Monday, August 31, 2009

Green Dragon Codex

The world of Krynn in Green Dragon Codex by R.D. Henham is full of mystery, adventure, magic, and, of course, dragons! Green ones are known to be extremely evil. When young Scamp Weaver comes across a dead green dragon that has a locked chest by its carcass, Scamp can't help but take the chest and find out what's inside. Scamp's brother, Mather, disapproves of Scamp's curiosity, and Scamp's female friend, Dannika, also questions whether Scamp should take the chest. She eventually suggests taking it to her teacher, Peda, a monk of Majere, one of the various gods of Krynn. Upon taking it to Peda, a force of dragonhunters ransack Peda's hut and kill him. On the day of Peda's funeral, Scamp, Mather, and Dannika travel to the ruins of Peda's hut and find a prayer candle. Dannika lights it, and Peda's ghost appears. Peda's ghost then sends the friends on a quest that Scamp will remember for the rest of his life.

Henham's Green Dragon Codex is a very good read. It is a shorter novel, the vocabulary is age appropriate, and the fantasy itself is very entertaining. The setting of Green Dragon Codex was the same as another series that I have read before, The Dragon Lance Chronicles by Margaret Weis and Tracy Hickman. The magical world of Krynn comes to like in both books. The gods of the land of Krynn and the principles of magic (white, red, black) However, the characters of all these books are different. This is a good thing. Scamp, Mather, and Dannika are all wonderful main characters in Greed Dragon Codex. Each of the three has a unique, distinct personality so that when they are together, the trio has quite a humorous result. I wasn't impressed, however, with the fact that the supporting characters didn't have bigger roles in the story. For instance, the character Anden first appears when the trio ends up in a wagon heading east. Anden gives Mather some gifts and then disappears. Later on, when the trio arrives at the Thaen Thamateurgical Academy and College of Mystic History and a battle breaks out, Anden is suddenly there to save the day. I would have liked to see more about Anden from this talented author. At the end of the story Anden briefly tells about his past; it is quite intriguing and could have greatly added to the impact of this book. Green Dragon Codex is a very worthwhile read and I recommend it to anyone who has read The Dragon Lance Chronicles or any books about Krynn. Green Dragon Codex is an interesting continuation of what happens in Krynn, perfect for those who enjoy the fantasy genre.

Reviewer Age:14

Reviewer City, State and Country: Paynesville, Minnesota U.S.A

Sunday, August 30, 2009

The Memoirs of Mary Queen of Scots by Carolly Erickson

"The Memoirs of Mary Queen of Scots" by Carolly Erickson is a very well-written historical fiction book. It centers on Mary Queen of Scots, from her life as a pre-adolescent girl all the way up to womanhood. The reader is filled in on all the details of her life--both the good and the bad. There is a monumental journey as Mary marries, becomes queen, is widowed, is married again, has murder strike close to her heart, is not with her true love, marries her true love, loses her true love, is betrayed by family, learns what trust is, and accepts death. The whole book is a rollercoaster of details that will make readers interested in European History.

This book can be understood by all, regardless of their historical background. While the title has the word "memoir" in it, the book reads like an ordinary novel. There are several characters, but the main ones are clearly identified. The book has rape, consummation, and other mature themes included. There are some graphic parts that are not suitable for young children. Most of all, readers will enjoy learning that women from years ago still faced similar challenges of growing up, learning how to love, being hurt, and facing fear.

Mature themes

Reviewer Age:18

Reviewer City, State and Country: Troy, NY USA

Positively by Courtney Sheinmel

"When my mother died, I imagined God was thinking, 'One down, and one to go.'" This is how Emerson Price feels when her mother passes away. Her mother was sick for a long time with a disease known as AIDs. Emmy is HIV-Positive, she takes pills everyday and visits the doctor all the time. She becomes a different person when her mother dies- angry, moody, upset. Her father and his expectant wife Meg, decide to send Emmy to Camp Positive hoping to help Emmy become herself again. Camp Positive is for people like Emmy, those who are HIV-Positive. At camp, Emmy begins to realize she's not alone.

This book was amazing. It showed the truth about AIDS and what it means to be HIV-Positive. Emmy's heartwarming story is personal, and you feel like you're right there in the book with her. Crying about her mother's death, yelling at her father, everything makes you feel like you're in the book. First person narrative's are always my favorite, because you really feel connected to the character. The plot was original, too. I loved the idea of Camp Positive. It seemed like such a great place, and was perfect for people like Emmy, feeling lonely and different in her everyday life, she learned a lot about being grateful for who she was, for being alive. The characters and plot were all well developed and every character had a specific role in the book. Heartwarming and life changing this is a book every girl needs to read.

Reviewer Age:14

Reviewer City, State and Country: Hightstown, New Jersey USA

Winter Duty by E.E. Knight

Major Valentine still fights the Kurians in Kentucky. Except this time the fight is harder than ever before. Caught between politics and his foes Valentine will have to fight harder then ever to keep Kentucky into Kurian territory. People are getting more angry at Valentine. Will Valentine survive this winter or die to try to protect Kentucky...

