Thursday, 24 December 2009
Fist of all we will have some new reviewers joining us soon. PomPom has officially come on board and there are two other volunteers who I will be getting names from and announcing soon.
Also, the delightful Debbie Viguie co author of the Wicked series has agreed to be interviewed. Zobdy is reading one of her books now and she and PomPom will be conducting the interview in January.
You may also have noticed the shelfari widget. We will be adding the books that we review to it as we go along.
Have a Happy Christmas all and we will see you next year.
Monday, 14 December 2009
Cassie stopped believing that when she was four. Her father had told her that her mother had been killed in a blizzard. But, on her eighteenth birthday, the Polar Bear King comes for her and she realises that the story is true and her mum could still be alive. She makes a deal with the Polar Bear King and says that she will marry him if he saves her mum. He agrees so she stays with him. Gradually, she begins to love him and when he is taken away, she makes a perilous journey to save him.
It is a great book with magic, mystery, excitement, action, romance and a talking polar bear. What more could you ask for? In places, the story didn’t move on as quickly as I would have liked it to but I loved it anyway. I read it non-stop in two days. I would love to read other books written by Sarah Beth Durst. I would recommend it for 10+ (probably girls).
Saturday, 5 December 2009
I enjoyed reading this book and will probably get back to it later but if I waited that long to write a review, it would be too late. I don’t know why, but I just couldn’t get into this book, it didn’t grip me. I got distracted by other things and, like I said, I’ll probably get back to it another time.
I normally like books like this, mysterious, mythical, a little bit gory, but it just didn’t make me want to read it. It was well written and it had an interesting story and I enjoyed it but I just didn’t get sucked in. Ironically, the Prologue says that an old man had just died and another man had been given his journal (the rest of the book) to read because it’s the kind of story he might like, but it says it sat on his shelf for nearly six months until he reads it and decides it’s nothing but fiction. I will probably be the same except I think I might enjoy the story more than he did when I finally get round to reading it properly.
Tuesday, 24 November 2009
I wish him all the best for future and hope when things settle down he'll return to blogging, even if not to us here.
In the meantime this means we are now severely under par. The one drawback of using younger reviewers is frankly school is a much bigger time suck than work so the more we have the better covered we are. On the plus side we get wonderful frank reviews about books from the agegroup they are aimed at.
I would like to open up the roster, if anyone out there is under sixteen and would like to review for us here at the youth site I would be delighted to have you on board! In order to maintain anonimity, if you are under 14 I would ask that you email reviews to me and I will post them, with your blog name at the end, as I do for MJ & Zobdy. If you are happy to receive occasional books to review from me then include your postal address when you email me and I will send them out to you from time to time, dishing them out as they come in to me. Worldwide postage is no problem although it may restrict you to paperbacks.
If you are interested please email me at hagelrat (at) googlemail (dot) com with your age, user name (not real name) and any strong reading likes/dislikes (do you hate horror or love historical novels? Are you a captain underpants fan?) .
I am happy for contact to go through a parent rather than being direct and there is no specific time commitment, as and when you can is fine.
Sunday, 1 November 2009
Troubadour is set in Southern France in the thirteenth century. The story starts in a Lord’s castle where the Lord’s thirteen year old daughter, Elinor, is making her first appearance as Lady Elinor, a young noblewoman. Her favourite troubadour (travelling musician), Bertran, is moving on to the next town and Elinor’s parents have arranged for her to be married to a Lord in his forties so Elinor, dressed as a boy, sneaks into another troubadour’s troupe with the help of the joglars and joglaresas (minstrels). As Elinor flees, the Pope declares war and the whole of Southern France is chaos.
The story starts with a scene in the Lord’s castle but then splits off into telling what is happening to Elinor, Bertran and also the Pope and his forces. As the story goes on, and we meet more characters and groups slit up, we see what is going on in lots of different places. I enjoyed this because if it had only been following one person there wouldn’t have been nearly as much information and it wouldn’t have been very interesting.
Also, at the back of the book, there is a glossary and historical notes. I found the glossary useful because there were words that I didn’t recognise and I found the historical notes very interesting because I had never heard of the French crusades and I enjoyed the background information.
I thought it was very well written and it kept me hooked. I was desperate to know what would happen to Elinor and her friends so I kept reading it. I would recommend this book to eleven plus.
Tuesday, 13 October 2009
Monday, 12 October 2009
Friday, 2 October 2009
Warriors of Ethandun
By N.M. Brown
This is a historical adventure fiction story. It’s set in Anglo-Saxon and Viking times. 21st century children travel back in time and find themselves in a seriously scary adventure!
This story involves magic, war and a bloodthirsty bear. I really enjoyed it but I thought it was too scary sometimes. The adventure was exciting.
The two 21st century children were my favourite characters. The author described them really well.
I think this book was a bit too old for me because there was so much fighting and the scary bear (don’t cuddle your teddy bear while you’re reading it!) But it was a good book and children aged 13+ will enjoy it.
