Thursday, October 29, 2009

The Castle Corona

By Sharon Creech

Long ago and far away there was a castle. But not just any castle. This was a castle that glittered and sparkled and rose majestically above the banks of the winding Winono River: the Castle Corona. And in this castle lived a family. But not just any family. This was the family of King Guido: rich and royal and...spoiled. And King Guido was so spoiled that neither jewels nor gold nor splendid finery could please him, for what he longed for most was...a nap and a gown that didn't itch.

Far below this grand, glittering castle lived two peasants. These peasants, though poor and pitiful, were plucky and proud. And in possession of a stolen pouch. But not just any pouch. A pouch whose very contents had the power to unlock secrets and transform lives...

I've had this book for a couple of years and just now have gotten to it. The reason I read it so fast is thanks to insomnia. It was a cute little story that was fast-paced and interesting to read. The characters were fairly predictable, especially the royals, it was later in the book when I started to like them as they got a little more depth. I think this would be a fun little fairy-tale like book to read to kids at bedtime. It's fun to read and has a few very good morals in it, all in all it was a fluffy fun book.

Monday, October 26, 2009

The Dark is Rising

By Susan Cooper

On the Midwinter Day that is his eleventh birthday, Will Stanton discovers a special gift-he is the last of the Old Ones, immortals dedicated to keeping the world from domination by the forces of evil, the Dark. At once, he is plunged into a quest for the six magical Signs that will one day aid the Old Ones in the final battle between the Dark and the Light. And for the twelve days of Christmas, while the Dark is rising, life for Will is full of wonder, terror, and delight.

I started to read this about six months ago after I bought it for my birthday, but I stopped because I thought I just couldn't get into it at the time; turns out as I got about two-thirds the way through it this time that I remembered the reason why I stopped reading it: it's the second book in the sequence. I was miffed at myself. No wonder so many things just seemed to jump into the unknown! All in all, having not read the first book, which is called, Over Sea, Under Stone, this book was interesting to read. It was very iconic in the use of Dark vs. Light and the signs of power and the struggle of good vs. evil. Cooper has a very unique and yet classic way of writing, it seems to just suck you into this ancient-feeling story that is older than time itself. It's very poetic and original, yet strikes a familiar chord which everyone will relate. As for the story itself, plot, characters and all, I'm still quite confused and will have to backtrack and read the first book to see if that clears matters up at all. For now, I'll just say, well done and superb writing!

Wednesday, October 21, 2009

Far World: Land Keep (Book 2)

By J. Scott Savage

Four mythical elementals-Water, Land, Air, and Fire-have the power to save two worlds, Earth and Farworld, from a common enemy: the Dark Circle. In book one, Water Keep, Marcus, a disabled boy from Earth, and Kyja, a girl with no magic from Farworld, begin their epic quest to find the Elementals before it is too late.

In book two, Land Keep, Marcus and Kyja travel with Cascade, a Water Elemental, toward Land Keep, the home of the powerful and wise Land Elementals. However, their journey may end before it even begins. Land Keep is empty, deserted for at least a thousand years, and the rumor is that the creatures who once controlled all land magic are extinct. Marcus and Kyja's only hope seems to lie in finding the Augur Well, a legendary Oracle protected by subtle traps and mind-bending trials. To succeed in their quest, Marcus and Kyja must also avoid the Keepers of the Balance, an order dedicated to redistributing magic to the rich and powerful. And they must travel far underground, where Cascade is unable to follow and where they will be unable to leap to the safety of Earth.

As the Dark Circle closes around them, Marcus and Kyja are faced with the temptation of what they desire most. Sacrifices must be made, and not everyone will survive unscathed.
Okay, this is another book published by shadow mountain (same as Fablehaven) that I started reading last year when the first book came out. Water Keep was fun to read and I found myself remembering passages at odd times ever since. I didn't even know the second book was coming out until my sister had it and offered to let me borrow it. I've had a lot of fun reading it and am enjoying the journey. I particularly like this series because the main character is disabled. His left arm and right leg are mangled and he has to rely on others a lot. I was so glad that the author decided to give his protagonist a physical disability. It made it a lot more fun to read and I enjoyed seeing how he got around and developed as a character. This book is interesting, with the magical farworld, and then the unmagical (but still amazing) Earth, seemingly both sides of the same coin and interwoven tightly together. It's basically about Marcus and Kyja, two young kids who are destined to save farworld. They have to gather one elemental (creatures that control the separate elements) and open a rift between earth and farworld. The book talks a good deal about weakness, and how they can become strengths and vice-versa. It has a lot of good morals in it, and puts it out there that while things aren't easy, and sometimes we make mistakes, nothing can stop us from trying but ourselves. I like it a lot and am excited for the next two books. A fun read all around.

Monday, October 19, 2009

Peter and the Starcatchers

By Dave Barry and Ridley Pearson

In an evocative and fast-paced adventure on the high seas and on a faraway island, an orphan boy named Peter and his mysterious new friend, Molly, overcome bands of pirates and thieves in their quest to keep a fantastical secret safe and save the world from evil. This impossible-to-put-down tale leads readers on an unforgettable journey-fraught with danger, yet filled with mystical and magical moments.

So I've had this book for about three years and I finally got around to reading it. I was plesantly surprised at what I found. At first I was thinking, 'no way can they do a spin off Peter Pan'. I don't even like the Disney version for heavens sake! But this was done well enough to earn my approval. It was fun to find out the 'origins' of Neverland, the crocodile and his tastes for a certain pirate, how Peter got to be a great flyer, and where he met Tinker Bell. It was a great story and kept a good pace. It will be interesting to see what they've done with the other three Peter Pan books that have come out since this first one. I enjoyed it and was duly entertained. Though I still prefer Barry's original script. I'd reccommend this book to anyone who likes the story of Peter Pan, they'll be very entertained!

