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Showing posts from July, 2012

Review: Wolf by the Ears - Ann Rinaldi

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Wolf by the Ears by Ann Rinaldi
Genre: YA, historical fiction
Published on January 1, 1993
Published by Scholastic
Pages: 272
Read From: 7.6.12 - 7.7.12












Review ~~~~~~~~~~~ Cover Blurb: It looks dated, the girl in the front does not at all look how I imagine Harriet. She looks more Hispanic or Latino descent than African; her features aren’t right.
What I Liked: Like all of Rinaldi’s female characters, Harriet is a strong protagonist, doesn’t have an attitude, is intelligent, and feminine without being weak. I was able to appreciate her struggle, thus her indecision didn’t get as annoying as it could have.
What I Disliked: While I liked Harriet well enough, she was perhaps the least “connectable” out of all the protagonists in Rinaldi’s books that I have read. It wasn’t because of her situation or anything like that; there was just a slight something lacking in her personality. A slight something that I aggravatingly cannot entirely pinpoint, but it was there, making Harriet just slightly less t…

Eureka!

At last!!! Oh my; such freedom! Such a sense of fresh air! Who ever knew that Writer's Block for 16 months could feel so stifling! Yes, my Readers, that's right - I have been stuck on my story for sixteen months - maybe fifteen. Since last September; you guys do the mathematics. In any case, that's a long time. My brain went into hiberation for the last few quarters of college in order to survive. Deep hiberation. I've been reading during that whole time, which is good; I need my reading time as well as my writing time. But after 4 months, I was feeling really lonely. And stagnant. And depressed. And just . . . sad. Now? I don't really know what caused it this time. I was listening to the soundtrack for The Duchess and Oliver Twist (Rachel Portman is an amazing composer) while alternating between reading Flame-Colored Taffeta by Rosemary Sutcliff, The Pickwick Papers by Charles Dickens, Jane Eyre by Charlotte Bronte, and Northanger Abbey by Jane Austen. Something ab…

Review: Eve - Anna Carey

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Eveby Anna Carey Series: Eve Trilogy #1 Genre: YA, dystopian, romance Published on October 4, 2011 Published by HarperCollins Pages: 336 Read From: 7.5.12 - 7.6.12












SYNOPSIS
Sixteen years after a deadly virus wiped out most of Earth's population, the world is a perilous place. Eighteen-year-old Eve has never been beyond the heavily guarded perimeter of her school, where she and two hundred other orphaned girls have been promised a future as the teachers and artists of the New America. But the night before graduation, Eve learns the shocking truth about her school's real purpose - and the horrifying fate that awaits her.Fleeing the only home she's ever known, Eve sets off on a long, treacherous journey, searching for a place she can survive. Along the way she encounters Arden, her former rival from school, and Caleb, a rough, rebellious boy living in the wild. Separated from men her whole life, Eve has been taught to fear them, but Caleb slowly wins her trust. . . .and her heart. He…

Review: Scarlet - A. C. Gaughen

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Scarletby A. C. Gaughen
Series: Scarlet #1
Genre: YA, classic retelling
Published on February 14, 2012
Published by Walker Childrens
Pages: 292
Read From: 7.7.12 - 7.8.12












SYNOPSIS
Will Scarlet is good at two things: stealing from the rich and keeping secrets - skills that are in high demand in Robin Hood's band of thieves, who protect the people of Nottingham from the evil sheriff. Scarlet's biggest secret of all is one only Robin and his men know. . . .that she is posing as a thief; that the slip of a boy who is fast with sharp knives is really a girl.The terrible events in her past that led Scarlet to hide her real identity are in danger of being exposed when the thief taker Lord Gisbourne arrives in town to rid Nottingham of the Hood and his men once and for all. As Gisbourne closes in and puts innocent lives at risk, Scarlet must decide how much the people of Nottingham mean to her, especially John Little, a flirtatious fellow outlaw, and Robin, whose quick smiles have the rare po…

Review: The Bad Queen - Carolyn Meyer

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The Bad Queenby Carolyn Meyer
Series: Young Royals #6
Genre: YA, historical fiction
Published on April 12, 2010
Published by Harcourt
Pages: 420
Read From: 7.3.12 - 7.5.12









SYNOPSIS
Marie-Antoinette is given endless instructions before she leaves Austria at the age of fourteen to marry the dauphin of France. In her new home at the grand palace of Versailles, her every move is scrutinized by the cruel and gossipy members of the French court. Marie-Antoinette tries to adhere to their stifling rules of etiquette, but sometimes, this fun-loving young woman can't help but indulge herself with scandalous fashions, taboo recreations, elaborate parties - and even a forbidden romance.

