Thursday, July 21, 2011


Jordan Bradt: So I’m at the book sale browsing kid books, and I come across NISSA’S PLACE by A. LaFaye. It looked good, and I thought I might be able to pass it on to a teacher or a parent. After reading it, I realize I can’t. This would be better as a young adult book.

For one thing, Nissa gets her period and her dad explains it to her. Then he shows her pads, which she calls “diapers,” and explains to her about sperm. The passage in the book is much longer than that. It went into way too much detail for a kid’s book. Do kid books even need to mention menstruation? Oh yeah, and this is from Scholastic.

Nissa hangs out on her roof. Wow, what a great thing to tell kids! Her dad is fine with it, too.

Her mom is weird. The point of the story is how she deals with her mom, and eventually goes to live with her in Chicago. I guess it’s okay to show how the mom acts, because some parents do, so I’ll skip over that. Not only does it take forever to get to that part of the story (keep in mind the whole novel is only 244 pages), but then the actual stay is rushed. Nissa decides to go home to open a library.

A library. Really? That’s great and all, but it just seemed really random, and I would have liked to see a lot more in the story play up to that conclusion. The project becomes Nissa’s whole life. She also has to decide if she’s going to make her library segregated. That theme seemed thrown in at the end, and I would have liked to see it play out more.

When I finished the book, I cringed. Very rarely do books make me react physically. This one did. Not in a good way.

Tuesday, July 19, 2011


Stephanie Bradt: Basically, DEENIE is typical Judy Blume. The title character finds out she has scoliosis and she is sad. After all, she wants to be a model and stuff. Actually, this dream is not so much Deenie's, as it is her over-bearing mother's dream. Her mother is such a b*tch, too. Instead of supporting and trying to console Deenie, the mother just makes our poor protagonist feel worse. This relationship never improves and by the end of the book, nothing is resolved. However, Deenie is finally happy and is comfortable with her body when this boy (the name escapes me) finally agrees to make out with Deenie even though she is wearing her back brace. What a wonderful message.

Of course, this would not be a Judy Blume book without a token let's-try-to-get-this-book-banned moment. As mentioned in a previous Bradt Cousins review, there is only a sentence or two in this book that gets the entire thing banned. And it is completely irevelant. Basically, when Deenie is sad, she feels better when she touches her "special place." Thanks, Judy.

Jordan Bradt: Every summer, the Kirkland Town Library hosts a book sale in the Village Green of Clinton, NY. It starts on Friday and starting at 8 pm on Saturday, the leftover books are free (until gone). Stephanie grabbed a copy of DEENIE by Judy Blume. It is about a young girl who finds out she has scoliosis and needs to wear a back brace.

Just by looking at the cover, the book screams 1970’s. It was indeed written in 1973, and many parts reminded me of the 70’s. Deenie’s friends buy her a nightie. Do people say “nightie” anymore? Also, her friend Janet hosts a party in her basement. It reminded me of That 70’s Show.

Overall, I hated the book and I don’t think it is appropriate for junior high students (the target audience) because it keeps mentioning masturbation. Not only does Deenie touch her “special place” in order to fall asleep, but the gym teacher leads a long class discussion about it. Why?! The topic did nothing to add to the story and just felt very random.

Deenie was named after a movie, but the book never mentions a specific movie, so maybe Judy Blume made up that part. The story contained no character development. At the end, Deenie was still a whiny girl. Her mom was still mean and still pressuring Deenie to become a model against her wishes. Her sister is still sweet. Her dad is still a bit wishy-washy, but nice. Her friends are still normal teenagers. Oh, and the boy she likes? He is upset about her wearing the brace and cutting her hair, and gets mad when she doesn’t want to make out, yet she stays with him. That really irritated me and ruined the ending.

There was so much Judy Blume could have done with this story. I’ve never read another YA book about scoliosis. Yet, she lacked character development and the masturbation just made me cringe.

Sunday, July 17, 2011


This is Book Seven. Click here for the Bradt Cousins' review of Book One.

Stepahnie Bradt: It has been a couple months since I read this, but here we go. RAPTURE OF THE DEEP is typical L.A. Meyer-- it is pretty pointless, but still entertaining at times. I guess at this point I am used to nothing really happening in Meyer's books. I do like that I learned about what "rapture of the deep" and "the bends" are.

All I remember about the plot is that there are Spanish people and Jacky goes in a diving bell to collect sponges and stuff for science. Of course, she looks for treasure too. And of course, since the only important thing in the world is that everyone has a significant other, Jacky is quite pleased when the bum-legged Tink catches the eye of some Cuban girl. Other than that, nothing really happens. Stick with the earlier books in the series.

This book's featured side in Jacky’s love dodecagon: Flaco Jimenez
My favorite new character: El Gringo, a rooster that Jacky buys and uses in cock fights. I am serious. He's not really a favorite of mine, but he is definitely notable. Disturbing, but notable.