Knight puts a authentic twist of action and romance into this book. With E.E. Knight's amazing writing it makes this book look like the apocalypse for us all. David Valentine's Bravery shows how well he is at writing. No one can make such vile and realistic enemies like Knight himself. I think every reader reader reading this will be on the edge of their seat at 1:00 in the morning just to finish this.

There is some sexual references

Reviewer Age:11

Reviewer City, State and Country: Dana Point, California United States

The Midnight Charter by David Whitley

In a world where bartering and trading was the only currency. People can trade there services and even their very own emotions. If your reputation goes down the tubes well so do you and you will be homeless or what is know to be as a debtor. You will meet mark which the grey plague took most of his family except for his father. He is till young we he is sold of to doctor. The doctor works in his grandfather's tower which there he meets lily. Both of them are supposed to fulfill a prophecy of the town. Did they meet by chance or just destiny.

This book was very hard to understand in the beginning but as it progressed it got easier to understand. All the vocabulary was fine just understanding the world at first was a little hard. Then the middle of the book was good once you understood the working of the world. Then I disliked the ending, not because of what the character decided at the end but how it was a cliff hanger. It got me a bit mad because I didn't like the book at the start then I thought it was going to get way better but the end just cut it off. Though I believe the author did this so he can make another book. The best thing about this book was the setting which was this other world. Going to much detail in this world and not helping out the characters made this book not so great. All in all this book is not that good, the thing I would change is to work on the plot.

Reviewer Age:16

Reviewer City, State and Country: Northport, NY USA

Friday, August 28, 2009

Girls Just Wanna Have Guns by Toni McGee Causey

What do you get when you mix three different kidnappers, missing diamonds, and voodoo? The answer is a new Bobbie Faye adventure. When a couple of million dollar diamonds go missing, Bobbie Faye's life is turned upside down. Francesca, Bobbie Faye's cousin, is convinced that Bobbie Faye knows the location of the diamonds. Unfortunately, three different kidnappers and their hitmen believe the same. What else is a girl to do when family is involved? Bobbie Faye goes after the diamonds and soon discovers startling details about the people she thought she knew. Join Bobbie Faye in her new adventure surrounded by a handsome FBI employee, an ex-boyfriend, and explosions like you've never seen them before.

While the story line itself was fine, I could not focus on the story because of all the unnecessary foul language. The words were numerous across every single page of the book. I hardly paid attention to the story because I was too busy thinking, "Those words are horrible and there is no point in having them in the story." Even when I tried to read the story and forget the curse words, I couldn't do it because "fudge" was written and used as pretty much every adjective. I myself think that this book is a sorry attempt to reach the teenage world through language, and I do not recommend it to anyone.

There is at least one curse word on every page, sometimes as many as five. Most of the time the curse word rhymes with duck and is known as "fudge".

Reviewer Age:15

Reviewer City, State and Country: Mineola, TX U.S.A.

Tuesday, August 25, 2009

Chance Fortune in the Shadow Zone

Chance and the Outlaws are mysteriously transported to the Shadow Zone. After an encounter with the dark beings called shadowmen, the Outlaws are separated. Four of them are captured and sent to the Shadow Tower, where the dreaded Shadow Prince is awaiting a moment that the Outlaws are unfortunately there to see. Can Chance and the Outlaws reunite themselves and escape, or will they be trapped in the Shadow Zone forever? Watch the story unfold in Chance Fortune in the Shadow Zone.

Chance Fortune in the Shadow Zone is a great book for the super-hero lovers of the world. The combination of action-adventure and mystery is the best. The action happened quick and sometimes slow but left that wave of suspense that made you not want to put the book down. The plot was so thick that you could cut it with a knife and no one could even guess what would happen next. Anyone looking for a good super-hero book would be satisfied if they read this.

Content: 1
Rating: 10
Reviewer Age:12
Reviewer City, State and Country: Mineola, Texas, America

Love is the higher law

"Love is the Higher Law" is the story of three teenagers: Claire, Jasper, and Peter. They all live in New York City at the time of the 9/11 terrorist attacks on the World Trade Centers. Each is affected in a different way. This book tells the tale of how they coped and how their lives were forever changed by the events on that fateful Tuesday morning.

This book was extremely well-written. I have always been intrigued by books written about 9/11 and this was by far the best fictional account of the attacks I have ever read. David Levithan creates depth in his characters, something I find extremely rare and hard to accomplish. I felt a lot of sympathy for Claire, Jasper, and Peter, as all their worlds got flipped upside down. The book asks the ever-interesting question, "Where were you when the plane hit the first tower?" Levithan has written a wonderful and heart-wrenching novel that I will surely read again and again. I would recommend this for anyone who was old enough to remember the attacks, but too young to grasp the meaning, just like I was. At the time, I didn't realize the magnitude of the attacks and this book has helped me realize just how bad it was. An instant classic.

Many instances of harsh language (including the f-bomb) and several sexual scenes.