Review: A Monster Calls - Patrick Ness

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A Monster Calls by Patrick Ness Young Adult Read From: July 3, 2012 - July 4, 2012













Review ~~~~~~~~~~~ I am having to abandon my “new” way of reviewing books for this one, because this isn’t a story that I can easily break into categories. The elements that I liked also frustrated me, and I am still honestly quite undecided about how I feel about this book. My Readers will be wondering, then, why I gave it five stars, and I must beg you to go on some faith, because I cannot wholly justify why I thought it deserved such a high rating; my gut told me that it should get five stars, so I listened to it. A Monster Calls is an inspirational story, but it isn’t your typical “young teen comes to terms with his life.” Nor is the book a horror story, but at the same it is. There is a monster in the story, and the monster is scary, and while the story does essentially end up being about Conor coming to terms with his mom’s cancer, there is a supernatural and very dark element to the whole thing. It isn…

Review: Secrets at Sea - Richard Peck

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Secrets at Sea by Richard Peck
Genre: Middle Grade, animal fiction
Published on October 13, 2011
Published by Dial
Pages: 238
Read From: 7.1.12 - 7.2.12











SYNOPSIS
Helena is big-sister mouse to three younger siblings, living a snug and well-fed life within the ancient walls of the Cranston family home. When the Cranston humans decide to sail away to England to find a husband for one of their daughters, the Cranston mice stow away in the name of family solidarity.And so begins the scamper of their lives as Helena, her siblings, and their humans set sail on a life-changing voyage into the great world of titled humans . . . and titled mice, and surprise endings for all.

Review
Cover Blurb: It’s cute and charming, which is exactly in keeping with the story. I love the title’s font and the colors; very vibrant and fun. What I don’t quite like is the title itself. It doesn’t really capture much of what the story is about.

What I Liked: Helena is a plucky mouse heroine who takes the job of looking after…

Review: I Was Jane Austen's Best Friend - Cora Harrison

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I Was Jane Austen's Best Friend by Cora Harrison Young Adult Read From: July 1, 2012 - July 1, 2012













Review ~~~~~~~~~~~ Cover Blurb: I honestly don’t care for it. The girl does not at all look like she is from the Regency era - her hair and her makeup are all quite modern - and the guy in the background looks nothing like how I imagine Captain Williams. I love the title’s font, but everything else suggests yet another heart-pounding romance story, and while it is romantic, the story is not at all as serious or dramatic at the cover implies.
What I Liked: Jane is an opinionated, energetic, sarcastic, and fun young woman. Jenny is fun, too, but she’s quiet and doesn’t like to get into trouble. As such, she presents a wonderful contrast to Jane’s unique personality. Jenny is a very good narrator and a stronger girl than she at first seems. She may be shy, but if something has to be done, she’ll do it. That is clearly indicated in the very beginning, when Jenny braves the midnight streets to …

Review: Bloodline - Katy Moran

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Bloodline by Katy Moran
Series: Bloodline #1
Genre: YA, historical fiction
Published on February 10, 2009
Published by Candlewick Press
Pages: 320
Read From: 6.30.12 - 6.30.12










SYNOPSIS
Essa has spent his life on the roadways of Britain, traveling peacfully with his father, Cai, a bard. But these are the Dark Ages, and times are uncertain. When the pair arrives at a Wolf Folk settlement, Cai leaves Essa behind without explanation. Slowly, Essa grows rooted in village life, and the boy who was bound to no one finds himself forging deep allegiances. Still, Essa can't forget Cai or help wondering why his father abandoned him.Then the Wolf Folk's sworn enemy, King Penda of Mercia, threatens the settlement, and Essa finds himself thrust into the violent and cunning world of the tribal kings. With the help of unlikely friends, he goes on a desperate journey to avert disaster and save everyone he loves. A deadly battle is brewing, and Essa can influence the outcome in a way nobody understands…

Review: The Academie - Susanne Dunlap

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The Academieby Susanne Dunlap Genre: YA, historical fiction, romance Published on February 28, 2012 Published by Bloomsbury Pages: 368 Read From: 6.29.12 - 6.30.12










SYNOPSIS Madame Campan's Academie Nationale is one of the most celebrated schools in all of France, and her students are equally illustrious. Meet the impetuous Eliza Monroe - la belle Americaine - whose father will one day be named president of the United States. And Hortense de Beauharnais, Josephine Bonaparte's stunningly beautiful daughter, who has fallen for a man her family will never accept. Meanwhile, Caroline Bonaparte - yes,

Review: Betraying Season - Marissa Doyle

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Betraying Seasonby Marissa Doyle
Series: Leland Sisters Trilogy #2
Genre: YA, historical fantasy, romance
Published on September 29, 2009
Published by Henry Holt and Co.
Pages: 330
Read From: 6.28.12 - 6.29.12










SYNOPSIS
Penelope Leland has come to Ireland to study magic and prove to herself that she is as good a witch as her twin sister, Persy. But when the dashing Niall Keating begins to court her, Pen can't help being distracted from her studies.

