Two DNFs

I’ve got a couple of recent DNF (did not finish) that I thought I’d mention. Sometimes people are surprised by how fast I read, but they don’t realize that I count ALL books I read, including the ones I try, but just don’t like for whatever reason. Here are a few I didn’t finish lately.

Percy Jackson’s Greek Heroes by Rick Riordan

This one was just what it sounds like, a collection of stories about Greek heroes written as though told by Percy Jackson. I love Percy, but when he’s telling someone else’s story, I find him a little more annoying than when he’s telling his own. My main problem here though is that I really already know most of these stories, so I wasn’t interested in reading them again. There was one in there I hadn’t heard, but I know about Daedalus and Theseus and so on. Just wasn’t interested.

Belle Dame Sans Merci by Astrea Taylor

Belle is a cool heroine, but for some reason reading a story set in Hell was stressing me out! I skimmed this one, so I mostly read it and then skipped to the end. I’m betting this one has a sequel. If you like stories about demons and stuff like that you’ll probably like it more than I did.

 

Review: 100 Cupboards

Title : 100 Cupboards

Author: N D Wilson

Opening the door to another dimension.

This was almost two books in one. One was about Henry, a young boy whose parents go missing, forcing him to move in with his aunt and uncle, and a sci-fi/fantasy story about a room with portals into other worlds and a fight against an evil sorceress. While the fantasy story was good, and I’m looking forward to reading about more worlds in the next installment, I really preferred the story of Henry. His parents sheltered him from almost everything, never letting him have soda, controlling his pasttimes, even sending him to boarding school with a protective helmet he was supposed to wear during any physical activity. It’s only when he meets his Uncle Frank, who promptly gives him a pocketknife, lets him sleep outdoors, buys him a baseball mitt, that he realizes what he’s been missing. With Frank’s seemingly casual friendship, he begins to develop confidence. A good reminder for some of those hovering parents that kids need space to try their wings. Recommended for young teens and MG readers.

Scorpion Mountain: Brotherband Chronicles book 5

 

Reading Decathlon, book 7

Scorpion Mountain: Brotherband Chronicles book 5 

by John Flanagan

Plot: After defeating a group of slavers in the last book (Slaves of Socorro) Hal and the rest of the Heron crew set off to track down the group who sent an assassin after the Araluen princess. Ranger Gilan joins them on the trip and they group face some deadly foes in this book.

This one was good fun, but it wasn’t as great as it could have been. I still love the characters, though, and there was some good character development for Lydia, the twins, and a few others. I was totally shocked when one of the characters were injured.

However, I found the book too predictable in plot and in dialogue. I found my attention wandering a bit. The bad guys weren’t really menacing at all. The previous book was much better. I still think kids will enjoy it, but I hope the next book is better.

3.0 stars, although I’d rate it more like a 3.5 for kids under 13.

Summer Cold Pt. 2

Children’s Series Picks

I’ve been having good luck with (most) of my books lately. Maybe I’ve been lucky, maybe it’s because they’re from authors I already enjoy, maybe it’s because I’ve been too sick to be critical. Anyway I’ve got several solid children’s books to review this time, and I enjoyed them all.

Immortal Fire (Cronos Chronicles by Anne Ursu)

The Cronos Chronicles are about a pair of cousins Charlotte and Zee (Zachary), one from a small town in the US and one outside London, who have stumbled into the truth that the Greek gods are real and not too happy with humanity. This is their third tangle with the gods. The first book was set in the Underworld, the second on Poseidon’s yacht, and this one takes up just after they escape the Mediterranean and return to Charlotte’s home. Mysterious storms and monsters are loose across the world and even Charlotte’s parents are beginning to suspect that something is going on. Zee and Charlotte must once again, save humanity, but this time, there’s a new kid in the mix. Who is he and whose side is he on?

I enjoyed this one a lot. It’s MG / younger teen, totally clean, and pretty funny. There’s lots of action, some violence, but none of it very graphic. I like that the kids don’t emerge from these big fights without a scratch, but it felt like they were really getting hammered a little too often. I also really liked that Charlotte and Zee genuinely cared about each other. Not in a romantic way, but in a family way, where the other person gets on your nerves sometimes, but the bond is solid. In fact, there isn’t much romance in these books, which makes a nice change.

This is the last book in the series, and I wouldn’t start here. You’d be lost. But I can recommend the series, as one that will appeal to any gender and to parents as well as kids. They’d also be fun to read aloud. 3.75 for the series, 3.5 for this book, as it got a little muddled in the middle.

The Forgotten Sisters (Princess Academy, book 3) by Shannon Hale

Miri from the Princess Academy is back. This time, the king makes her an offer – train his royal cousins in her own Princess Academy, and her little village at home can OWN their village, for good. It seems like too good a deal to pass up, so she agrees. The stakes are high. A royal marriage may be the only way to prevent a war. But the three sisters are no princesses- they can’t even read. Miri is in over her head. Literally. She falls in the swamp, gets a snake bite her first day, and faints just inside the door. Off to a great start.

Although I enjoyed this book, it’s nothing really new. If you liked the first books in this series, you’ll like this one. The new girls are appealing, and I liked the setting. But for me, the book didn’t really come alive until about halfway through. I’m glad I read it though. Again, I wouldn’t read this one unless you’d read the first two. I still recommend this series, but I think it appeals a little more to girls that boys, more to kids that adults. Another one that would be good read aloud. 3.25 for this book, between 3-4 for the series, depending. I think it just won’t appeal to some readers, but then there will be plenty of readers who *love* it. You won’t know until you try it.

Slaves of Socorro (The Brotherband Chronicles, book 4) by John Flanagan

Hal and the rest of the Brotherband fellows are sent off to Araluen to patrol the coast for the Jarl. They’re just settled in when a group of slavers hit the coast. Hal and the ranger Gilan know who they are and where they’re headed, so they crew decides to follow. To rescue the Araluens, they’ll have to infiltrate the slave market, and it won’t be easy.

I admit, I’m a sucker for this writer. I love his Ranger’s Apprentice series, and this one is just as much fun. Flanagan excels at portraying young men, just emerging from childhood all through the difficult process of becoming men. Hal’s emergence as a leader is so well done. I would definitely recommend this author and this series in particular to kids. Unlike the previous two books, I think you could start with this one, although it would be better to start with the first one, but if you find this one first, grab it and give it a try. Although it’s set about a Viking longboat (more or less), Flanagan includes a little glossary of sailing terms so drylanders like me won’t be confused. 4 stars for this one, solid 4, maybe higher for the series.