Tuesday, December 15, 2015

Reviews from Saleena 12/15/15

I honestly was afraid to read this one; it just seemed so sad.....The synopsis is that Veda is a passionate  and talented dancer who loses her foot in a car accident and struggles to find a way to keep dancing.   I started reading it and found two things....first, it was a quick read because it's in poetry form. Secondly  it's much more uplifting than I expected.  The journey is intense and fraught with emotion; but still, not the downer I was worried it would be.  I would highly recommend this to anyone and everyone.

Abigail is back in the next adventure with Jackaby.  This time, someone has found strange dinosaur bones out in the country.  Luckily for Abigail it also is the part of the country where Charlie has been exiled to (and Abigail kind of likes him).  There is adventure and danger and fun throughout the novel and I didn't want the book to end.  I am hoping there are more coming, and shall look forward to devouring them in turn.

Celeana is back for further adventures in the Crown of Midnight.  Now that she's the King's Champion, she has a list of people she is supposed to assassinate for the king...but Celeana is quietly compiling more information about why the king wants them assassinated and if she can; she sends them into exile and pretends to have done the deed.....treasonous to be sure, but she is trying to walk a fine line.  Then the lines get even more blurred as she finds herself falling for Chaol, and also finds her friend Nehimia hiding things from her.  When disaster strikes, and the unthinkable happens, Celeana has to decide whether she is truly on the King's side or not.   I really liked the first book, and for whatever reason it took me awhile to read this sequel.  Thankfully, this book was just as captivating and shows some real character growth from Celeana.  I am looking forward to carving out some time to read the next two novels in the series.

The Crossover is another book in poetry format (which is awesome because they are always quick reads).  This one centers on two brothers who are twins and basketball stars; but who are finding that as they get older, they are less alike than ever.  Josh is angry that JB is dating and also worried about his father's health.  JB doesn't understand why Josh is making a big deal of things.  This book was quite engaging even if you don't like sports, and is a great look at growing up that is truthful, yet not too sad or plaintive....also, there are some vocabulary words (bonus!)   I enjoyed it more than I thought I would, and if you're looking for a book for younger teens, especially boys or reluctant readers, this is a VERY good option.

Friday, December 04, 2015

Rithvik Nuti Book Review: The Novice

Rithvik Nuti
Book Review: The Novice
            Fletcher, a disliked and a not so popular teen is about become one of the most well known teens of his age. Starting as an apprentice to a local blacksmith in an unknown village, he becomes the best summoner of his age in the entire kingdom of Hominum. Fletcher, the  main character of the book is an adopted child by a blacksmith  named Brendon. His life was normal, working in the forge from day till night with some breaks in the day until one day, when a creepy looking soldier gives him a summoner’s book. The summoner’s book has all the spells, incantations, scripts, diagrams, and the description of how to summon a demon. Summoning a demon is not a very common skill among people, especially among commoners.
Not trusting his luck, Fletcher tries to summon a demon, and succeeds in summoning a red solomon. This conflict raises the question about his lineage. Is Fletcher really a blacksmith commoner, or is he related to a noble bloodline because only a noble can summon demons as commoners do not have that power in them which it takes to summon a demon. Also, on the same day he summons his demon, Fletcher is charged for a crime he does not commit. This is why, to stay alive, he has to run away from his village to prevent himself from getting arrested. Constantly on the pursuit, he arrives in the major city of Corcillum where the Vocan Military academy for  the nobles is there. In Corcillum, he meets Arcturus,who is impressed by Fletcher and sends him to the best academy in the kingdom, the Vocans. In this school, Fletcher is curious, excited, and extremely grateful for the opportunity he just received and tries his level best to succeeds in the school. However, his tries are suppressed by the noble kids who are present there. He also meets different races such as dwarves, and elves. These cause him to walk on a different and a dangerous path. There he meets Sylva, Othello, and Tarquin.
Now Fletcher has to choose the right friends, and allies to stay alive and succeed in the school. Will he able to do it? This exciting and adventurous book by Taran Matharu is  perfect for anyone who likes young adult fantasy. It has many ups and downs with cliffhangers which will make the reader grip their seats and to not lose interest. The Novice, the first in the trilogy has many realistic social problems. For example, the inequality between the different social classes is an important theme in this book. Also, racism and suppression of  the different and the not so popular races is demonstrated throughout the novel.
This debut novel is recommended for anyone who loves Pokemon, and all the games in that genre. If you are someone who love to read books like Harry Potter, Eragon, The Hobbit, Lord of the Rings, and are comfortable reading them, The Novice is a perfect book for you because many of  magical information, demonology, and the spells are included. There were many things I liked in this novel. For example, the book is very descriptive and detailed throughout. This prevents readers from getting confused very often because there is a huge amount of information in this book. For example, the author has a description of every demon, its powers, its feature, who can summon it, how it works, etc,. Also, I loved the cover. It is so eye catching, and so descriptive that the cover itself is gives an insights about what the book is going to be about.It has all the major componenets that on might get confused if they do not see the picture properly. The one thing I did not like about this book is the amount of struggles the character has to face. Due to the class inequality, Fletcher had to face many struggles and a lot of disappointment. Even though it is very inspiring and focuses on the social issues of prejudice, it is a little bit sad to read at some parts. Nonetheless, it is wonderful and a suspenseful novel that teens would love to read.

