Saturday, June 27, 2015

Frozen in Time by Ali Sparkes

This is one of the funniest and best science fiction books I have ever read. Rachel and Ben are bored to death with it raining every day. When the sun finally comes out, they go outside and find an underground vault in their garden! That's not all- inside they find two children around their age that have been in cryonic suspension since 1956! The children, Polly and Freddy, are shocked to learn that it is actually 2010. Freddy and Polly are actually Rachel and Ben's great-aunt and uncle! In a newspaper article from 1956 it says that their father is suspected for murdering them, and that their father has vanished! Freddy and Polly can't believe that their father would just leave them, and they are determined to find him. They can't go back, so now they are stuck in present time with microwaves, cars, earrings, CDs, computers, and so much more that's different that they have to get used to.

I loved how funny it is. Polly and Freddy's reactions to present day things are hysterical. Polly's reaction to earrings are especially funny! Freddy's solutions to problems are quite odd- but they work, and they're very funny! The general idea of the book is a great idea, and fun to imagine. There are other things blended in, and it is not focused on one thing, it has a lot of elements in it that add up to an amazing story.

The only thing I don't like is that there isn't a book number two. I really recommend this book, and I hope you all will be laughing along!

Title: Frozen in Time
Author: Ali Sparkes
Publisher: EgmontUSA
Pages: 320 pages
Series: no
Rating: 5 Stars

Wednesday, June 24, 2015

The Big Game of Everything by Chris Lynch

While I was browsing at my public library for something to review, the title of this book caught my attention. Although the story did not seem that interesting, I decided to give it a try. The summer before Jock starts eighth grade, he and his brother (Egon) and his sister (Meredith) go work at their grandfather's golf course. He believes the key to life is to have money, and Egon soon becomes greedy and obsessed with money, too. It doesn't help that their grandfather's ex-Marine friends come to visit, who are pretty much the richest people on earth.

One of the many problems about The Big Game of Everything is that it just went on and on about useless stuff that really could have just taken up a couple sentences, rather than a couple paragraphs. Also, there are some important details that were mentioned early on, but in the mix of the other stuff it was really easy to miss, since there were only a few sentences about it. A lot of times in the book I had to reread some stuff for it to make sense. Not because of the reading level, but because of the voice and the way that it was worded. I will say that it takes a lot of reading in between the lines to figure stuff out.

There were some events that I felt could be left out, and the story and the outcome would still be the same without it. The ending seemed a little rushed, like there was only allowed to be a certain number of pages in the book.

I don't recommend this book, but if you decide to go ahead and read it anyway, please note that it is boring, hard to comprehend, and I really think it is best for high school students.

Title: The Big Game of Everything
Author: Chris Lynch
Publisher: Harper Teen
Pages: 288 pages
Series: No
Rating: 1 Star

Monday, June 22, 2015

Series Review: Percy Jackson and the Olympians by Rick Riordan

Teen fans of Greek Mythology and fantasy will enjoy the Percy Jackson series. There are five books in this series.

Book 1: The Lightning Thief
Book 2: The Sea of Monsters
Book 3: The Titan's Curse      
Book 4: The Battle of the Labyrinth
Book 5: The Last Olympian

Percy Jackson goes to a school for "bad kids" and accidentally-on-purpose destroys his teacher, who apparently was a monster. He is then taken to Camp Half-Blood, the only safe place for demigods. A demigod is a son or daughter of a god, also known as a half-blood, which happens when a god marries a human. Percy is the son of Poseidon, God of the Sea. A demigod's job is to help the gods in wars or other disasters. The huge disaster in this series is The Titan War. The Titans escaped and set out to seek revenge on the gods. Some of Percy's friends side with Cronus, the Titan king, and it is up to Percy and his friends to stop the rebellion and destroy Cronus before he destroys them.

My friend recommended this series, and at first, I was a little reluctant, but I soon fell in love with Greek Mythology and Percy. Anyone who wants to learn Greek Mythology should read the Percy Jackson series. It answers a lot of questions that you wouldn't think to ask and describes some legends and myths in way simpler terms than Google or textbooks.

Book one, as shown in the photo above, was a little a bit of a disappointment compared to the others because it didn't have much excitement. The other books in this series are very action-packed. I strongly urge you to continue the series, even if you don't love book one. If you don't like book two, then maybe this isn't the series for you. Please continue to book two because it is completely different than book one and much more interesting.

There are movies of the first two books, but don't watch them until you read the books because it won't make sense at all.  The best book in this series is book five, and you will not be disappointed with the ending!

Title: Percy Jackson and the Olympians Book 1: The Lightning Thief
Author: Rick Riordan
Publisher: Disney Hyperion Books
Pages: 377
Series: Yes, Book 1
Rating: 4 Stars


Sunday, June 21, 2015

Losing It by Erin Fry

This is a great realistic fiction book for teens. Bennett Robinson lost his mother to cancer when he was five, and to cope, he and his dad watch baseball. Bennett is a huge Dodgers fan, but doesn't think that he could ever play, because he is so overweight. He is so overweight that he sweats just getting off the couch. One day while watching baseball, his dad has a stroke because of his weight, and Bennett doesn't know if his dad will live or die. With no other family members, Bennett is forced to move in with his Aunt, who is personally taking up a new role- to help Bennett lose weight and be healthier. At school, Luis and his gang take a special interest in bullying fat kids. Tired of it all, Bennett decides to put his fate in his own hands, and with determination to help his dad and put the day-to-day struggles to a stop, he joins the cross country team.

