Saturday, September 26, 2009

Prom Nights From Hell (Various Authors)

The Guernsey Literary and Potatoe Peel Pie Society

The Guernsey Literary and Potatoe Peel Pie Society by Mary Ann Shaffer and Annie Barrows

From Publishers Weekly

Starred Review. Shaffer's debut novel, written with her niece Barrow, is an original account of one writer's relationship with a member of a unique book club formed as an alibi to protect its members from arrest at the hands of the Nazis during WWII. With a small cast of gifted narrators including Paul Boehmer, Susan Duerdan, John Lee, Rosalyn Landor and the enjoyable Juliet Mills, this production is first-class from top to bottom. The narrators' British dialects, each quite regional and equally as different as they are ear-pleasing, serve the story well and allow Shaffer's words to leap from the page into the hearts and minds of her listeners. The final result is an almost theatrical experience with a plethora of enthusiastic performances. A Dial Press hardcover (Reviews, Apr. 21).(July)
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Life Lessons from the Book of Mormon

Life Lessons from the Book of Mormon by Jack R. Christenson and K. Douglas Bassett

Friday, September 18, 2009

Catching Fire by Suzanne Collins

Joe and I have just finished reading Catching Fire, the sequel to Hunger Games by Suzanne Collins. I had a hard time imaging what Ms. Collins could spin out after reading the Hunger Games. The sequel is equaling compelling, adventurous, gripping, and romantic. Now Joe and I are wondering what we will do with our time waiting for the third book in this series to come out in September 2010? Any suggestions? (Perhaps Christopher Peollini will finally finish his Eragon series!)

Catching Fire
  • Reading level: Young Adult
  • Hardcover: 400 pages
  • Publisher: Scholastic Press; 1 edition (September 1, 2009)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0439023491
  • ISBN-13: 978-0439023498
From School Library Journal
Starred Review. Gr 7 Up--Every year in Panem, the dystopic nation that exists where the U.S. used to be, the Capitol holds a televised tournament in which two teen "tributes" from each of the surrounding districts fight a gruesome battle to the death. In The Hunger Games, Katniss Everdeen and Peeta Mellark, the tributes from impoverished District Twelve, thwarted the Gamemakers, forcing them to let both teens survive. In this rabidly anticipated sequel, Katniss, again the narrator, returns home to find herself more the center of attention than ever. The sinister President Snow surprises her with a visit, and Katniss’s fear when Snow meets with her alone is both palpable and justified. Catching Fire is divided into three parts: Katniss and Peeta’s mandatory Victory Tour through the districts, preparations for the 75th Annual Hunger Games, and a truncated version of the Games themselves. Slower paced than its predecessor, this sequel explores the nation of Panem: its power structure, rumors of a secret district, and a spreading rebellion, ignited by Katniss and Peeta’s subversive victory. Katniss also deepens as a character. Though initially bewildered by the attention paid to her, she comes almost to embrace her status as the rebels’ symbolic leader. Though more of the story takes place outside the arena than within, this sequel has enough action to please Hunger Games fans and leaves enough questions tantalizingly unanswered for readers to be desperate for the next installment.
Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.

Wednesday, September 16, 2009

Hunger Games by Suzanne Collins

Joe and I finished this quick read late last night. The following review is not complete accurate by Ms. Turner who wrote the Attolia series (masterfully written). I may have missed it, but unlike The House of the Scorpion (an excellent book), Collins does not specifically place Panem in a future United States. I pictured more of a European Union gone bad. A wonderful, fast paced read. Not for young, young adults (violence, manipulation, survival all detailed).

