Tuesday, November 29, 2011

The Demon King: A Seven Realms Novel by Cinda Williams Chima

I know The Warrior Heir by this author was popular in my library a few years ago, but I only gave it 3 stars on Goodreads.  So I was pleasantly surprised when this book served as a good fantasy romp for me.  I'm always a fan of medieval-ish British-like fantasy worlds and this book seemed like a Dickensian Aladdin Robin Hood to me.

Told in alternating chapters, the book focuses on Han Alister, a street rat who has survived as a street gang leader for most of his short life.  He's rough, but loves his mam and sister and tries to escape that life to become a trader.  He's spent his summers with the clan people in the woods who have taught him much about healing and living a good life.

Raisa is a princess who has grown up sheltered. She's close to her marrying age, but she knows there is more to her life than acting fancy and smiling a lot.  She wants to get out into the city (think Princess Jasmine of Aladdin) and needs the help of a few good men. Fortunately, she's pretty, smart, rich, and a princess, so she has plenty willing to help. The only problem is that she isn't sure who to trust.  Even her mother the queen may not be trustworthy.

The two separate stories are thrilling and DO NOT merge by the end of the book! Ugh! But it makes me itching to read the sequel, which, I guess, is the whole point.  Raisa and Han are fated to meet eventually!

Monday, November 28, 2011

Story of a Girl by Sara Zarr, Read by the Author

This little YA novel packs a whopper. Deanna is caught in the backseat of her boyfriend's car by her dad.  Only problem is that she's 13 and in 8th grade and her boyfriend is 17 and a loser--obviously, since he's going after children. That one event haunts her--years later and she's still considered the school slut, even though she only had sex with that one boyfriend.  No one has wanted her since, not even her dad as a daughter.  Her family life stinks and her friends aren't the most faithful after she's "caught."

Now that she's turning 16, Deanna gets a job at a local pizza place and finds an unlikely friend in the store owner. She also finally faces up to the boy who took advantage her and her parents. It's a good tale for a teenage girl to read--about strength, character, and how one mistake can haunt you for years.

Tuesday, November 22, 2011

Dash & Lily's Book of Dares by Rachel Cohn and David Levithan

I may have just turned 36, but I have plenty of teenage angst left in me...and that's why I love these kinds of books.  A Catcher in the Rye got it started for me in high school, and YA literature has filled the gap for me just fine as I get older.  This book is littered with dog-ears thanks to me folding down corners to remind me to add quotes to Goodreads! 

Dash and Lily are two geeky/dorky/different teenagers in NYC who meet because Lily leaves a notebook with clues in a cool bookstore.  Next thing you know, the two are communicating via the red moleskin and falling in love. Nothing is perfect though, especially when you build an image of someone and they don't fulfill it when you finally meet! It's a snarky love story full of quirky characters--perfect! 

Monday, November 21, 2011

The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society by Mary Ann Shaffer and Annie Barrows, read by a full cast

I knew this was a popular book for public library book clubs, and I love World War II novels, so I gave it a listen. It was interesting, but not as good as I expected it to be.  I loved the details about Guernsey and what like was like on the German-occupied British isle though--fascinating!

Thursday, November 17, 2011

iDrakula by Bekka Black

Love the format of the book--iphone/iPad screen shots, along with emails. However, the tale itself is typical cheesy vampire story. I think reluctant readers will still enjoy this book though.  Mina's boyfriend has to take a surprise trip to Romania and then deals with everyone around becoming a vampire. Ummm...that's about it for the summary....

Wednesday, November 16, 2011

I, Q: Book One: Independence Hall by Roland Smith

I believe that Roland Smith is one of the most underappreciated YA writers out there. Why? One reason is because I had never heard of this novel until it was nominated for Popular Paperbacks for Young Adults Adventure list.  And I should have! I read Peak back in March and enjoyed it, so I was looking forward to the first book in this series, even though I didn't like the young boy picture on the front cover.  In the book, Q is 13 and his new step-sister is 15, so I'm not sure why the boy on the cover looks to be about 8.  That's a real detriment to potential readers.

Q and Angela become step-siblings at the beginning of this book and also go on tour with their rock-singing parents.  As if that's not fantastic enough, Angela's real mom was a secret service agent who was killed in action a few years before.  And that's where the adventure begins.  The siblings are thrust into a world of espionage, Israeli terrorists, politics, secrets, and violence. I really enjoyed the non-stop action and appreciated the plot twists that were simple enough for kids to understand, but complicated enough to hold my interest.

Monday, November 14, 2011

Daughter of Smoke & Bone by Laini Taylor

I'm going to shock some people with this review.  This book has received a lot of buzz lately--for good reason.  But I didn't love it. I loved the concept and the originality (so hard to find in YA fantasy!), but it took me too long to finish it. Normally I read a book in two or three days--or all night if I love it. But I found myself watching the rest of the TV miniseries North & South, and various other Netflix shows instead of finishing this novel. And that's a problem, right?

Karou lives in Prague (love the setting) and is surrounded with art, chimera, teeth with power, sorcerers, doorways to other worlds, and, eventually, a lovely man/angel that she falls in love with. I know this is simplifed, but Taylor creates an amazing world--read it and see!  I loved the story of Karou and Akiva, but wasn't too thrilled with the storytelling of previous lives. I might like the sequel better since there might not be as many flashbacks. Don't worry--I'll still read the sequel, and hopefully like it more!

Thursday, November 10, 2011

Wolverine: Old Man Logan by Mark Millar and Steve McNiven

Okay, folks, so I probably shouldn't even be blogging about this read because it's not something I like to read.  I was grossed out by the violence, even though it was super-hero Wolverine violence a lot of the time. I just don't like to see blood-and-guts--in comic books, graphic novels, or movies.  So this was a difficult read for me.

Saturday, November 5, 2011

First Test: Protector of the Small by Tamora Pierce

I hate when I forget to blog about a book and add it to Goodreads. That's what happened here. I've read (or listened) to this YA fantasy novel before, but didn't keep track of it, so I had to re-read it for PPYA! But I'm glad I did, because it reminded me of how much I admire Pierce for her girl-power heroes.

Kel is only 10-years-old but wants to be a warrior like her hero, Alanna the Lionness. But things aren't fair when you're the first girl trying to train as a page.  Most of the boys don't want her there--including the training master. So Kel must prove that she's tough, smart, and a darn good fighter who is worthy to serve the king. And she does!

The Son of Neptune by Rick Riordan

Rick Riordan has done it again--redeeming himself from The Red Pyramid in my eyes.  The second book in the The Heroes of Olympus series is just as good as the first, The Lost Hero. Percy is back without his memory, but, of course, being the son of Neptune in the Roman world is just as good as being the son of Poseidien in his old Greek world.  The prophecies don't lie, and Percy is going to have quite the adventure in the next few books.  He's met a daughter of Pluto, Hazel, who is back from the dead and in this life to redeem herself.  Frank isn't sure which god is his father, but he's trying hard to live a heroic life.  The three immediate friends must go a quest given to them by Ares, and they don't disappoint the readers. I read this book in two days--full of adventure!