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Joanne12

Joanne12

The Most Evil Men and Women in History

The Most Evil Men and Women in History - Miranda Twiss This book is full of sadistic, psychotic killers, most of whom were unfortunately leaders of a country or some how important in society. There are 16 truly evil people in this book. Many of them are depraved, sick sociopaths whose number of killings reach the thousands and even millions. While reading about their evil deeds and their insane thoughts, I was thoroughly disgusted. Many of the leader of the countries had political ideas that were so stupid I couldn't believe that people actually followed them. Its hard to believe that psychos like these people existed and unfortunately still exist today. While the people disgusted me, I still liked the book. After all, even the author writes in her introduction, that evil is fascinating.

People in this book are
1. Caligula~ "The Schizophrenic Emperor"
2. Nero ~"Fifth Emperor of Rome"
3. Attila the Hun~ "The Storm from the East"
4. King John~ "A callous, Cold Hearted Monarch"
5. Torquemada~ "The Spanish Inquisitor"
6. Prince Vlad Dracula~ "The Impaler"
7. Francisco Pizzaro~ "Conqueror of the Incas"
8. Bloody Mary 1~ "A Catholic Queen in a Protestant Country"
9. Ivan IV, The Terrible~ "Tsar of all Russias
10. Elizabeth, Countess Bathory~ "Countess Dracula"
11. Rasputin~ "The Mad Monk who brought down a Dynasty"
12. Josef Stalin~ "A Twentieth Century Tyrant"
13. Adolf Hitler~ "The Father of the Final Solution"
14. Ilse Kock~ "The Bitch of Buchenwald"
15. Pol Pot~ "Architect of Genocide"
16. Idi Amin~ "The Butcher of East Africa"

This review is also posted on The Book Owl Extraordinaire

Incantation

Incantation - Alice Hoffman Incantation is a quick read about the Spanish Inquisition in Spain.

I enjoy and dislike reading books like this. I enjoy the history that is told in the book, the characters and how they overcome such horrible times. I dislike the evil of the people in charge. When I read about how they tortured and killed the Jews I want to jump into the book and kill all of the soldiers, judges and leaders. The cruel ways they killed people appalled me and its unthinkable that these things actually happened hundreds of years ago. These methods of torture and killing were not something the author invented. These things really happened and the author researched about them, finding them factual. Its really sick to think that evil people like this existed and still exist today.

The books basic plot line is that Estrella is living in Spain during the reign of Ferdinand and Isabella. The Spanish Inquisition then comes into her small town. This is not really a spoiler because it is so obvious from the get go~ Estrella is secretly a Jew but she has no idea because her family hid that fact from her. Over the course of the book she realizes that her family is Jewish and she goes to her grandmother to confirm it. Once she finds out about her family, the true horror begins. Before Estrella was just witnessing the Inquisition happen to other people. That changes now because her family is thrust in the middle of it. And what ensues is horrible, heartbreaking and hopeful.

I like Estrella. She is a good person and an all around nice person. She is best friends with Catalina and falls in love with Andres. She is brave and a survivor. When she loses everything she remains hopeful. She takes her hardships and survives them. She is very intelligent and quick thinking.

Catalina is a true bitch. She is supremely jealous of Estrella and her good looks. She throws away their friendship over nothing. She turns on Estrella in the blink of an eye. All because of jealousy. I wanted to throttle her and I would of loved to see her die for her actions.

There is a bit of romance that happens but it is in no way the focal point of the book. The main focus of the book is Estrella and her family, with their hardships. I thoroughly enjoyed the book.

This review is also posted on The Book Owl Extraordinaire

Unpretty: An Unloved Ones Prequel

Unpretty: An Unloved Ones Prequel - Kevin Richey This was a good short story which introduces one of the characters that will be featured in the Unloved Ones books.

In this prequel we meet Katherine, aka: Kathy, who is unhappy with herself and her body. She is extremely overweight, at around 270 pounds in the first chapter. Katherine makes a birthday wish that she can become thin and he wish comes true...along with other things that happen to her. And being thin is not all its cracked up to be.

I like Katherine. I feel bad for her because she is so unhappy about her weight. Just her whole outlook on life it so sad. As she becomes thin she is still herself, the outside of her changes but her personality doesn't. When she becomes thin, she does want to show off her new body. I don't blame her for that because who wouldn't want to show off if you'd been fat your whole life? Katherine also finds out things about her past and her mother's past but she takes it in stride.

The ending was a cliffhanger and so far, just based on this prequel alone, I can't wait for the actual series.

This review is also posted on The Book Owl Extraordinaire

The Wicked Within (Darkness Becomes Her)

The Wicked Within - Kelly Keaton This was a great conclusion to a trilogy. While there were some things I didn't like, overall it was a good read.

The story picks off where book 2 left off. Sebastian is a vampire now, Violet is back, Ari still kicks ass and Athena is injured but still alive. This book is told in 2 povs: Ari's and Sebastian's. Basically this book is about finding the Hands of Zeus which was turned into stone along with Athena's child. Athena offers to life Ari's curse if Ari can bring her the Hands and turn her baby back from stone. A new god is introduced as well and kick ass.

There is a new character in the book, The River Witch who is very suspicious about his allegiances. He gives Ari a cryptic message about "both gods coming", but she only knows about Athena. The river witch creeped the hell outta me but he is very powerful and helps out in the final battle.

Sebastian is being very secretive with Ari and is having a hard time dealing with his new cravings for blood. He hates feeding because of the frenzy it puts him in and we see him dealing with his new powers during his POV. He has become very powerful.

Ari has to deal with Sebastian being secretive and she hates it. She has to find the Hands of Zeus and still has to break her curse. Adding to that, her father is back in her life and she takes time out to get to know him. They form a bond and promise to be there for each other and to back each other in the fight against Athena. It was very touching and I liked how her father fit right into her life and the story line without it being awkward. Needless to say Ari has her plate full.

