Book Reviews by Today, I Read…

A Continuous Book Review and Vocabulary Assignment

December 29

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Recent Arrivals: The Chaos (Numbers 2) by Rachel Ward

by Ann-Katrina

Recent Arrivals chronicles the books that have made their way onto the Today, I Read… bookshelf. Here’s the latest arrival: The Chaos by Rachel Ward

Chaos cover

First line: The knock on the door comes early in the morning, just as it’s getting light.

Book description:

When he was a little boy, Adam learned about the numbers.

The first ones he saw were Jem’s. That was how he knew she was going to die.

Adam inherited his mother’s curse. With a vengeance. When he stares into someone’s eyes, he doesn’t just see the date of their death, he feels the searing, shocking pain of it.

Orphaned, Adam has grown up by the sea with his great-grandmother, Val. But as rising tides flood the coast, they flee to London. The city is an alien, anarchic place. Most disturbing of all, Adam can’t help but clock how many people’s numbers are in January 2027; how many are on New Year’s Day.

What chaos awaits the world?

Can Adam and his damaged friend Sarah stop a catastrophe?

Or are they, too, counted among the "twenty-sevens"?

Book Details: 352 pages; Chicken House; Pub. March 2011

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December 28

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Recent Arrivals: Totally Tangled by Sandy Steen Bartholomew

by Ann-Katrina

Recent Arrivals chronicles the books that have made their way onto the Today, I Read… bookshelf. Here’s the latest arrival: Totally Tangled by Sandy Steen Bartholomew

totally-tangled

Initial thoughts: I’d never heard of Zentangles before, but the idea intrigued me. I looked it up online and found the originator’s website selling an instructional kit for around $50. Um, no. Not for something I wasn’t sure I’d be all that interested in doing.

I decided to check out Amazon and found a few books that were more reasonably priced and decided on Totally Tangled because of the positive reviews.

I’ve gone through it and I have mixed feelings. Zentangles seems like it could be a fun relaxing way to release some creative energy, but the book is much lighter on the instruction than I anticipated.

Review forthcoming. Review completed.

Book description:

Can’t draw? Stressed out? Even if you are an artist and feel perfectly calm…Zentangle is for you! Learn to focus, relax your mind and boost your creative confidence. No kidding!

Book Details: 50 pages; Design Originals; Pub. April 6, 2010

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December 18

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Recent Arrivals: StarCrossed by Elizabeth C. Bunce

by Ann-Katrina

Recent Arrivals chronicles the books that have made their way onto the Today, I Read… bookshelf. Here’s the latest arrival: StarCrossed by Elizabeth C. Bunce

StarCrossed cover

First (two) sentence(s): I couldn’t think. My chest hurt from running, and I wasn’t even sure I was in the right place.

Initial thoughts: The first chapter paints this book as an intriguing read, but I can tell straight away that another round of edits for minor errors was needed, but I’m hoping it won’t detract from the reading. It starts in media res with Digger, a thief, having just escaped some guards, leaving behind her boyfriend. (I assume it’s her boyfriend since they were kissing.) And there’s a mystery swirling around the letters she and her boyfriend were commissioned to steal. So far, this looks like it will be action-packed fantasy and I want to know more.

Book description:

High in the snow-covered mountains of Llyvraneth, in a castle full of the country’s elite, Celyn Contrare serves as a lady-in-waiting to shy young Merista Nemair. Her days are spent dressing in velvet and brocade, attending Lady Merista, navigating court gossip, and charming noblemen over lavish feasts.

And at night, she picks locks, steals jewels, forges documents, and collects secrets. Because Celyn isn’t really a lady-in-waiting; she’s not even really Celyn Contrare. She’s Digger, a sneak-thief on the run from the king’s Inquisition, desperate to escape its cruel instruments and hatred of magic. If she’s discovered, it will mean her certain death…

…But life as a lady-in-waiting isn’t safe either. The devious Lord Daul knows her secret, and he’d blackmailing her to serve as his personal spy in the castle. What she discovers–about Daul, about the Nemair, even about her own Lady Merista–could signal civil war in Llyvraneth. And for a thief trained never to get involved, taking sides could be the most dangerous job yet.

Book Details: 400 pages pages; Arthur A. Levine Books; Pub. October 1, 2010.

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December 15

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Recent Arrivals: Trapped by Michael Northrop

by Ann-Katrina

Recent Arrivals chronicles the books that have made their way onto the Today, I Read… bookshelf. Here’s the latest arrival: Trapped by Michael Northrop

Trapped by Michael Northrop

First sentence: We were the last seven kids waiting around to get picked up from Tattawa Regional High School.

Initial thoughts: Oh, goodness. I’ve read the first chapter, and now I’m anxious to read the rest. This book sounds like it’s right up my alley, indeed. Seven kids trapped in a school while the snow outside has consumed everything. That means there’s no help coming. It almost seems like it could be one of those "what would you do?" types of stories–you know, the kind where they end up eating each other when all the food runs out–but who knows. The description hints at something more sinister, though. It isn’t due out until February 2011, but I’ve bumped it up on my TBR list.

Book description:

Scotty and his friends Pete and Jason are among the last seven kids at their high school waiting to get picked up that day, and they soon realize that no one is coming for them. Still, it doesn’t seem so bad to spend the night at school, especially when distractingly hot Krista and Julie are sleeping just down the hall. But then the power goes out, then the heat. The pipes freeze, and the roof shudders. As the days add up, the snow piles higher, and the empty halls grow colder and darker, the mounting pressure forces a devastating decision….

Book Details: 240 pages pages; Scholastic Press; Pub. February 2011

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May 25

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Recent Arrivals: Dork Diaries: Tales From a Not-So Popular Party Girl by Rachel Renee Russell

by Ann-Katrina

Recent Arrivals chronicles the books that have made their way onto the Today, I Read… bookshelf. Here’s the latest arrival: Dork Diaries: Tales From a Not-So Popular Party Girl by Rachel Renee Russell

Dork Diaries: Tales From a Not-So-Popular Party Girl

First line: I can’t believe this is happening to me!

Initial thoughts:

*SQUEE* happy dance. :)

I read the first Dork Diaries installment and loved it. It reminded me of what is was like to be young and in school and how every little thing that went wrong was the absolute end of the world and how awkward it felt to talk to the boy all the girls wanted to be with and just how traumatizing in general middle school could be.

Dork Diaries Packaging So when I saw the package from Simon & Schuster waiting for me, I did a little happy dance.

It even came in a cute wrapping with a Ring Pop. A RING POP! (I haven’t had one of those since I was in school.)

I can’t wait to dig into this book and I’m hoping it will be just as much fun as the first one.

Book description:

In this second installment of the Dork Diaries series, Nikki is starting to adjust to life at her new school with her awesome friends Chloe and Zoey at her side. Her crush, Brandon, even asks her to be his lab partner for "Structure of Mitochondria," a seriously awesome development.

But after Nikki overhears mean girl MacKenzie bragging that Brandon’s going to take her to the Halloween dance and they’re dressing as Edward and Bella, a bummed Nikki signs on to spend Halloween at a kids’ party for her little sister, Brianna. It’s only after Nikki makes the commitment that she finds out MacKenzie was lying and Nikki’s dream of going to the party with Brandon could be a reality. Now she’s got two parties to juggle, plus plenty of other trials and tribulations along the way, ranging from creating a fairy repellent spray to ease Brianna’s ongoing fear of the tooth fairy and trying to stifle a nasty case of the hiccups at her dad’s ex-boss’s funeral. Life for Nikki Maxwell is never dull!

Book Details: 288 pages; Aladdin; Pub. June 8, 2010

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