Friday, April 27, 2012

I'm Reading a Book Man!

My brother sent me a text the other day saying I needed to watch this and I ended up laughing harder the more times I watched it, so here you are. This was funny becuase it so acurately describes me when I'm reading.  It's equal parts funny and random. Just down my ally.

If you ever interupt me you can bet you're gonna see the nasty me! :)

In case you wonder, the hot kool-aid video by Julian is pretty hilarious too. Gotta love YouTube.

Albrek's Tomb

By M.L. Forman

Two thousand years ago, the dwarf Albrek went looking for new mines in the land of Thraxon in the hopes of becoming rich—and vanished. Now the dwarves must find Albrek’s magical Ring of Searching before their mines run dry, a possibility which threatens the livelihood of the entire dwarf realm.

Alexander Taylor joins a familiar company of adventurers on a quest to discover what happened to Albrek, find his mythical tomb, and locate the lost talisman.

But finding the ring may be the least of the adventurers’ problems once they cross paths with an ancient, wandering paladin, Bane, who warns of a great evil working in all of the known lands. Following in Albrek’s footsteps, Alex and his friends travel to the haunted Isle of Bones, where a mysterious creature lurks in a deserted village, to the cursed city of Neplee, where the dwarfs are hunted by the undead hellerash, and through the shadow of an empty oracle’s tower, where a whispered legend is about to come true.

So this is the 3rd installment of The Adventurerer's Wanted series and is, in my opionion better than the second book. I really loved the first one and this one is just like it and I adored it. This book finds Alex a full wizard and on another adventure with Thrang the dwarf and Arconn the elf and other friends. This was a great adventure and I couldn't put it down. My one beef is this: Alex has sort of become a tad too powerful for my liking. The kid has no weaknesses and just keeps finding out new powers. He's the Superman of Wizards; but has no Kyrptonite. Fix this Mr. Forman, or I am in danger of becoming bitter with Alex's character. :(  Although, I was rather impressed with Alex's new discovery, which was pretty awesome. I just wish he wasn't..well perfect. I'm liable to become jealous. :)

4 out of 5

Dragon's Bait

By Vivian Vande Velde

Fifteen-year-old Alys is not a witch. But that doesn’t matter—the villagers think she is and have staked her out on a hillside as a sacrifice to the local dragon. It’s late, it’s cold, and it’s raining, and Alys can only think of one thing—revenge. But first she’s got to escape, and even if she does, how can one girl possibly take on an entire town alone? Then the dragon arrives—a dragon that could quite possibly be the perfect ally…

This story is short and pretty interesting and fun. At first I was hoping, 'please don't let this be a revenge book' but it didin't disappoint me. Alys is a good character and the dragon is pretty cool and while being portrayed as exceptionally handsome, is still at heart a reptile. It's an interesting story and I really wish it would go on, but I also like the fact that it stopped where it did and doesn't have a chance to fall short of my expectations. Kinda half-glass-empty attitude, but there you have it. Fun story.  Only warning is this: There is some reference to nudity though nothing is described.

3 1/2 out of 5

Ambush (Pillage 3)

By Obert Skye

What can happen on an innocent field trip to a museum? In the secure protection of a jail? Or on a simple bus ride? Plenty, if you are a member of the Pillage family and your name is Beck Phillips. No matter what strangeness is going on, Beck still manages to turn things on their head.

When Beck’s personality and behavior begin to change after he makes a fateful, life-altering decision involving-what else?-a dragon egg, there is no one around to stop him from fulfilling his family’s destiny set out in The Grim Knot. And as life in Kingsplot moves unwittingly toward the brink of another dragon disaster, Beck finds himself living a life of deception as he hides information from the people who love and care about him the most.

In this final episode of the Pillage series, with the destructive forces of his family heritage running strong and unhindered, Beck must now face the truth and rise to the challenge of stopping the madness or succumb to the draconic chaos he has helped create.

This series is pretty hillarous, and this last in the trillogy, or "Pillogy" as some call it, is no different.  DO you like dragons? This is a great story for you and one of the most original that I've read as to how dragons come about. The best part of this series however, is Beck. His sarcasm is simply awesome. If there were an actual kid like him I'd probably strangle him myself, but for reading from his perspective, I laugh my head off. This is one of the few books that is a laugh-out-loud book.  Beck's last adventure with the dragons is just as good as the first two, and starts out with (dare I repeat myself?) the funniest scene ever of destruction and mayhem that seem to stick to Beck's shoes like gum. Pillage fans will not be disapointed, except for the fact that it's over. :(

By Darkness HId

By Jill Williamson
Half of Er’Rets is locked beneath an impenetrable shroud. On the side that still sees the sun, two young people struggle to understand the mind-communication abilities thrust upon them.