Jordan Bradt: RAPTURE OF THE DEEP is the seventh book in the Bloody Jack series by L. A. Meyer. I just read this novel, so it’s fresh in my mind. Sort of. It skipped around a lot and was slightly hard to follow, but I greatly enjoyed the story overall. To condense the story into one paragraph, Jacky sails to Havana to dive for sunken treasure.

The good - Old characters return and new characters are introduced. There is action, adventure, and history, as well as some romance, which takes us to the bad…

The bad - Jacky still isn’t with Jaimy! At the beginning, they almost get married, but then the British navy kidnaps them. Why?! It frustrates me that they still aren’t married. In the first few books, I only read them to see if she got with Jaimy. There is some more cuddle time for the couple in this novel, but not enough. Other characters get married and make love, so why can’t they?

This book reminded me a lot of a story I read back in elementary school, THE DIVING BELL by Todd Strasser. If anyone is interested in further his or her knowledge of diving bells, this is a great, fast read.

Thursday, July 14, 2011


This is Book Six. Click here for the Bradt Cousins' review of Book One.

Stephanie Bradt: I honestly don’t remember much about MY BONNY LIGHT HORSEMAN either. Not quite the same old rant I had for the last few books, though. For starters, I believe this book was more focused and organized than others. Not surprisingly, this book also seems to be shorter than most of the others in the series. I do not know this for a fact, but to me this means that at the very least the story had more of a point. Basically, Jacky is sort of forced into a deal with the British Crown to go spy for them against Napoleon. Her escort is a young man, a French Royalist by the name of Jean-Paul de Valdon. As Jacky would say, “Hmmmmmm.”

That being said, I do not quite remember what that aforementioned point was. I remember bits and pieces like:

-The title refers to the line of a song Meyer already referenced in one of the previous books.

-They talk about the death of Marat. I remember the painting “The Death of Marat” from an Art History class I took. According to the story, a new character, Jean-Paul de Valdon (I had to look up his name), explains to Jacky how his cousin or something like that was the one who killed Marat. This is kind of cheesy, but I liked how a) I remembered something from Art History class and how b) Meyer again weaves historical fact with fiction and I like it.

-Speaking of fact and fiction, Jacky hangs out with Napoleon, visits his wife, and falls asleep on his lap. Of course she does.

-Jacky makes out with the mustachioed Jean-Paul de Valdon in a tent. Of course she does.

-Jacky’s old shipmate, Joseph Jared, comes back in this one. His arrogant but loyal personality is growing on me. Jacky still finds him very attractive. Of course she does.

This book's featured side in Jacky’s love dodecagon: Jean-Paul de Valdon. He annoyed me (what a surprise).
My favorite new character: Dr. Sebastian, a doctor/scientist. Jacky illustrates for his books. I’m not sure if this was the exact book in which the doc was first introduced, but I like him better than Jean-Paul. So there you go.

Jordan Bradt: Time for another installment of the Bloody Jack series by L. A. Meyer. This time, we shall explore book six, MY BONNY LIGHT HORSEMAN. I read it back in 2008, so I don’t remember too much, other than that this is one of my favorites in the series. My ultimate favorite is still the first book, though.

In this book…well, I can’t really give you a direct summary because, like the other books, this is all over the place and involves many different plots. So, I shall make another list! This time, I’ll mention the themes of the novel:

1) Marriage – Jacky is still waiting for Jaimy to sweep her off her feet. STILL WAITING.
2) New and old characters – It’s enjoyable to read about familiar faces, but at the same time, some appear in very random moments.
3) Ships – Yup, it’s another nautical adventure.
4) Food poisoning – fun time for a crew when they eat rotten fish.
5) France – Yay, a new country! I love it when books take you to different historical locations.
6) Ballet – Jacky is good at everything else, so why not throw in some sophisticated dancing as well?
7) Spy – Jacky becomes a spy. May I repeat that Jacky is good at everything.
8) Love interests – yes, new guys adore her. She leads them on and at the last minute “remembers” Jaimy.
9) Napoleon – I love stories with historical figures.
10) Prison – Jacky goes to prison. Fun times.

Sunday, July 10, 2011


This is Book Five. Click here for the Bradt Cousins' review of Book One.

Stephanie Bradt: BEWARE: This will be a rant. I really have no idea what to say about this book except that I think it was my one of my least favorites. Probably my least favorite in the series, period. I know, I know. I should know by now how Meyer operates, but come on!!! This book is the longest in the series and therefore has the most ridiculous and pointless subplots and character additions. I do not remember particulars except that this book was long and random.

I do like that they go through America like a bunch of Huck Finns, but still this book is a mess. I don’t want to get into it, but trust me. Among a slew of other stupid things, the book introduces a couple of the most annoying characters in all of literature: A big, drunk, retarded woodsman guy named Mike Fink and a creepy, annoying little thing called Clementine. Clementine and Jaimy fall in love within .001 seconds. Meanwhile, Jacky and crew meet a bunch of Native Americans and slaves and Jacky buys one. A slave that is. And yet another new character, whose name escapes me, teaches Jacky how to play cards. Whatever.

