Tuesday, March 24, 2015

Clones vs. Aliens

22318569Castle, M.E. Clones vs. Aliens
February 10th 2015 by EgmontUSA

After Popular Clone, Cloneward Bound, and Game of Clones, Fisher and Alex are dealing with lots of changes. Their school is meeting in trailers by the King of Hollywood (which is nice for lunch), and their parents are openind Loopity Land, a science theme park. When a roller coaster ride goes badly awry, it turns out that it was actually a way to contact aliens who show up looking like very attractive twin girls-- 13 sets of them. Dubbed the Gemini, they want to experience life on earth, so the Bas family and the government concoct a story that they are foreign exchange students from Geminolvia. Things go pretty well (with the occasional explosion of aliens from anger) until the aliens want to throw a party at Fisher's house and eat a ton of food. Their population seems to expand, but Fisher and Alex start to realize that they only have one mind. With their parents off at meetings, the boys (and some friends) need to break into a science lab to figure out what's going on, only to find that a former nemesis is a surprising ally. Once again, we learn that space aliens are not quite being honest when they say they just want to come for a visit or to borrow a tiny bit of land.
Strengths: Pitch perfect teen voice (they're aliens... but they are so hot!), fun science tidbits, lots of action, and a flying pig make this a great series for elementary and middle school readers. The cartoon covers strike just the right balance to appeal to this age group. Very fun.
Weaknesses: Fisher's parent are pretty spacey, which always bothers me.
What I really think: Like the series, but hope it sticks to my five book limit! I'd love to see Castle do some realistic, humorous books!

23399295Mass, Wendy. Graceful.
April 28th 2015 by Scholastic Press
E ARC from Edelweiss

So, The Last Present is not the last book in the Willow Falls series, but this fifth volume seems to be. Angelina has left town, but keeps sending Grace cryptic postcards. All of Team Grace is having issues of one sort or another in the wake of Grace performing a forgetting spell. Grace's brother Connor is trying to invent 3D glasses. David's father has never been sick, so he has to adjust to his new life. Leo and Amanda are still dating, but sort of irritated with one another. Tara is enjoying life, still writing letters to Julie, and eventually investigates a writing career. Grace seems able to do a lot of magic for someone whose power was drained-- she can conjure up pizzas, but also is able to do some minor magic. She is bound and determined to find the vortex of power in Willow Falls, especially once the magic seems to be unraveling. With help from Angelina and her friends, Grace is finally able to tify up all of the loose, magical ends to her life and move on.
Strengths: Again, great covers, and a strong following. In fact, I think I am missing the first one in the series (why do students lose things?), so should probably get another copy.
Weaknesses: This was told in a rather choppy fashion, from lots of different perspectives. There were text messages, Tara's letters to Julie-- it got a bit confusing. I am not a fan of epilogues that take the characters twenty years into the future and marry them off, but that's what the ending of this is.
What I really think: I really didn't like this. Debating whether to buy it, since things ended pretty well in The Last Present, but suppose I should buy it.

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