Tuesday, November 29, 2016

Throne of Glass and A Court of Thorns and Roses

Throne of Glass
Sarah J. Mass
Bloomsbury, 2013
Genre: Fantasy
Rating: 2.5 out of 5 stars

I just finished reading two of Sarah J. Maas's books.  I have been meaning to give them a try and finally did.  My dad gave me the entire set of Throne of Glass to put in my classroom after he read them. It's been waiting for me to read it and determine its appropriateness--I have determined it is not so appropriate for a 6th grade audience.  Although it's the first in a series, I'm not really interested in reading more about Celaena.  I had an okay time reading the story, but there were lots of lagging moments for me and I only managed to get through it because we were on a long car ride over Thanksgiving.  The mystery wasn't really so mysterious and because I was aware that there are multiple books in the series, it was easy to surmise that she made it through the trials to become the King's Assassin.  So I won't be reading any more of the series and will most likely donate them to our public library.  I really have little interest in finding out about the love triangle that has formed between Celaena, Dorian, and Chaol.

A Court of Thorns and Roses 
Sarah J. Maas
Bloomsbury, 2015
Genre: Fantasy, Fairy Tale Retelling
Rating: 2.5 out of 5 stars

Now, I've been interested in reading A Court of Thorns and Roses because I was really interested in how Sarah J. Maas formed this story as a Beauty and The Beast story.

The story was interesting and I wanted to see how things played out.  The Evil Fairie Queen was an good twist to the story.  However, I wasn't a fan of her relationship with Tamlin because I don't trust it.  Even now, after finishing it, I don't trust it (maybe there will be reason in the next book, but I'm not going there).  Tamlin is controlling and I did not like the scene that took place the night of the The Great Rite.  The violence that made to seem sensual and enticing made me not only distrust Tamlin for the rest of the book, but also question Feyre's feelings for him.  How manipulated has she become.

Then when they go Under the Mountain and she becomes Rhysand's toy, it was nauseating.  I finished it.  But I won't be reading on.  I hate triangles and the next book will become this struggle that Feyre must choose between two men and one is "good" and the other is "bad" and what can she do?

Wednesday, November 23, 2016

Book Review: Star Wars Jedi Academy: A New Class

Star Wars Jedi Academy: A New Class

Jarrett J. Krosoczka


Scholastic, 2016

Genre: Sci Fi, Middle Grade, Graphic Novel, Star Wars

Rating: 3 out of 5 stars

Star Wars Jedi Academy is back with a new group of students. Jarrett J. Krosoczka introduces us to Victor Starspeeder, a padawan who has had some trouble at his current academy and is being transferred to another school where they can handle his...abilities. Luckily (?) his older sister is there to help (?) him out. But not only will Victor need to learn to control the Force, he'll also need to figure out how to handle his new classmates. If he can't hack it, he'll be kicked out of the Jedi Academy. 

Although we're with a new group of students, the story is similar to that of Roan's in the previous three books. Victor is a bit of a mess and makes mistakes pretty constantly when he first arrives on campus. It takes him awhile to figure everything out. He's also infatuated with one of his new classmates and tries endlessly to impress her--without much luck. 

This was a fun read and readers of the original three Jedi Academy books by Jeffery Brown will enjoy it. The story isn't as interesting, though, and I found myself wishing I could hear more about Roan. I missed him. 

Saturday, November 12, 2016

Book Review: Crenshaw

Katherine Applegate
Read by Kirby Heyborne
Listening Library, Audible, 2015
Genre: Children's, Realistic, Family
Stars: 3.5 out of 5

In this story about a family who has fallen on hard times, we meet Jackson. Jackson knows what it's like to move suddenly from your house and not be sure where you'll live next. He knows what it's like to live in a car, and he doesn't want to go back to that again. But when things start to go wrong for his family, he fears it's about to happen again. That's when Crenshaw reappears. Jackson met Crenshaw last when they were leaving their home the first time to live out of their van. And now he's back. Crenshaw is a cat who talks and prefers purple jelly beans. Jackson is mortified and just wants him to go away. But there are more important things on his mind right now and maybe, just maybe, this imaginary friend can help. 

Jackson is smart. He's incredibly smart and knows a lot about animals especially.  He's also observant and realizes what's going on before his parents realize he knows. Crenshaw is another source of anxiety for him as he worries whether people can see him or not. But the more he talks to Crenshaw, the more things become clear to him. 

This is a heartbreaking story. It's deals with a part of life that many kids struggle with on a regular basis and that adults have a hard time addressing. This story could allow readers to understand themselves, their friends, or their world better. Kids need to know they aren't alone in the world. Crenshaw (both the book itself and the imaginary cat) can help lead kids through a dark time. I hope every kid has his or own imaginary friend who will help them. 

It needs to be said that the audio book is wonderfully performed by Kirby Heyborne. He is particularly good when it comes to the voice of Crenshaw, bringing the cat to life for the reader.