Monday, August 31, 2009

Graceling By: Kristin Cashore

This is a novel in Spanish which I read. This is a plot which is completely fantasy it has many adventures that seem to be real, but are not. The reader is absorbed, or wrapped up into the plot. The main character of the novel Katsa has many powers. She (Katsa) is used by the King to eliminate his enemies by killing them. Katsa is liked by Lord Davit, but Katsa prefers Randa, who is tall with blue eyes. Many people in the kingdom eat deer that they hunt, and also eat fresh vegetables. The novel takes place in the Middle Ages, when people used a bow & arrow for defense. The mode of transportation are horses. Katsa places her belongings on the saddlebags on the horses. Lord Giddon enjoyed french fries to eat. Of course the main Character of the novel is a female called Katsa. Katsa wanted no children or husband. King Leck of Monmar was generous person and caring too for his people in the Kingdom
Katsa you might say has a lover called Po. She goes to an Inn when the two are hunting together to spend the night. When Katsa and Po spent the night at the Inn they slept through a hurricane. Po wears a ring on each finger, but he has an explanation for each one. The path to the King's Palace is very dangerous that the two take. Po gives Katsa a nickname of mountain cat. Katsa cleans her fish by herself to eat. Now we are introduced to Gramilla, who is Po's cousin, and is given berries by Po. Po is injured by the guards of King Momart. Katsa and Grimilla leave Po behind. Katsa was able to kill panther for food and use the skins for a jacket for Gramilla to use.
Katsa and Grimilla reached an Inn where they needed baths. Katsa found 4 eggs and a squash that they shared to eat plus bead and cheese. Princess Gramilla of Monmar has the same ring as Po. Katsa and Grimilla crossed the coldest and dangerous way in the Kingdom. They arrived at a port called Lenida where there was snow and they caught a boat with a female Captain. The King de Leon died and the Kings guards found Po alive in a cave.
Katsa with her friends attended the Coronation of Gramilla who became the Queen.
This is my second fantasy book in recent times. It took me 100 pages to get liking this novel.


Friday, August 28, 2009

The Rule of Claw - John Brindley

Ash, Laura, Will, Jon, and others are the only teenagers left and they live in their own camp. They know nothing of what lies beyond the fence, only that danger and death lurk out there. One day Derri comes back wounded they fear what is beyond the fence. When Derri dies Jon, Will, and everyone else head out to find what killed Derri. Ash goes along, but doesn't like that everyone is turning into savages. They find a yellow raptor and are fighting it when Ash throws the spear that kills it. Everyone celebrates that night. While Ash is in her hut she is taken by blue raptors. She is brought in front of King Tomb while there is a contingent of yellow raptors there to talk peace. With the yellow raptors is Jon, who has come to rescue Ash. The blue raptors mistake it as an attack, which leads to a battle between the blue and yellow raptors. In the battle King Tomb is killed by Prince Talon, who is now King Talon. King Talon now has his sights set on Ash and will do anything to tear her body limb from limb. Ash escapes the raptor city with help from Jon and the rodents she meets in the city. The Elder Rodent tells Ash about how the world was before the raptors took over. Armed with this knowledge can Ash save everyone she cares about back at the camp and will she be able to escape King Talon before he kills her?

T.B. 8/28/09

Thursday, August 27, 2009

UN LUN DUN by Mieville

China Mieville writes a form of science fiction categorized under the heading weird. This is his first book for young people.

Unlondon is an alternative world where all of London's waste is dumped. Here are used milk cartons as pets, flying buses, half-ghosts and all sorts of delightful characters. Here are apartment towers known as moils made of such items as used computers.
And here a powerful enemy trickster is taking over the world using smog. A book of prophecy foretells of a heroine swazzy coming with a klinnaract (clean air act) to save everyone. But the book got quite a lot wrong and only bits right. Swazzy wasn't at all brave when she turned the wheel that transported her and her friend Deeba from London to Unlondon. After several harrowing adventures Deeba manages to get herself and swazzy both back home. But Deeba has formed friendships with some of the wacky inhabitants of Unlondon and wants to save them and Unlondon from the smog. So, she climbs a library ladder up and up until she is back in Unlondon. Several false starts including trying to follow a series of seven tasks slow down her attempts to save the world. Since the evil one is someone everyone trusted Deeba has an even harder task of convincing folks that he is the enemy and she is right. Deeba is strong and determined and eventually saved the day in this wacky adventure/ecological disaster science fiction story. Deeba is no hero though when all is over she just wants to go home. Loved this book. JDW 8/27/09

