Friday, November 27, 2009

The Chimera's Curse

Back-of-the-Book Description: None is available, so I'll try to sum it up real quick: (boy, am I terrible at this!)

Connie Lionheart hears the voice of Kullervo even in her sleep, always reminding her of their coming confrontation--a confrontation she is sure to lose. When she discovers a possible way to fight him on equal terms, she is dismayed by the lack of support from her fellow society members and Trustees, as well as angered at how they have forbidden her to learn how to defend herself from Kullervo.
Meanwhile, a chimera--third lion, third goat, third snake--is chasing after her, and drawing her visiting brother into danger. Could he be connected to Kullervo?

My Description: Wow. This is probably the best out of this eco-fantasy series, The Companions Quartet (including The Secret of the Sirens, The Gorgan's Gaze, and The Mines of the Minotaur) and I really, really, enjoyed it. Here are a few things that annoyed me, even though I like this book quite a bit:

A: HOW COULD THE SOCIETY (PARTICULARLY THE TRUSTEES) BE SO STUPID?!!!! Really, it's beginning to get a little repetitious, how many times they are terrible to Connie. If I had been her I would have quit the society by now! Then again, it's her only source of information on how to defend herself and others from Kullervo, so I suppose she has her hands tied.
I mean, I understand them keeping her from the moore (where the chimera lurks) and not allowing her to challenge Kullervo, but cutting her off from her library? Robbing her of her only source of information on how to defend herself from Kullervo? Honestly, it makes no sense.
B: Simon and Connie are brother and sister, and I absolutely hate their relationship. And why aren't they living with their alive and well parents anyways? And why isn't Col living with his father, even though his father is living with Connie and his wife (her aunt), practically right down the street?
So, I have a problem with where people live and Simon and Connie's relationship. I don't see why he was being so terrible to his big sister, though I think there was one fleeting moment where she could have fixed things (I say this as an experienced older sister--two little boys, one girl around my age), but it was easy to miss.
C: I didn't like Connie having a companion. The whole point was that, as a Universal (able to bond with all creatures), she was open to all species, and it doesn't make sense for her to bond with a particular creature. It annoyed me, made no sense, and limited her. It also doesn't seem fair to Argand (her dragon companion), as she will have to share Connie with so many other creatures.
D: I was a little surprised by how easily Kullervo turned against Connie after how hard he fought for her for so long. It seemed inconsistent with his character. I understand that eventually he would give up, but I felt like... I don't know, that it should have taken a little more to make him do so.
F: There was this point at the end that I don't want to give away, that was completely pointless, not emotionally moving at all, and didn't even develop the story. There was no reason for it, whatsoever. If the guy had survived it would have made sense, but since he didn't, it wasn't any good in my opinion, not even drawing me to tears (which is fairly easy to do).
G: My final complaint, I suppose, is that I really wanted to read about Connie telling Col about... the difference. I'd say what it was, but I try to avoid writing spoilers in my reviews.

One thing I could totally relate to was when Kullervo had Connie's friends as well as her captive, and she felt... restricted. She could handle putting herself at risk and fighting Kullervo, but having her friends there and deciding whether they lived or died a horrible death was too much. Once they were gone, we both breathed a sigh of relief, and she felt she could fight and be strong now that she didn't have to worry about them.

Also, I just love the character of Sentinel. I really have nothing more to say than that... he's honorable, kind, and I love to read about him.

Well, I guess that's it. Beside the few things I mentioned that annoy me personally, I very much enjoyed this series and am sad to see it at it's end. It is fun, entertaining, adventurous, and a very good read.
Pages: 307
I would recommend this series to fantasy lovers, people concerned about global warming and the environment, those who enjoy adventure, and fans of The Percy Jackson and the Olympians series.
Writing Rating: 7
Story Rating: 8
Overall Rating: 8 3/4

Book #29 of 09, Book #79 of all

Saturday, August 1, 2009

Many Books

I may and I may not post some actual reviews of these books, but here is what I have read:

The Case of the Waylaid Wolf--by Erle Stanley Gardner

Goose Chase--by someone I can't remember, but I really loved this one.

The Lady in the Tower--I enjoyed this, but would have liked more conversation and less narration. I didn't feel like it ended either, but I still liked it.

I probably won't ever write full reviews on these books, but I wanted to get them up here. When I start reading again I'll probably start writing reviews diligently once again, but I make no promises.

Books #26, 27 and 28 of '09

Friday, June 19, 2009

Once Upon A Marigold

Just so you know, I read this book a long, LONG time ago. But due to laziness, illness, and birthdays I didn't post a review, and I might never. The next few books I'll put up will most likely also be review-less, so be warned. I will say, however, that this was wonderfully cute and sweet and I liked it very, very much. I knew I'd love it when I read the part where a character is reading Greek Myths; "nothing like a bit of fratricide, matricide and infanticide to put you to sleep" (just so you know that's a very rough quote and there's a 95% chance of inaccuracy). I personally love Greek Myths, so that little joke made me adore this charming tale.

Author: Jean Ferris
Back-of-the-Book Description: Readers first meet Chris when he is a strong-willed, clever child of six. He has run away from home, determined to live on his own in the forest. Edric, a troll, finds him and gives him shelter but cannot make him go back home, and Chris grows up with Edric and his dogs as his family, guided by an etiquette book found in the forest and Edric's own wisdom. As the boy grows, he continues his interest in inventing and watches the princess in the castle across the river. She is headstrong but lonely, and when Chris contacts her by carrier pigeon (or p-mail), they become best friends. When he takes work at the castle, there is no way that Chris, a commoner, can tell Marigold who he is, and he can only stand by as she is to be married to an unsuitable suitor. When he learns that her life is in danger, he must find a way to save her and the kingdom.
Book #25 of '09, Book #75 of all

Thursday, May 21, 2009

The Case of the Step Daughter's Secret

(a Perry Mason book; reviews on my book blog include: (The Case of...) The Worried Waitress, The Demure Defendant, The Shapely Shadow, The Fabulous Fake)

Author: Erle Stanley Gardner
Back-of-the-Book Description: When a man's past threatens his family's future, there's only one way to turn--to Perry Mason....

Harlow Bissenger Bancroft, head of a vast corporate empire and a happily married man, had a battery of lawyers--not one of any of any use to him in his present situation.
That's why he sat facing Perry Mason, his air of authority vanished, a deeply disturbed man.
"There are three ways of dealing with a blackmailer," Mason told him, "but only one should concern you--tell him to go jump in the lake." (This is Galaxy speaking; I don't remember that line in the book... but I might have forgotten it. And I thought there were four ways of dealing with a blackmailer...?)
The blackmailer was found on the lake, all right, but he'd not had a chance to jump in it for he was dead as the proverbial mackerel.
My Description: One thing that really annoys me in this series is how his clients always lie to him, or don't come to him immediately. If they just had told him the truth (though this book isn't a very good example of that) or had come to him when there was trouble (this book is a good example of that) things would have been sooooooo much better for them!

