Wednesday, April 29, 2009

Blackbringer by Laini Taylor

Magpie Windwich is a faerie with the seemingly impossible mission to save the world. She and her feathered friends hunt down escaped devils that the humans have been releasing. Now, she comes upon a devil like no other, a dark force only few know. With faerie people who have forgotten their own legends and the Djinn, creators of the earth, mysteriously gone, where is one small faerie to start? Well, maybe Magruwen, the King of the Djinn.

Blackbringer is an extremely well written book. Taylor created wonderful characters, especially Magpie that spunky, stubborn faerie that made the book come alive. Each character brought spark to this book and it was a perfect example of a fantastic multi-view story. I can imagine Taylor's world of faeries, the castle, spider caves, and the whispering old trees. I give five stars.

Reviewer Age:12

Reviewer City, State and Country: Lake Bluff, IL United States of America

The Beautiful Stories of Life by Cynthia Rylant

"The Beautiful Stories of Life: Six Greek Myths, Retold" by Cynthia Rylant and illustrated by Carson Ellis is a pleasant book. It puts the stories of Pandora, Persephone, Orpheus, Pygmalion, Narcissus, and Psyche into modern language. While the stories are all different, some characters' names are mentioned in several scenarios. The text flows as readers revisit Greek tales that captivate their imagination.

This book is a quick read; with under seventy-five pages, it can easily be read in a day. Its black and white pictures are beautiful, but the reader is left wanting to see more. The vocabulary is simple, with the hardest word being philandering. There are some sexual innuendos, but they are not at all graphic. They refer to married couples sleeping in the same bed and loving each other. The euphemisms aren't explicit, but parent guidance is suggested.

slight sexual innuendos

Reviewer Age: 17

Reviewer City, State and Country: Staten Island, NY USA

Tuesday, April 28, 2009

Post Grad by Emily Cassel

Post Grad opens up on the eve before Ryden Malby's college graduation, where
Ryden and her best friend, Adam, are playing a typical game of "Who would
you rather be?" Ryden is anything but nervous about her upcoming graduation,
since she has an amazing, if she must say so herself, plan for the future.
First, do a great job in high school. Then, get a fantastic scholarship so
she doesn't bankrupt her parents. Next, don't do anything appalling to lose
said scholarship. Finally, graduate and get a sweet job at a publishing
house in Los Angeles; Happerman & Browning, to be exact. As the weeks go on,
Ryden still doesn't have a job at Happerman & Browning, well, make that at any publishing house. She loses her chance at having a cute little apartment.
And last but not least, she has to move back in with her parents. They are crazy people and she's always tried to distance herself from them. Ryden wonders if life will ever be the way she wants it to be.

To be truthful, I wasn't expecting a whole lot from this novel. A sweet
quick novel, yes, but not the addicting read that it turned out to be. It
had me constantly flipping the pages, laughing at Malby's quirks and
wondering what would happen next. The whole Malby family, and Adam, of
course, were a great set of well rounded characters. I especially liked
Ryden because we are both similar in our overachieving ways. Though the plot
was predictable at times, it threw a few twists that I didn't see coming.
Overall, Post Grad is a great read for the summer. I look forward to seeing
the movie adaptation of this, which comes out this summer, as well as
reading more by Ms. Cassel.

Reviewer Age:13

Reviewer City, State and Country: Mountain Top, PA USA

Monday, April 27, 2009

A Magic Of Nightfall by S.L. Farrell

A Magic of Nightfall by S.L. Farrell is the second book in his fantasy series, The Nessantico Cycle. 25 years after the events in the first book, A Magic of Twilight, a boy king, Audric ca'Dakwi, rules over Nessantico with the advice of Regent Sergei ca'Rudka. He is the grandson of the legendary Kraljica Marguerite ca'Ludovici. But, Audric has a serious illness and there are those who wish for his death, leaving the Sun Throne open for claiming. The Holdings has split and the Concenzian Faith has two different rulers, each claiming the other to be illegitimate. In Nessantico's main rival, the city of Firenzcia, dispute over who shall be the next Hirzg has created a dangerous sibling rivalry. Ana ca'Seranta rules as Archigos in Nessantico while Semini ca' Cellibrecca claims the same title in Brezno. The Numetodo are accepted and respected in Nessantico while in Brezno they are viewed as vile heretics. Here lies one of the main difficulties in creating a united faith. Allesandra ca'Vorl, forgotten daughter of Hirzg Jan, plots and schemes for both her son's and her own sake, and the Tehuantin warriors thirst for revenge. Unexpected twists and assasinations will forever change the course of Nessantican history and its people.

The characters in A Magic of Nightfall by S.L. Farrell are believable and amazingly real to the reader. I enjoyed reading this book very much and would recommend it to almost anyone. There are points where I lost interest, but they were few and far between. I specifically liked how the author made each chapter about one particular person and their own experiences. It helped me connect with the character a lot better than if he had done it differently. The unexpected decisions of many of the characters and their flaws made them stand out to me and seem more real. S.L. Farrell did an amazing job with this book and it will always stand out to me.

I gave this book a Content Rating of 2 because there are certain implications and descriptions that may not be suitable for some readers. Whether or not this book would be appropriate depends on the maturity of the reader.

