Wednesday, December 30, 2009

Rey Mysterio Behind the Mask

Rey Mysterio is the high flying, 619 hitting, West Coast Poping superstar of the WWE. His start in wrestling began in Mexico learning the lucha libre style from the age of eight. His size and weight were always against him, and it wasn't until promoters saw him in the ring that they realized that Mysterio could wrestle. Mysterio worked his way through a few Mexico wrestling promotions then had his big break in ECW in the mid-1990's. He then went on to WCW along with quite a few Mexican wrestlers like the late Eddie Guerrero, Psycosis, Juventude, and Konan. He had to make a name for himself there in WCW, which put most of its time into talent like Goldberg, Scott Steiner, Kevin Nash, Scott Hall, and Hulk Hogan. When WWE bought out WCW in 2001 Rey was with out a job. He wrestled in Mexico again, and it wasn't till April 2002 when he would get the call from WWE about a job. He mainly wrestled cruiserweights and fought for the Cruiserweight Championship (which has been retired by the WWE) in his first few years with the WWE. He also went up against the likes of Kurt Angle and Undertaker just to name a few. In early 2005 Mysterio and Eddie Guerrero became Tag Team Champions and at Wrestlemainia 21 they would face each other, the first time Tag Team Champions had faced each other. Their feud continued over the summer with Eddie claiming that Dominick, Rey's son, was really Eddie's. It culminated in a ladder match at the 2005 Summer Slam for custody of Dominick. Rey won and he and Eddie went on to other feuds. It was in November of 2005 that Eddie Guerrero passed away and the wrestling world was in shock. Rey would go on to win the Royal Rumble in January of 2006, dedicate the match to Eddie, and go on to Wrestlemainia 22 to win the World Heavyweight Championship. He would hold the championship till the Great American Bash in July where he lost it to Booker T, with help from Chavo Guerrero. This set up their feud which went on till October of 2006 when Chavo and Rey met in an I Quit match, which was part of an injury angle for Rey. In 2007 and 2008 Mysterio would go on to have feuds with JBL, MVP, and Chris Jericho. He would be drafted to Raw in 2008, and then drafted back to Smackdown in 2009 with the Intercontinental Championship. He would loose the title in early September to John Morrison only to return in October at Hell in the Cell PPV and begin a feud with Batista, which is currently going on.

I enjoyed Rey Mysterio's book. It's nice to see from the point of view from a lucha libre wrestler from Mexico, and what it took Rey to rise through the ranks of professional wrestling, considering he's not as big as some of the other wrestlers in the WWE today. This book ranks up there with Batista, Chris Jericho, Shawn Michaels, and Steve Austin books as my favorites of the wrestling biographies.

T.B. 12/30/09

Wednesday, December 23, 2009

Teach Me by R. A. Nelson

This novel explores a student / teacher affair from the viewpoint of the student. Carolina (Nine) doesn't exactly fit in with the other teens at her high school and when Mr. Mann joins the staff at her school and she has him for English, she feels an instant connection. Before long, they seem to be mutually stalking each other and having inappropriate contact outside of school. Just when things are going great and they're planning their future (she's a senior and just turned 18), he suddenly breaks up with her for no reason. Then she learns he's getting married and she is set to destroy him - without revealing their relationship to the authorities. Soon things get out of hand, and a violent storm puts her and her best friend in danger.

I found this novel unsatisfying. Nine is just a little too psycho for my taste - breaking into his house and smearing jelly on his bed, giving his wife her wisdom tooth, "shooting" him in public - she's just a little too "Fatal Attraction" for my taste. I've never had that insane type of love before, so maybe heartbreak causes you to respond in that type of way, but it was a little too much to swallow. I wanted her to just expose him and be done with it. I would have liked some more build up to their relationship or through the relationship. How could both of them be so willing to do something they both know is wrong? What made their love so intense that she would turn crazy? And his reason behind his break up isn't anything terrible (frankly, it's a little predictable) so why didn't he just tell her? I just don't understand all of the secrecy among the characters. Overall, it was just unsatisfying.

Thursday, December 17, 2009

Forest of Hands and Teeth by Carrie Ryan

The hands and teeth in this fast paced horror story are zombies ever reaching for living flesh to gnaw on. The battle of the living against the zombies has been going on for quite some time and seems to be a losing battle. Zombies carry a virus that causes anyone who is bitten to turn upon their inevitable deaths. Animals are not affected but not used to help guard the small community. Zombies breach a poorly constructed fence and attack a small village where the people believe themselves to the last living beings. A small group of Six manage to escape down a path they discovered quite by chance. They are friends who have grown up together and a lone small child. Two girls and two of the young men expected to be married until the breach. None are betrothed to their true loves which creates romantic tension and a little depth to an otherwise simple horror story. They come upon a deserted village built in trees the zombies cannot climb. They one of their group chooses to go on in hope of finding a other surviving people. Not really trusting this natural leader, the others stay behind to face whatever fate awaits them. There is lots of exciting action and uncertainty. It held my attention. But, I am sorry I was bothered by hints of secrets kept and never fully explained. I was bothered by the poorly built defenses. If zombies avoid water, why were there not moats. And, why when some folks turn were their heads cut off permanently destroying them while others were set loose in the forest with the other zombies to come back and prey on the village? There is to be a sequel, perhaps how the virus got started, why no cure was ever found and other questions will be answered?
JDW 12/17/09

Tiger Moon by Antonia Michaelis

This is a story within a story, within a story. It is a thrice told tale. It reads like a fairy tale or folk tale from India. There are many references to Hindu gods and customs as well as some Buddhist references. It is lyrically written, beautiful soaring language that paints vivid pictures in one's mind. A beautiful Young Woman has been betrothed to a violent, manipulative powerful man. She will be his eighth wife and must be perfect. She knows that on their wedding night he will find out that she is not and kill her. Shortly after she is brought to his harem to await the wedding, the man becomes ill. The girl spends her time waiting for her inevitable death in a courtyard from which she cannot escape. While there she meets a young slave. They enjoy each other's company. She begins to spin a tale of a young trickster/thief boy born into poverty who will become a hero when he rescues a captured princess from a tower in a town across the desert. It is the same tale she is living with some changes to make the telling better. Fahrad, the hero of the story in turn tells the story of his attempt to rescue the princess, riding on the back of a sacred white tiger with blue eyes. Fahrad must find a bloodstone and present it to the chief servant of the rich merchant who held the princess captive. Once he succeeds the servant will help Fahrad and the princess escape. Fahrad is stalked and thwarted at every turn by a stranger who is perhaps French or German or something else, which keeps the story exciting and fast moving. He and the white tiger have a wonderful, relationship both wise and funny. The ending is a mix of tragedy and success. Perhaps a high school girl who loves romance and lovely writing can appreciate this book as much as I did. But, I think this story will have a hard time finding readers. JDW 12/17/09

Wednesday, December 16, 2009

Vampire Loves BY: Joann Sfar

This is the first volume of Joann Sfar Vampire Loves series. Ferdinand, the vampire, is in search for true love. He is not the ordinary scary vampire, instead he is charming, polite, and quite mature. He sucks animals for blood but occasionally bites humans in their sleep. He bites humans very carefully, like a mosquito. He is in love with Liana, a mandragona, a girl plant, who cheated on him with his best friend Michael Duffin. Ferdinand is depressed in a lonely castle with his cat Imhotep, until he decides to go out and search for love, while Liana is out doing the same, although she was cursed to drive men crazy. Throughout the whole story Ferdinand meets a variety of women , ranging from vampires, ghosts, and tree folks, and all with different personalities. Sfar comic Vampire Loves is definitely a must read if your
interested in comics that are funny, have mythical creatures, and romantic. Read the first volume of Vampire Loves and see if Ferdinand finds his true love. gv

Tuesday, December 15, 2009

Tsubasa Cronicles

Tsubasa Chronicles is a graphic novel written and drawn by Clamp. The story begins as a girl and a boy named Shoaoran and Sakura,whose share a very special relationship, find themselves involve in an adventure traveling different worlds and making new friends, in the quest to find Sakuras heart, which was spread in different dimensions in the form of feathers. More than 100 chapters and 26 books has been translate to English a beautiful story of friendship and love, as for fine art too. A story worth give it a try.