Reviewer Age:15

Reviewer City, State and Country: Westerville, OH United States

Monday, August 24, 2009

A Flash of Hex by Jes Battis

A Flash of Hex by Jes Battis is very realistic for its genre. Tess, Mia and Derrick make up a very dysfunctional family that also seems to work. Tess and Derrick live together and have adopted Mia, a teenage vampire, while working as Occult Special Investigators (OSI). And they're working on the case of a dead runaway drug addict. On the way to finding whoever or whatever plastered this boy across the ceiling of a new apartment, two new murders take place and other not so good situations. Miles from Toronto is called in as a profiler and Lucian the yummy necromancer that has a past with Tess, is also called in to help with the case. Love or companionship is most always found in these dark and dangerous times and there is no lack of that in Tess' world.

A flash of Hex is well written with a lot of descriptions of people and places. I also like how this whole other world of mystical creatures and people, are so smoothly incorporated into the "real world." There are situations that can occur in one world can happen in the other and that the mystical world is not stuck in what seems like another era. Both worlds are modern and the mystical world is not left behind like some other books where two worlds life side by side. I also like how these worlds are not parallel anymore and that they intersect.

Reviewer Age:15

Reviewer City, State and Country: Guilderland, New York USA

Lessons From A Dead Girl by Jo Knwles

Laine McCarthy wished for something, something bad. She wished for Leah Greene to die. Now Leah is dead and Laine believes that it was her fault. She feels guilty about her death, but she hated Leah. She can't help but still hate Leah for all of those things Leah made her do in the closet. Leah had told her that they were praticing. She wanted them to be prepared for when they were older and had boyfriends. laine knows that she lied. She knows that other bestfriends don't do those things. Laine just doesn't understand why Leah chose her out of all the girls she could've chosen. Does she have some kind of importance or was she just easy to control? Leah is dead now and Laine knows that she can't erase the memory of what happened all those years ago. Now she needs to find meaning in the lessons that she was forced to learn. Laine knows she has to find it in her heart to forgive Leah, because maybe something drove Leah to do it. Maybe something worse had happened to Leah for her to hurt Laine so emotinally.

This book was very interesting. It was very different than most young adult novels turn out to be. It had surprising twists to it. Lessons from a Dead Girl explains about abuse and guilt. Jo Knowles did and excellent job on the plot of this book. I enjoyed every last page that I read. Lessons from a Dead Girl tells the story of forgiveness and it tells the story of two young, very confused girls. I recommend this book to all young adult readers who enjoy all genres.

Reviewer Age:13

Reviewer City, State and Country: Fairborn, Ohio USA

Friday, August 21, 2009

Stealing Heaven

What would you do if you had to move every few weeks? What
if you had to live out of a suitcase and make new friends?
What if you had to move all the time because you and your
mother stole things? Well, in Dani's case, that's reality.
She must help her mother break into houses, steal silver,
and leave town as quickly as possible. As an eighteen year
old, Dani has never been to high school, had friends, or a
boyfriend. Dani and her mother have "settled in" to a
little beach town called Heaven. Dani has finally made a
friend and met an amzing guy, who happens to be a cop. Can
she balance her new relationships while still pleasing her
mother? Only time can tell, in Stealing Heaven.

It took
me some time to get into this book. In the first part of
the book, the author switched back and forth from past to
present frequently, and at times I was confused with which
state the character was in. Other than that, I liked the
book. Each character was well thought out, and I felt like
I knew them. I also loved the vulnerability of Dani. She
was torn between pleasing her mother and pleasing herself.
She tried doing both, but in the end, it failed. I think
all teenagers have tried to please both their families and
friends, and at one point or another, they have chosen the
wrong one. I also loved the relationship between Dani and
the police officer. It was obvious Dani liked him, but the
love was forbidden. The characters were realistic and the
author did an excellent job.


Reviewer City, State and Country: Villa Hills, KY
United States

Fantastical Creatures Field Guide

The Fantastical Creatures Field Guide is a collection of
short, one-page stories about different fantastical
creatures. Each short story has a picture of the creature
being described, and includes creatures from all seven
continents. Each creature's story is written in news
article form, which gives the stories a more realistic

The stories in this book were amazing, as were the
illustrations that went with them. I liked the way that
each story was written almost like a news article,
featuring one creature at a time. The stories themselves
were humorous and made me smile more often than not. I
really enjoyed this book and all the creatures featured in
it. Anyone into the fantasy realm of books would enjoy
this book.

Reviewer Age:17

Reviewer City, State and
Country: Highland, MI USA

Thursday, August 20, 2009

Emma Dilemma and the Camping Nanny by Patricia Hermes

"Emma Dilemma and the Camping Nanny" by Patricia Hermes is about a little girl with a nanny she adores. Then, one day, the nanny gets a significant other. This makes Emma insecure and afraid that the nanny will forget about her. Also, to add to stress, Emma is having trouble when her best friend acquires a new friend. To top it all off, Emma finds herself lying and breaking rules. The ending is satisfactory, but the plot, conflict, and resolution are what really draw the reader in.

While the title mentions camping, the actual camping itself is only a small segment of the book. The bulk of the story revolves around Emma and her issues. This book has great lessons for young children. Through the adventures of Emma, readers learn that people can love more than one person at the same time. This can relate to parents not picking favorites and friends expanding their influence to include someone new. This story is great for young readers, boys and girls alike.

Reviewer Age:18

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

The Magic Scales by Sam Wilding

The Magic Scales is an adventure about James, a boy whose dad disappeared, and Mendel, a goldfish who is a wizard.

