Tuesday, August 30, 2011

Book Review: Dragon in Chains by Daniel Fox

Reading Level: Young Adult
Paperback: 399 pages
Publisher: Ballantine Books(2009)
Language: English
Buy the Book: Amazon

Deposed by a vicious usurper, a young emperor with his court to the small island of Taishu. There, with a dwindling army, a manipulative mother, and a resentful  population and his only friend is a local fishergirl as he prepares for his last stand.

In the mountains of Taishu, a young miner finds a huge piece of jade, the mineral whose ingestion can gift the emperor with superhuman powers. Setting to deliver the embattled emperor, Yu finds himself changing into something forbidden.

Meanwhile, a great dragon lies beneath the strait that seperates Taishu and the mainland, bound by chains.When monks are killed by a willful pirate captain, a maimed slave assumes the terrible burden of keeping the dragon subdued.

I really liked this book because it has action, adventure, some comedy, fiction, and plot twists. I felt like Yu is telling the story while being in it himself. I don’t think there's a sequel, but this book makes good for it. When I finished the book, I was so happy that it ended, because I’m new to reading (but non started reading will like it better). I was sad because it was a really good book I couldn't put it away until bedtime. If you want a new book to read think about reading this book.


Tuesday, August 23, 2011

Aphrodite the Diva Giveaway and This or That Interview with Joan Holub & Suzanne Williams

Hi Reagan,
We’re delighted to be at Reading Tween today. And a special THANK YOU shout out to you for your awesome video-review of Goddess Girls #6: Aphrodite the Diva!

The Goddess Girls series puts a modern spin on classic Greek myths, following the ins and outs of divine social life at Mount Olympus Academy, where the most privileged godboys and goddessgirls in the Greek pantheon hone their mythical skills. Aladdin paperbacks (ages 8-12)
Aphrodite the Diva (Goddess Girls)The scoop on Aphrodite the Diva: Isis claims she's the goddess of love? Ha! But to keep the title all to herself, Aphrodite has to find the perfect match for Pygmalion, the most annoying boy ever. (August, 2011)

This or That?

Kewl or cool: 

Joan: Cool, occasionally kewl
Suzanne: Definitely cool. 

summer or winter: 

Joan: Winter! I’m a cold weather girl. I once went walking in the snow in Seattle, when the snowflakes were as big as my hand.
Suzanne: Summer. I love feeling the sun on my back and looking up at blue skies. (We get too much gray in Seattle.) 

spring or fall: 

Joan:  Fall! Fall leaves, crisp weather, new beginnings. What’s not to like!
Suzanne: Ditto.  And in Seattle we often have warm weather clear into October.

dogs or cats: 

Joan: Cats. I have two--Scout and Boo--named after characters in To Kill A Mockingbird by Harper Lee. I love dogs and most other animals too, though.
Suzanne: Dogs. I have one—a very intelligent toy fox terrier named Toby who loves to go for long walks.

Computer or TV: 

Joan: Computer, because it makes editing so much easier.
Suzanne: Computer, though I have a love-hate relationship with mine. I love it when it’s working the way I want it to, but hate it when it does things I don’t expect. (My son tells me I’m “bad at technology.”)

books or nook:

Joan: Books, but I’m eyeing an e-reader.
Suzanne: Books, but I’m open to there being an e-reader in my future someday too.

Hates that Borders is closing or loves that borders is closing: 

Joan: Sorry that Borders is closing. The only good thing about it is that maybe some of those great Indie bookstores will get a boost.
Suzanne: I agree with Joan.

Gmail or AOL mail: 

Joan: Gmail. I started with AOL and graduated to gmail.
Suzanne: Gmail. Love the searching capabilities!

Google or yahoo:

Joan: Google. Google and Wikipedia rock.
Suzanne: What Joan said! But I use Dogpile as my search engine.

Bff or BF/GF: 

Joan: Bff. My bff and I have been friends since 8th grade.
Suzanne: Bff. I just saw my two bff from high school at a class reunion last weekend.  Fun!

~ Joan & Suzanne
Goddess Girls on Facebook

Want to win a copy of Aphrodite the Diva and a bookmark?  Thanks to Joan and Suzanne, you can win one here!

