Childrens' & YA Archives

June 15, 2005

Gathering Blue

Gathering Blue, by Lois Lowry

I had to pick up this book when I saw it at the book store because it's a companion to one of my all time favorite books "The Giver," also by Lois Lowry. The only thing I didn't like about it (or "The Giver" for that matter) was that when it ended I wanted to know more! I tend to think that's the mark of a good book. When it's finished you want it to keep going just so you can find out what happens to the characters next. What are they like when they grow up? Do they accomplish their dreams? Does it work out right or are there more problems?

It said in the back of the book that there's going to be a third book to kind of finish the "trilogy" that she's going after. I sure hope it's soon!

July 3, 2005

The Bad Beginning

The Bad Beginning (A Series of Unfortunate Events, Book 1), by Lemony Snicket

When a person goes on vacation and checks a book out from the library while on vacation... well, it's difficult to bring said book with them on the plane! So, I bought one at one of the book stores in the Mpls airport. (Sooo very glad that Mpls is such a great airport! Lots of things to do there)

I first heard about this Lemony Snicket person from a rather well-known half-elf. I think this was the first time I ever heard of the man or his horrid books. Since then I've seen the movie (a co-worker brought it to work on a weekend few weeks ago, I rather enjoyed it. Even if it is Jim Carey whom I normally can't stand)

Anyway, getting back to the point. I figured some nice easy reading would be just right for the plane so I picked up the first one in the series. Read about 60 pages while waiting to board, and then finished it on the flight! Took me maybe 2 or 3 hours to get through the whole thing, but that's including boarding and getting distracted by fellow passengers and all that. But heck, an entire book in one sitting isn't half bad!

Turns out the kid across the aisle from me (maybe 9 or 10 years old, very cute precocious little blond girl) was reading the newest one in the series! Number 12 if memory serves.

As for the book itself, I liked it. It's one of those books that kids can read, but have more going on on another level for "grown-ups" to enjoy. I'm definately going to have to read the rest of them, but I think the library might be in order since they're about 10 bucks a pop and only take a couple hours each to get through. Unless some lovely person feels like buying a couple for me... (kidding)

So that's my first impression of Lemony Snicket!

August 21, 2005

The Reptile Room

The Reptile Room (A Series of Unfortunate Events, Book 2), by Lemony Snicket

This would be book number two in the Series of Unfortunate Events series of books by one Mr. Lemony Snicket.

I'm kind of disappointed that I saw the movie before I read these. I think I'd like the books a lot more if I didn't know what was going to happen. But I think the movie only covers books 1-3 so maybe once I hit book 4 I'll really like them. Not that I don't like them now, I just think they'd be more entertaining if I didn't know what I know. (does that make any sense at all?)

I am curious if Mr. Poe will ever start believing the kids when they tell him something instead of constantly dismissing them. And is Olaf the villain in all the books or just the first couple? I'm thinking that he is, seems too good a villain to have him killed or captured or anything like that.

In any event, next time I'm somewhere with books I'm going to have to pick up book number 3!

January 31, 2006

The Wide Window

The Wide Window (A Series of Unfortunate Events, Book 3), by Lemony Snicket

It's another Lemony Snicket book! I think this is the last one that they drew from for the movie, but I'm not positive. I'll just have to read the next one to find out!

So this time there were leaches and a paranoid aunt for the kids to handle.

I feel like I'm supposed to be writing some huge review on here, even though it's my own blog and I can do whatever I want with it. Since it's mine and all that.

So there! I'm not writing a review for this one! It's a Lemony Snicket book, it's the third one in the series, and now I'm moving on to my next book!

March 28, 2007

The Miserable Mill

The Miserable Mill (A Series of Unfortunate Events, Book 4), by Lemony Snicket

This is the fourth in the Lemony Snicket series.

This time the kids are trapped in a saw mill and things don't go very well (as you would imagine). And there's some brainwashing for good measure.

July 6, 2007

Maximum Ride

Maximum Ride: The Angel Experiment, by James Patterson

This is what happens when I go home on vacation... I bring multiple books because I know I'll read a lot while I'm home. And then I don't read what I brought, I buy something new and read that. And have to fit the extra books into my suitcase on the way back.

