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Archive for May, 2010

Book #61 of 2010
Title: Monsters of Men
Author: Patrick Ness
Publisher: Candlewick
Pub Date: September 28, 2010
Grade: B+
Comments: This is the third book in the Chaos Walking series. If you haven’t read The Knife of Never Letting Go and The Ask and the Answer, please stop reading and immediately go to the nearest bookstore or library and pick up these books. I cannot write a synopsis for the third book without spoiling the everything, but Todd and Viola continue to be both close to each other and at odds with each other as the battles around them intensify. The true nature of the Noise becomes just as complex as the characters’ decisions, choices, and intentions.

I will admit that I am a bit conflicted about this book. I was expecting to love every minute of it, and I didn’t. It was very battle heavy and the introduction of the third narrator had me scratching my head. I’m not sure we HAD to see this perspective in order to understand the Spackle. The ending just about killed me. I think this book was a fitting conclusion and I think most people will love it, but there was a lot that got in the way for me, even though I love Todd and Viola and think this is the most complex teen series in existence when it comes to character and morality.

Reviewed from ARC received from Candlewick

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Book #60 of 2010
Title: Heist Society
Author: Ally Carter
Publisher: Hyperion Books for Children
Pub Date: February 9, 2010
Grade: B
Comments:
Kat comes from a family of art thieves, but she has given up the family business and enrolls at boarding school. When her friend/potential love interest Hale frames her for a prank to get her out, she discovers that a dangerous art collector believes her father has robbed him of five priceless paintings, and he will do whatever he can get get them back. Since her father is being followed by Interpol, there isn’t much he can do, and Kat puts together a band of teens who will attempt to break into one of the most secure art museums in the world to secure the paintings and the safety of her father, her friends and herself.

This book has earned rave reviews from tons of blogs, but it was less successful than the Gallagher Girls books for me. Other than Kat, and perhaps Hale, the characters are very one-note and the action is jumpy. I felt like I was told what was happening rather than experiencing it with the characters. I was intrigued by the potential for romance and there was definitely a measure of chemistry but I didn’t think it ended in a satisfying place. Maybe I’m more intrigued by teen spies than art thieves.

I am an Amazon Affiliate (in order to use their photos mostly, but the occasional gift card is nice). If you make a purchase after clicking on a photo, I will receive a small portion of the purchase price.

Book #58 of 2010
Title: Coffee at Luke’s: An Unauthorized Gilmore Girls Gabfest
Editor: Jennifer Crusie
Publisher: BenBella Books
Pub Date: May 28, 2007
Grade: B+
Book #59 of 2010
Title: Neptune Noir: Unauthorized Investigations into Veronica Mars
Editor: Rob Thomas
Publisher: BenBella Books
Pub Date: April 28, 2007
Grade: B+
 
Comments: These two titles from the Smart Pop series by Benbella Books are somewhat academic, but not offputting essays on The Gilmore Girl and Veronica Mars. As these are two of my favorite TV shows, I found much to enjoy here, but I think you really have to be a superfan to get them. The essays cover some of the minutia of episodes. If you’re writing a paper on either series, these would be required reading.

I am an Amazon Affiliate (in order to use their photos mostly, but the occasional gift card is nice). If you make a purchase after clicking on a photo, I will receive a small portion of the purchase price.

Book #57 of 2010
Title: I Never Asked You to Understand Me
Author: Barthe DeClements
Publisher: Viking
Pub Date: 1986
Grade: A-
Comments: Going to school isn’t much of a priority for Didi since her mother was diagnosed with cancer, and she is sent to the local alternative school due to her excessive absences. On her first day, she meets Stacy and they become friends quickly since they are the only two “normal” teens at Cooperation High School. The “touchy-feely” curriculum and lack of language classes don’t really work for Didi, but it gets her mind off her life at home, including her mother’s rapid decline, her housekeeper’s insistence on taking over the household and her father’s lack of attention. She quickly learns that Stacy’s home life isn’t any better and tries to help her friend avoid the horrors of her house.

I picked this up because it was reviewed by Are you there youth? It’s me, Nikki. who said it was in the same universe as many of Barthe DeClements’ other books. Jenny, Jack, Craddoc and Elsie make nominal appearances, and although I can’t remember Didi being in any other other books, I think Stacy might have been. This book is more of a character driven, slice of life piece, than her other novels which have a stronger plot in addition to the amazing characters. It’s a worthwhile read though, and I wonder at how groundbreaking it would have been for 1986. The story holds up very well.