Saturday, November 28, 2015

review of Manners & Mutiny by Carriger from Saleena

It appears that this is the final volume of this set (Finishing School series)..and I say that because the school mates all "finished" or had other issues by the end of the book (trying not to spoil anything).  It was a lovely ending, and another exciting adventure for all of the girls who stepped up to save the world once again.  I love all of the Carriger steampunk novels, so, keep'em coming!

Saturday, November 21, 2015

reviews from Saleena 11/21/15

Fourteenth Goldfish is not a book I would have picked up on my own, but since it was a recommended title for middle school grades (on a list), gave it a try...and it wasn't bad.  A bit young for middle school I think (main character is in 5th grade), but a fun quick read about a girl whose grandfather discovers a way to reverse-age himself back into a 13 year old boy.  She also finds through the long association with her grandfather that she enjoys science more than she thought she would .

Five Flavors of Dumb has been sitting in my "read this" list on Goodreads forever, so I decided to just jump in and try...and it was better than I expected.  Maybe I've been reading too  much (shocker!) or maybe I'm just jaded but when I heard that the main character was deaf, I thought this was going to be this long emotional book about how she's just as capable, etc, etc....*insert crying here*   But, it was completely NOT that, Piper just happens to be deaf, and yes it affects her; but it hasn't ruined her life. In fact the journey to becoming the manager for the rock group Dumb, (something which she kind of stumbles into) takes her from being a shy, self-obsessed teen into a much more well rounded and empathetic person.  I really enjoyed this very much!

Paranormalcy is another that's been sitting for awhile, but on a good note, the series is now finished so I can just dive in and read them all.  =)    Evie works for the International Paranomal Containment Agency and really has been there most of her life since they brought her in at age 8.  Things begin to transpire that make her wonder if the IPCA is everything she thought it was or if she's been deluding herself.  Evie will have to figure out who is killing paranormals and hope to save herself....and then there's the strange but cute boy that she finds snooping at the agency headquarters.  Is he an enemy?  Or maybe she's been working for the bad guys all along?   I really enjoyed this so much!  It's fun, interesting and reminded me a bit of Kim Harrison with the matter-of-fact protagonist.   Can't wait to read the rest!

Friday, November 06, 2015

11/7/15 reviews from Saleena, YA Librarian

This title I actually listened to, and I was looking forward to it because I loved Wein's other titles.  This one also takes place during WWII, but this one is set in Ethiopia and is told in the voices of two "siblings" (they were raised together but aren't actually related).  The title is what their mothers called themselves when they did air shows, but when Teo's mother dies in an accident, Em's mother raises them up together on her own (with some help from her parents).  Em's mom decides to move them to Ethiopia because it was Teo's mom's dream to find a place where things weren't so hard for a person of color, and because Teo's dad was from Ethiopia.  Em and Teo find themselves falling in love with the country but still feel very American sometimes....then they find out a secret that changes everything, and just as WWII is getting started and Italy is set to invade Ethiopia.  
Wein is amazing at writing stories that swoop you up and don't let go until you cry and beg for mercy.  This is another example of exactly that.

Sleeper and the Spindle is a twisted fairy tale by my hero, Neil Gaiman.  It's probably a hard sell to teens as it looks like a kids picture book but it's really not.  Anyway, it was really cool to read and the art is (of course) amazing (Gaiman always finds great artists).  Give it a try for a quick, fun read

Dumplin' is getting a lot of press so I was excited to read it; but honestly, I found it failing to live up to the hype.  It isn't bad, full-sized girl does a beauty pageant to prove she can, and doubts herself and her hot boyfriend will last because,,,,she's not skinny.....I don't know, I realize it's good to have books like these out there, but honestly I'm tired of the same "I'm fat and I hate myself" tropes......I like that she had a hot boyfriend and joined a beauty pageant, couldn't we just do that instead of all the "hate my body" stuff?  Not a bad book, just a smidge predictable and formulaic.

