Archive for April, 2007

Capt. Hook: The Adventures of a Notorious Youth

Sunday, April 29th, 2007

Capt. Hook By J. V. Hart [LibrarythingAmazon]

James is not your average boy. With his lanky build, long black curls like candles, and sinister, aloof demeanor, he would be set apart from his peers at Eton even without the shame of being born a bastard hanging over his head – not to mention the fact that he bleeds yellow. He is also clever and fearless, however, and soon wins the admiration of his house (the Oppidans), the friendship of the loyal “Jolly” Roger Davies, and the love (he hopes) of the beautiful Ottoman Sultana Ananova. But ill fate dogs James, and before long he is exiled to sea, the first step in a chain of events that will turn him into the dreaded Captain Hook.

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Inkheart

Friday, April 27th, 2007

InkheartCornelia Funke (translation by Anthea Bell) [LibrarythingAmazon]

Inkheart is about a girl, Meggie, whose life turns into a fantasy story when strange people begin chasing her father, trying to bring him and a mysterious book to a villain named Capricorn. Along the way, they befriend a grouchy book lover, Elinor, and have strange dealings with a traveling showman, Dustfinger.

When the group is caught and kidnapped, Meggie learns that her father, Mo, has the magical ability to read characters out of books…but in doing so, he reads someone else in. Her mother long ago disappeared into the book “Inkheart” as out came Capricorn, Dustfinger, and one of Capricorn’s henchmen. Though Mo has tried many times to read Meggie’s mother back out, he’s never succeeded—he doesn’t have any control over his ability.

Then it turns out that Meggie has inherited her father’s ability…and Capricorn plans to use her to read an even more horrible, murderous creature out of the book.

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The Prophet of Yonwood

Sunday, April 15th, 2007

Prophet of Yonwood By Jeanne DuPrau [LibrarythingAmazon]

Nickie Randolph wants Greenhaven, her family’s ancient estate in the small town of Yonwood, to be her new home. She’s tired of Philadelphia, and with the world in the state it’s in, big cities aren’t safe. Neither her aunt nor her mother wants to take care of the big hulking house now that her great-grandfather has died, but Nickie talks her aunt Crystal into taking her along when she goes to fix up the house for sale, and she fully plans to spend that time convincing her aunt to keep the house so the family can move in and be together…someday, when her father gets back from his top secret government project. Since she’s got a plan anyway, Nickie adds two more goals: to fall in love, and to do something to help the world.

But things in Yonwood aren’t as perfect as she imagined. Like everywhere in the country, the town is worried about an almost inevitable war, but the town thinks it will be spared. A local citizen, Althea Tower, has had a vision from God of the world on fire, and now in a fevered fit she gives commands from the Lord. Most of the town’s members have decided to do their best to follow the Prophet’s orders, even when they’re hard and require sacrifices, like no singing. But things start to get worse as the world gets closer to war. People who don’t obey the Prophet are singled out and shunned, and are forced to wear electronic bracelets that produce noise designed to drive them crazy.

At first, Nickie thinks following the Prophet is the way to go…but when she inadvertently betrays her only friend in the town and almost gets an innocent man arrested, she starts to wonder. Then the Prophet gives an order that seems impossible to accept, and Nickie has to decide once and for all what she believes.

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Journey to the Blue Moon

Wednesday, April 4th, 2007

Journey to the Blue MoonBy Rebecca Rupp [LibraryThingAmazon]

Ever since he lost his grandfather’s pocket watch with its mysterious inscription, Choose time or lose time, Alex has been in what you might call a funk. Time seems to be racing past him too fast, and since it all ends eventually, he thinks, why even bother? That is, until a strange old woman tells him to look for his watch on the blue moon, where all lost things go.

Once Alex and his dog Zeke hitch a ride on a spaceship piloted by three-foot-tall moon rats, he teams up with Tetley, the runt of the moon rats, plus Miss Mumsley, a prim suffragette who has lost her heart, and Simon, an Elizabethan math nerd who has lost his way. From there he has three days to find his lost watch before the moon ceases to be blue and he’s trapped there indefinitely. The companions must navigate through weird allegorical locations like the Inn of Abandoned Plans, the Pointless Tower, and the Cave of Lost Tempers, while avoiding the Time Eaters, who do exactly what their name implies. Complicating things is Urd, youngest of the Norns (Shakespeare’s Weird Sisters, similar to the Greek Fates), who wants to steal everyone’s time to keep herself eternally youthful.

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May Bird and the Ever After

Monday, April 2nd, 2007

May Bird coverBy Jodi Lynn Anderson [LibrarythingAmazon]

May Bird and the Ever After is the story of socially awkward ten-year-old May Ellen Bird and her hairless cat, Somber Kitty. It’s just been May, her mother, and Somber Kitty for her whole life, and May just doesn’t fit in at school, no matter how hard she tries. Really, the only place she does fit in is the woods of Briery Swamp…Until she falls into a strange, hidden lake, and when she climbs out, she can see ghosts all over.

Strange things start to happen, culminating with May and Kitty falling through the lake into the bizarre Ever After, a land of ghosts, spirits, specters, goblins, ghouls, demons, and other assorted creepy evil types. The Ever After is a dangerous place, especially for cats and Live Ones, and despite having received a desperate plea for help, all May wants to do is get out—before the Bogeyman or Evil Bo Cleevil catch her and turn her into nothing.
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Old Review Roundup

Sunday, April 1st, 2007

Before we get started, here, some older reviews I’ve done, relevant to this site:

The City of Ember and The People of Sparks by Jeanne DuPrau. Five cupcakes, and a friggin’ cherry on top. (Genre: Apocalyptic/Dystopian Science Fiction)

Uglies, Pretties and Specials by Scott Westerfeld. Four and a half cupcakes for Uglies, three and a half for the other two. (Genre: Apocalyptic/Dystopian Science Fiction)

Bruce Coville novels, including the My Teacher series, The A.I. Gang, The Dragonslayers, The Nina Tanleven Ghost Series, and The Magic Shop series. I’d say the average rating is about four cupcakes. (Genres: Aliens Among Us, Other, High Fantasy, Contemporary/Urban Fantasy, and Fairy Tale/Mythic)

Pendragon, books one and two, by D.J. MacHale. Two cupcakes. (Genre: Portal Fantasy.)

Meta talk about writing and books:

Fantasy Females (Of the Literary Variety), about the roles female characters play in fantasy.

Seriously, What is Wrong With Cinderella?, about Disney princesses, ideas about how to keep female characters dynamic, and a little bit of repeated review of Pendragon.

Recommend Books

Sunday, April 1st, 2007

Got a book so amazingly awesome or odiously terrible you just have to share it? Curious about a book’s quality but don’t want to tackle it yourself? Send us recommendations! Right now, we’re picking up books that are a) cheap, b) free, or c) available at the library. In other words, whatever random, shiny covers catch our eyes (and are affordable that week). If there’s a book you’d like to see us read, leave a comment below with the title and author and we’ll see if we can’t get around to it.