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! :)

Tuesday, August 31, 2010


by Margaret Peterson Haddix

I still love the concept behind this series, although I found this book to be less captivating than the first two.

This time, Haddix's time traveling series takes us to early America where Andrea learns that she is actually Virginia Dare. However, immediately upon arriving, the kids find themselves in lots of trouble. They've lost the Elucidator (which allows them to communicate with the time-travelling adults who are helping them) and it seems that someone out there is trying to sabotage their mission to fix time and bring Andrea back.

I found this book to be more confusing than the previous two. It seemed to get bogged down by too much time paradox talk, and incessant mention but brief explanation of "tracers". By biggest complaint though was the ending. Haddix is known for being fond of the cliff-hanger ending, but this one was such a sheer drop that it didn't seem like an ending at all. I think my book is missing a few chapters! Virtually nothing is resolved and the characters are about to start off on an off-shoot to their original mission when, all of a sudden, the book is over. That just seems like the author ran out of time and decided, 'oh well, I'll just finish this story in the next book!"

Friday, August 27, 2010

Prada & Prejudice

by Prada & Prejudice

Callie is on a class trip to London. She's supposed to be having the time of her life, but instead she's feeling just as left-out and unpopular as ever. One day, in a scheme to get the popular girls to like her, Callie goes out and buys a pair of red Prada heels. However, on her way back to the hotel Callie trips and suddenly finds herself stuck in 1815. She meets friendly Emily, who mistakes her for her friend Rachel and takes her in.

At first Callie thinks this is all some big joke or misunderstanding. (In fact, it's starting to get annoying right before she finally realizes she's been catapulted into the past). Soon she's becoming close to Emily, and trying to figure out how to save her from marrying a man much older than her - in the hopes that she can marry the man she loves instead. Of course, this is Prada & Prejudice - a non-so-subtle reference to the beloved classic Pride and Prejudice - so there must be a "Darcy" figure. Alex is a duke, and it is his house where the two friends are staying. Alex is gorgeous, but he really rubs Callie the wrong way. He's conceited, and selfish, and apparently hiding a pretty big secret.

Can Callie find a way to help Emily, confront Alex, and make it back to the twenty-first century before the real Rachel shows up?

This is a cute book, with some funny moments. Despite the nod to Pride and Prejudice, I almost think it would be easier to read this book if you didn't know much about the Regency time period. I'm not an expert, but I found Callie's complete ignorance to be frustrating. For example, she gets all bent out of shape about classes and superiors. Of course the duke acts like he's better than you - everyone in the time period would say that he is!

Another thing I thought was strange was that Callie often wore her 3-inch red patent leather heels around in 1815. I didn't think they wore heels back then.

Lastly, and the real reason this book gets 3-stars instead of 4 or 5, is that the ending was a bit of a let down. I'd been wondering from the beginning how things were going to work out since it was pretty likely Callie would return to her own time by the end. What would happen to the guy she liked and the friends she made? That aspect of it wasn't entirely satisfying.

Tuesday, August 24, 2010


by Suzanne Collins


I don't quite know what to say about this book, or what to rate it. Realistic? Perhaps. Engrossing? Yes. Satisfying? Not really.

And with that I must warn you that *spoilers* will follow. I do not know how to discuss my feelings on this book without them.

I close the final chapter in the Hunger Games trilogy feeling depressed. I know it's a dystopian novel, but I still hoped that there would be hope at the end: hope for a better life, hope for freedom, hope for the future generations. And while there was a tiny glimpse of that, as a whole the book was filled with doom and despair and a tragic resignation to mankind's tendency towards hate.

Lots of characters die. Many that we care about. Many in gruesome ways. One in particular that left me shocked and nearly made me want to put the book down right then.

The sweet romance between Peeta and Katniss is absent. Katniss feels cold and detached throughout most of the novel. It's hard to read. And even harder to connect to her. The passionate, spirited girl we feel in love with in The Hunger Games is not to be found in this book.

I kept hoping that despite the despair and horror of the beginning of this novel, that by the end the characters would find reason to move on. They would pledge to make things better. To right their wrongs and not make their children suffer through the world they did. Instead we see the rebels squeak out a victory by becoming almost as villainous as the Capital, and proceed to contemplate another Hunger Games as punishment for the Capital. Have they learned nothing?

I miss J.K. Rowling with her sweeping, victorious ending that honored the sacrifices of the fallen with a solid, strong hope for the future. There was sadness, but it was tempered with moments of joy, and hope.

I miss Stephenie Meyer with her golden, perfect ending were everyone is loved and happy and left with the feeling that they can conquer whatever comes next.

This book was not the satisfying ending I'd hoped for. There is no joy here.

My Double Life

by Janette Rallison

Alexia is just a regular high school girl, except for the fact that she looks like famous pop star Kari Kingsley. Alexia's life is turned upside down with Kari comes to town herself hoping to hire Alexia to be her double. Alexia would move to California, live the rich and famous lifestyle, and make various appearances pretending to be Kari. At first Lexi turns the opportunity down, but when she realizes this might be her chance to meet the father she's never know, she changes her mind. However, things aren't so simple when she finally arrives. Lexi soon befriends famous heart-throb Grant Delroy, and despite being told to keep her distance, she simply can't resist him. Meanwhile, things are getting more complicated with Kari and her manager, and Alexia is trying to hold things together long enough for her to finally meet her father.

My Double Life is sweet, funny, happily-ended - all things I've come to expect from a Rallison novel. I wasn't disappointed! If I had to critique something it would be that sometimes the translations of the Spanish words and phrases were a bit heavy handed - but maybe I just felt that was because I knew what most of them meant in Spanish anyway.