Reviewer Age:14

Reviewer City, State and Country: Braintree, Massachusetts United States of America

Reckoning by Arvin Short

Reckoning is about a boy, Albie, who stops a well known killer. Everyone in town knows Albie and his two friends, Norbert and Leonardo, who spend most of their time at the caves at the edge of town, Norbert's house, or the pool. When they go anywhere in town, they are normally met by Larry and Butch, the town bullies. Albie is faced with either standing up to the bullies or trying to control his outrageous temper.

On one trip to the caves, an Indian appears at their camp. Johnny Killbird tells them stories of wars that happened way back when, then he disappears. The boys plan another trip to the caves, but when they get there, a killer is there.

Reckoning is an interesting book. I liked the way the author planned the events in the story, and how he ended the book with a not-so-happy ending. Happily ever after isn't true in real life. That is why I think Reckoning is the best book I have read so far.

Reviewer Age: 13

Reviewer City, State and Country:
Brownsburg, Indiana, United States

Gringolandia by Lyn Miller-Lachmann

Daniel Aguilar has moved to the United States as an outcast. His father, Marcelo, was arrested in Chile for political reasons, and like so many other political prisoners, tortured. Released after five years in prison, Marcelo is allowed to return to his family in the United States. Marcelo is not the Papa who Daniel remembers though; while being tortured, Marcelo became partially paralyzed. Daniel wants to reconnect with his father, but can not. His father yearns for Chile, and Daniel soon gets caught up in this longing.

Gringolandia tackles a hard subject to talk about openly, but Miller-Lachmann does it extremely well. The characters are well crafted, each with their own unique personalities, which I understood and liked. Marcelo, Daniel, and Courtney Larkin may not have magical powers, but all three have the power of hope for the country Chile. While Daniel and Courtney tell the story, Marcelo is the glue that holds the story together. His experiences in Chile are revealed in a steady trickle throughout the book, right up until the end. The horror of these events kept me glued to the book, waiting for the wrongs done to Marcelo to come around to the people that organized them. Gringolandia may not be about princes, wizards, or princesses wanting to be rescued, but tells the story of three independent people that believe in themselves.

This book contains torture and sexual content.

Our rating: 9

Age Level: young adult

Flamingnet Content Rating: Adult guidance

Reviewer Age: 14

Reviewer City, State and Country: Brownsburg, Indiana, USA

Saturday, April 25, 2009

The Summer I Turned Pretty

For Belly, summers are the only thing that matters. Everything good happens then. During the summer, she gets to see Conrad and Jeremiah, they are the boys that Belly has known since her first summer at the beach house. They've been everything to Belly, brothers figures to crushes. This is the summer that Belly has finally turned pretty and she wants this to be the perfect summer. During this one summer, though, this wonderful and terrible summer, everything changes. As everything changes, the more things end up turning out just the way they should have all along.

In The Summer I Turned Pretty, complex situations are throughout the whole story. You could imagine yourself at the setting. You can imagine the characters as people, too. The author did not give much detail at some points in the story, though. I would've liked to get a better idea in my head about what the beach house looked like and what the characters were wearing. The ending could have been better. The ending made me wonder how things worked out in the end. In an overall review, I enjoyed the book very much. The Summer I Turned Pretty, was a page turner. I learned from this book that sometimes, what you've been wanting has been right in front of you all along. I recommend this book to young, female adult readers that enjoy romances and a some comedy along with it.

Reviewer Age:12

Reviewer City, State and Country: Fairborn, Ohio United States

Samurai7 by Mizutaka Suhou

This Manga is about a town that is threatened by cyborg bandits for it's rice. The town sends out three people to search for some samurai to help defend there village. The three bump into katsushiro which is a guy who was walking around in the town that they went to. They take him as there first samurai. Later they find out he isn't one and that he is just a plain kid. Though in he helps them to get seven samurai to go to the town. Join them on the adventure to see what happens in volume one of this series.

I loved this manga. This was filled with action and had a lot of the Japanese essence with it. For example, this manga is read like a traditional Japanese book which is from right to left not like our books which read from left to right. If you are not used to this you get used to if after a few pages. In the front they taught you about honorifics. This is used after someone's name like -San or -Sama. This manga also uses some Japanese words and they explain them in the back. It also includes a preview of the second volume though it is written in Japanese. I don't know if it will be translated to English when it is on shelves in a store near you. All in all this was a good book that anyone would like. If your looking for some hack and slash or just for information about Japanese traditions, this manga is the right one for you!

In the manga there is some cursing, smoking, and gory scenes.

Reviewer Age:16
Reviewer City, State and Country: Northport, NY USA

Friday, April 24, 2009

Beyond Mars: Crimson Fleet

Beyond Mars: Crimson Fleet is a compelling story that takes you into the 22nd century. A martian evil plots the destruction of all mankind. The evil's growing ferocity only touches at what is to come. Can anything possibly halt this evil in its tracks? What will happen to those who try? That one force is the Martian Fleet and its do or die will to fight.

Beyond Mars-Crimson fleet is a very mood changing kind of book (mood changing as in I like it but a few minutes later you don't then you like it again). I found myself caught up in all the action one minute then wondering if I should keep reading the next. Luckily the action in the book is more memorable then the boring parts. I loved the action and air battle of the future. I also loved how much the author made a difference between book and real time. Sometimes I did get a little lost with some of the futuristic terms not defined enough. I like to read Sci Fi kind of stuff and it kind of kept me reading through out. If you are not a big Sci Fi reader or want to get into Sci Fi, this is not the book for you. Those who are big Sci Fi readers may want to pick up this book.

