Tuesday, November 23, 2010

The Red Pyramid

Title: The Red Pyramid
Author: Rick Riordan
Reading Level: 3rd-6th grade
Location: J Riordan

Since their mother's death, Carter and Sadie have become near strangers. While Sadie has lived with her grandparents in London, her brother has traveled the world with their father, the brilliant Egyptologist, Dr. Julius Kane.

One night, Dr. Kane brings the siblings together for a "research experiment" at the British Museum, where he hopes to set things right for his family. Instead, he unleashes the Egyptian god Set, who banishes him to oblivion and forces the children to flee for their lives.

Soon, Sadie and Carter discover that the gods of Egypt are waking, and the worst of them —Set— has his sights on the Kanes. To stop him, the siblings embark on a dangerous journey across the globe - a quest that brings them ever closer to the truth about their family and their links to a secret order that has existed since the time of the pharaohs.

Bottomline: Fun book with thrilling adventure. The sibling narrators take turns telling the story and it's interesting seeing different perspectives. I was a bit rusty in my Egyptian mythology, but the author did a good job helping share the background stories. I enjoyed this book, not as much as the Percy Jackson series, but I'm still interested to see where the story goes.

Tuesday, November 9, 2010


Title: Matched
Author: Ally Condie
Reading Level: Young Adult
Location: YA Condie

In the Society, Officials decide. Who you love. Where you work. When you die.

Cassia has always trusted their choices. It’s barely any price to pay for a long life, the perfect job, the ideal mate. So when her best friend appears on the Matching screen, Cassia knows with complete certainty that he is the one . . . until she sees another face flash for an instant before the screen fades to black. Now Cassia is faced with impossible choices: between Xander and Ky, between the only life she’s known and a path no one else has ever dared follow—between perfection and passion.

This book reminded me of The Giver, in that the government, or City Officials, controls everything about the "Society". Everything in the Society is controlled, predicted and sorted. The story starts out with the main character, Cassia, going to her Match Banquet, where she will meet the man she will marry when they're 21. Cassia starts to see flaws in the "Society" and realizes that her freedom is what she wants the most, especially with the boy she loves.

Bottomline: This is a good addition to my favorite dystopian stories. The controlled environment always get me thinking. I love the realization of better things, and the love and freedom that is prohibited, and all more desirable. I enjoyed this story and am anxious for the next installment in this planned trilogy!

Friday, November 5, 2010


Title: Jane
Author: April Lindner
Reading Level: Young Adult
Location: YA Lindner

In this contemporary retelling of the classic novel Jane Eyre, Jane Moore finds herself literally penniless after the death of her parents. Unable to continue at college, Jane secures a nanny position for the daughter of reclusive rock star, Nico Rathburn and moves into his estate, Thornfield Park. Jane, always practical and pragmatic, quickly finds herself falling for her enigmatic but handsome employer but he has his eye on a wealthy photographer for the rich and famous. She knows it's impossible but has to wonder if Nico will ever see her as anything more than the nanny? In the midst of it all, Jane begins to realize that Thornfield Park hides a terrible secret. Jane knows that the creepy noises and the mysterious, midnight fires are no accident. Will she figure out the mystery before she becomes the next target?

I have to say, as a fan of Jane Eyre, this book did not disappoint. April Lindner modernizes the characters very well (Mr. Rochester as a rock star!) while staying true to the original. However, I do think that readers unfamiliar with Jane Eyre might find some aspects of the plot a little odd simply because they unfailingly stick to the original. I think the author would have done better to tweak the plot just slightly (especially in the last quarter) to compensate for the cultural changes that have taken place between now and the Victorian Period. Other than that, I found the characters and story completely engaging. Nico was my favorite by far, but the other characters add interest as well. Initially, Jane seemed a little mousy, but I quickly realized that she had quite a backbone so she grew on me throughout the story. The romance develops naturally and never feels too forced but, again, does get a little odd in the last quarter of the book.

The Bottom Line: This well-written, modern retelling of Jane Eyre will be loved by those who enjoyed the original classic. If you are not familiar with the original, some aspects of the plot might seem a little weird, but those who like chick-lit, romance and possibly, paranormal romance should enjoy this one.

Monday, November 1, 2010


Title: Fallen
Author: Lauren Kate
Level: YA
Location: YA Kate

Fallen by Lauren Kate is another book about a girl who has two guys interested in her ( Shouldn't we all!), but it is nothing like Twilight. Yes, Luce will eventually have to choose between them, but one of these guys is really bad and the other is pure good. Will you be able to tell which is which? And why does Lucinda keep feeling like she knows Daniel? The supporting characters are quite interesting themselves. I guess when you're enrolled at a boarding reform school with a cemetary on the grounds that can be expected. From tattoos to earrings, scars and tracking bracelets to those who would just as soon fight you as have you breathe there is a whole cast of characters... Luce isn't really a reform school candidate, but after what happened at her old school she didn't have much choice. She is trying to figure out how to fit in and avoid the true reformers without even realizing what is going on around her.

Bottom Line: This book is not one that gives background on the characters or the situation at the beginning. Instead you must put things together as the story is revealed throughout the book. This bothered me at first, but after a bit I was able to figure out some of the story. If you like a bit of mystery and romance, and memorable characters this is an enjoyable, well written read. There is a sequel to the book, Torment, which I look forward to reading as there was much more to the story. The next book of the story (Passion) comes out in 2011.

Update- There will now be more books coming out after 2011.