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2010-07-01 10:11 pm

Book Review: "Tombs of Atuan" by Ursula K. Le Guin

Paperback: 192 pages
Publisher: Pocket (June 25, 1970)
Language: English
ISBN-10: 1416509623
ISBN-13: 978-1416509622
Product Dimensions: 8.2 x 5.3 x 0.6 inches  

Synopsis from Back Cover:
When young Tenar is chosen as high priestess to the ancient and nameless Powers of the Earth, everything is taken away from her-home, family, possessions, even her name. She is now known only as Arha, the Eaten One, guardian of the labyrinthine Tombs of Atuan, shrouded in darkness. When a young wizard, Ged Sparrowhawk, comes to steal the Tombs' greatest hidden treasure, the Ring of Erreth-Akbe, Tenar's rightful duty is to protect the Tombs. But Ged also brings with him the light of magic and tales of a brighter world Tenar has never known. Will Tenar risk everything to escape the darkness that has become her domain?.

My Review )

Rating: 3/5 for mild climax, some lack of character depth, but a return of the ever intriguing Sparrowhawk and cliffhanger
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2010-06-30 12:44 am

Book Review: "The Graveyard Book" by Neil Gaiman

Reading level: Ages 9-12
Hardcover: 320 pages
Publisher: HarperCollins; 1St Edition edition (September 30, 2008)
Language: English
ISBN-10: 0060530928
ISBN-13: 978-0060530921

Synopsis:
Nobody Owens, known to his friends as Bod, is a normal boy.

He would be completely normal if he didn't live in a sprawling graveyard, being raised and educated by ghosts, with a solitary guardian who belongs to neither the world of the living nor of the dead.

There are dangers and adventures in the graveyard for a boy - an ancient Indigo Man beneath the hill, a gateway to a desert leading to an abandoned city of ghouls, the strange and terrible menace of the Sleer.

But if Bod leaves the graveyard, then he will come under attack from the man Jack - who has already killed Bod's family...

Beloved master storyteller Neil Gaiman returns with a luminous new novel for the audience that embraced his New York Times bestselling modern classic CORALINE. Magical, terrifying, and filled with breathtaking adventures, THE GRAVEYARD BOOK is sure to enthrall readers of all ages.

My Review - Some Spoilers though mostly minor )

Rating: 2 out of 5 stars for amazing potential but failing to follow through. Perhaps he rushed this one.
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2010-06-09 02:39 pm

Book Review: "Catching Fire" by Suzanne Collins (Book 2 of the Hunger Games Trilogy)

Reading level: Young Adult
Hardcover: 400 pages
Publisher: Scholastic Press; 1 edition (September 1, 2009)
ISBN-10: 0439023491
ISBN-13: 978-0439023498


Book Synopsis and My Review are behind a cut to avoid spoilers because it's a sequel. )

Rating: 4.5/5 for captivating characters and plot.
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2010-06-09 02:25 pm

Book Review: "The Hunger Games" by Suzanne Collins

Reading level: Young Adult
Hardcover: 384 pages
Publisher: Scholastic Press; First Edition edition (September 14, 2008)
Language: English
ISBN-10: 0439023483
ISBN-13: 978-0439023481

Book Summary:
Could you survive on your own, in the wild, with every one out to make sure you don't live to see morning? 

In the ruins of a place once known as North America lies the nation of Panem, a shining Capital surrounded by twelve outlying districts. The Capital is harsh and cruel and keeps the districts in line by forcing them all to send one boy and one girl between the ages of twelve and eighteen to participate in the annual Hunger Games, a fight to the death on live TV.

Sixteen-year-old Katniss Everdeen, who lives alone with her mother and younger sister, regards it as a death sentence when she steps forward to take her sister's place in the Games. But Katniss has been close to dead before - and survival, for her, is second nature. Without really meaning to, she becomes a contender. But if she is to win, she will have to start making choices that weigh survival against humanity and life against love.

My Review:
The Hunger Games by Suzanne Collins is a book that is nearly impossible to put down. Katniss is a determined heroine who steps forward to protect her sister from dying in the hunger games. The narration style keeps you in Katniss' shoes at every turn and keeps you wondering how she'll manage to survive. The Games may give readers a new light on reality TV shows and wonder if Panem is indeed the future of North America since it is so believable. It makes one wonder though what has happened to the other countries. Could they still be out there or is Panem the only country left? The trilogy gives little premise that it will answer this question, but it does still give a very intriguing story that is addicting.

Collins cliffhanger ending will no doubt leave readers desperate to pick up Catching Fire to see what dangers Katniss has to face next.