(Hagelrat here. On reflection it possibly was a little old for MJ but I also read some of the book and whilst clearly judgement impaired when it comes to judging age suitability I also thought it was an entertaining fantasy adventure. A sort of updated Narnia. It's part of a series.)
Tuesday, 8 September 2009
Thursday, 3 September 2009
It is about the three Ashleys, Ashley Spencer (known as Ashley), Ashley Alioto (A.A.) and Ashley Li (Lili). They are the queen bees of the school and all wear the same style of clothes, have bags by the same designer and wear the same shade of pink lipgloss.
I gathered that in the previous book, Lauren Page, whose family had recently gained a lot of money, hatched a plan to join the Ashleys and break them up from the inside.
Everyday, the Ashleys (and Lauren successfully continuing her quest) go to Starbucks and have a Soy Latte each (Ashley’s favourite drink) and then they sit on the bench outside their school and “help the fashionably challenged” (make mean comments about the other girls’ clothes).
Trouble stirs when the mysterious S. Society sit on the bench and the war begins. Ashley is horrified and orders the attack. But maybe A.A. and Lili don’t want to be the same anymore?
Each chapter focuses on a different girl and I liked it because I could see what each of them were thinking and if they were planning anything that they haven't told the others. It also gives all four sides of the story so you can decide who was in the right.
I thoroughly enjoyed this book because it was fun to read and it was exciting finding out what they were going to plot next. I wish I could read the rest of the series. I would recommend it to girls between the ages of nine and fifteen.
Wednesday, 2 September 2009
Friday, 21 August 2009
The Hobbit by JRR Tolkien
Which genre of reading are you most interested in?
Nothing specific. I liked Science Fiction when I was younger.
Did you read or write at all when you were a kid?
I read (comics mostly) but I didn't write.
When did you start writing?
When I was 32.
Do you picture any of the characters from "The Fire Within" as yourself?
David is based on me when I was younger, but there are shades of an author's personality in all of the characters they write.
Out of all your books, which is your favorite?
Out of your characters, which one is your favorite?
When and why did you get into writing?
When I was 32 and to try something different from songwriting.
Are you currently writing anything now?
The next dragon book, as yet untitled.
And the random question (do not be offended, it's just a bit of fun
and it is interesting to see replys)....
If you accidently swallowed a T.V, and it was electricuting you, how
would you stop it?
I like to think I'd pull the plug out!
Tuesday, 11 August 2009
Friday, 7 August 2009
It is about a boy named Arthur Penhaligon who goes to a new school and is very asthamtic. During a school run, he has a terrible asthama attack, two other class members go to fetch a teacher, in the mean time two very strange characters show up expecting him to die. He is given a key, presumably one character; Mister Monday is supposed to take the key back when he dies, but Arthur lives. The key is now his and he unlocks a whole new world behind it all. An inventive idea in my opinion.
Many more strange people come to collect the key and they don't care how many people die doing it. A disease comes up from these people and soon enough most of the town has the disease known as "The Sleepy Plague", they can't wake up. The town is put in quarantine and Arthur is the only hope of finding a cure.
It's an interesting book and it is an easy read but I'd say it's suitable for children from age 11 up to adults even.
Rating: 3.5 Stars
I look forward to reading the rest of this series in the future.
Wednesday, 5 August 2009
The guidelines are simple any book suitable for children, teen and YA suitable for younger readers. Bad language is not permitted on Y&U for obvious reasons. That's about it. No particular time commitment is required, if you send me your email address, age and handle I will invite you to blog on the site, if you prefer not to be an accessable presence online then like MJ and Zobdy you can email me the reviews and I shall add cover images and pop them up with credit to your handle.
I have no issue with my team requesting books on the basis of their work for Y&U but would ask that you be respectful of our relationship with publishers, if you request a book, please review it, if they send it unsolicited then great if you can, if you don't fancy it perhaps offer it up as a giveaway or pass it to another member of the team.
I hope I will hear from one or two of you out there to really invigourate this new
Sunday, 2 August 2009
Tuesday, 28 July 2009
By Louis Sachar
I didn't want to read this book at first because the blurb on the back made it sound boring. Then I found out it was by the author who wrote 'Holes' so I thought it was worth trying. I thought the title looked cool because the letters were all buildings.
It's about a girl called Laura Sibbie who starts a club with her friends, called Pig City, when children aren't allowed to make clubs because of her school rules. Laura asks someone to join her club but they don't want to. So he makes a new club called Monkey Town. What makes this book interesting is the relationship between the two club leaders.
I usually like to read action stories but I still really liked this book. I would give it 10 out of 10!!!!!!!! This story is about people, secrets and friendships. It kept me glued to the story so much that I finished it in 2 nights!!!!!!!!!!!
Monday, 20 July 2009
The Thornthwaite Inheritance
By Gareth P. Jones
The Thornthwaite Inheritance is about identical twins, Lorelli and Ovid Thornthwaite. They live in a creepy mansion without a mother or father and are completely cut off from the rest of the village. Another thing which makes them different from most thirteen-year-olds is that they spend their time trying to kill each other.
