Thursday, May 30, 2013

Halo: The First Strike, by Eric Nylund

Halo: The First Strike by Eric Nylund is the bridge between the first Halo game and Halo 2. It clears out many of the inconsistencies of the games and focuses on the time period after the events of the fall of Reach. The book follows the remaining Spartans and their battle to save Reach and get important military figures out, and take a strike against the Covenant. The book yet again follows Master Chief and Spartan Red Team to attack against the Covenant army and destroy on of their ships and to discover what the floating ring is spaced that is called Halo is and discover it's origins.

The book is a great one, it bridges Halo Combat evolved and Halo 2 together and clears the inconsistencies between them. It follows the same formula as the Fall of Reach does by going through the battles of the Spartans, I would recommend this book to any fans of the Halo series and any Sci-Fi fans out there. The only problems with the book similar to the fall of reach is that it has a lot of terms and words that would be more familiar with Sci- Fi fans, and people who have read other books similar to this one.

-Reviewed by Anonymous, grade 9.
Central Library

Halo: The Fall of Reach, by Eric Nylund

Halo: the Fall of Reach by Eric Nylund is about the Spartan II program and the origins of the Spartan super soldiers, and it focuses on how the Master Chief became who he is. The book describes the start of the human covenant war and how the planet of Reach falls. It focuses on the Spartan's training, becoming Spartans and their fight against the Covenant army. The book shows Master Chiefs Artificial Intelligence ally, Cortana and how she is born from cloning the brain of DR. Halsey and the first few fight with Master Chief and Cortana together before the setting of the games take place.

The book was good, I liked the extended background information the book gave about the origins of the Spartans, Master Chief and the human covenant war. I would recommend the book to any fan of the Halo Series and it deserves a read by anyone who is a fan of Sci-Fi novels and books. The book opens up for the next couple of books and is a great read to bridge between the first game and the start of the actual storyline. The only thing that I didn't like about the book is that it had too many big words and anyone who isn't familiar with Sci-fi terms wouldn't understand some of the things.

- Anonymous., grade 9
Central Library

Tuesday, May 21, 2013

Slawter, by Darren Shan

Slawter, by Darren Shan. The third book in the 10 part series of The Demonata is about a boy named Grubbs. Grubbs is the nephew of Dervish who fought along side Kernel Fleck in the second book and he is recovering from a recent battle with Lord Loss. Grubbs' family has a history of being Werewolves and he lost his parents and sister to Lord Loss due to a game the demon master plays in which the reward is a cure for the lycanthropy. Grubbs, Dervish, and Bill-E (Grubbs' brother) travel to a small movie set outside in the country in which a famous horror film producer plans to shoot a movie based on demons. The three travel with her in order to make sure she doesn't accidentally summon a demon. They encounter many twists and turns and end with a near-death battle with a surprising twist of events when it comes to who dies and who lives.

I really enjoy reading this series and this book which is the third in the 10 part series keeps me entertained and I am looking forward to reading the rest of the series. This novel is making reading fun again for me and no book has done that other then the Harry Potter series and yet again Darren Shan did a great job of making me feel like a character in his book. As Grubbs was battling Gregor and had his arm severed I actually felt a tingling in my arm and got goosebumps. I am yet again flabbergasted as to how Darren comes up with these endings and how I could not see it coming, I am hoping he will do the same in the fourth book of the series.

Reviewed by dp, grade 9.
Pacific Park Branch

Discover Linux: In the November 2012 edition of Maximum PC

Windows 8 may have a nice looking user interface, faster preference and other little features. There are some very obvious problems with it too. For one the metro user interface is garbage. It clearly designed for touch interfaces and mobile devises. Also windows 8 fells like a a newer version of Windows 7 with another mini OS glued on, but have no fear there is another operation system. Linux. Linux has many distros the most popular being Ubuntu. Ubuntu is Secure, Flexible, and powerful. It is faster and more customizable than windows while still being beautiful and secure like a Mac. Linux is easy to instal and its even available to try out on your current computer from a USB or CD. In conclusion Linux will probably become more popular after Windows 8 disappoints the public.

In my opinion this article is great for a new user to Linux but does not give so many in debt information about it. It does have a few interesting facts but not a lot of advance information. I did not expect to be disappointed by the amount and quality of information after reading other articles in Maximum PC, which people should keep in mind is an enthusiast Magazine. But strictly speaking for beginners this article is great. It Introduces Linux in a nice and clear way. Gives instructions on how you can try and maybe later even instal Linux in different ways. Besides stating the equivalents versions of applications for windows. In conclusion i would recommend this article to people who want to get introduced to Linux but it wont help the professionals.

