February 28, 2009

"Gamer Girl" is a winner!

“Gamer Girl” by Mari Mancusi


Maddy’s life has taken a turn for the worst. She has lived in Boston all her life, but now she is being forced to move to a small town in New Hampshire because her mother has left her father taking Maddy and Emily (her younger sister) with her. In Boston Maddy loved her life; she had great friends, went to a good school, and lived in a city with unlimited possibilities. Her new town is a totally different story. After an embarrassing incident on her first day of school, Maddy has been labeled “Freak Girl.” Her mother and sister do not understand her miseries she face everyday at school and her Maddy’s friends from Boston seem to have forgotten her. The only comfort Maddy has found is playing the game Fields of Fantasy with her online friend Sir Leo; however, a fantastical online life cannot make up for the problems in her real life. Maddy must find a way to get out of her rut and function as well in the real world as she does in her gaming world.

The cover of this book has been taunting me at work for weeks. I try not to judge a book by its cover, but apparently I am more superficial then I let on… I’m not a gamer, but I have played World Of Warcraft and I would probably be obsessively playing that game if it weren’t for the fact that I don’t have enough money to pay the monthly prescription. Plus I’m afraid of becoming an addict like some people I know… “cough” mom “cough” brother… oh excuse me. ANYWAY! Part of the reason I enjoyed the book so much was because I totally sympathized with Maddy. High school and I did not mix. I seriously only wish I could have been as cool as Maddy back then... having manga drawing skills would be pretty awesome… I feel like the storyline of the book may have been a little unrealistic; however, that didn’t really bother me too much. It also didn’t bother me that I pretty much knew what was going to happen throughout the book (I tend to be pretty perceptive so I’m used to this). It was just a really fun read that I personally felt connected to. For any gamers, non-gamers, or those who simply just don’t fit in then this is a book for you.

February 26, 2009

2008 to 2009 Cybils Winners!

The Cybils Winners were announced while I was on vacation! Sorry this is such a late post, but it is helpful information! I'm highlighting here the teen books that won.

YA Fantasy and Science Fiction:
"The Hunger Games"
by Suzanne Collins

YA Graphic Novel:
"Emiko Superstar"
by Mariko Tamaki
illustrated by Steve Rolston

YA Non-Fiction:
"The Year We Disappeared: A Father Daughter Memoir"
by Cylin Busby and John Busby

YA Fiction:
"The Disreputable History of Frankie Landau-Banks"
by E Lockhart

Click here for more information on other winners.

I have to say that I'm really excited that "The Hunger Games" got the recognition it deserves.

February 25, 2009

Struck by "Rumble Fish"


"Rumble Fish" by S. E. Hinton is about a young teenager named Rusty-James who is living in New York City. His father is an alcoholic and his mother is no longer around. His older brother is the only person who looks out for him, but tends to disappear for weeks at a time. Rusty lives in the now and doesn’t comprehend the repercussions of his actions. He longs for the old days of gang wars and his only passion seems to be for fighting.

I must say that I was hesitant to read this book, but I really don’t know why. Someone really close to me had been bugging me to read it for months and even gave it to me as a Christmas gift, but I still pushed it to the bottom of my pile. I ended up bringing "Rumble Fish" on my vacation and read it in less than 3 hours. It was a really great read and I’m so glad that I stopped being so stubborn! The last book I read by this author was "That Was Then, This Is Now" and I really enjoyed it, so I really don’t know why I was putting off reading it for so long.

Hinton manages to make a character that most people would describe as a jerk sympathetic to readers. Even though I did not agree with Rusty’s actions, I could understand why he chose to react in such a way. He is a true product of his environment and Hinton masterfully captures this throughout the book.

February 23, 2009

"The Book Thief" Stole My Heart!


The Book Thief” by Marc Zusak takes place in Nazi Germany and is narrated by Death. He tells the tragic story of Leisel Meminger, a young German child, who is separated from her family when she is only 9 years old simply because her parents were thought to be Communists. Leisel is taken to live with a new family in the town of Molching, Germany where she eventually makes a home for herself. Even though Leisel eventually finds happiness in her new home, the political climate touches her life in many heartbreaking ways.

