lebookreview~ now on twitter!

Sunday, 28 April 2013

I decided to join twitter. This way you can get some insight while I'm reading (if anybody is interested), and not just after I'm finished the book. It will be a nice, concise way to talk about the books I'm reading or wanting to read and other lovely things. It's probably more for my sake rather than the world, but you are welcome to check me out @lebookreview on Twitter. There is a link at the bottom of this blog as well.

le book review number eighty-three~ the boy who dared

Tuesday, 23 April 2013

Title: The Boy Who Dared
Author: Susan Campbell Bartoletti
Pages: 202
Year Published: 2008
Publisher: Scholastic
Rating: 4.5/5 stars

Day 264
It's morning. Soft gray light slips over the tall redbrick wall. It stretches across the exercise yard and reaches through the high, barred windows. In a cell on the ground floor, the light shifts dark shapes into a small stool, a scrawny table, and a bed made of wooden boards with no mattress or blanket. On that bed, a thin, huddled figure, Helmuth, a boy of seventeen, lies awake. Shivering. Trembling.
It's a Tuesday.
The executioner works on Tuesday.

First Sentence:
"It's morning."

Cover Comments:
I really like the cover. It was a big factor in me wanting to read it. I like the dark grey blue black colors. I really like the placement of the title and the font used.

Title Thoughts:
It is very reflective of the story. I think it is very attention grabbing and memorable.

I loved reading this book. It is very well written in all aspects and was noticeably different from any war book that I've ever read. I was impressed with the plot and characters (which were based on real people). I especially liked how it was told through a German during World War II.
I am actually surprised by how much I enjoyed reading it and by how enthralled and captivated I was. I've read my fair share of war books and was hoping it would not simply be reiteration of things I'd already read. It offered new, insightful ideas and interpretation. This was remarkably different and it held my interest.
I wouldn't mind reading this again. I think my sister would like this book so I should convince her to read this one if she can borrow it from a library.
This book had philosophical elements that were entwined very neatly and subtly within and it was thought-provoking. It is not simply a "war book" it is so much more. Helmuth's family as very real. His friends and the events were told in a very real way. I greatly appreciate how it was filled with such maturity from such a young boy. I would recommend this book. Read this book, it's very good.

le book review number eighty-two~ stuart little

Friday, 19 April 2013

Title: Stuart Little
Author: E. B. White
Pages: 131
Pictures by: Garth Williams
Year Published: 1945
Publisher: Harper & Row
Rating: 3/5 stars

The famous story of a most unusual mouse

Stuart Little is a mouse in the family of the Frederick C. Littles and is a pleasantly debonair little character, with a shy, engaging manner and a  somewhat philosophical turn of mind. His size - juse over two inches - does give him some trouble now and then. But on the whole his life is a happy one. His great adventure comes when, at the age of seven, he sets out in the world to seek his dearest friend, Margalo, a beautiful little bird who stayed in the Littles' Boston fern.

I've had this book on my shelf for years. I remember my mom buying E. B. White books when I was in Elementary School. I was somewhat surprised by this book. I enjoyed it, but felt it was greatly lacking in many aspects. It was decent, but hardly memorable. The main character wasn't described in great detail and his adventures were only adequate to me. Perhaps if I had read it at an earlier age I would feel differently. I think it was a nice simple read, but I was hoping it would give me more to think about and I would feel accomplishment out of reading it. I think the story is cute in some parts, seemingly strange in some parts, but overall unique and it is a classic. I'm glad I read it only I wish I had read it when I was younger.

le book review number eighty-one~ storm thief

Thursday, 18 April 2013

Author: Chris Wooding
Pages: 310
Publisher: Scholastic
Personal Star Rating: 4.5/5 stars

"Rail and Moa are thieves in a city of chaos. For as long as anyone can remember, Orokos has been lashed by probability storms - violent tempests that change whatever they touch. When a probability storm hits, streets are rearranged, children are turned to glass, rivers break from their banks, and life suddenly becomes death. Nothing is stable. Everyone is vulnerable.
Rail has struggled with the effects of one such storm for years; when he was hit, he lost the ability to breathe freely. Moa has also seen her share of struggle - as the daughter of dead rebels, as an outcast, as a criminal. Now they have uncovered their first taste of fortune: a strange artifact wanted by the most powerful people in the city. As with most fortunes, this one comes with a price.
They mysterious object is a gift to any thief. But could it be more? Rail and Moa will have to run, fight, double-cross, steal, and dodge the storms in order to find out . . . and unlock Orokos's deepest, most dangerous secrets."

