Tuesday, December 21, 2010

Odysseus and the Serpent Maze by Jane Yolen

I would give this book three out of five stars. Odysseus in the Serpent Maze is a book about a young Greek hero named Odysseus and his adventures as a young boy. Odysseus is on a visit with his grandfather, and goes on a hunt for a boar. He tries to be a hero, and although the boar injures him, Odysseus contributes greatly to the hunt. When he is going back home to Ithaca, a storm throws him and his friend, Mentor, overboard only to be captured by pirates. Odysseus escapes the ship, and meets the satyr Silenus on an island where Mentor happened to be taken to by the pirates. Odysseus saves him, and also meets Helen of Sparta and her cousin, Penelope. They escape the island, and stumble upon Daedulus’ automatic ship which takes them to Crete. Odysseus and his companions find Daedulus’ workshop, where they battle a bronze watchdog. However, they are captured by the Cretan prince and are thrown into the Labyrinth, where Odysseus kills Ladon, the hundred-headed snake.
This book is filled with action, and Odysseus’ adventures are thrilling, yet it sometimes gets boring at the parts when he fights and solves everything, so often and with so little struggle, like how he just punched the prince and he let Odysseus go. However, if you like mythology and stories of Greek heroes, this book would be entertaining. The book is also relatively short, with a quick story and does not contain much character growth.

Mr. Monday by Garth Nix

I gave this book four out of five stars. This novel is about a young boy named Arthur who is about to die from an asthma attack, but is saved by a man who gives him a mysterious key shaped like a minute hand on a clock. The man later wants the key back and goes to any means to get it-including creating an illness that sends Arthur’s town into Quarantine. At the same time he got the key he got a strange book that lead him to a house no one else can see. His only hope is to go into the house to discover the secrets of the key before people in his town start to die.

It's a very good book, but has a slow beginning. The beginning has the reader every bit as confused as the protagonist, but it clears up when Arthur enters the house, after that it’s very easy to follow.

Gym Candy by Carl Deuker

I give this book five out of five stars. Gym Candy is a realistic fiction book about Mick Johnson. Mick’s dad was a great running back in high school and college, but because of his bad ethic, he didn’t make it in the NFL. Mick has his dad’s talent, with good work ethic. Because of this, he has always been the best athlete on his team. This all changes when he gets to high school. Here, he is competing against stronger running backs. He is only a freshman, but he is fighting for a spot on starting varsity. He is placed at second string running back, but when the starting running back gets suspended for the rest of the season, he gets to start the last half of the season. He does great, but because he isn’t strong enough, he is stopped from scoring a game winning touchdown. This and a few other things, lead to him starting steroids.

I think it is a great book and I recommend it to anyone who likes sports books. It starts out with non-stop football action, but ends in a much more serious tone involving drugs. It keeps its excitement all the way through though. It shows how much drugs can mess up your life, but it also shows why an athlete might consider steroids. It shows both sides of a very prevalent problem, but in the end it shows how bad drugs are. Even if they might make you better for one season, in the end they can make a permanent damage to someone’s life. It keeps the reader hooked through out the whole book. In conclusion, this is a great book and if you like sports books, I think you will love this book.

Here, There Be Dragons by James A. Owen

Here, There Be Dragons is a Fantasy and Mystery book. It’s about three men who are brought together by the murder of a man named Professor Sigurdsson, and soon discover there is an evil force after a book he owned, called the Imaginarium Geographica. The three men, Charles, Jack, and John, travel to a parallel world, that strongly effects their world, called the Archipelago of Dreams. They save the Archipelago of Dreams from an evil man named The Winter King, who wants to take over.

I think ‘Here, There Be Dragons’ is a great book. It is personally one of my favorites. You will love it if you like Old Fantasy; it’s full of dragons and mystical islands. I would recommend this book. My favorite part was after a huge battle with The Winter King near the end of the book, but I can’t tell you what happens, you’ll have to read the book yourself.