Rating: 5/5 stars for engaging plot, captivating characters, and page-turning action.
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2010-04-24 04:01 pm

Book Review: "Quicksand" by Iris Johansen

Paperback: 361 pages
Publisher: St. Martin's Press Reprint Edition (October 21, 2008)
Language: English
ISBN-13: 978-0312368074

Back Cover:

Do you still miss your little Bonnie? This one sentence, spoken by a male voice in an anonymous phone call, is all it takes to drag Eve Duncan right back to that horrifying moment years ago when her only daughter vanished without a trace. Since then, Eve's life has become an obsession to find her daughter's remains. Only one man - a brilliant, ruthless killer - knows the truth about what happened to Bonnie. But taunting Eve might be his first and last mistake...
 
Eve is armed with more than just her talent as a forensic sculptor. She brings with her former Navy SEAL Joe Quinn, an Atlanta detective who will do anything to help Eve put the pain of Bonnie's death to rest. Even if he has to lie to the woman he cares about the most. And even if this killer wants nothing more than to lure Eve further and further into his swamp of madness.

My Review (Spoiler Alert) )

Overall: 1/5 ~ This book would be better off used as a doorstop or paperweight.
Warning:
 Flat characters, whining, and stale plot ahead!

 

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2010-03-20 06:35 pm

Book Review: "The Name of the Wind" by Patrick Rothfuss

Book cover for The Name of the Wind by Patrick Rothfuss. Contains man in cloak walking towards tree in distance.Paperback: 722 pages
Publisher: DAW (March 27, 2007)
Language: English
ISBN-13: 978-0756404079

Back Cover Synopsis:

'I have stolen princesses back from sleeping barrow kings. I burned down the town of Trebon. I have spent the night with Felurian and left with both my sanity and my life. I was expelled from the University at a younger age than most people are allowed in. I tread paths by moonlight that others fear to speak of during day. I have talked to Gods, loved women, and written songs that make the minstrels weep.

My name is Kvothe. You may have heard of me.'


So begins a tale unequaled in fantasy literature - the story of a hero told in his own voice. It is a tale of sorrow, a tale of survival, a tale of one man's search for meaning in his universe, and how that search, and the indomitable will that drove it, gave birth to a legend.

My Review )

Overall: 4.5/5

(Note: I will be rereading the story and reviewing it immediately after because I admit that the story's flaws and pros are currently a little hazy to me since I waited so long to review it.)
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2010-03-20 05:37 pm

Book Review: "The Search" by Iris Johansen

Paperback: 311 pagesBook cover for The Search. Woman searches in forest with dog.
Publisher: Bantam Books (2000)
Language: English
ISBN-10: 0553582127
ISBN-13:
978-0553582123
 

Synopsis from back cover:
HE STRIKES WITHOUT WARNING
HE KILLS WITHOUT MERCY
HE'S ONLY JUST BEGUN

As part of an elite K-9 search and rescue team, Sarah Patrick and her golden retriever, Monty, have a gift for finding what no one else can. But their latest assignment is not like the others. This time Sarah is being forced to take part in a deadly mission...by a man who knows enough about her past to ensure her cooperation.

Billionaire John Logan's top-secret venture has been sabotaged, its facilities destroyed, and its handpicked staff massacred. The sole survivor is being held for ransom. Logan knows that the only way to save the man - and the secrets he holds - is to find him as soon as possible. Sarah is furious when she is strong-armed into joining Logan on his search. And once she takes the perilous assignment, not even Logan's promises that she and Monty will be safe may be enough to protect them. Because a killer is devising a sadistic vengeance...and he may soon find use for Sarah.

My Review - Some Spoilers )

Overal rating: 4/5 for suspenseful action but some unbelievable side plots.
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2010-02-20 11:36 pm

Book Review: "The Messenger" by Lois Lowry

Messenger book cover by Lois LowryReading level: Young Adult
Paperback: 168 pages
Publisher: Laurel-Leaf, a division of Random House (2004)
Language: English
ISBN-10: 0-440-23912-5
 

Synopsis from back cover:
For the past six years, Matty has lived in Village and flourished under the guidance of
Seer, a blind man known for his special sight. Once Village was a place that welcomed
newcomers and offered hope and homes to people fleeing poverty and cruelty. But something sinister has seeped into Village, and the people have voted to close it to  outsiders. All along, Matty has been invaluable as a messenger between Village and other communities. He hopes someday to earn the name of Messenger. Now he must make one last journey through the treacherous Forest to spread the message of  Village's closing and convince Kira, Seer's daughter, to return with him. Matty's only weapon against his increasingly dangerous surroundings is a secret power he unexpectedly discovers within himself. He wants to heal the people who have nourished his body and spirit and is willing to offer the greatest gift and pay the ultimate price.



My Review )

Overall score: 4/5 for creative worlds, rich story telling, but abrupt ending