Sunday, October 31, 2010

The Scorch Trials by James Dashner

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, much of 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 done 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?

I don't know how to rate this book. I do know that this book pushed me over the edge to keep my promise NOT to read trilogies until all three books are published.

James is a good writer.

That said, I had a hard time with this story. I knew it wouldn't be easy on the youth who had escaped the Maze. But they never seemed to get a break. They had a day here and there of easiness before James plunged us into another terrible situation.
He made sure the reader didn't know who to trust which is frustrating. The whole time I kept hoping they would get help/food/out.
This book is way more brutal than Maze Runner.
 It drove me crazy that they knew who was doing this to them but they couldn't get out. They couldn't do anything to help themselves except get to the place they were told to go. One time WICKED even intervened.
The tats were as big of a deal as I thought they would be.
Thomas is amazing how he just keeps moving forward.
I did skim ALOT in this book. There was a ton of internal dumping (it felt like anyway).
I can't decide if I want to read the next one.
*sigh* But I will! I'll do it for James because he is awesomesauce.

Page 69 test:
"...singled Thomas out somehow It was a sad thought--Chuck was the one who had lost his life. Teresa was the one missing But taking those two away from him...
His life felt like a black hole He had no idea how he would muster the will to go on in the  morning. To face whatever WICKED had in store for them. But he'd do it--and not just to get a cure. He would never stop, especially now. Not after what they'd done to him and his friends. If the only way to get back at them was to pass all their tests and trials, to survive, then so be it.
So be it.
With thought of revenge actually comforting him in a sick and twisted way, he finally fell asleep.

Every Glader had set the alarm on his digital watch for five o'clock in the morning. Thomas woke up well before that and couldn't go back to sleep. when beeps finally started filling the room, he swung his legs off the bed and rubbed his eyes. someone turned on the light and a yellow blast lit up his vision. Squinting, he got up and headed for the showers. Who knew how long it's be before he could clean himself again.
At ten minutes till the time appointed by Rat Man, every Glader sat in anticipation, most holding a plastic bag full of water, the bed sheet packs at their sides. Thomas, like the others, had decided  he'd carry the water in his hand to make sure it didn't spill or leak. The invisible shield had reappeared overnight in the middle of the common area, impossible to pass through, and the Gladers settled just on the boys' dorm side of it, facing where the stranger in the white suit had said a Flat Trans would appear.
Aris was sitting right next to Thomas, and spoke for the first time since...well, Thomas couldn't remember the last time he'd heard the boy's voice."

Friday, October 29, 2010

Al Capone Does My Shirts by Gennifer Choldenko

A twelve-year-old boy named Moose moves to Alcatraz Island in 1935 when guards' families were housed there, and has to contend with his extraordinary new environment in addition to life with his autistic sister.

I hadn't given any thought to families living on Alcatraz until I read this book. It was really interesting reading about life there.
This is a book about families, relationships and Al Capone.

Moose's family moves to Alcatraz so his family can live closer to a special school for his sister who has a mental handicap. The dad is an electrician for the infamous prison. The mom is focused on making her daughter "normal." And Moose gets left in the dust to make his way around the island, making friends, going to school, playing baseball and trying not to get in trouble with the warden because his daughter is a schemer.

 The author does a good job of putting the reader on Alcatraz. The characters were will done also.
This book is a heartwarming story. I enjoyed watching the relationships change or mature. I especially liked Moose and his sister's relationship.

