Wednesday, November 22, 2017

The Sister's Grimm: The Unusual Suspects

This is the second book in Michael Buckley's series. In this one, we get to know the character Puck a bit more. Now that the girls finally have a foster family, they get to go to a school on a steady basis. Daphne is excited, because she gets to have Snow White for a teacher! However, Sabrina is much less excited, because school is school, and school in this town is horrible.
The teachers are super mean (except for Snow White, because she's awesome, but I think she's only a second grade teacher). The kids are mean and tired on top of it. When the girls stumble upon Sabrina's teacher's room (Mr. Grumpner) and finds that he has been killed, and wrapped in spiderwebs, they know something is going on.
There is another mystery brewing for the Grimms to solve. There are more deaths and this book is slightly gruesome as others are attacked and killed. They find out that the principle, monstrous students at the school, and Rumplestilskin have all been doing something horrible. Rumplestiltskin has been working with the Principle to use his instrument to hypnotize the kids into digging a giant tunnel under the force field and out of the town (it is protected by magic to prevent people from escaping).
Now the Principle's son has been affected, and he doesn't want to be a part of this anymore. Sabrina was hypnotized, but is broken out of it by the principle (the pied piper) and she runs off to save everyone. They are all spiderwebbed and stuck to the ceiling. They get caved into one of the sections of the tunnel.
Sabrina tries to free everyone, but Wendel, the principle's son, is almost killed. He is revived, but it was close. Sabrina was given magic matchsticks that can take her anywhere she wants to go. She only has about three, but they use one to get out of the cave, and leave Mr. Canis, who has turned into his wolf form, to fight Rumplestilskin. The monster kids are unconscious and they have been trained by Rumplestilskin to be murderous. They are returned to their original parents: Beauty and the Beast, The spider and Little Ms. Muffet, and the Princess and the Frog. They had been tricked by Rumplestilskin into giving up their children many years ago.
Everyone is worried about Mr. Canis when the tunnels cave in. He returns later on, but not until the next book. Sabrina thinks this is all her fault. She uses the last match to find her missing parents, who have been held captive by a mysterious group called the Red Hand. She finds that a young girl (Little Red Riding Hood) who is delirious has been keeping them there under a sleeping spell, and that she also has a dragon for a pet (the Jabberwocky) who sets the building on fire. The girl runs away with Sabrina's parents. Puck comes in to the closing portal to save Sabrina. The little girl still wants Mr. Canis for a dog, and Grandmother Relda for a grandmother. She will return!
The book ends with the house burning down around them.

The Sister's Grimm: The Fairytale Detectives

This is the first book of many in one of my favorite childhood series: The Sister's Grimm by Michael Buckley. The books are decent. I mostly like them because I can recall the moments I read certain events in the story when I was younger, and because the humor is so young and stereotypical that it's funny. Here is the plot:

Two young girls whose parents mysteriously disappeared not long ago have been taken from house to horrible house, where they have been mistreated by their foster parents. They had no other living family, so they find that they might be thrown around until they can find a proper foster family. When one woman claims to be their grandmother, Sabrina, the oldest sister, thinks that this is it for them. They have no living relatives. She must be a fraud! The woman feeds them strange food and tells them that everyone in the town is a fairytale character.
Daphne falls in love with the dog, the grandma, and her helper, Mr. Canis. Daphne doesn't want to leave. Sabrina, however, is determined that their so-called grandmother is a fake, and that they must escape as soon as possible. This lands them in some trouble. As they try to escape for the first time, they run into a winged boy who lives in the forest, and they are attacked by pixies. They are saved, and Sabrina starts to see that they weren't lying.
When a farmer's plants are mysteriously attacked, and squashed, Sabrina, Daphne, and the others must solve the mystery. They have become detectives along with their grandmother. They are the only regular humans in the whole town who know what is actually going on.
When Mr. Canis and Grandmother Relda are taken captive by a rampaging giant, it is up to Sabrina, Daphne, and Puck (the winged boy) to save them. Will they make it? (Obviously they do, because kids wouldn't be happy with an artistically unfinished novel).

Monday, September 4, 2017

The Glass Castle

The Glass Castle by Jeannette Walls was absolutely fantastic. It's so well written and so surprising that it's hard to think it's a true story. It goes through ups and downs that can make you laugh and cry and change your mood about the characters constantly.

In the story, the Walls family (consisting of Rex, Rose Mary, Brian, Rex, Lori, Jeannette, and Maureen) don't have a lot of money. They travel from place to place and their father tries to do odd jobs or make money off gambling most of the time. They do what they can to keep going. When the kids are younger, they think it's wonderful, always being on the move and going on adventures. However, when they get older they start realizing just how different their lives are from a lot of the other kids. They begin digging out of trashcans for food and collecting the little money they can. They move to Arizona at one point, and then Welch.

