Saturday, January 14, 2017

Immortal Rules

The Immortal Rules
by Julie Kagawa
Published 2013 by Harlequin Teen
Already owned

This book was ultimately very good, although it began a little bit slowly for me. 

Allie is a Fringer, living Unregistered on the edge of the Vampire City. She has a small gang of three other people, but she is the only one brave enough to venture beyond the city for food and supplies and risk the danger of Rabids. Until she finds a massive stash of cans in a cellar. Then she needs the help of her gang, a choice which changes Allie's life entirely.

I think what baffles me the most about this book is the cover changes. The one in this review is from the copy I owned. However, the original shows a girl who reads as white with a tear of blood rolling down her face. Allie is very consistently described as Asian.  Thankfully, it looks like the sequel The Eternity Cure was released with a more accurate cover.

While I will likely read the sequel, it's not high on my list. This does give at least a modicum of closure to the story.

Monday, January 9, 2017

Hilda and the Stone Forest

Hilda and the Stone Forest
by Luke Pearson
Published 2016 by Flying Eye Books
Borrowed from the library

This is the fifth book in the Hilda series, but it is the first of the series I have read. I managed to jump right in with very little issues, although some of the characters were a bit unclear to me.

Hilda is a delight of a character. She's brave but also thoughtful and kind. She has a hard time listening to her mother and being careful because she is so focused on helping out others and going on adventures. Of course this gets her into trouble. The kind of trouble where she and her mom end up in a mysterious forest. 

I would highly recommend this graphic novel series to anyone who enjoys books that are heavy on the fantastical with a small dash of realism.

Sunday, January 8, 2017

Amelia Lost: The Life and Disappearance of Amelia Earhart

Amelia Lost: The Life and Disappearance of Amelia Earhart
by Candace Fleming
Published 2011 by Schwartz and Wade
Borrowed from the library

While I knew that Amelia was lost at sea during a flight around the world, I had no idea she had another crewmate, and I had no idea all that led up to her flight. Fleming opens the book with a note about the complexity of researching a person who put forth intentional misinformation about themselves. This was an interesting bit to me. We don't think about how people can choose to represent themselves in any way, how the stories they tell may be nothing more than fiction. I don't read a lot of biographies, but I have enjoyed Fleming's The Family Romanov, a book where she didn't feel the need to make such a note. Now I'm wondering how often misinformation becomes fact because someone creates it as their own truth.

Back to Amelia. I enjoyed learning about Amelia's youth. How she worked as a nurse during World War I, how she went to college (briefly), and how she fell in love with the idea of becoming a pilot. I also love how Fleming works hard to paint Amelia honestly. Amelia was not infallible, and according to Fleming's sources, she was not even that good of a pilot. She was, however, an excellent press piece. And I enjoyed reading about the many ways Amelia and her friend-then-husband George made money off of America's desire to make a spectacle of a female pilot.

However, my favorite part of this book is the way Fleming presents Amelia's final day. She notes the many people in various places who claim to have heard Amelia calling on the radio. She notes where Amelia could have possibly been in order for the signal to travel that distance. She also explains why most of these people were not believed at the time. 

I would highly recommend this book to people who love an unanswered mystery as well as to those who love learning about historical figures.

Saturday, January 7, 2017

Sanctuary Review

by Nora Roberts
Published: 1998 by Jove
Already owned

I found this book in a box of old books at my parent's house. I couldn't remember for sure if I had read it or not, so I decided to give it a read before donating it. 

I realized about halfway through that I had, in fact read it before. But I could not remember exactly how the mystery panned out. I finished it and was satisfied with the resolution.

Jo Ellen is a photographer with a new book deal in the works. She's also being stalked. She decides to return to her home, an island named Desire and an inn named Sanctuary. There readers meet her sister, Lexy, and her brother, Brian. We get to follow the three of them as they are romanced, but also as two of the island's residents are murdered.

I would definitely recommend this book to fans of mystery and romance. 

Tuesday, January 3, 2017

Exit, Pursued by a Bear

Exit, Pursued by a Bear
by E. K. Johnston
Published: 2016 by Dutton Books (Penguin Random House)

Hermione and Polly have one goal as cheerleading co-captains: avoid the second half of the curse of their small town. The first part of the curse is that each class has someone die. The second part is that each class has one teen pregnancy.

When Hermione is raped at cheerleading camp, the outcome is obvious. And the choice she makes fall in line with her desire to change the curse of their town. But making that choice has a different set of consequences.

I appreciated Johnston's optimistic outlook of a tragic event. She also approaches the subject with a honesty, not shying away from the trauma of surviving sexual assault or the choices that are rarely shown in teen literature. In fact, as far as I know, this is the only book where the choice hasn't already been made before the book begins.

So I appreciated this book for its new actions, and it read smoothly, but it wasn't quite a five star book for me. Highly recommend to readers who like "tough topic" reads.

Sunday, January 1, 2017

The Complete Brambly Hedge

The Complete Brambly Hedge
by Jill Barklem
Published: 1980/2011

I love these beautiful and simple stories of the field mice (and voles!) living in the Brambly Hedge. The illustrations are lovely and intricate. I could pour over them for hours. I would have adored this as a kid, and I can see some of my students loving it. The stories are quaint, like the mice live in the 1700s or 1800s. I am a particular fan of the Winter Story with its gorgeous ice halls and winter feasts. 

I would highly recommend this book to people who prefer "quiet" stories and intricate watercolor (I think?) illustrations.