The Book of Storms by Ruth Hatfield

bookofstorms_ruthhatfieldThe Book of Storms, by Ruth Hatfield, is a book that I found to be aimed towards middle school readers. The writing is not difficult, and though there are some clichés in the plot, it was a good read. The book starts off with the main character, Danny, who wakes up alone in the morning and finds that his parents are gone. Now, the reader learns that it is not unusual for his parents to be gone for the night, as they are often chasing storms, but also that they always come back the next morning. Danny attempts to do everything normally, just as he would if his parents had been there, even going to school. He hopes that they will be home when he comes back, but they are not.

After looking around his house again in search of his parents, Danny finds a notebook containing information that is to help him in the search for his parents. Outside his home, he finds a twig with which he finds that he can speak to plants and animals, including the neighbor’s cat .  Along the way, as he is trying to find his parents, he will face a powerful foe (who is kind of like the Devil, but the book mentions that it isn’t actually), whose intentions are not fully revealed until later on in the novel. This person is trying to get Danny’s “Taro” (his twig), for his ulterior motives.

I found the book to be interesting, mainly because I haven’t read another book with a plot or idea like it, although it could have been somewhat improved.

-Aliya A.

The Book of Storms by Ruth Hatfield is available for checkout from the Mission Viejo Library

D. Gray Man by Katsura Hoshino

Allen Walker had been tossed around for most of his life. At just fifteen years old, he has faced the twisted Millenium Earl, watched his beloved Mana turned into the accursed Akuma, and has played so many poker games just to pay off his master Cross Marian’s debt. But finally, he can now become an Exorcist, the one and only group of people that serves to get rid of the Akuma and the Millemium Earl once and for all. Of course, so long as he can contain fully use the Innocence that inhabits his left hand and eye.

This is a really great story! Despite the fact that it goes on hiatus a lot because of the author’s health, I really enjoy the plot and how it can go from comedy to seriousness in a matter of seconds. There are also some very great fight scenes, with giant hammers and huge battles against the Akuma and the Noahs. Although there is no romance, there are still the important bonds of family and friendship that show how strong these bonds can be.

Additionally, I really like how there are not only physical battles, but emotional ones too, with one guy living with the fact that he is a vampire and another trying to hold on to the responsibilities of being a “Librarian.” Most importantly, I love how the author makes you fall in love with the characters. From one character loving his sister way too much to another being playful even though he is evil, each of the characters somehow worm their way into the reader’s hearts.

This manga, although still going on, is a very good recommendation for fans of action and fantasy.

-Megan V., 11th grade

Beware the Wild by Natalie C. Parker

bewarethewild_natalieparkerBeware the Wild by Natalie C. Parker is a paranormal novel about the mysterious shrouding of a swamp in the city of Sticks, Louisiana. The whole town knows to avoid the swamp; including Sterling, the protagonist. That changes when her brother Phin runs to the swamp after an argument. He never returns and instead, a girl named Lenora May claiming to be Sterling’s sister appears from the foggy swamp. Sterling does not believe Lenora May, but the rest of the town does not know of anyone named Phin; they only know of Lenora May. Realizing she is on her own, Sterling becomes more and more determined to go back to the swamp to find her brother. Despite the fact that no one knew Phin, Sterling discovers that Heath Durham, a boy from her grade can help her. Together, they set out to uncover the dark secrets of the swamp.      

This book has it all. From action to mystery, Beware the Wild encompasses many genres. With a great plotline, there were no missing details. Also, it was unique because the author was able to take the concept of a haunted swamp, and turn it into a great story that will invite you in and won’t let go until the last page. Sterling, the main character, was a smart and independent protagonist, whose love for her brother was her sole motivation to bring him back. With a satisfying ending, Beware the Wild is great for a quick read.

-Anmol K.

Ashes to Ashes by Melissa Walker

Image result for ashes to ashes by melissa walkerCallie McPhee is prepared to have a great summer. She has her boyfriend Nick, her best friend Carson, and a new BMW. Even though her best friend is still obsessed with ghosts, and Nick seems a little bit off lately, Callie knows that she is going to have a great summer before her junior year. Except when tragedy strikes while Callie is speeding and distracted by a phone call from Nick. This isn’t the summer she imagined.

Callie wakes up in something called the Prism, where she finds out she’s dead and is assigned a Guide named Thatcher. Callie isn’t a “normal” ghost, and develops a rebellious streak. She wants to live a little by hanging out with the “bad” group of ghosts and haunt on her own. But when the poltergeists, the bad group, starts turning more dangerous, Callie must figure what’s right. She has to watch her father, friend, and boyfriend go through different types of grief, and sort out her new feelings for Thatcher. When the poltergeists go past a boundary that Callie didn’t know was possible and Thatcher feared, they must do the impossible. Will the poltergeists stop? Read the book to find out.

I thought Ashes to Ashes was a great paranormal romance novel. Once you read this book, you have to know what happens next in the sequel, Dust to Dust. Ashes to Ashes makes you think a lot about ghosts. I will recommend this book to anyone who wants a good paranormal romance book.

-Rebecca V.

Ashes to Ashes is available for checkout from the Mission Viejo Library

Miss Peregrine’s Home for Peculiar Children by Ransom Riggs

Jacob used to believe in his grandfather’s stories. Stories of children who could lift boulders, be invisible. Stories of his grandfather fighting monsters, those that will one day be after him. Not anymore. Jacob doesn’t believe in them now that he’s in high school. The monsters? WWII nightmares of the Nazis. The children? Those photos were obviously faked.

He didn’t believe in them again until he saw a monster with tentacles killing his grandfather. But that couldn’t have been real, right? No way monsters were real, just like everyone said around him. But the more he dug into his grandfather’s stuff, the more he believed his grandfather.

