Archive for Book Reviews

Seven Daughters and Seven Sons

// April 24th, 2014 // No Comments » // Book Reviews

Title: Seven Daughters and Seven Sons

Author: Barbara Cohen

Synopsis:

In an ancient Arab nation, one woman dares to be different. Buran cannot — Buran will not-sit quietly at home and wait to be married to the man her father chooses. Determined to use her skills and earn a fortune, she instead disguises herself as a boy and travels by camel caravan to a distant city. There, she maintains her masculine disguise and establishes a successful business. The city’s crown prince comes often to her shop, and soon Buran finds herself falling in love. But if she reveals to Mahmud that she is a woman, she will lose everything she has worked for.

A retelling of a traditional Arabic tale in which a young woman disguises herself as a man and opens up a shop in a distant city in order to help her impoverished family.

My Book Review:

Seven Daughters and Seven Sons is about a girl named Buran. It takes place during the Middle Ages, in Iraq. Buran is the daughter of a man who has… seven daughters! Her uncle is a cruel, wealthy merchant who has… seven sons! Buran dresses up as a man to set up shop and become wealthy, but she falls in love with another man! Will she give up her secret? Or will she ignore her desire for a man none other than the Prince of Tyre?

This book reminded me a lot of Mulan. A girl dresses up as a man to accomplish things a woman can’t because of the society she lives in. She does this because of her father, who is extremely poor. She falls in love, but can’t give away her identity. So, I recommend it to people who like Mulan.

This book was not only amazingly well written, but also very interesting. It taught me about what Feudal Iraq was like. Transportation, food, I learned about all of it! I learned about how girls were treated in Feudal Iraq, as well. I wanted the pages to turn, and I wanted to continue reading. I rate it 10 out of 10.

Fallout

// April 20th, 2014 // No Comments » // Book Reviews

Title: Fallout

Author: Todd Strasser

Synopsis:

In the summer of 1962, the possibility of nuclear war is all anyone talks about. But Scott’s dad is the only one in the neighborhood who actually prepares for the worst. As the neighbors scoff, he builds a bomb shelter to hold his family and stocks it with just enough supplies to keep the four of them alive for two critical weeks. In the middle of the night in late October, when the unthinkable happens, those same neighbors force their way into the shelter before Scott’s dad can shut the door. With not enough room, not enough food, and not enough air, life inside the shelter is filthy, physically draining, and emotionally fraught. But even worse is the question of what will — and won’t — remain when the door is opened again.

My Book Review:

Fallout is about the Cuban Missile Crisis. Well, kind of, but I’ll get to that later. The Cuban Missile Crisis occurred during the Cold War a 10 day, umm… crisis. All of America was in panic. The Soviets had missiles stocked in Cuba, which, for some people who don’t know, is DANGEROUSLY CLOSE to the United States of America. But, thankfully, nothing happened because the Soviets and the Americans negotiated a treaty where the Americans would remove missiles aimed at Russia and the Soviets would remove the missiles in Cuba. But, what would have happened if they had not reached an agreement?

That’s what this book is about.

Fallout is in an alternate reality. This is what would have happened if the Soviets actually shot the missiles. Some people in the book were already really worried, so they built bunkers where they would go if the Russians shot missiles. Scott’s dad (Scott is the main character) was one of the people who decided to build a bunker under his house.

People were extremely desperate when the missiles were fired to get inside the bunker. Scott’s dad wouldn’t allow people into his bunker, but still, a couple people made it inside. There was a family that got torn apart, and only two out of the four of them made it to the bunker before the missile hit. Scott’s dad was running out of supplies quickly because he was supposed to have enough supplies for his own family, not ten people. Some people threatened to kick people out of the bunker so supplies could last longer. One person was almost voted out of the bunker because she was black. Blacks and whites were still considered not equal in 1962.

