My Writings. My Thoughts.

My Most Favorite Reads of 2013

// January 2nd, 2014 // 1 Comment » // Blogging

 

Woo hoo! 2013 is over! And I have to pat myself on the back. I’ve read SO MANY BOOKS! I’m so excited for a new year of reading! As I do every year, I have made a list of the best books I’ve read. This, my friends is that list. Time to begin. Let’s start off with #10!

 

10. Behind Enemy Lines

This book is the sixth in the Infinity Ring series. I liked this one more than the others. Jennifer A. Nielsen, the author of the False Prince and the Runaway King, wrote it. She is an amazing author, so the book was fantastic. It is about Dak, Sera, and Riq. They are time travelers who try to fix “breaks” that have happened. The time traveling group goes to WWII to become spies and help the Allies win the war.

 

9. The Hypnotists

This book was written by Gordon Korman. It is about Jax. He can hypnotize people, but REALLY hypnotize, not like, “when I say abracadabra you will wake up and slap yourself forever.” It is actually like they control minds, and have a connection with their victim. For more information, see my book review.

The Hypnotists

8. Tuck Everlasting

I read this book in English class in my school, and it was amazing. The dialogue was cool, and the descriptions of people and things were… well, really descriptive. It is about a girl named Winnie who stumbles upon a family. That family is immortal because they drank water from a spring that grants immortality (similar to the legend of the Fountain of Youth, right?). They regret being immortal, because it is boring, and death is part of the circle of life. There is a man who wishes to become rich by selling this water to anyone he deems worthy. It is written by Natalie Babbit.

 

7. The Fantastic Family Whipple

I got this book as an ARC (advanced reader copy) at the Book Expo of America in NYC. It was amazing and unique. The book is about a boy from a large family. Everyone in that family is a world record breaker, except for him. For more information, see my book review.

The House of Hades

6. The Underland Chronicles

Rather than putting all of the books in one series into different slots, I decided my sixth favorite read of the year was the entire collection. The Underland Chronicles is a series written by Suzanne Collins. The series is about Gregor, who goes from the Earth’s surface to the Underland, a world under ours. These books are fast paced and are very enjoyable. Here is a link to one of my reviews for the series.

Gregor and the Curse of the Warmbloods

5. The Runaway King

This book features, well, a king, an assassin, and a nasty band of pirates. Yep. All in one novel. Jennifer A. Nielsen did a pretty amazing job with this book. It is the second book in the Ascendance trilogy. For more information, see my book review.

The Runaway King

4. The False Prince

The first book in the Ascendance trilogy. The book was outstanding throughout, but I swear, at the end I was sure my heart had stopped. It is about a kingdom with no king. The royal family died, and the only person to take the throne was a prince who was missing. A boy named Sage, an orphan, was taken by a nobleman named Conner. With two other boys, Conner trains them on how to act like the prince, so the boy who is chosen and is brought to the throne can be his puppet. The entire book BLEW MY MIND!

 

3. The House of Hades

I have been reading Rick Riordan books for a long time. He is one of my favorite authors. His books are amazing and this one was no exception. It is always fun visiting Percy, Annabeth, Jason and Leo in Riordan’s world of Greek mythology. For more information, see my book review.

The House of Hades

2. Ender’s Game

This book was one of the most interesting, and amazing books that I have read. It is about a boy named Ender who is extremely smart. Earth is at war with the buggers, an alien species. Ender is brought to battle school, where he trains to become a commander of a fleet of spaceships. Like the False Prince, the ending had me with my eyes wide open. Orson Scott Card made a, well, AWESOME book.

 

Now, for the final book. Don’t tune out now, because my #1 book I read this year is…

 

1. The Lord of the Rings

This book is outstanding, amazing, enjoyable, memorable, thrilling and AWESOME! The descriptions of Middle Earth are amazing, and the monsters, world and races are unique and outstanding. Some people don’t like this book because they think there is a lot of walking, and not a lot of action, but some people, like me, find it to be one of the best books they’ve ever read. It was written by the legendary author J.R.R. Tolkien.

 

So, that is it. The best books I read this year. I hope you have a wonderful new year (reading books)!

 

 

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.

Mythical Monsters

// November 24th, 2013 // No Comments » // Book Reviews

Title: Mythical Monsters

Author: Chris McNab

Synopsis:

Discover the truth about the world’s most terrifying mythical creatures that have been scaring people for generations, from Beowolf’s Dragon to Frankenstein’s Monster and Bigfoot. This book features ancient legends and folklore, mythological monsters, movie monsters, and modern monsters. You’ll read about more than 40 creatures who will scare, thrill, and entertain you. The book includes stunning, colorful artwork, maps, and facts about the myth that created the monster.

My Book Review:

I bought this book at our school’s annual book fair. I had all of the other books in the collection, so I was excited to add this one to my library.

A lot of the monsters in this book were familiar to me from movies, other books, or just plain myths, like the hydra, the basilisk, and King Kong. Even though the book included the well known monsters, it was really descriptive and included a lot of information I did not even know about.

Along with the familiar creatures, there were the new creatures I did not know about. One of them was the Hopkinsville Goblin (which was originated from Cherokee folklore and have big, bulging eyes). It was educational, but not the type of educational that is boring, but the fun education of learning about monsters. Woo hoo!

A picture of the Hopkinsville Goblin from the book, which is also an example of an amazing illustration in the book.

Each monster was presented with the same format. There was a depiction of each monster’s appearance. It also included a small story featuring that monster, a location on Earth where it was from, an actual size of the monster, what the monster was capable of doing, and some fun facts. It also had very detailed illustrations of each monster in color, which I found amazing. I also found it really cool to see a lot of different monsters in one place.

