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I'm a mommy, wife, chauffeur, zookeeper, reader and book reviewer

Monday, March 18, 2013

If Tinkerbell were a rebel with attitude

Artemis Fowl (Artemis Fowl, #1)Artemis Fowl by Eoin Colfer
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

Twelve-years-old and an appetite for untapped resources, even if they are legendary or mythical. Artemis Fowl is still young enough to believe faeries exist but smart and sneaky beyond his years. He concocts a scheme to learn the ways of faeries and get their gold.

Holly is a faery, but not the Tinkerbell type. She is an officer with a rebellious streak and attitude to boot. When Artemis and Holly cross paths, chaos ensues.

Colfer includes futuristic technology, mythical characters with lots of personality and even farting dwarves. If you liked Lemony Snicket's series, you will probably like this. I will handing this off to my 5th grader so she can enjoy the adventure next.

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Friday, March 8, 2013

Survival of the fittest

The Hunger Games (The Hunger Games #1)The Hunger Games by Suzanne Collins
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Katniss Everdeen is a sixteen year old girl whose main goal is survival. Survival for herself, her mother, and her little sister Prim. Daily she hunts and trades to keep her little family alive.

The powers-that-be in the Capitol of Panem—what is left of North America—use survival to keep the citizens of the 12 districts in line. Each year a boy and girl between 12 and 18 are chosen for the Hunger Games—a brutal game of survival of the fittest.

The plot of teenagers fighting one another for survival was hard for me to stomach. However, the writing style kept me turning pages and the character development is excellent.

I would classify this as young adult though I know there are middle schoolers and upper elementary who are reading it. For these kids, I recommend a parent read it first then decide if it’s right for your child.

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Friday, March 1, 2013

Finally ... I don't get it

Twilight (Twilight, #1)Twilight by Stephenie Meyer
My rating: 1 of 5 stars

If you like Twilight, you may not want to read this review.

I am a Harry Potter fan—I’ve read the entire series and watched all the movies. I used to watch Forever Knight with my mom. I get the intrigue of these mythical creatures. But after having read the first book of the Twilight saga, I have some problems with it.

First, there’s Bella. Isabella Swan. From what I can tell, her mother is rather flighty and scattered. She probably needs to see a counselor but manages to get by. Bella recognizes her mother’s erratic behavior and has shouldered the burden of taking care of her mother. This has possibly gone on for several years. A high schooler should not have to carry this kind of burden and who knows how young she was when she first started taking care of herself and her mother. I think this has made Bella a perfectionist and a people pleaser which leads to lowered self-esteem. A dangerous mix that makes her more independent—not in a good way. Neither of her parents, Charlie or Renee, know how to deal with any of this and give Bella too much space. So Bella falls into the arms of the only one who is strong enough to weather the emotional storm with her.

Edward is different from everyone else she has ever seen. Edward’s entire family is different. Pale skinned, graceful, mysterious—I think she is attracted to them because they look as out of place as she feels, yet they have their own clique. But just as quickly as she is attracted to him, she begins to believe they are so different that he is way out of her league.

As a Young Adult romance, they fall in love, against all odds, yada, yada, yada. I’ll admit I’m not a fan of romance but that doesn’t change Bella’s character. As a perfectionist and people pleaser with lowered self-esteem it sets her up to make excuses and allowances for Edward’s behavior because she is desperate for a different kind of love (than her mom and dad had). A forever kind of love and she wants to prove herself tough enough to withstand anything. She feels guilty when her mom wants to travel with her new husband but chooses to stay behind for Bella. She feels guilty when Charlie offers to stay home from fishing to spend time with Bella. She feels guilty that Edward has to restrain himself because she is a frail human. So she is willing to lie and sacrifice for other people to be happy (move to Forks, spend days by herself, and willing to sustain pain and danger).

What concerns me is that there are too many youth out there who can relate to Bella and are willing to try to live their lives like Bella—if she can do it, so can I—overlooking the fact that she is a fictional character in a work of fiction. Also, there are middle schoolers and upper elementary students who are reading this and watching the movies who do not need to be exposed to romance as described in the story.

So, I get the intrigue of the mystical creature. And if you like romance and/ or vampires, then you will probably enjoy the book. But there is a reason it is Young Adult.

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The gray between black and white

The Light Between OceansThe Light Between Oceans by M.L. Stedman
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Tom Sherbourne has survived the loss of his mother, a way, and now thinks the best way to live the rest of his life is out at a lighthouse, by himself. Until he meets Isabel Graysmark. Her smile brings a light to his life he didn’t know he was missing. She is a spunky, young woman and they can’t help but fall in love. But life is hard out on Janus at the lighthouse pretty much shut off from the rest of Australia, much less the world. So when a crying baby and a dead man wash up in a boat, it seems to make up for anything they had lost.

The Light Between Oceans shows how gray the area in between the white of right and the black of flat out wrong can be. I think it is also a good illustration of the power resentment and forgiveness can have on our lives.

The story was well-written. Even though some lingo was definitely Australian, overall it was not hard to follow. Though this is not of the genre I typically enjoy (it was a book club selection) I found it hard to put down.

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