Book Review +GIVEAWAY The Power of Six

Title: The Power of Six
Author: Pittacus Lore
Publisher: Harper Collins

Summary

I’ve seen him on the news. Followed the stories about what happened in Ohio. John Smith, out there, on the run. To the world, he’s a mystery. But to me . . . he’s one of us. 
Nine of us came here, but sometimes I wonder if time has changed us—if we all still believe in our mission. How can I know? There are six of us left. We’re hiding, blending in, avoiding contact with one another . . . but our Legacies are developing, and soon we’ll be equipped to fight. Is John Number Four, and is his appearance the sign I’ve been waiting for? And what about Number Five and Six? Could one of them be the raven-haired girl with the stormy eyes from my dreams? The girl with powers that are beyond anything I could ever imagine? The girl who may be strong enough to bring the six of us together?  

They caught Number One in Malaysia. Number Two in England. And Number Three in Kenya. They tried to catch Number Four in Ohio—and failed.  

I am Number Seven. One of six still alive. 
And I’m ready to fight

My Review
I liked this book.  I liked it better than I Am Number Four (which I read and never really reviewed).  When reading I Am Number Four I felt like I knew the story because of all the hype with the movie etc.  Had I read it before that I might have enjoyed it better.  The Power of Six never felt that way.  It seemed like a much “fresher” story if that makes sense.  It didn’t feel like I had heard it all before in a movie preview or review.  I actually stayed up late a few nights to read it.

I think what I really liked was that it went back and forth between John and Six and another one of the group – Number 7 or better known as Marina.  I liked her a lot.  Where John had a great mentor (????), she didn’t.  I liked seeing how she needed to struggle a bit more – that not everyone of them had the same life as John.  I know John had to move around a lot, but everything else was pretty good.  He always had a place to live and Henri’s support.  At points I thought it was too easy! But in this book you learn that not all of them had it that easy.  That some really struggled when coming to Earth.  Marina and her ???? were two that struggled at first.  I kinda made me like her more!  I liked seeing her strength come out when she realized she was going to have to do this on her own.  The series went from a great “boys” book to also a book with awesome strong girls! That’s great because now I can suggest it to both boys and girls.

The plot of this book revealed more of the story.  In I Am Number Four it seemed to just focus on John getting his legacies and learning a bit about his past.  This instalment really gives us more clues and pieces to what is a deeper story than it first seemed.  Having some key points explained or finally just told was great because it held my interest – I wanted to know what else had been kept hidden!

One point I didn’t care for – the whole John/Sarah/Six semi love triangle thing.  It just seemed unnecessary.  The book would’ve been as strong without it.

For the Guys?  Yup even tho the new character is a girl there is still lots of John and his story.

Final Thought:  Stronger than the first one.
Best stick-with-you image:  Marina healing Ella
Best for readers who: Like books with action
Best for ages 13+

Now for the giveaway!
I was asked to host a giveaway of The Power of Six!
To enter:
Fill out the form
Be a US Resident
Must be 13
Ends in Aug 23rd – when the book is released!
Advertisements

For the Guys – Book Review: The Scorch Trials

I Fridays I like to highlight and review books that would be great for guys.  I find tons and tons of girl books, but those boy books are much harder to come by.  Yes yes girls might like these books too, but they are really great “guy” books.  Today I have a book review.


Title: The Scorch Trials (Maze Runner #2)
Author: James Dashner
Publisher: Delacorte Books for Young Readers

Summary

Solving the Maze was supposed to be the end. No more puzzles. No more variables. And no more running. Thomas was sure that escape meant he and the Gladers would get their lives back. But no one really knew what sort of life they were going back to. 

In the Maze, life was easy. They had food, and shelter, and safety . . . until Teresa triggered the end. In the world outside the Maze, however, the end was triggered long ago.Burned by sun flares and baked by a new, brutal climate, the earth is a wasteland. Government has disintegrated—and with it, order—and now Cranks, people covered in festering wounds and driven to murderous insanity by the infectious disease known as the Flare, roam the crumbling cities hunting for their next victim . . . and meal. 

