Thursday, October 27, 2011

Goliath - Scott Westerfeld

The Leviathan receives orders to pick up a package from Russia. Once it is on board the crew finds parts to a device hidden within all the meat strips. The device is assembled, but no one seems to know what it does. They then are ordered to pick up Nikola Tesla, the famous inventor. The device is called Goliath, and according to Dr. Tesla it will end the war. The Leviathan escorts Dr. Tesla to Japan, where he demonstrates his device in front of a group of Clankers and Darwinists. During the journey to Japan Prince Alek puts the pieces together to discovers that Dylan is Deryn, a girl. As they reach California, Alek confronts Deryn about her secret. She has wanted to tell him, but was fearful of his reaction when he found out that she isn't a boy at all. After a day at William Randolph Hearst's house the Leviathan heads south through Mexico. This is the only way to get Dr. Tesla to New York, since the United States is a neutral in the war. Once in New York Dr. Tesla gets everything set up to activate Goliath. As the detonation time approaches Deryn gets word of a German plot to attack Goliath. Will the German's succeed in destroying Goliath, or will Dr. Tesla's device end the war between the Clankers and the Darwinists?

I have loved the Leviathan trilogy since I read the first book. Scott Westerfeld has crafted an intriguing alternate reality story of the first World War. I was eagerly awaiting the release of Goliath, and I was not disappointed. I liked the way he wrapped up the story. I had figured out some of the ending as I was reading. I was also surprised about a few of the events that unfolded at the end. I like it when I work out an ending in my head, and the author does a complete turn-a-round of what I think will happen.

T.B. 10/27/11

Thursday, October 20, 2011

Go ask Alice by Anonymous

The story is based in the 1970s, is very difficult to say a year or even a decade since the time line is somewhat confusing. Alice is a teenager how gets trapped in the drug/addiction world. She was not looking for drugs but was introduce to them in a party, served in a drink without her knowledge. After she finds out she realizes that she actually likes them and has to experiment with other hardcore drugs. She ends up dropping out of school and she goes to a different city where I finded very difficult to believe she and a friend, who is also an addict, start a small business in this new city. She has several guys in her life, one at a time, but never really in love. She is trying to stay clean but relapsing several times. When comes back home her "addict" friends turn away because she is trying to stay clean. She ends up at a mental hospital. Personally the time line was very confusing and yet the story was missing something. The book is based on a true story but is listed under fiction, the book is good and okay yet there are so many details missing that it does not make it a good book.

Habibi by Craig Thompson

Across a landscape of desserts, harems and another modern industrial clutter. Habibi tells the story of Dodola and Zam. Two slaves children bound to each other by chance, to grow up, survive and the love that grows eventually each other as time passes. Habibi is a love story of the hardships once you are of survival due to your status in society. Dodola and Zam have to venture a word, where they are separated, sold, hunger to eventually reunite each other and begin their new path to build a future for themselves. Good art and great story telling, Habibi is a must read.

Wednesday, October 19, 2011

Stay by Deb Caletti

This is a haunting story filled with the ghosts of past wrongs and obsession that threaten to destroy the main character (not the scary kind of ghosts - but those are mentioned). Although slow in some parts, it has a poetic message about letting go and forgiveness.

This story takes place at two different times in Clara's life. There's her present life which deals with the aftermath of her recent past. In her present life she and her father are on vacation by the sea, hiding out from the troubles of their recent past. Clara's trying to have a normal summer, with a job at a lighthouse with her cranky boss and a developing crush on a sailor on top of her father's own blossoming romance. The only problem is she can't seem to escape the ghosts of her recent past. Christian had been her soul mate. When she met him she knew they were meant to be together and pursued him. Things were wonderful until he started to get clingy and jealous - downright obsessed with Clara. She'd been doing so much to keep him happy, she didn't know who she was anymore and then it got to the point that Clara and her father needed to escape (which brings us back to the present story and their vacation).

