Monday, May 30, 2011

Book Review: As Easy As Falling Off the Face of the Earth by Lynn Rae Perkins

Title: As Easy As Falling Off the Face of the Earth
Author: Lynn Rae Perkins
Genre: Teen Fiction
Publication Date: April 27, 2010
Publisher: Greenwillow Books
ISBN-13 Book: 9780061870903
Publisher CD Book:  Recorded Books
ISBN-13 CD:  9781449808532
Source: I checked out a copy of the book and book on CD from my library.  This is my honest review!

As Easy as Falling Off the Face of the EarthAs Easy as Falling Off the Face of the Earth by Lynne Rae Perkins
My rating: 3 of 5 stars
When Ry gets off the train during an unscheduled mechanical stop in hopes of getting better cell phone reception he thought he would have more time, but when the train pulls off without him leaving him in the middle of nowhere Montana he realizes he may be in over his head.  Thus begins a journey of thousands of miles, and many many unforeseen circumstances.

I will start out by saying this is the perfect book for summer.  Ry was supposed to go to archeology camp for the summer, but when the camp is cancelled and Ry gets off the train in the middle of nowhere, he embarks on another more exciting adventure.  This story meanders its way from Montana, to Wisconsin, to Indiana, to Florida, and all the way to the Caribbean.  Ry's story is one of luck or lack there of and is a humorous adventure tale that attempts to get one boy to the right place at the right time.

This family has to have the worst luck.  Ry's parents are on a Caribbean vacation, and Ry's grandfather is supposed to watch the house and the family dogs.  When the grandfather hits his head, losing both his memory and the dogs, Ry has no one he can reach to tell of his own predicament.  With the help of some lovable yet unusual characters, Ry embarks on a journey to find his parents.

This story has moments that will make you laugh out loud, but there are other parts that just drag by.  Eventually the reader finds themself wishing for the ending and praying Ry won’t miss the next necessary connection.  As Easy as Falling Off the Face of the Earth meanders its way across the country telling the story of a boy whose destiny seems to be determined by luck alone.

The audio was a lifesaver for this book.  I don't think I could have made it all the way through the novel if it hadn't been for the audio version.  When I was reading the book, I kept wanting to put it down, but the audio got me through those rough patches where I was ready to give up and kept me listening for what would happen next.  The audio, produced by Recorded Books, is narrated by Chris Sorensen who does a remarkable job with the voices of the myriad of characters and whose tone and inflection keep the reader going throughout the novel. 

Overall, this fun rambling tale would make a great trip or summer read.  I just hope the reader's trip isn't as meandering as Ry's.  This is a light read that never takes itself too seriously, but might have ended a little bit sooner in this reader's opinion.


View all my reviews

Friday, May 27, 2011

Shadow Dancer Author Courtney Rene with Ten Things She Wishes She Could Tell Her Teenage Self


Today I have the pleasure of welcoming Courtney Rene the author of the book Shadow Dancer.  Courtney is sharing with us ten things she wishes she could go back and tell her teenage self!

Courtney Rene lives in Ohio with her husband and two children.  She is a graduate and member of the Institute of Children’s Literature.  Her writings include magazine articles, short fiction stories, several anthologies, and her novel, Shadow Dancer, published through Rogue Phoenix Press.  Please feel free to contact her at ctnyrene@aol.com or www.ctnyrene.blogspot.com.





Ten Things You Wish You Could Tell Your Teenage Self

1.  Smile more.  Don’t be so afraid of people.  You have to stick your neck out there if you expect people to want to be your friend.  Smiling is a good way to start.

2.  Dance!  If you are at a dance (homecoming or otherwise) and you are asked to dance or even if you aren’t, get your butt out there and dance.  You will regret it later if you don’t.  All those missed moments of just being a teenager.

3.  Your composition teacher is right.  No matter what you think or what he says, he is always right.  Stop being lazy, suck it up and learn the grammar and editing.  You will need it whether you think so or not.  You might want to say thank you to him too.  He spends a load of time trying to help.