Up From the Sea is a book I found in my pile of pre-pub titles, and I shall be buying it come Jan....it's a book in poetry format about a boy who is living and dealing with the tsunami in Japan in 2011.  His struggles to survive as well as his pain from his father's abandonment (and the fact that his father was American and white didn't help) are interplayed with his anger and grief over having lost everything and everyone in the disaster.  I really liked this book, it was emotional and yet hopeful.  

Book Review: The Testing by Joelle Charbonneau Joshua Liao

Book Review: The Testing by Joelle Charbonneau
Joshua Liao

                The Testing, by Joelle Charbonneau was a recent read that I came across while searching through a library’s banned book collection. A couple chapters into the book, I could not figure out how in any way it had been banned. Then in a shocking turn of events, I found out exactly why. The main character of the book is Malencia Vale (Cia), a bright young student from Five Lakes Colony in the United States, years into the future. Due to her high test scores in school, she was chosen to participate in the Testing, a complex assessment composed of four parts. Those who passed would earn themselves a spot in the prestigious University. Cia cautiously approaches the testing, along with three other kids that have been chosen along with her from Five Lakes. Her first test, we find out, is not something that the test makers throw at her, but from her assigned roommate.  Cia passes the test and survives, while her roommate ends up hanging herself. The first part of the Testing assesses Cia’s knowledge of math, history, and science- basic standard assessments. The second part turns dangerous, as the examinees are forced to distinguish between a pile of poisonous and non-poisonous plants. The catch is that they have to eat the ones that they deem non-poisonous. In the third round of the testing, Cia is put in a group filled with liars and cheaters and told to work together with them. In a stunning display of brilliance that is worthy of your time to understand, she outsmarts her competitors and moves on to the last part of the test. There, she is united with Thomas, a boy who came from Five Lakes and one that Cia also happens to have a crush on. Together, the two teenagers make the long journey to the finish line. The entire story was vivid and engaging, if a little grotesque at some points. It combines a Hunger Games-like atmosphere with a more science-based explanation. There are secrets at every turn that make you want to continue to keep on reading. It is clearly written, and the plot is not too confusing so the book flows nicely. The suspense and surprise is constant - there are almost no dull moments in the book. If there is ever a time where you need a page turner to pass the time, this is the way to go.    

Friday, October 09, 2015

Review of A Thousand Nights by E.K. Johnston : Saleena Davidson

A Thousand Nights is a riff on the Arabian nights story, but with a slightly different view....specifically, it's set in another land (where magic exists) and the "evil prince" who kills his brides, is actually possessed by a demon or djinn (never really defined).  This isn't a set of stories (as in, tonight she tells a tale), but more of her figuring out her circumstances and seeing how to survive and get rid of the demon.  I really liked that this was sort of familiar while being completely new.  All in all, a really cool story that you should try.

Tuesday, September 29, 2015

post from Saleena 9/29

I vaguely remember the controversy Copeland mentions as happening when she was a teen, but either way, I enjoyed this biography.  She is honest about her influences and her changing opinions on things (especially as she gathered more facts and as she matured).  I find her an interesting person and it is a very interesting memoir.  Even if you don't enjoy or understand dance, you'll find something in here for you...but if you are obsessed with dance (as I am) then you will find LOTS.

Prairie Fire is the followup to Story of Owen, and is every bit as engrossing as the predecessor.  In it, the three main players join the Oil Watch and find that politics and pressure are no joke to deal with.  There is a twist ending which I won't spoil....but once again Johnston catches you in the feels.   I don't honestly know if there will be another book or not; but man do I wish this were a real world...because I so want to go on Youtube and see the entries for all the things mentioned.

Wednesday, September 23, 2015

Review of Ruthless from Saleena, the librarian

This book was a hard read; not because it wasn't well written but precisely because it WAS.  The main story is about a girl who is kidnapped by a serial killer but who is a survivor and a competitor by nature...so she escapes; but can she really make sure the killer is caught and live to tell the tale?
This book gave me nightmares, so isn't for the faint of heart...but if you love a good survival novel with lots of realistic details?  This is the book for you.

