Wednesday, September 28, 2011

Book Review~Blood Red Road by Moira Young

Book RatingsBook RatingsBook Ratings
I was reluctant to read this one. Not sure exactly why. I saw it being promoted around its release date and read some reviews, but something made me hesitant. I eventually acquiesced and bought a copy.

Now that I have finished it, I am willing to admit that it was a decent story with some truly likeable characters. However, the writing style/language was a huge distraction for me. It's written in what some are calling a poetic or prose style. But, as far as I'm concerned, it's written in a backwoods, backwards English that made my grammar driven mind cringe. I can honestly say that it took till the very end of the book for the bad English not to interfere with my reading of this book. I just don't see how the writing style added to the book. Though I thought the story was gripping and exciting, I wish I would have just gotten it from the library rather than spending money on it.

Saba and Luce are twins who live out in the desert with their half crazy Pa and little sister Emmi. When Luce is kidnapped, Saba swears that she will find him. Saba tries to dump Emmi with an old friend of her mother's, but Emmi ends up following Saba and the two must find a way to put up with each other. They set out on their search and end up on quite the adventure, meeting both friends and enemies along the way.

Book Review~Divergent by Veronica Roth

Book RatingsBook RatingsBook RatingsBook Ratings
When I saw all the promos for this book, I knew I'd have to read it eventually, just took me a little longer than I would've liked. Already cataloged and put the copy I bought in our school library. Now I just need to find a way to get a few more copies!

Beatrice and her brother Caleb have turned sixteen, which means it is now time to decide which faction they will choose to be a part of: Candor, Abnegation, Dauntless, Amity, or Erudite. Having both grown up as Abnegation, it is assumed that at least one of them will choose to remain. Once they have chosen, there is no going back.

Beatrice "Tris" discovers that there's something different about her and is warned not to discuss these differences with anyone. She soon finds herself part of a world where she must fight-physically and mentally, for a position among the top 10, or face the possibility of being factionless.

It is difficult to continue without giving away too much detail. Just trust me, as the story unfolds, it just keeps getting better and as the end of the book approaches you'll want to read slower to make it last as long as possible.

Saturday, September 17, 2011

Book Review~The Magician King by Lev Grossman

Book RatingsBook RatingsBook Ratings
Perhaps I would have enjoyed this a little more if I had let some time elapse after finishing The Magician, but I enjoyed The Magician so much I couldn't wait to see what happened next. It wasn't a bad second installment, but I did get a little bored. It was lacking the excitement, on the edge of your seat, stay up all night feeling that the first one instilled in me.

Quentin is brought back to Fillory by Elliot, Janet, and Julia. We quickly learn that not making it into Brakebills has taken it's toll on Julia and her journey into the world of magic is slowly told throughout the book. Even though Quentin is king of Fillory, he is still unhappy. He craves excitement and adventure since living in luxury doesn't seem to be enough for him. Quentin's journey lands him and Julia back in the real world with no clue how to get back to Fillory. While searching for a way to get back, Quentin reunites with Josh where he finds a new love interest.

When all is said and done, and Quentin's big adventure is over, he finds himself longing to be back where he started, as King of Fillory.

Thanks to Penguin, Viking and NetGalley for access to this title.

Book Review~The Magicians by Lev Grossman

Book RatingsBook RatingsBook RatingsBook Ratings
I have wanted to read this book for so long and finally purchased it when I received access to the second one via NetGalley. Wish I hadn't waited so long!

Quentin is a highly intelligent teen who arrives for his first college interview only to find the old man who was to interview him has died. He has a strange interaction with one of the EMTs and soon finds himself transported from the cold Brooklyn streets to the warm, sunny campus of Brakebills, a college for magicians. After a strange exam, Quentin is taken to a room where a seemingly never-ending stream of people come to interview him. Quentin knows something is very different about this school, but is not quite sure what it is. All he knows is that it is more exciting than the alternative and he desperately wants to pass.

It doesn't take long for Quentin to decide to stay at Brakebills rather than going back to Brooklyn to finish his senior year of high school. The existence of a college for magicians allows Quentin to hope that his obsession with Fillory, the magical world from a series of children's books, might actually exist too.

Book Review~Girls in White Dresses by Jennifer Close

Book RatingsBook Ratings
The story was cute, but nothing too eventful happens to any of the characters. It was kind of like watching reality TV that hasn't been edited or embellished to make it shocking and gossip worthy. Something that did appeal to me was that you had to figure out at times how the stories were connected. Though I can honestly say, from start to finish I really didn't have a clue, nor did I really care, which character was which. A decent read, but wouldn't put it at the top of your list.

Thanks to Alfred A. Knopf and NetGalley for access to this title.

Book Review~Brooklyn, Burning by Steve Brezenoff

Kid (yes, that's what "he" calls himself) has been living on the Brooklyn streets, in warehouses, and in the basement of a bar ever since his dad packed his stuff and told him to get out. He has a tendency to fall in love with other lost musicians-first Felix and then Scout. He somehow manages to surround himself with some caring adults who gently try to push Kid to make safe(r) decisions. He becomes the prime suspect in a warehouse fire for which he doesn't want to seem to admit he's not guilty of, not even to the police. Kid's guilt lies not in his responsibility for the fire itself but in who he lost in the fire. Kid must deal with his father's prejudices over his seemingly indeterminate sexual identity when the police release him into his parents' custody.

I enjoyed reading this book, but realized once I started to write this review that Kid's story might just be a little too neatly wrapped up. I have my doubts that a kid who finds himself living on the street would be fortunate enough to find not just one, but two, adults who truly have his best interests at heart. While there seems to be some debate about whether Kid is male or female, I have a hard time imagining a girl's father would have such issue with his daughter's sexual identity that he would kick her out of the house. I read the book thinking Kid was a boy, and still do even after seeing there's some debate over this.

I would definitely recommend this book for teens, especially those trying to figure out where they stand on the sexual identity spectrum.

Thanks to Lerner Publishing Group, Carolrhoda Lab and NetGalley for access to this title.