Saturday, March 26, 2011

Fallen by Lauren Kate

Luce has been placed in a reform school.  She has always seen shadows but no one else sees them.  What this means is she has a reputation for being mentally unstable.
She was having a normal date when the boy she was with burst into flames.  Since she can't remember or explain what happened the school is the best option given to her by the court system.
The other students are a bit different to say the least.  A punk girl, a southern belle, the nerdy boy, the two lovers, bookworm groundsman's daughter and then there are Daniel and Cam.
Cam always says the right thing and Daniel is always a butthole.  It is Daniel though that makes her dream of him.  The question is, are the dreams reality?
A very good book and I am looking forward to the second in the series, Torment.

Saturday, March 19, 2011

The Robin and The Kestrel

Mercedes Lackey continues her following of the Free Bards, wandering musicians that are closely aligned with gypsies within the twenty kingdom.
Robin and Kestrel have married, have a fine new wagon with excellent mares and are ready to travel the road.  Strife finds them almost immediately though, a compromised axle forcing a stay of several days within a permenant gypsy camp where they hear disturbing rumors.
Non-humans are no longer welcome within the kingdom, Free Bards find their usual places taken by the official bards as The Church is preaching against anything that might be construed as enjoyable.  Further travel finds the root of the evil in Westhaven.
Limited character development but an excellent essay on how when one small freedom is given up for the "good" of all it leads to more and more limitations within society.  I found it to be a thought provoking novel disguised as a fantasy.

Tuesday, March 15, 2011

City of Glass by Cassandra Clare

Awesome book!  Some twist had been hinted at throughout the series but others were unexpected.  The characters develop and grow with events, some of which are sad which is as it should be.
Simon takes some huge strides in accepting his life, of course being locked in a dungeon will either give you time for reflection or drive you crazy.  The prisioner in the next cell does give him many points to ponder.
Clary has to stop and think, controlling her impulses is a new state of being for her and she is not always sure she likes it. 
I came to like Jace more with every passing page. He has so many things to deal with, emotionally, physically and socially and does it with his usual style. 
To say more might give away to many details so I will stop at this point except to say I am looking forward to the next installment which appears next month.

Saturday, March 12, 2011

Georgia is The "Peach State" by Bruce Larkin

Georgia is the "Peach State" by Bruce Larkin is a concise summary of the state of
Georgia.  Each page has a large, colorful photograph of the main idea of that page.
Facts are presented in a simple manner that are easy to understand and remember.
Facts that were not mentioned but which are common for bits of knowledge about
Georgia is that is is the largest state east of the Mississippi River and the
production of Vidalia onions known for their sweet taste.
Overall this book gives good information, has an appropriate reading level, 2nd grade, and neat
divisions of information.
For older grades it would make an excellent example of an informational package.

Friday, March 11, 2011

A Moment in Time by Melba Hamm

This book begins with a suspensful first page and continues to draw the reader into the story all the way to the end. There are several twist and turns with just the right blend of the occult to keep you on the edge of your seat. There is even romance for the reader that enjoys that. I have read it twice and it was better the second time than the first, not something that can be said for many books.

Monday, March 7, 2011

Sucks To Be Me: The All True Confessions of Mina Hamilton Teen Vampire (maybe)

Mina has a life changing or is that death changing decision to make. This comes on top of deciding what to wear, the cute boy in her class, who will she go to prom with, and dealing with her weird uncle.
Kimberly Pauley gives a fun twist to the popular vampire genre.  Written in the format of a diary with snide little comments thrown in here and there it is an enjoyable read that keeps you turning the pages to see what will happen next.

Besides being a fun read written in a quirky manner Sucks to be Me goes hand in hand with the major decisions that high school student make every year. Who they date, grades, what to major in at the college they choose, all are life changing decisions.

This would be an excellent book to use in a classroom in middle or high school. With so many possible scenarios of decision making it would get students thinking about what they do today and how it affects the future.

Foundation (Valdemar: Collegium Chronicles Book 1 by Mercedes Lackey

For fans of Valdemar, lovers of Companions and ones that dream of being Chosen this story line might make you think twice about your desires.  Even though we always like to think that he ones in charge know what they are doing life does not work that way and even creatures such as Companions and their Chosen do make mistakes.
I really enjoyed this book with a different time setting and characters I did not know. Mags takes ignorance of the world and gains a completely new outlook. I especially enjoyed the problems that were being faced in Haven with the numbers of new Chosen coming to the city. Everything in Valdemar is not always joy and happiness.
Book Two Intrigues picks up where Foundation leaves off so there is more to the story of Mags and Dallen.

Sunday, March 6, 2011

Mare in the Meadow

This is an Animal Ark book, 4th grade reading level, a nice chapter book for the reader moving up to that level.

Set around a vet clinic in England the main focus is the problem of how to get someone to ride a horse for a lady in the neighboring community.  There is also a new nurse in the office, a lost bunny and a girl that watches them ride but will not admit that she loves horses.

Characters are not developed very much and the writing is average but the focus of the Animal Ark series seems to be about getting children to read and enjoy it more than anything else.

The Wednesday Wars

Holling Hoodhood, yes that is his name, is the only Presbyterian in a class full of Catholics and Jews.   You may wonder why that is important with good cause.  No, he is not pushed aside or made fun of, he is left alone on Wednesday afternoons while all of his classmates go to religious classes. 

His teacher, Mrs. Baker decides that he can only do so much cleaning so they begin to read Shakespeare to expand his mind.  In the meantime there are escaped rats, Holling in tights with feathers on his butt, crosscountry practice, more rats, a girl, problems at home, and adventures with the Yankees.

I loved this book.  It is very well written, deals with things I would have never thought of due to location and time period and has just enough humor to make you smile every other page.

Saturday, March 5, 2011

Blackveil by Kristan Britain

Karigan G'ladheaon is sent off to give messages to her father and time for a brief visit home.  While there she discovers much more about her family than she had previously known.  She is also given a message from an ancient Elt which she then "forgets" until the proper time.
The Elt's are going into Blackveil and King Zachary must send representatives with them if he wants to gather any information.  Karigan is chosen due to her experiences in Blackveil and her special ablilites.
There are lots of twist and turns in the book, several story lines and an unsatisfactory ending.  In the end little is wrapped up and you are left expecting much more. 
Hopefully Miss Britain is already at work on the next installment and will not take four years to send out her next work.

The Adventures of Sir Givret

Book Reviews

Reading a good book is fine and wonderful but it is even better to discuss what has been read.  The best books make you think and analyze why characters followed the paths that brought them to the conclusion.  On occasion they will make you want to hit them with a stick for being foolish or laugh until tears come to your eyes at their antics.

A really good story will have you dreaming of that world when you close your eyes at night and when you travel into the story you like you have arrived at a well known friend's home.