Friday, January 27, 2012

The House of the Scorpion by Nancy Farmer

**By the way, today I am going to try a new format**

Title: The House of the Scorpion
Author: Nancy Farmer
Publisher: Atheneum/Richard Jackson Books
Length: 380 pages
Ages: Young Adults
Genera: Fantasy
Subjects: Dystopia, Adventure, Coming of Age
Mature themes. May be frightening for younger children/not understand concept, definitely for young adults or advanced readers.

Matteo Alacrán  wasn't born - he was harvested. Matt is a clone of a powerful lord of a country called Opium, El Patrón. Opium is a strip of poppy fields lying between the United States and what was once called Mexico.
El Patrón loves his clone, for Matt is him. As Matt fights for respect, there are some that wish to kill him.

The House of the Scorpion was just wow. Wow. If this is the norm of the books I'm going to read 2012, than I'm in luck (and just wow will be part of my vocab). It is a brilliant work of art. I had not ever read a Nancy Farmer book (though twice now I rented The Sea of Trolls - but never got to it). I was very happy with this book, begging everyone I know to read it. They didn't - yet.
The "main villain" (I don't really call any of them the main villain because without even one childhood it wouldn't seem the same) is lovable, and by the time he does something bad (though you expected it), you are sad.

Matt is a kind, curious, human character. He is a child in this book, not an adult. He acts like one, and even more he makes child like mistakes. There is one beautiful scene (yet not really) were Matt makes someone do something (I won't specify...) - that a thirteen year old kid would do (chapter 11 - The Giving and Taking of Gifts).
The "villains" were also human. Even the minor-est villains made you hate them and when something bad happens to them you are happy, yet sad for maybe, just maybe they didn't deserve it. A certain Rosa is a good example.

It begins... slowly, but that really builds everything up. It isn't a fast paced book. [Some of] the surprises are expected which slights takes away from the main story line. I guessed about 75% of them, but the author left many clues (probably wanting you to find some of them). The big surprise as a 50/50 surprise, for I guessed who the bad person was yet not what he was going to do - but then again there were lots of clues so if I tried harder, I could have guessed it.

What I enjoyed/didn't:
The was no cussing other than 1 or 2 c and 3 or 4 d, though this was a young adult book. Often, the author will add too much cussing just to make it a young adult book. This book was young adult for themes, not cussing/romance/ect.
The story was realistic because *spoiler* El Patrón is the leader of the Opium fields, yet he isn’t a nice guy as Matt thinks.*/spoiler*
I didn't like Matt's childish reaction to Tom, even though Matt is a child (chapter 10. A Cat with Nine Lives). I felt it was just wrong, though I reward the author for such a realistic chapter. This dislike is more of a personal moral dislike than an actual critism of the book/chapter. 

In conclusion:
The writing was entertaining and easy to read at times, but hard to read at others. I was recently looking around and found Nancy's blog (or some poser I guess). According to my source, she is writing a sequel. The ending left me hanging, but I don't know if I really want "another book". I will read her other books once I get them. Her books are well written. Another good change, from the Twilights and Hunger Games, is that this book has a good and clear moral. I recommend it to mature audiences, Mature 12/13 up.

Favorite Scene & Character: My favorite character is Tam Lin. My favorite scene is actually a part - the first.
Favorite Quote: "What Matt hated about the creature was everyone’s assumption that he and Furball were the same. It didn’t matter that Matt had excellent grades and good manners. They were both animals and thus unimportant." (Narrator)
Recommend: Yeah!
Rating: A+

Saturday, January 21, 2012

13 Reasons Why by Jay Asher

Title: 13 Reasons Why
Author: Jay Asher
Publisher: New York: Rasorbill
Length: 288 pages
Ages: Young Adults
Genera: Realistic Fiction:
Subjects: Suicide, depression, high school
Suicide, rape (non-explicit), some characters are very iffy, cussing

There are seven cassette tapes, thirteen stories, a Walkman, and one night to hear them all. Hannah Baker committed suicide, these tapes are the truth. Truth to why she decided to commit suicide and what pushed her towards the pills.
Clay Jenson receives the tapes one after school day. He pops them into the CD player and played it.

"Hello boys and girls. Hannah Baker here. Live and in stereo."

Clay is sucked into the 13 sides, wondering where he comes in this depressing tale. He will find out soon enough...