4.  Learn to forgive.  You will have a best friend and she will make a mistake that breaks your heart.  Get over it.  Don’t give up a friend over something as petty as he said/she said.

5.  Boobs.  Yes, I know you want them.  What girl doesn’t?  Seriously, don’t waste your time waiting for them. They will finally arrive after you have your first child and then you will hate them, so enjoy the time without them while you can.

6.  Matt is a mistake…..he just is.  He was a waste of a great prom dress.  Don’t give him a second glance.   In fact, so was Chris.  Run girl, run!

7.  Even through you think you are very different and have nothing in common besides parents, try to work on the relationship with your sister.  If you two can’t find common ground as teenagers, you will fall apart as adults.

8.  When you get the chance to go toilet papering at a slumber party when you are 13….don’t.  Getting arrested and having a permanent mark on your record for “littering” is a little absurd.  Skip the drama and just say no thanks.

9.  French was a good choice in a language to learn, but Spanish would be more useful.  Really, it will.  

10.  You spend your teen years working full time and going to school.  Maybe you should give yourself a break.  Spend more time with your friends.  Have some fun while you can.  There is plenty of time to work and prepare.  You only have one chance to be a teen.  Don’t take the double shift, go to the beach, the movies, whatever.  Just do it.

Book Description from Goodreads.com:  Shadow Dancer

Sunny has a gift that she has no idea how to use, until she meets Leif, a boy from the kingdom of Acadia, on the other side of the shadows.

Leif teaches Sunny about Shadow Walkers and how to use her new found gifts. As they grow closer and their gifts grow stronger, a threat arrives. The Shadow Guard has been sent to bring Sunny back to Acadia, to determine if she is a threat to the king as the rightful ruler of Acadia.

As Leif and Sunny prepare to defend themselves, Sunny finds that Leif has also been sent to bring Sunny back to the kingdom but for very different reasons. As a battle for possession of Sunny wages, she is struggling to come to turns with her feelings of inadequacy regarding controlling her gifts as well as the hurt regarding the lies and deceit of everyone around her.

Thursday, May 26, 2011

Armchair BEA: Nurturing Book Blogging Relationships

I'll admit that I am not always the most active blog in the world.  I have a full-time job that I spend many, many extra hours working on, and I have a 3 year-old who demands his share of my attention.  So sometimes there are days when I don't post, but that doesn't mean that I am not reading the blogs of others and enjoying what they are posting.  In fact, I consider reading those blogs as part of my job.  Other bloggers are often a much needed source of reviews that I need to do my job when I order books for my library. 

I originally started blogging for two reasons.  One was an experiment for work and the second reason is the one that keeps me blogging.  I started my blog because I wanted somewhere I could talk about the books that are important to me.  I read a lot of teen literature, which isn't the first choice of reading material for the people I see day to day.  I needed an outlet, a group of people who like to read the same books I am reading.  A group of people who understand and like to share their love of literature.  I found that group of people while blogging. 

I started out by following a few blogs, people who were reading similar books to what I was reading and reviewing those books.  Then I began to find more and more blogs.  I have participated in read a-longs, and even monthly book groups.  I have encouraged readers to tell me what they would like to see me read.  The blogging community and the relationships I have formed there have made me reconsider how I think of books, publishing, and bloggers. 

I live for comments.  I can't tell you how excited I am to read a comment on my blog, or see a response to a comment I posted.  I love the friendships I have made while blogging and the new things you have introduced me to.  While I am always looking for new blogger buddies, I want to thank those people who check out my blog regularly and comment.  You guys keep me posting and keep me on my toes.  I love it when you disagree with me, and make me see something I didn't see before. 

Thanks guys for stopping by and for commenting.  I love you all!

Wednesday, May 25, 2011

Book Review: Lark by Tracey Porter

Title: Lark
Author: Tracey Porter
Genre: Teen Fiction
Publication Date: May 24, 2011
Publisher: HarperCollins Publishers
ISBN-13 Book: 9780062080110
Source: I purchased a copy of the ebook for my Nook from Barnes and Noble.  This is my honest review!


