Saturday, December 26, 2009

Fallen by Lauren Kate

bu Lauren Kate

4.0 out of 5 stars Exciting new direction in YA Fantasy!, December 26, 2009
By Reading It All (Orange County, CA USA) - See all my reviews
For those of your, like me that are done with the whole "vampire as hero" thing - this newest genre will be refreshing.

In Fallen, Lauren Kate takes us into the world of Fallen Angels...and, as with the vampire books, each author's take on this newest breed to populate our space is slightly different.

In Fallen we meet Luce Price - a young woman who, with each passing year has felt less and less in control of her life. She is fighting off demons of the mind in the form of dark shadows that appear and take over parts of her well as demons of the past.

As the book opens she finds herself entering a school for troubled teens - and in Fallen we watch as she goes through the motions of fitting in and trying to keep the shadows at bay. Enter Daniel Grigori...

While the romance between Luce and Daniel is certainly the central point of this book, it handles a lot of issues, responsibility, mental illness, loss, parental love, friendship and more. I am not going to spoil this story for those of you looking forward to this book - but - I do want to take on the most common the negative comment about this book.

Character development - I really feel that way Lauren Kate handled the slowly unfolding story of each character gives us an honest view through Luce's eyes - the story is being told from her viewpoint and until fairly close to the end she is in the dark. This technique - I think - works in this book.

If you have just started this book and are finding the read a little slow at the start, first you are probably not a teenaged reader, and second stay with closes with a BANG!

I am really looking forward to the next book in from this author - can't wait to learn more about Luce and her life after Sword & Cross.

Just as a side note - this book will appeal to readers of Hush, Hush by Becca Kirkpatrick.

Product Description from Amazon

There's something achingly familiar about Daniel Grigori.

Mysterious and aloof, he captures Luce Price's attention from the moment she sees him on her first day at the Sword & Cross boarding school in sultry Savannah, Georgia. He's the one bright spot in a place where cell phones are forbidden, the other students are all screw-ups, and security cameras watch every move.

Even though Daniel wants nothing to do with Luce--and goes out of his way to make that very clear--she can't let it go. Drawn to him like a moth to a flame, she has to find out what Daniel is so desperate to keep secret . . . even if it kills her.

Dangerously exciting and darkly romantic, Fallen is a page turning thriller and the ultimate love story.

Thursday, December 24, 2009

Louisa May Alcott: The Woman Behind Little Women

Louisa May Alcott: The Woman Behind Little Women

By Harriet Reisen

5.0 out of 5 stars Looking forward to the PBS American Masters Presentation..., December 24, 2009
By Reading It All (Orange County, CA USA) - See all my reviews
I have always been a fan of Louisa May Alcott's writing and when I was given the opportunity to read Louisa May Alcott: The Woman Behind Little Women (John MacRae Books) I jumped on it.

Harriet Reisen has a background as a writer of documentaries and I wasn't expecting more than a light biography but this is so much more because of Ms. Reisen's twenty year relationship with Louisa May Alcott. She explains how the book came out of the screenplay and the differences between the two...I am quoting her below.

From Harriet Reisen's Bio:

I decided to write the film script completely from primary sources. Louisa and all the other characters would speak only words they had written or were reported by contemporaries to have said. My choice and arrangement of scenes and dialogue, our production choices, interviews with scholars and experts, and Nancy's direction and editing were our only means to interpret Louisa's character and her life. We had no narrator to get between the viewer and the material.

What the film gained in authenticity was worth the embargo on my own knowledge and opinion. The book came as a gift--with room to let Louisa's story roam, and freedom to tell it in my own words and fill it with characters without having to consider what their costumes and meals would cost.


This book gave me a warm, up close peak at Louisa May Alcott - the woman! Reisen does a fabulous job of dropping you into the period - so well in fact that I learned some history and discovered quite a bit about the environment that LMA and her art grew from.

I think that I would have loved to work beside the LMA that treated the wounded in the Civil War. Her family, her politics, and her writing. This is a multi faceted woman and Reisen polishes every facet - light and dark.

I eagerly await the PBS American Masters Documentary.

Product Description from Amazon
A vivid, energetic account of the life of Louisa May Alcott, whose work has delighted millions of readers...

Louisa May Alcott portrays a writer as worthy of interest in her own right as her most famous character, Jo March, and addresses all aspects of Alcott’s life: the effect of her father’s self-indulgent utopian schemes; her family’s chronic economic difficulties and frequent uprootings; her experience as a nurse in the Civil War; the loss of her health and frequent recourse to opiates in search of relief from migraines, insomnia, and symptomatic pain. Stories and details culled from Alcott’s journals; her equally rich letters to family, friends, publishers, and admiring readers; and the correspondence, journals, and recollections of her family, friends, and famous contemporaries provide the basis for this lively account of the author’s classic rags-to-riches tale.

