Tuesday, October 30, 2012

Son by Lois Lowry

Lois Lowry returns with the conclusion of the 1993award winningbook The Giver, it was time for this book to be published. In this book the story is told by a different point of view a young woman named Claire tells the story.
The story introduces Claire, a 14-yeard old, who lives in the oppresive community, were The Giver had taken place. In her twelve ceremony she was selected to be a vessel, she has no knowledge to want the selected job consists of. After a few days of living with the other vessels, Claire finally has an idea to want her responsabilities might be. In other words vessels is another word for birthmother,  Claire ends up giving birth. In the community the products, the newborns, are used as manufactured commodities and always having present that there should not be a relationship betweent the child and the mother. There were minor complications with the birth but most importantly the newborn and Claire were healthy. After of trying to send the child into the "right path" standards of the community  and with no successful outcomes the child must be released.
 Then the story has and unexpected twist, and goes into a whole different direction that the reader did not see coming. Claire was able to have a connection with the product, her newborn, which was not supposed to happend she is able to feel: love, human connection and how sometimes evil is able to make the human reflect . Claire is able to escape, she learns that there is life out there with actual emotions and meaning to life, and that life is beautiful.
Now her journey starts she must go in search of her child, but where to look. Elsewhere exists but she is not sure how to confronted. The protagonist, Jonas, from The Giver plays an essential role in this book.
After reading the book the reader will understand the connection between the books, and how self-discovery is essential in life. The book is a great read because it has unexpected twists and simply because of the fact that Lois Lowry did such a great job having a wonderful ending to the story of this quartet of books.

RPA 10/30/12

Monday, October 29, 2012

The Unquiet by Jeannine Garsee

Although this book starts out a bit slow, it quickly picks up the pace and is a thrill-ride well worth the wait.

Rinn Jacobs moves to her mother's hometown after an accident tears apart her family. She is bi-polar and when she goes off of her meds, a fire starts which kills her Grandmother. Now transplanted to an unfamiliar town, Rinn deals with the guilt she feels while trying to make new friends. One thing she learns about the school she's attending is that a creepy tunnel the students have to travel through is haunted by a girl named Annaliese who died in the abandoned pool at the end of the tunnel. Intrigued, Rinn and a few new friends try to contact the ghost and pretty soon odd things start happening her friends, like severe headaches, unexplainable mood changes, and ultimately death for some. Rinn is now desperate to keep her friends safe and figure out what Annaliese wants and why.

Give or take the first 100 pages, the novel is mediocre. It took a while to get the characters developed, the intrigue peaked, and for the creepiness to really get started. That's not to say there's a point where it's so boring you want to put it down, but it wasn't as exciting as what happened after page 100. Things start happening really quickly after that point and all you can do is hold on for the ride as twists and turns develop in the story. Pretty soon you're wondering if this is a reliable narrator and what's really going on. The truth about Annaliese is yet another surprise in the story. All of the characters in the novel are great. You feel for Rinn and want to see her succeed after everything she's been through.

As a ghost story, this book won't necessarily give you nightmares, but it's definitely a creepy story that is well worth the read.

Saturday, October 20, 2012

Blood Wounds by Susan Beth Pfeffer

Willa lives with her mother, stepfather, and two stepsisters. She's happy in her life, even though she's aware of certain advantages her stepsisters have that she doesn't given their wealthy mother. None of that seems to matter when Willa's father, whom she hasn't seen since she was four, disappears after murdering his family. Fearful that he might come after her, the bonds of her blended family get tested. When the threat is over, Willa begins a journey to discover what it means to be connected to a man capable of killing his family and how that will affect the family she's grown up with.

This book was an enjoyable and quick read. It digs deep into family connections - the ones from blood and the ones created out of love. Most of this book is about Willa returning to her father's hometown, the town her mother desperately tried to escape. Willa goes out of duty to the dead sisters she never knew about in search of meaning behind what happened and how it affects her. Some of the legalise in terms of inheritance seemed really confusing and not entirely realistic if you ask me, but I'm not a lawyer so maybe it is all legitimate. It helps wrap up some issues later on in the novel, so whatever works (this is fiction after all). The characters are complex without being developed enough. Because the novel goes so quickly, it almost feels as if there isn't enough time for the more complex relationships to develop and get resolved, like the relationships between her and her stepsisters. Even with Willa, the writer throws in a certain self-destructive behavior at the beginning and end of the novel and seems to forget about it in the middle. Even the resolution of that problem seems too easy. Everything seems to get wrapped up in a neat bow at the end when there are clearly still issues these characters need to deal with.

