Archive | November, 2010

Prophecy of the Sisters by Michelle Zink

30 Nov

Prophecy of the Sisters

Author: Michelle Zink

Pages [hardcover]: 343

Opening Lines: Perhaps because it seems so appropriate, I don’t notice the rain. It falls in sheets, a blanket of silvery thread rushing to the hard almost-winter ground. Still, I stand without moving at the side of the coffin.

Memorable Quote: “I love you anyway, Lia,” he calls after me. “Until time tells, I mean.”

Favorite Characters: Sophia & Luisa

Summary:

In Michelle Zink’s debut novel, orphaned twin sister Lia and Alice Milthorpe are yoked together in an ancient prophecy that makes them enemies and could destroy them both. If Lia can break this familial curse, she can not only save her relationship with her beloved boyfriend; she can finally resolve the mystery behind her parents’ death.

Review:

I’ve been looking forward to reading this book for a while. My library just got it and I was super excited! Yet this was really hard to get into-the beginning sort of dragged. The pace of the plot picked up a lot in the middle, however, grabbing my attention and keeping it there until the end. Now I can’t wait to read the next book! 

The summary above, that I found on Goodreads, doesn’t really give the book justice. Lia isn’t just concentrating on keeping the love of her boyfriend, or figuring out how her parents died. She’s trying to find if her sister is friend or enemy. She’s attempting to piece together an ancient prophecy, one that forever changes her life. And she’s trying to save the world from the ultimate evil.

Lia is a bright main character that, while having her own faults, knows when to accept the help of others. She has the support of great friends and believes she cannot conquer her adversary without them. I especially like this because so many of the books I’ve read lately have had plots revolving solely around the leading female role. No friendship, no help-even when they’re fighting against all odds.

The relationship between Alice and Lia is odd, but exceptionally portrayed. The change between the two isn’t instant, or blatantly unnatural.

Prophecy of the Sisters gets 4/5 stars. It’s a great read filled with suspense and intrigue. I was trying to figure out the puzzle of the prophecy alongside Lia. I highly recommend this book, and look forward to the sequel.

Lord of the Flies by William Golding

27 Nov

 

 Lord of the Flies

Author: William Golding

Pages [paperback]: 192

Memorable Quote: “We’ve got to have rules and obey them. After all, we’re not savages. We’re English, and the English are best at everything.”

Summary:

William Golding’s classic tale about a group of English schoolboys who are plane-wrecked on a deserted island is just as chilling and relevant today as when it was first published in 1954. At first, the stranded boys cooperate, attempting to gather food, make shelters, and maintain signal fires. Overseeing their efforts are Ralph, “the boy with fair hair,” and Piggy, Ralph’s chubby, wisdom-dispensing sidekick whose thick spectacles come in handy for lighting fires. Although Ralph tries to impose order and delegate responsibility, there are many in their number who would rather swim, play, or hunt the island’s wild pig population. Soon Ralph’s rules are being ignored or challenged outright. His fiercest antagonist is Jack, the redheaded leader of the pig hunters, who manages to lure away many of the boys to join his band of painted savages. The situation deteriorates as the trappings of civilization continue to fall away, until Ralph discovers that instead of being hunters, he and Piggy have become the hunted: “He forgot his words, his hunger and thirst, and became fear; hopeless fear on flying feet.” Golding’s gripping novel explores the boundary between human reason and animal instinct, all on the brutal playing field of adolescent competition.

Review:

This book was seriously disturbing. I mean, yes, it’s meant to describe the cruelty of humanity and to demonstate how war can tear even the youngest, most innocent of us apart. But there wasn’t one character that I liked, the children were completely horrible to each other…Again, I understand why this was done. I just didn’t particularly care for it. This is another one of the books I’ve been forced to read in school that I’ll probably never pick up again.

One of the good things going for this is that some elements of LOST are based off of it. :D The show made me a bit intested in the book, which is a good thing. This was a quick read, slightly less than 200 pages. The characters and setting are well described, and the symbolism in the book is actually easy to pick out, compared to other ‘classics’.

I give Lord of the Flies 2.5/5 stars. It was okay, but I didn’t care for it. I wasn’t bored, but I wasn’t exctied to read on. Not my kind of book.

Fairest by Gail Carson Levine

27 Nov

Fairest

Author: Gail Carson Levine [also wrote Ella Enchanted]

Pages [hardcover]: 326

Favorite Characters: Ijori, Oochoo

Summary:

 I was born singing. Most babies cry. I sang an aria. Or so I believe. I have no one to tell me the truth of it. I was abandoned when I was a month old, left at the Featherbed Inn in the Ayorthaian villiage of Amonta. It was January 12th of the year of Thunder Songs.

The Fairy Lucinda has once again given a dreadful gift. THis time it’s a mysterious magical mirror. The gift is disastrous when it falls into the hands of Aza, who never looks in a mirror if she can help it. In the Kingdom of Ayortha, Aza is most definitely not the fairest of them all. Many spurn her. Many scoff at her. She keeps out of sight.

