Friday, April 5, 2013

Feature & Follow and Book Blogger Hop

Click the image above to hop on over to Coffee Addicted Writer's blog
and join in!

This week's question:
What book have you've been meaning
to read forever AND you finally did?

I can answer this because I *JUST* did this!

The first book in the 39 Clues series is one I've been meaning
to check out FOR-EV-ER.
I finally did last week, and I LOVED IT!
Read my review HERE!  

  Next up is Feature and Follow Friday:
Click the image above to join in the fun!

This weeks question:
Have you ever read a book that you thought you would hate — ? Did you end up hating it? Did you end up loving it?

Yes, I was given a book by my neighbor, and when
looked at the synopsis I ABSOLUTELY didn't want to
read the book... but I read it to be a good neighbor...
and I really liked it, way more than I expected!

What was the book?
 Warm Bodies
by Isaac Marion

It was a really pleasant surprise!
Read my review HERE!      

Thursday, April 4, 2013

Thirsty for Comments Thursdays

Welcome to Thirsty for Comments Thursday
Click the image above to join in :)

What is Thirsty for Comments?
This is a blog hop dedicated to giving good comment - please, when you are visiting, actually READ the post that is linked and make a thoughtful comment!
This is NOT a hop for "I'm here from the hop, follow me back" comments!
Link up your own SPECIFIC POST that you'd like comments on - remember - no giveaways!

The rules are simple -
1. Link up a SPECIFIC POST (NOT just your blog URL) that you'd like to have more comments on - NO  GIVEAWAYS or OTHER BLOG HOPS - they will be deleted
2. Visit AT LEAST THREE other blogs and READ the posts and then comment thoughtfully on the post.
It's a fun idea, and I like that it's meant to generate thoughtful comments.
I've gotten... and given... my fair share of 
"Oh wow, I've never read that"
"Yup, I loved that book too"
... yeah... 
it's time to step it up a notch. :)
So stop on over and check it out!

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39 Clues: Maze of Bones by Rick Riordan

39 Clues
The Maze of Bones
by Rick Riordan
This book was a lot of fun, and I'm excited to pick up the next one.
Riordan once again incorporates history in a way that will keep children
interested and wanting to learn more.
Amazon Synopsis:
Minutes before she died Grace Cahill changed her will, leaving her descendents an impossible decision: "You have a choice - one million dollars or a clue."

Grace is the last matriarch of the Cahills, the world's most powerful family. Everyone from Napoleon to Houdini is related to the Cahills, yet the source of the family power is lost. 39 clues hidden around the world will reveal the family's secret, but no one has been able to assemble them. Now the clues race is on, and young Amy and Dan must decide what's important: hunting clues or uncovering what REALLY happened to their parents. 

Competitors in the contest:
All contest competitors are part of the Cahill family, even if they have different last names. 
Amy Cahill ~ Main character, older sister to Dan. Amy is almost crippled by her fear of groups of people and confrontation. Her severe social anxiety puts them in a tight spot more than once, but she is clever and quick when it counts, making her a likable character... plus it's obvious she genuinely cares for her brother, which is endearing. She also loved Grace dearly.
Dan Cahill ~ Main character, Dan in a collector. He reminds me of so many boys his age I've babysat over the years, where everything that is remotely interesting suddenly becomes something he is interested in. He's good with numbers (really good) and pretty close to fearless... but also obviously loves his sister... even though they torment each other often. A very likable character.
The Holts ~ They're incredibly competitive, and will do anything to win.
Ian and Natalie Kabra ~ Two young, attractive siblings who are sly, well funded, well trained and lethal, they're a huge threat in the competition... to everyone.
Alistair Oh ~ Korean member of the Cahill clan, and an older gentleman who evidently invented the microwave burrito as his claim to fame. His motives (other than winning) are unclear.
Irina Spasky ~ Russian Cahill, she's sly and troublesome with things like poison needles hidden on her body... an ex-secret agent, she's dangerous, even if she is older.
The Starling Triplets ~ Three siblings (2 boys ~ Ned and Ted, 1 girl ~ Sinead) they're caught up early on in trouble and out of commission for the rest of the book.
Jonah Wizard ~ He's world famous... and wants to win just so he can be the most famous person ever. Rude and snobbish to anyone not a Cahill, Jonah is single-minded in his quest for fame.

