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: Igraine the Brave by Cornelia Funke

by Second Mate Embry, guest reviewer

Title: Igraine the Brave
Author: Cornelia Funke
Format: Hardcover
Page Count: 212
Grade Reading Level: Ages 9-12

Summary: As a daughter of two magicians, Igraine is expected to follow in their footsteps, casting spells and concocting potions, right? Actually, all she wants to be is a knight and have adventures. She gets her chance when Osmund the Greedy tries to take over the castle, and her parents are turned into pigs! Luckily her brother is making a potion to turn them back, but he needs one more ingredient. Will Igraine become a knight, save her parents, and beat Osmund? Or will Osmund the Greedy rule over the castle with an iron fist forever?

Why I Read This Book:

I read this book because I have enjoyed other books by Cornelia Funke and thought that I would try it. Also, that back blurb caught my attention in the library and sounded interesting.

Likes:

  • I like the idea of a 12 year-old knight. She’s fighting for us pre-teens!
  • I liked the magic used by Igraine’s brother and parents; it seemed unstoppable.
  • So we know Igraine wants to be a knight, right? Well she would be a knight with one fear: Spiders. I thought it was hilarious that out of all the fears she could possibly have, her ONLY fear was spiders.

Dislikes:

  • I found myself skimming this book to get it finished. It didn’t really hold my interest and more than anything I just wanted to finish it. Some parts of the book I enjoyed, but I like to be totally captivated during the whole book, not just good parts here and there. I’d be all excited about something that happened and curious to read on, but then instead of finding more rising action it was more of a plateau and that got very dull very quickly. I think Cornelia Funke could have made this book a lot more intense by keeping the rising action strong.

Buy: Igraine The Brave

Rating: 2.5 Treasure chests!

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Review: Will Work for Prom Dress by Aimee Ferris

Reviewed by First Mate Keira

Title: Will Work for Prom Dress
Author: Aimee Ferris
Format: Paperback
Page Count: 272 pages
Grade Reading Level: Ages 12-16

Summary: Quigley Johnson and her best friend Anne Parisi have joined together to get jobs, buy dresses, find dates, and go to prom. It’s all part of the betterment plan. But playing a corpse or dressing as pickle aren’t exactly glamorous, that’s why when Anne’s designer mom offers them positions as models for fledgling designers they both jump on it. They like 2 young men there, but with two boys courting them at school it’s hard to know who to ask as their formal date.

Why I started this book:

Goodreads recommended it to me based on books in my TBR pile.

Likes:

  • How Quigley handles David throughout the book and especially at the end when his pranks are hurting others.
  • Poor Quigley goes through a lot of minor mortifications – face full of dressing as the corpse, having to dress as a pickle, etc. She gets through it all with aplomb.
  • I like how she gets her art focus and pursues it almost absently. Additionally I love how her anger at life gives her a great idea for a speech.

Toss up:

  • Anne is sort of a good friend. There are things she does well, like stick with Quigley through thick and thin, but then there’s a lot she does not. One of which is leaving Quigley behind while chasing after boys. She also gets into a scrape with the police for vandalism.

Dislikes:

  • Zander was really harsh at one point in the book and honestly I don’t feel Quigley should have gotten back together with him, despite his reasons. They could have been friends. I would have preferred that honestly.
  • This book was one I picked up and put down a bit, but once I pushed through the slow part it was smooth sailing.

Buy: Will Work for Prom Dress

Rating: 3 Treasure Chests

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Review: The Seeing Stone by Tony Diterlizzi and Holly Black

guestreview

by First Mate Keira, guest reviewer

Title: The Seeing Stone (Book 2: The Spiderwick Chronicles)
Author: Tony Diterlizzi and Holly Black
Format: Hardcover
# of pages: 109
Grade Reading Level: Ages 9-12

Summary: When Simon is captured by goblins, Jared and Mallory must find a way to get him back. Thimbletack knows what to do but he’ll only rhyme and give clues. Angry, Jared attacks Thimbletack and gets the seeing stone. Suddenly all things fey come to light!

Why I Started the Book:

I got three Spiderwick novels at once so I could read them back to back. This is book number two.

Likes:

  • The goblin species – part frog in appearance with wicked looking teeth that are not their own.
  • Hogsqueal, the hobgoblin. His spit allows the Grace children to see the fantasy kingdom right under their nose.
  • The troll in the lake. Good thing he’s not very smart or the kids would be in serious trouble.

Dislikes:

  • Tibbs getting eaten. Poor cat! How gruesome!
  • Thimbletack the brownie/boggart is one wicked little creature who makes a lot of mischief. I’m not sure he’ll stay as a dislike as I read more of the books, we’ll just have to wait and see what he does.

Buy: The Seeing Stone (The Spiderwick Chronicles, Book 2), The Spiderwick Chronicles (Boxed Set; Books 1-5)

Book Rating: 3 Treasure Chests
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Keira runs a book review blog for readers by readers on romance novels entitled Love Romance Passion. She’s been reading romance since she was in her teens and began blogging about romance so she could share her passion for her favorite genre. She loves reading paranormal, Regency, historical America, and highlander most of all and completely adores blind and wounded heroes.

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Review: The Bad Beginning (Book 1) by Lemony Snicket

by Cook Cutlery, guest reviewer

Title: The Bad Beginning (Book 1) Series of Unfortunate Events
Author: Lemony Snicket
Illustrator: Brett Helquist
Format: Hardback
Page Count: 162
Grade Reading Level: Ages 10+

Summary: Violet, Kluas and Sunny Bauldilair were at the beach when Mr. Poe comes and tell them that their parents had died in a fire. At their house all they find are ashes. Arrangements are made so that the kids live with Mr. Poe at his house while he tries to find them a relative to live with on a permanent basis. Mr. Poe finds them a place to live with Count Olaf. At Count Olaf’s many bad things happen to them… in a series of unfortunate events!

Like:

  • I love Violet. She is always trying to invent something. For instance, later in the story Violet invents a grappling hook out of old clothes and old wire. How does she think of things like that so quickly? I would be hard pressed that is for sure.
  • Justice Starauss is very kind to the kids. He lets them use the library and helps them buy food so they can cook for Count Olaf and the troupe of people living with him.
  • Klaus and Violet are always taking care of Sunny and making sure she doesn’t get into trouble. I have a hard time with one sister that’s closer to my age! So while it might not be very accurate in normal circumstances, the Bauldilair kids are a whole other ball of wax.

Dislike:

  • Mr. Poe doesn’t believe them when they are trying to tell him that Count Olaf is a terrible man and gives them way too many chores to do. Mr. Poe should know what sort of kids they are from when they lived with him and it’s really important for adults to take kids seriously when it comes to stuff like that.
  • When Count Olaf puts on a play that is called the Marvelous Marriage. In actuality it is not a play but a real marriage ceremony. He wants to get the Bauldilair fortune that they were left with and does it through trickery. Plus, can you imagine being married to the guy? Gross!

Buy: The Bad Beginning (Hardback), The Complete Wreck (A Series of Unfortunate Events, Books 1-13), The Trouble Begins: Books 1-3, The Situation Worsens: Books 4-6, The Dilemma Deepens: Books 7-9 , The Gloom Looms: Books 10-12

Rating: I give this book 3 out of 5 treasure chests.

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Review: Frankie Pickle and the Mathematical Menace by Eric Wight

by Gangplank Gigi, guest reviewer

Title: Frankie Pickle and the Mathematical Menace
Author: Eric Wight
Format: Kindle ebook
Page Count: 96 pages
Grade Reading Level: Ages 9-12

Summary: Frankie Pickle has a secret life inside his imagination (this aspect is in a graphic novel format). Frankie draws all over his math test as his imagination leads him, but he is given an extra few days to re-take it. Over those days, he is so busy he doesn’t have time to do any studying, but he finds out that his parents have been teaching him math through the things he does in life (such as baking with his father.)

Why I started this book:

I read this book to my 6.5 year old grand daughter after reading it for myself. It was bought on my Kindle.

Likes:

  • This book is a good one for boys, because it is about Frankie.
  • He happily passes the re-take, even if he still uses his imagination.

Dislikes:

  • It was very difficult to read the graphic novel portions on the Kindle. It was black and white both on Kindle and on iPad. (Probably because I bought it as a Kindle ebook versus through the iPad store.) The graphic sections are much easier to read on iPad.

Buy: Frankie Pickle and the Mathematical Menace

Rating: 3 Treasure Chests

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