13 Reasons Why is not a book for everyone. Though I enjoyed it very much, I do see how people are disturbed by it. Even though Ms. Baker was depressed, you can see how she was depressed and blamed others for not helping her. In this point of view, it doesn't send the right message to impressionable young teens, be they female or male.
But, if you think about it from another point, it could send a good message. Perhaps the message was that is important to know how you are treating someone and how it is affecting them. It is important to help those in need.

Hannah Baker was a depressed teen, who I don't think anyone should look up to her. She stood by when someone was raped, though she knew it was wrong. She didn't know how horrible the results of the knocking down of the sign, but she knew she should call 911. She didn't.
Clay wasn't exactly a person to look up to either. I sympathised with him (how hard would it be on you to hear the last public words of a dead girl?), but never liked him particularly as a character. He wasn't anything special, no outstanding qualities except for his... humanity I guess. I enjoy human characters, and I don't mean Bella (Twilight, New Moon, Eclipse) human.
The 13 Reasons are quite despicable, even if they don't mean it directly. My some of my favorite (and by favorite I mean least) Reasons are Alex Standall, Courtney Crimsen, and Marcus Cooley. I shiver in the thought of them.
The thirteenth reason felt unnecessary, I don't think a shrink should be blamed for his poor advice.
The characters lost this book a star.

The plot is very intriguing and quite original. The cassette idea is original and I love that. According to the author, he decided to use an already dated form, and have the characters realize this, to make the book timeless. He did quite well.
It began with mystery and it's body was filled with mystery, and it ends clear. The ending it very satisfying, though I forgot who the girl at the end is. It's sort of embarrassing. I'll probably rent (or buy) it again, to clear that up.
A lot of Clay's movements were unneeded. Reading him taking a sip of coffee in the middle of Hannah's narration messes up the flow of things.

What I enjoyed/didn't:
I enjoyed all the interlocking stories, as I always do. Once you finish one side, you can guess the next one. Or sometimes, I didn't. My top favorite one has to be the fourth reason, probably because that was the only one that gave me the shivers. Let me give you a hint: a peeping Tom.
As I said, this book could give the wrong messages, which isn't a pro. The rape felt unnecessary, and I didn't enjoy reading it.

In conclusion:
The writing was unique and well thought out. The characters weren't my favorite. As I said earlier, the flow of writing was disturbed by Clay's reactions. Some, like a gasp or a few thoughts on the previous passage, added another dimension to the writing, but a lot fell flat. For those looking for a story that makes you think, 13 Reasons Why is a good choice.

Favorite Side & Character: I have no favorite character. My favorite side is #4.
Favorite Quote: “You can't stop the future, You can't rewind the past, The only way to the learn the secret... is to press play.” (Hannah Baker)
Recommend?: Not to everyone.

Rating: B

Sunday, January 15, 2012

Upcoming Reviews

House of the Scorpion by Nancy Farmer - blog link
13 Reasons Why by Jay Asher - blog link
Night Circus by Erin Morgenstern - blog link

Saturday, January 7, 2012

Jellicoe Road by Melina Marchetta

Title: Jellicoe Road
Author: Melina Marchetta
Publisher: Penguin Australia
Ages: Young Adults
Length: 412
Genera: Fiction
Subjects: Boarding School, Mystery, Two Stories
This book is NOT suitable for all ages. Sex (not explicit), cussing, and drugs (not used directly).

When Taylor Markham was eleven, her mother abandoned her at a Seven Eleven, hundreds of miles from home. Now, she is seventeen and the reluctant leader of her boarding school dorm, Jellicoe School.
The Townies, from the town (duh), The Cadets, city kids doing a six-week outdoor education program, and the Jellicoe School students have engaged in war in the Australian countryside, defending territorial borders, negotiating for assets, and even taking hostages.
Meanwhile, Taylor's confidant and only parental figure goes missing and someone from her past comes back. Taylor must find the connection between her mother dumping her, Hannah finding her (and her mysterious disappearance); the boy from her dreams, the five kids who lived here long ago, and Jonah Griggs.

Rating: A+
My mother once told me that there are three main types of books, and that they can be classified like meats. Hamburger, Sirloin steak, and then Fillet Mignon. Jellicoe Road is fillet Mignon.
About 3/4 through the book, I was going to give this book 4 or 4 ½ (because of the beginning). After finishing it, I knew that I couldn't give it that low of a score.
Jellicoe Road is a beautiful book, but I don't know how I am going to do this review. I cannot express it.
The first 100 pages are extremely slow. I didn't think I would be able to finish it. What took me a while figure out is that there are two interlocking stories. Once the stories start to relate, that's when the story takes off.
Jellicoe Road has some romance (just enough to be delectable). The characters are just amazingly created. The mystery is so good. I did guess some of it though, but a lot of it blew me away. The "war" was a big aspect of the story, but I am glad to say it was not the entire book. The book is not really a mystery either. It is a book about love, loss, death, and acceptance. There word I need to use to describe is: favorite.