But in the land of singers, Aza has her own gift, one she’s come by without fairy intervention: a voice that can do almost anything, a voice that captivates all who hear it. In Ontio Castle, merry Prince Ijori is drawn to it, and vain Queen Ivi wants to use it for her own ends. Queen Ivi would do anything to remain the fairest in the land.

In this spellbinding tale filled with humor, adventure, romance, and song, Newbery Honor author Gail Carson Leine invites you to join Aza as she discovers how exquisite she truly is.

Review:

I love, love, love Gail Carson Levine. I’ve read several of her books and have greatly enjoyed every single one, this novel included. Fairest tells the story of Aza, who was abandoned at birth and has the finest voice around. Unfortunately, the people of  Ayortha highly value beauty-and Aza is anything but beautiful.

I love how Aza isn’t portrayed as a stereotypical gorgeous, perfect girl. She’s insecure, makes a fool out of herself, makes mistakes like any normal teen, and deals with self-image issues. One of the main themes of the book concerns how she comes to love her lack of beauty. I think there need to be more books like this out there, especially now that the world is so concerned with outward appearances.

Anyway, this book is set in the same world as Ella Enchanted. I loved all the little connections between the books. Ayortha is filled with ogres, gnomes, and fairies with unpleasant gifts. The magical elements of the story, which include spells and potions, are smoothly intertwined.

Fairest also has its references to the story of Snow White. I didn’t quite compare the two until about halfway through the story, and because this isn’t an exact retelling, the similarities aren’t obvious until you look for them.

Fairest is a great read that I highly recommend. I give it 5/5 stars.

Poison Study by Maria V. Snyder

21 Nov

Poison Study

Book 2: Magic Study

Author: Maria V. Snyder

Pages [paperback]: 416

Memorable Quote: “Everyone makes choices in life. Some bad, some good. It’s called living, and if you want to bow out, then go right ahead.”

Favorite Characters: Janco, Valek, and Ari

Summary:

Choose: A quick death and hell or slow poison and hell.
About to be executed for murder, Yelena is offered an extraordinary reprieve. She’ll eat the best meals, have rooms in the palace and risk assassination by anyone trying to kill the Commander of Ixia.
And so Yelena chooses to become a food taster. But the chief of security, leaving nothing to chance, deliberately feeds her Butterfly’s Dust and only by appearing for her daily antidote will she delay an agonizing death from the poison.
As Yelena tries to escape her new dilemma, disasters keep mounting. Rebels plot to seize Ixia and Yelena develops magical powers she can’t control. Her life is threatened again and choices must be made. But this time the outcomes aren’t so clear.

Review:

When I first started this book, I was unsure as to whether I would like it at all. The first few chapters dragged on endlessly and I couldn’t really get into it. Then, about a quarter of the way into the novel, I was hooked. I couldn’t stop reading, and ended up loving it!

The characters are orginial and well-developed. They all have their seperate personalities, and I like that they stay true to them. Sometimes characters seem to randomly switch their feelings; thankfully, that is not the case in Poison Study.

I like how the element of magic is added, yet only slightly. That theme doesn’t overtake the book, it only serves to enhance the plot and to add suspense.

Going into this, I hadn’t realized there was going to be a sequel. Now, I definitely have to read it! After several twists, turns, and unexpected revelations, questions are still left at the end, leading (hopefully) seamlessly into the next book.

I really enjoyed Poison Study. I give it 5/5 stars, and highly recommend it!

Wildthorn by Jane Egland

7 Nov

Wildthorn

Author: Jane Egland

Pages [ebook]: 359

Available now!

Opening Lines: The carriage jolts and splashes along the rutted lanes flooded by the heavy November rains. Through its grimy window, all I can see of the unfamiliar Essex countryside are bare hedgerows, the skeletons of trees, looming out of the morning mist.

Favorite Character: Eliza

Summary:

Seventeen-year-old Louisa Cosgrove longs to break free from her respectable life as a Victorian doctor’s daughter. But her dreams become a nightmare when Louisa is sent to Wildthorn Hall: labeled a lunatic, deprived of her liberty and even her real name. As she unravels the betrayals that led to her incarceration, she realizes there are many kinds of prison. She must be honest with herself – and others – in order to be set free. And love may be the key…

Review:

I read this with NetGalley. I have to say, I enjoyed it more than I thought it would. It dragged a bit in the beginning, but I think it was necessary to set the story. I liked how chapters of the present were alternated  chapters of what happened in the past to lead to this. The mystery of it, while not so shocking it couldn’t have been discovered, surprised me. I liked how it was so well thought out.

Louisa is a semi-independent character. She wants to have her own life, to become a doctor like her father, but won’t leave and pursue it on her own. She doesn’t like to even mention the issue to those in her immediate family. I liked Louisa for having her own goals and not promptly giving up and settling for a loveless marriage. Though she’s a little timid, she stands firm for what she wants, and I applaud her for that.

The descriptions of a Victorian psychiatric hospital were greatly creepy and scary, just how I would picture it. The depiction of setting was fabulous, and I felt as if I was right there with her.

After the slow start, the book moved along at a much faster pace. Wildthorn gets 5/5 stars. Definitely recommended!

October Wrap-Up!