Monday, October 12, 2009

David Copperfield

By Charles Dickens

"Whether I shall turn out to be the hero of my own life, or whether that station will be held by anybody else, these pages must show." So begins Dickens story of David Copperfield, a young man whose journey through an impoverished childhood brings him into an adult life that is eventually filled with material success as he takes up authorship.
Full of memorable characters and in classic Dickens style, David Copperfield tells the story about the life of a young man who takes us through many of the lessons we all must learn and shows us his triumphs and mistakes. David shows us through his life that kindness and amiability will win us friends, fortunes, and treasures beyond all earthly possessions.

YAY!! I finally finished! Okay, I started this months ago, and sorta died and lost interest about halfway through (it's an 800 page book in the culture of victorian england) and didn't pick it up until three days ago. Accordingly, I couldn't put it down, and finished it in that short time. The ending was very full of surprising circumstances and I was hooked. It was quite fun to follow the characters, whom Dickens always portrays so vividly. David's Aunt Betsy Trotwood was quite hilarious, as a woman who disdained matrimony and was forever chasing donkeys off of her property, waving her bonnet and scaring any folk who came around. Uriah Heep was always writhing and making me cringe with his declarations of being 'umble. And then there was Mr. Micawber with his flowery letters and lack of common sense when it came to expenses. Each character, no matter how small in the story, was represented so wonderfully that I can immediately call up their likeness in my mind.
As for the story itself, I admit is a bit hard to get through (as it took me a few months with a grand break in the middle). Reading 800 pages of the slow-moving pace at which David narrates his story is a bit trying. Especially since I've gotten quite out of the habbit of reading slower...I usually devour books in a short while, so it was difficult to slow down. But as with all of the classic literature the first thing I said when I read the last line was, "I love Dickens." with a sigh and a smile. It's a great work of literature, and I enjoyed it greatly, and I enjoy the day after when I keep thinking of all the things I've read. Apparently from the little I know of Dickens himself, this book is supposed to be losely based on his own life. I don't much like to read other people's oppinions though, they tend to ruin a great work of literature for me by making it base and perverting it. When all is said and done, I loved reading it, and especially the last two paragraphs where David Praises the love of his life in making him into the man he became.

Friday, October 9, 2009

The Lighthouse War

By Adrian McKinty

When a mysterious message is picked up by the Cassini space probe orbiting Saturn, the world's leading scientists race to decode it. But only two people on Earth have the knowledge to read it...
Jamie O'Neill and his best friend, Ramsay, are seemingly ordinary guys: They play in a band called the Ayatollahs of Funk, wish they had girlfriends...and once saved an alien people from annihilation. they know the message from space is a call for help-their help.
But a return to the planet Altair is fraught with danger, physical and emotional. Wishaway, the girl Jamie fell for on their last visit, has married someone else, and the war-loving Alkhavans, whom Jamie and Ramsay once defearted, are on the rise again. This time their goal is the strange, fish-shaped device that enables Jamie to travel between planets. If the Salmon falls into the wrong hands, Jamie, Ramsay, and two unexpected hitchhikers will be stranded on Altair forever. And even worse, the ruthless Alkhavens will be on their way to Earth!

Thrills, laughs, and surprises await in this second book in The Lighthouse Trilogy, which Publishers Weekly called "enjoyable" and "intelligent" and Kliatt call "fresh and unique."

I've gotta stop starting series. I think I'm in the middle of at least ten. This one is a bit different from my usual reads. First off, usually I don't go for alien literature or sci-fi stuff. It's just a little too wierd normally. I finished this second book in quite the hurry, and I didn't like it as much as the first book. It sort of lost the character depth and seemed to be a bit too plot driven for my tastes. I did greatly enjoy the end, as it brought a bit of a twist that I liked. I don't know if I'd recomend anyone continuing on with this book. The nice thing is, you can read the first book and you don't feel like you have to read the next one. I'll let you all know as soon as I read the last book in the trilogy. Then I'll tell you if it's worth the time. All in all though, it has a fun story and it is quite different from the norm of today. It's got some hints of some past sci fi novels, and it does have some hilarious times where it mentions things from pop culture. I laughed right out loud at lines about Harry Potter and Star Wars. It's entertaining- when all is said and done.

Tuesday, October 6, 2009

Ranger's Apprentice: The Burning Bridge

By John Flanagan

For years, the Kingdom of Araluen has prospered, with the evil lord Morgarath safely imprisoned by impassable mountains. For years, its people have felt secure. But the scheming hand of the dark lord has not been idle...
On a special mission for the Rangers, Will and his friend Horace, an apprentice knight, travel to a neighboring village and discover the unsettling truth: All the villagers have been either slain or captured. But for what purpose? Could it be that Morgarath has finally devised a plan to bring his legions over the supposedly insurmountable pass? If so, the King's army is in imminent danger of being crushed in a fierce ambush.
And Will and Horace are the only ones who can help them.

On to book 2! Yup, I found it at the library, and I was just as happy reading this one as the first book. It's an awesome book for kids, I say especially younger boys who like sword fights and good adventure stories. It does have some swear-words in it, which I thought was the only drawback. And I must say that Mr. Flanagan has gotten me addicted enough to be certain of my continuing to read his books. The second book ended with such a wrenching cliffhanger that I was dying to get my hands on the next book immediately. It's fast-paced and fun to read. I haven't read a good knight-like book in some time, it's been great to get into it again.