Rating: G
V: None
S: None

Page 69 Test:
""Yes, she did  For the better part of an hour, I'm afraid Your daughter's voice is quite shrill , and coupled with her early-rising habits..."
"But you think this is something that"--my mother holds up the folded slip of paper--"Mrs. Kelly can help us with."
"Indeed I do," Mr Purdy says, standing up again. He has his good-bye smile on and he's looking at his watch,
"And why is this different for boys?" she asks.
"The boys' cottage is located in the old maids' quarters, which is farther from the neighbors." Mr. Purdy sits down again. He sketches a quick map for us. It looks like a bad pirate's map with X's marked for the treasure.
"Did you take her buttons away?" I ask.
My mom looks at me, then back at Mr. Purdy.
"We can't have a child who screams like a banshee at five-fifteen in the morning in a neighborhood like this. Now, if you'd like to spend some time working with Mrs. Kelly, there's a good possibility she can help Natalie bring this problem under control. I can't promise you, of course, but if Mrs. Kelly feels that Natalie is ready for our program, we'll consider her application again in May."
My mothers is up now, offering her hand to Mr. Purdy to shake. "Of course, my husband and I appreciate all the help you've given us."
In the waiting room Natalie's legs are open, the way my mother always tells her not to sit. She is seated on a needlepoint brocade chair and I see by the way her finger is moving that she is counting the stitches in the seat.
We wait until she finishes the last stitch at the bottom..."

Sunday, October 24, 2010

Clockwork Angel by Cassandra Clare

When sixteen-year-old Tessa Gray crosses the ocean to find her brother, her destination is England, the time is the reign of Queen Victoria, and something terrifying is waiting for her in London's Downworld, where vampires, warlocks and other supernatural folk stalk the gaslit streets. Only the Shadowhunters, warriors dedicated to ridding the world of demons, keep order amidst the chaos.

Kidnapped by the mysterious Dark Sisters, members of a secret organization called The Pandemonium Club, Tessa soon learns that she herself is a Downworlder with a rare ability: the power to transform, at will, into another person. What's more, the Magister, the shadowy figure who runs the Club, will stop at nothing to claim Tessa's power for his own.

Friendless and hunted, Tessa takes refuge with the Shadowhunters of the London Institute, who swear to find her brother if she will use her power to help them. She soon finds herself fascinated by--and torn between--two best friends: James, whose fragile beauty hides a deadly secret, and blue-eyed Will, whose caustic wit and volatile moods keep everyone in his life at arm's length...everyone, that is, but Tessa. As their search draws them deep into the heart of an arcane plot that threatens to destroy the Shadowhunters, Tessa realizes that she may need to choose between saving her brother and helping her new friends save the world...and that love may be the most dangerous magic of all.

I felt like I was back in time reading this book. And in a different dimension with the magic, demons and mundanes.
The characters reminded me of the ones in The Mortal instruments: love interest/triangle; rebel girl; hurt boy who can't love another; mentor; bad guy who isn't; interesting demons and Downworlders.
Good story, interesting characters, great twists all make a book hard to put down.
Beware! Many questions left unanswered.
Less sexual tension than the Mortal Instruments.
But I have got to STOP reading trilogies until all three are published!!

Rating: PG 13
V: fighting, blood and gore, vampires etc blowing up
L: a little swearing
S: kissing, references to brothels etc

Page 69 test:
"...hazel eyes, he wore a torn tweed Norfolk jacket over a shockingly bright striped waistcoat; his trousers were covered in what looked peculiarly like coal dust. But none of that was what had made Charlotte scream; it was the fact that his left arm appeared to be on fire. Little flames licked up his arm from a point above his elbow, releasing tendrils of black smoke. 
"Charlotte, darling." Henry said to his wife, who was staring t him in gape-mouthed horror. Jessamine, beside her, was wide eyed. "Sorry I'm late. You know, I think I might nearly have the Sensor working--"
Will interrupted. "Henry," he said. "You're on fire. You do know that, don't you?"
"Oh, yes," Henry said eagerly. The flames were now nearly to his shoulder. "I've been working like a man possessed all day. Charlotte, did you hear what I said about the Sensor?"
"Charlotte dropped her hand from her mouth. "Henry!" she shrieked. "You arm!"
Henry glanced down at his arm, and his mouth dropped open. "Bloody hell" was all he had time to say before Will, exhibiting a startling presence of mind, stood up, seized the vase of flowers off the table, and hurled the contents over Henry. The flames went out, with a faint protesting sizzle, leaving Henry standing soaking wet in the doorway, one sleeve of his jacket blackened and a dozen damp white flowers strewn at his feet.
Henry beamed and patted the burned sleeve of his jacket with a look of satisfaction. "You know what this means?"
Will set the vase down. "That you set yourself on fire and didn't even notice?"
"That the flame-retardant mixture I developed last week works!" Henry said proudly. "This material must have been..."

