Monday, December 8, 2014
Tuesday, December 2, 2014
Origin (Lux #4)
3 stars364 pages
Published Aug. 27, 2013 by Entangled Publishing
Although I give this book 3 stars, I can't really recommend it because the language was so bad. Unnecessarily. The plot was good, action was plentiful, but the violence was a bit over the top.
I'm not sure if I'm going to read the next in the series. I was actually hoping this book was the last.
Monday, November 24, 2014
After the End (After the End #1)
by Amy Plum
4 stars352 pages
Published May 6, 2014 by HarperCollins
Monday, November 17, 2014
June 4, 2013
(first published 2010)
This review is also by my 11 year old daughter. All opinions are her own.
The problem in the story is the cell phone. Nikki keeps getting these random and crude text messages that are supposedly from Brandon, her “boyfriend.” It’s pretty obvious they are not. That leaves one person. Who would be jealous of Nikki and enjoy ruining her life? I wonder if it might be Mackenzie!
At the end of the book, when Mackenzie receives the text from “Nikki to Brandon” that said there was a diamond necklace in the dumpster behind the school. Number one, why would Mackenzie believe that Nikki really threw away a diamond necklace? Number two, why would she dive into the dumpster with her amazingly expensive dress still on?
As I said, the cell phone is the whole problem. Plus, it doesn’t make sense when Brandon tells Nikki, “When have I ever used a smiley face?” He uses a smiley face on every text he sends! Example, he sent a text to Nikki telling her “HAPPY VALENTINES DAY! Sitting here eating your box of chocolates and thinking of you J!!” I double-checked that.
And this swim thing, I know some high schools that have pools in them, but no middle schools! Maybe they went down to the high school every day. That part of the book was timed very wrong. The swim lessons and skills tests were in the middle of the winter! Nikki can’t even keep her head above the water in a 4-foot pool. She blacked out before her feet touched the bottom. What’s the deal with wearing scuba gear to a skills test? She thought it was allowed because it wasn’t on the sign posted in the front of the pool. Which said, “NO RUNNING!” It’s not on there because if it were then every other obvious rule in the world would have to be on it. She also wore a kiddie float toy and put it around her waist. Nikki is 14 years old! Did she ever take swimming lessons?This book had a way too happy ending. Also, at the end, everything went perfectly right for Nikki. There’s a dance in this book, I wonder if Nikki could POSSIBLY go with Brandon! There’s also a “sweetheart queen” I wonder who MIGHT win! Also, the cliffhanger at the end could easily be the end of the series. Every book so far has looked like it is the end of the series; I’m tired of all the happy endings.
Monday, November 10, 2014
Published June 7, 2012 by Simon & Schuster UK
This is the 2nd review my daughter has written. Also, she wrote this all on her own with no help from me. The thoughts are all hers.
There are too many smiley faces and exclamation marks in this book, and way too many “OMGs.” I know this is the age of cell phones and texting, but this is a book! I don’t want to read someone’s texts. It’s sheer luck when Nikki gets into the ice skating show. If you want to perfect something, you always practice, not try to find a way out of it. Nikki’s friends pretty much forced her to get in the show, and she wanted to stay in it, and she kept finding a way to hide the fact that she couldn't skate.
Why does the author call it Dork Diaries? These girls are NOT dorks. They are dressed really nice, and Nikki always seems to have a different pair of boots on every day. Plus, their skating outfits are amazing!
I also am very against the part when Nikki keeps bugging her parents to get her a really expensive iPhone. Then she finally gets it. This is teaching girls that if they keep asking and begging for something illogical for them to have, they will get it anyway. This cell phone causes a lot of problems later in the books. Nikki says that she would pluck out her eye with a dirty spatula rather than read Moby Dick. Moby Dick may be a little boring in different parts of the book, but it is a pretty good story. Instead of making a list of things she’d rather do, why doesn’t she just get it over with?
Why did the owner of Fuzzy Friends (Brandon’s grandma) let Nikki skate for the shop and not Mackenzie? Mackenzie did ask first. I also hate that Nikki says she found out about Brandon’s family by accident, she really peers over bathroom stalls and fence completely on purpose. Chloe and Zoey are so nice to Nikki and give her things, but Nikki gives them nothing in return. Chloe and Zoey still hang out with Nikki anyway.Mackenzie locks Nikki, Chloe and Zoey in a closet in the skating arena to die! This has gone too far! 14-year-olds don’t attempt murder! Nikki is still freaking out about whether or not Brandon likes her. Brandon flat out told Nikki he likes spending time with her! At the end, they all get away with everything because of some crazy miracle. The end is happily ever after for everyone, again.
Monday, November 3, 2014
Dork Diaries: Tales from a Not-So-Fabulous Life (Dork Diaries #1)
1 star282 pages
Published June 2nd 2009 by Aladdin
The following review was written by my 11-year-old daughter. She wrote this completely on her own without any help from me. What a smartie!
