Thursday, April 26, 2012

Croak - Gina Damico

Lexingon, or Lex for short, was a good girl growing up.  She and her twin sister Concordia, aka Cordy, have done everything together as they were growing up.  When high school hit Cordy stayed a model student. Lex, on the other hand, began getting into fights and getting expelled from school.  Over the last two years she has turned from straight A student into a juvenile delinquent.  When she bites a kid a week before the end of her junior year Lex's parents decide to send her to live with Uncle Mort in Croak.  Her parents believe that some hard farm work over the summer will straighten Lex out.  Little does she know that Uncle Mort is a grim reaper.  He is Mayor of a town of grim reapers, and Lex is one of them.  She doesn't know what to think when Uncle Mort tells her what she really is, and he's is a farmer just not the traditional sense.  When he takes her out to the field for the first time she kills (takes the soul), and Lex wants to go after the killer. Her uncle tells her not to.  They are only there to take the soul of the dead person and transport them to the afterlife.  The next day she and her partner Diggs, the boy who is staying with her and Mort at Mort's house, go out into the field on their own.  While they are out they discover a dead person at a baseball game.  There is no apparent cause of death.  The only thing that stands out is the eyes are completely white.  As Lex assimilates in with the Grims, she is amazed at how well she fits in with them.  As the unexplained deaths start to pile up the Juniors, the group of young Grims, take it upon themselves to figure out the cause of these deaths.  They piece together that someone is taking Elixer and injecting the people to make them die when they aren't supposed to.  They also theorize that it is a Grim, either current or former, since no one else can gain access to the Elixer besides them.  Lex and Diggs tell Uncle Mort what they think might be happening.  He applaudes them for figuring it out and decides it is time to let the citizens of Croak know what is going on.  Everyone else belives that Lex is behind the unexplainable deaths, because they started to happen after she got to Croak.  Does Lex really have the capability to kill without remorse and not remember doing it, or is someone just making it look like she's the one killing the people who aren't ready to die just yet? 

I absolutely enjoyed this book.  It was such a fun read.  I loved the character of Lex.  She's smart, snarky, and scarcastic, but when push comes to shove she does the right thing.  The ending resolves most of the plot threads and leaves it open for a sequel to be written.  I wouldn't mind a sequel, but it is just a good story that only needed one book to tell it.

T.B. 4/26/12

Friday, April 20, 2012

Thirteen Days To Midnight - Patrick Carman

"You are indestructible."  Those are the last words spoken to Jacob before Mr. Fielding, his foster father, dies in a car crash, in which Jacob walks away unscathed.  He has been staying with Father Tim, a good friend of Mr. Fielding, at Holy Cross School. He has been out of school the past week grieving for his foster father's death.  When Jacob goes back to school everyone is talking about the new girl Ophelia, which in a school of 137 students is a big thing.  The first time Jacob sees her she has him sign the cast on her arm.  He writes you are indestructible on the cast.  Later that day Jacob, Ophelia, and Milo, Jacobs best friend, head to the skate park near school.  Ophelia wipes out really bad on the pavement.  She should have died, but Jacob's indestructible power saves her.  The power transfers back to him, and the next day he tells Milo and Ophelia about his power.  Ophelia starts keeping a journal of everything that can be done with the power.  They then set out to help people in danger by transferring the power to them so the people can live.  All that is needed to transfer the power is for Jacob to see a picture and name of the person in danger.  This starts putting a strain on Jacob, and Milo points out that we can't save everyone.  Things start going downhill when Ophelia wakes Jacob at two in the morning because there is a fire at her apartment building.  Jacob transfers his power over, and Ophelia saves a persons life along with a cat that was trapped.  After that Ophelia wants to hold on to the power more and more.  She turns into a different person as the power stays in her longer and longer.  Jacob and Milo take a trip to a cigar shop that Mr. Fielding owned, which will be Jacob's when he turns eighteen.  Jacob discovers a letter written by Mr. Fielding explaining what the indestructible power really is.  After they have this information Jacob and Milo realize that they must do anything they can to get the power out of Ophelia and make her human again.  Can they save Ophelia or will the power consume her to a point of no return?

