Rss

Archives for : fiction

The Snowman’s Revenge

Snow days are always more fun with a freshly built snowman. However, when the children in The Snowman’s Revenge head in to warm up and enjoy some hot cocoa, the snowman is left all alone outside in the cold. Hurt and lonely, he quickly comes up with a plan for revenge.

Mark Smuthe’s prose is entertaining, if a little choppy, enhanced by Mike Motz’s full color illustrations. Personally, I found the idea of the book to be creepy. My children, on the other hand, thought it was a fun read. It’s definitely a change from the happy singing snowmen, and for that alone, it’s a nice change (although still a creepy one).

Disclaimer: A copy of this book was provided by the publisher.

The Secret of Rover

Twins Katie and David haven’t always lived a charmed life. Until recently, their family has struggled in poverty. However, life as been looking up since their parents invented Rover. When their parents fly overseas to adopt a new baby girl, the children’s excitement quickly turns to fear as they find themselves in the middle of a sinister political plot. Unsure of whether or not they will ever see their parents again or meet their new baby sister, their immediate goal is to make it out alive.

Rachel Wildavsky’s new book, The Secret of Rover, is a captivating novel for children. With well developed characters and an appealing plotline, the story allows children to experience a fantastical mystery with action and adventure.

Disclaimer: A copy was provided by the publisher.

Hereafter

Tara Hudson’s new novel, Hereafter, promised to deliver an enticingly unique young adult book, different from the rest of the watered down love stories on the market. Unfortunately, it didn’t deliver.

Amelia, a ghost who doesn’t remember anything except her first name and parts of her death, wanders around aimlessly, as do the first 50 pages of the book. I forced myself to continue reading, waiting for the book to pick up and deliver the fascinating read that would have me on tender hooks. After finishing the 400+ page book, I’m still waiting. The story seemed contrived and lacking, although the book cover is hauntingly appealing.

Disclaimer: A copy of this book was provided by HarperTeen.

Previously published at Living Peacefully with Children.

Heir to the Everlasting

Family means something different to every person. The strings that bind us to others vary in strength, length, and color, but they pull us to some extent, nonetheless. In pullitzer nominated author Janice Daughtery’s Heir To the Everlasting, we see the ties between the strong women of the Alexander family throughout their century long reign. Through marriages, deaths, births, trials, and triumphs, the women at Big Eddy continue on with a love and strength that not only allows them to continue on through life but to also stand for what they believe despite what society or the men in the family say. While the second half of the book meandered and dragged a bit, the beautifully rich characters and story in the first half carried teh book through to the end.

Disclaimer: A copy of the book was provided by the publisher.

Previously published at Living Peacefully with Children.

Lost Voices

Sarah Porter’s new book,  Lost Voices, seems depressingly lost. Addressing the abuses of young girls at the hands of the people who should love them and take care of them, the book missed a great opportunity for empowering the young readers who may look to it. While the writing is beautifully descriptive, it rambles along on tangents which serve to detract from the story, which is lacking to begin with. The characters are shallow and add to the depression of the book, which ends abruptly without bringing any closure.

I would love to see someone pick up the theme and write a fantastic fictional book for young girls.

Disclaimer: A copy of this book was provided by Harcourt Books.

Previously posted at Living Peacefully with Children.

The Goddess Test

Debut author Aimee Carter’s new book and beginning of a new series, The Goddess Test (Harlequin Teen), goes on sale next week. The book pulled me in at the beginning, having been the teenage girl taking care of a mother dying of cancer. The concept of Greek mythology in modern day life is appealing and one that I enjoy.

However, the book left a lot wanting. The focus on Kate’s self-sacrifice over-shadowed any further character development, for either her or the rest of the cast of characters. Multiple twists in the storyline are abrupt without any foreshadowing too look back on, leaving the reader feeling that the author changed her story mid-book. The chosen tests are not connected to the subject matter and left me shaking my head at their inclusion.

I can only hope the author does some further development before the release of the next book in the series.

Disclaimer: A copy of the book was provided by HarlequinTEEN.

Previously published at Living Peacefully with Children.

Cinder and Ella

Cinder and Ella are two of four sisters. Both their older and younger sisters are selfish, their father quit doing anything to help the family before disappearing altogether, and their mother spins all day at her spinning wheel, effectively ignoring her daughters to the point that she has forgotten that Cinder and Ella are two individuals. Ella, tired of being forgotten and taken advantage of, sets out on her own, leaving Cinder to take care of the family.

Melissa Lemon’s telling of the Cinderella story, Cinder and Ella, is only marginally related to the original fairytale. With an evil prince on the horizon, and a story of living trees, the book’s closest tie with the original tale is the name of the book. While the book is a decent read, the characters, with few exceptions, just aren’t very likeable.

Disclaimer: A copy of the book was provided by the publisher.

Hunting Human

Beth Williams is haunted by memories and running from a past that she neither understands nor which she can classify as rational or sane. Once a promising young architect with a position to begin graduate work, a celebratory trip to Europe and the resulting death of her best friend and foster sister, Beth now moves about from place to place. Finally, having found a place as a barista and staying in the same city for longer than usual, a charming man walks into her solitary life and her carefully and tentatively held world begins to implode.

Amanda Alvarez’s debut novel, Hunting Human, is a well written werewolf novel. Her shifting is descriptive and more realistic than many books in this genre. However, the romance side of the book seems forced and a bit out of sync. Overall, it was a quick, fun read and would appeal to most readers of paranormal romance.

Disclaimer: A complimentary copy of the book was provided by Carina Press.

Previously posted at Living Peacefully with Children.

Is a Worry Worrying You?

Everyone worries from time to time, and dealing with those worries often seems monumental, especially for children. Ferida Wolff and Herriet May Sevitz have addressed just this issue in their book, Is a Worry Worrying You? With beautiful full color illustrations by Marie LeTourneau, the book manages to discuss worries and introduce brainstorming possible solutions of how to deal with them in a light hearted manner, opening up further discussions. It’s a fantastic picture book and one that we have checked out from the library several times over the years due to the story alone.

Disclaimer: A complimentary copy was provided by the publisher.

Previously published at Living Peacefully with Children.

Bearded Women Stories

Dehumanized by a world  which has used their oddities for entertainment purposes, the women in Teresa Milbrodt’s Bearded Women Stories challenge our thoughts on genetic variances and humanity and how we view our own selves. With wit and charm, she beautifully weaves short stories about women who are as real as we, who are strong in the presence of adversity, and whose only desire is to live their lives, embracing those aspects which make them so different than those around them. These stories of women cause us to examine our own thoughts and challenge the big top freak spectacular.

Disclaimer: A copy of this book was provided by the publisher.

Previously posted at Living Peacefully with Children.