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Archive for September, 2014|Monthly archive page

Famous Last Words

In YA Book Reviews on September 26, 2014 at 10:07 pm

Unknown

 by Katie Alender

YA Mystery Thriller/©2014/312 Pages/Recommended for 7th Grade and Above

Publisher’s Comments (Amazon):

Hollywood history, mystery, murder, mayhem, and delicious romance collide in this unputdownable thriller from master storyteller Katie Alender.

Willa is freaking out. It seems like she’s seeing things. Like a dead body in her swimming pool. Frantic messages on her walls. A reflection that is not her own. It’s almost as if someone — or something — is trying to send her a message.  Meanwhile, a killer is stalking Los Angeles — a killer who reenacts famous movie murder scenes. Could Willa’s strange visions have to do with these unsolved murders? Or is she going crazy? And who can she confide in? There’s Marnie, her new friend who may not be totally trustworthy. And there’s Reed, who’s ridiculously handsome and seems to get Willa. There’s also Wyatt, who’s super smart but unhealthily obsessed with the Hollywood Killer. All Willa knows is, she has to confront the possible-ghost in her house, or she just might lose her mind . . . or her life.

Acclaimed author Katie Alender puts an unforgettable twist on this spine-chilling tale of murder, mystery, mayhem — and the movies.

My Comments:

This is a well thought out, compelling mystery thriller. Even though I am not the target audience, I couldn’t put it down. I liked the plot and how it all unfolded. I thought it had just the right amount of terror to keep things interesting (for me and YA readers!) but you could still sleep at night. The characters were interesting, and all made significant contributions to the unfolding of the plot. I was especially fascinated by the ghost parts and how they moved the plot. All in all, a good read.

My Rating: 4/5 Stars

 

 

 

 

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Heir of Fire

In YA Book Reviews on September 15, 2014 at 10:48 pm

Unknown-1

by Sarah J. Maas

YA Fantasy/©2014/Third in the Series of Six/562 Pages/Recommended for 7th Grade and Above

Publisher Comments:

Lost and broken, Celaena Sardothien’s only thought is to avenge the savage death of her dearest friend: as the King of Adarlan’s Assassin, she is bound to serve this tyrant, but he will pay for what he did. Any hope Celaena has of destroying the king lies in answers to be found in Wendlyn. Sacrificing his future, Chaol, the Captain of the King’s Guard, has sent Celaena there to protect her, but her darkest demons lay in that same place. If she can overcome them, she will be Adarlan’s biggest threat – and his own toughest enemy.

While Celaena learns of her true destiny, and the eyes of Erilea are on Wendlyn, a brutal and beastly force is preparing to take to the skies. Will Celaena find the strength not only to win her own battles, but to fight a war that could pit her loyalties to her own people against those she has grown to love?

My Comments:

The plot thickens! This third in the series (Throne of Glass, Crown of Midnight) picks up where the last one left off, but the story seems to have dramatically shifted. There is a lot more action (if that is even possible) and magic than in the last,  and it is an emotional roller coaster from beginning to end. There are several story arcs going on all at once, and a bunch of new characters are introduced. Celaena, Chaol, and Dorian are on separate paths, and they are all having a rough go of it. Intermingled with their stories are the ones involving the new characters Rowen, Aedion, and Manon and her wyvern. Each in their own way took my breath away. And then there is the cliff hanger ending with no relief in sight until the next book is published sometime next year… Sarah J. Maas, you’re killing me!

My Rating: 4/5

 

The Total Tragedy of a Girl named Hamlet

In YA Book Reviews on September 15, 2014 at 9:39 pm

Unknown

by Erin Dionne

Realistic Fiction/©2014/295 pages/Recommended for 7th Grade and Older

Publisher’s Comments:

Hamlet Kennedy just wants to be your average, happy, vanilla eighth grader. But with Shakespearean scholar parents who dress in Elizabethan regalia and generally go about in public as if it were the sixteenth century, that’s not terribly easy. It gets worse when they decide that Hamlet’s genius seven year-old sister will attend middle school with her— and even worse when the Shakespeare project is announced and her sister is named the new math tutor. By the time an in-class recitation reveals that our heroine is an extraordinary Shakespearean actress, Hamlet can no longer hide from the fact that she—like her family—is anything but average.
In a novel every bit as funny as her debut, Erin Dionne has created another eighth grader whose situation is utterly unique—but whose foibles and farces will resound with every girl currently suffering through middle school.

My Comments:

I found this to be a light enjoyable read with clever plot details that give a gentle and humorous introduction to Shakespeare. The characters were quirky and likable, complete with all the humor and angst you associate with middle school and family dynamics – mean girls, emotional highs and lows, general insecurities, sibling rivalry, and dealing with parents. It is a light read, but there are lots of life lessons to be gleaned here.

My Rating: 4/5 Stars

Another Review

http://goodbooksandgoodwine.com/2010/02/review-of-the-total-tragedy-of-a-girl-named-hamlet-by-erin-dionne.html

 

The Thief

In YA Book Reviews on September 3, 2014 at 6:25 pm

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by Megan Whalen Turner

YA Fantasy Mythology Adventure /©1996/Recommended for Ages 11+/280 Pages

Queen’s Thief series (The Thief, The Queen of Attolia, The King of Attolia, A Conspiracy of Kings)

 Publisher’s Comments (Amazon)

“I can steal anything.”

After Gen’s bragging lands him in the king’s prison, the chances of escape look slim. Then the king’s scholar, the magus, needs the thief’s skill for a seemingly impossible task — to steal a hidden treasure from another land. To the magus, Gen is just a tool. But Gen is a trickster and a survivor with a plan of his own.

The king’s scholar, the magus, believes he knows the site of an ancient treasure. To attain it for his king, he needs a skillful thief, and he selects Gen from the king’s prison. The magus is interested only in the thief’s abilities. What Gen is interested in is anyone’s guess. Their journey toward the treasure is both dangerous and difficult, lightened only imperceptibly by the tales they tell of the old gods and goddesses.

My Thoughts:

I don’t know how I missed this 1997 Newberry Honor Book, but it only recently appeared on my radar. It is the first in a series, and, by all accounts, it just keeps getting better. (However, it does not end with a cliff hanger, so it could be a stand alone.) This story is not always fast moving, but there is a lot going on and it is quite the adventure with an incredible twist that you won’t see coming. Gen, who is the thief and narrator, grabbed my attention from the beginning, and I just had to find out how he would get himself out of the mess he was in. Considering that he says and does the most outrageous things, he had his work cut out for himself, let me tell you. I am looking forward to reading the rest of the series.

My Rating: 4/5 Stars

More Resources:

Booksmugglers Review of the Complete Series

Chachic’s Book Review with Book Trailer