Thursday, March 29, 2012
Nicolls, Stan and Flood, Joe Orcs -Forged for War 208 pgs. First Second, 2011. $13.49. (Language-PG Violence-PG-13; Sexual Content-PG-13 nudity).
Humans are a new race to the land of Maras-Dantia, and they want to take over. They fight against all of the elder races. There is in-fighting in both groups. This graphic novel follows an elite team of Orcs, under the ultimate leadership of a sorceress named Jennesta. She sends them out on missions that they don’t always agree with. For their latest mission they must guard a group of Goblins, which they don’t like at all.
This book sort of has a complex plot, which is compounded by confusing artwork. The characters all have a similar look –so I was constantly confusing goblins with human with orcs. In the end I was unsure of some of plots twists. I half wondered if I was just not paying careful attention, but came to the conclusion that the plot wasn’t interesting enough for me to care. I think students might be drawn to this battle filled epic, but school libraries won’t enjoy the topless women.
MS, HS– OPTIONAL Reviewer: Stephanie MLS graduate & Author.
Wednesday, March 28, 2012
Raised in East L.A., Jamie Gomez was no stranger to guns, family gang connections, drugs, and alcohol. After his mother married his stepfather, he never felt like he quite fit in. After becoming a father at a young age, he tried to make it in the world. Supported by his grandmother, he ran from job to job trying to support his family until his divorce from her. After reaching fame, however, with Black-Eyed Peas (a band he helped form in 1995), however, his troubles weren’t over. Battling a drug addiction and alcoholism, he almost lost everything. This is his story and what finally became his “wake-up call.”
A touching biography for fans of Black-Eyed Peas that deals with some matur issues. . The layout and narrative of the book are well-done and easy to follow. The photos are fun to look at as well. Readers who like biographies, music, and musicians will enjoy reading this book. HS. ADVISABLE. Reviewer: Kira M, Youth Services Libarian, WHI Public Library.
Artemis is know by her friends for being brave and a great huntress. To her brother, Apollo she’s not only a friend but a friend in arms. When a mortal named Orion comes to school and catches her eye, she starts to think that she might be able to have a boyfriend too. Orion, however, is making everyone at the school mad and keeps trying to rewrite Principal Zeus’ play to fit his image of what a lead role should be. Could Artemis have made an error in judging Orion?
A great novel for anyone who likes mythological fiction. The characters are likable and recognizable figures in Greek Mythology. The plot does a good job of holding the reader’s interest. The story is easy to relate to even though they are mythology characters. Readers who like realistic fiction, mythology, fantasy, and school stories will enjoy reading it. EL (4-6), MS. ESSENTIAL. Reviewer: Kira M, Youth Service Librarian, WHI Public Library.
Tuesday, March 27, 2012
Sunday, March 25, 2012
Friday, March 23, 2012
Seifer has a great life in this small town, and is much loved as a captain of Skullball –where he flies and throws his way to victory. He has always wanted to leave home, but his opportunity comes unexpectedly –when he is kidnapped to replace the missing Prince of the Darkling Realm. He is now pretending to be Prince Talon, and when its time for war, Seifer knows he must do his best.
I think both older elementary students as well as middle school students will enjoy this creative fantasy. The older students will love the plot, while the younger students will enjoy the bits of slapdash. The book really grew on me and by the end I really enjoyed it, and hope a second book comes out soon. The art wasn’t top notch, but still creative and fun.
Elementary, MS– ADVISALBE Reviewer: Stephanie MLS graduate & Author.
Thursday, March 22, 2012
This book is the sequel to Eye of the Moon, which I reviewed here. There are quite a few plotlines that come together. First we find Isikara and Tuthmosis sneaking back to Thebes to contact Tuthmosis’s younger brother, the current ruler-Amenhotep. They want to let him know the real story of their departure and to help him stop his advisor/High Priest Wosret.
Additionally –we follow the story of Ta Mui, who originally helped the pair escape, she is now the Maidservant to one of Amenhotep’s lesser wives, Kiya. When Ta Mui falls in love with a handsome boy named Samut –she finds herself in a heap of trouble. Ta Miu and Isikara end up in jail together –they have to find a way to escape and help Tuthmosis before Wosret ruins everything.
