Thursday, December 20, 2012

STUDENT REVIEW- Briar Rose by Jane Yolen

Briar Rose
By Jane Yolen
Published by Doherty, Tom Associates, LLC, 2002
224 pages (paperback)

Ever since she was a child, Rebecca has been enchanted by her grandmother Gemma's stories about Briar Rose. But a promise Rebecca makes to her dying grandmother will lead her on a remarkable journey to uncover the truth of Gemma's astonishing claim: I am Briar Rose. A journey that will lead her to unspeakable brutality and horror. But also to redemption and hope.
A powerful and moving novel that deftly blends the legend of Sleeping Beauty with the historical tragedy of the Holocaust. After her grandmother's death, a young American woman struggles to uncover the truth behind the old woman's past. The trail eventually leads to Europe and the darkest days of WWII. (from

It’s very interesting to read, [I would not improve anything] because it’s a good book.
--Marium W.

Tuesday, December 18, 2012

TOP TEN TUESDAY: The Top Ten Books I Read in 2012

Top 10 Tuesday is hosted at The Broke and the Bookish. Today’s topic is the Top Ten Books I Read in 2012.

Beautiful Creatures by Kami Garcia and Margaret Stohl
Clockwork Angel by Cassandra Clare

Code Name Verity by Elizabeth Wein

Immortal Rules by Julie Kagawa

Insurgent by Veronica Roth

The Invention of Hugo Cabret by Brian Selznick

Name of the Star by Maureen Johnson

Ninth Ward by Jewel Parker Rhodes

Resistance by Carla Jablonski & Leland Purvis

Thursday, December 13, 2012

STUDENT REVIEW- A Living Nightmare by Darren Shan

A Living Nightmare (Cirque Du Freak Book 1)
By Darren Shan
Published by Little, Brown Books for Young Readers, 2002
272 pages (paperback)

Darren Shan and his best friend, Steve, get tickets to the Cirque Du Freak, a wonderfully gothic freak show featuring weird, frightening half human/half animals who interact terrifyingly with the audience. In the midst of the excitement, true terror raises its head when Steve recognizes that one of the performers— Mr. Crepsley— is a vampire!
Stever remains after the show finishes to confront the vampire— but his motives are surprising! In the shadows of a crumbling theater, a horrified Darren eavesdrops on his friend and the vampire, and is witness to a monstrous, disturbing plea. As if by destiny, Darren is pulled to Mr. Crepsley and what follows is his forrifying descent into the dark and bloody world of vampires.
This is Darren's story.
Two boys who are best friends visit an illegal freak show, where an encounter with a vampire and a deadly spider forces them to make life-changing choices. (from

This book was a great read because it’s not too scary or not scary at all. Also, at the end of the book, it left me on a cliff-hanger. It irritated me when he took forever describing some things… so that could be improved. Yes, [I would recommend this to a middle schooler] because it is about a teenager who goes on this adventure as a vampire.
--Nathan N.

Thursday, December 6, 2012

STUDENT REVIEW- The Third Wheel by Jeff Kinney

The Third Wheel (Diary of a Wimpy Kid #7)
By Jeff Kinney
Published by Abrams, Harry N., Inc., 2012
224 pages (hardcover)

Love is in the air—but what does that mean for Greg Heffley?
A Valentine’s Day dance at Greg’s middle school has turned his world upside down. As Greg scrambles to find a date, he’s worried he’ll be left out in the cold on the big night. His best friend, Rowley, doesn’t have any prospects either, but that’s a small consolation.
An unexpected twist gives Greg a partner for the dance and leaves Rowley the odd man out. But a lot can happen in one night, and in the end, you never know who’s going to be lucky in love. (from

[I liked that] it had a lot of funny parts in the book. The plot line was hard to follow sometimes and it was hard to keep up. Yes, I would [recommend] the book [because it] was funny and any middle schooler could connect to it.
--David G.

Wednesday, December 5, 2012

Ship Breaker by Paolo Bacigalupi

Ship Breaker
By Paolo Bacigalupi
Published by Little, Brown Books for Young Readers, 2011
352 pages (paperback)

In America's Gulf Coast region, where grounded oil tankers are being broken down for parts, Nailer, a teenage boy, works the light crew, scavenging for copper wiring just to make quota--and hopefully live to see another day. But when, by luck or chance, he discovers an exquisite clipper ship beached during a recent hurricane, Nailer faces the most important decision of his life: Strip the ship for all it's worth or rescue its lone survivor, a beautiful and wealthy girl who could lead him to a better life.…
In this powerful novel, award-winning author Paolo Bacigalupi delivers a thrilling, fast-paced adventure set in a vivid and raw, uncertain future. (from

Wow. It was like the author took post-Katrina New Orleans, the BP Oil Spill, dystopian themes, and the crazy dog-things from The Hunger Games and mixed them all together into a unique & compelling story. Bacigalupi created a detailed world that was believable (as much as a dystopian novel can be). This book was action-packed, yet filled with a fantasy/whimsy that kept the reader engaged and hopeful. Amazing.

Monday, December 3, 2012

Beautiful Creatures by Kami Garcia & Margaret Stohl

Beautiful Creatures
By Kami Garcia & Margaret Stohl
Published by Little, Brown Books for Young Readers, 2009
592 pages (paperback)

There were no surprises in Gatlin County.
We were pretty much the epicenter of the middle of nowhere.

At least, that's what I thought.
Turns out, I couldn't have been more wrong.
There was a curse.
There was a girl.
And in the end, there was a grave.

Lena Duchannes is unlike anyone the small Southern town of Gatlin has ever seen, and she's struggling to conceal her power and a curse that has haunted her family for generations. But even within the overgrown gardens, murky swamps and crumbling graveyards of the forgotten South, a secret cannot stay hidden forever.

Ethan Wate, who has been counting the months until he can escape from Gatlin, is haunted by dreams of a beautiful girl he has never met. When Lena moves into the town's oldest and most infamous plantation, Ethan is inexplicably drawn to her and determined to uncover the connection between them.

In a town with no surprises, one secret could change everything.

Beautiful Creatures is the first book in a series of four so I’ve had the first couple books around for a while but never picked them up. I just assumed it would be “white noise” in a sea of fantasy-realistic fiction books. But then I heard that a movie based on Beautiful Creatures is coming out in February 2013 and is staring some awesome people. Well I just HAD to read it so I could see the movie.

Admittedly, it took me a while to get into the book. I think I just didn’t have time to devote to reading several chapters at a time. But I found it compelling and the connection between Lena & Ethan was interesting. Of course, an added bonus for me was that there are family tree diagrams in the book for the Wate, Ravenwood, and Duchannes families. I LOVE family trees.

Several chapters in the book picked up pace (though it still had a relaxing, winding Southern flow to it) and I couldn’t put it down. Literally. I stayed up until 3am reading the last 2/3 of the book. The characters were unique and have so much depth.

The first book left a LOT of questions unanswered so thankfully there are 3 more. I have started book #2 and I figure I will finish it before next week. Now I am anxiously awaiting the movie!