Wednesday, December 30, 2009

Death Note: Volume 1 by Tsugumi Ohba and Takeshi Obata

When Light finds a strange notebook called the Death Note that claims if you write someone's name in it they will die, he assumes it is a joke. He tests it out on a criminal who is holding hostages and 40 seconds later the man dies of a heart attack.  When Light realizes that he has the power to kill anyone in the world he decides to start killing criminals to make the world safer, but there is a line between helping and using the power of the Death Note for his own purpose, which becomes to create a utopia-like world in which he is god.

I decided to give this book a go because it is so popular among Manga fans. I have to admit that although the premise is interesting, this is quite predictable, even dull. There is no real depth or interesting enigmas to the characters and the plot is very predictable with few interesting spots. The dialogue isn't interesting, it is flat and lacks any grace, wit or character. The art is static and although technically proficient, lacks life and an interesting layout. Perhaps the later books improve, but I doubt I will read them unless my sister checks them out from the library and I am very bored and have nothing else to read.

1 Star

Tuesday, December 29, 2009

Going Going by Naomi Shihab Nye

Florrie likes to be different. She likes to learn about the past. She supports small stores and tries to help everyone she can. She asks for her family to try and avoid franchises and chain store from her birthday to the end of the year, a total of 16 weeks. Her parents support her, but her brother is angry. Undaunted, she tries to recruit her friends and get into the media.

A wonderful story about a teen who wants to make a difference in the world. It felt very realistic, with a mixture of setbacks and successes. I really enjoyed it and think other teens who like to read about someone who wants to change the world. It gives you some very interesting ideas for activism on your own too.  Good, clear writing and interesting, layered characters.

5 Stars

Sunday, December 27, 2009

A Solitary Blue, by Cynthia Voigt

Jeff's mother left when he was little. After that betrayal he learned to shut the world out, to be cold and not feel what others did to him. Years later his mother contacts him and wants him to visit. He opens up under his mother's attentive interest, but realizes that he just set him self up to get hurt in a big way.  His mother may not be anything like she pretends to him at first, she may not really care so much.

This main character was much more believable then the character in the last book. He felt solid and was flawed just the right amount. I felt real sympathy for Jeff, I have been in a hard spot and shut myself down in a similar way and know how hard it is to figure out how to open up again. The writing was just as nice as the last, with a sparse poetry to the prose and smart dialogue.

4 Stars,

Friday, December 25, 2009

Dicey's Song by Cynthia Voigt

Dicey has always been the one to strongarm her family into staying together. But now she and her younger siblings are living with their grandmother, and Dicey has to learn to let go enough that they can find their own path, while still being supportive.

This was an interesting and introspective book, it is part of a series and I hadn't read the first one, so I was flailing a little at first in order to keep up with the story. This book is really from Dicey's point of view and since she has such a strong personality, she does come off as a touch egotistical. The character felt like a bit of a Mart Sue to me, she didn't make any large mistakes and was too perfect to be really believable at times. However you probably won't notice these flaws as much while reading because of Cynthia Voigt's excellent writing. She has a good ear for dialogue and her writing is tidy and elegant.  The writing is almost invisible, you don't go "Wow, this is fancy writing" as you read it because you are so lost in the characters and settings.

4 Stars

Wednesday, December 16, 2009

The Woman Who Loved Reindeer, by Meredith Ann Pierce

Caribou only took the baby because no one else could or would and names him Reindeer. She didn't mean to love him, but that is what happened. As he grows from child to young man it becomes clear he is not any normal human; he is a trangl, able to change from human to deer as he likes. When he is a young man he leaves to live with the reindeer. However Caribou and her people are in trouble; earthquakes, volcanic eruptions and wildfires are destroying their homeland. Reindeer returns and
tells Caribou that there is a safe place and he will guide her there. Then on the journey the two of them fall in love.

Mediocre to poor book. The plot was quite thin and the characters flat. The writing was bland and often confusing, with too many rambling spots that left the reader in a completely different spot then they started in, with no easy way to get back into the flow of things. It really bothered me that Caribou raised and even breastfed the child, yet hopped right into bed with him as an adult. I know that technically they were not related, but it still seemed too close to incest for my taste.

2 stars,

Give a Boy a Gun, by Todd Strasser

Brendan and Gary have always been teased. They have always been the bottom of the barrel. Always ignored, no one notices them except to punish them or hurt them. But they make that change when the come to a school dance armed and take their classmates and teachers hostage.

I am not sure what to say about this book. It opens with Gary's suicide note and a college student trying to understand why these boys would do something like this. It continues as interviews, chat logs and e-mails. It is a book that makes you extremely uncomfortable because you can almost see why these boys did this. It almost makes sense and seems reasonable.  That is a horrifying thought, because when would shooting ANYONE be reasonable? This book is hard to read, but I think reading this kind of book opens your mind and lets you see a little bit of that dark, evil spot in everyone's head. It makes you wonder and actively think about what you could do, because after seeing that darkness you can't just ignore it.

5 stars,

Pigman, by Paul Zindel

John and Lorraine were just messing around when they made a
prank call that ended up changing their lives. John has pushy
parents and Lorraine's mother is just paranoid. Neither of them
feel like they can really be who they want to be. After meeting
Mr. Pignati, a old man with a young heart, they learn that
sometimes you can just do what you want. But will they find the
line between too much freedom and not enough before someone
gets hurt?

An interesting and emotional book. I have to say I didn't feel
much connection with the characters, and felt they were rather
immature and self-centered. The writing was good and felt
authentic to how a teen expresses him/herself. Their were a
number of nice little turns of phrase and clever ways of saying
things. I felt that if the author had spent that much effort on the
characters it would of been a better book.
3 stars

Cheating Lessons, by Nan Willard Cappo

Bernadette loves to win. She enjoys ripping apart her opponent's
argument in debate, she likes getting the best grade and she
has to have the final word in a fight. When her school gets to
participate in a televised academic quiz she is delighted, she will
get a chance to prove she can beat them all. But she starts to
suspect that her school isn't there fairly, that someone cheated
to get them in and will keep cheating until they win. Worried,
after all how much is a false victory worth?, she starts to try and
find out if everyone is playing fair. Meanwhile she wonders if she
can actually tell anyone, because it would mean such a blow to
her pride.

I found Bernadette a very unpleasant heroine. She is spoiled,
selfish, egotistical, and rude. I found myself hoping something
drastic would happen to knock her off her high horse. A few of
the supporting characters were interesting, but they didn't come
close to making up for Bernadette. The writing was solid and the
plot interesting, but oh, how I hated the heroine!

3 stars

Follow Your Heart: Your Best Friend's Boyfriend

This is a choose-your-own-adventures style book. The beginning
plot is that you develop a crush on your best friend's boyfriend and
the different things you choose to do are up to the reader.

Pretty silly in my opinion, but kind of fun at the same time. A good
way to kill 30-45 minutes and have a laugh or two. The writing is
really bland, probably so you can project your own opinions into
the story, and the characters are hilariously cliche.

2 stars,

Tuesday, December 1, 2009

The Art of Keeping Cool, by Janet Taylor Lisle

The town where Robert and his mother and sister live is full of
fear: of the war, of a German artist, of the army base there. And
Robert has his own fear, shared only with his cousin Elliot, a fear
of his violent grandfather and the secrets the family is keeping
from him.