The Gladers are far from finished with running. Instead of freedom, they find themselves faced with another trial. They must cross the Scorch, the most burned-out section of the world, and arrive at a safe haven in two weeks. And WICKED has made sure to adjust the variables and stack the odds against them. 

Thomas can only wonder—does he hold the secret of freedom somewhere in his mind? Or will he forever be at the mercy of WICKED?

My Review

Ok it has been my summer of tough books in a series.  The first of The Dark and Hollow Places.  Now this one.  Now I don’t mean tough as in bad; instead I mean tough to read because the characters go through some hard things.  That is the complete and utter case in The Scorch Trials.  Now in The Maze Runner the Glade was bad just because they didn’t know how they were or where they came from, but they were fed and safe if they stayed out of the maze.  All safeness seems gone now.  Instead there is nothing but harshness – from the fireball of a sun to dust storms with a twist and cranks (nasty sick people) they are hit over and over and over with dangerous events.  It just never stops, and that got hard to read!  I mean I just wanted a breather – a break from the horrors or questions or confusion, but it doesn’t come. I think James Dashner sat up night scheming up wicked (haha WICKED) ways to torture Thomas and the other Gladers.  And worse, right when you think you can take a deep breath – you can’t!  This is a book where the saying “trust no on or nothing” really really applies.  You can’t!  Let me repeat that – YOU CAN’T!

Poor Thomas and of course Teresa, Minho, Frypan etc, but really this was a book about Thomas.  You live inside his head and with him you swirl in his confusion.  Some of his past is coming back, but that is only raising more and more questions.  He doesn’t know what he did and why.  He knows what WICKED has told them, but should he trust it?  He knows he knew Teresa, but can she be trusted?  James Dashner does an    awesome job making you feel this confusion that Thomas feels.  Sometimes, unfortunately, you are dragged (literally at points) along with Thomas and you, the reader, are frustrated and confused and everything Thomas feels.  It’s great because it really makes the story more real to you, but also it makes it tough to read.  And I’ll tell  – this never lets up.  And if you think it does, don’t trust it! Thomas felt this way right up to the last word in the book, and so does the reader.  I liked Thomas a lot in this book.  He knows he’s the focus, or at least a big one, but he doesn’t act all big and important.  Instead he steps back when he knows he needs to and let others take the lead.  That makes him more likable.  But more than that, he just seems more confident, mature and strong in this installment.  He shows growth.

I will for sure want to read the last book, The Death Cure, but I’ll need to prep myself.  After this book I know what a ride Dashner will bring me on and I better be prepared.  Can. Not. Wait!!

Final Thought:  Tough, full of questions still unanswered, nonstop fight
Best stick-with-you image:  the giant metal balls
Best for readers who:  Like nonstop action either mental or physical
Best for ages: 12+

For the Guys?  YES YES YES!!!!  Great book for the boy readers.  Thomas is a male character many boys will relate to and like, plus the non-stoppedness (like that word) of it will drag them along.

CymLowell

Book Review: Enclave by Ann Aguirre

Title: Enclave
Author: Ann Aguirre

Publisher: Feiwel and Friends

Summary

In Deuce’s world, people earn the right to a name only if they survive their first fifteen years. By that point, each unnamed ‘brat’ has trained into one of three groups–Breeders, Builders, or Hunters, identifiable by the number of scars they bear on their arms. Deuce has wanted to be a Huntress for as long as she can remember.

As a Huntress, her purpose is clear—to brave the dangerous tunnels outside the enclave and bring back meat to feed the group while evading ferocious monsters known as Freaks. She’s worked toward this goal her whole life, and nothing’s going to stop her, not even a beautiful, brooding Hunter named Fade. When the mysterious boy becomes her partner, Deuce’s troubles are just beginning.

Down below, deviation from the rules is punished swiftly and harshly, and Fade doesn’t like following orders. At first she thinks he’s crazy, but as death stalks their sanctuary, and it becomes clear the elders don’t always know best, Deuce wonders if Fade might be telling the truth. Her partner confuses her; she’s never known a boy like him before, as prone to touching her gently as using his knives with feral grace.

