blo Teens Read and Write: June 2009

Monday, June 29, 2009

The Lightning Thief - A Fantastic Thrill Ride

In The Lightning Thief by Rick Riordan, Percy Jackson is about to get kicked out of boarding school . . . . again. And that is the least of his problems. He ends up at a half-blood camp for demi gods where he discovers that he has some family ties to Mount Olympus and is the prime suspect in the theft of Zeus's master lightning bolt.

On his journey to find the bolt and clear his name as well as save his father's reputation, he has to come to terms with dad's abandonment, and his mother's death, something he blames himself for. Challenges on his quest include trying to decipher the oracle's cryptic advice and staying alive while underworld gods and beasts are attacking, while trying to save what really matters most - friends and family. With his magic sword, Riptide, Percy takes on gods, does their dirty work, and oh, by the way, has to save the world at the same time.

I flew through this book in two days. It's action-packed from the first pages and takes you on a wild ride. Weaving familiar mythology and gods like, Zeus, Posiden, Hades, Ares and Athena along with creatures like Medusa and the Chimera into the plot adds fun and interest.

I highly recommend this thrill ride! There are five so far in this series and I can't wait to get through them all!

Sunday, June 28, 2009

SOCCER USA vs Brazil - We Almost Made It!

How about the soccer game between USA and Brazil for the FIFA Confederation Cup Final?
USA took a early 2-0 lead in the first half with Dempsey and Donovan scoring. But they became complacent in the second half and Brazil took advantage. Fabiano scored two to tie. USA tried to stay in the game but by that time Brazil was on a roll and Lucio headed one in for the win.

An exciting start but disappointing finish for us USA fans. I hate it when I see a team give up and that's just what they did in the end. Especially sad considering their win over Spain a couple days ago that put USA in the position to finally win in the European leagues. It would have been the first time in history that USA ever won.

Ah, well, we got close...maybe next time.

Saturday, June 27, 2009

Cirque Du Freak

One of the first series I ever got into was Cirque Du Freak, a 12 book run. Darren Shan (not only the name of the author but the name of our protagnist as a unique twist) and and his friend attend a traveling circus When Darren's friend is bitten by one of the performer's deadly spiders, our protagonist consents to be transformed into a half-vampire in order to save him. The books plots are intertwined with characters coming in and out throughout the series, sometimes disappearing for three books at a time. If you haven't read them your in luck because the series is complete and each installment is easy to read in a day for diehards or a couple of days for others.

The plot centers around good guys, vampires, and bad guys, vampaneze. The vampires only eat as much as is necessary and remain looking more human, but the vampaneze suck their victims dry, retain all the unnecessary blood, and their skin is turned a grouteque purple. Darren is the catalyst that will decide who will be the dominant species of vampire and rule the world!

Lots of action, suspense, mystery, and things that will make you go "Oh! I get it now!" With the multitude of characters coming in and out you might be wondering, "But Jake, how am I going to remember all of these people?" Well, pretty much every character rejoins Darren on his journey at least once and makes it feel like all the characters were well thought out in their connection to the overall plot. No character left behind! The title may say your're heading into a living nightmare, but it's an awesome adventure that chronicles the life of a boy who starts his journey with a selfless act to save his friend and ends changing the fate of the universe O_O'!

And FYI...The movie version starring John C Reilly, Willem Dafoe, and Salma Hayek is due out Jan 2010.

Thursday, June 25, 2009

Blogs We Love

As we find great blogs for YA reviews we'll let you know and add them to our blog roll. These sites may not review all YA all the time but check the archives for great info.

- Jake-the-girl has a bookstore and blog, A Million Words. Sarah Dessen just did an author visit. Check out the video. Jake even provided several books for us to review. Very generous! Thanks Jake!

- Colleen Mondor an excellent long time reviewer has two blogs we love. A busy and talented lady! Check out Chasing Ray and GuysLitWire. Right now she's got a great post on Chasing Ray about YA girl detectives.

- John Mesjak is a publishing sales rep and puts up reviews of three books at a time, hence the title my3books. One of his first posts covered three YA picks.

