Woven, by Michael Jensen and David Powers King

Nels, the son of a widowed seamstress, has always dreamed of becoming a knight. The whole village agrees…except his mother, who needs his help just to stay alive.

That was before he died, of course, murdered by a stranger. Now Nels, as a ghost, must haunt the Princess Tyra, the only person who can see him, to convince her to save him. By helping him find an object which will bring back to life, it may cost Tyra more than she bargained for as they begin a perilous journey to weave Nels back into the Great Tapestry of time.

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Hmmm….I honestly don’t have anything bad to say about the story. It was really well-paced, but there were a few quirks I personally would have changed if I had written the book myself.

This book scarily reminded me of my first attempt at a novel, most particularly the writing style. Or, should I say, lack thereof. When writers write a lot, they develop a certain way of telling a story. If you read a lot of one author, or if you write, you may know what I’m talking about. I’m not saying that a lack of writing is actually bad, I just felt that the author has not yet developed his own particular way of writing. Excuse my nit-picking, but most people aren’t going to notice this.

I am happy to report that this book is pretty clean, and I’d feel comfortable handing this book to mostly anyone. I was a little disappointed how hard they pushed the romance in this book; it wasn’t inappropriate at all, but it could have been a little more subtle. I knew this book was going to be more romantic than I usually read even before they met. For this reason, I can’t say this book is for everyone, particularly those who will only stand for a little romance.

I’m sorry if the book description sounded a little cheesy, but…it was, just a little.

Overall Rating: 3.5/5

Violence: 3/10 (nothing horrible)

Language: 1/10

Inappropriateness/Romance: 3/10

Audience: Ages 10 and up

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Harry Potter #3: Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban

Harry Potter is lucky to reach the age of thirteen, since he has already survived the attacks of the feared Dark Lord on more than one occasion. But his hopes for a quiet term concentrating on Quidditch are dashed when a maniacal mass-murderer escapes from Azkaban, pursued by the dark guards who can’t seem to know the difference between a prisoner and an innocent student. It’s assumed that Hogwarts is the safest place for Harry to be, but is Harry really safe anywhere? And is it a coincidence that a black dog has popped up, following him as an omen of death?

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This particular book is a little disconnected from the other books, just because Voldemort isn’t really a part of the story. It also happens to be my favorite, and apparently everyone else’s, in the series 🙂

Between the 1st two books and this book is a vast difference in how scary it is. While in the first two, the only scary thing was a walk in the woods at night, and a descent into the Chamber of Secrets with a giant snake, this book is very dark, even without Voldemort.

The guards who come to Hogwarts to ensure the murderer doesn’t come onto the school grounds are the creepiest part about the story. They aren’t really human, and without giving anything away, their dark intentions may freak out some more sensitive kids. Other scary creatures come into the story as well. If your kids finished the first two books with no trouble, don’t assume the third book may be fine for them as well.

I loved how the story was a little off-beat from the others in plot. While the other six books are part of the bigger picture with Voldemort, this book sort of breaks up the rest and allows for a more complicated plot unto itself. The whole mystery within this story keeps you hanging on the edge of your seat, and you won’t be able to put it down. I read it on a road trip…..read it all, the whole nine hours, and then most of the 4th one on the way back.

Somehow, Rowling manages to keep it mostly light-hearted. From flunking divination class and making up faux-predictions of Ron’s future, to wandering around the castle at night, to Uncle Vernon’s meltdown when he gets a call from Ron, the book is not entirely serious, just like the other books.

Overall Rating: 5/5

Violence: 5/10

Language: 2/10

Inappropriateness/Romance: 1/10

Audience: Varies through personal taste; I would have said 12 and up, but so many kids much younger than that have read it that my opinion doesn’t matter.

Bloody Jack, by L. A. Meyer

Life as a ship’s boy aboard HMS Dolphin is a dream come true for Jacky Faber. Gone are the days of scavenging for food and fighting for survival on the streets of eighteenth-century London. Instead, Jacky is becoming a skilled and respected sailor as the crew pursues pirates on the high seas.
There’s only one problem: Jacky is a girl. And she will have to use every bit of her spirit, wit, and courage to keep the crew from discovering her secret. This could be the adventure of her life–if only she doesn’t get caught. . . .

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Excuse my borrowed plot description, but I couldn’t think of a good description. This is not so much a review as a warning.

I wanted sooo badly to like this book. It’s narrated by my all-time favorite narrator, Katherine Kellgren, but was unsure of the book so picked up the hard copy instead. And the librarian mentioned it as a good audio.

Not only does the awkwardness of Jacky being a girl on a ship filled with men get on my nerves, but aside from that the crew is very, well….crude. They’ll talk about anything and everything, and it was filled with more swear words than I’m comfortable with.

I’m sorry to say I didn’t finish the book. It was too inappropriate for my taste, or for any kid’s taste for that matter.

Overall Rating: 2/5

Violence: 4/10 (guessing…)

Language: 4/10

Inappropriateness/Romance: 5/10 (guessing…..)

Audience: Uhhh, no idea.