As Deuce’s perception shifts, so does the balance in the constant battle for survival. The mindless Freaks, once considered a threat only due to their sheer numbers, show signs of cunning and strategy… but the elders refuse to heed any warnings. Despite imminent disaster, the enclave puts their faith in strictures and sacrifice instead. No matter how she tries, Deuce cannot stem the dark tide that carries her far from the only world she’s ever known.

My Review

This book started out with a ton of action – within the first few pages there is blood and branding! I was cringing.  And for the most part that pace keeps up throughout the rest of the book.  From fighting the freaks, to fighting other dangers Fade and Deuce battle and battle.  I started to feel physically tired for them!  I mean within a few days the whole world Deuce has ever known what turned completely upside down, and she is on the run.

Deuce was raised to follow the rules of the enclave (her underground tribe) – to never question them.  She fully believes that the rules are there to help them survivor and live even if it’s a meager existence.  She proudly becomes a Huntress, so she can protect those rules and the people in her enclave.  And I guess if I grew up where she did I would feel the same.  They know nothing else – except Fade.  Fade didn’t grow up in the Enclave, but he now lives there as a Hunter.  Deuce’s unease around Fade is completely understandable knowing what she believes and how he is an “outsider”.  As the reader I found it interesting to see how and why this feeling begins to change.  I get very frustrated when a character seems to make these huge leaps and changes in beliefs based on nothing.  Enclave doesn’t do that.  You can see and understand Deuce’s rationale.  It seems logical and grounded.

The pace of the plot maintains pretty good throughout the story – even as more characters come in.  What helps is the ever constant presencee of the Freaks.  Freaks are a zombie-like creatures, but they don’t infect others. There is never the fear of being bit like in zombie books.  The Freaks keep the tension high because you never know if they are going to show up, how many there will be and whether they will be smarter Freaks.  At times when Fade and Deuce should feel safe they quickly learn they aren’t.  Very seldom could they completely rest – and as the reader I felt like I couldn’t either.  And when the Freaks arrive so does the fear, blood and action. As other fears come and go throughout the book, the fear of the Freaks remains right up until the end. 

A couple of complaints about the book – I know that in most dystopic stories how far into the feature the story is set is kept pretty vague, and they usually doesn’t bother me.  But in this book the number of years into the future confused me.  Sometimes it felt like generations, but other times it seemed like it hadn’t been that long.  At points this confused me, and I found myself trying to figure that out instead of following the story.  Not a huge problem but not one I encounter much when reading dystopia.

The other was the ending.  It just kind of ended with tons of stuff hanging out there.  Now I know there is going to be another, but it still ended pretty abruptly to me.  I have a ton of questions that I felt could’ve been answered and still left enough uncertainty open for the next book.  It a way this book felt like just a set up for the rest of the series.

Guy Rating:  Four Thumbs up!  Yes there is a bit of romance, but I honestly think a guy could “ignore” that in favor of the blood, fighting gore and action 🙂

Final thought:  Lots of action and freaky Freaks
Best stick-with-you image: The smell of the Freaks
Best for readers who: Can handle tension and blood
Best for ages: 13+

CymLowell

Friday is For the Guys Book Review: Scrawl by Mark Shulman

On Fridays I like to focus on books that would be good for boys.  Not that girls wouldn’t enjoy these books, but they are definitely written more for boys.
 
Today I have a book review of:
Scrawl by Mark Shulman
Book Summary

Tod Munn is a bully. He’s tough, but times are even tougher. The wimps have stopped coughing up their lunch money. The administration is cracking down. Then to make things worse, Tod and his friends get busted doing something bad. Something really bad.
 
Lucky Tod must spend his daily detention in a hot, empty room with Mrs. Woodrow, a no-nonsense guidance counselor. He doesn’t know why he’s there, but she does. Tod’s punishment: to scrawl his story in a beat-up notebook. He can be painfully funny and he can be brutally honest. But can Mrs. Woodrow help Tod stop playing the bad guy before he actually turns into one . . . for real?
 

Read Tod’s notebook for yourself.

My Review
I’m always amazed by a book that has as strong clear voice – one that seems to come off the page and almost walk around the room as a real person.  I found that voice in Scrawl. It was the strength of that voice that pulled me through the rest of the story.

