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Posts Tagged ‘adventure’

Doll Bones by Holly Black

Posted by Caitie F on July 5, 2014

Title: Doll Bonesdoll
Author: Holly Black
Hardcover: 247 pages
Pub Date: May 7, 2013
Publisher: Margaret K. McElderry Books
Rating: ++++

Summary from pub:

Zach, Poppy and Alice have been friends for ever. They love playing with their action figure toys, imagining a magical world of adventure and heroism. But disaster strikes when, without warning, Zach’s father throws out all his toys, declaring he’s too old for them. Zach is furious, confused and embarrassed, deciding that the only way to cope is to stop playing . . . and stop being friends with Poppy and Alice. But one night the girls pay Zach a visit, and tell him about a series of mysterious occurrences. Poppy swears that she is now being haunted by a china doll – who claims that it is made from the ground-up bones of a murdered girl. They must return the doll to where the girl lived, and bury it. Otherwise the three children will be cursed for eternity.


I have heard so much about this book and am going to LeakyCon in less than a month, so i wanted to read some Holly Black books and my library had this one!

If you pick it up, stick with it through the first few chapters. Both my husband and I thought it started really slowly. He gave up, but I went on with it and am so glad I did!

The book was the perfect mixture of strong characterization, a quest, and some creepiness. Growing up is hard and all three characters deal with it in different ways. I think young readers will be able to connect with at least one of them. They are all going through different struggles with growing up, but they are all relatable. I really thought Poppy’s perspective was interesting. At one point, she says “I hate that everyone calls it growing up, but it seems like DYING.”

While that wasn’t my experience, I think it was an experience a lot of kids have when they can;t just play anymore, hormones kick in, and their friends move into different cliques and apart. Holly Black just seems to get that.

But it isn’t just a coming of age story, it also a creepy adventure that every kid dreams of. Loved every moment of that, especially when they complained about all the walking.

The doll is SO creepy and the real story is even creepier. I love a good ghost story and it delivered

This is a great book and I understand why it has so much acclaim.


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The Very Nearly Honorable League of Pirates: Magic Marks the Spot by Caroline Carlson

Posted by Caitie F on September 10, 2013

Title: The Very Nearly Honorable League of Pirates: Magic Marks the SpotLeague of Pirates
Author: Caroline Carlson
Hardcover: 256 pages
Pub Date: Sept 10, 2013
Publisher: HarperCollins Children’s Books
Rating: ++++

Summary from pub:

Hilary Westfield has always dreamed of being a pirate. She can tread water for thirty-seven minutes. She can tie a knot faster than a fleet of sailors. She particularly enjoys defying authority, and she already owns a rather pointy sword. There’s only one problem: The Very Nearly Honorable League of Pirates refuses to let any girl join their ranks of scourges and scallywags.

Girls belong at Miss Pimm’s Finishing School for Delicate Ladies, learning to waltz, faint, and curtsy. But Hilary and her dearest friend, the gargoyle, have no use for such frivolous lessons—they are pirates! (Or very nearly.)

To escape from a life of petticoats and politeness, Hilary answers a curious advertisement for a pirate crew and suddenly finds herself swept up in a seafaring adventure that may or may not involve a map without an X, a magical treasure that likely doesn’t exist, a rogue governess who insists on propriety, a crew of misfit scallywags, and the most treacherous—and unexpected—villain on the High Seas.

Will Hilary find the treasure in time? Will she become a true pirate after all? And what will become of the gargoyle?


While a pirate ship would have been a much more fun place than s finishing school, I think I would have passed on both. I never really got the attraction of pirates or sailing on the high seas, though I do love the Disney movie and ride. But if you love pirates or are looking for a fun adventure, this is a book to read.

It is by no means a bad book. It is an enjoyable way to spend a few hours. It is an exciting adventure that will capture your imagination. I loved that the end of each chapters had a letter to someone, so you got to see a glimpse of the rest of the story outside of HIlary’s perspective. Whenever it is done creatively, it really can add to a book, for this it gave it an entire extra + because it was done so well!

Hilary is great, as is the gargoyle, but no one really changed or grew. Hilary was brave and strong from the very beginning. She got better at everything, but the growth was minimal. Not to say she is unlikable, she is a very likable character and I hope she gives young girls a sense of bravery and adventure, I just think there could have been more. The gargoyle had me laughing out loud. It is the perfect humor for a middle grade novel that adults can enjoy as well.

The plot was rather predictable. There were several spots that seemed like they were large reveals, but there were so many hints towards them that it was never that big of a surprise.

It is a good book and I liked that it was a full story even though it is part of a series. If you like pirates, or know a middle grader who does, this book will be perfect.

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The Lost Symbol by Dan Brown – Review

Posted by Caitie F on September 21, 2009

Title: The Lost Symbol
Author: Dan Brown
Hardcover: 528 pages
Publisher: Random House/Doubleday
Year Published: 2009
Rating ++

This review will contain mild spoilers (but it doesn’t give away any plot points)

Dan Brown’s latest book has come out and sold a lot of copies and I went out and got mine. I read annoyingly fast, so I finished it in four or five hours total (I would love to know what reading level this is supposed to be, Harry Potters book 4-7 all took longer than this). It made me decide that I don’t need to read any more Dan Brown books.

I loved Angels & Demons, I thought it was a great story and had some great controversies that really made me think. I thought Da Vinci Code was okay. I thought Deception Point was somewhere in between the two Langdon books, and this one would go below that.

His books are incredibly formulaic. This one contains someone Langdon knows getting into trouble, him working with a woman to solve the mystery and save the other person, a security officer with authority that Langdon does not trust, and a bad guy who hurts himself and does it all for a higher power. Do any of those sound familiar? Also, his watch is referenced several times, he gets trapped or has to travel through many small spaces, and at one point, it looks like he is dead! There are even more similarities including God vs science, what religion is, and many more.

Please Dan Brown, think of something new! These books all seem to be the same!

I was looking forward to this book quite a lot for one reason – the setting. Washington DC is one of my favorite cities and I was looking forward to knowing a lot about the locations that were in the book (plus, Langdon traveling from Harvard to DC made a lot of sense). In that, I was not disappointed. I learned more about two famous DC landmarks and when they traveled on The Metro, I knew exactly where they were at all times.

I also am interested in Freemasons. I knew someone in college that was one (only the 5th or 6th level) and while he couldn’t tell us most things, what he told me about his beliefs was very interesting, so I was excited that they would be a central part of this story. That also was not a disappointment. I did learn quite a bit about the beliefs.

Those two things could not save the book. Dan Brown just needs to write better (and his editors need to do more). If a better writer had written this book, I would have enjoyed it a lot more. If you liked his first Langdon books, you may be disappointed because it is so similar, which really, in the end, was my main disappointment. I think Robert Langdon has a lot of potential as an interesting character to build a series on, but there needs to be more differences.

Don’t necessarily take my word for it. Go form an opinion of your own!

If you have reviewed this book, please leave a comment with a link to where it is and I will link it here!

For a much different review, check out She is Too Fond of Books

For a funny, but spoiler-filled review check out The Book Lady’s Blog

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