Reviewer Age:15

Reviewer City, State and Country: Newville, Pennsylvania United States

My Vicksburg by Ann Rinaldi

It is May 1863, and Claire Louise Corbet's beloved hometown of Vicksburg, Mississippi, is being used as a battlefield by the Confederate and the Union Army. When everyone begins to desert the town and move up into caves on the outskirts of town, Claire Louise's family seems to tear apart. Her father is a high ranked doctor for the Confederate Army while her older brother, Landon Corbet, is a doctor for the Union Army. Both her father and her brother are sent to other towns to help doctor people, while her mother is left alone to care for Claire Louise and her younger brother James. Landon returns home with a wounded Confederate solider named Robert, who is hiding a dark secret. Both Clarie Louise and Landon know they must help him before it is too late, but they are battling between what is right for Robert and doing what is right for their reputation. In the meantime, a food shortage occurs and the Corbet family could be on the brink of starvation. Will they make it through the hard times that the war has brought upon them? Read My Vicksburg to see what happens!

Even though I really haven't read too many historical fiction books or even heard of Ann Rinaldi, I thought this was a great book!! It seems you always hear stories about the Union side fighting against the Confederate , but you never hear the stories about a Confederate doctor and his son who serves on the opposite side. Altogether it was an excellent page turner!

Reviewer Age:14

Reviewer City, State and Country: , New Mexico USA

Thursday, April 23, 2009

Bloodhound by Tamora Pierce

When fake money appears in the Corus market, Beka Cooper, along with Clary Goodwin, her temporary partner, and her newly obtained scent hound, Achoo, is chosen to investigate the matter. Their search takes them from Corus to Port Caynn, where it seems that there's far more going on than merely fake silver. Beka has to use all of her many skills, such as talking to pigeons and drawing information from gusts of wind, to find the schemer. Along the way, she meets Dale Rowan, a charming fellow that may or may not be the culprit, Hanse, another possible suspect, and Pearl, the rather unsavory Rogue of Port Caynn. Beka's life is a bit changed after this curious episode in the city of Port Caynn.

Overall, this was a very interesting book. The characters, such as Beka and Clary, seemed real. Beka was not a flat, boring character. Instead, she was a believable person with an unusual job. I really liked the terms used such as cove, gixie, cole, and mot, which mean boy, young girl, fake coin, and girl, respectively. As a whole, the book was pretty captivating, especially the language. It was slow moving in a few places, though it wasn't unbearable, and was only for a page or two, which may be expected in a 550 page book. I very much liked Beka's pets, such as Pounce, a cat and constellation, and Achoo, a dog that she rescued from an unkind master. I would definitely recommend this book to any fans of the famous Tamora Pierce and anyone looking for an enjoyable read with quite remarkable language and appealing characters. Bloodhound isn't the typical mystery or adventure. There are aspects of romance, traces of magic, and rather intriguing characters with all sorts of secrets.

Reviewer Age:16

Reviewer City, State and Country: Charleston, SC USA

Tuesday, April 21, 2009

Other Earths by Nick Gevers

This book is a collection of short stories that focus on the subject of alternate universes. Starting off with a story about what life would be like if the civil war never occurred, we than are introduced to a world where an alternate universe machine is invented. The next story tells of what might have happened if the Incas were never conquered and developed an advanced empire. Following that is a tale about a world where magic exists and the people who posses it are segregated, and than another story about magic, in a entirely different universe. The next short story tells of what might have happened if Hitler won the war, and the one after that, what might happen if religions were commercialized. The next story is set in World War 2, and men in the army are hearing music. After that is a tale about the path one family might have taken if certain events did not take place, and than another story about what might happen if a author discovered alternate versions of himself. Finally, there is a list of alternate universes our world might have taken.

While some of these stories were enjoyable, only a few of them really fit into the genera of alternate universes. In particular, "Csilla's Story" and "Winterborn" seemed to belong to the fantasy genera, and did not relate to the topic of the collection. While most of these short stories are appropriate for children, the story "Dog Eared Paperback of My Life" contained several explicit sex scenes, as well as frequent drug use and inappropriate language. It's extremely adult content makes this book unsuitable for children, which was it's intended audience. Also, the last short story was confusing and all over the place, further throwing off the intended affect of the book. The stories in this book were not memorable, except for the ones that left a bad taste in your mouth. I would not recommend this book for children, however, I doubt adults would enjoy it either, as most of the stories are not written with an adult audience in mind.

Reviewer Age:14
Reviewer City, State and Country: New Tripoli, PA United States Of America

Secret of the Sleepless Whales by Ana Maria Rodriguez

Dolphins can dive to as deep as 200 yards in a single breath. But according to experiments done by scientists, they do not have enough oxygen to make that dive. What is their secret?
Baby mammals need a lot of sleep to develop their brain and body. But baby orcas don't sleep for the first four weeks after birth! Why is that?
Harbor seals often hunt at night in pitch black water. And yet they are able to successfully capture their prey. How is that possible?
Some dolphins are seen wearing sponges on their snouts when hunting on the ocean floor. What could this mean?
In Antarctica, seals have amazing hunting strategies to catch their prey in the cold waters of the Antarctic. Therefore, scientists set out to discover these mysteries by attaching cameras to their bodies. The results provide a promising glimpse to how seals are able to outsmart their prey.
In this book, you would find out the answers to all of these secrets & and more!

