Saturday, September 24, 2011

This was a wonderful but difficult read.  Chayil sets the scene with Gittel as an Orthodox Jew living in a sheltered environment.  When she sees her best friend's sexual abuse by her brother, she has no words to explain what happened.  Worse, her friend can't explain it either and all of her pleas for help go unanswered, so she kills age 9.   Gittel is wracked with guilt, especially as in the aftermath, everyone tries to pretend that her friend Devory was ill or insane or better yet, never one speaks of it and yet Gittel cannot forget.  In the afterword the author says that she based this fiction on her own experiences and those of friends all unspoken and invisible......this is a beautifully written, heartwrenching story.   

Thursday, September 22, 2011

Three Rivers Rising is a fictional look at the Jamestown Flood in the 1800s. Its in poetry form (which makes for a fun quick read) and alternates to several different characters viewpoints. The main story is a forbidden romance between Celestia (upper-class, wealthy) and Peter (working-class). They meet because Peter works at the summer hotel they are staying in. Their story is juxtaposed with several townspeople and their general lives. Then the flood comes and lives are changed forever. I really enjoyed the nod towards history but completely made up people, and now I want to read some history books and learn more. Check this out, especially if you have to read historical fiction, because as a poetry book, it goes fast!

This is another historical poetry style fiction novel, set in the 60's with a family that bears a striking resemblance to the Manson family. Ostow puts us in the head of one of the girls. She explains how she became part of the family, why she stays and most of all, why she participates in the evil things she is told to do. This is a frightening look into how and why a cult functions.

Shut Out has an intriguing premise. When the soccer and football teams don't get along, the girls decide they've had enough. Their cuddling, no sex, nothing until they declare a truce. Keplinger essentially has done a modern version of Aristophanes' play Lysistrata, and she even references it several times in the book. I'm not sure this is the strongest book I've ever read, but it was definitely fun....a literary equivalent of eating a bag of chips.....and I will definitely recommend this to fan's of Dessen and other romantic novels. (plus now I am very interested in reading Lysistrata, so hey, call it a gateway

I deeply adore James Howe's books The Misfits and Totally Joe. I understand James wanting to go back and flesh out Addie a bit more, but honestly, I wish he had gone and quickly gone over stuff we've already read and then go somewhere new. Instead we have Addie's story in poetry format going over events we've already seen. I suppose it's only because I adored the other books SO much that I am disappointed in this, because I didn't feel like there was anything new.....and I did like Addie, so it would have been nice to see or find new things or have new situations for them to address as characters. Nonetheless, I will always love James Howe and will never hesitate to recommend his books =)
Iron Queen is the 3rd book in Kagawa's Iron Fey series, and it's continuing as intensely as it began.  Meghan Chase has to challenge the imposter Iron King in order to save all of the Fey from the iron that is poisoning their realm.  What she wants to do is run away and live happily ever after with her Winter Prince, but when one is royalty, and especially a half breed with the mysterious power over iron, one seldom gets a happier ever after.  If you like tales with fairies and magic, you'll like this series.

Who knew a book about a boy playing bridge with his aged uncle would be so very fascinating?  Ok, so perhaps I skipped a lot of the technicalities....(Sachar nicely has a whale at the top of all the technical areas, so you can skip to the synopsis......and I did as I found myself completely lost with all the rules).  Sachar's tale is more about the human elements than the cards, which is why this is such a good tale, however the point is made that 50 years ago, Bridge was the game of choice, and it IS challenging and demanding......and sadly dying out.......makes me want to try and have a bridge league........if I could figure out the rules.........So, the story, Alton's uncle (his "favorite" according to his family due to his immense wealth) needs someone to help his play bridge because he's become blind.  Alton begins for the first time to see his great uncle as a person and not just a grumpy old man everyone kisses up to.  He also discovers some skeletons and scandals in his own families past........can he help his uncle win the Bridge National Tournament?

Blood Wounds is a multi-faceted tale.  On the surface it's the story of a girl who's father has gone on a killing spree, and now threatens her new step-family.  Under the surface is the story of a blended family, but one that isn't honest and is falling apart under the strain.  Under that is the story of Willa, struggling to keep herself together in a family where she feels small and unwanted.  All in all, this was a very well told tale that allows the reader to watch as layer after layer is peeled back until all that is left is the truth.......or at least each person's version of that truth.  A quick but deep read that would be best appreciated by those who don't mind a thoughtful read.

Tiger's Curse is a fairy tale style adventure where the handsome prince has been imprisoned in the form of a tiger, and a young girl many hundreds of years later, has been selected to break the curse.  I really enjoyed the adventure and am looking forward to reading the next volume, although sometimes the tortured romantic angle felt a bit off sometimes (at least to me).....perhaps it's my personal desire for a "happily ever after".......see what you think?  Lots of puzzles and adventures with a touch of romance make this a perfect hit for girls looking for light romantic reads.

Dark Eden is where seven students are sent when they cannot face their fears.  Their psychologist arranges for all of them to undergo a secret treatment that will once and for all cure their debilitating fears.  Will is determined to remain separated and not to give in....especially as he watches the cures and the mysterious ailments that follow them.  Can Will figure out what's going on before they catch him and force him to take the cure?  This was a great fast adventurous ride, though I'm not sure I'm quite satisfied with the it and tell me what you think

Amal Unbound Book Review by: Raheem Ahmad

Amal Unbound Book Review by: Raheem Ahmad Aisha Saeed’s Amal Unbound is about a girl named Amal who lives in pakistan and goes to school...