I really liked how the god are in the story and they are not restricted to Greek gods. In the final battle we see gods, demigods, vampires, witches, shifters and all kinds of mythological creatures battling. The ending was action packed and it kept me on the edge of my seat. I was afraid of who would be killed and the suspense killed me. It was a great bloody battle, of which I am a fan of.

There were a few things that bothered me but it wasn't like they ruined the story for me. One is that Athena is defeated by Ari so easily its not realistic. Athena has been the bane of Ari's existence, all powerful and beat the shit out of Ari. She won almost every battle and hurt a lot of the characters in the book. Hell she killed almost all of the Olympian gods. And Ari defeats her in under a minute? I don't think so. It was so anti-climatic. I hated Athena in the previous books but you soften to her near the end because she had gone through so much and she lost her baby, which is terrible. It doesn't excuse what she had done for her entire existence but you do feel sorry for her, at least a little. I also didn't like how nice and neat everything ended. It was unrealistic. Everything was tied up in a nice little bow. Everyone forgives everyone and its all peachy keen. Like I said it wasn't a bad ending. I'm glad some characters got what they wanted and deserved but it was unrealistic to me.

Other than that, a great read.

Projection

Projection - Risa Green I like this book and it was a quick read.

The story alternates between ancient Rome, 2 years ago from the present day and the present day. There are 4 main characters. Amphiclea who is in ancient Rome; Gretchen in the 2 years ago from present day and Ariel and Jessica in the present day. However Gretchen, Jessica and Ariel are in all chapters that don't have to do with Ancient Rome and the povs change usually after an Ancient Rome chapter. With these three Gretchen and Jessica are best friends and Ariel is an outsider at first but years later becomes their friends.

The basic plot of the story is a murder mystery. Grtechen's mom is the head of the Oculus society which is basically a status society that wealthy people are in. Underneath that facade, a few members and I'm talking like 6 total know the real reason that the society exists. Its to protect what they call the Plotinus ability. Gretchen's mother is murdered in her own home during Gretchen's 8th graduation party. Both Jessica and Gretchen are part of the Oculus society but after Gretchen's mother died, Jessica was told the real reason why they exist and she told Gretchen. Basically the Plotinus ability is "given" or allowed to be performed by one member and it was supposed to go to Gretchen. But after the murder and Gretchen's depression, they decided to give it to Jessica. Gretchen and Jessica decide to try to use the ability in secret to find out who killed Gretchen's mother. Gretchen thinks its Ariel, her fellow classmate. In this part of the story Ariel is an outsider that no one likes. To get back at Gretchen and Jessica who are mean to her she videotapes the two performing the ritual which to an observer looks like the two girls are kissing. Ariel then puts the video on youtube and it goes viral. Jessica and Gretchen disappear and somehow Ariel become the most popular girl in High school. Fast forward 2 years where Gretchen and Jessica return to Delphi (they're hometown) and they recruit Ariel to help them find Gretchen's mom's killer, which is the second half of the book. The Ancient Rome chapters, which are in Amphiclea's pov, basically give the history of the Plotinus ability and tells about what happened with Plotinus.

I found that I enjoyed the Ancient Rome chapters the best. I liked the story in general but those chapters were the best ones. They're full of roman culture and how people lived back then. The murder mystery is good and I was stumped at who did it about halfway to the book. Then I figured out who was the murderer and it was interesting to see how the characters came to the same conclusion as I did only they did it A LOT later on in the book.

I really didn't like Gretchen at all. She just rubbed me the wrong way. She was one of those stuck up girls that I always avoided in school because if they started with me I'd end up being suspended for punching them in the face. Gretchen thinks she all that and more and that she's perfect. She is even bitchy, on the inside anyway, towards her best friend Jessica. When a guys she likes flirted with Jessica she had nasty thoughts and turned his attention away from Jessica to her. She was really mean to Ariel calling her a loser. Here's a shiny quote from Gretchen's pov about Ariel: "But there was just something off about her. And when everyone found out that her mom was a lunch lady...well, after that it was full blown banishment". Wow really? Not being friends with some one because of their mom's job? WTF cares? Another thing that bothered me about her and showed me she was "That kind" of character was on the very first page of her pov she constantly kept fixing her grad hat because "It was messing up her blow out". Just...wow. The stupidity. I was not that dumb and into myself at 13 (their age in the "2 years before the present chapters"). I just really didn't like Gretchen or care enough about her that her mom was murdered. Yes it was terrible but I just found myself not caring at all about finding out who did it or about her emotions about the whole thing. She believed that Ariel was her mom's murderer which is ridiculous because Ariel was a 13 year old girl at the time. Shen sent threatening messages to her and harassed her. She was also "Its all about me" after the murder, thinking nasty thoughts about Jessica because she wasn't there all the time. She was just a bitch.

I didn't really like Ariel either. She was annoying. When we first meet her she is calling out rude comments during her graduation ceremony at Gretchen's mom when she was presenting/speeching (lol I made up a word!) about the Oculus society. She was massively annoying. It's like when your sitting at a movie or a concert or a game and the person behind you is yelling things that are stupid and you just want to turn around and deck them. That's how I felt about Ariel. I wanted to punch her. The she did a nasty thing and posted a video of Jessica and Gretchen kissing. Fast forward 2 years and Ariel is popular but still unhappy. She whines so much about how she regrets posting the video, how she never meant for both girls to go away, how she can't eat and how she sees her school counselor about her guilt. It was all poor me. Please. Man up and grow a pair. She did something nasty now she has to deal with the consequences. I had no sympathy for her whatsoever. She genuinely is sorry for what she did but to me its too little too late.