Wednesday, October 20, 2010

FORBIDDEN SEA by Sheila A. Neilson

When Adrianne comes face-to-face with the mermaid of Windwaithe Island, of whom she has heard terrible stories all her life, she is convinced the mermaid means to take her younger sister. Adrianne, fierce-willed and courageous, is determined to protect her sister from the mermaid, and her family from starvation. However, the mermaid continues to haunt Adrianne in her dreams and with her song.
Yet, when the islanders find out about Adrianne's encounters with the mermaid she is scorned, for this small and superstitious community believes the mermaid will bring devastation to the island if Adrianne does not give herself to the sea.

A powerful and lyrical story of one girl who must choose between having everything and having those she loves.

When Adrianne comes face-to-face with the mermaid of Windwaithe Island, she is convinced that the mermaid means her harm. After all, the island is steeped in stories of mermaids' curses and the ill-luck that they bring. But Adrianne is fierce-willed and courageous and is determined to protect her family and the islanders from danger. Yet when the islanders find out about Adrianne's encounters with the mermaid, her family is scorned. They believe that once active, the mermaid cannot be quieted until an islander sacrifices herself to the sea. But is the legend true? And will their fear make them force Adrienne to test it? This is a haunting story of love, surrender and strength.

A good, clean book any YA reader would enjoy.
Adrianne is thrust into the role of provider for her family after her father is killed in an accident. She lives on a small island with small-minded people, including her own aunt. The seemingly only tolerant people are the rich.
Everything bad happens to Adri and only gets worse. I felt myself getting it more and more frustrated for her. She takes everything in quiet determination.
Except for the mermaid who wants to drown her and her sister. She's fierce and protective.
When Adrianne finally learns what the mermaid wants, life turns for Adri. I like what the mermaid says to her (I can't tell you, it might be a spoiler) and what Adri gets to see.
The characters were well drawn, the twists good, and the good and mean obvious.

What I loved: the cover, don't you?; Adrianne's tough, determined, sensitive character; the mermaid; the story being different than mermaid stories I've heard before.
What I didn't love: not meeting a certain someone at the end; Denn being daft. Really, if Adri is his best friend, he should know her better and defend her better.

Rating: G
V: bullying, seeming danger in the water
L: none
S: none

Page 69 test:
"...didn't need a dog any more than Master Peck did. Still, i could not refuse his offer. It would only be a matter of time before Auntie Minnah took things into her own hands and poisoned Lark herself.
"Take her." The voice that came from my mouth sounded like a tired old woman's. "She's out behind the garden with Cecily."
"I sent Hannah and Trey in that direction. I think I'll let them visit for a while. I'll pick up Lark on my way home." Denn slid the sack from his shoulder and hung it on a nail on the wall. "This sack of potatoes can be the first payment. I'll come tomorrow to start working off the rest."
i looked up in surprise. "Aren't you sailing out with your father in the morning?"
"Papa and I talked it over. He felt that it would be discourteous for all the men in our family to slight Lord Durran by going off and not attending his son's wedding."
I was pretty sure Denn's desire to dance with Cora Lynn at the wedding feat might also have something to do with the decision, but I kept my opinion to myself.
Denn pulled off his cap and resettled it on his mass of red curls as he looked around the barn. "So, Master Adri, you look like you could use some help Where shall I begin?"
Denn sometime called me "Master" to tease me about my role as "man of the house" now that Papa was gone. Usually I..."