Anyway! This is by James Patterson and is one of those "young adult" books that are wonderful guilty pleasure reading. We have kids that have been genetically messed with to have wings. They've escaped from the scientists and are on their own, but of course the bad guys hunt them down and they have to escape again. Yes, it's predictable, but I wasn't looking for difficult reading with this one.

It's fun fantasy reading, and I'm a total sucker for stories about people with special abilities/super powers.

July 16, 2007

Maximum Ride - School's Out Forever

Maximum Ride: School's Out - Forever, by James Patterson

The second book in this series by James Patterson. The second one picks up pretty much exactly where the first one left off, which is a great way to get you to buy the next book, I have to say!

There's a lot more of the conspiracy and destiny stuff in this one. What I said about the first one holds for this as well. It's fun light reading.

Really the only thing that bugged me was the Ari character. I know, these are kids with wings, I shouldn't expect reality, but the Ari stuff really rang false to me.

January 20, 2008

Maximum Ride: Saving the World and Other Extreme Sports

Maximum Ride - Saving the World and Other Extreme Sports, by James Patterson

This would be the third book in the Maximum Ride series by James Patterson.

I'd say I had a similar reaction to the first two. It's a fun read, not very complex, but it isn't meant to be so that's ok. And besides, kids with wings? That's just kinda cool to contemplate.

This one does wrap up a number of the loose ends and I was assuming it was going to be the end of the series, but I just saw a posting on-line somewhere for a fourth book so I guess not!

My one complaint is the whole weird blogging/kid revolution thing. Yes, as a kid that would have appealed to me in a book and since this is aimed at "young adults" that makes sense. But, as a sort of grown up (and when exactly do I become a grown up? I sure don't feel like one most of the time!) it just seems kind of ridiculous. Yes, I blog and have for years and I do think it can do amazing things. But this went waaaaay beyond that. And without any "adults" involved. I just have a hard time believing a bunch of kids could go storm some military complex without any kind of guidance or planning or anything.

I know, it's a story, it's fantasy... and I have no problem accepting kids with wings! But when there's an element that brings me out of the story, I think that's a problem.

But mostly it's just a fun quick read!

February 12, 2008

Wizard's Holiday

Wizard's Holiday, by Diane Duane

Number 7 in the Young Wizards series by Diane Duane...

I read the first six books in this series quite a while ago and it was a lovely little surprise to find two more.

In this one Nita and Kit go on a sort of wizard foreign exchange program which is supposed to be a bit of a holiday for them and of course isn't. They have to help an ancient race of people from becoming completely stagnant.

And Nita's sister is at home and there are wizards staying with them as part of the program and while they're there they discover that there is something seriously wrong with the sun and they have to fix it.

May 11, 2008

Little Brother

Little Brother, by Cory Doctorow

This is Cory Doctorow's new YA sci-fi book. If you go to his website he has electronic copies of it available under a Creative Commons license. There's a great donation system set up too so that those of us who read the ebook version can get the book to libraries/schools that want it.

I really really liked it. It's one of those books that gives you a ton to think about afterwards.

It's basically a "what if" kind of book. What if a few more civil liberties were taken away, what if there was a bit more surveillance of people, a bit more invasion of privacy. The thing that's really freaky is that all the various technologies that are used in the book are things that are possible right now, they just aren't being done or at least not to the extent they are in the book. So then it becomes... how much are people willing to give up to feel "safe"? Where is the line when we say enough is enough?

Aside from the "big idea" stuff, it's just wonderfully geeky. The kids in the book use websites that I use; they do things I do (or that people I know do). And he's dedicated each chapter to a different book store! Which, to me anyway, gave the whole thing this feeling that it's a celebration of books themselves.

And don't let the whole "YA" thing turn you off, it's a very good book whether you're a teenager or somewhat older than that.

October 23, 2008

The Final Warning

The Final Warning, by James Patterson

Fourth in the Maximum Ride series by James Patterson.

This one was kind of "eh" for me. Not that the previous three are great literature or anything, they're just fun easy reads. This one however, came off really preachy.

I think what worked before was that it was mostly about these kids who just wanted to be normal kids. That seemed to take a backseat to "The Message" this time. It ended up being a let's jump on the environmental/global warming band-wagon thing.

Not that the environment isn't important, it is. But it completely took over the book and in a very heavy handed way. It felt more like propaganda than a book one would read for enjoyment.

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