Saturday, August 22, 2015

Review of Cinder by Sulphia Iqbal

Book Review of Cinder
By Sulphia Iqbal

Author of Cinder : Marissa Meyers
Book One of the Lunar Chronicles

Every book has a unique way of changing something original to something ...new and intriguing. When I read Cinder,I was amazed how well Marissa Meyers pulled that off in this book. Cinder is an interesting combination of a Cinderella Classic and Science-Fiction, which, to my amusement , worked out awesomely. And don’t worry, you don’t have to be a princess-lover or something of that sort to like this book. This is coming from someone who absolutely hates Fairy Tales. :)
Cinder, a cyborg mechanic, lives in a dystopian world filled with androids and humans. She operates a mechanic stall at a street market in New Beijing and lives with her evil stepmother ( Sound familiar? ). She meets Prince Kai, who is the heir to the throne. He becomes dependable friend and soon, changes her life. When Cinder’s stepsister get the savage plague that has been killing millions, her stepmother naturally blames it on her,who, to her stepmother’s belief, is a irresponsible robot human freak . When the Emperor dies, Kai takes the throne and the Lunar Queen comes to form an alliance. No one on earth trusts Lunars, but if peace is wanted, the Emperor must do everything in their power to stop war. No one except Cinder knows for sure that the Lunar Queen has other motives and when Cinder learns an impossible truth,she realizes that she alone must make many choices that will either bring peace or the wrath of Queen Levana upon Earth. The fate of both Earth and Luna rests on her shoulders.

Intrigued? Check out Cinder in the Library today!

Thursday, August 13, 2015

book reviews from Saleena 8/13/15

I grabbed this because it was a summer reading book for Crossroads Middle School and I wanted to be able to speak about it...now, it's one of my favorite books of the year.  It's the story of a quirky little girl, Willow Chance who is obsessed with plants and order (perhaps on the autism spectrum, but it isn't clearly stated); she's had a pretty good life with her adopted parents who really work to make things good for her.  Then, she is labeled a "problem kid" because she takes the state test and gets a perfect score and everyone is sure she's cheated.  Rather than fight it, she goes along and meets another quirky set of characters; her school counselor (he specializes in problem students) and two other clients of his who are close to her age and are 1st generation immigrants.  Then one terrible day, Willow experiences a terrible tragedy and she shuts down emotionally.  She is left alone and feeling numb, but small things really do make a difference and the meat of the story is what happens AFTER the tragedy.  I loved this book so much, it made me cry (but in a good way).

My good friend Nikhil bought himself a copy of this and lent it to me...I read it so fast you'd have thought there was a prize at the end.  I fell in love with his writing in his first novel, Ready Player One, and this one was equally awesome (but had nothing in common)
Zach has spent his life obsessed with video games, and then one day; just like in the movies, he is recruited to save the world based on his amazing abilities as a gamer.  Zach just knows that something is off with this, that somehow life doesn't work like this...but there are the aliens, and they are shooting to kill.   SUCH a good book!!!

50 Cent wrote this book awhile ago and I must confess I wasn't in a hurry to read it, as it came out just when a ton of other celebrities had decided to write books; and most of them were pretty terrible.  I picked this one up though because of a recommendation and am pretty happy to have read it.  The story centers around Butterball who's in counseling for his violent habits and his attitude.  Through the counseling he starts to open up and take a new look at some of the events of his life, and maybe he can turn things around.    This is a gritty read, with a character that felt real, and is supposed to be loosely based on some of 50 Cent's experiences.  I really liked the writing and the story caught me up; I especially like seeing some good things happen when a person tries hard (which I know is unrealistic of me, but hey...I'm a sucker for a happy ending).

This is an interesting account of when a group of counterfeiters decided to attempt to rob Lincoln's grave in order to have leverage against the system and get some of their compatriots freed.  It was a quick and quite enthralling read.

The Tragedy Paper is one I have been hearing about, and so decided to try.  Boy, what a book!   It's in two voices, one a young albino man who attended the private school the previous year and one a very traumatized student in the current year.  The story goes back and forth as the former student describes what happened to him and how it relates to the current student.  All of this is tied into a paper that all seniors are required to write in order to graduate.  A fascinating read!

A quick (but dry) look at 22 women who have worked in a

Saturday, July 25, 2015

Saleena reviews 7/25/15

Steelheart is the name of a super-being who has taken over the area where David lives.  He has dedicated his life to finding Steelheart's weakness after he kills his father; but super beings are everywhere and they always cause destruction and pain.  He joins a group called The Reckoners, dedicated to killing supers and trying to restore balance to the world, and is hoping that he can finally find a way to exact revenge.
I really loved this book, it was suspenseful, interesting and full of action.  I also love that it is a different twist on the whole "superhero" idea, with these powers corrupting everyone they touch.

Illuminae is a true SF book; ostensibly taken from notes, video files & computers; this book tells of what happened to the survivors of an attack on their planet and then had their genius super-computer go homicidally insane while they were trying to reach safety.  This book made me think of "HAL" the supercomputer gone wrong in 2001: a space odyssey (although that had a lot of boring parts---especially the movie)...but it's an updated, fully realized tale that isn't a copy of that one, but feels like it tips it's hat to the original while going it's own way.  I really loved this book and can't wait to read the next one...and I really, really hope there is a next one.