Shortly after meeting Mendel, James learns that the sun of Denthan, the world Mendel cames from, is about to go supernova.

Mendel proceeds to get to Denthan to try and save it. James and his friend Craig are dragged into a whirl of adventure and mystery to try and save Denthan.

In my opinion of The Magic Scales, you can get lost in this book. The writing is powerful and it draws you in. I found this book very interesting. I loved the ending, but I can't reveal that and spoil it for you. I think the author couldn't have done better.

Reviewer Age:13

Reviewer City, State and Country: Chippewa Falls, WI USA

Wednesday, August 19, 2009

Gamer Fantastic by Martin H. Greenberg

"Gamer Fantastic" is a collection of fantasy short stories relating to video games. The stories are about everything from a single virtual reality to many virtual realities and everything in between. Each short tale is told by a different author.

This book held my interest at the beginning, but failed to do so the further I got into it. The first few stories were very entertaining. Each story behind those became harder and harder to understand. I would finish a story and have no idea what happened. I found that each author had a different writing style and, while they may understand their own plot, it is impossible for anyone else to grasp the concept of the writing. I would only recommend this to fans of fantasy writing, as I doubt anyone else would be able to understand it.

This book contained many sexual references and instances of profanity.

Reviewer Age:15
Reviewer City, State and Country: Westerville, OH United States

Seventeen by Per Nilsson

Seventeen by Per Nilsson is about Jonatan, a seventeen year old boy who is lying in the hospital. When his absentee father, Goran, comes to his bedside Goran decides that, although his son may not be able to hear him, it is the perfect time to tell Jonatan about his life and why he hasn't been there for the past eleven years. During the story Jon also hears his mother Karin's side of the story and his girlfriend's point of view. The story will not be about what you expect. You may even find that your curiosity may lead you in one direction at the beginning and in another direction towards the end.

Seventeen begins with a wonderful opening paragraph. The structure of the book makes it easy for the reader to find a good stopping point and makes the book a quick read. The narrator tends to talk about pictures of his life and then gives background information on what is occurring; allowing the reader to ponder a bit before everything is fully explained. The novel's European setting adds to the brilliance of the book and is refreshing compared to the usual American stories most young adults read about in the United States. In the beginning, the story is told from the father's point of view. The entrance of Jonatan's girlfriend permits the reader to relate to the story on a personal level, as Jonatan's peer. Per Nilsson is very in tune with the mind of his reader. This is exhibited in how the opinions of the audience are addressed within the story and the realism with which the characters acknowledge their verbal and historical faults. Nilsson expounds the idea that even the events in life that seem insignificant, can be very life altering. Small and large events can change a person; including the day-to-day habits that provoke new thoughts and decisions. Although the book doesn't end the way one might expect it is still quite a satisfying ending.

Reviewer Age:16
Reviewer City, State and Country: Raleigh, NC United States

Natasha Lands Down Under by Katherine McCaughan

Natasha can no longer live in China because of the communist takeover. Her family decides to move to Australia where a family member is willing to sponsor them. There is one major problem with that: only Natasha's mother can speak English. Natasha, her father, Babushka, and sisters speak Russian. When they move to Australia they are treated harshly by the others. Even in school, Natasha is thought of as an outcast. While learning English and adjusting to their new surroundings, Natasha and her family become integrated with the people and liked by those who accept them. If only that were the end to their problems...
I enjoy learning languages and reading about different cultures. This book was a wonderful example to me of two--if not three--different cultures. Natasha was Russian at home, Australian at school, and missed her Chinese home. The vocabulary was decent and portrayed the character's emotions well. The only slight problem that I found with the book is that Natasha is very young in the story, and she is very mature. Realistically speaking, I think that she was too mature for her age. With her experiences, however, Natasha would be more mature than most children. I recommend this book to people who enjoy cultures or stories of fitting in.

Reviewer Age:16
Reviewer City, State and Country: Carlisle, Pennsylvania United States of America

Tuesday, August 18, 2009

Untamed by P.C. & Kristin Cast (two reviews)

Zoey started off on the wrong path. Her friends won't talk to her, some mysterious ghost-like thing is out to get her, and the one friend who does talk to her has visions of Zoey dying. Zoey has been marked; she is a vampyre. She's living
in the House of Night school. Zoey is trying to pull everything together again like it used to be, but it's hard when she starts disagreeing with everyone about having war with humans, and when she starts seeing her old friend Stevie Rae again. Zoey just needs to calm down and try to deal with everything at once.

Untamed is okay. It didn't capture my attention right away. Since it is in a series, I had no idea what had happened or was happening at the time. It was difficult to
follow along with but I often found myself drifting off while reading this book. Some of this book kept me entertained or was exciting, but overall I didn't really
enjoy reading this book. I would not recommend this to anyone who hasn't read the first three books because the beginning is hard to understand
Reviewer Age:12
Reviewer City, State and Country: Midlothian, VA United States

I read the book Untamed, the third book to The House of Night series. In this book, Zoey's friends have become angry with her and she has to befriend her once mortal enemy, Aphrodite. Aphrodite has visions of terrible things that will happen in the future and when she sees Zoey dying because she was alone, she has to make up with her friends. Everything starts to go wrong when vampires start getting killed and Neferet, who just might be evil, declares war on humans. Neferet calls on demons from long ago to rise and Zoey and her other "gifted" friends have to use their affinity for the 5 elements to save the human race.

