Saturday, May 29, 2010

Me, My Elf & I

Title: Me, My Elf & I
Author: Heather Swain
Location: Available soon

Zephyr is an elf who starts at an erdler, or human, high school. She desperately wants to fit in, but doesn't always understand the lingo that the other students use. She quickly makes friends and starts to get involved, including signing up for a tv commercial audition. But, she makes an enemy of the most popular girl at the school, Bella, and drama starts ensuing, including a new love interest.

Bottomline: I didn't enjoy this as much as I thought I would, but it was a cute story. I got a little frustrated with Zephyr and her antics, but then I realized how old she was. It was a cute high-school, romance, story with a twist of fantasy. I did like how it all turned out, so I was happy in the end!

Tuesday, May 25, 2010

My Sailor Dad

Title: My Sailor Dad
Author: Ross Mackenzie
Level: picture book
Location: JE Mackenzie

What stood out to me immediately when first skimming this book were the illustrations. It is difficult to find good books that represent different cultural backgrounds and appeal to boys. My Sailor Dad's illustrations show people of not just one group, but varied ethnic groups. The book can also be enjoyed by girls as well. There is so much more than the story to talk about with your children from the flags of different countries, moon phases, and whales, to the signal flags. (See if you can decode the message.) The story explains Navy jobs, objects found on the ship, and why Dad has to leave for awhile, all on a young child's level.

Bottom Line: This is a great book for families with a military member of any cultural background and will also be enjoyed by non- military children. If your child likes boats make sure to check this one out. Illustrations are great. Be on the look out for the next book in this series which should be Army based.
Sidenote: Patriot Kids donates a portion of the proceeds to charities that celebrate the sacrifices of our military men and women in tangible, meaningful, and loving ways.

Saturday, May 15, 2010

The Reckoning

Title: The Reckoning
Author: Kelley Armstrong
Level: Young Adult
Location: YA Armstrong

This review discusses the plots of the first two books in the Darkest Powers series. If you have not yet read The Summoning and The Awakening, skip to The Bottom Line.

The Reckoning begins right where the last book left off. Chloe, Derek, Simon, and Tori have once again escaped the clutches of The Edison Group, this time with a little help from Andrew, an old friend of Derek and Simon’s dad. Andrew is also a supernatural, though not a genetically altered one, so he brings the group to his mansion in the middle of nowhere and introduces them to his supernatural friends. Even though Chloe and her friends are happy to be finally safe, the creepy, old mansion holds even more terrifying secrets about the Edison Group’s past experiments and the horrific failures that resulted. Why has Andrew brought them to a place with such a bad history? Can Andrew and his friends really be trusted?

I can’t say too much about the plot of this book without giving a lot away. Even though the writing is still great for this series, this book definitely moved more slowly than the first two. Armstrong tries to keep the plot moving, but much of the action that takes place in the first half is minor and fails to build on the suspense that carried over from The Awakening. The book does start to pick up around the middle and it really explodes in the last quarter. Armstrong does a wonderful job of deepening a few of the main characters in this last book, particularly Chloe, Derek and Tori. The reader gets a little more insight into Tori’s motivations and loyalties. Plus, Chloe finally figures out which boy she prefers, which I think will be a surprise to no one. As a whole, I really enjoyed this book. Even with the dragging plot in the beginning, I liked the way Armstrong developed her characters. The ending is fantastic and action-packed. This was a great ending to the series and I think fans of the books will definitely enjoy it.

The Bottom Line: The Reckoning was a great ending to the series even though it did lack some of the excitement present in previous books. The characters are a little deeper and the ending is utterly thrilling. With this last book, Armstong ties up the story nicely while leaving a few threads dangling presumably for her next young adult series.

Tuesday, May 11, 2010


Title: Madapple
Author: Christina Meldrum
Age: Young Adult
Location: YA Meldrum

I'm not quite sure what to say about this book. It's about a girl, Aslaug, who had a sheltered life with her harsh mother, surviving on the land and knowing all about plants and their properties. Her mother mysteriously dies and Aslaug is forced to take care of herself and she finds family she didn't know she had. This family experience is kind of weird, and some interesting events occur - including more mysterious deaths. The alternate chapters take place in a court room, 3 years in the future, as they decide if Aslaug is involved in these mysterious deaths and if she is sane.

Bottomline: It was a very interesting read, especially as you try to piece together the little bits of information they give you. The story was engaging and I wanted to know how it all turned out. If you read it, let me know what you think!

Monday, May 3, 2010

Devil's Kiss

Title: Devil's Kiss
Author: Sarwat Chadda
Level: Young Adult
Location: YA Chadda

Billi Sangreal longs for a normal teenage life of dating, friendship and even homework. But Billi is the only female member of the Knights Templar so her days normally involve dismembering ghuls (the undead/vampires), exorcising demons and nursing the frequent injuries that come with it. She’s tired of the constant responsibility of fighting creatures that no one knows exists and dealing with the demands of her father, the head of the Templars. Then she meets Mike. He’s totally hot and seems to understand the stress of all Billi's responsibilities and her issues with her controlling, emotionally absent dad. Mike is perfect, but is he too good to be true? Or does Billi have feelings for Kay, her childhood best friend and the Templars new oracle? Nothing in Billi’s life comes easy and with a new threat surfacing from the Grigori (fallen angels) is Mike the wrong guy to trust?

I was not even going to pick up this book at first. I thought it would be like every other paranormal fantasy romance all wrapped up in a neat little package. Boy, was I wrong about this title! Billi is a great character, a tough girl who just wants to be a girl, instead of fighting for her life every other night. Disappointingly, the other characters are rather stock but that didn’t ruin my enjoyment of the story. Billi’s father and Kay, do have fleeting moments of depth but the reader really does not get much insight on their feelings and motivations. This was really my only complaint with this title as I would have loved to learn more about Kay. Aside from the lack of characterization, I loved the plot and the heart-pounding action sequences it produced. With this book, Chadda creates a truly unique fantasy tale by interweaving Templar myth with religious tales, like that of the Grigori and the angels. He allows the romance to take a backseat to the action which fit with Billi’s character and the demands of her life. In all, this was a great book with a compelling main character and an original, fantasy storyline.

The Bottom Line: If you are tired of the typical fantasy plot recycled in numerous YA books out right now, try Devil’s Kiss. The story is wholly original with plenty of action to keep both male and female readers interested. Plus, the vampires are *gasp* actually evil! If you give it a shot, I guarantee you won’t regret it. I didn’t :)