This story is told in a strange but unique and interesting way. All odd chapters are about Scott’s two week stay in the bunker. The even chapters are about the events that happened before the nuclear missile hit. I happened to like the former more than the latter.

I would rate this book 9 out of 10. It was extremely interesting, but the chapters that happened before the nuclear strike were a little tedious at certain parts. I recommend it to people who can understand young adult books, because it is extremely sad and confusing at certain parts. I didn’t know a lot about the Cuban Missile Crisis, but now I do because of this book (well, not really this book, because the events didn’t really happen, but I looked up about the Cuban Missile Crisis because I read this book, and it was very very cool and interesting, this book, and… well you get my point!)!

The Book Thief

// March 30th, 2014 // 3 Comments » // Book Reviews

Title: The Book Thief

Author: Markus Zusak

Synopsis:

It is 1939. Nazi Germany. The country is holding its breath. Death has never been busier, and will become busier still.

Liesel Meminger is a foster girl living outside of Munich, who scratches out a meager existence for herself by stealing when she encounters something she can’t resist—books. With the help of her accordion-playing foster father, she learns to read and shares her stolen books with her neighbors during bombing raids as well as with the Jewish man hidden in her basement.

My Book Review:

My mom told me about this book, and I was like, “Hey, that sounds cool!” She decided to let me read it, even though it had some curse words and there were some difficult topics in it. Speaking of, I DO NOT recommend this book to any child who does not have permission from their parents. But, anyway, it’s a really good book!

The narrator in this story was none other than Death himself. It was very interesting to hear this story from the point of view of Death. He talked about the colors; sometimes blood red, sometimes pale white, sometimes the blackest black. The most interesting part was that the story took place during WWII when Death narrates the story to us. Death was pretty busy during that time period!

The story was about Liesel Meminger. Her brother died, and her mother left her in the care of a foster family. The thing is, they didn’t live in England. They didn’t live in the USA. They lived in Germany, in a small town on the outskirts of Munich. Someone living in Germany may not be important, but someone living in Nazi Germany is worth writing a story about!

In most books, if a character is from another country, the dialogue in the book would still be in English, so we can read it. But in this book, sometimes they spoke German, sometimes English. When they actually did speak in German, Death translates the words for us, so we can understand.

The book was very interesting, one reason being that a lot of German’s views of the Nazis were explored. Some people in the book didn’t exactly like the Nazis, like Liesel’s foster parents. Some people worshiped Hitler like a god. Liesel’s foster parents, not liking the Nazis very much, kept a Jew safe in their basement. The Jew’s name was Max. Max and Liesel became best friends. They both loved books a lot, and had a lot of other things in common. The reason the book was called the Book Thief was because Liesel loved reading books. She would do anything to get books, including stealing!

I would definitely rate this book 10 out of 10, in a blink of an eye. And I do. I recommend it to people who enjoy historical fiction, but you should get permission from your parents, first. WARNING!!! THIS BOOK IS NARRATED BY DEATH AND OBVIOUSLY WILL HAVE A SIGNIFICANT AMOUNT OF TRAGEDY IN IT! So, happy thieving! Wait, wait, I meant happy reading!

I Am a SEAL Team Six Warrior: Memoirs of an American Soldier

// February 21st, 2014 // No Comments » // Book Reviews

Title: I Am a SEAL Team Six Warrior: Memoirs of an American Soldier

Author: Howard Wasdin and Stephen Templin

Synopsis:

When the Navy sends their elite, they send the SEALs. When the SEALs send their elite, they send SEAL Team Six—a secret unit made up of the finest soldiers in the country, if not the world. I Am a SEAL Team Six Warrior is the dramatic tale of how Howard Wasdin overcame a tough childhood to live his dream and enter the exciting and dangerous world of U.S. Navy SEALS and Special Forces snipers.