It starts with a truce which causes a chain of events leading to the explanation of everything that happened to their parents. It gets very complicated towards the end when their history is uncovered. I would recommend reading this book when you are in the mood to work things out. If you read this when you are tired, you will get confused.
Overall, it is a great book, filled with action, mystery and murder. It is fun to read and I couldn’t put it down. As the plot unravels, remember, everything is not always as it seems.
Skulduggery Pleasant by Derek Landy
This book stars Skulduggery Pleasant and his side kick Stephanie. This is a detective book with a difference. He is dead.
With his sunglasses gone there is no doubt that he's a skeleton with a skull for a head. You have a skull for a head and you fight evil, they can just take off your head and throw it away; no they go and try to turn you to dust instead of that.
My favourite character is Skulduggery because he's funny and he's got a skull for a head that he won in a poker match. My favourite part is when he's in a room and he just keeps missing being turned into dust, because Serpine is trying to turn him into dust with the sceptre of the ancients but he just keeps missing and turning the walls to dust instead, and eventually Skulduggery turns Serpine into dust.
I like this book because it is funny, exciting and it has magic fireballs in it.
Skulduggery Pleasant - Playing With Fire by Derek Landy
Derek Landy is an excellent writer, with good thoughts and imagination. This is another book about the amazing Skulduggery Pleasant, and how escapes the trouble he gets himself into.
Valkyrie Cane (Stephanie) learns magic and together she and Skulduggery defeat the evil vampire, Dusk, and the Grotesquery. The Grotesquery is a huge monster made up of different magical creatures. It can even teleport a short distance.
My favourite part was when the cleavers kept attacking the Grotesquery in the same place to try to kill it because it had really hard skin. Eventually the Grotesquery killed the cleavers. So Valkyrie Cain picked up Tanith Low's sword and killed the Grotesquery. This is my favourite part because I like big battles in books, and this battle was really hard to win.
I liked this book because it was funny, exciting and adventurous.
Skulduggery Pleasant - The Faceless Ones by Derek Landy
This is the third book in the Skulduggery Pleasant series. I really like the bit at the bottom of the page, it says "Do panic. They're coming." This is an adventure book about a detective with a borrowed head.
This book is about a man called Batu, who really is a non-magical person called Paddy. He was trying to bring back a group of gods who take over and destroy the world. But he needed an Isthmus Anchor and a teleporter, but he has murdered all the teleporters except for two, and then he kills another teleporter so there is only one teleporter left, an he is only a child. If I tell you any more I will end up telling you the whole story.
My favourite part was when Solomon Wreath, a necromancer, tells Valkyrie Cain that they need to find Skulduggery's original head to open up the gateway. They want to open the gateway again to get Skulduggery out, and they can't use the Grotesquery to open it like last time because Skulduggery threw the Grotesquery into the other realm before he went in. It is my favourite part because it is going to be really hard because they don't know who took it except that it was elves.
I really enjoyed the book because it was funny and kept me in suspense.
Saturday, 18 July 2009
The Tales Of Beedle The Bard, Quidditch Through The Ages and Fantastic Beasts And Where To Find Them
By J.K. Rowling
This very entertaining trilogy is based on J.K. Rowling’s award winning Harry Potter series. All three are books that are in the Hogwarts school library.
The Tales Of Beedle The Bard is illustrated by J.K Rowling herself. It is a book of fairy tales that young witches and wizards are supposedly told as bedtime stories. With comments from the great professor, Albus Dumbledore, it is a very enjoyable book.
Fantastic Beasts and Where To Find Them is a copy of Harry Potter’s own text book, complete with his own amusing notes and jottings, often based on his own experience of these creatures. I enjoyed reading about the nundu and the lethifold and other creatures that I had not yet encountered in the Harry Potter series. There is a short foreword written, again, by Dumbledore, and an introduction by the “author”, Newt Scamander, complete with an A-Z of beasts.
Quidditch Through The Ages is supposedly taken from the Hogwarts school library. At the front, there are the names of the people who have taken it out plus a few jottings. It is the full history of the popular wizarding sport, Quidditch. It explains how the golden snitch was thought up, talks about some of the current teams and says how the game has evolved. Once again, there is a foreword by Dumbledore.
I recommend these books to Harry Potter fans everywhere. They can be read separately or as a set. They are small, uncomplicated books that are fun to read and easy to dip into when you’re bored. They might not be interesting for people who have not read the Harry Potter books, but if you have, they’re great!
Friday, 17 July 2009
I will eventually approach my lovely designer about a logo of it's own but for now it's a hatchett job by me, so sorry about that. He's very busy and I can't actually pay him, so y'know, wit my turn.
The point of this blog is that we now have two younger reviewers coming on board, looking at childrens and young adults books. I considered how best to divide content and settled on giving my tween bloggers their own space to inhabit. I think this is going to be a great place for teens and their parents to get a peer view on the books they want to read.
Anyway, we will be kicking off the reviews tomorrow with a look at three books designed to accompany the Harry Potter series.