This book was incredible, one of the best books I have read
recently. It is harsh and yet beautiful. I was so drawn into the
story that I finished it in a day, hiding away upstairs to get out
of the Thanksgiving-prep chaos of too much furniture in the
house and shopping bags everywhere. The writing is lovely and
very reminiscent of the way I think a boy in such a situation
would think. It didn't have that awkward way of trying to put
adult thoughts in a child's head.
5 stars

Monday, November 23, 2009

La linea, by Ann Jaramillo

I loved the book. However, I was dissapointed with the ending. I believe the endings makes the reader believe that in America all is acheivable. This concept of "if you work hard, you'll be successful" is not the reality for people like Miguel and Elena. Crossing the border with all the dangers that the experience is only the begining of a life of discrimination and difficulties that will forever affect them as illegal immigrants.
4 stars,

Vampire Hunter D: Demon Deathcase, by Hideyuki Kikuchi

D has been hired to recover a girl supposedly kidnapped by
Mayerling, a vampire Noble. Also hired is the Marcus clan, a
cruel and violent group bent on killing every being with vampire
blood. As D tries find the girl before the Noble bites her or kills
her, he is at risk. Half-vampire and a skilled Hunter, he is hated
and feared by the Marcus clan.

I really like the Vampire Hunter D books. The writing is nice,
with only occasional rough spots in the translation. They are
very stand alone, in each D has a different mission. We see
recurring characters rarely. It has a very lonely, dessert-like feel.
The characters are always brilliant, and will make you laugh from
time to time, mostly because they are so spot on. D is a very
direct character which I like.
5 stars,

The Two Princesses of Bamarre, by Gail Carson Levine

Meryl and Addie are sisters but very different. Meryl is brave and
bold, she wants to go on quests and kill monsters. Addie is
scared most of the time; scared of bugs, scared of the dark,
scared of getting sick and scared of of losing her sister. But
when her sister falls ill with the Grey Death and only has a short
while to live Addie must try to find enough strength in herself to
look for a cure.

This is a nice teen story about being strong, even when you feel
weak. Levine does as least as good a job on this book as Ella
Enchanted. Some of her stories have issues with the writing or
plot that bug me, but this one was really good. The characters
felt so real and powerful, a contrast to some of hers in other
books that tend to be vague or bland.
5 stars,

Tuesday, November 10, 2009

Pride and Prejudice, by Jane Austen

Elizabeth Bennet is a smart and spunky girl in the eighteenth-
century. Unlike her mother and younger sisters she does not
spend her time trying to find a rich man and get him to fall in
love with her; in fact she mocks those who do so and plans to
never marry unless she falls in love first. When Mr. Bingley, a
wealthy young man, move into a house not far away her mother
is determined to get one of her daughters married to him or his
even richer friend, Mr. Darcy. Jane Bennet soon catches Bingley's
eye but Darcy seems to have a great deal of distain for the entire
town, except possibly Elizabeth.

I had tried to read this book when I was about 12 and found it
quite over my head. I recently decided to give it another go and
am very glad that I did! The characters are wonderful as is the
plot. I enjoyed the writing, it is very elegant and stately, yet has
a spirit perfectly suited to our heroine's attitude.
5 stars

Out of Dust, by Karen Hesse

I like the writing style but not any of the characters. The characters
seemed flat. I liked the writing in free verse poetry. Overall the
book was pretty depressing, so if you don't like depressing books
do not read this!
1 star

Every Which Way But Dead, by Kim Harrison

At first glance Rachel Morgan is doing pretty well as a magic
mercenary. She is making enough to cover her rent, kicked the
local vampire crime boss's ass and is learning ley line magic. But
there are some major flaws, such as ending up as a demon's
familiar, scaring her boyfriend away, and the fact that her
roommate has gone back to drinking blood. Plus, you know, all
the local evil trying to do her in.

I'm really enjoying this series. The dialogue is perfectly timed
and sometimes makes me laugh out loud because it is so
perfectly fitted with the characters. My only tiny complaint with
this book is that it felt a little rushed.

I like that this series isn't as if it was one really long book cut
into sections. Each book has some parts carried over, but gives
you enough info it could be almost stand-alone as well. It
makes it less frustrating when you can't get a hold of the next
book quite as quickly as you wish.
5 stars,

Death's Daughter, by Amber Benson

Callie is Death's daughter, or was until she put a Forgetting
Charm on herself and moved to New York City. Now her father's
assistant turns up and removes the spell, then informs her that
her father has been kidnapped. She must step into her father's
shoes and become Death. But meanwhile she must complete 3
tasks and find her father. This was so not what she thought her
life would be like.

When I heard Amber Benson had wrote a book I was excited. I
think she is a great actress and the interviews I have read and
watched had shown a sharp wit and active imagination. The plot
in this book is great and the characters good, but she
desperately needs a proper editor.

I am not a great hand at grammar or sentence structure, but I
think my kid sister who scored only 20% in her english test
would have made a better editor, that is how bad this is. I
thought the writing could have been quite good if their were a
few changes; such as not italicizing at least 5-10 words on every
single page! Or taking out the far too numerous so's, like's, kind
of's and the most annoying the "really, really's" which turned up
on almost every single page and often multiple times. I
wondered if the editor even read the book, as such blatant
errors as "...take the reigns while they..." and "...I was waste
deep..." should have been caught by the least competent editor!
I am rather horrified that this is sitting on bookstore shelves,
plainly they figured that Amber Benson's fame would sell the
book without the publisher doing any work.
2 stars,

The Glass Dragon, by Irene Radford

In Coronnan dragons and wizards are bound together, wizards
get their magic from the dragons. The land and dragons are
protected by the wizards. But now, with the dragons going
extinct the wizards are loosing their power and the land is being
attacked from both other countries and within. The fate of
Coronnan falls to a young wizard in training who's magic works
differently then anyone else, and a girl who has fled abuse
because of her power and is living in the woods.

An interesting book, but a little dry. The writing felt a bit bland,
but the characters are very interesting. I enjoyed it and will keep
my eyes out for the next book.
3 stars,

The Immortals: Wild Magic, by Tamora Peirce

Diane has a way with animals. When she gets a job herding horses
her employer realizes that it is a rare form of magic and starts to
try and convince Diane to trust people as much as she trust
animals. But Diane has been so scarred and hurt by people it
seems she may never be able to really trust any human.

This is the first book in The Immortals series and IMO the second
best. The Immortals is one of my favorite series ever. It is a series
full of magic, horses, dragons, and magical beings as well as some
of my favorite fictional characters.
5 stars

Monday, October 19, 2009

Song of the Lioness: Lioness Rampant, by Tamora Pierce

Alanna is now a true knight and her gender has been revealed to
all. She is on a quest to find the Dominion Jewel, a precious gem
which, in the hands of a true ruler, will allow Tortall to flourish.
But as she searches for grains of truth among myths and hear-
say, her old enemy Duke Roger comes back from the dead
determined to stop her.

I enjoyed this rousing end to the Song of the Lioness series.
Bold, realistically-flawed characters, excellent writing and an
intriguing setting make it an awesome read for people who
enjoy fantasy.
5 stars,

Quidditch Through the Ages, by Kennilworthy Whisp

What Harry Potter reader hasn't wanted to know more about
Quidditch? This handy little book explains the ins and outs of the
game, rules, and teams. It has a section about different
broomsticks and even a nice section on the evolution of Quidditch.
It even talks about a few other popular wizarding sports played on
5 stars,

Friday, October 16, 2009

Dealing With Dragons, by Patricia Wrede

Cimorene is not a proper princess. She has bribed or ordered
people in the castle to teach her fencing, magic, philosophy,
cooking, economics and juggling, but just as she gets into a subject
her parents find out and make her stop. Finally she just snaps and
runs away to become a dragons princess. Now she cooks, cleans
and does odd jobs for Kazul, her dragon.

Enjoyable children's book. I LOVED it when I was a tween, it seems
a wee bit flat and simple to me now, but still makes me laugh.

