Tuesday, December 6, 2011

Review: In the Forests of the Night

Title: In the Forests of the Night (Den of Shadows #1)
Author: Amelia Atwater-Rhodes
Publisher: Laurel Leaf
Pages: 147
Where I Got This Book: Library
Rating: 4 Stars

Goodreads Summary: By day, Risika sleeps in a shaded room in Concord, Massachuseets. By night, she hunts the streets of New York City. She is used to being alone. But someone is following Risika. He has left her a black rose, the same sort of rose that sealed her fate three hundred years ago. Three hundred years ago Risika had a family-a brother and a father who loved her. Three hundred years ago she was human.

Now she was a vampire, a powerful one. And her past has come back to torment her.

My Thoughts: I was extremely impressed to learn that the author wrote this book when she was only thirteen. It is very well-written and not just for her age. Despite the novel's short length and the fact that the story only spans a few days, the main character, Risika, was nicely fleshed out. We got to know her story about how she was changed into a vampire when the book would flash back to 1701-the last year Risika was human-and then we get her revenge story in the present time.

What I thought was great about this book was that Risika came across as a very sympathetic and likeable character despite the fact that she was a true vampire. No animal blood for her. She hunted humans at night in NYC. She still had a conscience, though, possibly from her religious upbringing when she was human, and she seems to hunt people that she deems evil (such as murderers, criminals, ect). At least, she did in the beginning. I'm not positive how discriminatory she was about her food after 300 years.

Given how short this novel is, I can't really say much more about it without giving away the whole thing. I will say that I will definitely be reading more books by Atwater-Rhodes. I think she's a very gifted writer. There are four more books in this series (though I think they're more like companion novels and not a continuation of Risika's story), one other series called Kiesha' ra plus a standalone book. Luckily, my campus library carries many of her books. I'll probably have a little Atwater-Rhodes read-a-thon sometime next year.

I have to say, I'm jealous of her. She's only six years older than me and she already has a bookshelf full of her own published novels.

Monday, December 5, 2011

Top Ten Childhood Favorites

Top Ten Tuesday is a feature hosted by The Broke and the Bookish. You can find upcoming topics at their Top Ten Tuesday page.

1. The Berenstain Bears and Too Much Junk Food
I learned how to read from this series, and this is one of my favorite stories of the Berenstain bears. I remember looking at all of those illustrations of candy and wishing that I had a pile of junk food to snack on too (which was the opposite of what the book intended for me, but oh well). I loved this series to death and I loved the show!

2. I Was So Mad
The Little Critters collection is another series that I learned to read from. I had a really hard time picking which book I wanted to display. I finally decided on I Was So Mad because I remember it being hilarious and I loved those frogs! I really want to go back and read this entire series. I hope my mom still has them somewhere in the house.

3. The Christmas Ghost (Sweet Valley Twins Super Chiller #1)
I don't think there's a single Sweet Valley book I haven't read (from every series).This is one of my particular favorites of the Twins series, and it's a Christmas themed book, so it's a perfect pick for December. In this book, Elizabeth gets a famous teen movie star to come to Sweet Valley and help out with a charity fund raiser for a local hospital, but Jessica, who is desperate to meet him, pretends to be her twin. She thinks there's no harm in what she does, but three ghosts from Christmas past, present and future show her the error of her ways. I'm definitely going to have to check out my local libraries once I get home after finals and see if any of them carry this book. It would make a great holiday read, and I haven't read a Sweet Valley book in some time so it'll be really nice to revisit the twins again.

4. Weeping Willow
One of my favorite books of all time. I felt such a kinship with the main character, Tiny Lambert (my own last name is Lambert, so that might have played a part in that). I even thought about naming my first daughter Tiny after I'd read this book, but thankfully I let that one go (since my daughter would probably actually be tiny-I'm only 5' 1" myself-so that would just be cruel).

5. Where the Lilies Bloom
This is another beautiful book, and a sad one. This should be assigned reading for all young girls (I would say 4th grade or older). I loved that this book took place in the North Carolina (I was living in California at the time but was born in NC and always considered myself a southern girl at heart). This book was a wonderful taste of home.


Hmmmm . . . well, that's all I can think of for books I loved in elementary school. Like I said above, I was obsessed with Sweet Valley and those books took up most of my reading time. However, there are a couple more books I would like to share that I fell in love with in the seventh grade:

6. Ella Enchanted
This book became an instant favorite. It has it all: romance, fantasy, adventure. I literally could not put it down until I finished it. I read Ella Enchanted in one day, which was something I was quite proud of because it was the first time I could remember doing that (not counting the kid chapter books).

7. The Girl Who Owned a City
This was my first dystopian novel ever and it blew me away! If you have never read it, you need to get to it immediately. Here's a short summary of the book (taken from Goodreads): When a plague sweeps over the earth killing everyone except children under twelve, ten-year-old Lisa organizes a group to rebuild a new way of life. Sounds epic, right?