In all, I can't recommend it to everyone. Some people just can't appreciate this because it does need a lot of patience to read it. I recommend reading it at least twice.

- Rogue

8th book review

Friday, January 6, 2012

Cascade by Lisa T. Bergren

Title: Cascade
Series: River of Time (bk 2)
Author: Lisa T. Bergren
Ages: Young Adults - 14+
Genera: Fiction
Subjects:  Time Travel, Romance, Medieval Times, Sequels
Some romance, cussing, and mature topics. At one point the main character thinks she will be raped, which she won't be.

Gabi has left her heart in the fifteenth century, she has to go back. Soon, she convinces Lia to go back - but this time they have a passenger. Their mother comes with them to Italy! When they come back to the fifteenth century, it turns out it has been many weeks since she left and all of Siena longs to celebrate the heroines who turned the tide in the battle against Florence—while the Florentines will go to great lengths to see them dead.
Now, Gabi has to decide whether to leave her family behind or leave her heart behind.

Rating: B+
Actually, I read this book before the first one and loved it. After reading the second one, I can safely say that this sequel does not disappoint. In fact, I think I like this one better than the first.
What are the components of this book? You need to take a sprinkle of history, a quart of action, and a cup of romance.
The only bad thing that I can think of is probably how much Marcello is so... clingy and protective. This is the major reason why I couldn't give it a five star. In this book, it's not as bad as the third book and first. It says:
"...which the plucky heroine doesn’t have to fear a vampire’s bite but must still fight for her life."
- Shelfari
Well, guess what. Edward has changed form - to Marcello. This is definitely a draw back. But at least, Gabi realizes it to an extent. I remember she says something about how she didn't ask for a protective parental figure, but a boy friend. Well, c'est la vie. Luca still is my favorite boy.
Gabi is still awesome and kick butt as ever. She is such a great character.

Over all, this is a great sequel to Waterfall! The final book's review should be ready soon.

- Rogue

7th book review - OMG already seven reviews!

Extra Cover Review:
I love this cover! The girl, probably Gabi, is so pretty! The backround is probably Siena.

Burned by Ellen Hopkins

Title: Burned
Author: Ellen Hopkins
Publisher: Simon & Schuster Children's Publishing
Ages: Young Adults - 15+
Genera: Fiction
Subjects: Abuse, Poetry, Sexuality, Religious upbringing
Contains some VERY adult topics

Told in verse, the book tells the sad tale of Pattyn Von Stratten, the eldest daughter of a ‘good’ Mormon family. Her journey begins with a simple dream about a boy. With most families, it would not mean anything. But to Pattyn, it could be the first step to hell and eternal damnation.

The dream is the first step, but to what? Will the dream lead to a better life or hell? Pattyn ponders this and other questions. They are questions without any answers – about God, sex, and most of all, love. The readers will find themselves pondering these same questions along with her in this battle of good and evil. Soon enough, Pattyn gets caught with a real boy, and gets shipped to rural Nevada. There she finds something new to her: love and acceptance. And for the first time in her life, she feels worthy of it. But her past demons won’t let her escape. Pattyn goes down a path that will surely lead her to hell.

Rating: A+
Ellen Hopkins’ books are a work of art. It warns girls and boys alike, about how dangerous the world can be. Dealing with sex, abuse, drugs, and alcohol, it can be quite hard to read at times yet thoroughly worth it. The endings will leave you pondering for the rest of the day, and sometimes more.

From the first pages, you are drawn into Pattyn’s harsh life. The way it is written makes it impossible to quit reading. It is not possible to skip a paragraph – because there are no paragraphs. Most of the book is thoughts and feelings, but the dialogue is very important to read. There are no annoying pages where the dialogue just goes on… and on. I love how you always know what Pattyn is thinking. When she is sad, you are sad; when she is ecstatic, you are too. Her story will leave the readers absorbed until the very end.

This book isn’t an easy read and some scenes could be quite traumatic to younger audiences. I don’t recommend this to kids younger than 15 or 14 (unless their parents permit them to read it). But with this said, it is an amazing book that I think everyone should at some point in their life. Ellen Hopkins’ books should be recommended reading in schools across the country and the world.

