Thursday, April 26, 2012

Mini Reviews: The "My Life Has Gone to *Shizz" edition

Body of Water
by Sarah Dooley

Twelve-year-old Ember’s trailer home has been burned in a fire set most likely by her best friend, a boy whose father believes Ember’s family are witches. Yes, Ember’s mom reads Tarot cards as a business. Ember’s friend set the fire to warn the family before his dad did something worse to them. The friend never intended to do so much damage.

Now the family is homeless, and living in a campground. They have no money. Ember’s beloved dog is missing. School is going to start, and Ember and her sister have no clean clothes, no notebooks. The only place Ember feels at peace is floating in the middle of the lake at the campground. She has to make a fresh start. Can she? (description from

Ember - no house, no money, no clothes, no friends... life has definitely gone to *shizz!

I liked this book, though I thought that some parts wrapped up a little too conveniently at the end.  Ember was not a "likeable" character, per se, but I thought I understood where she was coming from all the way through.  Way more interesting than the poor cover that the book got saddled with...

A Million Shades of Gray
by Cynthia Kadohata

Y'Tin is brave. No one in his village denies that—his mother knows that it takes a great deal of courage and calm to deal with elephants the way that Y'Tin does. He is almost the best trainer in the village—and, at twelve-years old, he’s certainly the youngest. Maybe he’ll even open up his own school some day to teach other Montagnards how to train wild elephants? That was the plan anyway—back before American troops pulled out of the Vietnam War, back before his village became occupied by Viet Cong forces seeking revenge, back before Y'Tin watched his life change in a million terrible ways. Now, his bravery is truly put to the test: he can stay in his village, held captive by the Viet Cong or he can risk his life (and save his elephant’s) by fleeing into the jungle. (description from

Y'Tin - his village is taken over, half flee, half are killed...his friends turn on him, his elephant may be finding a new home with wild elephants... life has definitely gone to *shizz!

Although I got a little frustrated with the simplified sentences that the author wrote in, they did seem to fit the story.  I liked Y'Tin and was fascinated with his relationship with Lady, his elephant. I found this to be a period in Vietnam that I thought I knew about, but this was definitely a new perspective to view things from. 

Spell Bound
by Rachel Hawkins
Hex Hall, book three

Just as Sophie Mercer has come to accept her extraordinary magical powers as a demon, the Prodigium Council strips them away. Now Sophie is defenseless, alone, and at the mercy of her sworn enemies—the Brannicks, a family of warrior women who hunt down the Prodigium. Or at least that’s what Sophie thinks, until she makes a surprising discovery. The Brannicks know an epic war is coming, and they believe Sophie is the only one powerful enough to stop the world from ending. But without her magic, Sophie isn’t as confident.
Sophie’s bound for one hell of a ride—can she get her powers back before it’s too late? (description from

Sophie - boyfriend assumed dead, father missing, school taken over by crazies wanting to raise an army of Demons... life has definitely gone to *shizz!

A very good wrap-up to the trilogy.  I thought it packed just the right punch. There were funny bits, there were cool action scenes, there were hot romantic moments, and the resolution was well done. I am sad to see this trilogy end, but I thought this were left at a good point!

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