Thursday, October 28, 2010

"I am Number Four" by Pittacus Lore [4 1/2]

John Smith is not your average teenager.
He regularly moves from small town to small town. he changes his name and identity. He does not put down roots. He cannot tell anyone who or what he really is. If he stops moving, those who hunt him find and kill him.
But you can't run forever.
So when he stops in Paradise, Ohio, John decides to try and settle down. To fit in. And for the first time he makes some real friends. People he cares about - and who care about him. Never in John's short life has there been space for friendship, or even love.
But it's just a matter of time before John's secret is revealed.
He was once one of nine. Three of them have been killed.
John is Number Four. He knows that he is next ...
What a terrific series this will turn out to be, I was quite surprised with it. In all there will be six books and the first is in the process of being made into a movie with the release date possibly Feb 2011.
So the basic story is that a group of Aliens have fled from their home planet and landed on earth, yes they look like us and blend in to a degree, they have special abilities when they become of age. Yes it was a small group of children and their minders and the children are special.
This book is about 15 year old John Smith and he is Number Four in a group of Nine. All John wants is the chance to settle down for a little while and make friends, be a normal teenager. He has this for just a little while until those that are hunting him find him and then the running starts all over again.
Reading some of the other reviews the one thing that I did notice was how people pointed out how the science in the book just doesn't add up, well this maybe true but you need to realize it is just a story and it doesn't necessarily have to make sense. It was fast paced, intriguing enough to keep you reading on and you feel for young John who is just a kid and wants a normal life without the running. I actually enjoyed reading this book and it's a great one for those of us with boys in the home, lots of action and things blowing up to keep them interested. Cool story. Next installment is entitle "We are Six" out spring 2011. Looking forward to seeing what they do with a movie version of this as well.
I rate this book 4 1/2 stars.

Tuesday, October 12, 2010

"Nearly Departed" by Rook Hastings [4]

"Ive seen a ghost," said Emily.
"Well, not seen one exactly. Heard one.
At least, I think I have..."
Woodsville is not like other towns. night falls a little earlier there, the shadows are darker and denser, and everyone knows it's a place where strange things happen. Even if they won't admit it.
Bethan would prefer to be anywhere but here. Jay has his theories, but isn't ready to share. Hashim sees more than he'll say, while Kelly's demons are all too flesh and blood. but Emily's freak-out brings them out of denial and face to face with the supernatural. Anywhere else, Friday night would be date night. But not in Weirdsville...
This was a real cool novel to read ... no vampires, werewolves, faeries ... but about ghosts and ghost hunting. This is the first in the YA range where I've come across this genre and thoroughly enjoyed it too.
It really takes you back to your school days and what it was like as a 15 year old, the boys feel all the boy things and the girls are just girls and what they get up too. The four main characters are all so likable and you really start to enjoy them the more you find out about them. I loved the way the author has them all meet through a project and they find out that they have a lot in common with each other and become friends, when normally they wouldn't be. The plot was spellbinding and leaves you guessing right up until the last minute as to what happens. This novel reminds me of a few T.V series with little twists about it.
"As he waited in the old history block, Jay watched the footage from the camcorder
on his laptop for about the hundredth time since he'd first transferred it on Saturday afternoon.
All weekend he'd studied and studied it, resisting the urge to call the others in
until he'd tried every possible way to explain what was on there.
he still couldn't believe what he was seeing, and if he couldn't even believe his eyes
then what were the others going to think?"
pg 160.
"They heard a thin, high-pitched squeak from behind,
like fingers being scraped across a blackboard. As one, they slowly turned towards the sound.
In the thick condensation that filmed the bedroom window,
a finger-thick line was being drawn by an unseen hand.
Silently, they stood transfixed as they watched the message finally form:
help Her."
pg 214.
Four accidental friends have a destiny that awaits them and the beginning of a new friendship that will try and test the bounds of what it means to be true friends. It's eerie and spooky and you'll just love it. The next installment is entitle "Immortal Remains" and it's out now. This is a must read for both boys and girls and they will totally enjoy it.
I read this book 4 stars.