This book is excellent for ocean enthusiasts who want to learn something unique about these marine mammals. However, it is very simple and does not go much into detail. Usually, a book of this type would be packed with exciting pictures and graphics. However, this book somewhat lacks in that category. There was one 6-page span where not a single picture was included. Out of the five secrets this book shared, there was one that stood out from the rest. It was about how seals can locate objects in the water with their eyes blindfolded. This story captured my attention and was very informative and exciting. Overall, this book does not provide too much information about the animals themselves. However, this is a great book for those who just want to discover something unique about these marine mammals.
Reviewer Age:15
Palo Alto, CA USA

Sophomore Switch by Abby McDonald

Can a Sophomore Switch make all the difference?

California girl Tasha's Sophomore year was supposed to be
great. She had cool film classes, fun roommates, and a
steady line of possible guys to date. Though, when the
"Hot-Tub Incident" occurs, she only wants to do one thing,
pack her bags, quickly.

Meanwhile, across the country, Emily's life isn't going that
peachy either. Her boyfriend of five months has just broken
up with her because she wouldn't go "all the way." Also, it
seems like she can't fit it in at stuffy Oxford anymore.

So, when they are offered to switch places- houses, schools,
friends- for a semester, both jump at the chance. But will
this make their lives better or just plain

Sophomore Switch was a fast paced novel filled with
funny situations, well developed characters, and a question
of what it means to be a feminist. I quickly devoured this
novel in two short days, thanks to Abby McDonald's writing
and her two lead characters: Emily and Tasha. I felt that
both were realistic and quirky teenagers, making them
extremely fun to read about. I loved how they each had
traits that any type of girl could relate to. Emily was the
up tight overachiever, while Tasha was the go with the flow
party girl. My only problem with this novel was that the
minor characters such as Morgan, Will, and Ryan were a tad
under developed.

Overall, Sophomore Switch was a well written book that I
suggest to fans of Meg Cabot and Sarah Dessen. I look
forward to reading more by Abby McDonald in the future.
Reviewer Age:13
Mountain Top, PA USA

Rooftops of Tehran - Mahbod Seraji

In 1973 Tehran, Iran's sprawling capital city, Pasha is secretly in love with his betrothed neighbor, Zari. But being best friends with her fiance, who is part of a secret organization to over throw the dictating Shah and their secret police, doesn't help much either. When he is found and murdered they are all thrown into grief, while Zari and Pasha's relationship grows strong. Reality shows Pasha and his friends that life is hard and unforgiving, and drives Zari to make a shocking choice which Pasha may never recover from. And it could change the course of their lives forever.

This book is probably one of the best that I have ever read. It opened my eyes to what life is really like in the Middle East and how not everyone from there are bad. I absolutely loved the characters and the reality of the world, and how it's not always a perfect place, like many others make it seem. It was really emotional how everyone dealt with things, and almost had me in tears. I could not put this book down and dreaded having to stop reading. I totally recommend this to anyone who loves books and great love stories.

Violence and Swearing

Reviewer Age: 14

Reviewer City, State and Country: Minooka, IL, United States

Monday, April 20, 2009

Lamentation by Ken Scholes

This book is the first of a quintet of fantasy novels. The world as imagined in the book is divided into the Named Lands and the Churning Wastes. At the beginning, science, magic, and the entirety of the Named Lands have been controlled by the Androfrancines, a religious order, since the time of the Laughing Madness. The balance of power is overthrown when Windwir, the capital of the Andofrancine Order, is destroyed. As a result, war erupts between the different powers of the Named Lands. Lord Rudolfo of the Ninefold Forest Houses allies with Lady Jin Li Tam of House Li Tam to rebuild the library of the Andofrancines and to fight Sethbert, the man who destroyed Windwir. The war is further complicated when two popes claim power over the remnants of the Andofrancine Order. One supports Sethbert, while the other backs Rudolfo. Misinformation, intrigue, and changing allegiances abound before the war is resolved. The story has a conclusion, but a new plot twist is revealed at the end to encourage reading the next book.

This book was enjoyable but confusing. The viewpoint alternates among ten characters. The many plot twists and the various points of view make the story interesting but also keep the reader in the dark. Even at the end, not all the mysteries are solved. The postlude indicates that more answers will be found in the next novel. This book is recommended for anyone who enjoys novels filled with magic, intrigue, and complicated plots.

This book contains sexual and violent content, though most of it is implied rather than explicit. This book would be best for teenage or adult readers.

Reviewer Age:15

Reviewer City, State and Country: Royersford, PA United States

Sunday, April 19, 2009

This Side of Magic by Debbie Dadey

This Side of Magic by Debbie Dadey is a quick entertaining read for kids of all ages. The book is based in a small town and the story revolves around the lives of two kids: Luke and his best friend Penny. When they offer to watch their old neighbor Mr. Leery's cat, Mo, they discover that more lies in the woods behind the neighborhood houses than they anticipated. Not only are strange things happening in the woods, but Mo himself seems to be talking to Penny and Luke. When Mr. Leery returns and is told of the unusual events and informed by the kids that they understand Mo, he tells them a secret that will change their lives. Mr. Leery informs Penny and Luke that they are two of three key holders who hold the power to go into another world when they go into the woods. He tells them this is an important power and that he has been watching them their entire lives to ensure they are ready for this challenge. Penny and Luke are amazed at the power they now hold and it is up to them whether to take on the responsibility of being key holders.