First Sentence:
"The seabird slid through the black sky beneath the blanket of cloud, its feathers ruffling fitfully as it was buffeted by the changing winds."

Cover Comments:
I like the cover, although it isn't my favourite cover in the world.

Title Thoughts:
I have a soft spot for books with the word thief in the title. The Book Thief and The Thief Lord are two books that I enjoyed immensely. Therefore, when this book was recommended to me, I was anticipating great things.

I've been meaning to read this book for a couple years. I finally got around to reading it and I was not disappointed. I began reading it and after a couple days had only managed about 30 pages. I wasn't sure if I was going to be able to get through it. I restarted and after getting acquired to such rich, thick description and vocabulary, I was greatly surprised. The characters had real qualities although they felt somewhat contrived and stereotypical at times. Every note I wrote during reading was talking about the description and detail. Although not abundantly filled with unnecessary words, it created very interesting and intriguing imagery. I was very impressed with the quality of vocabulary as well. The plot was a bit difficult at first to comprehend but it was very unique from other books that I've read. I can generalize the theme and criticize it in a flat, boring way, but it had quite a bit of information and the pace picked up really quickly. Perhaps a little too quickly in certain parts. I expected a few twists and turns involved with the story, but overall, it was a really good read and deserves 4.5 stars. I probably wouldn't read this book again. There is no specific reason why not, it was, after all very enjoyable, but I couldn't see myself getting anything extra out of it.

Also, check out the memorable moments from this novel: http://lebookreview.blogspot.ca/2013/04/memorable-moments-number-twelve-storm.html

memorable moments number twelve~ storm thief

memorable moments
Storm Thief by Chris Wooding

page 3:
The seabird slid through the black sky beneath the blanket of cloud, its feathers ruffling fitfully as it was buffeted by the changing winds.
The ocean was the colour of slate. It bulged and warped in angry swells. Above, spectral light flickered within the thunderheads, and the air boomed. A steady rain fell, slipping of the seabird's oiled feathers in droplets.
It was alone. Somewhere on its solitary journey towards the breeding grounds, it had lost its way. A magnetic storm was stroking the upper atmosphere, confusing its instinctive sense of navigation. The oppressive cloud hadn't dispersed for three days now, so the bird couldn't even use the sun as a guide. It glided over an endless expanse of steely waves, completely without direction.

page 7:
"So sad, Moa thought, distracted for a moment. So sad that there was once a time when the world was full of wonders like that. So sad that we've forgotten how to make them."

page 8:
"There were voices below. Muttered phrases suddenly accelerated into high-pitched, squeaky chatter and then returned to a drone, as if someone had recorded a voice and was randomly speeding it up and slowing it down, rearranging the syllables in different orders, playing them in reverse. The warped speech of the Mozgas."

page 33:
"Last night, during the storm, a seabird had flown into his room. He had been standing by the window in his little corner when it had flown in and knocked itself dead on one of the pipes.
The event had made him sad. The seabird wasn't ugly. At least, he didn't think so. Even dead it was beautiful. Its feathers were sleek and soft, and he liked the feel of it on his skin. 

page 37:
"Moa slept a lot. She preferred being asleep to being awake, for she always had the most vivid dreams: dreams of flying or of strange and mystical lands, dreams of adventure and romance. Inside her cocoon of blankets and furs, she could be elsewhere, and in her imagination she lived a life of wonders.

page 43:
"Rail shrugged, as if he could make it less important by acting like he didn't care."

page 44:
""Things will change on their own, Rail. Things always change if you wait long enough."
He tapped the side of his respirator muzzle. "I'll make my own luck," he said bitterly.

page 47:
"She looked up at him and gave him a heartbreaking smile of pure and innocent happiness. She never understood why Rail did these little things for her, these little gestures of companionship  but she loved him for it. Not in the way a girl was supposed to love a boy - at least, she didn't think so - but because it made her feel wanted. Neither Rail nor Moa had anybody to care about them but each other."

page 62:
"Probability storms threw up all kinds of weirdness, and occasionally a person might be seen with three arms, or town heads, or a coat of scares, or a forked tail. It could happen to anyone, at any time. That was why people feared them: because it reminded them how fragile their happiness was, how easily their world could be turned inside out. That was why people reacted with disgust and hate.

page 64:
"If he ran, where would he run to? He was afraid of the city, and it was all around him."

page 77:
"He never could understand why she still believed in the cause that her father had died for. Maybe it was only that she didn't want his death to be in vain, that she wanted to prove him right. Or maybe it was just because she needed something to believe."

