Posts Tagged ‘YA Challenge’

Book: The Thief Lord by Cornelia Funke
Pages: 345
Entertainment Rating: 4/5
Snooty Rating: 3/5
Total Rating: 7/10
Books Read Total: 23/50
Pages Read Total: 4220/15,000

Funke tells the captivating story of two orphan boys on the run from their evil aunt who make their way to Venice, their mother’s fairytale. The characters were quite commanding, and it was very easy to take sides. Almost too easy, I think. Unlike Nancy Farmer, Philip Pullman, or Madeleine L’Engle to name a few, Funke tells a good story, but doesn’t present much else. It was a fun, quick read, but did not have the subtly (or not so subtly) challenging subplots that many successful children’s authors manage. It is, as one Amazon review puts it, “a solid adventure story”. I’d put it with Harry Potter. Some coming of age, some teen angst, some wonderful friendship, and lots of bad guys and adventures.


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Book: The Land of the Silver Apples by Nancy Farmer
Pages: 495
Entertainment Rating: 4.5/5
Snooty Rating: 4/5
Total Rating: 8.5/10
Books Read Total: 19/50
Pages Read Total: 3683/15,000

This book is the sequel to The Sea of Trolls. I can’t remember the last time I had such a hard time putting down a book as I do with Farmer’s. Even Harry Potter doesn’t hold the control over me that she does. Her stories are excellent, witty, vivid and fun.

In Silver Apples Jack’s little sister Lucy disapears, and saving her is up to him and his new “friends”, a recently freed slave with a “froggy” face by the name of Pega, a wishy washy guy named Brutus, a monk named Aiden and some newly acquired skills. Together they experience the beauty and danger of the magical world of the silver apples, where time never passes. Their quest is filled with surprises, both good and bad, and the end results may not be what you think!

As a sequel this book was excellent, just enough plot overlap to be related, but a totally new adventure and many new characters. Also, way less of the bratty Lucy dialog! The religion humor is excellent, as always. I really admire Farmer’s even keel in that regard. She makes fun of everyone’s gods equally, while never actually putting any of them down, and giving all opinions without seeming contrived. Another great book!

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For the YA Challenge.

Book: The Sea of Trolls by Nancy Farmer
Pages: 455
Entertainment Rating: 5/5
Snooty Rating: 5/5
Total Rating: 10/10
Books Read Total: 15/50
Pages Read Total: 2808/15,000

“The Sea of Trolls is a historical fantasy novel set in a fictional version of 793 C.E. in Anglo-Saxon England, Scandinavia, and Jotunheim. It begins when Jack, a young Saxon boy and the protagonist, is accepted as the village bard’s apprentice. Jack loves learning from the bard who teaches him to better see, hear, and sense the world around him. Jack is content until Northmen invade his village…” Wikiplot

I absolutely cannot say enough good things about this book! I read the first 100 pages or so last night and the rest of it today. All 350 pages or so. I had to make myself put it down when my body demanded that I eat something (that may also be because I can’t taste anything so I don’t want to eat). This book was just so…tight. Well constructed. Engaging. I’m amazed I hadn’t heard of it before, because it could kick Harry Potter’s ass. Rich in mythology and magic, the author does a beautiful job of addressing all the many beliefs existing at the time and it seems to me she remains unbiased about them all (though I think we all know Norse gods were a lot more fun). I was impressed by the appendix in the back, as I hadn’t realized just how much research went into this book. In retrospect it makes perfect sense.


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What I do when the flu’s got me? I read, and read, and knit, and watch movies, and read. And drink more tea than I thought humanly possible. I should also mention that the flu is a great diet plan, I can’t taste, so I don’t eat!

For the YA Challenge.

Book: The King of Ireland’s Son by Padriac Colum
Pages: 275
Entertainment Rating: 5/5
Snooty Rating: 4/5
Total Rating: 9/10
Books Read Total: 14/50
Pages Read Total: 2353/15,000

I remember being completely obsessed with this book when I was very young. My babysitter would read it to me and to her youngest children on rainy days. This book wasn’t exactly as I remembered it, for some reason I’ve jumbled it in my head with another book that has Baba Yaga in it. (In retrospect that’s silly of me because Baba Yaga is Russian and this is a book of tales from Ireland) Never the less it’s a great book of classic folktales from Ireland constructed in a creative manner, a story of a story within a story, rather than just listed one after the other. Really a great book, I recommend it to anyone with children, looking to entertain children, or who simply enjoys children’s books!

I’m currently reading Nancy Farmer’s The Sea of Trolls and I love it!

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For the YA Challenge.

Book: Take a Thief by Mercedes Lackey
Pages: 448
Entertainment Rating: 5/5
Snooty Rating: 2/5
Total Rating: 7/10
Books Read Total: 8/50
Pages Read Total: 2078/15,000

I wasn’t at all surprised to find this book enjoyable as there are very few of Lackey’s Valdemar novels that I haven’t enjoyed. I’m a sucker for fantasy. She’s easy to read, entertaining, and her characters are always strong and witty. Skif, a young thief, is no exception. Orphaned by his mother’s death he is under the thumb of his skimping uncle and working in his inn in the slums under the watch of an abusive and slow-witted cousin. His only escape is in the mandatory lessons taught by the temple and the chance to keep out of the way. This story details the path he takes to a new life, the people he meets, the skills he earns, and the adventures that find him. The “street” speak was a bit hard to follow at times, but eventually I got used to it. Fun book!

I’ve got about 30 pages left in Jonathan Kozol’s book Shame of the Nation. I’m not sure what I’m going to read next, though I’m sure my classes will control my decision.

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I’m back at school, and being a silly girl I left my computer home when I moved back into my apartment. People are saying I did it on purpose so that I would have an excuse to go home again. Needless to say I’d rather be home than here, and people know it.

For the most part my classes seem good, I’ve got some really, really heavy reading courses, and we’ll see how long that lasts. At least they don’t start out easy on us!

I think I won’t have a lot of time for making jewelry, but I’m hoping that my Enameling class really pushes me forward in that area. Right now I’m making small things, mostly to benefit New Paltz Habitat for Humanity. We’re fundraising for a trip down to New Orleans to rebuild over our spring break. It’s challenging and frustrating and exciting all at once!

I’m reading:
Take a Thief by Mercedes Lackey for the YA Challenge
Shame of the Nation by Jonathan Kozol for Sociological and Philosophical Foundations of Education
This Land Was Theirs by Wendell H. Oswalt for Indians of North America
The History and Tradition of Jazz by Thomas Larson for History of Jazz
The Art of Enameling by Linda Darty for Enameling

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Book: The Worthing Saga by Orson Scott Card
Pages: AudioBookEntertainment Rating: 2/5
Snooty Rating: 2.5/5
Total Rating: 4.5/10
Books Read Total: 7/50
Pages Read Total: 1630/15,000

This book was hell. So violent, dark, angry and depressing. Somehow I couldn’t stop listening, despite the anxiety it caused me. I think had I been reading it myself I would have put it down a long time ago, but having paid for it and spent the time downloading it I felt like I had to hear it out. The storytelling is pretty good, not as wonderful as Ender’s Game, but it’s fairly well done. I just wish it wasn’t so unbearably oppressive. There’s a bit at the end from the author about how the book came about, and how it’s a collection of stories he wrote when he was first beginning. It’s a very angsty, fire and brimstone collection.

I really don’t recommend this one at all.

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