Tuesday, December 23, 2008

Prophet of Yonwood Review **May Contain Spoilers**

The Prophet of Yonwood (3rd Book of Ember) The Prophet of Yonwood by Jeanne Duprau

My review

rating: 3 of 5 stars
The third book in the series Book of Ember, which originated with the City of Ember, was a bit of a disappointment for me. The book was okay, but it seemed extremely preachy. The book takes place before the events in the City of Ember and before the disaster that forced people to consider moving into the city underground. The connection to the City of Ember was very remote--you don't even see that connection until the very end of the book.

A woman of the town of Yonwood has a firey vision of destruction that leaves her incapacitated. A woman in the town Mrs. Beeson interprets the garbled messages of the "prophet" and is on a quest to eliminate sinners. Unfortunately, Mrs. Beeson has the sole responsibility of determining what is a sin and what isn't while she passes on the prophet’s newest proclaimations.

I think what I didn't like about this book was the depiction of religion. Although the author did try to clarify true religion from Mrs. Beeson's extremist views, I felt that that message occurred a little too late to be useful.

Cautions for sensitive readers: This book can be a bit political if you look at it from that perspective. There is no sex, language, or violence in this book, although you know a war is on the horizon.

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Friday, December 19, 2008

Diary of a Wimpy Kid: Greg Heffley's Journal book Review

Diary of a Wimpy Kid Diary of a Wimpy Kid by Jeff Kinney

My review

rating: 2of 5 stars
Okay, I can see now why so many kids want to read this book. I admit that it is a fast read, but to me it felt more like an extended comic than a novel. Sometimes I wasn't sure if I should pity the main character or be frustrated with him. He has a good friend and betrays him, belittles him, and treats him poorly, and when he loses that friend he doesn't learn anything. Greg is a kid that you kind of love and hate at the same time--he is always looking for the easy way out, and nothing ever turns out as he had planned.

Cautions for Sensitive Readers: It would be appropriate for grades 4 up. This book has a few mischievous pranks, but no violence, language or sex.

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Sunday, December 14, 2008

Review for City of Ember by Jeanne DuPrau

The City of Ember (The First Book Of Ember) The City of Ember by Jeanne Duprau

My review

rating: 5 of 5 stars
This is a very well written and enjoyable Science Fiction novel. Lina Mayfleet is a messenger in the city of Ember. Doon is a pipe works laborer in the same city. The problem is the city is dying and running out of supplies. Years ago the builders built the city to protect the people of Ember from some undisclosed disaster. They built and supplied the city with enough supplies to last about 200 years, but supplies are running out and Lina and Doon see their city dying and long to save the people of Ember. Highly recommended. This is the first book in the Book of Ember series.

Cautions for sensitive readers: I really don't feel there are any cautions for sensitive readers in this book. It would be appropriate for grades 3 up.

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Saturday, December 13, 2008

Finishing City of Ember

I am getting near the end of the book City of Ember. This has been a great book so far, and I am sorry I haven't read it sooner. I saw that they have made a movie of the book. I would like to see it, but I hope they haven't rewritten the story. I think when I finish, I will try to read the next book. I really want to know what happens to the people of Ember.

Wednesday, December 10, 2008

Living Dead Girl by Elizabeth Scott **Review May Contain Spoilers**

Living Dead Girl Living Dead Girl by Elizabeth Scott

My review

rating: 1 of 5 stars
I can recognize quality writing when I see it and I have to admit that while I did not like or enjoy (if that is even possible) this book it is well written. This review is not a criticism of the author's writing, she is an excellent writer.

I am usually pretty liberal when it comes to teen books I understand that teen books are often on the cutting edge and pushing the boundaries of comfort for their readers to introduce them to the world we live in.

The reasons for which I gave this book only one star are many. On a personal level this book was very disturbing. I read it because it was recommended to me and people I respect believe that it will be a canidate for the awards. I do believe giving it an award would be a mistake. When we give a book an award it is the same as saying this is a great book and I recommend that you read this book. I am concerned that this book is not appropriate for the intended audience. I can not see recommending this book to any teenager--their parents would have my head if I were to do so. One of the reviews I read for this book described it as "vivid not graphic." I have to differ with this opinion. I found the book to be too graphic.

