Sunday, May 28, 2017

Starters by Lisa Price - OPTIONAL

Price, Lissa Starters, 335 pgs. Delacorte Press, 2012. $17.99 Language – PG (2 swears, 0 “f”), Mature Content – PG; Violence – PG; 

“Youth is wasted on the young,” a common sentiment, but no longer true—not for the Enders who can afford to rent young bodies for a few days. With technological advances, the mind of one person can be put into the body of another, which has resulted in the old, rich folks paying to enjoy a youthful vacation. However, these vacations are stolen time from young Starters hopeless enough to sign on for money they need to survive. Callie never wanted to admit to being that desperate, but she will do anything to help her brother.

While interesting enough, Callie’s story was not so captivating that I could not put it down, but I liked that it was memorable enough to remember where I was picking up the story again weeks later. Another positive point is that the flow of the story was not as predictable as it first seemed. When I was only halfway through Starters, I reached the event that I expected to be the ending. I am relieved that it did not stop there, for that is when things started to get more interesting. 

HS – OPTIONAL. Reviewer: Carolina Herdegen

Saturday, May 27, 2017

Atlantis Rising by T.A. Barron - ADVISABLE

Barron, T.A. Atlantis Rising, 365 pages. Philomel. $18.00, Language: G (0 swears, 0 “f”); Mature Content: G; Violence: PG

Promi, a pie thief and all around vagabond, is caught stealing the Divine Monk’s pie. He is put in prison where he meets a mysterious woman, Jalady, who gives him the old magic of the Listeners as she is dying. With her dying breath, she also bestows upon him Kermi, a magical creature and a frustrating companion and allows them to escape the prison. After days of feeling it is just a dream, he meets Atlanta, who prompts Promi into giving her a pie, but as he does they are captured, leaving him no choice but to attempt to use his magic. After running into the forest and escaping. Promi is told of his part in fulfilling the prophecy and restoring the magical starstone to its ancient resting place in the forest. Little does he know that his plight is more dangerous than he could have imagined.

I loved this book. It’s full of twists and turns that hook the reader on every line. T.A. Barron has written a story for the ages that is right up there with Harry Potter and Lord of the Rings. Though it never gets gory or descriptive, people die and there are references to torture and blood. His book opened a world of fantasy and imagination few books can inspire. This book deserves five stars

EL(3-6), MS - ADVISABLE. Reviewer:JRD, 7th Grade

Magic Spell by Julie Paschkis - OPTIONAL

Paschkis, Julie Magic Spell.  PICTURE BOOK.  Simon & Schuster, 2017.  $18.

The magician casts his spell during his show each night by doing things like turning a “rose” into a “hose” with just the flip of a letter.  When he makes the mistake of turning his assistant’s “wig’ into a “pig”, however, the ensuing battle is almost the end of them.

The changes in each word are highlighted by the use of a simple red letter.  I don’t think this is enough to give a young reader a clue as to what is happening.  When the longer changes happen, it just becomes confusing because it all happens so quickly.  The battle is funny, but I wish the formatting of the book has been a little more thoughtful.

EL (K-3) – OPTIONAL.  Cindy, Library Teacher

Evil Speaks by Woffington - ADVISABLE

Woffington, S. Evil Speaks, 365 pages.  Red Summit Publishers, 2015.  $15 (available through Amazon).  Language: PG (3 swears, 0 ‘f’); Mature Content: PG (some innuendo); Violence: PG-13 (monster killing, battles)

Seven teenagers are on a head-long rush towards destiny.  Benny’s mother has just disappeared.  The others have been raised as wards of an exclusive private school – one that Benny vaguely remembers from his childhood.  Now that Benny’s mother has been taken, events are going to roll quickly.  After a disastrous confrontation with Benny’s grandfather (H. Adez – get it?), the teens find themselves voluntarily descending to Hell itself.  Them must conquer all of the Circles in order to retrieve the key that will allow them to fight the ultimate evil – their own grandparents, who also happen to be Lords of the Dead.  If they don’t succeed, the world as we know it will end.

Woffington’s saga is projected to take seven books to finish.  Because it is self-published, I can only hold out hope that this will come to pass.  The first book as definitely good enough to warrant a sequel.  The characters are compelling and the action is tight and all-encompassing.  Three of the characters have challenges (blind, deaf, paraplegic) and she manages to weave them skillfully in to the story.

MS – ADVISABLE.  Cindy, Library Teacher

Meet the Cars by Pixar - ADVISABLE

Meet the Cars, 140 pages.  Disney Pixar, 2017.  $2017.  Content: G. 9781368007832

Fans of the Cars franchise of all sizes will love this role call of all the characters in the Cars franchise.  Each cars’ bio adds a little bit of personality to each character.  There is plenty of fuel for hours of lovingly gazing at all of the pretty cars.

GIFT, EL – ADVISABLE.  Cindy, Library Teacher