4 stars

Tuesday, October 13, 2009

Throne of Jade, by Naomi Novik

When England captured a French ship and took a dragon egg that
turned out to be a rare Chinese breed they though they had gotten
lucky. But now China wants the dragon back and are threatening
war if they don't get him. England quickly agrees to send him back,
but they are about to find out that if a dragon doesn't want to go
somewhere it is very difficult to make him.

Really, really brilliant! I highly recommend this alternate history
series to fans of good writing, great dragons and witty characters.
5 stars

Daughter of the Forest, by Juliet Marillier

: Sorcha lives with her six brothers and widower father. Her father
is too sad and distant to really take care of her, but her brothers
raise her as best they can, teaching her all their skills. Then one
day a their father brings home a strange woman who he says he
is going to marry. The children are frighted by the woman, who
seems to have bewitched their father, causing him to do
whatever she says and ignore her threats and harm to others.
The children try to convince him of the danger so the witch
curses the brothers and Sorcha escapes only by luck.

This lovely and elegant retelling of the Story of the Six Swans
was captivating. I just couldn't put it down! I loved the
characters and beautiful settings. I warn any readers who dislike
crying over a story to avoid this book, I am not a person inclined
to cry very much but I admit to having cried both sad and happy
5 stars,

The Seer and the Sword, by Victoria Hanley

Princess Torina has always lived the pampered life of royalty. One
day her father brings home the son of one of his enemies to be her
slave. Torina frees him and befriends him. Raised as royalty among
his people, he has no problem talking to Torina as an equal and he
opens her eyes to a larger world then her castle.

Interesting story. Although I found the plot rather simple, even
dull, I liked the writing and the characters. Both villains and heros
are complicated folk. Good teens book.
4 stars

Neuromancer, by William Gibson

Case is living a hard and fast life. He runs drugs, arms and any
other illegal thing. He doesn't care if he gets caught and doesn't
care if he dies. He doesn't care about much. Then one day he
comes home to find a leather-clad, gun-wielding girl with
knives under her nails and glasses permanently attached to her
eyes sitting in his house. Her boss has a mission for him, and
she is here to make sure he can't refuse.

I found this book very interesting, but a wee bit too fast paced. I
would have liked a few more details on many things, rather then
skipping on to the next happening. The writing was great and
the characters were fresh and engaging.
4 stars,

The Devil Inside, by Jenny Black

Morgan is an exorcist, she removes demons who have taken over
unwilling hosts. She is one of the best, and almost never fails. After
a particularly nasty job, in which the demon almost beat her in the
fight for the host, Morgan heads home. On night she sleepwalks
and writes a note. The note is from a demon that has gotten inside
her. Morgan now has to face her worst fear... sharing her body.

Average book. Not too boring, but not fascinating either.
Characters felt a bit stereotyped. Plot, not overly engaging.
3 stars

Monday, September 14, 2009

The Girls Take Over, by Phyllis Reynolds Naylor

Eddie is the first girl to try out for the baseball team, something
which was always Jake's "thing." Caroline is determined to
become class spelling champion, while Wally struggles to beat
her. Irritated with the girls for doing things they are good at, the
Hatford boys challenge the girls to a bottle race. Whoever's
bottle goes the farthest wins, and gets to be king or queen for a

An entertaining book for children, but I think I am quite too old
for it anymore. I found it highly fun when I was a little girl, but it
seems simplistic and flat to me now. I would recommend it to
the tween group.
4 stars,

The Book Thief, by Markus Zusak

Asking me why I like this book is crazy, because the answer would be WAY to long. There are so many likable things about it.
The Book Thief is about a girl living around the time of the holocaust, but as oppose to other books about that time period, it isn't completely centered on the hard time everyone is having. Instead, it is about her, her foster parents, and her best friend Rudy. You see glimpses of the sad world around her when they home a Jew in their basement and the whole family has to keep a giant secret. Through it all, the mother is just as mean but funny, the father is just as loving, and Rudy is just as amazing.
The Book Thief made me laugh, made me think, and made me cry so much I couldn't see the page, . It has the best Voice a book could ever have, and is written from a surprising viewpoint.
Markus Zusak is a complete genius, and anyone who has read this book would agree.
5 stars

Claimed by Shadow, by Karen Chance

Cassandra Palmer is heir to title of Pythia, the world's strongest
clairvoyant. Normally the heir would be trained from birth, but
Cassie isn't exactly normal. Being raised by vampires and living
on the run have turned Cassie into someone on the fringes of
every kind of society, not to mention that the whole being
clairvoyant and seeing ghosts isn't exactly helpful if you want to
blend in. Even worse she discovers that a powerful vampire put a
spell on her to warn off any would be suiters and that a rouge
wanna-be Pythia is trying to kill her. She has to try and take out
the girl who is after her, while carefully avoiding any contact
with men that the spell thinks may be a threat.

Karen Chance's first book was quite good, with only minor
problems; this one is much better. Chance keeps the fab
characters and interesting, high speed plot but fixes her pacing
problems and her writing flows much more smoothly. I was
delighted that I was correct and the author just needed to work
through the kinks to write a brilliant story.

5 stas,

The Lady Grace Mysteries: Assassin, by Patricia Finney

ady Grace is one of Queen Elizabeth's Maids of Honor. She is a
bit of a wild child for this time period; she runs down stairs, is
often scolded for being overly loud, and her best friends are a
tumbler and laundry maid. But when Sir Gerald, one of her
suiters, is stabbed to death after a ball where she announces her
intention to marry Sir Robert fingers begin to point. And most of
them are pointed at her husband to be. Grace decides to try and
solve the murder so that he can go free.

This book is written as Grace's Daybook (diary.) The author is
clearly comfortable with this format which is very nice, and
although I found the writing a bit more simple then I like, it is
probably because this is a children's book. I recommend this
book to historical fiction fans.

4 stars,

The Sweetness at the Bottom of the Pie, by Alan Bradley

Eleven year old Flavia de Luce is a beginning chemist with a
particular fondness for poisons. Her family seems pretty normal:
two older sisters, one book obsessed and other obsessed with
herself, one dead mother and a kind if absent-minded father.
But when a dead bird turns up on their doorstep with a postage
stamp attached to its beak and shortly later Flavia discovers a
dead man in her garden, it becomes clear that her family has
dark secrets Flavia had no idea existed.

This mystery completely sucked me in. The protagonist is clever
and yet still seems like a child, not an adult in a child's body
which is what seems to happen a lot in mystery's where the
investigator is a young person. I liked the writing style and the
voice of Flavia rang very true to a intelligent child's way of
seeing the world as neither an adult sees it or a child who
doesn't pay as close attention to their world.
5 stars,

Confessions of an Ugly Stepsister, by Gregory Maguire

We are all familiar with the story of Cinderella. We know what
happened, or so we think. But what about the stepsisters? Who
were they and what did they think about Cinderella? How did
they end up as Cinderella's stepsisters? Were they really evil?
This book attempts to show the story from a different light.