Friday, October 8, 2010

Sarah's Key by Tatiana De Rosnay (41/2)

Paris, July 1942: Sarah, a ten year-old girl, is brutally arrested with her family by the French police in the Vel’ d’Hiv’ roundup, but not before she locks her younger brother in a cupboard in the family's apartment, thinking that she will be back within a few hours.
Paris, May 2002: On Vel’ d’Hiv’s 60th anniversary, journalist Julia Jarmond is asked to write an article about this black day in France's past. Through her contemporary investigation, she stumbles onto a trail of long-hidden family secrets that connect her to Sarah. Julia finds herself compelled to retrace the girl's ordeal, from that terrible term in the Vel d'Hiv', to the camps, and beyond. As she probes into Sarah's past, she begins to question her own place in France, and to reevaluate her marriage and her life.

Well Kristie you have done it again ... Picked another crackin book .... I read this book in 2 days and it took me that long because I started it at 4 in the morning and then read it nearly completely through ....

The chapters are easy and small and have you totally hooked from the moment you open the first page ... You cannot help but continue reading to see what is going to happen next ...

As with all books which involve the holocaust you do find yourself being sicken and disturbed by the subject matter and this book is know exception ... My heart ached reading about the conditions of the families involved but most especially when it involves children ...

I had never heard of the events which inspired this novel mainly 'the Vel' d'Hiv' roundup in Paris ... But after reading about it, it did make me want to research more about it ...

While reading this novel you will experience a wave of emotion ... Sadness, anger, intolerance and the worse one turning a blind eye on what is happening around you ....

The main character of Sarah will draw you in almost immediately .... And you go on a journey with her with a great hope that everything will be ok because you just cannot imagine the alternative ...

Favourite quotes ..."The woman who stared back at me was at that dreaded age between forty-five and fifty,that no-man's land of sag, oncoming wrinkle, and stealthy approach of menopause. " Pg 6

"On the way down, confronted once again with the unpleasant refection in the elevator mirror, it suddenly occurred to me that I had put up with Bertrand's jabs for too long, and always with a good natured shrug. And today, for some obscure reason, for the first time, I felt I had had enough." pg 21

"She hated the voices being lowered when she entered the room. If they had told her, if the had told her everything they knew, wouldn't that have made today easier?" p 40

"It was the last time she ever saw them. No one came back. No one at all." Pg 44

"I love him, I really love him. I love the way he is. She had whistled, impressed, but unconvinced. Well, lucky him then. But for God's sake, when he goes too far, tell him. Just tell him." Pg 52

"When those children arrived in Auschwitz, there was no 'selection' for them. No lining up with the men and the women. No checking to see who was strong, who was sick, who could work, who could not. They were sent directly to the gas chamber." Pg 116

"I thought, feeling helpless, useless - I wanted to shout, to scream out to her, to them, that I knew, that I remembered, and that I could not forget." Pg 181

"Sorry for not knowing. Sorry for being forty-five years old and not knowing." Pg 192

Loved, Loved, Loved this book ...... It is heartbreaking with a glimmer of hope in it ... And hopefully a very powerful message that we as a people do not forget but remember so that we never do it again .........

I rate this book 4 1/2 ****

If you wish to see more information on this subject please click this link ...

Wednesday, October 6, 2010

Discussion Questions for Sarah's Key by Tatiana De Rosnay

1. What did you know about France’s role in World War II—and the Vél d’Hiv round-up in particular—before reading Sarah’s Key? How did this book teach you about, or change your impression of, this important chapter in French history?

2. Sarah’s Key is composed of two interweaving story lines: Sarah’s, in the past, and Julia’s quest in the present day. Discuss the structure and prose-style of each narrative. Did you enjoy the alternating stories and time-frames? What are the strengths or drawbacks of this format?

3. Per above: Which “voice” did you prefer: Sarah’s or Julia’s? Why? Is one more or less authentic than the other? If you could meet either of the two characters, which one would you choose?