This Side of Magic was an intriguing book with a plot that makes it an easy read and will have kids turning the pages until they are done. Debbie Dadey's style of writing is extremely clear and easy to understand. Penny and Luke are likable characters who seem very real. For instance, when Luke is at school he enjoys playing basketball and Penny loves jewelry of any type. This book is the first of a series and the ending is set up for a sequel. When kids finish this book they will want to go right out and by the next one because the story leaves you wanting to find out the next part of Penny and Luke's journey. This book is appropriate for children anywhere from five up to twelve. It is great for kids who like adventure books or for those who enjoy a touch of fantasy.

Reviewer Age:16
Reviewer City, State and Country: Westerville , OH USA

Supergirls Speak Out by Liz Funk

"Supergirls Speak Out" by Liz Funk is a nonfiction self-help book with all the suspense of a fiction book. It follows the lives of about four identified Supergirls and several anonymous others. By defining what an overachiever is, Funk unravels the mystery of perfection in adolescent girls and how deadly it can be. She also delves into the subject of gender roles. In the twentieth century, girls are pushed to be excellent academics and pretty ideals. So, not only do female teens spend hours studying and overworking, but they also spend hours laying out outfits and straightening their hair. There is also an intriguing chapter on female dynamics and contradictions. For instance, many Supergirls don't know how to act around boys. If they are too smart, boys turn away (so the stereotype goes), and if they are too pretty, boys just use them. Many other engaging questions are prompted throughout the book, covering the controversial issues of depression, eating disorders, and more.

Funk's book is remarkably honest. It provokes readers to look inside themselves and try to love who they are. Girls need to stop dieting, stop trying to please others, stop looking for negative attention from guys, stop thinking they're never quit good enough, etc. While the book may have been more interesting if more girls' stories were included and there were more universities discussed, it is still a page-turner. The book successfully covers the pressures of high school, college, and the workplace. At the end of the book, there is an author interview that discusses Funk's own past as a Supergirl. There are loose sexual associations, but nothing is graphic (they are for the purpose of portraying negative ways to get attention). In the end, girls learn that they should embrace their femininity and ditch the like phrases.

Reviewer Age:17

Reviewer City, State and Country: Staten Island, NY USA

The Secret Life of Prince Charming by Deb Caletti

Deb Caletti's The Secret Life of Prince Charming
tells the story of Quinn, daughter of a heart-breaking
Casanova. With the status her mother, grandmother, and
aunt all women scorned, Quinn and her sister Sprout are
brought up to distrust men and shield their hearts. While
at her father's house, Quinn learns about her father's
dirty little secret involving his past relationships. Her
disgust with her father combined with her own recent
breakup drives Quinn to connect with her stepsister,
Frances Lee. Together, along with Quinn's sister Sprout
and Frances Lee's boyfriend's brother Jake, they set out
on the road to right their father's wrongs. Along the way,
Quinn is able to learn for herself the true meaning of
sisterhood and love.

Deb Caletti truly outdoes herself in The
Secret Life of Prince Charming. As a fan of all of
Caletti's books, I would say that this one is even more
touching and powerful than her others. Quinn's voice
connects with the reader almost immediately, allowing her
exploration to reach deep into the heart of the reader.
While the premise of this book had the potential to get
overly heavy and preachy, Caletti avoids this by managing
to draw in the wisdom of multiple generations in such an
optimistic and endearing manner. My one complaint with The
Secret Life of Prince Charming is that the diary insets
are unclear when they are first encountered. However, once
the reader is able to connect the names of the women to
those that Quinn comes in contact to, these insets
heighten the significance and universality of Quinn's road
trip and Caletti's message.


Rating (0 - 10 scale): 10
Reviewer Age: 19
Reviewer City, State and Country: Farmington, CT USA

The Hidden World by Paul Park

"The Hidden World" by Paul Park is a science fiction book. It follows an army general, a fragile princess, and a lascivious hermaphrodite. In an epic war between Germans and Turks, the characters are in the middle of many battlefields. They must try to survive attacks from soldiers, as well as spies. In the end, the characters are victorious, enjoying their splendor.

It is a shame that Park had to ruin his book with explicit material. He writes well, but he just can't stray from the blue material. As the fourth book in a series, the plot is a bit hard to follow. Also, the ridiculously spelled names of minor characters don't help the reader keep track of everybody. The gore is not too comforting, either.

Inappropriate objectification of women and harsh language

Reviewer Age:17
Reviewer City, State and Country: Staten Island, NY USA

Saturday, April 18, 2009

Heartbreak River by Tricia Mills

As a new summer begins at her family's whitewater- rafting company, sixteen-year-old Alex can only hope that things will improve. After her father's death and breaking up with her boyfriend, Sean, last year, she feels as if her life is out of control. As the summer progresses, things seem to be looking up for Alex, that is until Sean returns to work as a river guide for her grandfather. Things heat up as Sean and another employee begin to compete for her affections, ultimately ending in tragedy. As Alex is forced to choose between her once-true-love and a new flame, the two face-off in a fatal battle of the elements. However, no matter who she chooses, someone will get hurt. Join Alex in this coming of age novel as she finds out who she is, and what she is to become.

Excellent detail, vivid characters, and complex situations are ever-present throughout this adventure of a novel. I found Heartbreak River to be an inspiring, yet enlightening, novel, and I was able to easily put myself inside of the story. Through the author's descriptions, I could actually picture the river that Alex is so afraid to enter! My overall evaluation of this book would be that it is a must-read for anyone looking to grow as a person. Through reading this novel, readers will learn to comprehend the complex mazes that a death can weave, along with observing the development of a love story that rivals that of Romeo and Juliet. It is safe to say that this summer-adventure will become the next "Sisterhood of the Traveling Pants".