He found out that his grandfather used to live on an island off Britain. He convinced his father to go there, and found that his grandfather’s stories were true. A land stuck in 1940, where every day is paradise, and no one ever dies. A place that can hold “peculiars”, children with powers, and keep them safe. And he met an invisible boy, a girl who could fly, and a pretty girl who could control fire, all who knew his grandfather. But he soon learned that if the children are real, the monsters must be too.

I really liked this book, and the sequels after it. Not only did Riggs create a remarkable tale just from looking at pictures, but adding the pictures made the characters seem more real. Jacob is your typical teenage boy, so he has a very funny side, especially when talking to the peculiars about the modern world, such as about email. Additionally, the plot is very well done and intriguing, with well depth ideas about the consequences of time travel and relative nature of crazy.

The powers of the peculiars are also all very interesting, with Hugh’s bees and Howard’s prophetic dream power. Also, there is also a bit of a feminist theme, as the leaders of the Ymbryne are all women, with men not having the ability to be leaders, which is the opposite as of on Earth. I would recommend this book to anybody who likes the idea of women being in power above men, time travel, craziness, fantasy, or historical fiction.

-Megan V., 11th Grade

Miss Peregrine’s Home For Peculiar Children is available for checkout from the Mission Viejo Library

Gone by Michael Grant

gone_michaelgrantThe book Gone, by Michael Grant incorporates drama, suspense and overall excitement. I recommend Gone to younger teens of both genders.

In an instant, all people age fifteen and above disappear from Perdido Beach. This leaves infants, toddlers, tweens and teens to fend for themselves. At first the kids are excited. No adults means no school, no bedtimes and anything they want to eat and drink. That excitement ends after a few hours when they realize that there are no authority figures around and begin to miss their parents. Then, when things seem unable to get worse, the kids discover that all electronic devices including television and phones do not work anymore. Certain kids also start to develop unthinkable powers that put others in danger if used for evil intent.

It is up to fourteen year olds Sam, Quinn, Astrid and Edilio to figure out what caused this strange “poof” that erased everyone over fifteen years old from existence. They must hurry, however, because Sam’s fifteenth birthday is approaching and if they do not figure out how to stop him from poofing away, they may never see him again.

However, complications arise when students from Coates Academy, the school where Sam’s mom was a nurse, come to Perdido Beach and demand to be leaders. These kids include Caine and Diane, both of whom have powers. They appear to be nice, but as the book progresses, their evilness begins to show as they try to kill Sam, Astrid, and all the other kids who have powers and they are threatened by.

Overall, this book was well written but it was not what I would call a page turner. However, I would still recommend this book to anyone looking for an interesting read because it has a unique plot.

-Matthew R.

Gone by Michael Grant is available for checkout from the Mission Viejo Library. It is also available to download from Overdrive.

Lady Midnight by Cassandra Clare

“But our love it was stronger by far than the love
Of those who were older than we-
Of many far wiser than we-
And neither the angels in heaven above,
Nor the demons down under the sea,
Can ever dissever my soul from the soul
Of the beautiful Annabel Lee.”

Strangely enough, Cassandra Clare’s novel is based on the famous Edgar Allen Poe poem “Annabel Lee.” Two of the characters are Annabel Lee and her lover, and the chapter titles are lines from the poem. But that’s not all: after waiting for almost two years, readers are finally awarded with an eight hundred page book on the newest Shadowhunter world: The Dark Artifices.

Five years after the City of Heavenly Fire incidents, Emma Carstairs is living with the Blackthorns in Los Angeles, where every day for her is fighting demons and trying to be the next Jace. Now, Emma is in love, but she can’t tell him because its her parabatai, Julian aka “Jules”.  Supposedly there’s a rule about parabatai falling in love, and Shadowhunter universe lovers know how strict the Shadowhunters are with rules (for those of you who are new, it ends up with someone dying, or in Edmond Herondale’s case, being brutally tortured by having your tattoos torn off).

And now, both faeries and humans alike are being killed, and in return for solving the mystery, the faeries have decided to return a man named Mark Blackthorn for a bit, who hasn’t aged and doesn’t recognize anybody.

Anyway, this was a great book, although there were some things I was disappointed with. To start off with the bad news first, I felt that this book rushed things a little too much. In the Infernal Devices, we didn’t find out about Tessa’s warlock secret until near the end of the second book in the trilogy. On the other hand, Lady Midnight kept teasing us about the secret of the parabatai, and from the way it was going, it sounded like it won’t be revealed until the second book, but then it’s quickly revealed at the end, which makes it slightly disappointing. It also makes the rest of the series be hard to see the rest of the series. Additionally, I have mentioned earlier that the book is eight hundred pages long, making there be a lot of detail that is sometimes hard to keep track of.

However, there are many details that can’t be ignored, as they are great highlights and put this book as one of the best of the year. Clare does not fail with her psychological plot line, between her not-expected-easily villain, the parallelism of the Jules/Emma parabatai love relationship to Clace “incense” relationship, and the plot twists that will keep you on the edge of your seat, along with a tremendous cliffhanger, no matter how disappointing to me.

I have mentioned earlier that Poe fans will like the book, but those who are missing the Mortal Instruments series will love the book too. Magnus pops up at least twice throughout the book, and Clary, Alec, and Jace make cameo appearances. Also, at least in my copy from the Mission Viejo Library, Clare inserts a side story that takes place at the end of Lady Midnight, in which TMI fans can rejoice over Sizzy, Clace, and of course, Malec! 🙂

Overall, with some slight disappointments, the overall plot was good and the references to Annabel Lee made the book extremely worthwhile to check out, even if one hasn’t read the TMI series.

-Megan V.

Lady Midnight is available for checkout at the Mission Viejo Library