Sunday, February 12, 2012

Froi of the Exiles

's review
Feb 12, 12  ·  edit

3 of 5 stars
bookshelves: teen-books
Read from January 06 to February 10, 2012

Finally! I felt like I would never finish Froi when I started it.

That sounds like the start of a bad review, but I promise it's not. By the end of the book I was loving it and crying for the characters the same way I did with Marchetta's previous book. As with Finnikan, Froi was a very slow start. I really wish the first 100 pages either had a bit more of the characters connecting to each other or was shortened. I didn't start really getting into the story and seeing the deeper themes of the book until the characters started to thaw toward each other. While I am all for realism and these two nations had no reason to trust one another, I do believe from the first book that some of these characters were better people than they acted in the first 1/3 of the book. It was almost like they had forgotten or had to relearn life lessons that they had learned in the last book.

That being said, once they started to connect to each other and the clues to Froi's past started to come to light the pages seemed to fly. While it took me weeks to get through the 1st 200, I think I read the last 2/3rds of the book in a matter of hours. I hated to put it down to drive home and had to resist picking it up at stop lights. The end does leave you hanging, but then it is the middle book of a trilogy. I could even have lived without the epilogue. That teasing info almost makes the wait for book three worse.

I would recommend this ONLY for mature readers. The early themes of sexual violence and brutality to women are very harsh. Once you get deeper into the book, the themes of national identity and what creates a culture emerge as well as family of blood vs family of the heart.

Tuesday, December 20, 2011

To Timbuktu

To Timbuktu: Nine Countries, Two People, One True StoryTo Timbuktu: Nine Countries, Two People, One True Story by Casey Scieszka

My rating: 5 of 5 stars

I really loved this! This year has kinda been the year of non-fiction for me. I usually hate to read non-fiction, but this year the books have been so amazing that they surpass any disinterest I have in the subject.

Ok, so this particular non-fiction book had a leg up in that area since I am interested in traveling and life in other coutries. Casey and Steven work together to tell the story of thier time together in nine different countries the year after they graduate from college. Casey tells the story in words, clearly a talent that she inherited/learned from dad (Jon Scieszka), but her words are highlighted humerously with Steven's illustraions.

I'm not even all the way through this book and I feel like I know both of them. It would feel wierd to write this review refering to Casey as Scieszka as I might for fiction authors, because I've read about her nervous first day jitters before teaching, her disgust as finding a mystery turd in the bathtub, and her love of Paris.

Whether your an artist, linguist, wanna be traveler, or world traveler....or really anyone. You will find plenty of laughs and information in this book.

View all my reviews

A little envious of Austrailian readers

Check out Melina Marchella's blog for a sneak peek at Froi of the Exiles because that's all we're getting in the US for awhile.  I can only hope that an ARC will find it's way into my hands or practice my patience until it is released in March.

I loved Finnikan of the Rock.  If you have not read it, go find a copy at your local library and read it.  Yes, it's a fantasy novel and many of my friend whined when I asked them to read another fantasy novel.  Know what though?  Most of them came back to tell me how much they loved it and about the themes of culture and language and refugees that flow through this fantasy world.

Tuesday, September 07, 2010

Girl with a Dragon tattoo

The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo (Millennium, #1)The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo by Stieg Larsson

My rating: 3 of 5 stars

I know this book was HUGE. Everyone has been reading it and recommending it. So much so that I took a break from reading all the teen book I have for work. It was something different.

I will say the mystery element had me second guessing myself all the way through the book. I read quite a few and usually guess the bad guy or the twist. While I did suspect parts of this plot early in the book, the author had be second guessing myself so much that I was loath to put the book down even when I was sure I didn't like the book.

While I loved the mystery element, I was annoyed by the ending of the personal part of the story. It just felt unnecessarily bleak to me. Overall, a good read though many American readers may find the style a bit formal and the start a bit slow. It's a style that I seem to see in more European books....though I will admit that I tend not to read much literary fiction for adults from American authors.