Through the Woods is a "fairy tale" style graphic novel, taking it down the horror side of the street.  A very quick and interesting read, and given the short story format, you will probably like one or two tales more than others.

Thursday, July 02, 2015

Saleena's reviews 7/2/15

Jackaby is a very cool mix of historical mystery and fantasy (I heard a reviewer call it a Doctor Who type mix of history and science fiction...which I think is completely appropriate).  Miss Rook has just arrived in New Fiddleham and is in need of employment when she sees an ad for an assistant.  Jackaby is the investigator, but his specialty is in creatures no one else can see (or at the very least recognize as other than human).  Miss Rook is drawn in and becomes a part of the mystery to solve a series of murders, and she is quite intrigued and suspicious at Mr Jackaby's insistence that fairies & other creatures exist.  I really enjoyed this book, it moved quickly and it was fun to read.

Bandette is a thief and quite a character.  The adventure is set in France, and she must outwit a master thief nemesis and an evil organization set against her.  So fun!

Alpha Goddess is a fantastical retelling of Rama and Sita, a story using Indian gods.  It is set in modern times and Sera is quite shocked to find that the old stories are real, and that she is half god and half demon.  I enjoyed this.  At times I was a bit confused, but maybe it's because I don't know the original story that well.  All in all an interesting book.

Shannon Hale concludes her Princess Academy trilogy with the Forgotten Sisters.  Miri is sent to the swamps to help educate royal cousins no one has heard of.  Things are definitely as they should be, and the kingdom is at the brink of war.  Can Miri figure it out and get home safe?
I love the spunk and fire of Miri, and I love how she calls it like she sees it.  She is a favorite character of mine, and that love continues in this book.  I really loved this adventure and also loved that it showed a slightly darker side to the land than previously seen, as it made it more real for me.  I think it's an amazing series.

Part Time Princesses is a fun silly graphic novel set in an amusement park where all the cool girls play princesses.  As the future of the amusement park is in danger, they coincidentally find their own futures in question and must band together to fix things.  A fun, quick read if you're not looking for anything deep or dangerous.

Tuesday, June 23, 2015

reviews by Saleena 6/23/15

Continuing my catching up on superhero comics.  I am still enjoying the redo of Ms Marvel (although technically she's a whole new character).  As it's still early, she's still figuring out her powers & how to juggle her new secret identity.

Better Nate than Ever is a cute, fun story of a young man running away to New York to audition for a Broadway play.  I think Nate is a tad naive for his age, but it was an enjoyable story nonetheless.

Wednesday, June 03, 2015

reviews from Saleena 6/3/15

The Screaming Staircase is like a cross between a SF novel and a Paranormal suspense.  In their world, kids can see ghosts, and they are everywhere, attacking and causing chaos.  Lockwood & Co is a group of 3 teens who have their own agency (no adults) and they are trying to make it on their own.  It's a suspenseful novel with a bit of mystery (who killed the girl) as well as (will we make it out alive).  I really enjoyed it and I may just have to read the others in the series.

Rethinking Normal is the memoir of Katie Rain Hill, who was the first transgender person to graduate high school.  It's her story of her journey until her sophomore year of college.  The writing style was very conversational and she is very matter of fact about her life.  I think it was a good book, but also, an important book for teens (and adults) to read; whether you know someone trans or not....learn something so you'll have some sympathy when you DO meet someone.

Book Review of City of Ashes from Ravjit Kaur

Book Review of City of Ashes by Cassandra Clare (Book Two of the Mortal Instruments series)
by Ravjit Kaur

Clary, Jace, Isabelle, Simon, Alec, Magnus, and the rest of the Shadowhunters and Downworlders are back in the sequel to City Of Bones.

Clary’s mother still hasn’t woken up, and Jace has been sentenced to a night in the Silent City, because he was accused of being a spy for Valentine. The Inquisitor has come to the Institute and is causing all kinds of trouble. During Jace’s night in the Silent City, Valentine, his father, comes to visit him and steals the Mortal Sword (the second Mortal Instrument). Clary, Isabelle, Alec, and Magnus respond to a distress call from the Silent City, and reach there only to find the bodies of the Silent Brothers (guardians of the Silent City) and a puzzled Jace. Clary uses her newfound powers that give her the power to create runes, something only angels can do, to break Jace out of his cell. Clary is summoned to the Seelie Court to visit the queen. In turn, the queen will offer her help in finding out who is killing Downworlders. In doing so, Clary is tricked into eating faerie food, and can only be released if she is kissed by the person she wants most. Simon is shocked to find out that this is not him, but her brother Jace. The whole group leaves the Seelie Court in varying levels of confusion. Once they get back, the realize that Simon drank a vampire’s blood by accident and is becoming one himself. As soon as he is reborn,Valentine kills him, but he is revived with Jace’s blood. This is quickly followed by the kidnapping of Clary. As everyone is lead to the big ship in the middle of a lake, various plans are formed to get everyone out. With Valentine in possession of two of the three Mortal Instruments, Clary, Maia, and an army of demons, will the Shadowhunter’s plan blow up in their faces? Or will Clary’s powers save them all? Find out in City of Ashes.

