Saturday, October 11, 2014

Book Review: The Maze Runner - James Dashner

The Maze Runner (Maze Runner, #1)
"If you ain't scared, you ain't human."

When Thomas wakes up in the lift, the only thing he can remember is his name.  He's surrounded by strangers--boys whose memories are also gone.

Outside the towering stone walls that surround the Glade is a limitless, ever-changing maze.  It's the only way out--and no one's ever made it through alive.

Then a girl arrives.  The first girl ever.  And the message she delivers is terrifying.

4/5 stars (really liked it)
I have had this book on my to-read list for a very long time, saw that it was going to be a movie so finally decided to read it.  The premise of the book is very intriguing.  Thomas is thrown into this new world where he has a million questions that no one will answer.  The one thing he knows is that his name is Thomas and he wants to be a runner.  He gets to know boys at the Glade and makes friends as well as enemies.  Also the girl arrives and he someone how even though he doesn't know it, knows who she is.  The ending was great and really had me wanting to read the second one.

Thursday, October 02, 2014

Book Review: The Paper Magician - Charlie Holmberg

The Paper Magician (The Paper Magician Trilogy, #1)
Ceony Twill arrives at the cottage of Magician Emery Thane with a broken heart.  Having graduated at the top of her class from the Tagis Praff School for the Magically Inclined, Ceony is assigned an apprenticeship in paper magic despite her dreams of bespelling metal.  And once she's bonded to paper, that will be her only magic...forever.

Yet the spells Ceony learns under the strange yet kind Thane turn out to be more marvelous than she could have ever imagined--animating paper creatures, bringing stories to life via ghostly images, even reading fortunes.  But as she discovers these wonders, Ceony also learns of the extraordinary dangers of forbidden magic.

An excisioner--a practitioner of dark, flesh magic--invades the cottage and rips Thane's heart from his chest.  To save her teacher's life, Ceony must face the evil magician and embark on an unbelievable adventure that will take her into the chambers of Thane's still-beating heart--and reveal the very soul of the man.

3/5 stars (liked it)
This book was very different from other magic books I have read before.  The time period as well as people having an affinity for a certain type of magic.  I really liked the character of Thane and how weird he was.  Ceony was an interesting character as well.  I love how we really got to know Thane and the way that we got to know him.

Monday, September 29, 2014

Book Review: Nick and Tesla's Super-Cyborg Gadget Glove: A Mystery with a Blinking, Beeping, Voice-Recording Gadget Glove You Can Build Yourself - Bob Pflugfelder, Steve Hockensmith

Nick and Tesla's Super-Cyborg Gadget Glove: A Mystery with a Blinking, Beeping, Voice-Recording Gadget Glove You Can Build Yourself
Bright siblings--and amateur inventors--Nick and Tesla Holt are back in this fourth installment of their whiz-bang middle-grade series.  This time, the twins are out to save science itself, as they race against the clock to figure out why a robotic assortment of history's greatest scientist and inventors keeps going haywire.  Is this sabotage, robo-geddon...or something more sinister?  To unravel the mystery, they'll have to keep adding all-new gadgets to their cyborg glove as they stay one step ahead of a hidden adversary.  Together with zany scientist Uncle Newt and their friends Silas and DeMarco, Nick and Tesla won't give up until an answer is found...but can they do it before time runs out?  In this book, readers will learn how to construct a super-cyborg gadget glove that has four incredible functions:  LED signal light, ultra-loud emergency alarm, handy sound recorder, and UV secret revealer.  Science and electronics have never been so much fun!

4/5 stars (really liked it)
When I asked my 10 year old what he thought of this book he said "There better be another book because the ending sure made me want to read more"  So after he read it, I read it and now I know what he meant.  This book takes place in the new museum and it is the night before grand re-opening but looks like someone is trying to sabotage things.  Of course all the kids use their sneaking and cool gadgets to find out who is behind it.  I think this book was more full of action than the previous books.  I also hope that in the near future we meet Nick and Tesla's parents.

Monday, September 15, 2014

Book Review: The Revenge of Seven - Pittacus Lore

The Revenge of Seven (Lorien Legacies, #5)
The worst was supposed to be over.  We were reunited after a decade apart.  We were discovering the truth of our past.  We were training and getting stronger every day.  We were even happy...

We never imagined the Mogadorians could turn one of our own against us.  We were fools for trusting Five.  And now Eight is lost forever.  I would do anything to bring him back, but that's impossible.  Instead I will do whatever it takes to destroy every last one of them.

I've spent my entire life hiding from them, and they've stolen everything away from me.  But that stops now.  We're going to take the battle to them.  We have a new ally who knows their weaknesses.  And I finally have the power to fight back.

They caught Number One in Malaysia.

Number Two in England.

Number Three in Kenya.

And Number Eight in Florida.

They killed them all.

 I am Number Seven.

I will make them pay.

4/5 stars (really liked it)
This book was told from the point of view of Six, John Smith and Ella.  I really liked that they were all fighting the Mogadorians.  I especially like that Adam (the good Mogadorian) has become such a large part of the Loriens.  Also fighting along side them is humans like Sarah, Sam and Mark.  There were so many things going on with all the characters.  I also learned to hate Setrakus Ra even more.  Although we do learn a little background on who he really is.  And also there was a lack of BK in this book, I missed the little guy.  I can't wait to read the next book.


