Friday, April 24, 2015

Under a Painted Sky by Stacey Lee

Under a Painted Sky
Author: Stacey Lee
Lexile: Unknown
Length: 374 Pages
Genre: Historical Fiction
Awards: None
Reading Ram Star Rating: 4 out of 5 Stars

           Samantha's dream is to one day be a professional musician and play in New York City. A hard dream to accomplish. Harder if you're a girl, even harder if you're Chinese and it's 1849. So Samantha is stuck in St. Joe, Missouri, living with her father who runs a store with supplies for the Gold Diggers headed to California.  But one day a tragic accident ensures that she will never see her dream to its end. Samantha has to team up with a runaway slave named Annamae, and together they brave the Oregon Trail. Life on the trail is hard for two girls, so they pretend to be Sammy and Andy, just another pair of boys looking to get rich off of gold. The girls get closer and closer as they form a powerful friendship between them. With the help of some extremely kind cowboys, they set off, trying to avoid law and keep a low profile. They soon learn that life on the open field, may seem free and cheerful, but is full of more dangers then either of them ever imagined. 
         I really liked this book a lot, it was written so nicely. It was almost like poetry! I also loved all the references to the Chinese calender. Like Year of the Dragon, Year of the Rabbit, that kind of thing. Samantha judged people by the characteristics, and the most surprising part, she was right! Like a person who was born in the Year of the Rabbit actually had those characteristics. It was freaky! I would recommend this book to 6th graders and up, it had a little bit of inappropriate stuff in it. You should really try it out in your free time.  

Friday, April 17, 2015

Shadow and Bone by Leigh Bardugo

Image result for shadow and bone by leigh bardugo

Shadow and Bone
Author: Leigh Bardugo
Lexile: 800
Length: 358 Pages
Genre: Dystopia
Awards: None
Reading Ram Star Rating: 4.9 out of 5

        Alina Starkov is an orphan from the Border Wars. She and her friend Mal have recently been drafted into the First Army. Immediately, they are sent into the most dangerous part of their kingdom, the Fold. Almost nobody survives the Fold, it's filled with monsters who feast on humans. The convoy they are in is attacked, and Alina accidentally uses a power even she never knew about. Alina's world is turned upside down, and she is whisked away to the royal court. Can she beat the unknown evil that has been penetrating Ravka for centuries?
       Oh my gosh, this book was amazing!!!!!! I finished it in 1 day. Literally. It was just so good, I couldn't even put it down for a second! The story was so well written, it has so many twists and plot changes! This book is seriously competing to be my favorite book ever, which is a huge deal! One of my teachers recommended it to me, and I finally got around to reading it. Boy am I glad I did! I really hope you take my advice into consideration, this book is awesome! You have to make sure you read it sometime. The only reason I gave it 4.9 stars instead of 5 though, was that I am still waiting to see if another, better book is gonna come out. I am still pretty sure that the Rick Riordan "Heroes of Olympus" books are my favorite. But it is definitely a close call. I have already read the second book of this series too, and I'm waiting to get the third book from the library. But seriously, read it. I would recommend this book to 6th grade and up. Possibly mature 5th graders, but they would have to be really mature. So you should definitely check this book out, give it a try. The cover is a little strange, but trust me, you will thank me later.

Saturday, April 11, 2015

Drizzle by Kathleen Van Cleve

Image result for drizzle the book lexile

Author: Kathleen Van Cleve
Lexile: 650
Length: 358 Pages
Genre: Fantasy
Awards: Mark Twaine Nominee 2012-2013
Reading Ram Star Rating: 3 out of 5 Stars

                  Polly Peabody lives on a rhubarb farm. But not just any rhubarb farm, the amazing Rupert's Rhubarb farm! Polly has a pretty exciting life, this farm is not in any way boring! Polly lives with her mother, brother, father, and a few other people to help out with the farm. This farm is very special, for some reason, every Monday, it rains! Also, they grow chocolate rhubarb, a vegetable that tastes exactly like chocolate! And to top it off, no one has ever drowned in the lake! So you can imagine how fun it would be to live there, right? But then, out of the blue, it stops raining! And Polly's life is turned upside down. Press everywhere, and all the rhubarb plants are dying. They're so desperate enough, they might even sell the farm! Now it's up to Polly to find out what's wrong with the farm and stop before it's too late.
                  I did like this book, it wasn't wonderfully amazing, but it was still okay. It was written towards a younger audience, which is why I think I didn't like as much as I would have. Also, it was kind of a predictable story, like I could tell what the basic plot was. And I could tell when Polly was going to find something important, like a possible solution to the rain problem. But in general, this book is a pretty good book. It has a really fun story, who doesn't love a farm with magical rain and a magical lake? I loved all the parts about talking plants and bugs and such. If you like fun Fantasy books, then maybe try this one. I would say this book is good for 4th graders to 6th graders, not really much older, but third graders would like it too. The main reasons I gave this book 3 out of 5 stars though, was how it was too young for me, and it was kind of predictable if you are older. But I would definitely try it out if Fantasy is your thing and you love books about the outdoors.

Saturday, April 4, 2015

The Children's Choice Book Award

     Wanna have a say in what books win the Children's Choice book award? From now until May 3rd, 2015, kids can go online to and mark on an online ballot to make their choice on what books should win!

Friday, April 3, 2015

Paperboy by Vince Vawter

Image result for paperboy by vince vawter

Author: Vince Vawter
Lexile: 940
Length: 224
Genre: Realistic Fiction
Awards: Newbery Honor Book
Reading Ram Star Rating: 4 out of 5 Stars

       Little Man stutters. A lot. Everybody tries to get him off their team, or out of their group. Grownups just talk to him like he's a little kid. Except his parents of course, and Mam, his maid/babysitter. He only has two friends in the entire world, Arthur, whom he calls Rat, and Mam. Everyone calls him Little Man, because he can't even say his own name. When his friend Rat goes to his grandparents farm, Little Man takes over his paper route for him. Little Man is a pitcher, and boy can he pitch well! This helps, because of all the throwing of newspapers. On Rat's route, he meets a ton of people. They are very interesting... Some aren't very nice, some are very interesting. Nobody expects him to stutter, but some accept it. Some like Mr. Spiro. Around Mr. Spiro, Little Man is more confident, less stuttering. But will he be able to overcome his stutter? Will he ever?
       I did like this book, it was very well written. It is staged in 1959, and all the characters are very specific. This book talks about the beginning of non-segregation. Like the students in Arkansas going to school, but this book is set in Memphis. This author is really good, I have never read any of his books before, but I really like this one. So the reason I gave it 4.5 stars instead of 5 is because I wasn't crazy about this book. Like books usually take me a day to finish if I really like them. This book took me 2 weeks. So that goes to show... Anyway, I would recommend this book to middle school kids, and maybe fifth graders. If you like realistic/historical fiction, then you should try this book out.