Showing posts from June, 2012

Review: Ripper - Amy Carol Reeves

Ripper by Amy Carol Reeves Young Adult Read From: June 19, 2012 - June 21, 2012

Review ~~~~~~~~~~~ Cover Blurb: It isn’t the most wonderful out there, in my opinion. It has the quality of a self-published novel, the girl on the front looks as if she belongs on one of those cheap Christian novels, and it simply tries too hard to be mysterious and foreboding with the Ripper standing in the background. I do, however, like the title font; the end of the R turning into a blade is a nice little touch, and I like that the brotherhood’s crest is shown on the back so we Readers know what it looks like when we first read about it in the story.
What I Liked: The storyline itself is interesting, even with its paranormal aspect. I don’t normally go for a paranormal twist on actual historical events, but in this case it was acceptable. The two leading male characters, William and Simon, were both likable, their dislike for one another not getting too much in the way of things. Simon is the typical young, …

Review: Miss Peregrine's Home for Peculiar Children - Ransom Riggs

Miss Peregrine's Home for Peculiar Children
by Ransom Riggs
Young Adult
Read From: June 17, 2012 - June 19, 2012

Review ~~~~~~~~~~~ Cover Blurb: Love it. It’s creepy and intriguing and just shouts READ ME! Everything about it is attention-grabbing. It’s also a cover that you have to turn over so it’s not constantly staring at you and giving you nightmares. And I love the title’s font.

What I Liked: Like everyone else who has read this book, I loved the pictures. They added a very unique flair to the story’s atmosphere, and the fact that they are all real vintage photos just makes them all the creepier. I loved the story’s prologue - it was very engaging, promised a lot, and essentially did everything a prologue is supposed to do. And I loved the story’s premise. Jacob is also a pretty good protagonist. Given his recent family loss, and having his entire family thinking he might be losing his mind, Jacob’s slight attitude is understandable, though I honestly think he accepts his family’s …

Review: The False Prince - Jennifer A. Nielsen

The False Prince by Jennifer A. Nielsen Middle Grade Read From: June 11, 2012 - June 13, 2012

Review ~~~~~~~~~~~ Cover Blurb: I actually really, really like it. I love the blue and the broken crown; it communicates a lot about the story. And of course the title’s font is big and bold and gold, and that’s always attention-grabbing.

What I Liked: Sage is sarcastic and cheeky without having an attitude. When he said something snarky, I pictured him saying it completely straight-faced, without a hint of humor in his voice. He’d be one of those people that if you didn’t know sarcasm, you wouldn’t be sure if he was serious or pulling your leg. And I loved his realism and perceptiveness. I would be skeptical of any other character who figured out what was really going on as soon as he did, but with Sage it was somehow totally believable that he knew. The other characters were a good mixture of different personalities, and their interactions were interesting. The whole setup for the story, too, was …

Review: My Family for the War - Anne C. Voorhoeve

My Family for the War
by Anne C. Voorhoeve
Young Adult
Read From: June 13, 2013 - June 16, 2012

Review ~~~~~~~~~~~ Cover Blurb: I personally like it, especially how there’s an old-style photo depicting the same picture, and I like how the title is done. But I can see how some people would think that it’s boring.

What I Liked: Really, I liked everything. Frances is easy to like and connect with, and she’s a terrific protagonist to travel the whole of World War II with. The story starts out with a young girl scared and confused by the changes in her world, but she’s also a young girl who conquers her fears to get what she wants. And as the story progresses, I could feel her growing up into a mature young woman who now knew that running wasn’t the answer to everything. I loved the family dynamics of the people she ends up staying with, and I loved that Gary immediately adopts her as his little sister.

What I Disliked: This is really one of those books where you can’t criticize anything about it.…

Review: The Faerie Ring - Kiki Hamilton

The Faerie Ring by Kiki Hamilton Young Adult Read From: June 16, 2012 - June 17, 2012

Review ~~~~~~~~~~~~ Cover Blurb: Love the title’s font, love the colors, love the glowing ring. But I do wish you could see the girl in the background just a little bit better, because that’s the only indication - visually - that this takes place in a historical setting.

What I Liked: Rieker; I liked him. He could have come across as creepy, but he didn’t. I felt that he genuinely cared about Tiki and the other orphans. I loved the time period, of course, and I liked the sense of peril and mystery.