I thought this book would be very good. It has many excellent
reviews and sounds like a fascinating plot. I was sorely
disappointed. The writing dragged and was not very interesting.
The characters were underdeveloped and flat. I was having to
force myself to finish it. I don't recommend this book.
1 star

Tuesday, August 18, 2009

Skellig, by David Almond

i think it is a realy good book and i really recomend it to others and once you have read the first chapter you really want to read on.
5 stars,

I'd Tell You I Love You, But Then I'd Have to Kill You, by Ally Carter

This is the first book in the Gallagher Girls series. Cammie Morgan is the daughter of the headmistress of the Gallagher Acadamey for Exceptional Young Women. Their school isn't what it is made out to be (a boarding school for rich girls) it's actually a top secret, all girl spy school. Cammie meets Josh when a mission for one of her classes brings her to Roseville, Virginia. She falls in love with him, but how can she see him more if she has to stay on the school property? Cammie and her friends break a lot of rules for he really worth it?? What will he do when he figures out that Cammie is lying to him to keep her cover? Oh, and what about Macey McHenry? Is she really cut out to be a spy? Will she ever learn to be nice? This book was so good that I read it in a day!
5 stars,

I'd Tell You I Love You, But Then I'd Have to Kill You, by Ally Carter

This is the first book in the Gallagher Girls series. Cammie Morgan is the daughter of the headmistress of the Gallagher Acadamey for Exceptional Young Women. Their school isn't what it is made out to be (a boarding school for rich girls) it's actually a top secret, all girl spy school. Cammie meets Josh when a mission for one of her classes brings her to Roseville, Virginia. She falls in love with him, but how can she see him more if she has to stay on the school property? Cammie and her friends break a lot of rules for he really worth it?? What will he do when he figures out that Cammie is lying to him to keep her cover? Oh, and what about Macey McHenry? Is she really cut out to be a spy? Will she ever learn to be nice? This book was so good that I read it in a day!

5 stars,


Cross My Heart and Hope to Spy, by Ally Carter

This is the second book in the Gallagher Girls series. I found it to be just as thrilling and good as the first. Cammie's mom isn't acting normal. Cammie's spy instincts kick in. She knows something is up but doesn't quite know what. Cammie spies on her mom and figures out that there is another school of spies! It's a all boys spy school! Cammie is on another mission for a class and she meets one of the boys. Are they better then the Gallagher Girls? Little does she know that the mission won't be the only time she sees Zach....
5 stars,Anna

Friday, August 14, 2009

The Da Vinci Code, by Dan Brown

Robert Langdon, a Havard professor doing a lecture tour, is
woken in the middle of the night by the police. The curator of
the Louvre has been murdered the night that Langdon was
suppose to meet him. The police suspect Langdon, but he is
innocent. Helped by Sophie Neveu, a cryptologist, he tries to
solve the murder and clear his name.

I had been meaning to read this book for a long time, so when I
saw it at a book sale this past spring I bought it. It was one of
the heaviest books I got, so it was in the bottom of the bag of
books I bought and I only just got around to reading it a few
days ago.

It was really good! The writing was clever and I loved the
interesting puzzles and riddles. The characters were interesting
and felt quite real. I recommend the movie too if you liked this
5 stars,

Buffy theVampire Slayer: Blackout, by Keith R.A. DeCandido

Instead of focusing on Buffy, this book mostly follows Nikki, a
vampire slayer in NYC during the '70's. New York City is vamp
heaven, crowed people living in poor housing plus some of their
kills are thought to be the work of the serial killer, Son of Sam.
Nikki fights crime and kills vamps while trying to keep her son
safe. But when Spike comes to town after a fight with Drusilla he
has only one thing on his mind, killing the Slayer.

This is a really good book, the only Buffy book I have read so far
that is five star. DeCandido is a great author, and he totally
"gets" the characters. Spike's character in particular is truly dead
on. DeCandido did a great job taking the character of Nikki, who
we only see briefly in the series, and making an entire book
about her.

5 stars emme

Thursday, August 13, 2009

Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban, by J.K. Rowling

If you have not read the books start with the first, Harry Potter
and the Sorcerer's Stone.

Harry has something new to worry about this year at Hogwarts.
In addition to his grades and his performance in Quidditch Harry
has to worry about a mass murderer who has broken out of the
top wizard prison. Sirius Black is considered one of the most evil
wizards alive and the wizarding community is in a panic. Harry
isn't too concerned, after all Hogwarts is the safest place on
earth. Black wouldn't be able to break in, would he?

The third Harry Potter book has always been my favorite and is
(IMHO) the only one deserving of five stars. While J.K. Rowling
has created what may possibly be the most amazing fantasy
world since Tolkin and has come up with captivating characters,
her writing often leaves a bit to be desired. No so in this book.
5 stars,

Bloodline, by Katy Moran

Essa has lived on the road and horseback, traveling with his
father Cai. They sing and play music in exchange for lodging,
food and trinkets. Essa has lived like this for 9 years and knows
nothing different; so when his father abandons him, leaving him
with his foster aunt, Essa is angry and resentful. For years Essa
hopes that Cai will return for him, but as every year passes he
believes less and less. In time he becomes use to village life and
having tight bonds with people, animals and the land. But with
war brewing between his people, the Wolf Folk, and their sworn
enemy, Essa finds himself in the middle of complex power plays.
His king's brother sends Essa on a dangerous mission to
infiltrate the enemy's camp, where Essa is recruited to be
bodyguard to the enemy king's son.

I liked this book. Essa and the other characters are interesting
and unique, each with their own voice. I don't think I had ever
read a historical fiction book set in the times of the Anglo-
Saxons, and this was definitely an encouraging first foray into
this subject.
5 stars,

The King's Rose, by Alisa M. Libby

This novel is based on the true story of Catherine Howard, King
Henry VIII's fifth wife and second to be beheaded. It follows
Catherine from when she first catches the king's eye until the
day of her death.

When she first arrives at court Catherine is unprepared for the
amount of pomp and excitement. She does exactly as her
grandmother, the Duchess of Norfolk tells her to, even when it
goes against her judgement. She works as a lady in waiting for
Henry's current queen, Anne. However before long Henry's eyes
wander to the young girl instead of his queen. He divorces Anne
and marries Catherine. Catherine must abandon her past lovers
and friends, instead becoming the woman the king wants.

I enjoyed this book very much, but was occasionally confused by
the names, ties, friendships and relations. I had some trouble
keeping track of who was who's friend and the relationships
between different characters. Although I though the writing was
very beautiful and the characters well written, I often had to re-
read a few pages in order to fully "get" what was happening.
This rather annoyed me and certainly slowed me down while
4 stars

Star Trek: Voyager: The Murdered Sun, by Christie Golden

When Voyager's sensors show that there might be a wormhole
nearby the crew is very excited, this might be their chance to
get back home! However when they arrive they find a very
strange phenomenon, a half collapsed wormhole inside a
strangely weak black hole, sucking an unnaturally high amount
of matter out of a nearby star.

To make matters worse a alien race lives on the star's planet,
which is being slowly destroyed by the forces of the strange
combination of space anomalies. The race is space faring, but
not evolved to a level where the laws of Starfleet allow them to
help. This puts Voyager's crew in a dreadful position.

I really like Christie Golden's Star Trek books, she nails the
characters and comes up with interesting plots. This is her first
ST novel and is not as polished as her later books, mostly the
pacing feels a bit off at times. However overall I really liked it.
Definitely a good book for a Voyager fan.

Charlie and the Great Glass Elevator, by Roald Dahl

This book is a sequel to Charlie and the Chocolate Factory. Charlie
and company are in the elevator when suddenly they reach orbit of
the Earth. Two days before NASA had launched Space Hotel U.S.A.,
a hotel with gravity and the interior was a lot like the inside of the
best hotel in the world. When they catch a glimpse of the elevator
the immediately call the president and ask him to do something.
The Chief of the Army wants to blow up the hotel but the president
thinks it's the Russians or the Chinese. It's really Mr. Wonka,
Charlie, and the others! They dock with the hotel and go inside only
to find Vermicious Knids!! To find out why these are bad and what
happens to everybody read this book! 6 stars!!
5 stars

Charlie and the Chocolate Factory, by Roald Dahl

I thought that this book was really funny. it is about a really poor
boy named Charlie who lives in a sort of hut with his parents and
grandparents on both sides of the family. When Mister Willy Wonka
announces that five boys and girls get a chance to get inside his
factory if they find a golden ticket inside a chocolate bar, Charlie is
excited. One day while walking home from school he finds a dollar
bill. He races to a candy shop and buys a chocolate bar. Then he
buys one more bar. As he opens it he something shimmer. He finds
a ticket! When he go to the factory the next day at the appointed
time he meets the four other children who also got a ticket. They
are: Augustus Gloop, Violet Beauregarde, Mike Teavee, and Veruca
Salt. To find out what happens on this crazy journey read this book!
I think it deserves 6 stars.

