Thursday, December 31, 2009

List 2009

List of books read in 2009
82 Tales of Beedle the Bard by JK Rowling
83 Hattie Big Sky by Kirby Larsen
84 Comfortable in my Own Genes by Tamra Norton
85 Rapunzel’s Revenge by Shannon Hale
86 Sweethearts by Sara Zarr
87 The Edge on the Sword by Rebecca Tingle
88 C.S. Lewis the Great divorce
89 My Sister’s Keeper by Jodi Picoult
90 Promises to Keep by Dean Hughes
91 Isabelle Webb: Legend of the Jewel by Nancy Campbell Allen
92 Traitor by Sandra Grey
93 Freefall by Traci Hunter Abramson.
94 Bound on Earth By Angela Hallstrom.
95 First Day by Ally Braithwaite Condie.
96 Waiting for the light to change by Annette Haws
97 Keeping Keller by Tracy Winegar
98 Lemon Tart by Josi Kilpack
99 Going Postal terry Prachett
100 Finding Faith by Terri Ferran
101 City of Ember Jeann Duprau
102 Ravenmaster Elvira Woodruff
103 Spare Change by Aubrey Mace
104 Fields of Home by Rachel Ann Nunes
105 Book of Jude by Kimbery Heuston
106 City of Sparks Jeann Duprau
107 How to take the ex-out of ex-boyfriend Janette Rallison
108 Eye of the World by Robert Jordan
109 I’m Not a Serial Killer by Dan Wells
110 The 13th Reality and the hunt for Dark Infinity by James Dashner
111 Reunion by Ally Condie
112 The Hourglass Door by Lisa Magnum
113 Princess of the Midnight Ball by Jessica Day George
114 Amaranth Enchantment by Julie Berry
115 Warbreaker by Brandon Sanderson
116 The Graveyard Book by Niel Gaiman
117 A Curse as Dark as Gold by Elizabeth C. Bunce

118 Pendragon: Pilgrims of Rayne
119 My Fair Godmother by Jannette Rallison
120 Gossamer by Lois Lowry
121 At Journey’s End by Annette Lyon
122 I am Apache by Tanya Landman
123 Everything is Fine by Ann Dee Ellis
124 The Princess and the Bear by Mette Ivie Harrison
125 Recovering Charles by Jason F. Wright
126 Wings by Aprilynne Pike
127 FlyGirl by Sherri L. Smith 128 Radiant Darkness by Emily Whitman
129 Saving Madeline by Rachel Ann Nunes
130 Methods of Madness by Stephanie Black
131 Spires of Stone by Annette Lyon

123 Leviathan by Scott Westerfeld
124 The Maze Runner by James Dashner
125 Forest Born by Shannon Hale
126 Alcatraz versus the Knights of Crystallia by Brandon Sanderson
127 Dragon Spear by Jessica Day George
128 Once was Lost by Sara Zarr
129 The Midnighters 1 by Scott Westerfeld
130 The Midnighters 2 by Scott Westerfeld
131 Life as We Knew It by Susan Beth Peffer
132 The dead and the gone by Susan Beth Peffer

133 The Midnighters 3 by Scott Westerfeld
134 The Hunger Games by Suzanne Collins
135 Name of the Wind by Patrick Rothfuss
136 Wildwood Dancing by Juliet Marillier

Wednesday, December 23, 2009

The Maze Runner by James Dashner

The Maze Runner by James Dashner

Thomas wakes up in a strange elevator only able to recall impersonal details about life, and his name. At the end of the elevator shaft a group of boys await him. They slowly initiate him into their world, and as Thomas adjusts to his new life, he learns that there are more questions than answers. The Glade is surrounded by huge walls that surround it, and beyond the gates there is a maze. A maze that these boys have to solve to get home, but each night the walls move around and change. Then there a deadly greevers in that come out at night to attack them.

The day after Thomas arrives a girl comes up from the elevator shaft, nearly dead. This strange new occurrence shakes the boys up. There has never been a girl sent up the elevator before, and usually newbies show up at least a month apart. The girls arrival sets more changes in motion, and if Thomas could figure out why she seems so familiar to him might be able to figure out why they were all sent to the maze in the first place.

I really liked the whole setting of this book, and related to Thomas’s frustration at being in a strange new place. The rules of the boy’s society and the way they survived was fascinating to me. I liked reading about the maze and how they kept trying to solve it. Then the stuff that they remembered about the world before when greevers “stung” them made a whole other mystery element come about. I wanted know not only how the boys would get out of the maze but how they got there in the first place. By the end of the book you learn the general details about why they were put in the maze, but not really all the details.