I really liked Jessica. She was bubbly, funny but serious when she wanted to be. She was mean to Ariel as well but she just ignored her, not be outright mean. She is a loyal friend who was there for Gretchen through the whole murder and its aftermath. She included Gretchen in the Plotinus ability although she wasn't supposed to. She was willing to use the ability, secretly, to help her friend find the murderer. When the video Ariel posted went out, she left to go with Gretchen and helped her plan how to find out her mother's murderer. Jessica didn't have an easy life either. Both her parent died in a car crash and she was living with her bitchy aunt Michelle and cool step-uncle Rob, who was more like a kid than a parent figure.

I also liked Amphiclea. She was very loyal to her friend Gemina who was the first woman to practice the Plotinus ability with Plotinus. Amphiclea worried for her friend and worried that she was making a mistake in performing the ability. She helped Gemina in any way she could.

There was really no romance in the book. Sure Ariel had a boyfriend Nick and Jessica had a boyfriend also but there was no focus on that at all. It was all about the ability and finding the murderer. Which I have to say is refreshing to read. Its seems like I can't pick up a book without there being some kind of romance and I'm glad to have a break from that.

The Rose Bride: A Retelling of "The White Bride and the Black Bride" (Once Upon a Time)

The Rose Bride: A Retelling of "The White Bride and the Black Bride" - Nancy Holder, Mahlon F. Craft I really liked this book. It was very sweet and moving.

The Rose Bride is a bit of the Cinderella fairy tale, and The Beauty and the Beast fairy tale with magic, sorcery and shape shifting mixed together. The main character is Rose who is the "Cinderella" and the one who is changed into an animal whose spell is broken by love (Beauty and the Beast). Rose has a very evil stepmother Ombrine and stepsister Desiree. There is also King Jean-Marc who lost his first wife and son and who needs to learn to love again. Jean-Marc is basically the beast in "Beauty and the Beast" except he is human and not mean. The story has a lot of action in it as well with an actual battle happening, royal hunts going on and magic. Its really cool how the story moves and changes from one fairy tale to the other. It flows seamlessly and is well written.

Rose is the main character and her life is literally a mess. So many bad things happen to this girl that its a wonder she isn't a total wreck or that she hasn't offed herself. She loses everything and when I say everything, I mean Everything: people, belongings, house, her human form. I feel so bad for her. Her losses start at the age of 13 and just continue to pile up. While she does despair when these tragedies occur she is very strong, resilient and endures. She is put through trials by her patron goddess and is able to learn what she is supposed to learn. After everything that happens this girl still manages to learn to love. She is awesome.

Her step-mother is a cruel b****. I mean she is very evil. She is so mean, nasty and conniving. She was a lady of a wealthy husband who died and since falling into peasantry she is obsessed with wealth and riches and does anything to get it. The very first time we meet her she is telling Rose that she is the reason for her father's death. What kind of person tells a kid they never met something like this. She is very greedy and takes possession of all of Rose's family's things all the while complaining about the items. She is also a sorceress who casts a spell over the King to make him fall for Desiree.

Desiree is a little airhead idiot who follows in her mother's footsteps. She is very mean to Rose for no reason. She has no sympathy for Rose even though she was in Rose's shoes not long ago. She is very insulting Rose's parents which made me want to punch her in the face. All she cared about was riches too. I'd say she was more of a glutton than greedy. She is also involved with sorcery although I don't think she had any of the power and her mother does. I get the feeling that Desiree was just another pawn in her mother's plan. But that didn't give her any reason to be so evil like her mother. Both Desiree and Ombrine had a very fitting end.

King Jean-Marc is generally a nice guy. He just let his grief over his first wife and son consume him. When he married again, he did so not out of love but out of want and need for his first wife. He felt his loss deeply which was an opening for Desiree and Ombrine to exploit. He does eventually learn to love instead of need.

I liked the whole theme of the story which was that love can heal everything and its important to know that you are loved. I really liked the roses, the rose garden and the special purple roses and what their meaning is in the story. I just think that hearing the purple roses say "You are loved" over and over for the rest of my life would drive me a bit crazy.

The only thing I can say that was ehh and confused me was the fact that the people in this story are french or at least speak french but worship Greek gods and goddesses. Zeus was Jean-Marc's patron god. Artemis was Rose's. I enjoyed the mythology and how the gods/goddesses interacted with the characters and I'm glad Artemis was featured heavily in the book because she is my favorite Greek goddess. That being said it was very strange to have french speaking Greek gods worshippers. It didn't mesh well with me.

That aside, I really enjoyed the book and liked it a lot.

This review is also posted on Spantalian's Book Reviews

Etiquette & Espionage (Finishing School)

Etiquette & Espionage - Gail Carriger This book was good but it was better than I expected it to be.

I'm not one for steampunk books. I just don't like all the gadgets and inventions. The descriptions of these things confuse me and its hard to picture the gadgets and inventions in my mind. While the things can do awesome things, I don't like how technical everything is. This genre is just not for me.

However that being said, the book was not just steampunk. It was also a spy book where the girls in the school were being trained in espionage. There was also a bit of paranormal in there with the mix of vampires and werewolves. I was able to deal with the steampunkiness (ha!) of the book so I could continue reading.

The basic synopsis of the story is that Sophronia's mother is fed up with her antics and sends her off to finishing school. However the school that Sophronia is sent to also teaches the girls the fine art of espionage and basically murder as well as how to do these things while still being a lady (its set in the Victorian era). Tied into this plot is that there is some protoype of some kind that is important to the school and no one knows where its hidden. So Sophronia takes it upon herself, along with friends, to find out all the information she can on the prototype and find it.

I really liked Sophronia. She is spunky, brave, daring and hilarious. She is an adventurer and should of been born a boy. When she sets her mind to something there she will achieve it. She is unlike any of the "proper" girls. She loves to climb and explore. Her mind is sharp and she comes up with elaborate plans that she can carry off. She is also able to think on the spot. She uses what she is taught in the finishing school to get away with things she does in the school. She also befriends various people including a sootie named Soap, even though he is way below her station/ranking. I like how Sophronia doesn't care about the color of people's skin, their rank is society or anything else like that. She befriends them as long as they have a good heart and are kind people.

