Tuesday, May 25, 2010

Black is for Beginnings by Laurie Faria Stolarz

Although this is the fifth book in a series, it is the first book to appear as a graphic novel. I read the first book in the series and maybe the second, but the fact I've missed books, left me relatively confused at the beginning of this story. Overall though, this one did not live up to its predecessor.

I don't want to give away too much since this book evidently follows things from the previous novels. Basically though, Stacey is unnerved over the fact that she's having dreams about her dead friend Maura, although these dreams are more just memories of happy times (why she calls them nightmares I'll never know). At the same time, she's mourning the fact that Jacob is off in Colorado and their relationship is complicated. He is also having a hard time with the relationship until they finally decide to do something about it.

The story doesn't sound and isn't half as thrilling as the other books. According to the back of the book "It's happening again...Prophetic dreams. Near-brushes with death. Killers pursing her and her friends." None of that happens. The dreams aren't nightmares, there are no killers, and the overall conflict is a bit dippy compared to the other books. She's overreacting about the dreams and basically the story is about their relationship. Also, since this book in a graphic novel, what might take one page of a typical novel, is taking 30 pages to tell (for example, the background story of how her relationship with Jacob deteriorated took 30 pages away from the story). Since this novel is only 160 pages, there's not much else to it since Stacey had her own back story to go through.

In a nutshell, this seemed like a filler novel, almost like the author just wanted to fix things with Stacey and Jacob without going too heavy into some mystery. This graphic novel had no thrill or excitement compared to the others. It definitely fell flat in my opinion.

Wednesday, May 19, 2010

Dead Connection by Charlie Price

This book had a good concept but I think it fell flat on the delivery. The truly interesting part - that part the book is really promoted to be about, was more of a back burner. If they took that concept and brought it to the front, the book would have been better.

This story has multiple main characters depending on which chapter you're reading. First there is Murray - a teenager who has the ability to talk to the dead. Then there's Deputy Gates who is investigating the disappearance of a teenager girl. There is also Janochek - the groundskeeper of the cemetery and his daughter Pearl who just wants to befriend Murray. Vern Billup is a cop with a horrible drinking problem and personal issues. Next comes Robert Barry Compton who isn't completely there for mental reasons but is working on it and holds a clue to the disappearance. All of these characters collide to unravel the truth behind the girl's disappearance, especially when Murray believes he's hearing her in the cemetery.

The book is promoted of a book about Murray, but I felt that Gates and his investigation filled up the gist of the novel. Things started out a little slow, especially since they needed to develop all of these characters. When it came to the red herring in the novel, it almost felt like the author didn't like how obvious he'd made the story, so he threw something in last minute to change the game. The whole book lead you down one path and then, all of a sudden, a light bulb goes off and you're going in another direction. Maybe that's just my opinion. A few other parts were just thrown in - like the character Frank - and then others just disappeared to be wrapped up in a bow at the end - like Gates' relationship with Compton. I would have liked more about Murray and Pearl and the dead - not necessarily more development of those characters or time with the dead but unimportant characters, just more time with them in general. I felt like the interesting things got addressed in one chapter and that was it. Gates went on and on about following leads and surveillance but not Murray looking for the strange voice he heard.

I could possibly see this becoming a series but they'll have to spend more time with Murray and the dead - which was the interesting part. The book, as a whole, was decent. I wouldn't necessarily call it "a smart, funny, and very clever page-turner" like Chris Crutcher did - because I didn't find anything particularly funny and I had no problem walking away from the story (in other words, not much of a page turner for me)- but it was okay for a mystery.

Tuesday, May 18, 2010

Sofi Mendoza's Guide to Getting Lost in MexicoBy:Malin Alegria

I picked up this novel displayed in our Young Display area for the "cinco de mayo" celebration. This is a Historical date in Mexican History. This is a the Day " 5 De Mayo" when the Mexican troops defeated the French in Puebla, Mexico. Puebla is one hour from the Capital of Mexico by car.
This novel has to do with Seniors in the United States in High School that take a joy ride across the U.S/Mexican border. The problem was some of the teens have no proper documents to prove their nationality.One girl Sofi is detained by the Custom Agents. Sofi has no proof of being a U.S. Citizen, or having a Permanent Resident card. All Sofi can tell the Custom Agents, she is a Senior in High School in the United States
Sofi is born in Mexico , but lived in California most of her life. Fortunately Sofi has friends in fact family, where she can stay til her parent's fix her documents. Remember Sofi is not fluent in Spanish. Besides, she is not used to Mexican culture.
She arrives at her Aunt's "rancho," and finds she has three cousins. Sofi shares her bedroom with her three cousins. Sofi finds out the hard way that the showers only have cold water. Something did not mention was the rooster on the ranch made his calling out at the wrong times. Another thing that happened to Sofi was she was bitten by bed bugs while she was sleeping. Sofi thought the bites were from a spider. Sofi ended up by staying on the "Rancho" for three weeks in
Mexico. She made friends , and even went to parties. Sofi fell in love with a young Mexican.
Sofi also cared for her two young boy cousins to help them get to School on time. Sofi's Aunt worked full time far from the "rancho."
I liked the novel very much. The novel had lots of action, and learning experiences.

