Dy's Take

December 15, 2011

Gregor and the Code of Claw by Suzanne Collins

Filed under: audiobook,J-related,Kids,Urban Fantasy,YA — Dy @ 20:54

(97) Underland Chronicles, book 5

Can I just take a second here to plug OverDrive and their integration with library systems to lend electronic books (audio or mobile reader)? This service is FANTASTIC! Instead of reserving the book, waiting for it to show up at my branch, then having to remember to drop it off and pick it up, I pulled it up on the catalog, and was listening in minutes 🙂 Fabulous for the impatient reader in the middle of a series (like, oh, me!).

One caveat — I spent hours trying to find a way to get the WMA audio converted and on my iPhone, since the website said I should be able to do it. Never got it to work and ended up listening to the whole book on my computer, so watch your audio formats when you DL.

Now, on to the book!

Very dark, lots of adult themes here. By adult I mean musings on equality, war and its function in the world, peace and means to achieve it, deep thoughts on the nature of being human and society. I’m not sure how many of these currents were caught by my then 9yo when she read the book, but it resonated with me.

Well-written, thought provoking, and a tidy wrap-up that doesn’t really leave you longing for more. I’d like to know how things went on with Gregor and co — both Over- and Under-land, but the book ended nicely without me begging to know more or feeling unsatisfied. Like book four this one cannot really stand on its own — you need to know the whole backstory of the series for this book to really make sense.

5/5 — read it, y’all! (and get a copy of the series for the reluctant reader, 4th – 6th grade, in your life)

 

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December 12, 2011

Gregor and the Marks of Secret by Suzanne Collins

Filed under: audiobook,J-related,Kids,Urban Fantasy,YA — Dy @ 19:41

(96) Underland Chronicles, book 4

So, so, so good.

The series starts to really grow up in this one, a lot darker (though the whole series is a bit dark) in preparation for the big finale in book 5. My only issue with this is that it leaves the reader hanging. Of all the books in the series, this one cannot stand alone — you have to read book 5 to make it all make sense.

December 6, 2011

Gregor and the Curse of the Warmbloods by Suzanne Collins

(91) Underland Chronicles, book 3

November 30, 2011

Gregor and the Prophecy of Bane by Suzanne Collins

Filed under: audiobook,J-related,Kids,Series I Like,Urban Fantasy — Dy @ 19:19

(89) Gregor the Overlander, book 2

Had this on audio from the library, but it is apparently well-loved. To the point that the cds all skipped. Badly. Got through 3.5 of 6 cds and got frustrated and loaded my daughter’s copy up onto my Kindle and finished the book that way. And I have to say…

WOW. I totally did not see that coming. The twist near the end of this book totally surprised me — something that doesn’t happen too often, and even less so in kids’ books. Adventure, excitement, and some sneakily wrapped in morality lessons — all in all a great, fun series especially good for reluctant readers — mostly boys, but great for adventure-loving girls, too.

November 25, 2011

Gregor the Overlander by Suzanne Collins

(87) Gregor the Overlander, book 1

I really enjoyed the Hunger Games trilogy by Collins, and my then-fourth grader loved the Gregor series. At the time, when she told me a little about the books, I thought,”4-foot cockroaches?! Oh no. Definitely not my thing!”

I’ve spent the last year buying a variety of books to encourage her to read — she’s very, very good at it, but bored and would rather play video games most of the time — and most of them were flops. I’ve given up trying things I enjoyed at her age. My daughter’s taste in reading material is so wildly different from my own that everything I loved has flopped. Time for drastic measures: If she doesn’t like what I loved, I need to learn more about what she ~does~ enjoy.

Well, that and I was desperate for something to listen to in the car while doing my holiday driving and I serendipitously passed this on the cart on my way out of the library a week and a half ago. 🙂

I was pleasantly surprised by how much I enjoyed this book. Some of the high tension moments were lost on me, since I knew who survived based on having bought the remainder of the series for the girl.  I still think cockroaches need to die loooong before they get in my house, but I appreciate the sentiment Collins invoked.