This book's featured side in Jacky’s love dodecagon: I think this is the book which introduces Captain Richard Allen of Her Majesty’s Army. Who I also find to be a royal pain-in-the-ass.

My favorite new character: I honestly can’t remember any new characters in this book that I liked. All I remember is that I often wanted to punch Mike Fink in the face.

Jordan Bradt: I still love the Bloody Jack series by L. A. Meyer, even if Jacky still isn’t with Jaimy (grr). MISSISSIPPI JACK is the fifth book, and just as adventurous as the others. Jacky and her friends leave the high seas for the American Wilderness. They travel the Mississippi, encountering Native Americans and river rats. I read this story back when it first came out in 2007, so I don’t remember all that much about it. Instead of stating individual things, I’ll try a different method and say what the story is:

1) Fun – Jacky has a wild adventure after another, each more wild and random than the last.
2) Long – it’s 624 pages. About ¾ of the way through, I grew a little bored and wished it had more of a central plot. The novel could have easily been made into 4 or 5 smaller books.
3) Songs – Jacky entertains her way along the Mississippi. The historical songs are fun to sing aloud while you’re reading.
4) Romantic – Jacky and Jaimy always come very close to finally having their way with each other. In the meantime, though, there are many other young men who engage in illicit trysts with her; just look at the cover, where Jacky dances in a sexy dress while males cheer.
5) Historical – The author included many historical events and terms to bring the setting richly alive.
6) Random – Part of the appeal for this series is how random the events are! Jaimy finds a girl who loves him, Katy tries to kill her uncle, Native Americans turn Jacky over to the police…
7) Adult aspects – I really don’t feel like this book is appropriate for 12-year-olds, as the back cover states. Not only is their language and sexual content, but there are hookers and alcohol.

Saturday, July 9, 2011


This is Book Four. Click here for the Bradt Cousins' review of Book One.

Stephanie Bradt: IN THE BELLY OF THE BLOODHOUND kind of disappointed me. The plot seems like it would be fun: the Lawson Peabody girls get kidnapped aboard a slave ship thing and have to try to escape. It is all very dry though. They are constantly digging this hole thing to escape and it just seems to go on and on. And Jacky, of course, is the narcissist she is and tells the girls stories of her life in Cheapside and beyond because she is just oh-so-fascinating.

Here is what I remember about this book:

For one, I did not find it as fun as it could be. The stories every night and digging the hole and boo hoos kind of got boring rather quickly. However, I guess by this book, being the fourth in the series, I became used to L.A. Meyer’s randomness and pointlessness and learned to accept and embrace it.

Wow. Jacky reaches a new level of her sluttiness and makes out with a girl and likes it. There is a reason behind this, of course, but really, L.A. Meyer/Jacky? Of all things? This is still a YA book—ages 12 and up, kids.

I think this is where the character Katy Deere is introduced, who has a rather interesting and unusual backstory. Katy returns for one of the 75 subplots of the subsequent Bloody Jack book, one of the better pointless subplots in my opinion.

I also think that this is the book where we learn that the little Lawson Peabody girl Rebecca Adams, who is introduced in book 2, is actually the granddaughter of former President John Adams. I thought this was kind of cool too. Jacky teaches Rebecca and about half the other girls about the Birds and the Bees. Of course she does.

I don’t remember the particulars, but there is an ugly creepy kid on the ship who is one of the bad guys who *gasp!* thinks Jacky is hot! What I find fascinating is that I think this is the only male soul between the ages of 12 and 50 whose affections are not embraced and reciprocated by Jacky. Maybe because he is ugly and Jacky is just shallow. Really, before this, I thought that Jacky was in love with everything with man-parts that breathes.

This book's featured side in Jacky’s love dodecagon: No one? I can’t remember!
My favorite new character: I can’t remember any. Let’s say Katy. I think she was new…

Jordan Bradt: I love the Bloody Jack series by L. A. Meyer. By far, it is one of my favorites. Not only is there romance and adventure, but it takes place in the 1800’s. I can’t get enough historical fiction. IN THE BELLY OF THE BLOODHOUND is the fourth installment. I like it better than some of the books in the series, but it’s not one of my favorites. I read it when it first came out back in 2006, so this review will be short. Again, I’ll concentrate on the things I remember.

Jacky and her friends from the Lawson Peabody School for Young Girls are kidnapped by pirates. What’s awesome about that (besides the fact that pirates are included) is that it puts Jacky right in her element. There are many opportunities for Jacky to show her craft, and L. A. Meyer writes beautifully. The reader really gets into Jacky’s head.

Okay, here are the parts I didn’t like. Jacky and Jaimy still don’t get together! Argh, I found it very frustrating. One of the main reasons I read the book was to see if they finally get married and nope, they don’t. So, moving on…

Jacky acts like a slut. All the “sexy” men want her, and she wants them back, then at the last minute decides to wait for Jaimy – uh-huh, total tease. She also makes out with a girl, so it’s not just the guys. Clearly, Jacky goes both ways.