LarkLark by Tracey Porter
My rating: 4 of 5 stars
One chilly day while waiting for her father to pick her up from gymnastics practice sixteen year-old Lark is abducted, stabbed, sexually assaulted, and left to die tied to a tree in the nearby woods.  This book is a haunting tale about three girls and their struggles to come to terms with a horrific event. Nyetta a twelve year old who remembers fondly the times when Lark was her babysitter.  Eve, Lark's former best friend, who has dark secrets of her own that created a wedge between her and Lark.  And finally Lark herself, who needs her story told.

Almost every review I read for this short book compared it to Alice Sebold's The Lovely Bones.  Now that I have finished Lark I can see why that comparison was made.  Much of the book is similar to that story, but this one doesn't quite have the heft, or even the emotional punch of The Lovely Bones.  With the exception of the rape scene, I might even call this book a toned down version or even a cliff notes version of The Lovely Bones.

The story alternates between three characters, Lark, Nyetta, and Eve.  All three are scarred and attempting to heal from the hardships in their lives.  While their stories are convincingly told, you never have any emotional connection to the characters.  There is a disconnect somewhere, and you never have any real emotional investment in this novel.

Lark also presents an interesting, if not a little confusing, mythology about murdered girls turning into trees.  While this adds a whole new type of paranormal aspect to the story, it also leaves you wondering what is real and what isn't.  Is Nyetta telling the truth or is she crazy.  Thankfully, this question is resolved, but at first it just felt a little awkward. 

That said, Porter is a talented writer, and does a superb job of writing a harrowing tale and telling it in such a short number of pages.  I read this book in one sitting and just flew through the pages.  Lark captures your attention from the first page and holds it to the very last.  You want to know what happens to these characters.  Porter's prose is pleasantly descriptive without going overboard or meandering onto other topics the way so many novels have of late.  This is a tightly written exquisite piece of literature that will keep the reader hooked.

Overall, while lacking the emotional punch of The Lovely Bones this novel does offer a well written and interesting story.  One that will keep the reader turning the pages to find out what happens next. 

Cautions for sensitive readers: This book, while marketed to teens is definitely one that should be reserved for mature teen readers.  The scenes of the rape are quite explicit and could be disturbing to the unprepared. 



View all my reviews

Tuesday, May 24, 2011

Armchair BEA: Best of 2011

There are so many books coming out this year that I have seen and added to my "MUST READ" list.  It seems like everyday I am adding another title.  So to keep things simple for this post, I think I am going to list my most anticipated read this year and five of my favorites that I have read thus far in 2011.  I'll let the rest surprise me later!  (To see what is on other people's reading lists, check out Armchair BEA and the Best of 2011 Link Up!)
  
The Book I Can't Wait to Read in 2011
I loved Ally Condie's Matched when it came out and now I am eagerly anticipating the next book in the series Crossed which comes out November 1, 2011.  Let me tell you, November can't get here soon enough!
Crossed (Matched, #2)


Top 5 Reads Published in 2011
5.
I love a good ghost story and this fantastic book by Jennifer Archer delivers. (View my review.)
Through Her Eyes

4.
This book caught me by surprise.  I am not a big historical fiction fan, but Saundra Mitchell opened my eyes with this one.  Not only did I enjoy it, but I found myself eagerly anticipating the next book Springsweet. (View my review.)
The Vespertine (The Vespertine, #1)

3.
I know I have said this before, I am not a big realistic fiction fan, but something about this book by Alexa Martin has me hooked.  I could sympathize with the main character's desperate desire to fit in.  I couldn't put this one down until I finished. (View my review.)
 Girl Wonder

2.
I read My Fair Godmother last year, and while I thought it was cute and funny, it didn't make my favorites list.  The same can't be said for the sequel.  My Unfair Godmother is a hilarious journey through the middle ages.  I loved the main character and I loved the twists and turns this fairytale novel gives you. (View my review.)
My Unfair Godmother (My Fair Godmother, #2)

