Sunday, February 26, 2012

Review: The Always War - Margaret Peterson Haddix

The Always War by Margaret Peterson Haddix
Genre: YA, futuristic
Published on November 15, 2011
Published by Simon & Schuster
Pages: 197
Read From: 2.24.12 - 2.24.12

For as long as Tessa can remember, her country has been at war. When local golden boy Gideon Thrall is awarded a medal for courage, it's a rare bright spot for everyone in Tessa's town - until Gideon refuses the award, claims he was a coward, and runs away. Tessa is bewildered, and can't

Saturday, February 25, 2012

Review: The Beggar of Volubilis - Caroline Lawrence

The Beggar of Volubilis by Caroline Lawrence
Series: The Roman Mysteries #14
Genre: Middle Grade, historical fiction, mystery
Published on October 1, 2007
Published by Orion Children's Books
Pages: 272
Read From: 2.21.12 - 2.24.12

March, AD 81 
Emperor Titus wants Flavia and her friends to find a precious gem called "Nero's Eye." According to prophecy, whoever possesses the stone will rule Rome: so Titus needs it to maintain his power, especially since it's rumored that Nero is not dead, but still alive. 

Thursday, February 23, 2012

Review: Behemoth - Scott Westerfeld

Behemoth by Scott Westerfeld
Series: Leviathan #2
Genre: YA, alternate history, steampunk
Published on October 5, 2010
Published by Simon Pulse
Pages: 481
Read From: 2.19.12 - 2.21.12

The behemoth is the fiercest creature in the British navy. It can swallow enemy battleships with one bite. The Darwinists will need it, now that they are at war with the Clanker powers. 

Wednesday, February 22, 2012

Review: Sarah's Ground - Ann Rinaldi

Sarah's Ground by Ann Rinaldi
Genre: YA, historical fiction, romance
Published on May 11, 2010
Published by Simon Pulse
Pages: 192
Read From: 2.5.12 - 2.7.12

Sarah Tracy has spent her entire life under constant supervision, always under the thumb of one older sibling or another. Now, at eighteen it's time for her to get married, so she is sent to dinner parties, plays, teas, soirees, talks, and chaperoned walks - always accompanied, always watched. 

Tuesday, February 21, 2012

Review: The Scorpio Races - Maggie Stiefvater

The Scorpio Races by Maggie Stiefvater
Genre: YA, urban fantasy
Published on October 18, 2011
Published by Scholastic Press
Pages: 416
Read From: 2.4.12 - 2.5.12

It happens at the start of every November: the Scorpio Races. Riders attempt to keep hold of their water horses long enough to make it to the finish line. Some riders live. Others die. 

Sunday, February 19, 2012

Review: Gathering Blue - Lois Lowry

Gathering Blue by Lois Lowry
Series: The Giver Quartet #2
Genre: YA, dystopian
Published on January 24, 2006
Published by Ember
Pages: 240
Read From: 2.3.12 - 2.4.12

Kira, an orphan with a twisted leg, lives in a world where the weak are cast aside. She fears for her future until she is spared by the all-powerful Council of Guardians. Kira is a gifted weaver and is given a task no other

Saturday, February 18, 2012

Review: The Slave-Girl from Jerusalem - Caroline Lawrence

The Slave-Girl from Jerusalem by Caroline Lawrence
Series: The Roman Mysteries #13
Genre: Middle Grade, historical fiction, mystery
Published on April 1, 2007
Published by Orion Children's Books
Pages: 230
Read From: 2.2.12 - 2.3.12

December, AD 80 
Ostia is gripped by a case of triple murder. The defendant seems the most unlikely criminal - a tragic and beautiful slave-girl with a haunted past. 

Friday, February 17, 2012

Review: Mine Eyes Have Seen - Ann Rinaldi

Mine Eyes Have Seen by Ann Rinaldi
Genre: YA, historical fiction
Published on January 1, 1998
Published by Scholastic
Pages: 274
Read From: 1.19.12 - 1.20.12

For antislavery crusader John Brown, the summer of 1859 is the time to secretly gather his "provisional army" at the Kennedy Farm and prepare for an assault on the U.S. arsenal at Harpers Ferry. For Brown's fifteen-year-old daughter Annie, it is time to make amends with her difficult father and be with the young man she loves. 

Thursday, February 16, 2012

Review: Lord Kirkle's Money - Avi

Lord Kirkle's Money by Avi
Series: Beyond the Western Sea #2
Genre: YA, historical fantasy
Published on September 1, 2996
Published by Scholastic
Pages: 380
Read From: 1.11.12 - 1.14.12

On board the Robert Peel, Patrick and Maura O'Connell are on their way from hunger and poverty in Ireland to a better life in America with their father. But the voyage over is anything but easy, and anti-immigration prejudice in Boston makes their arrival in America a lot less warmer and safer than the siblings were anticipating. Work is hard to find, and with a certain Jeremiah Jenkins stirring up trouble against the Irish, their struggles are not yet over. 

