Wednesday, March 30, 2016

Winter


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TITLE: Winter
AUTHOR: Marissa Meyer
RELEASE DATE: November 2015
PUBLISHER: Feiwel and Friends
PAGES: 827 pages
SERIES: The Lunar Chronicles
GENRE: Science Fiction, Fantasy
OVERALL RATING: 4/5
APPROPRIATE AGE: grades 7+


SUMMARY: In this fourth and final installment of the Lunar Chronicles, Winter is the stepdaughter of Levana, the queen of Luna. She refuses to use her Lunar gift to manipulate people after she, herself, was manipulated (by the queen) to create three hideous scars on her face. But those scars do not keep the Lunar people from completely adoring Princess Winter, and this upsets Queen Levana, who we know will do anything to get her way. 

All of the characters of the Lunar Chronicles come together to defeat the evil Queen Levana and help Cinder reclaim her throne to Luna. But will they make it in time to stop Levana's wedding to Prince Kai and the coronation to the new Queen of the East Commonwealth? 

FAVORITE QUOTE: "My point is that I am going to figure this out, like I always do. First, we're going to find a way to get into Artemisia. We're going to find Cress and rescue Cinder and Wolf. We're going to overthrow Levana, and by the stars above, we are going to make Cinder a queen so she can pay us a lot of money from her royal coffers and we can all retire very rich and very alive, got it?" 

WHAT I LIKED: I loved each of the characters and how they all come together in this final book in the Lunar Chronicles series. I will admit that I absolutely loved Cinder, the first book in the series. Scarlet and Cress were good fillers, but I didn't LOVE them. However, book four, Winter, really brought it all together. It did not disappoint. 

WHAT I DIDN'T LIKE: I'm trying hard to find a way to explain what I did not like about this book without giving away major spoilers. If you have read Marissa Meyer's novella, Fairest, which is Levana's backstory, then you know what happened to the queen as a child. I don't like how the story of Winter refers to this and how it brings about the downfall of Levana. Are people really that superficial? That's all I'm going to say about the subject, if my explanation didn't make any sense, I apologize, but come back and reread it after you have finished the novel. 

READALIKES: The Shadow Queen by C.J. Redwine

SERIES UPDATE: Stars Above: A Lunar Chronicles Collection due out February 2016

BOOK TRAILER: 



Tuesday, March 29, 2016

Ink and Bone


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TITLE: Ink and Bone
AUTHOR: Rachel Caine
RELEASE DATE: July 2015
PUBLISHER: Scholastic Press
PAGES: 355 pages
SERIES: The Great Library
GENRE: Fantasy
OVERALL RATING: 4/5
APPROPRIATE AGE: grades 6-12


SUMMARY: In an alternate history, the library of Alexandria controls all the knowledge of the world. People are not allowed to own actual paper copies of books, but only blanks, devices that allow temporary access to approved books available to the public. Due to this, the world is a dangerous place, with Scholars controlling the access to the knowledge, Burners who believe no one should have complete control, and smugglers who will get you any book for the right price. Jess falls into the last category, his family has a network of smugglers all across the country, and Jess is a runner, one of the best runners. That is until his father thinks he will be more valuable working for the source, and buys him an opportunity to win a place among the Library Scholars.

FAVORITE QUOTE: "Librarians instruct, assist, research, develop, create... and protect, do they not?" (Caine, 69)

WHAT I LIKED: I absolutely loved the world building in this story. A lot of the story takes place in England and Egypt and other places in that area. But the history behind these places are completely different from what we know now. The author, Rachel Caine, explained in a Tweet to me, "It's modern, but because of the changes in history, it's a kind of flawed utopia where scientific advancements been slowed... It's not dystopian because there is law and order, society, all the things we think of as normal. But it's deeply flawed."

WHAT I DIDN'T LIKE: I felt this book needed a glossary in the end. Maybe a short description of the Library specialities: Medica, Artifex, Historia, and Lingua. I felt like I needed a course in Latin to understand all of the job titles: Obscurist Magnus, Artifex Magister, etc. 

