Wednesday, November 30, 2011

Scrawl was a book I fully expected to hate....after all a book about the hard life of a bully and a trouble maker?  Really?  So I admit I approached this book with a prejudice, and was promptly sucked in despite it........the main character "pops" is writing this journal as punishment for some vandalism.....and he alone is the one in a room with a guidance counselor writing his life and answering questions, the other boys are cleaning the yard and helping the custodian.  Pops hasn't had an easy life, but he's not excusing this, nor does he apologize.....he doesn't bully everyone, just thinks of it as the way things are.  This book is AMAZING!  And heartrending......and many many other adjectives and I shall make a better effort to not judge either characters nor books in the future......

This is a sweet, and young title that takes place in Italy just after WWII.  The main characters live in an orphanage hoping and praying for a family.  They are quite young, and it is a quick read from a point of view not often seen; discussing war orphans and abandonment from the child's viewpoint.

Dark Song is indeed a dark novel.  Giles looks at how easy it is to tap into the dark side of human nature given the right (or wrong) circumstances.  I don't want to say too much, as it'll give it away, but the essence is a family that is shattered by betrayal and economic upheaval. Watching how they each contribute to the shattering of their teen daughter, as well as how her attitudes, upbringing and personality traits fit the recipe for disaster is hard to watch, but easy to makes for a quick but tough read.

Saturday, November 26, 2011

This was such an intriguing book.  Donna is struggling through the death of her father and the ripple effect that death had on her family.  In the course of her struggles, she finds that she finds it soothing to help others with their grief and sorrow.  She is determined to enroll in school to be a mortician though her family seem to feel it's a terribly unhealthy and horrible decision.
Donna's story is so interesting to me.  I love that there aren't any books on this topic, and I really really love the way this story plays out.  This is a MUST read book for anyone who enjoys realistic fiction.

Riding Invisible is another example of a wonderful book with a terrible cover.  It looks like a western or a cowboy book (a huge NO TOUCH book in my library).  However I was assigned to read it and am so happy I did.  This is actually the story of Yancey and his family.  His brother suffers from a mental disorder that is tearing the family apart, and Yancey runs away as he doesn't feel safe in his home....and the last straw was when his brother threatens Yancey's horse.  The book is written as a journal, and has drawings in it as Yancey is an artist.  I really really enjoyed this title, Yancey is a sensitive boy dealing with a horrible situation in the best way he knows how. I also love that his savior is a work from Mexico who simply wants to do good things ....there are so few positive images of latinos out there......

Thursday, November 17, 2011

Since Flanagan officially ended the Ranger's Apprentice series, but felt there were outstanding questions left to answer, he compromised and put together this book....which is a collection of stories around various characters and situations that sort of put the finishing touches on the stories.  I loved the handling of this, and it definitely left me satisfied, all questions answered, things are over, time to move on (though I confess, I will mourn the series for awhile, it was amazing).  So, don't start with these tales, but if you've read the others, this will definitely help you to move on and feel like you don't have any unanswered story threads hanging over you.

I heard about this book, and thought "oh god ANOTHER zombie novel"....but I was wrong and they (yes, THAT they, the ones who know all) were right......this is a zombie novel, but done differently than any I've ever read.  In this novel, we are introduced for the first time, the concept of kindness and mercy.....of remembering that zombies used to be ACTUAL people....and the author explores the idea (very scarily and accurately) that once people become immune to hurting others (even if they are zombies) that it doesn't take long before they begin targeting others....after all, if you enjoy plucking wings off flies, or beating up animals, it's a small step to human abuse and imagine those sickos have access to actual human shaped creatures to play with.....and are REWARDED for said activities.....yeah, it's scary......and Maberry does an awesome job of making these points, while still telling an exciting, suspenseful and intriguing story.  I literally stayed up for hours to finish this book....and cannot wait to read the sequel.

I grabbed this book, probably on a recommendation and most likely because it won a Newberry......and I really enjoyed it.  I really didn't understand why it was classified as SF until I got further into the story, but having been a huge fan of Wrinkle in Time, I completely got all the references the author threw in.  I figured out some of the plot twists before the protagonist did, but I think that was the point.....and I think for anyone who wants a "soft" scifi novel (doesn't feel like scifi, though it technically is) When You Reach Me is the perfect hit........though I do wish it were in a more modern setting....I don't know why it's set in the late 70's......that was my only dislike, but not a big enough distraction to take away from my enjoyment of the novel.

I had been waiting for this novel to come out since the LAST one.....which is pretty much par for the course for me and many other Pierce fans.  Beka Cooper is one of my favorite characters, and I am guessing this is the last in this set for this character, though who knows.  Beka is on the run to find the royal heir who has been kidnapped and sold to slavers in a plot to take over the kingdom.......and because she is on the run, the novel goes at a breakneck pace from start to finish.  Pierce throws in plenty of twists and lots of well as a few moral anti-slavery messages......another AMAZING fantasy adventure from one of my favorite authors.....not to be missed!

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...