So, I really enjoyed most of the book, but didn’t like the ending. I’m not sure how to explain it without giving major spoilers away. Let’s just say a certain twist at the end of the story felt very manipulative so the story could be more dramatic. The problem was that it felt forced and weird the way it was written, and I didn’t like it. I’d love to go into more detail of why I didn’t like it, but then I would give away huge major spoilers Eh, the ending is pretty depressing, and has some disturbing violence. I really didn’t want to read or buy the sequel after I finished because the story was such a downer. I’m kind of curious now, but I’ll probably wait to check the book out from the library the next time round.

James Dashner's Blog

Friday, December 18, 2009

Dragon Spear by Jessica Day George

Dragon Spear by Jessica Day George

This is the third book in George’s dragon trilogy, and her heroine Creel is off to visit her dragon friends before she get married to prince Luka. She makes great plans to enjoy her vacation and finish up sewing her newest masterpiece—her wedding dress. She arrives to find Velkria and Shardus expecting a few of their own little dragons any day now. Then Velkria is kidnapped by another group of dragons, who are struggling to survive on a volcanic land far across the sea.

Shardus, Creel, and the other dragons go on a quest to rescue their pregnant Queen before she or the hatchlings are harmed.

I really enjoy these little books, fun and easy to read. They have a strong adventure plot and charming characters that you really grow to love. It was fun to see how the dragons are doing in their new home, and also to see the culture of another set of dragons living across the ocean. The author spends a lot of time making each of the dragons colorful and unique characters, and so they are memorable to read about. The plot brings out more of the culture and history of the dragons, especially centered on how this rogue group of dragons came to steal Velkria for their queen. Creel’s family also appears in the book, crowding in on her turf. Creel’s aunt isn’t the easiest person to get along with, but Hegan goes off on the dragon adventure, and finds his own path to follow. Fun read for both boys and girls.

Jessica Day George's Website

Friday, December 11, 2009

Flygirl by Sherri L. Smith

Fly Girl by Sherry L. Smith

Ida B. Jones has loved to fly ever since her daddy taught her how on crop dusting runs. She dreams of getting her pilot license one day, but the fact that she is black and a woman makes it hard for her to achieve that dream. She tries to earn enough money to get to Chicago and attend a flight school for blacks, but the US enters the war when the Japanese attack Pearl Harbor and another opportunity appears.

The army creates the WASP—Woman Airforce Service Pilots, and she wants to join. Her brother Thomas has already joined the army as a medic, and she wants to help him get home faster. She also itches to get back in the air. She doesn’t think that the army will accept a black woman in the program, but she has light enough skin like her daddy to pass as white. Ida must make the decision to deny her own family in order to reach for her dreams.

I really loved this book! It is a historical novel that really brings you into the time period and makes you feel like you are really there. The author portrays the Jim Crow south and prejudice against woman and places her main character right in the middle of an internal conflict. Her dream of flying is sometimes thwarted by her color and other times by her gender, and this book has you hoping for her success the entire way. I really loved how this book has so many details about WASP basic training and missions. It really opened a whole new area of World War II history that I knew very little about before. I could see how some people could get bogged down with the historical details about flight training, but I think the author keep the tension going, pitting her characters against nasty flight instructors, tricky navigation tests, solo flights, and the very real danger of flight test crashes. If you love WWII history, or are looking for a unique historical novel, this one is a must read!

Sherri L. Smith's Website

Friday, December 4, 2009

Glossamer by Lois Lowry

Gossamer by Lois Lowry

“Where do dreams come from? What stealthy nighttime messengers are the guardians of our most deeply hidden hopes and our half-forgotten fears? Drawing on her rich imagination, two-time Newbery winner Lois Lowry confronts these questions and explores the conflicts between the gentle bits and pieces of the past that come to life in dream, and the darker horrors that find their form in nightmare. In this haunting novel that tiptoes between reality and imagination, two people—a lonely, sensitive woman and a damaged, angry boy—face their own histories and discover what they can be to one another. Their strength comes from a tiny, caring creature they will never see.”
(summary from jacket flap)

At first I was put off by the simplicity of this book. I thought it was going to be about the adventures of an enthusiastic but pesky dream fairy, but the story took an unexpected twist. This dream Fairy is put in charge of guarding and giving dreams to an old woman, who takes a trouble boy into her home. This adds a whole new dimension to the book, and makes it a story about healing from the past, finding safe places, and creating a happy family. How could something that started out with a deceptive simplicity weave into something profound? As you read you begin to love the characters and cheer them on in their journey. It is rewarding to watch them change into stronger, though not perfect, people.

Lois Lowry's website