Dimity is Sophronia's best friend and cares very much about being a proper lady. Some of the things that Sophronia does shocks Dimity. But I like how loyal Dimity is to Sophronia. I also like Professor Braithwope. He is a vampire and a gentleman at that. He is very fashionable with a funny mustache. He teaches vampire lore as well as history as some etiquette. I like his accent where he always saying "Whot whot"? I also like Captain Niall who is a werewolf. I liked his lessons on knives and how he gets the girls on to the school. He is also very handsome by his description.

I like the finishing school in general and what the girls are taught. It was awesome to see how fainting can help women spies kill or distract someone. We also get a glimpse of how eggs can be used to poison someone and how the girls can hide weapons in the huge dresses they have to wear.

Sophronia's antics are entertaining to read and the book keeps the reading thinking "Is she gonna get caught? Is she gonna get away with it?". Some of her plans are crazy and its amazing to read how she does everything. Of course things don't always go smoothly for her and she has to think on her feet and come up with ways to make her plans work.

There was no romance in the book but you can see some starting to bud between Sophronia and another character. Maybe there will be one in the next book. Although it may be too soon because Sophronia is only 14. Who knows?

This review is also posted on Spantalian's Book Reviews

Beauty's Daughter: The Story of Hermione and Helen of Troy

Beauty's Daughter: The Story of Hermione and Helen of Troy - Carolyn Meyer I absolutely loved this book!

The book is about Hermione's life, who is the daughter of Helen of Sparta/Troy and King Menelaus. The story takes place in the time of the Trojan war and after it. All the myths of the Trojan war are in this book but they are told in Hermione's pov. We see all the characters from her perspective and how she feels about her mother, who is the cause of all the death of both Greeks and Trojans. The myths of Agamemnon's return from the war and his murder, the myths of his son Orestes, the myths of Pyrrhus and many more are also told in the story again through Hermione's eyes. It all ties to Hermione because these myths are tied to her life.

I loved almost all the characters. Hermione was a wonderful character. Her life was not very easy and there was almost no love for her from her mother Helen. Clearly its not easy being the daughter of the most beautiful women in the world. Hermione has many challenges in her life which she meets with courage, determination and faith. There are plenty of times she could of given up but she didn't. She kept going. She is also very loving with her friends and with the one she loves. She does everything in her power and travels all over Greece to find him. She has many adventures with her friends over the course of the story. She is the kind of character who you want and hope that she gets everything she wants in the end. She is not a mean person or horrible person. She is kind, sweet, gentle and giving. Readers get to see her grow up from when she was introduced in the beginning of the book as a 11 year old girl to her life during her 20's.

I love Orestes. He is such a good guy and hot too. He is an archer in the trojan army and cousin to Hermione, who he grew up with. He is an honorable man who avengers his father's murder and is severely punished for it. I felt bad for him. He was haunted by the furies who drove him mad and messed with his mind. I agree with what he did and at least in my opinion he shouldn't have been punished. In the story we get many different opinions of what should happen to him through the citizens of Mycenae. His ending is happy though and I was glad I had finally read a book with a happy ending.

I really didn't like Pyrrhus. He was a class A jack ass. He is the son of Achilles with greatest Greek warrior. Pyrrhus was not as noble as his father nor was he kind or caring. He was a brute in every sense of the word. He was nasty to Hermione, brutally raped Hector's wife Andromache many times and threw her infant son over the Trojan wall. He was a savage man who led Achilles' men, the Myrmidons, after Achilles had died. I so wanted him to die in the most painful way.

I loved Hermione's friends in the book. Zethus was a Trojan who came to Sparta with Paris when kidnapped Helen. Zethus was left behind in Sparta and found by 11 year old Hermione. From then on he became her friend who helped her in anyway he could. It was amazing how these two kept finding each other over the years. I also liked Astynome, who was Agamemnon's concubine in Troy, who was Hermione's age. Later on she has another friend Ardeste, who was her maid in Phthia and helped her escape. Ardeste was a faithful servent, kind, caring and very brave to help Hermione.

Helen of Sparta was a complete airhead idiot. I hated her and I always have from when I first read the Trojan myths. All this trouble over a girl? In the book Helen was like a dumb blond. All she cared about was herself and her looks. She constantly put Hermione down in the beginning saying she's as flat as a door (umm hello? The girl is only 11). I was floored at how Helen didn't care for her daughter or anyone else for that matter. She was a horrible mother to leave her daughter without a second thought. Helen loved to tell stories about herself and her life when she was younger. She was a completely selfish person. She wasn't smart at all. She caused the war and bloodshed by running away with Paris and she didn't take ANY responsibility for it! She blamed everything on Aphrodite saying that Aphrodite cast a spell on her which made her do what she did. Oh please. What idiot would fall for that? Apparently Menelaus did because he took Helen back, forgave her for EVERYTHING and took her back to Sparta where they both lived until they died (at least in this story). If ANYONE deserved to die horrible in this story is was Helen. I was rooting for her to have a horrible death but alas it was not to be in this story. I like the other myth where she was hung.

I love mythology especially Greek mythology so I jumped at the chance to buy and read this book. It has all of my favorite myths in it but they are told in Meyer's way, adding Hermione to them. Meyer puts her own spin on the tales and often opts to use the versions of the myths that are not well known. This was an exciting twist to the myths and while I was reading the book, I was googling the various myths that I encountered in the story to see what was made up and what wasn't (that's how I know Meyer used different version of the myths). Also I wanted to say that I don't have a problem at all if Meyer had added and changed any myths. I love to read how authors change well known stories to something new. And Meyer did this wonderfully.