Reviewed by SSN, grade 9.
Montrose Library

7 inch Tablets: In the October 2012 edition of Wired

A few years ago 7-inch tablets were believed to be failures. They had low resolution screens and underpowered internals. They were basically bigger phones, but mobile hardware learns to adapt and now we are having a boom of new, small, thin and stylish devises coming out from companies like Asus, Google, Samsung, and Barns & Noble. Although reading, checking e-mail and browsing the web are more the 7 inch forte. But lack of screen area and connectivity dont make it the best for video streaming. There are 4 tablets that get reviewed in this edition the Nexus 7, Samsung Galaxy Tab 2.0, Barns % Noble nook Tablet and Toshiba Excite 7.7. The Nexus 7 wins the competition with a 9 out of 10. 7 inch tablets are great when it comes to content consumption, This will probably stay like this for another 10 years until a new categories as bold risky and interesting comes out.

In my opinion 7 inch tablets dont get enough credit. They are great for content consumption and day to day use. They are not the best for editing and creating documents but that is because of the size and power. They also state that there are not many apps that look ascetically pleasing with the size and resolution. This problem will sort itself out as developers start updating their apps. Also they should state that you are getting a lot of price per performance. The Nexus 7 is $200 while the Nexus 4 a phone is $350. This Shows a lot about the price of the product. I would highly recommend this article to be read but i would tell people to not take some points lightly one being low price and high performance and amazing for daily content consumption.

Reviewed by SSN, grade 9.
Montrose Library

Demons and Druids, by James Patterson

In the book, Daniel X: Demons and Druids, by James Patterson, Daniel destroys Number five with much confusion and discomfort. He travels to England to hunt number three on the list, Phosphorus Beta. This alien was from a distant planet and rarest among his species. He was referred to as the "Demon of Fire" in historic tomes. But how would they know of him? After a few encounters with him, Daniel realized he was looking for something. It was clear Beta wanted to do something with Stonehenge, the famous and mysterious circle of huge stones. During a brief battle with the beast, Beta escaped into a fiery portal, but, as expected, Daniel followed. When he regained consciousnesses, he observed his surroundings. It was then where he met his ancestor, Merlin, guardian of the future King Arthur...

This book was very good! It didn't let me stop reading! The historic value of this novel bypassed the others and left me shocked at the ending and final battle. Unlike the others, the twist was not ironic, but more like confusing and mysterious. I really liked everything about this book, how the story connects all the books and how The Prayer, number one, ties into the whole thing. I believe this book would be for all who love the series, I honestly believe this book would be the peak of all them(I assume). This book also made me think of the significance of famous landmarks we have today, like the Egyptian Pyramids. Why are they there? Overall, this book was amazing I really got this in fast in my opinion. Good luck to all readers for this book will amaze you and confuse you if you don't know the right stuff.

Reviewed by David, grade 9.
Central Library

Watch the Skies, by James Patterson

The book, Daniel X:  Watch The Skies, by James Patterson, begins with our hero killing his first "challenging" alien, Urgent Seth number six on the List. Daniel decides to go after number five in Tokyo, Japan. His files are a mystery and he has no record of crime. He actually encounters him in his flight there. Turns out, he controls all media related tools, like television and the Internet. Here's the catch, if number five gets a hold of any technology, it belongs to him and Daniel's suspicions grew as many new inventions and technologies are being stolen. After all, its the best place to steal technology. What will become of Daniel? Will he defeat number five? Or will the corruption of the "New Age" infect Daniel?

My thoughts on this book are really good. I found just like the first book with its humor and action pick-ups. It also has that same ironic twist at the end like the first. I think this book is great, and I recommend all to begin this series and read it all the way through! This book really made me reflect on media today. Are they really corrupting us with broadcasts? Furthermore, I really enjoyed every page of this book and I hope to get the next book in very soon. By the looks of the cover, it sure does look very interesting.

Reviewed by David, grade 9.
Central Library

That Summer, by Sarah Dessen, is a book about a girl that realizes her life isn’t as great as she thought it was. She has to adjust because nothing is the same as it was in the past. The main character, Haven, is a very insecure girl because she is almost six feet tall and she feels like she doesn’t fit in. She is very stressed with everything going on because her father is about to marry a woman she can’t stand, and her sister is about to get married as well to Lewis Warsher, who doesn’t fit her at all. During her stressful life she runs into her sister’s ex-boyfriend, Sumner Lee, who reminds her of the happy days when her parents were married and her sister, Ashley, was carefree and everything was perfect. These stressful events in her life lead her to realize that that’s life; the past is the past and you can’t always get what you want.

In my opinion this book was very interesting because it relates to real life stories of people going through the same things. This book draws you in with all the drama and stress in her life. I felt like I was going through the same emotions as her, it was so real. This book was also very vivid, I understood it clearly and imagined every word in my head throughout the whole book.

Reviewed by Amy


Vampire's Assistant, by Darren Shan

The Vampire’s Assistant, by Darren Shan, is the second thrilling book in the Cirque du Freak series. This time, Darren can’t avoid drinking human blood, if he wants to stay alive that is. Mr. Crepsley and Darren have reunited with the freak show as Darren learns the rules to being undead. He even makes friends with Evra, the snake boy, and Sam, a local who isn’t part of the show. When a man, R.V., opposes things of the Cirque, he decides to do something about it. What happens when you mess with the Cirque?