View all my reviews

Friday, September 03, 2010

Clementine by Pennypacker

Clementine (Clementine, #1)Clementine by Sara Pennypacker

My rating: 5 of 5 stars

I LOVE LOVE LOVE these books!  If you have a child making the jump from readers to chapter books these are great.  It's hard to find cute, fun, stories for this skill level.  There is tons of junk, but not a ton of good stories with realistic kids who find solutions to problems on their own with guidance from adults (who are there and NOT the enemy). 

My only problem?  There aren't more of them.  So Sara please keep writing them!

Clementine (Clementine, #1)Clementine's Letter (Clementine, #3)The Talented Clementine (Clementine, #2)Clementine, Friend of the Week (Clementine, #4)

View all my reviews

Rise of Renegade X

The Rise of Renegade XThe Rise of Renegade X by Chelsea Campbell

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

I really liked this book.  I've seen a few kids as superheros and liked a few but thought most were kind of cheesy.  By casting the main character as a villain, he is free not to be perfect from the start and I have to say even though I love the teens at my library, it's A LOT easier seeing them as super villains than heroes.

Some of the characters are rather flat and stereotypes, but it seems more intentional than a weakness in the book.  I'd pair this with maybe Hero by Moore. Give to fans of the movies Sky High, KickAss, or Scott Pilgrim.

View all my reviews

Thursday, August 26, 2010

Reaching for the Sun

Reaching for SunReaching for Sun by Tracie Vaughn Zimmer

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

I read this a couple years ago when it first came out. I loved it. There are lines from this book which I can still remember clearly even years after reading it.

This one is great for readers who like a more thoughtful read.

View all my reviews

Wednesday, April 28, 2010

10 Books everyone should read in thier life. (YA books)

Recently on the YALSA - Young Adult Library Services Association - listerv someone asked about the top 10 (ya) books the librarians on the list thought everyone should read (Ie the Top Ten Teen Books ever).

As you will see in the list below there is a WIDE range of views on the topic and this list is very definitely slanted toward current/modern books. Some people selected by literary merit, some on cultural impact, and others on how the books moved them personally. While I LOVE top ten lists, I don't think there is such a thing as 10 books that are best for ALL teens. I will say that all the books listed here are worthy of a look.

There are some that I like more than others.  If this survey was done again in 3-5 yrs, there are some books even in the top 10 which would not even get a mention I think.  Chiefly among those I believe would be Twilight.  I applaud it for the interest it's brought to books and the number of teens it got reading, but I don't think it has the staying power that books like Book Thief or The Giver have.

Top 10 teen books of all time

1. Speak by Laurie Halse Anderson (6 votes)

2. 13 Reasons Why By Jay Asher (4 votes)

3. Book Thief by Markus Zusak (4 votes)

4. Giver by Lois Lowry (4 votes)

5. Harry Potter (series) by J.K. Rowling (4 votes)

6. Hunger Games by Suzanne Collins (4 votes)

7. Feed by Anderson (3 votes)

8. Monster by Walter Dean Myers (3 votes)

9. Outsiders by S.E. Hinton (3 votes)

10. Twilight by Stephenie Meyer (3 votes)

Results from everyone who gave answers

13 Reasons Why By Jay Asher (4 votes)

A Child Called It by Dave Pelzer

A Great and Terrible Beauty by Libba Bray (2 votes)

Absolutely True Diary of a Part Time Indian by Sherman Alexie (2 votes)

Acceleration- Graham McNamee

After by Amy Efaw

American Born Chinese,

Are you there, God, It's me,

Bloom-Elizabeth Scott

Book Thief by Markus Zusak (4 votes)

Boy in the Striped Pajamas by John Boyne

Boy Meets Boy by Levithan

Bridge To Terabithia

Call of the Wild by Jack London

Catherine, Called Birdy by Karen Cushman

Diary of Anne Frank by Anne Frank

Eragon by Christopher Paolini

Fairest by Gail Carson Levine

Feed by Anderson (3 votes)