Cautions to readers: Abuse of several kinds take place in this book, verbal, physical, and sexual. Very graphic and distubing.

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Living Dead Girl **May Contain Spoilers**

Well, I am finally about caught up after taking an almost 2 week vacation. I didn't do anything exciting while on vacation, but I did get to spend time with my family and friends.

I did, for better or for worse, finished the book Living Dead Girl. I have to admit that this wasn't one of my favorite books. It is extremely well written, and finely crafted, but I found the topic disturbing. I know it was supposed to be distubing, but I am concerned about the intended audience. Someone compared this to the book Child Called It and asked me who was reading that--alright teens are our biggest readers of Child Called It, so I guess Living Dead Girl would appeal to them, but I don't think I could recommend it to a teen. I will post my Goodreads review.

Monday, November 24, 2008

Review--Adoration of Jenna Fox by Mary E. Pearson **contains spoilers**

The Adoration of Jenna Fox The Adoration of Jenna Fox by Mary E. Pearson

My review

rating: 3 of 5 stars
Jenna Fox wakes up and remembers very few memories of who she was before the accident. Slowly over time, bits and pieces come to revealing a little more of the big picture, and revealing more than she bargained for. It turns out Jenna's accident was worse than her parents let on. It turns out that only 10% of Jenna survived. A small part of the brain called the butterfly, or according to Jenna's parents the most important 10%. Jenna slowly discovers that her body and all but 10% of her mind are laboratory creations, and that her very existence is illegal. How much can you lose before you lose your humanity, what is Jenna now, a person or a lab creation?

Although this story is well written, I felt that it was missing something. It was seeking an emotional connection I couldn't give. Jenna's narration is almost robotic and didn't give me the opportunity to empathize with her character.

On a side note, is it just me or does the book Skinned by Robin Wasserman have the same premise as this one? I know Adoration of Jenna Fox has been out longer, but Skinned looks very similar--I haven't read it yet.

Cautions for sensitive readers: There is some language (although this language is not persistent throughout the text and would be consider mild use of language), no sex, and no violence.

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Tuesday, November 18, 2008

Still Reading, But Slowly

I haven't had time to read much lately. I spent all of last week sick with either the stomach flu or food poisoning and didn't feel like reading much. I am still progressing through the Adoration of Jenna Fox it is intriguing, but slow. I am wishing the book would move a little faster. It may be picking up now that I am getting close to the big revelations.

Tuesday, November 11, 2008

39 Clues The Maze of Bones by Rick Riodan

The Maze Of Bones The Maze Of Bones by Rick Riordan

My review

rating: 3 of 5 stars
This was a fun fast paced read. Some of it was predictable, but it was still interesting. I wouldn't put it down as one of my favorites, but I do look forward to seeing what the rest of the series has in store for readers. This is a good action adventure series for children and tweens. I'm not sure it will hold the interest of older teens.

The main characters, Dan and Amy Cahill are an orphaned brother and sister. The story begins with the death of their grandmother, Grace Cahill who during the reading of her will propses a quest to those who are willing. The family memembers are offered a choice 1 million dollars or a chance to find the ultimate treasure. Dan and Amy burn chance at 2 million dollars and choose the quest.

The find themselves with no one to trust and their own family becomes their worst enemies.

Other than some mild violence, this book would be fine for sensitive readers. It has lots of action and adventure and some history lessons as well. This book is intended for children so there is no graphic language or sex.

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Tuesday, November 4, 2008

Finally Finished Little Brother **mild spoiler alert**

Little Brother Little Brother by Cory Doctorow

My review

rating: 3 of 5 stars
I honestly don’t know where to start with this book. Reading the premise of this book, I had high hopes for it. I have to admit that it is a pretty good read. It keeps you wanting to find out more and keeps you hoping that the main character will continue to stay one step ahead of the government. This book also gives us a lot to think about in regards to the methods that our government uses to keep us safe—it shows us how close to the edge we really are and how easy it would be for us to take a single step over. The beauty of the book, is that it describes these events not in some far off place, with futuristic technology, be in a near future with technology that currently exists. It shows us a world where we are no longer allowed to question our leadership, or criticize the decisions of those in power.