- Rogue

6th book review

The Angel Hunter by J. A. Leary

Title: The Angel Hunter
Series: Unknown
Author: J. A. Leary
Publisher: AML Enterprises, LLC
Ages: Young Adults
Genera: Science Fiction
Subjects: Angels, Christianity
Some cussing

Victoria Hunter faces an enormous terror as her twin sons are torn from her arms and the shock leaves her with little more than vague memories of consuming fear and something profoundly evil. FBI agent Mc Clanahan is convinced that Victoria Hunter suffers from severe postpartum psychosis and is herself responsible for the infants disappearance. Her psychiatrist however, is beginning to sense that what she is up against is not something easily explained in the glib terms of psychiatry and law enforcement. Meanwhile, Father Stephen Christensen, an aged Catholic priest finds himself closer to the truth than most and that isn’t much comfort to him. An ancient secret is waking up and reaching for destiny. Victoria’s mother has some deeply help secrets which she simply cannot reveal to her daughter, even in the light of these terrifying circumstances. As the protagonist and the other characters start to spiral towards a terrifying crescendo the reader will find themselves struggling to define good and evil within the context of this book.

Rating: B
J. A. Leary’s debut book is a good start. It is a supernatural mystery starring Victoria Hunter, a highly accomplished business woman and mother of twins. It has an original plot, unlike many of the popular wannabes, interesting dialogue, and life-like characters. Mr. Leary proves that it is possible to write a spell-binding book involving the supernatural without vampires and werewolves. Yes, you read that right. There are no vampires fighting over the heroine in this book. Many twist and turns will compel you to keep turning the pages well into the wee hours of the morning. The book delves into the eternal question of good and evil and challenges some deeply held Judeo-Christian principles which may further fascinate (or upset) some readers.
The initial pages felt awkward as though the writer was trying to write according to some creative writing principles handed down by a teacher from long ago, rather than in his own voice. By about chapter three it was clear that Mr. Leary had found his way back to his own voice and style and the novel had managed to garner my undivided attention. As the perspective of the narrator changed frequently in the book it became, at times, cumbersome to read.

This book is not an easy read and some of the scenes can be quite frightening, which makes this not a book I would recommend to younger audiences. But to readers who enjoy reading something other than your average pool side novel I recommend this book.

- Rogue

5th book review

Waterfall by Lisa T. Bergren

Title: Waterfall
Series: River of Time (bk 1)
Author: Lisa T. Bergren
Publisher: David C. Cook
Ages: Young Adult
Genera: Fiction
Subjects: Time Travel, Romance, Medieval Times
Some romance, cussing, and mature topics

It's not everyday you get to go to Italy! Actually, for Gabi and Lia, it is everyday. Gabi and Lia are the daughters of prominent archaeologist parents. Gabi and Lia are bored out of their minds, so they go into one of the tumuli (which are basically burial grounds). Gabi puts her hand on the wall, along with Lia and they are sent through time to the sixteenth century - right between a epic battle between two forces.

Rating: B
What can I say? This book has everything I love:
Medieval History
Strong Heroine
Did I mention Italy? I ♥ Italy.

Gabi it a wonderful heroine. She is similar to Maximum Ride, same sarcastic, witty, character. Luca and Marcello are so fun. Marcello is a bit too protective for my tastes (he just reminds me way to much of Edward Cullen). Luca is Marcello's sidekick; a fun, witty guy. He has to be the best of the two.
Lia doesn't get fleshed much in the book, nor the whole series so that's a bit of a disappointment. She is the little sister character: kind, sort of hesitant, and all around little sister-y. It's kind of a downer.
I do love how kick butt they are, both of the sisters.
The story is great, but slightly rushed in parts. Some times, this is necessary (like in the battle parts). The story leaves a good cliffhanger, so it's good I had all three books. The next book's review will come soon!

In all, though the book is good, it isn't great. I did enjoy it greatly. I would recommend it to an person who loves Italy, history, or/and a good romance.

- Rogue

4th book review

Wednesday, January 4, 2012

Miss Peregrine's Home for Peculiar Children by Ransom Riggs

Title: Miss Peregrine's Home for Peculiar Children
Author: Ransom Riggs
Publisher: Quirky Books
Ages: Young Adult
Length: 352 pages
Genera: Fiction
Subjects: Orphans, Mutants, Photography
Some major cussing.

