Saturday, July 30, 2011

Twisted by Sara Shepard

The newest edition in the Pretty Little Liars series continues with more of the same - which can be a good thing, or a bad thing.

After the fire in the Poconos in which the truth about A and Ali had been revealed, the girls take a trip to Jamaica where something happens to tear the four friends apart. Ten months later they're living their own lives. Spencer's mother has a new beau with an attractive son that Spencer finds herself drawn to, but can she be trusted to keep his secret when she's battling a few of her own? Emily has not only the secret from Jamaica troubling her, but another secret that pulled her out of swimming. Now she has to find a way to get a scholarship and her new friend Chloe's father might be the answer, if he can keep his hands to himself. Aria thinks things are going great between her and boyfriend Noel, but then the beautiful foreign exchange student enters the picture and we get to see how far Aria will go to keep her boyfriend. Finally, Hanna's father is starting his campaign for the Senate and Hanna's ambition and naivete might jeopardize it if she doesn't pull out some sneaky moves. If that wasn't enough for the girls to handle, "A" is back in their lives ready to cause trouble. But how can that be? It looks as if what happened in Jamaica isn't going to stay secret if A has anything to say about it...

The drama of A and these girls inability to stay out of trouble continues in the newest book in what is certain to be at least a set of four books. Some might groan and ask why can't A just die or the girls get a clue, while others might relish in the newest edition to this guilty pleasure. (I groaned but yet I just had to read the book to see where it went. I'll probably even pick up the next one because as tiresome as the antics sometimes get, the series is addicting.) The popularity of the TV show definitely has fueled the need for another book (it could have ended with the last one) and this one has added new twists to the girls' lives. Having it about a year after the fact helped continue the story with more options for the characters.

If you've been sucked into the drama of the Pretty Little Liars, you'll enjoy this book. It's more of the same but in a way that will quench your hunger until the next one comes out.

Thursday, July 28, 2011

Ka n na gi by Eri Takenashi

While there are many stories about Gods and humans concentrated on a serious theme. Ka n na gi is another one of those. Not exactly. Jin has always seen strange black bugs since he was small. As time passed Jin grew up like any other boy, but after and unexpected encounter his life would begin to change. Nagi a strange girl appears in front of him and she claims to be a God! Is she really? Yes she is! Soon the odd pair begins to live under the same roof, looking forward for weird happenings and defeating of small black bugs called "defilements" who stain the holy land. Not to count the small wacky adventures.

This manga is about a serious story....Kind of.

Delirium by Lauren Oliver

I had a hard time believing in this story. Portland Maine has become a small dictatorship. It is surrounded by electrified fences. It has crypts for permanent enemies of the state. It has rules regarding what you can and cannot read, watch on tv, see in plays, etc. Religion is really the indoctrination of people with the values of the state. And, romantic love is called a virus which is cured once a person passes his/her seventeenth birthday, by brain surgery, which sometimes goes badly wrong and sometimes doesn't work. After that, people are passively, accepting of their fates. They are assigned jobs, they are assigned spouses, they are told how many children they are allowed to have. There are only hints of how/why this happened. A person can sort of understand that if one grew up in this restricted society, knew nothing else then this would all seem normal. Understanding why adults who apparently lived at the time of whatever happened believe in this system is harder to understand. Except rumors abound about invalids (uncured) living in the wilds outside the fence. Folks are aware that there is a world across the ocean they know nothing about, and don't care since the cure. There are resistors. Lena, just before her cure, learns that romantic love has a lot to recommend itself. Lena goes to illicit concerts with music not controlled by the state. Lena even gets to visit the wilds with her love, Alex, a resistor. Of course eventually they get caught, pretty much everyone does. There are so many safeguards against escape such as the fences, constant violent raids and whatnot that it would be virtually impossible not to. In fact, this situation seems virtually hopeless as far escape or a future of freedom of choice and of true love. Reminiscent of Lowry's The Giver which is less violent and more hopeful. JDW7/28

Monday, July 18, 2011

Newly Wed by Nancy Krulik

This book lies in limbo between good and bad as well as in terms of audience. It doesn't quite have young adult appeal, but it won't quite appeal to an adult audience.