This novel starts off really choppy and slow. The chapters alternate between her vacation life and flashbacks to her relationship with Christian. Once the switching back and forth stops, the story really begins to flow. Later on there's another flashback chapter but it has a smoother transition. As I read the flashback chapters, I felt like the author was trying to show the relationship rather than simply tell the reader what happened, but a huge chunk of those chapters still felt like telling because she was summing up portions of their relationship. You could see where it was all going, but I felt it could have been done differently - then again, that's just a person preference seeing how I've never been a big fan of books that flit back and forth between time periods.

This book puts a lot of meaning behind different situations. It's not just telling a story but placing importance on all things that happens. It's a lot deeper than most fiction. If you're just looking for simply a story to read, you might find the moments of reflection distracting and tiresome, but this book has a greater purpose. It was a really good read - once it got a handle on the appropriate flow of storytelling. The characters are great - you feel for Clara, you're creeped out by Christian, and you're intrigued by the supporting characters. Each one has layers and secrets and ghosts. In the end, it was an enjoyable read.

Wednesday, October 05, 2011

The Price of Loyalty by Mike Castan

This is not a new or original story. Walter Dean Myers told a similar tale in The Scorpions.
A group of grade school friends have recently begun middle school. They decide to form a secret club that isn't really a gang. But soon they are doing things like tagging, shop lifting, smoking weed and brawling that are very gang like. Some of the group is more gang like than others, skipping school, finding a place to hang (a cul de sac), doing meth. One of the group, Manny, really isn't comfortable with his friends' new activities and hangs less and less with them. Except, he is the one getting the marijuana for them. Then there is a nasty fight in which two middle schoolers who officially belong to a gang are beaten senseless and left lying in the cul de sac. Manny and his girl friend find them and with Henrietta's mother's help notify authorities so the two will get help. What follows is lots of questioning by police about who did the beating. Manny finally caves and rats out his friends. There are consequences for all involved of varying severity, including Manny who must deal with his abuela's disappointment in him, his friends disapproval and having been involved with marijuana distribution. For kids still looking for more gang related books. JDW 10/5

Monday, October 03, 2011

Island's End By:Padma Venkatraman

This novel will capture the imaginations of many readers. The main female character of the novel struggles between tradition, and the values she believes in and modern influences. Her name is Uido, and she is chosen to be the Spiritual leader of her island tribe. The novel takes place on the Andaman Island. These are Islands East of India that lay in the Bay of Bengal. These Islands are covered with tropical rain forests that protected the tribal people. The strangers from other Islands , tempted the tribe members with gifts they have never seen.The strangers make the tribal members very curious about modern life. The author of this novel travels to the Andaman Islands to experience life on the Island. Also the author met with native people, who overcame a natural disaster, and preserved their unique way of life. In the novel Uido transforms from a girl to a tribal leader.
This novel is a good read. 10/3/11 LD

Mice By: Gordon Reece

This novel keeps the interest of any individual, because it piques our interest, or curiosity.
The novel begins, with a Mother, who is a lawyer, and is recently divorced. Shelley is her teenaged daughter, who is very smart. One problem Shelley has she is bullied so badly in the High School that she was frightened to attend. So the Principal had a male tutor, and a female tutor come to Shelley's home to cover her studies. Her male Tutor Mr. Roger's came every morning. Mrs. Harris came in the afternoon. Shelley preferred Mr. Rogers who was interesting when teaching Shelley. Mrs. Harris taught in a boring method, and Shelley did not look forward to her arrival at the house or cottage. This novel was an amazing story that took place in an English cottage that was isolated, but close to about twenty miles away to a village with all the necessities like a Police Station, Schools, grocery store, and Hospital. One night, a burglar got himself into their cottage by unscrewing the window frame, and letting himself into the cottage quietly. The burglar began robbing things that he could carry. He also carried his hand weapon, which was a sharp knife. Unreal, the two women fight the burglar, and Shelley the teen, ends up giving the final blow to the burglar. Now, the women must devise where to dump the body. The Mother, Elizabeth, thinks of burying the body right in the rose garden. Her mother says to the daughter we will dig a shallow grave, and place the burglar in the grave. All the towels with blood, and clothing that is soiled will be abandoned in an abandoned mines. The mines are about an hour and a half from their cottage. I recommend this novel . It is humorous , but also a mystery Some readers think the novel Mice is a psychological novel. I enjoyed the novel. I recommend the read.
10/3/11 LD