Anyways, it's a fun Perry Mason. Not as mind boggling as some of the others, but with a satisfying ending and plenty of times to try and guess as to what is going on in that lawyer's mind. There's a bit of the annoying repetition (see The Worried Waitress through the link above), a bunch of the heart-pounding suspense... I'd write more, but I've reviewed so many books in this series that there isn't much more to say... oh, except that I missed Lt. Tragg and Hamilton Burger in this one, but I guess they can't be in 'em all.
Pages: 166
Recommendations: To anyone who likes mysteries, or any Perry Mason books.
Writing Rating: 7
Story Rating: 7
Overall Rating: 7 3/4

Book #24 of '09, Book #74 of all

Saturday, May 9, 2009

The Case of the Worried Waitress

(A Perry Mason book, other books in that series I have reviewed include (The Case of) The Demure Defendant, The Shapely Shadow, and The Fabulous Fake)

Author: Erle Stanley Gardner

Back-of-the-Book Description: None available; basically a waitress comes to Perry Mason about finding a cache of money in her Aunt's hatboxes, and asks him what to do. As usual, a few days later what started out as a bit of worry turns into an (almost) murder mystery, where once again Perry Mason proves he's totally awesome.

My Description: I wish all lawyers were like Perry Mason, but honestly, I don't see how he can afford it. He practically bought the girl a car and helped her out for almost nothing at the beginning... I wouldn't find this odd, except in almost all of his cases he does this, and so I begin to wonder where he gets all the money...? Still, if he has it, then that whole thing makes Perry even cooler.

The mystery this time was super crazy, with all sorts of odd things happening... They missed explaining one thing, (the going store to store to save a few cents but spending dollars on taxi cabs) but I might have missed the answer. Besides that this case was as wonderful as the others, filled with heart-pounding suspense (and I mean literally. I almost screamed at one point) and Perry turning it all around at the last minute.

One slightly annoying thing I noticed throughout the series is that Mr. Gardner has a tendency to repeat things. In some cases that's cool, like if you've forgotten who a certain character was, but when Perry says(I italicised the repetition),

"Would you mind if we looked at it?"

"Not at all. But you'll have to go all the way back down the stairs to the front door, then climb two more flights of stairs."

"I'd like to take a look," Mason said. "It's unfurnished?"

"That's right."

"I'd like to get and idea of the way it's laid out. It has the same floor plan as this one?"


"May we look?"

Stuff like that happens in the book lots of times, and it gets a little irritating. But besides that, I loved this book, just like I loved all the others and I'd definitely recommend it to mystery lovers!

Pages: 212

Reading Time: Two days

Recommendations: To anyone who likes mysteries, or Perry Mason fans (book or TV series; doesn't matter... I personally started with the show, then read some of the books).

Writing Rating: 7

Story Rating: 7 1/2
Overall Rating: 8

Book #23 of '09, Book #73 of all

Friday, May 8, 2009

Just Ella

Author: Margaret Peterson Haddix
Back-of-the-Book Description: Haddix (Running Out of Time) puts a feminist spin on the Cinderella story, beginning her tongue-in-cheek novel where the traditional story ends. Ella Brown plans to live happily ever after when Prince Charming whisks her from her evil step-family. But when she arrives at the castle, she discovers that the prince is a dull dud, needlepoint is now her most strenuous activity and her ladies in waiting are abuzz with a concocted tale involving Ella, a fairy godmother and a pumpkin (in fact her own resourcefulness got Ella to the ball). When she refuses to marry "Charm," as she calls him, she is thrown in the dungeon to be held there until the wedding day. Making matters worse, Jed, her one kindred spirit, unaware of her imprisonment, leaves to start a refugee camp for victims of the castle's war with a neighboring kingdom. But luckily Ella is not a girl who needs magic or a man to save her. Haddix weaves in elements of fairy tale, with colorful characters such as Lord Reston, Ella's portly, pompous religious teacher; Quog, the ogre-ish jailer; and, of course, the cruel-to-the-core Step Evils. But Ella's modern sensibility seems jarring against a chivalric backdrop (e.g., "Don't that beat all?" Ella says, imitating a servant). Still, her straightforward, often gleefully glib narrative breathes fresh life into the tale.
My Description: Before I begin, I’d like to mention this book is a Cinderella Story.
Ella talks very… not crass, but bluntly, and sounds like someone from nowadays, rather than a medieval person. It’s a little odd to hear her talk like that in such an environment, but it’s also fresh and crisp. Still, her character was fun and outspoken and I enjoyed reading about her, and liked her quite a bit.
I read this book in less than a day. I started at the library around 5:50 and finished it by 9:45. So yes, it ‘hooked’ me. I enjoyed it, and there were some fun aspects to the story, but I did have some problems.
Let’s start at the beginning:

1: I understand the whole point of the castle people being dull and lifeless and limiting, but come on! No one can really be so 1-dimensional, and if even a little luster was expressed in Ella’s lifeless ladies-in-waiting I would have been happy. Sure, there was a bit with Madame Bisset, but Ms. Maddix didn’t go into it, and that’s only one out of I don’t know how many. Also, I don’t see how castle life could be so restricting… I think Ms. Maddix went a little over the top, but I suppose that was the point.
2: Ella should be enjoying the castle a bit more, even though I understand her being horrified at its limitations. She actually misses peasant food, which would make sense if it was for the overwhelming richness of castle food, but she describes the bread as ‘tasteless’. And the dresses… I thought that Ms. Haddix should have gone into her revelry in the finery she could now wear as well as her exasperation (and I must say that that bit was done pretty well—it’s just lack of the opposite. Castle life just can’t be that bad) with the limitations.
3: The prince goes from Prince Charming to a witless buffoon in a couple pages. When did that happen? At first he’s portrayed as perfect, and the next moment he can hardly speak without someone telling him what to say. I’d understand if there was ‘another side’ to him, or some other evil, but I feel that making him so utterly… empty was a mistake. The one bit where Ella tells him she doesn’t want to marry him was done well, I think. It made sense (if he was a witless buffoon) and all up to the tying-up bit was pretty good, but the last scene we’d seen him he was different, and that’s the problem I have.
4: The whole point of the Cinderella Story is that the people who were evil to Cinderella end up getting punished, and everyone knows what they did to her. Cinderella ends up on top and everyone knows what a great person she was.
In this version, that isn’t so. Ella ends up ‘happy’, I suppose, but the step-sisters and step-mother end up living in the castle, and Ella ends up running a refugee camp and the ‘Step-Evils’ really don’t deserve it. I, personally, need characters to know things, and I wanted the Kingdom to know what they had done to Ella. I wanted them to end up poor old maids, which might seem cruel, but they deserved it.
5: There are a couple things brought up in this book that are a little… uncomfortable. It’s probably best to be in your early teens when you read it or read it with the family.
6: The book didn’t end. It stopped. It gave you a vague idea of what is going to happen to Ella, but I generally like to read about the happy ending, not imagine it myself.