I gave this book a content rating of two because of its sexual situations. Although they are not extraordinarily descriptive, these situations may be slightly grown-up for underaged minds.
Reviewer Age:13
Reviewer City, State and Country: Elkview, West Virginia United States

Friday, April 17, 2009

My Big Nose and Other Natural Disasters by Sydney Salter

My Big Nose and Other Natural Disasters was a great narrative by an average teenage girl with some acceptance issues. (Who doesn't have those?)
After finishing her junior year of high school, seventeen year-old Jory Michaels has three things on her summer to-do list: get rid of the Super Schnozz, find her passion (aka land Tyler Briggs as boyfriend), and learn to drive a stick-shift. When both Jory's friends Hannah and Megan find their "passions", Jory feels she must speed things up a little. When she does, natural disaster follows. If only she can get rid of her big nose everything will be peachy....right?
In this comedic drama about every girl's worst nightmare comes the story of accepting yourself and getting the guy without causing natural disaster.

After reading the first chapter I was hooked! The humor was great, the issues surrounding Jory were so-true and easy to relate to, but she was a little too obsessed with boys for my taste. She was getting rather ridiculous and getting way too desperate. This was the only downside to the book.
Not only do you get to read a fun teenage novel, but you get to be introduced or re-introduced to those life lessons we keep ignoring. Now if only there was a book on how to accept those pesky black-heads. Talk about best-seller....

I recommend this book for teens ages 15+ because of some sexual content/references and teen drinking.
Reviewer Age:16
Reviewer City, State and Country: NM USA

Thursday, April 16, 2009

Darling Jim

Imagine picking up a newspaper and reading that 3 women, the Walsh sisters, along with their aunt, are found brutally murdered in their house. As you're reading you find out that the aunt was secretly keeping her nieces locked away in the attic all because of one man, by the name of Jim Darling. Jim Darling is a "Seanchai" or story teller, who travels to different cities in Ireland and tells the same story. As he moves around from city to city, women are mysteriously being murdered. As the story unfolds you find out why the Walsh sisters risked everything, and if "He would love her or kill her".

WOW! This book was amazing, and I could hardly put it down. The characters are so well written, and the plot unfolds beautifully. This is one murder mystery that should be read by everyone. I absolutely loved the Walsh sisters, and as I was reading the book I was fighting for them to succeed in their quest. Unfortunately, I also was fighting for Darling Jim. Christian Moerk makes such a likeable narcissistic male you almost feel bad for him...almost. I highly recommend this book if you enjoy plots that are full of exciting twists and murder mysteries that actually have depth to them.

I rated it a 3 because it has a few sexually explicit scenes, and the language could be viewed as mature, as well.

Content: 3
Rating: 10
Reviewer Age:19
Reviewer City, State and Country: Dundee, Oregon USA

Doom Lake Holiday by Tom Henighan

This is an exciting book about a seventeen year old boy named Chip who goes on a family vacation. His dad has rented a cottage by a lake to spend the time, but crazy, unanticipated things happen and the family moves over to an island where Chip and his family suspect the house is haunted. They get tied up in a mysterious past and Chip is determined to find out what is going on. This is an amazing mystery full of detail and adventure.

I think the author is good at describing the surroundings and the characters appearances. It feels like you are on the island. The main character, Chip, is very realistic and is kind of heroic. He sounds like a nice boy that is determined to find out what is going on on the spooky island. Overall it was a good mystery book. It was a little confusing at the beginning, but once I got into it I couldn't put it down. I think that almost anyone would like this book because it has a little bit of everything: mystery,adventure,ghosts,some history,and even some romance.

Our rating
(0 - 10 scale)

Age Level

Reviewer Age:12

Reviewer City, State and Country: Brownsburg, Indiana United States.

Wednesday, April 15, 2009

The Diamonds by Ted Michael

At Bennington High School, the Diamonds rule. The Diamonds are the most popular girls at Bennington. They're the ones that guys want to date and who girls want to be. Being a Diamond is the best thing Marni Valentine could ask for. She's best friends with the ring leader, Clarissa. Life seems perfect, until Marni gets too close to Clarissa's ex-boyfriend, Anderson. Big mistake. Now Marni has gone from Diamond to a lower class loser. Even worse, the Diamonds are the new mock trial team and they're delivering their so called justice to anyone in their path. There seems that nothing can be done about the Diamonds. Marni has some dirty secrets about the Diamonds, though, and she's not going down without a fight. After all, the one way to break a diamond is another diamond.
The Diamonds by Ted Michael is not only outrageously funny, but it keeps you on the edge of your seat, wanting more and more. The Diamonds has believable characters. This book shows that sometimes friends aren't always what they seem and sometimes aren't always truthful. The Diamonds teaches you that even if you're an outcast, you can stand up for what you believe in and triumph over all. I recommend this book to all young adult readers.
Reviewer Age:12
Reviewer City, State and Country: Fairborn, Ohio United States

Monday, April 13, 2009

Coffeehouse Angel by Suzanne Selfors

Katrina lives in Nordby, an authentic Scandanavian town, complete with quaint houses, a Solstice Festival, and her grandmother's coffeehouse, where she spends most of her time. One day Katrina sees a homeless man sleeping in the back alley behind the coffeehouse, and she decides to leave him some coffee and pastries. But the homeless man is actually an angel named Malcolm, and he decides to reward Katrina with her heart's desire for her selflessness. After two botched wishes, Katrina is afraid to tell Malcolm what she really wants - because what she wants is him.