I can’t stress enough that this sequel cannot function as a stand alone. It was so complex with plot and characters that much of the richness of setting and the cultural appeal fell to the wayside. I didn’t enjoy this book half as much as the first one and I felt like the ending was far from realistic, which contrast with the gritty lives depicted in the plot. If you have the first book this is a probably a must-have none the less.
Elementary – OPTIONAL Reviewer: Stephanie MLS graduate & Author.
The Pirate's Blood and Other Case Files (Saxby Smart, Private Detective #3) by Simon Cheshire –ADVISABLE
Saxby is a young detective who takes much inspiration from Sherlock Holmes. He is frequently approached to solve mysteries. This book features three mysteries. In the Pirates Blood Saxby tries to figure out if a pirate display of artifacts at the local museum is haunted. Luckily he has some handy friends to help out –Muddy and Izzy. Relying on his keen perception and intellect, Saxby unravels complex situations.
Overall a wholesome and intelligent detective book for elementary students that features the stereotypical cadence of any holmes story. One problem is that the characters are age ambiguous. Younger students (drawn in by the illustrations) will find the text a bit too challenging, while older students will be off put by the illustrations showing quite young characters. I am not sure if the age thing was an intentional vagueness but it detracts from the book. Second, although this book could easily function as a stand alone, the frequent and unnecessary plugs for the other books get a bit annoying.
Elementary – ADVISABLE Reviewer: Stephanie MLS graduate & Author.
Dini and her best friend Maggie love Bollywood movies, and are particularly awestruck by the actress named Dolly. When Dini has to move to a small town in India, she is sad to leave her best friend, but determined to track down Dolly. Dini has read that Dolly is going through some heartbreak, and Dini is determined to help. Thanks to a kind postal worker, and a huge series of coincidences, she might just get that chance….
Despite that fact that she is a typical 11 year old, Dini’s obsession with Dolly is difficult to read about. (Its too late to save the story for me when Dini realizes she needs to tone it down, because that happens close to the end). I think a majority of students will have a hard time relating to the Bollywood style film references, unless that is popular at your school. While I wasn’t too crazy about the story itself, the illustrations were adorable and perfect for this book!
Elementary – OPTIONAL Reviewer: Stephanie -MLS graduate & Author.
Tuesday, March 20, 2012
Rushby, Allison Shooting Stars, 272 pgs. Bloomsbury/Walker & Co., February 2012. (Language - PG; Sexual Content - PG; Violence - PG). Teenaged paparazzo Jo will do whatever it takes to get the perfect shot, but papping has grown old, and Jo wants out of the game. So when a sleazy editor offers her a huge sum - enough to quit for good and finally enroll in the portrait photography classes she's always wanted - she takes it. In return, she must go undercover at an exclusive retreat in order to dig up dirt on teen star Ned Hartnett. What's even worse than betraying the confidentiality of the only celebrity who's ever been nice to her? Falling in love with him.
Shooting Stars sounded like a juicy read with plenty of insider scoops about the lives of the paparazzi and celebrities. However, the first half was very slow, as the action kept stopping so Jo could agonize yet again about whether or not she should do this assignment. It was also very difficult to sympathize with her, because she makes some rather questionable decisions, although she grows more likable as the story progresses. Rushby did throw in several fun twists, and the developing love story was a sweet touch. In addition, the book dealt with several heavier issues in very deft ways. MS, HS. OPTIONAL. Reviewed by: Caryn
Friday, March 16, 2012
A classic Greek Myth illustrated in modern day graphic novel form. This volume is the story of Persephone and Hades. The story is told from a couple of perspectives. The first is from the Goddess Demeter, a loving mother to her daughter with Zeus, Kore. When Kore goes missing, Demeter will stop at nothing to find and rescue her. The second perspective is that of Kore, a teenage girl, interesting in boys and stepping out from the shadow of her mother. After she is kidnapped she finds her own identity, as Persephone.
