Friday, February 28, 2014

Born of Illusion

Born of Illusion By: Teri Brown

Anna Van Housen is a talented magician.  She is the opening act for her mother's show as a medium. She has always been told that she is the daughter of magician Harry Houdini, but she has never met him.  Anna helps her mother in every way, and at times feels like her mother does not love her, and uses her.  She knows not to steal to much of her mother's spotlight either. They hold illegal seances in their home for money, and one night things change. Anna has always known things are different for her, as she is able to feel and sense things about others. She meets Cole, who has moved in downstairs, and things that night go differently at the seance, as the spirit that her mother is pretending to summon actually comes into Anna.  Anna knows something is up, and her visions, and powers are getting stronger, she knows that her mother and her are in danger, she just has to figure out from whom.

I enjoyed this book from beginning to end.  It was full of magic, and I felt family drama.  Anna really feels unloved, and just wants to know if her father is really who her mother says he is. She feels used by her mother, and wants to make a name for herself. I was definitely surprised to find out all Anna could do, and who was out to get her.  Great read, with a cover that I thought was super cool.  I am also excited that a second book is coming out this year Born of Deception, in October.

I borrowed this from the public library.
ISBN: 978-0-06-218754-3

Across a Star-swept Sea

Across a Star-swept Sea By: Diana Peterfreund

Persis Blake has a lot to loose.  She lives in Albion, and is working hard to rescue people from Galatea.  After the war destroyed the planet, there are two sides, one will make people loose their minds, while another is trying to save them.  Persis is The Wild Poppy, and she runs rescue operations to bring people from Galatea to Albion in secret.  Her own mother is suffering from the Reduction, and Persis is afraid she will one day suffer too.  To throw people off her trail, she works hard at being a silly socialite.  But one day Justen shows up, he is a noble from Galatea, seeking refuge from Galatea. He knows he is the cause of a lot of human suffering and just wants to make it right. Persis and Justen are forced to pretend to be in love, neither of them truly knowing what the other is capable of.

I loved this story just as much as the first book For Darkness Shows the Stars.  They are not directly connected to each other but are about the same time in the life of Earth.  I really enjoyed the character Persis, because even though it was hard for her to do what she did, she was able to pull it off.  She also showed that she needed others, but didn't want to burden them.  It really was just a great story of fighting evil, and trusting others.

I borrowed this from the public library.
ISBN: 978-006-200616-5

Saturday, February 22, 2014

Doll Bones

Doll Bones By: Holly Black

Zach has had his two best friends for as long as he can remember. Alice, Poppy, and him love to play in their imaginary world with dolls and action figures as the characters.  Now that they are twelve, Zach is starting to feel weird about the game.  He knows that if his father or the boys at school knew what they were doing he would be teased.  One day his father throws away all of Zach's characters and he is upset, and decides to not tell his friends the truth but to lie and tell them he doesn't want to play.  But when Poppy and Alice come to him with a problem, he is back in the game. The Queen, a bone china doll, that they are not allowed to play with, is talking to Poppy. She is asking to be taken home. Zach, Poppy, and Alice are in for an adventure that will bring them closer together, as they work out growing up.

I thought that this book was interesting. It dealt with the things that happen when you grow up, you have to find out who you are, and work things out with the people that you are close to.  I liked how Zach wanted so badly to keep his friends, but had to figure out how to do that.  It was also a creepy book, as the bone china doll, was leading them on a quest, and was made from a dead girl's bones.  Great read for fifth or sixth graders.

I purchased this book from Scholastic Book Orders
ISBN: 978-0-545-68435-4

One Cool Friend

One Cool Friend By: Toni Buzzeo Illustrated By: David Small

Elliot is a fancy young man, he dresses very proper in a tux.  He does not like to be around a lot of people but accepts his father's invitation to the aquarium.  As he wanders the halls he sees penguins.  He really likes them and takes one home, he hides this penguin in his house until one day his father finds him.  This is a great book.  It has really great illustrations and a fun plot.  I can't wait to share this with my class.

I borrowed this from the public library
ISBN: 978-0-8037-3413-5

Max's Castle

Max's Castle By: Kate Banks Illustrated By: Boris Kulikov

Max finds a box of old toys that his older brothers do not want anymore. In it he finds a set of blocks. Max builds a fantastic castle that takes him to amazing places, even his brothers come back and want to join in the fun. With really great illustrations, and a wonderful adventurous plot this is a great book for all ages.

I borrowed this from the public library
ISBN: 978-0-374-39919-1

Friday, February 21, 2014

These Broken Stars

These Broken Stars By: Amie Kaufman and Meagan Spooner

Lilac is an important person and everyone knows it, and stays far away from her in fear of her father.  Tarver is just a soldier, who without knowing any better, talks to her.  They are aboard the Icarus, but when it is pulled out of hyperspace they are on their own as they make their way together to an escape pod and plummet to the surface of an unknown planet.  As they try to find out what to do, they see the Icarus fall from  the sky, they attempt to make their way to the ship, hopeful that they will be rescued. They face many obstacles, but what they find is so unknown to them they have to figure it out together. In the end they are surprised at their will to fight, and find each other.