Thursday, December 03, 2009

Because I Am Furniture by Thalia Charlas

Anke's father is abusive to her brother, mother, sister but largely ignores her. On one level she is jealous of the attention the rest of her family gets and she is denied. On another level she knows she is lucky to be invisible to him. This is a novel in verse so the story is sketchy but it goes on with Anke's school experience, mostly boys and volleyball and even with less detail her home life and that of her sibs. I guess they are living in a wood heated home on an acreage somewhere since the kids are often chopping wood and it doesn't appear to be a punishment. Her father is apparently a lawyer? He at least has government type information he can share for some sort of school project. I at least think that the ending was predictable though apparently reviewers do not. Transitions between scenes don't exist. There is just a period a brief white space and something else begins. I sometimes had to reread to figure out that - oh that was a dream - etc. Okay, the atmosphere is very stark which I suppose is just right for a story of child/spousal abuse but I like to get into the heads of characters, see who they are. I cannot tell anyone more than one thing personality wise about Anke - she was strong - or her sibs and mother - they are weak. The entire plot is my father is abusing my sibs, over and over and over again. There is no insight as to why the characters act the way they do, how anyone feels about what is happening. Well Anke a little but not deeply. I do not get why anyone thinks this is a great read. Skip this book, really you can do better. JDW 12/3/09

Wednesday, November 25, 2009

Hold Still By: Nina La Cour

This is a novel concerning tragedy to one teen girl called Caitlan . She misses her best friend Ingrid, who takes her life unexpectedly with no explanation . Most people call it a suicide, so we know what's happening , and are not left with any doubt.
Caitlan is fascinated with photography . She is a very creative teen, so she is occupied with this endeavor. Caitlan all her life wants to build a tree house in her back yard. She accomplishes her dream, and creates her tree house, which she adores. This is a quiet place away from her Mother, and Dad. She also places a Persian rug on the floor of her tree house
Caitlan's parent's are very strict with her. Especially, since Ingrid took her own life. Remember, they were best friends, so they were concerned.
Caitlan was a loner, in High School, but had a big interest in photography. Caitlin had creativity abilities. Caitlan first year without Ingrid she was able to cope, by promoting her abilities to create. Caitlin adjusted to her personal loss, and manages to make new friends. Some are male teen friends. One in particular male friend is called Taylor, who end up becoming close. Caitlan and Taylor spend lots of time together.
This novel is good, and portrays honesty.

No More Us For You By: David Hernandez

Isabel is a normal seventeen year old girl still feeling the grief of her boyfriend who had a tragic death one year ago. Carlos is a 17 year old teen, who loves to eat red licorice, and works at Art Museum for some extra money. The two have no connection until Vanessa, who was a transfer student to the High School she brings Isabel and Carlos together. The beauty of this read for me is that the author of the novel is a poet, plus a web designer. This is his second novel so far, which demonstrates his ability to be an author .
This novel creates excitement, and intrigue for the reader, who enjoys different activities that deal with teens. It shows the conflicts that teens have, and how they handle it.
This novel is smooth reading, and not a complicated plot for the reader. It keeps you thinking, and wondering if we acted like the teens do in the novel. The novel I recommend to any teen reader.
LRD 11/25/09

Tuesday, November 24, 2009

Intern at your own Risk by Sekou Hamilton

CSI has finally made it to the world of comic books and this endeavor is unfortunately a bit disappointing. It was nice to see familiar characters in this form and the book was very similar to the show, but it could have been pushed further in some places and more believable in others.

The story is about five high school students who receive an internship at the Las Vegas Crime Lab. Grissom and Catherine Willows are the head of the program and set them up on a current case regarding the murder of a fellow high school student. The lead intern is Kiyomi Hudson, a girl facing the similar financial woes as the victim. As the interns take the initiative to solve the case, they discover that the murderer was one of the CSI interns. The plot thickens as Kiyomi narrows in on the murderer.

My first complaint is how realistic would it be for high schoolers to solve a current murder investigation? Where were the professions? Why aren't they doing their jobs? I just find it unbelievable that they would be so involved and responsible for an important investigation right when they begin. Yes, I know it's fiction, but that's no reason to take liberties. Also, it would be one thing if the real CSIs were involved, but it seemed like the interns were doing it all. Where were the professionals? Why hadn't they discovered this stuff first? I just found it hard to sink my teeth into the way the murder was solved by 15 year olds. On top of that, I think the story would have been better if it made more connections to the TV show. There are a few characters from the show and others I think are in the story, but they aren't identified. The author might be trying to subtly bring them in, but I think it would have been more successful if I knew for certain that's who they were talking about.

This seems like the start of a series and it has potential. I wish the CSIs from the TV show were more prevalent characters and that justice didn't rely so much on high school interns - it just doesn't seem believable. Will I read the next book - probably. Should you try this one - if you like CSI, you'll probably enjoy it.

Sunday, November 22, 2009

Girls Acting Catty by Leslie Margolis

This book was a little difficult for me to relate to, probably because the main character was in middle school and that was a lifetime ago for me. Just the same, the novel was good in the sense that the targeted readers will connect with the story because it was very realistic - even if it is also a bit cliched.

Annabelle is still a bit of the new girl in school (this is the second novel of a series) and is adjusting to life in middle school. To begin, she has to deal with the "Terrible T" - a girl named Taylor who has a reputation in Annabelle's group of friends for being a "mean girl." Things get complicated when Annabelle is accepted by Taylor. Who does she side with - her current friends who just don't understand, or Taylor who might not be what she appears? On top of that situation, she has to deal with her mother's new engagement to Ted "Dweeble." To make matters worse, Ted's son shows up, and Annabelle realizes she has a huge crush on her soon-to-be stepbrother. All of this accumulates to the point when all of her friends hate her - including her dog who chooses the stepbrother over her. Will Annabelle survive this rejection...

This book is relatively cliched with the mean girl isn't as mean as everyone thinks if you just get to know her, but yet maybe everyone was right about her. In terms of the cat and dog references, I think some of that was lost on me since I haven't read the first book. There was other drama in the novel that I think will be more relevant to middle schoolers than older readers - like the horror of a first bra and shaving your legs. Yes, older readers have probably already endured that, but it's history and no longer traumatic.

After reading this book, I don't really have a desire to read another book in the series. It wasn't bad, but I don't feel I'm the targeted audience. Older teens might also be disappointed in this novel. It is, though, worth picking up if you are a middle school girl.

Wednesday, November 18, 2009

Elphame's Choice - P.C. Cast

Elphame is leaving her mother, and where she grew up behind. She is heading with her brother and people who want a new start to rebuild MacCallan Castle. After they get to the ruins Elphame feels the power running through them and for the first time can hear the spirits of the earth. Elphame becomes Chieftain and starts to organize the rebuilding of the castle. One day she goes for a jog and falls into a ravine with a wild boar running at her. She is saved by Lochlan, a Fomorian, who has been connected to Elphame since her birth. As the story goes on she falls in love with Lochlan and her brother falls in love with the healer of the clan. When the healer is killed Lochlan and the few of his kind with him reveal what they are to Elphame and the rest of the clan there. This book was ok, and the "dangerous vampires" really aren't in the story much till the last 60 pages or so. I absolutely love the House of the Night Series by Cast, but Elphame's Choice just wasn't as enjoyable as House of the Night. It was more about starting over somewhere new and falling in love more than being under attack/hunted by vampires, or about the vampires themselves.

T.B. 11/18/09

Wednesday, November 11, 2009

Tempted - P.C. Cast

Zoey and her friends, along with the red fledglings, have banished Kalona and Neferet from the Tulsa House of the Night. As they clean up the remnants of the battle so the humans won't be suspicious Stevie Rae finds Rephaim, one of the Ravenmockers, still alive. She nurses him back to health and hides him in the underground tunnels. Zoey and her friends return to the House of the Night only to find that most of the fledgling vampires there are still under the control of Kalona. There are those few fledglings who choose to believe the truth and didn't fall under Kalona's control. Zoey, her friends, and a few of the teachers meet and discuss what to do. After deciphering Zoey's dreams, and Aphrodites visions of Zoey they figure out that Kalona and Neferet are in Italy in front of the Vampire Council, with the help of Jack's Vamp Twitter. Zoey and her friends head to Italy to confront Kalona and Neferet in front of the Vampire Council (hmmm confronting the Vampire Council, now that sounds a little familiar). I won't give a way the end, but it is a cliffhanger and makes you want the next book in the series to find out what happens. The seventh book is called Burned and is coming out in April of 2010.

