Thursday, April 28, 2011

This was, in my opinion, both the creepiest and strangest book I didn't "like" but couldn't put down that I have ever read.   It was odd how, with all the killing and such, that I wasn't grossed out, but was kind of like watching an accident don't want to look but can't look away.....that for me was Slice of Cherry.  The story is centered around Fancy and Kit who are the daughters of a serial killer.  They too enjoy a good murder now and then, but worry about getting caught.  So when a magical entity (distantly related to them) offers entry into another dimension, all problems are the girls can kill and hide the bodies effortlessly.   This is a very twisted and strange book and definitely not for everyone, but, as I said, the author was successful at keeping my attention (even when I WANTED to put it down, I couldn't) if you like Dexter (the tv show) and/or other creepy stuff, try this!

Tuesday, April 19, 2011

Tuesday, April 19, 2011

This book was not at all what I expected it to be......and was a lot slower to start than I prefer.  That said, I did enjoy this light fantasy.  It is a thoughtful fantasy, and sometimes makes the reader doubt that the spell book even is real (which the author does intentionally).  Incorporating many stories and points of views to tell one story in total is a difficult proposition, but Moriarty does it pretty well.  Yes there were times when I felt "didn't I just read this?" but then seeing it from another point of view did sometimes yield new she didn't do it often enough to get annoying (ala Melville......I shall NEVER forget Billy Budd, which in my opinion is one of the WORST novels ever, and has a spilled bowl of soup described from a zillion points of view....ugh!  and is one of the reasons I don't tend to like that sort of thing).  So if you're a little older and want a thoughtful novel about a family with just a touch of fantasy (a light sprinking we shall call it)....then try this.

Project 17 is a ghost story in the classic sense.....and I LOVE ghost stories!  So, I was quite excited to begin reading this....and it didn't disappoint (yay!)  Yes, the scenario is classic (teens break into a creepy old building (in this case a mental institution) and spend the night) but the reason it's a classic scenario is that it works!  I could completely see the movie of this in my head, so I wouldn't be surprised to hear someone's bought the rights (though they would probably turn it into a slasher film and ruin it).   Lots of creepy voices, a mysterious girl and the various characters who all have their own reason for being there......gotta love it, and I did  =)

I love Tamora Pierce and have been anxiously awaiting a new novel from her for awhile.  And I was very happy to read this collection of short stories, though I must confess, I am hoping they are teasers for some more longer books some of the stories just left me wanting more.........but, still if you're needing a fix of Tortall and it's neighboring lands, you will enjoy it.....and she also included a few contemporary pieces that were quite well as a quick teaser of her new Beka Cooper novel coming soon.  Enjoy!

Tuesday, April 12, 2011

Long weekend of reading.......get we go!

I hadn't read this book in awhile, and am so glad I went back and re-read it.  Tony is an artist, in middle school who hears his art teacher talk about how classic artists have always worked on perfecting the art of the female form.  Since his mother works as an exotic dancer, he (with their permission) decides to draw the dancers in their various stages of undress.....he does this as an artistic exercise, not as a "ooooo...naked ladies" pre-pubescent boy scenario.  When he submits his art, he ends up sparking a huge controversy that sends his family (his mother and himself) to court fighting charges.  Paulsen tackles a controversial subject with humor and tact and I lovedlovedloved reading it.

Looks like a Paulsen marathon (with one more to go) but it is precisely because these books are brief that they are perfect for reluctant readers.  In Lawn Boy, a young man gets a riding tractor from his grandmother who has no use for it (legacy of his very handy grandfather who has passed away).  He inadvertantly finds himself as the sole groundskeeper for many of his neighbors, and one thing after another, a full-blown landscaping business at the age of 12.  I love how Paulsen introduces economics into this fun, quick tale...he also inserts a bit of realistic you too can make it rich in no time at it!

Duane Homer Leech is a horrible name, as he himself admits.  It is especially horrible when you also inadvertently end up with the nickname of "Doo-Doo"  This quick read is   in diary format and is in first person.  Paulsen introduces the awkwardness of puberty with truly LOL moments.  This is a great read for either gender, but should find resonance especially with young boys.

Watching Jimmy is the story of Carolyn, who lives in the 50s, and next door to Jimmy.  He has suffers a traumatic brain injury, and everyone has been told it was a playground accident.  Carolyn is the sole witness to the lie, which is that Jimmy was abused and horribly injured.  She struggles with this lie, as well as with how to protect her good friend Jimmy in an era when reporting abuse isn't easy.  This is a quick but tough read, and though it's set in Canada, it will find resonance with anyone who has seen or heard of abuse.

Ali is watching her young cousin this summer in Maine.  Emma is 5 and as sweet as can be, so what can go wrong?  Then Sissy shows up, and suddenly everything is chaos....Emma's turning into a brat (just like Sissy) and Ali keeps getting into trouble (usually for Emma's behavior) and her aunt is acting really weird.  Could it all be connected to the mysterious happenings of her mom and aunt when they were young?  What DID happen here? Who is Sissy?  This creepy ghost story is just scary enough, and just creepy it!

This is one that I had always meant to read....and somehow never did, though I did read the sequel.  Misfits is wonderful, touching off emotions of what it's like to suffer verbal bullying at any age, but especially in middle school.  I will be talking this story up for quite awhile and feel badly it took me this long to get around to reading it.
The characters and scenarios feel so real, I think everyone knows someone like one of these kids....or was this!

Thursday, April 07, 2011

Thursday, April 7, 2011

Ok, so I had an angst filled lunch today.......but read two REALLY amazing books.  First is Guardian (awesome cover don't ya think?)..It is the story of a young man who witnesses a lynching, and worse than witnessing this is the knowledge that the man is innocent of the crime and he knows it.  This short story deeply affected me and I think will do the same for anyone who reads it.  I am adding this to my Middle School booktalk items, but I wouldn't recommend it to young ones (7th or 8th grade, probably leaning toward 8th).....still, a succint and powerful story on a sad portion of our history in the US.

And for the even MORE fun part of lunch I read T4.  This is a VERY quick read as it's in poetry format, yet not an easily digestible book (meaning it is sad to think about).  The main character is a deaf girl from Germany who has to go into hiding due to the T4 agenda of the Nazi party to eliminate or sterilize all disabled people so they didn't corrupt the gene pool.  This short book packs a whollop and also gives author notes if the students want to know where the info came from.

Wow.....I think I need to read a few comedies now.
Happyface is a very quick read, and really really good.  It's supposed to be the journal of a 10th grade guy.  He isn't really sure why it's a journal, it was supposed to be someplace to put his artistic doodles, but then ends up being a place to unload his thoughts, worries and triumphs.  It occurs to me, that I never did see the main characters real name as the whole thing is in first person....hmmm.....but he begins calling himself happyface when he and his mother move to a new "crappy" apartment.  He is hopeful that he can leave his old life behind and begin anew here in his new school.  As a reader you know he's got some secrets, and that he's covering a lot of pain, but you don't find out what until later (and I don't want to ruin it for you).   However, I must say, the illustrations, and handwritten text (while a little tough on my old peepers) really made me feel like I was reading someone's private diary.  All the thoughts of "how do I make the girl I like like me back" and "my parents are so mean" and everything just felt really authentic.  Highly recommend this book, especially for reluctant readers.

Age of Innocence by Edith Wharton, review by Nina Soukhanovskii

Age of Innocence by Edith Wharton.  A Quote to Consider: “With a shiver of foreboding he saw his marriage becoming what most of...