I also loved how the gods were involved in this story. We saw the main gods intervene in during the battle but not interact with the characters. Again the gods who interacted with the characters were not the famous and popular gods. Iris, goddess of the rainbow, came to speak with Menelaus. Hermes helped Hermione on her journeys. I liked how the gods interacted but did not take up most of the story or outright order the characters to do things. They guided the characters and let them make their own choices.

All I have to say about the romance is that its tragic and happy. Some much happens to the two lovers and they have to go through so much to be together. But its great how strong their love is to last through all their trials.

I just loved this book!

This review is also posted on Spantalian's Book Reviews

Zom-B Baby (Zom-B, #5)

Zom-B Baby - Darren Shan WOW this book was gooddddd!It was creepy, gory and hilarious.

The book picks up right off where the last one left off. This book has more serious undertones with B questioning about her life, if its worth living, about God and about her staying with Dr. Oystein and believing in his quest. B does a lot of soul searching during this book and thinks abut her situation and the situation of the world. She reflects on things she has done and things her father had done, realizing the wrong that they both did. This has made me like B more and more as the series goes on. I hated her in the first book but I'm getting to like her. You can actually see her character growth as she experiences her undead life.

The last few chapters of the book were freaky and it introduced the weird baby. All I gotta say is its not what it seems. Its not wholly a zombie. But it is wholly freaking and creepy. I gonna have some creepy nightmares tonight.

That's all I can really say about the book. I know this is a short review but I don't want to spoil anything. This book is awesome and everyone should read it and the series :D!

This review is also posted on Spantalian's Book Reviews

eBully

eBully - Dave Conifer This book was ok.

This book is about a girl Carly being bullied through the internet and text messages. Embarrassing pictures of her were also send to cell phones to everyone in her school. Carly became depressed. The Vice principal of the school recruited/hired Scott who is basically lives in a juvie type center and is a kid criminal. Scott is hired to go undercover in Carly's school to catch the bully in exchanged for a clean slate. A few other kids get involved to help Scott.

I think this book is a case of a good idea that was not executed that well. For me the age of the teenagers makes everything a bit unrealistic. Everyone is 13 years old. Its just unrealistic. A vice principal HIRES a juvenile delinquent to go UNDERCOVER in his school to find a bully and no one cares. I mean really? And in exchange the THIRTEEN year old boy gets a FREE CLEAN SLATE that no one seems to know where or why he gets it? It just doesn't make sense. I mean if the teens were older or if an actual I don't know COP was put undercover then it'd make more sense. It just seemed like the deal that was made between the vice principal and Scott was like a deal made with a murderer and the D.A. Oh and not to mention the fact that the vice principle even said that he's not sure what he's doing is legal. So its not legal and an ADMINISTRATOR of a school building with children in it is allowing and hell even seeking this out. Um no. I just think that this is something that should have been considered by the author.

There characters were ok. You don;t really learn too much about them aside from the personalities that show when you just meet people. Scott is the bad boy with a record and is generally a nice guty. Tom is the weird nerdy computer whiz. Lisa is Carly's best friend who is the popular pretty cheerleader type girl. Carly is the all around the nice girl next door type who is getting bullied. Basic school stereotypes. I didn't hate any of the characters but I didn't love any of them either.

The ending was cray though. Not crazy action or anything but crazy as in who was bullying Carly and why. Also the very end is something unexpected. I didn't like how the book ended because you get this unexpected thing and then bam it just ends. I was like really? There is also no sequel to the book so it just ends with lots of questions.

I do appreciate the author writing about such a big thing that is going on in schools which is bullying and this story may be good for kids who are 12 or 13 to learn about bullying.

This review is also posted on Spantalian's Book Reviews

Flu

Flu - Wayne Simmons This book was good. This book is an adult book which is unusual for me to read. I thought it was a y.a but after reading the first chapter, I realized it was an adult book.

The cover is terrifying and I can't look at to long or I get really creeped out.

The book is basically about a zombie apocalypse. The flu is how the zombies started rising. A sneeze here and cough here and it was enough to quarantine a person in their house or apartment. And when I say quarantine, I mean that the police force lock you in the house and put a huge metal sheets over your windows and door and weld it shut so you can't get out. The flu in this book is an airborn contagion so anyone can catch it. After a person dies horribly from the flu they reanimate and become zombies. The book focus on a few survivors of the apocalypse as well as whatever military personnel are left. And just FYI this book is set in Northern Ireland and uses some words/slang that I guess Irish people know but I didn't. I still got the jist anyway.

There were a number of characters in the book but for the most part there were many chapters dealing with 3 particular survivors. They are Lark, Geri and McFall. Lark is a tattooed pierced loose cannon who likes to drink, can be cocky but is also a nice guy. McFall is the guy who is bunked with Lark. He was a taxi driver and is terrified of leaving the house they're staying in. He also always wears a balaclava (a ski mask with a large hole for the eyes and covers the entire head and mouth) for protection against the flu so we don't really know what he looks like. Geri is a rich girl who finds her way to the house with Lark and McFall. They end up meeting two cops Norman and George. Norman is a large cop whose kinda mean at times. He doesn't take no bullshit from anyone and is great with his rifle. George is a more by the book cop who is thinner than Norman but can hold his own. In another city in Norther Ireland we have Pat and Karen who are staying in a complex of flats. Pat is an older man who was an IRA operative and he has taken Karen under his wing and protects her. Pat is a tough guy who assesses ever situation and thinks before he acts. Karen is a church girl who is very delicate in the beginning but hardens due to their situation. Next over in a military complex we have Jackson who is a retired major who was called back to a base to be in charge. With him is a nasty SOB named Gallagher.