The characters:  The main character Tod is a bully.  There is no way around that.  He takes money from others, scares them – all the traditional stuff.  It would’ve been really easy to dislike him, but because the book is written from his perspective you understand the why he is doing some of what he does.  It doesn’t excuse what he does, but at least you understand and can sympathize some (and I believe Tod would hate me saying I had “sympathy” for him!).  What comes through most for Tod is that deep down you know he’s got so much that could be going for him.  He’s unbelievably smart.  He can figure out the “game” that people are playing and play right along or pull it right out from them.  It was interesting, as a teacher, to see what he had to say about teachers and how they treat kids.  Tod’s thoughts did make me step back and look at my own thoughts. 

The other interesting part about Tod was, that even though he was a bully, he still did these things that were sooooo non-bullyish, and he cared about things that people would never in a million years think he would care about.  His personality was not the stereotypical bully personality all the way through.  The cool part – he knew that and sometimes he’d show it just to throw people off – to remind them that the world isn’t always how they think it is.

The Plot:  Much of what put Tod in detention was unclear at the first.  This is mainly because Tod is writing the story, so he doesn’t feel the need to explain the whole thing.  I had to piece things together even at the end when more was told.  I did have a bit of a problem following the story some because I got confused as to whether something happened in the past or just now. 

The story is much more character driven than plot driven, so although you do see Tod conflicted with what to do I felt it was much more focused on who Tod was and the question of who he was going to be.  Every conflict in the story seemed to push that question to the front.  What I liked about this and the plot over all was that it had a clear wrapped up ending for the current situation but not for Tod’s life over-all.  It didn’t end like a Disney movie.  It ended in reality, and that I liked.

One side note about the ending – the very end there is a whole thing about how something is worded. I had to read it several times to get it exactly.  I do worry that some readers (younger ones) might not get that at all and then miss some of the point of the story.

Final thought:  Tod’s voice was so strong it was like I was listening to him read his notebook!
Best stick-with-you image:  The end of the play
Best for readers who:  Like stories that are more about a character and less about a story
Best for ages: 13+
Other books or authors that are similar: Walter Dean Myers

Review and Author Interview: Halloween Kentucky Style

Today The O.W.L. is excited to welcome Charles Suddeth author of the very fun tween book
Halloween Kentucky Style.

First let me tell you a bit about the book and what I thought of it.

From Goodreads
For Halloween 1959, Mike and Timmy try to trick their cousins, Alice and Rose. The trick is on them when a homeless man and their nine-year-old neighbor team up to give them a Halloween scare that they will never forget.

My Review
I remember growing up heading out on Halloween planning on scaring some people.  I lived in a very (VERY) small town, so we’d run around all evening scaring people, hiding from others and just genuinely having fun.  This book reminded me of that time so much!

What I really liked were the voices of the main characters.  Sometimes I read a tween book, and the way the young character talk is so completely off.  I didn’t find that at all here.  Although set in 1959 is still has the true ring of young boys and girls.  I could just see these kids carrying out their plans and reacting to what ended up happening. My favorite line that showed how perfectly drawn these kids were was, “Mike was excited.  This was going to be so much fun, if nothing went wrong.  And what could go wrong?” (pg 30).  That just sets up the characters and the events that unfold.  Love it!

Final thought: Very cute book about something we all love – pulling a prank on others.
Best stick with you image:  Can’t say – too much of a spoiler
Best for readers who: Love Halloween.
Best for ages: 8-11

INTERVIEW
I was lucky enough to have Charles Suddeth answer a few questions about his writing and life.

Welcome to The O.W.L.

1. For your most current book – what part/character/event are you most excited/proud about?
        When you write a story and it clicks it is a really wonderful feeling. I liked the story and my friends liked it, but we were all prejudiced. However, an editor at Random House wanted it. The acquisition committee turned it down because it was seasonal, but they would have just sold it for one Halloween. A second publisher offered me a contract, but they weren’t going to promote it right, so I didn’t sign it. Diversion Press offered me a contract. I took it because I found out that they would have it in print for several Halloweens.