1.
And my favorite book this year...  I eagerly awaited the publication of this book.  I had heard so many good things about this book and it sounded too good to be true.  When it came out however, I discovered that this is probably going to be my number one book this year.  I know there are more books to come, but they are going to have to work really hard and be really good to knock this fantastic dystopian from the top slot. (View my review.)
 Divergent (Divergent, #1)       

Book Review: She Smells the Dead by E. J. Stevens

Title:She Smells the Dead
Author: E. J. Stevens
Genre: Teen Paranormal Fiction
Publication Date: August 19, 2010
Publisher: Sacred Oaks Press
ISBN-13 Book: 9780984247523 (Paperback version)
Source: I purchased a copy of the ebook for my Nook from Barnes and Noble.  This is my honest review!

She Smells the Dead (Spirit Guide, #1)She Smells the Dead by E.J. Stevens
My rating: 4 of 5 stars
Yuki has an unusual ability to smell the dead.  She can sense them and sense that they need something from her before they can move on.  When a spirit comes to her reeking of vinegar and is possibly a victim of foul play, Yuki enlists her friends Calvin and Emma to unravel the mystery.  But something far more dangerous lurks on the horizon and if Yuki doesn't learn to control her gift in time she may lose her mind or even her life.
This novel was different than so many paranormal novels out there.  I mean whoever heard of someone who could smell the dead.  Perhaps that is what intrigued me about this novel to begin with, that or the fantastic cover art.

Stevens is a talented writer who pulls you into the story and keeps up the fast pace throughout the novel.  I love her writing style and how she tells her story.  It is straight to the point without the meandering that has been plaguing me in so many novels of late.  This is an easy read you can just sit back and enjoy.

Overall this is a fun fast read.  Yuki and her friends are entertaining and fun to read about.  Yuki's ability is unusual and it is interesting to watch her unravel ways to understand and use her talent.  Calvin and Emma, her best friends are charming and fascinating in their own right.  This short entertaining read is definitely worth the time.  I can't wait to read book two, Spirit Storm.

View all my reviews

Sunday, May 22, 2011

Book Review: A Golden Web by Barbara Quick [Teen Book Scene Blog Tours]

Title: Golden Web
Author: Barbara Quick
Genre: Teen Historical Fiction
Publication Date: April 6, 2010
Publisher: HarperTeen
ISBN-13 Book: 9780061448874
Source: Received copy from author to participate in this tour.  This is my honest review!

A Golden WebA Golden Web by Barbara Quick
My rating: 5 of 5 stars
Alessandra Giliani is intelligent and inquisitive, and in fourteenth century Italy, those are not welcome traits in a young woman who is expected to settle down, marry, and raise a household.  Alessandra longs for more than being cloistered away until her wedding.  She longs to discover new things and new ideas.  When being cooped up in the cloister becomes too much for Alessandra, she concocts a daring plan and will risk everything to learn more and become the world's first female anatomist.
Barbara Quick has done a remarkable job bringing this relatively unknown piece of history to life.  Her historical detail and her characters are exquisite.  They feel like real people and you cheer and sympathize with them as you read.

Alessandra is a likable and remarkable young heroine.  She is very strong-willed, and determined which no doubt led to her successes.  Her story is one of determination and intelligence. 

While this book is a short read at only two hundred and sixty six pages, it is full of gorgeous detail.  I felt like I was living in Alessandra’s time, and with her wonderful family.  Quick’s imaginings of this young girl’s life are very realistic and interesting.  I felt like this book could almost be a biography rather than a work of fiction. 

Overall this is a wonderful work of historical fiction.  It makes me want to go out and find out more about Alessandra Giliani.  Highly recommended to fans of historical fiction, or readers who love to read about strong female characters who aren’t afraid to take chances to get what they want.  A beautiful story.

View all my reviews


Saturday, May 14, 2011

Book Review: Odessa: Seraphym Wars by Rebecca Ryals Russell

Title: Odessa
Author: Rebecca Ryals Russell
Genre: Teen Adventure Fiction, Fantasy
Publication Date: April 2011
Publisher: MuseItUp Publishing
Format:  Ebook sold by SMASHWORDS - EBKS
Source: Received copy from the author for my review.  This is my honest review!