Giver by Lois Lowry (4 votes)

Go Ask Alice

Graceling by cashore

Harry Potter (series) by J.K. Rowling (4 votes)

Hit and Run-Lurlene McDaniel

Hope Was Here by Joan Bauer

Hunger Games by Suzanne Collins (4 votes)

Hunt for the Seventh by Christine Morton-Shaw

I am the Cheese,

I Know Why the Caged Bird Sings by Maya Angelou

Just as Long as We're Together by Judy Blume

Just Listen-Sarah Dessen

Life As We Knew It by Susan Beth Pfeffer

Looking for Alaska by John Green (2 votes)

Loser (Jerry Spinelli)

Lovely Bones by Alice Sebold

Monster by Walter Dean Myers (3 votes)

One of Those Hideous Books where the Mother Dies by Sonya Sones

Outsiders by S.E. Hinton (3 votes)

Pride and Prejudice-Jane Austen

Rest are in alphabetical order by title:

Roll of Thunder Hear My Cry by Mildred Taylor

Speak by Laurie Halse Anderson (6 votes)

Stargirl by Jerry Spinelli

Staying Fat for Sarah Byrnes by Chris Crutcher

That was Then, This is Now and a Judy Blume title

Tiger Eyes

To Kill a Mockingbird

Tuck Everlasting

Twilight by Stephenie Meyer (3 votes)

Unwind by Neal Shusterman

Watsons Go to Birmingham- 1963

Wednesday Wars

Whale Talk-Chris Crutcher

Yellow Star by Jennifer Rozines Roy (2 votes)

Wednesday, April 21, 2010

Blood Oath by Christopher Farnsworth

Blood Oath by Christopher Farnsworth

Publication May 2010
From Penguin Group
ISBN 978-0-399-15635-9

The Ultimate Secret.

The Ultimate Agent.

The President's Vampire.

Reads the cover of my review copy, picked up at PLA 2010 in Portland a few weeks ago. We're all told don't judge a book by it's cover, but COME ON! Those lines in red on a black cover above a presidential seal with the eagle turned into a bat. It looked like a movie poster....a poster for a movie I WANTED to see.

My husband claimed the book while I was busy reading the newest Kim Harrison book and promptly started to groan about all the one liners, cool action, and weird alternative history found in the headers to each chapter which he wanted to tell me about but I refused to listen to because I wanted to read the book for myself. After about a week he gave up, he handed me Blood Oath when I was between books so I could read it while he read the newest Dresden book. He figured that I'd whip through it and then he could have fun telling me the one liners and the great tidbits that he found in the novel since I had already finished it.

So glad he did! Once I picked up this book, I had trouble putting it down. Red lights on the way to/from work....never mind texting while you drive, I was reading. I promise it was only at lights.  The 2 AM reminder that I had to get up and work in the morning.   Yeah, this book delivered everything the cover promised and more.

Farnsworth is a scriptwriter and journalist who lives in LA. I'm not sure if it's the script writing or the journalism experience, but Farnsworth is excellent at painting a vivid picture of action with an economic use of words. His dialog is snappy and his characters may look stock when you start the novel, but as you read and get to see beneath their surface become three dimensional and more complex.

The premise: Shortly after Lincoln's assassination, a boat comes into port with a newly turned vampire, Cade, and a bunch of dead bodies. Johnson gets his hands on him and has a Vodoo priestess bind him in a blood oath to serve and protect the President of the United States. Blood Oath bounces back and forth between the present and various times in history. The book is written in third person and bounced between the present and various times in history. As Cade and Zach, his new human handler, rush to figure out a current threat to the President and to stop it, the jumps through history give the reader Cade's back story and history with the big baddie.

This book was great fun. I loved it and hope that Farnsworth will be writing more whether the more is another advanture with Cade and Zach (which the end left open to happening even while wrapping up the loose ends of this story!) or a totally new set of characters.