2. Tell about your writing process.  How long did it take you to write your current book from idea to finish?  Please tell about revision is you can!       I’m old fashioned, so I wrote the rough draft on paper. I can be more creative with pen and paper. It took about two years for the book, mostly for editing and the many revisions. I can understand why you’re interested in revision. I think most writers either hate it or they’re afraid of it—or both. Once you get to know revision, it can be a lot of fun. First, you have to be just as creative with it as you are the rough draft. Don’t be afraid to throw out paragraphs or even chapters or at least rewrite them. Always print out your manuscript and edit on paper. It will let you see your mistakes and/or weak sentences. And read it aloud, even if you’re alone, especially dialogue. Again, you can often hear problems that you couldn’t read. Find someone who can give you good advice and let them read it.

3. Is the story and/or characters based on anything/anyone in your real life?
      Some of the events are loosely based on things that happened to me or people I knew. Determining where the characters came from is more difficult. Although I didn’t specifically base them on anyone, I’m sure that subconsciously I must have.

4. How much say did you have in the cover of this book?  What is the process for creating a cover (my students are always curious about this!)
     I was asked for my opinion about the cover, but I have a small publisher. I told the editor what I wanted and she accommodated me. Large publishers don’t often involve the writer in the cover at all. They even change the title to meet their marketing needs. This is the computer age, so I was told that my cover was photo shopped. Even the printers get digital files, so I have copy that was sent to the printer. It has both covers and the dimensions in fractions of an inch along the margins for the printer.

5. What kind of student were you?  Was English your favorite subject in school and did you always write?
      I was usually a good student, but honestly, not always if I didn’t like my teacher. I didn’t have favorite subjects when I was in school, except I didn’t care much for social studies. My sixth-grade teacher had me write a short story, and I have never stopped writing since. An English teacher in high school helped me appreciate and write poetry. I still write poetry, but just for fun.

6. And because it’s the owl my standard question always is: WHOOO do you admire when it comes to writing? Whoooo are your favorite authors now and when you were growing up?
     There are so many wonderful writers that it’s hard to narrow down. Mark Twain quickly comes to mind. He not only used his imagination and came up with fantastic stories, but he was conscious of his writing craft. So his work has survived the test of time. When I was in school I liked to read James Fennimore Cooper and Edgar Rice Burroughs, because their stories were great too. Unfortunately they didn’t pay attention to their writing, so their books have gone out of style and they sound clunky. Some of my favorite authors today: JK Rowling because her stories are believable fantasies and she has made readers out of countless kids. Charlaine Harris writes a series of books about Sookie, a young woman fighting vampires. Although they’re too extreme for those under eighteen, Sookie has a tongue-in-cheek attitude that reminds me of young adult books. Another writer I like is Mo Willems. He writes a picture book series about a pigeon, but he drags the reader/listener into the story. When I was younger I liked John Steinbeck, because he was such a marvelous storyteller. Another one I liked was A. A. Milne and his Winnie the Pooh, because of his absolute whimsy. And of course, Tolkien who created a magical world like no other. Instead of super heroes, Tolkien’s tales involved little people doing super things.

Thank you to Charles Suddeth for stopping by!

Book Review: Twelfth Grade Kills

Title: Twelfth Grade Kills (Chronicles of Vladimir Tod #5)
Author: Heather Brewer

From Goodreads
It all comes down to this.

Vlad’s running out of time. The Elysian Council has given him weeks to live, and that’s if the Slayer Society doesn’t kill him – along with all the citizens of Bathory – first. Then there’s the issue of Vlad’s father, who may or may not still be alive after all these years, and oh yeah, that tiny little detail in the Pravus prophecy about Vlad enslaving Vampirekind and the human race. So much for college applications.

In this epic finale to Heather Brewer’s heart-stopping Chronicles of Vladimir Tod, dark secrets will be revealed, old friends will become enemies, and warm blood will run cold. Just be careful it isn’t yours.

My Review (CAUTION SPOILERS FROM PREVIOUS BOOKS)
I adore this series I really truly do.  It has been so fun watching Vlad grow up and become who he was always intended to be.