It’s called bloodvoicing. Some say it’s a gift.

Achan has been a slave all his life. Worse than a slave—a stray. He is consigned to the kitchens of a lord and forced to swallow a foul potion every day. When an enigmatic knight offers to train Achan for the Kingsguard, he readily accepts. But his new skills with the sword to not prepare him for the battle raging between the voices in his head.

Vrell Sparrow is not who she seems. She masquerades as a boy to avoid capture by the powerful forces that seek to exploit her. But Vrell feels called to help a young squire who recently discovered his bloodvoicing gift, even if doing so requires her to work with those who could destroy her.

While Achan learns to use his new ability, Vrell struggles to shut hers down. All the voices strive to learn Achan and Vrell’s true identities—and a different kind of voice is calling them both.

Toward a destination that is by darkness hid.

This is your basic story of good vs. evil with the unsuspecting hero being the lowest of the low. its 500 pages. I found myself needing to know what was happening to Achan and Vrell. Most of the time when a book is told from two perspectives I find myself liking one over the other, but in this case I liked both for different reasons which surprised me. After reading it I found out it is supposed to be Christian fiction, which after the fact I can see, but it wasn’t too heavily laced with it. It’s filled with fun characters and packed with action. Good read.

3 ½ out of 5 for being entertaining

To Darkness Fled

By Jill Williamson

They have no choice. Chased by an evil prince, Achan, Vrell, and the kinsguard knights flee into darkness. They head north, for Tsaftown and Ice Island, where they must free an army that can help them fight for Er’Rets.

Darkness sickens Vrell. How long can she keep her secret without being caught? Achan already suspects her of lying. If she is not careful, he will suspect her of treason as well. She hopes he will let his suspicions go until they reach her home.

Achan wanted freedom, but this new journey has bound him more than ever. Sir Gavin’s claims are so far fetched. First, that there might only be one God, and second, that this God chose Achan to push back Darkness, the magnificent curse of Er’Rets. Him. Achan. Barely a man himself.

So the second installment of the Blood of Kings trilogy wasn’t as good as the first one for me. I found myself just as enthralled and wanting to read to the bitter end, but the story itself was kinda…weird. There are a ton more references to Christianity, and some of which were off from my own beliefs so it had me wrinkling my nose in disagreement and saying, “no no no! That’s not right.” I found myself doubting that the voice of God would really yell at a kid that is just learning about Him, even if he’s supposed to be king. The dynamics of the story are still good, but the heavy theme of darkness was overdone at times and made me wince. Still, I ended up finishing the book. Also: frustration with Vrell for being a freaking idiot. Just tell the poor kid who you are. For me that whole plot line would’ve been better if there was more of an explanation for her unwillingness to reveal her identity to the boy she loves than simply ‘being afraid’. I needed a better/more of an explanation.

3 ½ out of 5 just for a few lines I really liked.

From Darkness Won

By Jill Williamson

Achan steps into his role as Crown Prince and prepares for war. But war against whom? Could Esek still be alive? Has Lord Nathak taken Esek’s place? Or is the mysterious Hadad the true enemy Achan must confront?

Vrell has her own agenda of serving Prince Oren as a healer, but when she is stormed and lost to the Veil, Achan does all he can to bring her back. His conversations with her are strange, though, as if she has no memory of who he is.

In a land consumed by Darkness, the fate of Er’Rets hangs in the balance as Achan endeavors to take the throne and end the reign of Darkness.

The end nears! I enjoyed this book better than the last one, but not as much as the first of the series. Achan has (finally) decided to believe wholeheartedly in Arman (God) and trust that things will work out whatever happens. This book takes us through the final battles and the final resolution for Er’Rets (which is the weirdest name if I can say that) and for Achan and Vrell. It was a good ending, but kinda lacking at the same time. I can’t really tell people to definitely go out and read this series simply because it wasn’t written very well as a whole. It had its moments but let me down in other respects as to plot line and development. It was a solid average series, and I’ve never read a Christian fiction before that wasn’t LDS (Latter-Day Saint) so it was a bit strange for me. Overall though it was fun to read and I’m not sorry I read it, but can’t really say drop everything and go get it.

3 out of 5 for the series

Monday, April 9, 2012

My Top 10 for 2011

So, though this is a tad late for a top 10 from last year, I say what the hay, here it goes. These are my top 10 favorites that I read last year, some are new, some are old, but all of them are books that I read for the first time in 2011.