Thursday, May 21, 2015

review from Saleena 5/21/15

I read this graphic novel biography out of curiosity, as I had no idea who Robert Moses was, or why there should be a biography about him.  Turns out, he was one of the principle architects & designers of the NYC modern skyline as well as most of the bridges.   It was a brief & interesting book, that satisfied my curiousity about who he was and explained his life and I enjoyed it.

Alas,  I grabbed this one as soon as it came in, because I have adored everything Andrew Smith has written thus far.....and I suppose it was about time for me to be disappointed....sigh.

This novel has many different voices, as well as jumping around on the time line from an unspecified future, all the way back to an Arctic exploration mission in the 1880's.  I found it confusing to keep track of the disparate events and kept trying to find a way to tie them all together....and when I figured it out, kept hoping I was wrong, but...nope....essentially, there is just a lot happening, and overall I didn't find time to really care about any of the characters.  Ariel is nominally the main character as we see him in the "current" future as well as seeing his past in an unspecified country as a war refugee.  I tried to care about him, and sometimes I did, but overall, the odd ending and all the random events conspired to keep me just enough off balance that I ended the book feeling disappointed and confused.

Tuesday, May 19, 2015

Book Review of City Of Bones by Cassandra Clare by Ravjit Kaur

Book Review of City Of Bones by Cassandra Clare (Book One Of The Mortal Instruments Series)
by Ravjit Kaur

Do you love werewolves? What about vampires? Ever heard of demons? Well, then this book is definitely for you. Filled with action-packed scenes, this great sci-fi novel will keep you on your toes until the very end.

Clarissa (Clary) Fray was oblivious to the world of paranormal creatures until the night she witnessed an otherworldly murder at the Pandemonium Club in New York City. She meets moody Isabelle and kooky Alec, the brother and sister. Then, there’s Jace. Who she can’t quite figure out. Quickly realizing that she’s something other than human, she lies to her best friend Simon for her sudden disappearance. Whirled into the world of the Shadowhunters, warriors that kill demons and keep werewolves and vampires in line, she struggles to understand why she is so important. When her mother gets taken by demons and she gets attacked by them, more questions arise. What would demons want with a human like Clary? And what does this have to do with the mysterious Valentine that everyone seems to hate? When the Mortal Cup(one of the Mortal Instruments) and Jace are taken by Valentine, Clary sets out with a werewolf pack, determined to get them and her mother back. When she finds Valentine, a shocking discovery about her own father and Jace sends the world spinning out of control. Will Valentine get away with betraying the Shadowhunters, leading an uprising, and kidnapping her mother? Or will Clary and Jace fight to get their old life back?

This is a wonderful book to read. The characters’ interactions are funny, witty, and hilarious to read, and the rivalry between the two sides is undeniable. If you want to know the story, then I would recommend reading this book. Don’t forget about the rest of the series! #2 City of Ashes, #3 City of Glass, #4 City of Fallen Angels, #5 City of Lost Souls, and #6 City Of Heavenly Fire. 

Tuesday, May 12, 2015

review from Saleena 5/12/15

This is a graphic novel biography of Andre the Giant, famous wrestler and personality.  I enjoyed the book, but felt it was not all that I was hoping for, and that could be just because everyone has been talking about how awesome it was, so my expectations were very high.  I just felt like it could have had a bit more substance, like, it felt very brief and rather more of a list of facts.  The artwork was fine, very simple black and white drawings....and I know that finding facts about someone who was very private and is no longer with us is hard; but it just left me wishing for more insight into him as a person than just a brief look at his basic info (i.e. birthdate, death date, life accomplishments, health issues)

Saturday, May 09, 2015

review from Saleena 5/9

Ok, HAD to read the reboot of Ms Marvel; and it's as good as it was purported to be....Kamala lives in Jersey City, NJ and is having the normal kid problems....and immigrant kid issues (parents are strict muslims and being a girl, there are a lot of things she can't do); then she sneaks out for a party...and ends up with Ms Marvel's superpowers.   NOW she is not only getting a reputation from her parents as a rebel but she's trying to balance learning about her powers & saving the world all while maintaining her secret identity.  This is really cool and I LOVE that the main character has some personal issues that haven't been dealt with before, and that they are dealt with in a logical and sensitive manner.  Definitely Check this title out!