Of course there were lots of pros. It was interesting, Ella was a like able character, the story echoed itself lots of time near the end and that was really cool… but all in all the last bit ruined it for me.
Pages: 185
Recommendations: To people who'd like a retelling of Cinderella, but aren't attached to the conventional 'happily-ever-after', or the Step-Mother-and-Sisters getting the short end of the stick. Probably for early teens to adults.
Writing Rating: 8
Story Rating: 8
Overall Rating: 7, but it didn't leave me with a good feeling

Book #22 of '09, Book #72 of all

Bella at Midnight

Author: Diane Stanley
Back-of-the-Book Description: Left by her father, an arrogant and unpleasant knight, to be raised by her wet nurse after her mothers death, Bella is an imaginative and attractive child whose best friend is the wet nurses previous charge, Prince Julian of Moranmoor. It is not until her father summons her that she is told that the loving people with whom she has spent her childhood are not her true family. She finds his household miserable, her new stepmother unwelcoming, and no place to sleep but the kitchen. Using familiar ingredients including a pair of glass slippers and a magic ring as well as the legend of a Worthy Knight with a halo of heavenly fire, Stanley has brewed a magical elixir that will warm the hearts of readers who like their adventures set in medieval worlds, and who appreciate a bit of a love story as well. Bella is a worthy heroine, capable in the kitchen and courageous enough to journey to a foreign land to warn Prince Julian and attempt to forestall the reopening of the war between Moranmoor and Brutanna. As a bonus, she has inherited her mothers magic touch that comforts all who come in contact with her–a gift that she hardly needs to accomplish her political task but that revives the spirits of a stepsister, still mourning her own father.
My Description: (coming soon)
Pages: ???
Recommendations: To people who would like a retelling of Cinderella... Or just those who would like fantasy?
Book #21 of '09, Book #71 of all

Mines of the Minotaur

Author: Julia Golding
Back-of-the-Book Description: A fantasy series about a secret society sworn to protect mythical creatures and the girl who becomes its most important member
My Description: (coming soon)
Pages: ???
Recommendations: To those who enjoy fantasies, or the others in this series (Secret of the Sirens, The Gorgan's Gaze). It's probably a book for 10-14-year-olds
Writing Rating: 7
Story Rating: 7
Overall Rating: 7

Book #20 of '09, Book #70 of all

I missed a few books

I don't know why, but I didn't post up a few books, and forgot the title to one of them. When I remember it I'll post it, but for now I'm just going to post the covers to the ones I remember.

I just read a new book and I'm going to post a review of that, but the others I will do later. For now they're going to be empty pictures, but expect reviews later... it may take a while, but don't give up!


Wednesday, April 8, 2009

Book of a Thousand Days

Author: Shannon Hale
Back-of-the-Book Description: When Dashti, a maid, and Lady Saren, her mistress, are shut in a tower for seven years for Saren’s refusal to marry a man she despises, the two prepare for a very long and dark imprisonment.
As food runs low and the days go from broiling hot to freezing cold, it is all Dashti can do to keep them fed and comfortable. But the arrival outside the tower of Saren’s two suitors—one welcome, and the other decidedly less so—brings both hope and great danger, and Dashti must make the desperate choices of a girl whose life is worth more than she knows.
With Shannon Hale’s lyrical language, this forgotten but classic fairy tale from the Brothers Grimm is reimagined and reset on the central Asian steppes; it is a completely unique retelling filled with adventure and romance, drama and disguise.
My Description: Dashti is the main character of this book, and she is a joy to read about. You get into her head, and hear her innermost thoughts as this whole book is written in diary format, and you can't help but empathize with her situation, as well as sympathize. She starts out believing she is nothing, merely a creature made from mud to serve the Gentry, but as the book continues, she finds her confidence, and fights for herself.
But she never stops taking care of Saren, her Lady. Saren is crazy, literally, and at first she is a mystery. At one point I hated her, at one point Dashti did, but as the book moves on, and the story continues, you can't help but care for her. The reason for her madness could have been more... delved into, I suppose, and it was a bit of a let down how little there was to it, but still, it was understandable, and she got a happy ending in the book as well.
The foreshadowing in this book was amazing, so amazing that you didn't even see it coming, and yet when it came, it was like the pieces of a puzzle snapping together. Near the end so many things came together, and of course, the story had a happy ending, which is something I demand from almost all books.
And of course, the ending was perfect. Those last lines... don't read ahead like I did. I read the last page when I was near the middle, to see if it ended happily, and it was so lyrical and lovely... I tried to forget it (and failed), but it was even better the second time, ending the story sweetly and well.
I'll admit, some aspects of this book are predictable, but not everything, and I was surprised numerous times. Also, some people might say Dashti is a little childish, but I think that's just the way she is, and I didn't really mind or notice it much.
In the beginning, Book of a Thousand Days is a little slow. Interesting, yes, but nothing much happens. However, as the story continues to the second part, things pick up pace. It you start to get bored (which I didn't), don't give up. There is excitement to follow!
Dashti always makes the best of her situation. When she's in the tower, she's happy for not having to fight for survival, when she's out, she's so glad to have the sun and stars. She is not always prepared, but she fights, and does whatever necessary to make things right.
All in all, this is a wonderful story. When Dear Sister (who was reading it aloud to me) sadly finished it, we both just sat there. I don't know about her, but all I could think was 'Wow'. I just loved it.
Pages: 320
Recommendations: There are two or three things in the book that are a little gory, (you don't really see it happen in the story, it is only referred to) so I'd say girls 10+, unless it's a family together.
Writing Rating: 8 1/2
Story Rating: 8
Overall Rating: 8 1/2

Book 18 of '09, Book #68 of all

Thursday, March 19, 2009

The Tattooed Patato and Other Clues

Author: Ellen Raskin
Back-of-the-Book Description: Answering an advertisement for an artist's assistant involves seventeen-year-old Dickory Dock in several mysteries and their ultimate solutions.
My Description: Dickory is the name of the main character, and at first I didn't like it, but as the book went on, it grew on me. The story starts where you don't know anything about anyone, but as you read on, you learn more and more about the mysterious Garson, his tenants, and even our heroine herself.
The way The Tattooed Potato and other Clues is written, it somehow just keeps drawing you in. The writing is humorous, and the story is touching, a little sad, but it ends happily all the same.

At first I wasn't sure what to think of Garson... should I like him? Should I not? And I think I was supposed to feel that way. I think I was supposed to develop an opinion of him as Dickory does, and if that is the case, than Ms. Raskin did an excellent job. By the end of the book, my feelings for all the characters were very clear.
There are so many wonderful books out there that you read once, say "Boy, that was great!" and then go looking for another. This isn't one of those. This is a book you can read again, and again, and again, and still love it, even if you know all that happens.

And what is my final note on this book? It's sweet, and sad, and funny, and fun, and mysterious, and kept me guessing the whole way... In the end, it pulls everything together, and the whole story is amazing. I really, really loved this book, and I think it's one of my favorites. READ IT.
Recommendations: To anyone who likes mysteries, though The Tattooed Potato and Other Clues is much, much more than that.
Pages: 176
Writing Rating: 8 1/2
Story Rating: 8
Overall Rating: 8 1/2

Book #17 of '09, Book #67 of all

Monday, March 16, 2009

A Curse Dark As Gold

Author: Elizabeth C. Bunce
Back-of-the-Book Description: "If you'll allow me to demonstrate, I do think I could be of some help to you here."
I smiled tightly. "You'd have to be able to make gold appear from thin air to be much help to us now, I'm afraid."
"Gold, you say?" he said quietly. "Well, not out of the air, maybe, but--" He reached toward Rosie and drew a length of straw free from her hat. From out of a pocket in his jacket appeared an old-fashioned handheld drop spindle, the kind no one uses anymore, and he sent it spinning with a turn of his hand. Slowly, as we watched, he drew out the straw and spun it--spun it! (CONT.)
As if it were a roving of wool! Rosie and I stood there and watched him, moment by moment, as the spindle bobbed and twirled. Something pulled out from the brown straw and through his knobby fingers, and where it should have gone onto the spindle, the finest strands of gleaming gold threads appeared. Round and round the spindle went, and the gleaming of gold turned with it. I don't know how long we watched it, turning and turning, flashing gold with every revolution. I could not take my eyes away.
My Description: A Curse Dark As Gold is very, very well written. I felt the awe of the golden straw, I felt the excitement of running the Mill, I felt the horror at every setback, I felt the grief of Charlotte's (our heroine) lost father... It was amazing. The story was interesting too, and I cared for Charlotte from the start. It took a while before the whole 'Rumpelstiltskin' part came into play, and the bits when he came back were very far apart. A beginning and introduction was necessary (and it was interesting, don't get me wrong), but it could have been a little shorter.
As Randall (who represented the 'King' from Rumpelstiltskin) and Charlotte fall in love, it's sweet and romantic, but I would have liked a little more time. Also, the troubles in their relationship were very well done and written, but that whole part made me stop liking Charlotte as much as I used to, and the way she could save the mill if only she let Randall help her... Also, at the part when Jack Spinner ('Rumpelstiltskin') tells her it's her son or the mill, she should have not have had to think. She should have taken her son and ran (even though it actually turned out better when she didn't). It made me like her even less when she said 'Give me time to think'.
The climax was good--it ended happily and everything came together--but I was still a little confused. It would have been nice if there had been a scene when they'd gone over everything.

