Audio Review: The Throne of Fire (Kane Chronicles, Book 2) by Rick Riordan

By First Mate Keira

Title: The Throne of Fire (Kane Chronicles, Book 2)
Author: Rick Riordan
Format: Audiobook
CDs + Minutes: 11 CDs (Approx: 12 Hours, 48 Minutes)
Grade Reading Level: Ages 9-12

Summary: Apophis, the ancient Egyptian god of darkness chaos that takes the form of a snake, is breaking ever so slowly free of the prison that Ra, the sun god who represents order, banished him to eons ago. The Kane children have until the solstice to find the three aspects of Ra, combine them with magic, and convince Ra to help fight Apophis or it’s the end of the world.

The hard part? No, it’s not Vlad. Most of the gods don’t want Ra back because they last remember Ra as a weak and senile old man. How can such a god defeat Apophis? Shouldn’t the Kanes put their trust in another… perhaps Horace?

On the side, lots of new comers to the Brooklyn House show up and a few of these fledgling magicians have secrets of their own including a family curse. The House of Life is facing a threat from within while strongly opposing the Kanes’ plan to awaken Ra. Also Carter’s unrequited love is in danger and he’s got to find her! But don’t forget the Forces of Chaos will stop at nothing to see Apophis rise.

Why I started this book:

Read the first, needed something to listen to in the car on the way to and from work. :)

Likes:

  • The narrative style for this series is very suited to narration. The readers were brilliant and had a wide range of voices. They both somehow managed to be unique and yet have enough overlap in how they read certain characters to make the switches feel familiar and the character voices as well.
  • Bes is a god of little people or dwarves (term used in book). He bet some of his height and lost once way back, which is why he’s short. He’s also extremely ugly and uses his ugliness to scare away others be they regular people, magicians, or gods. But he’s also considered extremely lucky so most Egyptians will gladly be around him if he isn’t actively trying to frighten them. What I liked best about Bes was that he simply helped out with no agenda. That’s rare. He’s a true friend to the Kanes.
  • The trip down the river to find and put Ra back together… he’s rather like Humpty Dumpty.

Dislikes:

  • Walt is 15? 16? Sadie is just now 13? Excusez moi? Yes, Sadie talks like a 15 year old and seems as mature as her older brother Carter, but she’s not. And while I do enjoy her boy crazy ramblings, the reciprocation on the guys’ (Walt and Anubis) part doesn’t make sense spelled out. This is why I continually wish she and Carter had been twins instead of merely siblings.
  • Two Southern American accents? Jaz? Hippo goddess? Um… one is enough. It’s too distinctive.

Last Minute thoughts: While there are some downsides for me in the story, one thing is always true about Riordan. He promises and delivers no matter the series or book an epic adventure.

Buy: The Throne of Fire (The Kane Chronicles, Book Two), The Throne of Fire (Audiobook)

Rating: 4 Treasure Chests

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Audio Review: Insurgent (Divergent Trilogy, Book 2) by Veronica Roth

insurgentReviewed by First Mate Keira

Title: Insurgent (Divergent Trilogy, Book 2)
Author: Veronica Roth
Format: Audiobook
Length: 11 hrs and 22 mins
Narrator: Emma Galvin
Grade Reading Level: Grades 9 to 12

Summary: War looks more inevitable by the hour. The Dauntless faction is split. Some have sided with Erudite, the faction that brainwashed them into becoming murderers, and the rest are seeking sanctuary wherever they can. Tris and Four search out Amity and Candor and find out that every faction is facing problems… and then there is the factionless, those who have been forced out because they couldn’t pass initiation rites. Now is the perfect time for them to flex their muscle and rise out of the shadows. Danger is everywhere… who will Tris trust?

Why I started this book:

I started the series at the recommendation of a friend and continued because I liked the first book.

Likes:

  • The natural growing pains of Tris’ and Tobias’ relationship.
  • Tris’s natural fortitude to resist serums. You should never take or succumb to mind-altering drugs. I understand the author implies the resistance is due to genetics, but it’s also a choice.
  • I like that Candor and Amity factions are equally messed-up. The author has really developed the world in which the trilogy takes place.

Toss-up:

  • Four/Tobias joining Tris in Erudite. On one hand it’s incredibly romantic… sort of… because on the other hand, it’s completely selfish.  “You want to turn yourself in? Fine. So will I.” Now they’re both stuck and nobody is left to rescue them. Clearly, Tobias is not the brains of the operation/relationship.