Thursday, May 07, 2015

Saleena's review 5/7/15

This is the first in a new Graphic Novel series and I really enjoyed it.  I thought it was a sort of survival thing, and it is...but it's survival on an alien planet after they've all been mysteriously transported to an unknown location....the whole school.  So things are fracturing into groups vs groups and who is following which path with no idea which is the right path.  I can't wait to see where it goes!

Wednesday, May 06, 2015

Saleena's reviews 5/6/15

I was so excited to get this, I pretty much grabbed it and read it as soon as it came into the library.  This is the second volume of Lewis' life story, and like the first volume, it bounces between the modern day congressman and his past life in the center of the civil rights movement.  The art is really good and the story is real, I think everyone should read this series.

I think there's something wrong with me....*checks forehead for fever*  For the second year in a row, I LIKE the Printz award winning novel.  This is so not like me!  I put off reading this because of the buzz (I don't always agree with the people who give out awards, as they don't always look at a good story as a primary criteria); but went ahead and jumped in.   And WOW....a really good story of a family caught in a series of lies & misfortune.  The main characters are twins, a boy and a girl and the story is told in both their voices; but they alternate not only the voices but the timing.....Jude's story is present day, she's 16 and her mother's been dead 2 years; Noah's story is from 3 years ago when he was 13.  The two stories & the events are intertwimed and laid out for the reader in such a way so you find out what happened to both of them and what changed their lives so dramatically (besides just the death of their mother).  I can't say enough, you have to read this, it is a sweet and tender and sad story with romance and family and .....ok, stopping now.  Just go get it.

Sadly, I wasn't impressed with this book.  The cover looked cool and I love a good ghost story; but there just wasn't enough substance to the book.  I kept putting it down & restarting it; and since there is a hanging ending, I'm guessing there are others planned to follow; but I won't be reading them.  This is supposed to have started as a Youtube sensation (it's on the promotional material); so maybe I'll check it out & see if it plays out better visually than it did in literary form.

Wednesday, April 29, 2015

Book Review of Dangerous by Shannon Hale by Ravjit Kaur

Book Review of Dangerous by Shannon Hale
by Ravjit Kaur

This is a fantastic dystopian book that has a sci-fi twist to it! It is interesting, and different from other dystopian books that have a typical plot. This book is filled with action packed adventure, and crazy science fiction, with alien tech that’s out of this world! (Literally and figuratively).

Enter Maisie Danger Brown, the one armed girl that will save the world. Maisie has always wanted to be an astronaut, but with one arm, that isn’t likely to happen. When she gets the chance to go to NASA-like astronaut boot camp, she jumps right in! Little does she know, she will be getting into a whole lot more than that. Her team wins challenges at the camp, and she, her team, and the alarmingly charming Jonathan Wilder head to a little island off the coast of Ecuador to see a space pod. Before she knows what’s going on, they are up in space, and Dr. Howell, the rich scientist who made the camp, lets them touch alien technology. The alien technology plants itself inside their bodies, and they gain crazy superpowers. Aliens whose planets had been taken over sent these so called “tokens” to other plants to help them. Faced with saving the world, the “fireteam” appoints Wilder as their leader. Complications arise, and Maisie acquires all five tokens. Now it’s up to her to save everyone. However, Wilder’s dad wants the tokens to himself. With Wilder’s dad, Maisie, and the scientists all fighting for the tokens, time is running out for the Earth to be saved from the ghost-like aliens that inhibit humans’ bodies and trash them after they’re done. The only way to save everyone is to destroy their ship, so that the aliens won’t have anything to use as a host, but will Maisie be able to do it? Or will she crack under the pressure?

I love this book so much. It shows great loyalty, courage, and teamwork between the characters. This book is amazing, and is one of the best books I have ever read! If you want in on the full story, then read this book!

4/29/15 from Saleena

I love how Kontis changes the fairy tales and yet stays true to their spirit.  This one concentrates on Friday one of the younger siblings and pays homage in large part to the Seven Swan brothers.  I enjoyed the characters, watching the scenes play out and then seeing the interesting changes that were made.  Kontis is amazing.  If you haven't read the other books (and you can read them out of order if you wish.)  Then get on it!

Thursday, April 09, 2015

4/9/15 review from Saleena

Another zombie-esque novel....and equally AWESOME!!!  Ok, this one is from the point of view of Melanie...she is feared by the scientists who house her in a concrete cell.  The only life she knows is being strapped to a chair and sent to a classroom to learn things, and random scientific tests.  One day everything changes, and she learns who she is; and who she can become.  
I love the whole "flipped on it's head" function of this book.  It was truly a wild ride and a suspenseful read.