This book was enchanting. I couldn't put it down, the characters where so realistic and the plot hooked you right in. This book would be a good read for anyone because it has mystery, romance, fantasy, friendship, you name it. Move over Harry Potter make way for a new series of books! The only bad thing about these books is the cliff hanger ending it keeps you wanting more.
Reviewer Age:12
Reviewer City, State and Country: Grand Island, Nebraska United States

Sunday, August 16, 2009

Alvor by Laura Bingham

Twins Erin and Bain were out exploring in the hills by their home when they found a mysterious cabin. They slowly went inside to investigate the beautiful cabin. Once inside they are introduced to many creatures that people never thought existed! Erin and Bain discover that they were picked to be the chosen ones for the land called the Kingdom, and they needed to start training right away. After they train they discover they have many gifts that allow them to do various things, that's when they find out about the evil forces in the Kingdom. Bain and Erin must decide whether to leave their normal life or their new magical life, it's a hard decision, what will they decide....

In Alvor, the setting is in the summer time in the hills of the North East, Bingham described this setting with such words that made it seem that she was there herself to experience the beauty of this region. Mrs. Bingham also made the mood of the book very user friendly so that it was hard to not stop reading the book when I should've returned back into real life. Erin and Bain are some of my most favorite characters in the world! They are so real and vivid that I thought I could call them up and talk with them, but they are fake so they don't have a number. The voice of the narrator's voice had a tone that was very magical in it's way of sharing the story. It was really cool that the voice was like this.

I thought the author did everything that this book was ment to do. Bingham described the world of Alvor with such detail that I couldn't hardly believe that is wasn't true. Alvor has many strong points to it, such as the amazing characters and the bond that Bain and Erin share. But this book had very minimal flaws, the plot seemed that it wasn't done when she finished writing the book. Bingham was hopefully leaving it off so she could write a sequel, hopefully! I've read many fantasy books and this is one of the best I've ever read! I thought that Mrs. Bingham could've given Bain and Erin more powers and explained them. I would definitely recommend Alvor to anyone that loves a wonderful fantasy and that enjoys just a good book. This has been one of my favorite books to read and I can't wait for a sequel

Reviewer Age:14

Reviewer City, State and Country: Paynesville, MN United States of America

Burning Skies by David J. Williams

The dark future of The Burning Skies, in 22nd century is a reality to United States counterintelligence agent Claire Haskell. Having been altered by the leader of an advanced organization called Autumn Rain, doesn't make her life any easier. Haskell is wanted by the Rain whose intentions are not only to control all the world, but to rule humanity itself. If these fiends are to be stopped, Haskell must fight back with her advanced technological abilities to control the zone, which is a variation of the Internet. Will Haskell be able to succeed when the enemy might be a few steps in head of her and her companions... or is there a greater scheme to be played?

The Burning Skies by David J. Williams was a decent book. The characters had personality, the plot had twists, and the action of the book was never ending. But out of all those things, the book didn't really excite me. There were various vantage points all through out the book that really threw the reader off if they didn't know what each symbol at the beginning of the next perspective ment. There were six symbols all in total. Also, the book didn't set a nice pace, it was pure action and violence for the first three quarters of the book, which moved at a snails pace, then the ending propelled to the conclusion. Although the ending was quite unexpected, you could guess some of the plot. Science fiction is a wonderful genre to write with, you never now what the future holds, but even though The Burning Skies didn't have a good plot, the setting in which it takes place looks like a very accurate guess to a possible future. Williams created a piece that many Star Trek and Matrix fans will love. Sci Fi is wonderful and David J. Williams gave us a taste of this world with The Burning Skies.

The Burning Skies has adult content in which young readers might find unpleasant. Parents/teachers probably should read the book first before letting their kid/student read this book.

Reviewer Age:14

Reviewer City, State and Country: Paynesville, MN United States of America

Saturday, August 15, 2009

Airs of Night and Sea by Toby BIshop

Airs of Night and Sea by Tony Bishop, the third in the Horsemistress Saga, is about the hardships of several characters as they oppose the Duke of Oc. The characters get kidnapped, are forced into refuge, and illegaly flee the school all the while worrying about final exams. An intruiging story with twists and turns. The story is told from the point of view of each character.
The book is great. Although I didn't get to experience it to its full potential, as I did not read the previous books and it being girl-oriented, I still enjoyed it. The extra attention put in to build a new world compliments the author's meticulous attention to details. The characters are memorable and it's easy to see whose talking. Something most people forget. My favorite parts were Amelia's and William's side of things. I have no qualms with this book and can find no faults. Let's hope Toby Bishop continues to write books.
Reviewer Age:14
Reviewer City, State and Country: Mineola, Texas U.S.