10. Crossed by Ally Condie (2nd book of Matched trillogy)

9. Michael Vey: Prisoner of Cell 25

8. Wild Orchid by Cameron Dokey (a story of Mulan)

7. The Wednesday Wars by Gary D. Schmidt

6. The Lost Hero by Rick Riordan

5. The Graveyard Book By Neil Gaiman

4. Taran Wanderer by Lloyd Alexander (The Prydain Chronicles)

3. Skellig by David Almond

2. Goliath by Scott Westerfeld (conclusion to Leviathan series)

1. Scumble by Ingrid Law

I chose these books in this order not only for content but also for the fact that I've already read some of them more than once. This is my top 10, what was yours? Love to know if you've got a second. :)


By Marie Lu

What was once the Western United States is now home to the Republic, a nation perpetually at war with its neighbors.

Day is the most wanted criminal in the Republic. No one knows who he is or what he looks like, and the Republic is desperate for his capture.

June is the Republic’s prodigy, the most gifted soldier they have. She is on the hunt for her brother’s murderer. A criminal she once grudgingly respected and is now determined to kill: Day.

What happens when they face each other will test everything they know to be true, for nothing is as it seems…and the truth is destined to become legend.

This is the coolest Dystopian novel I’ve read so far. It reads like an action movie, but with awesome insights and a mysterious undertone. Day is a great character that is a sort of ‘Everyman’ a reader can relate to; born in the slums, and rejected by the elitists, he becomes a ghost and a criminal inciting chaos wherever he strikes. It helps that he’s cheeky and arrogant and almost instantly likeable. June is a prodigy that scored perfectly on the aptitude tests the Republic gives to every 10-year-old in the country. She comes off as a bit of a rebel in her well-controlled atmosphere, but also misunderstood by all except her big brother; when he is murdered, she sets out to revenge his death, her target: Day.

I won’t go any further than that, I won’t deny you the joy of reading about Day and June’s adventures, and of the mysteries they unlock along the way. Definitely the best story I’ve read in a long while. Read it! Love it! I command you! :)

4 ½ out of 5!

The House of the Scorpion

By Nancy Farmer

At his coming-of-age party, Matteo Alacran asks El Patron’s bodyguard, “How old am I?...I know I don’t have a birthday like humans, but I was born.”

“You were harvested,” Tam Lin reminds him. “You were grown in that poor cow for nine months and then you were cut out of her.”

To most people around him, Matt is not a boy, but a beast. A room full of chicken litter with roaches for friends and old chicken bones for toys is considered good enough for him. But for El Patron, lord of a country called Opium—a strip of poppy fields lying between the U.S. and what was once called Mexico—Matt is a guarantee of eternal life. El Patron loves Matt as he loves himself for Matt is himself. They share identical DNA.

As Matt struggles to understand his existence, he is threatened by a sinister, grasping cast of characters, including El Patron’s power-hungry family. He is surrounded by a dangerous army of bodyguards and by the mindless slaves of Opium.

First thing look up. Do you see those medals? That is a pretty good indication that this book was fantastic and amazing. This book is one of those awesome creations that explores what being human is really about. This book is one great example of how fantasy and science fiction can create a great setting to get a great message across and get kids thinking outside the box about the power of choice and what it means to be accepted. While truly entertaining and engrossing, this book teaches. It follows the life of Matt, the clone of a druglord, and how he discovers who and what he is.  He grows up with everyone treating him like a dog; a disgusting dog.  Only his surrogate mother Celia and his on-loan bodyguard Tam Lin treat him like a real person. Even his only friend treats him more like a beloved pet than a person. This story takes place as Matt learns about the world around him and tries to figure out his place in it.  It's set in a sort of fuzzy future, but it's more about Matt than about any calamitous future, so the details offered are just enough. The characters are wonderful and genuine- good and bad. Great read, so glad I found this one.
4 out of 5

Love Life and See Good Days

By Emily Freeman

“Have a good day” is practically a mantra in our society. But no one reminds us to see good days. What would change if we took as our motto the scriptural phrase “Love life, and see good days” (1 Peter 3:10)?

“I believe it would be life changing,” writes Emily Freeman. “I believe it would lead to more happiness. But how is it done?”

In this “handbook of happy thoughts,” Emily invites us to explore some of the scriptures she found on her quest to help us see good days, whether that means shifting our perspective a bit, letting go of a few things, rising above some of our old frustrations, or reaching deep inside for enough faith to trust in the Savior’s promises to us.

Sometimes it feels as if the whole world has crashed down around us. At other times, we may be doing all right but just feel the desire for something more. Whatever our situation , these reflections will help each of us discover how to more fully Love life and see good days.

