Monthly Archives: June 2013

Review: Quarantine: The Loners

quarantineTitle: Quarantine: The Loners
Series: Quarantine (#1)
Author: Lex Thomas
Release Date: July 10, 2012
Pages: 416

First Line: “Someone must have bitten off her nose.”

“It was just another ordinary day at McKinley High—until a massive explosion devastated the school. When loner David Thorpe tried to help his English teacher to safety, the teacher convulsed and died right in front of him. And that was just the beginning.

A year later, McKinley has descended into chaos. All the students are infected with a virus that makes them deadly to adults. The school is under military quarantine. The teachers are gone. Violent gangs have formed based on high school social cliques. Without a gang, you’re as good as dead. And David has no gang. It’s just him and his little brother, Will, against the whole school.” – from goodreads.com

My thoughts: I honestly got about half way through this book before I actually started to like it or care in any way about any of the characters. But I finally did find a small liking for some of them, and the action was enough to keep me going until I got there. For some reason, when I started this book I thought it was zombie book. I don’t know where I got that from, but I didn’t read the summary when I started, so it took me a while to realize the kids weren’t going to turn into zombies, hehehe. But overall, it was definitely a fun book, and a little different take on a virus the whole teen survival theme. I suppose I can be convinced to read the next one.

My Ratings:
Writing: 3/5
Characters: 3/5
Subject: 3/5
Originality:3/5
Kept me interested: 3/5
Overall rating: 3/5

Review: Taken

newbirdTitle: Taken
Series: Taken (#1)
Author: Erin Bowman
Release Date: April 16, 2013
Pages: 360

First Line: Today is the last day I will see my brother.

“There are no men in Claysoot. There are boys—but every one of them vanishes at midnight on his eighteenth birthday. The ground shakes, the wind howls, a blinding light descends…and he’s gone.

They call it the Heist.

Gray Weathersby’s eighteenth birthday is mere months away, and he’s prepared to meet his fate–until he finds a strange note from his mother and starts to question everything he’s been raised to accept: the Council leaders and their obvious secrets. The Heist itself. And what lies beyond the Wall that surrounds Claysoot–a structure that no one can cross and survive.

Climbing the Wall is suicide, but what comes after the Heist could be worse. Should he sit back and wait to be taken–or risk everything on the hope of the other side?” – from goodreads.com

My thoughts: I actually started out liking this book, but then the more I read, the less I liked it. I got really bored after a while, and then when something did start happening again, I didn’t really care. Then a bunch of stuff happened way too fast, with no emotions written in anywhere I guess. I didn’t necessarily like any of the characters except the brother that is “Heisted” at the very beginning. I didn’t care about the love story at all. And then when the big “secret” is revealed, it’s totally predictable and the way Gray is so “naive” and describes things simply gets really annoying. I tend to follow through with series even if I wasn’t huge on the first book, but I barely skimmed through the last bit of this one, and I can say I will not be picking up the second Taken book. Sorry!

My Ratings:
Writing: 2/5
Characters: 1/5
Subject: 2/5
Originality: 2/5
Kept me interested: 2/5
Overall rating: 2/5

Review: Shadow and Bone

shadowTitle: Shadow and Bone
Series: The Grisha (#1)
Author: Leigh Bardugo
Release Date: June 5, 2012
Pages: 356

First Line: “The servants called them malenchki, little ghosts, because they were the smallest and the youngest, and becuase they haunted the Duke’s house like giggling phantoms, darting in and out of rooms, hiding in cupboards to eavesdrop, sneaking into the kitchen to steal the last of the summer peaches.”

“The Shadow Fold, a swathe of impenetrable darkness, crawling with monsters that feast on human flesh, is slowly destroying the once-great nation of Ravka.

Alina, a pale, lonely orphan, discovers a unique power that thrusts her into the lavish world of the kingdom’s magical elite—the Grisha. Could she be the key to unravelling the dark fabric of the Shadow Fold and setting Ravka free?

The Darkling, a creature of seductive charm and terrifying power, leader of the Grisha. If Alina is to fulfill her destiny, she must discover how to unlock her gift and face up to her dangerous attraction to him.

But what of Mal, Alina’s childhood best friend? As Alina contemplates her dazzling new future, why can’t she ever quite forget him?” – from goodreads.com

My thoughts: Sometimes after reading adult fantasy, YA fantasy is a little too… I don’t know… simple, for me. But I still did like this one, although sometimes Alina got a little bit on my nerves. I think Ms. Bardugo did put a little too much emphasis on physical beauty, although maybe that’s some kind of theme I didn’t really pick up on. I tire of love triangles, although at least this one wasn’t that hard to decide on in the end! I don’t think that’s a spoiler… Anyway, aside from all of that, I did enjoy the book. There were enough twists and turns to keep me into it, and I’ll definitely pick up the next one.