Rex is the father. He is a gambler, smoker, and drinker. He tries to be the head of the family, but a lot of times he just drags them down, spending all their newfound money on his cigarettes and beer.

Rose Mary is the mother. She is an aspiring artist who can't drive very well at all. She sometimes acts like one of the kids, and doesn't always like taking responsibility.

Lori is the oldest child. She is incredibly smart, responsible, and she is also an aspiring artist like her mother.

Then there's Jeannette. The book is from her point of view (obviously, since she wrote the book) and she's brave and she had been through a LOT. She's the only who who would believe in her father even when he was at his worst. As she grew older, her faith in him faded bit by bit, but I think she was always kind of her daddy's little girl.

Brian is the next oldest. He and Jeannette were probably the closest out of any of the siblings. They would always play together and such.

Maureen is the youngest. Jeannette didn't talk a whole lot about her, as when they moved to Welch, she always stayed over at friend's house.

They were always trying to build their Glass Castle, or their dream house basically. Their father had all the blueprints drawn out and everything. For the longest time, Jeannette had faith that he could do it. When they moved to Welch, Jeannette and Brian dug a whole behind their house for the foundation of the Glass Castle. When they couldn't afford for the garbage trucks to come pick up their trash, they were forced to fill the hole with garbage, and their hopes for the Glass Castle disappeared. Especially when their house continued to fall down around them.

When Jeannette was in junior high, she became very interested in journaling, and eventually that's what she did as a profession.

There are so many little details in this book that are hard to explain, and so many things happened to her. There's a lot going on in the story because it was her real life! So I'm not going to list all the events that happened. You just need to read it. :)

Saturday, July 15, 2017

Carve the Mark

While I don't do this for every novel, I was looking at some others' peoples reviews of Carve the Mark by Veronica Roth. I noticed that many, many people talked about this book being racist. Honestly, I kind of wish stereotypes didn't even exist in the world. As someone I know recently said, "I would rather let the characters I write be awful because they are human trash, rather than their race, class, religion..." and so on. I completely agree with them. If writers didn't have to worry about stereotypes, things would be so much easier. They could simply focus on writing a good story, and that's what Roth did, in my opinion.

I'm sorry if this makes me seem ignorant, but at first, I didn't even notice that Roth had been racist. When I'm reading, I don't really think about the race of a person. I can hardly even think about what their face looks like. Typically, if the author says they have a certain hair or skin color, I may try to imagine it, but I mostly focus on the events and the emotions when I'm reading. I think that's all a person really should be paying attention to. Apparently, she portrayed someone's race poorly because they were an aggressive character. I don't know the exact details, because I didn't really pay attention to that kind of thing. Anyways, I'll say that there were a lot of horrible characters in that novel. There were ones who were probably white, and all different kinds of races. I didn't go in depth and study all the characters, but according to one blog, two of the most violent characters were white. Nobody complains about them.

I think that a reader should only despise an author's work because they killed off a good character, or because they absolutely despise the antagonist, not because they think it is racist that someone who was dark-skinned happened to be evil. What should Roth do? Just completely make all of the evil characters white or any other race but that one specifically?

Overall, I think the story was actually really good. If you aren't going to read this story because you have heard it is racist. Please try to read it anyways and simply focus on the story, rather than the character descriptions. You might enjoy it a lot more. I personally actually loved this book. I'm sorry if I have offended anyone with this post, but this is just my opinion. I just want people to enjoy a good book for what it is, and not worry about the races off the characters. Just read!

Thursday, May 25, 2017

Fire Color One

Absolutely amazing. Fire Color One by Jenny Valentine is named after this painting:Image result for fire color one

This painting is by Yves Klein. You may not see it at first, but if you look closely, you can see the outlines of two human figures. A beautiful painting, and a beautiful book. Fire Color One is the story of Iris, a girl who has just had to move back to Europe with her mother (Hannah) and her mother's boyfriend (Lowell), due to money problems in the United States. They also moved after Iris committed arson by burning down her school. Fire is her escape. Iris is struggling with the fact that she has been separated by her friend, Thurston. Thurston was the only one who understood her and stories about how they met and what they did together are slowly revealed throughout the novel. Many years before, when Iris was two or three, Hannah left Ernest (Iris' biological father). He lived in Europe, so once they moved back there, she gave him a call.

