The Puzzling World of Winston Breen by Eric Berlin

8 Jun

This week I read the first book in a series about a boy who likes puzzles.  I read the second book a while ago and just decided to read the first since I had nothing else to read.  The book, as you might have guessed from the title, is about a boy named Winston Breen.  He loves puzzles.  He does then all the time, and even tries to find his own puzzles.  This book is about a twenty-five year old puzzle to find a very valuable ring.  Winston thinks it will be easy.  But things don’t go quite as planned.

I like this author’s style of writing.  It’s written in third person, but it follows Winston.  The author also includes lots of puzzles, and it tells you to either continue reading or flip to a certain page in the back to find out the answer to the puzzle.  I like that because you can try to solve the puzzle yourself, and if you don’t get it, you don’t have to Google it or spend a lot of time trying to find the answer.  Some of the puzzles were pretty easy, but others were practically impossible.

The Prophecy of the Stones by Flavia Bujor

1 Jun

“Three girls.  Three stones.  One destiny.”- Front Cover.  Jade, Opal, and Amber all live their separate lives in a magical realm.  Jade is the daughter of a duke, Opal lives with her semi-wealthy relatives, and Amber is a peasant.  They have no knowledge of each other until they are kicked out of their old lives with nothing but a black velvet pouch.  That is what happens to the three girls in the beginning of the Prophecy of the Stones by Flavia Bujor.  It is, as you can probably guess, a fantasy book.  Jade, Opal, and Amber are, predictably, the three Stones of the Prophecy.  Together, they must go on a journey to save their freedom, and the freedom of countless enemies.

This book is pretty good.  I’ve read books that I liked better, but I’ve also read books that I liked a lot less (meaning: the plague book).  It can get a little confusing at times, but I like the parts that I can understand better.  For example, the chapter will suddenly switch from Jade, Opal, and Amber’s journey to the Nameless One, to a random girl in a hospital in present-day Paris!  See how that could be really confusing?  And when it’s on Lade, Opal, and Amber, it will be Amber’s thoughts for a few pages, then it will be two lines of Opal’s thoughts, then a paragraph telling you what Jade is thinking.  That gets confusing as well.  Oh, well.  I give this book a solid √.

The Angel Experiment by James Patterson

18 May

This week I read the first book in a series.  And the second book.  And the third book.  But blogging about all three in one entry would probably be too muchinformation at once.  The first book is called The Angel Experiment by James Patterson.  The series is the Maximum Ride series, and there are currently seven books out.  An eighth book is coming out on August 6, 2012.  The first book is The Angel Experiment, then School’s Out-Forever, third is Saving the World and Other Extreme Sports.  Those three books are The Fugitives, and the fourth through seventh books are The Protectors.  Book four (which I seriously need to get) is called The Final Warning, five is MAX, six is Fang, and the seventh book is Angel.  The eighth and final book is called Nevermore.

Okay then, enough about the series.  Now for the summary:  The flock is made up of six kids (in order of oldest to youngest) named Max (the leader 14), Fang (14), Iggy (14), Nudge (11), Gazzy (8), and Angel (6).  They are all 98% human and 2% avian.  Evil scientists called whitecoats do experiments with combining two species together.  Other than the flock, the only other successful experiments are Erasers, human-lupine (wolf) combinations.  Max and the others grew up at a place called the School, where the whitecoats did experiments on them.  A good whitecoat named Jeb gets them all out and teaches them how to read, write and fly.  (Yes, they have wings.)  The book starts out at the safe house that Jeb got them before he disappeared a couple years ago.  The Erasers find their house and kidnap Angel.  The book is about avoiding Erasers, rescuing Angel from the School, and their journey to find answers.

Max and I are not alike at all.  For one thing, I don’t have wings.  I also didn’t grow up in a lab or have experiments done on me.  I wouldn’t be able to lead five other kids, especially when two of them are only a few months younger than me.  I have normal parents and a normal life.  She has no parents (that she knows of) and her life is pretty much as abnormal as you can get.  She’s never even gone to school! 

Anyways, I’d give this series a √+ so far.  See you next week (hopefully after I finish the fourth book)!

The Emerald Atlas by John Stephens

27 Apr

This week I read another great book.  I know, I know, I say that all the time, but this one really was good.  The Emerald Atlas is about three kids named Kate, Micheal, and Emma.  They have been shuffled from orphanage to orphanage ever since they were separated from their parents ten years ago.  Kate, the oldest, remembers their parents and their promise that they would see each other again.  She, Micheal, and Emma refuse to believe that their parents are dead.  After messing up at one orphanage, they get sent to a new one at Cambridge Falls.  The house there leads them to discover many things and new powers, but first they have to go on a thrilling journey-through the past.

There were two main reasons why I chose to read this book.  My friend and I share the same taste in books.  She gave this book a glowing recommendation.  When I got over me confusion (at first I thought she was reading a real atlas made of emerald instead of paper), I thought it sounded cool.  The second reason is that I am completely out of books.  One of the series I like doesn’t have half the books out yet.  Another series is only available if you buy all seven books.  Although this is an uncompleted plotline (there’s going to be at least one more book), I don’t really mind waiting.