This was an excellent re-telling of a greek myth, and the author is breathing new life into interesting, but often dry, classic myths. I cannot imagine a better way to connect students to the Greek Myths. The story was engaging and the artwork was creative and top notch. If Greek myths are part of your curriculum, this series is a must have.
Elementary, MS, HS –ESSENTIAL Reviewer: Stephanie MLS graduate.
Wednesday, March 14, 2012
Tuesday, March 13, 2012
When Prue’s little brother, Mac, gets stolen by crows, she follows them in an attempt to get them back and finds herself at the border of the Impassable Wilderness. After returning home to get supplies, she and Curtis, a boy from school who runs into her along the way and decides to go with her, find themselves in a parallel world filled with talking animals, an exiled Dowager Governess, and a world torn apart by war. Shortly after arriving, Curtis is captured by Coyotes and Prue is forced to find help and fend for herself. When she meets the current Governor-Regent, he reluctantly agrees to help her find her brother. His attaché’s actions, however, don’t seem to match that of someone trying to help her. Told through alternating points of view of Curtis and Prue, the lines of right and wrong appear blurred and trust seems impossible. Will Prue and Curtis be able to save Mac and make it back home?
A fun-filled adventure for fantasy fans. The characters are well-developed. The plot is a little confusing, but fast-paced, complex, and engrossing. Readers who like animals, war, action, and parallel worlds will enjoy reading this book. EL (4-6), MS. ADVISABLE. Reviewer: Kira M, Youth Services Librarian,WHI Public Library.
Trapped by her limited options as a young girl in 1913 and made fun of constantly by the girls at school, 15-year-old Addy longs to be anything but a servant. One day, forced by her mother to quit school, Addy becomes a maid for Mr. Greenwood, the local eccentric who mysteriously lost his son. Venturing behind a forbidden, locked door in the man’s study, Addy finds herself transported back in time to 13th century England. There she is mistaken for Lady Matilda, a gentlewoman who was arranged to marry the lord of a nearby castle. When Addy discovers that the real Lady Matilda died in a tragic ship accident just before she got there, she realized that she might have a chance at a new life. She can’t help but start to have feelings, however, for the falconer’s son shortly after arriving, however. To make matters worse, the caretaker of the castle sees right through Addy and threatens to kill her crush if she doesn’t marry the lord. Will Addy choose to return home or will she stay in 13th century England? If she stays, will she marry the lord or run off with the falconer’s son?
A great historical fantasy for fans of time travel. The characters are well-developed and likable. The plot is relatively unique and does a good job of holding the reader’s interest. Readers who like science fiction, adventure, and history will enjoy reading WILDWING. EL(4-6), MS. ADVISABLE. Reviewer: Kira M, Youth Services Librarian, WHI Public Library.
Throughout history, famous people have dressed and done their makeup in such stylish, unforgettable ways that people. This book has a brief biography about their lives, how they dressed, and how to reproduce their look.
A good book for girls who want some basic makeup and style tips. Some of the actresses the readers won’t recognize, but will enjoy looking at their looks. Readers who like style, hair, makeup, and other such books will probably enjoy reading and applying the information provided in this book. MS, HS. OPTIONAL. Reviewer: Kira M, Youth Services Librarian, WHI Public Library.
After spending several years in foster care, Ariane is finally trying to start a new, happier life with her aunt. On her first day of school, she manages to make friends with Wally Knight, a shy boy who turns out to be into mythology as well. Unfortunately, he also happens to be the brother of the school bully who has taken it upon herself to make Ariane’s life miserable. To make matters worse, Ariane has been having nightmarish premonitions that seem to be coming true. When one of her frightening apparitions brings her and Wally to a lake, the two discover that they have been chosen to find the various parts of the mythical sword, Excalibur. Merlin, as it turns out, is evil and has come back to Earth as Rex Major in order to forge the sword back together. If the two don’t defeat him, he will destroy everything as they know it. Can Ariane and Wally defeat Rex Major and keep at bay Wally’s sister?