I really liked Lark. He was crazy and funny. He took chances with the dead by going out to get supplies and things. He was ok with a gun but had big balls when it came to outrunning the dead. He felt that he had to protect Geri and he did his best to. He was an ass a lot of the time but he was also a good guy and showed his softer side when somethings got rough. I also really liked Pat. He was like a father figure who would do what was necessary to survive and protect Karen. He didn't rush into thing or was rash- he planned things out and executed them according to his plan. He planned and thought about consequences and did what he thought would keep them safe.

I really didn't like Geri. She was a rich whiny b**** who didn't do anything and wanted to be catered to. There were plenty of times that she left Lark to deal with shooting the dead while she stayed in the car or the house not doing a damn thing. She let others risk their lives for her. I would of thrown her sorry ass out of my house. Hey its survival of the fittest and she was definitely NOT the fittest. I found myself either really getting mad at what she was doing or not caring because she was an idiot or, and this was for the most part, wishing she would get eaten by the zombies. Karen was another good for nothing that I didn't like. She whined all the time about being cooped up in one of the flats while Pat was doing all the WORK protecting her and gathering supplies from the other flats. She annoyed me too with all her whining. She should of been fed to the zombies also.

The rest of the characters were alright. I liked the two cops well enough. I found myself not really caring about Jackson and his part in the story was small. I hated Gallagher. To me he was a psychopath who got away with all his experiments and brutality because he was a military doctor and was doing horrible torturous things "for the greater good" as he put it. Another one who should of been fed to the zombies.

There was some action in the book but a lot of it was talking and the characters reflecting on their lives and the things they've done/seen. The book was gory but not overly so. It was kind of like a tame episode of the walking dead. There were some nasty descriptions of the zombies and how they're heads exploded when they were shot. One thing that kind of bothered me was that one part of the zombie mythology seemed like it copied the zombie mythology of the tv show The Walking Dead. In this book the people turned in to zombies after they caught the flu. But later on in the story we find out that any person who dies naturally or bu the flu, reanimate anyway and become zombies. So it doesn't matter if your shot or you die in your sleep you;ll still be a zombie. This concept is in the Walking Dead show. In the show the zombie virus is inside every human and it activates after death. I just felt that was weird that the book had the same mythology as the show which I think came out before the book. It could also just be a coincidence but I find it weird.

Another thing I didn't really like about the book was the amount of cursing and vulgar language. Now I'm no prude and I have a mouth that can rival a sailor, but for me there was way to much cursing in this book. I mean yes, if I lived in the world that the survivors lived in you can bet that some nasty word will come out of my mouth but not for every little thing. I am ok with cursing in a book because lets face it sometimes a situation calls for swear words and it it appropriate in some situations. But when cursing in a book is put there just for the sake of cursing, I think that its dumb and overdone. I found that to be the case with this book. There are numerous F bombs, C bombs (both for the male appendage and the nasty word that some people call women) and S bombs that could make your head spin. After awhile it just became annoying to read them, even when they were used in an appropriate situation.

Anyway I want to say one last thing about the book. This book grabs you in and keeps you in with the first chapter alone. I don't think I have read a better action gripping FIRST chapter EVER and I read A LOT of books. After reading the first chapter, I kept going because I wanted to find out what happens, its that good. I guarantee that the first chapters will suck readers in and that is always a good thing when it comes to books. While the book was boring at some points it did keep my attention and kept me turning the pages to see what was going to happen.

This review is also posted on Spantalian's Book Reviews

What Happened to Cass McBride?

What Happened to Cass McBride? - Gail Giles This book was ok.

It is about guy named Kyle who blamed his brother David's suicide on girl named Cass McBride. Cass McBride turned David down when he asked her out. That wasn't all. She also wrote a nasty mean note about him to her friend which he found. Then he hung himself. Kyle who is in extreme grief kidnapped Cass and buried her alive. The rest of the book is about Cass trying to talk her way out of death by trying to get Kyle to let her go. The story is told in 3 POVs. Cass's pov is when she is in the box buried alive and talking to Kyle. Kyle's pov is when he is arrested and being interrogated by the police. The Third POV is that of Ben Grey who is the lead police officer in Cass' kidnapping case and his pov is the police investigation of her disappearance.

I have to say I really didn't like any of the characters except for David who we learn about through the other characters. His home life is atrocious, with his verbally abusing mother following him around the house, making nasty and mean remarks. The poor guy was a loner and miserable. Cass' note was what pushed him over the edge to kill himself. I really feel sorry for him and sympathize with him.

Cass is a bitch. She is the classic mean popular girl that is in every high school, real or fiction. We all know the girl from experience~ the beautiful girl with the perfect hair and clothes, who is rich and has everything she wants. And she is as mean as satan, making fun of everyone, putting people down and thinks she is better then everyone else. Yes Cass is this bitch. She ripped David apart in her note to her friend, saying "how dare he ask her out". Are you f****** kidding me! Man I wanted to punch her the face and kick her in the ribs. Her description of him was degrading and cruel. Personally I feel like she got exactly what she deserved and that it wasn't painful enough. I despise bullies and that was what Cass was. Even her best friend though she was too mean. She needed to come down from her high horse and get kicked in the face with its hoof. Too bad she did't die, but hey now she has to live with the trauma of what happened. Good.. I have no sympathy for Cass McBride and she got everything she deserved.

Kyle and David's mom is another rancid bitch who needs putting down. She was horrible to David ever since he was little. She refused to feed him when he was five and he had to find food to eat in the house by himself. She should be shot for that alone. She was neglectful and verbally abusive to David. She blamed David for "ruining" her life and took everything out on him. She was very nasty. It's sick because there are real people like this in the world. She is more guilty than Cass and she needed to be eliminated, stat.

I didn't really care about the cops pov. Most of it wasn't interesting and I don't know why it was put as a pov.