T.B. 11/11/09

Tuesday, November 10, 2009

The Last Exit to Normal and Brutal by Michael Harmon

I decided to read Harmon's books because they circulate frequently in our library and I was curious. I read Brutal first. Poe, goth girl, is living with her father for the first time in her life. She is in a new school, new environment. She is a rebellious girl who picks every little issue to argue about, endlessly, relentlessly. Her father is the counselor at her new school where see no evil, hear no evil, speak no evil reins. Since people are always looking the other way its easy to find lots to pick on. Sometimes her dad supports her. Goth boy already knows all the issues in the school but chooses to stay separate from them and pretty much every one else, though Poe tries to involve him. Velveeta, an awkward misfit, endures much bullying and some of Poe's arguing is sort of to help him but not really. I wanted badly to know more about Velveeta and wanted Poe to care about another human being and help him and/or love goth boy and pick one important issue and make a difference rather than arguing every little thing. I wearied of her arguing with limited affect. I don't think this is an especially good book. The Last Exit to Normal
has a rebellious young man who's mother vanished when his father announced he was gay and had a life companion. Ben has a lot to deal with and is not surprisingly very angry. When his dad and momdad move with him to Rough Butte Montana to get away from bad influences, things begin to change though , appropriately, slowly. He meets neighbor boy Billy, aged about 11, who is also without mother and is abused by his father. Mae, his momdad's mother is a hard task master who demands much from Ben. He finds himself willing to give it. He falls in love with a girl he meets and gets pulled into life in town and on ranches without really expecting to. His father kicks him out of their home towards the end of the book in exasperation. Ben just cannot give his dad any respect. Their issues are not totally resolved by books end, but there is hope. This book has gotten recognition that I think it deserves. Tough topics are well addressed here. Main characters have some depth not nearly as present in Brutal. JDW 11/09

the Everafter by Huntley

Madison is dead and is reliving her life through lost while she was alive and now found in what she calls "is". This book has received many wonderful reviews. But, until the last 30 pages or so of this 244 page book it reads pretty much like chick lit. It is a series of scenes involving dating, parties, girl friend fights and stuff, sometimes repeated when Madison revisits these important scenes from her life multiple times. Maybe because she is dead we don't get much sense of Madison's personality, hopes, dreams, strengths, etc. Characterization is important to me. The only thing I really got from Madison was that she didn't trust her boyfriend Gabe to be faithful to her and she was sort of mean or uncaring towards her girlfriends. Her ending revelations and her transcendence into everafter really didn't matter much to me when I finally got to it. The idea of reliving/revisiting your life either to get it right the next time or to come to terms with it isn't new either. I just don't get what others are seeing in this book. JDW11/10/09

Monday, October 26, 2009

Doomed Queen Anne By: Caroline Meyer

This is a Historical novel that appeals to teens that are interested in History from the early 1500's during King Henry the VIII reign. The King was obsessed in having a male that would carry on as heir to the throne in England King Henry the VIII was married to a Queen Catherine, who only bore a female Mary.King Henry VII was always trying to get his marriage annuled, so he could marry whomever. The problem for King Henry VIII he had to get authority directly from the Pope in Rome concerning annulment from Queen Catherine. King Henry VIII had a roving eye, when the female was good looking, and able to bear children. In fact, the King had mistresses, who had children out of marriage, who were not considered to be heir, or in line for the throne.

When Anne tried to be noticed by King Henry VIII it took a long time . First of all, Anne did not have appeal, or looks for the King to be attracted to Anne. Anne was awkward, and also had a 6th finger on her hand. Another big problem, was Anne didnot go to bed with the King untill she was married. Finally Anne gave in, and because of this she became pregnant, and had a baby girl named Princess Elizabeth, who took the tittle Princess of Wales. Queen Anne was crowned, but she had two pregnancies, but lost the babies and they were females.
Towards the end of the novel King VIII is tired of Anne so she is ordered to be beheaded.
The novel is a good read and I recommend it.

Tuesday, October 20, 2009

Call Me Henri By:Lorraine Lopez

This novel depicts a middle school boy, who faces abuse by his Step-Father Juan, but keeps up his good grades at School. Henri at times at the Peralta Middle School, which could be any place in the United States.
Henri's Mom works in a tortilla factory, and leaves her triplets to be minded by her second husband, Juan who is an alcoholic.
When Henri comes home from school he takes care of his brothers . He feeds them, and changes them. This means that Henri is not able to participate in after school activities.
Henri has a dream, and desire to drop his ESL classes, an d start learning French. He would like to be immersed in French. Henri is barely missed when he is barely shot in a drive-by shooting. The only problem is that Henri saw the shooter's face that he recognized as "Pirata" from School. Now Henri has a dilemma . The shooter, "Pirata," now is looking for Henri to ask many questions with what happen that day. Now Henri is a walking has he trys to avoid Pirata.
Fortunately, Henri was able to switch from ESL classes, to French classes, which was his dream.
The French teacher, Monsieur Nassour, arranged for Henri to spend 1 year in Montreal,Quebec Canada to learn French. Henri will live with a French Canadian family.
Henri had a dog he loved called D0g. Before leaving for Canada he gave his dog to an older lady who loves the dog too.
The novel is really worthwhile to read and I recommend very much.

LRD 10/20/09

Wednesday, October 14, 2009

Prism by Faye Kellerman and Aliza Kellerman

Health care seems to be a big issue in the world today and this novel takes it one step further - to a world where there is no such thing as health care. What would happen if there were no doctors, hospitals, pills? It would be one thing if you grew up in that world, it would be a completely different thing if you landed in that world, completely aware of what was lacking.

Kaida and two classmates (Zeke and Joy) went on a class trip that ended in a horrific car accident. Seeking shelter from the desert rain, the three teens find themselves trapped in a cave. As they search for an escape route, they stumble down a hole and into a blinding light. When they wake up, it's a week earlier but things aren't the same. People act crazy when you mention being sick and have no idea what a nurse is. To make matters worse, Kaida, Zeke, and Joy all had the same strange dream and Joy is even suffering from an injury she sustained in the dream. As the three search for the truth, they make new friends, desperate for a better life where it isn't survival of the fittest. The bigger question is, will the three return to their world?

When I first picked up the book, I thought it was going to be like the movie Final Destination where the main character catches a glimpse of the future and tries to stop something bad from happening. I was glad to see this wasn't the case. The first few pages start off a little choppy - the language isn't very smooth - but it gets better as the story progresses. What I liked about this was that it held my attention. Once they entered the new world, I wanted to know what was going on. When I learned the truth, I needed to know how things were going to work out. That's not to say that it's perfect. The ending was almost too easy. It could have used another twist but that could work in two ways - making the reader groan at the thought that another book would be the same story or excited about the prospect of another book with an interesting twist on society. It also felt like there were a few unanswered questions. While Iona Boyd was explained, I thought an actual appearance by this character might throw in a nice monkey wrench like if she appeared in the end. I really think that this story could have been pushed further.

This book turned out a lot more interesting that I originally thought. It started off rocky but really came through. The ending could have been better, but it works. When I think about it, it still has the chance of being a different world in which case, yay for the author. I just wish the ending hadn't been such a nice little bow.

Monday, October 12, 2009

Beautiful World by Anastasia Hollings

This book is the beginning of a series but I disliked the characters so much, I don't know that I want to read any more books. The only reason I would pick up a sequel would be to see the one character get her just desserts, but what's to say that it will only be a two book series? I don't think that I could stomach much more of these characters' deception and naivety.

Amelia will do anything and everything to live the life of the rich and glamorous, including lying, cheating, and stealing. On vacation in St. Bart's (her father is a tutor), she and her brother meet Courtney - a wealthy heiress. With a few calculated compliments, Amelia befriends Courtney - partially because Courtney thinks Amelia's brother is hot - and continues to plot her way into the wealthy lifestyle. Courtney's suspicious best-friend Piper might throw a kink into her plans, but Amelia is always on her guard, ready to do whatever it takes to keep this life she's created.

This whole novel is about Amelia befriending Courtney and suckering her into doing whatever she wants. I ended up disliking Amelia - which I think is the point - but I also disliked Courtney. I think you're supposed to feel sorry for her because she's being taken advantage of - and I do, a bit - but the girl is a complete sucker! At the beginning of the novel she came off as weary of new people, but yet she's so willing to accept Amelia. She isn't the least bit suspicious when everything out of Amelia's mouth is dead on to Courtney's likes (only because Amelia knows everything there is to know about the heiress.) I understand the desire to want to have friends, but Courtney needs to stop and smell the roses, especially when everything seems too good to be true.

This novel ends with Amelia fearing she'd been found out, but that's not the case because if the truth comes out, there can't be another novel. The problem is, though, that the story is going to get old really fast. I'm already sick of Amelia's lies and Courtney's gullibility. It is sad that Courtney and Amelia's brother are going to suffer for the girl's deception, but I want nothing more than to see this girl's downfall. I just don't know that I can sit through multiple more books of her lies. One book would have been more than enough to do tackle this subject.

Thursday, October 08, 2009

Perfect Chemistry By: Simone Elkeles

Perfect Chemistry is a must read for those who like to read teen love stories. The story takes at Fairfield High School in the suburbs of Chicago. A cheerleader, Brittany Ellis, and a local Blood gang member, Alex Fuentes, find themselves to have more in common then they thought.

