Why Are There All These Blank Spaces?

You may notice that in some of my posts there are blank spaces in the reviews. These are spoilers that I've written so I can remember important details of the books when I want to read the sequel. I've made the text a beige color to blend in with the background so you won't accidentally see something you don't want to. If you want to read it, just highlight the section to make the text appear - although you should really just read the book yourself! :)

Sunday, September 20, 2009

A Kiss in Time

by Alex Flinn

Much like Alex Flinn's other fairytale retelling, Beastly, this book is another fun, modern-day take on a well-known and loved fairy tale. A Kiss in Time is the story of Sleeping Beauty. However, unlike the traditional tale which ends shortly after the climactic awakening kiss, this story only begins there.

Oddly, one of the most enjoyable aspects of this version is that the princess and her "one true love" really can't stand each other at the beginning. Talia the princess is spoiled and selfish and expects everyone to adore her and cater to her every whim; her rescuer Jack just wants to get out of Europe, get back his girlfriend, and have fun partying the summer away. Needless to say after their first kiss the two do a lot of butting heads.

Soon both are forced to start to think about someone besides themselves. And as if that isn't difficult enough, the witch Malvolia, who put Talia under the spell in the first place is convinced Jack was not supposed to break the curse, and she is looking to bring Talia back and enforce her curse once and for all.

This is a sweet, funny book, whose characters really start to grow on you. If you're looking for light, but engrossing fairy tale retelling, this book fits the ticket.

Wednesday, September 16, 2009

Being Nikki

by Meg Cabot

The continuation of Airhead, Being Nikki is pretty much the same story as before, just the next part of it. This time around it's quite a bit more exciting, with lots of mystery thrown in. Unfortunately, it's also a cliff-hanger - even more so than the first installment. Again, this is still reading like one long book to me broken into lots of parts rather than a series of books that work on their own also. You can't really read this without first reading Airhead, and I can't imagine felling satisfied without continuing onto the next. Too bad I've got to wait a while for that one.

Despite these gripes, I love the story enough, and Meg Cabot's ever-hilarious writing to give it 4 stars and make a mental note to keep my eyes peeled for the next installment!

Tuesday, September 15, 2009


by Meg Cabot

I love the plot of this book and the hilarious situation Meg Cabot puts her characters into, however it was just a bit too meandering and then abruptly ended for me to give it a 5-star rating.

Emerson Watts hates all things girly and popular among the teen crowd. However, her little sister Frida does, and when she wants to go to a CD signing at the newest Stark mega-store down the street, Em is forced into accompanying her little sis on the outing. Little does she know that this day will change her life forever. When Em dives at her sister to save her from a giant falling plasma screen, Em ends up being crushed beneath it. She blacks out, and when she wakes up she finds herself, well, not exactly feeling like herself. And suddenly, it seems that everyone is calling her "Nikki"...

This book reads more like the first half of a book than a whole book. There isn't much a climax, just a set up for one to come (perhaps in the next book?). So while I really loved the idea of this book, it just doesn't seemed finished. However, I am looking forward to reading the next installment.

Sunday, September 13, 2009


by Alex Flinn

This book is a cute, funny, modern-day retelling of Beauty and the Beast told from the perspective of the Beast.

Kyle Kingsbury is a vain, cruel sophomore at a prestigious school in New York City. On the night of the big dance, Kyle puts his mean-spirited plan into action, however things don't go quite according to plan. A few days prior, Kyle convinced a unpopular girl that he wanted to take her to the dance. He asked her what kind of flower she wanted and asked her to meet him there. Kyle however, already has a date to the dance - the most beautiful, popular girl in school. The pair takes great joy in seeing Kyle's fake date show up and be humiliated in front of everyone. Kyle's victim though, has a few tricks up her sleeves.

She appears in Kyle's room later that night and proclaims that she has seen the cruelness in Kyle's heart, and because she is actually a witch, she proceeds to teach Kyle a lesson in the best way she knows how: by turning him into a hideous beast. There is a glimmer of hope: if Kyle kind find someone to love, and love him in return within 2 years, the curse will be lifted. If not, Kyle will remain a beast forever.

Pretty much the standard Beauty and the Beast pattern, but what makes this book interesting is that the Beast is the one telling us his story. At the beginning he's obnoxious, but as time goes on we see Kyle becoming more caring and thoughtful, and when he has a chance at maybe breaking the curse, you are really rooting for him to succeed. A fun book for anyone who loves a good fairy tale retelling.

Friday, September 11, 2009


by Ingrid Law

Savvy could be described as a coming-of-age story. It is also a fun supernatural fantasy geared for the slightly-younger set. But mostly it is a sweet story about family, trust, love, looking beneath the surface, growing up, and finding who you are and what you're good at.

It's not complicated or terribly action-packed, but the characters are so endearing and the narrative so richly detailed that it's really quite a treasure.

Ingrid Law uses LOTS of metaphors and similes through the text, and they just fit! I kept thinking this book would be great to use while trying to teach students to use these narrative tools in a way that is effective. The main character, Mississippi (Mibs) Beaumont (also our narrator) has such a innocent and charming way of telling her story, that you find yourself drawn into this story from the very first page.

You see, Mibs' family is pretty special: on their 13th birthdays the new teenagers develop a special talent called their "savvy". Mibs' eldest brother Rocket can control electricity. Her other older brother Fish can create storms. Mibs' birthday is just three days again and she's hoping for a savvy that can help her save her Poppa, who's very sick in the hospital. When she thinks she may have gotten just what she wished for, Mibs and 2 of her brothers and the pastor's kids stowaway on a Bible delivery bus in hopes of getting to Salina in time. However, when the bus turns north instead of south is when the group's real adventure starts.