Odessa (The Seraphym Wars Series)Odessa by Rebecca Ryals Russell
My rating: 3 of 5 stars
When recent high school graduate, Myrna is suddenly swept out of her ordinary life in Florida and finds herself on a dangerous and backward planet where evil abounds and is told that she is to lead a team of children in accordance with an ancient prophecy, Myrna is skeptical.  As she spends more time on Dracwald, Myrna begins to believe the prophecy and sets off on an adventure filled with danger and possible romance.
Odessa is the first book in the Seraphim Wars Series and it takes a little time to get used to.  You are plopped into Dracwald with no explanations and very little introduction, and find yourself struggling to figure out what is going on and where the book is going.  As to figuring out where the book is going, don’t try it is impossible.  Just sit back and enjoy the ride, because this book is utterly unpredictable. 

In the beginning you are told that Myrna was specially trained for this task in the past, and though she doesn’t remember it right away, bits and pieces of her training comes back to her.  She was selected to fulfill the prophecy and lead six other special children, Vigorios on the quest.  As I said above, the beginning is a little disorienting, but since most of the story is told from Myrna’s point of view that is appropriate, she herself is disoriented to find herself on Dracwald.

Odessa is an ambitious tale set in a foreign and mysterious world.  There are definitely Christian fantasy elements in the plot that will attract readers who enjoy Christian fiction, but can’t seem to find Christian fantasy—definitely a genre we need to hear more from.  In Dracwald, Ryal has created a dark and disturbing world where the worst of humanity is visible around every turn.  Horrors are present in every town and everyone wants to harm or kill Myrna and her friends.   

Overall, this book is an imaginative and creative adventure story that is wonderful for those readers looking for Christian fantasy.  It may be a little hard to figure out at the beginning, but those who stick with it will find an unpredictable adventure like no other.

I LOVE THE COVER ART!!! 

View all my reviews


Friday, May 13, 2011

Author Adele Griffin Shares The Ten Best Things about Being a Writer + Giveway [Teen Book Scene Tour]


Today I have the pleasure of welcoming Adele Griffin to my blog.  Her newest book, Tighter, came out on May 10th, and in the story of 17 year-old Jamie who takes a summer job as an au pair only to discover herself in the middle of a mysterious ghost story.  You don't want to miss this thrilling tale!  It is in stores now, go check it out! (Goodreads Description)

Tighter


The 10 Best Things About Being A Writer by Adele Griffin

1. no commute

2. no need for social skills

3. no need for “work clothes”

4. you talk to your dog a lot, but that can be pleasant.

5. you can break for a matinee

6. … or to read a junky magazine

7. it’s such an odd job that other people don’t judge it much

8. people like to tell you their own stories

9. you can listen to music at work

10. FREE BOOKS

Now for the Giveaway!!!

Rules:
*Must be a US/Canadian Resident.
*Must be 13 years or older. (If you are under 18 you must have your parent's permission!)
*Giveaway ends May 19, 2011 at 11:59 EST.
*Winner will be contacted by email and will have 48 hours to respond.
*Not responsible for items lost or damaged in the mail.
*You must fill out this form to enter:  FORM

Best wishes!

Monday, May 9, 2011

Character Interview: Amanda from Girl Wonder by Alexa Martin


Girl Wonder has to be one of my favorite realistic fiction books this year.  I couldn't put it down, and couldn't wait to see what would happen.  Martin's writing is convincing and her characters felt so real.  It reminded me of being back in high school, and that struggle to fit in.  Need more convincing?  Check out my review.

To find out more about Girl Wonder or the author Alexa Martin, visit her website at http://alexamartin.com/.

In the meantime, check out my interview with one of this novel's most fascinating characters!

Today I have the pleasure of welcoming one of the most interesting characters I have encountered of late.  Amanda, is the sassy, spunky, kick ass, character admired by the main character, Charlotte, in Alexa Martin's debut teen novel Girl Wonder.  Amanda is the type of carefree girl we all envy and would like to be, but because of our own insecurities and self doubt can never pull off.