Sunday, August 23, 2009

Prada & Prejudice by Mandy Hubbard

When I took a creative writing class, I was told that every story has already been written and it's just a matter of how the author interprets the story that makes it unique. As I read this novel, I thought about that because this storyline didn't seem that original. That's not to say, though, that I didn't enjoy reading the novel because it was a nice and light book to pass the time.

Callie is in England for a school trip and wants nothing more than to be accepted by the popular girls. After buying a pair of Prada shoes to impress them, she stumbles and falls, passing out as she hits the ground. When she awakens, she's in a deeply wooded area and further exploring reveals unpaved paths and horse drawn carriages. She finds a nearby residence which she learns belongs to a duke, and seeks shelter. Upon her arrival, she is mistaken for a girl named Rebecca who is supposed to visit from America. Callie plays along, thinking that the crazy people around her are just actors. However, she soon discovers that it's not pretend and really 1815. Knowing that if the truth comes out she'll be all on her own with no way back to the 21st century, she plays along, but not without her modern day flair as she pushes for her new friend Emily to have some say against arranged marriage. She also struggles against her conflicting emotions to Alex, the duke of the estate, who she feels is a major jerk based on some letters she's discovered and the fact that he won't stand up for Emily and believes every woman has her place. Will she have an impact on this time period - especially on Alex and his views, will her true identity be revealed, and will she ever make it home are the key questions.

Time travel is not a new concept. An arrogant male who the main character can't help but love is not a new character (he's very reminiscent of Mr. Darcy from Pride and Prejudice, which the title obviously plays off of). Lying about who you are and making fast friendships under this false identity is not original. With that said, though, this book was still enjoyable. Since it wasn't terribly original, it was at times predictable, but again, that didn't detract from the overall enjoyment of the story. The novel does a good job of showing some of the advancements socially, especially in terms of women, but it might have been nice to see some more of how Callie adjusts without modern conveniences. There's a mention of bedpans and how corsets are annoying, but how is she dealing without her cellphone, computer, deodorant and other things that we take for granted. She adapted to the new world just a little too easily.

This book was neither here nor there. It was good, I liked reading it, but it didn't make me stop and go, "Wow! This is a great book." To me it was too unoriginal to send me over the moon. I'd recently seen a movie where a modern woman steps into the novel Pride and Prejudice in the place of Elizabeth Bennet (Lost in Austen). Modern girl, 1800s, arrogant man. It's a very similar concept. Am I disappointed with this book? No, not at all. I liked reading it. It held my attention and I liked how things played out. I just wasn't blown away by it.

Monday, August 17, 2009

The Intruders by E.E. Richardson

After the last book that promised to be thrilling and suspenseful let me down (Creatures of the Night), I hesitantly began another spine chilling novel. This one, though, did not let me down. In fact, I couldn't put the book down and was delightfully satisfied with this novel.

Joel, his sister Cassie, and his mother have just moved into a creepy torn-up house with his soon-to-be stepfather and two stepbrothers (Damon and Tim). Joel doesn't mind the transition, he kind of likes the boys. Cassie, on the other hand, fights it with all her might, blaming strange occurrences on Damon when he claims to be innocent. Joel, though, isn't convinced that Damon or Cassie had anything to do with some odd things that happen at the new house. He's having hallucinations involving blood and nightmares about being chased throughout the house. To make matters worse, Tim also has these dreams and when Joel gets trapped in a cupboard after the same thing happened to Tim and feels an icy hand gripping his leg, he begins to think that they're not alone in this new home. Soon the four kids are convinced that ghosts live among them; ghosts that are desperate for something to happen. They then struggle to survive and discover the truth behind the house they moved into.