The Characters:  Ok I love Vlad – I have from the first book.  He was so easy to love because he wasn’t this perfect, self confident boy.  Instead he struggled a lot with everything – from being picked on to dealing with being a vampire.  It was great to see, in this last book, how confident he had become.  He was so much more sure of who is was and what he needed to do.  After 5 books with him he still continued to grow.  I also liked, though, how Vlad still needed to grapple with things happening.  Questioning who and what he should believe, but this time he was much more logical in his thoughts and much more willing to act on them. 

All the minor characters were just as strong as always – from Henry and Joss to Snow and Meredeth.  It was great to see Joss back and how his character develops in the book.  There was so much about him I learned.  Like Vlad he definitely grew throughout the course of the books.  I can’t wait to read the books Heather Brewer are writing about him.  It will be neat to learn even more about him. 

And then Snow.  Dear sweet Snow.  Beyond Vlad, she is my favorite character in this series, and I was very please to see how her story developed.  I had worried she would end up fading out of the books, but she was there in a very strong way!

The Plot:  There was a lot going on in this book.  From the question of Vlad’s dad, to the question about Vlad being the Pravus or not and saving all humankind!  So many many things!  Thankfully they were all given fair play and nothing seemed short changed.  The questions I needed answered were answered in due time (ok ok so I did get impatient, but that’s me!) And boy oh boy was it filled with some awesome twists and turns.  I was never bored because I learned soon on that I couldn’t trust anything because it could be pulled out from under me at any time.  What a great way to hold my interest.  This led all the way to a very dramatic final scene where all the answers (well most) are given.  Breath-holding and heart pound right until Vlad’s last act.  Well done!

Final thought:  I’ll miss you Vlad, but I’m happy with how it all ended.
Best stick-with-you image:  Graduation
Best for readers who: like vampires that don’t sparkle
Best for ages: 12+

Team Owl Review: Conspiracy 365 Series

Title: Conspiracy 365

Author: Gabrielle Lord

Summary of Book #1

On New Year’s Eve, Cal is chased down the street by a crazed man with a deadly warning: They killed your father. They’ll kill you. You must survive the next 365 days! Forced into a life on the run, Cal finds himself hunted by ruthless criminals and the police. Somehow he must uncover the truth about his father’s mysterious death and solve the Ormond Singularity, a secret from the past, before the year is up. But who can he turn to when the whole world seems to want him dead? The clock is ticking. Any second could be his last. Callum Ormond has been warned. He has 365 days. The countdown has begun …

Team Owl Review
The Conspiracy 365 series is amazing.  I loved this series so much.  I’d stay up late at night, so I could find out what happened next.  I just couldn’t put it down!

In this series a 15 year old boy named Callum Ormond is on the run to finish what his dad started.  His thrilling adventure will keep you constantly asking yourself “what will happen next?”.  Along the way, he’ll meet many people, and he (and you) will have to decide if they can be trusted.  Along with is heart-stopping journey Cal will discover a secret that has been hidden from his his entire life.  Each book will start and end at an even bigger cliffhanger than the last book.  It all leads up to December, the biggest cliffhanger of all.  See how it all ends and read the Conspiracy 365 series.

My Thoughts
I read the first book aloud to my students, and most really enjoyed it, but boy where they mad when it ended in such a cliffhanger! They almost demanded I get the second book and read it as well.  You can read my review of Conspiracy 365 January HERE.

Two words of warning if you read and get hooked on this series. 

  1. Like the reviewer said – they end in huge cliffhangers.
  2. Be prepared to order them online.  They are almost impossible to find in a store.
Here’s a pretty good trailer for the series

Friday’s for the Guys Team Owl Review: TRAPPED

On Friday I like to look at books that boys might enjoy.  Today I have a review from a Team Owl member. 
He has an honest review for Trapped.
Title: Trapped

Author:  Michael Northrop

Book Summary
The day the blizzard started, no one knew that it was going to keep snowing for a week. That for those in its path, it would become not just a matter of keeping warm, but of staying alive….
Scotty and his friends Pete and Jason are among the last seven kids at their high school waiting to get picked up that day, and they soon realize that no one is coming for them. Still, it doesn’t seem so bad to spend the night at school, especially when distractingly hot Krista and Julie are sleeping just down the hall. But then the power goes out, then the heat. The pipes freeze, and the roof shudders. As the days add up, the snow piles higher, and the empty halls grow colder and darker, the mounting pressure forces a devastating decision….

