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: 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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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: Spartan Frost (Mythos Academy, Book 4.5) by Jennifer Estep

spartan frostReviewed by First Mate Keira

Title: Spartan Frost (Mythos Academy, Book 4.5)
Author: Jennifer Estep
Format: Ebook
Page Count:
Grade Reading Level: Ages 14+

Summary: What Logan Quinn is up to right after he leaves Mythos Academy. He deals with his angst over being possessed and almost killing Gwen.

Why I started this book:
Love the series and asked for the book as a Christmas present, which I got. Thanks, Mom!

Likes:

  • I enjoyed Logan’s point of view (POV) of what happened the day he almost killed Gwen in Crimson Frost (Book 4). His worry, guilt, and concern over hurting her and how he could potentially hurt her again is very sweet and tender. Logan truly cares for Gwen.
  • It’s a highly important novella in terms of defining what is going to happen between Gwen and Loki. I wonder if you will be able to figure it out as it is purposefully oblique. I only recognized it after reading Killer Frost (Book 6).
  • I am happy that Logan and his father, Linus, are working to repair their relationship. A boy needs his dad. A dad needs his son.
  • I like that Logan was as obsessed getting information about Gwen as she was about him. Poor Oliver stuck in-between those two! But Logan/Oliver should not have kept the information a one-way street. Gwen deserved to know more too!

Dislikes:

  • No Gwen! She’s present in Logan’s thoughts but not on page! Darn. I was hoping for that. A gypsy girl has got to knock some sense into a Spartan somehow, right?
  • Not long enough – should have brought us to the point where Logan meets up with Gwen in Midnight Frost (Book 5).

Favorite Quote: “Tell her I’m sorry. Again.”

Buy: Spartan Frost (Mythos Academy)

Rating: 3.5 Treasure Chests
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Review: The Spirit Eater (The Legend of Eli Monpress, Book 3) by Rachel Aaron

Reviewed by First Mate Keira

Title: The Spirit Eater (The Legend of Eli Monpress, Book 3)
Author: Rachel Aaron
Format: Digital ebook
Page Count: 448 pages
Grade Reading Level: Ages 15+

Summary: It’s fashionable to be robbed by Eli now. It means you’ve got something worth stealing. Now with people randomly pledging money toward his capture, it’s clearly a time to lie low, a fact that hits home after an assassination attempt on Eli. Meanwhile Nico is struggling maintaining her fight with the demonseed, helping Eli and Josef require her unlocking memories she can’t quite grasp. When she does, would it be better if she hadn’t?

Likes:

  • Eli’s Home, is actually a small outlying village that he’s purchased. He gives the town folk most of the treasure he steals in exchange for asylum and position as mayor. They eat the best foods, furnish their houses with diamonds and gold furnishings, and wear rich fabrics. Life is great and they love Eli.
  • Oh ho! Look who is Eli’s mom. I wonder how he came to live with his dad and why she didn’t try to find Eli when he ran away.
  • The history of Josef and the sword known as “The Heart of War.”

Dislikes:

  • Pele is her father’s apprentice. Slorn is a Sharper. I get that she asks for help, but why doesn’t she insist on tagging along with the trio to save her dad?
  • Eli Monpress might be the hero of this series, but once again he’s pushed aside for Nico. This story focuses mostly on Nico’s past, how she became a demonseed, and of course when she becomes a fully formed demon things go to hell… again.

Last Minute Thoughts: Can’t wait to read the next two books in the series!

Buy: The Spirit Eater (The Legend of Eli Monpress)

Rating: 4 Treasure Chests

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