Wednesday, September 30, 2009

Among the Free (Shadow Children, Book 7) Among the Free
by Margaret Peterson Haddix

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

It's a wrap! This final book in the Shadow Children series is told from Luke's perspective, which seems appropriate since we started this whole journey with him in the first book. Luke has infiltrated the Population Police and resists a direct order to shoot an old woman, inadvertently setting off a chain of events that leads to the demise of the Population Police. This seems like an amazing event, or is it? Our old friend Oscar Wydell (Smits' bodyguard from Among the Barons) places himself in charge of the new government. Luke is unsettled about this, but even more puzzled when he overhears Oscar conferring with Aldous Krakenaur, the former leader of the Population Police.

What remains is for Luke to decide what is right, what freedom really means, and what can he, as a solitary child do about it?

I enjoyed this last book in the series. It had plenty of plot twists and turns and lots of action. I found myself reflecting on some of the restrictions placed on population around the world and wondered if the author was trying to give some sort of subtle message about this. The ending of the book isn't completely cut and dried like I expected and I liked that too. WIthout giving too much away, I feel like the end made sense considering the surroundings and current state of affairs.

Liked the series, but ready to move on to new horizons! Suzanne Collins, here we come!

View all my reviews >>

Tuesday, September 29, 2009

Among the Enemy (Shadow Children, Book 6) Among the Enemy by Margaret Peterson Haddix

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

So I said before that I was going to take a break from this series, but I decided to plow through since I have the whole series stacked up on my bedside table.

In Among the Enemy, we focus on Mattias, one of the children that Nina helped in one of the previous books. Mattias has the opportunity to get close to the commander of the Population Police and use this privilege to help the rebels further the cause.

Interesting story, same idea with different details; Mattias starts out as a scared, timid child and by the end has turned into a strong, brave rebel with a cause.

Finally I will be on to the final book, look for my review tomorrow!

View all my reviews >>

Saturday, September 26, 2009

Among the Brave (Shadow Children, Book 5) Among the Brave by Margaret Peterson Haddix

My rating: 4 of 5 stars
In this book, tensions rise as the Government is overthrown by the head of the Population Police, Aldous Krakenaur. People are starving and rioting. They are promised food if they join up with the Population Police to hunt down every single illegal third child who may be in hiding.

This book focuses on Trey; a timid third child who had never been outside of his bedroom before coming to the Hendricks school. His mettle is tested as he finds himself in situations unimaginable. He rescues Luke, Nina, Mr. Talbot and others and finds out that he is strong and the revolution has changed him.

I liked this fourth book in the Shadow Children series. I like that we seem to be getting closer to the end; to when all third children can be free. I was grateful not to live in this unstable world where food is scarce and a seemingly insane dictator has taken charge. Again, I enjoyed seeing one of the children "grow up" or have to anyway. Trey found his strength within that allowed him to help others at any cost.

Liked it, but I think I might be ready for a break from the series for now.

View all my reviews >>

Wednesday, September 23, 2009

Midwives Midwives by Chris Bohjalian

My rating: 3 of 5 stars

Sybil Danforth has been a lay midwife for years with much success and happiness in her profession. On a hideously stormy night she performs a C-section on a woman she believes to have died of a stroke. She is prosecuted for this when doubts arise and people question whether the woman was still alive when she performed the C-section and inadvertently caused her death.

Sybil is a good midwife; she is cautious, she has a back-up Ob-gyn to help if needed and doesn't hesitate to transfer her mothers to the hospital if the situation gets sticky. The weather this night is so icy that Sybil can't even make it to her car without bruises and a sprained ankle, so transferring to the hospital was out of the question.

This book made me think about decisions I make in life. Sybil's decision to cut into a woman to save the baby's life is a decision that will change the course of her life. She was acting in good faith, but she has to question whether this was the right thing to do. Would anyone have cared about this if the baby and mother just died? Her actions, though welll-meant cause the heartache of several others including her own daughter.

This book gets three stars from me for the fantastic prose and the unique way that the book is written from the point of view of Sybil's daughter. Sybil is writing this looking back from years later and there are bits from Sybil's diaries that help the reader understand her as a person. The court scenes are interesting and I like the way that the author creates some suspense and anticipation for the end . I didn't guess what was going to happen and was surprised by the ending.

