Bad by Sally Green - Some people have compared this book to Harry Potter, but other than the fact that it is about witches, there are few similarities.  This book focuses more on the main character, Nathaniel.  Nathaniel is a "half code" (half white witch, half black witch), in a world where white and black witches try to destroy each other. While he has been raised by his white witch relatives, most white witches have treated him terribly.  He sets out to find his father and find out more about the black witches.  It is a story about good versus evil, but Nathaniel has seen both good and evil on both sides.

 

  #3 Raging Star by Moira Young - I have been waiting for this book for so long!  This is the final book in the Dustlands trilogy.  I have thoroughly enjoyed this series, but parts of the ending of this book were disappointing.  Saba, her brother Lugh, sister Emmi, and Jack set out to destroy DeMalo and the Tonton before they enslave the people of New Eden.

 

 

  #1 & #2 - Splintered and Unhinged by A.G. Howard are the first two books in a trilogy, and I cannot wait for the final book! Alyssa has always known that insanity runs in her family.  Her mother is in a mental institution and bugs and plants have always talked to her.  What she didn't know is that her mother isn't crazy.  Her family really is cursed by what Alice did in Wonderland.  Alyssa goes down the rabbit hole with her neighbor and crush, Jeb, to save her mother's sanity, along with her own.  Along the way, she meets Morpheus, a handsome Netherling who visited Alyssa in her dreams as a child. 

  I loved both of these books, but I think the second one was my favorite.  Morpheus is a great character, and Alyssa is a strong character.  My only complaint is Jeb.  He stands in Alyssa's way too often.  I'm curious to see how everything turns out in the final book!


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September 11, 2013

Blood Red Road by Moira Young


Blood Red Road by Moira Young is the first book of a new dystopian series.  Saba and her family struggle for survival near a dried up lake bed.  After a massive dust storm, Saba's twin brother is taken by men on horseback.  Saba takes off across the desert to save her brother, Lugh. 

I loved this book, and I'm looking forward to reading the next book in the series.  Saba is a strong character, but she does have her faults.  One of which is that she dislikes her younger sister and treats her terribly.  She learns valuable lessons about herself along the way.  She also begins to respect her sister more, and she tries to make amends for her earlier actions. 


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September 11, 2013

My Favorite Books of Summer 2013


I've been busy reading a lot of books this summer.  Throughout the summer I tried to constantly have a young adult novel to read and an adult novel to listen to from audible.  Many of the books I read were fairly quick reads, but I was still able to get through 10 young adult books on my break.  Now, I'm going to rank them for you from least favorite to favorite, and give you a little background on each. 

 

 

 

#10 The Night Circus by Erin Morgenstern


I really wanted to love this book.  The cover is beautiful and the premise was so interesting.  However, I just felt like the story was a little flat.  There was so much potential, but it was so slow in places that I nearly put it down.  I did enjoy the story, but it just needed something more to keep me going.  The story surrounds two magicians who are in competition, within the setting of a circus that appears mysteriously and is only open at night.

 

 

 

#9 World War Z by Max Brooks

I actually did enjoy this book, but it wasn't what I expected.  The book is divided into interviews with various survivors of our war against the zombies.  Some of the stories were a little slow, but all of them were interesting. 



 #8 The Nightmare Affair by Mindee Arnett

This was a quick, fun book.  Dusty Everhart is a magical creature.  She is a nightmare, which means that she feeds on dreams.  However, everything changes when she enters Eli's dreams.  He is dreaming of a murder at Arkwell Academy, a school for magickind.  Not only should he not know anything about the academy, but the dream comes true.  Dusty and Eli have to team up to try to solve the murder.  I liked this book, but parts of it (characters, setting, some events), were just a little too similar to things in the Harry Potter series.


 

#7 Unremembered by Jessica Brody

I really enjoyed this book, but I thought it needed more development in some places.  I would have liked to have seen more character development in the flashbacks.  I liked the concept of the story and I will continue reading this series. 


 

#6 Sky on Fire by Emmy Laybourne

Monument 14 was a really good book, and so was the sequel, Sky on Fire.  My only complaint was that it was just a little too short.  I wanted more details, especially since the group was divided.  Dean and Astrid, along with some of the younger kids, stay behind in the store, as Alex, Niko, and the others search for their families and help at the Denver airport.  I felt like this book pretty much wraps up the story, so I'm curious to see Laybourne will do in the third book of the trilogy.