All in all, I liked the book when I liked Charlotte. There were some things here and there that annoyed me, or upset me, and it's a dark book. The beginning is interesting and the whole book is very well written. At the climax I couldn't put it down, but Charlotte's over aversion to superstition was believable for a person, but a person I wouldn't like that much after everything Charlotte has seen. In the end it was also a little confusing... I liked this book, and I didn't like it. I'm not sure what to think.
Pages: 400
Recommendations: To people who like retellings of fairytales or those who enjoy dark mysteries/fantasies. Mainly 13 and up.
Writing Rating: 8 1/2
Story Rating: 7 1/2
Overall Rating: ? (it's really hard to rate this since I both liked and didn't like it... it is a good book, just not perfect for me)

Book #16 of '09, Book #66 of all

Sunday, March 15, 2009


Author: Terry Pratchett
Back-of-the-Book Description: (I edited this description a little because I felt like it--so be warned!) This year the Auditors, who want people to stop believing in things that aren't real, have hired an assassin to eliminate the Hogfather. (You know him: red robe, white beard, says, "Ho, ho, ho!") Their evil plot will destroy the Discworld unless someone covers for him. So someone does. Well, at least Death tries. He wears the costume and rides the sleigh drawn by four jolly pigs: Gouger, Tusker, Rooter, and Snouter. He even comes down chimneys. But as fans of other Pratchett stories about Death know, he takes things literally, and just posing for the Hogfather isn't quite enough... it'll take a bit of help from his clever granddaughter, Susan, and a few other characters to get everything together in time for a pleasant Hogswatch.
My Description: Hogfather is really, really funny. Hogfather also is really, really, really, really confusing, but I think it's supposed to be... it zips from one character to another without a second glance (because of which there's practically no timeline and that makes it super hard to find your spot once you've lost it), and things in the Unseen University and other spots in the book are just plain whacked. It would be nice if there had been a bit more clarity with the story... it could still be confusing and crazy, but if it had made just a little more sense I would have enjoyed the book more.
Some of the random people on the side they brought up were a little mean. I would have liked to like them, because I like liking characters, but I couldn't. Also, there's quite a bit of profanity in this story... the S-word for certain and quite a few others I can't remember. I just thought I'd let you know.
Mr. Teatime (pronounced teh-ah-tim-eh) is really scary. Sometimes I walk down the halls at night and have to look over my shoulder... He made a cool villain, if more than a little quirky; there just isn't anything quite like him. He's a little annoying in the movie, but in the book he's better. My favorite part of the book was when he and a guard he's going to kill have this short conversation; I don't want to give it away, but that one part was cut short in the movie, and in the book it's just hysterical to me.
My favorite character is Death... he's good and kind and has more funny moments than I can count. I loved Death.

Anyways, all in all, a quirky and near hysterical book. I really enjoyed it.
Recommendations: There's a lot of death and fowl language, so definitely for older readers. I suppose there are a few families that might be able to read it together, but be warned.
Book Or Movie?: It's kind of hard to choose since the movie is just like the book--I mean word for word. Teatime was a little annoying in the movie, but that weird way he way at one place and then you look away and then he's at another was cool and made up for that. I liked the character of Bilious (the oh god of hangovers) a little better in the book, but he was fine in the movie. All in all, I can't decide. They're both great.
Writing Rating: 8 1/2
Story Rating: 7 1/2
Overall Rating: 8

Book #15 of '09, Book #65 of all

Friday, March 13, 2009

Ranger's Apprentice: The Battle For Skandia

Author: John Flanagan
Back-of-the-Book Description: Still far from their homeland after escaping slavery in the icebound land of Skandia, Will and Evanlyn's plans to return to Araluen are spoiled when Evanlyn is taken captive by a Temujai warrior. Though still weakened by the warmweed's toxic effects, Will employs his Ranger training to locate his friend, but an enemy scouting party has him fatally outnumbered. Will is certain death is close at hand, until Halt and Horace make a daring, last-minute rescue. The reunion is cut short, however, when Halt makes a horrifying discovery: Skandia's borders have been breached by the entire Temujai army. And Araluen is next in their sights. If two kingdoms are to be saved, an unlikely union must be made. Will it hold long enough to vanquish a ruthless new enemy? Or will past tensions spell doom for all?
My Description: Honestly, I still don't know why that one Temujai guy kidnapped Evanlyn. I spent a good part of the book thinking about that before I finally was able to brush it off. Also, I didn't like the tension that ensued between Evanlyn and Will... I liked their relationship, and when the problems came between them--which I didn't even understand--I was looking forwards to a resolution of sorts... but no, they still are--...I don't know what they are, but the book just ends without them making up or anything, and I looked up the next book, and it doesn't look like Evanlyn is going to be in it much if at all... As a matter of fact, it looks like in the next book Mr. Flanagan is going to have more with Alyss. I wish if he was going to do that he would have built Alyss' s character more and Evanlyn less, because I hardly know Alyss and to lose Evanlyn will be hard for me. Maybe I'm wrong and she is in it... I hope I am.
I had a hard time believing an entire year had gone by since Halt had been banished (okay, shy of two weeks, but about a year). I just couldn't, and it made me feel a little sad to think so. I mean an entire year of that horribleness for Will and Evanlyn... an entire year of banishment from the Ranger Corps for Halt...
It was nice to see Will and Halt together again. I've been waiting for them to reunite and it was nice when that happened fairly early in the book.
Erik is a cool and interesting character, and I loved how things worked out for him.
This book has a lot more action than the last... a huge battle, arrows everywhere... It was all well-written and exciting--I had such a ride!