*Spoiler* I'm giving this book 4 stars simply because I have mixed feelings about the kids not calling their parents to tell them where they are, and also deceiving the adults who are helping them. I understand the reasoning for it in the story, but if I were to read this book to a class, I would feel it necessary to discuss why this is not a smart choice made by the kids. Unfortunately, at the end the kids don't feel much remorse for making their parents worry for so long while they were missing.

Thursday, September 10, 2009


by Elizabeth Knox

I have mixed feelings on this book. About halfway into it I would have given it 2 stars at best. It was slow and aimless. It seemed like there was no real purpose or point to it anymore. Oftentimes the characters didn't seem to be doing anything, and the times when they were, the description was very vague, which I found frustrating in a book with an otherwise omniscient 3rd person narrative. Because the narration was in 3rd person, the perspective hopped from one character to another, sometimes even in the middle of a chapter. This was usually clear, but it did make it difficult to remember what was happening with everyone at a particular time.

Just as I was starting to get tired of Laura's obsession with her Sandman, all the prep for ball, Cas Doren's mysterious dirty dealings, and Chorley's almost pointless investigations, the book finally picked up some steam, and as we neared the end, we finally got some answers.

The explanation of what The Place is and why it exists was especially interesting - and nothing like what I had imagined. The conclusion had just the right amount of resolution. The second half of this book was so much better than the first half!

I'd actually love to see this book and it's predecessor combined into one abridged version. I think a lot of the unnecessary and confusing parts could be cut out and the stuff that would be left would be an exciting, well-paced fantasy/mystery adventure!

Friday, September 4, 2009


by Aprilynne Pike

Aprilynne Pike's premier novel Wings boasts praise from Twilight author Stephenie Meyer all over it's relatively simple cover. I can see why Meyer liked this book - partially because it's overall flow is very similar to Twlight, and also because it is a creative and interesting story.

Much like Twilight, Wings starts off slowly. The beginning (and larger half) of the novel is mostly spent in character development. We get to know Laurel, her parents, her new friend(/boyfriend?) David, and the mysterious Tamani. We learn along with Laurel and David that she is a faerie, and despite this fact, the pair continue to cautiously pursue a romantic relationship. And at just about the point when you've decided nothing epic is going to happen in this book, the action picks up. Main characters in peril, daring escape, nearly complete defeat of the bad guys - but enough left uncompleted for an easy sequel.

The characters in this book are great! From sweet, scientific David, to mysterious and compelling Tamani, there are lots of things to like about them. I also really enjoyed the author's take on faeries in this book. Some traits of her faeries were similar to folklore, some were completely different. Laurel is a faerie, but she is not Tinkerbell - Pike's faeries are much more inventive than that.

Thursday, September 3, 2009

Catching Fire

by Suzanne Collins

Despite this book annoying the heck out of me - it still must receive 5 stars. Why you ask? Well, the book is amazing. (We'll get to that in a bit.) However, the end is a total cliff-hanger (seems that's been a common problem for me lately.) We are left with a few characters in mortal peril by the book's end. And that's just annoying, because I now have to wait another year to read the conclusion to this amazing story!

In The Hunger Games - the first book of the trilogy - Katniss Everdeen finds herself competing in the Capital's annual Hunger Games. Katniss lives in a country called Panem - which used to be the United States. After a destructive war the country was restructured int0 13 districts surrounding the controlling government stationed in The Capital. Years ago, district 13 revolted, but The Capital prevailed. District 13 is no more, and as punishment for the district's uprising, The Capital has set in place an annual games as a reminder that all are under The Capital's power. Each year, a set of teenagers (one boy and one girl) from each of the districts are selected, and sent to compete - to the death - in the Hunger Games. One will prevail and win fame and fortune. The rest will never come home.

Katniss's sister is chosen, but Katniss takes her place. The boy selected from her district is the baker's son - Peeta. The two form a tenuous friendship as they are prepped for the game despite fearing the other may simply be planning a way to kill the other. However, partially as a plot to survive the games and partially due to Peeta's true feelings, the two develop a romantic relationship. And, against all odds, survive the games together. Both refuse to kill the other, and when the gamemakers attempt to force their hand, they threaten to both kill themselves - thus leaving no winner. And so, for the first time ever there are two winners.

However, in Catching Fire, Katniss's troubles are not over. Her desperate act in the arena is viewed by the President as an act of defiance against the capital, and her life and the lives of all she holds dear are threatened by the powerful government. Katniss must try to quell the rebellion she has inadvertently started before it's too late. The question is, does she really want to stop the rebellion? And if she doesn't, where will she hide?

This book is so absorbing it is incredibly difficult to put it down. The characters are endearing. The government is frightening and believable. The descriptions of the outfits and accessories of those in the Capital are outrageous, but funny. And despite the terrible make-me-wait-forever ending, I just adore this series and will keep recommending it to anyone who will listen!

Tuesday, September 1, 2009


by Elizabeth Know

One of the more unique books I've read in the past few months, this book still has me wondering...

What's really going on in The Place?
Will Laura ever find her father?
What is Cas up to?
Why a sandman?

This book is part of a duet, and really it feels like it - the ending just ended so abruptly that I felt like I needed to turn the page right into the next book. Unfortunately, I don't have it yet. Hopefully soon I'll be reading it and then be able to more accurately critique the plot and characters. Because, you see, so much is left unexplained or unresolved by the end of the first book. And to give it 5 stars, I feel like I have to have a better idea of what going on, and I don't yet.

However, there were enough good things about this book that makes it close. First, the narrative is very rich and descriptive - it draws you right into the story and the environment. Secondly, the premise of this story is so unique - it's truly like nothing else I've read before. Thirdly, the characters are interesting and varied.

And while yes, the ending is abrupt, it does leave me wanting to read more! So I suppose that's a good thing as well. :)