“It's a dangerous business, Frodo, going out your door. You step onto the road, and if you don't keep your feet, there's no knowing where you might be swept off to.”
-- J.R.R. Tolkien, The Lord of the Rings
Every Tuesday, between four and five, I tell lies.
- first sentence
Jenna was dying until she received Callie's transplanted heart. Now Jenna is having feelings and visions of things Callie experienced. Everyone thinks she is crazy and Jenna even doubts her own sanity. But the feelings are getting stronger and Jenna can no longer ignore the things she remembers.
The cover claims this is, "The Gripping Psychological Thriller Everyone is Talking About." That implies an amazing story that you can't put down with unexpected twists - right? Well, it doesn't quite live up to that claim. The story is good, and the plot leads the reader to believe certain characters are guilty, but there were no jaw-dropping twists. By the end, I just wanted it to be over and didn't really care what the devious plot was that got Callie killed.
I will say that the concept of Cellular Memory is interesting. I think I just expected more from this book. The reviews on Goodreads indicate that I am in the minority - most reviewers rave about it.
It's the very first thing I see when we pull into town.
This is a charming story about a feisty 9-year-old girl (Lemonade Liberty Witt) who is forced to uproot her life to live with her grandfather (who she never even met) when her mom passes away. Willow Creek is the Bigfoot Capital of the world and Lem's neighbor, 11-year old Tobin Sky, is the CEO of Bigfoot Detectives, Inc. Together, Lem and Tobin follow Bigfoot leads and try to capture him on film.
This is a realistic story set in the 1970's that deals with some pretty serious issues surrounding grief and loss. Lem is grieving the loss of her mother and Tobin is dealing with his father's disappearance after coming back from Vietnam. Tobin and Lem are cute together and their interactions bring humor to what is a pretty serious theme. The additional plot line with Tobin's father is a little overwhelming and his issues with PTSD may be hard for children to understand. The end of the book is a bit surprising considering how realistic the rest of the book is, but overall this is a touching story of friendship, loss, and dealing with grief.
Recommended to: Grades 4-6, fans of realistic fiction who can deal with a bit of sadness
The Walking Dead will be the zombie movie that never ends.
- from the introduction by Robert Kirkman
I'm a huge fan of The Walking Dead tv show. It's hard to put into words what this show means to me and how it has played with my emotions over the years. I can't believe I waited this long to read the graphic novel.
I loved everything about this graphic novel and I can't wait to read Volume 2.
This was a bad idea.
- First sentence
I loved the first book so much and the cliffhanger ending got me, so I jumped directly into this when I finished The Ark Plan. The change in narrator was a bit jarring because I was accustomed to the way the characters "spoke" in the first book, but the story is just as good, if not better.
Sky, Shawn, and Todd continue their journey to solve the mysteries of the topside world and the Noah. Why is the military so set on catching them and will Sky be able to complete her dad's mission? Oh and don't forget all the deadly dinosaurs.
I thought one character was going to be traitorous, but it wasn't as bad as I thought. (In an adult book, I might have been right.) Any kid who liked The Ark Plan will be thrilled with this sequel. The audio is a delightful way to experience the thrills and adventure of this fantastic story.
Recommended to: Grades 4 and up - fans of sci-fi, adventure, dinosaurs, and kids saving the day.
I needed two minutes.
- first sentence
Imagine a world where dinosaurs freely roam the surface and people are forced to live underground. This is Jurassic Park gone wild - dinosaurs were cloned 150 years ago and kept in zoos and on farms. Needless to say, things got out of hand. Sky Mundy lived underground her entire life and now that she found a clue to her father's disappearance, she must venture to the topside world to find answers.
The story follows Sky's journey and is filled with thrilling action, life threatening situations, and heroic characters. The plot moves quickly with twists and a cliff-hanger ending. Make sure you have the second book ready for your young reader.
The narrator did an excellent job - I highly recommend the audio version. I borrowed it using the Hoopla app through my public library.
Recommended to: Grades 4 and up - fans of sci-fi, adventure, strong female characters, and of course, dinosaurs.
Our story begins in a city, with buildings and streets and bridges and parks.
- First sentence
At the end of the first book, Roz is taken away from her island home and brought back to the factory. She is reactivated at Hilltop farm to work for the Shreef family. As much as she enjoys her new home (kids, cows, etc.), Roz misses Brightbill and all her friends on the island. Will she be able to keep her secret? And will she ever make it back to her island home?
This is a great follow up and just as quirky and fun as the first one. I read this to my book club at school. The kids liked the first book better, but they did enjoy this one. It took a while to get going, but the end is worth it.
Recommended to: 3rd-5th graders who like quirky stories with talking animals
I'm only wearing five braids to school today.
- First Sentence
Mya is excited for Spirit Week and she is counting down the days with her braids. When she gets to one, it will be time for Spirit Week. But the partner picking doesn't go her way and she ends up with Mean Connie Tate (the school bully) for a partner instead of her best friend Naomi.