His training began with his selection for Basic Underwater Demolition/SEAL (BUD/S)—the toughest and longest military training in the world. After graduating, Wasdin saw combat in Operation Desert Storm as a member of SEAL Team Two. But he was driven to be the best of the best—he wanted to join the legendary SEAL Team Six, and at long last he reached his goal and became one of the best snipers on the planet. Soon he was fighting for his life in The Battle of Mogadishu. This is Howard Wasdin’s story of overcoming abuse and beating the odds to become an elite American warrior.

My Book Review:

I got this book at my school’s Scholastic book fair, thinking, “Well, it’s a war book that has to do with the government’s elite forces, so it’s probably a cool book!” And I was not wrong.

This book is an autobiography about Howard E. Wasdin. Howard was first part of the U.S. Navy, then moved up to Seal Team Two, then finally to the elite Seal Team Six. Howard was a sniper. He battled in the Persian Gulf War and the Battle of Mogadishu.

Howard had an abusive childhood. His step-dad was very mean to him. Then when he joined the navy, the training was abusive. His abusive childhood made the abusive training seem less painful and difficult, and helped him through the military. As sad as it is, the navy probably felt like a vacation to him compared to his abusive childhood.

This book is very interesting, because it is the story of a real person, and all of the information in the story is true. Howard goes through some hardships of losing friends in the war, but loss in a soldier’s perspective is unique, even though it’s sad. It’s almost like it’s part of the job, like it’s expected but not expected.

It’s actually fascinating to hear the entire story in Howard’s perspective. He had to follow commands from his general, even though he didn’t agree with some of them. He was a very good sniper, and made some pretty amazing shots, too. He did get shot a couple of times, and him describing his pain and panic was riveting. Him describing an entire battle (The Battle of Mogadishu) and actually being there was interesting, too.

All in all, I found this book very captivating. Books like this can sometimes be boring and tedious, but Howard wrote in a way where it was neither boring or tedious. I rate this book 10 out of 10 stars. Fans of Bomb and other historical or war narratives will probably enjoy this book.

The Hypnotists

// December 15th, 2013 // 1 Comment » // Book Reviews

Title: The Hypnotists

Author: Gordon Korman

Synopsis:

Jackson Opus has always been persuasive, but he doesn’t know that he’s descended from the two most powerful hypnotist bloodlines on the planet. He’s excited to be accepted into a special program at the Sentia Institute — but when he realizes he’s in over his head, Jackson will have to find a way to use his powers to save his friends, his parents, and his government.

My Book Review:

Who has read a book about hypnotism? I certainly hadn’t. So when I heard Gordon Korman released a book about hypnotism, and he was going to be at a Barnes & Noble in my area, I HAD to go. I knew Gordon Korman was a good author because I had read the books he wrote in the 39 Clues series, so I had high hopes for this book. When I met Gordon Korman, he was really nice. He answered every question and even read us a portion of The Hypnotists. Below is a picture of me with Gordon Korman.

My brother and I with Gordon Korman.

 

The book isn’t really a fantasy novel. It includes a lot of things that could have been real. It takes place in present day New York. I think of it as more realistic fiction than fantasy. My mom tells me this genre is called magical realism.

The beginning is a little slow. Besides that, the book is very enjoyable and clever. In the book, hypnotism is when somebody connects with something. If that person stays connected for too long, you can feel the person who was  being hypnotized’s emotions. Happiness, anger, and even sadness. Jax, the main character, had that experience when he hypnotized someone for too long. The man who was hypnotized’s wife had died in 9/11, and he felt the man’s sadness.

Many of the parts in the book made me laugh. Jax had a humorous tone in his voice, even when he was thinking. Even when he got angry,  he sometimes thought angry but funny things.

This book is the first in a series. You can tell because the villain, Elias Mako, was never defeated, so I suspect Jax will face more challenges in the future. I plan on reading the next books in the series.

I rate this book 9 out of 10. I enjoyed almost all of the book, except for the relatively slow beginning. All in all, the book is amazing.