Jen is a senior in college and Jesse has already graduated and is a junior associate at some business. The two, after knowing each other for eight months, are getting married. Through a deal with the online dating service where they met, they get a free wedding if they chronicle their marriage online. It sounds easy enough, but the newlyweds have a lot on their plate between their conflicting personalities, pressures from work and school, as well as other newlywed problems. Will it get to be too much, or with this couple stick it out?

The author of this book is known for children's books and young adults. This book definitely reads like a young adult book in the manner that it's written but I question how much appeal the first year of marriage will have for teens. It is a fluff novel - there's not much depth to it. This might, now that I think about it, be a good transition novel for teens who like romance but aren't quite ready to delve into the adult romance world. The book does a decent job showing some of the newlyweds' struggles but, in a way, it's a simplistic view of their issues. Everything could have gone further and I would have liked more of the blogs they had to post. The book, though, is an interesting idea and the story all works together.

Limbo is the best way for me to describe this book. It doesn't rest fully in one ballpark or the other. It's not bad, but it's not great. It doesn't have the depth of an adult book, but it's not quite a young adult topic. If you're looking for a fluffy romance, this is a decent book to pick up.

Sunday, July 10, 2011

Efrain's Secret By Sofia Quintero

This novel has to do with a dream that many teens have. The teens would like to get out of their mundane situation, and attend an ivy league University. Efrain Rodriguez is a Senior in High School where he grew up in the South Bronx, New York. He is an Honor Student by day, but to
earn extra money at night he is a drug dealer. Efrain lives a double life secretly.

The author of this novel realizes that the teen Efrain puts his whole life on the line by planning two lives, which can get Efrain seriously in trouble. His drug selling is kept secret from his school buddies.
I liked this novel very much. It had action, and very important message to teens, Efrain was so involved with drugs it might just influence his future life, and his goals. I recommend this novel.
Read this novel to find the details.

LRD 7/10/11

Saturday, July 09, 2011

Once By Morris Gleitzman

This novel recalls to me some historical facts I studied in School, which could have taken place during Hitler's regime. It was a time when Jews were persecuted, and finally exterminated. Jewish children were shot, and no question asked. This novel is about a boy Felix who was placed in a Catholic orphanage for about seven years by his parents. Felix is Jewish, and runs away from the orphanage, and goes on a journey through Nazi occupied land. Felix left the orphanage to search for his Mother, and Father. Little did he know his parents were dead.Felix on his long trek to safety, he saw a house burning, he rescued a girl Zelda, also Jewish, from the home. Felix saw no other people in the home that were alive, so he left with Zelda the young Jewish girl he rescued.

Felix was very imaginative, and could tell stories to grownups, or children too. Felix had a very creative mind could entertain children as well as adults with stories. Felix and Zelda arrived in a town where there are other Jewish people huddling around, where the Nazi soldiers are gathering together. Felix and Zelda have eaten all the bread they had had. Felix feels weak, and has a fever, and collapses on his knees. A man on the street has compassion on Felix, and takes him to a secret house where Jewish orphans live. Zelda is sick now with a fever & is not able to eat.
This special house was a factory with machines. The soldiers one day decide to check the house,
and the cover of the Jewish orphans is uncovered.

This novel is good. I recommend.

7/9/11 LRD

Deadly Little Secret By: Laurie Flaria Stolarz

This novel from the beginning appealed to me because of the title of this novel. The novel throughout was a mystery until all was solved at the end. I would not have believed it til , I read this novel. This is one in a series of novels that I read. This novel you have romances, and suspense like I said before you wonder during your reading of the novel.
At the beginning of the novel we are introduced to a sixteen year old Camelia. Her life had been ordinary til she met Ben, who is a junior in High School. This changed everything in Camelia's life.
It is rumored that Ben is responsible for his former girlfriend's death. Ben is ostracised by everyone in his high school. Camelia is attracted to him, and his gentle manner. But soon Camelia is receiving weird phone calls, and strange packages with nuts inside. Ben believes she's in danger, and that he wants to help her. Camelia knows he is hiding something, but he is not the only one with a secret.