Friday, August 14, 2009

Pirouette: Ballet Stories by Harriet Castor

The Pirouette is a collection of fiction short stories
based on ballet life. Harriet Castor has chosen the
stories for the book. The book has sixteen short stories
meant for teens. The focus is the different problems and
achievements made by young girls in the ballet world.
Harriet Castor wrote one story called Grace, based on how
a young girl who did not have the dream of ballet but her
mom did.

Each of the stories focused on one young lady
in the ballet world. One story may be about school and
ballet or about repeated frustrations during work outs.
Most stories were set in English schools and homes. It was
hard to see them due to not knowing England's countryside
or the differences in school systems that came up
frequently. The book would be wonderful for hopeful future
ballerinas. The everyday teen may have a hardtime sticking
with the book due to its focus solely on

Reviewer Age:20
Reviewer City, State and
Country: Marble Hill, Missouri Bolliger

Thursday, August 13, 2009

Notes from the Dog

Notes from the Dog is a very inspirational book. It starts out with a kid named Finn, his friend Matt, and Finn's dog Dylan. One day on their summer vacation they meet a girl with breast cancer who is going through chemo. Finn was hoping to only talk to twelve people this summer but he over shoots his number by a huge amount. Join the journey of this shy teenager as he opens up and does things he doesn't plan to do. Johana, the girl with breast cancer, also gives notes to the dog to give to Finn. With the notes and nagging Finn in to things, you would be surprised what Johana gets him to do.

One thing I liked about this book was that it was very predictable but you never knew how things were going to happen. This gave you a reason to keep reading even though you predicted an event a chapter before it happened. I also liked that all of the characters were developed very well. You end up learning a lot of characters and you never stop learning until the end. My overall opinion is that this book was a very fast read, but even though it was quick, it doesn't lose any impact on the reader.

Reviewer Age:15

Reviewer City, State and Country: Newville , PA USA

Fade To Blue by Sean Beaudoin

Sophie Blue and Kenny Fade (he'd like to make sure you know that it's pronounced Fa-DAY) are on opposite ends of the spectrum. While Sophie endures being the outcast of Upheare High School, Kenny is living the high life. As the Upheare Toro's star basketball player, paramour of the head cheerleader Dayna Daynes, and an all-around nice guy, he is worshiped by the majority of the school's population. Both have irritating, red scars on their elbows. Both know a strange woman in white called Rose Fade, or sometimes "La Nutrika". After Kenny collapses and dies following a basketball game, he ends up in neither heaven nor hell, but a vacuum store in space. He spins a wheel, drinks a can of the popular soft drink Sour White, and is returned to Upheare High School. Only this time, he's not Kenny. From zombie attacks to trips to the virtual world, will Sophie finally figure out what happened to her father? What is the Virtuality? And will Sophie's arm ever stop itching?

Fade to Blue is a mind-boggling patchwork of twists and turns. The book begins with a snarky, sarcastic bang, and then the reader is sent off on an evil speeding truck of confusion through this dense novel. Sophie and her younger brother, Kenny 'O.S.' Blue, seemed to be the only 3-D personalities throughout the story. I believe the author wrote them this way on purpose, not only to develop the storyline, but also to offer a commentary on how teens see their lives. Giving the secondary characters simple, repetitive names like Dayna Daynes and Aaron Agar only served to accentuate this. From the very beginning, we can feel Sophie's confusion and anger, and we are amazed at how her mind retains its ferocity throughout the trials she goes through. The author only gives us information when he thinks we need it, and keeps us coming back for more. We have to not only find the puzzle pieces, but follow the trail and put them together at the same time. As a reader, the constant point-of-view switching was jarring and more than a little disorienting, but it was something I got used to over time. I found the graphic novel comic book interlude to not only be helpful to the plot, but also very mentally refreshing. It's not often that an author can pull something like that off in such a short novel. I would recommend reading this book twice, just in case you missed a connection the first time around. An amazing, confusing, and exhilarating read.

Reviewer Age: 17

Reviewer City, State and Country: Shoreview, Minnesota USA

Tuesday, August 11, 2009

Closed for the Season by Mary Downing Hahn

Logan Forbes doesn't like the looks of the creepy, old mansion he is moving into with his parents. Overgrown grass, hanging shingles, collapsing porch, Logan hates it right away, but not only because of it's looks, he has a bad feeling there's something not right about the house. When Logan meets his new neighbor, Arthur Jenkins, Logan learns he had a right to be nervous about the house- a woman was murdered in it! Arthur ropes Logan into his quest to find Mrs. Donaldson's killer. Their search leads them to the old Magic Forest Amusement Park, which is closed due to losing a lot of money. As Logan and Arthur get tangled more and more in the mystery of the murder, the boys realize they're in a lot more danger than they ever thought they would be...

