Sunday, August 9, 2009

Blog Tour: T'Aragam by Jack W. Regan

Title: T'Aragam
Author: Jack W. Regan
Publisher: Sweatshoppe Publications
Publication Date: April 16th, 2009
Number of Pages: 286

Amazon Page
Author Site

Young Max Ransome watched his father die, killed by marauding phantors as they swept through T'Aragam at the bidding of the evil wizard Zadok. Barely escaping with his own life, Max is thrust into a whirlwind journey as he races against time to save T'Aragam, the world he loves, from a dark dominion. Can Max overcome the horror of his father's death and save T'Aragam from the grasping talons of its enemies? Woven with a charming mix of zany humor and genuine danger, "T'Aragam" immerses the reader in a world of original characters and tightly-woven plot. Young Max leads the cast and is ably supported by, among others, a faithful medgekin friend named Gramkin, two monster brothers named Doom and Gloom, and an equuraptor named Dresden. Coupled with quirky supporting characters, such as mercenary Captain Baggywrinkle, Lord Stench, and a perpetually hungry sea serpent named Bob, this cast of characters steps from the pages and pulls the reader into the story.

The first thing that pops into my head when I think of T'Aragam, is of my uncle who insists that T'Aragam is some sort of food in central Europe (I'll have to Google that). The second thing, however, is all of the danger and adventure in this magical tale.

In my opinion, the most impressing part of this whole novel was the way the characters talked among one another. The high and mighty wizard Zohar had this professional and serious air about him, Doom was quite the British gentleman, and the pirates really did sound like pirates! The way everyone spoke fitted their character perfectly. That is one thing I will always remember about Jack W. Regan.

Another thing I won't forgot is all of the fighting scenes in this book (and there were quite a few!). The author described them so well, in so much detail, that is was almost hard to read on. Now that I think about it, scenes that didn't have any violence in them were also written very well.

As you can see, the book seems to have it all. And I do think it does have it all (except romance! Who doesn't love a good romance?!) but. But, I think it could have been a bit better.

There are more then your fair share of deaths in T'Aragam (or, almost deaths) and I couldn't help but notice how the main character, Max, hardly gave them a backwards glance when someone died or was seriously injured. I know you're a guy, but can't you even show a little compassion, Max?

Even though this book was written quite well in terms of research and characters, personally, I think some scenes could have been more dramatic. I have to say that it wasn't hard to stop reading. And other scenes could have been a little shorter. During many of the fighting scenes, I wished the fighting would just stop. I don't know about you but reading about how some guy was mudered is not what I like to do best in my spare time.

Overall, judging by reviews I've read of T'Aragam, many people have enjoyed it. I'd give it a try if you like fantasy books, and I think boys will especially like this novel (my brother even asked to read it! Shocking!). I'm giving this novel an A-.

Wednesday, August 5, 2009

The Summer I Turned Pretty by Jenny Han

Title: The Summer I Turned Pretty
Author: Jenny Han
Publisher: Simon & Schuster
Publication Date: May 5th, 2009
Number of Pages: 276

Author Site
Amazon Page

Belly measures her life in summers.
Everything good, everything magical happens between the months of June and August. Winters are simply a time to count the weeks until the next summer, a place away from the beach house, away from Susannah, and most importantly, away from Jeremiah and Conrad. They are the boys that Belly has known since her very first summer--they have been her brother figures, her crushes, and everything in between. But one summer, one terrible and wonderful summer, the more everything changes, the more it all ends up just the way it should have been all along.

I have five words for you: The Perfect Summer Beach Read. Sure, this novel like any other does have a few flaws, but other then that, I loved it.

When I first picked The Summer I Turned Pretty up, all I was expecting was a fun, cute summer read that would remind me that summer is a time where anything can happen. And I did get that. From the very first page you can smell the salty air, hear the familiar music from the beach radio station and feel the sun on your face. However, under the sand and jugs of ice tea, there's more to this story of undecided love and friendship.

I think Belly was a good main character. Not great, but good. Sometimes, I didn't quite understand her but more often then not when she thought something or did something I'd say to myself, "That's what I was thinking!" or, "Belly, I totally agree with you." But even more then Belly, I loved the supporting characters. Loved. From wonderful Susannah who I wished was my mother's best friend to sweet Cam who I personally fell in love with to the girly Taylor who I had to laugh and yell at along with Belly.

The flashbacks that Jenny Han sprinkled through this novel were a great idea. I got to see a part of the main character that you don't get to often see in books, and I just thought they were plain interesting.

Now about the ending . . . I have a few things to say about it. The first time I read it, I couldn't believe it. In good and bad ways. I kept thinking that Jenny Han should have led the story down a different path, it should have been different. But the second time I read this novel, I think I finally understood. Going down the other path would have been my decision - not Belly's. And even if Belly had gone that way I don't think it would have made much sense. Also, the novel kind of has this unfinished feel to it. Like it has this whole other story that goes along with it that the author just didn't tell . . . so I'm thrilled to say that Jenny Han is currently in the works of writing a sequel called: It's Not Summer Without You. Yay! I'm super excited to find out what's going to happen to Belly and the other supporting characters. Write this one quick Jenny, I want to read it! A.

P.S. The cover? At first, I couldn't picture Belly, Jeremiah and Conrad like that but after reading the book I can't see them any other way. Whoever did this cover did an absolutely outstanding job on it.

Monday, August 3, 2009

Guess Who? Answer #17

Last week's mystery author was . . .

. . Melissa Walker!! Yay!