Interview with Amanda from Girl Wonder by Alexa Martin
Girl Wonder
When Charlotte first sees you she admires your confidence and style.  Where would you say your confidence and style come from?
  • Dude...I was born kicking and screaming with confidence. And let's be real. I'm hot. Look at my hair. My body. My style. People notice me. Guys want to do me and girls want to be me.  Do you know what a rush it is to have that kind of power over everyone? Ha ha. Of course you don't what that feels like. You're not me!
 You seem to be a bit of a rebel.  Who are you rebelling against and what message are you trying to get across?
  • Let's get something straight, sister: Amanda Munger is not trying to prove something. I'm above all that BS. But people do need to be reminded sometimes of who's in charge. As in ME! Not them. Not you. The second you give someone an inch you give away your power. I give nothing of myself. Survival of the fittest, right?
Why did you become friends with Charlotte?
  • Char... She had so much promise. She was pretty. Her dad was famous. She was funny. I don't have a lot of gal pals. Girls tend to be pretty jealous of me so they keep a wide berth. Charlotte was different. She wanted to bask in the glow of a star. She got too close. It's her own damn fault that she got burned.
When Charlotte makes up excuses to avoid smoking pot with you and to avoid stealing etc...  do you see through her excuses and if so why don't you call her on them?
  • Oh I know people pretty well. We both knew "I knew" she was making excuses. But I know girls and I knew in time she'd come around. I didn't want to scare her off. Besides, I'm not a total bitch, okay? Truth be told... it gets lonely at the top of the food chain. Not that I miss Char or anything. Not me. I don't need people. I don't. 
 Why did you really join the debate team?
  • Look, in the entire history of my life only one guy has ever broken up with me. That guy was Neal Fitzpatrick. I could tell the second I first saw Char and Neal talking that he had a stupid crush on her. Gag. They were totally wrong for each other and I could see that. Someone had to be there to make sure no one made any long term stupid mistakes.

Friday, May 6, 2011

Follow Friday!

Come and join the fun of the Friday Follow hosted by Parajunkee's View. You can find the instructions and rules on Parajunkee's Follow Friday post. Happy Hopping!




Question of the Week: Circle time! Time to share. What character in a book would you most like to be, what character in a book would you most like to date?

If I could choose to be any character in any book, I think I would choose to be Alanna from Tamora Pierce's Song of the Lioness Quartetseries. I have always admired how strong and determined Alanna is. (Although I think my second pick might be Tris from Verconica Roth's Divergent.)

As to who I would most like to date, that is a tough question.  If I were younger I would really like Jay from Kimberly Derting's The Body Finder.  He is such a good guy, and I admit I have a fondness for good guys.  I also love Puck from Julie Kagawa's The Iron Fey series since he is a fairy my age wouldn't be such an issue.  He too is a good guy, but he has a sense of humor and a bit of mischief about him that may make him fun.  Still it is a tough call. 

Alanna: The First Adventure (Song of the Lioness, #1)

Divergent (Divergent, #1)

The Body Finder (The Body Finder, #1)

The Iron King (Iron Fey, #1)

Book Review: Dark and Hollow Places by Carrie Ryan

Title: Dark and Hollow Places
Author: Carrie Ryan
Genre: Teen Post Apocalyptic Fiction, Action Adventure Fiction, Dystopian Fiction, Horror
Publication Date: March 22, 2011
Publisher: Delacorte Books for Young Readers
Publisher CD:  Random House/ Listening Library
ISBN-13 Book: 9780385738590
ISBN-13 CD: 9780307747266
Source: I checked out both the book and the audio CD from my local public library.  This is my honest review!

