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)



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


January 2, 2011

East by Edith Pattou

Filed under: Book Club,Kids,YA — Dy @ 02:40

(1) (woot! first book of 2011!)

I host our book club meeting every January. It’s my motivation to take my Christmas tree down in a timely manner 😉 That means this was my book.

I ~love~ East of the Sun, West of the Moon — the version I read in Lang’s Blue Fairy Book when I was around the age my daughter is now, maybe a little younger, so I picked this up at B&N a couple years ago. This year I inflicted it on my book club.

I wanted to like it. Really, I did. But it just felt flat. There was way too much backstory and the retelling of the fairy tale felt hurried. It’s apparently an award winner and part of the curriculum for some middle schools… Me? I was kind of happy to see it go when I mailed it off for Paperback Swap.

If you love the fairy tale you might want to try it. Me? I want to hunt down some of the other retellings of this story I saw when I plugged the title in on Amazon.


October 27, 2009

Teaser Tuesday: Magic by the Book by Nina Bernstein

Filed under: Kids,Teaser Tuesdays — Dy @ 07:09


Teaser Tuesdays is a weekly bookish meme, hosted by MizB of Should Be Reading.

Anyone can play along! Just do the following:

Grab your current read, open to a random page, share two (2) “teaser” sentences from somewhere on that page and BE CAREFUL NOT TO INCLUDE SPOILERS! (make sure that what you share doesn’t give too much away! You don’t want to ruin the book for others!) then share the title & author so that other TT participants can add the book to their TBR Lists if they like your teasers!

My Tease?

When Will answered, his voice sounded thin and lost echoing out over the stony vastness.

“How will I know what to bring back?” he asked, as he had many times already that day.


“Face your foes, Will, and the rest will follow…”.

p. 112, Magic by the Book by Nina Bernstein

October 3, 2009

The High King by Lloyd Alexander

Filed under: Kids,Series I Like — Dy @ 12:02

( 84)     The Chronicles of Prydain, book 5

A neat ending, and a decent (for a change) explanation for why there is no longer any magic in the world. Definitely want to encourage the girl to read this series in a year or two.

October 1, 2009

Taran Wanderer by Lloyd Alexander

Filed under: Kids,Series I Like — Dy @ 21:40

( 82 ) The Chronicles of Prydain, book 4

To me, this felt forced. Like something was needed to show Taran growing up a bit more before the final battle in book five—filler. Or maybe that’s just because I’m no longer the target audience for this series. It irked me that the boy could do no wrong. He may not have done things RIGHT the first time, but he is just so darned noble and righteous, but for one brief scene that is so out of character it, too, feels forced. Like someone told the author to throw something in to make him a little less of a goody-two-shoes.

Still a quick read, and had to get through it to get to the last book.

September 30, 2009

The Castle of Llyr by Lloyd Alexander

Filed under: Kids,Series I Like — Dy @ 11:23

( 80 ) The Chronicles of Prydain, book 3

For a book claiming to be about the growing up of Eilonwy, she wasn’t in it nearly enough and when she was she played the uncharacteristic role of damsel in distress. Love Llyan, but overall this is my least favorite of the series.

September 27, 2009

The Black Cauldron by Lloyd Alexander

Filed under: Fantasy,Kids,Series I Love — Dy @ 23:41

( 78 ) The Chronicles of Prydain, book 2

Darker than the last one, and harder.  Deals, gently, with the idea of noble sacrifice, both of items and lives. Still good after all these years.

September 26, 2009

The Book of Three by Lloyd Alexander

Filed under: Kids,Movie Books,Series I Love — Dy @ 23:57

( 77 )  The Chronicles of Prydain, book 1

I read this series back in 8th grade and loved it. I was looking for the rest of Isabel Allende’s children’s series when I noticed that the library had all five Prydain books on the shelf. Now they’re on my shelf 🙂

I enjoyed this just as much as I did when I was in junior high. More, probably, since I have a finer appreciation of Eilonwy’s odd speech habits (something I doubt I noticed the first time around) and a mom’s appreciation of how clean and decent an adventure it is. It is a big adventure, but told in a slender volume and with almost of the violence taking place “off camera*”.

With luck, once J is finally ready to start digging into books with no pictures I’ll introduce her to the series. Even though I am trying not to inflict my reading preferences on her. Or cringe too much when she asks me if there is a new Fashion Kitty book out yet :-S

*Do you know what the literary equivalent of this term would be? We know there was a battle and fighting, and a tortured prince and whatnot, but it’s not described in detail in the course of the narrative.  If you know a better, bookish way to express this sentiment, please leave a comment and let me know.  Thanks!

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!

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