From this point forward, it is going to be very difficult to rank the rest of the books I read this summer. They were all really good.
 

 

 

#5 Eve & Adam by Michael Grant

This book reminded me a lot of The Adoration of Jenna Fox.  Evening was in a terrible accident.  She is rushed to her mother's research facility by a boy named Solo, where she makes a miraculous recovery.  When she becomes bored with her surroundings, her mother gives her the task of creating the perfect boy using new simulation software.  However, with the help of Solo, Eve learns that there is more to her mother's research than it appears. 
 

 

 

#4  Game by Barry Lyga

This is the second installment of the Jasper Dent series.  Like I Hunt Killers, this book is definitely creepy.  I really enjoyed it, but I am desperately wanting the next book now.  This one will leave you hanging.

 

 

 

#3 Stung by Bethany Wiggins

This was a different take on the zombie apocalypse story.  Fiona awakes in her home to find that the world has changed without her.  Not only that, but when she went to sleep she was 13, but she awakes as a 17 year old.  She also has a weird tattoo on her hand that she doesn't remember.  She soon learns that people who were given a vaccine and the tattoo turned into mindless beasts.  However, Fiona is unaffected. 
 

 

 

#2 The 5th Wave by Rick Yancey

This was a great book, and would probably be my number 1, except that I got a little aggravated with it at times.  The story switches points of view too often, and left me wanting to go back to the previous person.  The others have come to destroy the human race in waves.  Cassie has survived the first 4 waves, but now she has to save her little brother before the 5th wave destroys them all.
 

 

 

#1  Mackenzie Bishop is a keeper who works for the Archive.  The Archive doesn't store books, but histories.  When a person dies, their lives are recorded in the archive.  Sometimes these histories become restless and wake.  It is Mackenzie's job to send the histories back to where they belong.  However, Mackenzie's job has been harder since she lost her brother to a terrible accident.  Her whole family is in mourning and they move to live in an old hotel, where there are more restless histories than Mackenzie has ever dealt with before. 


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September 11, 2013

Alice in Zombieland by Gena Showalter


I've been wanting to read this book for awhile.  The cover just caught my eye, and of course, what's not to love about a retelling of Alice in Wonderland, with zombies!  But, that's not what this books is.  Don't get me wrong, I really liked the book, but it wasn't what I expected.  To tell you the truth, I think it was better than I expected.  If I hadn't just finished this book last night (and summer is officially over for me), then it would have definitely ranked in my top 5 for books I read this summer.

Alice Bell has lived her entire 16 years believing her dad is insane.  He has fortified their home against the "monsters" that he believes roam at night wanting to devour us.  It isn't until a tragic accident takes her family away from her, that Alice learns that her dad was not crazy.  The monsters are real, and they are far more dangerous than she ever imagined.  She soon becomes involved with a mysterious group of teenagers who teach her about the monsters they call zombies.  She is determined to avenge her family and learn to fight the creatures. 
I felt that the first half of this book was much stronger than the ending.  I know that this is just the first book in a series, but it seemed to me that the latter part of the book was rushed.  I would have liked to have seen more detail towards the end of the book.  All in all, I am looking forward to the next book in this series.


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February 12, 2013

Beautiful Creatures by Kami Garcia and Margaret Stohl


So, I have been wanting to read this series for awhile, since it is one of the most popular series that the library has. Now that the movie is coming out for the first book this month, I finally decided I'd better get with it and read the book. Unfortunately, the book is always better than the movie, but I am still looking forward to seeing it.

Ethan Wate has always dreamed of escaping his small hometown of Gatlin, but lately his dreams have taken a new turn, when he dreams of saving a mysterious girl. As if that isn't weird enough, things get even stranger when Lena Duchannes moves in with her uncle in the town's "haunted mansion." Ethan is strangely drawn to the new "weird" girl who doesn't seem to fit in with anyone. He is even more intrigued when he realizes that she is the mystery girl from his dreams. As forces in their families try to drive the pair apart, they find that there is a darker force that is trying to destroy them both.

