Tuesday, September 28, 2010

Wanted : A Pretty Little Liars Novel by Sara Shepard

Pretty Little Liars is finally wrapped up, although, of course, isn't not exactly a pretty little bow. I'm not going to really summarize the book because that will give it all away. All you need to know is a new character is introduced who is, you guessed it, too good to be true. While the creepy text messages have stopped, that doesn't mean their lives have returned to normal. In fact, maybe they were safer when their enemy was openly threatening them.

The book has extreme soap opera flair to the point I was going to throw the book out the window. I could not believe the author pulled one of the cheapest soap opera tricks there is. And what's worse, she didn't just use one cheesy soap opera ploy, but multiple! If she wanted flair and to go out with a bang, you could argue that she did (literally and figuratively). However, it also felt like a cop out. Until I got to the end I was extremely disappointed because I didn't feel like the girls grew or developed from this experience, but the last few chapters showed a little growth and maturity that made me feel a little bit better, even if it did seem too much like a pseudo-happily ever after for each character.

I'm glad the series is over. It started to drag and become unrealistic. Maybe if I read them all at once without waiting months for the next book to appear I would have had an easier time riding the suspense. I know that I definitely was sucked into the series at the beginning so I would recommend the series. Now that it's finished, maybe it'll flow better than long interludes between books.

Wednesday, September 22, 2010

God is in the Pancakes By Robin Epstein

Grace is a teen whose life has been turned topsy turvy in High School. Her best friend Eric is no longer a close friend, because of circumstances. Grace's sanity is saved by her after school's job she has at an Old Folk's home called Hanover House. Grace makes friend with Mr. Sand's who is
a patient there. They become close friends, and share ideas whenever Grace is working. Mr. Sand's has a disease called Lou Gehrig that cannot be cured. Mr. Sand's does not want to be confined in a wheelchair. He would like Grace to help him die. Grace does not want to help him to die. Grace does not want to be the one to snuff him out. Grace tells Mr. Sand's she must think about it, and plan how she will do the deed. Finally after seeing Mr. Sand's suffer so much, she executes his death very carefully. Grace is a Candy Stripper, so she has access to any room in Hanover House. Especially Mr. Sand's Room.
Grace squishes his pills for Mr. Sand's, and makes him drink it several times. It makes Mr. Sand's go to sleep, and never wakes up. The nurse finds him dead in the early morning. Grace planned the death well.
Grace told no one until she attended the funeral of Mr. Sand's. Grace told the widow of Mr. Sand's how she executed Sand's death.
Grace was 15 years old, and becomes close to Mr. Sand's. In fact, she is like a Granddaughter to Mr.Sand's. This novel makes you think, and the reader digs into their heart for an answer to the proposed question asked to Grace. I liked the novel very much .This is a question we all must face one day.

Tuesday, September 21, 2010

Paper Daughter By Jeanette Ingold

The tittle of the novel had to do with Immigration of Chinese in the United States. Documents of births, marriages, and deaths were destroyed in the San Francisco earthquake, and fire. This novel's main character Maggie Chen who was born with ink in her blood. Her Father fired her imagination with the ambition of the newsroom, and she is anxious to start summer internship at the Herald newspaper. But before Maggie begins at the paper, her Father is killed in a hit and run accident. Despite her sadness, she's determined to begin at the newspaper.
Maggie researches for her first story, which reveals illegal activity that could be linked to her Father. Maggie knows she must clear his name . Maggie goes to Seattle China town, and discovers her Father is connected to the Chinese Exclusion Era. Maggie must confront everything about herself, and her Father. Maggie discovers more about her true self, and her Father's hidden life, and a family she never knew.
This novel was fascinating, and enriched me about Chinese immigrants in the United States.
LRD 9/21/10

The Cupcake Queen By Heather Hepler

Hog's Hollow is not a place or town . It is the main place where this novel takes action.
I learned through this novel, most teens hide what's going on inside of them , so as not to expose their emotions, or feelings.
Penny is a new High School student who arrives at Hog's Hollow with her Mother. Penny's life changes a lot being that Penny's Mother owns and runs a bakery that sells only cupcakes. Penny is made to work at the bakery. She is longing for her friends in New York, and her Dad she and her family left behind. There's Chasity a mean girl who is out to get her in High School. Her new friends Tally, and Blake, and Marcus. Marcus runs on the beach every night is a cute male. Just when Penny begins to accept her new life, she has to make a choice that changes everything for her.