Brittany is a rich cheerleader with the quarterback football player Collin, and parents who she rarely gets to see. Brittany works really hard to keep her outer image as perfect as possible. She has the latest trends, her hair, makeup, body are perfect, and she hangs out with the most popular crowd. However, she keeps her not so perfect life at home to herself. Her twenty two year old sister had a disability were she needs to be watched twenty four seven, her mother is a perfectionist, and her father spends most of his time at work whether he's at the office or at home.

Alex Fuentes is a Blood gang member. His father was also in the gang and he was shot when Alex was just seven years old. Since then Alex decided to join in order to protect his mother and two brothers and find out who killed his father. All his friends are affiliated with the gang. His " girl" is Carmen, a beautiful but mean girl who is also part of the gang and has problems being faithful. Alex is truthful to his gang and never lets anything get in his way. He strong, handsome, smart, and he is a womanizer. He lives in the lower class suburbs and his whole town is run by the head gang member, Hector.

When these two very different people are paired up in chemistry class Brittany cannot believe it. She hates him while Alex places his bet with his friends to see if he can get in her pants by the end of their senior year. However, plans change when Alex and Brittany soon begin to find that they have more in common than they thought and they find truth and comfort within themselves. From Brittany's boyfriend Collin, to Alex's Blood family, they both find themselves through many obstacles. Will Brittany be able to stop being such a perfectionist and show her true self? Will Alex quit the blood and go to college for the one he loves? Through the many obstacles that are put in front of them , find out if there love can surpass these obstacles, or if it will end in complete tragedy. GV

Monday, October 05, 2009

Just Like Us. Helen Thorpe

This is a true story of many Hispanics that live amongst our society of the United States. This novel takes place during President's Bush time as a Pressident with his Immigration policies. In this novel, we follow four young women from their prom in High School , and their desire to attend College. The problem is two of the young ladies are undocumented foreigners; who do not qualify for scholarships. Their grades are excellent, but the papers of their status were not in order for Immigration.
Marisela, and Yadira are two females good students, but without Immigration status. Elisa and Clara were born in the United States, so their papers are in order. All four girls in the group join a Soriority at College. By the way , this all takes place near Denver,Colorado where many illegal live. The four girls aspirations were to the max, Marisela wanted to attend Law School but didnot have her papers for Immigration in order. By that, I mean she was a Mexican who didnot have a green card, or American citizenship.
Marisela had a boyfriend Julio, who she dropped, and took back, and ended up having a baby with him. Marisela had the baby in the United States. Marisela ended up having a small family a small family wedding.
This novel demonstraates the hardships of the hispanics must go through in order to meet, or obtain their goal in life. This still is a problem in the United States re: illegal aliens, . It is a growing concern that needs to be fixed. The novel was a very informative, but true to life. The novel was well written, and full of facts. LRD 10/5/09

Tuesday, September 29, 2009

Devil's Footsteps by E.E. Richardson

I picked up this book because I enjoyed E.E. Richardson's other book - The Intruders. This book didn't disappoint in its chill factor and really reminded me of Stephen King's It. One might argue that if it was similar, I should be upset about reading an unoriginal novel, but I don't find King's novels very accessible to most reader due to size, language, description, etc. This novel, while similar in some ideas, is accessible, even to hesitant readers.

Bryan lives in a small, creepy town where people turn a blind eye to the mysterious disappearances of children. He, however, knows the haunting truth, and it all relates to a children's rhyme about the Devil's footsteps - the thirteen steps to the Dark Man's door. Rumor has it, if you find his footsteps and say the rhyme, he'll come for you. Bryan, though, knows that it's not a rumor since his brother and he found the steps and his brother did the rhyme. Now Bryan's brother is gone and he is haunted by the memory of his taking, although no one else believes him. Five years later, another boy claims to have seen the Dark Man and worries his sister is next. With the help of a third boy who is investigating the strange disappearance in town, the boys go in search of the Dark Man, ready to confront their fears and make the terror stop.

The Dark Man feeds off of the children's fears (much like the clown did in Stephen King's It - if my memory serves me right). This novel did a nice job of making those fears real and exploring the debilitating nature of our fears and the power we can possess if we face them. The novel had a steady flow of scariness and kept me interested without going too over the top and throwing in every scary tactic known to man. It stuck with one concept - people's individual fears - and threw in mind tricks to pull off a chilling novel. I would definitely add this author to a list of creepy writers and would recommend this book.

Monday, September 28, 2009

Angry Management by Chris Crutcher

Crutcher brings us up to date on a few of his characters from past books - Staying Fat For Sara Byrnes, Athletic Shorts, Whale Talk to name a few. Sara Byrnes has met up with another fat kid who possibly will help her to finally come to terms with her horrible past. Matt Miller tries to help another of Crutcher's past characters with devastating results. With each character we see how anger by the character or acted upon towards the character caused so many terrible things to happen. This quick read showing the power of angry emotions offers no solutions and little hope. Not my favorite Crutcher book. JDW 9/28/09

Wednesday, September 23, 2009

Panama By Shelby Hiatt

The novel I read is a Historical love story that takes place in the Republic of Panama during the construction of the Panama Canal 1910's- 1913's. The William Hailey's of Ohio traveled by train, and then an ocean liner to get to Panama. Mr. Hailey is an expert on railroad management . The Hailey's had one teen daughter, who was the principal player of the novel.
The Panama Canal was considered one of the seven wonders of the World once completed. It was an Isthmus with the Eastern side of the Canal having access to the Atlantic Ocean. On the Western side of the Canal was the peaceful Pacific Ocean as people commented. One positive reason for building the Panama Canal their were no earthquakes to disrupt the flow of the Canal.
Throughout the novel, one learns the different hardships of building the Canal.
The novel introduces the reader to Col. Goethals, who was the Engineer with many insights into construction of the Panama Canal. We learn about Dr. Gorgas, and his knowledge about malaria, and yellow fever. These diseases diseases killed many workers during construction time of the canal.
In comes the teen daughter of the Father who works for the Canal, and the wife who are trying to be adjusted into a new environment , and the daughter into a brand new high school. She at first becomes acquainted with Harry as a friend. He is in charge of the workers, and had been a policeman. Through Harry, she becomes acquainted with local workers, and how they live. The teen girl falls head over heals over a Spaniard who is a worker at the Canal called Federico. He was educated, and read Freud, and other classical books.One day the teen girl goes to Federico's cabin, and finds he is hospitalized at Gorgas Hospital. He has malaria, and has to stay put. The teen girl is a Senior in High School , and almost finished. She is accepted to Oberlin College, so she may never see Federico again.
I could go on about this novel, but it might be boring the reader. I lived, and was raised on the Isthmus for thirty years. This novel is worthwhile.


Wednesday, September 16, 2009

Scrambled Eggs at Midnight By: Brad Barkley & Heather Hepler

The main character of the novel Eliot was a teen male, who was raised in a dysfunctional family. Eliot's Dad owned a business that was a Christian Camp that was suppose to help teens amongst other things to loose weight. Some people would call the place a fat farm. Eliot's Mother studied in College Engineering. She was the maintenance individual at the Camp.
The other main character was a female named Cal, who was a teen, and worked at the fair grounds. She got to meet Eliot at her job, and they became friends. They got to be a couple after time. The two teens went through experiences, and events that made them closer to each other. Some were dangerous to each of them, and to others.

The ending of the novel was unexpected, and unusual. I guess it had to be that way. The novel is good for those who enjoy excitement, and intrigue.

LRD 9/16/09

Catching Fire - Suzanne Collins

After winning the Hunger Games, and having done the Victory Tour of all of the districts Katniss and Peeta have returned home to District 12. While on the Victory Tour, Katniss over hears a broadcast about an uprising in District 8. After she's home President Snow comes and visits her, and tells her that he will do anything to quell the uprising in District 8 and any other district that decides to revolt. Katniss decides to try and start an uprising in District 12, but Haymitch doesn't think it's the right time to cause another uprising, since half the districts have tried to rebel against the Capitol. Later on President Snow makes an announcement that the tributes for the seventy-fifth Hunger Games will be reaped from the surviving victors of the Hunger Games from each district. For Katniss that means a return to the area, along with Peeta who takes Haymitch's place on the day the reaping is done. Katniss and Peeta study videos of past Hunger Games to learn about the other tributes. They then try to make allies with the other tributes as they train for the games. Once everyone is in the arena uneasy alliances are formed and old alliances fall. Can Katniss and Peeta survive another Hunger Games or will one sacrifice the other to win the seventy-fifth Hunger Games?