Coffeehouse Angel was really cute. I didn't realize that this was a romantic comedy, so I was pleasantly surprised by the humor. Katrina thinks and says some funny things, which makes the book more enjoyable. I liked the fact that Malcolm was an angel, which gives this book an element of uniqueness. The only problem I had was that Coffeehouse Angel started bordering on silly. Some of the character's antics started becoming annoying, rather than being funny. Even so, I liked this book and its humor, but I think serious readers might find the comedy immature.

Reviewer Age:17
Reviewer City, State and Country: Aston, Pennsylvania United States

Thursday, April 09, 2009

The Bird by J. Marshall Martin

In this book, The Bird, Tripp takes his Granddad from a nursing home in Seattle to their real home in Savannah, Georgia. To get there Tripp takes his dad's prized possession, a 1962 Thunderbird. Along the way they meet a girl named Angie who does art and is looking for a ride to Denver to get a bus ticket to New York. Also, along the way, Granddad hears his owl screech, the one that saved his life from a lightening bolt. When they get to Savannah, Granddad finishes the carving of his owl,then Tripp and Angie find out Granddad has died.

I liked this book. It was an adventure book. It told about Granddad's early memories. Also it reminded me of my grandpa. The author made me want to keep reading to find out what would happen next.
Reviewer Age:11
Reviewer City, State and Country: Leopold, Missouri USA

Whispers from the Bay

Whispers from the Bay by John Tkac, is an adventure book. The main character, Mike Connelly finds out he can communicate with the dolphins in the Florida Bay. Mike fell into the water; when the dolphins came to help him he realized he could read their thoughts and they could read his thoughts. With the dolphins help Mike learns to study and wins a spelling bee. Mike reads to the dolphins. Mike learns a very important secret about the dolphins. A friend of Mike's disappears and Mike must keep the secret and find his friend.

This book will not go on my list of favorite books. I thought I would like it from the information about the plot but it was difficult to follow most of the time. I think the dolphin names and the italics used when they spoke bothered me. The adventure in the book was not too exciting. I was not drawn into the story right away. I had to keep reading through several chapters before it got even a little interesting. I honestly would not recommend the book to anyone but I am sure there would be others who might like it.

Reviewer Age:11
Reviewer City, State and Country: Leopold, MO USA

The Pearl of the Soul of the World by Meredith Ann Pierce

A pale girl is lost underground. She does not know who she is or how she got where she is, just that the torturous pain behind her ear forbids her from learning anything about her. She then meets the last of the Ancient Ones, Ravenna, who gives her a blazing sword and a pearl that contains the knowledge and soul of the world. Ravenna tells the girl that in order to save the world; she must give the pearl of the soul of the world to the horrible Witch. That's the same witch that has brought a terrible drought upon their fragile world. Join this mysterious girl as she journeys to the Witch's Palace and discovers that sometimes, you must sacrifice all you love for a greater cause.

The Pearl of the Soul of the World was an okay book. If you'd like to read it, just make sure you read the first two books in the Darkangel series, or you'll feel just as lost as the girl in the beginning. At some parts, there was a little too much detail that made you want to skip ahead a few paragraphs, and sometimes there wasn't enough. Sadly, the ending was a cliffhanger, and it left me wishing that this was not the last book in the trilogy! So much was left unsaid and explained. The author's style, however, was beautiful and made up for everything the book lacked. You felt the same pain, sacrifice, and love that the pale girl felt. A great lesson awaits anyone who reads it. I'd recommend The Pearl of the Soul of the World to anyone who likes foreign, magical worlds and fantasy.

Reviewer Age: 14

Reviewer City, State and Country: Coatesville, PA USA

Wednesday, April 08, 2009

Genshiken by Kio Shimoku

Summary: The "Genshiken Official Book" by Kio Shimoku covers almost everything a fan of the nine volume manga series would want to know. It has corsplay, Otaku ten commandments, fun quizzes, a start-up guide for making your own fanzme, a new story set in the world of Genshiken, and even some Genshiken love!

"Genshiken Official Book" by Kio Shimoku was very educational to me as a newbie. I have always wondered about the anime/manga fandom and this book has taught me a lot. I would recommend this book to people who want to learn about anime/manga or to hard-core Otakus. It was a new type of reading for me and I enjoyed it.

Reviewer Age:14
Reviewer City, State and Country: Mishawaka, IN USA

Monday, April 06, 2009

Hot Girl by Dream Jordan

It's summertime in Brooklyn, New York. Kate is this raggedy tomboy with a police record trying to make it and feel at home in the foster care system. Naleejah is the hot and stylish thing that just moved to Bed-Stuy. Naleejah thinks Kate could use a makeover to please her love time crush, Charles. Then Kate catches Naleejah flirting with Charles. Will Kate change her ways or continue down the path of destruction in Dream Jordan's Hot Girls.
I thought that it was a pretty good book. It was funny at times, like all of the stupid things that Naleejah would make Kate do. I kind of thought that parts were a little bit too ghetto for me. Like how everyone holds everyone else's drugs and how they just hang around in the alleys and get into complete strangers' cars. I do understand that this is really life and it really does happen, but it was a little too much for me. On the other hand, I thought that it was very well writen and descriptive. I felt like I was walking down the streets with Kate in Brooklyn.