Penny has to adapt to a small town, after living in New York City for most of her life. The novel is very interesting, and has a lesson. The lesson being can cupcakes bring romance to the town ? Read this novel to find out the lesson.
LRD 9/21/10

Bruiser - Neal Shusterman

Brewster, or Bruiser, as the kids call him has a reputation, and everyone hears rumors about him. One day Bronte asks him out, and he agrees to go out with her. Tennyson, being the protective big brother, follows Bruiser home one day. What he finds is Bruiser protecting his brother from their uncle. After that incident Tennyson begins to notice other things. When someone cut themselves it would heal almost instantly. When Tennyson was hurting during a lacrosse game, and Bruiser was there, he took away the pain so Tennyson could continue playing. Bronte and Tennyson don't fully realize what is going on with Bruiser until he and his brother come and live with them for a little bit after their uncle dies. Their parents are fighting and are heading toward a divorce, and after Bruiser is living there they act like nothing is wrong. It is then they see how much Bruiser cares about them to take away their pain, which then becomes his pain.

A chilling and thought provoking novel. I love Neal Shusterman's books and Bruiser is his best book yet. It gets you thinking about how would you act if you met someone who could take away all of the pain in your life.

T.B. 9/21/10

Monday, September 20, 2010

A Love StoryStarring my Dead BestFriend By Emily Homer

For months, Cass Meyer has heard Julia talk about a secret project . But when Julia dies in a car accident, her drama wants to bring the project she has into a musical that everyone wants. Cass would like to help because she is not a drama person, and she spends the whole summer involved with the musical. Helping wherever she is needed. Cass becomes the prop girl in the musical written by the dead girl Julia.
The novel is very interesting, and worthwhile. The town where the plot seems to take place happens to be in a quiet town where nothing happens . Until the musical occurs, and everybody seems to think the play is weird, but hilarious.
Cass decides to take a cross-country trip on a bicycle caring Julia's dishes in a Tupperware container.
This is a novel about friendship, and love. The trip across country on bike was one thousand miles for Cass to find herself. The musical that was composed by Julia the girl who died in the accident. The musical turned out to be the craziest that the High School produced.
The novel is very good, and entertaining. Cass is a student, who is a Math whiz at seventeen.

Saturday, September 18, 2010

Radiance by Alyson Noel

Radiance is the first book in a new series and a take-off from the immortals series by the same author. This series focus on the deceased sister of the main character Ever in the immortals series. I had only read the first book in that series and at first felt I was missing something in Radiance, but the book quickly took on its own life.

Riley is 12, but unfortunately is also dead. She lives in a place called Here & Now where people continue with life - work, school, sleep, etc - but have the ability to manifest whatever they want. It seems like a decent deal, except she still misses Earth and then learns that each person has a role. She is given the role of "Soul Catcher," which means she goes to Earth and helps souls cross the bridge they failed to cross when they died. Joined by her dog Buttercup and her dorky guide Bodhi, her first task is to convince the impossible "Radiant Boy" to cross, although many others for the past 100+ years have failed to do so. Bodhi has his own task in convincing the "Wailing Woman" to let go of her grief to move on. Will the two succeed and find their place in this new world?

The book had a good voice. You could definitely hear a 12 year old telling this story. It was also a quick read but I wasn't overly impressed with the story. Don't get me wrong. It was a good book and has no fatal flaws, but I'm just not eagerly waiting for the next book to come out. Maybe because I don't see it going anywhere besides what's already been done in this novel. Go to earth, convince the ghost to move on, go home and repeat. Hopefully a curve ball is thrown into the next book because, so far, I'm not impressed. If, though, you liked the immortals, give this a shot to see what happened to Ever's sister. Maybe it will mean more to you than it did to me, someone unfamiliar with the other series.

Tuesday, September 14, 2010

Tuck para siempre

Es un clasico total! Al igual uno de mis libros favoritos personalmente.