I've read quite a few other books by Mary Downing Hahn and enjoyed them, but as with Closed For the Season they're directed to a younger audience. Although, it held my attention, there were times I was wishing there was more detail in plot and character development. Keeping in mind, this book was written for younger kids, I enjoyed reading it. The mystery was orginial, although at times a bit predictable. There were a few twists in the plot that kept me guessing, but I wouldn't read it again. Hahn's other books I read were all ghost stories, with a mystery tangled in as well, so while reading this I always felt like something was missing. Boys might be able to better relate to the main characters in the book, than I could, as they were mostly all male. Even if it wasn't my favorite book, all in all I would recommend it to kids who enjoy a fun mystery that's an overall quick read. <

Reviewer Age:14

Reviewer City, State and Country: Hightstown, NJ USA

Monday, August 10, 2009

Second Skin by Jessica Wollman

For Sam Klein, having to go through a school day being unnoticed was a normal thing. Popularity was something she only dreamed she could have but cheer leading and sports just weren't her style. She read every magazine and memorized every article but absolutely nothing worked. All of that changed when the most popular girl in school moved in right next door. Her name was Kylie and she had everything she ever wanted. She was co-captain of the pep-squad, had tons of friends, and her boyfriend was the hottest guy in school. Could all the popularity just be natural or was it caused by something the world has never known? Sam was to soon find out...

I really liked this book! I think I liked it so much because it expressed more of what really happens in High School. It really described what actually happened along the lines of drama and feelings of the characters. I especially liked the part towards the end when Sam decides to give the Skin back to Kylie because she doesn't want it anymore and Kylie decides that she doesn't want it either because she likes the way her life is without the Skin. I would recommend this book to anyone that enjoys books with a moral value along with some funny sarcastic characters.
Reviewer Age:13
Springfield, Ohio, United States
Rating 10
Content 1

Constellation Chronicles by Vincent Lowry

Glenn never thought that he would be fighting battles against anyone--except maybe his sister occasionally. Flying a spaceship and seeing the planets in the solar system close up were definitely not things that Glenn planned on doing either. On his way to get a meal for his family, he saw a bright object fly across a field. Curious, he drove to see what it was. Glenn found a small and interesting animal from the site. From that point on, he was involved in the fight against evil with the other alien crew members of a spaceship! Will things ever be normal again for Glenn?

I have never read a book that takes place in outer space. It was a new and interesting setting for a story. This book taught me a lot about our planets, but that part of the story was rather dull and slow. I liked how the chapters were split into parts and went back and forth between the different characters. This allowed me to understand all different parts of the plot and made room for surprises and irony. I was happy to read from the author's note that there will be more books in the series. I recommend Constellation Chronicles: The Lost Civilization of Aries to anyone interested in science fiction.

Reviewer Age:16

Reviewer City, State and Country: Carlisle, Pennsylvania United States of America

Sunday, August 09, 2009

Amefurashi: The Rain Goddess by Atsushi Suzumi

Everything is going well in Gimmy's desert town. That is, until his younger twin siblings disappear. When Gimmy goes to find them, he meets a bossy girl named Sora. She just so happens to be the rain goddess that is in charge of the water in his town! He needs to make sure she stays happy so that she will continue to provide rain. What will happen when another goddess comes to claim Sora's territory?

As a manga, Amefurashi lives up to others in the same genre. It is a fantasy book with adventure and action incorporated in it as well. I really enjoyed the drawings. All of the characters looked amazing, and their physical characteristics went along well with their personalities. I liked the plotline because the story went neither too slow nor was it boring at any point. It is a very unique manga; many people would enjoy it. I recommend this manga to anyone who likes graphic novels and is looking for an enticing, quick read.

Reviewer Age:16

Reviewer City, State and Country: Carlisle, Pennsylvania United States of America

Friday, August 07, 2009

Recipe For Disaster by Maureen Fergus

Francie's life was perfect. She had a great best friend, Holy, and it seemed like her and her crush, Tate, were getting closer, and closer. Her cooking was also becoming more popular at her parents restraunt. So why does she feel like it is all falling apart? Because the new girl, Darlene moved in. Darlene seemed nice at first, but it all turned out to be an act. She was wrecking her friendship with Holy, and her relationship with Tate. Then to top it all off, she thinks that her obsession with baking is weird. So with all this dramma going on her dreams of becoming a baker is slowly slipping. Then, she was a chance to meet her idol, Lorenzo, a hit tv baker. All she has to do is is tell him how passionate she is about baking and how he inspires her. Meeting him means so much her, he would help her launch her career. Will she make the cut against millions of other people, while trying to handle everything else?

This book I loved because it was about friends and crushes, that everyone can relate to, while also having a little bit of humor, and and a lot of conflict. When the main character, Francie cooked,she seemed so passionate about it. Her best freind, Holy was just like any other best friend, she was there for Francie and supported her whenever she needed it. The bird Rory, was hilarious. Although I found the problem with Francie, Tate, Darlene a bit predictable, I still enjoyed reading it. The romance in this book was very unexpected though, still believable.I would recomend this book to anyone who likes an inspiring book about a young baker.

Reviewer Age:13

Reviewer City, State and Country: Springfield, Ohio USA

Thursday, August 06, 2009

Cowgirl Dreams

"Cowgirl Dreams" by Heidi M. Thomas is an adventurous novel. The main character, Nettie, aspires to be a rodeo star. She abhors domesticity and yearns to be more than just a housewife someday. Nettie gets involved in altercations as her mother is against her participating in rodeos. Still, she finds a way to ride and even meets famous female riders. The descriptions of western life in the 1920s are fabulous, and readers will root for the Nettie.