Dislikes:

  • Tris’ brother is an idiotic, self-righteous, numbskull. How was he smart enough to get into Erudite when he’s got the common sense of a pea-brain and the compassion of a snake-in-the-grass?
  • I’m not a fan of the psychological torture in the book. It does make the situation more bleak and desperate. I’m not saying it doesn’t add drama… the idea is repugnant that someone supposedly intelligent would feel the need to go to such lengths to protect themselves and their way of life that abusing kids is considered okay. Why is the rest of the faction equally moronic and morally corrupt?
  • All factions rely on serums to rule and control. Clearly the ideology is that the more medicated the population is the better for those in charge.

Buy: Insurgent (Divergent Series), Insurgent: Divergent (Audiobook)

Rating: 2.5 Treasure Chests
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Review: Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban by J.K. Rowling

prisoner of azkaban

Reviewed by Captain Lyaf Yarr

Title: Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban
Author: J.K. Rowling
Format: Hardback
# of pages: 435
Grade Reading Level: 5.9; Ages 11+

Summary: School hasn’t even started and there’s and escapee from a high security wizarding prison out to kill Harry Potter. He has been warned not to be looking for Sirius Black by Arthur Weasley, but as Harry said to Arthur, “Why would I go looking for someone I know wants to kill me?” At school the Ministry of Magic has put a guard in place made up entirely of Dementors. The Dementors are only suppose to be in charge of the wizard prison, but Cornelius Fudge seems to think their presence will inspire confidence in the populace. Though how we do not know as Sirius Black has escaped the guards once already! Harry’s life is in danger in more ways than one this year.

Why I Started the Book:

I read this book because I’m continuing to reread the Harry Potter series.

Likes:

  • I liked it when Malfoy got his “just desserts” for insulting Buckbeak the hippogriff.
  • Rowling came up with a really fun artifact– the time turner. I especially enjoyed its use and the turn of events at the end of the story. I thought Dumbledore’s omniscient handling of the predicament to save Buckbeak and Sirius Black was excellent.
  • The Marauders Map was awesome! I liked how it showed where everyone was and where they were going. Now if only it showed the difference between a person in Animagus form and the normal human form.
  • The Dementors were scary, but awesome, and I loved reading the parts where they were mentioned.
  • Remus Lupin is a fantastic character! He was helpful, knowledgeable, and patient. The best Defense Against the Dark Arts teach to date in the books!

Dislikes:

  • I greatly disliked Draco Malfoy and his father. Yes, they’re characters to love to hate, but it really is unfair what they can get away with because they’re Malfoys. For instance when they got Hadgrid in trouble after his first Care of Magical Creature lesson. It clearly wasn’t his fault.
  • I didn’t like Hermoine deceiving and depriving Harry of his new Firebolt. She could have handled her concerns better instead of going above Harry to a teacher.

Last Minute Thoughts: This book is where the series takes off and fleshes out.

Buy: Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban (Paperback), Harry Potter Paperback Boxed Set (Books 1-7), Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone (Audio Book), Harry Potter 1- 7 Audio Book Collection

Book Rating: I give this book 5 treasure chests for cleverness, creativity, and creepy creatures!
tc5

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Audio Review: Peter and the Starcatchers (Peter and the Starcatchers, Book 1) by Dave Barry and Ridley Pearson

peter-and-the-starcatchers

Reviewed by First Mate Keira

Title: Peter and the Starcatchers (Peter and the Starcatchers, Book 1)
Authors: Dave Barry and Ridley Pearson
Format: Audio book
Length: 8 hours and 39 minutes
Narrator: Jim Dale
Grade Reading Level: 5th Grade+

Summary:  This trilogy is about how Peter Pan became Peter Pan.

Orphan boy, Peter, and his fellow Lost Boys, are sailing on the Never Land to become servants to King Rundoon when they are attacked by pirates during a storm. The pirates are lead by the vicious Black Stache and Peter barely escapes with his life. Both crews and passengers are marooned on an island inhabited by natives and a monstrous creature called Mr. Grin. Peter and his friend Molly Astor must protect a “treasure” at all costs or risk the bad guys gaining unlimited power.

Why I started this book:

Jim Dale was the narrator. Enough said. This guy is a genius with voices!

Likes:

  • Settings – descriptions – characters – the humor! Very action packed!
  • Lots of fun stuff for boys! Truly a great book series for young readers. It is a swashbuckling adventure not to miss.
  • The descriptions are gripping. I would not want to eat ship food meant for the crew. Shudders.
  • I love how every wild and fantastical idea rolled right into the story of the beloved Peter Pan.

