Wednesday, April 28, 2010

Bag of Bones

Title: Bag Of Bones
Author: Vivian French
Level: J
Location: J French

Bag of Bones is the second book in the Tales from the Five Kingdoms series and it's another good story. I felt readers would need to read the first book Robe of Skulls to really know what is going on in this one since there really isn't any explanation for why things are the way they are or background on the characters. Something is brewing in this story. Deep magic isn't practiced in the Five Kingdoms, but a witch gets in that does try to practice deep magic. I say try because her spells don't always work the way she wants. Of course, this can only be trouble as the crones' loom begins to stain. There is a ball planned where Queen Bluebell is to announce her successor. The only problem is her only child ran away years ago.

Gracie,Gubble,Prince Marcus, Marlon and his nephew Alf are all part of the action again. I do wish Marlon had more lines. He was so funny in the first book, but has a smaller part in this second one. There are a few new characters which include an orphan named Loobly and some rats. Some of the rats are kind of funny. Once again it is very clear who the good and bad characters are. The deep magic witch will have you routing for the good guys even more than Lady Lamora did.

Bottom Line: Bag of Bones , the second of the Tales from the Five Kingdoms series,is another good read with likable characters you'll cheer for and characters you'll love to despise. It's humorous and has a twist on a classic fairy tale with a prince who would never fit into the Disney realm. I recommend it to both boys and girls. Even children who aren't reading chapter books yet can enjoy this story if it's read aloud.

Wednesday, April 21, 2010


Title: Fallen (Fallen, #1)
Author: Lauren Kate
Location: YA Kate

There’s something achingly familiar about Daniel Grigori. Mysterious and aloof, he captures Luce Price’s attention from the moment she sees him on her first day at the Sword & Cross boarding school in sultry Savannah, Georgia. He’s the one bright spot in a place where cell phones are forbidden, the other students are all screw-ups, and security cameras watch every move. Even though Daniel wants nothing to do with Luce–and goes out of his way to make that very clear–she can’t let it go. Drawn to him like a moth to a flame, she has to find out what Daniel is so desperate to keep secret . . . even if it kills her.

This book was well written, and the story was so mysterious that I couldn't predict what would happen next. I want to say more about the story, but it was slowly revealed and I don't want to ruin it for you! Enjoy!

Bottom Line: This book somewhat reminded me of Twilight with the idea of star-crossed lovers - but the premise and characters are different enough that it was another engaging story. I look forward to the sequel, just because there is much left to be resolved!

Saturday, April 17, 2010

Fruits Basket, Volumes 1 through 23

Title: Fruits Basket (Volumes 1 through 23)
Author: Natsuki Takaya
Reading Level: Young Adult

Tohru Honda is an orphaned 16 year old high school student. She has had a hard life, but doesn't let it get her down. Due to various circumstances, she ends up living with her classmate Yuki Sohma and his two cousins, Kyo and Shigure. What she doesn't realize is that the Sohmas have a secret... when they are distressed or hugged by a person of the opposite sex, they transform into one of the animals of the Chinese zodiac!

It is not difficult to understand why Fruits Basket is so popular. Natsuki Takaya has created a believable fantasy world full of vibrant characters. As you follow Tohru through her interactions with the Sohma family, it feels like you are growing with them and sharing in their adventures. Everything is not so sweet in this fairy tale. There is a dark side to this tale that shows how there are many layers to life. It also shows you how resilient people can be and how to overcome pain and obstacles in life. You can go from laughing out loud on one page to running for a box of kleenex to dry your tears on the next.

The artwork is fun and very emotional. Even with a few panels, Takaya makes the emotions fly off the page. I also enjoy the backgrounds of each panel. You could easily miss something if you read too quickly. My only wish is that all of the pages would be in vibrant color, although it is not needed with Takaya's style.

Natsuki Takaya received a Kodansha Manga Award for shojo manga in 2001 for Fruits Basket. More recently, she was nominated in The Female Cartoonists and Comic Book Writer's Hall of Fame category in the 2009 Lulu Awards.

Bottom Line: A great story with beautiful artwork. Once you start reading you won't want to stop. Even if you are not a reader of manga or graphic novels, you will enjoy this series. A must read for teens and adults alike.

Tuesday, April 13, 2010

Twilight: The Graphic Novel, Volume 1

Title: Twilight: The Graphic Novel, Volume 1
Author: Stephenie Meyer, Young Kim (Illustrator)
Location: (Available Soon)

When Isabella Swan moves to the gloomy town of Forks and meets the mysterious, alluring Edward Cullen, her life takes a thrilling and terrifying turn. With his porcelain skin, golden eyes, mesmerizing voice, and supernatural gifts, Edward is both irresistible and impenetrable. Up until now, he has managed to keep his true identity hidden, but Bella is determined to uncover his dark secret...

This was well done. I enjoyed the manga style of illustrations and it was neat seeing a different portrayal of the characters, as opposed to the movie. The illustrations are mostly in black and white, and color is used to convey emotion - especially his eye colors.

Bottom Line: I enjoyed this graphic novel, and I enjoyed the movie - but they are definitely different in portraying the characters - in their looks and personalities. If you're a Twilight fan (and especially a manga fan), then this is a must-read!

Saturday, April 10, 2010

The Entertainer and the Dybbuk

Title: The Entertainer and the Dybbuk
Author: Sid Fleischman
Location: YA Fleischman S.

Freddie T. Birch, a former bombardier during World War II, has remained in Europe after the war performing a second-rate ventriloquist act. The spirit of a 12-year-old Jewish boy, who once rescued him during the war, has made a request to possess Freddie so that he may seek his revenge, to which Freddie refuses. However, this spirit, known in this case as a dybbuk, does not have to ask permission, he was just being polite. The dybbuk possesses the ventriloquist with promises of fame and revenge.

The Bottom Line: The novel is an easy read with young adult themes dealing with the brutality of the war, death, and revenge. The story is filled with the humor of people who are familiar with oppression. The author ties in the reality of the annihilation of Jewish Children to a well-crafted tale of love, family and redemption.