Team Owl Review

Trapped is one of those books that is an “OK book”; I wouldn’t really think that this book will become a well known book, at all. There is some emotion, some romance, and some funny parts. The characters are very normal people doing very courageous things. The book did very good at introducing the characters, but the story started to bore me. I mean, what is so important about getting trapped in school? This book needed bigger meaning and more stories behind it.

I would not read this book again. I would recommend it though, if you want a short book that u can read in 1 day to a week. I really liked how the author made the characters. They felt like the characters actually went to a local high school. This book made me think of me and 6 other people trapped in school on a snow storm. If u want to wonder that too, this book will make u think about how will the characters survive. And also you may have your personal opinions on the characters.
What I Thought Of The Cover
The cover actually was the big reason I read the book, it’s very cool and I really like it. On the back there is no summary, it is just a sign covered up saying ‘Dance Friday, Winter Wonderland’ that goes along with the book,  and how they were looking forward to the winter dance.
Overall Thought Of The Book
I have mixed emotions about this book.  I got really bored of it, but some parts I really liked. But I think I could find a way better book to read.

Tween Tuesday: Audio Review THE RED PYRAMID

Tween Tuesday was started at GreenBeanTeenQueen. In it we highlight books that are awesome for the tween set.  Today I have an audio review.
The Red Pyramid (Kane Chronicles #1)
Author: Rick Riordan

From Goodreads
Since their mother’s death, Carter and Sadie have become near strangers. While Sadie has lived with her grandparents in London, her brother has traveled the world with their father, the brilliant Egyptologist, Dr. Julius Kane.

One night, Dr. Kane brings the siblings together for a “research experiment” at the British Museum, where he hopes to set things right for his family. Instead, he unleashes the Egyptian god Set, who banishes him to oblivion and forces the children to flee for their lives.

Soon, Sadie and Carter discover that the gods of Egypt are waking, and the worst of them —Set— has his sights on the Kanes. To stop him, the siblings embark on a dangerous journey across the globe – a quest that brings them ever closer to the truth about their family and their links to a secret order that has existed since the time of the pharaohs.

My Review
After hearing some mixed reviews about this book I went into a bit cautious.  My daughter really liked it, and she was excited at the thought of listening to it, so with that we popped the cd’s in and started to listen. I’m glad we did! The Red Pyramid really works wells as an audio book because the two main characters, Sadie and Carter, are suppose to be speaking into a recorder telling the story. Yes that means that they switch off telling the story.  Usually I’m not thrilled with books like that, but they each brought a unique perspective, so it was cool to have both of them tell the story.

The Characters:  I loved Carter.  He was smart in so many ways, but not is so many others.  He had traveled the world with their father, so he knew so many facts and “book” learning, but when it came to some other more common sense things he wasn’t always sure.  He was also a well defined character because he wasn’t predictable.  When you thought he would know something we wouldn’t or vice versa.  You’d think that after traveling the world he wouldn’t be scared by much but he very much was! Many times he would be afraid to act, so Sadie would step in and take over.  Throughout the book it was fun to watch his confidence grow.

Sadie – at first I didn’t really care for her much.  She was kind of abrasive and rude.  Listening to her chapters was hard for me at the beginning because I just wanted to step into “mom” mode and tell her to knock it off! Thankfully she grew just as much as Carter did and by the end she was the one who was planning the next step, seeing what might hurt and upset people, and stepping up into a strong role.  What was rude at the beginning settled into a great spunkiness that knew when to push and when to back off.

The Plot:  It was great but long.  As I think back over it though I can’t think of any part that could’ve been left out.  It all needed to be there in order to create a full story.  While listening the plot stayed at a great pace.  Lots of action followed by some down time to regroup.  The action was overly described allowing it to pull the reader along instead of making them want to skip over it.  Only once did I tell my daughter that I would be skipping ahead right there! There were so many pieces that needed to come together, and sometimes when that happens the details start to be lost because there are too many to track.  I didn’t find that happening.  I was able to follow and remember everything that needed to be. 