The Dark and Hollow Places (The Forest of Hands and Teeth, #3)The Dark and Hollow Places by Carrie Ryan
My rating: 4 of 5 stars
Since Elias left her alone in the Dark City while he joined the Recruiters, Annah has been living day to day just trying to survive and looking forward to his return which seems more unlikely as each day passes.  Plagued with the guilt of knowing she left her sister in the Forest of Hands and Teeth and scarred after an accident in the city's old subway tunnels, Annah can't forgive herself or forget how ugly she thinks she is. One day while leaving the city, Annah sees her sister Abigale (Gabry) on a bridge and knows she has to find her. But little does she know that a hoarde of dead is approaching the city, and it will cause a chain of events that, should they survive, will change all their lives forever. No place is safe!
This is the third book in Carrie Ryan's Forest of Hands and Teeth series, and I have to say that her writing improves with each book.  I think my favorite may still be Dead-Tossed Waves, this book definitely runs a close second.  Ryan has a remarkable ability to create a world where danger is everywhere and a story that keeps you on the edge of your seat.

Annah, the main character of this third novel, is the sister of Gabry from Dead-Tossed Waves.  She is a darker character than Gabry because her upbringing has been plagued with such horrors and pain.  She is plagued by the guilt of leaving her sister in the Forest of Hands and Teeth, and is scarred from attempts to explore the tunnels in the city.  When we first meet Annah she is waiting for Elias to return from the Recruiters, but as each day passes, hope fades.  When she meets Catcher, things begin to turn around for Annah.

Ryan's talent lies in her ability to write nail biting, adrenaline pumping horror scenes.  She knows how to scare you, take to to the very edge of danger and pull you back to safety at the last minute.  Ryan writes some of the best teen horror out there, with fantastic believable characters and heart pumping action. 

I still wish I could find out how The Return happened, what caused it, but that isn't part of the story.  The story is about the survivors.  The small pockets of humanity struggling to survive in a cruel and heartless world.  (I still hope that someday she will go back in time and write about a character living when The Return started, and her struggle to survive.) 

The audio CD version of this book contains 9 unabridged CDs produced by Random House/Listening Library.  The narrator of this audiobook is Allyson Ryan, who does an excellent job giving voice to Annah.  The audio is clear and Allyson Ryan is the perfect voice for the scarred and guilt ridden Annah.  Definitely worth a listen.

Overall this is a definite must read for those who have read the other books in the series.  Unlike Dead-Tossed Waves and The Forest of Hands and Teeth, however, this book is not a stand alone.  You must at least have read Dead-Tossed Waves, or you may not be able to keep track of some of the story lines. I definitely recommend this series though if you like heart stopping action and great teen horror.

View all my reviews

Thursday, May 5, 2011

Book Review: Divergent by Veronica Roth

Title: Divergent
Author: Veronica Roth
Genre: Teen Dystopian Fiction, Science Fiction, Action Adventure Fiction
Publication Date: May 3, 2011
Publisher: Katherine Tegen Books
ISBN-13 Book: 9780062024022
Source: Received ARC for review from Book it Forward Tours.  This is my honest review!

Divergent (Divergent, #1)Divergent by Veronica Roth
My rating: 5 of 5 stars
At the age of 16, teens in Beatrice's world go through the choosing ceremony.  All of the 16 year-olds select which faction they wish to join.  Prior to the ceremony they are tested to help them make their choice.  When Beatrice goes through the test her results indicate that she is a Divergent, a person who could belong in multiple factions.  At the choosing ceremony Beatrice chooses Dauntless, the brave as her new faction and changes her name to Tris.  But being a Divergent in Beatrice's world is dangerous, and when she chooses the Dauntless faction she must hide that fact very carefully, or the consequences could be deadly.

I admit when I first saw this book was coming out I was interested, but a bit skeptical.  The description didn't really hold my interest, and I was worried that it was going to be another Hunger Games wannabe.  I wanted to read it because I love dystopian books, but my hopes for it weren't high. 

I was really surprised, however, when shortly after starting it I found myself loathing to put it down.  Roth's writing had me hooked from the beginning.  She has created a fascinating world and some pretty incredible characters. 