La escena del libro toma lugar, en la primera semana de Agosto. Donde el clima es caliente, diria MUY caliente, como sin hacer ningun movimiento moderado y comienza a sudar descontroladamente.
En el pueblo llamado Treegap, donde hay una poplacion moderada. A las a fueras del pueblo Treegap, esta la casa de los Foster. Es una propiedad grande, que asta incluye un bosque.
Es donde conosemos a Winnifred Foster, la unica hija de Sr. y Sra. Foster. Que tan solo tiene diez años, ella ademas de vivir con sus padres, tambien vive con su abuela. Sus padres y la abuela son muy desiplinados.
Tiene actividades que asistir como por ejemplo clases de piano y sus tareas pero se siente sola. Ya que no tiene nadie con quien jugar, nadie con quien compartir travesuras infantiles. Winnie (su sobrenombre) busca diversion, conoser gente, ya que la mayoria del tiempo se la pasa aislada dentro de la cerca de el jardin de su casa.

Al atardecer de un dia en la primera semana de Agosto, mientras ella estaba en el jardin como siempre, sola pensando y platicando con un sapo. Alguien le llama, levantandose se da cuenta que es un forastero vestido de amarillo, alto y delgado. En su charla el le pregunta a Winnie si ella vive en esta casa? Y hace cuanto tiempo ella vive en esta casa?Winnie contestando muy casual contesta que si, incluyendo que simpre a vivido ahi. Diciendo que el bosque es parte de su terreno. Al final el señor vestido de amarillo añade que el esta buscando a una familia.

Alos cuantos minutos la abuela de Winnie aparece, preguntando que conquien habla? Winnie solo contesta que el esta buscando a alguien.

El señor estaba recontando la charla que tuvo con Winnie cuando, la abuela lo interrumpio diciendo que ell no conosia a nadie, y ni ganas tenia de conocer. En ese mismo instante dejo de hablar, y exclamo "Virgen Santa, han vuelto otra vez, despues de tantos años! -- has oido Winifred? La musica de los duendes de la que te he hablado, Dios mio, han pasado tantisimos años desde la ultima vez que la oi!"Eso cautivo al señor, estaba tenso le levanto la curiosidad a un nivel alto muy alto.
Me gusta el estilo de la autora, ya que me gusta como descirbe las cosas. Para mi gusto con mucha delicadesa. Este libro fue publicado en la decada de los 70's, sigue siendo popular.

Se que e escrito partes del libro, pero lo hice para dar solo una probadita como es el estilo que la autora Natalie Babbit.
No olviden es un classico de literatura juvenil!!

Friday, September 10, 2010

Finikin of the Rock by Marchetta

I would give this book to fans of Tolkein's Lord of the Rings and The Hobbit. It is dark, violent, yet hopeful. There is some pretty good world building and a number of characters I grew quite fond of. There was a violent, not well understood takeover of the country of Lumatere consisting of several areas I will call states. There were massacres, burnings at the stake and many many refugees running and running getting out of this land just before the gates were sealed, trapping unfortunates inside and out of communications with relatives and leaders on the outside. Finnikin, whose father was once captain of the king's guard and the kings first man have been travelling the worlds outside of Lumatere recording the dead and living, the refugee camps and hoping to plan a way to get back into Lumatere and take it back from the impostor rulers.
Along the way they take on a silent, highly competent, angry novice from a cloister who calls herself Evanjalin when she decides to talk and a violent preteen orphan who has stolen from them among other things. Evanjalin seems to excel in lies and manages to get Finnikin incarcerated in the mine prisons where he discovers his father. They carefully plan a successful escape and join others left from the former guard. About five years has passed while Finnikin and Sir Tropher did their survey of refugees. Another five years seems to have past as Finnikin, the guard and other able bodied Lumatere refugees plan their attack on the closed gate. Finnikin and Evanjalin have grown to care for each other and Finnikin to discover her true identity. Evanjalin, is a dreamwalker who shares dreams with those inside and relives every death of a Lumatere over and over. She has managed to communicate the coming attack to the survivors. The captors sense something is up and burn the capitol city just as Finikin and his guard break through the gate. There is help of the Lumatere gods along the way. As the country recaptured rebuilds itself there are concerns for the future. Might they have been taken over by another country as a passage to a attack a distant powerful country? Should Lumatere plan their own attack, against who? This seems to be an opening for a second volume. JDW 9/10/10

Thursday, September 09, 2010

Futureproof - N. Frank Daniels

Luke goes to Peckerbrook High, which is a fine arts school, in Atlanta, Georgia. He lives with his mother, brother, his mom's boyfriend and three of his kids. As the school year progresses Luke gets fed up with living with everyone, and decides to leave and go out on his own. He makes friends with people who can get him drugs like heroin, coke, and crack. That then becomes his life. All he cares about is having sex, finding a job to get money, and getting his next fix. When his girlfriend, Andie, gets pregnant the first time they get an abortion. Later on she gets pregnant again, but is still shooting it up with Luke. When Luke finds out they go to a treatment center, and get Andie on medication. When she doesn't take the medicine for a few days, she starts having abdominal pains, and is taken to the hospital. The baby is born premature, and is in state custody until the courts determine that Luke and Andie are fit to be parents.