READALIKES: The Iron Trial by Holly Black and Cassandra Clare

SERIES UPDATE: Book Two: Paper and Fire due out July 5, 2016

BOOK TRAILER: 


Thursday, March 24, 2016

A Night Divided


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TITLE: A Night Divided
AUTHOR: Jennifer A. Nielsen
RELEASE DATE: August 2015
PUBLISHER: Scholastic Press
PAGES: 317 pages
GENRE: Historical Fiction
OVERALL RATING: 5/5
APPROPRIATE AGE: grades 4+


SUMMARY: Gerta was eight when the Berlin Wall went up overnight separating her father and middle brother from her mother, oldest brother, Fritz, and herself. Four years later, Gerta tries to follow the rules of East Berlin, tries to stay out of trouble, tries to live like an obedient twelve-year-old girl, but its difficult. How can you control what a person thinks? Then one day, on her walk to school she sees her brother, Dominic and her father, on a platform on the east side of the Wall watching her. Its then that she knows she must risk her life for freedom.

FAVORITE QUOTE: "I pulled my curtains apart, expecting the worst. But when I looked out, my heart slammed into my throat. Not even the darkest part of my imagination could have prepared me for this. It was Sunday, August 13, 1962, a day I would remember for the rest of my life. When a prison had been built around us as we slept."

WHAT I LIKED: I loved that this story was based on a real event: life in East Berlin during the construction of the Berlin Wall. I've always heard about the Berlin Wall, it came down when I was young. But reading this book really made me dig deeper into the history; how and why it was constructed. I did a lot of research on the Berlin Wall, it covered 96 miles of Germany and was up for twenty-eight years. I also read about a lot of the true stories of escape, people jumped out of buildings, dug tunnels, one family even built a hot air balloon. It was a truly terrible time, but looking back on it now and seeing the mistakes of our ancestors is truly important to make sure we don't make these same mistakes in the future. 

WHAT I DIDN'T LIKE: There is not a single thing that I did not like about this story. I do feel like it needs one those those, "Ten years later..." as a follow-up to each character after the Berlin Wall comes down. I'd like to think that Gerta and her family had a big part to play in the coming down of the Wall.

READALIKES: Between Shades of Gray by Ruta Sepetys


BOOK TRAILER: link to Scholastic's Book Trailer for A Night Divided as described by author, Jennifer A. Nielsen



Thursday, March 10, 2016

The Sword of Summer


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TITLE: The Sword of Summer
AUTHOR: Rick Riordan
RELEASE DATE: October 2015
PUBLISHER: Disney Hyperion
PAGES: 497 pages
SERIES: Magnus Chase and the Gods of Asgard
GENRE: Fantasy
OVERALL RATING: 4/5
APPROPRIATE AGE: grades 5-8+


SUMMARY: Magnus Chase has had a rough life. His mom died when he was eleven and his apartment was attacked by wolves with glowing eyes. Now he is a homeless teenager, living in Boston under a bridge in the Public Gardens, with only two homeless guys: Blitz and Hearth to watch over him. When his uncle tracks him down to tell him that his life is in danger and he is the only one to find a magical sword in the bottom of the bay, his life starts to get a little weird.

FAVORITE QUOTE: "My name is Magnus Chase. I'm sixteen years old. This is the story of how my life went downhill after I got myself killed."

WHAT I LIKED: As with any Rick Riordan book, I loved the voice of the narrator. Magnus tells his story while cracking jokes at the most suspenseful parts. There were many parts of the story where I found myself laughing out loud: the entire chapter about the crazy squirrel... Hilarious!
Another thing that I really loved about this book is the fact that it made me want to find more information on Norse mythology. Everyone knows about Thor, Loki, and Odin from The Avengers movie series. But did you know that there are dwarves, trolls, giants, elves, and other strange creatures in Norse mythology? 

