Sunday, January 25, 2009

How To Be Popular by Meg Cabot

how-to-be-popularHow To Be Popular by Meg Cabot fits into the juvenile fiction genre and was published in 2006. It is recommended for readers ages 14 and up.

How To Be Popular is a fun and creative twist on the typical story of a teenage girl, Steph Landry. Steph was made infamous after she spilled a cherry Super Big Gulp on the white skirt of the most popular girl in school, five years ago. She still hasn't been able to live it down and to make matters worse in her small town whenever anyone does something stupid the most popular comeback has become, “Way to pull a Steph.” One day while helping her friend's Grandmother clean out her attic Steph finds a book with the helpful title, How To Be Popular. She follows the advice in this book, with a few minor updates, and is amazed at how quickly her social status changes from loser to popular. Now she has to decide which is more important, her new popularity or her character and principles. Steph also learns the true meaning of friendship and how a true friend is more important than popularity. Of course, as with all Meg Cabot books, there is the boy factor. Steph gets who she wants only to wonder why it was that she wanted him in the first place. Overall I really enjoyed this book. Starting out each of the chapters is a quote from The Book (as Steph refers to How to be Popular). They are so funny, and mostly true I think. The novel's plot mixed with the fun Cabot whit makes me willing to recommend it to anyone for a quick and entertaining read.

Friday, January 23, 2009

Seeing Redd by Frank Beddor

seeing-reddSeeing Redd by Frank Beddor fits into the juvenile fantasy fiction genre and was published in 2007. It is recommended for readers ages 12 and up.

Seeing Redd exceeded my expectations not because I didn't expect it to be good but simply because I forgot how good The Looking Glass Wars was. Beddor captures readers with such an interesting story line and imaginative twists on well-known characters. This novel picks up a few months after the last one ended where Redd and the Cat jumped into the Heart Crystal. They are unsure if Redd and the Cat survived the trip since no one had previously had the nerve to jump in. Alyss is trying hard to reestablish peace in her Queendom but struggles with people set in their ways after Redd's thirteen year reign. Alyss learns that Redd is not her only enemy and has to use previously unimagined powers of destruction that may very well leave them all in ruin. Also, along the way, her and Dodge firm up their feeling for each other but struggle with what it will mean if they decide to have a relationship. Overall it was a very well written book and I repeated mentioned to my husband how much I like these books and I would definitely recommend them to anyone who likes fantasy fiction.

Other Reviews Available:

The Looking Glass Wars by Frank Beddor

Monday, January 19, 2009

Shadow of the Giant by Orson Scott Card

shadow-of-the-giantShadow of the Giant by Orson Scott Card fits into the juvenile science fiction genre and was published in 2005. It is recommended for readers ages 16 and up.

Shadow of the Giant is, as far as I know, the last book in the subseries that began with Ender's Shadow. It follows the story of the battle school graduates as they try to gain control of the countries of the earth or as they try to create peace. The book follows the stories of Bean, Petra, and Peter Wiggin the closest. We learn the fate of the embryos that were created for Bean and Petra and the challenges that this fate brings to them. We also learn about Peter's role as the Hegemon and what he plans to do with this title and how it will affect the world. Other Battle School graduates like: Virlomi, Han Tzu (Hot Soup), and Alai are also followed in great detail as they lead India, China, and the Muslim worlds respectively. Overall I really enjoyed this book but it was also a bit difficult. At times I had to think entirely too much, in my opinion, to keep up with the plot line and who all the characters were. This is probably mostly due to the fact that I haven't read the other Ender books for so long that I had a hard time remembering who the people even were. It was a fascinating portrayal of the events that shaped the battle school children in to powerful world leaders. I would recommended this book to anyone who liked the previous Ender books but make sure you at least review the plot from the previous books first.

Saturday, January 17, 2009

Size 14 Is Not Fat Either by Meg Cabot

size-14-is-not-fat-eitherSize 14 Is Not Fat Either by Meg Cabot fits into the murder mystery fiction genre and was published in 2006. It is recommended for adult readers.

