Tuesday, April 16, 2013

Follow the Bread Crumbs: Shades of Earth by Beth Revis

Just the facts:

Overall: 3 ½   Stars

Addiction Level: I read it when I had spare time.

Believe-ability: I daydream about the created world and wonder how I fit in.

Dystopia Factor: The world has been turned upside down and all hope is lost!


             If you want a recap of previous books in this series check out our reviews for Across the Universe & A Million Suns.

            Shades of Earth continues Amy and Elder’s story as they prepare to leave Godspeed forever and begin a new life on Centauri-Earth. With their arrival on Centauri-Earth come new complications. For one, the time for the frozens to be reanimated officially arrives and all of the warnings and doubts of Orion fester within Elder. Add to that two very different groups of people trying to work together, a hostile environment, and the possibility of alien life forms and things aren’t really working in Elder or Amy’s favor.

            I must say that I have been pleasantly surprised by books lately. It seems as though we need to come up with some sort of quirky name for the third book that redeems the series. And Shades of Earth does just that. Revis craftily creates a new world outside of Godspeed, and having been stuck on Godspeed for two whole books sure makes you long for a new world (imagine being stuck there for centuries)! The new world is exciting, slightly dangerous and makes you start to question the authority and trustworthiness of many of the characters. Of course, Revis sticks to her mystery-style plot, but Centauri-Earth gives it a new feel.

            I mostly liked Shades of Earth, but I felt that the trail of crumbs was a bit too evident. Even from the start, I kept thinking, “There’s something up with _______”. And then it progressed to “__________ is definitely a _________ and __________”.  (Obviously, you get the idea that I’m trying not to spoil it, right?) But, through it all, I enjoyed the read and felt that there was a sufficient ending. I, however, don’t recommend reading it before bed because you might suffer from dinosaur related dreams or, in my case, dreams about too many embryos being created at once. Weird.

Wednesday, April 10, 2013

Resurrection and Redemption: Such Wicked Intent by Kenneth Oppel

Just the facts:

Overall: 3 Stars

Addiction Level: I read it when I had spare time.

Believe-ability: It was believable.

Dystopia Factor: Eh! It's "normal" life.


            Such Wicked Intent is the second book in The Apprenticeship of Victor Frankenstein series. (Click for a quick recap of my thoughts on This Dark Endeavor.) As much as I was disappointed by the first book in the series I was strangely drawn back into the world of the young Victor Frankenstein in this second book. I think I’m a bit of a sucker for wanting books/series to redeem themselves.
            Such Wicked Intent picks up shortly after the end of This Dark Endeavor as Victor, Elizabeth, and Henry decide that they must resurrect Konrad, even after all of the trouble they went through to find the Elixir of Life that obviously failed. Of course, Victor finds help from his ancestor, Wilhelm Frankenstein, in entering the spirit world and beginning to make preparations to bring Konrad back. Mischief and creepy stuff ensue and the three friends learn more about one another than they ever imagined.

            I must say that Such Wicked Intent proves that it is possible to redeem a series. For some reason I was able to really enjoy this story, unlike its counterpart. Perhaps it was because I had an idea what to expect from this book and I felt that the characters were more developed. I also think that the adventures were more believable and even darker than the first. Luckily, a reread of This Dark Endeavor was not necessary and Oppel seemed to remind the reader of important details without too much retelling.

            Worth a read if you are looking for something quick, easy, and more on the dark side. (Perhaps while waiting for The Final Descent? Just don’t make the mistake of comparing Will Henry with Victor Frankenstein.)  

Monday, April 8, 2013

Get Teens Reading with The Knife of Never Letting Go by Patrick Ness Post #2

My days of teaching The Hunger Games are gone.  Students have already read it, “read it,” or seen the movie.  With a little help from my friends (Thanks Lorie and Tina!), I decided to teach The Knife of Never Letting Go (TKONLG).

How Patrick Ness slipped under that radar, I do not know.  I broke the book into six parts – one for every part of the book.  Students were responsible for reading the part, completing three dialectical journal entries, and being ready for the quiz and discussion.  On the very first day we discussed Part 1 of TKONLG, I had one male student in each class (of three) who had finished the book.  Those students have since finished or almost finished the series.  Needless to say student engagement is at all time high.

My favorite questions/statements are:
·         Will Aaron ever die?
·         Is Aaron a zombie?
·         I hate you! (after reading part 5)
·         How would you make us read this book? (after reading part 5)
·         Will Viola live?
·         What’s the name of the next book?
Half of my student said they will probably read the next book(s).  Go Reading!  (I have already observed several students reading The Ask and the Answer during SSR.)
If you are looking for a good book that captures the audience, check out TKONLG.  You won’t be sorry!
Just in case you have not read it, check out this book trailer:

Wednesday, April 3, 2013

When Death Comes Calling: Grave Mercy by Robin LaFevers

Just the facts:

Overall: 4 Stars

Addiction Level: I read it every waking moment.

Believe-ability: I daydream about the created world and wonder how I fit in.


            How to begin a post about assassin nuns? I’m not really sure, so I’ll start at the beginning. I happened to stumble across this book while perusing Goodreads, one of my favorite spots to peruse. At first I wasn’t really sure if I was going to delve into this book, after all it is set in old-school France and I’m not a big fan of Frenchie stuff. But, I decided to look it up and see if either of my libraries carried a copy. Alas, they did and it has officially topped my list of the best books of the year so far.

            As a novitiate of the Convent of St. Mortain, Ismae Rienne’s duty is to dole out death to whomever the convent, or Mortain himself, has identified. Grave Mercy follows the young Ismae Rienne on her third mission to fulfill the will of Death and this mission leads her straight into the tangled web of the court of Brittany. She soon learns that not everything is as it seems and few people, if any, are truly trustworthy.

            Fans of Kristin Cashore’s work will surely love Grave Mercy. Although vastly different stories, there is a wonderful feeling in Grave Mercy that mirrors that of the Graceling Realm. There are no super human gifts and the overall awesomeness of Ismae does not compare with that of Katsa, or Fire for that matter, but Ismae is easier to relate to because of this. The world of nobles and underground treachery is also complete in Grave Mercy.

            I loved that fact that Ismae was so relatable and that as a reader, I could watch her grow and build her sense of self. It was interesting to read as she began to question her role as an assassin, the convents role, and the roles of those around her. It was clear that LaFevers put a lot of thought and depth into Ismae’s process of discovery and the story was more complete because of it.

            I am officially hooked on the series and am eagerly awaiting the two companion novels, Dark Triumph and Mortal Heart. I am somewhat nervous to hear Sybella’s story as she has a dark side to her that makes me uneasy. I also want to learn more about Annith because I think her growth has the possibility to be even more dramatic than Ismae’s. Plus, I of course want to know if we will learn more about Ismae and all the other characters that I will not name here. (No need to spoil who dies and who doesn’t, yeah?)

Monday, April 1, 2013

And the winner is...

Congratulations to Lynn!

Lynn will get $10 Amazon gift card for winning our Spring Break Spectacular Giveaway. Of course we'll want to know what she's planning on reading, so she better have an idea  before we see her on Friday (if not before!). Plus, I kinda want to see her put a whole pouch of Big League in her mouth and blow a bubble while hopping on one leg. :)

Thanks to everyone who entered our giveaway and here's to winning the next time around!