Tris is a wonderful character.  She reminds me a lot of Alanna in Tamora Pierce's books in the Song of the Lioness Quartet series.  Which in my world is about the highest compliment I can give a character since Alanna (and now Tris too) remains one of my favorite characters of all time.  Despite being small and coming from a faction known for its nonviolence and selflessness, Tris join the Dauntless faction, a faction that values courage and bravery above all other traits.  What I love about Tris is that she isn't a quitter.  No matter how bad things get, or how hard training is, she doesn't give.  I found myself cheering her on throughout the book, and celebrating when she triumphed. 

Other characters are equally developed and equally interesting.  I loved Four who tries to help Tris without letting anyone know.  Christina and Will are wonderful friends to Tris, and Uriah is one character I would have loved to know better.  Tris's mom was a fascinating character too, and one I would have loved to know more about.

My only wish for this book would be a little more history of this world.  The story takes place in Chicago in the future, and all that is left of Lake Michigan is a marsh.  I would have liked to know more about what led the world to become the way it did.

Overall this is an action packed, non-stop thrill ride.  I loved this book and I loved the characters.  I highly recommend it to those who love dystopian fiction and who liked the Hunger Games and want to read more books like this.  This book has a strong plucky female character who isn't afraid to face her fears!  Divergent came out May 3, 2011, if you haven't purchased it already, I definitely recommend that you go out and buy it. (I went to my local Books A Million and purchased my copy yesterday!)

Fantastic!!!  I can't wait to read what Roth writes next!   

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Tuesday, May 3, 2011

Battle of the Books at My Library and Book Review: Soul Surfer by Bethany Hamilton

You all probably know by now that I am not usually a nonfiction reader.  On occasion I will try a work of nonfiction, but I definitely prefer to read fiction.  Every year in November at my library we host a Battle of the Books competition.  In fact, last year was our 25th anniversary of the competition!  The previous teen librarian who started Battle all those years ago even came to the competition to celebrate with us.  It was a great event.  One change that I made to the competition after taking over several years ago was the addition of a nonfiction title.  This has always been the toughest book for me to choose, but I think we have selected some really great books in the years we have been doing this.

This year, with the movie coming out, I decided that I would look at the book Soul Surfer by Bethany Hamilton.  Right now, our library's holds list for this book is crazy long, so I thought perhaps I should take a look.  After reading it, I am not sure if it will be a good fit for Battle (I have to write 100 questions per book for battle--I am not sure I can get that from this book), but I think it is an interesting read for those interested in seeing the movie.

Title: Soul Surfer
Author: Bethany Hamilton
Genre: Teen Nonfiction
Publication Date: October 5, 2004
Publisher: MTV
ISBN-13 Book: 9780743499224
Source: Checked out a copy of the book from my public library.  This is my honest review!
 

Soul Surfer: A True Story of Faith, Family, and Fighting to Get Back on the BoardSoul Surfer: A True Story of Faith, Family, and Fighting to Get Back on the Board by Bethany Hamilton

My rating: 3 of 5 stars


Soul Surfer is an inspiring story about not giving up.  After losing her arm in a shark attack, fourteen year-old Bethany Hamilton returns to her beloved sport of surfing.  This novel was written shortly after the accident and primarily focuses on Bethany's faith and her love of surfing.  During the attack Bethany stays remarkably calm while her friends get her to shore and later to the hospital.  In the book Bethany shares her love of surfing, her love of family, and her strong faith in God.

Soul Surfer has just recently been made into a movie, and I admit that I was curious about the book.  The hold list for this title at our library is getting longer by the day as more and more people want to read it.  It is a surprisingly quick read.  I was able to finish this book in one day.  The book is touching and at times heart-wrenching.  I kept thinking about what her family was going through as they rushed to the hospital not knowing how Bethany was doing.  

My only comment on the book is that there wasn't a lot of meat to the story.  Many themes are repeated over and over, especially her faith in God.  There weren't a lot of details about her recovery--it seemed kind of brief, and perhaps that is because the book was written so soon after the accident.  She was still recovering from the injury.  I think this might have been better if she had waited a few years to write it. 

Overall this is an inspirational book written by a talented and inspiring teen.  I would recommend it to those who are interested in seeing the movie and those who love biographies and inspiring stories. 


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