Both Hunger Games and Catching Fire were enjoyable to read. The action and trying to figure out what will happen next keeps both books moving along. I couldn't put either book down, and after I was done with Catching Fire I wanted more. I can't wait until the third book comes out, which Suzanne Collins is working on now.

T.B. 9/16/09

Saturday, September 12, 2009

Funny How Things Change by Wyatt

This is one of the many unremarkable - okay teens books being published in a rapidly growing market looking for stuff. Lisa and Remy have been in love since forever. The High School sweethearts now plan to marry, and move out of their beautiful but dying West Virginia mountain community. Lisa will get to go to college and Remy will work. His dream is to be a full time auto mechanic with certification. Lisa's dream is really just to escape the mountains. Remy discovers she doesn't really care about his dreams. He discovers he doesn't really know what Lisa expects to do after college. Remy still has strong feelings for her but is confused about things. Enter an artist with a summer internship who is painting the history of the area on water towers. Dana has a mature appreciation for the area and for Remy. Through her he comes to a strong understanding of how his dreams and Lisa's do not mesh and he makes decisions that are in his own best interest. Dana is a friend and not a girl friend. Though there is a hint that this could change in the future. The theme of leaving a small community with seemingly nothing left to offer has been done before as has "to thine own self be true". This is just my view.
JDW 9/9/09

Call Me Henri by Lorraine Lopez

Enrique speaks English only as a second language but he is pretty good and would like to take French classes rather than English. Its a beautiful language. His counselor says that won't be allowed but he is sent to the French teacher to join the after school French Club. This teacher also directs the school play every year. It is always West Side Story. Enrique can join French Club if he also acts in the play. That's school life. Home life, he lives in a tough neighborhood with his mother, abusive step father and triplet brothers who he adores and takes good care of. He is also friends with a neighborhood boy who has had a hard time in school and so gets in trouble and suspended frequently. This boy gets involved with a gang while out of school and never looks back. Still he has been a good friend to Enrique. So members of a rival gang catch the boy on their territory and shoot him. Enrique witnesses this and now is in danger himself. And his stepfather starts drinking and beats him up. His mom tries to protect him by taking him to a relative to stay. Teachers at school understand all that is happening to this likable, smart, hard working kid and hatch a plan to send him to Canada to as an exchange student to study French and get away for long enough for things to settle down. There's a side plot about a beloved mutt as well. This story is easy to read, It is idealistic with a very happy ending that most kids in Enrique's situation would never believe and isn't likely to happen in real life in any case. I enjoyed but I do not know who I would recommend it to. JDW 9/9/09

Wednesday, September 09, 2009

The Truth about Truman School By:Dori Butler

This novel is fiction, but very interesting about what went on in a Middle School newspaper. I was curious about the novel unravels, and pleasantly happy. The ending of the book was good too.
The problem became focused on the student Amr, who began an underground newspaper online. Anyone who attended Truman could post any subject their little heart desired. The online newspaper got out of control, and a cyberbulley began using the site to harass a popular girl from School called Lilly. The harassment on the web site affected her emotionally. She had been a cheerleader, and popular, and out going at School. She faked her illness, so she would not have to attend School for three days. Finally, she realized , and felt she could not cope with her own situation. She decided to run away from home, and she was missing from School, and home. Before she left home, she grabbed some food supplies, and water bottles. Police, adults in the community were searching for her.
Lastly, Zebby, and Amr went looking for Lilly at night. They had the idea of looking for her in the old tree house they went to in their younger days. They both had a flashlight , and sure enough they found Lilly hiding in the tree house. She was alright, but scared.
This novel is easy reading for anyone who likes an adventure, and activities at School that turn out for the best. LRD 9/9

Tuesday, September 08, 2009

You've got Blackmail by Rachel Wright

I hesitantly picked up this book because the plot seemed sketchy. Hoping for the best, I was let down because it took about 100 pages to get semi-interesting and I really didn't care about any of the characters.

This story basically has two plots: Lauren (Loz) fearing for her life because Tonya wants to beat her up and Lauren trying to figure out who is trying to blackmail her teacher (this plot doesn't really begin until page 111 and this is really the only interesting part). In the midst of avoiding Tonya, Lauren suspects her mother might be dating her teacher (the one who ends up being blackmailed), a fact she isn't too keen on because she doesn't like said teacher. The Tonya story at first is a bit overdone, but then I can see how it's used to set up key suspects in the bigger story. The only funny part comes at the end of the novel in a form of payback (but I can't help but wonder how Tonya is going to react when the truth comes out, with or without the blackmail video...). And then there's this whole plot line about how she likes a fellow student and hates her sister, but that just seems to be in the story to make Lauren seem like a normal teenager.

This book did not hold my attention until the actual blackmail plot began, and then it felt like it was over too fast. All of the pieces fell into place and it was just a matter of time before he got caught. As for the Tonya story, while - I like said it created a "red herring" for a case of burglary - it was extremely overdone. I didn't care and part of me almost wanted Lauren to get beat up just so that the story could move on. I didn't care for any of the character. Lauren had too many friends and, while it's nice to see she's popular, the only friend who was developed was Dex, so Ems, Tasha and whoever else there was didn't really matter (see, I can't even remember her name). They weren't developed and just melted into each other and the other names that were thrown around. At the same time, one reason I though it was hard to connect to this novel was because it takes place in England, with plenty of English culture references. I have no idea who Hercule Poirot and the constant exclamations to Nora (not a character in the novel) were somewhat annoying.

I forced myself to finish the book and not give up on it - partly because I feel bad about not finishing novels, I keep hoping it will improve. While it did get better, I don't know that it was a big enough payoff to recommend the book.

Thursday, September 03, 2009

A Simple Gift by Steven Herrick

This is a novel in verse. Its very short and simple and touching. I do not generally care for these books as they seem so shallow but somehow this one works and I look forward to reading Herrick's other Novels in verse.

Billy is 16 and fed up with 6 years of living in the same house but avoiding his alcoholic abusive father. He just packs up and leaves one day. Leaves everything behind, rides the rails. Maybe this part is a little incredible as this is very difficult to pull off these days. He meets a couple of caring people along the way. He's known such people before and he knows how to appreciate them. He begins living in a train car that has been side railed for a long time and eventually discovers a "hobo" living next door. He is noticed stealing leftover food at McDonald's by a girl who is intrigued rather than scared. The rest of this story is about his growing relationships with the old hobo and the girl. Its about the boy recognizing the man's hurts and respecting him, its about the man helping the boy in turn and about a growing romance. Nice. JDW 9/4/09

Wednesday, September 02, 2009

Blood and Chocolate By: Annette Curtis Klause

The School Library Journal sums up the book well in three words: "well-drawn, powerful, and seductive." Blood and Chocolate has a hand grasping plot that no one can resist. From page one to the end on the book , there was not a moment were I was not in suspense. It is one of those " I cant put it down" books. If you love fantasy stories about vampires, werewolves, or other fantasy creatures who are in danger for falling in love with mortals, then Blood and Chocolate is a must read!

The story is about a sixteen year old girl named Vivian who is a "beautiful loup-garou (ware wolf). Her father was the leader of the loup-garou until he was killed in a fire accident at the hotel that they used to own in West Virginia. Now, she is left with her mother the woman leader, and the rest of her pack. Esme, as well as those in the pack, yearn to find a new leader to protect their herd. The loup-garou live amongst humans in the city and try to keep a low profile but seem to have some throughout the pack that are rebels. Meanwhile, Vivian tries to find her true self. After her fathers death she does not know who she is or where she belongs. Is she a human or beast? Determined to find her inner self, Vivian draws a mural for her art class. The mural consists of a pack of wolves running in the wilderness, but they themselves seem lost. Under her mural, a boy named Aiden writes a poem that seems to fit picture perfect with the mural. Stunned, Vivian tries to figure out why she is so obsessed with this boy. Is it his scent? His curiosity in werewolves? Or is it his appearance? Aiden and Vivian begin to see each other and within their relationship Vivian makes new friends and learns more and more about her self. Unfortunately, Vivian has to try and hide Aiden from her family, they do not accept anyone from the pack to get involved with a human. Vivian's love for Aiden sends her to through different obstacles between her and her pack. From trying to ignore the loup-garou that want her as her mate, to the picking of a new leader, Vivian finds herself inter wined and seduced with one thing only: Aiden. Will the love between Aiden and Vivian be strong enough to survive these obstacles? Will she tell Aiden her secret, or will death take its toll?