I really enjoyed the book and I am looking forward to reading the rest of this series. I can definitely see why it has been so popular.


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January 31, 2013

The Dead and Buried by Kim Harrington


Jade Kelley's senior year in high school is turning out to be more exciting and dangerous than she ever imagined it could be.  She and her family have just moved into a much bigger new house in a big town, she is the new girl at a more advanced, big school, and she just found out that a girl may have been murdered in her home.  True, it could have been accident when Kayla fell down the stairs, but no one believes the popular, athletic girl really fell on her own.  Everyone in school believes she was pushed by her boyriend, Donovan, the gorgeous guy that Jade is drawn to.  

As if the fact that a girl died on at the bottom of her stairs wasn't enough, strange things begin happening in her home.  Her brother, Colby, begins seeing a glowing girl in his room.  Jade is too sensible to believe in ghosts though.  Surely if ghosts existed, her mother would have come back to her after she died of cancer.  However, Jade quickly becomes a believer when Kayla contacts her through Colby demanding that she find her killer.  She isn't the kind of ghost to give up easily either.  She was a mean, bully in life, and death has not improved her personality!  Jade knows that her family is in danger if she doesn't do what Kayla wants. 

I enjoyed reading The Dead and Buried, even though it was predictable at times.  The story was fast paced and kept me interested throughout.  I got this book through netgalley as an uncorrected proof.  I hope to add the final copy to my library soon. 


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January 31, 2013

Eve and Once by Anna Carey

                        

 

I flew threw these two books back to back, so I thought that I would review them together.  I am anxiously awaiting the publication of Rise, the final book in this trilogy. 

The series is set in 2032, sixteen years after a deadly plague wiped out the majority of America's population.  In the wake of the plague, The New America has been created under the head of a King.  Eve is an orphan who has been raised in a school run by the government.  Eve is the top student in her class, where she attends classes that include The Dangers of Men and Boys.  After graduation, she will move across the lake to the brick building where the girls learn a trade before going to the City of Sand (the seat of the new government).  However, the night before graduation, Eve learns a horrifying secret about what actually happens to the girls after graduation.  The truth causes Eve to escape the school and set out on a journey through the wild, dangerous ruins of America.  Along the way, she learns that almost everything she has been taught is a lie. 


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January 25, 2013

Monument 14 by Emmy Laybourne


I normally love post apocalyptic/dystopian novels.  I loved The Hunger Games, Ashes, This is Not a Test, and Divergent, as well as many other similar novels, but this book still has been wavering.  There are parts of Monument 14 that I loved.  It is very fast paced and action packed.  So much happens in the first couple of chapters, that the reader flies through them without a second thought.  However, there are also parts of the novel that I could have done without.  While the book is almost too realistic and graphic in parts, it is overly unrealistic in other areas.  I would like to say that this book is definitely for more mature young adult readers. 

The story is told from Dean's point of view.  On his way to school one morning, his bus is disabled by a sudden, violent hail storm.  In the process, the bus turns over, killing the driver and some of the passengers.  Luckily, the elementary bus driver thinks fast and crashes her bus into a superstore to save her passengers, before using the bus to rescue the high school students.  In total, there are 15 survivors of the accident, but the 14 students are left to survive on their own when the bus driver leaves to retrieve help.  Shortly after she leaves, the students are locked in when the riot gates seal the store. They soon learn that the hail storm is only part of the chaos that has erupted outside.  A massive volcano erupted, which caused a mega-tsunami that wiped out the entire Eastern Coast of the United States.  All of these events cause an earthquake, which releases a chemical agent from a military research facility in Dean's area.  The chemical compound affects people differently based on their blood types.  Type A breaks out in horrible blisters that eventually result in death, while type AB becomes extremely paranoid and terrified. The compound seems to have little effect on Type B, but the kids learn from a news report, that these people  will have reproductive failure and sterility.  The worst side effect results for those with Type O blood.  These people become extremely violent and dangerous, and begin killing those around them.  The kids learn that they have a mixture of the blood types.  They seal off the store from the outside world and decide to wait for help.  Of course, there are more issues to deal with than they ever thought possible.


I enjoyed this book, but I think it had some issues that the author should have worked out.  I am looking forward to reading the sequel though, Sky on Fire, which is due out in June.


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