The book is full of paranoia. Marcus, the main character can be described as paranoid from the beginning. He knows someone is always looking over his shoulder, trying to keep track of him, but he wants to stay one step ahead of them. Marcus isn’t an innocent. Many of the situations he ends up in, are because he was in the wrong place at the wrong time, but also because he was someplace or doing something he wasn’t supposed to be doing. Of course like many novels the reader knows what he should be doing, but there wouldn’t be a story if he did what he should.

Overall this was an interesting story, but I believe that it would have been much better if it wasn’t so didactic. The author thoroughly explains some to the technology behind hacking, crypto, gait recongnition, histograms, and other kinds of technology. Sometimes during the lengthy explanations I lost track of what he was talking about to begin with, making the explanations really distracting. The author includes an Afterward with all of the information presented in the book, and where you can find info and instructions on how to do some of the things Marcus does in the book. Perhaps those explanations of technology would have been better off included in the Afterward rather than interrupting the story.

Of course you can make the connections between this story and 1984. Big brother is constantly watching Marcus and he is always trying to stay one step ahead.

Cautions for sensitive readers:

First of all there is a lot of expletives in this book. I would not say it was excessive, and in most cases it would be appropriate to the context, but for those who do not like to read books with foul language, they may find themselves somewhat offended.

Another caution would be the violence in the book. The story centers around a bombing, but beyond that there is a stabbing, and torture, including a description of waterboarding.

Finally, there is the sexual aspect of the book. Marcus is a teenage boy and does have his first sexual encounters. More description is given in the almost sex scenes than in the actual scene which is handled tastefully with a cut scene.

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Thursday, October 30, 2008

Still Reading Little Brother

I think I have discovered what is slowing me down about Little Brother by Cory Doctrow. Sometimes the book is too interested in explaining how things work. I appreciate the explanations, but sometimes they just drag the story down. It slows it down so much, that by the time the explanation is finished, you can't remember what the narrator was talking about when he started the explanation.

This book brings up some interesting security issuses and some debate. It would be a good one to discuss, but I don't know if teens will have the patience to make it to the end. I really want to know how it ends, but I am not sure I have the patience to get there myself. I am currently on page 180 and chugging along. This book is a bit sluggish. It isn't the page turner Hunger Games was.

Tuesday, October 28, 2008

Mock Printz

I am starting to look at some of the titles listed for the Mock Printz Awards. Little Brother is included as is Hunger Games which most certainly has my vote. I am trying to get my hands on some of the others. I did manage to check out and start Adoration of Jenna Fox. This one looks interesting, but we will have to wait and see.

I have gotten to page 100 in Little Brother. The story is fast paced, but I am not sure it is holding my attention very well. I don't want to quit--I really want to finish it because I think it will be a really interesting book, but right now it isn't holding my attention. That could certainly be my fault since I haven't had much time to read lately, and have had too many things on my mind.

Thursday, October 23, 2008

Started New Book

I have been so busy the past few days I haven't had time to read much, but I finally started Little Brother by Cory Doctrow. This book seems to be keeping up the action and the suspense. If that continues I may really get into this book. Many of my holds came in too, so now I have several of the books I have been waiting to read, but no time to read them. Wonderful! Hopefully, I will have more time this weekend, but I doubt it.

Monday, October 20, 2008

Another Book Finished

As you can see, I finished another book in the Keys to the Kingdom Series by Garth Nix. This was book five Lady Friday. I am still in my book lull. I know I want to go on to book 6, but it is currently checked out, so I will have to wait. I have two books on CD that I am tempted to try listening to, the first is Little Brother and the other is Maximum Ride the Angel Experiment. I really should listen to Maximum Ride first, but when I tried reading that I really didn't enjoy it much. I need to get out of my reading blahs and try something else, but that is easier said than done, when the books you really want to read are still checked out.

Keys to the Kingdom #5: Lady Friday by Garth Nix

Lady Friday (The Keys To The Kingdom, Book 5) Lady Friday by Garth Nix

My review

rating: 3 of 5 stars
I found myself waiting for this book to end. Don't get me wrong, I did enjoy it, but I couldn't help feeling that the real battle is still yet to come. Unlike in the last book, where the alternating chapters were interesting, this time I found them tedious with Leaf basically in the middle of nowhere. I hope the next book proves better.