WHAT I DIDN'T LIKE: Other than the first one or two books in the Percy Jackson series, I have to admit I'm not a huge fan of Rick Riordan's books. Its nothing against his or his books, anyone who knows me knows that I absolutely love mythology, but for some reason I just never got around to reading his books. With the knowledge I have of his series, it seems like they are all the same. Some kid finds out he is a descendant of some god: Greek, Egyptian, Norse, and all of a sudden he is thrown into a quest to save the world from an ancient evil. Rick Riordan definitely has a huge following, and that's the kind of storyline they enjoy, so he definitely can keep going as there are a whole lot of different types of mythology that he can cover. 

READALIKES: any other series by Rick Riordan: Percy Jackson, Heroes of Olympus, Red Pyramid

SERIES UPDATE: Book Two: Magnus Chase and the Gods of Asgard: The Hammer of Thor is due out October 4, 2016.
BOOK TRAILER: 



Monday, March 7, 2016

Shiver


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TITLE: Shiver
AUTHOR: Maggie Stiefvater
RELEASE DATE: August 2009
PUBLISHER: Scholastic
PAGES: 392 pages
SERIES: Book 1 of 4 in The Wolves of Mercy Falls series
GENRE: Supernatural
OVERALL RATING: 5/5
APPROPRIATE AGE: grades 9-12


SUMMARY: Grace has always been mesmerized by the wolves that live in the woods behind her house. She can sit at the window and watch the beautiful yellow eyed wolf for hours. What she doesn't know, is that he has been watching her as well. When Grace and Sam's paths cross, she realizes they might have more in common than she ever imagined, and she will do anything to save her yellow-eyed wolf.

FAVORITE QUOTE: "I didn't think I belonged here in her world, a boy stuck between two lives, dragging the dangers of the wolves with me, but when she said my name, waiting for me to follow, I knew I'd do anything to stay with her."

WHAT I LIKED: Supernatural books became the popular trend when Twilight came out. All the girls wanted a vampire or werewolf boyfriend. But Shiver puts an entire spin on the story. A boy that is the perfect boyfriend for half the year (think, summer vacation) and then becomes a wolf for the winter. What girl wouldn't everything they could to keep that boy warm all winter long?

WHAT I DIDN'T LIKE: This story is definitely a mushy-gushy love story. One of those, "I know we just met, but I would die without you" types of stories. It's perfect for a teenager, but as an adult, I look back and realize it is never as dramatic as you think. So what I don't like about this story, is the same thing that will make any teenage girl completed obsessed about it.

READALIKES: Twilight sage by Stephenie Meyer

BOOK TRAILER: 

The Selection


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TITLE: The Selection
AUTHOR: Kiera Cass
RELEASE DATE: April 2012
PUBLISHER: HarperTeen
PAGES: 327 pages
SERIES: Book 1 of 5 in The Selection series
GENRE: ChickLit
OVERALL RATING: 5/5
APPROPRIATE AGE: grades 7-12


SUMMARY: In a dystopian future where people are distinguished by numbers and talents, America Singer is a five with a future in music. Life is perfect, with her plans to marry Aspen, the boy next door, until her name is drawn on live television to compete against thirty-four other girls for the chance to marry, Maxon, the prince.

WHAT I LIKED: This is one of those books that I think every girl in the entire world needs to read. When I got the series in my library, I immediately checked out the first one for my mom. She had all four books and novellas finished within the week. Right now I have an English teacher hooked. When I "Book Talk" this series to my students, I tell them it is a cross between Hunger Games and The Bachelor. Gets them every time! I'm not usually into Chick Lit, and I had a hard time deciding if this series should go into Chick Lit or SciFi, because of the covers I went with ChickLit, but I already have a second set on order. 

WHAT I DIDN'T LIKE: I didn't like Aspen, throughout the entire book I wanted to tell (ok, scream) America to just leave that boy in her past. He was only holding her back. Seriously, how can you even begin to compare Aspen, a five, to Maxon, the prince! No contest! 