I am an Amazon Affiliate (in order to use their photos mostly, but the occasional gift card is nice). If you make a purchase after clicking on a photo, I will receive a small portion of the purchase price.

Book #56 of 2010
Title: Runaway
Author: Meg Cabot
Publisher: Scholastic
Pub Date: April 20, 2010
Grade: B+
Comments: In the third book of the Airhead trilogy, Emerson Watts is still in model Nikki Howard’s body, but Stark Enterprises threats have become all the more real. Em needs to figure out what Nikki knows about Stark industries and figure out what their goal is in making cheap computers that track the users’ every move. Of course, there is romance to think about with Christopher ever present, but confusing as he alternates between being interested in her and angry at her for her charade with Brandon Stark.

That summary probably makes no sense if you haven’t read the first two books, but they are worthwhile reads. I complained about Airhead because while the premise was cool, the book was all premise. Being Nikki was the most effective use of plot, suspense and characterization. This book wraps the trilogy up nicely, though it seemed a bit jumpy and a bit rushed. Lulu is particular is underutilized and considering the resolution isn’t all that shocking it would have been nice if the book focused more on the characters than the mystery. This is a fun read though, and I’d definitely recommend all three books.

I am an Amazon Affiliate (in order to use their photos mostly, but the occasional gift card is nice). If you make a purchase after clicking on a photo, I will receive a small portion of the purchase price.

Book #55 of 2010
Title: In the Path of Falling Objects
Author: Andrew Smith
Publisher: Feiwel and Friends
Pub Date: September 29, 2009
Grade: B+
Comments: Two brothers are abandoned without food or power, after their mother leaves them presumably for a man who will take care of her, and their father is in jail. They decide to take off for Arizona where their older brother Matthew is scheduled to arrive after his tour in Vietnam. When their horse dies not far from their home, Jonah and Simon are hungry, broke and desperate. They receive a break when Mitch and Lilly pull up and offer them a ride, although Jonah is immediately suspicious of Mitch and his intentions. Mitch quickly turns on Jonah as he realizes Lilly has feelings for Jonah and not him, and succeeds in pitting the brothers against each other. When Mitch’s actions turn violent, Jonah knows they have to escape Mitch, before he kills both of them.

This book has an intriguing premise and overall it works well, though it gets a little loose toward the end which makes it not completely successful. Jonah is a very sympathetic character, and I loved two of the characters introduced toward the end of the book. I like a lot of the smaller moments such as the Don Quixote statue taking up room in the backseat, Jonah’s time at Dalton’s, Matt’s heartbreaking letters, and the cartoons on the side of the car depicting the violence acts that Mitch commits. Some of the character motivations aren’t quite clear, but the intensity and uniqueness of the book makes it an interesting read.

I am an Amazon Affiliate (in order to use their photos mostly, but the occasional gift card is nice). If you make a purchase after clicking on a photo, I will receive a small portion of the purchase price.

Book #54 of 2010
Title: House Rules
Author: Jodi Picoult
Publisher: Atria
Pub Date: March 2, 2010
Grade: A-
Comments: Jacob is 18 and he has Asburger’s Syndrome. He is fixated on a TV show called Crime Busters, where he takes detailed notes and tries to solve the crime before the police in the episode. When he receives a police scanner as a present, he starts showing up at crime scenes and telling the police what they’ve missed. His mother writes an advice column for his local newspaper and his brother copes with his life as an outcast by breaking into houses (occasionally taking stuff, but usually just looking at what other people’s lives are like). When his social skills teacher turns up missing, her brutish boyfriend Mark is the initial suspect. But it isn’t long before the police want to question Jacob. When his mother discovers a link between her son and the murder, she calls the police, not realizing that this would mean Jacob would be questioned and arrested for the crime. The story follows Jacob’s trial, and is told from the points of view of Jacob, his brother, mother, the questioning police officer and his lawyer.

I disliked Picoult’s last novel, after I loved the one before it, so I never quite know what to expect from her. This one worked for me even though the solution to the mystery was glaringly obvious from the moment it was introduced. The characterizations worked well enough that despite the lack of suspense, I did care about the characters. I complained about the portrayal of the teenage daughter in her last book, and while there were moments where Theo didn’t seem authentic to me, I think it was a great improvement. Oliver, Jacob’s lawyer, was great in this, as well.

I am an Amazon Affiliate (in order to use their photos mostly, but the occasional gift card is nice). If you make a purchase after clicking on a photo, I will receive a small portion of the purchase price.