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Wednesday, May 30, 2012

Dark Song (YA)

#36 Book Read in 2012
Dark Song (YA)

I love the writing of Gail Giles.  I have read all of her books and have not been disappointed yet.

In Dark Song, Giles tells the tale of a family in shambles after the father is fired from his job for illegal doings.  The mother carries around baggage from her childhood and cannot deal with financial stress.  The two daughters are just trying to figure out what is going on.  The oldest daughter, Ames, responds with anger and rebellion to the changes in her family environment.  When the family moves to Texas, Ames hooks up with Marc, an older boy with a rather unhealthy obsession with firearms.  Ames is so desperate to find someone to take care of her that she does not realize at first how dangerous Marc can be.

This book was a good read; I was hooked to see how it would end up.  Most of the characters, except for the youngest daughter and Em's stepfather Earl, are unsympathetic because they all have negative traits.  But somehow, readers will be interested in them and what happens to them.  Giles is a masterful storyteller.

Tuesday, May 29, 2012

The Girl in the Park (YA)

#35 Book Read in 2012
The Girl in the Park (YA)

Wendy is a bit of a wild girl and announces on Facebook that she plans on hooking up with Nico, a bad boy, at a party.  Rain and Wendy were once good friends but Rain is more the shy, retiring type and the two grew apart.  Rain is also at the party and she and Wendy speak briefly but Rain does not stay long.  That night, Wendy is murdered after leaving the party and her body is found the next day in the park.  The media portrays Wendy as a party girl who got what she deserved but Rain does not believe in that.  She feels someone should speak up for Wendy and Rain begins her own investigation into Wendy's murder.  The culprit may surprise readers.

This book was a good YA mystery.  Rain was an interesting character.  Wendy was a well-developed character, even though she was dead for pretty much the entire book.  There were good twists and turns in the story.  This book was a quick read that would keep readers engaged.  

I borrowed this book from the public library.

Saturday, May 19, 2012

Beneath the Shadows

#34 Book Read in 2012

Beneath the Shadows

Grace and Adam move to the cottage once owned by his grandparents on the Yorkshire moors.  Grace is not really thrilled with the setting but she has no idea what is to come.  Adam mysteriously disappears after going on a walk with their infant daughter Millie.  Millie is found safe in front of the cottage but there is not a trace of Adam.  Grace returns to the cottage months later to finalize things and to see if she can find any answers to the burning question: what happened to Adam?

This book had good twists and turns and I did not really see the ending coming.  The characters were interesting and complex.  I felt for Grace and wanted her to get some sort of closure about her missing husband.  This book was a good mystery and had some hints of romance in it as well.  I recommend this book.

I received a copy of this book from Book Browse in exchange for a review.

Sunday, May 13, 2012

The Things A Brother Knows (YA)

#33 Book Read in 2012
The Things A Brother Knows (YA)

Bo is coming home from a tour of duty in the Marine Corps.  His younger brother, Levi, is curious as to what it will be like when Bo gets back.  Bo basically hibernates in his room and does not interact with the family.  Everyone is telling Levi how lucky he is to have Bo home but is Bo really home?  Bo decides to go on a hike of the Appalachian Trail but Levi knows that is not where he is really going.  Levi decides to join him on his hike to Washington, DC.  In doing so, he hopes to reconnect with his brother.  The journey is educational for them both.

This book was a good read.  It shows the effects, both physical and mental, of war on people fighting and people left behind.  Bo and Levi are great characters.  Even though this is a heavy topic, there is humor and romance to balance it a bit.  I recommend this book.

Wednesday, May 9, 2012

All Roads Lead to Austen

#32 Book Read in 2012
All Roads Lead to Austen

Amy Smith is a professor who decides to travel for a year through Latin America.  As part of her journey she wants to hold book groups in the different countries she is visiting and discuss some of the works of Jane Austen.  Smith wants to know if Austen's appeal is truly universal--spanning location, the ages and cultural diversity.  This book discusses that, along with some romance along the way, things she learns about herself and other cultures and has lush description for armchair travelers like myself.

I enjoyed Smith's writing style.  She gave good description without being too over the top.  Smith made the people she met along the way seem easy to picture in my head.  The romance part interested me but did not get into the way of the story.  As a huge Jane Austen fan, I was curious too to hear how readers in other cultures would respond to her works.  I found their responses interesting to read.  

This book was a good read and I recommend it.  I received a copy of this book from Sourcebooks to review.  This book will be published in June 2012.

Sunday, May 6, 2012

All These Things I've Done (YA)

#31 Book Read in 2012
All These Things I've Done (YA)

Anya is the child of a crime lord.  She may only be 16 but she is really the one who runs her family household--which after the murders of her parents, consists of her older but mentally disabled brother Leo, her very sick grandmother, and her younger sister Natty.  Anya makes this dysfunctional family as functional as she can, though it is not without problems.  There is pressure to involve her family in the "family business".  Anya falls in love with Win, who happens to be the son of the Assistant District Attorney.  Anya really has no easy road to follow but she is a great character--she is strong, intelligent and loyal.  This book is the first in a series and was a great read. I loved it.  It had action, mystery, romance and humor.  

Saturday, May 5, 2012

The Truth About Truman School (YA)

#30 Book Read in 2012
The Truth About Truman School (YA)

This book is a good one to use in schools to show the effects that bullying, and more specifically cyberbullying, can have on people.  Zebby and Amr decide to start a website called The Truth about Truman School where people can post what they really think about their middle school.  It starts off fairly innocently, but then a classmate, Lily, becomes a target.  A picture of Lily from years ago when she was heavy is posted.  Rumors of her sexual orientation are posted.  Lily begins to be isolated by her so-called friends.  Then Lily goes missing and Zebby and Amr are forced to confront that while they may not have been the ones posting these nasty things, standing by and doing nothing makes them just as guilty.  This book was a good, quick read that teaches a powerful lesson.  I enjoyed it.

Thursday, May 3, 2012

Abandon (YA)

Book #29 Read in 2012

Pierce drowns while trying to rescue a bird stuck in her swimming pool.  She comes back to life, after being dead for a while.  This causes her behavior to change and her parents feel that she has some issues to deal with and they become even more convinced when Pierce is thought to have assaulted one of her teachers.  Her mother bring her to the island where she grew up in the hopes that Pierce can have a new start.

What her mother does not know that while Pierce was dead, she met John, the keeper of the Underworld.  Pierce does not know at first who John is but the two have an instant chemistry.  Things are heating up between the two and with the powers that want to hurt John by hurting Pierce.  

This book has humor, action and romance.  Pierce is an interesting and well developed character.  John is complex--is he a hero or a bad man?  A good read, I recommend this book and will read the sequel,  which is coming out next week, at some point.