Thursday, December 15, 2011

Ah, the craziness of reading a million books for Garden State book award ballots has started....and this is my first selection, and honestly a pretty good way to start.  I had already read the previous title, Shakespeare Bats Cleanup.  Though I don't feel like you needed that extra insight to enjoy this title.  In this book, Kevin is dealing with his father dating (and he's not sure he's happy about it) and his confusion with girls (he is dating a pretty girl, but not sure he likes her much any longer.....and is really liking a girl who shares his love of poetry). This book in verse was fun and a quick read.

 Nickel is my new favorite leading man.  He is only 12, but much older in terms of experience, thus how he lives alone, and keeps himself both alive and prospering.  Nickel is essentially the person you call when you need something done, whether its general private investigation stuff (checking up on cheating spouses, etc) or slightly illegal.  He also helps young children free of charge, especially if it involves catching child predators (which is what he does when he's not on a paying gig).  In this adventure Nickel is asked to find a teen's younger sister who has disappeared, and in the course of the investigation he uncovers a child slavery ring.  This is definitely NOT a title for the very young, but is a fast paced and exciting adventure with real feeling characters and scenarios right out of Law & Order or another detective cop show.

Karma is a tale in poetry format of a girl who is going to India with her father in order to perform final burial rights for her mother.  Unfortunately for them, the timing of their trip coincides with the assassination of Indira Gandhi and they are caught up in the rioting in the city of Dehli.  This is a very fast read, but very affecting.  I also think, the characters feel current even though they are in fact from the mid-1980s.  I think teens with cultural ties to India will enjoy this tale, but also those unfamiliar with the culture will find it a fascinating look at a historical period that there isn't much written about.

Leverage is a touch read....not because it's bad, but because it's about the evil human beings sometimes do to each other.
   Lynn Visible looked like a terribly cutesy book......and while it is definitely a light read, it was fun.  Lynn is a fashionista in training, dreaming of the day she wins Project Runway.  Of course, in her small town, no one understands her style and she often faces stares, rudeness and outright nastiness regarding her "out there" looks.  Then, a true fashion icon finds one of her custom made shoes (Ok, so it flipped into her salad when Lynn fell).....and then suddenly Lynn is an IT know, the one EVERYONE wants to be like and be with.  How she handles her new fame is sweet and of course it has a happily ever after.  This was a fun fluffy read, not cutesy (as in I want to puke rainbows after reading) but definitely to be taken with a grain of salt.  That said, I think I know a few girls who would really enjoy this on a nice relaxing snow day home from school   =)

Tuesday, December 13, 2011

Hautman writes this book in many voices, which I really enjoy (it's fun seeing things from various perspectives).  The gist of the story is that a young man walks into the police department confessing to a murder.  The book is told in flashbacks from varying points of view with occasional "current" looks at what's happening at the police department.  I flew through this book, soooo good, and also so intriguing as you see Shayne confessing to things as you see others discussing them and who they hold responsible.  A very interesting concept and a very very rapid fire story.

I do listen to what other people tell me about books, but usually only people I while I saw all the hype about this book, I didn't pick it up.  Then I got it assigned to me, so I reluctantly pulled it off the shelf....and WOW!  This is a quick read, multiple voices told confession style (I did this, so and so did that). Trash revolves around three kids who reside and work in a giant landfill.  They gather what they can to survive from the piles and piles of garbage.  Then one day they discover something that changes everything.......and at that point, these three brave boys are on the run from the law, while trying to solve a mystery the law doesn't want solved.  Such a great book.....such a terrible cover.....

Caitlyn has Asperger's Syndrome (a form of autism) and is doing just fine.  Then, her brother dies in a terrible way that leaves her family completely devastated, and she is trying to figure out how to fix things, and how to deal with emotions she never asked for (she tells the reader many times how bad she is at emotions).  This is a very powerful book and I fell in love with this! (though bring a tissue or two).

Saturday, December 10, 2011

I greatly enjoyed the first book Virals, and was excited to read the second.....and found to my delight that I was not disappointed.  In this volume the group of teens accidentally genetically altered by an experimental Parvo virus go on a treasure hunt....literally.  They are determined to discover Anne Bonney's long lost treasure in an effort to save the RITI institute.  If they can't do it, then the Institute will close and they will all be seperated forever.....which would be dangerous as their wolfish powers are still largely unknown to them and they are trying to keep them a secret in an effort to avoid being specimens themselves.   I enjoyed the ride from beginning to end on this one.....=)

Tuesday, December 06, 2011

Nickel Plated is one of the most amazing books I've read this year.  It's a mystery, it's a's got real people and realistic situations.....and Nickel is a kid that I would love to take home and give a real home to (though he probably wouldn't accept).
Nickel is officially either a runaway (or maybe dead?) from the Foster care system.  We find horrible details dribbled out about Nickel's previous homes and also sneaky bits of his past that aren't so horrid.  The basic story is that Nickel is the guy you call when you need something done, whether that something is to see if your husband is cheating, find your missing child or break into your friend's house and get back incriminating pictures.  Nickel is hired to find Arrow's sister Shelby and this task (which he does pro bono as it involves exploited children) leads to a crazy ride to save Shelby and not end up dead himself.  Read this book if you enjoy edgy realness in your mysteries.

Will makes the mistake of mooning the all girl's school down the road and his punishment is to help out with the school musical (which is indeed a punishment for this boy who is desperate to keep his "coolness factor" at the all boys school he attends).  Through the course of his involvement, Will makes some friends, meets a girl and starts to come to terms with the loss of his father.  Though this book is set in Australia, little translation is needed (except for some sports terms, and I just kinda skipped right by them).......this was a really solid realistic fiction book.

Wisdom's Kiss is set many years after Princess Ben but in the same fact Princess Ben appears as Queen Mom Ben and the grandmother of the main character.  The entire story is told through notes and letters to and from major and minor characters, and has lots of humor, a bit of danger and a touch of romance.....all in all a fun story.  Knowledge of Princess Ben isn't really necessary, but does make it all more fun (though I must confess, I loved Princess Ben better than Wisdom's Kiss)

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...