I enjoyed reading this book. It gave insight into how a drug addict acts, and thinks when all they care about is getting their next fix, and not caring about much else. It also gave a look into what people will do and sell just to get money. According to the back of the book, there will be a second book in the series, but there's no mention of when it will be released.

T.B. 9/9/10

Saturday, September 04, 2010

North of Beautiful by Headley

I read this book because it is popular with teens. This is a multi layered story with several well developed characters. It includes a flawed but loving mother who is utterly wonderful to find in a book and is ever so realistic. Terra has a port wine birthmark across a large portion of her face. She has been stared at a lot over the years and her family has taught her to hide behind her hair and behind thick layers of makeup, they also uncomfortable with this fault. Father is verbally abusive, mother eats too much and cannot at first stand up to his abuse which wasn't always true. Terra's brother is working in China and invites the family to visit even providing them with tickets. Terra's mother and Terra are both artistic. Their activities have lead them to meet a young man Terra's age and his mother. They too had been planning a trip to China. Even though Terra's father refuses to go, Jacob and his mom encourage the pair and all four head to China. This is a learning trip for Terra in many ways. She comes to understand what she values in a relationship, she begins to appreciate herself and define herself by her strengths rather than by the port wine birthmark and to understand why her family acts as they do, all hiding behind something by their dysfunctional actions, working too much, eating too much, criticising too much, wearing too much makeup. The adventures in China were wondrously descriptive as well. This book is worth the trip.

Thursday, September 02, 2010

A Kiss in Time by Alex Flinn

Sleeping Beauty is my favorite fairy tale, so I was excited to see it remastered by the author of Beastly. This story has it's moments but I'm not overly excited about it now that I've read it.

Talia is a princess from a country known as Euphrasia. On the day of her christening she was cursed with death when she pricks her finger on a spindle. Another fairy, unable to undo the curse, merely makes it that she'll sleep until true love's kiss. Try as they might to avoid spindles, she still pricks her finger and falls asleep. Enter many years later a teenager named Jack who gets bored with his European tour and tries to the find the beach. Instead, he finds the sleeping village of Euphrasia, as well as a beautiful woman who he has the urge to kiss. Talia then awakes and is blamed for ruining their kingdom since they've been sleeping for 300 years. She runs away with Jack to America since her father doesn't want her anymore and she's certain he's her true love since his kiss awoke her. As she grows accustom to American ways and not being a spoiled princess, the evil witch who cursed her continues to haunt Talia, feeling tricked because she doesn't think Jack is Talia's true love, so she shouldn't have been woken up. Just as Jack realizes he truly does love Talia, the evil witch magically brings Talia back to Euphrasia first for revenge, and then to see if Jack truly is Talia's true love and can rescue her yet again.

One reason I was disappointed in this book is because to me the whole "awake in another time period and must adapt" has been done so frequently that it's old hat. True, there's not much you can do with the Sleeping Beauty storyline to make it interesting, but it just wasn't enough for me. One thing I found interesting was how Jack wasn't your typical hot guy, frat party, jock. He was interested in gardening and becoming a landscaper. You don't really see guys portrayed that way in books and I thought that was a nice touch - you don't have to be a tough macho, stereotypical guy to be a hero. One stupid note: This is based on Sleeping Beauty and Disney is mentioned but when Jack sees sleeping Talia, his first reference is Snow White. Seriously? You see a sleeping princess and your first thought is Snow White? Come on! Or did the author just not want to make it obvious? I think it would have been funny for his first thought to be Sleeping Beauty because the true love's kiss is more obvious in that storyline. But, like I said, just a stupid note that made me chuckle.

This book was decent. It's been a while since I read Beastly, so I can't really tell how they compare if you're into the remastering of fairy tales and like Alex Flinn. As a story itself, I think a lot of this book has already been done before and that is always a disappointment for me. Just the same, I hope the author continues to modernize classic fairy tales because they're still fun to read.