What I Disliked: Tiki’s name. Why, in the name of reason, could the Author not just call her by her full name: Tara? It’s the same amount of syllables, and not annoying. Tiki is annoying. I barely made it through this book simply because of the protagonist’s name, and that’s not good. Out of all the nicknames the Author could have chosen, she chose Tiki . . . I want to read the book’s sequel, but I’m not sure I…

Review: Bewitching Season - Marissa Doyle

Bewitching Seasonby Marissa Doyle
Series: Leland Sisters Trilogy #1
Genre: YA, historical fantasy, romance
Published on April 29, 2008
Published by Henry Holt and Co.
Pages: 352
Read From: 6.10.12 - 6.11.12

In 1837 London, young daughters of viscounts pined for handsome, titled husbands, not careers. And certainly not careers in magic.

Review: The Lost Crown - Sarah Miller

The Lost Crown by Sarah Miller Young Adult Read From: June 7, 2012 - June 10, 2012

Review ~~~~~~~~~~~~ Cover Blurb: It’s pretty and attractive, and thankfully doesn’t leer at me. The title font isn’t anything exciting, though I like how half of it is in purple. The style of the cover might deter hardcore historical fiction fans, though, since it looks a lot like a historical romance. I honestly expected a girly book when I first picked it up.

What I Liked: So many books on this topic are always, always told from Anastasia’s point of view, and while I certainly love it when Anastasia is the protagonist, it was really nice to read from the point of views of her sisters as well. It would have also been interesting if the Author had told a few chapters in Alexei’s point of view, but just the sisters worked for me fine.

What I Disliked: Quite honestly, nothing. I suppose I could be super nit-picky and find some small sentence that bugged me, but I won’t.

Believability: I will confess that I don’…

Review: Fortune's Fool - Kathleen Karr

Fortune's Fool by Kathleen Karr
Genre: YA, historical fiction, romance
Published on May 13, 2008
Published by Knopf
Pages: 208
Read From: 6.5.12 - 6.7.12

Conrad the Good, orphaned and left to make his own way as a court jester, has received one too many beatings at the hand of his lord, Otto "the Witless." So Conrad sets forth on a quest to find a wiser and worthier master, taking from Otto's realm only his wit, his noble horse, Blackspur - and his beloved, the servant girl Christa the Fair.But enlightenment and acceptance are rare in medieval Germany, and along with their quest comes newfound hardship. Fierce winter storms follow them through plague-stricken villages; there are bandits on the roads and wolves in the woods; and there are lords far more wicked than Otto in the world. But with Christa's disguise as a boy and Conrad's resourcefulness, they pass as traveling entertainers, and for all the hardships they encounter, there are as many unexpected jo…

Review: The Wicked and the Just - J. Anderson Coats

The Wicked and the Just by J. Anderson Coats Genre: YA, historical fiction Published on April 17, 2012 Published by Houghton Miffin Harcourt Pages: 345 Read From: 6.2.12 - 6.3.12

SYNOPSIS Cecily longs to return to her beloved Edgeley Hall, where her father was lord of the manor. But now he has completely ruined her life. He is moving them to Caernarvon, in occupied Wales, where he can get a place for almost nothing, since the king needs good, strong Englishmen to keep down the vicious Welshmen. At least Cecily will get to be the lady of the house at last - if all goes well.Gwenhwyfar knows all about that house. Once she dreamed of being the lady there herself, until the English came and destroyed the lives of everyone she knows. Now Gwenhwyfar must wait hand and foot on this bratty English girl who has taken what should have been hers.While Cecily struggles to find her place among the snobby English landowners, Gwenhwyfar struggles just to survive. And meanwhile, the Welsh are not as conquer…

Review: Divergent - Veronica Roth

by Veronica Roth
Young Adult
Read From: June 1, 2012 - June 2, 2012

Review ~~~~~~~~~~~ Cover Blurb:The fiery eye is definitely intriguing, and the cover definitely promises a gritty, inner-city-type story - only in the future. I love the title font, and I like the simplicity. For the type of book it is, it works, and it isn’t misleading about what one might expect from it.

What I Liked: Tris, the protagonist, is good. She’s a tough cookie without being a macho-chick, and I applaud the Author for being able to put Tris in the setting that she did without turning her into one of those. I liked the relations between the different factions, as well as how the new recruits into Dauntless treated one another, depending on their faction. The kids didn’t feel united all of a sudden because of their initiation; they still held some loyalty to their old factions. Four is also an awesome character; while I wish there wasn’t a romantic relationship between him and Tris, it didn’t get too an…

Review: The Strange Case of Doctor Jekyll & Mademoiselle Odile - James Reese

The Strange Case of Doctor Jekyll & Mademoiselle Odile
by James Reese
Young Adult
Read From: May 23, 2012 - May 30, 2012

