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THE MEMORY BANK is the story of Hope Scroggins, who lives with her beloved sister Honey and the Dursley-esque parents they share. In fact these parents are SO horribly awful that one day, when the sisters disobey the rule against "no laughing," they banish Honey forever, telling Hope that she must simply "forget" her. Hope knows that she HAS to find her sister again, before her memories of Honey fade. But before she can even begin to look, she's whisked away to the World Wide Memory Bank, where her accounts are in disarray... There she learns about the process of how dreams and memories are kept safe. She also learns that there's a group of misfits called the Clean Slate Gang who want to destroy the Memory Bank, and all of the dreams and memories kept there. What she doesn't know is that Honey has been picked up by the Clean Slate Gang, and they're heading right for the Memory Bank. The story of how Hope makes her way through this brewing conflict and rescues her little sister is full of tension and suspense, set in a vividly imagined world of strange machines and wonderful characters.

My, what a sweet little story. It basically chronicles one girl's heartfelt journey to find her little sister. It reminds me of The Willoughbys by Lois Lowry for the despicable parents, but The Willoughbys is more satiric. The Memory Bank is more sincere and fantastical. 

The storytelling format is similar to that of Brian Selznick's The Invention of Hugo Cabret and Wonderstruck (both amazing books - you MUST read them). Pencil illustrations and words alternate throughout the book. More like Wonderstruck, the pictures tell Honey's story and the words tell Hope's. Although the blurb promises conflict, there's really no actual "fighting" but more of a spiritual conflict between the leader of the Clean Slate Gang and her father. The message of the importance of parents in a child's upbringing is touching and effectively communicated. The warm, accepting characters at the Memory Bank (i.e., Obleratta) are comforting and are typical of a book directed towards a younger audience. However, the whole plot unfolded too quickly for my liking.

Overall maybe a 2.5 out of 5, but a great read for maybe first through third graders. 
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When Sophie attracts too much human attention for a prom-night spell gone horribly wrong, she is exiled to Hex Hall, an isolated reform school for wayward Prodigium, a.k.a. witches, faeries, and shapeshifters.

I get all of my book blurbs from Google Books. This one was really disappointing. It didn't mention all of the great characters or that she's a witch *HAHAHAHAHA Inside joke - laugh with me, those of you who've read this*. Sorry. Just sorta went crazy right there. Heh. Heh. The book was exciting. Good read.

Anyhow, the protagonist, Sophie Mercer, was very well-developed. It was kinda lame how she didn't know anything about Prodigium, but understandable. BTW, the cat on the cover has nothing to do with the story. The voice was sarcastic - my kind of girl.

Archer Cross... (love interest, just so ya know) I knew he was *SPOILER ALERT - Refer to StarCrossed book review for instructions* an agent for L'Occhio di Dio the first time I read him. Yes, I did.

I didn't know what to think about Elodie and the coven. I didn't. I was like, "Why are they there?"

Jenna Talbot was really sweet. I'd love to have a friend like her. (My friends all happen to be amazingly nerdy geniuses. Sad...) I knew that OBVIOUSLY she wasn't the predator (oh yeah, the book blurb doesn't mention that either... so basically it has a bit of a Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets ring to it, and this mysterious predator is draining blood from the coven). The vampire rules were kind of unoriginal, but oh well.

Overall maybe a 3.8 of 5. Going to be looking for the next book.. maybe..
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In the virtual reality game Heir Apparent, there are way too many ways to get killed--and Giannine seems to be finding them all. Which is a darn shame, because unless she can get the magic ring, locate the stolen treasure, answer the dwarf's dumb riddles, impress the head-chopping statue, charm the army of ghosts, fend off the barbarians, and defeat the man-eating dragon, she'll never win.

And she has to, because losing means she'll die--for real this time.
The book's setup was terrible. I couldn't figure out if it was the near future or the present, although the bus is driven by a robot and the virtual reality game is seriously virtual reality. I'm guessing it was the near future. Also, the backstory - or the lack of it, rather - left me totally disoriented and thinking, I'm supposed to care about this girl? All I got was that her parents had abandoned her so her father had given her a gift certificate to "make up for it" or something.  Yeah, I think the cover's ugly too.

However, once one gets into it, it's a pretty nice book. The voice is somewhat funny and sarcastic, the premise is creative, and the characters are nothing if not memorable. The book blurb is kind of misleading, though. Just letting y'all know. The character names are also interesting *cough cough*, which you can pretty much tell from the book blurb. I mean, Giannine? Really?

More on the weird, wacky, and unheard-of side, Heir Apparent made for a quick read, with eccentric characters, rollicking adventure, and a fairly good plot. 3.9 of 5. :)
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In a glamorous castle full of Llyvraneth's elite, Celyn Contrare serves as a lady-in-waiting to shy young Merista Nemair. Her days are spent dressing in velvet, attending Lady Merista, navigating court gossip, and charming noblemen over lavish feasts.