The book is good, but it didn't send me over the moon. It definitely could have delved deeper into family dynamics. In the end, it is a decent book but not entirely memorable.

Monday, October 15, 2012

The Collected Poems of A.E. Housman

The conditions, and times of these poems were written around the 1930's.  Conditions of working, and living were very different than present times.  On page eleven the description of the wooded lands implies it is Easter time of the year. The way the  author describes the cherry trees that are in bloom is beautiful.
The next poem we read about is titled, "The Recruit" it deals with how the young man prepares to leave his home behind.  It is hard to start out in a new surrounding indeed, it is a big adjustment.The following poem, "Reveille" talks about the young man, who kills a bird with a yellow bill. The same poem indicates the road that can lead home, and the other one you can follow to work.
Ludlow is an actual  village in England that I found in the Atlas.  Next, we are presented to the yeoman, or Navy officer in modern terms, who must say goodbye to his love.
We find that the train tracks are close to Ludlow as indicated in the writing.
The poem mentions the young men are in the woods collecting daffodils, and coming home at noon.  The young ladies of Ludlow repair palms found on the edge of the pond, or hedge.
On page thirty three, it is mentioned that the young man was very brave.  He also was a champion runner, and I was carried on the village people's shoulders, back to Ludlow with a laurel on my head. On Bredon Hill, you can hear Church bells very clearly on Sundays, for people who wanted to attend Church. It seems the women of the households got up early, and went to Church alone.
On the streets the sounds of soldiers could be heard on the road as they passed.  Amazing, was that only one red coat soldier bothered to look at the females watching them.
Young men come to Ludlow for girlfriend companionship. Sometimes the young soldiers will die young, and never get old.
Page 179 States," I with the ice  in my palms, shall sleep as sound. Frost in the founts that used to leap, and perished nations how sound sleep." These lines of the poem are meaningful to me, because it warns us that winter is coming.

Remember, any laundry was sent out to a laundress in that time as we see on page 188. You must pay for this service, and it was pricey. There were no washing machines, or dryer's.

Soldier's handle life weather it is the past, or the present in many dangerous situations. On page 198 we read about a killing between two men that did not work out the way it was planned.

The conditions of these written poems, which was written  in the 1930's  brings to mind a subject the author implies throughout his writings as follows: human events that lead to all our deaths in different ways.  We have a page in the poem that describes a type of death back then on page thirty-nine.  These poems  are  worth reading, because in our modern times we have a lot of different ways to enhance our tasks .  It was a lot of  manual labor that took a lot of hardships, and conditions as stated in the poetry in the past.  This poetry book was a good read. LRD 10/15/12

Friday, October 12, 2012

THE DEADLY SISTER by Eliot Schefer

Abby Goodwin discovers the body of Jefferson Andrews in a ravine with his head bashed in along with her sister Maya's cell phone.  Maya is off somewhere in a drug induced stupor.  Maya's stuff is no Andrews car.  Its all circumstantial but it sure looks like Maya is the killer.  Abby secrets Maya off to grandma to hide from the police with the help of her sort of best friend.  Abby seems to be sort of trying to find out who really murdered Andrews but only sort of.  She talks with his weird younger brother. She goes to Medusa's Den which is a combination tattoo parlor and hub of drug trafficking.
Not only was Jefferson Andrews star of the school football team he was a dealer and was dating several popular and unpopular girls at the same time.  There are small inconsistencies and the ineffective way she looks for the killer and the fact that Abby first hides her sister then lures her out in the open that says something is not quite right.  Its very slight.  Eventually we find out that Abby is a very unreliable narrator and perhaps worse.  I felt more confused than intrigued.  For a mystery, it just never gets too compelling, just sort of ho hum.  There are definitely better mysteries out there.
That's just my say though.  Joyce 10/12/12

Tuesday, October 09, 2012

Confessions of a Murder Suspect by James Patterson and Maxine Paetro

James Patterson is adding to his young adult repertoire with a new series about a teen detective. I was excited about this series because I enjoy an adult series that he also writes with Maxine Paetro, although I was somewhat disappointed in this novel.

Tandy Angel is a unique person who is often times described as robotic given her lack of emotions and extreme smarts. Her parents have just been murdered in their locked penthouse, which makes everyone in the apartment a suspect, including Tandy, her two brothers, and her mother's assistant. She decides that it is up to her to determine who killed her parents, even if the truth is that she's responsible. As her investigation gets underway - she's not shy about accusing anyone - she begins to learn shocking truths about her parents and what they had planned for their children.