The Humor:  There is some great humor in the book.  Many times we’d all be laughing at what was happening.  Sadie and Carter were typical brother and sisters – joking back and forth and putting each other down.  And the minor characters were always good for a laugh especially Dough Boy.  Watch for the Element of Cheese reference several times.  It still cracks us all up!

The readers:  The two readers did an amazing job bringing all the characters alive.  We were in awe of their ability to do so many different voices.  I don’t normally like female narrators, but this one was great.

Final Thoughts:
Me: Fun+action+great characters=great book
My Daughter: Very funny!
My Son: What they talked about was amazingly cool!
My 3 year old: I liked it.  It was long 🙂
Best stick with you image: When Carter realizes there is a god in his head.
Best for readers who: Like action and other Rick Riordan books
Best for ages: 10+ reading and any age listening
Similar authors: Brandon Mull

CymLowell

Review: Cryer’s Cross

Title: Cryer’s Cross
Author: Lisa McMann

Publisher: Simon Pulse
Copy Obtained: Through Netgalley

From Goodreads
The community of Cryer’s Cross, Montana (population 212) is distraught when high school freshman Tiffany disappears without a trace. Already off-balance due to her OCD, 16-year-old Kendall is freaked out seeing Tiffany’s empty desk in the one-room school house, but somehow life goes on… until Kendall’s boyfriend Nico also disappears, and also without a trace. Now the town is in a panic. Alone in her depression and with her OCD at an all-time high, Kendall notices something that connects Nico and Tiffany: they both sat at the same desk. She knows it’s crazy, but Kendall finds herself drawn to the desk, dreaming of Nico and wondering if maybe she, too, will disappear…and whether that would be so bad. Then she begins receiving graffiti messages on the desk from someone who can only be Nico. Can he possibly be alive somewhere? Where is he? And how can Kendall help him? The only person who believes her is Jacian, the new guy she finds irritating…and attractive. As Kendall and Jacian grow closer, Kendall digs deeper into Nico’s mysterious disappearance only to stumble upon some ugly—and deadly—local history. Kendall is about to find out just how far the townspeople will go to keep their secrets buried

My Review
I’ve put off writing this review for a little while.  Here’s why: I’m not sure what I thought of this book.  I definitely didn’t hate it! But I also didn’t love it.  I went into it ready to be creeped out because I had heard about how scary it was – making some people afraid to read it at night! That didn’t happen for me.  Granted it takes a lot for a book to scare me – a lot, so I shouldn’t be surprised that this one didn’t.

Ok let me look at what I liked.  I loved the pace of it the story.  The way Lisa McMann writes is very brisk (the best word I can come up with).  She uses a lot of short sentences that pull the story along.  You don’t get caught up long descriptions that can drag a story down – and this story is not the type that should be dragged down.  You need to feel the drive Kendall feels.  You need to step into the flow of where the events are taking her.  Doing that made the story much stronger. To go with the pace, the story does build to a pace that in going so fast that you want to grab Kendall and stop her, but there is no time or way to.  I will admit that the final act Kendall is compelled to do did get to me some, but because of the way McMann writes I couldn’t stop reading.

I also liked that Kendall has OCD.  It was an interesting twist that I hadn’t seen used before.  I liked how the people around her just accepted it – Jacian in particular.  He wasn’t thrown by it at all.  I think that added to me liking him and buy into their relationship better. The best part about the OCD was that it made Kendall both strong and vulnerable at the same time.  You knew that after dealing with OCD her whole life that she had an inner strength, but at the same time it put her at risk.  It was interesting to see how it played out in the events of the story.  I honestly don’t think the story would’ve been as good if Kendall didn’t have OCD.

The last thing I want to comment on is the “secret” of the small down.  I thought there was a lot of build up to it, but after that it was almost forgotten.  It was bad, but it was moved away from so quickly that I almost felt let down.

Final Thought:  Good but it didn’t scare me
Best stick-with-you image: Dirt – that’s all I can say
Best for readers: who want to be scared and are by books
Best for ages: 13+