Alcott would become the equivalent of a multimillionaire in her lifetime based on the astounding sales of her books, leaving contemporaries like Nathaniel Hawthorne, Herman Melville, and Henry James in the dust. This biography explores Alcott’s life in the context of her works, all of which are to some extent autobiographical. A fresh, modern take on this remarkable and prolific writer, who secretly authored pulp fiction, harbored radical abolitionist views, and completed heroic service as a Civil War nurse, Louisa May Alcott is in the end also the story of how the all-time beloved American classic Little Women came to be. This revelatory portrait will present the popular author as she was and as she has never been seen before.

Wednesday, December 23, 2009

William S. and the Great Escape

William S. and the Great Escape
by Zilpha Keatley Snyder

4.0 out of 5 stars Important Life Lessons...Start the Conversation with Your Kids!, December 23, 2009
By Reading It All (Orange County, CA USA) - See all my reviews
From the cover art to the end - William S. and the Great Escape is a winner!

William is forced to runaway - ahead of schedule - this is something he has been planning ever since the death of their beloved mother.

Escaping an abusive father and older siblings - William and his three younger siblings run - eventually hoping to land at their aunts house...but as you probably expect, trouble follows.

The only thing that kept this from being a 5 star book for me was the historical placement. The book takes place in the 1930's and I never really felt like I was there.

Through the telling of this compelling story the author, Zilpha Keatley Snyder, author of The Egypt Game, The Headless Cupid, and The Witches of Worm, all Newbery Honor us a look at some very complex issues.

A middle grade look at abuse, bullying, relationships between siblings (the good and the bad), responsibility, trust...all great discussion openers for dealing with these issues with your own children.

Product Description from Amazon
William S. Baggett is a good kid trapped in a really awful family. William has his running-away money ready to go, he's just been waiting until he's older than twelve to leave. When his big brothers flush his sister's pet guinea pig down the toilet, she insists they leave now. And take the two littlest Baggetts with them. So they head out in the middle of the night, ready to escape to their aunt Fiona's house.

Unfortunately the trip doesn't go exactly as planned. It's not so easy traveling with two little kids, and some help from a lonely rich girl makes it even more complicated. Will they ever make it to Aunt Fiona's? And if they do, will she let them stay?

This is the story of four children who learn that sometimes you have to run away before you can find your way home.

Friday, December 4, 2009

Curse of the Spider King: The Berinfell Prophecies Series - Book One

by Wayne Thomas Batson and Christopher Hopper

Middle Graders and Tweens will eagerly read this book...I only hope that the rest of the series offers the same level of entertainment as this charming series debut.

From the cover to the concept - what could be more delightfully disgusting than a Spider King with an army of spider warriors - the Curse of the Spider King: The Berinfell Prophecies Series - Book One is the first in a series about the Seven Elven Lords of Allyra.

In a world that combines medieval themes with a modern feeling the Wicked Spider King is searching for the Seven Elven Lords of Allyra. long thought dead, lost in the Siege of Berinfell as babes. Strange signs reveal that Elven blood may live among the peoples of earth.

Why does that matter? These elven lords are the only ones that have the power to destroy the Spider King and his hold on their world....

The story seems to start slowly but soon grabs your imagination and rushes you along as the Seven find out about themselves and each other, and discover what waits for them through a portal between worlds.

Wayne Thomas Batson and Christopher Hopper combine creative talents to create an enchanting, scary, and winning world! It is going to seem like forever waiting until August 2010 for Venom and Song: The Berinfell Prophecies Series - Book Two.

I love the interactive trend in teen books - after all this is a world they understand. Learn more about The Berinfell Prophecies at Create your own tribe. Connect with fans through the forum. Win pre-release chapters and the opportunity to have Wayne and Christopher at your very own book party!

Product Description from Amazon
Fantasy. Mystery. Action. Humor. Parents, teachers, and librarians will no longer have to push kids to read-The Berinfell Prophesies will engage intermediate readers and leave them clamoring for more.

The Seven succeeding Elven Lords of Allyra were dead, lost in the Siege of Berinfell as babes. At least that's what everyone thought until tremors from a distant world known as Earth, revealed strange signs that Elven blood lived among its peoples. With a glimmer of hope in their hearts, sentinels are sent to see if the signs are true. But theirs is not a lone errand. The ruling warlord of Allyra, the Spider King, has sent his own scouts to hunt down the Seven and finish the job they failed to complete many ages ago.

Now 13-year-olds on the brink of the Age of Reckoning when their Elven gifts will be manifest, discover the unthinkable truth that their adoptive families are not their only kin. With mysterious Sentinels revealing breathtaking secrets of the past, and dark strangers haunting their every move, will the young Elf Lords find the way back to the home of their birth? Worlds and races collide as the forces of good and evil battle. Will anyone escape the Curse of the Spider King?

Wednesday, December 2, 2009

BOOK GIVEAWAY!!! Child of Fire Winners Announced!

The Child of Fire
by Harry Connolly

Book Giveaway Winners! can find info about the giveaway here!

...and the winners are!!!!

Becky LeJuene
Dana E.
Misty (it pays to enter 3 times it was your Twitter add that won!!!)

...congratulations to all the winners!!!

if you didn't leave an email address I hope you read this note!

Find me on Twitter as @ReadingItAll
...or email your info to robynahawk at yahoo


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