Monday, January 28, 2013

Zahn's Review: Found by M. Haddix

Zahn's Review: Found by Margaret Peterson Haddix
Title: Found
Author: Margaret Peterson Haddix
Series: The Missing  book 1
Genre: Mystery
Pages: 314

Goodreads Description: 
Thirteen-year-old Jonah has always known that he was adopted, and he's never thought it was a big deal. Then he and a neighbor, Chip, who finds out he's also adopted, begin receiving mysterious letters, saying things such as: "You are one of the missing," and, "Beware! They're coming back to get you." Jonah, Chip, and Jonah's little sister Katherine are plunged into a mystery that involves the FBI, a vast smuggling operation, an airplane that appeared out of nowhere—and people who seem to disappear and reappear at will...and make a staggering discovery: Jonah and Chip, and some other kids are actually the missing children from history, stolen for profit by time travelers. Now, they are caught in a battle between two opposing forces that want very different things for them--and their choices will determine the course of their own lives, and the lives of their friends.

My Summary: This book starts out with a strange plane appearing out of nowhere in an airport landing post, with 36 babies and no adults on board. Then it goes to 13 years later, where Jonah, his sister Kathrin, and their friend Chip start to get strange letters saying they are one of the missing. Looking around to see what it means, they both look into their adoption letters and find a name, James Reardon, Jonah and Kathrin talk to him and discover a airplane that mysteriously appeared one night at an airport. When they search into it more, they found Chip and Jonah, who are both adopted, were on that plane. They talk around and find a person who will tell them about that night, but come out with more questions than answers. Then a meeting for adopted kids comes up, and when they go to it time smugglers try to take them to the future. This is when JB, a janitor Jonah and Kathrin net before, tells them that they are the lost children of time and he must send them back. Jonah and Kathrin, Chip and Alex, all get sent back to the 15th century, and a whole new adventure begins.

I liked that this book had never ending nail-biting excitement throughout the whole book.

I did not like that it was confusing in most the book.

I rate this book 4 out of 5 foxes. 

Reviewed by Zahn

Saturday, January 26, 2013

Quentin Blake, Illustrator

Have you ever admired the illustrations of Quentin Blake? You may recognize his work on the covers of Roald Dahl's collection. Blake is an amazing artist; his works are a perfect companion to Dahl's novels as well. I couldn't be more pleased with his work. I find his illustrations so curious and simple - they're just delightful! I don't even know what I would give to go see his exhibit. Check out this video and tell me what you think about Sir Quentin Blake, Illustrator. 

Sunday, January 13, 2013

Review: Slam by Nick Hornby

Slam by Nick Hornby
Pages:304 pages
Publisher:Putnam Publishing Group
Source:My landlady's bookshelf
Buy:Amazon - BN - Book Depository

Goodreads Description: 
For 16-year-old Sam, life is about to get extremely complicated. He and his girlfriend—make that ex-girlfriend— Alicia have gotten themselves into a bit of trouble. Sam is suddenly forced to grow up and struggle with the familiar fears and inclinations that haunt us all.

Nick Hornby’s poignant and witty novel shows a rare and impressive understanding of human relationships and what it really means to be a man.

My Review: 
Have you ever read a book that tells you its ending before it happens? Nick Hornby's "Slam" did just that. Now, before I mislead you, I should say that I really enjoyed this book. It was an excellent and compelling read! The story is about Sam, who impregnates his girlfriend, Alicia. 16-year-old Sam is about to be a father. The thing I loved about this story is that it wasn't plot-driven. Sam gets "flashed" to the future a couple times and in both instances the reader knows exactly what is coming. The flashes into the future, while they give away key plot points are a unique gesture on Hornby's part to make a literary statement. Hornby's novel "Slam" isn't written with high energy action sequences to move the reader along, but instead critical thought on the development of the child and his progress into adulthood. It is often a bit frightening knowing the thoughts of young Sam. He's a teenage boy with difficult choices to make and the joy of the novel is reading how Sam solves his problems. Sam isn't a hero in many ways; as a reader, I found myself defending both Sam and Alicia - a real dilemma in my own mind. The beauty of this book is the simple characters who are faced with life-changing decisions. Of course, Hornby's book isn't without its bouts of humor. "Slam" is a wonderfully written book told from the mind of a teenage boy. It's a great read for anyone, but I really loved the fact that it was written from the perspective of a boy because the world can always use more quality, life-changing books for teen boys. All I can say is "read this book!"