A funny, quick read for fans of King Arthur, Percy Jackson and the Olympians series, mythology, and fantasy. The characters are well-developed. The plot is intense, well-developed, and paced well. Readers will have an easy time relating to Wally and Ariane and will enjoy following them on their adventure. MS, HS. ESSENTIAL. Reviewer: Kira M, Youth Services Librarian, WHI Public Library
Nathan Henry was the boy from everyone’s nightmares. Growing up in the poor area of Indiana as a child, his father exposed him to every violent or horror movie you can imagine. This and the friends he hung out with, inspired him to not only be a Satan worshipper, but a boy obsesses with sex, violence, guns, drugs, and alcohol. When his friend, Phillip, and he decided to commit armed robbery and run from the police, Nathan found himself facing trial as an adult. As he awaited trial in the County Jail, he found himself changing. Some for the worse, some for the better. This is his story.
GOOD BEHAVIOR is a hard-hitting story that really opens the reader’s eyes to the at-risk individual mentality and background. Although the swearing and sexual content is a little overwhelming at times, it fits well into the story and helps readers to see what was going through Nathan’s head as an adolescent. The narrative is well-written and easy-to-follow. The transitions between the past and the book’s present flow smoothly and do a good job of keeping the reader’s interest and painting the whole picture for the reader. High school-age individuals or older who are at-risk or like reading books about true-crime, urban fiction, or books by Walter Dean Myers will enjoy reading this book. HS. ADVISABLE. Reviewer: Kira M, Youth Services Librarian, WHI Public Library
As a Star Trek fan and all-around geek, Marley Sandelski is pretty much invisible to everyone, but the bullies. Constantly outrunning the bullies’ attacks and homework swiping, he’s become a fast runner. With a girl named Emily he wants to impress and a girl named Max he wants to prove to that he’s not a loser, his life could his life get any more complicated? His wish just might come true when Coach Martin offers him a position on the track team. Being on the track team would definitely give him popularity points, but he’s not sure he has the killer instinct he needs to compete. Will Marley choose to join the team? Will he get the girl? Will he gain some popularity he desperately desires? Will he ever get rid of the bullies?
A humorous realistic fiction story for geeks and Star Trek fans. The characters are fairly well-developed. The plot is entertaining and does a fairly good job of holding the reader’s interest. Readers who like humor, realistic fiction, and school stories will enjoy reading this book. EL (4-6). OPTIONAL. Reviewer: Kira M, Youth Services Librarian, WHI Public Library.
Before the Bone cousins were lost in the uncharted forest, there was Johnson Bone. Discoverer of the Rolling Bone River and founder of Bonneville, there is little known about this person, but there are many tall tales filled with rats, dragons, and a snarky monkey as a companion. Are these tales true? You’ll have to decide for yourself.
A graphic novel adventure filled with action and adventure The characters are a little one-sided, but the plot is entertaining and consistent. The illustrations are detailed and complement the text well. Readers who like graphic novels, humor, adventure, and the Bone series will enjoy reading this book. EL (4-6), MS. ADVISABLE. Reviewer: Kira M, Youth Services Librarian, WHI Public Library.
Imagine waking up in a Catholic convent in another country and having no idea how you got there or even what day it is. All you remember is the night you escaped from your school to go find a clue your missing father left for you to uncover. This is what happened to Cammie Morgan. She left her school for spies, Gallagher School for Girls, back in June. It is now October and she has no idea what she was doing during that time. When she arrives back at school, she starts having abilities she never had before and some are even dangerous. She blanks out for periods of time she can’t remember, little things will set her off and cause her to attack people who aren’t her friends, and she keeps humming an unknown tune that she never remembers hearing. Now, the school’s (and the world’s) greatest enemy, the Circle of Cavan have decided they like her better dead. What really happened to Cammie this summer? Is Cammie safe to stay at school or did she somehow become a deadly weapon? Did she ever find her father’s clue that could bring down the Circle?
A great adventure and mystery in one. Although Cammie’s personality seemed off in this book compared to the other books in the series, this still fits the plot well. All of the characters are well-developed. The plot is intense, well-written, complex, and hard to put down. Readers who like mystery, adventure, spies, and have read the other Gallagher Girls books will enjoy reading this book. MS, HS. ESSENTIAL. Reviewer: Kira M, Youth Services Librarian, WHI Public Library.