All in all, humorous, adventurous, funny and fun, but the ending wasn't for me.
Pages: 272
Recommendations: To those who have enjoyed the Ranger's Apprentice books (including The Ruins of Gorlan, The Burning Bridge, and The Icebound Land), more for boys than girls, though both genders can enjoy.
Writing Rating: 8
Story Rating: 8
Overall Rating: 8

Book #14 of '09, Book #64 of all

Thursday, March 12, 2009

Ranger's Apprentice: The Icebound Land

Author: John Flanagan
Back-of-the-Book Description: Kidnapped and taken to a frozen land after the fierce battle with Lord Morgarath, Will and Evanlyn are bound for Skandia as captives aboard a fearsome wolfship. Halt has sworn to rescue his young apprentice, and he will do anything to keep his promise— even defy his King. Expelled from the Rangers he has served so loyally, Halt is joined by Will’s friend Horace as he travels toward Skandia.
My Description: Another wonderful Ranger's Apprentice book (the others being The Ruins of Gorlan and The Burning Bridge)! The characters still have their silly moments together, and I really enjoyed it.
We got a good amount of Will (our hero), I suppose, but near the end something comes up that basically writes him out for that last quarter of the book until the very, very end. It was a little sad, since Will is such a wonderfully vibrant character.
The whole Halt bit at the beginning felt odd for me, but once I figured out what the Ranger was trying to do I got it; so DON'T WORRY when you reach that point--Halt is still Halt and will be returning to normal shortly.
Speaking of Halt, I had been looking forwards to seeing the Ranger and his Apprentice together, but the two never cross in this book and I was a little disappointed.
I have to keep reminding myself that Will is sixteen, going on seventeen... or Evanlyn, for that matter--whose character I am thoroughly am enjoying, by the way. I just keep thinking of them as 13 or 14... I know I'm off, and they don't seem immature or anything, but somehow I just think of them as my age.
You might like to note that Halt and Horace travel through a Kingdom on their way to rescue Will and Evanlyn where times are very, very ruff, and things that are said and done there can get a little uncomfortable... thankfully, most of that passes quickly.
Anyways, it's a great book.. Fun, funny, adventurous... I loved it!
Pages: 288
Recommendations: More to boys than girls, but good for both genders. Probably mostly a series for preteens and early teens.
Writing Rating: 8
Story Rating: 8
Overall Rating: 8

Book #13 of '09, Book #63 of all

Wednesday, March 11, 2009

Wayside School Gets A Little Stranger

Author: Louis Sachar
Back-of-the-Book Description: Revolving around the substitute teachers that the students of this zany school must endure, the 30 stories here will delight devotees of the Wayside School; according to PW, Sachar's supply of plot twists and plays on words are "inexhaustible."
My Description: Wayside School Gets A Little Stranger was just as silly as the others in this series, (Sideways Stories From Wayside School and Wayside School is Falling Down) and Mr. Sachar's writing was as wonderful as ever. My favorite of the stories in the book was the last one, with the teacher who had an ear on top of her head and could read minds.
This collection of short stories is not the best of books for older readers, but oh my it is fantabulous for little ones, and anyone can enjoy it, if not as fully as peoples like my baby brothers. I really loved these cute little stories both when I was little and now that I'm not quite so... Someday, I'm not sure when, but someday I'll read these again... and AGAIN...
Pages:. 160
Recommendations: Mostly to younger children or a family reading together, but anyone could enjoy this series.
Writing Rating: 9
Story Rating: Again, it's hard to rate the story of this book since there are so many different ones.
Overall: 8

Book #12 of '09, Book #62 of all

The Burning Bridge

Author: John Flanagan
Back-of-the-Book Description: Apprentice ranger Will and his friend Horace, a Battleschool apprentice, plunge into a desperate situation... While traveling on the frontier as their kingdom prepares for war, they discover a nearly completed bridge that will make possible a devastating sneak attack by the enemy. With the help of a young woman in disguise, they attempt to thwart the enemy's plans.
My Description: In the last book of Ranger's Apprentice--The Ruins of Gorlan--I loved how the characters joked with each other and made silly comments that added comedy to the book. But in the beginning of The Burning Bridge those silly moments ran a little too thick. Near the middle, however, the jokes became more dispersed and therefore more enjoyable.
In the last book Alyss and Will get together, and I was looking forwards to learning more about Alyss--as I hardly know her character--and finding out more about her and Will's relationship. Yes, we do have a bit of Alyss, (along with another wonderful display of the justice that makes me love this series and giggle with glee) but mostly her character is off in the side and we never see the two together. I was a little disappointed about that.
My wish for more Alyss wasn't granted, but at least I got more Horace. The former ward bully has grown a lot and his character is interesting and fun to have along in the story. I'm glad Mr. Flanagan brought him into a large roll in this book.
Most of the story Will and Halt are separate, and I was a little sad for that. I kept hoping the two would get together again and I'd have some good times with apprentice and mentor.... but it wasn't too be.

Anyways, I really enjoyed The Burning Bridge... Good humor, fun characters, suspense... Definitely a well written ending(with a great big cliff hanger so don't read it until you have the third book on hand!)!
Pages: 288
Recommendations: Probably to preteens and early teens, more on the boy side, but girls can enjoy also... of course, anyone who loved the first will love this.
Writing Rating: 8
Story Rating: 8
Overall Rating: 8

Book #11 of '09, Book #61 of all

Thursday, February 12, 2009

Wayside School Is Falling Down

Author: Louis Sachar
My Description: This book is crazy, but in a good way. It's Wayside School, it's Louis Sachar, what's not to love? Wayside School Is Falling Down keeps up with it's predacessor, Sideways Stories From Wayside School, and I highly enjoyed it.
Back-the-Book Description: Wayside School is 30 stories high with only one room on each floor. On the top floor is Mrs. Jewls' class, where order has been abandoned in favor of nonsense and silliness.
Pages: 152
Recommendations: To younger kids, or a family reading to younger kids, but anyone could love it.
Writing Rating: 9
Story Rating: Again, I can't really rate the story to this book since it's a collection of stories.
Overall Rating: 8
Book #10 of '09, Book #60 of all

Monday, February 9, 2009

If You're Reading This, It's Too Late

Author: Psuedonamous Bosch
Back-of-the-Book Description: Beware! Dangerous secrets lie between the pages of this book.

OK, I warned you. But if you think I'll give anything away, or tell you that this is the sequel to my first literary endeavor, The Name of This Book is Secret, you're wrong. I'm not going to remind you of how we last left our heroes, Cass and Max-Ernest, as they awaited intiation into the mysterious Terces Society, or the ongoing fight against the evil Dr. L and Ms. Mauvais. I certainly won't be telling you about how the kids stumble upon the Museum of Magic, where they finally meet the amazing Pietro!

Oh, blast! I've done it again. Well, at least I didn't tell you about the missing Sound Prism, the nefarious Lord Pharaoh, or the mysterious creature born in a bottle over 500 years ago, the key to the biggest secret of all. I really can't help myself, now can I? Let's face it---if you're reading this, it's too late.
My Description: Oh my gosh... This book is hysterical. Hysterical, I tell you! Like in the last book, there are some things I'd rather not read about, but Mr. Bosch is an amazing author, and he does the funniest things... I loved how the chapters were numbered backwards, like a countdown, how the page where the main characters are on a boat was slanted, how he keeps bringing up all of these silly things and how throughout the entire book I could almost swear he was talking to ME.

That being said, I wish that Cass and Max Ernest wouldn't get in trouble so much. You'd think that a secret society that they happen to be a member of would at least find a way for the kids not to get grounded after practically saving the world. It really annoyed me throughout the entire book, and sort of took away from it.

I didn't get the whole Yo-Yoji thing, and I didn't understand how Amber could be known as the nicest girl in school and act the way she did. I don't really know what to think of her, and I wish her character had been more definitely placed.

This book is for older readers. I wouldn't recommend it to younger people for a couple things that made me uncomfortable... but it was better in that aspect than The Name of This Book Is Secret, though both were equally funny.

Anyways, this book is a riot, and I highly enjoyed it.
Pages: 400
Recommendations: To people who enjoyed The Name of This Book Is Secret
Writing Rating: 9
Story Rating: 7 1/2
Overall Rating: 8

Book #9 of '09 (isn't that silly?), Book #59 of all

Sideways Stories from Wayside School

Author: Louis Sachar
Back-of-the-Book Description: There was a terrible mistake-Wayside School was built with one classroom on top of another, thirty stories high! (The builder said he was sorry.) Maybe that's why all kinds of funny things happened at Wayside-especially on the thirtieth floor.
My Description: I got this book because I heard the third in the series (Wayside School Gets a Little Stranger) on tape when I was very little and absolutely adored it. This one was a little unjust here and there, but I still loved it because of the way Mr. Sachar wrote it (he also wrote my all-time favorite book Holes). Though I didn't like the unjust bits, little peoples are sure to adore the whole thing.

