Review: Graceling

Title: Graceling
Author: Kristin Cashore
Pages: 471
Release Date: October 1, 2008
Publisher: Graphia, Houghton Mifflin Harcourt



Goodreads Description:

In a world where people born with an extreme skill—called a Grace—are feared and
exploited, Katsa carries the burden of the skill even she despises: the Grace of killing.
She lives under the command of her uncle Randa, King of the Middluns, and is expected
to execute his dirty work, punishing and torturing anyone who displeases him.

When she first meets Prince Po, who is Graced with combat skills, Katsa has no hint of
how her life is about to change.

She never expects to become Po's friend.

She never expects to learn a new truth about her own Grace—or about a terrible secret
that lies hidden far away...a secret that could destroy all seven kingdoms with words

I couldn’t say why it took me so long to open this book up and read it, but I really regret
procrastinating! I bought the book a LONG time ago and it’s been sitting patiently on my
shelf while I kept passing it over to read other books. That was a GINORMOUS mistake
on my part!

Kristin Cashore creates a world that the reader effortlessly falls into. It is very well
written (from a third person point of view)-creating a good balance of language
appropriate for the time/setting of the book while not turning off the target age range.
GRACELING takes place in a time of castles and kings, where knives and swords are
the weapons of choice and horses and ships transport you through the land of the seven

kingdoms. I absolutely love stories set in this time period but what I loved more was the
kick-butt female lead character, Katsa! She is fierce, deadly, and powerful and is a really
nice change from some of the other “weaker” female characters that have been popping
up in YA books lately. Throughout the story, she develops as a person tremendously but
in a seamless manner making it feel more realistic.

Katsa shows her skills, or rather her grace, in the first pages and the action keeps pace
from then on. The plot has many twists and secrets (who kidnapped the grandfather and
why) that kept me feverishly turning the pages and at the same time, not wanting to keep
reading because the book was bound to end. The best bittersweet situation for all book
lovers! There is a love interest in the book that doesn’t not consume or deter from the
original storyline.

This book is aimed toward 14 years and older, but parents should know that there are
a few scenes that hint toward some characters engaging in sex. The book does not go
into detail or come right out and say it, but it definitely implies it. I would liken these
situations to the “sex scenes” from Stephenie Meyer’s Twilight series-nothing over
the top. The book also takes a firm stand against marriage as Katsa finds it to be too
suffocating and somewhat demeaning to women.

All in all, this book was a fantastic escape to a fantasy world with magic, love, and
friendship. Cashore has two companion novels, Fire and Bitterblue, that I expect to be
just as amazing!


Review: Surviving the Angel of Death

Title: Surviving the Angel of Death
Author: Eva Mozes Kor, Lisa Rojany Buccieri
Publisher: Tanglewood Press (March 13, 2012)
 ISBN: 978-1933718576

From Amazon: 
Eva Mozes Kor was just ten years old when she arrived in Auschwitz. While her parents and two older sisters were taken to the gas chambers, she and her twin, Miriam, were herded into the care of the man known as the Angel of Death, Dr. Josef Mengele. Subjected to sadistic medical experiments, she was forced to fight daily for her and her twin's survival. In this incredible true story written for young adults, readers learn of a child's endurance and survival in the face of truly extraordinary evil.

The book also includes an epilogue on Eva's recovery from this experience and her remarkable decision to publicly forgive the Nazis. Through her museum and her lectures, she has dedicated her life to giving testimony on the Holocaust, providing a message of hope for people who have suffered, and working for causes of human rights and peace.

Eva Mozes Kor and her sister are Jewish twins, which means two things: one, they are destined to be shipped off like cattle to a Nazi camp, and two, they will become living experiments for the "Angel of Death." At just ten years of age, Eva must endure and survive the unthinkable all the while protecting her twin. Her story is amazingly horrific. The book depicts Eva's life just prior to being rounded up and shipped off to Auschwitz, her time of experimentation under Dr. Josef Mengele (the Angel of Death), and life after the liberation from the camp. The strength and awareness that Eva had at ten years old is remarkable and made for a page-turning story. I highly recommend this book to any and all. It is an easy read for adults and has enough details to keep an adult completed submerged yet still is gentle enough for kids around middle school/preteen age. It is written beautifully with a tone of encouragement and forgiveness which is an unexpected surprise given all that Eva and her twin lost.


Giraffes Can't Dance Review

Title: Giraffes Can't Dance
Author: Giles Andreae, Guy Parker-Rees
Genre: Childrens
Publisher: Cartwheel Books (an imprint of Scholastic), March 2012
ISBN: 978-0-545-39255-6

From Amazon:
Gerald would love to join in with the other animals at the Jungle Dance, but everyone knows that giraffes can't dance ...or can they? A funny, touching and triumphant story from an award-winning creative team. 2009 sees the 10th anniversary of this bestselling picture book loved by children everywhere.

This was a fun, uplifting book. Gerald the Giraffe feels like he is too uncoordinated to dance like the rest of the jungle animals at the yearly, African Jungle Dance. The other animals don't believe Gerald could ever dance like them. But Gerald finds inspiration from a cricket whose wise words hit home: "But sometimes when you're different, you just need a different song." The illustrations are bright and colorful and accompanied with the excellent flowing rhyme scheme, this book is sure to be loved by both children and the adults reading it to them.

Banned Books Week

Announcing the 2nd Annual Banned Books Week Giveaway Hop!!!!

Co -hosted by Jen @ I Read Banned Books and Kathy @ I Am A Reader, Not A Writer

The giveaway starts September 28th and runs until October 6th!

Here is a little about what Banned Books Week is all about according to the ALA:

Banned Books Week is an annual event celebrating the freedom to read. Typically held during the last week of September, it highlights the value of free and open access to information. Banned Books Week brings together the entire book community –- librarians, booksellers, publishers, journalists, teachers, and readers of all types –- in shared support of the freedom to seek and to express ideas, even those some consider unorthodox or unpopular. By focusing on efforts across the country to remove or restrict access to books, Banned Books Week draws national attention to the harms of censorship.

Some books that have been on the list include:

-The Hunger Games-anti-ethnic, anti-family, occult/satanic
-Twilight-religious viewpoint
-To Kill A Mockingbird-racism, offensive language
-The Kite Runner-offensive language, sexually explicit
-The Perks of Being a Wallflower-homosexuality, unsuited to age group

Be sure to check out the great giveaways starting next week! They include banned books and gift cards!


Pre-Order Mark of Athena

If you haven't started reading Rick Riodran's Heroes of Olympus series yet, you are missing out. I was skeptical at first because I loved the original Percy Jackson series so much, I didn't want to be disappointed. But I was pleasantly surprised that the Heroes of Olympus series is just as good as the original Percy Jackson series. Book 3 comes out in just a few weeks and I CANNOT WAIT!!!! Have you pre-ordered yours yet? Make sure you do!


Author Interview/Giveaway

Head over to I am a Reader, Not a Writer and read this awesome author interview with Michele Poague, author of The Healing Crystal trilogy. Be sure to enter the giveaway as well! This series sounds so exciting!
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