It's been a while since I've read a truly suspenseful novel and I think that this novel fit the bill. The book had a steady flow of suspense from what Joel will see when he senses a presence to the creepy chanting of a prayer in a moment of fear and the threat when the ghosts make contact. The ultimate climax was fast paced and visually dynamic as the storm rages inside and the pieces fall into place. While the novel doesn't have an "Oh my gosh!" surprise, it does offer a few revelations that make you wonder why you didn't think of that before. My only complaint, if I have to give one, is that I had a hard time picturing the kids in the book. There was a comment in the second chapter where it is implied that Joel's family is black and the step family isn't, but to me the characters were almost faceless. I had no real sense of their age. Did this hurt the novel? Not really but it might have helped a little bit more.

I enjoyed the novel. It was a quick read, steadily paced thrills, and just an overall great read. I wasn't let down in my expectations of suspense.

Wednesday, August 12, 2009

Princess of the Midnight Ball By: Jessica Day George

This novel is fantasy at it's peak. It actually is a fairy tale that covers danger, and romance. Princess Rose is the eldest of twelve sisters condemned to dance nightly for the wicked King UnderStone in his Palace deep within the earth.
Rose meets Galen, a young soldier turned gardener with an eye for adventure, and a personality that is much like, Rose's. Galen is attracted to Rose, and their relationship start to grow. Even though Galen is a commoner, he attempt to court Rose by presenting a gorgeous rose to the Princess first of all. Then Galen knows the predicament of Rose, and sisters, and promises to plan a method of liberating Rose, and the sisters. The nightly trips to the underworld to dance with the son's of the King Under Stone. The King matches the Prince's with his sons who are Prince's. Every night close to midnight, Rose, and the sisters arrive for the underground Ball. which they must dance til dawn. It is very tiring, and not enjoyable to the Princess's.
Galen knows magic somewhat, and is able to travel, and follow the Pincess's without being seen. Before you arrive at King UnderStone's Palace you must cross by boat a Lake, and you walk to a gate that is gorgeous, & it is the only way to get to King UnderStone's Palace. The next problem King Gregor and the Princess's had was that the Church claimed that the family was involved in magic . The Bishop of the Church arrive at King Gregor's Palace, and tried to excommunicate all.
It was a schock! for the entire family. It meant no Christian burials, no Church marriages. But this was cleared up finally.

The book goes into details, but you need to read the novel. It was very unusual novel for me, but fascinating at the same time

Thursday, August 06, 2009

The Problem with Paradise By:Lesley Dahl

This novel was available as a good summer read in the Y.A. section of the Library. The cover of the novel and the title of the actual novel caught my eye.

The plot of the novel was very informative, and interesting. It had to do with some Islands in the Caribbean Ocean called Eleutra Islands, which is a chain of small Islands. Many people miss out on their beauty, and peaceful environment. Hotels are few, but the beaches are white sand with many shells. To stay a couple of days on these Islands you must rent a bungalow, or a chalet. You must provide your own provisions from the local store. For example food, bedding, and clothes naturally.
In this novel we meet a new Mother, and two brothers, and an older daughter, and of course the Dad is a scientist. Casey is the daughter of the family. Their Dad is trying to save the sea turtles that are constantly stuck in the fisherman's nets. It is a very delicate task, which they are able to complete .
The teen daughter is very happy to find a a young teen who is single called Jonah, on the Island.
Unfortunately, everybody on the small Tortuga Island are going to be hit by a hurricane that is roaring to hit the Island. Fortunately,the chalet had a basement, so the teenage girl, the two brothers had a few supplies that helped them while they took cover in the small basement until
the storm was over. The young brother broke his arm,so his sister made a sling. The sister figures she needs a ride in a boat to the Island, where there is a clinic. Everything works out.
I liked the novel very much, and recommend the read as being exciting, as well as interesting to any teen.
LRD 8/6/09