Size 14 Is Not Fat Either like its prequel Size 12 Is Not Fat is recommended for adult readers because of the age of the characters involved and not because of any inappropriate content. There are a very few pages near the end of the book that use the F-word more than I'd care for but other than that it is a really clean book. One of my friends complained that it started out too much like the first book so she didn't want to read it. I'll admit they are fairly similar but just like most books in a series are and not overly alike. Basic plot: Heather still works at the dorm and has a new boss to replace the psycho killer from the previous book. They find a head in the cafeteria but not the rest of the body and Heather is determined to stay out of this case. However, she keeps learning things from her residents and ends up unable to quell her interest and starts to investigate. In the end she does help find the killer but winds up in the hospital as well. The one and only thing I was disappointed with in this book was that more didn't happen with her and Cooper. Heather actually gets up the nerve to talk to him about her feelings but that's as far as they get. I eagerly awaited this book hoping that there would be at least some resolution there but maybe in Big Boned, the last book of the series, they'll finally figure things out.

Other Reviews Available:

Size 12 Is Not Fat by Meg Cabot

Big Boned by Meg Cabot

Tuesday, January 13, 2009

Peter and the Starcatchers by Dave Barry and Ridley Pearson

peter-and-the-starcatchersPeter and the Starcatchers by Dave Barry and Ridley Pearson fits into the preteen fantasy fiction genre and was published in 2004. It is recommended for readers ages 10 and up.

Peter and the Starcatchers was written as a prequel to the classic Peter Pan by James Barrie. It tells the story of how Peter came to Neverland, how he met Captain Hook, and the creation of Tinkerbell. For some reason although I'd heard nothing but great reviews for this book I wasn't excited to pick it up. The first one hundred and fifty pages seemed to drag on forever. Then something happened. I don't know if it was that the plot got more interesting or I just got more interested but the last 250 pages just breezed by. I was not only captivated but I am excitedly waiting my opportunity to read the rest of the series. However, I do think they went a little overboard in some places of the book trying to explain everything in the world. Apparently they feel that “starstuff” was the source of every major war, mythological gods (like Zeus), and creatures from mermaids to the Loch Ness Monster. Overall I did think it was a great book with a fantastic story and it gave a lot of fun background information to a story I already know and love.

Jinx by Meg Cabot

jinxJinx by Meg Cabot fits into the juvenile fiction genre and was published in 2007. It is recommended for readers ages 14 and up.

Meg Cabot is my favorite author for teenage girls. I love her captivating writing style and wit. I have an entire shelf of books devoted to her writing. That being said I think that Jinx far outweighed my expectations and is probably her best work. The novel tells the story of Jean, an Iowa farm girl who moves to New York to escape some bad luck in her past. Living with her mom's sister, Jean learns about herself, her past, and the truth behind her crazy cousin's antics. Jean is a descendant of an apparent witch and she and her cousin Tory both try their hands at witchcraft. Tory takes the whole thing very seriously and thinks that she is the only proper heir of magic and tries to ruin Jean's new life in New York. Along the way Jean also meets a boy who convinces her of her worth and in the end saves her life. Overall I'd say it was a great book with a fun twist from Cabot's usual girl meets boy writing.

The Hunger Games by Suzanne Collins

hunger-gamesThe Hunger Games by Suzanne Collins fits into the juvenile fiction genre and was published in 2008. It is recommended for readers ages 12 and up.

I first heard of Hunger Games from Stephenie Meyer's website where she recommended it to all her readers. I thought that was interesting and I put it on my list of books to read at some future date. Then a friend of mine left a comment on my blog telling me I should go pick it up and that she couldn't get the story out of her head so I decided to give it a go. I was quickly captivated and devoured this book. The story follows Katniss as she competes for her life in the Hunger Games. These games are run once a year and a boy and a girl from each of the twelve districts compete not only for their lives but also for a comfortable and luxurious future. Katniss must use all of her talents to win but even that at times isn't enough because of her loving nature that got her into the games in the first place when she volunteered to take the place of her little sister who was originally chosen to play. It was a mesmerizing story that I, like my friend, still can't get out of my head and I eagerly await the publication of the sequel.

Other reviews available:

Catching Fire by Suzanne Collins