This book was a stretch. None of this would actually happen in a normal middle school. A normal 14-year-old girl would not focus this much on popularity.
Nikki, the main character, is pretty spoiled. Nikki’s little sister, Brianna, is the girl that was supposed to be a pampered brat. Oh yes, she certainly was. I have noticed that in this book, everything is totally exaggerated. So Brianna is treated like an adorable kitten. Her parents think everything she does is so cute. The problem is that when Brianna makes a mistake, like spitting food in a fish tank, she is never corrected. Nikki has to clean up after her, not what a normal sister would do. If I was Nikki, and, say, Brianna spit her food in the fish tank, I would not fish it out immediately, I would bring her down and show her what a mess she made. It’s so sad that Nikki hates her sister.
Mackenzie, on the other hand, is even more spoiled. She is just so… glittery. She’s so glittery it’s unnatural, and gross. Normal girls her age, even popular and rich girls, would not be this way. Where are her parents when she is strutting through the halls like she’s at a fashion show? No parent would approve of her having gazillion designer purses! If Mackenzie were real, she would be broke. No matter how rich she was to begin with. The whole “CCP” thing is just something the author probably made up at the last minute. I read the part about Mackenzie keeping Nikki out of her locker, and it’s completely uncalled for. 14-year-old girls don’t do that. No one would do that! It also doesn’t make sense that the teachers and the parents in the book have no idea what’s going on.
No one in the book acts the way a normal person would. Nikki doesn’t do anything when Mackenzie is being so terrible to her. What bugs me is that instead of talking to a real person, like her mom or dad, Nikki is constantly whining to her diary about how horrible her life is. Someone needs to tell her that it could be worse. She has friends, she has her own room, and she is talented.
What’s the deal about Nikki’s parents pulling her out of school to go to a funeral for someone they didn’t even know? I also hate the part in the beginning of the book when Nikki says she thinks that it’s better to tell your secrets to the world rather than write them in a diary. I just hate it when Nikki calls her mom “brain dead” when she gives her a diary. Personally, I keep a diary, and I think it has helped me a lot. The author should not have put the part about Nikki starting off as a diary hater, and the next day turning into a full scale, 4-page-a-day writer.
Nikki is not a good role model for girls. The whole cell phone thing is just dumb. I know I wanted a cell phone once, and my mom sat down and told me why not having a cell phone is better than having one. Someone needs to tell Nikki to let the dream die. The whole book is just drama, drama, and drama.
Nikki also has a computer in her room. I am totally against her ordering things online without her parents knowing. Who in their right mind would order a payphone off eBay and put it in their locker?The only thing I liked about this book was the art. Although it is not something a 14-year-old would draw, it is amazing.
Monday, October 27, 2014
3 stars446 pages
Published Aug. 28, 2012 by Hachette
Can I just say that if this was the last book in this series, I would have seriously had to hurt someone. The ending TOTALLY sucked. I was so bummed the entire rest of the day, because for some reason I thought that this was the end. Luckily I got on Goodreads to check. Whew. Disaster averted!
As it is, I still have mixed feelings about this installment in the Violet Eden series. Some good things happened. Some bad things happened. There still was all the violence and sexual tension that appear in the previous books. And some significant things happened and knowledge shared. But what's next?
I suppose the "financier" will have something to do with the next book - obviously. There was a huge fat question mark floating above his head at the end of the book.
I'm just happy that there is another book. Although, I'm hoping Number 5 is the last. There's only so much I can take, you know?
Monday, October 20, 2014
The Royal Ranger (Ranger's Apprentice #12)
Published Nov. 5, 2013 by Philomel
Expect the same great action, adventure and bad-guy slaying you read in the other 11 books. Flanagan has proven that he knows how to write adventure stories for all age sets.
Monday, October 13, 2014
Heaven's Queen (Paradox #3)
by Rachel Bach
Published April 22, 2014 by Orbit
A great, happy ending to this action-filled sci-fi romp through the universe. Loved it!
There is a sex scene and more than a smattering in s-words throughout the book. I may just have to read some of Rachel Bach's other books; let's see if they are as good as this trilogy was.
Monday, October 6, 2014
by Krista McGee
2 stars336 pages
Published Jan. 10, 2012 by Thomas Nelson
Now, I am a christian, but this book is just not my cup of tea. Every page has some religious ideology and prayer on it. Religion for me is a personal thing. I go to church - I enjoy it, but I don't want my beliefs turned into a YA romance filled with saccharine, eye-rolling and lack of plot. It may have helped if the writing was better and the relgious down-the-throat-shoving was toned down to just "religious overtones."
The only reason I gave it two stars is because there is no swearing, sex or bad stuff. And it obviously touts the benefits of christian thinking - forgiveness and love.
And I finished the thing. I guess that counts for something.
