Sunday, March 10, 2019

Sure Fire

Sure Fire by Jack Higgins

The mother of 15 year old twins Rich and Jade dies in a car crash and they are told they must go and live with their estranged father, John Chance, who they have never met before. A bachelor who lives on his own, it soon becomes clear that Rich and Jade are not welcome.

This book is not the most well written I have ever read but it sure was a lot of fun. I love spy, adventure stories. The characters were not the most life like but it was a light, fast paced read and this is the second time I've read it.

There is some swearing in it, so that is to be kept in mind for anyone who has problems with that.

It is not a violent, detailed book though. So while there could have been torture scenes there weren't and I was glad of that. Sometimes one just wants an adventure, family story without the pain and agony. This book is prefect to meet that need.

I was pleased to get the other three and will be sharing reviews from those as well soon. 

Sunday, March 3, 2019

“Mrs. Tifton had cut off Jane’s ha-ha-ha before it even began. Lydia thought this was probably a good thing.”

The Penderwicks at Last by Jeanne Birdsall

I love this series. These are some of my all time favorite books. This is the family we all wished we had, and if you don't wish it then you already do have it.

This book has left me torn though. It had delightful moments which I loved - Batty saving the spiders, she hiding the ax in the fridge, summer adventures, Ben driving.

But there was a lot I didn't like about it and it makes me sad there are things in a Penderwick book I didn't enjoy.

I disliked how opposed to marriage Skye and Jane were. They saw these ideal marriages between there dad and mom and then their dad and Iantha. And they were so weird about marriage. I found that hard to swallow. I know marriage isn't for everyone, but when your dad is Mr. Penderwick how can you be so against marriage?

I didn't like how we didn't get to meet Skye's boyfriend. He was just there, suddenly, with no chance to get to know him.

Why was Wesley in the story? Can someone explain this to me?

And for that matter, my biggest sorrow, WHY WAS MR. AND THE NEW MRS. PENDERWICK HARDLY IN THIS BOOK?! I missed Mr. Penderwick more than I ever realized I would.

The other books were about siblings. This book hardly had the siblings interacting. I wanted to see more with Batty and Ben and Lydia together.

It wasn't a horrible book. It just didn't feel like a Penderwick story and that alone makes me sad all over.

Jack Frost

Jack Frost, the End becomes the Beginning by William Joyce.

I love this series. I've been reading it since the movie came out and waiting eagerly for each new book. I was sad this is the last book but excited as well because Jack was my favorite character in the movie and I couldn't wait for his book. (He is tied with North for favorite in the books.)

In this book we get a look into Jack's life during his time after he first becomes Jack Frost.  We meet his adopted family whom he has to leave to keep safe and get the chance to wander the world with him. 

Jack, once Nightlight, is a mystical boy who cannot grow up. He goes from the age of 13 to 19 and back again. And he is one of the most beloved Guardians.

His back story in this is different than his back story in the movie but I didn't like it any less because of that. I love both stories, movie and books and cannot pick out of them which I like better.

Like the movie, this book made me feel all the feels. Jack is a sad person and I needed that ending so badly by the time I reached it.

I love this series and recommend it often. I read it almost every Christmas and enjoy it more each time.

Wednesday, January 30, 2019

Lockwood stared. “Does he always talk like this?” “No. Usually he’s worse. See what I have to put up with?”

The Empty Grave by Jonathan Stroud

Five months after the events in THE CREEPING SHADOW, we join Lockwood, Lucy, George, Holly, and their associate Quill Kipps on a perilous night mission: they have broken into the booby-trapped Fittes Mausoleum, where the body of the legendary psychic heroine Marissa Fittes lies. Or does it? This is just one of the many questions to be answered in Book 5 of the Lockwood & Co. series. Will Lockwood ever reveal more about his family's past to Lucy? Will their trip to the Other Side leave Lucy and Lockwood forever changed? Will Penelope Fittes succeed in shutting down their agency forever? The young agents must survive attacks from foes both spectral and human before they can take on their greatest enemy in a climactic and chaotic battle. And to prevail they will have to rely on help from some surprising--and shadowy--allies. Jonathan Stroud once again delivers a rousing adventure full of danger, laughs, twists, and frights. The revelations will send readers back to Book 1 to start the series all over again.

Did I want to reread the whole series over again? You bet I did. And I plan to, once I catch up on some of my other books. (WARNING, AS WITH ALL MY REVIEWS ON SEQUELS THERE WILL BE SPOILERS.)

This book had me up late and night and early in the morning just so I could finish it. I was convinced Lockwood was going to die so put it off forever before reading it, but once I started it I couldn't put it down.