Read this novel, and find out more details. It is a good read.

7/9/11 LRD

Friday, July 08, 2011

Like Mandarin By: Kirsten Hubbard

The novel appealed to me, because first of all, it was awarded one of the Michael L. Printz award, and the Author traveled to Belize, Central America , and did some diving with dolphins.

The novel takes place in the badlands of Washokey, Wyoming. The novel mainly focuses on Grace Carpenter, and Mandarin Ramey who is seventeen, and a carefree spirit. Grace, and Mandarin become close friends, which surprises people. They are paired off for a School Project. Remember Grace is studious, and self -conscious . The two girls are opposite in their personality.
The two girls go skinny dipping on the canal. Then Mandarin suggests they run away from home both of them together. Grace says she will run away also. In the town of Washokey, where the girls live they have "Nelly's Bargain Boutique' which is a junk store, but it indicates their environment where the teens live.
It turns out Manda has a troubled life. Sometimes she hangs out in bars, and picks up men. She is hurting inside.
The novel helps you escape, and get away from your problems, and home.
I recommend this novel, and I enjoyed it.


Wednesday, July 06, 2011

Prom & Prejudice by Elizabeth Eulberg

This is a quick and enjoyable read that anyone who enjoys Jane Austen will appreciate.

Lizzie Bennet is an outcast at Longbourn Academy because she is one of the dreaded "scholarship" kids. Teased and harassed on a regularly basis, Lizzie can't help but have her defenses up when around fellow students with money. Forced to join her best friend Jane at a reception between their school and Pemberly Academy (a reception in preparation for the ever popular prom), Lizzie meets Jane's beau Charles Bingley and his friend Will Darcy. At first Lizzie thinks Darcy might be nice, but then he proves to be just like all of the other people with money and her defenses shoot up. No matter what Darcy does now, Lizzie won't bend and when things fall apart for Jane and Bingley and the sneaky George Wickham enters the picture, Lizzie doesn't know who to trust or who to believe in. Can she let go of her pride and prejudices to see Darcy's true character?

This novel did a great job capturing the story of Jane Austen's Pride and Prejudice in a modern time where it's not about finding a husband, but a prom date. It was a pleasant surprise to see familiar characters pop up in new ways. That's definitely not to say that someone unfamiliar with the original tale can't enjoy this novel. It just goes to prove how Austen's tale is truly timeless. Everything flowed nicely and fit logically. At times it felt like the language was off, but I don't know if that was just how I read it - sometimes I find an English accent going off in my head, especially if I'm reading something Jane Austen. Therefore, I don't know if this was just the way I read it or if the language was stilted - like she was trying to throw in some of that formalized talk like from the original novel. It wasn't anything, though, that distracted from the whole of the novel (nor the excessive use of exclamation marks at certain unnecessarily points).

I've always been a fan of Pride and Prejudice so reading this book was a treat. It was a quick read and I really didn't want to put the book down (if only I didn't have a bedtime). Any fan of Jane Austen or chick lit will enjoy this book.

Saturday, July 02, 2011

Draw the Dark - Ilsa J. Bick

The town of Winter, Wisconsin has a dark past, one that people have forgotten. Back in 1945 the town served as a place where German prisoners of war were held. They were cheap labor and helped run the factory in town. At one point all of the Jewish people there left the town, and no one knows why. Fast forward to 2011 where Christian Cage, nephew of the town sheriff, goes and spray paints the side of an old barn. The owner presses charges, and Christian is sentenced to community service at the local nursing home. It is there he meets the last surviving Jew from the World War Two era. After seeing David Witek, Christian begins to have strange visions, when he dreams and draws, about the town of Winter back in 1945 from David's point of view. From these visions of the past Christian is able to piece together what really happened back in 1945, and uncover the mysterious and forgotten past of Winter, Wisconsin.

This book was good, a bit scary, and an edge of your seat read. The plot moved forward really well, and there was no sluggish or boring parts to it. It was a whole lot better than the other small town with a secret book, Cryer's Cross, I read back in May.

T.B. 7/2/11