Tuesday, June 23, 2009

The Warrior Heir

Before he knew about the Roses, sixteen-year-old Jack lived a normal life in a small town in Ohio. The ugly scar on his chest and his daily medicine the only things that set him apart from the other high schoolers. When Jack skips his medicine one day he notices newfound strength and agility he has never experienced before. At soccer practice, when challenged by his rival, Jack nearly kills the other boy in the fight to defend himself.

Shortly after, Aunt Linda pays Jack and his mom a visit and soon takes Jack and his friends on an trip to explore his heritage. Soon they are in a cemetary digging up a medieval sword with remarkable powers and running for their lives from an underground society of magical beings, the Roses. The adventure continues as Jack must learn to hone his skills as a warrior, wielding the sword and control his powers while protecting his friends. He travels to England and is forced to fight in an epic battle of life and death.

The Warrior Heir is fast paced and action packed. The beginning starts out a bit slow while Jack is figuring out who he is. But once they find the sword, The Warrior Heir is fast paced and action packed till the end. Jack is a character that the reader finds easy to root for while secondary characters like his Enchantress aunt, his buddies and Coach Hastings all add interest and humor to the story. A highly recommended read!

Friday, June 19, 2009

Fast, Fun and Sexy - City of Bones

I happen to be in love with urban fantasy, which of course means I fell head over heels for City of Bones by Cassandra Clare. For those of you who haven't heard about it here's a paraphrase of the book jacket...

"When Clary Fray heads out of a local nightclub in New York, she didn't expect to witness a murder--much less a murder by three teenagers covered with strange tattoos and brandishing bizarre weapons. But it's hard to prove the murder when the body disappears into thin air before her eyes and the murderers are invisible to everyone but Clary.

When Clary's mother disappears and demons attack, Clary gets pulled into the world of Shadowhunters - a secret tribe of warriors dedicated to rid the world of demons - in an action packed attempt to find her mother as she struggles to survive attacks on her life. Why would demons be interested in ordinary mundanes like Clary and her mother? The Shadowhunters would like to know..."

I read to be entertained, to be pulled into a different world. If books are your escape, I highly recommend The Mortal Instruments trilogy. I'd have to agree with Holly Black, "Funny, dark, and sexy," is a great description of City of Bones. And Jace has got to be one of my favorite fictional characters of all times, a constant, arrogant flirt. I'd like to trade my Team Cullen and Team Jacob shirt for a Team Jace shirt. Yikes, lost a few Twilight fans didn't I? I love the Twilight hunks, but they come in second and third to Jace now.

If you're a guy, it's a great book. There's sexual tension, but the romance isn't the main storyline like the Twilight saga. Plenty of fighting, Ironman like sarcasm/humor, and plenty of bloodshed, mostly demonic bloodshed, but blood is blood. I prefer action to romance -- take me to see Die Hard over The Notebook almost any day of the week. Bottom line, City of Bones is a book both genders can enjoy as long as urban fantasy is your genre.

I've read reviews that tear the book apart, saying there's nothing original, but if you're a writer, you know that there are no new ideas just new ways to present them. And Cassandra Clare had me enthralled and in love with her characters and their adventures -- so much so that I'm seriously considering not waiting for the third book to come out in paper back. Yes ladies and gentlemen, I might spend the extra bucks for hardcover.

The Dresden Files

I figured I'd kick off this blog by given you a head's up on my favorite book series, The Dresden Files. I discovered The Dresden Files after I fell in love with the T.V show (which got booted after only one amazing season!) With some book series there's always one or two of the books that I don't like or enjoy less than all the others, but The Dresden Files always satisfies me with every book.

The excitement revolves around Harry Dresden, private investigator and wizard, and his tales of supernatural investigations that usually end in masses of mayhem, destruction and bruises. Harry's smart-alec, sarcastic attitude usually digs him deeper into trouble, but makes me laugh every time he's staring down vampires with dripping fangs and asks "Do you kiss your mother with that mouth?"It's funny, dramatic, sexy, and smart... everything you look for in a woman but it won't yell at you about not listening or talking about your feelings.

Every book amazes with a jam-packed fun-filled ride from beginning to end and has me grabbing the next in the series when I'm finished. If you haven't read any, you're in luck because there are plenty of books to keep you busy.

Spend the summer with Harry, you'll have a blast! What are your favorite reads?
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