The thing which surprised me most in this book was how much I have come to like Kipps, the Skull, and even Barnes. I felt tricked into liking them, but when Kipps got stabbed and almost died I was on the edge of my seat.

And shall we mention when George almost died? Shall we mention the fact everyone almost died but Lockwood, the one most were worried about? It was like Stroud knew our fear so sneaked in other close calls just to watch us cry in fear.

The ending was everything I hoped it would be and more. Happy but with enough mystery to imagine things going on the way they had always been, mostly. And I still have hope that Skull came back. I don't count him as dead because of the glow in the end. And after all, what is Lockwood and Co. without Skull and his sass?

This series is well done and one of my favorites and I recommend it, spookiness and all.

Thursday, December 20, 2018

Record of the Lodoss War

Record of the Lodoss War: The Gray Witch by Ryo Mizuno

Parn, a reckless but passionate swordsman embarks on a quest to discover the source of a great evil overwhelming the country of Lodoss Joining him are Deedlit, a young elf wielding great magic; Ghim, the tough-asstones dwarf; Etoh, a fledging priest; Slayn, the group's sorcerer; and Woodchuck, their indispensable thief. Together, this iconic group will join forces to discover the truth behind a world torn apart by ancient deities and wield the power needed to defeat the Grey Witch!

I saw this at Bucky and Donna's one day but ended up buying it off Amazon because it was way cheaper. I also watched the anime too, which has dorky animation but a cool storyline.

This book was okay. I will probably read it again but it isn't my favorite of the anime adaptions. It doesn't add anything to the story and the characters are flatter than in the anime. But what can I say, I have a thing for fantasy and dragons and all the nine yards even with a dorky plot.

Parn is not the ideal kind of hero. He is very loyal and brave, but there just felt more to him in the anime. In this he just came off as rather silly at times. But in spite of all that it was a fun book to read and I am not sorry I own it. I think The Twelve Kingdoms has just set my expectations high.

Wednesday, December 5, 2018

“I'd rather be in danger with you than be safe without you.”

The Twelve Kingdoms: Sea of Shadow by Fuyumi Ono

This is the first in a fantasy series written by a Japanese author and translated into English. it is a seven book series but, sadly for everyone but those who can read Japanese, only the first four books have been translated. 

The story is about a girl named Yoko, who lives a fairly normal life, attending High School and generally just trying to be a good girl so no one gets upset with her. All that changes the day a mysterious man shows up at her school, a man named Kieki. He is followed by monsters who attack Yoko and destroy part of the school. Yoko is then taken to another world where Kieki goes missing and she is left on her own with only a sword she can draw and monsters which fight her every day. Worn and to the point of death, Yoko seeks help but is no longer sure who she can trust after she is continually betrayed.

This was the second novel which was translated from Japanese I read and I loved every moment of it. I can't say this about all Japanese novels, since I've only read a few, but the ones I've read are incredible and filled with wonderful characters and story telling.

During Yoko's journey she meets an interesting cast of characters and because the reader feels as betrayed as she does when someone turns out to not be trustworthy it is hard to know who is there to help and who wishes her harm.

The pictures in this novel are lovely and make me wish so much I could get my hands on the manga just to look at the drawings. (There is also an anime which I started but watched episodes out of order by accident so need to start over.)

The story is exciting and well written and I can't wait to start book two.

Wednesday, November 28, 2018

“Dead kids are put on pedestals, but mentally ill kids get hidden under the rug."

Challenger Deep by Neal Shusterman

Caden Bosch is on a ship that's headed for the deepest point on Earth: Challenger Deep, the southern part of the Marianas Trench.
Caden Bosch is a brilliant high school student whose friends are starting to notice his odd behavior.
Caden Bosch is designated the ship's artist in residence to document the journey with images.
Caden Bosch pretends to join the school track team but spends his days walking for miles, absorbed by the thoughts in his head.
Caden Bosch is split between his allegiance to the captain and the allure of mutiny.
Caden Bosch is torn.

This was the second book I read about mental illness and this one I related to even more than the first. It showed in terms I can relate to, what it feels like to be pulled down into a mental illness.

Caden tells the story, how he starts to slip from anxiety to something more. How everyone at first thinks he's on drugs until they realize the truth and then no one really knows how to handle it.

The subject is tender and hard for most to talk about, let alone write about, but this book handles it well. It is delicate but bluntly open and takes it at face value. It is very open while being caring.

There are swear words throughout the book and hints at a disregard to God. But it is one I can still recommend.