Showing posts from August, 2012

Review: Cross My Heart - Sasha Gould

Cross My Heart by Sasha Gould
Series: Cross My Heart #1
Genre: YA, historical fiction, mystery
Published on March 13, 2012
Published by Delacorte Books
Pages: 262
Read From: 7.21.12 - 7.21.12

Review ~~~~~~~~~~~ Cover Blurb: Love the mask - it’s sparkly! And since it is a side profile, the cover doesn’t leer. There’s something of a promise of mystery to it all, which is not at all misleading, though I’ll admit - the smoke just serves to remind me of a cigarette.
What I Liked: Laura is a wonderfully unannoying protagonist: no Attitude, and she’s not helpless or useless. The Author did a terrific job making Vincenzo really creepy and gross. He reminded me of Mr. Gride in Nicholas Nickleby. Giacomo has a gentle, quiet humor that I really appreciated, and though many of the twists were rather predictable, I still liked them.
What I Disliked: What I disliked has to do with the writing.
Believability: I am not all that familiar with Venetian history or politics, so I can’t say too much about the history…

Review: Flame-Coloured Taffeta - Rosemary Sutcliff

Flame-Coloured Taffeta by Rosemary Sutcliff Genre: Middle Grade, historical fiction Published on April 1, 1989 Published by Farrar, Straus and Giroux Pages: 144 Read From: 7.15.12 - 7.21.12

Review ~~~~~~~~~~~ Cover Blurb: This is a cover that could do with a makeover. It’s not bad, but it is a tired cover, nothing terribly exciting about it, though it does say “historical fiction right here!”
What I Liked: Damaris is an adventurous and likable protagonist. It’s true that she doesn’t actually do all that much in the story, but it isn’t because she’s useless; there just isn’t all that much that happens. It’s a novella, remember. Tom’s humor is surprisingly funny; I wasn’t entirely expecting it, and I liked it. And of course Snowball, Damaris’s fat little pony, was adorable.
What I Disliked: Only the fact that it wasn’t longer. So much more could have happened, and I wish more had.
Believability: This Author does an amazing amount of research for her stories; she’s known for it. And she always has …

Review: The Willoughbys - Lois Lowry

The Willoughbys by Lois Lowry
Genre: Middle Grade, satire
Published on March 31, 2008
Published by HMH Books
Pages: 174
Read From: 7.15.12 - 7.15.12

Review ~~~~~~~~~~~ If you start this book without the knowledge that it is a satire against classic stories about charming orphans and nannies, then the story will come across as perfectly horrid, downright mean, and not at all pleasant. But keep in mind that it is a satire. And it is a very funny satire. It’s very Snickety, in many ways, and the Author pokes fun at stories like Mary Poppins in a truly amusing way. Maybe adults will enjoy it more than kids, because adults will have read all of the books Lois Lowry makes fun of, and they will more readily recognize this as a satire. But I think there are a number of kids that would find it amusing, especially well-read kids. Even if you don’t know the stories it refers to, Readers will find it funny. This isn’t a story where the Reader must care about the characters; it’s a satire. And in satires,…

Review: City of Cannibals - Ricki Thompson

City of Cannibals by Ricki Thompson
Genre: YA, historical fiction
Published on February 1, 2010
Published by Front Street
Pages: 269
Read From: 7.14.12 - 7.14.12

"You will not show yourself to the boy." "Yes. I mean, I won't, Father." "Or venture past your mother's cross." He gripped his spoon as if it were a knife. "You know why it is called the City of Cannibals."Of course Dell knows. But here on the mountain, all she has is her embittered family - a brother who torments her, an auntie who berates her, and a father who's drunk.And once she arrives in the city - if the cannibals don't eat her first - surely the Brown Boy will help her. Not that she's ever spoken to him, but she has seen him leave sacks of supplies for her family. Dell has waited long enough. She escapes to the city.The City of Cannibals is indeed fraught with dangers and surprises. The Brown Boy, Ronaldo, seems to love the fishmonger's daughter and he&…