“The Book Thief” is the best book I’ve ever listened to on audio. Allan Corduner does a fantastic job of portraying the emotions of the different characters. He has a wonderful accent and a beautiful tone to his voice that just carries you through the story. The book is 11 CDs long making it close to a 14-hour listen that I wish never had to end. I listen to audio books at the gym and in the car and this story made the time fly by. I was so excited to drive two or three hours just to be able to listen to a large chunk of the story.

I could seriously gush about the book forever, but for now I must bring it to an end. I cannot think of one negative thing to say about this book. It is definitely one of my favorites.

P.S. If you do listen to the audio book I would suggest at least browsing through the print version because there are some really great illustrations in it. It isn't necessary, but it just made me love the book a little more.

I am back!

The vacation is over and I have survived my first road trip (without parents)! It was a really interesting experience, but I don't think I'm really the cruise kind of person. It was still a lot of fun though!
I read a lot of great books over the vacation and am kind of behind in my reviews... I'll do my best to catch up! Although I still need to review a few books that I read before I even left... so much to do! I read 5 books over the vacation and I have three books that I need to review from before I left... YIKES! I better get cracking!

February 16, 2009

On vaca!

I'm sorry I haven't posted in a while! School got a bit crazy and I had to pack for the cruise I am currently on. It was sooo hectic I totally forgot my sneakers... YIKES! Anyway, I finished reading 2 books and listening to 2 audio books so I will have plenty to post once I finish writing the reviews. I also am reading a whole bunch on this vacation so hopefully that will make up for my lack of posting last week.
I am totally getting sea sick so this is over and out!

February 6, 2009

Soon will get "Deeper" in the "Tunnels" series.

I just finished "Tunnels" by Roderick Gordon and Brian Williams last night and I want to read more!

Will Burrows lives a rather normal teenage life filled with dysfunction that most people can relate to: he gets teased in school, his mother is obsessed with TV, his sister bosses him around, and his father is out of the ordinary. Will's favorite thing in life is digging tunnels with his father in order to find ancient artifacts. After finding an old tunnel under the heart of London, Will and his father feel as though they may have a career-making breakthrough. They keep their find a secret so they can explore more of the tunnel, but before they get a second look Will's father goes missing.

Will doesn't believe when police tell him that his father probably ran off on the family and decides that he must investigate more if he wants to find out the truth. To make matters worse, Will realizes that irksome men are following him around. With assistance from his friend Chester, Will finds a dig site in their basement that his father was working on in secret. Will can't help but think the tunnel has something to do with his father's disappearance, so the two boys explore it. Instead of finding Will's father in the tunnel system, Will and Chester find themselves hostages of an underground colony that has no intention of letting them escape.

“Tunnels” is a really great book. The thing that surprises me most was that it had so many blindsiding twists it was fantastic! Usually I can kind of guess where a book is going, but not this time. I actually felt like I was on the journey with Will just trying to survive each moment as it came at me!

This book also had intriguing characters. The villains in it were truly scary, especially the one I never saw coming (I wont give it away!!!). There were characters that I couldn't quite figure out, and characters that I flipped-flopped between loving and hating depending on the scene.

I will definitely read the second book of the series “Deeper”! I hear there is a third book that may be coming out this year (have to double check on that fact) and I'll probably be reading that third book as well. ; )

February 2, 2009

School and pleasure reading is a bad combo!

Sorry that I've been slacking so much on my pleasure reading! I'm getting towards the end of Tunnels, but I do still have a ways to go! Until I update this further I figure I might as well tell you about a great contest available on another blog! Em, as in Em's Bookshelf, has picked 7 books that she will be giving away. I haven't read all of them, but I know many are highly recommended! Just click here to learn more about entering the contest.

P.S. "Eon" is one of the books that you could win! If you do win it then you must let me know whether you think my review is accurate. I like to hear what other people think!