My Ratings:
Writing: 3/5
Characters: 3/5
Subject: 4/5
Originality: 3/5
Kept me interested: 3/5
Overall rating: 3/5

Top 10 Books I’ve Read so Far in 2013

toptentuesdayThis week’s theme for Top Ten Tuesday, hosted by The Broke and the Bookish, is Top 10 Books I’ve Read so Far in 2013. I tried to keep most of these published in 2013, but there are at a least a few that are older that I just never read until recently:

1. The Great Hunt (Wheel of Time #2) by Robert Jordan – I haven’t written a review on this one yet, but I really liked it even more than the first one. Hopefully the series will just get better and better!

2. Homeward Bound: Why Women are Embracing the New Domesticity by Emily Matchar – Review forthcoming on this one too, but it was interesting, and I am definitely the target audience for it.

3. Winger by Andrew Smith – Loved loved loved this book. It made me laugh and cry out loud. So good.

4. Eleanor and Park by Rainbow Rowell – Very sweet and good, and everyone in my book club finished it a long time ago, but we still haven’t met to talk about it so we better do that soon before we all forget our main points. 🙂

5. Love and Other Perishable Items by Laura Buzo – I just very much liked Amelia and Chris.

6. The Girl with Borrowed Wings by Rinsai Rossetti – This book is kind of weird, but so am I.

7. The Terrible Thing that Happened to Barnaby Brocket by John Boyne – Another weird book, but Barnaby meets so many cool and interesting characters on his journey.

8. Saga Volume 1 by Brian K. Vaughan – Have I said how much I like Brian K. Vaughan lately?

9. Legend by Marie Lu – I was admittedly behind on reading this one, but I also got to read the sequel right away, and that one was good too, so yay!

10. Animal Wise: The Thoughts and Emotions of Our Fellow Creatures by Virginia Morell – I love reading about animals!

That’s it for this week!

Chickens Storytime

I’ve been forgetting to blog my storytimes since the summer session started! But here is this week’s theme: Chickens. We are actually doing this theme with the Little Red Hen puppet show, so my other items only have to fill 20 minutes. Family storytime is my favorite! Here is what I chose:

After intros and host puppet, etc. we will be starting with Chickens to the Rescue by John Himmelman. I love this book, and the kids love to yell “CHICKENS TO THE RESCUE!!”

chickens

Then we have a flannel of Five Little Chicks:

1

2

Then we are going to read Is Everone Ready for Fun? by Jan Thomas. Jan Thomas is one of my ultimate favorites, especially for tandem reading in storytime.

ready

Then we have another flannel, based on Hattie and the Fox:

3

4

Then we’re bringing in Hungry Hen by Richard Waring in case we have extra time. It’s silly!

hungry

There are a lot of good chicken books, but I haven’t done these in a while, so that’s what we’re doing! 🙂

 

Review: Ashes

AshesTitle: Ashes
Series: Ashes Trilogy (#1)
Author: Ilsa J. Bick
Release Date: September 6, 2011
Pages: 465 pages

First Line: “‘Where are you?’ Aunt Hannah demanded as soon as Alex thumbed TALK.”

“An electromagnetic pulse flashes across the sky, destroying every electronic device, wiping out every computerized system, and killing billions.

Alex hiked into the woods to say good-bye to her dead parents and her personal demons. Now desperate to find out what happened after the pulse crushes her to the ground, Alex meets up with Tom—a young soldier—and Ellie, a girl whose grandfather was killed by the EMP.

For this improvised family and the others who are spared, it’s now a question of who can be trusted and who is no longer human.”

My thoughts: The first thing that struck me about this book is that Ms. Bick is definitely not afraid to go into all the gruesome gory details. I’m not necessarily a queasy person, but I did feel the descriptions to be surprisingly… strong. Part of that might be because I went into this book not really knowing anything about it or what it was about. I was expecting destruction, but I didn’t really know about the zombie-ish kids ahead of time. I found it really interesting at first, with certain age groups responding differently to what happened, but then I think I got kind of bored waiting for explanations, which never really came to my satisfaction. But I guess she had to leave some mystery for the rest of the trilogy. I liked Alex at first, but then I got kind of sick of her after a while. Tom was definitely my favorite character in the book. I think the fact that I read this one and 5th Wave so close to each other kind of hurt my opinion of this one. They started out pretty similarly, but I liked Cassie so much more. And I had a hard time suspending disbelief about the town that was already built and corrupt and crazy when she found them, although perhaps that will be explained later on in the series as well. But I honestly don’t know if I will continue with it. Maybe if I run out of other stuff to read.

My Ratings:
Writing: 2/5
Characters: 2/5
Subject: 2/5
Originality: 2/5
Kept me interested: 2/5
Overall rating: 2/5

Review: Eye of the World

WoT01_TheEyeOfTheWorldTitle: The Eye of the World
Series: Wheel of Time (#1)
Author: Robert Jordan
Release Date: November 15, 1990
Pages: 657 pages

First Line: “The palace still shook occasionally as the earth rumbled in memory, groaned as if it would deny what had happened.”