Thursday, September 04, 2014

Book Review: Girl in Translation - Jean Kwok

Girl in Translation
When Kimberly Chang and her mother emigrate from Hong Kong to Brooklyn squalor, she quickly begins a secret double life: exceptional schoolgirl during the day, Chinatown sweatshop worker in the evenings.  Disguising the more difficult truths of her life-like the staggering degree of her poverty, the weight of her family's future resting on her shoulders, or her secret love for a factory boy who shares none of her talent or ambition-Kimberly learns to constantly translate not just her language but herself back and forth between the worlds she straddles.

Through Kimberly's story, author Jean Kwok, who also emigrated from Hong Kong as a young girl, brings to the page the lives of countless immigrants who are caught between the pressure to succeed in America, their duty to their family, and their own personal desires, exposing a world that we rarely hear about.  Written in an indelible voice that dramatizes the tensions of an immigrant girl growing up between two cultures, surrounded by a language and world only half understood, Girl in Translation  is an unforgettable and classic American immigrant novel-a moving tale of hardship and triumph, heartbreak and love, and all that gets lost in translation.

3/5 stars (liked it)
I really enjoyed how this story begins with Kimberly as a young girl coming to America to a young woman that has adapted in America.  Her story made me think of my own story of coming to the U.S. and all the things you have to go through, especially in school to fit in.  I came to the U.S. from Central America when I was 9 years old not speaking any English.  Like Kimberly I was put in a normal classroom where I did not understand any of the students and teachers,  I didn't dress how they dressed and I just didn't fit it.  Although my financial situation was better off than hers.  But her mother's superstitions reminded me of my mom.  I really enjoyed the book, although I was not too happy about the ending.

Book Review: The Silkworm - Robert Galbraith

The Silkworm (Cormoran Strike, #2)
When novelist Owen Quine goes missing, his wife calls in private detective Cormoran Strike.  At first, Mrs. Quine just thinks her husband has gone off by himself for a few days--as he has done before--and she wants Strike to find him and bring him home.

But as Strike investigates, it becomes clear that there is more to Quine's disappearance than his wife realizes.  The novelist has just completed a manuscript featuring poisonous pen-portraits of almost everyone he knows.  If the novel were to be published, it would ruin lives--meaning that there are a lot of people who might want him silenced.

When Quine is found brutally murdered under bizarre circumstances, it becomes a race against time to understand the motivation of a ruthless killer, a killer unlike any Strike has encountered before...

3/5 stars (liked it)
This was good but I don't think as good as the first book.  Although we learned more about Cormoran and also Robin.  Also we learned a little bit about Cormoran's ex-fiance.  The killer at the end was not someone I even thought of.  I love how Cormoran figured out who it was and how he explained things.

Saturday, August 16, 2014

Book Review: Where There is Smoke - Jodi Picoult

Where There is Smoke - Jodi Picoult
Where There's Smoke
Even as a child, Serenity Jones knew she possessed unusual psychic gifts.  Now, decades later, she's an acclaimed medium and host of her own widely viewed TV show, where she delivers messages to the living from loved ones who have passed.  Lately, though, her efforts to boost ratings and garner fame have compromised her clairvoyant instincts.  When Serenity books a young war widow to appear as a guest, the episode quickly unravels, stirring a troubling controversy.  And as she tries to undo the damage-to both her reputation and her show-Serenity finds that pride comes at a high price.

3/5 stars (liked it)
It is a short story that is introducing the character of Serenity.  I liked her from the beginning when we see her as a child, but felt she needed to be taught a lesson.  She is using her psychic gifts, not to help other people but to help herself.  She has spirit guides who have told her as much and in the end she gets taught a very important lesson.  I feel that I learned some much of the character in a such a short book.


Book Review: After the End - Amy Plum

After the End (After the End #1)
She's searching for answers to her past.  They're hunting her to save their future.

World War III has left the world ravaged by nuclear radiation.  A lucky few escaped to the Alaskan wilderness.  They've survived for the last thirty years by living off the land, being  one with nature, and hiding from whoever else might still be out there.

At least, this is what Juneau has been told her entire life.

When Juneau returns from a hunting trip to discover that everyone in her clan has vanished, she sets off to find them.  Leaving the boundaries of their land for the very first time, she learns something horrifying: There never was a war.  Cities were never destroyed.  The world is intact.  Everything was a lie.

Now Juneau is adrift in a modern-day world she never knew existed.  But while she's trying to find a way to rescue her friends and family, someone else is looking for her.  Someone who knows the extraordinary truth about the secrets of her past.

3/5 stars (liked it)
The whole idea of this book intrigued me.  It isn't a dystopian society book but there is a twist.  This book is told from the point of view of Juneau and a boy named Miles.  While Juneau has grown up knowing how to hunt and take care of herself, Miles has always had everything he could ever need.  I loved seeing how Juneau learns how to fit in, in a world she thought did not exist, while also on the run from the people that took her clan and are looking for her.  One of the people looking for her is Miles's dad, and in turn Miles goes looking for her.  But he learns so much from Juneau.  After reading the end, I was glad to see that this was the first book in the series.  Although we are given many answers for things, there are still many answers I would like to find out.  Can't wait to read more.