"She looked down into the water again. "Sometimes I just want to throw myself in," she murmured  "To let it carry me out of the vents, into the sea, and over the horizon. Maybe I'd wash up on another shore."
"You'd wash up dead," Rail said impatiently."

page 81:
""Moa, he's baggage," Rail said.
"Well, now he's our baggage," she replied firmly.
Rail threw his hands up in frustration and stalked away. He knew she would not be dissuaded now. What burned him about Moa was that she was usually so passive, but she clung so tightly to her dreams, that she sometimes lost her grip on reality. It was a bird, for freck's sake. Who cared about a bird?
But it was what she wanted, and in the end he could never say no to her. 

page 82:
"Sometimes he wished he hadn't ever gotten mixed up with this girl. But he never wished it for long."

page 85:
""I don't like it," she said. "It's such a risk."
Rail peered over the parapet again, searching for another glimpse of their pursuers. "Sometimes you have to take a risk, Moa," he threw back at her.

page 105:
"Had Moa and Rail not been wearing visors, they would have seen only men and women and children, completely unremarkable except for their almost supernatural calm. They went about their business without ever saying a word, their eyes glazed. Like sleepwalkers.
But with the visors on, it was possible to see them for what they really were. They seethed aether. Greenish-yellow energy, fine as vapour, wisped from their bodies or trailed behind them as they moved. Their eyes and mouths and nostrils were like tiny torches, blazing with blinding energy. It was as if their bodies were merely shells to contain the spectral glow. When they moved their heads, fizzing particles of aether detached from them and floated away, slowly fading into nothingness."

page 118:
"The streamer slid from the building behind, a vast swathe of turquoise, and passed through them.
The moment was too fast to really feel it. It was swift as an eyeblink, a dislocation, where everything seemed suddenly wrong and they were a fraction out of step with the pulse of the universe."

page 120:
"They were breathtaking. It would be easy to be mesmerized by these beings of sparkling energy as they moved with lazy elegance in the air... Though they represented a fate worse than death to humans, Moa couldn't help being awed by them."

page 126:
"... and as Rail watched, several of the houses simply disappeared, fading like a dream upon waking."

page 146:
"But the Fulcrum inspired its own special awe and dread. Inside it, so rumour held, was the great machine that controlled Orokos, that generated the probability storms and created the Revenants. They called it the Chaos Engine."

page 158:
"A tough upbringing had left him with one rule which he lived by: to think of himself above all others. You had to be selfish to survive."

page 162:
"This whole place was built on a foolish dream, Rail thought. No wonder Moa had been so keen to bring Vago here. He wonder she was so keen to come home. She lived for dreams."

page 166:
"... I wandered for a while. I went east to find my uncle, but he had long gone and nobody knew where. Instead I found Rail. Or rather, Rail found me."

page 167:
"..."Thank you." It seemed a pitifully inadequate response, but Moa was too tired and drained to offer anything else."

page 170:
"... - but she projected a presence that made her seem much larger than she was. She had an absolute and unquestionable confidence that other people responded to."

page 172:
"These people were just like everyone else he had met. They viewed  him with mistrust at best, horror at worse. They thought of him as a dangerous animal, something less than them. Only Moa treated him as an equal."

page 180:
"... It comes down to a matter of belief. It's a leap of faith. We can stay here with our dreams just out of reach, or we can risk everything to reach them."
"Nothing's worth risking that many lives for," Rail said.
"Some things are," Kittiwake replied."

page 182:
""I want to go with her," Moa said the next day. It was so depressingly inevitable that Rail didn't bother to even respond at first."