The reader on this was fantastic. I picked up the next 3 books in the series on audio from the library and I’m happy to report Paul Boehmer reads those, too.  Having a consistent narrator across the audio editions of a series makes a huge difference, IMHO. For someone listening to the whole series it enhances things to have a single consistent voice.

A fun, and exciting read for the 8-12 crowd, though the younger ones will enjoy it most.

September 30, 2011

The Graveyard Book by Neil Gaiman

Filed under: Favorite Authors,J-related,Kids,Mystery,Paranormal,YA — Dy @ 19:52

(76)

March 26, 2011

Eragon by Christopher Paolini

Filed under: audiobook,Fantasy,J-related,YA — Dy @ 21:05

(26) Inheritance, book 1

This was a re-read/listen for me because the almost-ten-year-0ld girl wanted to hear it. I read Eragon a few years ago and found it okay. Despite the author’s comments thanking his editors (I read the big name version, not his self-pubbed one) I thought it needed a heavier hand. Still do, but the story interested me more the second time around. We both got impatient toward the end and she picked up a paper copy to finish it because the audio was too slow. When she started Eldest I decided to re-read the ending myself.

It was okay, better than I remembered, but no Middle Earth or Recluce or Andor.

Now we’re both reading book two, each with our own copy (I lurve you Kindle!) which I love… Apparently the slight competition is keeping her motivated to get past a relatively slow beginning.  Me? It’s one of seven books I’m reading right now — I’ll read just enough that she’ll have to catch up and move ahead of me every other day or so. (I’m an evil genius mommmy!)

September 25, 2009

I need help.

need help

In my defense, a great many of those items (10 or 12) belong to the girl and 6 were CDs.  Still… A little scary trying to keep track of all of them!

September 22, 2009

Wonder Woman: Bitter Rivals by Greg Rucka

Filed under: graphic novel,J-related — Dy @ 23:49

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I keep this my (mostly) book blog and a personal blog. Sometimes I forget what I’ve mentioned where. My 8yo is a bit of a reluctant reader. She’s a fantastic reader, literally off the chart the elementary school uses to measure their reading, but a largely disinterested one. We have a heckuva time finding things that catch and keep her attention long enough for her to finish a whole book.

2 weeks ago she spent 4+ hours in her room reading all the way through Jodi Picoult’s “Wonder Woman: Love and Murder“. I read it last year and was comfortable letting her read it. When she ran into a word or even a concept that didn’t make sense she came and asked me to explain and we talked about it.

Naturally, the first thing I did was hop on the library website and reserve every Wonder Woman graphic novel I could find in the catalog (except George Perez’ — I tried to read it last year and was so disappointed in the artwork and the script that I abandoned it).

“Bitter Rivals” was one of three I picked up today, and, it appears, they are sequential books in a large story arc. That J-girl won’t get to read. Yes, I let her read comics where people have physical fights (we both dug “The Hiketeia“) and we discuss the unreality of it and how it’s not okay to treat real people that way, etc.

The story itself is one we could discuss, but… There’s a multi-page torture/rival exposition scene  that ends in death—followed by a sex scene. I’m reading the rest of the story arc, but she can’t. It’s a shame, really, since, currently, the only thing she will sit down and read through is comics (way to go reaching reluctant readers!) but this one was just too far over the line. I made Raidman read it, too, to make sure I wasn’t being overprotective and he agreed with me.

It IS an awesome story arc, though, and I am looking forward to finishing it.

June 3, 2009

The Spiderwick Chronicles, Vol 1-5 by Tony DiTerlizzi and Holly Black

Filed under: audiobook,J-related,YA — Dy @ 18:16

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J & I listened to this over a few weeks. We enjoyed them, though not all of it was a surprise since she saw the movie version last year with her Dad.

For me, had I read these individually they would have annoyed the hell out of me.  These were not five books — it was one ong manuscript teased apart into five shorter books so that the length would appeal to the target audience’s age. Well, maybe not, but that was how they read.

Plotting was good, characters were nice, and Mark Hamill’s reading was pretty good.  We had a little trouble distinguishing a few of the characters (they sounded the same) but there were a lot of characters in these books, too, so it’s understandable.

Not bad, all in all, but glad I didn’t buy it.