As Mya would say, "good gravy." And she says that often as she tries to navigate friendships, bullies, and Spirit Week challenges. Mya learns a lot about people and about judging others by what you hear about them. She is a perky little girl and easy to like, even though she doesn't always think things through before she acts. Mya is a strong personality, but she desperately wants to repair her friendship with Naomi - even though Mya didn't really do anything wrong. The flavor of Texas really comes through in the writing. In the audiobook, the narrator does a fantastic job of sounding like a Texas girl with attitude.
I think grownups reading this book will easily recognize the characters for who they are, but kids might be a bit surprised by the ending. The story is engaging and certainly humorous at times. You can't help but laugh about some of the phrases that Mya comes out with. Girls will enjoy this one.
Recommended to: 3rd-5th graders who like stories about friendship and triumphing over adversity.
This is how the world ends.
- First sentence
Wow. Reading Dead of Night blew my mind. Imagine being trapped inside your brain, having no control over your actions, but feeling and experiencing everything. Oh, and your body is a zombie, eating people. The people trapped inside zombie bodies just wanted to die and escape the horror. Maberry captured their thoughts and feelings perfectly.
A scientist creates a formula that mimics death, with the purpose of punishing serial killers in the worst possible way. He plans to inject the formula during the execution process and bury the body in an unmarked grave. When the killer's consciousness revives, they are unable to move, forced to experience the pain of decomposition, and the torture of being buried partially alive. Of course, things don't go as planned and the world gradually goes to hell.
I've been a fan of Jonathan Maberry's work since I read Rot & Ruin several years ago. The events in the Dead of Night series take place years before that, in the same world. He is an amazing writer. I'm looking forward to reading more by him.
Overall the series was fantastic. Dead of Night (book 1) was my favorite, followed by Fall of Night (#2), and then Dark of Night (#3). Dark of Night was very short, but I enjoyed seeing characters from other series in that one.
It was funny seeing the characters watching dead people reanimate and not believing their eyes. Or, seeing the zombies taking bites out of people and then watching others trying to reason with them. Zombies are so prevalent in our entertainment that I felt much more knowledgable on the subject than the characters in the books. How did they not realize what was happening and how did it get so out of control? The characters also wrestle with moral issues - is it ethical to destroy a town full of innocent people in order to prevent an apocalypse?
Do the needs of the many outweigh the needs of the few...?
I'm a huge fan of the Red Rising series, so I had to read this graphic novel prequel. It was very well done. The illustrations depict the mood of the series perfectly: the darkness, the bloody fighting scenes, and the emotional torture. I read a couple of reviews that commented on the sketchy style and lack of detail in the illustrations, but I think it fits the mood and story perfectly. The storyline was interesting, fast-paced, and as violent as the books.
I'm looking forward to reading the next book in the series even more now.
This is book one in The Library series, about a magical library that helps spirits whose stories have been disrupted by supernatural events. After Marcus finds the key that opens the door to the library, he is confronted by a creepy old lady who demands that he "Surrender the key." Along with his friends, Lu and Theo, Marcus must fight an ancient enemy and protect the library.
I listened to the audiobook and the narrator did an excellent job. The forward gave interesting information about the author and the other books in this series, complete with creepy laugh. The only slightly annoying part was when the narrator read for the librarian who has a Scottish accent. It was a bit distracting.
While this book was much shorter than what I'm used to, the length is perfect for young readers. I was a bit disappointed when it ended so soon. Middle grade readers will want more of this scary, thrilling adventure. Some may find they want to leave the lights on after reading, but the story is worth it.
This book has also been released as Surrender the Key. There is one more book in the series so far (Black Moon Rising), and book 3, The Oracle of Doom, will be released in October of this year. After reading this book, I am interested in checking out other series by this author including The Pendragon series, and The Morpheus Road series.
Has anyone out there read either of those or something else by MacHale?
Recommended to: Readers in grades 5-8 who are looking for a scary adventure series.
I wasn't a fan of this book at all. I didn't expect much to start with, I was just curious because I've seen the movie. Anyway, the voices the narrator did for certain characters were annoying. The characters themselves were flat and shallow and I didn't like any of them or care if (when) they died. There was very little to the plot and it ended too suddenly.
This book is a bit complicated. The story is told through the tales of three sets of siblings: Venus & Swimmer escape from a slave ship in 1781 and end up in the Second World, Kinchen & Pip live in the Second World, and Thanh & Sang are trying to escape Vietnam with a few relatives, in the First World in 1976.
When Pip is taken by the Raft King, Kinchen must find and protect her younger brother. At one point, other characters tell the story of Venus and Swimmer and their journey. Then we learn about Pip's experiences on Raftworld. Other characters are sprinkled throughout and we eventually meet Thanh & Sang and follow their adventure.
This book combines fables and magic with historical fiction. The Vietnamese family is trying to escape what is left of their country after the war in Vietnam. The original colonists of the Second World are escapees from slave ships who used magic to find a portal through from the First World. Inhabitants of the Second World include a large group of people who live on a group of connected rafts, islanders, sea monsters, people who can talk to sea creatures, and others who can walk through water.
I found this book overly long and it had difficulties keeping my attention. The child characters are too similar and I found myself forgetting who was who. The story will appeal to some kids, but I don't think it will be overwhelmingly popular.
Recommended to: Middle School students who enjoy complex tales with multiple characters and a bit of magic.