Good Books and the Random Movie

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27 January 2009

Graceling (Seven Kingdoms #1)

Graceling is the debut novel by Kristin Cashore. It is the first in a series featuring the same land if not always the same characters.

When people are born with an extreme skill it is called a grace and the person a Graceling. The skill is accompanied by the changing of their eye color so that the eyes are two different colors.

Katsa's grace is the grace of killing - a grace she is burdened with and must learn to control so that she doesn't hurt someone she does not intend to hurt. Her uncle, the king of Middluns uses her grace to keep his citizens in line. Her reputation as a thug has spread across all seven kingdoms that make up the land. But Katsa does not enjoy hurting others.

To balance the pain she causes in the name of the king, Katsa has formed a secret council that helps people. During the council rescue of an old man she meets a strange man from the kingdom of Lienid - the first person she has met who can almost match her skill as a fighter. Together they will explore their graces and try to save a young princess in trouble.

Cashore has written a great young adult fantasy novel in Graceling. I will be watching her closely awaiting her next book!

Cashore, Kristin. (2008). Graceling. New York: Houghton Mifflin.

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22 January 2009


Deadville by Ron Koertge is about learning to live again after a loss.

Ryan is a stoner. He has been one since his little sister went into the hospital to die two years ago. It was his way of coping - or not having to cope.

When a classmate falls off of her horse and ends up in a coma his friend drags him to the hospital to see her. After forcing himself through the door the first time he is compelled to return again and again.

As he visits the hospital he begins to see ways to come out of the cloud he has been living under and begin to take charge of his life.

Ron Koertge captures the feelings of grief and the desire to keep going in a way that will appeal to readers who enjoyed Speak by Laurie Halse Anderson though it is not quite as intense.

Koertge, Ron. (2008). Deadville. Cambridge, MA: Candlewick Press.

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21 January 2009

A Feast for Crows (A Song of Fire and Ice #4)

A Feast for Crows is the fourth book in George RR Martin's A Song of Fire and Ice series.

In this book the story continues as does the war for the rule of Westeros. There are not as many kings as there were in the last book but then again, others may try to make a claim.

Notable in this volume is the fact that main characters are missing from the narrative. Martin did this on purpose as the next book - A Dance of Dragons - will tell the same story from their point of view.

My only complaint is that the next book is not yet published! Otherwise, this series is a masterpiece.

Martin, George RR. (2005). A Feast for Crows. New York: Bantam.

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14 January 2009

Teen Genreflecting: A Guide to Reading Interests

Teen Genreflecting: A Guide to Reading Interests by Diana Tixier Herald is a reader's advisory guide to YA fiction.

This volume of the great Genreflecting series covers young adult fiction. Chapters include annotated bibliographies including: Issues, Contemporary Life, Adventure, Mystery and Suspense, Fantasy, Science Fiction, Paranormal, Historical, Multicultural, Alternative Formats, and Christian Fiction.

Next time you are looking for a good book to read, check out this guide.

Herald, Diana Tixier. (2003). Teen Genreflecting: A Guide to Reading Interests. Westport, CT: Libraries Unlimited Inc.

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12 January 2009

The Diamond of Darkhold (Ember #4)

The Diamond of Darkhold is the fourth Ember book by Jeanne DuPrau.

Lina and Doon and all of the people from the city of Ember have been living in Sparks for about nine months. It is winter and the added population has caused food to become dangerously low.

Lina and Doon decide to sneak off and go back to Ember to collect enough food for the winter. They know that everyone left quickly, without being able to bring everything they might have wanted.

But when they get back to Ember, it is not empty. And now that Doon has been captured and turned into a slave to raid the empty buildings, Lina must find her way back to Sparks alone to get help.

DuPrau, Jeanne. (2008). The Diamond of Darkhold. New York: Random House.

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10 January 2009


Chains by Laurie Halse Anderson is the story of one slave in 1770s American colonies.

Isabel and her little sister Ruth live in Rhode Island. They are slaves. The woman who owns them has treated them kindly, taught them skills of freemen, and has written a will that will free them on her death.

But instead of being freed, the woman's brother sells them to the Locktons, a New York couple who believe that those rebelling against the King are criminals.

Now Isabel is in a city that is divided between British loyalists and American patriots. Her story follows the battles that help lead to a free United States.

This is the first installment in a series featuring Isabel and her new friend Curzon, a slave who works for the Patriots.

Anderson captures the injustice of slavery well enough that I was angry at most of the characters in the book!

Anderson, Laurie Halse. (2008). Chains. New York: Simon & Schuster.

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09 January 2009


Exodus by Julie Bertagna takes place in one of our possible futures - a world full of water with very little land left after the polar ice caps melt.

The year is 2099 and Mara is fifteen. She lives on the island of Wing in the north. Each year the winter gets longer and the water rises making the island smaller.

The people must do something before there is no land left. When Mara finds evidence of new cities build for people to live high in the air above the rising water, the island people load their fishing boats and head south.

The do find one of the fabled sky cities, but there is no way in...

Bertagna, Julie. (2008). Exodus. New York: Walker Publishing Company.

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08 January 2009

In the Dark (Navy SEAL #2)

In the Dark is Marliss Melton's second book in the Navy SEAL series.

Now that Lieutenant Renault has been recovered from North Korea and is on the mend, he faces a trial - he is being made the scapegoat for the missing weapons. SEAL Team 12 must find the evidence to clear his name.

The one person, Hannah Geary, who has proof has been kidnapped and hidden in a military compound in Cuba. Lt. Luther Lindstrom will have to rescue her and protect her until they can collect the proof. The CIA is helping to some degree but will not step in until its own case is closed - they are after the man who is really selling stolen US weapons.

Other then Luther, Hannah does not know who to trust. It seems the weapons dealer has hired a pair of assassins to take her out.

Melton, Marliss. (2005). In the Dark. New York: Warner Forever.

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07 January 2009

A Storm of Swords (A Song of Fire and Ice #3)

A Storm of Swords is the third book in George RR Martin's Song of Fire and Ice series.

The war for a new king continues in Westeros. One of the five possible kings has died, but the battle goes on for the remaining challengers. The land is divided and the smallfolk suffer each time an army passes through.

Robb Stark rules the north but will not be left to rule in peace. While away from home fighting for the kingdom his home of Winterfell will face an attack.

Queen Daenerys is still across the sea amassing power to take with her back to Westeros.

Jon Snow and the black brothers of the Night Watch fight an attack from beyond the wall, with none of the kings answering their pleas for more men to fight off the wildings.

There is little else that can be said without including spoilers... Martin is a fantastic writer whose characters are realistically flawed and compelling even when revolting. This may be one of the best series of books ever written (but I will have to wait until all 7 books are published to be sure).

Martin, George RR. (2000). A Storm of Swords. New York: Bantam.

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