I would recommend this series to a medium-sized group of readers.  It has a lot of action and a great plot, but it can be a little confusing at times.  It changes point of views in the middle of chapters, and there is no apparent order for the different people.  Sometimes one character will just have a sentence or two telling about what they’re feeling or doing.  Most of the book is in Kate’s point of view, but Emma and Michael get their turns, too.  All in all though, the book is pretty good.  I’d have to give it a √ 1/2 +.  I can’t wait for the sequel!

Hunger Games Movie (A Different One)

20 Apr

An American Plague: The True and Terrifying Story of the Yellow Fever Epidemic of 1793 by Jim Murphey

20 Apr

Over the course of the last two weeks, I read the most depressing book EVER.  An American Plague: The True and Terrifying Story Of the Yellow Fever Epidemic of 1793 by Jim Murphey is about Philadelphia’s yellow fever outbreak in 1793 (in case you couldn’t tell from the insanely long title).  And in case you were wondering, the reason I don’t have a picture this week is because it would probably be a really gross picture.  Anyways, this morbid book is about the death rates, the number of people who left Philadelphia, the number of people who got the fever, different “cures” for the disease, and quite a few other equally depressing things.

This week I was going to do one paragraph on how the author captured my interest, but since the author didn’t capture my interest, I’ll have to change it up a little.  The first sentence didn’t hook me in at all.  I literally had to force myself to get through the book.  The only reason I read this at all was because I wanted to blog about another nonfiction book.  I would never have read this book on my own.  I’ve been trying to read it for two months, and I just didn’t want to sit down and read about people dying.  Fun, right?

In this book, the setting really affected the characters.  Although there were not really any specific characters, the people of Philadelphia were kinda the characters.  If the people weren’t in Phili (short for Philadelphia), they wouldn’t have gotten the disease or died.  The whole book was about what happened in Phili in 1793.  If nobody had been in the setting, nobody would have died. And too many people did die.  This whole thing might have been avoided if there was nobody was in Phili.  Probably not, though.  The disease comes from mosquitoes that hide in old water.  They came over on ships in musty water.  Since ocean voyages could take months back then, most (if not all) water on ships was musty.

Oh, by the way, I didn’t like this book!  I give it an X-.  Worst rating ever.

Catching Fire and Mockingjay by Suzanne Collins

5 Apr

This week I read Catching Fire and Mockngjay by Suzanne Collins.  Since I’ve got break and won’t be able to post, I’m going to do these books together.  So, here’s your summary: Like I said last week, Katniss and Peeta’s problems aren’t over.  When they go on their Victory Tour half a year after their Games, it looks like some of the districts are uprising against the Capitol.  But apparently even that’s not enough for Katniss to deal with.Every 25 years, there’s an even bigger Hunger Games.  At the second Quarter Quell, there were 48 tributes instead of 24.  Since this is the 75 Hunger Games, there’s a new Quell twist.  President Snow announces it: 1 girl and 1 boy from the victors in each district will go back into the arena.  Katniss and Peeta are chosen as tributes for their second Games in a row.  Peeta makes a deal with Haymitch (the only other tribute from their district) that they will both try to keep Katniss alive.  Katniss makes the same deal, only that they will try to keep Peeta alive.   When they get into the arena, it seems that Haymitch has been plotting behind their backs.  When most of the tributes are dead, Katniss, Beetee, and Finnick (two other tributes) are hoverlifted out of the arena by the rebels.  Peeta, Johanna Mason, and Enobaria are taken to the Capitol.  To get Peeta back, Katniss agrees to work for the rebels in the form of a Mockingjay.  She gets the districts all with their cause against the Capitol.  However, when Peeta gets rescued from the Capitol, they find out that he’s hijacked.  What do I mean by that?  Well, the Capitol took his memories of Katniss and made it so that it seemed like she was his enemy.  Katniss distances herself from Peeta until the final attack on the Capitol.  They ate forced to work together to take the city.  In the last moments of the battle, Katniss’ little sister is killed, leaving her devastated.  She returns home with Peeta, although her mother doesn’t go with them.

Wow, that was a long summary!  I’m sure I left some parts out, because I read two other books this week after these two.  And I’m not that good at summaries.  Anyways, onto the rest of the blog.

There’s a complicated love triangle in this story. I guess you might call it complicated character relationships in literary terms.  Katniss always hunts with her friend Gale to support their families.  Breaking the law by hunting is punishable by death, so risking their lives creates a strong bond.  However, in order to survive the Hunger Games, Katniss and Peeta pretend to be in love.  Gale is jealous of Peeta because he is in love with Katniss.  He is devastated when she has to go into another Games.  When Peeta is in the Capitol in Mockingjay, Katniss and Gale’s easy friendship returns.  In the end, Katniss chooses Peeta because he is always loyal to her and Gale’s bombs might have been the ones that killed her sister.

Katniss and I are a tiny bit alike, but not much.  We both like archery, but she is really good at it and hunts frequently.  I only like reading about adventures, where as she has had countless adventures.  I could never kill another human, like she does in her Games.  I would probably be one of the first ones dead.  I also couldn’t pretend to be in love as effectively as her, nor could I be the Mockingjay.  I’m just not good at talking in front of people.  I might have been able to hunt if it was the only way to keep my family alive.

I give this whole series a check plus plus.  I just hope the movies are as good!  My sister and I are going to see the first one tomorrow so I can finally vote on my own poll!