To say this family is strange would be an understatement. When I first started the novel I thought that Tandy has Asperger Sydrome, but soon it became clear that her behavior was a product of her parents' creating. A number of discoveries uncover a deep plot around her parents that is both intriguing and disturbing. This book is clearly the start of a series as there are a lot of questions left unanswered. In some ways that's good, but in other ways it's very frustrating. Tandy - the narrator - leaves a lot of holes in her past, some of them eventually being revealed, but there were a lot of situations where it became "that's a story for another time" and it became annoying. The narrator directly communicates with the reader and at times felt awkward and ultimately left me on the fence about this novel.

The story itself is a good story, especially because you don't have any clear suspects or even clues, so it can be anyone and that keeps you guessing. However, I'd personally rather keep the guessing to the mystery rather than guessing about the character who constantly reveals stuff about herself but in tiny doses. True, part of that is her character and how even she has holes about her past, but sometimes you just want answers. There is definitely enough questions to warrant someone picking up the next book to hopefully get closure.

The Kill Order - James Dashner

Before the maze and before WICKED there was the flares.  The sun has scorched the earth leaving people either dead or infected with madness.  Those who are infected will eventually die.  Some have survived the madness, but one day the bergs come.  The people on the bergs shoot darts with a virus that will kill the remaining people.  Many people die with in a day or two of being shot by the darts.  Mark, Alec, Trina, Lana, and a few other people make it out of their village alive.  Mark and Alec take down a berg, and via a pad they find out where the bergs are coming from.  They decide to make their way to the berg home base.  They come across another village where in the middle of all the corpses is a little girl, who appears to be immune to the virus.  As they make camp in the forest, Mark and Alec scout ahead and come into contact with a group of survivors from the little girl's village.  They are captured when their fate is about to be decided more darts fly through the air killing most of group.  There is also a forest fire, which forces Trina, Lana, and the little girl to flee.  Mark and Alec track them to the berg command center, fearing that they have been captured.  They get trapped on a berg where they discover what the Post-Flares Coalition has in store for the rest of the human population. 

I'm glad James Dashner did a prequel to the Maze Runner series.  There were a few questions going through my head when I was reading Maze Runner and the other two books.  The Kill Order gives you insight into what the world was like before WICKED formed, and before Thomas when into the maze.  It also introduces us to the virus that would become the Flare.  If you are a fan of the Maze Runner series this is a must read. 

T.B. 10/9/12

Tuesday, October 02, 2012

Scorch - Gina Damico

After Zara took Lex's power to damn souls, Lex has spent the summer with her Uncle Mort picking up a few new Junior reapers.  When they come back to Croak the Juniors welcome Lex back, everyone else on the other hand treats her like a pariah. Norwood and Heloise have been turning most of the town against the Juniors, and more specifically against Lex and Mort.  Zara has been damning souls left and right over the last few months, and shows no signs of slowing down.  Lex tries to go about her life normally as much as possible.  She uncovers a mystery about a cabin in the woods beyond the River Styks.  It supposedly holds the Wrong Book, which holds horrors from a grim called Grotton.  Lex has the bone key, but the cabin is hidden behind an invisible barrier.  During a catch the flag type game played by the grim's after Halloween to let off some steam, there is an explosion at the fountain in the square.  Many grims are injured and a few die.  Everyone thinks it was Zara who attacked them, which is partly true.  A few weeks later during Thanksgiving Lex's parents come to visit.  All the Juniors are at Uncle Mort's having dinner, along with Lex's parents. Zara comes attacking once again.  In the battle Lex accidently damns the soul of Corpp, the owner of the local bar, who had come to warn them Zara was on her way.  Diggs undamns the soul and sends it to the afterlife.  When most of the town comes for the Juniors, Uncle Mort and the rest of them go on the run.  They scythe to the desert outside of DeMyse, another Grimsphere like Croak.  The leader of DeMyse, LeRoy, is an old friend of Uncle Mort.  They stay there till past the new year, then Zara comes attacking once again.  She is demanding Lex give her the bone key and the Wrong Book.  Uncle Mort decides that it is time to go back to Croak if they are going to have any chance to beat Zara. 

I enjoyed Scorch just as much as Croak.  Both books have really good stories with characters you care about.  The action is fast paced.  Once you think you know what will happen next, the author throws a curve ball and takes the plot in another direction.  I eagerly await book 3 whenever it comes out. 

T.B. 10/2/12