Monday, September 29, 2014
The Diviners (The Diviners #1)
by Libba Bray
Published Sept. 18, 2012 by Little, Brown Books for Young Readers
I enjoyed this book, mostly. Sometimes the flapper language was annoying and too persistent and the book was a little too long - plus there is a developing love triangle (ick!), but I overlooked all that in favor of a great, twisted, and delightfully dark plot. There is some - no, quite a lot of gruesome killing scenes, so beware. I skipped most of them. All I needed to know was who got dead.
I haven't read many books set in the flapper and prohibition era, so this was a good introduction to speakeasies, spiritualism and old-time New York. What a crazy time.
I may pick up #2 when it comes out. We'll see.
Monday, September 22, 2014
Tremor (Pulse #2)
4 stars320 pages
Published Feb. 25, 2014 by Katherine Tegen Books
Luckily, this book - the 2nd in the Pulse Trilogy - is better than the first. It does not make you wait as long for the action like in the first book. Our heroine already has her powers, so we can get right to the juicy stuff.
The bad guys are stronger and badder, with a devious plan. The ending contained an awesome twist. Will be reading #3.
Monday, September 15, 2014
Pulse (Pulse #1)
Published Feb. 26, 2013 by Katherine Tegen Books
The first half of this book was very slow, but I was so intrigued with the premise and where the book could go, that I stuck it out. It finally picked up after slogging through the boring stuff - I'm glad I stuck with it. A promising new trilogy by one of my favorite authors, Patrick Carman.
Monday, September 8, 2014
by Dan Wells
3 stars464 pages
Published Mar. 11, 2014 by Balzer + Bray
Unbeknownst to me, I skipped the 2nd book in this series and didn't realize it until I was halfway through this book. Hmm. I'm not exactly sure what that means ...
At least now I don't have to read Book #2. It must have been not that enlightening, since I was following Book #3 right along with no problem.
Monday, September 1, 2014
by Kiera Cass
3.5 stars323 pages
Published June 5, 2014 by HarperCollins Children's Books
I'm glad this series is over. It ended well, too, which was nice. It even had an epilogue! I love epilogues.
I'm not sure there is much depth to this series, but if you want a mindless, entertaining beach read, this is a great choice.
Monday, August 25, 2014
3 stars422 pages
Published June 17th 2014 by Henry Holt and Co.
I'm wavering between 2.5 and three stars, because this book just wasn't all that great. Actually the whole series wasn't all that great. Not bad, just not stellar. But I read all three, so I guess that says something.
Maybe it was the whining characters, or the endless killing, or maybe it was just boring.
I'm glad it's over.
Monday, August 18, 2014
Graduation Day (The Testing #3)
Published June 17, 2014 by HMH Books for Young Readers
I'm just glad this trilogy is over. It wasn't stellar - more of a Hunger Games meets whiny girl meets Rage Against the Machine. If I had to do it again, I probably wouldn't waste my time.
Monday, August 11, 2014
The Girl with the Windup Heart (Steampunk Chronicles #4)
by Kady Cross
400 pagesI love these books. This book follows the continuing stories of Finley, Griffin, Mila and Jack. Much like a soap opera jumps from one storyline to the next, this book follows that pattern. In one, Finley is trying to free Griffin from the evil clutches of Garibaldi; and in the other story, Mila is discovering the world.
Published May 27, 2014 by Harlequin TEEN
Mild swearing and implied sex. Nothing to make you blush.
I hope there are more of these books in Kady Cross's head.
Monday, August 4, 2014
Chasing the Prophecy (Beyonders #3)
by Brandon Mull
Published Mar. 12, 2013 by Aladdin
If you can get past all of the questions that are asked in the narrative (and there are so many, I started skipping those paragraphs), this is a great ending to a pretty great trilogy for kids. The questions asked by the main characters were so plentiful that it detracted from the pace and action of the book. Instead of asking so many questions, like "Is this the right thing to do? How do I know?" etc. the book's action and pace would be better served by decisive decision-making.
Despite that, the book was full of moral themes that I would love to have my kids adopt. Themes such as valuing friendship, being loyal and having faith.
I can recommend to any kid or teen wanting a action-packed, yet still clean book to read.
Monday, July 28, 2014
Empower (The Violet Eden Chapters #5)
4 stars496 pages
Published May 6, 2014 by Sourcebooks Fire
(first published Nov. 12, 2013)
Finally, finally! I am done with this series. And fortunately, I didn't waste my time. The last book was quite possibly the best of the bunch. It was full of action and soul-searching and more action. The only thing that bugged me was how the the huge, pivotal change of heart that Violet had that changed the outcome of the book was handled. It was like the suffering that she had endured for the past two years was changed in two paragraphs. It was unsatisfying and abrupt.
Besides that, I enjoyed the book immensely. There was one sex scene (not graphic) and little to no swearing.
I can recommend to anyone looking for a not-too-many-books series, in which they've all been published. (Don't you hate having to wait for the next book in an on-going series??!)