Blood and Chocolate is a great novel if you are looking to read a book where the suspense, seduction, and lies never end. Although I personally was upset by the ending, many of you might find it quite surprising. GV

Monday, August 31, 2009

Graceling By: Kristin Cashore

This is a novel in Spanish which I read. This is a plot which is completely fantasy it has many adventures that seem to be real, but are not. The reader is absorbed, or wrapped up into the plot. The main character of the novel Katsa has many powers. She (Katsa) is used by the King to eliminate his enemies by killing them. Katsa is liked by Lord Davit, but Katsa prefers Randa, who is tall with blue eyes. Many people in the kingdom eat deer that they hunt, and also eat fresh vegetables. The novel takes place in the Middle Ages, when people used a bow & arrow for defense. The mode of transportation are horses. Katsa places her belongings on the saddlebags on the horses. Lord Giddon enjoyed french fries to eat. Of course the main Character of the novel is a female called Katsa. Katsa wanted no children or husband. King Leck of Monmar was generous person and caring too for his people in the Kingdom
Katsa you might say has a lover called Po. She goes to an Inn when the two are hunting together to spend the night. When Katsa and Po spent the night at the Inn they slept through a hurricane. Po wears a ring on each finger, but he has an explanation for each one. The path to the King's Palace is very dangerous that the two take. Po gives Katsa a nickname of mountain cat. Katsa cleans her fish by herself to eat. Now we are introduced to Gramilla, who is Po's cousin, and is given berries by Po. Po is injured by the guards of King Momart. Katsa and Grimilla leave Po behind. Katsa was able to kill panther for food and use the skins for a jacket for Gramilla to use.
Katsa and Grimilla reached an Inn where they needed baths. Katsa found 4 eggs and a squash that they shared to eat plus bead and cheese. Princess Gramilla of Monmar has the same ring as Po. Katsa and Grimilla crossed the coldest and dangerous way in the Kingdom. They arrived at a port called Lenida where there was snow and they caught a boat with a female Captain. The King de Leon died and the Kings guards found Po alive in a cave.
Katsa with her friends attended the Coronation of Gramilla who became the Queen.
This is my second fantasy book in recent times. It took me 100 pages to get liking this novel.


Friday, August 28, 2009

The Rule of Claw - John Brindley

Ash, Laura, Will, Jon, and others are the only teenagers left and they live in their own camp. They know nothing of what lies beyond the fence, only that danger and death lurk out there. One day Derri comes back wounded they fear what is beyond the fence. When Derri dies Jon, Will, and everyone else head out to find what killed Derri. Ash goes along, but doesn't like that everyone is turning into savages. They find a yellow raptor and are fighting it when Ash throws the spear that kills it. Everyone celebrates that night. While Ash is in her hut she is taken by blue raptors. She is brought in front of King Tomb while there is a contingent of yellow raptors there to talk peace. With the yellow raptors is Jon, who has come to rescue Ash. The blue raptors mistake it as an attack, which leads to a battle between the blue and yellow raptors. In the battle King Tomb is killed by Prince Talon, who is now King Talon. King Talon now has his sights set on Ash and will do anything to tear her body limb from limb. Ash escapes the raptor city with help from Jon and the rodents she meets in the city. The Elder Rodent tells Ash about how the world was before the raptors took over. Armed with this knowledge can Ash save everyone she cares about back at the camp and will she be able to escape King Talon before he kills her?

T.B. 8/28/09

Thursday, August 27, 2009

UN LUN DUN by Mieville

China Mieville writes a form of science fiction categorized under the heading weird. This is his first book for young people.

Unlondon is an alternative world where all of London's waste is dumped. Here are used milk cartons as pets, flying buses, half-ghosts and all sorts of delightful characters. Here are apartment towers known as moils made of such items as used computers.
And here a powerful enemy trickster is taking over the world using smog. A book of prophecy foretells of a heroine swazzy coming with a klinnaract (clean air act) to save everyone. But the book got quite a lot wrong and only bits right. Swazzy wasn't at all brave when she turned the wheel that transported her and her friend Deeba from London to Unlondon. After several harrowing adventures Deeba manages to get herself and swazzy both back home. But Deeba has formed friendships with some of the wacky inhabitants of Unlondon and wants to save them and Unlondon from the smog. So, she climbs a library ladder up and up until she is back in Unlondon. Several false starts including trying to follow a series of seven tasks slow down her attempts to save the world. Since the evil one is someone everyone trusted Deeba has an even harder task of convincing folks that he is the enemy and she is right. Deeba is strong and determined and eventually saved the day in this wacky adventure/ecological disaster science fiction story. Deeba is no hero though when all is over she just wants to go home. Loved this book. JDW 8/27/09

Sunday, August 23, 2009

Prada & Prejudice by Mandy Hubbard

When I took a creative writing class, I was told that every story has already been written and it's just a matter of how the author interprets the story that makes it unique. As I read this novel, I thought about that because this storyline didn't seem that original. That's not to say, though, that I didn't enjoy reading the novel because it was a nice and light book to pass the time.

Callie is in England for a school trip and wants nothing more than to be accepted by the popular girls. After buying a pair of Prada shoes to impress them, she stumbles and falls, passing out as she hits the ground. When she awakens, she's in a deeply wooded area and further exploring reveals unpaved paths and horse drawn carriages. She finds a nearby residence which she learns belongs to a duke, and seeks shelter. Upon her arrival, she is mistaken for a girl named Rebecca who is supposed to visit from America. Callie plays along, thinking that the crazy people around her are just actors. However, she soon discovers that it's not pretend and really 1815. Knowing that if the truth comes out she'll be all on her own with no way back to the 21st century, she plays along, but not without her modern day flair as she pushes for her new friend Emily to have some say against arranged marriage. She also struggles against her conflicting emotions to Alex, the duke of the estate, who she feels is a major jerk based on some letters she's discovered and the fact that he won't stand up for Emily and believes every woman has her place. Will she have an impact on this time period - especially on Alex and his views, will her true identity be revealed, and will she ever make it home are the key questions.

Time travel is not a new concept. An arrogant male who the main character can't help but love is not a new character (he's very reminiscent of Mr. Darcy from Pride and Prejudice, which the title obviously plays off of). Lying about who you are and making fast friendships under this false identity is not original. With that said, though, this book was still enjoyable. Since it wasn't terribly original, it was at times predictable, but again, that didn't detract from the overall enjoyment of the story. The novel does a good job of showing some of the advancements socially, especially in terms of women, but it might have been nice to see some more of how Callie adjusts without modern conveniences. There's a mention of bedpans and how corsets are annoying, but how is she dealing without her cellphone, computer, deodorant and other things that we take for granted. She adapted to the new world just a little too easily.

This book was neither here nor there. It was good, I liked reading it, but it didn't make me stop and go, "Wow! This is a great book." To me it was too unoriginal to send me over the moon. I'd recently seen a movie where a modern woman steps into the novel Pride and Prejudice in the place of Elizabeth Bennet (Lost in Austen). Modern girl, 1800s, arrogant man. It's a very similar concept. Am I disappointed with this book? No, not at all. I liked reading it. It held my attention and I liked how things played out. I just wasn't blown away by it.

Monday, August 17, 2009

The Intruders by E.E. Richardson

After the last book that promised to be thrilling and suspenseful let me down (Creatures of the Night), I hesitantly began another spine chilling novel. This one, though, did not let me down. In fact, I couldn't put the book down and was delightfully satisfied with this novel.

Joel, his sister Cassie, and his mother have just moved into a creepy torn-up house with his soon-to-be stepfather and two stepbrothers (Damon and Tim). Joel doesn't mind the transition, he kind of likes the boys. Cassie, on the other hand, fights it with all her might, blaming strange occurrences on Damon when he claims to be innocent. Joel, though, isn't convinced that Damon or Cassie had anything to do with some odd things that happen at the new house. He's having hallucinations involving blood and nightmares about being chased throughout the house. To make matters worse, Tim also has these dreams and when Joel gets trapped in a cupboard after the same thing happened to Tim and feels an icy hand gripping his leg, he begins to think that they're not alone in this new home. Soon the four kids are convinced that ghosts live among them; ghosts that are desperate for something to happen. They then struggle to survive and discover the truth behind the house they moved into.

It's been a while since I've read a truly suspenseful novel and I think that this novel fit the bill. The book had a steady flow of suspense from what Joel will see when he senses a presence to the creepy chanting of a prayer in a moment of fear and the threat when the ghosts make contact. The ultimate climax was fast paced and visually dynamic as the storm rages inside and the pieces fall into place. While the novel doesn't have an "Oh my gosh!" surprise, it does offer a few revelations that make you wonder why you didn't think of that before. My only complaint, if I have to give one, is that I had a hard time picturing the kids in the book. There was a comment in the second chapter where it is implied that Joel's family is black and the step family isn't, but to me the characters were almost faceless. I had no real sense of their age. Did this hurt the novel? Not really but it might have helped a little bit more.

I enjoyed the novel. It was a quick read, steadily paced thrills, and just an overall great read. I wasn't let down in my expectations of suspense.