MOVIE RELEASE: in development by Warner Bros

BOOK TRAILER: 

Passenger


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TITLE: Passenger
AUTHOR: Alexandra Bracken
RELEASE DATE: January 2016
PUBLISHER: Hyperion
PAGES: 486 pages
SERIES: Book 1 in the 
GENRE: Science Fiction
OVERALL RATING: 3/5
APPROPRIATE AGE: grades 9-12


SUMMARY: Henrietta is a violin prodigy, but when she walks on stage for her big debut, something life-changing happens. A loud noise, the death of a close friend, and then she is pushed through a portal to a different time where pirates are real and the expectations of women are a whole lot different. Henrietta quickly learns that not only is she a time traveler, but she comes from a long line of them; a whole life that her mother kept hidden from her. And now she is forced to travel through time portals,with the help of Henry (a fellow traveler) to find the astrolabe that her mother hid from the Grand Master. But should she return the astrolabe to save her mother or destroy it to protect the future? How can Etta make such a big decision about a life that she still truly doesn't understand? 

FAVORITE QUOTE: "Etta had lived through a sea battle. She's survived the scheming of old, power-hungry men; the Blitz; a tiger; a cobra; and a gunshot-and she was denying herself this, out of fear that it might hurt later? What would hurt worse: the regret that she tried, or the regret that she didn't?"

WHAT I LIKED: I enjoyed all of the world building in this story. Etta had to travel to several different time periods and locations: New York City-1776, London-1940, Angkor-1685, Paris-1880, and Damascus-1599. Through each time portal, she had to figure out how to dress, how to behave, and how to fit in. It seemed like Alexandra Bracken did a lot of research for these different locations and time periods to make this story accurate.

WHAT I DIDN'T LIKE: The book starts out extremely slow. It took me about a week to get through the first three chapters (I usually finish books in less than a week). It wasn't even till after the first seven chapters that it even picked up speed, and even then it was a slow crawl. Overall I was completely disappointed by this book. I am such a HUGE fan of Alexandra Bracken's Dark Minds series that I really wanted to love this new series. But I kept reading this book wondering where is the action? Well it comes in the last chapter. 

READALIKES: The Ruby Red trilogy by Kerstin Gier

SERIES UPDATE: Book two: Wayfarer is due out January 2017.

BOOK TRAILER: Uploaded by Hyperion Teen


Wednesday, March 2, 2016

Legend


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TITLE: Legend
AUTHOR: Marie Lu
RELEASE DATE: November 2011
PUBLISHER: Putnam's
PAGES: 305 pages
SERIES: Book 1 in the Legend trilogy
GENRE: Science Fiction
OVERALL RATING: 5/5
APPROPRIATE AGE: grades 7-12


SUMMARY: Day is the most wanted fugitive in the  Republic, June is the Republic's number one military cadet. In a future where the two sides of the country are constantly at war, Day and June will do anything they can to protect the ones they care about. But when their paths cross, will it be a battle to the death or will the two realize maybe they share the same enemy?

WHAT I LIKED: I enjoyed how this story was not only written in alternating first-person narratives so that you could get the story from both sides, but also because each character's chapter was written in a different color. I know it is such a little thing, but sometimes when you pick up a book after a while you have to backtrack to remember what is going on. This made it easier. Also, while there are a lot of dystopian books out there right now, Legend, easily goes at the top of my list. This three book series does not disappoint as each new book comes out in the series.

WHAT I DIDN'T LIKE: I hate to say this, but I don't like the ending (no spoilers). But after everything that June and Day endure throughout the three book series, I just really hate to see how they end up. I'm a sucker for a happily ever after.

READALIKES: The Hunger Games by Suzanne Collins, Divergent by Veronica Roth

MOVIE RELEASE: in talks

BOOK TRAILER: