Review: The Spirit War (The Legend of Eli Monpress, Book 4) by Rachel Aaron

spirit warReviewed by First Mate Keira

Title: The Spirit War (The Legend of Eli Monpress, Book 4)
Author: Rachel Aaron
Format: Ebook
Page Count: 544 pages
Grade Reading Level: Ages 15+

Summary: Eli Monpress is on his way to earning the largest bounty in the world. Along the way he gathered friends, master swordsman Josef Leichten, and demonseed Nico. When Josef finds his name on the bounty list jump higher than Eli’s he says he has to head his home in Osera. Eli and Nico tag along and discover their friend is really a prince! Then a second impossible bit of news reaches them – the Immortal Empress is on the move and she’s coming to claim the world.

Why I started this book:

I’ve been enjoying the series. I can’t believe there is one left!

Likes:

  • How Josef procured the Heart of War.
  • How Josef really melded with the Heart during this book.
  • Eli’s time with the Shepherdess and what makes him change his mind about being with her.
  • We learn why Eli wants the outrageous bounty he requires.
  • The entire Spirit War!!!
  • What Eli does at the very end – I just have to say “You got served!”


Dislikes:

  • Sharp Mountain – Good thing Miranda escapes! Poor Slorn.
  • Eli’s parents – what is wrong with them? Seriously.

Last Minute Thoughts: OMG cliff hanger! Wow!

The Spirit War (An Eli Monpress Novel)

Rating: 5 Treasure Chests

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Movie Review: The Karate Kid directed by Harald Zwart

by Captain Lyaf Yarr

Title: The Karate Kid
Director: Harald Zwart
Run Time: 140 minutes
Rated: PG

Summary: Dre Parker and his mom move to China because of her work. The first day they get there he gets beat up by a kid name Cheng because he’s caught flirting with Meiying (Cheng’s friend that he likes). Cheng continues to bully him until Dre decides that he needs to learn karate and gets a teacher aka the maintenance man for his and his mom’s apartment that they’re staying in. Mr. Han sets up a showdown with Cheng at a very quickly upcoming tournament. Dre is scared for his life!

Why I watched this movie:

This movie looked really good and I love Jayden Smith!

Likes:

  • I love Sherry Parker (Dre’s Mom). Especially when She’s all like ‘DRE! PICK UP YOU’RE JACKET!’ And he looked so miserable when Mr. Han made him put on, take off, drop, and hang up his jacket.
  • I liked the scene when Meiying and Dre were at the puppet theater and they kissed! It was so cute and funny how everyone else could see it because they were in front of the projector.
  • In that scene I also thought that when Dre and Meiying were pinky promising was cute!
  • The friendship between Dre and Mr. Han is really sweet. It’s like a father son relationship. Loved!

Dislikes:

  • Why is Dre’s teacher named Mr. Han? Why not Mr. Miyagi? :(
  • I thought that Meiying looked a little too old for Dre in the movie. They’re about 2 years apart which isn’t much when you’re older, but it’s funny when you’re younger. Though it could be just the height difference.

Last minute thoughts: I have to admit, I was a little disappointed not to see Jayden waxing cars or painting fences. But I still liked watching him pick up his jacket!!!

Buy: The Karate Kid

Movie Rating: 4.5 Treasure Chests

See the originals: The Karate Kid Collection (Four Film Set)

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!
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Review: The Dark Side of Nowhere by Neal Shusterman

by Captain Lyaf Yarr

Title: The Dark Side of Nowhere
Author: Neal Shusterman
Format: Paperback
Page Count: 192
Grade Reading Level: Grades 6-9

Summary: Jason has always lived in the same town his whole life and thinks it’s so boring. But when Jason’s friend, Ethan dies from a burst appendicitis everything changes. Not only is everyone sad that he’s gone but something really weird happens. Grant, the janitor tells Jason that Ethan isn’t dead. Is he right? How is that possible? Then Jason is given a robotic-like glove by Grant and finds out that his whole life has been a lie. Everybody he knows, including himself, are aliens!

Why I Started the Book:

I started this book because it was a book we were reading in class before school got out for the year. We didn’t get to finish it so I decided to cheek it out of the library.

Likes:

  • The writing in this book was phenomenal! I was at the end of my seat after every chapter. I could understand how the characters felt and their whole experience. It was like I was there in the same situation.
  • I liked how his parents never lied. He told Jason the truth about them through a bedtime story, he just didn’t know it was true.
  • The cover of this book is way awesome and fits the suspenseful  haunting quality of the story.
  • The book’s main point is what it means to be human.

Last minute thoughts: I wouldn’t suggest anyone under sixth grade read this book. It’s very dark and I don’t know if they would understand everything or just be completely creeped out.

Neal Shusterman is my favorite author at the moment! I look forward to reading more of his books!

Buy: The Dark Side of Nowhere

Book Rating: I give this book 5 treasure chests!

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Review: Ender’s Game by Orson Scott Card

ender's gameReviewed by First Mate Keira

Title: Ender’s Game
Author: Orson Scott Card
Narrators: Stefan Rudnicki, Harlan Ellison
Format: Unabridged Audio Book
# CDs + Minutes: 9 CDs (11 hours, 11 minutes)
Grade Reading Level: 9th Grade
Summary: In a near-future society, the human race is in a war against the buggers, a hostile alien race, who nearly won twice in two wide scale confrontations against humankind. Fearing a third invasion, a system was put in place to discover and train child prodigies in the art of war. This system found Ender Wiggin, and set a course for him unlike any other kid that has gone before. Is Ender the general humankind desperately needs?

Meanwhile a second (side) plot revolves around Earth, Ender’s siblings, and it’s three separate governing bodies. The Hegemon, Strategos, and Polemarch, all struggle for supreme control and threaten humankind on the home front. Peter and Valentine are determined to make the world over in their image and work to achieve this through the “Nets” to influence how the masses think. Are two kids capable of achieving that sort of influence?

Why I Started This Book:

I can name approximately half a dozen boys over the last several years telling me I had to read this book. It was essential, a must read! I caved. Got it in audio format, because I’m grooving it right now and settled in for the long haul. I now have to apologize to the first five guys who said to read it and I ignored. Great book!

Likes:

  • Orson’s style of writing. It’s obviously a style meant to be read aloud; in fact audio format is the best version to meet this book and is something the author mentioned at the end of CD #9.
  • Orson’s writing is very evocative. You see pictures and feel emotions and think thoughts as if you were a part of the book itself.
  • Battle School is fantastic. I loved it when Ender finally goes up in rank and starts commanding. The mock battles are some of my absolute favorite moments.
  • The surprising twist at Command School. It was an ending I did not expect it. I liked it even more when Orson took the story further and explained the aftermath. That too did not go how I pictured it might. Frankly, I was expecting that Ender was going to have to watch out for Peter.

Dislikes:

  • Very little. I was going to say the graphic nature of some of the fights or the violence but as Orson pointed out in his ramble at the end of the CD #9 the language is in fact very plain. All graphic nature is rendered through the reader.

Last Minute Thoughts: It’s definitely a book for boys as it deals on many fronts issues boys face more often than girls such as bullying and warfare. Ender also goes through a crisis of identity of self. He does not want to be a killer (or hurt others) but is forced to become one. I think the following quote explains this very well:

Unlike his brother, Ender does not take pride in destroying others and commits this action because he is often pushed into situations which demand physical defense. This portrayal and situation in the novel justifies Ender’s actions. (Nick M. on Amazon.com)

I am glad I came to this book now instead of earlier in my life. I don’t think I would have appreciated it then. I do now. It’s terrific! I’m giving the audio book to my dad and telling him to listen to it. He’s on CD #2 and loves it so far.

Buy: Ender’s Game (Unabridged Audio Book), Ender’s Game (Paperback), The Ender Quartet Box Set (Ender’s Game, Speaker for the Dead, Xenocide, Children of the Mind)

Find books by Orson Scott Card on ebay.

Book Rating: 5 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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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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