Tuesday, June 30, 2009

Theodosia and the staff of Osiris

Title: Theodosia and the staff of Osiris
Author: R.L. La Fevers
Reading level: J
Location: J LaFevers

In Theodosia and the staff of Osiris, the second book of the series, Theodosia's father is having daily visits from the police because mummies from all the London museums keep showing up in the lobby of his museum (He's the head curator.)! As she tries to figure out what is causing the nightly mummy migration she just knows the Serpents of Chaos must be connected to it. How is she going to investigate, fix the problem to clear her father, find out what the Serpents of Chaos are up to and stop them when she has a new governess who doesn't let her have more than a minute to herself? Theodosia is very resourceful and finds some new unexpected ways to get help. Can she also help Will with his secret? There are spies all over the place. You may be surprised to find out which ones are spies for the good side and who is behind the Chaos scheme. There's even a secret society that think Theodosia is an Egyptian goddess!

Bottom Line: Whenever I picked up this book I had to keep my eye on the clock because even if I thought," I'll just finish the chapter", I would end up reading more. There is an Indiana Jones feel to this title. And like Indiana Jones, Theodosia often receives help from unexpected people and seems to have luck on her side. While there is plenty of adventure in this book the length and details keep me from recommending it for reluctant readers. I hope to see Theodosia again.

Monday, June 29, 2009

Ghostgirl: Homecoming

Title: Ghostgirl: Homecoming
Author: Tonya Hurley
Reading Level: Young Adult
Location: YA Hurley (will be released July, 1 2009)

This review discusses major plot points from the first ghostgirl novel. If you have not yet read Ghostgirl, skip ahead to the bottom line.

At the end of the first Ghostgirl novel, it seemed as though Charlotte’s afterlife was really looking up. She graduated her Dead-Ed class and was moving on to what she thought was the final stage of her journey. Instead, Charlotte and the rest of her classmates end up in a phone bank where they act as a conscience for teens making tough decisions. Charlotte quickly becomes frustrated over this unfortunate turn of events and with her lack of phone calls and visitors, she turns into her old, insecure self. However, when Charlotte’s friend, Scarlet, needs some ghostly help for her ultra popular, self-absorbed sister, Petula, she turns to Charlotte for help. Will Charlotte be able to come up with a plan to save Petula and Scarlet? Or will the two sisters be the newest students to Dead-Ed?

Ghostgirl: Homecoming was another exciting, humorous romp with Charlotte as she wades through her insecurities and gains a better understanding of herself. The writing is not amazing but it is adequate and can be quite creative at times. The language of the teens, both alive and dead, is accurate and not overdone. Even though most of the characters are one-dimensional, they manage to feel very real and their relationships with each other are wholly authentic. The plot is intriguing and has an ending that is touching without being overly sentimental. Even though the story had some minor flaws, it was still a pleasure to read and Ghostgirl fans should love this latest tale about the afterlife of Charlotte Usher

The Bottom Line: With this sequel, Ghostgirl is really turning into a wonderful series for teens. With its unique, exciting storyline and fun characters, it has broad teen appeal, but I think it is especially good for younger teens. Ghostgirl: Homecoming is a sequel, if you have not yet read the first Ghostgirl, pick it up before starting this one.

Wednesday, June 24, 2009

The Forest of Hands and Teeth

Title: The Forest of Hands and Teeth
Author: Carrie Ryan
Reading Level: YA
Location: YA Ryan

Mary lives in a colonial-esque village surrounded by fencing that separates the village from the forest. The forest is off limits as the "unconsecrated" or zombies, roam freely and often try to breach the fence to attack the living. Generations have lived a simple life of survival, always dependant on the "sisterhood," a religious order that runs the community in all ways, taking away the need for commerce or free-will. The goal of the villagers is to survive and that is all they know. Mary questions this existence and soon events in the village cause her to seek out answers.

Bottom Line: I love a good post-apocalyptic novel and this one had me hooked for awhile, but then hoping for it to be over ASAP. I thought the characters weren't really developed until close to the end of the novel and this kept me confused trying to figure out why the protagonist was thinking and doing different things. I like the imagery, the discovery, and self-discovery, but then when the end finally came, I was thinking, huh?

Wednesday, June 17, 2009

Suddenly Supernatural: Unhappy Medium

Title: Suddenly Supernatural: Unhappy Medium
Author: Elizabeth Cody Kimmel
Reading level: J
Location: J Kimmel

In Unhappy Medium, the third book in the Suddenly Supernatural series, there is alot going on. Jac agrees to attend a music conference at a resort- if Kat can come with her. What seems like a great opportunity for the friends to spend time together turns out to be anything but that. It's an old resort and you know what that means. I'll just say boys, moms, murder, Orion, a spirit that doesn't know it's dead and a black cloud (And not the kind you're in when you have a bad hair day, can't find anything to wear and your mother is bugging you.).

Although more complex with a bit more mystery feel, this book is just as straight forward, true to the voice of girls this age, and easy to follow as the previous titles in the series.

Bottom Line: My favorite in the series so far. I haven't found a future title for this series yet, but I have a feeling there will be more so if you want a humorous, interesting, authentic read that includes things you might be dealing with yourself pick up Unhappy Medium and keep in eye out for future titles. What you're not a medium? Everyone has friend problems like Kat encounters at some time. Are you as good of a friend as she is? (sidenote - The author consulted with a reknown medium when writing this series.) For reviews of earlier titles search Suddenly Supernatural.