George's Marvelous Medicine, by Roald Dahl

This is a great book a bout a boy named George. He lives on a farm
with his parents and grisly grandma. His grandma has to have
medicine four times a day. One day his parents go out and tell
George to give Grandma a eleven o'clock. After his tell horrible
things he made up his mind to do something. He came up with
changing her medicine. To hear what happens to grandma read this
book. 10 stars!
5 stars

Monday, August 10, 2009

Something of Value, by Robert Ruark

This book is about two boys, Kimani, a native African enslaved
on his ancestor's land, the other, Peter is a son of a European
who decided to come farm in Africa. The two boys grow up
together, playing and working, treating each other as near
equals. But as time passes the two boys part ways, helped along
by both societies' prejudices and old angers, until during the
Mau Mau revolt in 1952 they end up on opposite sides of the

This book was very good. The writing was simple and clear, not
wordy. The characters felt very real, despite only existing in the
author's imagination. This a old book, and the africans are
considered quite beneath the white masters who run the show.
The are treated very poorly and routinely called names that
would be extremely racist today.

People who have a delicate stomach may want to skip this book,
as what it says on the cover is very true. "There is much blood in
this book. There is much killing. But the life of Africa was
washed earlier by blood and its ground was, and still is,
fertilized by the blood of its people and its animals. This is not a
pretty book, nor was it written for the amusement of small
5 stars,

Thursday, August 6, 2009

Bloody Jack, by L.A. Meyer

Bloody Jack is a book about pirates. A young
orphan girl had a rough upbringing when both her
parents died. Left on the streets, Mary (Jacky)
Faber had to fight against drunks, body-snatchers,
and thieves to survive. When the leader of her
gang dies, she decides to run away and try to find
a living. She eventually spots an opportunity on a
British Naval Vessel- designed for hunting

So Jacky fakes her way on as a boy and becomes a
deckhand. Is she found out and thrown of the ship?
Read it.
4 stars,

Shadow Kiss, by Richelle Mead

This is the third book of a series, so start with the first book
(Vampire Academy) if you want to read it.

Rose is a dhampir, a half vampire, she is also her best friend's
guardian. Her best friend is Vasilisa Dragonmir, a vampire with
royal blood. It is Rose's job to protect Lissa at any cost. Right
now that cost is the man she loves. Rose has fallen for Dimitri
Belikov, one of the best guardians in the world and Rose's
teacher. Although he feels the same way about her, it wouldn't
be safe for them to be together. It would be too risky for Lissa,
if one of them got distracted by an attack on the other it might
be too late to save Lissa from another attack.

This series kind of bugs me, there is almost no character growth
and the characters seem stereotypical and rather boring after a
little while. The writing, while not brilliant isn't too bad and I
enjoyed the first book back when I read it. But this book just fell
flat for me, it felt like nothing had happened, no plot
developments or character developments. Very predictable plot.
2 stars,

Little (Grrl) Lost, Charles De Lint

This book is about two girls, T.J. who's family just moved from
the country to the suburbs and Elizabeth, a six inch tall blue
haired Little. When T.J. hears noises in the walls she assumes it
is just mice. However she soon learns that Elizabeth and her
family are living in house as well. The two girls become friends
despite their differences, but when the two of them are going to
a book signing by an author who may know about the Littles T.J.
is attacked by a group of boys and her backpack (with Elizabeth
inside) is stolen. Elizabeth is swept in to a world she is
completely unfamiliar with and T.J. keeps trying to find her.

I really liked this book. The writing is quick and light, but it still
manages to make a detailed world and great characters. I highly
recommend it to fantasy lovers.
5 stars,

Monday, August 3, 2009

Buffy the Vampire Slayer: The Willow Files, by Yvonne Navarro

I was disappointed with this book. I didn't realize it was just a
novelization of a few BtVS episodes. They aren't even good
novelizations! The author seems to feel that she must explain
every little detail and uses WAY too many adjectives, which really
slows the story down. It also messes up the timing and the
writing, it is hard to have snappy one-liner arguments if you
split every single sentence up with explanation of exactly what is
going through everyone's head, what their faces look like and
what they are doing. Every sentence has at least one adjective
explaining how someone said it, it is extremely annoying!

Don't read this book, even if you are a die hard Buffy fan! You
will be sorry you wasted your time.
0 stars,

Travel Team, by Mike Lupica

You may think that this book is about basketball, but actually
it is about teens pursuing their goals. The protagonist, Danny,
has been short for his entire life but that never stopped him
from playing basketball. When he tries out for the 7th grade
travel team, he plays brilliantly but because of his height (4’7”)
he is told that he is too short. After failing to make the team,
he is down in the dumps and stops playing basketball for a
while. His father, who had been a basketball star before he
started drinking, creates another 7th grade travel team. At
first, the kids on his team don’t think they are a real team, but
they soon gel and become one of the best teams in the league.
If you have a goal that seems impossible, this book will show
you how one boy achieved his goal. I really enjoyed this book.
4 stars,

Book of a Thousand Days, by Shannon Hale

After her refusal to marry Lord Khasar, who she knows is evil,
Lady Saren and her maid Dashti are locked in a tower for seven
years. This book is told as Dashti's journal. As they suffer from
heat, cold and lack of food, Dashti tried to take care of her
mistress, who's mind becomes damaged with fear and isolation.
Saren becomes steadily more and more unhinged, and Dashti
decides that that they must find a way to escape.

I really liked this book, Dashti was a strong and interesting
person and I admired her ability to help keep Saren from giving
up. The writing was very good and lyrical and I liked the
drawings and doodles that Dashti had in her journal.
5 stars,

Blue Moon, by Alyson Noel

Ever is learning how to control her abilities with the help of her
boyfriend Damen. However then he seems to be losing his memory
and even seems sick, which should be impossible for an Immortal.
When Damen becomes sicker and completely forgets about her,
Ever goes to Summerland, a magical place where she hopes to find
him a cure.

I was not hugely fond of this book, despite liking the first. The
characters were quite flat and the plot wasn't anymore interesting
then the first.
3 stars,

The Last Apprentice: Curse of the Bane, by Joseph Delaney

This is the second book in an very interesting horror/fantasy
series. Thomas Ward is an apprentice spook, someone who gets
rid of ghosts, witches, and other creepy things that go bump in
the night. After he has dealt with a powerful Ripper, the most
dangerous kind of boggert, Tom is feeling pretty pleased with
himself. However its victim was his master's brother, and when
he dies Tom and his master head out to Priestown to his funeral.
A horrible and powerful spirit called the Bane has been
terrorizing the town and they hope to defeat it.

I recommend that if you want to read this series you start with
the first book, Revenge of The Witch. This series is very good.
The characters are interesting and the plot is interesting. The
author has created a creepy and interesting world.

Absolute Boyfriend, by Yuu Watase

Riiko can't seem to get a boyfriend, so when she picks up a
mysterious stranger's cell phone and he tells her to check out this
website. She signs up for a three day trial with the Nightly Lover.

I liked this book and I will definitely be getting the next book.
4 stars,

Ultra Maniac: Volume 1, by Wataru Yoshizumi

This story is about Ayu who meets this girl Nina, who is a witch.
Nina is constantly trying to help Ayu out but it always turns out to
be a big catastrophe.
I didn't really like this book. The story and the characters weren't
very interesting, IMO. Nina really annoyed me, which didn't help!
But the art was pretty good.