It turns out that Ernest was actually dying of some disease. Hannah and Lowell are ecstatic, thinking that as soon as Ernest dies, they will collect his many extremely valuable paintings and become rich. Iris doesn't really care about him at first. She doesn't even remember him. She thinks she should feel sad, but can she really feel sad for someone she doesn't know? So they all go to visit Ernest. Almost immediately, Iris and Ernest have a connection and Ernest tells her many rather interesting and some unexpected stories of his life. The end of this is unexpected and wonderful. Fantastically made. I'm not sure if Valentine could have made this book much better.

Tuesday, March 28, 2017


I was pretty excited when I picked up this book. Zeroes is by Scott Westerfeld, Margo Lanagan, and Deborah Biancotti. I had read some of Westerfeld's books before, and I had liked them, so I was happy to find another book of his. I had actually picked this book randomly from my library. At my library, around February, in celebration of Valentine's day, they have a "blind date with a book" thing. This is where they wrap books in gift paper, and only write a few clues to the story's plot on the front (that way, if you hate horror books, you won't pick one up, ect. ) I loved doing that last year so I did it again this year with Zeroes. In Zeroes, it's your basic superhero book... except SO much better! The first thing I really like with this book was that all of the powers were so unique! Here is the list. (Also - WARNING! This isn't necessarily a spoiler, but if you would rather have the powers revealed to you throughout the book, then don't read the next section!)

  1. Scam - His was pretty interesting. Every since he was younger, "the voice" could talk. Even before he could. The voice is basically this other form of consciousness completely separate from Scam (Ethan). Scam just thinks of what he wants, and the voice will try to convince the people to do it. The voice also knows things it shouldn't. Plus, Ethan thinks the voice is helpful, because it makes him sound less like his stuttering self. It was kind of frustrating, but definitely interesting for the plot to see what Ethan's voice would say next.

2. Crash - Her real name is Chizara. She has hispanic heritage, and she can crash any technology she can sense. Chizara loves doing this (as long as she doesn't harm anyone in the process). All of the technology hurts her. She can feel it stinging and poking at her all day long. When she crashes things, she reaches into the interworking of the devices and she completely melds them or fries them. She's even crashed her own phone before many times. The change in her personality was very evident in the story.

3. Flicker - She prefers to be called Flicker, but her real name is Riley. Riley was born blind. She started to learn braille, until she learned she could see through her sister's eyes and read for herself. She can look through anyone's eyes, except for Anonymous. She uses this too see what is happening inside buildings during missions, and she can hop around the area to look for people. I thought her power was pretty creative.

4. Anonymous - Who? Oh, that's right, Thibault. They always forget about him. Thibault is the one who can go in, and no one would know he was there. Literally. They would forget about him. It does backfire for him, however (insert a sad, lovely back story that you'll have to read the book for!). Sometimes, even his own team forgets him. His power is kind of complicated, and it's kind of fun to figure out how it works as the story goes on.

5. Bellwether - He is also known as "Glorious Leader" or Nate. During meetings or missions he can direct the minds of people or of the team towards the same goal, and it helps keep the people encouraged and gets things done. The team doesn't always appreciate it when he does this, but at some points, it's a nice thing to have around. 

I would recommend the book. Now that I think back, I can clearly see how each of the Zeroes has changed in some way, and I love that I can see an individual difference in each of the characters. The ending is a nice finish as well. It's a good read and you should pick it up! :)

Paper Towns

Paper Towns by John Green. Believe it or not, this is the first John Green book I have read. *gasp!* Yes, I know, I'm not normal. I didn't fall for The Fault in Our Stars like everyone else did. I didn't even finish the Divergent series *another gasp!* See, sometimes, I feel like the way a book is portrayed in the media makes it seem to cheesy and overdone. However, I recommended a book to a friend, and in return, they recommended Paper Towns to me. So, I agreed to read it, and as soon as I started, I actually ended up liking it. Basically, it's about Quentin and Margo. They were friends when they were younger, and one day, they were walking around near the park, and they saw a dead man slumped against a tree. Margo was intrigued, but Quentin was repulsed. This is when their friendship started to drift away. Years later, in high school, Margo shows up at Quentin's window. Quentin has always liked Margo (maybe loved?) so he was welcoming. Margo convinces Quentin to go on this revenge trip with her, and they go around pranking everyone they dislike in the city, and so on... It was interesting to see how each prank came into play, and Quentin and his friends become pretty entertaining (especially in an event that comes across later in the book). John Green is not the ridiculously cheesy writer I thought he was, and in fact, I may consider reading more of his books. I did start reading the first chapter of The Fault in Our Stars and I actually liked it from the beginning. He is a very funny author, and I like books that can make me laugh. Perhaps I'll read it soon in the future. I also liked that the theme of the "paper town" was strong and noticeable throughout the story. It was a good message about growing up and moving on from your childhood. Good job to the author! :)