This is not my typical book that I read (or review), but it is really enjoyable. I recommend it to all of you monster lovers out there. I think it would make a good holiday gift. But beware, because some stories in there might make you SCREAM! But they are just myths, right? Or are they… MWA HAHAHAHAHA!

 

NOTE: This book is published by Scholastic, and is difficult to find. You can find it on Amazon, or I am sure you can find it in your Scholastic Book Order.

The House of Hades

// November 11th, 2013 // No Comments » // Book Reviews

Title: The House of Hades

Author: Rick Riordan

Synopsis:

At the conclusion of The Mark of Athena, Annabeth and Percy tumble into a pit leading straight to the Underworld. The other five demigods have to put aside their grief and follow Percy’s instructions to find the mortal side of the Doors of Death. If they can fight their way through the Gaea’s forces, and Percy and Annabeth can survive the House of Hades, then the Seven will be able to seal the Doors from both sides and prevent the giants from raising Gaea. But, Leo wonders, if the Doors are sealed, how will Percy and Annabeth be able to escape?

They have no choice. If the demigods don’t succeed, Gaea’s armies will never die. They have no time. In about a month, the Romans will march on Camp Half-Blood. The stakes are higher than ever in this adventure that dives into the depths of Tartarus.

My Book Review:

I was so excited for the House of Hades to come out. I read all the other books in the Percy Jackson and Heroes of Olympus series, and I enjoyed every single one of them. To celebrate the book release, Rick Riordan had a book talk in Manhattan, and my parents surprised me by taking me there. Here are some pictures of the event.

 

My brother and I at the book talk, waiting for Rick Riordan to take the stage.

Rick Riordan on stage

 

During the AWESOME surprise, Rick talked about his past, and then talked about the books that he has written. Then he answered some questions. At the book talk, there were some hardcore fans (not limited to kids) who were done with the book, even though it had come out two days ago. I was only three chapters into the book! But it was still cool. Thanks, mom and dad!

The book was amazing and unforgettable. This action-filled book was told from many points of view. What was interesting was that each character’s personalities are different, so you get to see the world inside of their heads. Since their personalities are different, the dialogue is different also. Even when a character is narrating what happened, there is a different feel.

Here are some things that make the book amazing: cows with poisonous breath, a metal dragon (it breaths fire), a giant immortal janitor, and so many more AWESOME things! My favorite character was Leo. He is the son of Hephaestus, the god of blacksmithing and fire. In my opinion, he’s the funniest character of them all. Everything he says somehow has a little bit of humor entangled in it.

I rate this book 10 out of 10 stars. This book is the fourth in the series, so I recommend you read the ones before it before you read The House of Hades. It is part of the Heroes of Olympus series, a series which includes some of the same characters from another of Rick Riordan’s series, Percy Jackson and the Olympians. There were no flaws in the writing of this book, and it was VERY enjoyable. Then my experience went up a level when my parents took me to see one of the masters of writing, Rick Riordan. Thanks again, mom and dad.

The Unwanteds

// September 29th, 2013 // 2 Comments » // Book Reviews

Title: The Unwanteds

Author: Lisa McMann

Synopsis:

A riveting middle-grade dystopian novel from New York Times bestselling Wake author Lisa McMann that Kirkus Reviews calls “The Hunger Games meets Harry Potter.”

When Alex finds out he is Unwanted, he expects to die. That is the way of the people of Quill. Each year, all the thirteen-year-olds are labeled as Wanted, Necessary, or Unwanted. Wanteds get more schooling and train to join the Quillitary. Necessaries keep the farms running. Unwanteds are set for elimination.
It’s hard for Alex to leave behind his twin, Aaron, a Wanted, but he makes peace with his fate—until he discovers that instead of a “death farm,” what awaits him is a magical place called Artimé. There, Alex and his fellow Unwanteds are encouraged to cultivate their creative abilities and use them magically. Everything Alex has ever known changes before his eyes, and it’s a wondrous transformation.
But it’s a rare, unique occurrence for twins to be divided between Wanted and Unwanted, and as Alex and Aaron’s bond stretches across their separation, a threat arises for the survival of Artimé that will pit brother against brother in an ultimate magical battle.

My Book Review:

The Unwanteds looked like an awesome book from the second I laid eyes on it in Barnes & Noble. It was advertised as “Hunger Games meets Harry Potter.”  Well, I liked Hunger Games, and I liked Harry Potter, so I was sure I would like this book.

I should never believe everything I read. The concept was like a mash up of Harry Potter and the Hunger Games. It included magic, like Harry Potter, and the ruler sent people out to die, like the Hunger Games. Also, the people who were sent out to die, didn’t die, and found themselves in a safe haven, and rebelled. That too is like the Hunger Games. The world was described very thoroughly. The world was also unique. There were blackboards that could do anything. They could talk, tell you what classes you have, and get messages from other students that are using blackboards. But where Hunger Games and Harry Potter were action packed, amazing novels, this one fell short. At first I thought I was being drawn to the book, but then it lost its pull.

This book was a slow in the beginning and the middle. There was a lull in the plot. If there is no action in the beginning, then it doesn’t make me say, “Hmm, I wonder what is going to happen next?” or, “Wow! Is he going to destroy those people?”

The characters weren’t well developed either. One of the reasons I liked Harry Potter is because the characters were well developed. In this book, I couldn’t grasp the character’s emotions and personality. They felt flat. Like a blackboard that was blank except for a few details.

I rate this book 6 out of 10 stars. It wasn’t the best book I have ever read. I’m considering reading the next book in the series because I want to give it another chance.