I didn't really like Kyle but I did sympathize with him. His life was s*** because of his mother and what she did to him and especially David. His father was no help; he left often because of his job and he knew exactly what his wife was doing to his children and did nothing to stop it. In my eyes he is as guilty as Cass is. Kyle tired his best to protect his brother and help him even though he did sometimes get frustrated and wanted out. I think his plan of torture for Cass is brilliant. I know that if anyone hurts any of my family members, they better run and hide, because I'm coming after them with everything I got. I'm not a violent person but this book got to me. My brother is in high school and if someone treated him like the way people treated David, those people better watch out. I get very emotional when reading books like this because this stuff really happens in real life. And like I said before I have no sympathy for bullies and mean people. They should be thrown in jail or worse.

This review is also posted on Spantalian's Book Reviews

The True Colors of Caitlynne Jackson

The True Colors of Caitlynne Jackson - Carol Lynch Williams This book was good. It was a quick read.

The book is about two sister, Caity and Cara, who have to live with their mother's physical and verbal abuse. Caity is almost 13 and Cara is 11.

The mother was a real piece of work. She had constant mood swings. She was mean a lot more than she was nice. She was a nasty fat blob. She was always yelling at the girls and hitting them, leaving bruises on their bodies. She constantly talked down to them and made hurtful comments. She was especially twisted because sometimes she would be nice to the girls then get mad and beat them up. The beating scenes were hard to read and they were very violent. This mother needed to get arrested and get the s*** kick outta her fat a**.

Caity is the older sister and whose pov the story takes place in. Her home life is horrible to say the least. She is kind of dirty, with unwashed hair and stains on her clothes. Its not her fault but it's sad. She is very good at sports and loves to play baseball and swim. She is also an awesome artist. She takes care of her sister Cara as best she can. She protects Cara from her mother's attacks, pushing Cara away and taking most of the blows. She cooks for Cara when there's food and cares for her. Caity is afraid of her mother but at the same times loves her and hopes things will get better. She always thinks that thinks would be different but they never are. She desperately wants her mother's love but never got it. Instead she got her mother's anger and fists. Its sad to read how Caity and Cara have to tiptoe around their mother and stay out of her way. The reader can really see the way Caity changes in the book. She goes from being a scared girl in the beginning to becoming a brave fighter who knows what she wants and refuses to let her mother bully her anymore. She fights against her mother for a better life.

Cara is the little sister who had to grow up way to fast with the mother that she has. She has never had a mother figure in her life. The closest person to a mother she's had is Caity and Caity herself is still a kid. Cara is dirty as well with unwashed tangled hair and dirty clothes but it doesn't bother her like it bothers Caity. Cara loves to read and is a great swimmer to. The feeling I got from Cara is that she doesn't love or like her mother at all. She is not like Caity who tries to get their mother's love. She steers clear of the woman and has often shown that she'd be glad if her mother was gone. She doesn't care what her mother does as long as shes not yelling or hitting her or Caity. Its a very sad situation she had to go through at a young age.

I really liked the girl's grandma, Nana who is Caity's mom's mom. Caity's mom and Nana don't have a very good relationship and Nana had no idea how bad the situation at Caity's home had gotten. Nana is funny, kind, loving and quirky. She loves the girls very much. I can's say more about her without giving anything away but she is a very wonderful caring lady.

This book is a good quick read that deals with a very hard issue. I think older elementary school age children and middle grade children would benefit from reading this book so that they can learn about what some people live with. Its a good introduction to this kind of fiction/genre.

This review is also posted on Spantalian's Book Reviews

Treacherous Love: The Diary of an Anonymous Teenager

Treacherous Love: The Diary of an Anonymous Teenager - Beatrice Sparks This book was alright.

Its about a 14 year old girl, Jennie, whose parents are going through a divorce and she becomes the victim of teacher abuse. The book is told in diary form.

I didn't really like Jennie. Her writing was very annoying and it seemed unreal. No 14 year old kid would write the way she did. It seemed babyish. Most of it was all rainbows and butterflies and unicorns. with a dab of depression and crying in between. She uses words like lovely and wonderful too often to be believable. Once in the book she asks her mother "Shall I call an ambulance." Shall? Really? No 14 year old girl talks like that. A lot of times in the book she would say something horrible about someone or something then say "Wait I don't mean that" and so on. There was also A LOT of crying in the book and she always seemed to be crying with someone else: her mom, her best friends, her teacher boyfriend. I don't remember crying all the time at 14. Jennie also puts herself down a lot. She often says she a horrible person or something negative about herself, which I didn't really like.

Her sub math teacher is supposed to go from being an nice guy to her boyfriend to her abuser. I gotta say nothing happens with this teacher (J.J.) for most of the book. She goes from being his helper to bam kissing him. She also wrote how she worshipped him and how he was her idol. It was kind of disturbing. However the fact was that he was not in the book that much, which is odd because its a book ABOUT a girl getting together with her teacher. J.J. was a real sleaze though. He took all kinds of pictures and Jennie let him, which on her part wasn't that smart, but she loved him and let him do what he wanted. It was never explicitly said that they had sex. There was weak hinting at it but nothing to be conclusive. She was taken to a rape crisis center, but even then there was no mention of sex, just the photos she took and the drugs he gave her. The relations between J.J. and Jennie was very vague and happened very quick, that it seemed like it was over before it started. It just wasn't that realistic, to me anyway.

There was also another underlying issue that the book dealt with and that was addiction to prescribed pills. Jennie's mother began taking prescribed pills after her divorce from Jennie's father. Her mother became addicted to the pills and when all the stuff went down with Jennie, she admitted her problem and was getting help for it.

While this book was ehh about the teacher-student issue, I have to say it sickens me that this type of thing really happens. As a teacher and a human I am extremely disgusted that these people exist. They should be shot for hurting children. I feel like teens should read books like this so that they are aware of this issue and the consequences it has. They should be prepared and always on the look out for any teacher who is acting in a suspicious and inappropriate manner.