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Saturday, October 18, 2008

39 Clues: Maze of Bones by Rick Riordan

I started Maze of Bones by Rick Riordan last night. I got to chapter 3, but I am not sure this is one that I am going to stick with. I love Rick Riordan's other books for children and teens, but I am having trouble getting in to this one. Twenty pages in, and it still isn't hooking me--usually that is beyond my limit, but since I like the author I will keep going. I know Scholastic is making a lot of the trading card game with the clues. I am wondering how essential they are to the story. Will I be able to follow the story without buying into the clues? I guess there is only one way to find out.

In the mean time, I am looking at other books to read. I am still in that blah mood that finishing The Hunger Games left me in. That book was so good, nothing else seems to hold a candle to it, and I am having trouble getting into other books when I just want more of The Hunger Games. I can't wait until the next book in the series comes out.

Friday, October 17, 2008

What to Read Next???

I just finished The Hunger Games by Suzanne Collins and have entered that faze that follows the reading of a really good book. You know the one...where you want more like that book, and nothing is the same. Compound that problem with the fact that none of my holds are ready to pick up and you guessed it! I have entered the dreaded Reading Blahs.

I have a couple that I am looking at, and yes I am still listening to Garth Nix's Lady Friday, but that one really isn't the same quality as The Hunger Games. Two others I am looking at reading are Little Brother by Cory Doctorow and Saving Zoe by Alyson Noel. They look like they have potential, but at this point I don't know if it will be enough to interest me. I will try all the same.

Wednesday, October 15, 2008

Hunger Games Review

The Hunger Games The Hunger Games by Suzanne Collins

My review

rating: 5 of 5 stars
WOW! This book was addictive. I couldn't put it down. The story takes place in a dystopian future where the United States no longer exists. In its place is a country called Panem which consists of a Capitol City and 12 Districts. At one time the country had 13 districts, but the 13th was destroyed when the districts rebelled against Capitol City. As a way of keeping the districts in line, each year all children between the ages of 12 and 18 are required to attend the reaping, where one boy and one girl will be chosen to represent their district in the Hunger Games. The Hunger Games are a televised fight to the death where the 24 tributes compete to be the last one standing. When Katniss's 12 year old sister, Prim, is chosen, Katniss volunteers to take her place in the games. Katniss is whisked away to Capitol City where she is to prepare for the games. This include, interviews, training scores, and hopefully appealing to and attaining sponsors who will provide her with supplies that she will need to survive. She is pampered, styled, interviewed, and eventually dropped off in the middle of a wilderness arena where she competes to live.

Cautions: This book is definitely for older teens due to the violence of the story. There is no sex, but some nakedness when her stylist has her stand naked to fit her for her outfits for the game’s ceremonies and interviews. This nudity isn’t explicit, is handled tastefully, and not much is made of it. There are blood and injuries, not to mention violent deaths.

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Tuesday, October 14, 2008

Still Reading the Hunger Games

I am almost finished with The Hunger Games by Suzanne Collins. This is a great book. I know it is the first in a series, but I honestly don't know if I can wait for the next one. The book is gripping from page one. I just wish I had more time so I could finish the last 28 pages of the novel.

We hosted a Twilight book discussion last night. We only had 5 teens show up, but we had a good time discussing the books. Since everyone had read all four of the books we expanded the discussion to include Breaking Dawn. I also got several to vote for the Teens Top Ten. Hopefully I can get a few more at our program on Wednesday.

Friday, October 10, 2008

First Post

This is my first post in this new blog. I am still getting a feel for using this site, and will probably continue to update and change things as time goes on. I started my first blog, which is a little disappointing at Livejournal.com. It too includes book reviews. You are welcome to visit it, it is located at http://wheems01.livejournal.com/.

Right now I am reading The Hunger Games by Suzanne Collins. This book is really absorbing. It features a girl named Katniss who lives in District 12. In her society which is located in a futuristic North American where there is no USA, there are 12 districts run by Central City. There used to be 13 districts, but when the districts rebelled against Central City, district 13 was destroyed as an example to the others. Every year the Central City demands a tribute of 1 boy and 1 girl from each district to compete in the Hunger Games, essentially a fight to the death. Everyone is forced to watch the Hunger Games. When her sister's name is drawn, Katniss volunteers to take her place. This book is addictive, it keeps getting worse, yet you can't put it down. Although I haven't finished it yet, it looks like one that might be highly recommended.


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