Monday, October 18, 2010


High Crimes at High Tea Things to Do in England Visit Westminster Abbey, the Tower of London, and the London Zoo Take the Jack the Ripper tour creepy! Sample authentic English scones and crumpets Discover a dead body What begins as a holiday trip for amateur sleuth and cooking aficionado Sadie Hoffmiller and her daughter, Breanna, turns into a bizarre mystery when they discover a dead body in the sitting room of an English manor. Breanna's boyfriend, Liam, is heir to both the family title and the family estate of Southgate, where everyone seems to have a secret . . . or two. When the body in the sitting room disappears, Sadie and Breanna are stranded at the estate until the police can clear them to leave. With their departure delayed, they might as well solve the murder. Armed with a jogging whistle, her personal recipe collection, and an unfailing sense of American justice, Sadie begins her own investigation to find the killer. But as Sadie uncovers layer after layer of misdirection, secrets, and outright lies, she wonders if anyone is telling the truth or if the case is really as hopeless as it appears to be. Take a missing family history, toss in a secret romance, mix with a mysterious murder, and this is one vacation Sadie will never forget.

Josi has done well to transport her readers to England with descriptions of place, characteristics and food (as far as I know since I haven't been there...yet). This story is a good, clean mystery that would appeal to any reader.
This story had me twisted and turned trying to figure out the "bad guy." I knew it couldn't be the obvious person, but I thought maybe the motive was the mystery.
Sadie's character is spunky and smart. She's older and throughout the story she feels the pangs of her age, which makes her believable and lovable.

What I loved: The plot, Sadie and Breanna, the characters all well described, the mystery and the RECIPES! I'm going to try my hand at a few of them, my dears.
What I didn't love: I sometimes got confused at a few of the characters. There were proper English titles like "duke" and "earl" and sometimes those were first names so I got confused. But the further I got into the story I was able to distinguish the characters.

Rating: G
V: A dead body
L: None
S: None

Page 69 test:
"As soon as she saw Austin, Sadie knew who had told the police that the report they'd received was unreliable. She could see it now--him hanging up with Grant and immediately calling the police and explaining that they had a couple American house guests with Agatha Christie complexes. That the police sent anyone at all was perhaps a point in their factor, but she looked at Austin now with more than just anger and annoyance.
"The inspector would like to speak with you, Mrs. Land," Grant said, still holding the door open. Mrs. Land turned a shade paler, but didn't look at anyone in particular as she headed for the library. The door shut behind her and Grant took up his post beside the door as if it were an everyday occurrence to be assisting an inspector with interviews.
Sadie's thoughts remained squarely on Austin, who stood against the wall with everyone else, though they gave him ample room on either side. "Why were you in Exeter today?" Sadie asked him, standing next to Breanna and across from Austin.
"Business," he said simply. "  had a meeting with the manager of on of the earl's shops."
"Where do you live?" she asked. "You haven't been here since we arrived."
"Haven't I?" Austin asked, raising one eyebrow. "Perhaps I have been here the whole time, but simple chose to keep to myself. It's a large house, Mrs. Hoffmiller. All kinds of things can happen without the other occupants being aware of it."
His insinuation that he could have been here these two days without any them knowing about it gave Sadie a shiver. What was he trying to say anyway? Why tell her that at all?
"I left Southgate early this morning. When Grant called, I..."

Friday, October 15, 2010

Emotional Intensity in Gifted Students: Helping Kids Cope With Explosive Feelings by Christine Fonseca

Designed to provide support for the difficult job of parenting and teaching gifted children, Emotional Intensity in Gifted Students: Helping Kids Cope With Explosive Feelings provides the resource parents and teachers need to not only understand why gifted children are so extreme in their behavior, but also learn specific strategies to teach gifted children how to live with their intensity.

Presented in an easy-to-read, conversational style, Emotional Intensity in Gifted Students uses real-world examples through case studies and role-plays that show parents and teachers how to interact with gifted children in a way that teaches them how to recognize, monitor, and adjust their behavior. Worksheets, tip sheets, and checklists are included to help parents, teachers, and the students themselves learn to cope with the explosive feelings that often accompany giftedness. Specific strategies for stress management, underperformance in school, perfectionism, and social anxiety make this a must read for anyone wishing to make a positive lasting impact on the lives of gifted children.

This book is great for any parent but especially for those who parent and teach gifted children. It wouldn't hurt all teachers and principals to read this book!