All in all, a very cute and very silly story. It's crazy, zany, and most definitely sideways!
Pages: 128
Recommendations: A family reading to younger children, or younger children would be the main audience, but anyone and everyone could love this cute story.
Writing Rating: 9
Story Rating: I can't really rate the story, because it's more than one... It's bunch of stories put together to make this silly book.
Overall Rating: 8

Book #8 of '09, Book #58 of all

Friday, January 30, 2009

Keeper of the Earth

Back-of-the-Book Description: Having found the Board of Fire, Jenna and Simon hurry to decipher the clues that will lead them to the Board of Earth—and mastery over the very land itself. But on their way to locate the tomb of a mythical English hero while fending off shadowy new attackers who want the Boards for themselves, an offer of help comes from a surprising source. Can Jenna and Simon trust this offer—or are they walking straight into a trap set by the one who has coveted the Boards for millennia?
My Description: When I write my reviews I try not to give anything away. I keep my mouth shut mostly. But there are some cases when it is necessary to reveal certain things... and this is one of them.
I've read and loved this series. I've given a piece of my heart to all of the characters. I've invested myself in the Daughter of Destiny series (including Keeper of the Winds, Keeper of the Waters and Keeper of the Flames). And in this book, Simon Monk dies.
My sister read Keeper of the Earth first, and she told me, and I am ever grateful to her that she did. His death was very well written, and that almost made it worse. You put down the book to cry a little, finally feel better, start reading and then sob all over again. How could the author have killed Simon?!? He's been there forever, he's the safe one... I'd rather have any other character die, just not Simon! It broke my heart, and I lost that little piece I gave him. I also lost the piece I gave Jenna, because she is heart-broken too. The worst part is during that last few pages of him dying author keeps giving you hope that he'll make it, that Jenna will find a way to save him... and then she doesn't. That's why I'm telling you: because I couldn't have taken it if Dear Sister hadn't told me about Simon dying, so I'm saving you from facing that alone.
His death made me utterly hate this book, even though it is wonderful, and almost exceeds the others.
I would have liked to have learned more about Jenna's ancestor Morgan Le Fay, and I was bothered by Jenna saying nonchalantly to Simon "You don't trust anyone!" when he tells her he's suspicious of someone... Yes, Simon hardly trusts anyone, but the funny thing is even though he hardly trusts anyone, he's always right!!!
Besides the problems I stated earlier, this book was great. Interesting, fun... not to mention a wonderful premise. I would have loved it...

...if Simon had not died.
Pages: 256
Recommendations: To those who don't like the character of Simon.... Okay, okay, to teen girls, or others who liked this series. It's a little violent, so be warned.
Writing Rating: 7
Story Rating: 8
Overall Rating: 7 3/4

Book #7 of '09, Book #57 of all

Thursday, January 29, 2009

Keeper of the Flames

Back-of-the-Book Description: From the searing desert of the Middle East, Jenna and Simon travel to the ancient city of Pompeii, following the clues to the hiding place of the Board of Fire—also known as the Board of the Flames. But Peraud is hot on their trail, and is more determined than ever to claim the two Boards the Keeper already possesses. Jenna must also contend with her growing attraction to Simon, who is torn by his desire for her—and his sacred duty to the Church.
My Description: A little more violent than the last book (Keeper of the Waters, and before that Keeper of the Winds), this one is still interesting. Jenna should quit bugging Simon, and the whole plot twistish thing near the end was really predictable. Anyone reading could figure it out, but I'll keep my mouth shut just in case.
The Boards' personalities are pretty cool, and the story is still interesting. This book keeps up with the others, and I'm enjoying the Daughter of Destiny series so far... still, it's a little annoying how someone says "Those dogs are actually ancient spirits", and then a chapter later someone else says the same thing and people act all shocked about it. Hopefully that's something that won't show up in the next book.

All in all, I enjoyed it. Hopefully the next will be as good.
Pages: 272
Recommendations: To those who liked the other Daughter of Destiny books... Probably teen girls.
Writing Rating: 7
Story Rating: 8
Overall Rating: 7 1/2

Book #6 of '09, Book #56 of all

P.S. There were some things left unexplained (like how someone pertaining to the plot-twistish thing knew things he/she shouldn't have), and it was also quite confusing here and there. I forgot to mention this stuff earlier, so I thought I should now.

Monday, January 26, 2009

Keeper of the Waters

Author: Jenna Solitaire

Back-of-the-Book Description: Having mastered the power of the Board of Air, Jenna travels to Jerusalem to find the Board of Water. She is accompanied by Simon Monk, who seeks the Boards on behalf of the Vatican. Jenna doesn’t trust Simon, but he’s her only source of information about the Boards. In Jerusalem, Jenna meets Saduj, a local guide who claims to be able to help them find the Board they seek. Simon is suspicious, but Jenna finds herself strangely attracted to Saduj. Jenna must find the Board before it awakens and causes unimaginable destruction. But will she lose her heart—and possibly her life—in the process?
My Description: Keeper of the Waters in the Daughter of Destiny series is about as interesting as it's predecessor, Keeper of the Winds. Shifting a little in theme from the first book (which introduced the first Board and the central characters) this one centers around finding the next Board--the Board of the Waters. Simon is still a cool character, but his fights with Saduj get annoying. Jenna gets angry with Simon too easily, and the one time she should really blow up at him she forgives him almost instantly.
The last book was more geared towards teen girls, but boys would have enjoyed it and younger peoples--or a family reading together--would have also... this one is definitely in teen territory, and moved even more to the girly side. Upped in violence slightly (but less death than the other) this book also has romantic content that should be for older readers.
Jenna makes some comments she shouldn't, and should have trusted Simon a lot more than she did. A little confusing in all, but still really interesting and I highly enjoyed it.
Recommendations: To those who liked the other Daughter of Destiny books... Probably teen girls.
Pages: 256
Writing Rating: 7
Story Rating: 8
Overall Rating: 7 1/2

Book #5 of '09, Book #55 of all


Author: Gail Carson Levine
Back-of-the-Book Description: In a world in which elegance, beauty, and singing ability are revered, Aza is bulky, awkward, and homely. Her saving grace is that she can sing and has a gift of voice manipulation that she calls illusing. Through a chance meeting at her family's inn, a duchess invites Aza to act as her companion and accompany her to the palace to attend the King's wedding. When the beautiful new queen discovers Aza's gift for throwing her voice and for mimicry, she sees a way of protecting her reputation and disguising her own lack of talent. Pressured by the woman's threats upon her family, Aza deceives the court into believing that Ivi is a gifted singer. When the ruse is discovered, Aza is forced to flee the castle in order to save her life. Through her adventures, she discovers her own strength of character, learns about her true heritage, and decides that her physical appearance is not worthy of the stress and worry she has wasted on it.
My Description: I enjoyed the first part of this book; it was quite interesting... but the rest fell a little flat. It never really 'climaxed', and I expected more out of it. I was also a little disappointed that we never found out who Aza's birth parents were.
Another issue I had was with Queen Ivi (the villain); she attempted to kill Aza--twice--, threatened to harm her family if she didn't do her bidding, was terrible to her subjects, Aza was accused of terrible crimes and Ivi just went along with it... the King heard of this, and did nothing more than send her to a different castle and abdicate his throne so he could be with her. WHAT?! I was not satisfied with that. Not in the least.
Aza forgave Prince Ijori too quickly... I understand her forgiving him, but she shouldn't have done so so quickly.