Finn is an earnest young man, a junior in high school.  He looks at the world a bit differently than everyone else partly because his brain works differently thanks to being horribly injured as a child and still suffering from seizures.  His best friend is irreverent and yet caring; and then he meets the love of his life, Julia.  

I can't say enough of this book, it is a slice of life about a young man just trying to figure out who he is, give himself some space and room to grow and fall in love.  Life isn't always easy, but characters like Finn. they make it interesting.   This is a great book that everyone should read, it's got a good heart even if it's a bit quirky (and that's why I love it so much)

Thursday, March 19, 2015

3/19/15 Saleena's reviews

Proxy is another (sigh) dystopian story; albeit with an interesting premise...that the rich can commission someone else to take their punishments and also be sort of their slave in order for them to get the essentials to succeed (like get an education, medical help, etc).  I've sort of seen this before (but not in the futuristic setting) and so have you if you've read the Newbery Award winning book, "The Whipping Boy".  However, it was an interesting read and it went to different places than the children's novel it reminded me of.  Check it out if you like dystopic novels.

Roomies was a fun and engaging read.  It begins when two girls get their college room assignments and decide to reach out to each other in an attempt to learn a bit more about them before the fall.  The novel alternates viewpoints and shows the emails as well as what is going on in each girls life.  They are VERY different girls with different lives & circumstances; and they both work through some major issues with each other and in their lives.  I really enjoyed this book which is one of only a few to speak of the transitions one goes through in the summer between ending high school and beginning college.

Wednesday, March 04, 2015

Saleena's reviews 3/4/15

I really wanted to like this book, but it was soooo dull.....and though I'm not a grammar nazi, there were some glaring issues that just made me cringe (which then takes you out of the believability zone).  So, the idea was good, but the execution, for me, left a lot to be desired....to many words with not much actually happening makes for an extremely boring read.

I found this to be an interesting and informative book about a section of the world that I'm not really familiar with.  So, if you're a nature junkie, you would probably enjoy this.

This book was not anything like I thought it would be, which was exactly what the title says it is....how to fake a moon landing......sadly, what it really is happens to be a compilation of various "this is real/this is fake" scenarios, looked at through this scientist's point of view (and some references to others who have also looked at the phenomena).   The short vignettes and the dry scientific language along with the very simple pictures (it is a graphic novel after all, so art style counts) make this come off as very boring.  I want the book I thought it was...it sounded much more interesting than the book I got.

Golden is a two tiered story.  First, you have the story of Parker, Valedictorian and looking to attend an Ivy League school....she's never done anything that might get her into trouble.  She's helping one of the teachers when she comes across the journal of a girl who disappeared (and is presumed dead) 10 years ago.  Against all her good judgement, Parker takes the journal to read it; and finds that all the things she thought she knew about the Golden couple who died tragically 10 years ago are not true.   Can she unravel the mystery of what really happened?  Will doing it force her out of her small coccoon and bring her happiness or will it destroy all she's worked for?   I liked the approach to the story and found it interesting to read.  It was a bit predictable in spots, but a fun read nonetheless.

I am, as most people know, NOT a fan of dystopic novels....however, this post-apolcalyptic story was absolutely amazing!  Lozen is a Native American, mostly Apache, but with other tribes mixed in.  She survives as a hunter and killer of deadly creatures that now roam the earth, ever since The Cloud came and made all electronics cease functioning.  The Cloud actually killed a lot of "enhanced" humans, but those who hadn't completed the conversion to computers in their brains, have survived; and are building small cities with themselves as leaders.  Lozen's family is held hostage to her good behavior, so she does what she is told, all while watching for a way to escape & save them all.   I love Lozen as a character, she is strong, tender, intelligent, and oh so capable.  Bruchac has outdone himself with this story......someone needs to write the screenplay version of this....or turn it into a TV series because I would SO watch.

Living with Jackie Chan is a companion to Jumping Off Swings.  You don't need to have read one to understand the other (I didn't read both yet and it worked for me).   Josh has left his hometown in his senior year of high school, to live with his Uncle in an attempt to run away from the tragic mistake he made last year; and also to try and restart his life in a better way.  I really enjoyed the journey of Josh as he grieves for his mistakes & tries to move on.  I also love the fun & corny relationship he has with his uncle as well as the real struggles that come up with his dysfunctional family.  Knowles really brings the characters to life, flaws and all in this book.

Amal Unbound Book Review by: Raheem Ahmad

Amal Unbound Book Review by: Raheem Ahmad Aisha Saeed’s Amal Unbound is about a girl named Amal who lives in pakistan and goes to school...