1 star,

Translucent: Volume 1, by Kazuhiro Okamoto

Shizuka Shiroyama is a 8th grade girl who is suffering from
Translucent syndrome, a disease that periodically turns you
I liked the story but I was not so big on the artwork.

2 Stars,

Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire, by J.K. Rowling

This is easily the best book ever. The Harry Potter series is my
favorite, and personally, I think that the Goblet of Fire, the 4th
book, is the best. Full of action, the plot slowly leads towards the
looming end with much emotion, although J.K. Rowling manages to
keep the plot on tack with the first and second tasks. Although I
don't want to give the end away, I thought that it was really
emotional, and I cried at the end. EVERYONE SHOULD READ HARRY
5 stars,

I am the Cheese, by Robert Cormier

Although 'I Am the Cheese' made me want to read more to find out
what happened, it didn't answer about 90% of my questions about
it. What kept me reading was thinking that it would explain why
the boy was biking to Vermont, what happened to his parents, who
the person in therapy was, etc. at the end. However, it answered
none of that and left me confused and hanging. Apparently there is
no sequel, so it won't continue elsewhere. Overall, I was not
impressed at all with this book.
2 stars,

Harry Potter and the Sorcerer's Stone, by J.K. Rowling

I first read this book years ago, when I first got hooked on the
Harry Potter series. My sister and I have analyzed the series so
much since then, and we can randomly quote scenes from any of
the books at length (our mother thinks we're crazily obsessed).
Now, when reading the first again, it seems somewhat juvenile, but
because I know what wonderful books the story leads to, I love the
whole thing, and soak up every scene. No matter how many times I
read it, I still laugh at the same scenes and get shivers in others.
HIGHLY recommended... I LOVE THIS SERIES!!!
5 stars,

The Power of Un, by Nancy Etchemendy

I love this book. I've read it multiple times since I got it, and every
time I marvel at how wonderfully it was written. Originally, the
main character doesn't like one girl in his class at all, and gets
extremely annoyed by his younger sister who is obsessed with
dogs. The girl, Rainy, went to a carnival with the main character,
Gib, and his sister. With him, you both realize how much he actually
likes these girls when their lives are put in danger. I admired him
for what he did, and got annoyed and sad along with Gib
throughout the story.
5 stars,

Mitch and Amy, by Beverly Cleary

Even though this is a book for middle-schoolers, I still thought it
was sweet. The morals about standing up to bullies hold true for all
ages, and nothing in the plot was unnatural or unbelievable — it
was so general the story could've happened to anyone. There
wasn't a page in the book that I skipped for lack of interest, and
there was constant action despite the simple plot. I strongly
recommend any of Beverly Cleary's books, and this is a good one.
4 stars,

The Carnivorous Carnival, by Lemony Snicket

The Carnivorous Carnival is the ninth book in A Series of
Unfortunate Events. Orphans Violet, Klaus, and Sunny are now in
yet another dire situation where they have to disguise themselves
to try to escape from Count Olaf... but in my opinion, as this is the
ninth book, everything in the book had been done before and it
was just a repeat of Lemony Snicket's other books in a different
setting. The people at the carnival were unnaturally mean, and
Lemony Snicket's writing style is depressing and repetitive. Unless
you REALLY LIKE the first eight books, this one isn't a great one to
3 stars,

Sea of Trolls, by Nancy Farmer

The Sea of Trolls is a very thick book, although that is slightly
deceiving because the font size is rather large. When I first
started reading this book, I thought that the events were weird,
and I didn't like any of the characters. It took me more than
halfway through the book before I decided that I could accept
what was happening in the story, although it took me a several-
month gap before I picked up the book after having dropped it
in the quite dull middle. The pace at the end of the book picked
up, although the story wasn't quite believable, and I ended up
putting the book down thinking that it wasn't TERRIBLE. In
general, I thought the whole thing with the life force and bards
was too much for me, with Jack pulling up fire and feeling the
heartbeat of the earth... that's too weird for me. This book is a
waste of time for anyone to read; the best thing that I can say
for it is that it was fun to make fun of it with my siblings.
2 stars,

Elissa's Quest, by Erica Verrillo

I know this is a book for late elementary-schoolers. I knew that
when I first picked up Elissa's Quest, but it had been sitting on the
bookshelf in my sister's room and I'd never read it. Elissa's Quest
was a relatively short book, and I found the action and suspense
juvenile, although my sister told me that she enjoyed that when
she was in 4th grade. Still, it was a little too unnatural to be
believable, what with talking donkeys and crows. I thought the
book was pretty dull — it sat half-read next to my bed for months
before I finally decided to finish it.
2 stars,

Nory Ryan's Song, by Patricia Reilly Giff

This book definitely keeps you interested and wondering what is
going to happen next. The emotions are realistic, and the events
make you feel happy, sad, or angry for the characters. The author
includes enough detail to get an idea of what things would look
like, and what they would smell or sound like, too. The words made
me cry at some parts, feeling the same sadness that Nory Ryan
would have.
5 stars

Thursday, July 30, 2009

How Rude, Alex J. Packer, Ph.D.

Being a book about "good manners, proper behavior, and not
grossing people out", when I first picked up this book I wasn't sure
that I'd like it all that much. Somewhat surprisingly, it was great.
More than being a manners guide with listed "rules", Alex Packer
shared some of his own funny experiences that made it clear what
the manners offenders had done wrong. There were some long
parts with a lack of story-sharing experiences, and the table
manners chapter was not very interesting, but after having read the
whole long book, I was disappointed that it was over. I really
recommend reading this book!!
4 stars,

The Invention of Hugo Cabret, by Brian Selznick

One of the things that I liked best about this book is the drawings.
It tells a story with the pictures, then continues it with words. For
example, it might show Hugo behind clocks, crawling into a grate
and ending up at a door. On the next page, it would continue the
story with words, like ‘He opened the door...’ The way that the
author wrote it makes you have feelings for the main character,
Hugo, and hope for him to stay well and fix the mechanical man
that his father, now dead, had started.
5 stars,

Queen's Own Fool, by Jane Yolen

What amazed me when I first picked up this book was how realistic
it was. Nicola, the main character, had understandable and real
feelings. Judging the book by its cover, I had thought it would be
old-fashioned and boring, but I was completely wrong. This book
kept me wanting to finish my work quickly so I could get back up
to my room and keep reading Queen’s Own Fool.
5 stars,

Beautiful Boy, by David Sheff

Beautiful Boy is a book about drugs. David Sheff's
son, Nic, had a rough upbringing, as his parents
divorced when he was young. So he lives with his
dad and his stepmother during the school year and
lives with his real mom and stepfather during
summer. Nic is a very bright, smart, and funny
boy. He writes stories, is active, and has many
Eventually, when Nic is 13, his father finds a bag
of pot in his bedroom. He talks to Nic about it
and Nic says that he was just trying it. But David
finds more and more evidence of Nic's use of the
drug: skipping classes, poor grades, his stoner
friends. Eventually David takes Nic to counselling
at school. It doesn't work.
Nic keeps going downwards, and after David finds
Crystal Meth in Nic's bedroom he decides to send
him to drug rehab.
The rest you should read!
5 stars,

Betrayed, by P.C. Cast

In this sequel to Marked, Zoey Redbird is finally fitting in at The
House of Night. Despite her odd Mark and abilities that are more
like a full vampire then a fledgling, she has made some friends.
She is now going to be the leader of the Dark Daughters, an elite
group of fledgling vamps, and she even has a boyfriend... or
possibly two.

Then some teens are killed in the local town and the evidence
seems to be pointing to The House of Night. But when the
mysterious killer goes after her ex-boyfriend Zoey decides that
she needs to step in and try to find the murderer.