All in all, it was okay. The beginning was interesting, but it just didn't do it for me.
Recommendations: To those who like books by Gail Carson Levine...? (I'm not sure who to recommend this one to--I don't mean this book isn't good for anyone, just that I don't know who to recommend it to)
Pages: 352
Writing Rating: 7
Story Rating: 7
Overall Rating: 5

Book #4 of '09, Book #54 of all

Saturday, January 24, 2009

The Ranger's Apprentice: The Ruins of Gorlan

Author: John Flanagan
Back-of-the-Book Description: Like the other 15-year-old wards of Castle Redmont, Will is nervous about Choosing Day, when each of them will be assigned to a different master for training. Though his dearest wish is to enter the Battleschool, his small stature prevents it. Instead, Will is apprenticed to the grim-faced, mysterious Ranger. Soon Will learns that becoming a ranger is more difficult, dangerous, and worthwhile than he had imagined. He earns the respect of his elders and the friendship of a former foe, but all this is prelude to the great adventure that follows, when his skills wielding a knife and keeping a heightened awareness of his surroundings become vital to the survival of his mentor and the safety of the kingdom.
My Description: Have you ever heard the saying 'Don't judge a book by it's cover'? It applies here. The cover made me think this book would be dark... I read the description, and it actually sounded interesting, so I decided to give it a go...

This book is not dark. It's suspenseful, interesting, exciting, but it's not dark. It was wonderful to get a book that started light-hearted, and ended light hearted... not only was it light hearted, but it had Justice. Often in stories, when something happens to a character and people think badly of him/her when it's not their fault the author just leaves it like that, or the bad characters get away with whatever they were doing... I HATE that... but it doesn't happen in this book; there was justice to some pretty bad characters in this story that made me literally giggle with glee.

The Ranger, Halt--Will's mentor--was a really awesome character. He reminded me of Brom, from Eragon. He was so... cool. I had the best time reading about him, and his relationships with other characters was cool too. But now I'm paranoid that he's going to die in the last book of this series... I don't want him to die! He's too awesome to die! Please don't kill him off, Mr. Flanagan!

A good deal of time was spent describing the other wards that Will spent his time with before he was apprenticed, but they didn't show up much after he became a Ranger--with the exception of Horace. It would have been nice if there hand been more with them, but I suppose they'll show up more in other books.

Mr. Flanagan spent a good deal of time in the middle of the book going into Horace's perspective, and I really liked that, but at the last third of the book we didn't go to his perspective anymore, and I would have liked to have seen more of him.

Will and Alys (I hope I spelled that right... much apologies if I didn't) getting together made sense, and I suspected it would happen, but I would have liked more time to get to know Alys... she doesn't show up all that much in the story, and as a result I don't know her character that well, even though Will does. I would have liked it if either more time had been spent on that, or if Mr. Flanagan had waited a few books before it happened.

This book isn't actually a 'comedy', but the way the characters interact with each other, and things they say made me smile a few times. There were also a couple points in the writing of the story that were silly as well, but I wouldn't say it was a comedy exactly, so I didn't add the label. Just know that you will smile now and then when you read this book.

Anyways, all in all this is a wonderful story and I highly recommend it(I've already got the second!)!
Pages: 272
Recommendations: To both boys and girls 10 and up, or a family reading together.
Writing Rating: 7
Story Rating: 8
Overall Rating: 8

Book #3 of '09, Book #53 of all.

Thursday, January 22, 2009

The Two Princesses of Bamarre

Author: Gail Carson Levine
Back-of-the-Book Description: Addie admires her older sister Meryl, who aspires to rid the kingdom of Bamarre of gryphons, specters, and ogres. Addie, on the other hand, is fearful even of spiders and depends on Meryl for courage and protection. Waving her sword Bloodbiter, the older girl declaims in the garden from the heroic epic of Drualt to a thrilled audience of Addie, their governess, and the young sorcerer Rhys. But when Meryl falls ill with the dreaded Gray Death, Addie must gather her courage and set off alone on a quest to find the cure and save her beloved sister. Addie takes the seven-league boots and magic spyglass left to her by her mother and the enchanted tablecloth and cloak given to her by Rhys--along with a shy declaration of his love. She prevails in encounters with tricky specters (spiders too) and outwits a wickedly personable dragon in adventures touched with romance and a bittersweet ending.
My Description: It was nice reading a book where two sisters actually love each other!!! In so many stories these days sisters have this weird "I absolutely hate you and wish you had never been born, I still love you but can never be happy when I'm around you" relationship that drives me MAD. My sister and I have wonderful relationship, so it was nice to read about sisters like that in a book.

Now, about the story....

I felt a little resentful of our heroine, Addie, at first for trying to keep Meryl from going off on her adventures, but as I read on and learned more about Bamarre and the characters that resentment disappeared. Addie was like-able (even with that short bit of resentment), and though it could be said that more development was necessary for her and Rhys' relationship, their love wasn't the main story of the book, so I personally think that Ms. Levine spent just enough time with it as a side story--and a sweet one at that.

Addie's emotions when she was running off to save her sister I found incredibly easy to relate to... Her fears and her wishes for some reason not to have to go, but still knowing she must and not letting anything get in her way, her need to be there for Meryl's last days conflicting with the need to have more days with her sister, her gazing through her magic telescope just to glimpse poor Meryl... I think that Ms. Levine did a fantastic job with that, and would be quite surprised if she didn't have a sister of her own.

Meryl and Addie's father is not a good one, and I was hoping for either him to change somehow, or for SOMETHING to happen with that... But, just to warn you, that was left unchanged and unexplained, so poor Addie and Meryl are still stuck without a decent father at the end of the book.

The story relies heavily on a certain poem known as Drualt about a hero of Bamarre's past... the verses sounded odd when spoken poem-like, and didn't rhyme. Though I understand the difficulty, I think a little more time spent on making Drualt rhyme, or at least flow would have made the book a bit better.

Anyways, to sum it all up, I really enjoyed The Two Princesses of Bamarre... it was fun and I had a wonderful time traveling with Addie as she found her courage to save her sister.
Pages: 272
Recommendations: Girls 10-14 who enjoy fantasy-adventures with a bit of romance... but I'd say this book is great for anyone who has a sister they'd die for.
Writing Rating: 7
Story Rating: 8
Overall Rating: 7 3/4

Book #2 of '09, Book #52 of all

P.S. There was this one dramatic moment at the end that I just can't give away that I could so see happening between Dear Sister and me... it was almost scary!

Friday, January 16, 2009


Author: Gail Carson Levine
Back-of-the-Book Description: Falling in love is never easy, but falling in love with an immortal god while your days on Earth are numbered is almost more than a young girl can bear. Newbery Honor author Gail Carson Levine has created a stunning new world of flawed gods, unbreakable vows, and ancient omens in this spellbinding story of Kezi, a girl confronted with a terrible destiny. Attempting to thwart her fate, Kezi and her love, Olus -- the god of wind and loneliness -- embark on a series of dangerous and seemingly impossible quests.
My Description: I was really excited about Ever... I'm just now getting into 'romance' and the book looked and sounded very interesting... Unfortunately, it fell a little flat.
Olus falling in love with Kezi was believable to me, because he had watched her and her family for over six months, but her falling in love with him so quickly seemed a little rushed. I'm used to love happening quickly in movies and stuff, but I think there should have been a bit more time set aside for that.

