Friday, December 21, 2012


by Neil Gaiman, P. Craig Russell (Adaptor/Illustrator)
Published: HarperCollins, 2008
Pages: 186

This is an Eclectic Reader Challenge book!

When Coraline moves to a new house, she discovers another home strangely similar to the same as hers, only better.  Everything seems wonderful: the food is better and the toys are cooler.  But when Coraline's other mother tells her that she should stay, Coraline will have to fight to go back home to her real parents.

I have now read the book, watched the movie, and read the graphic novel.  Every edition of this story has sent chills down my spine.  Although I did think that the written version was much creepier than the graphic novel, it still creates an atmosphere fit for a spooky story like this.

The illustrations in this graphic novel are incredible.  I thought this adaptation was beautiful and striking.  P. Craig Russell  took the story of Coraline and drew it out in a haunting and creepy manner.  These illustrations gave the story a new life.  The rats throughout this story are very sinister and create a nice sense of foreboding.

All of Coraline's neighbors are unique and quirky, with special oddities.  The actresses breed dogs and crazy man upstairs trains a mouse circus.  The interesting character bring light to a dark story.  I am impressed by Neil Gaiman's ability to think up such interesting and dark ideas for this story.

I have read other Neil Gaiman works and I must say that he has a way with words and crazy characters.  His imagination is filled with an amazing ability to weave plots together to create an interesting story and a fantastic read.  I have enjoyed reading his work and will most definitely continue read anything written by him in the future.

Stars: 3/5


"A magnificently creepy story for stouthearted kids who love a brush with the sinister, Coraline is spot on."
               --Kirkus Reviews

"Gaiman's tale is inventive, scary, thrilling and finally affirmative.  Readers young and old will find something to startle them."
             --Washington Post Book World

"By turns creepy and funny, bittersweet and playful, can be read quickly and enjoyed deeply."
              --San Francisco Chronicle Book Review

Thursday, December 20, 2012

Paper Towns

by John Green
Published: Dutton, 2009
Pages: 305

It's an "Eclectic Reader 2012 Challenge" book!

Quentin Jacobsen is on a mission.  His mission: to find the girl that he's been in love with for as long as he can remember, Margo Roth Spiegelman.  After a night of crazy adventure and revenge, Margo disappears and it's up to Quentin to find out where she went.  But as he looks deeper into the mystery, he finds that the Margo he knows and loves, might not be the real Margo.

John Green has created an incredible cast of characters that simultaneously annoy and excite me.  One of the reasons I really like this book is because I connected immediately with Quentin.  I wanted to find Margo just a bad as Quentin did and I was incredibly disappointed whenever we hit a dead end.  When the bigger picture was revealed, I was surprised right along with Q.  This connection to the characters is incredible and can only be the work of a fine writer.

The mystery is clever and well thought out, twisting and turning in ways that I couldn't predict at all.  There is rarely a mystery that I can't figure out before it's revealed in the book but John Green stumped me.  I am proud to say that I am very happy that I didn't figure everything out, it made this book ten times more intriguing and wonderful.

John Green has done it again.  He has created a narrative that has captured my attention from the beginning.  The mystery and the relationships between the characters make this book incredible.  Moving forward, I will read anything that John Green writes.

Stars: 4/5


"Green...delivers once again with this satisfying, crowd-pleasing look at a complex, smart boy and the way he loves.  Genuine--and genuinely funny--dialogue...mystery...and delightful secondary characters.  A winning combination."
           --Kirkus Reviews

"Green's prose is astounding-from devastating observation and truths.  The mystery of fascinating, cleverly constructed, and profoundly moving."
         --School Library Journal

Wednesday, December 19, 2012


by James Patterson

Published: Little Brown and Company, 2012
Pages: 368

This is an Eclectic Reader Challenge book!

Max and company are back in the final installment of the Maximum Ride series.  All is well for the group as they try to be normal kids, that go to normal school. But what happens when The Voice, tells everyone that they have specific jobs to help protect Max and save the world.  All hell is about to break loose and Max is the only one that can save us all, or can she?

To be perfectly honest, I did not have very high expectations going into this book.  I wasn't a huge fan of the last couple books in this series, but I wanted to see how this story ended.  It left me very unsatisfied.  It was almost as though Patterson had just remembered there were questions that needed answers and he started scrambling to answer them without taking the time to make the answers make sense.

As for the characters, they continue to be my favorite part of these books.  Even though the love triangle between Dylan, Max and Fang irritated me, I really did enjoy Nudge, Iggy, Gazzy and Angel.  I thought of all the characters these four were most interesting, in fact they seemed to be the only ones that stayed in character throughout the series.  We still got the craziness of these kids in their own environment, at their best.

By the end of this novel, I was so frustrated with the answers we were given these questions: who/what The Voice was, how was Max supposed to save the world, are Fang and Max going to finally get together, why was Dylan even introduced. ect.