Monday, February 13, 2012

A Friendly Update

Life is going well, and I thought I would pop on to let my Readers know that. It's well, but it is also very busy. My Shakespeare class is an absolute ball of fun - I knew Shakespeare was funny, but I really had no idea the extent of his wit until I actually began reading his plays! And he is not as difficult to understand as people claim. You just can't take every single word in. Let them flow over you; gather the general idea of what's going on, and you'll find yourself enjoying the story immensely. So far we have read Richard III - which is a new personal favorite; Richard is a very complex and interesting villain - and The Merchant of Venice, which elicited lots of discussions about political incorrectness and the Holocaust (if you haven't read it, just understand that the villain of the piece is a Jew, and the "heroes" of the story say lots of nasty things about him). We are right in the middle of Much Ado About Nothing, which is hilarious, but I find I prefer Mr. Shakespeare's tragedies. Everyone dies in the end and gets their just rewards, and the characters are complex! Shakespeare's comedies seem to consist of women who are initially smart and funny, but ultimately end up falling in love and become boring.

Sunday, February 12, 2012

Review: Dave at Night - Gail Carson Levine

Dave at Night by Gail Carson Levine
Genre: Middle Grade, historical fiction
Published on September 8, 1999
Published by HarperCollins
Pages: 288
Read From: 1.20.12 - 1.24.12

The year is 1926. Dave's beloved father is dead, and his stepmother doesn't want him. Only the HHB will take him in. Hebrew Home for Boys. Hell Hole for Brats. Dave is tough, a troublemaker. He can take care of himself. If he doesn't like the Home, he'll run away and find a better place to stay. Only it's not that simple. . . . 

Saturday, February 11, 2012

Review: The Giver - Lois Lowry

The Giver by Lois Lowry
Series: Giver Quartet #1
Genre: YA, dystopian, futuristic
Published on April 26, 1993
Published by HMH Books
Pages: 180
Read From: 1.26.12 - 1.26.12

"It was almost December, and Jonas was beginning to be frightened." 
Thus opens this haunting novel in which a boy inhabits a seemingly ideal world: a world without conflict, poverty, unemployment, divorce, injustice, or inequality. It is a time in which family values are paramount, teenage rebellion is unheard of, and even good manners are a way of life. 

Friday, February 10, 2012

Review: The Whipping Boy - Sid Fleischman

The Whipping Boy by Sid Fleischman
Genre: Middle Grade, historical fiction, comedy
Published on April 14, 1986
Published by Greenwillow Books
Pages: 90

A shout comes echoing up from the stairway. "Fetch the whipping boy!" 
A young orphan named Jemmy rouses from his sleep. "Ain't I already been whipped twice today? Gaw! What's the prince done now?" It was forbidden to spank, thrash, or whack the heir to the throne. Jemmy had been plucked from the streets to serve as whipping boy to the arrogant and spiteful Prince Brat. 

Tuesday, February 7, 2012

Review: The Red Pyramid - Rick Riordan

The Red Pyramid by Rick Riordan
Series: The Kane Chronicles #1
Genre: Middle Grade, fantasy
Published on May 4, 2010
Published by Disney-Hyperion
Pages: 516

Since his mother's death six years ago, Carter Kane has been living with his father, the brilliant Egyptologist Dr. Julias Kane. But while Carter's been homeschooled, his younger sister, Sadie, has been living with their grandparents in London. Sadie has just what Carter wants - school friends and a chance at a "normal" life. But Carter has just what Sadie longs for - time with their father. After six years of living apart, the siblings have almost nothing in common. Until now. 

Monday, February 6, 2012

Review: My Brother's Shadow - Monika Schroder

My Brother's Shadow by Monika Schroder
Genre: YA, historical fiction
Published on September 27, 2011
Published by Farrar, Straus and Giroux
Pages: 224
Read From: 1.26.12 - 1.29.12

Berlin, 1918 
World War I is drawing to a close, and Germany is torn. No one knows this better than sixteen-year-old Moritz, whose family is as divided as the nation. His father died in the war and his brother still risks his life in the trenches. His mother, intent on sweeping away the monarchy, attends subversive socialist meetings. 

Sunday, February 5, 2012

Review: Leviathan - Scott Westerfeld

Leviathan by Scott Westerfeld
Series: Leviathan Trilogy #1
Genre: YA, alternate history, steampunk
Published on October 6, 2009
Published by Simon Pulse
Pages: 440
Read From: 2.1.12 - 2.2.12

Alek is a prince without a throne. On the run from his own people, he has only a fighting machine and a small band of men. 

Saturday, February 4, 2012

Review: Mockingjay - Suzanne Collins

Mockingjay by Suzanne Collins
Series: The Hunger Games #3
Genre: YA, dystopian
Published on August 24, 2010
Published by Scholastic
Pages: 392
Read From: 1.29.12 - 1.31.12

Katniss Everdeen, girl on fire, has survived, even though her home has been destroyed. Gale has escaped. Katniss's family is safe. Peeta has been captured by the Capitol. District 13 really does exist. There are rebels. There are new leaders. A revolution is unfolding. 

Friday, February 3, 2012

Review: Catching Fire - Suzanne Collins

Catching Fire by Suzanne Collins
Series: The Hunger Games #2
Genre: YA, dystopian
Published on September 1, 2009
Published by Scholastic
Pages: 391
Read From: 1.23.12 - 1.26.12

Against all odds, Katniss has won the Hunger Games. She and fellow District 12 tribute Peeta Mellark are miraculously still alive. Katniss should be relieved, happy even. After all, she has returned to her family and her longtime friend, Gale. Yet nothing is the way Katniss wishes it to be. Gale holds her at an icy distance. Peeta has turned his back on her completely. And there are whispers of a rebellion against the Capitol - a rebellion that Katniss and Peeta may have helped create.