Jacob Portman has an odd grandfather, but to six year old Jacob, Grandpa Portman is the best person in the world. He told wild stories about monsters with tentacles for tongues, war, and more. Only when Jacob grows older does he finally begin to question Grandpa Portman. Now, sixteen year old Jacob knows that Grandpa Portman is just a crazy old coot.
When Jacob and his friend finds his grandfather dying in the forest, he is given Grandpa Portman's last words. They lead him to a seemingly boring island looking for people long dead. What will happen?

Rating: A
Ransom Riggs is certaionly an brilliant artist. He has crafted a story with words and pictures. Ransom Riggs has compiled vintage pictures to help describe the story. The pictures include a man lifting a heavy "boulder" and a girl standing over a pond - with two reflections. My brother and I loved to look at them. I also enjoyed reading the end where all the origins of the photos.
The story itself was slightly confusing at times, but otherwise a good mystery. The slight romance was entertaining and I enjoyed reading them flirting with each other (I won't mention who they were though). The powers were very different. For example, one of the characters had teeth under the back of her hair. The end was rushed, but I think it needed to be like that. The drama, action, and mystery worked well for Ransom Riggs.
There was very little cursing, and far spaced as well. I actually don't remember anything other than a d@mn here and there. According to Shelfari, there is a bit of major cussing. Don't remember any of it though.

In all, I loved the book! I would recommend it to everyone and would love to read it again.

- Rogue

3rd book review

As I Wake by Elizabeth Scott

Title: As I Wake
Author: Elizabeth Scott
Publisher: Dutton Juvenile
Ages: Young Adult (13+)
Length: 224 pages
Genera: Science Fiction
Subjects: Paranormal Romance, Amnesia, Two Worlds
Some romance and cussing.

Ava wakes up in a house she doesn't know. Just released from the hospital, she comes home to a wonderful mother and a group of best friends, even a crush that's beginning to show interest. She doesn't know any of them. Ava can't shake the feelings that she doesn't belong.
Ava finally remembers something, but its not from this life. Where does she belong - the life with a caring mother or one filled with danger and love?

Rating:: D
I had recently joined a book group, and the previous BOTM (book of the month) were As I Wake (Elizabeth Scott) and Miss Peregrine's Home for Peculiar Children (Ransom Riggs). I held both of them at the library, and read started As I Wake first.
I really loved the idea, it was original (or at least I haven't read anything like it). The first few pages were... confusing. I couldn't get past them quickly. At the time though, I thought it was just because they were the first pages. The whole book turned out to be like that. I quit reading it and turned to Miss Peregrine (click here for review). When I started it again, it was easier to read (by a bit). The farther I got in. the more confused I got. It just didn't make sense!
The two plots made NO sense. How did the boy come in to the other Ava's life? Not to spoil anything but, the romance was forced and rushed.

In all, I didn't enjoy it one bit, I would not read it again, and I would NOT recommend it.

- Rogue

2nd Book Review

Tuesday, January 3, 2012

Warriors: Into the Wild by Erin Hunter

Title: Warriors: Into the Wild
Author: Erin Hunter
Series: Warriors
Publisher: Avon
Ages: 10 - 12+
Length: 288 pages
Genera: Fantasy
Subjects: Cats, Adventure, Animal
There are no unsuitable topics in this book.

An ominous prophecy is foretold to Bluestar, the clan leader of a group of wild cats. For generations, the four feline clans lived in harmony in the forest. They were Thunderclan, Riverclan, Shadowclan, and Windclan. The desperate Thunderclan took in a poor, lost kittypet, or house cat, to train as a warrior. The other clans of the forest are threatening them. Will this kitty rise to the top?

Rating: C
Usually, I don't go for junior books, but Warriors had many good reviews, I had lots of recommendations, and it was free on Kindle. I bought it, and finished it in a few days. Now, I'm not the biggest cat lover in town, but I was pleasantly surprised with this book.
Warriors was fun and quick paced. I loved how Firepaw/Rusty, the main character, was so curious. It was so cute ♥  It was odd how he was much better than the clan born apprentices, but I guess that's what they wanted.
Firepaw is a curious, compasionate character. It was fun to read, but he wasn't really a special in anyway. Katniss and Maximum Ride - those were special characters which I ENJOYED reading. Firepaw was fairly normal.

In all, I enjoyed the book but I'm not sure I still want to read the series.

- Rogue

Book Review 1

Monday, January 2, 2012

Happy New Year!

Happy New Year!
Time for me to start my blog = ) There are a lot of books needed to be reviewed, and let's start now.

My beginning list:

Warriors: Into the Wild
As I Wake by Elizabeth Scott
Miss Peregrine's Home for Peculiar Children by Ransom Reggs

- Rogue