The whole 'test' thing seemed a little odd to me... it was like the gods were setting Kezi up to become a 'heroine', rather than her becoming one of her own. Not only that, but it seemed a little easy, and if she wasn't searching for Admat it would have been easier. Still, that wasn't so bad, and I enjoyed how Kezi handled her test--muscle memory saved the day!

I was a little sad that Kezi ended up away from her family... I kept expecting something to happen that would change the course of the story... Something to make everything alright... but that was another thing about this book, it stated where it was going, and that's where it went; there weren't any twists.

Also, I would have liked it if Olus and Kezi had found Admat (the god Kezi always believed in, but she started doubting his existence when she met other gods who didn't know about him), or proved he didn't exist. That was a mystery in the story that I was looking forwards to having solved, but it was left open.

Ever wasn't really bad, it's just wasn't making me jump for joy or anything. It was okay throughout, with a bit more action in the middle. I had a good time reading it, I suppose, but it's not the best.
Pages: 256
Recommendations: To those who enjoy romance for a rainy day... I don't know why but it seems like a good 'rainy day' book to me.
Writing Rating: 6
Story Rating: 7
Overall Rating: 5 1/2

Book #1 of '09, Book #51 of all

Wednesday, December 31, 2008

An Update at the End of the Year

It's been a year since I started my ravenous hunt for books... wow...

At the beginning of 2008, I set a goal: I wanted to read 25 books before January 1, 2009. I've reached that goal, and doubled it--I've read 50 books, and what books I read!!!

Here are some favorites from my long hunt:*
  1. Holes, by Louis Sachar
  2. The Shadow Thieves and Siren Song, by Anne Ursu
  3. The Lightning Thief, The Sea of Monsters, The Titan's Curse and Battle of the Labyrinth by Rick Riordan
  4. Sirena (DEPRESSING ENDING ALERT!!!), by Donna Jo Napoli
  5. Waiting For Odysseus, by Clemence McLaren
  6. The Riddles of Epsilon, Christine Morten-Shaw
  7. The Good Neighbors, by Holly Black
  8. The Book of Lies, by James Moloney
  9. Keeper of the Winds, by Jenna Solitaire
  10. Getting Started With Latin (NON FICTION ALERT!), by William E. Linney

My favorite of them being Holes, which is currently my all-time favorite book (even though it's not fantasy. Quite shocking)

What will the next year hold? Hopefully a huge bag of books--good books! And what will my goal be? Well, I decided instead of setting a goal, I would guess how many books I think I'll read. My guess for now, I suppose, is 48.

Anyways, this has been a wonderful year of books! I hope this next year brings you the most wonderful of stories--and life--you can imagine!


The Bookworm known as Galaxy

*There were bunches of other wonderful books; these were just some of my favorites. Also, I didn't mention the books that came in a series I had already read part of when I started my book-blog (like Brisingr, which was wonderful, but I didn't review Eragon or Eldest--its predecessors--so I didn't mention it in my favorites).

Sunday, December 28, 2008


(warning: Parts of this post may seem bloodthirsty due to some characters who made Galaxy furious)
Author: Cornelia Funke
Back-of-the-Book Description: The Inkworld is in disarray: Its author, Fenoglio, has lost his ability to write and, therefore, shape events; the odious Orpheus, however, has taken to recycling Fenoglio's words to control the narrative/world himself. The evil Adderhead, whose immortality was bound into the White Book by bookbinder-turned-people's champion Mo/the Bluejay, finds his body decomposing and demands a new Book; can Mo use the opportunity to end the villain's life altogether? Can Dustfinger come back from the dead? Will Resa's baby be born into peace or violence?
My Description: Inkdeath is beautiful. I'm not sure if it's the way it's written, if it's the magical Inkworld... I don't know. It's just beautiful, and you can't stop reading it because of it's beauty, and when you realize there are only 100 pages left you have to close the book and sigh to yourself that's it going to be over soon, and think about never finishing it, just so you won't have to leave that world behind.
However, I do have a few problems;
  1. Doria(who is a boy, by the way, not a girl as the name suggests): In the last book, Meggie and Farid are together. I liked that. It tied the characters together, and those two made a cute couple; even though Meggie is a too young, and he is too old. For some reason, in this book Ms. Funke decides to bring in this 'other character' who starts to steal Meggie's affections, but we don't even get to know him. Sure, I know a bit about Doria's past, but that's it. I don't know his character.or what he would do or say half as well as almost any other character in the story, or at all, as a matter of fact, and for me he was underdeveloped. Meggie 'falling in love' with him was underdeveloped as well. One second we read about how he "sometimes brought her flowers", (it would have been nice if Ms. Funke had devoted a page or two to have an actual SCENE of that) the next her father sees him whispering in her ear and making her blush. Farid does hardly anything about it, even when he's without Dustfinger and with Meggie. He doesn't try to salvage the relationship until the very end, and that didn't make much sense.
  2. Dustfinger: I love Dustfinger. He is one of my favorite characters; perhaps even my favorite. There jut wasn't enough of him in this book, though I was very excited when he took a lead in the end of Inkdeath, and I liked how he and Mo ended up good friends.
  3. Meggie: Meggie used to be the main character. What happened to that? Why is Meggie no longer our protagonist? WHY? I always loved reading about her, yet she doesn't have much to do in this book besides blush at Doria, worry about her father and hold grudges with people who don't deserve it (especially her mother). Still, her no longer being the lead didn't bother me as much as I would have expected it to; it just confused me and made me wish for more of her--without the stupid grudges.
  4. Mo: At the beginning of the book I can hardly recognize his character, but as the book moves on Ms. Funke sort of fixes that... Still, I find it odd that he'd say to Resa who is begging him to go back into our world (since when did Mo want to stay in the Inkworld anyway?) that "Meggie is almost grown up"(she's just thirteen, like me)"and she's in love with Farid"(oh, yes, she'd never even blush at another boy because of her love of Farid--that was sarcastic)and that's why they should stay. Later in the book Mo gets better, and you understand how he changed (sort of), it's just that one scene was a problem for me.
  5. Orpheus: He LIVES? Are you kidding me? Why? WHY? Orpheus, who was a mere nuisance and annoying character in the previous book, becomes an evil, evil villain, and I, wanted, him, DEAD! Why did Ms. Funke leave him alive? WHY?!?!?!?!!?!?!?!
  6. Brianna: Someone should have punched her. Violante should have punched her. I almost want to read her out of the book just so I can punch her. I don't mind Violante forgiving her for having a romance with Cosimo, Violante's husband, but I just wanted someone to punch her for it. I wanted Violante to do something. I mean yes, she kicked Brianna out of the castle for a while, (which was wonderful), but I would have liked something else... Like someone punching her. Like me punching her. Just once.

Besides those problems, this is a wonderful, wonderful book. I loved it. It's a page turning, it's interesting, and it's so, so beautiful.

Starting Date: Christmas (December 25th)

Ending Date: 2:??am, December 28th

Reading Time: Three days, if you count me staying up 'til 2:00am as a third day.

Pages: 663

Recommendations: To those who have read Inkheart and Inkspell. Don't think about reading this series out of order.

Writing Rating: 9

Story Rating: 7 1/2

Overall Rating: 8

Book #50 of '08
P.S. In the end, Farid leaves Dustfinger. WHAT? That's doesn't make any sense. NONE. That, is, not, FARID! NONE!!!