Monday, June 15, 2009

Diary Of A Wimpy Kid: Rodrick Rules

Title: Diary Of A Wimpy Kid: Rodrick Rules
Author: Jeff Kinney
Call Number: J Kinney
Reading Level: J

Greg Heffley is back and still surrounded by morons. The scrawny protagonist we have grown to love! Greg has been forced to join the swim team by his dad and hates it. His best friend Rowley is back from South America and getting all the attention from the peers much to Greg's jealousy. Rodrick, Greg's older aspiring rock star brother, is featured much more in this book as his band hopes to make it big. As you can expect, many crazy antics get in their way. Kinney has proved that he is more than a one book author and consistently keeps the character development and plot strong for a great series.

Bottom Line: Just like the first book, this is great for reluctant readers. If you have ever been the "wimpy kid", or had an older sibling, you can identify with Greg Heffley's hilarious view of the world.

Thursday, June 11, 2009

The City of Ember

Title: The City of Ember (unabridged audio recording)
Author: Jeanne DuPrau, read by Wendy Dillon
Reading Level: Young Adult
Location: CDS YA Duprau J.

"There is nowhere but here" the children are taught in the city that has no sky, stars, or moon. The sunshine comes from floodlights that blast during 12 hours of the day. At the age of twelve, Lina and Doon have completed their schooling and are assigned the jobs they will have for the rest of their lives, Lina as a messenger (who is paid 20 cents to run across the city to deliver spoken messages for individuals) and Doon is a pipeworker, spending all day below ground in a massive maze of tunnels and secret doors.

The decaying city is starting to have problems maintaining electricity and is running low on a limited supply of food, lightbulbs, and other necessities that the mysterious "builders" have left them. For 250 years, the people of Ember have lived without questioning their existence in this place that is all that they know, strangely simple and economical- no telephones, re-using all items and nothing is thrown away, and also modern with the expectation of electricity, but soon a secret box is found. What is inside the box is how Lina and Doon discover what was meant to be discovered years before.

The Bottom Line: I really got drawn in to this story, especially with it's hints at the reasons behind the existence of Ember being pre-apocalyptic. I think a younger reader would be interested in this story as well and the content would be fine for an 8-12 year old.

Wendy Dillon's reading of the characters was really well done and the small sounds inserted in different places to represent the fast-moving river and crowds forming helped the story rather than distract from it. I know this one has been out for awhile, but I'm ready to read the next in the series. I won't be watching the movie, at least not until I finish the series. I don't want to ruin what I imagine Ember to be.

Fragile Eternity

Title: Fragile Eternity
Author: Melissa Marr
Reading Level: Young Adult
Location: YA Marr

This review discusses major plot points from the first two books in this series. If you have not yet read Wicked Lovely and Ink Exchange, you may want to skip ahead to the bottom line.

In this sequel to Wicked Lovely, Aislinn is attempting to balance her new status as fairy queen and her growing feelings for Keenan with her relationship with human boyfriend, Seth. Keenan still displays affection for the new Winter Queen, Donia, but still wants a relationship with Aislinn so that their court will grow stronger. Niall, the Dark King seen in Ink Exchange, grapples with his now more sinister nature while remaining a loyal advocate for Seth. While Seth broods over the complications and restrictions of being the mortal lover of an immortal fairy queen.

Since I enjoyed Wicked Lovely, I had high expectations for Fragile Eternity which really fell flat by the end of the book. Many of the characters make drastic changes from their original form in Wicked Lovely and the more interesting characters don’t get enough attention. As Summer Queen, Aislinn becomes melancholy, whiney, and na├»ve throughout most of the book. Seth also makes some extremely gullible decisions and never realizes this fact which does not fit with his character in Wicked Lovely. Melissa Marr spends half of the book trying to convince the reader that Keenan is evil but fails to sufficiently prove this fact through his own narration or actions.

There were a few characters that helped to make this book readable. Niall was a welcome breath of fresh air to the story. He is original and his unpredictability makes him a fascinating character. However, he makes too few appearances and has very little to do in this book. I really liked Donia. Her character begins to grow a backbone in this book and she becomes more defined throughout the story. Sorcha, the High Queen, was a welcome addition to the cast of characters but I don’t feel as though she should have took on a narrative role. Though Bananach, who represents War, was slightly disappointing in this book, I feel like she has a lot of potential for future installments. Unfortunately, the story itself lacks direction and a discernable climax which makes it far less exciting and less satisfying than Wicked Lovely. I like that the story takes place through the eyes of multiple characters but I think this occurred too often. For the next book, Marr might need to either cut out the narration of less important characters or make the book a little longer so the story can be more complete.

The Bottom Line: Fragile Eternity was not a terrible book but it fails to hold up the high expectations set by Wicked Lovely. If you read the first, you will want to read this one because the story has a lot of potential. The fallout from many of the things set up in this book should be very exciting to witness in the next installment.

Tuesday, June 2, 2009

Suddenly Supernatural: Scaredy Kat

Title: Scaredy Kat (Book 2 of Suddenly Supernatural series)
Author: Elizabeth Cody Kimmel
Reading Level: J
Location: J Kimmel

Kat and Jac are back. Jac is still having problems with her controlling mother and Kat is telling her Mom less as she seeks some independance. This time around the story centers on the house next door instead of school.

Kat decides to use the house next door for part of her class project. While taking pictures of the house she accidently snaps one of a boy looking at her. She goes over to meet him and can't figure out why he seems to ignore her. Maybe it's because the house has been empty for a least two years! The boy isn't the only one she encounters at the house. Join Kat and Jac as they try to figure out who the boy is and why he doesn't see Jac. Oh, there is a new character she first sees at the house that may be around awhile. This character seems to have everyone blushing!

Bottom Line: If you liked School Spirit you should like Scaredy Kat also. This second title has the same quality as the first, another likable fairly quick read. It again appeals to girls around 8-12 and deals with some of the issues that arise as one reaches for the teen years (moms, guys, figuring out what's going on with you).