Drug and Alcohol reference Sexual content Bad language

Reviewer Age:14

Reviewer City, State and Country: Minooka, Il United States

The Walls of the Universe

John Rayburn's life in small-town Ohio is boring, to put it in the least. That is, before another version of himself from another universe stops in for a visit. This John, John Prime, is tricky and deceitful, and eventually cons John into taking a spin on his broken universe travel device. John soon finds that the device will not allow him to travel back to his home universe, so he settles in one similar to his own. While there, he enrolls in college, and makes two new friends, Henry and Grace. At one point, John mentions an arcade game, pinball, to the two. Amazed at the concept, the pair demand that he help them to build a pinball machine of their own. Despite his doubts, John agrees to help them.
Meanwhile, John Prime's life in Ohio is definitely not taking off. After impregnating and marrying one of John's former suitors, he is bombarded by lawsuits over his design for a "Rayburn's Cube" similar to a "Rubik's Cube". He is reduced to working in a factory, until the idea is finally accepted by a marketing company. However, his newfound happiness is shortlived, as he is soon incarcerated for murder.
Back in universe 7560, John's idea for pinball takes off, and so does a relationship with an old friend named Casey. However, his newfound obsession with recreating a machine to take him home breaks them up for a time, until he comes to his senses. At this point, John discovers some information on the company that sponsors his pinball business that causes him to worry. He then transports himself back to his home universe to retrieve the one person who could help him to defeat the corporate monsters. It is up to himself and John Prime to save the multiverse from complete destruction.
I thoroughly enjoyed this book! Paul Menko's beautiful script wowed me from page one to the end. This book has the potential to become the next Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy. I felt that this book had no weaknesses whatsoever, and never once felt myself yawn as I started a new page. This captivating novel held to an adventurous but scientific theme, and taught me alot about the theories of cosmology and the multiverse. It also challenged me to think outside of my comfort zone, and made me feel as if there could be thousands of universes. I would most definitely recommend this book to others, as the book is a definite attention-grabber!
I gave this book a content rating of "3" because of the sexual situations and extreme language that it contains.
Reviewer Age:13
Reviewer City, State and Country: Charleston, West Virginia United States

Friday, April 03, 2009

Ten Explorers Who Changed the World

10 Explorers Who Changed the World is about ten different
explorers and the adventures they had. It tells facts you
probably all ready knew about the explorers and facts that
you might not be able to find in a textbook. After each
story about the explorer there is a Life Link. A Life Link
tells you how the explorer you read about and the next
explorer are related. For example, after a short story
about Marco Polo there is a Life Link that tells how The
Travels of Marco Polo inspired Christopher Columbus.

This book is well written. I loved the amount of
graphics and captions that there were. The illustrator is
very talented and did a very good job illustrating this
book. I would recommend this book for those who like
history and adventure. I think the Life Links were very
interesting and a good idea. This book would also be a
good reference source for children in fourth, fifth, or
sixth grade to use for a report about
Reviewer Age:12: Leopold, Missouri USA

Thursday, April 02, 2009

Stitchin' and Pullin

Stitchin and Pullin' is a picture book of several poems. Baby Girl is telling the story. She is telling a story of a quilting group called Gee's Bend. She sits by the group and listens to their stories and songs while she waits for her turn to quilt. Then she makes her own quilt. Her grandma tells her that her quilt should have a story like hers did. So she does tell a story in her quilt. Three strips of brown cotton border her quilt like Gee's Bend is surrounded on three sides by muddy waters. A strip of green symbolizes the fields where their ancesters worked cotton. A large gray square stands for hard times. It also tells about who discovered the Gee's Bend quilts, and how some of the quilts got placed in museums. This book tells the history and story of their community.

Stitchin and Pullin' is a great book. It has very detailed and descriptive poems. One of my favorite poems is about the colors. It talks about what the colors stand for. Some examples are green oozes, orange laughs, pink smiles, and many others. The poems also show how the writer feels for about her grandma, mother, and her cousin. This book is very interesting. I loved this book because it tells the history of her family and Gee's Bend.
Reviewer Age:11
Reviewer City, State and Country: L eopold, MO USA

Wednesday, April 01, 2009

Lucky Breaks by Susan Patron

Lucky is a 10 year old girl living in a little town
called Hard Pan. Her best friend Lincoln is working on a
secret netting project and might move to England. Lucky's
other friend, Miles, is turning six and his birthday is
around the same time as Lucky. He wants to have a birthday
party for both of them and invite the whole town. Lucky's
mom is French and is trying to become more American. Lucky
is almost 11 and doesn't have any friends who are girls.
When a new girl named Paloma visits, Lucky thinks she might
find another best friend. Lucky is a huge fan of Charles
Darwin and wants to be just like him. She loves going on
adventures and even named her dog after his ship, the HMS
Beagle. When Lucky tries to find to find a missing artifact,
half of a famous brooch in a well, she runs into trouble.
Will she be alive for her birthday party? Read this amazing
story that kept me guessing until the end.
I thought this book was a great story. The only problem was that it
didn't really get exciting until I was at the middle of the
book. I like how the story ends in a way I didn't expect.
The characters and the setting was described well. I could
picture the town and the characters in my mind. I think this
is a great book for people who love

Reviewer Age:12
Enon, OH USA