Sunday, May 16, 2010

One Crazy Summer By: Rita Williams Garcia

This novel is very interesting to me, because of my studies in Sociology. It also brings out our society in the United States, where many siblings like in the novel are kept apart from their Mother. In this example of the novel, the children were in the household of their Father staying.

There were three girls or daughters in the family, Delphine the oldest, Yoppetta, and Fern. They lived in Brooklyn with their Dad, but were sent one summer , to where their Mother lived in Oakland, California. It was a big change for the three girls. After they took the plane trip across the Continental U.S. The Mother told them to buy take out food, which was Chinese. This was astonishing to the girl's to them to see their Mother after many years of not seeing her. This was not only one time for take out food, but everyday. By the way , the Mother gave them money for their food.

The next awakening was the girl's were sent to Summer Camp run by the Panther's which are a Revolutionary group in the 60's. The Mother did not let the three daughters step into her kitchen ever.

Read the novel to find out what was hiding in her kitchen ? Also what does the Mother
do for a job? The novel is very interesting, and great for teens.
LRD 5/16/10

Thursday, May 13, 2010

Deadline by Chris Crutcher

This is a well written novel about a small town called Trout, Idaho, and how a Senior in High School Ben Wolf handles his life. He was given a medical diagnosis that had him only had one year to live. Ben Wolf does not tell a soul about his short life he has. Ben Wolf does not tell his parents, or his brother, who is a star player on the Trout High Football Team. Ben plans to live
his fantasies, and try to be the best football player at Trout High.

One fantasy Ben wants to date Dallas Suzuki, who is a dream boat in his Senior Class. Ben would like to take her to the High School Prom. Ben has had a crush for Dallas for a while.
The author of this novel has gotten many awards for his writing's. Crutcher's novels are for young adult audience. The author besides being a writer is a trained family therapist, and a child therapist in Spokane, Washington.

Ben Wolf has the problem of keeping his secret about himself, and not sharing with anyone. As he deals with the secret of only one life to live he realizes that other people in his High School have secrets not shared.

Read the novel as you might, and find out if Ben Wolf was able to keep his secret. I liked this novel. LRD 5/13/10

Friday, May 07, 2010

Adoration of Jenna Fox by Pearson

Jenna Fox, daughter of a powerful bio genetics engineer wakes from a coma her reconstructed body filled with blue biogel, her brain filled with neuron chips. Only 10 percent of her entire former self is left. Jenna slowly regains her strength, abilities, memories. Part of doing this is watching endless videos of her childhood through aged 16. She lives with her parents though her father is rarely there and her grandmother. Her neighbor is a long time friend of her father's.
She's been told she was in a terrible accident. As the story unfolds, she learns how terrible the accident was, that she has been reconstructed illegally, and gradually she regains memories no one thought she even had. She also struggles with the need for freedom and friends even as her parents try to keep her hidden, her grandmother's discomfort with what was done to save her, many other ethical and just recovery issues. This book packs a lot in only 255 pages and does it very well.
Its a creepy Frankenstein like story. Can they make us live forever? What would be reasonable limits of life spans if they could. what would reasonable limits of reconstruction in the event of extreme disaster like Jenna experienced. I think that people who read House of Scorpions by Farmer in which a powerful man kept cloning himself to use the clones as spare parts which meant their deaths would be interested in this book. I think we should all be thinking about stuff like this as it has the potential to actually happen. JDW 5/10

Monday, May 03, 2010

Burned - P.C. and Kristin Cast

Spoiler Alert: Events that happened at the end of book six Tempted will be talked about. So if you don't want to be spoiled don't read any further.

At the end of Tempted Zoe watched Kalona kill Heath, and after attacking Kalona with the spirit element Zoe's soul has shattered. Her body remains in the living world, but the pieces of her soul are trapped in Nxy's Otherworld. In the living world Stark, Darius, Damien, the Twins, Jack, and Aphrodite along with Zoe's body go to the Vampire Council in Venice to see what can be done to save Zoe. Once they find out that Zoe's soul has been shattered, Stark in his capacity as Warrior vows to head to the Otherworld, and make sure Zoe's soul gets back to her body. It's determined that Stark needs to go to the Isle of Women to get Zoe back into her body. In Tulsa Stevie Rae called Darkness this world, symbolized by the bull, and the bull tells her how Stark is to enter the Isle of Women. She also has to keep the fact that the raven mocker Rephaim is alive, and she is protecting him from the other red fledglings. Stevie Rae also has to deal with rogue red fledglings which are causing havoc in Tulsa. Zoe on the other hand doesn't want to leave Heath all alone in the Otherworld, and is weakening because she can't pull the pieces of her soul together. Can Stark gain entry to the Isle of Women to save Zoe? Will Stevie Rae's secret about Rephaim come out? Can Zoe pull her self together and return to the living world? Well I'm not going to spoil the book. You will just have to read Burned to find out the answers.

The next book in the House of Night series is called Awakened. As of this writing no publication date has been announced.
T.B. 5/3/10