5 Nov

Okay, so this is a little late. But I can explain! The last week and a half has been extremely busy. I had a ring dance and ceremony, a birthday party, a sleepover, National Honor Society inductions [I got in! Yay! :D], a research paper to do, a poster….You know, this list of excuses could go on infinitely. Let’s go on to what I read this month:

Catching Fire-Suzanne Collins
The Knife of Never Letting Go-Patrick Ness
The Atlantis Complex-Eoin Colfer
Mockingjay-Suzanne Collins
Beastly-Alex Flinn
Forgive My Fins-Tera Lynn Childs
The Truth About Forever-Sarah Dessen
Girl, Interrupted by Susanna Kaysen
My Name is Memory by Ann Brashares

Books I purchased: 3
Borrowed from friend: 1
Checked out from library: 5
Review books: 0

Challenge Status:
What’s In a Name?  4/6
Jane Austen Challenge 0/8
2010 Chick Lit Challenge 7/8
2010 Support Your Local Library Challenge 23/50

Nine book! Not bad, considering I feel like I have absolutely no life now that school’s started. How was your October?

The Demigod Files by Rick Riordan

5 Nov

 The Demigod Files

Author: Rick Riordan [Author of the Percy Jackson series and The Red Pyramid]

Pages [hardcover]: 160

Available now!

Companion to the Percy Jackson series!
The Lightning Thief 
The Sea of Monsters 
The Titan’s Curse
The Battle of the Labyrinth
The Last Olympian

Available now!

Memorable Quote: “If I was going to pick one person in the world to reattach my head,” I said “I’d pick you.”

Summary:

How do you handle an encounter with Medusa on the New Jersey interstate? What’s the best way to take down a minotaur? Become an expert on everything in Percy’s world with this must-have guide to the Percy Jackson and the Olympians series. Complete with interviews, puzzles, games, and original short stories by Rick Riordan. The Percy Jackson Files will delight Riordan’s legions of fans with its witty, in-depth “field-guide” approach to the series.

Review:

I’m completely obsessed over these books, and had to buy this, even though I finished the series a while ago. It looked too good to resist. Plus, I love the setup: a few short stories featuring Percy and crew, character bios and interviews, and some puzzles and games. It’s a cute idea and I loved it. :D

This is an especially quick read, as only a few of the pages are actually completely covered in text. It took me only a few days to breeze through it, but I’m sure most could finish in a few hours. I like to take my time.

I was worried that this would just be an extra book that is the result of a cheap gimmick to squeeze more money from Percy Jackson fans. But everything stays true to the series, and I love the short stories especially. They’re little snippets of character interaction that are not related to the overall plotline of the series but are still gripping reads.

Rick Riordan is a fabulous author, and I just adore all of his books. The Demigod Files gets 5/5 stars. Recommened for any Percy Jackson fan. ;)

So Yesterday by Scott Westerfeld

2 Nov

So Yesterday

Author: Scott Westerfeld (also wrote the Uglies trilogy [Extras], the Midnighters trilogy [The Secret Hour, Touching Darkness, and Blue Noon], and Leviathan)

Pages [paperback]: 240

Available Now!

Memorable Quote: Sometimes the facts in my head get bored and decide to take a walk in my mouth. Frequently this is a bad thing.

Favorite Character: Hunter

 Summary:

Hunter Braque, a New York City teenager who is paid by corporations to spot what is “cool,” combines his analytical skills with girlfriend Jen’s creative talents to find a missing person and thwart a conspiracy directed at the heart of consumer culture.

Review:

I love Scott Westerfeld! His books are so unique and well thought out. I haven’t been disappointed yet, and this was no exception. I’ve been waiting for a while to pick this book up, and it’s weird that I learned about “cool hunting” in school last week, right about the same time I started to read this.

Hunter is paid to research what is “cool” for teenagers. He discovers trends before they even happen, taking pictures of a person’s clothes, shoes, or even hairstyle-whatever can be made into money. Hunter’s never thought might about this culture he lives in. But what if someone was doing something to change everything?

This novel is great, but also makes a great point: We rely too much on products and advertising, constantly exposed to companies that are clamoring for whatever money we’re willing to spend. Manipulating millions into thinking they need something that’s “cool”-that’s what this culture is about.

Hunter and Jen, while are unique characters. Hunter surrounds himself with cool because he’s afraid of being uncool, just like Jen. She’s an Innovator; he’s a cool hunter.

The ending left a little to be desired. It just seemed to fall off, with no real promise of what would happen. It’s left up to the reader to interpret.

So Yesterday by Scott Westerfeld gets 5/5 stars.

What are you reading Monday 11-1-10

1 Nov
Halloween icon

Image via Wikipedia

Happy November! October just flew by, and I’m already missing Halloween.

This week, I read:

Girl, Interrupted
My Name is Memory
The Truth About Forever

My favorite would definitely have to be The Truth About Forever! I absolutely love Sarah Dessen’s books!
This week was so incredibly busy for me. Packed with tests, my class ring ceremony, a dance, a sleepover, and Halloween night fun!

How was your week? How did you spend your Halloween?

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