Darren Shan needs only a pen and paper to satisfy me. This novel is the perfect sequel to the first book and it’s great to learn more about each of the characters as we go along with Darren. I think that this is the best vampire book due to the lack of cliché romantics and boring characters. I would recommend this book to young-teen boys and girls, mostly boys, because they might find the idea of vampires and the cruelty that takes place more interesting. This is a must read if you have read the first!

Reviewed by Kristine, grade 9.

House Rules, by Jodi Picoult

House Rules by Jodi Picoult is a novel that centers on the lives of the Hunt Family. When Emma Hunt gives birth to Jacob, she has no idea that he will be born with Asperger’s Syndrome. Her second son, Theodore is born a normal boy, but does not live a normal life when he and his mother have to spend their lives taking care of Jacob. Jacob Hunt is a boy who is incredibly smart, and loves crime scenes. He is especially fond of “Crimebusters,” and has every episode memorized. The only problem is that he cannot communicate so well with other people around him, and that’s where Jess comes in. Jess is Jacob’s tutor on how to interact with the world and the people around him. When one day his tutor is found dead, police suspect Jacob as the prime suspect. Just because he can’t look people in the eye and twitches around, does that make him a murderer?

I really enjoy reading Jodi Picoult’s novels. She writes with such ease and her writing flows across the pages. Before House Rules, I had never read a book about Asperger’s Syndrome, and seeing how just because people are born and look different, does not mean that they should be treated differently. People with Asperger’s Syndrome do not choose to be born like that, so shouldn’t we, as the people born normal, know better than to do that?

Reviewed by Christine L, grade 10.
Montrose Library

Things Fall Apart, by Chinua Achebe

Things Fall Apart by Chinua Achebe is a tragic novel of the senseless deterioration of one man’s power, dignity, and eventually, life. It tells the story of a proud African leader and his family. When British missionaries invade their village in hopes of converting its people to Christianity, as the title suggests, things begin to fall apart. A man who was once respected and revered in his community is now forced to give up everything and shamefully retreat into obscurity, thanks to the onslaught of his alien oppressors.

The novel underscores the disastrous effects that negative social relations between countries can spur. What happened to the village was more than mere misunderstanding, however. It is the primitive prejudices harbored against an innocent race that led to the eventual downfall of an entire village. The novel’s urgent message has run true through centuries, as history poignantly tends to repeat itself. It should be read and analyzed by all who comprehend the global magnitude of such blatant social catastrophes, and for those that don’t, this is a great place to start.

Reviewed by Tigran K.
Montrose Library


Velocity, by Dean Koontz

In Velocity by Dean Koontz, Billy Wiles is your ordinary person. He works in a bar, and he writes short stories. Nothing extraordinary happened in his life. One day after work, he receives a note on his car saying, “If you don’t take this note to the police and get them involved, I will kill a lovely blond schoolteacher. If you do take this note to the police, I will instead kill an elderly woman active in charity work. You have four hours to decide. The choice is yours.” Billy thinks it’s a joke so he doesn’t care, however he still keeps the note. The next day he sees in the news that a blonde schoolteacher had been murdered. Suddenly, Billy starts getting more of these notes. Billy is trapped in a psychopath’s game, which can lead to the death of his close friends, or himself.

Velocity was probably one of the best suspense books I read this year so far. I never put this book down; I just had to know what would happen next. I even read it six times I recommend this book to anyone who enjoys suspense and horror.

Reviewed by R.R., grade 9. Montrose Library

Theodore Boone: Kid Lawyer, by John Grisham


Theodore Boone is a thirteen-year-old boy who's surrounded by the ways of a lawyer and he strives to be a great one too. Knowing every judge, every policeman, and much more about law, he dreams of being part of the court cases. But when he gets caught up in the middle of a perfect murder in which only he knows the truth about, the proof of guilt of the suspect is dependent on him. With the evidence of a witness who cannot be revealed due to money and illegal problems, he will not stop for anything till justice has been made with the cold-blooded murderer.

In my opinion, I thought this book was the most brilliant I've read so far. With a totally realistic setting, this book is by far the most intriguingly interesting one. With its somewhat humorous scenes and typical life of a thirteen-year-old boy, it adds onto realistic setting of life. I simply loved the cleverness of the ideas and writing. This book was taken with me everywhere. And for once in my life, I actually sat down and read every word of the book patiently waiting for the ending to come.

Reviewed by Anne L.
Montrose Library

Monday, May 6, 2013

Death Note, Vol. 1, by Tsugumi Ohba

Light Yagami is a talented student who is at the top of his class and with a bright future ahead of him. The only issue is that he's bored, until one day he comes across the Death Note. Any person's name that's written down in the notebook dies. Discovering this, Light uses the Death Note to seek out complete justice. Being intelligent and sly, he proves to be a good killer, but for how long until he get caught by the authorities? On top of that, there's the mysterious man who is on his trail.
I recommend this for complex-thinking mystery readers.

Reviewed by Momo, grade 10.
Montrose Library