From Publishers Weekly
Starred Review. SignatureReviewed by Megan Whalen TurnerIf there really are only seven original plots in the world, it's odd that boy meets girl is always mentioned, and society goes bad and attacks the good guy never is. Yet we have Fahrenheit 451, The Giver, The House of the Scorpion—and now, following a long tradition of Brave New Worlds, The Hunger Games. Collins hasn't tied her future to a specific date, or weighted it down with too much finger wagging. Rather less 1984 and rather more Death Race 2000, hers is a gripping story set in a postapocalyptic world where a replacement for the United States demands a tribute from each of its territories: two children to be used as gladiators in a televised fight to the death.Katniss, from what was once Appalachia, offers to take the place of her sister in the Hunger Games, but after this ultimate sacrifice, she is entirely focused on survival at any cost. It is her teammate, Peeta, who recognizes the importance of holding on to one's humanity in such inhuman circumstances. It's a credit to Collins's skill at characterization that Katniss, like a new Theseus, is cold, calculating and still likable. She has the attributes to be a winner, where Peeta has the grace to be a good loser.It's no accident that these games are presented as pop culture. Every generation projects its fear: runaway science, communism, overpopulation, nuclear wars and, now, reality TV. The State of Panem—which needs to keep its tributaries subdued and its citizens complacent—may have created the Games, but mindless television is the real danger, the means by which society pacifies its citizens and punishes those who fail to conform. Will its connection to reality TV, ubiquitous today, date the book? It might, but for now, it makes this the right book at the right time. What happens if we choose entertainment over humanity? In Collins's world, we'll be obsessed with grooming, we'll talk funny, and all our sentences will end with the same rise as questions. When Katniss is sent to stylists to be made more telegenic before she competes, she stands naked in front of them, strangely unembarrassed. They're so unlike people that I'm no more self-conscious than if a trio of oddly colored birds were pecking around my feet, she thinks. In order not to hate these creatures who are sending her to her death, she imagines them as pets. It isn't just the contestants who risk the loss of their humanity. It is all who watch.Katniss struggles to win not only the Games but the inherent contest for audience approval. Because this is the first book in a series, not everything is resolved, and what is left unanswered is the central question. Has she sacrificed too much? We know what she has given up to survive, but not whether the price was too high. Readers will wait eagerly to learn more.Megan Whalen Turner is the author of the Newbery Honor book The Thief and its sequels, The Queen of Attolia and The King of Attolia. The next book in the series will be published by Greenwillow in 2010.
Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.
  • Reading level: Young Adult
  • Hardcover: 384 pages
  • Publisher: Scholastic Press (September 14, 2008)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0439023483
  • ISBN-13: 978-0439023481

Saturday, September 12, 2009

Home of the Brave by Katherine Applegate

This young adult story is told in couplet form almost as if the boy is singing in verse (perhaps as his native language may be said). It is well written. It tells the tale of a young imigrant from Sudan who has lost his brother, and father to the war there and was separated from his mother in a relief camp. He is sent to live in Minnesota where he learns about snow, friendship, English, department stores, hope, and some familiar things of the past.

Friday, September 11, 2009

Princess at the Midnight Ball by Jessica Day George

A surprising tale from Ms. Day. This retelling of a fairytale is placed in Germany and you can read the growth in her writing. This is my favorite of this author currently.

Thursday, September 10, 2009

Wings by Aprillyne Pike

A debut novel for Ms. Pike it had some interesting and adventurous parts in it about "fairies" among us.

Saturday, September 5, 2009


From School Library Journal

Starred Review. Grade 8 Up—In this debut fantasy novel, Cashore treats readers to compelling and eminently likable characters and a story that draws them in from the first paragraph. In Katsa's world, the "Graced," those gifted in a particular way, are marked by eyes that are different colors. Katsa's Grace is that she is a gifted fighter, and, as such, she is virtually invincible. She is in the service of her tyrannical uncle, king of one of the seven kingdoms, and she is forced to torture people for infractions against him. She has secretly formed the Council, which acts in the service of justice and fairness for those who have been accused and abused. Readers meet her as she is rescuing the father of the Lienid king, who has been abducted. The reasons for his capture are part of a tightening plot that Katsa unravels and resolves, with the help of Prince Po, the captive's grandson. He has his own particular Grace, and he becomes Katsa's lover and partner in what becomes a mortally dangerous mission. Cashore's style is exemplary: while each detail helps to paint a picture, the description is always in the service of the story, always helping readers to a greater understanding of what is happening and why. This is gorgeous storytelling: exciting, stirring, and accessible. Fantasy and romance readers will be thrilled.—Sue Giffard, Ethical Culture Fieldston School, New York City
Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved. --This text refers to the Hardcover edition.

  • Reading level: Young Adult
  • Paperback: 480 pages
  • Publisher: Graphia; Reprint edition (September 7, 2009)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0547258305
  • ISBN-13: 978-0547258300
Joe and I enjoyed this read. I would give it three out of five stars.
I don't like the author's opinions about marraige which she reflects on Katsa who does not get married and can't think she ever will because she would lose her "independent spirit." Her character is not as memorable or developed as some and while entertaining was not an "instant bridge" for me into her world.