Wednesday, February 22, 2012

Review: Mastiff

by Tamora Pierce

My Rating: 4 peaches

Beka and her friends will face their greatest and most important challenge ever when the young heir to the kingdom vanishes. They will be sent out of Corus on a trail that appears and disappears, following a twisting road throughout Tortall. It will be her greatest Hunt—if she can survive the very powerful people who do not want her to succeed in her goal.

I have been devouring Tamora Pierce books since middle school. Alanna, Daine, Kel and Aly are some of my best book friends and I love to revisit them. Now I can add Beka Cooper to this list. I am sure I will be rereading this trilogy again soon. I love the different perspectives these books have given us. Beka is a "Dog" for Tortall. She hunts down criminals and brings them in for justice. In this, the third book, Beka is once again leaving Tortall but her job is bigger than ever as are her clients. Instead of her average street rats, she is dealing with royalty, nobility and mages and she searches for the kidnapped Prince. Beka deals with love, loss and ultimately a deep betrayal in Mastiff.

Tamora Pierce is an advocate for many things. She has always been a writer of strong minded, independent females (hooray!) In this book, Pierce turns her eye to slavery as it affects every aspect of Beka's search and the lives of those she loves. Even though this is a fantasy world, the reader is able to connect and sympathize with the characters throughout their journey as slavery touches on their lives. In her credits, Pierce opens discussion with the world about modern slavery and the battle that is still ongoing. Readers going into this book (and really most of Pierce's works) should be aware that her opinions figure very prominently into her work and should be willing to discuss what they agree with and what they disagree with. Great discussions on the female identity, place in society and gender roles can come from any of these books! Can't wait for the next series, I hear it may be back story on Numair! 

Tuesday, February 7, 2012

Top Ten Tuesday: Doesn't Like To Read

This week's Top Ten is perfect for me. As a teacher I am constantly recommending books to children of all ages to get them to read! So here are the books that I am most often handing out and recommending! I separated by girls and boys but truthfully, I am just as likely to hand these books to either :)


#1. For Primary (1st-2nd): The Ready Freddy Series by Abby Klein
This series is so much fun for boys and girls but boys will more readily connect with Freddy and want to read more! Freddy has a problem in each story and goes on to tell you about it. It also has a lot of non-fiction aspects, like shark facts, and fun activities to do at the end! It may be a little difficult for independent reading but these are great books to read with mom and dad!

#2. For Intermediate (3rd-5th): 39 Clues Series  by various authors
Another fiction series that also includes a lot of non-fiction facts. Dan and Amy are on a clue hunt to find out what has made their family so powerful throughout time and what will hopefully make them just as important. They travel the world and learn about famous historic events, places and people but the action and dialogue keeps the books exciting!

#3. Middle School Boys: Alex Rider Series by Anthony Horowitz
Alex Rider is a young boy pulled into the life of a spy when his uncle is murdered. The first book is action packed as Alex tries to stop the death of thousands of English school children. The rest of the series is fantastic as Alex travels to remote locations, including space! 

#4. Middle School Girls: Gallagher Girls or Heist Society series by Ally Carter
Ally Carter has created some excellent "girl power" novels! In Gallagher Girls, Cammie attends an all girls school for future spies! The stakes get raised in every book and I can't wait for the final book in the series to come out this year! In Heist Society, Cat is an art thief. The books play out like the best episodes of Leverage but with teens! Plus, they come with middle school aged friendly romances :)

#5. Middle Schoolers: Harry Potter by J.K. Rowling
Why? Because who hasn't heard about Harry Potter. Because as children grow up in middle school, Harry will grow up with them. Because Harry Potter teaches about friendship, love, loss, changes and everything in between. 

#6. High School Boys: Heir or Seven Realms series by Cinda Williams Chima
Wow, this was a hard one to choose from. Not having a lot of experience with High School boys, I think I would pass these on to them first. There is a lot of action and the Heir series is mostly male MC's. My runners up were Maze Runner (because I just can't forgive the last book) and Chaos Walking (mostly because I have only read the first one and thought it was awesome)

#7. High School Girls: Divergent by Veronica Roth
There is a plethora of dystopia novels out right now and this is a great way to introduce girls to the genre. Tris is getting ready to make the most important choice of her life, her faction. Will she follow her family or her heart? She'll learn what it really means to be strong and find love along the way. 

#8. High Schoolers: Hunger Games by Suzanne Collins
This book is tried and true. I have given my copy out so many times and it never comes back to from the same student. They are passing it on to their friends, who pass it on to their friends, who pass it to their friends who I see walking down the hall with my worn, well loved copy. Boys and girls alike can find something to hook them in this series!

#9. Young Adult Women: Saving Francesca or any book by Melina Marchetta
Marchetta knows how to write real life. This book is about finding out the truth of ourselves, our friends and life. It's about getting back up no matter how many times or things knock you down. Life is not always pretty but it's powerful. This book can speak to every girl in every struggle. 

#10. Young Adult Men: Ender's Game by Orson Scott Card
A classic that everyone should read at least once. Fascinating characters, relationship and choices in a science fiction setting. Even more exciting, it's soon to be a movie!