Perfect by Natasha Friend

I would rate this book a four out of five stars. In Perfect, the main character is Isabelle Lee. She starts to have problems at home when her father dies. Not only is she sad, but her mom has taken all of the pictures off the wall, and cries herself to sleep at night. Isabelle feels that the only way she can handle all of this is by eating as much as she can and then making herself throw it all up again. One day her sister April, who Isabelle calls Ape Face, catches her making herself throw up in the bathroom. Isabelle can’t find anything she can bribe April with so she won’t tell mom. So, Isabelle ends up in 'Eating Disorder and Body Image Therapy Group.' Isabelle thinks she’s surrounded by a bunch of freaks until one day Ashley Barnum walks in. Ashley is a popular girl at Isabelle’s school. She’s pretty, smart, and gets all the guys. Isabelle thinks Ashley is perfect, until she finds out Ashley has the same eating disorder as her.

I would recommend this book to people who enjoy books that are realistic but sad. It has a real life situation of people who have eating disorders. I think the author came up with an interesting way that Isabelle overcomes this disorder.

Fallen by Lauren Kate

I would give this book four out of five stars in total, but I think you should read it. Fallen is about a girl named Luce who is sent to a boarding school, because her parents believe she set a cabin on fire while her boyfriend was in it. Luce sees black shadows, which is also why her parents sent her to the boarding school. Something bad happens whenever she starts to see them. At the boarding school, she meets a guy named Daniel. To protect her, he pretends to hate her. He's a fallen angel, and he doesn't want her to get hurt or possibly have something bad happen. As she starts to get used to being at the boarding school, she starts to notice things are wrong. She meets a guy named Cam who pretends to like her, but he really wants to kill her. After a fire breaks out, Daniel takes Luce to the cemetery at the boarding school to tell her his big secret, which could affect her life more than she’ll ever dream. To find out Daniel’s big secret, read Fallen by Laurn Kate.

I enjoyed this book very much. It’s one of my favorites so far. People who like to read fantasies and mysteries should read this book. If you like Twilight or the Vladimir Todd series, it’s the same, but it's fallen angels instead of vampires. A favorite part was when Daniel took Luce to this special lake-type thing, and they just spent the day together and when she found out about him being a fallen angel. Another favorite part was when Daniel took her to this beautiful island and just spent the day with her, or when after the battle he took her to an island and promised her she would see him right after he got back from the battle of the fallen angels. If you like violence too there’s a lot of it in here. I would give this book a 4 out of 5 stars in total, I think you should really read this book.

Ella Enchanted by Gail Carson Levine

I gave Ella enchanted four stars, because I thought it was full of action, suspense, romance and mythical creatures, like unicorns and ogres. This was also a good book because it included fairies, and I like fairies. So read the book you will love it!

Ella Enchanted is about a girl named Ella who got a charm put on her by Lucinda when she was a baby. It was the charm of obedience. Ella and her family did not like this, because Ella would need to do something if she was told to. For example, if someone told Ella to kill herself, then she would have to do it because of the charm. So when Ella gets older, she goes on a quest to find Lucinda, and she falls in love with a prince whom she meets on her way. The prince’s uncle tells Ella to kill the prince so that he can rule. She must fight the charm and save the prince from putting on the poison crown. Can she do it, or will she need to kill herself, and the prince? Can she do it? Read the book!

Tuesday, December 14, 2010

Going Going by Naomi Shihab Nye

I give this book a four star rating. Going Going is about a girl named, Florrie. Florrie is an independent girl that thinks the way things are shouldn’t change. For example, Florrie lives in San Antonio, and there is a lot of independent businesses there, meaning not a chain businesses like McDonalds. She feels that all the chain businesses are taking over her city, and making independent businesses close down. She doesn’t like that, so she gets a group of people her age to help her start getting more people, to start striking against all of the chain businesses. Will chain businesses close? Will the independent businesses open again? Well you’ll have to read to find out.

In my opinion this is a good book. It makes it so you won’t want to stop reading. I would recommend it to anyone that wants a shorter, random book.

A Drowned Maiden's Hair by Laura Amy Schiltz

I would rate this book five stars out of five. Maud Flynn is an orphan at the Barbary Asylum. When Hyacinth and Judith Hawthorne come to the Asylum looking for a child, they adopt Maud. The Hawthornes pamper Maud, giving her clothing, books, and toys in return for one thing: that she helps with the family business. They are very secretive about their business and don’t let Maud out of the house for fear that the neighbors will see her. When Maud finally learns about her part in the business they take her to the seaside for a job, but things soon go wrong. Her future with the family is imperiled.