So I read this book in about a day, it's very quick, but I find myself wishing I could've gone slower and marked things and taken notes. It's a great book about changing your perceptions and perspective about your life and learning that even during hard times and bad days that you can teach yourself to see what good is still around you. This book is an excellent little gem and would work perfectly as a gift for your visiting teaching ladies, your girlfriends, daughters, mothers, any woman really. It's short and wonderfully sweet. Every woman should read this. Another great LDS find for members, and even those who just want to figure out how to see good days not just have them.

4 out of 5

Sunlight and Shadow

By Cameron Dokey

In a time when the world was young and many things commonplace that are now entirely forgotten, the Mage of the Day, wed Pamina, the Queen of the Night, and this way was the world complete, for light was joined with darkness. Only the ending of time could tear them apart. In other words, in the days in which they were married, there was no such thing as divorce.

Thus begins the tale of Mina, a girl-child born on the darkest month of the year. When her father looked at her, all he saw was what he feared: By birth, by name, by nature, she belonged to the Dark. So when Mina turned sixteen, her father took her from shadow and brought her into sunlight.
In retaliation her mother lured a handsome prince into a deadly agreement: If he frees Mina, he can claim her as his bride.
Now Mina and her prince must endure deadly trials—of love fate and family—before they can truly live happily ever after…

This book was interesting as I started to read it, told from Mina’s point of view, then Lupins…then Statos, then Gayna, then Statos…holy freaking cow Cameron! It’s really hard to keep track of who’s talking and what’s going on, accordingly there isn’t much time for character development in this short novel. This story was lacking the usual deftness of Cameron’s other novels and really needed a larger scope if it was to be told in a better way. Too many P.O.V’s and shallow motives. Love at first sight I might believe if it’s backed with actions and real findings. It’s a tough sell for me though.

3 out of 5 for being average

Snow in Summer

By Jane Yolen

With her black hair, red lips, and lily-white skin, Summer is as beautiful as her father’s garden. And her life in the mountains of West Virginia seems like a fairy tale; her parents sing and dance with her, cousin Nancy dotes on her, and she is about to get a new baby brother.

But when the baby dies soon after he’s born taking Summer’s mama with him, Summer’s fairy-tale life turns grim. Things get even worse when her father marries a woman who brings poisons and a magical mirror into Summer’s world. Stepmama puts up a pretty face, but Sumer suspects she’s up to no good. Is Summer powerless to stop her?

Snow white meets post World-War II West Virginia…interesting and slightly creepy. You know how Snow White’s step-mother is an evil magical queen? Well, she’s a voodoo creeper black magician in this tale. That sort of stuff gives me the willies. Another thing that gave me the creeps was the way they talked about a girl’s first cycle and all the evil magic you can perform with it. Yuck. Double creeper. Other than these two things, the story was all right and done well for a modern retelling. My favorite part was the dwarves, who happened to be miners from Germany. That was really sweet and cute. Overall though, just for the content of the menstrual cycle stuff and the black magic, I’d not recommend it; just too much.

2 ½ out of 5

Under the Never Sky

By Veronica Rossi
Since she’d been on the outside, she’d survived an Aether storm, she’d had a knife held to her throat, and she’d seen men murdered. This was worse.

Exiled from her home, the enclosed city of Reverie, Aria knows her chances of surviving in the outer wasteland—known as the Death Shop—are slim. If the cannibals don’t get her, the violent, electrified energy storms will. She’s been taught that the very air she breathes can kill her. Then Aria meets an Outsider named Perry. He’s wild—a savage—and her only hope of staying alive.

A hunter for his tribe in a merciless landscape, Perry views Aria as sheltered and fragile—everything he would expect from a Dweller. But he needs Aria’s help too; she alone holds the key to his redemption. Opposites in nearly every way, Aria and Perry must accept each other to survive. Their unlikely alliance forges a bond that will determine the fate of all who live under the never sky.

So, I read this one because it seemed interesting and it was recommended on my Kindle for me to read, so here I dropped into the land of virtual reality and weird electrical storms and strange savage hunters with weird powers. It was actually fairly interesting though uncomfortable as they hinted about sex and such throughout, and then came the actual sex scene toward the end and I was harrumphing around the house for a few days, disgusted. It wasn’t just the fact that I HATE bedroom scenes, it was the fact that the stupid girl consented knowing that it wouldn’t work out and that it didn’t matter because they knew she couldn’t get pregnant. Lovely message for teenagers people. Lovely. Good grief. If that doesn’t bug you, I grudgingly say go ahead and read it, it’s okay for a dystopian romance.

2 out of 5 for me.