Dislikes:

  • I was hoping the “star stuff” was in fact pixie dust. Oh well. Clever story.

Buy: Peter and the Starcatchers, The Starcatchers Series Box Set

Rating: 5 Treasure Chests
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Review: Across the Universe (Across the Universe, Book 1) by Beth Revis

Reviewed by First Mate Keira

Title: Across the Universe (Across the Universe, Book 1)
Author: Beth Revis
Format: Hardback
Page Count: 416 pages
Grade Reading Level: Ages 14 and up

Summary: Godspeed is a spaceship that was sent into space by a group on earth, hoping to find a new earth planet. Amy joined her parents aboard as frozen cargo, not wanting to grow up without them. The journey is only supposed to take 300 years, so when Amy awakes she thinks they must have landed, but that is not the case. They can’t put her back to sleep without risking that she might never wake up again. That leaves Amy stuck on a spaceship, fifty years from its destination that is slowly spiraling into chaos. This is so not what she signed up for at all. How can she get her life back?

Why I started this book:

I picked this book up to read because it has been floating around the blogosphere for some time now and I’ve seen it on the shelf at the library. After reading and enjoying the Hunger Games I went searching for more books to read that would give me a similar read of dystopia and romance. This book fit the search criteria.

Likes:

  • The alternative view of history by a group of people stuck in outerspace desperately hoping to avoid mutiny. (Still horrifying! Amazing how awful histories can be rewritten to sound like a good thing – but that’s propaganda for you.) Take heart; never trade the illusion of safety for the actuality of freedom.
  • The heroine has some guts.

Toss-Up:

  • How the Elder/Eldest is perpetuated. It’s hard to like a hero when you see how he can be warped. It does bring up an interesting issue about personality/character/individuality/soul.

Dislikes:

  • I can’t believe they are really fifty years from reaching the planet. I really thought they were already there and orbiting around the planet for some reason.
  • Oh and the creepy descriptions of getting frozen or waking up from being frozen – and is it me or does the idea of two strangers (middle age men) putting your naked body (teenage female) into a deep sleep seem like a really terrible idea? Where were the female scientists to cover the issues of propriety?

Buy: Across the Universe

Rating: 3.5 Treasure Chests

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Review: Geek Charming by Robin Palmer

by First Mate Keira

Title: Geek Charming
Author: Robin Palmer
Format: Paperback
Page Count: 338
Grade Reading Level: Grades 7-11

Summary: Dylan Schoenfield is the most popular girl in school and is dating the most popular boy. Girls want to be her and who can blame them? She’s got everything… wealth, looks, and the hottest handbag on the market. When she accidentally tosses it into the mall fountain she begs Josh Rosen, a geeky boy from school, to go in and grab it for her. He holds out until she promises to help with his film project… and then in classic Frog Prince fairytale style, Dylan retracts her offer until daddy makes her go through with it. Is disaster looming in the future or will everything turn out all right?

Why I started this book:

I started this book because I read and enjoyed Cindy Ella.

Likes:

  • Dylan has been so wrapped up in being popular that she’s totally removed from reality. Diva doesn’t begin to describe her. She says a lot of thoughtless things which come out very mean but her heart’s good.
  • Josh keeps his promise to show Dylan and the popular kids in a fair light. Too bad he accidentally grabs the wrong DVD for the premiere of the documentary.
  • That Josh gets with his dream girl, Amy Loubalu, and that Amy is a nice forgiving girl who befriends Dylan again after Dylan’s fall from grace.
  • Josh and Dylan’s budding friendship and bonding over Woody Allen and Everything But the Kitchen Sink Specials.
  • Dylan’s helpful and kindly meant makeover for Josh taking him from super nerd to geek chic.

Dislikes:

  • Josh is a hypochondriac who checks out every minor phantom thing out on WebMD and is completely hooked on his inhaler. He turns that inhaler into a security blanket and uses it for stress, embarrassment, and nervousness. Addicted much?
  • Josh’s friend Steven is a jerk who turns the popularity documentary into Revenge of the Nerds without thought to the damage it would do.
  • Dylan’s friends are hypocrites. Lisa and Hannah both hold Dylan’s shallowness and casual thoughtlessness against her but they are just as bad.
  • Dylan’s popular surfer boyfriend is the worst boyfriend ever and Dylan’s self denial about the situation was old before it started.

Buy: Geek Charming

Rating: 3.5 Treasure Chests

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