Sunday, August 15, 2010

Ring of Fire

by Pierdomenico (P. D.) Baccalario

This book was a fun little discovery! The Ring of Fire is the start to a four-part series about a group of kids that meet in a Roman hotel over the New Year's celebrations. As they are getting acquainted they discover that they all share the same unique birthday - February 29. Things get weired as the group receives a mysterious briefcase. Soon they are on the trail of mystical device called the Ring of Fire. They aren't the only ones searching for it though...

This is an intriguing start to a new series. It kind of reminds me of National Treasure, but in Rome. I'm looking forward to the rest of the series!

Monday, August 9, 2010

You Wish

by Mandy Hubbard

I adore this book.

It was all the right combinations of hilariously awkward situations, sweet moments, romance, and friendship.

Kayla's birthday is not going well. Her best friend Nicole just told her she going to be late to her party. Kayla doesn't even want this party - her mom (the party planner) has put it together without consulting Kayla at all. It's filled with people she doesn't know, decorations she hates, and to top it off - her high school nemesis, Janae. Things only get worse when Nicole is much later than she said she'd be. Because she's still out on her anniversary dinner with her boyfriend Ben - a boy who Kayla's happened to be secretly crushing on for 3 years. So when her mom pulls out the giant birthday cake and practically orders Kayla to make a wish, Kayle hopelessly wishes that her birthday wishes actually did come true, because "they never freakin' do!"

Kayla's wish does come true though, and she soon wishes it hadn't. A giant My Little Pony appears in her backyard. She awakens to a room full of gumballs. Her childhood doll comes to life. And that's just the beginning. As more and more of Kayla's past birthday wishes come true, she has to do more and more to hide them from her family and friends while tying to find a way to make them stop. Because it's not long before she realizes that her birthday wish from last year was that Ben would kiss her - and she's pretty sure that's going to ruin her friendship with Nicole.

As I mentioned before, this book is funny and sweet in all the right places. I laughed out loud at poor Kayla's predicaments and was left completely satisfied by the ending. All in all a super fun book.

Saturday, August 7, 2010

Wild Magic

by Cat Weatherill

I bought this book on a whim last weekend because the title intrigued me, the cover was pretty and the description was interesting. Sometimes despite all that promise, a book has still failed to deliver, but thankfully Wild Magic was mostly a pleasant surprise.

This book is a retelling of the story of the Pied Piper of Hamelin. After the piper successfully rid the town of their rat infestation and is refused payment, he plays his pipe again and leads the children of Hamelin away with him. Our main character, Mari is one of the children to be lead away, while her crippled brother Jakob is barely left behind. The Piper leads the children into the world of Elvendale where they soon learn that he is looking for one child in particular - a child with unknown magical powers who will help him lift an ancient curse.

The book is split into 3 different narratives that alternate back and forth. Mari and Jakob serve as two of the narrators, with the Piper as the third. It is interesting to read the story from both the perspectives of the "heroes" and the "villain".

The story is inventive and interesting. The ending was mostly satisfying. Despite a few "too-neat" aspects, and a couple unanswered questions, I enjoyed this take on the Pied Piper.

Thursday, August 5, 2010

Sisters Red

by Jackson Pearce

Was this book well written? Definitely. Was it fun? Not really. And therein lies my main problem with Sisters Red. I read Pearce's previous book and enjoyed it's fun style. This book is almost it's exact opposite.

Sisters Red is the tale of two sisters, Scarlett and Rosie, who narrowly survive a werewolf attack that killed their beloved grandmother. Scarlett is severely scarred in her efforts to protect Rosie and from then on harbors a desire to hunt down these werewolves, Fenris as they are called in the book. Rosie feels indebted to her sister, and therefore fights along with her, even though she secretly wishes for something more. To complicate things more, Scarlett's hunting partner, and only friend Silas is back, and he's falling for Rosie.

This book is dark, and there's not much relief from that throughout the book. Hope is lacking. The Fenris are evil, lurking creatures who are a danger to everyone. Scarlett's pain over her grandmother's death, feeling of obligation to kill the wolves, and despair at her ruined face consume half of the narrative. The rest is taken up by Rosie's narration, and her desire over wanting to do something else but hunt warring with her sense of debt to her sister. Never mind that she finds herself having feelings for Silas and worrying about if she should acknowledge them.

Pearce is a talented author to make you feel so terrible about the sisters' predicament. However, there was very little resolution at the end. There are countless wolves, and despite the group's efforts, it all seems very futile. Did they even make a difference? Is there a hope for relief for these traumatized girls? At of the end of this book it doesn't seem like there's much. However, this does appear to be a series - perhaps hope will be more evident in the next entry.

Monday, August 2, 2010

The Iron Daughter

by Julie Kagawa

The sequel to The Iron King is no disappointment. While there were a few elements that were annoying, the book was a very satisfying second-part to the trilogy.

Meghan Chase has arrived in the Winter land of Tir Na Nog with Prince Ash. However, shortly after, Ash disappears, leaving Meghan distressed over what has happened between them. She loves Ash, but fears he deceived her. And when Ash reappears acting distant and cold, Meghan is even more upset. However, things quickly go from bad to worse for Meghan; Ash's brother Sage is killed and the Scepter of the Seasons stolen in an attack of Iron Fey right before her eyes, and no one believes her that the Iron Fey exist. Mab accuses Oberon of the theft, and it looks as if Summer and Winter will meet in war. Meghan and Ash must flee the land in order to hunt down the scepter before the courts of Summer and Winter destroy each other.

A few irks: Meghan spends way too much whining and crying about Ash's coldness to her. He warned her dozens of time not to show weakness in the land of Winter and she can't seem to remember this! Puck calls Meghan "Princess" all the time. Wish he used her name. The end is a little bittersweet, but I'm hoping that all gets resolved in The Iron Queen which comes out in early 2011!