Monday, February 18, 2013

Mini Reviews 10

It's been months since my last mini reviews and it's about time I get some of these books reviewed!  So, enjoy.

The Candy Shop War, Book 2: Arcade Catastrophe by Brandon Mull
Publisher: Shadow Mountain
Publication date: October 2012
Pages: 416
Source: ARC from ALA
For: Review
Series: Candy Shop War, Book 2

The kids are now battling for stamps that give them magical powers.  They are caught up in a plot by another evil magician to find a magical object so powerful he would control the world.  They must fight and race against each other and against other kids in order to gain access to this magical

My thoughts:
This book definitely has the signature Mull imaginative story.  With stamps that give magical powers and an evil magician seeking to take over the world, the kids face seemingly insurmountable odds.  There are so many strange and quirky characters and artifacts that it seems Mull has unlimited stores of weird ideas.  There's plenty of action and the end will keep you guessing right to the last page.  But, 
I had a really hard time wanting to keep reading.  It seemed to drag on for a really long time and I lost interest often in what was happening with the kids.  I got annoyed at the many side tracks that seemed to happen throughout.  I put down the book a number of times and finally had to force myself to finish.  I think fans of Fablehaven will get a kick out of this story.

The Bronze Bow by Elizabeth George Speare
Publisher: Blackstone Audio
Publication date: originally published 1961
Pages: 6 hrs 57 min
Source: Audiobook from library

For: Driving Sanity
Daniel's one purpose in life is to avenge his father's death at the hands of the Romans.  He's left his sister in the care of his aging grandmother in order to join a band of rebels intent on breaking free of the Romans.  But when his life takes a different turn he little expects to be drawn to Jesus, a rabbi who teaches something completely different than what he wants, but who he can't seem to forget about.

My thoughts:
I never read enough historical fiction and when I do, I am reminded just how great well-written and researched historical fiction is.  I loved the setting - it's definitely unusual in YA and MG literature.  I loved how natural Daniel's progression is through the story.  The characters were flawed and therefore more real - even if I did get mad at Daniel's hardheadedness a few times.  They believed what was natural for them at the time and they made mistakes that hurt.  It was also unique to see the focus of the story not on Jesus' death and resurrection, but on his power to heal - both physically and in other ways.  I wasn't very pleased with the narrator, but I thought she did an ok job (look up narrator).  A powerful book, one that left an impression on me.

The Blue Sword by Robin McKinley
Publisher: Recorded Books
Publication date: originally published 1982
Pages: 12 hrs 16 min
Source: Audiobook from library
For: Driving Sanity

When Harry is sent to live with her brother in Istan, a place right on the outskirts of the empire, she finds that the change in country suits her.  But she is strangely drawn to the Hillfolk - an independent people with mysterious powers that her country has long been unable to conquer.  When the king of the Hillfolk visits their home to try negotiating a treaty, he is disappointed in the Homelanders mistrust of his people.  Harry, however, can't seem to get the people out of her mind and heart.  And her destiny is closely tied to these strange people.

My thoughts:
This is still one of my favorite fantasy stories of all time.  I've reviewed this one before on the blog, but decided to listen to the audio for fun.  I found the story still intrigues me with its glorious details and I still love Harry for all her wild and difficult ways.  However, I really struggled with the audiobook.  The narrator, Diane Warren, used strange random pauses in the middle of sentences and in places where pauses didn't make sense.  Her voices were not that well done or distinguishable and I just didn't want to listen.  I would have given up if I didn't want to remember the story and if I hadn't had nothing else to listen to on my commute at the time.  Definitely one to pick up in print.


Miles to Go for Freedom: Segregation and Civil Rights in the Jim Crow Years by Linda Barnett Osborne
Publisher: Abrams Books for Young Readers
Publication date: January 2012
Pages: 128
Source: Library
For: Fun

This book recounts the history of segregation and civil rights during the period from the 1890s to 1954.  Discussing the Jim Crow years both in the North and the South from first hand accounts and other sources.

My Thoughts:
I learned tons from this book and it wasn't hard to keep reading it - a perfect combination for nonfiction, I think.  I keep realizing just how ignorant I am about civil rights, Jim Crow laws, black history, and so much more.  I liked that this focused on a time period that I didn't know a lot about (or much of anything).  I was completely surprised to learn that African Americans had way more rights in the late 1800s than they did like 40 years later.  It's painful to read about those rights being slowly sucked away.  This was readable and very well researched.

Any thoughts on these?  Ones you've read or want to read?

If you buy through my Amazon linkage, I will get a very small percentage


  1. I love The Blue Sword. But I really am not a fan of audio books. You risk liking the book or not based on the narrator and that bothers me.

    1. Yeah, I try to find ones that come recommended by others or that have a narrator I know and love.


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