If you want to read this entertaining series I recommend
starting with the first book, Marked. I like this series, even
though some of the characters are a bit shallow. The writing is
very good and interesting, it flows nicely making this book a
quick and effortless read.

5 stars,

Absolute Boyfriend: Volume 1, by Yuu Waste

Riiko is a girl who is has been rejected way too many times by
guys she likes. Then she finds a lost cell phone, the guy on the
other end tells her about a website where she can order the
perfect boyfriend. Intrigued, Riiko signs up for a three day trial.
The next day a handsome guy turns up at her house wanting to
be her boyfriend. She names him Night and sets out to enjoy the
next tree days with the perfect guy.

I have to admit that shojo manga is usually not up my alley, it is
too fluffy and happy and just plain silly. I find it usually lacks
plot and has less then interesting characters. Not so with this
one, it is very angst-y and just plain hilarious. Definitely a
romantic comedy I enjoyed.
5 stars,

Ultra Maniac, by Wataru Yoshizumi

This is a typical, fluffy, cotton candy type shojo manga. It is about
two girls, Ayu who is a popular, smart well liked person, and Nina
who is a hyperactive, excitable girl who is secretly a witch. They
become friends and the book basically focuses on Nina putting one
spell after another on her friend or someone else which, of course,
never works the way she intended.

I found it dull, repetitive and uninteresting. Even the artwork was
boring. The plot was paper thin and the characters very, very flat.
0 stars

Ranger's Apprentice: The Ruins of Gorlan, by John Flanagan

First off, this book is *very* LOTR derivative! Which you probably
guessed from the title. However after I got past the blatant
copying of names and places, I found a good story underneath.
Will is an orphan, he is small and wiry. He desperately wanted to
get into battleschool, but was rejected because he was too small.
Instead he ends up apprenticed to the mysterious Halt, a ranger
who speaks little and does a lot. At first Will is disappointed with
this arrangement, but in time he realizes that being a ranger is
quite interesting.
My really huge problem with this book is not the writing (which
is good) or the main character (who is interesting), but the
villain. Named Morgarath (only a couple letters different from
Tolkin's big bad) I found him an implausible character. If he was
feared and evil to the extent claimed it would seem highly
unlikely that he would be heard of only in children's tales after
barely 15 years of exile. These facts bothered me so much it
rather took away from the story.
3 stars,

Fast Food Nation, by Eric Schlosser

This book examines the USA's fast food habit, from the first
drive-in's to plans for the future. It looks at how some of the
major fast food chains got started and the people behind them.
It looks at where the food comes from and the effect it has on
the farmers and ranchers who made it. It interviews workers at
every stage of the process, from the potato farmers to the meat
packers to the people serving up the food. The author talks to
doctors, franchise owners, illegal immigrants who have come to
the US to work, and the farmers.

To be honest a lot of the info in this book is pretty horrifying
and makes me very glad that I am vegetarian. The facts of how
these companies are run is pretty horrifying. The author
presents the facts and interviews, without over sensationalizing

I was a bit disappointed by the fact that this book only really
concentrated on the affect of fast food on humans, our society
and bodies. The author didn't really talk about any of the affects
on animals destined for food, such as how many breeds of
animals are bred extremely unnaturally and have many health
defects. He also really didn't talk about the environmental issues
surrounding factory farming.
4 stars,

Brian Returns, by Gary Paulsen

In Brians Return, Brian gets depressed,and confused by everyday life. Absentmindedly, he starts making a list of things he would take with him if he chose to go back into the wilderness.Pretty soon, he starts ordering the stuff on the list, and Brian then decides, with the help of a shrink that his mom forced on him, to go back. And as Brian fans already know, this is where he belongs.
4 stars,

Rising Stars of Manga: Volume 2, by Various Authors

Tokyopop, a major manga publisher, holds a contest every year
where people who are interested in writing and drawing manga
can enter for a chance to get their short story published. Out of
hundreds they publish the best ten.

Some of my favorite stories in this edition are:

The Calling Grounds
Axis Lumen

I really liked this book and there is a great variety of styles.
4 stars,

Monday, July 27, 2009

Play Money, by Julian Dibbell

Play Money is a book about something that doesn't
exist. Or does it? This book examines the virtual
economies of popular online games, such as World
of Warcraft and Everquest. The author decides to
take a break from his job as a professor and make
some money off of this economy.

The way one could profit off of these economies is
buy selling gold. Gold is the currency of these
economies and players pay for gold with real cash
money in order to buy better weapons, or houses.
He makes some money off of the endeavor, but he
figures that to make good money he would have to
quit his job and sell gold full time.
4 stars,
******This title is currently not available at the Tompkins County Public Library

Buffy the Vampire Slayer: Immortal, by Christopher Golden and Nancy Holder

Buffy is use to a pretty simple routine when it comes to vamps:
kick, punch, stake, dust. But a strange vampire named Veronique
turns up in Sunnydale, when she gets staked she reincarnates in
the next vamp made in the area. An unkillable vamp is the last
thing in the world Buffy needs, her mother is very sick and in the
hospital and all Buffy wants to do is stay with her.

This was not the best Buffy book I have read. Though the slayer
slang is dead on, the plot was as boring as could be. It you are a
Buffy fan you might read it and enjoy the great characterizations.
3 stars,

Friday, July 24, 2009

Shopaholic Ties the Knot, Sophie Kinsella

Becky's best friend, Suze, is getting married. Of course she is
happy for Suze, but it makes her wonder about her relationship
with Luke. Just as she starts to worry... Luke proposes! Becky is
delighted. But then things get complicated: Becky's mum starts
planning a backyard wedding with Becky in her mum's old gown.
But Luke's mother also starts planning, an elaborate wedding in
a huge expensive hotel with all the trimmings. Becky is trapped,
she wants a fancy dream wedding, but her parents are so happy
to have her married in the backyard and she can't seem to turn
anyone down!

Same flaws as the rest of the books: Becky is weak-willed and
seems a bit dim. The writing is witty and interesting and the plot
is not half bad, but Becky is really annoying!

2 stars,

Touch the Dark, Karen Chance

Cassandra is a clairvoyant who was raised by vampires after her
family was murdered. Three years ago she ran away after having
discovered that the vampire who she lived with killed her
parents in order to gain possession of Cassie and use her
powers for his own purposes. Since then she has been on the
run, trying her best to avoid all contact with vamps, weres,
mages and other supernatural beings.

This book started out very slow and had some pacing problems
through out, but they got much better in the second half of the
book. The writing was at times shaky, but for the most part
good. The characters are flat out brilliant. I recommend it, just
don't give up because of the wobbly start.
4 stars,

Silver Phoenix, Cindy Pon

Ai lIng is secretly pleased not to be betrothed like most girls her
age, she has too much she wants to see and learn and do. When
her father goes to the imperial palace and doesn't return Ai Ling
sets out to try and help him. However she starts encountering
strange, terrifying beings she starts to realize that she has
unusual powers and that she has a destiny that requires her to
learn use them.

I really enjoyed this book. Asian fantasy is far less common then
fantasy set in a world based off European type countries. The
writing was beautiful and flowing and the characters interesting.
5 stars,

Wednesday, July 22, 2009

A Dig In Time, by Peni R. Griffin

A Dig in Time was a very intriguing book. It is a great book for
anyone who loves science fiction,time travel, poetry, history-- it
basically has almost everything! The end of the book leaves you a
little bit confused and wondering, but most problems are fully
solved. Many people will enjoy reading this fantastic time travel
adventure book!
4 stars,

Tuesday, July 21, 2009

13 Little Blue Envelopes, by Maureen Johnson

13 Little Blue Envelopes is an intriguing tale of a girl named Ginny who hears that her insane aunt has died, and is left with 13 envelopes with instructions from her aunt. Ginny doesn't know what to expect as the greatest adventure of her lifetime begins to unfold. This book was extremely entertaining and I couldn't put it down. Every envelope introduces a new and exciting adventure. As the reader, I kept wishing that I was Ginny experiencing all of these events. Throughout the novel, Ginny meets many new characters and friends, including the romantic, Keith, who she finds that she falls in love with. This book was extremely well written and had an amazing plot.
5 stars,

Thursday, July 16, 2009

Alichino: Volume 1, by Kouyu Shurei

Beautiful spirits called Alichino can grant your wishes, but the
prices are high. Your soul, for example. A young woman is
wandering the world looking for one to save her brother's life
when she meets Tsugiri. At first she believes that is an Alichino,
but he is only human. However, he does have a strange
connection to the Alichino, unknown even to himself.