Wednesday, August 12, 2009

Princess of the Midnight Ball By: Jessica Day George

This novel is fantasy at it's peak. It actually is a fairy tale that covers danger, and romance. Princess Rose is the eldest of twelve sisters condemned to dance nightly for the wicked King UnderStone in his Palace deep within the earth.
Rose meets Galen, a young soldier turned gardener with an eye for adventure, and a personality that is much like, Rose's. Galen is attracted to Rose, and their relationship start to grow. Even though Galen is a commoner, he attempt to court Rose by presenting a gorgeous rose to the Princess first of all. Then Galen knows the predicament of Rose, and sisters, and promises to plan a method of liberating Rose, and the sisters. The nightly trips to the underworld to dance with the son's of the King Under Stone. The King matches the Prince's with his sons who are Prince's. Every night close to midnight, Rose, and the sisters arrive for the underground Ball. which they must dance til dawn. It is very tiring, and not enjoyable to the Princess's.
Galen knows magic somewhat, and is able to travel, and follow the Pincess's without being seen. Before you arrive at King UnderStone's Palace you must cross by boat a Lake, and you walk to a gate that is gorgeous, & it is the only way to get to King UnderStone's Palace. The next problem King Gregor and the Princess's had was that the Church claimed that the family was involved in magic . The Bishop of the Church arrive at King Gregor's Palace, and tried to excommunicate all.
It was a schock! for the entire family. It meant no Christian burials, no Church marriages. But this was cleared up finally.

The book goes into details, but you need to read the novel. It was very unusual novel for me, but fascinating at the same time

Thursday, August 06, 2009

The Problem with Paradise By:Lesley Dahl

This novel was available as a good summer read in the Y.A. section of the Library. The cover of the novel and the title of the actual novel caught my eye.

The plot of the novel was very informative, and interesting. It had to do with some Islands in the Caribbean Ocean called Eleutra Islands, which is a chain of small Islands. Many people miss out on their beauty, and peaceful environment. Hotels are few, but the beaches are white sand with many shells. To stay a couple of days on these Islands you must rent a bungalow, or a chalet. You must provide your own provisions from the local store. For example food, bedding, and clothes naturally.
In this novel we meet a new Mother, and two brothers, and an older daughter, and of course the Dad is a scientist. Casey is the daughter of the family. Their Dad is trying to save the sea turtles that are constantly stuck in the fisherman's nets. It is a very delicate task, which they are able to complete .
The teen daughter is very happy to find a a young teen who is single called Jonah, on the Island.
Unfortunately, everybody on the small Tortuga Island are going to be hit by a hurricane that is roaring to hit the Island. Fortunately,the chalet had a basement, so the teenage girl, the two brothers had a few supplies that helped them while they took cover in the small basement until
the storm was over. The young brother broke his arm,so his sister made a sling. The sister figures she needs a ride in a boat to the Island, where there is a clinic. Everything works out.
I liked the novel very much, and recommend the read as being exciting, as well as interesting to any teen.
LRD 8/6/09

Monday, August 03, 2009

Mister Monday (Keys to the Kingdom #1) Nix

Nix writes exciting unusual stories whether they are as complex as Sabriel and its companions or Keys to the Kingdom. I suspect that Lemony Snicket readers would enjoy this series. Arthur becomes the rightful heir to the lower realm when Mister Monday is tricked into letting him have the lesser key which is really a minute hand. The lower realm is apparently the lower levels of a very large magical old house. Weirdways (roads of varying sizes, shape, direction) appear and disappear at random. Inhabitants can be hurt but apparently not killed. Their injured parts regenerate eventually. Stairways can appear by imagining them. All is in chaos as Mister Monday is into power, lots of steam baths, decadence, not leadership. Its about time someone put things to rights and Monday's assistant seems to have seen to that. Arthur must obtain the greater key from Monday, combine it with the lesser key and set the intent of the will (which is a small green frog) into action. Monday has unleashed a plague on Arthur's realm in an attempt to get the lesser key back from him. It threatens to kill almost everyone. If Arthur can obtain the greater key, set the kingdom to order he will also be able to stop the plague. There are seven parts of the total will and only one has escaped from its prison. There are seven days of the week. There are seven sometimes wacky, sometimes tense adventures in this series. Read all seven. JDW 8/4/09

Death from the Skies by Phil Plait

If you believe the world will end in 2012, if you believe in Asteroid impacts, Alien attacks or any of 10 or more possible earth ending events, read this book. Plait is a respected astronomer and writer who won't exactly ease all your fears, well maybe a little, but he will explain in easy to understand terms how such events could go down ...and how soon in the future one could occur.
Great reading for anyone with an interest in science. JDW 8/2/09

Sunday, August 02, 2009

Marcelo in the Real World by Stork

Marcelo is about to begin the summer before his last year in a special school for kids with Autism Spectrum Disorders. He seems to be high functioning Asperger's Syndrome. Like other books with main characters with autism Marcelo explains his view of things as compared with the real world view for the reader. Marcelo expects to spend his summer helping at the school's stable where he tends horses in the riding therapy program. He has become good enough and independent enough that he has been promised a job when he graduates next year. Marcelo's father however, believes he should be working in the real world and should go to high school in a real public high school in the fall. He and his father work out a bargain. Marcelo successfully completes a summer internship at his father's law office and his father will let him complete high school at his beloved special school and take the stable job. While at the law office, Marcelo gets tangled up in a struggle over right, wrong and morally good actions, which lead him to damage the image of his father's office, when he discovers that information had been withheld from a case. He makes an incredibly tough, just decision which causes him to lose much though not his sense of whats right and changes his future perhaps forever. Wonderful story. Should be enjoyed by folks who enjoyed The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night Time. JDW 8/2/09

Before, After, and Somebody in Between by Garsee

Readers of Han Nolan's Born Blue, Mary Pearson's Room on Lorelei Street and Helen Frost's Keesha's Place may like this book. A teen aged girl in very difficult circumstances might survive and thrive in spite of it all. Martha is the daughter of an alcoholic mother who has been in rehab more than once and relapsed each time. She always gets out hooked to some guy who is determined to stay straight with her. The guy may or may not be a good male role model for Martha. Wayne, one such guy mom went to rehab with, relapsed with, went back to after another trip to rehab was somewhat violent, physically abusive and encouraged mom to ditch Martha. He moved Martha and her mom into a two flat with him in a tough neighborhood where white girls were few and far between and drug dealing and violence common. Martha connects with a boy her age who lives upstairs and longs to be a scientist some day. They study together, they take care of his younger somewhat neglected brother together til tragedy strikes one day. Money missing from an older brother's stash was intended for members of his gang. They shoot up the house when the money turns up missing and the younger brother is killed. Martha, is hysterical, she stole some of the money perhaps the shooting and baby's death is her fault. She is taken to the hospital where the abuse is discovered and a tough as nail yet compassionate social worker is assigned to the case. Martha is left home alone by her relapsed mom, is discovered alone by the social worker, put in foster care in a less than ideal setting, ends up in a fairy tale foster home she cannot stay in. Returns home to her mom now with a different man. Mom relapses, returns to the abusive Wayne who kicks Martha out permanently. Friendless and homeless Martha turns to the social worker she had previously fought as her only hope.There is no certain future for Martha here, but perhaps there is hope.

Monday, July 27, 2009

Y: the Last Man by Brian Vaugh

Y: the Last Man is a comic book (graphic novel) series that is definitely for mature audiences and not what you normally think of with comic books. There are no superpowers or superheros and none of the frames are meant to have you rolling in your seats laughing. True there's action, but this one is a little bit more serious than you'd expect when wandering through the comic book section.

The story revolves around a plague that wiped out all of the men and male animals, except for two : Yorick Brown and his pet monkey Ampersand. On their journey to make sense of what happens and to reunite with Yorick's girlfriend who is on another continent, he picks up a bodyguard from the Culper Ring known as 355 and Dr. Allison Mann who hopes to clone Yorick and bring back the male population. Along the way they face opposition from two main groups - The Daughters of the Amazon desperate to destroy anything related to man, and the Israelis who want to capture Yorick in order to create war and therefore peace (I didn't really understand their motivation). Through a series of ten graphic novels and four years, Yorick and his group travel the world and run into an interesting set of characters, some friendly and others quite dangerous. The fate of the world rests in their hands and they'll do anything and everything to make sure Yorick stays alive.