page 185:
""... But I'm not going to be condemned here. There's more than this, Rail! And I will find it if it kills me."
"That," replied Rail quietly, "is exactly what it's going to do.""

page 186:
"None of it interested him. He barely felt the faint warmth of the sun on his skin. The faces he was were only marks to him, potential victims for pickpocketing or mugging. Even the beautiful ones, the girls with the smooth face flashing joyous smiles as they laughed and talked - even they didn't do a thing to stir him. Finch didn't have a soul that was capable of appreciating the finer emotions."

page 200:
""You seem older, Vago. Not as young as you once were," he said absently.
"It's hard to feel like a child when you see what the world has become," Vago replied.
"That's why we shelter our children as best we can," Cretch replied. "The contentment of ignorance is all too brief.""

page 208:
"Recollection as slipping towards him like a landslide, gathering momentum as it neared."

page 210:
"Then he hadn't always been this way. He had been human once, and he'd had a face and a name. Now he was a monster."

page 214:
"He sagged. "Why do you treat us this way?"
Bane laughed in surprise. "What do you mean?"
"The ghettoes, the disappearances, everything. What you do to the ghetto-folk. Why?"
Bane's laughter faded. "Because you ruin our world," he said.
Vago met his eye, and he saw that he was perfectly serious.
"We all have dreams," Bane said. "Mine is a world of order, where everything has its place and everything works, where people can walk the streets in safety. A society of citizens who are happy because they are secure and because their lives are overseen by us." His face soured, and Vago could hear the disgust and hatred in his voice as he went on. "All I want is a society of good, healthy people with enough food to go round and enough jobs to satisfy everyone. But there are always you filthy ghetto-folk getting in my way. The poor and the weak and those with criminal genes who breed more criminals. The sick and the useless, taking up our food and our space. Don't you realise how small Orokos is, compared to its population? Already our hydroponics farms are stretched to the limit. Our fish stocks deplete daily; even the sea is not inexhaustible. And with the Revenants appearing all over the city we can never be certain of any kind of steady supply. You people are leeches, draining out society dry, and we can't allow that any longer."
Vago regarded him silently.
'But we can't just kill you. The citizens won't allow genocide. So we do it quietly. We take you away a few at a time, and then we shut down one ghetto and move all the inhabitants to another. One day Orokos will wake up and you just own't be there anymore. There'll be no poor, no sick, no criminals. Everyone will be happy and content. Then once we've defeated the Revenants, there'll be a new age. An age of peace and order and perfection, like there was in the days before the Fade."
There was one last thing Vago wanted to know. "What would have happened to me if I hadn't volunteered to this? What happens to all those who are taken away?"
Bane's face was stern, rigid with conviction. There wasn't a flicker of doubt there in the righteousness of his cause. "That's the most elegant part. As I said, we don't have enough food to go round, and wasting it on ghetto-folk is foolish. The nutrient gruel that we feed them to stop them from starving and rioting . . . it's made from the people we take away."
Vago lowered his head, and his features fell into shadow. The horror of it was too much. All of it was too much."

page 220:
"Now that she felt herself and Rail splitting apart, she realized how tightly they had been entwined."

page 221:
"Finch couldn't be everywhere, it was true. But it was amazing what the promise of a little money could do."

page 229:
"... We got into this together." He embraced her gently. "I'd rather be here with you than anywhere else."

page 230:
"It was a sombre place where echoes seemed hollow, and the atmosphere was that of soulless and clinical efficiency."

page 231:
"He felt flattened and unable to pick himself up."

page 233:
"They lay together in each other's arms, and Moa, exhausted, had fallen instantly asleep. Rail, however, had been kept awake by the warmth of her body, the feel of her bony frame, and the faint pressure of her breath against his throat. How casual she could be sometimes, not knowing what she was doing to him by letting him hold her this way.
For a time, he resented her for it. He had lost all hope, and he had accepted that. But now she had reminded him of something he had all but forgotten about these past days: that he had one thing worth clinging to and fighting for, and she lay in his arms that night."

page 234:
"On the wall was a bronze plaque, on which was engraved the legend WE WILL MAKE THIS WORLD RIGHT AGAIN - BENEJES FRINE. It was a quote from someone neither Rail nor Moa had ever heard of."

page 236:
"He's a tricky one; I admire that."

page 238:
""How do you know?" said Moa, her voice quiet with the edge of hysterical anger. "How do you know that?""

page 240:
"You always wanted to change the world, Rail, he said to himself. Now's your chance."

page 241:
"...Perhaps they are sailing to nowhere, perhaps not. But I'm not going to let some ragged group of outcasts become the inspiration for a generation of rebels."

page 242:
"... Bane sat at his desk and dreamed of perfection."