Review: The New Policeman - Kate Thompson

The New Policeman by Kate Thompson
Series: New Policeman #1
Genre: YA, fantasy
Published on January 11, 2007
Published by Greenwillow Books
Pages: 442
Read From: 7.10.12 - 7.14.12

Review ~~~~~~~~~~~ Cover Blurb: I like the clock gears and the blue color. But I think it’s a little misleading because my first thought when I saw this cover was that it was a time travel story, and it isn’t.
What I Liked: All the tunes at the end of each chapter! Being a musician, how can I not like that? While I am not a fan of J.J.’s name, I liked him pretty well as a protagonist, though I’ll confess he isn’t the most memorable protagonist I’ve encountered. But I wouldn’t go so far as to accuse him of being cardboard. I was mostly too distracted by some of the story’s flaws to really pay attention to him as a character. I did love the other characters, though, especially the ones in Tir na n’Og. They were every one of them memorable, with their peculiar traits.
What I Disliked: Most of this falls under the category…

Review: The Sacrifice - Kathleen Benner Duble

The Sacrifice by Kathleen Benner Duble
Genre: YA, historical fiction
Published on September 6, 2005
Published by Margaret K. McElderry
Pages: 224
Read From: 7.9.12 - 9.10.12

In the year 1692, life forever changes for ten-year-old Abigail Faulkner and her family. In Salem, Massachusetts, witches have been found, and widespread fear and panic reign mere miles from Abigail's home of Andover. When two girls are brought from Salem to identify witches in Andover, suspicion sweeps the town as well-respected members of the community are accused of witchcraft. It isn't long before chaos consumes Andover, and the Faulkners find themselves n the center of it all when friend turns against friend, neighbor against neighbor, in a desperate fight for the truth. At the heart of this gripping story are Abigail and her sister, Dorothy, who together must find a way to persevere during a period marked by terror, adversity, and ignorance.
For such a fast-paced story, it was pretty intense. …

Review: Bewitching - Alex Flinn

Bewitchingby Alex Flinn
Genre: YA, fairy tale retelling
Published on February 14, 2012
Published by Harper Teen
Pages: 336
Read From: 7.8.12 - 7.9.12

Once, I put a curse on a beastly and arrogant high school boy. That one turned out all right. Others didn't.

Review: Lost in the Labyrinth - Patrice Kindl

Lost in the Labyrinthby Patrice Kindl
Genre: YA, mythology retelling
Published on August 26, 2002
Published by HMH Books
Pages: 194
Read From: 7.8.12 - 7.8.12

Princess Xenodice is content to spend her days tending to the animals in the royal menagerie, haunting the workshop of a beautiful young man named Icarus, and visiting her brother who lives in the Labyrinth. Her safe and privileged world, however, has ominous cracks underfoot.Soon battles for power and revenge threaten everything Xenodice loves. Betrayals from both within and without her family lead to a series of tragedies that Xenodice struggles to avert.

Cover Blurb: It’s so-so. It caught my attention because clearly it dealt with Ancient times. I like how the labyrinth is carved into the face. But other than that, it doesn’t have too much effect either way.

What I Liked: Asterius is probably one of the more likable portrayals of the Minotaur that I’ve read. I found it easy to understand Xenodice’s attachment to him. Th…

Review: Code Name Verity - Elizabeth Wein

Code Name Verity by Elizabeth Wein Genre: YA, historical fiction Published on May 15, 2012 Published by Hyperion Pages: 343 Read From: 8.7.12 - 8.9.12

Review ~~~~~~~~~~~~ Cover Blurb: The title is what initially caught my attention, but the cover caught it even more. After reading the story, I have more appreciation for it; the two hands clasped - and tied - together signifying Verity and Maddie’s friendship.
What I Liked: Verity and Maddie are both awesome protagonists. They are spunky and sarcastic (Verity especially) without having The Attitude, and they felt totally authentic for the time period. I loved ‘em.
What I Disliked: I was a little sad that the Author actually reveals Verity’s real name. I liked not knowing it, for some reason.
Believability: Here’s where I had some difficulty. The Author definitely did research on the S.O.E. and the many other elements in her story - the very lengthy Author’s Note in the back proves this, as well as my own research. However, the Gestapo agent that …