“The Wheel of Time turns and Ages come and go, leaving memories that become legend. Legend fades to myth, and even myth is long forgotten when the Age that gave it birth returns again. In the Third Age, an Age of Prophecy, the World and Time themselves hang in the balance. What was, what will be, and what is, may yet fall under the Shadow.” – from goodreads.com

My thoughts: My husband has been bugging to start this series forever, but I was hesitant because of the commitment. The books are big, and there are.. like… FOURTEEN of them! But I finally decided to just go ahead and dive in. I’m not sure how fast I’ll get through the series, because I have a lot of YA books to keep up with, but I will try to get to each book before I forget everything that happened in the previous one. Wouldn’t want to have to start over after all! Anyway, I did like this book, especially now that I feel like I can appreciate fantasy more than I used to be able to. I do so love maps. 🙂 I did have a hard time finding love for many of the characters though. Nynaeve annoyed me, but my husband was quick to point out that apparently not many people do like her. I’m not really sure why, but she’s just kind of crabby. I also didn’t like Mat, but I was informed that he gets much cooler as the series goes on. To be fair, I mostly didn’t like him because of something that wasn’t entirely under his control. I felt almost nothing for any of the other characters until near the end of this book. then I started liking Rand more, and Moiraine, and especially Perrin for some reason. I was disappointed when they all got separated, but I suppose that’s to be expected occasionally. I do like the magical elements (especially as women are empowered and men go CA-RAZY when they try to gain power). It’s kind of hard to write a review for something so complicated, so I’m really just writing about the elements/characters that struck me I guess. So after finishing this one, yes, I will definitely continue with the series. I think it will only get better from here really. Oh, and I sincerely hope Thom comes back eventually and is not dead!

My Ratings:
Writing: 4/5
Characters: 3/5
Subject: 4/5
Originality: 4/5
Kept me interested: 3/5
Overall rating: 4/5

Top 10 Books Featuring Travel in Some Way

toptentuesdayThis week’s Top Ten Tuesday catagory hosted by The Broke and the Bookish is Top Ten Books Featuring Travel in Some Way. I had a hard time with this one. Nothing really came to mind. I guess I don’t read a whole lot books featuring travel, unless you count fantasy series! In light of this, I’m only going to post 5 today. :/

1. Winger by Andrew Smith – I just finished this book and I absolutely loved it, so I’m likely going to be adding it to a lot of my future lists. 😉 In this one, they Winger and Annie travel to her home in Portland. It’s one of the most peaceful times in the book.

2. The Girl with Borrowed Wings by Rinsai Rossetti – Boy with wings = travel anywhere you want to go! Nice!

3. The Terrible Thing that Happened to Barnaby Brocket by John Boyne – When Barnaby’s mom lets him float away, he gets to travel all over the world and meet some fantastic people in some amazing places.

4. The Tiger’s Curse by Colleen Houck – Kelsey follows her tiger to India, and into a lot of other adventures as well.

5. Miss Peregrine’s Home for Peculiar Children by Ransom Riggs – Jacob travels to a remote island off the coast of Whales to find the weird and creepy house where his grandfather once lived.

 

The only bad thing about these Tuesday Titles is I’m afraid my lists might overrun each other all the time. I feel like I’m constantly using the same books. I guess the only cure for that is read even more! 🙂

Review: The 5th Wave

5thTitle: The 5th Wave
Series: The Fifth Wave
Author: Rick Yancey
Release Date: May 7, 2013
Pages: 457

First Line: “There will be no awakening.”

“After the 1st wave, only darkness remains. After the 2nd, only the lucky escape. And after the 3rd, only the unlucky survive. After the 4th wave, only one rule applies: trust no one.

Now, it’s the dawn of the 5th wave, and on a lonely stretch of highway, Cassie runs from Them. The beings who only look human, who roam the countryside killing anyone they see. Who have scattered Earth’s last survivors. To stay alone is to stay alive, Cassie believes, until she meets Evan Walker. Beguiling and mysterious, Evan Walker may be Cassie’s only hope for rescuing her brother—or even saving herself. But Cassie must choose: between trust and despair, between defiance and surrender, between life and death. To give up or to get up.” – from goodreads.com

My thoughts: I’ve read a lot of post-apocalyptic stuff recently, but this one was my favorite in a while. I really liked Cassie a lot, and that can be hard to find in YA post-apocalyptic/dystopian novels. The leading ladies are often one-dimensional and honestly can get kind of annoying. But not Cassie. She felt genuine, and she made me laugh even in her darkest hours. The storyline was actually interesting too, aliens being for some reason often overlooked in plausible apocalypse stories. And these aliens are particularly interesting to me, but I don’t want to give too much away. I just hope next book can live up to the standards set by this one!

My Ratings:
Writing: 4/5
Characters: 4.5/5
Subject: 4/5
Originality: 3/5
Kept me interested: 4/5
Overall rating: 4/5