And at night, she picks locks, steals jewels, forges documents, and collects secrets. Because Celyn isn't really a lady-in-waiting; she's not even really Celyn Contrare. She's Digger, a sneak-thief on the run from the king's Inquisition, desperate to escape its cruel instruments and hatred of magic. If she's discovered, it will mean her certain death.

But life as a lady-in-waiting isn't safe either. The devious Lord Daul knows her secret, and he's blackmailing her to serve as his personal spy in the castle. What she discovers-about Daul, about the Nemair, even about her own Lady Merista -- could signal civil war in Llyvraneth. And for a thief trained never to get involved, taking sides could be the most dangerous job yet.
I really wasn't expecting much, I'm sorry to say. Just some trite fantasy to keep myself from falling into a boredom coma. I'd never even heard of this book (I find that this is true for most of my reading material these days.) Which is why I was pleasantly surprised as I read this book. Digger, the main character, had an honest voice that endeared her to the reader. Lord Daul was, yes, devious, and kinda creepy. The mystery was pretty good, I suppose. The premise wass... interesting. And the whole thief-and-nobles thing was new - a welcome departure from royalty. Merista was sort of ambiguous, childish one minute and powerful the next. At the end, boy, was that a surprise. Digger's brother, whom she keeps referring to throughout the book as some sort of terrible person, is *SPOILER ALERT - HIGHLIGHT UPCOMING TEXT IF YOU WANT TO KNOW (but I advise you not to; don't ruin it for yourself)* Werne the Bloodletter, the King's High Inquisitor. Haha.

The book itself was pretty darn amazing. Fighting wasn't that great, though. Also, the relationship between Digger and *again, this is another spoiler, but I won't do the white-out thing because you don't know who this person is yet* Wierolf is very stiff. If the author had mentioned earlier that Wierolf was like a big brother to Digger, it would have made my reading experience a lot less... itchy.

Mostly, though, I'd say this book is a 4.25 out of 5. Feeling nice today.
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When a great white bear promises untold riches to her family, the Lass agrees to go away with him. But the bear is not what he seems, nor is his castle. To unravel the mystery, the Lass sets out on a windswept journey beyond the edge of the world. Based on the Nordic legend East of the Sun, West of the Moon, with romantic echoes of Beauty and the Beast, this re-imagined story will leave fans of fantasy and fairy tale enchanted by Jessica Day George. 
I really liked this book. The lass was a strong character, even if she had no name (okay, you find out her name at the end, but I'm not that much of a spoiler). Her family was very realistic, and the way they were introduced and the way the book told about the lass's home life made me warm up to her that much more.

In the beginning, it traced some of her childhood as an unappreciated child due to the abundance of children in the family. The third-person omniscient narration worked well in this setting, because an alternating first-person would have been a bit confusing. I personally disliked the girl's mother, Frida. A relevant person in the lass's childhood, Hans Peter, was a really good brother.

The lass's love interest, the bear, was kind, but extremely stiff. I didn't understand how she fell in love with him so quickly. 

Overall, this book is maybe four stars out of five. I'll be looking for more books by Jessica Day George. (Also, read the original fairy tale here or here.)

EDIT: It turns out that this book is almost a petty imitation of East by Edith Pattou. Read that instead.
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Sapphire's father mysteriously vanishes into the waves off the Cornwall coast where her family has always lived. She misses him terribly, and she longs to hear his spellbinding tales about the Mer, who live in the underwater kingdom of Ingo. Perhaps that is why she imagines herself being pulled like a magnet toward the sea. But when her brother, Conor, starts disappearing for hours on end, Sapphy starts to believe she might not be the only one who hears the call of the ocean.
WARNING: Spoiler Alert!!
Ingo was a pleasant read that I happened to find out about while browsing for books to read. The protagonist, Sapphy, was a bit childish and stubborn, but overall she had a nice voice (she was narrating). The story never revealed her age, as far as I could tell, which irritated me. Her brother was sensible enough - the bond between the siblings seemed really strong. There were many instances in which Sapphy exited Ingo and came out into the Air because of her brother (slight spoiler there). Their mother was totally clueless, but meant well, and their father, of course, was apparently awesome, although there wasn't much of him due to his disappearance.

The boundaries and rules of the worlds of Ingo and Air were extremely well defined - kudos to Helen Dunmore because it's easy to forget that your reader doesn't know and leave them in the dark. I found the Mer premise refreshing after the hackneyed use of other *ahem dragons fairies elves ahem cough cough* mythical creatures. Both siblings had a Mer guide in the depths of Ingo. Conor's guide was a female named Elvira, and Sapphy's was a male named Conor. I was surprised that Dunmore didn't make it a romance between the two couples; she did a very nice job keeping it juvenile. 

Overall, I would rate the book maybe 3.75-ish stars out of 5. It's okay, but not the greatest thing I've ever read. The plot wasn't boring but not unpredictable, and the characters were all right, but not the best.
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