As I said, this novel is definitely for mature audience. Not only does it have language issues (the F word is a favorite among the characters) but there are large amounts of violence (I think that a major battle and death happens in just about every novel) but nudity (male and female). The story also has it's complex moments that might be over the heads of certain reader. I still have no clue who/what the Culper Ring is. They might have explained it 50+ times, but it still doesn't make much sense and I'm still a bit fuzzy on the Israeli's motivation. Now I have to admit that I didn't read the first book but there was a nice synopsis in the second book, so I knew the gist of things. Maybe that would explain more and drive home the necessity of reading them all. The first few books had the synopsis but that ended around book four or five. Either way, I made it through the book and really began to feel for all of the character. Each one has its charm and you can't help but feel their desperation, pain, love, and hope.

This graphic novel series is really interesting in how it interprets the world without men. It's definitely eye opening to see the impact that they have on the world but, at the same time, I wonder if the reaction of women is a little askew. I highly doubt it would end up as violent as this novel depicts, but, then again, that wouldn't make a compelling story now would it? Now I'm not a graphic novel person, at all, but this one held my interest. I really don't think that it will appeal to younger audiences but older readers who like graphic novels but want a little bit more meat to the story would find this enthralling.

Thursday, July 23, 2009

The Dashwood Sisters' Secrets of Love by Rosie Rushton

This novel is a modernization of Jane Austen's Sense and Sensibility and my knowledge of that novel is a little rusty, limited only to watching the movies a last year, so while I've picked up some similarities, I can't fully comment on how accurately it pulled off the adaptation. Beyond being an adaptation, accurate or not, this novel was one that I didn't want to put down. It was a really smooth read with characters that I felt for and plot lines that drew you in.

Ellie, Abby, and Georgie are three sisters who live in a lush house with their divorced mother. Their father still pays the bills but when they visit him and his annoying new wife, he seems tired and troubled by something. When he dies a few days later from a heart attack, the girls learn that he was having financial troubles and put their house in his wife's name to cover a bad investment. With her the new owner of the house, the girls are forced to move to a small village. As the girls adapt to this new life, they find themselves in their own little trials of love. Ellie has fallen for Blake, her stepmom's nephew who, while pursuing her with earnest, seems to have a girlfriend that he can't seem to get rid of. While Abby tried to help her new friend Chloe win Nick's affections, Nick falls in love with Abby. In the meantime, Abby has a relationship with Hunter who seems too good to be true. Georgie, the tomboy of the group has a new friend who just might want to be more than friends.

This novel proved to be really enjoyable without what I would consider soap opera moments. Abby is a bit dramatic at times, but that's her character, a drama queen. I still felt that her situations were believable and not at all over the top. Ellie is supposed to be the reserved character, but I felt that she did give into her emotions more so than Jane Austen's Elinor. I wish that Georgie has a bigger role. I know that Sense and Sensibility focused on the two older sisters and so Georgie's storyline was probably thrown in for fun, but it could have been developed more. I would have like to know more about why she made her final decision. To me it came out of nowhere.

Seeing as my knowledge of the original isn't fresh to compare the book, I'm not boggled down by how the book failed to smoothly adapt. If you don't even consider this book an adaptation, it is a really good book. It's a nice fast summer read without being shallow and full of fluff. I would definitely recommend this novel.

Since reading this novel, I have read Sense and Sensibility and there are some stark contrasts. Lucy isn't vindictive in the original and the Hunter character (Willoughby) isn't half as selfish in his wants and hurtful in his actions. Brandon isn't as pushy as Nick and other comparisons abound but it doesn't distract from the enjoyment of the book, unless you're reading it as Sense and Sensibility. It's inspired by the novel but not the same novel except in modern times (although I can see how certain changes occur to fit in modern times). Basically, forget everything you know about the original beyond Elinor being reserved and in love with one man who has a girlfriend and Marianne (Abby) being a drama queen who has one man whose affections she doesn't return and another love of her life who breaks her heart. These similarities remain but the telling is up for interpretation, as in any interpretation of a novel, whether it be a retelling or a movie. I must insist that: THIS IS A GOOD BOOK! READ IT WITHOUT A THOUGHT OF JANE AUSTEN. ANY COMPARISON WILL KILL IT!

Saturday, July 18, 2009

Paper Towns By: John Green

Right away, I think of the title of this novel. What exactly does "Paper Towns" mean in this novel ? Paper towns were towns that started to develop, and never were finished. They became abandon , and incomplete. When you approached the "paper towns, grass was growing big time , and everything was stopped for further construction .

This novel takes place in Florida. The teens in the novel Ben Radar, Larry and Margo Roth Spiegelman, and Quentin attend Central Florida High School. One month before Quentin, and Margo Roth Spiegelman graduates from High School, Quentin and Margo were able to break into SeaWorld, and not be caught.
The interesting thing is that Quentin, and Margo Roth Spiegelman were next door neighbors for years. Quentin had a crush on Margo for a long time, they became close friends in their teen years. Quentin was an export at sneaking into Margot's bedroom, and visa verse.

I thought the novel had a lot of excitement, and a lot of fun to read.

LRD 7/18/09

Take a Chance on me Gossip Girl By: Cecily von Ziegiesar

This is a series of novels, about girl's who want to be in the limelight. They flaunt themselves in order in order to be better models for magazines, and television on occasion . The main personality of the novel are are Jack, a girl who seems to like, and hang out with J.R., and affluent connections that Jack could use for her career. Jack still involved with her ballet, and very eager to improve her techniques. Jack is a young lady, who is determined to reach her goals. The novel presents the reader with different people who are friends of Jack in different activities, and places.
You must read the novel in order to follow the plot in all the in's and outs of the events.
It is a very intriguing novel. I do not want to give awayanymore details. This is an easy read.
I recommend it to teens in 10Th grade.

LD 7/18/09

Tuesday, July 14, 2009

Killer: A Pretty Little Liars novel by Sara Shepard

**SPOILER WARNING** This is book six in the Pretty Little Liars series and will reference information from previous books. I won't give away too much from this novel, but the others might spoiled. Read on with caution...

This is the sixth book and I think the storyline might be getting a little tired and a little bit like a soap opera. I mean, when it doubt of what to do next, bring a character back to life, which is exactly what this novel does. Now it's been a few months since I read the series, so maybe it's just lost some appeal, but I felt like the story is getting a little old.

The last novel ended with the girls finding Ian dead in the woods. They bring in Officer Wilden and when they reach the body, it's gone. A search ensues, but not until the next day, which has the girls wondering if something, besides a body, is being hidden. After a few days, though, the dead body is deemed a hoax and soon Spencer receives an IM from Ian, which has even the girls convinced he's not dead. In the meantime, Emily's progressing in her relationship with Issac, but is getting some negative vibes from his mother. Hanna hatches a plan to double cross her stepsister Kate by stealing the man she likes but Kate isn't that easily foiled. Spencer is still facing major neglect and attitude from her parents but has success finding her real mother, which gives her hope of an escape. And finally, Aria moves in with her dad to avoid her mother's creepy boyfriend and hopes to form a relationship with an unlikely candidate - Ali's brother Jason who, according to A, has a major secret. Speaking of A, she's been sending Emily and Spencer "Clues" to Ali's murder, which has them wondering whether this A is out to get them or help them. And what's up with Wilden who seems to be everywhere and acting a little odd.

So we've got A leaving them notes, but they're not so nasty this time around. In fact, most of the notes aren't even about taunting the girls which is an interesting turn of events. Come the end of the novel, though, one note isn't interpreted, but that's unimportant. What is worth noting, though, is that this series is kind of losing steam. Like I said before, it's becoming a bit of a soap opera. I mean, Ian is blue and bloated, obviously dead, and then he's not? I won't even mention the end of the novel which has daytime soap written all over it. Hanna and Kate are acting like total soap divas with the backstabbing and stealing boys and playing the victim to corrupt people. Isaac's psycho mom leaves me wanting to scream, "COME ON!" Spencer's parent's need to be slapped. I mean, how many parents hold that big of a grudge? And then Spencer's desperation to be loved is her own downfall, which is really sad. She was probably the only character that I felt bad for. She had it worst out of all the girls because she's asking for forgiveness and getting the raw end of the deal, which makes her desperate, but not in the nasty way Hanna is desperate. You can't help but sympathize with Spencer. One thing that I would have liked is a little bit more clarification of the previous novel. It has been months since I read it, so I completely forgot how characters landed where they were. There was some back story, but I would have liked a little more. Granted, if you're reading one novel right after the other, that might be annoying and unnecessary, but after a long hiatus, I felt lost at times.

The mystery of A remains, although the girls definitely seem to be zooming in on some key information that is either going to solve Ali's murder or maybe they're on yet another wild goose chase. That is still working for the novel, but the personal lives of the girls is getting just a little too dramatic and slightly hard to swallow. Maybe pull back the drama and add more mystery. After the surprise ending, though, I'm still looking forward to another novel and would recommend the series.