I am not a huge reader of manga, but my sister is and she
brought this one home. I read it and enjoyed it very much. I
honestly have never seen more beautiful artwork ever. The story
is well crafted and interesting. Sadly, the library system only has
the first book however I would recommend it anyway.
5 stars,

The Art of Racing the Rain, by Garth Stein

Enzo is a dog, a very smart almost human dog. This is his life
story, and the story of the human family he lives with. Enzo does
his best to support and help his family: Denny, a race car driver,
Eve, Denny's wife who doesn't understand his obsession with
racing and Zoe, Denny's daughter who loves Enzo dearly.

If you don't like books that will have you crying, don't read this
book! The writing is wonderfully simple and straight forward,
just as I would imagine a dog would see things. This is not a
cheerful book, there is heartbreak and loss and worry. But
always, Enzo refuses to only see the glass as half empty, and he
pushes and inspires the humans around him.

Translucent: Volume 1, by Kazuhiro Okamoto

This manga was quite enjoyable. It is about a girl with Translucent
Syndrome, she is often only partially visible and sometimes
disappears completely. She struggles to maintain a normal life and
is helped by her hyperactive friend.

This was pretty good, but I didn't really like the artwork. The story
is very good. Bit much fluff and excitement though for me.
3 stars,

Pet Shop of Horrors, by Matsuri Akino

I love, love love Pet Shop of Horrors!!! Even though the library
system only has some, I adore this series. Each book is 4-5
short stories about supernatural animals and their owners.
Count D sells exotic and sometimes dangerous animals as pets.
He gives a list of instructions, if the owner doesn't follow the
rules, the pet shop is not responsible for whatever may happen.

This book has 4 stories:

Duel: When the boss of the Chinese Mafia dies, he says that who
ever gets the tiger from D will be the next leader. This brings a
flood of gifts and and bribes to the Counts shop.

Durableness: A young girl's pets keep ending up dead, horribly
murdered. Who is to blame?

Desperation: A woman who's boyfriend was killed by Leon Orcot
kidnaps Count D and Chris.

Dynasty: After Count D saves a woman and her child, a young
girl arrives and asks Count D to marry her.

I highly recommend this manga to any fantasy fan.
5 stars,

Ranger's Apprentice Book Three: The Icebound Land, by John Flanagan

The Icebound Land was very good. It is a bit sad but in the end it is
a very good story. The story is about two events. One is of the main
character named Will and the kings daughter (who is in disguise).
They are slaves. The main character gets addicted to a drug and
becomes mindless and the Kings daughter has to help him survive.
Also there are the Will's master and friend come to rescue him.
They get trapped for weeks before getting away. At the end of the
story Will fights off the addiction.
5 stars,

Wednesday, July 15, 2009

On the Cosmic Horizon, by Jeffrey Bennett

Ten great mysteries for 3rd millennium astronomy. In this book, Jeffrey Bennett discusses the ten great mysteries including: Is There Life Elsewhere in Our Solar System; Are We Alone?; and What is the Fate of the Universe? If you are interested in the field of Astronomy, then this is the book to read. With many questions, this book briefly talks about each question.
I liked this book because I got to learn more about what scientist are pondering about these days. This book is also a great book to read when you just want to read anything.
5 stars,

Harry Potter and the Half blood Prince

I have previously read this book but read it again because the movie is coming out. The second time I read it I enjoyed it just as much as the first time. J.K. Rowling did a great job of creating a book that you can read again and again and never get bored of. It is Harry's 6th year at Hogwarts. His classes are more serious now considering they are required skills for his chosen career of Auror.
Classes aren't the only thing on Harry's mind though, he is Quidditch Captain this year and everyone is constantly bugging him about it. Also Harry is more popular than ever with every newspaper saying he is the chosen one. Hogwarts is in danger of closing... many parents want their children at home with them in the times of danger. Mixed in with everything else Harry is dealing with his two friends Ron and Hermonine that don't seem to friendly anymore.
5 stars,

The Kelpie's Pearls, by Mollie Hunter

A beautiful tale set in the Scottish Highlands. An old woman helps
a kelpie who's foot was stuck in some rocks. They quickly become
friends and the kelpie gifts her with a string of pearls. However a
sharp eyed trapper notices and becomes determined to get the
kelpie's pearls.

I really liked this book, the characters were interesting and the
writing very nice. It is a children's book though and a wee bit
simple in plot.
4 stars,

Jane Eyre, by Charlotte Bronte

Jane is an poor orphan who lives with a cruel aunt and cousin.
Tired of her spirits and her trying to stick up for her self, her
aunt sends her to a strict school for girls. The school is little
better, there is not enough food or supplies to take care of the
children. Jane spends 8 years there, 6 as a student and 2 as a
teacher. However she longs for something more and tries to get
a new job as a teacher and caretaker at a wealthy home. Things
get complicated when she falls for the gentleman owner.

I really enjoyed this book, Bronte's writing is beautiful and
elegant. I really felt the characters, their emotions and feelings
were strong and real.
5 stars,

Brisingr, by Christopher Paolini

The third book in the Inheritance Cycle, Brisingr is a great book. This book is about a boy named Eragon. Eragon is a Dragon Rider. Along with his dragon, Saphira,they try to destroy the Alagaesia's evil ruler and his empire to restore the the Varden's rule over the land. This book is a great book. I liked Brisingr because the book is clearly written and it had the impression that the author knew what it was like to be a Dragon Rider and how Eragon felt to be a Dragon Rider.
5 stars,

Tuesday, July 14, 2009

Evermore, by Alyson Noël

After a car accident which killed her family, Ever can talk to
ghosts, read minds and see auras. These intense, painful and
uncontrollable powers are ruining her life. She can bear to touch
anyone or be touched, her dead little sister is following her
around and she knows all kinds of secrets she really didn't want
to know. Everyone at her school thinks she's weird because she
tries not to come into contact with anyone, listens to loud music
she doesn't like to try and drown out the thoughts around her
and knows things she shouldn't.

Then one day a new guy shows up at school. Damen has a lot of
money and is very good looking, but that isn't why Ever is
interested in him. She is interested because she can't hear his
thoughts, but it seams he might be able to hear hers.

This book was quite good. I liked the writing and the characters
and the setting. The plot seemed a bit simple but I think that
may be better in the second book. I am definitely going to try
the second.
4 stars,

Confessions of a Shopaholic, by Sophie Kinsella

Becky has a fab flat in London and all the most fashionable
clothes. But she can't really afford any of it, her job is boring and
doesn't bring in anywhere near enough for her to afford her
lifestyle. She is sinking fast into debt. She tries to spend less, she
tries making more, but she seems incapable of getting out of
this hole, and she just keeps buying.

Funny and silly quick read. The writing was very good but I
found Becky rather pathetic and weak-willed. I wanted to shake
her and make her see what an idiot she was being. I was quite
shocked at how unwilling to deal with her own problems she
was, however she did seem to be making headway towards the
end of the book. I will read the rest of the series in hopes that
Becky grows up a little.
3 stars,