I loved this book.  I was engrossed in the story from the first chapter. I loved how the book is from both characters perspectives and how unique the storyline is, in that what happens is not what I expected at all.  Both characters have things that they are running from in their life, and they do find that they cannot assume what others are thinking and who they are. Great science fiction love story for sure.

I borrowed this from the public library
ISBN: 978-142317102-7

I Am The Messenger

I Am The Messenger By: Markus Zusak

Ed is just a 19 year old cab driver, with nothing special about him or his life. One day that all changes, after a bank robbery attempt where he makes a move, and playing cards show up in his mailbox with names of people.  These people all need him, and he has to figure out how to help them. Ed goes about doing this, while trying to stay connected with his friends, especially Audrey, who he loves but she doesn't want him.  In the end Ed helps many, but really just needs to be helped himself.

I don't know that I loved this book, but I couldn't stop reading it any way.  I felt sorry for Ed, he seemed like a lost teen.  His mom doesn't like him, he is in love with a girl that doesn't want to love him back, and he lives alone with an ugly dog.  Something about this book made me keep reading, and in the end I was more confused then ever. Honestly I don't know what to say about it other than interesting.

I borrowed this from the public library
ISBN: 978-0-375-83667-1

Saturday, February 15, 2014

The Fault In Our Stars

The Fault In Our Stars By: John Green

Hazel know that she is dying and she is sick of her mother telling her to get out and do something.  Hazel hates cancer support group, but goes any way. One night she meets Augustus.   He is there because his friend, Issac, asked him to come. Augustus also has had cancer, and is now an amputee.  Augustus and Hazel find that they like to hang out with each other, each needing a friend, and finding one, and sharing their favorite books.  They spend a lot of time together and find themselves in love. Augustus uses his cancer wish for Hazel and him to go to meet her favorite author, and they have a great time. But things are not always as they seem, and cancer doesn't always stay gone.

I loved this book.  It was so sad, and very uplifting at the same time.  These two teens with cancer really stuck with me. They kept going, each knowing that it may be their last days trying to make sure that the other people around them were taken care of.  I loved Hazel and Augustus's relationship, because their love for words, and sharing them with each other just made sense to me. I didn't put it down until I was done.

I bought this at Target
ISBN: 978-0-525-47881-2

Thursday, February 6, 2014


Cress: The Lunar Chronicles By: Marissa Meyer

Crescent has been locked in a satellite since she was little. She only has her netscreen as her friend, but watches the happenings of Earth and Luna.  She has been given the task of finding Cinder, but finds that she would rather help Cinder.  She doesn't know how she is going to do this, until she makes contact, bringing Cinder, Thorne, Scarlet, and Wolf to her. In her heart hoping that they will rescue her, Cress is not ready for the plan to go wrong and leave everyone scrambling to stay alive and figure out their next plan.  With the new information, Cinder knows even more now that she has to figure out a way to foil Queen Levana's plan to marry Kai and then kill him to have ultimate power. But first they all have to find each other and start a war that they hope they can win.

Another page turner in this great series. I loved every minute of this fairy tale/science fiction book, and meeting Cress.  The addition of Cress to the series, helps Cinder to continue on her path to stop Levanna, and adds another element to the characters in this series.  I didn't want to put this book down until I was finished, and was really annoyed when the book ended. Luckily it does leave  it open for another book.  If you have not read the other books in this series check out my reviews, and definitely start there with Cinder  and Scarlet  I promise this series is one of the best there is out there in young adult fiction. 

I purchased this from
ISBN: 978-0-312-64297-6

Tuesday, February 4, 2014

The Monstore

The Monstore By: Tara Lazar Illustrated By: James Burks

At the back of a candy shop there is a secret trap door that will lead you to The Monstore.  Here you can get any type of monster that you need. Zack went there to get a monster that would keep his sister out of his room. But Manfred did not help, he became friends with Gracie instead.  But there are no returns or exchanges and so Zack buys more and more monsters. Each one becomes friends, until there are so many monsters that they have no more room.  But luckily Gracie needs her brother, and so they have a Monstore of their own. Great picture book with fun illustrations. My sons really liked the book, and I thought that the storyline was perfect. I enjoyed how the monsters ended up siding with the little sister and totally blowing the plan.  Great read

I borrowed this from the public library
ISBN: 978-1-4424-2017-5

Build, Dogs, Build A Tall Tail

Build, Dogs, Build A Tall Tail By: James Horvath

This is a book about dogs that build.  Perfect for any young construction fan.  The colorful illustrations and rhyming words are great!  It takes the read through the entire process of building a new building, even tearing down the old one.  My four year old loved this book.

