Thursday, June 27, 2013

Review: Ravenous

Title: Ravenous
Author: Heidi Loney
Grade: A+

Synopsis from the Back of the Book
Overpopulation throttles the world’s food supply. In 2050, the government of the Americas introduces the Food Crisis Act—new measures that create a system for growing and rationing food. Calla Ryan is pretty much your average teen, except for enduring hunger every day of her life. One morning, new sensors at her high school determine that she exceeds the weight limit of the State, and they send her north to a “fat camp” or re-education centre. Calla begins to realize the centre holds many secrets. Her counsellor dies mysteriously, and new shipments of recruits are the picture of health. Finally, Calla becomes a guinea pig for a dangerous lab experiment. On the outside, a virus that began overseas has now made its way to the Americas with deadly consequences. Calla must run from her captors, escaping to the far north with help from the facility’s chef and fellow inmates Billy and Madge. And to complicate things, the infected are very hungry

If you have read some of my past reviews, you know that I am a big fan of dystopian books. When I read the synopsis of this book, I instantly knew I was going to enjoy it, but boy was I wrong... I LOVED it! This book had everything  you could ever want in  198 pages; romance, drama, blood and gore, family relationships, mystery, science fiction, crazy government, etc... Loney has created a future where the food people consume daily is tracked by the government. If they exceed the limit many times, they are sent to a futuristic "fat camp". When Calla arrives there, she realizes that this camp is not exactly what she is expecting. She then realizes that every thing she has known about her life is not what it seems. 

I love reading dystopian books and imagining that the world that authors have created can come true. I think that the world Loney has created could really come true.  With the way we treat our natural rescources I could definitely see food, particularly, grown food, become scarce. The only sad part is that the squeal will not be released until 2014. I am dying to know what happens to Calla, Billy, and their future. You can bet I will be buying the book as soon as it comes out! I recommend Ravenous to all dystopian fans and those looking for the total package book!

Happy Reading!

Sunday, June 23, 2013

Review: Kafira

Title: Kafira
Author: John O'Neill
Grade: A-

Synopsis from book cover
Kafira determines her life ambition will be to find a cure form the Ebola Virus. Her life becomes one of continuous frustration, as the cure eludes her. Kim il Sung, of North Korea, wants the moon to belong to North Korea and it's people. He forces a North Korean Biomedical Scientist- Min Shu- to construct a virus that is just as deadly as the Ebola virus, but can be cured. A demand is placed on the United Nations to agree to give exclusive ownership of the moon to Kim il Sung, or he will release the deadly virus. Kafira holds the key to the safety of the world. Will she be in time?

When I initially read the synopsis for this book, I was very intrigued by the involvement of North Korea in this book. I have recently become very interested in the power North Korea holds over its people and the why it cuts itself off from the rest of the world. This book definitely fulfilled my expectations on that aspect. It was very interesting to read how different Kafira and Min Shu work and how different their reasoning was behind developing a cure for the Ebola Virus. My favorite parts were the jumping between the North Korean scene and the American scene. The North Korean government was very meticulous in planning their domination over the rest of the world and had everything planned to a T. It is unbelieveable how much they planned and how precise everything was. For example, all North Korean agents in the United States always carried cyanide tablets so that if they were caught, they stuck them in their mouths and basically commited suicide so that they were not questioned. Unbelievavable!

The only downside of the book was the length. At 539 pages, it was quite long. As I was initially reading I was trying to see if their was anything that the author could cut out to make it shorter, but I couldn't find anything at first. Around the last 100 pages I struggled to be as interested as I was during the first 400 pages.  The end did catch me back though, with a huge twist. Be ready to be thrown for a loop!

I would suggest this to readers who enjoy science fiction and also for those interested in modern Asian history. You won't be disappointed!

Happy Reading!

Monday, June 10, 2013

Captain No Beard Series

I recently received 3 children's books, all written by Carole P. Roman, to review. As a preschool teacher, I love reading children's books and am eager to find quality ones. I am very excited to say that all three books are ones that I am super excited to add to my classroom library!  Two of the books were part of a series, so I am going to review them together. Without further ado, my reviews...

Title: Captain No Beard: An Imaginary Tale of a Pirate's Life
Grade: A

Carole Roman wrote this book as the start of the Captain No Beard series. The series Alexander (Captain No Beard), his cousin Hallie, and their stuffed friends on imaginary adventures on the seven seas. Once Alexander and Hallie board Alexander's bed, they become pirates and their stuffed friends become their crew! In this particular book, they end up in the middle of a storm. This must work together to save their selves and their ship.

The first thing that caught my eye as I was reading was the use of interesting vocabulay. The book is filled with wonderful words, that may be new to children, but can be learned during the reading of the book. Roman describes the shipmates as "hearty", calls the ship a "frigate" and describes the waves as "rumbling". By reading this book, children are being exposed to rich vocabulary. She also includes pirate "lingo", that adds to the fun of the book. I also enjoyed the beautiful illustrations that are sure to catch any reader's eye.

The only thing I didn't like about this book was that some pages did not have any illustration. Instead of having a picture on one page and words on the other, there would be words on both sides. Roman actually changes that in her second book.

Title: Strangers on the High Seas: A Captain no Beard
Grade: A+

This book continues the saga of Captain No Beard and his shipmates. In this book, Alexander is put in charge of his little sister Cayla and must take her on their new adventure. Cayla causes all kinds of trouble until they see a dark ship in the distance. Through their adventure they learn stranger etiquette, and that every person is valuable in his her own way.

I once again loved the use of rich vocabulary throughout the book. and the beautiful illustrations. Another thing I loved about this addition to the series was how it taught several life lessons through the story. Children learn to not talk to stranger or to approach unknown animals. Children can also relate to the relationship between Alexander and Cayla. Like most siblings, Alexander is not happy about playing with his sister and thinks she will be a bother during their adventure. By the end of the story, children will learn that everyone is important. not matter how big or small they may be. This is an important lesson that would be very beneficial to preschoolers because they are often looked down upon because they are young.

I LOVED both books and would definitively be interested to read the other books in the series. I think that kids will be drawn to both the characters and the plot. and  I also love the vocabulary introduced in both book. I recommend this to anyone working with young children!

Happy Reading!