To enter:
  • US only
  • Leave a comment telling us your favorite Greek God or Hero.
  • Must be 13 years or older, or have parent's permission.
  • Ends 8/30
Good luck!

Saturday, August 20, 2011

Firelight by Sophie Jordan

  • Reading level: Ages 13 and up
  • Hardcover: 336 pages
  • Publisher: HarperCollins; 1 edition (September 7, 2010)
Marked as special at an early age, Jacinda knows her every move is watched. But she longs for freedom to make her own choices. When she breaks the most sacred tenet among her kind, she nearly pays with her life. Until a beautiful stranger saves her. A stranger who was sent to hunt those like her. For Jacinda is a draki—a descendant of dragons whose greatest defense is her secret ability to shift into human form.
Forced to flee into the mortal world with her family, Jacinda struggles to adapt to her new surroundings. The only bright light is Will. Gorgeous, elusive Will who stirs her inner draki to life. Although she is irresistibly drawn to him, Jacinda knows Will's dark secret: He and his family are hunters. She should avoid him at all costs. But her inner draki is slowly slipping away—if it dies she will be left as a human forever. She'll do anything to prevent that. Even if it means getting closer to her most dangerous enemy.
Mythical powers and breathtaking romance ignite in this story of a girl who defies all expectations and whose love crosses an ancient divide.

I didn't know how to get the blue thing around the first part.... Anyway, my review~

 This book is probably one of the best books I've ever read. It's really well written and detailed, and you feel like you're standing right there watching it all go down! I liked how she made the people half dragon, and that they live in a big community [pride]. I also liked that they weren't just dragons, they had different kinds that learned different things and had different abilities. It was cool how the author mixed the fantasy of the dragon people with the realistic town of Chaparral and the normal teen girl problems and situations.

What I didn't like... let's see.... I didn't like it that they kissed as much as they did. Every two to four pages there was kissing. It was partly to keep Jacinda alive, but I saw no need to go that far with it. Also, I didn't like it that they have to strip when they turn into their dragon. At the end of the book, Jacinda has to go nude for the whole car ride home, which was REALLY disturbing to me. Otherwise, though, it was a great book.

My favorite character was probably Jacinda, because she was so independent and fearless. She wasn't afraid to do what she thought was right, and she stuck up for her friends and her boyfriend when it was really dangerous. She is also really pretty, and a really rare, cool draki.

My least favorite character was definitely Cassian, the pride leader's son. He was basically forcing Jacinda to date him when she quite obviously didn't want to. He only wanted her for her power, and because she was a rare draki that could make his bloodline stronger and better. Cassian's father was also really annoying. He was really into punishing people....

I think this is definitely a girl's book, and probably mostly for teens for reasons listed above. Also, people who like real life stuff probably wouldn't like this book because it is full of fantasy everywhere. So overall, this book was one of the best in my list.

Finally got a new piccy! Yay!

Tuesday, August 16, 2011

Aphrodite the Diva (Goddess Girls) by Suzanne Williams and Joan Holub

Reading level: Ages 9-12
Paperback: 220 pages
Publisher: Aladdin; Original edition (August 9, 2011)
Buy the Book:  Amazon

In book 6, after a teeny misunderstanding in class, Aphrodite is failing Hero-ology. To raise her grade, she concocts a brilliant plan--an extra-credit project for matchmaking mortals. This brings her face-to-face with fierce competition--an Egyptian goddessgirl named Isis. Now the race is on to see which of them can matchmake Pygmalion--the most annoying boy ever! Will Aphrodite wind up making a passing grade after all? Or will she end up proving she's a diva with more beauty than brains?

These classic myths from the Greek pantheon are given a modern twist that contemporary tweens can relate to, from dealing with bullies like Medusa to a first crush on an unlikely boy. Goddess Girls follows four goddesses-in-training - Athena, Persephone, Aphrodite, and Artemis - as they navigate the ins and outs of divine social life at Mount Olympus Academy, where the most priviledged gods and goddesses of the Greek pantheon hone their mythical skills.