I was looking forward to a strong ending with questions answered.  It was quite unfortunate that this series didn't end better.  That being said, I am still sad to see this series end.  The bird kids have taken me from middle school into adulthood.  I enjoyed seeing how their stories end, even if I didn't like the way it ended.

Stars: 2/5

"This book...has all the characteristics of [James Patterson's] work for grown-ups: pace, action, mystery and cool.... This skilled and compulsive take is so involving...and it proves that girls can be tough, too."
               --London Times, "Children's Book of the Week," July 3, 2005

"The key to Maximum Ride's success may be that it incorporates concepts familiar to young people....  What  makes these characters so appealing is that they have wings and can fly... Another plus: the book has a feel of a video game.... Fights and flights are nonstop in Maximum Ride.  The writing is visual and cinematic-things that kids expect from their video games, TV cartoon shows, and action movie."
               --USA Today

Monday, December 17, 2012

Fahrenheit 451

by Ray Bradbury
Published: Balentine Books, 1953
Pages: 179

It's an "Eclectic Reader 2012 Challenge" book!

In a world where firemen create fires and books are banned, Guy Montag is a fireman.  He never questions his orders or the destruction and ruin his actions cause others.  But when he meets a young, eccentric neighbor, his whole way of thinking and opens his eyes to the past.  When everyone in his life starts to disappear, Montag begins to question everything he knows.

This book has been a long time coming.  I have been hearing about this since, well probably since middle school.  I really can't believe I have made it this long without reading this book.  I am absolutely intrigued by dystopian novels and Ray Bradbury is one of first authors to attempt this type of story.

I thought this book was very well written; it is beautiful and descriptive writing.  The dystopian world created by Ray Bradbury is incredibly bleak, but believable.  At one point in the story, we get an explanation about why the world is as it is, and it's somewhat plausible.  I imagine this world in the future and I shutter.  Bradbury was prolific in this novel with the message of censorship.  Knowledge is a powerful things, as is censorship in the wrong/right hands it can be extraordinarily destructive.

The characters in this book are so interesting.  Each complex in their own right, Mildred and her seeming vapidness, Clarisse and her carefree spirit, Beatty and his exploration of technology and willingness to defy the government.  All of these characters make this story intriguing and compelling.

I wanted to know more.  The open-ending is fine way to end it, but they always drive me crazy.  I always want to know what happens next.  Ray Bradbury has created a dystopian novel that kept me entranced by it's intense and frightening tale.

Stars: 3/5


"Frightening in its implications... Mr. Bradbury's account of this insane world, which bears many alarming resemblances to our own, is fascinating."
              -- The New York Times

I Am the Messenger

by Markus Zusak
Published: Knopf Books, 2007
Pages: 360

This is an Eclectic Book Challenge book!

Ed Kennedy is an underage cabdriver that seems to be going nowhere with his life.  Then he starts receiving cards with names on them.  Ed becomes the messenger.  He begins to deliver messages to people he has never met.  His dull life is suddenly brimming with purpose.  Only one thing remains a mystery:  who's behind Ed's missions.

This book is so well written, it kept me continuously curious and interested.  After the first incredibly comical chapter, I was hooked.  It's not every day you read about someone unintentionally preventing a bank robbery.

The characters are incredibly engaging as well as infuriating.  Ed and his friends are an incredibly complex and quirky bunch of people.  They balance each other so well.  The Doorman is possibly one of my favorite characters in this book.  He may be just a dog, but he embodies so much more.  His human characteristics and relationship with Ed makes this story ten times better.  Ed knows exactly what The Doorman wants and needs and The Doorman knows exactly what Ed needs.

It seems that Zusak has a purpose for every word he writes. Each carefully placed poetically that gives this story a gritty charm.  I admire how he crafts words into sentences and sentences in to paragraphs.  Those paragraphs become the stories that grace the pages of his books.  .

It seems that Markus Zusak can do no wrong.  I cannot wait to what he has planned for his next novel.

Stars: 5/5

"Zusak doesn't sugarcoat anything, but he makes his ostensibly gloomy subject bearable the same way Kurt Vonnegut did in Slaughterhouse-Five: with grim, darkly consoling humor."
-- Time Magazine

"Elegant, philosophical and moving...Beautiful and important."
-- Kirkus Reviews

"An extraordinary narrative."
-- School Library Journal

Tuesday, December 4, 2012

Top Ten Tuesday: Books I wouldn't mind santa bringing me

hosted by The Broke and the Bookish.

There are so many books that I would love to see show up under the Christmas tree this year but here are ten that I would really like.

1. The Night Circus by Erin Morgenstern
2. Anna and the French Kiss by Stephanie Perkins
3. Daughter of Smoke and Bone by Laini Taylor
4. Legend by Marie Lu
5. The Scorpio Races by Maggie Steifver
6. Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire by J.K Rowling - (Even though my family has a copy, I don't actually own my own copy.)
7. Seraphina by Rachel Hatman
8. Cinder by Marissa Meyer
9. Across the Universe by Beth Revis
10. On the Road by Jack Kerouac