Review: Grave Mercy - Robin LaFevers

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Grave Mercy by Robin LaFevers Young Adult Read From: June 25, 2012 - June 28, 2012













Review ~~~~~~~~~~~ Cover Blurb: I like the girl in the red dress holding the crossbow. I don’t even mind all that much that you can see the girl’s face, especially since she isn’t looking at the Reader (in other words, me). I think it all seems mysterious and historical and intriguing. But I don’t like the title’s font. Too blocky. It looks like it would be more appropriate for a dystopian or dark romance novel.
What I Liked: Gavriel Duval is a relatively likable male protagonist. He is honorable, and his deep devotion to the duchess is touching. While Ismae didn’t really stand out too much to me as a character, she didn’t particularly annoy me, and she’s a fairly convincing assassin. The whole setup with the convent of Mortain gave me pleasant memories of the Dark Brotherhood in the RPG computer game The Elder Scrolls: Oblivion - right down to the poison names. Whenever Ismae completed a mission for them, I g…

Review: Never Fall Down - Patricia McCormick

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Never Fall Down
by Patricia McCormick
Young Adult
Read From: June 25, 2012 - June 25, 2012














Review ~~~~~~~~~~~~ Cover Blurb: It does have the effect of, “Hmm, this looks like a true story; I wonder what it’s about,” and therefore you’ll pick it up. I like that it’s a straight-forward cover; nothing terribly fancy. It fits the story.
What I Liked: In all honesty, this is not a book that you neither like nor dislike. It’s a true story, and though it is written in a novel style, I consider this to be a nonfiction book. So in terms of what I liked, I’ll say this: I liked that I found it interesting and informative. I liked that the Author was writing about tremendous horrors, and did not find it necessary to go into gory detail. She communicated the brutality of the Khmer Rouge very effectively. I am not a person who easily gets choked up while reading, but I did end up having to gab some tissues while I was reading this, while other times I was just too horrified and shocked to do much else but …

Review: Spirit's Princess - Esther Friesner

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Spirit's Princess by Esther Friesner Series: Spirit's Princess #1 Genre: YA, mythology retelling Published on April 24, 2012 Published by Random House Pages: 464 Read From: 6.22.12 - 6.25.12











SYNOPSIS Himiko shouldn't have a care in the world. As the daughter of the most powerful man in the Matsu clan, she has her every need catered to. But Himiko isn't like other girls. She doesn't want to gossip and play silly games. She'd much rather learn how to hunt and forage in the woods like the boys. So time and again Himiko sets out on her own adventures to prove what she can do. Sometimes these adventures result in injury. Sometimes she connects to the natural world in ways that thrill and frighten her. (Can she really communicate with the forest animals?) And one time Himiko loses her way, yet meets a new clan and gains a best friend.Back home, Himiko is as unsettled as ever. . . .until her mother enlists the help of the clan's shaman, Yama. Himiko must receive her shama…

Review: The Prophet from Ephesus - Caroline Lawrence

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The Prophet from Ephesus
by Caroline Lawrence
Middle Grade
Read From: June 21, 2012 - June 22, 2012














Review ~~~~~~~~~~~~ Cover Blurb: Like with all of the Roman Mysteries book covers, I like the simplicity and color scheme, as well as how it looks like a painting. This particular cover out of the series is one of the less interesting ones.
What I Liked: As always, I like Nubia; she continues to be the most level-headed, best tempered, and most considerate of the four friends. I will always love Jonathan, but in this book his reoccurring pessimism and “oh, it’s all my fault” attitude really got on my nerves. While certainly it would take forever for someone to reconcile themselves with something as terrible as the fire in Rome, I couldn’t help but roll my eyes and sigh when Jonathan brought it back up. He’s beaten that horse enough already.
What I Disliked: I liked Flavia in the first book, but I really don’t like her anymore. It’s been fifteen books and she still hasn’t matured. She seems her …