I liked this book a lot, and finished it in less than a day. It was very well written and made me want to keep reading to find out what happened next. One thing I did NOT like about this book was that it ended. Also, the beginning was very slow and didn’t have much action. I think that people in middle school would like this book.

Pretty Little Liars by Sara Shepard

I gave this book a 4 ½ out of 5 stars. The Pretty Little Liars series is a very exciting story of friendship, love, and murder. This book takes place in a small, yet perfect town called Rosewood. Five friends (Aria, Hanna, Spencer, Emily, and Ali) have a sleep over the last night before summer break ends and they will start eighth grade. All is well until Ali and Spencer get into a little bit of a disagreement. Ali storms out of the house and Spencer tries to follow, but they hear a girl scream, and they all stand there, frozen to the spot. She went missing that night, nobody, not even the girls, knowing exactly what happened. Three years later, the girls have all grown apart and have all done things that they are not proud of. They all remember Ali, “The Jenna Thing” (that is explained later in the book so I can’t give it away), and many other countless things from their past. When they start getting texts, emails, letters, and other types of notes from a person that goes by the name of “A” about all of their secrets, past and present, they think Ali is back, until her body turns up, Ali was murdered that night before 8th grade. Now the race is on, to save their secrets, Ali’s reputation, and themselves.

It is good, very well written, and full of suspense. The only reason it is not a 5 is their secrets are a little bit too much for the middle school audience sometimes. Honestly, this is one of the best books I have ever read though and I HIGHLY recommend it! If you give this book series a try, you will not be able to stop reading until you figure out who “A” is, who Ali’s murderer is, and the truth about what happened throughout the last few years of Ali’s life. Thank you for taking the time to read about this book and I hope you decide to read it :) !!!

The Alchemyst by Michael Scott

The Alchemyst is about the immortal Nicholas Flamel and two twins named Sophie and Josh Newman. They are fighting the also immortal Dr. John Dee. Dee wants to destroy the world and then recreate it, and the twins and Flamel need to stop him. Flamel helps awaken Sophie’s magical powers and heightened senses but cannot do the same for Josh. This book starts in modern-day San Francisco but moves to Ojai then to Paris. This book is the first in a trilogy, so not all of the conflicts are solved in this book.

Overall I rate this book a 4.9 because I liked most of it. The only thing I didn’t like was the little non-dramatic time-spans where nothing was happening. I liked all of the historical facts mixed with fictional facts and the magical abilities shown by Flamel, Dee, and others. This book is good for people who like magic and fantasy, and I can’t wait to read the next book in the series.

Spin the Bottle by Elizabeth Cody Kimmel

If I were a book critic, I would give Spin the Bottle 4 out of 5 stars. I read Spin the Bottle by Elizabeth Cody Kimmel. This book is about a girl named Phoebe. Phoebe tried out for her school’s drama club. With many bumps throughout her journey, she got a role as part of the Mission Choir. She was nervous about the annual game of Spin the Bottle on opening night. Phoebe was worry-free up until her crush, Tucker, showed up and made a part in the school play. Read this book to find out what happens between Phoebe and Spin the Bottle.

This book is made to entertain girls between the ages of 10-14. I like Spin the Bottle because the author had written Phoebe’s feelings as if she was an actual girl. You could feel how Phoebe felt from the description. Kimmel made it easy to picture what was being said. I disliked how she did not make each chapter lead into the next. There were no cliff hangers. Read to join Phoebe’s journey along the process of drama.

Twilight by Stephanie Meyer

I would give Twilight five stars. This book is about a girl named Bella who moves to a small town in Washington named Forks. There she meets a young family friend by the name of Jacob Black. At school she meets another guy named Edward Cullen. Jacob is a wolf, and Edward is a vampire. She falls in love with Edward but she is in danger. There are other clans in the area that smell Bella and chase her back to Arizona. A big show-down happens in Bella’s old ballet studio. The vampire named James form the other clan bites her and inserts his poison into her. Only Edward can save her.