I give "Slam" by Nick Hornby 5 out of 5 foxes for its emphasis on character and relationships, along with unique plot forms that engage the reader's interest through fulfillment of prediction. The predictability of the plot doesn't make the story boring, rather it's quite humorous and thought-provoking.

Thursday, January 10, 2013

Review: The Turbatus Bones by Jack Speight (Bone of Evil)

**Before I get on to the review, I would like to briefly, yet officially announce that I am back to the blogging world. I arrived home from England a few weeks ago and will be sharing more and varied book reviews for you all! Now, on to the less boring stuff. **

The Turbatus Bones #1 Bone of Evil By Jack Speight
Pages: 306
Publisher: Createspace
Series: Book #1
Source: received from author

Goodreads Description:
There are four Turbatus Bones: HEALING, LIGHT, FORTUNE, and EVIL. Together, they give the power to travel through space and time. Apart, they can heal, reveal, destine, or doom anyone foolish enough to pick them up. And they are currently scattered across the fierce and fantastical realm of Tarkan.

When young orphan Jackson Walker discovers it is in his power to reunite the bones and find his parents, the quest begins. What Jackson doesn't anticipate is that the bones desperately want to be found by seemingly anyone except himself. When one of the bones falls into the hands of the cruelest man in all of Tarkan, the tyrant Mal, it will take all of Jackson's courage and cunning to retrieve it.

Luckily for Jackson, he is far from alone in his quest. His world is filled with quirky characters: Seven the oversized dog, Radio Flyer the undersized dragon, Jinda the distinctly disfigured herbalist, and the feisty and gorgeous serving-girl, Claire. All of whom are caught, with Jackson, in the perfect realm for fantasy - a world quaking with the turbulence of war, romance, and magic. Written as the first installment of The Turbatus Bones series, The Bone of Evil is ultimately as much about adventure as it is about finding a place in this world (or the next).

My Review:

First of all, this is a review I intended to write months ago. So apologies to anyone who had been waiting to see this review. If that wasn't you, then ignore this and pretend that I'm a good, timely person who reviewed this book on schedule.

I began reading this book and was immediately impressed. The book was fast-paced like every adventure ought to be, and the short chapters really added to the appeal of this book as a quest novel. You can't really go wrong with a crotchety old woman with several missing appendages and an over-sized St. Bernard who speaks and never bathes. I loved that this book has two young boys as protagonists. I had a difficult time at first imagining Jackson and Ome as children-sized. When it comes to the "hero on a journey" character, I tend to picture a brawny young man with emerging intellect, yet a large amount of innocence. Speight's characters break this literary habit; it made for a very refreshing read. Jackson, the young bonemaster, has a likeable courage, but a curious and dark intelligence that makes the boy seem less of a boy and more of a young soldier. And, were back to the 'ol "hero on a quest." Jackson was a very curious character to me and I enjoyed reading his emotions slowly unfold. I look forward to learning more about Jackson in the upcoming novels. "The Turbatus Bones" has a various and unique cast. I thought the each character was compelling and well-rounded, and each served a part of the plot, which really tied the whole story together.

The plot of the story was one of the most unique I have read in some time. I don't read too much Science Fiction, but I can't recall any stories about bones being gathered to help people travel to new world, especially none that take "payment." It was very interesting. And the book climaxed smoothly, everything came together. When the book was finished, my heart was pounding and my fingers were itching to turn just one more page. Good thing there is a sequel!

I give this a four out of five foxes for its fast-paced reading and its ability to engage reader curiosity. The plot was thick and the characters substantial. Speight really did quite a marvelous job on this book. It's a great read middle grade to teen reading.

Check out the Spotlight and author interview I did with Speight earlier.

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