I enjoyed this book and poses the reader with the question of if you were indestructable how would you use this power you have been given?  Jacob wants to help as many people as he can, but after learning the truth realizes that it isn't possible.  Death is a constant in the universe and when your time is up death will be waiting.  As I was reading this it reminded me of the movie Chronicle, which came out earlier this year.  In it three teenagers gain powers and they try to do the responsible thing with their powers.  One of the teens turns evil, and the other two teens try to save him.  It is similar to when Ophelia starts turning evil as the indestructible power grows inside her.  Jacob and Milo will do anything they can to save Ophelia. 

T.B. 4/20/12

Wednesday, April 18, 2012

Lie by Caroline Bock

Lie looks at all the different ways people lie, to themselves, to others, by not saying what should be said, by changing the truth, more. Its the story of Skylar who had recently lost her beloved mother to cancer and had fallen into depression. Its about Jimmy who paid attention to her when she was down, who she thought she loved, who had a great hatred of people of different nationalities, who believed they were ruining the United States, stealing jobs from "good citizens". And, its about one night when Jimmy and a friendly boy named Sean, a follower to Jimmy's every lead beat two kids of Ecuadoran nationality, one a U.S. citizen, both legally in the U.S. Skylar, who had been following Jimmy in her own car, trying not to let him see her violating his rules of dating and relating, witnessed the beating. Perhaps her friend Lisa, also in the car with Skylar did as well. The younger boy caught a good enough description of one of the cars for the police to find it. One of the boy's dies of injuries sustained by the beating. Jimmy and Sean are arrested. Search for the truth begins with the kids in the know vowing silence. Sean who has been released on bail would turn on Jimmy so he could go free, have a life but the pressures build till he hangs himself. A visit by Skylar to Jimmy still imprisoned leaves her reeling. Her father can see the lies but doesn't know the truth, everyone must remain silent, not say anything. The news puts a human side on the family of the beaten boys, suddenly things don't seem so distant, unreal. Its not easy to remain silent. What will Skylar ultimately do? What will happen to Jimmy with his high priced lawyer going against a couple of poor Hispanics? Although readers will know how they want the story to end, it ends before everything is final leaving us to think about the lies, the hatred and the impact they had on all the lives of all the people involved, including the parents of all the kids.
jdw 4/18

Monday, April 16, 2012

Confessions of a Triple Shot Betty by Jody Gehrman

If this novel feels like it's a familiar tale, that's because it's a retelling of William Shakespeare's Much Ado About Nothing. This tale of trickery, set-ups, mistaken identities, and love gets an enjoyable modern spin twist.

Summer has finally arrived and Geena can't wait to spend it with her best friend Amber and her cousin Hero. Unfortunately the two girls can't stand each other, which puts Geena in the middle while dealing with Ben who is her arch rival. Ben and his friend PJ introduce the girls to a visiting Italian, Claudio, whom Hero instantly falls in love with - thankfully the feeling is mutual. Sadly her father has a strict no dating rule, although he doesn't lighten up but only if Geena will chaperone. At the same time, Claudio isn't the only one interested in Hero, there's also John who is the most popular boy in town, a boy whom Amber has feelings for. Hero doesn't have an interest in John, a fact that he doesn't accept easily. She's desperate to date Claudio but first has to get Geena to agree to a double date and she thinks the perfect partner for he cousin would be Ben. Pretty soon Hero's using trickery to get Geena and Ben together and John's doing some underhanded maneuvers to get back at Hero for blowing him off. Turmoil ensues and it's a good time as the good guys try to come out on top.

I have minor knowledge of the Shakespeare play and found this book to do a good job of representing the story. Even without knowing the play, this was an enjoyable book. True, some of it felt as if it's been done before, but what do you expect when it's based on a century old story? This author did a good job of modernizing everything and making each character unique. You felt for the character and wanted justice served. Overall it was a quick read.