Story: 7/10

Reading: 6/10

May 2, 2009

The Song of the Wanderer by Bruce Coville

Filed under: Fantasy,J-related,Kids,YA — Dy @ 19:43

( 35 ) The Unicorn Chronicles, book 2

Another 2nd in a trilogy that surpassed the first.  I think this is common with kids/J Fic series. Since the first book has to set it all up, the series tend not to get really good til the 2nd one.

Read this one because J is reading it, but I had to finish mine and return it to the library.  She is still slogging through her copy and its killing me ’cause I ~totally~ want to get her take on a the multiple twists/revelations at the end.

Grrr… Read faster me girl!

April 28, 2009

Emily Windsnap and the Monster from the Deep by Liz Kessler

Filed under: audiobook,Fantasy,J-related,Kids — Dy @ 18:37

( 34 ) Emily Windsnap, book 2

I liked this one ~better~ than the first book in this series.  Maybe because the author had already dispensed with all the half-mermaid explanations in the first book, but this one, to me, seemed to speak more to a kid audience.  The first dealt with bias and prejudice, but predominantly in adults (racial metaphor masked as fantasy).  This one dealt with the difficulties of socializing as a tween, and it did it from BOTH sides of a bullying relationship, making the bully far easier to understand.

J liked it; she even agreed to empty the dishwasher if I would bring it in from the car so she could listen while she did her chores.  Mama FTW!

April 25, 2009

The Blue Djinn of Babylon by PB Kerr

Filed under: audiobook,Fantasy,J-related,Kids,YA — Dy @ 12:27

( 33 ) Children of the Lamp, book 2

Listened to this one with J in the car.  I knew we had a few long drives in April and, oddly enough, the DVD player on her lap no longer holds her attention, but she will sit still and quiet to listen to a book far longer than I would have ever thought.

I like sharing audiobooks with her because it gives me a chance to pause it and discuss ideas or concepts that the book presents in an immediate and vital way. It also allows her the chance to ask questions as soon as they pop into her head.  She’ll ask me to pause the book so she can ask about it.  It’s usually a vocabulary question, but I say give it time…

The con is that now when she wants to read a book she asks me to find the audio at the library.  For example, we read the first book of the Emily Windsnap trilogy and are listening to the second. She has already asked me to find the 3rd on audio rather than just reading the paperback copy we already own.

I vaguely remember a love affair with books on tape when I was around her age or a little older, and I’m hoping this is just a phase. Either way, if it gets a story in her, and gives us a chance to talk about it, I’ll go with it.

Does sharing an audiobook count as reading aloud to my kid, though?

February 13, 2009

Into the Land of the Unicorns by Bruce Coville

Filed under: Fantasy,J-related,YA — Dy @ 15:35

( 15 ) The Unicorn Chronicles, book 1

J picked this one out last summer when she got a free book from B&N for reading a certain amount of books over the break and is just now reading it.  I’m not familiar with the series or the author, so I decided to check it out.

As a mom, it’s pretty harmless, but has some dark concepts.  For moms of the under 10 crowd (J is 7 going on 30) you might want to read along and keep an eye on where they are in the book so you can discuss some of these ideas as they come up.

J has made it through the fluffy bits and is hitting the meatier parts now. I can tell because while she has not wanted to talk to me about them, or asked any questions, I have caught her acting out some of the emotionally wrenching stuff with her stuffed animals.  I think voicing all the parts helps her understand all the perspectives better. She’ll talk when she’s ready 🙂

The ending is bloodless, though dramatic, and the only real violence occurs before the story starts in the distant past.

As a reader who likes to read YA (and Not the Momma) this was a little thin, a lot of setup for a fast, pat ending.  The whole book felt more like an extended prelude to the next book in the series, which is exactly twice as long (from 176pgs to 352).

She got the 2nd one for Christmas, so I’ll probably read it too, so if she decided to playact more I’ll knwo what she’s doing.

April 29, 2007

The Wonderful Wizard of Oz by L. Frank Baum

Filed under: J-related,Kids — Dy @ 17:04

I re-read this for the first time in 20+ years by reading it to my daughter.

I’d forgotten how superior the book is compared to the movie.

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