Monday, August 8, 2011

Heist Society by Ally Carter

Hardcover: 304 pages
Publisher: Hyperion Book CH (February 9, 2010) 
Buy the book:  Amazon

When Katarina Bishop was three, her parents took her on a trip to the Louvre...to case it. For her seventh birthday, Katarina and her Uncle Eddie traveled to Austria...to steal the crown jewels. When Kat turned fifteen, she planned a con of her own--scamming her way into the best boarding school in the country, determined to leave the family business behind. Unfortunately, leaving "the life" for a normal life proves harder than she'd expected.

Soon, Kat's friend and former co-conspirator, Hale, appears out of nowhere to bring her back into the world she tried so hard to escape. But he has good reason: a powerful mobster has been robbed of his priceless art collection and wants to retrieve it. Only a master thief could have pulled this job, and Kat's father isn't just on the suspect list, he is the list. Caught between Interpol and a far more deadly enemy, Kat's dad needs her help. For Kat there is only one solution: track down the paintings and steal them back. So what if it's a spectacularly impossible job? She's got two weeks, a teenage crew, and hopefully just enough talent to pull off the biggest heist in history--or at least her family's (very crooked) history.

Heist Society looked like an entertaining book on the outside, and it was even better on the inside! This book was about a family of thieves, that go around stealing valuable things like paintings and statues. They are really good at stealing, and after they come in, steal the paintings, and get out, nobody even knows what happened.

The main character, Katarina Bishop, was really funny. In the first few pages it describes her as a Russian princess, even though she isn't Russian. [She isn't a princess either, but she could definitely pass for one] She's sneaky, cunning, and at a boarding school. Yeah, she tries to give up her life for a more 'good' and 'respectable' life. Her family won't let her do that so easily, and they bring her back. More specifically, W. W. Hale The Third brings her back. He frames her for a crime that she didn't do, and she gets kicked out of school and goes back to Europe.

When she gets back, Hale [nobody knows what the W's stand for so they call him Hale] and Kat's cousin Gabrielle are waiting for her. They lecture her on how she shouldn't have left, that thievery is her life, and she can't just walk away. Soon after that, she is visited by a mysterious, Al Taccone. He accuses Kat's father of stealing his paintings, and he wants Kat to get them back to him. She argues that her father did not steal the paintings, but he insists and Kat accepts. But she can't just do it with however much time she needs. She has a time limit to get them back, before he takes her father away.

I liked that the characters were all thieves, it seems like nobody has really ever stopped to tell their story before. It was cool that stealing was a family business, and they all stuck together no matter what. I thought it was funny how they all kind of knew what the others were thinking, and they seemed really close, like they weren't only family, but best friends. There wasn't really anything that I didn't like, except Taccone seemed to be flirting with Kat at the end, which was just a little awkward since he is a grown man, and she's a teenager.

My favorite characters would have to be the Bagshaws, they are definitely the funniest, and they just go ahead and say what's on their minds, even if it's a totally random and strange comment. My least favorite character was probably... I don't know, they were all so cool!

This is definitely one of my favorite books, and I would read it again and again if I didn't have other books to read and review. I think it could be a good read for all ages, because it didn't have any bad content and it kept me excited. One example; I kept thinking that Gabrielle was going to steal Hale away from Kat. Which, I know she probably wouldn't do, now that I've read the whole book.

The only thing about this book was that Kat's cousins kept commenting on her boobs. It was meant to be funny, and it was, but I know some people out there would be kinda weirded out by that. Other than that there wasn't any awkwardness, language or bad stuff in it at all. It was a really good book and I really enjoyed it.

Saturday, August 6, 2011

Free Audio Download: The Chronicles of Narnia by C.S. Lewis

The COMPLETE Chronicles of Narnia by C. S. Lewis – read by Chrissi Hart (Audiobooks)

Here's an amazing find: The COMPLETE seven book Narnia series by C. S. Lewis, in audiobook format. These programs were originally recorded for broadcast on the Ancient Faith Internet Radio station. The readings are downloadable or available as 101 half-hour podcasts, so between the seven books in the series, there's almost 50 hours.

If you have never read these books, this is a fantastic opportunity to start.  And if you have, this is a great way to revisit this amazing series.

Click here to go to the download page for THE CHRONICLES OF NARNIA!