4. How does the apartment on la rue de Saintonge unite the past and present action—and all the characters—in Sarah’s Key? In what ways is the apartment a character all its own in?
5. What are the major themes of Sarah’s Key?

6. de Rosnay’s novel is built around several “key” secrets which Julia will unearth. Discuss the element of mystery in these pages. What types of narrative devices did the author use to keep the keep the reader guessing?

7. Were you surprised by what you learned about Sarah’s history? Take a moment to discuss your individual expectations in reading Sarah’s Key. You may wish to ask the group for a show of hands. Who was satisfied by the end of the book? Who still wants to know—or read—more?

8. How do you imagine what happens after the end of the novel? What do you think Julia’s life will be like now that she knows the truth about Sarah? What truths do you think she’ll learn about her self?

9. Among modern Jews, there is a familiar mantra about the Holocaust; they are taught, from a very young age, that they must “remember and never forget” (as the inscription on the Rafle du Vél d’Hiv) Discuss the events of Sarah’s Key in this context. Who are the characters doing the remembering? Who are the ones who choose to forget?

10. What does it take for a novelist to bring a “real” historical event to life? To what extent do you think de Rosnay took artistic liberties with this work?

11. Why do modern readers enjoy novels about the past? How and when can a powerful piece of fiction be a history lesson in itself ?

12. We are taught, as young readers, that every story has a “moral”. Is there a moral to Sarah’s Key? What can we learn about our world—and our selves—from Sarah’s story?

Winner of Sarah's Key by Tatiana De Rosnay

The winner is:


Well done ..... Send us your postal address via our email and we will post the book out to you !!

Winner of Meridian by Amber Kizer

The winner is


Well done !!!!! .... send us your postal address via our email and we will post it out to you !!!

Tuesday, October 5, 2010

"13 to Life" by Shannon Delany [5]

Everything about Jessie Gillmansen's life changed when her mother died. Now even her hometown of Junction is changing. Mysterious dark things are happening. All Jessie wants is to avoid more change. But while showing a hot new guy around Junction High, she's about to discover a whole new type of change. Pietr Rusakova is more than good looks and a fascinating accent - he's a guy with a dangerous secret. And his very existence is sure to bring big trouble to Jessie's small town. It seems change is the one thing Jessie can't avoid.

Wow, wow, wow. I loved the cover to this book as soon as I saw it and then reading the review thought yep that sounds interesting. Well that's an understatement ... this book was fantastic, I just could not put it down and that hasn't happened for a little while now. First I must warn you the next installment isn't until Feb 2011 so you might be tearing out your hair while waiting ... I know that I will be!

So Jessica or Jessie to her friends has had a pretty rough last year, her mother was killed right in front of her in a car crash and her best friend was in a coma for a week. Now she has been asked to show the new guy around the school and while he might be handsome he is also arrogant and dangerous. But as Jessie gets to know Pietr better she realizes that they have things in common but that he is also hiding a dark secret. Torn between showing her loyalty to her best friend and fighting her attraction toward Pietr, she secretly starts to become involved in his life, and this will change everything.

This novel is so well written that you totally get engrossed and before you realize you've finished it. I loved the way the author has a real sweet relationship starting to develop between the two main characters and how the friendship between girls is important and shouldn't come between boys. Sacrifice is a strong theme throughout this novel and it's interesting to see how the characters deal with it. It's fast paced, full of suspense and action, add a little touch of danger and romance and you have the perfect teen read. I can't wait to read the next installment to find out what happens. This would be a great christmas stocking filler for your girls.

Totally Enjoy.

I rate this book 5 stars.

Sarah's Key

Book Club read for October

Paris, July 1942: Sarah, a ten-year-old girl, is taken with her parents by the French police as they go door-to-door arresting Jewish families in the middle of the night.
desperate to protect her younger brother, sarah locks him in a bedroom cupboard -
their secret hiding place - and promises to come back for him
as soon as they are released.
Sixty years later: Sarah's story intertwines with that of Julia Jarmond, an American
journalist investigating the roundup. In her research, Julia stumbles onto a trail of secrets that link her to Sarah, and to questions about her own romantic future.
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