I borrowed this from the public library
ISBN: 978-0-06-218967-7

Monday, February 3, 2014


Unhinged: A Splintered Novel By: A. G. Howard

Alyssa knows that her art has taken on another form, as she is now using her blood and the images are coming to life.  Her connection to Wonderland makes it difficult for her to stay in the human world, but that is the life that she chooses.  Jeb is finally coming back, and she is very excited to see him again, although when he returns things are not quite the same.  Alyssa knows that she has to tell Jeb about her Wonderland side, but doesn't want him to have to remember all the horrible things that happened to him there.  Morpheus has also returned to Alyssa and tells her that the Red Queen is after her still.  Alyssa is torn between helping her Wonderland, and staying with Jeb, until Wonderland comes to her.

Another great Alice in Wonderland tale, and it was great to be back in the midst of it.  Definitely check out Splintered before reading this book, you will be completely lost without the history.  The character Alyssa is still a strong young lady that is torn between two things that she wants in life.  She loves Jeb and wants to be human, but she also is drawn to Morpheus because he is a wonderling.   Great young adult read.

I borrowed this from the public library
ISBN: 978-1-4197-0971-5

This is the link to my review of Splintered 

Sunday, February 2, 2014

Monument 14

Monument 14 By: Emmy Laybourne

If a natural disaster occurs what would you change?  For fourteen kids and teens they won't have that chance because after they got on their school bus in the morning the hail came.  After the huge accident, the little kid bus driver is able to get the fourteen into the Greenway, and then she disappears to go find help. Now the kids are on their own, and they must figure out what to do.  They live in the Greenway, and set up their own routines and living arrangements.  The kids face many challenges, such as living with each other, worrying about their parents, a cloud of dangerous chemicals that affect each of them differently based on their blood type, and a couple strangers. They become a family and know that they have to protect each other and figure out a way to get back to their families.  

This was an intense book.  A day starts normal and then the unthinkable happens.  The kids are lucky in a sense because they find themselves locked into a store that has everything that they need.  But they are also faced with dealing with adult issues and trying to stay focused  on what matters.  Great read for teens and young adults. I was left saying "Really?" at the ending, such a great cliff hanger.  I am anxious to read the next book in the series,  Monument 14: Sky on Fire.

I borrowed this from the public library
ISBN: 978-1-250-02738-2

Saturday, February 1, 2014


Coraline By: Neil Gaiman Illustrations by: Dave McKean

Coraline likes adventure, and always wants to go on one. But when the weather is not good for adventures she counts the doors and windows in her new flat.  She finds one door though that leads to a brick wall, that is until one day when it leads to a house just like her own. But on this side of the door, things are different, and there is a new mother that really wants her to stay.  Coraline finds that her parents are missing, and there are other children on this side of the wall that need her help to escape.  Now Coraline must make every effort to get back home, and rescue the others too.

This was a creepy children's book. Perfect for those readers who love a good spooky story. Coraline is a strong little girl and makes the perfect heroine. The "other" mother is  a very scary lady with button eyes and Coraline is strong to defend herself against her.   The illustrations in this book are also very creepy and seem to move.  Every element of this book makes for a great scary adventure. This book was also made into a movie in 2009, I might check that out.

I borrowed this from the public library
ISBN: 978-0-380-97778-9

Guitar Notes

Guitar Notes By: Mary Amato

Tripp is the boy that everyone avoids.  Lyla is the girl that everyone admires.  Tripp's mother takes away his guitar and tells him that he needs to be  more social.  He is so mad, but he finds a way to play, the school has a guitar and a practice room that he is able to use during lunch on the odd days.  Lyla is an amazing chellist, she plays because after the loss of her mother, she thinks that that is her destiny. But if she is honest with herself, she doesn't really want to. Tripp and Lyla end up sharing the practice room, and at first Lyla is annoyed with "Mr. Odd" and leaves him a note, but this note is the beginning of a friendship that both of them don't understand, but both of them really need.

I was hooked on this book the moment I started it.  Tripp and Lyla are two very different characters, that really just needed a friend and a connection. The guitar in this story connects the two of them and they find what they need. I loved the notes between the two, because they were both able to be themselves and they found out they had something that was great.  Great teen read. And for those of you who are able to play the guitar, the songs from the story are in the back.

I borrowed this from the public library
ISBN: 9781606845035

Liar and Spy

Liar and Spy By: Rebecca Stead

Georges is not thrilled to be having to move into an apartment and leave his house.  Georges does not have many friends, so when he meets Slater he hopes that he can have one.  It helps that Slater and his sister, Candy, have worse names than Georges. Slater is a home schooled boy, who never leaves that apartment. He spies on all the other tenants.  He recruits Georges to help him, and Georges is thrilled that he has a friend, but is confused about how much sneaking he should do.  But things at home are not great and so Georges likes being around Slater's family.

This was a good middle school read.  It would be great for all those boys around that need a friend.  I liked how Georges family, even though they were busy were really trying to do the best for the family.  I also enjoyed how Georges and his mother communicated to each other using a Scrabble board on the table.  Pretty good story.

I bought this from Scholastic.
ISBN: 978-0-375-85087-5