This is a great story and well worth the read if you're looking for a little romance and drama.

Wednesday, April 11, 2012

The Lucky One

Logan Thibault a US marine during his third tour in Iraq he finds a photograph of a young smiling woman. He brings it to the base camp, for someone to claim it, but after several weeks of being posted and with no owner in sight the photograph becomes a lucky charm for this young marine. His very good friend Victor insist, there is a reason why he found this photograph.

When they return to the United States Logan simply cannot stop thinking about the photograph and the girl. Is Victor who gives Logan the idea to go in search of the girl in the photograph. Logan ponders about the ludicrous idea, at the end he decides he will begin his endeavor. Zeus, a German Shepard, and his only companion during the trip, walk from the state of Colorado to North Carolina.

Finally they arrive to North Carolina, but Logan does not know who to start the search, where to look? How to ask? Who to ask? He does not want people to think is just a reclused person that just came out of nowhere and start looking for a random person. He works around his hindrances and he finally finds her.

When Logan finds Elizabeth he learns she is a young single mother, who helps her grandmother with a small business. The excuse Logan uses to come up to her is to ask for a job, this is how they began to know eachother. The attaction he feels towards Elizabeth, Logan never tells her about the photograph, he keeps it a secret. They fall in love, they know they are happy together and this is what they have always been waiting for. But Logan's secrets perils their love and their loved ones.

I enjoy reading how Sparks filled this book with suspence it feels like you cannot put the book down, because you cannot wait for the upcoming chapters. Also is filled with love, passion and romance this book makes me think everyone has a soulmate but is up to us to find it. To take the iniciative and start searching for our own happiness. One more thing that I enjoy was the end, the end is unexpected!! Unexpected in the sense that every single character has a part in the twisted end. This book has been made into a motion picture and is coming out in the upcoming weeks. Finally all I have to say is that I cannot wait for the movie and go see it and hope is as great as the book.


Sunday, April 01, 2012

Sisterhood Everlasting by Ann Brashares

The fifth book in the Sisterhood of the Traveling Pants series jumps ahead ten years to find the girls all grown up and falling apart.

Years after the traveling pants had been lost in Greece, the girls have gone their separate ways and created their own lives. Tibby is in Australia with Brian, Lena is teaching art in Providence, Carmen is a New York actress, and Bridget is in San Francisco with Eric. With space and time keeping them apart, especially Tibby who is hard to contact, they are all receive invitations from Tibby to reunite in Greece. Excited to finally be together, they are thrown for a loop when tragedy strikes, creating in chasm in them so deep they can't seem to move on with their lives or even find comfort in each other. Will the world ever make sense again? What could possibly bring these inseparable friends back together again?

This fifth book being ten years after the last book feels a little separate from the series, almost like you can read this book without having read the other books. Sure the other books help with background knowledge but there's enough of a sense of life before to make it through this book. For the most part the book is about loss - of loved ones and of yourself - and finding your way back to it all. However, since most of it is about loss and the characters all being unable to move on, it became a little overwhelming to the point of annoying, especially given how far removed the characters had grown before the tragedy (sporadic contact throughout the last couple of years). I understand why they were so deeply affected (they had been inseparable friends) and maybe I just can't sympathize because I've never gone through it, but the characters just behaved so radically I found them too much to swallow - especially Bridget. However, maybe her actions make more sense if I knew more about her if I had read the previous books. Just the same, it's not until the girls started to get their lives back on track that the book grew on me. It does have a good message about loss and friendship but it just drags a bit in the middle.

This novel is a good conclusion to the Sisterhood of the Traveling Pants series. While it does become a bit tedious in the middle, overall it's a good story. You feel for each character and hope for everything to work out. While I can't compare it to the other books having not read them, I think it is one that fans will love because it is about the characters and seeing where their lives go.