Monday, August 03, 2009

Mister Monday (Keys to the Kingdom #1) Nix

Nix writes exciting unusual stories whether they are as complex as Sabriel and its companions or Keys to the Kingdom. I suspect that Lemony Snicket readers would enjoy this series. Arthur becomes the rightful heir to the lower realm when Mister Monday is tricked into letting him have the lesser key which is really a minute hand. The lower realm is apparently the lower levels of a very large magical old house. Weirdways (roads of varying sizes, shape, direction) appear and disappear at random. Inhabitants can be hurt but apparently not killed. Their injured parts regenerate eventually. Stairways can appear by imagining them. All is in chaos as Mister Monday is into power, lots of steam baths, decadence, not leadership. Its about time someone put things to rights and Monday's assistant seems to have seen to that. Arthur must obtain the greater key from Monday, combine it with the lesser key and set the intent of the will (which is a small green frog) into action. Monday has unleashed a plague on Arthur's realm in an attempt to get the lesser key back from him. It threatens to kill almost everyone. If Arthur can obtain the greater key, set the kingdom to order he will also be able to stop the plague. There are seven parts of the total will and only one has escaped from its prison. There are seven days of the week. There are seven sometimes wacky, sometimes tense adventures in this series. Read all seven. JDW 8/4/09

Death from the Skies by Phil Plait

If you believe the world will end in 2012, if you believe in Asteroid impacts, Alien attacks or any of 10 or more possible earth ending events, read this book. Plait is a respected astronomer and writer who won't exactly ease all your fears, well maybe a little, but he will explain in easy to understand terms how such events could go down ...and how soon in the future one could occur.
Great reading for anyone with an interest in science. JDW 8/2/09

Sunday, August 02, 2009

Marcelo in the Real World by Stork

Marcelo is about to begin the summer before his last year in a special school for kids with Autism Spectrum Disorders. He seems to be high functioning Asperger's Syndrome. Like other books with main characters with autism Marcelo explains his view of things as compared with the real world view for the reader. Marcelo expects to spend his summer helping at the school's stable where he tends horses in the riding therapy program. He has become good enough and independent enough that he has been promised a job when he graduates next year. Marcelo's father however, believes he should be working in the real world and should go to high school in a real public high school in the fall. He and his father work out a bargain. Marcelo successfully completes a summer internship at his father's law office and his father will let him complete high school at his beloved special school and take the stable job. While at the law office, Marcelo gets tangled up in a struggle over right, wrong and morally good actions, which lead him to damage the image of his father's office, when he discovers that information had been withheld from a case. He makes an incredibly tough, just decision which causes him to lose much though not his sense of whats right and changes his future perhaps forever. Wonderful story. Should be enjoyed by folks who enjoyed The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night Time. JDW 8/2/09

Before, After, and Somebody in Between by Garsee

Readers of Han Nolan's Born Blue, Mary Pearson's Room on Lorelei Street and Helen Frost's Keesha's Place may like this book. A teen aged girl in very difficult circumstances might survive and thrive in spite of it all. Martha is the daughter of an alcoholic mother who has been in rehab more than once and relapsed each time. She always gets out hooked to some guy who is determined to stay straight with her. The guy may or may not be a good male role model for Martha. Wayne, one such guy mom went to rehab with, relapsed with, went back to after another trip to rehab was somewhat violent, physically abusive and encouraged mom to ditch Martha. He moved Martha and her mom into a two flat with him in a tough neighborhood where white girls were few and far between and drug dealing and violence common. Martha connects with a boy her age who lives upstairs and longs to be a scientist some day. They study together, they take care of his younger somewhat neglected brother together til tragedy strikes one day. Money missing from an older brother's stash was intended for members of his gang. They shoot up the house when the money turns up missing and the younger brother is killed. Martha, is hysterical, she stole some of the money perhaps the shooting and baby's death is her fault. She is taken to the hospital where the abuse is discovered and a tough as nail yet compassionate social worker is assigned to the case. Martha is left home alone by her relapsed mom, is discovered alone by the social worker, put in foster care in a less than ideal setting, ends up in a fairy tale foster home she cannot stay in. Returns home to her mom now with a different man. Mom relapses, returns to the abusive Wayne who kicks Martha out permanently. Friendless and homeless Martha turns to the social worker she had previously fought as her only hope.There is no certain future for Martha here, but perhaps there is hope.