Everyone Else:
Grace Cahill ~ Dan and Amy's grandmother, she passes away within the first few pages of the book, but is present throughout, in flashbacks and as the orchestrator of the game the Cahill's are partaking in. Her history is very mysterious and I'm looking forward to learning more.
Nellie~ Dan and Amy's Au Pair (not babysitter!), she's a young woman with many hidden talents and an interest in becoming a chef. Dan and Amy convince her to join them on their quest.
William McIntyre ~ Grace's lawyer, he oversees this competition and offers aid secretly to Amy and Dan, telling them repeatedly "Trust No One"
Man in Black ~ Mysterious figure who appears almost everywhere Dan and Amy go.
Aunt Beatrice ~ Grace's sister and Amy and Dan's legal guardian, she's a bit of a stick in the mud and kind of a jerk.
Saladin ~ Grace Cahill's Egyptian Mau cat, adopted by Amy and Dan.

This book's opening grabbed me right away... the first sentence is:
Five minutes before she died, Grace Cahill changed her will.

From that second on, I was in.  What a catchy opener!
I picked this book up because I'm going through Riordan withdrawal, and I've been meaning to check out this series for quite some time anyways. I was not disappointed.

Action packed, filled with history, geography and intrigue all around, I applaud Riordan for once again incorporating an education into his books. 
Seeing as how this book is filled with little puzzles for the reader to figure out (and I do appreciate that they don't give you the answers right away... so that kids reading it will actually have to either think about it, or keep reading to find out), I won't go into detail on what you'll learn in this book, but I will say that, even for adults, Riordan masterfully incorporates the clues with history to form little puzzles fun for anyone of any age to mull over.

This story follows the siblings Amy and Dan, orphans after their parents died tragically, they spend their weekends with Grace and are hurt and confused when she passes away and leaves this crazy contest behind.
They, as well as all the other Cahill's invited to the Will reading, are offered the opportunity to join the contest or accept a Million dollar buy out, in which they take the money and never look back. Most folks take the money, but a few (the ones listed above) choose to partake. Amy and Dan are sorely tempted by the cash themselves, being poor orphans, until their aunt and legal guardian, Beatrice, threatens them not to join, and then proceeds to tell them how kind she'll be, only taking the interest from their 2 million dollars.
Feeling that Beatrice would slowly rob them, and also wanting to know more about what their beloved Aunt Grace had in store for them, Amy and Dan enter the competition with little to no resources.
Quickly they learn to trust no one, and enlist the aid of their Au Pair, Nellie (who in my opinion is just a bit *too* talented... which makes me suspicious of her). 
They receive cryptic warnings from Grace's lawyer, Mr. McIntyre (things like, "Beware the Madrigals") and get more help from Nellie once she learns what they're up to.
The adventure itself takes the reader on a fun romp through Paris... well, fun for everyone but Dan and Amy, who face near-death experiences around every corner.
The book closes with them unable to return home (Social Services is looking for them) and on their way to the next clue.

Each book in this series is written by a different author, which I am both happy and sad about.
On the one hand, I love Rick Riordan, I know I love Riordan, I want to read more of Riordan and would have loved had he written the whole series... plus I'm also nervous about how cohesive a series by completely different authors will be.
On the other hand, I'm excited to pick up books by authors I'm unfamiliar with. Since I'm already invested in the story, thanks to its power punch of a beginning book, I'm sure I'll read the rest, so hopefully I'll find some wonderful new authors in the process.

Digital Media Aspect:
This book series is also fun and unique in that each book comes with several "clues" hidden in it. 
These clues are literal cards with web codes on them.
You can sign up at the 39 Clues website, get sorted into which faction of the Cahill clan you're most like, and enter your card numbers and get more clues added to your collection... there are also games to be played that are amusing (I played a few of them, and they would keep kids entertained)
The website itself isn't as clear as it could be when it comes to clues and earning them, but overall it's a pretty fun idea.
You also create your own spy identity... I think it's a great idea that kids will have a lot of fun with.