This review is also posted on Spantalian's Book Reviews

Look for Me by Moonlight

Look for Me by Moonlight - Mary Downing Hahn This book was ok. It wasn't the greatest vampire story out there.

The story is about Cynda, who goes to Maine to stay with her father, stepmother and stepbrother in their inn while her mother and her mother's boyfriend go to Italy. During this time a stranger, Vincent, comes to the inn to stay for awhile. It turns out that Vincent is a vampire and has come to feed on Cynda.

This was a slow moving book. At times it was very boring. Cynda was a whiny little thing that annoyed me. She was always whining that her father didn't love her, that her stepmother always took advantage of her, that her brother got all her father's attention and that her mother was living it up in Italy without her. After awhile I was thinking "grow a pair". First off I have NO IDEA why Cynda would NOT want to go to Italy. I'd be all over that. I have been to Italy twice, once when I was 16 and this past summer (2012) and I absolutely LOVE everything about Italy. I would move there in a heartbeat of I had the chance. And Cynda REFUSED to go! That just blew me away. Second I have no idea why she would give up Italy to go to her father inn in Maine where it was winter and below zero degrees often. It was always cold and there were always snow storms.

Anyway When Cynda meets Vincent she falls instantly in love with him. He charms and complements her an pretends to understand her problems, which she eats up. They have a little romance before Vincent reveals what he is and takes her blood. It was weird how Cynda changed in this book. She became very weak, couldn't get out of bed most of the time and became very pale. She was always cold, the sun or light in general hurt her eyes, she stopped eating and began to want blood. All this happened and Vincent WASN'T trying to change her. This is a new take on vampire mythology and it was kinda weird.

Vincent is not the type of vampire who readers see filling up Y.A. books nowadays. Vincent is a monster. He is not loving, kind or brooding. He is a true vampire monster, who takes her blood when he wants it and loves being an evil creature. He feels no love for anyone and doesn't care what happens to people. He manipulates other to get what he wants. He is very powerful, strong and of course beautiful (that hasn't changed). He pretends to love Cynda to get her where he wants her. One bite and she is powerless to stop him. She belongs to him and he can take her blood any time he wants. He also goes after Cynda's brother Todd who is just 5 years old. Vincent drinks Todd's blood and Todd is under Vincent's power as well. Vincent really is a despicable monster. When I first read this book years ago, I hated Vincent. Now re-reading this book, I still don't like him but I don't hate him like I used to. I just think that its interesting to read a book with a different kind of vampire in it. Now all vampires are loving, sexy good guys, not monsters like vampires were in the old days. This book takes you back to those old days when vampires were evil and they liked being that way.

I liked Cynda's brother Todd. He is adorable and like any 5 year old; he wants to play, be read to and get his way. He immediately hates Vincent when he firsts sees him and calls him a bad man. Todd can tell that Vincent is evil and wants him out of the inn but no one listens to him. Then once Vincent bites him, Todd is under his spell and Todd loves him. I always feel sorry for Todd that he had to become involved in Vincent's spell. He was too little to have to face a trauma like that.

Susan was ok for a step mother. She was pregnant and did ask Cynda for help a lot. But she truly cared for Cynda and loved her. She though of Cynda as her daughter, which was sweet.

All in all a quick read that treats vampires as they were meant to be seen: as monsters.

This review is also posted on Spantalian's Book Reviews

Sirena

Sirena - Donna Jo Napoli This book is a great quick read that I really enjoyed.

I went into thsi book not knowing anything about it except that is is about a mermaid named Sirena. The synopsis gives no information about the time period or when it takes place. I was happy to find out that the book takes place in Ancient Greece at the time of the Trojan War. It is a re-telling of the myth of Philoctetes, who was abandoned on the island of Lemnos when he was bitten by a serpent on the way to Troy. The myth was changed to add a mermaid into it. The story takes place in the years that Philoctetes was stranded on the island.

I really liked Sirena. She was very innocent in the beginning. In this book, mermaids can gain immortality by mating with a male human. They use their singing to lure ships to their island where the ships will wreck and the survivors will have to stay on the island. Sirena is a very determined character who realizes that her singing can cause death which is why she promises that she will never sing again. She is very determined to keep that promise. Sirena has a sense of right and wrong, which her sisters don't have. Sirena wan't immortality but she doesn't want it at the price of a person's life.

Sirena is also very loyal, loving, caring, fun-loving and playful. She is also very nuturing which can be seen when she helps to heal Philotcetes. She is very amazed at small things such as mosaics and fire and rejoices when she is able to do some human skills (like make a fire). She becomes wiser throughout the book. She is also fiery and passionate especially in her beliefs.

I also liked Philoctetes. I admire him for staying on the island for so long without going crazy or trying to get off of it multiple times. He is a good man with unfortunate circumstances. He is a renowned archer and a Greek hero (after he gets off the island and goes to Troy). He is very brave and willing to try new things like learning to swim. He is very protective, loving, passionate and a wonderful story teller. He also had impressive friends~ Theseus, Heracles (Hercules) and Achilles were his friends. He gets used to life on Lemnos and with Sirena~ he begins to love it. He is very sweet and caring, surprising Sirena with surprises he thinks she will like and giving a lot of thought and hard work on his surprises. Of course being a human, Philoctetes, even though content with his life on Lemnos, dreams of going to war to be a hero and have people tell stories about him like he tells Sirena of Theseus, Achilles and Heracles. Honor is everything to him and he wants to go to war to win honor.

I love the romance in the story. The love between Sirena and Philoctetes is sweet. They both love each other completely and they fell in love on their own without her singing or anything interfering. They truly enjoy each other's company and have lively debates on some of the stories Philoctetes tells. While I loved this book I have to say I wasn't too happy with the ending. For me it was too sad and that sucks. I hate sad ending.

This review is also posted on Spantalian's Book Reviews