One of my favorite things about Bennett is that he doesn't give up. Instead of thinking that his dad will die, he puts all his energy into helping him get better. Instead of giving in to Luis's insults and demands, Bennett just does his best to ignore it. And most of all, when his legs hurt like they're going to fall off, or when everybody tells him he can't do it, or when he just wants to give up and go back to bed, Bennett doesn't! He keeps going, even when it seems that it can't get any worse. It takes a lot of self-esteem and courage to do what he did, and that should be admired.

Losing It expresses that you can't give up, and you can do anything that you put your mind to. It showcases a lot of things that happen to us, and I believe that this book could motivate or help people just like Bennett. I very, very, very strongly recommend this book.

Title: Losing It
Author: Erin Fry
Publisher: Two Lions
Pages: 271 pages
Series: No
Rating: 5 Stars

Friday, June 19, 2015

The Heartbreak Messenger by Alexander Vance

This is a book you are likely to find at a middle school book fair. Quentin likes to help his friends, and so when he is offered $20 for delivering a break-up message, he earns the nickname "The Heartbreak Messenger." He doesn't think that it's that bad, just have to see girls cry, no big deal, right? Well, it is when they get mad and take it out on Quentin! He soon finds out that personal life can get in the way of being a messenger, and lying to his friends is hard. He learns that being in a relationship is harder than it seems.

This book was okay. The plot was not well developed, and it was boring. It's kind of the same, and there isn't a climax, or anything. To tell you the truth, this book could be used as a bedtime story! Some of the time a little more information could be told, and more detail about his parents would be helpful. Quentin's mom could have been a little more responsive, and it disappointed me when it wasn't eventful.

However, there are some positives. The book definitely has its laugh-out-loud moments, and you can kind of relate to him in some ways, and it is a book that was worth my time to read, but I can't say that it will be a book that I would be reading over and over.

I do recommend reading it, but don't buy it, because it's not worth owning.

Title: The Heartbreak Messenger
Author: Alexander Vance
Publisher: Feiwel & Friends
Pages: 288 pages
Series: No
Rating: 3 Stars

Wednesday, June 17, 2015

Bot Wars by J.V. Kade

Ever since Trout St. Kroix's dad disappeared two years ago while fighting in the Bot Wars, Trout has been looking for him. The Bot Wars began after robots became so human-like that they revolted and demanded more rights, causing the government to ban them from the Districts. Trout always believed the government. That is, until a video he posts to help find his dad goes viral, and the government abducts his brother, Po. Everything he thought he knew is now wrong, and the only way out of this puzzle is to find his dad, and that means throwing away everything he knew.

I liked the topic of the book, and robots taking over the world seemed very funny, and I thought it would be great! Unfortunately, I was very disappointed. I began this book not loving it, but was planning to finish it, until I had to put it down. For about a week, I forgot to pick it back up. I happened to stumble upon it yesterday, and all I remembered was that I was not a big fan. Looking back, I should have never picked it back up. 

The concept is very twisted, and the plot is sometimes hard to follow. In general, the amount of detail is hard to understand. In some parts, there is a lot of it, but on a part that doesn't matter that much, and not enough detail in the parts that do! Sometimes there would be a key piece of information that I feel is missing, so it gets challenging to keep up with. I think there should have been more in it about the humans, and not so focused on the robots and technical details. I feel that the book is shoving more things in it than is comprehensible.

The author (J.V. Kade) categorized it as a middle grade reading level, but I think that it should be Young Adult High School. I don't recommend this book, even for an advanced middle grade reader.

Title: Bot Wars
Author: J.V. Kade
Publisher: Dial Books for Young Readers
Pages: 368 pages
Series: Yes, Book 1
Rating: 2 Stars

Tuesday, June 16, 2015

Keeper of the Lost Cities by Shannon Messenger

In my opinion, Keeper of the Lost Cities is the best fantasy book for teens. 12-year-old Sophie Foster has been living with humans her entire life, but has always thought she was "something other." Sophie has a very rare ability to read minds without even trying. Then, she meets Fitz, a strange boy who can also read minds, and informs Sophie that she is a telepath, and that she is an Elf. Sophie is forced to leave behind everything and move to a world where she does fit in, with a ton of unanswered questions.

I discovered this book by browsing my public library. Its title and cover caught my attention immediately. I have read this book over and over and over, and each time I want to read it again. I absolutely guarantee that you will be laughing at Sophie's reactions and mistakes. The amount of detail in the book is amazing, and with twists and turns you never expect what happens. Keeper of the Lost Cities really made me think, and I was thrilled to find that it was better than I ever thought it could be. 

This is the first book in this series, and there are currently three books out, with the fourth coming in November 2015. This book is a must-read for anyone who loves fantasy!

Title: Keeper of the Lost Cities
Author: Shannon Messenger
Publisher: Aladdin
Pages: 496 pages
Series: Yes, Book 1
Rating: 5 Stars

Monday, June 15, 2015

The Running Dream by Wendelin Van Draanen

One of the best books for teens is The Running Dream. The book focuses on 16-year-old Jessica, who has lost one of her legs due to a fatal accident. Now, she must face the fact that she might not be able to run again.

What I love the most about this book is how realistic it is. The Running Dream calls attention to a lot of real life problems and concerns that most of us fail to notice, even when they are sometimes right before our eyes. The book showcases day-to-day struggles with family, friends, and high school as well as the more uncommon ones such as losing a body part and Cerebral Palsy. It has elements that everyone can relate to.

Overall, the book starts out as fairly sad, but as the story progresses, the mood becomes more positive. I very strongly recommend this book, and I hope you love it as much as I do.

Title: The Running Dream
Author: Wendelin Van Draanen
Publisher: Knopf Books for Young Readers
Pages: 332 pages
Series: No
Rating: 5 Stars
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