Where reading is a way of life

Sunday, October 24, 2010

The Hunger Games by Suzanne Collins

Synopsis:  In the ruins of a place once known as North America lies the nation of Panem, a shining Capitol surrounded by twelve outlaying districts. The Capitol is harsh and cruel and keeps the districts in line by forcing them all to send one girl and one boy between the ages of twelve and eighteen to participate in the annual Hunger Games, a fight to the death on live TV. Sixteen-year-old Katniss Everdeen, who lives alone with her mother and younger sister, regards it as a death sentence when she is forced to represent her district in the Games. But Katniss has also resolved to outwit the creators of the games. To do that she will have to be the last person standing at the end of the deadly ordeal, and that will take every ounce of strength and cunning she has.

Reviews:  "{The Hunger Games} is a violent, jarring, speed-rap of a novel that generates nearly constant suspense... I couldn't stop reading." - Stephen King, Entertainment Weekly "I was so obsessed with this book I had to take it with me out to dinner and hide it under the edge of the table so I wouldn't have to stop reading... The Hunger Games is amazing." - Stephenie Meyer "{B}rilliantly plotted and perfectly paced." - John Green, New York Times Book Review "{A} plot-driven blend of suspense, science fiction, and romance." - USA Today "Enthralling, imaginative and creepy." - Los Angeles Times "{A} superb tale" - Booklist, starred review "Readers will wait eagerly to learn more." - Publishers Weekly, starred review

My Review:  I was just like Stephen King, I couldn't stop reading!  There is so much in this short novel, its stunning.  Katniss is an amazing character, who definitely has her faults but whom you can't help rooting for.  She is the typical American rebellion, but also picks her battles. Her main focus is survival for herself and her sister.  Love doesn't seem to even occur to her until very late in the game.  I loved the realism in this, I think the "tributes" (contestants) are very realistic, and if you threw 24 teenagers into a pit and told them the last man standing is the winner, the events in the book wouldn't be far off!  At times sick and sadistic, and other times hopeful and heartwarming, I definitely recommend this read!  5 stars from me!

Sunday, October 17, 2010

The Alchemyst and The Magician by Michael Scott

Synopsis:  (The Alchemyst)  Twin 15-year-old siblings Sophie and Josh Newman take summer jobs in San Francisco across the street from one another: she at a coffee shop, he at a bookstore owned by Nick and Perry Fleming. In the vey first chapter, armed goons garbed in black with "dead-looking skin and... marble eyes" (actually Golems) storm the bookshop, take Perry hostage and swipe a rare Book (but not before Josh snatches its two most important pages). The stolen volume is the Codex, an ancient text of magical wisdom. Nick Fleming is really Nicholas Flamel, the 14th-century alchemist who could turn base metal into gold, and make a potion that ensures immortality. Sophie and Josh learn that they are mentioned in the Codex's prophecies: "The two that are one will come either to save or to destroy the world." Mayhem ensues, as Irish author Scott draws on a wide knowledge of world mythology to stage a battle between the Dark Elders and their hired gun—Dr. John Dee—against the forces of good, led by Flamel and the twins (Sophie's powers are "awakened" by the goddess Hekate, who'd been living in an elaborate treehouse north of San Francisco). Not only do they need the Codex back to stop Dee and company, but the immortality potion must be brewed afresh every month. Time is running out, literally, for the Flamels. Proceeding at a breakneck pace, and populated by the likes of werewolves and vampires, the novel ends on a precipice, presumably to be picked up in volume two. (Publisher's Weekly)

Review-- This book is absolutely amazing!  The characters are all fascinating, the plot moves along at a rapid pace, and it is full of all kinds of history and mythology!  What's interesting to me is that Flamel is not the "good guy".  The twins are actually the heroes of the story, and the characters you are rooting for.  While Flamel is not evil, it is hard to know at times what his objectives are.  He puts the twins in harm's way many a time, and Josh especially does not trust him.  Or his he like Snape in Harry Potter, and we just don't get to see what's really going on?   5 stars from me!

 Synopsis: (The Magician)  
Flamel and company return in this fast-paced follow-up to The Alchemyst (Delacorte, 2007). The immortal human Nicholas Flamel; Scathach, the veggie vampire warrior; and the mortal twins of legend, Josh and Sophie, are still on the run from the malicious Dr. John Dee. Flamel retains two of the pages of the legendary Book of Abraham, and Dee will do anything to get them. After hopping a ley line to Paris, our heroes barely escape the machinations of Dee's partner in crime, Niccolò Machiavelli. While finding shelter with fellow immortals (Joan of Arc turns out to be a particularly helpful ally), Josh attempts to deal with the fact that his twin sister is now incredibly powerful. Having had her powers "awakened," Sophie's new abilities make him surprisingly jealous—a fact that Dee may find useful. Scott tapers down the sheer breadth of gods, goddesses, legends, and myths already introduced in his first novel, which is a bit of a relief. Even though the plot moves forward at breakneck speed, the author is careful not to lose sight of his characters' struggles or inner demons. Fans of the previous novel will certainly find much to love, root for, and fear in this successful second installment.—Elizabeth Bird, New York Public Library
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Review:  Even better than the first!  We get a little more character development in this one, especially for Flamel and new interesting character come to light.  The plot is still action packed, and the book is very hard to put down!  The trip to the Paris Catacombs is fascination!  5 star again!

Friday, October 8, 2010

Fallen--Very suprising read!

"Fallen"  by Lauren Kate

 My Facebook book club and been talking about this book for some time, so I finally decided to read it.  I'm not going to tell you much about the plot, because I don't want to give away what mythical creatures this series is about.  I actually hadn't heard yet, so it was a fantastic surprise for me!

This story reminded me a lot of "Twilight."  Its a forbidden love story across time.  Her name is Luce Price, and she's a juvenile deliquient sent away to a boarding school for troubled kids, Swork & Cross Boarding School.  His name is Daniel Grigori, and he seems to want nothing to do with Luce.  But Luce is strangely drawn to Daniel, and she can't figure out why.

Luce is a fascinating character, just like Bella Swan was.  She thinks she is going crazy, because from the time she was little, she sees these shadows that no one else seems to see.  When there is a fire at her school and her boyfriend is killed, she is the prime suspect.  But Luce can't remember anything but the "shadows."  So she is sent away to this "school" which is really more of a prison for kids with classes.

This book is an amazing thriller, and you just can't turn the pages fast enough!  I finished it in a day!  5 stars from me!