Tuesday, July 23, 2013

Daniel X Series #1: The Dangerous Days of Daniel X by James Patterson

The Dangerous Days of Daniel X (Daniel X, #1)This book is the first in the series, and I gave it a rating of four out of five. Daniel's parents are killed when he is three years old, and he takes up their quest to be Alien Hunters. He's now fifteen, and he has developed a power to be creative. He can alter the molecular structure of objects of anything to create, well, anything. He even creates friends and his parents when he needs them. Daniel sets out to eliminate all of the aliens on The List, a list of all the worst and most dangerous alien creatures on Earth. He sets his sights on number six, but he may have bitten off more than he can chew. He ignores the warnings of his "friends" and "parents", and he heads to Los Angles to face the beast. He soon discovers that his creative powers may not be enough to stop this killing machine.

The plot was interesting, but Daniel's powers took some getting used to. He literally created whatever he needed, whenever he needed it, which was hard to believe, even in a fantasy book. I finally got over his powers, and the plot became more suspenseful. His journey to defeat the alien creature took him off Earth and led to the story's climax.

Sunday, July 21, 2013

The Lorien Legacies #3: The Rise of Nine by Pittacus Lore

The Rise of Nine (Lorien Legacies, #3)This book is the third in the series, and I gave it a rating of four out of five. You need to read the previous books in the series first. Use the SEARCH box in the top left corner of my blog to find the prior two books. Number Four and Number Nine discover that the U.S. government is now working with the Mogadorians. Apparently, they don't realize the Mogs plan to kill all humans on Earth. Numbers Six, Seven, and Ten are traveling to India to find Number Eight. The hope is that the remaining Lorien gardes will be able to defeat Setrakus Ra, leader of the Mogs, if they can work together. John and Nine are captured by the FBI, but they escape and hide out in Chicago. Marian, Emma, and Six are attacked by soldiers  in India but manage to find Eight. They hide out in a mountain cave but are attacked by an army of Mogs. How will the gardes find a way to join forces, and will they all survive, in order to defeat the enemy?

There's a lot of fighting in the plot, but the character's personalities are a big part of it too. All of the gardes are learning to use their legacies, their special powers, and this fact makes them vulnerable. Nine is very confident in his abilities, but he's not ready to fight Setrakus Ra on his own. My main issue with the plot is the constant changing of point of view. The plot is told by Four, Six, and Seven. It requires readers to constantly change their thinking in order to understand who is speaking, what's going on, and how the characters' thoughts differ. It's not necessarily difficult, but it's distracting.

Tuesday, July 16, 2013

The Mouse With the Question Mark Tail by Richard Peck

The Mouse with the Question Mark TailThis book is not like other Peck books, but I gave it a rating of four out of five. The main character, a mouse, does not know anything about his past, not even his name. His "aunt" is the best seamstress around, and she seems to know something about him. Minor Mouse, as he's come to be called at school, ends up running away and hopes to uncover the secret of his life. He has some encounters with a cat, a horse, and some bats, but he ends up getting bounced from place to place. He hopes to speak with the human royal queen, because he thinks she knows everything. He later uncovers secrets he never dreamed of.

The plot is told first-person, and it's an amusing tale. It's funny how all of the different characters have similar messages for him but how easily he fits in. I enjoyed this story by Richard Peck, but I kept thinking how differently it was written as compared to A Long Way From Chicago, although the term "stir your stumps" was used again.

Monday, July 15, 2013

The Ear, the Eye, and the Arm by Nancy Farmer

The Ear, the Eye, and the ArmThis book is on the new Battle of the Books list, and I gave it a rating of four out of five. Tendai, Rita, and Kuda live in Zimbabwe, in the year 2194. Their father is a powerful man, and he is overly protective, never letting them leave the estate. The children decide to sneak out for an adventure, but things quickly go wrong. They're captured by kidnappers, sold as slaves to the She Elephant, and later escape, only to be stuck in Resthaven, a primitive world with little technology. The children ping pong across the city and may never make it home.

The title refers to three detectives searching for the kids. The names refer to their senses with special powers. At one point, Arm was holding a baby and behaved strangely, because his sense of touch and emotions were bonded with it. The plot isn't especially gripping, so some readers may want more action. I think the main issue I had with the book was that I couldn't get a grip on the tone. It seemed like it was going to be a serious adventure, but then there were amusing descriptions and dialogue thrown in. The tones didn't work together for me. The climax did not include the humor, so it was better than the rest of the book.

Friday, July 12, 2013

The Hero's Guide to Saving a Kingdom #1 by Christopher Healy

The Hero's Guide to Saving Your Kingdom (The League of Princes, #1)This book is the first in a series, and I gave it a rating of three out of five. The plot follows four Prince Charmings from four different fairy tales: Cinderella, Snow White, Sleeping Beauty, and Rapunzel. The stories do end happily ever after. For various reasons, the four couples split up, and the four Prince Charmings come together in the wilderness. To begin with, the plan is to rescue Ella from Rapunzel's tower, but the singing bards have been captured by an evil witch. How are the citizens supposed to get the news? The princes have adventures with creatures and bad guys, while the princesses have a few adventures of their own.

The plot is a combination of the four different stories and characters, and the princes each have quirky personalities. The villains are also a little silly, so the plot includes some strange twists. Although some of the parts are amusing, I got tired of the silliness after a while. I can appreciate silliness, but it was a little too much for me.

Thursday, July 4, 2013

The Troubletwisters #3: The Mystery by Garth Nix and Sean Williams

The Mystery  (Troubletwisters, #3)This book is the third in the series, with a 2013 copyright, and I gave it a rating of four out of five. Grandma X is in the hospital, because someone tried to kill her by running her car off the road. Also, a well-known citizen of Portland dies mysteriously, and there is a great deal of interest in his castle. The father of Jaide and Jack tells them that they must find a golden card hidden there to help the Wardens fight off The Evil. He's behaving strangely, and he insists that the twins must get the card immediately. A pet macaw, the only witness to the citizen's mysterious death, blurts out strange words and phrases, and it freaks out when it sees a picture of the twins' father. Is their father being controlled by The Evil? The twins are once again left on their own to make sense of the confusion and save the world.

Although I've given all three books the same rating, I enjoyed this one the most. The mystery was more obvious in this book, and there were many clues shared to help in solving it. The adventure was complicated, because readers are told that one of the characters, someone seemingly innocent, is actually evil. This fact kept the twins and me wondering who to trust. The plot built up to an exciting climax and left me wondering, and looking forward to, the fourth book.

Monday, July 1, 2013

Troubletwisters #2: The Monster by Garth Nix and Sean Williams

The Monster (Troubletwisters, #2)This book is the second in the series, and I gave it a rating of four out of five. It's been a couple of weeks since the end of the previous book, and Jaide and Jack are trying to master their Gifts. However, they are called troubletwisters, because their magical powers often cause bad things to occur. In addition, people in Portland have reported seeing a huge beast, but no one is sure if it actually exists. A new girl moves to town, and her father is developing the property next to Grandma X. The Jaide and Jack have some suspicions about her father. The kids think that The Evil has managed to return, possibly through the new girl's father, but Grandma X tries to assure them that it's not possible. Jaide and Jack discover that their fears are real, and another Ward may be in danger of falling. If that happens, The Evil will be able to enter our world and control the minds of all living things.

This plot is similar to the previous book, and the kids' powers manage to mess things up. They also have trouble following Grandma's orders, so that complicates matters. Kleo, the cat, is having a huge conflict with another cat, and a showdown to see who will control all of the cats in Portland is imminent. If you liked the first book, you'll probably like this one too.