"Tomorrow they would change the world. There were preparations to be made."

page 247:
"Rail had been right. She was too softhearted. She was too willing to believe the best of people, when it made more sense to assume everyone was a potential enemy until they proved otherwise. But when she said this to Rail, he surprised her by his response.
"No," he said softly. "Don't you ever think that. That's what I think, and I wish I didn't. You have faith in people, Moa; you're willing to give. I can't do that, but being with you when you do it makes my life a little more worth living.""

page 274:
"These were the colours of raw probability energy, the colours of change."

page 277:
"... and suddenly he understood her, if only a little. He caught a glimpse of her dreams, the mystical place where joy and awe lived, the invisible land that she visited when she slept. It was this feelings he was after when she talked of the new world over the horizon."

page 279:
""... We believed that a society needed law and order, and the stricter the law, the greater the order. We liked that.""

page 288:
"Finch gave a mocking salute and a rotten grin. Then he was gone, slipping through the soldiers who were crammed onto the gantry around the spire of the Chaos Engine."

page 295:
"Her faith in people was perhaps the only weapon they had left now."

page 296:
"Moa was trying shake her head, but she couldn't move it within his grip. "I don't want to die," she whispered. "Don't do this. Please don't do this. I want to live."
I want to live. It was the naked simplicity of it that broke Vago's heart and cracked open the incomplete Protectorate conditioning that had fogged his  mind. Suddenly the girl he was looking down on wasn't some filthy ghetto rat but Moa, a girl with a name, and she had been his friend once. She had been the only person in the world who had shown him kindness, when everyone else had treated him with hatred and mistrust. She had believed in him until the very end. And for all that, he had rewarded her with suffering."

page 306:
""You tow are the luckiest kids I've ever had the misfortune to meet," she declared.
"You make your own luck," said Rail, smiling with his eyes. "Nobody ever tell you that?""

page 309:
"Perhaps they were happy now. Perhaps they never made it. He couldn't say. This was limbo: a place of oblivion, a place where nothing was determined or certain. He liked it here."

page 310:
"In the end, it was all down to chance; but he knew one thing above all else.
Anything was possible."

le book review number eighty~ the westing game

Sunday, 7 April 2013

Title: The Westing Game
Author: Ellen Raskin
Pages: 216
Publisher: Scholastic (April 12th, 2004 edition)
Year published: First Published 1978
Personal star rating: 5/5 stars

Description From the Back Cover:
A bizarre chain of events begins when sixteen unlikely people gather for the reading of Samuel W. Westing's will. And though no one knows why the eccentric, game-loving millionaire has chosen a virtual stranger - and a possible murderer - to inherit his vast fortune, one thing's for sure: Sam Westing may be dead . . . but that won't stop him from playing one last game!

First Sentence:
"The sun sets in the west (just about everyone knows that), but Sunset Towers faced east."

Cover Comments:
I like the cover, although it doesn't stand out just sitting on a shelf. However, it's subtlety is what is most drawing about it because it is a mystery after all. It is quiet and has relevance to the story in it's intrigue.

Title Thoughts:
I love the title. It's really simple, yet mysterious. It's catching and memorable.

Overview of Thoughts:
I really loved reading this book. It had clues, it had interesting people, it had really cool things. It took me longer to read than I had expected, but found it was definitely worthwhile taking my time with it.

There are 16 characters that are trying to be described in a couple hundred pages. Each one could have had more development, but that might have given the problem-solver in me too many details to solve it partway through and I would have been disappointed if I had guessed the ending. I definitely think reading this at an earlier age would make me less critical. However, the characters had qualities that were interesting and made them like real people with real stories. And in all books, there were characters I liked more than others.

The plot was very interesting and intriguing. I'm always up for a mystery, especially one that leaves me guessing until the end.

Read this book. Simple as that. I liked it and I would read it again.