What I loved: Christine starts at the beginning by educating the reader what a gifted child is and why they are more emotional. She goes over the mislabels, myths, diagnosis, etc. that often accompany a gift child's emotions.
Every chapter is short and doesn't read like a college text book. Christine uses understandable terms.  At the end of each chapter, she has extra help/ ideas for teachers.
I LOVE case studies and stories. Every chapter has them and really helped me to ingrain what I was reading. She has tips, worksheets and checklists to help. This book was a great help to me. It was well written, concise, understandable.
What I didn't like: Nothing!

Thanks for trusting me with your book, Christine! It was a great read.
I received this book for my unbiased review.

Friday, October 8, 2010


Sorry about the LAME lack of reviews lately!
Seriously! I have not had any time to read, well, to finish any books.
Here is a list of books started/half read/patiently waiting:
Emotional Intensity in Gifted Students
English Trifle
Dangerous Connections
Scorch Trials (YES!)
Forgotten Garden

SOOOO....many reviews coming!

Saturday, October 2, 2010

LINGER by Maggie Stiefvater

In Maggie Stiefvater’s Shiver, Grace and Sam found each other. Now, in Linger, they must fight to be together. For Grace, this means defying her parents and keeping a very dangerous secret about her own well-being. For Sam, this means grappling with his werewolf past…and figuring out a way to survive into the future. Add into the mix a new wolf named Cole, whose own past has the potential to destroy the whole pack. And Isabel, who already lost her brother to the wolves…and is nonetheless drawn to Cole. At turns harrowing and euphoric, Linger is a spellbinding love story that explores both sides of love–the light and the dark, the warm and the cold–in a way you will never forget.

 The second book of the Mercy Falls Wolves. While SHIVER was interesting I wasn't that hooked to really want to read the next and I thought maybe I'd wait for the third book. Well, I'm not a delayed gratification type girl when it comes to reading so I didn't wait. 

LINGER had an interesting storyline and new characters. The writing makes the book a story. I liked that Sam is now human and the possibility of his girlfriend becoming a wolf can be a problem. 

I was taken out of the story with the two main characters at the beginning of the book. I kept wondering why parents aren't screaming about the relationship like they screamed with TWILIGHT. Edward watched Bella sleep; Sam slept in the same bed as Maggie (who didn't deny anything went on but also didn't say it did). 

Cole (the newest wolf) was naked a couple of times after transforming from wolf to human and Isabel acted like it wasn't a big deal (sometimes to make her mother mad). At one point, she was willing to give up her virginity to Cole, who said no.

My favorite character? RACHEL! Love her! I hope she has more page time in the next book.
Overall, I think half of the book could have been cut out without missing much. 

Rating: PG 17
V: None
L: A little
S: inuendos

Page 69 test:
""You better go move your car," I told Sam. He cat an anxious look toward the ceiling, as if Mom could read his thoughts through the floor of her home studio. Then toward Rachel, And then toward me, his unasked question clear in his expression: Are you really telling her? I shrugged.
Rachel looked at me quizzically. I made a gesture like, Wait and I'll explain, and Sam went to call up the stairs, "See you later, Mrs. Brisbane!"
There was a long pause. Then Mom said, not in a a nice way, "Bye."
Same came back into the kitchen. He didn't say that he felt guilty, but he didn't have to. It was written all over his face. He said, a little hesitant, "If I'm no back bu the time you go, Rach, see you later."
"Back!" Rachel said in surprise as Same went out the front door, car keys jingling. "What does he mean 'back'? What's he doing with his car? Wait--has The Boy been sleeping here?"
"Shhh!"I said hurriedly, with a glance toward the hallway. Taking Rachel by the elbow, I propelled he oer toward the corner of the kitchen and released her quickly, looking at me fingers. ":Whoa, Rachel, your skin is cold."
"No, you're hot, she correct. "So what's going on here? Are you guys like--sleeping together?"
I felt my cheeks flush despite myself. "not like that. Just like..."
Rachel didn't wait for me to figure out how to finish my thought. "holy freakin' holy freakin' holy...I can't even think of what to say to that, Grace! Just like what? What do you guys do? No, wait, don't tell me!"