Review ~~~~~~~~~~~~ I was wary of this book when I picked it up - people always take a lot of liberties with R. L. Stevenson’s famous short story. But considering that this is supposed to be a “prequel” to The Strange Case of Doctor Jekyll & Mister Hyde made what liberties the Author took much more bearable. At least he got Hyde moderately correct. So many movies and retellings depict Mr. Hyde as a giant ape-like person, when in fact he wasn’t at all. Hyde was a short and stocky young man. The Author kind of depicts Hyde like that, but not quite as badly as others, so I excused it.
Odile is a great heroine: strong and resourceful. While she makes many mistakes, she tries her best to set them right. I’m still not entirely certain how I feel about the Author making Doctor Jekyll into such a weasely and deceitful person. He seems to completely ignore the whole poin…

Review: Matched - Ally Condie

Matched by Ally Condie Series: Matched Trilogy #1 Genre: YA, dystopian, romance Published on November 30, 2010 Published by Dutton Books Pages: 369 Read From: 5.21.12 - 5.24.12

SYNOPSIS In the Society, Officials decide everything. Who you love, where you work, when you die. Cassia has always trusted their choices. It's hardly any price to pay for a long life, the perfect job, the ideal mate. So when her best friend appears on the Matching screen, Cassia knows with complete certainty that he is the one. . . .until she sees another face flash for an instant before the screen fades to black. Now Cassia is faced with impossible choices: between Xander and Ky, between the only life she's known and a path no one else has ever dared follow - between perfection and passion.
Yet another book that I was anticipating to be bad, but I was pleasantly surprised! Yes, the world of Matched reminded me a lot of The Giver, but the Author had enough of her own originality in it to keep it from feel…

Review: The Springsweet - Saundra Mitchell

The Springsweet
by Saundra Mitchell
Young Adult
Read From: May 21, 2012 - May 23, 2012

Review ~~~~~~~~~~~~ I did not have high hopes for this book. The Vespertine didn’t need a sequel, and all I anticipated was a complete disaster. I was wrong, and as much as I dislike to admit when I am wrong in general, I’m always relieved to say that when it comes to books (unless, of course, I anticipated the book to be good, and then it was turned out to be bad). The Author was clever when she wrote The Springsweet. It doesn’t follow the “continued” adventures of The Vespertine’s heroine, Amelia, but rather follows Zora’s life after the tragic events of the previous summer. I would, of course, encourage people to read The Vespertine before picking this one up, so Readers can understand how Zora came to be the way she is, and The Springsweet also ends with more than a hint towards the third book connecting back to Amelia’s life.
In many ways, I liked Book Two better. Emerson was easier to like than Na…

Review: The Council of Mirrors - Michael Buckley

The Council of Mirrors by Michael Buckley Series: The Sisters Grimm #9 Genre: Middle Grade, fantasy, fairy tale retelling Published on April 24, 2012 Published by Harry N. Abrams Pages: 337 Read From: 5.19.12 - 5.21.12

SYNOPSIS Sabrina, Daphne, and the rest of the Grimms - except for Granny Relda - fight for the freedom of Ferryport Landing in the series' grand finale. As war rips the town apart, Sabrina consults a team of magic mirrors, who prophesy that the only way the good guys will win is if she leads the army. Sabrina has always wanted to be taken seriously, and now she controls the fate of all the Everafters, the very people who have made her life so difficult since she and Daphne arrived in Ferryport Landing. Will they listen to a Grimm? And can she really save them?

As a whole, I liked the conclusion to this wonderfully original series (though it doesn’t seem original any longer, I want to give Michael Buckley the credit for being the first to really do this idea). There are…

The Perfect Graduation Gift

It's true that I don't graduate from college until Friday. But I wanted a friend to be able to come along on my "special" graduation trip, so I went a week ahead of time. Where did I go? Powell's City of Books, of course! $89.50 in my pocket (part graduation gift from my parents and part from after I sold a few paperbacks at Powell's), I was feeling the need to buy some books. While this month's haul wasn't a motherload, it was still a pretty good one, and I'm pleased with the books I got. Of course, once more my shelves are overflowing, but what to do? I haven't had time to work on my new shelf (hopefully I will this summer, cross fingers!). So I guess it's back to having the Leaning Tower of Books on my floor. Anyway, here's what I got! The Inside Story by Michael Buckley A Curse Dark as Gold by Elizabeth C. Bunce The Tale of Despereaux by Kate DiCamillo Nobody's Princess by Esther Friesner Stowawayby Karen Hesse Our Only May Amelia by…