People would like this book because it is a great romance novel and it keeps on the edge of your seat. This book has a lot of twist and turns you won’t expect to happen which makes it a thrilling read. Overall it’s a great book and all should read it. This is only the first book in a saga of five. The next book in the series is New Moon.

Cirque Du Freak by Darren Shan

I give Cirque Du Freak a five out of five, because I think it is a well written, suspenseful book.
Cirque Du Freak is about a young boy named Darren Shan. One day at school, Darren’s friend, Steve Leopard, finds tickets to an illegal freak show that is secretly performing in town. Darren and Steve sneak out at night to go to the show and Steve recognizes a performer as a vampire. The vampire, Mr. Crepsley, has a beautiful spider that Darren thinks is amazing. After the show, Darren steals the spider and takes it home. Darren decides to let it out of the cage, and it bites Steve with toxic fangs. Darren returns to the Cirque Du Freak (the freak show) to find Mr. Crepsley, and asks him for an antidote. Mr. Crepsley agrees to give Steve the antidote, in exchange for Darren’s service as a half-vampire, vampire assistant. Darren agrees and becomes a half-vampire. He fakes his death and runs away with Mr. Crepsley.

Cirque Du Freak is the first book in a series. This book would be specifically good for kids who enjoy suspenseful and mythical books. The entire series would be good for people who like violent books, as the series gets more violent as it goes on. The books are also good for quick reading as they are only two hundred pages each.

Tiger by Jeff Stone

I rate this book five out of five. Tiger is a book about five monks around 12 years old. Their names are Fu, Seh, Long, Hok, and Malao. Their names are Cantonese, and they are all animal names. Their names are the style of kung fu. Fu means tiger, Seh means snake, Long means dragon, Hok means crane, and Malao means monkey. Their personalities also resemble their animals. Fu always wants to attack and is very strong. Seh is silent when he wants to be and very quick on the attack. Long is very well-rounded. He is quiet, patient, strong, and fast. Hok is very patient and has good eyes. Malao is very fast and a good climber

Their temple (Cangzhen) is attacked by their former brother, Ying, and they are all told to run away and find out about their pasts. This book is about what Fu does after he runs away. He goes back to the temple and gets the dragon scrolls, which are what Ying wants. He then runs into the forest and just keeps walking. He hears a tiger being attacked and goes to help. When he sees the tiger and its baby cub being attacked, he runs in with a stick and smacks the governor’s son on the ear. The kid runs away with his father. Fu is later caught, and on the way to be transported to the Emperor, his brother Malao attacks with a monkey and saves Fu.

I really like this book. It is full of twists and turns and is very action-packed. I also like books about ninjas and stuff like that. It will keep me busy too, because it is a seven-book series.

Rivals by Tim Green

I would rate this book 5 out of 5, because it is very interesting, whether you like adventure, mystery, or just all around sports. I hope you read this, because it is a great book written by a great author.

Tim Green's Rivals starts with the first book which is Baseball Great. The main character is Josh and he is a baseball player on his team, the Titans. He has been training for almost a year to go to the championship of his league in Cooperstown, but when he finally gets there he finds an unexpected rival. His dad, the coach of Josh's team, would get a huge endorsement if they won the championship and Josh would get to be scouted for the big leagues at 13 or 14. When he meets Mickey Mullen and his son he almost gets sidelined because of a dirty play. Will the Titans win the game? Read this book to find out.

Death by Bikini by Linda Gerber

I would give this book five out of five stars, because it is excellent. It is the best book I have read in two years! Aphra lives with her father on their island resort. Everything is calm and peaceful until the Smiths turn up on their island without being flown in by the pilot. They were not flown in by Frank, who delivers all visitors to the island. Aphra knows something is very wrong when her dad is hiding the Smith’s information, and she can’t find any records of them. Then, the day after their arrival, a girl is found dead on the beach, strangled by her bikini top. Aphra must figure out who the killer is and what is going on around the island, with more surprise visitors and suspects coming in. She has to fin out who she can trust and know that danger can be behind the most innocent of faces.

I very much enjoyed reading Death by Bikini. It is definitely a page turner, and is very hard to put down. I read this book a lot faster than most other books that I read. Death by Bikini is a great book for anybody who likes exciting and fun mysteries that are not like the ones you would typically read.