The book starts out with action, leads to drama, goes back to action, and then delves into romance. Kissing is mentioned, and consummating a marriage is included. There are no details, but readers get the gist. Vocabulary-wise, readers may have to look up five verbose words at the most and a couple of horse equipment terms. While anyone could read this book, it will probably be more enjoyed by female readers. Subtle romance.

Content: 2
Rating: 9
Reviewer Age:18
Reviewer City, State and Country: Staten Island, NY USA

Wednesday, August 05, 2009

The Dark Hunters by Sherrilyn Kenyon

Kyrian is a man who was born rich and lived his life without fear of anything around him. One day he was beaten and killed because his wife poisoned him. After his death, he was offered a chance to live again if he became a Dark Hunter. To become a Dark Hunter, you have to sell your soul. A Dark Hunter is immortal and each one has different powers. The bad part is that if you get caught in the sun's rays, you die again. Dark Hunters fight against the evil Daimons who are just like Dark Hunters only they suck human blood. The Dark Hunters is a graphic novel about how Kyrian fights the Daimons.

At first I didn't like the book because it is printed from right to left and it is a graphic novel, which means it is written like a comic book. I didn't expect that. I kept reading it and I got used to how it is printed. The Dark Hunter's plot is kind of confusing because if you read the wrong panel the whole page doesn't make sense. The book was OK but I would not highly recommend it. However, if you like graphic novels, you might enjoy it.

Reviewer Age:10

Reviewer City, State and Country: Randolph, NJ United States

First Rider's Call by Kristen Britain

All is not well in Sacoridia. The D'Yer Wall, and ancient magical structure built to keep the evil Mornhavon the Black at bay, is crumbling ... and no one knows how to fix it! While wild magic streams into the land causing chaos, Mornhavon grows stronger and is intent upon locating and killing the Galadheon, a betrayer.

As a person Mornhavon wants dead, Karigan G'ladheon, Green Rider, is caught up in dangers she could have never imagined. To add to her misfortune, the ghost of the first Green Rider, Lil Ambriodhe, keeps whisking Karigan away into the past.

However inconvenient this time traveling is, could it hold the key to destroying Mornhavon forever?

For anyone who likes sword fighting, secret associations, magic, and a kingdom in peril, this book is a definite read. Kristen Britain has cleverly crafted this story into a phenomenal page-turner. For me, it was hard to put down. This book lies along the same lines as the Lord of the Rings trilogy in the way that people are not always who they seem to be. In Lord of the Rings, Aragorn, the secretive wanderer, is really heir to the throne of Gondor. In First Rider's Call, a jealous cousin might possibly have the power to save the wall. Filled with twists and turns, this book is filled with surprises even to the end. Anyone who enjoys fantasy and adventure will be sure to call this book a favorite!

Reviewer Age:15

Reviewer City, State and Country: Mineola, Texas U.S.A

Tuesday, August 04, 2009

The Other Girl by Sarah Miller

Molly McGarry has a "superpower". She can get inside people's heads. Sometimes it can be helpful, but she is about to learn that the only thing worse than being stuck in your boyfriend's head is being inside his new girlfriend's head. After Molly breaks up with Gideon because she thinks he likes another girl, a game of spin-the-bottle takes a turn for the worse. He shares a kiss with the reason for their break-up. Magically and unfortunately, the kiss knocks Molly out of Gideon's head and straight into the girl's head that he kissed, Pilar. Since she now experiences eveything they do together through Pilar's mind, she's desperate to get Gideon back. How can she work on getting him back while she's trying to get out of Pilar's head? And, how will she get Gideon back without telling him about her "superpower"?

The Other Girl is a humorous love story that any young-adult would enjoy to read. It tells an amazing story. The Other Girl will keep you wondering what's going to happen next. I think that the author, Sarah Miller, did a wonderful job expressing her ideas in the plot. She used great detail and her descriptions helped me picture the setting very well. The Other Girl was filled with many emotions. It made me feel as if I were a one of the characters. It is a wonderful novel and I recommend it to any young-adult reader who enjoys humorous or romance novels.

This book contained some mature content such as sexual scenes and language.

Reviewer Age:13

Reviewer City, State and Country: Fairborn, Ohio USA

Truancy Origins by Isamu Fukui

Truancy Origins is the prequel to another book called Truancy. This novel is about two boys (Zen and Umasi) who were adopted by the mayor of education city and the problems that come their way. Zen plans a way to take down the city after realizing that his whole life has been a joke planned by his father. After Zen runs away, Umasi goes after him to try and knock some sense into him. Umasi and Zen must choose to forget the things that they had learned about the city and their father or choose to kill, and maybe hurt many innocent people.

Truancy Origins is a novel about the trials and tribulations that two brothers must face. A story about how education has completely taken over and is using it's power for all the wrong reasons. Isamu Fukui's writing is superb but while the writing is wonderful the flow is not. Some of the chapters had me wondering if there was a plot at all. I'm sorry to say but I did not like it, it left me dozing off after the first few chapters and I strained to finish the book at all. The author could have improved this story by making it flow a little bit better. If you read the book Truancy than I would recommend this book but otherwise I don't think I would recommend it at all.

Reviewer Age:17

Reviewer City, State and Country: Mantua, New Jersey United States