Friday, October 17, 2008

The Emerald Tablet by PJ Hoover

Benjamin Holt has always been different from the kids in his class, besides his best friend Andy who also has the same “abilities” as Benjamin. Andy and Benjamin just don’t get what’s so weird about being able to read people’s minds and making frogs in science class fly into girls’ hair! When Benjamin sees his mom go through a picture and disappear into a speckle of light he’s not that surprised since his life is just a little weird that way -  but that doesn’t stop him from wondering where in the world she went. He soon finds out when his mirror, yes that’s right his mirror, tells him he’s going to summer school. At first Benjamin isn’t at all excited about going (I mean what thirteen year old kid in his right mind would be excited about giving up their summer to go to school, especially when they’re smart!), but then he finds out this school is in another world and the only way to get there is through the same picture that his mom vanished through earlier! When Benjamin arrives in Lemuria all his doubts instantly vanish, but his life gets even stranger. He’s not even at school for ten minutes when he learns that he’s not really human he’s a telegen which is why he has so many different “abilities.” When the Emerald Tablet chooses him as its champion, Benjamin is dumbfounded. I mean while he thought he was special on earth, his powers just make him normal in Lemuria, so why him? While Benjamin was expecting a pretty normal (or as normal as you can get when you’re at summer school on a submerged continent) summer he knows that won’t ever happen know. With Andy and his newly acquired friends, Benjamin has the summer of a lifetime, even if it isn’t your classical definition of fun!

I had such a good time reading this book! I loved every minute that I was reading it and I feel like I want to reread the book over and over again. From the very first sentence I was laughing, and while the book wasn’t intended to be a comedy there were many times where I couldn’t help but suppress a giggle. The very idea for the story was magical. I don’t think I’ve ever read a book along the same lines as The Emerald Tablet. While reading the book I kept thinking that in a way it was almost like a myth that was being told and how cool it would be if it was actually true.

The characters were also very well developed. PJ Hoover really captured the essence of a thirteen year old boy in Benjamin’s character. He had the whole goofy, know it all, I’d rather not be here attitude which made the book so real. I feel like sometimes authors really grasp the ages of their characters and sometimes they don’t, but this is definitely a case in which the author does. PJ Hoover also did a great job incorporating her supporting characters. They were all essential and I loved how she showed that in most cases we need to all use our best abilities to reach a common goal. I also loved her quirky little character Jack, who had the funniest things to say and was an added bonus to the story.

What a fabulous ending. PJ Hoover wrapped up the story at just the right pace and didn’t force or rush anything. She also left quite few questions unanswered which makes me very anxious for the next two books in the trilogy (the second will be out in Fall 2009 and the third in 2010). Fans of Rick Riordan’s Percy Jackson series will particularly enjoy this book, but really I think it would be a great read for anyone. While the target audience is middle grade readers I think both younger and older readers will also enjoy Benjamin’s story and find themselves craving more.  

Wednesday, October 8, 2008

Some Long Overdue Updates, New Announcements, and New Ideas!

First for the Updates! As I'm sure you have noticed, I haven't been updating the blog as often as I normally do. This is in no way my way of trying to stop reviewing, it's just that this thing called school got in the way! I've mentioned before that this year I started at the North Carolina School of Science and Math, which means I have a boatload of homework every night and don't have much time to read, let alone write reviews. But I've recently begun to get a handle on all of my work and have been flying through books, so now I just have to get caught up on my reviews, which I will hopefully be able to do by the end of this weekend, or next.

Now for author visits. I still have a few lined up, but I am definitely in need of many more authors. So any authors who read my blog, let me know if your interested in doing an interview or guest blog.

Now that I've told you a little bit of new announcements!

First of all I have super exciting news. So you know how everyone in the book blogging world is talking about the Cybils..right? While I am excited to annoucne that I got picked to be on the judging panel for the Graphic Novel board.

Organizer: Snow Wildsmith, Kiddie Lit

Panelists (Round I judges)

Betsy Bird A Fuse #8 Production
Gina Mary Sol Ruiz Cuentecitos, AmoXicalli
Paula Willey Pink Me
Liz Jones Liz Jones Books
Sam Musher

Judges (Round II)

Stacy Dillon Booktopia
David Elzey The Excelsior File
Gail Gauthier Original Content
Sarah Sammis Puss Reboots
Tasha Samborski And Another Read Book

This is something completely new to me and as I've said before is completely exciting! And everyone, don't forget to go and nominate your favorite books of the year, as today's the last day (oops the month has gotten away)!

Also my blog has had 21,600 visitors, which just completely blows me away as my blog's only been around for 10 months. Yet another very exciting piece of blogging news!!

Next on the list to talk about is a new feature, which I'm hoping will be lots of fun for everyone.

I have found that I have a huge stack of books that I have duplicate copies of or else I've already read, so I thought why not do a contest. It's hard though to give a stack of books away, so I thought I would give one book away per week. The question is how? In my opinion it's always fun when you have to earn you entries, so I devised an easy and hopefully one way to enter. Here are the rules:

Every Sunday I will post a new trivia or thoughtful question. It could be related to the current giveaway book, a random book, maybe a book I reviewed over the past week, a question about an author, your opinion on a subject, or maybe just a completely random trivia question.

Just send me an email, andanotherbookread @ gmail. com with the answer. You can comment if you want, but please note you would be giving the answer away!

Just for entering you get one entry, for getting the answer you get an additional entry, and if you advertise the contest (just include the link in your entry) you'll get one more entry.

Also all contests will only be for U.S. residents.

Sound easy enough?

So for this week, I'm extending the contest for Jeanne Du'Prau's latest book The Diamond of Darkhold, from last week to end on this Sunday. Those who already entered will get an extra entry and can still enter for more entries this week.

This week's question is:

Which actor plays Lina in the City of Ember?

Good luck all!! Don't forget to email me your entries. It will end on Saturday at 12:00 P.M.

Wednesday, October 1, 2008

More About Ember!!

So I thought that I would tempt you all with the brilliant trailer for The City of Ember movie, which comes out October 10th.


Also comment here and tell me what your favorite movie that has been based on a book is, and you'll be entered into a drawing for a copy of The Diamond of Darkhold. The movie can already be out, or it can be upcoming. All comments must be made by Sunday October 5th at 10:00 p.m. EST. Winners will announced on Monday, along with a quite large announcement!! Have a great week. One last thing...if you blog about my contest, just include the link or shoot me an email and you'll get an extra 2 entries!


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