For all that this is a well-written book, I am feeling decidedly glum. I just finished the book and it wasn't a happy escape for me. Definitely a read to save for a time when you would like some quiet reflection on ethics and how life begins. View all my reviews >>

Monday, September 21, 2009

Among the Barons (Shadow Children, Book 4) Among the Barons by Margaret Peterson Haddix

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Luke Garner, an illegal third child, spent his first twelve years in hiding. For the past four months Luke has lived among others, using the identity of Lee Grant, at the Hendricks School for Boys. But just as things are finally starting to go right, Lee's little brother Smits arrives at the school and Luke finds himself caught in a tangle of lies that gets more complex with every passing day.

It's getting good again. The third book was a little slow but this one moved fast, I wasn't sure what to believe about any of the characters and I liked the ending. Luke develops a relationship with Smits and is able to help him out, a small step in his quest to help give freedom to those who deserve it. Luke briefly reunites with his family who sees how much he has grown in stature and maturity.

A great fourth book, definitely got me fired up to read the rest! View all my reviews >>


For a few days, I had a cool blog name.
But I inadvertently stole it from another.
For that, I am sorry
and back to the boring old original
until I find something unique of my own.

Friday, September 18, 2009

Tears of Pearl by Tasha Alexander

Tears of Pearl: A Novel of Suspense (Lady Emily, #4) Tears of Pearl: A Novel of Suspense by Tasha Alexander

My rating: 2 of 5 stars

Even on her honeymoon with the dashing Colin Hargreaves Lady Emily can't resist becoming involved in solving the murder of a concubine at the Sultan's palace in the exotic Ottoman empire. To complicate matters, Lady Emily thinks she may be pregnant and struggles with losing her freedom to a husband who may become overprotective in this situation. While I loved the first line of this book, "It is always a mistake to underestimate the possibilities of a train comaprtment", the rest just fell flat for me. I finished it because I have loved the three previous books but this one seemed tedious to me. The romance between Colin and Emily made me want to gag; continuous mentions of sexual situations and preludes to sexual situations were just too much for me. I enjoyed it more in the previous books when it was still innocent with the promise of more. Lady Emily started to frustrate me with her insistence on her complete freedom to the point that when Colin is trying to protect her safety, it becomes a fight between them. I liked the part where her friend Maragaret asked her if maybe she should let him protect her a little bit because he might like it. I did enjoy the setting with the sultan and palaces and concubines and the exotic and the author's prose is fun to read. But on the whole I was disappointed with this book and found myself skimming just to finish. View all my reviews >>

Tuesday, September 15, 2009

Peril the Second Find

I found this book today at my library book sale for $1. I think it will work out perfectly for my Peril the Second reading challenge. A medevil historical mystery. And, have you seen the cover? Looks like a creepy book to me.

Among the Betrayed by Maragaret Haddix Peterson

Nina Idi--a third child in a society where families are allowed only two children--has been betrayed by the boy she loved, and arrested by the Population Police for exposing other alleged third children. Angry and confused, Nina knows only one thing for sure: She is innocent of the charges. But now she is faced with the most difficult choice of her life: Get three other prisoners to admit they are shadow children and be spared herself, or refuse to cooperate and be killed.

This is the third book in the Shadow Children series. I keep complaining that the whole series should be all one book but I guess that isn't practical because these are written for 8-12 year olds. I liked this book but it was a bit slow. However the ending wrapped up nicely with Nina learning that she has a strong inner core that she can use going forward to help other Shadow Children.


Sunday, September 13, 2009

Quietly venturing into my own book blog

I recently added several book blogs to my google reader account and have enjoyed reading about a bunch of great new books, blog tours and reader challenges. I'm tentatively trying to jump-start my book blog without being too intimidated about the amazing reviews and prose I have read on other people's book blogs.

My first foray into the book blogging world will include participation in the RIP IV challenge - I'm going to try for the Peril the Second level. More details at this fun blog -

My books will be:

The Physick Book of Deliverance Dane

And then maybe:

The Mystery of the Sea by Bram Stoker

Here are more suggestions from Carl at Stainless Steel Droppings:

1. Her Fearful Symmetry by Audrey Niffenegger
2. The Glass Books of the Dream Eaters by Gordon Dahlquist
3. Uncle Montague’s Tales of Terror by Chris Priestley
4. Tales of Terror from the Black Ship by Christ Priestley
5. The Heart Shaped Box by Joe Hill
6. The Mystery of the Sea by Bram Stoker
7. The Woman in White by Wilkie Collins
8. The Historian by Elizabeth Kostova
9. Shadow of the Wind by Carlos Ruiz Zafón