Thursday, August 28, 2014

The Body in the Woods

The Body in the Woods
A Point Last Seen Mystery
by April Henry
Hardcover, 263 pages
Published June 17th 2014 by Henry Holt and Co. (BYR)

I received an ARC from the publisher in exchange for an honest review.

The three main characters are all quite unique, yet they have a certain dynamic that makes them interesting and even entertaining to read about. Ruby's obsession with patterns, especially in a crime setting make her a little hard to be friends with. Nick has his own obsession with living up to the memory of his Iraqi-war-hero of a dad. Then there's Alexis, who's only real obsession is keeping her mother's condition a secret from everyone. As new volunteers with Portland's Search and Rescue, they are kind of thrown together. When they respond to a search for an autistic man, they find a body instead. For a variety of personal reasons, they have a hard time just sitting back and letting the police track down the murderer. As they uncover evidence will the detective in charge listen to them or will it be a case of "The Boy (or girl) Who Cried Wolf"?
A fun, and clean, young adult murder mystery series with engaging and likeable characters.

The Dream Thieves

The Dream Thieves
by Maggie Stiefvater

Hardcover, 439 pages
Published September 17th 2013 by Scholastic Press

I don't think I have ever felt such a discrepancy between how much I liked the first and second books of a series. I don't know if the difference was that I read the print copy of the first and listened to the audio of this one. I stuck with it though, which is saying something as I really didn't like it. I am not sure I would have stuck with a print copy. I feel like I was on some bizarre drug-induced trip while listening to it - it was that random and scattered. Or maybe if I had been tripping I would have enjoyed it better?! I have said it a million times and I am going to say it again - if movies, video games, comic books, and TV shows all need ratings - why not books? That way the reader (or parent of the reader) might have an idea of what they are getting into before it starts. This book had an excessive amount of bad words - words that aren't allowed in a PG-13 movie so why so abundant in a teen book? I don't remember that being a problem in the first book, though I tend to be able to ignore it more easily when printed as opposed to being constantly voiced aloud through my earbuds. The characters frequently were taking drugs and other adult situations were mentioned. Up until this point I have loved everything by Stiefvater. I don't know if I will be back for any more of this series.

Wednesday, August 6, 2014

A Coming of Age

A Coming of Age
by Timothy Zahn

Mass Market Paperback, 294 pages
Published July 1st 1986 by Baen Books (first published 1984) 
I received a free copy via NetGalley

First, I want to talk covers. I was super excited when I saw this available on NetGalley as I 
thought it was a new book from Zahn. I had no idea it was a reissue of an earlier book.
 The above cover is for the Kindle edition. Then as I was telling my husband about it, 
he said he had a paperback of it and it had this cover:
That image is from Goodreads, sorry it is blurry. But I really didn't like this cover either. Then I noticed this cover on Goodreads and I think I like it best of all three.
Now here is a summary of the story from Goodreads:
The first colonists to reach Tigris thought they had found Eden... but the planet had a horrifying effect on their children. Babies born there developed frightening telekinetic powers at the age of five. No one could control them -- and as the changelings grew and became aware of their abilities they initiated a bloodbath of chaos and violence that nearly destroyed the planet.

Two centuries after the Lost Generation, Tigrins have learned to cope with their strange planet and its effects. But a new threat is rising. In secret a medical researcher is experimenting with the TK ability. His guinea pigs are stolen children; his object, to extend their powers past adolescence and into adulthood. If he succeeds, Tigris faces disintegration.

I can't really add much to it as it has been quite awhile since I read it. I did enjoy it and think teens today will appreciate the story. However a better cover would do wonders to sell it.

Tuesday, July 29, 2014

Game On

Game On
Max Flash: Mission 1
by Jonny Zucker
illustrated by Ned Woodman
Hardcover, 144 pages
Published November 1st 2013 by Darby Creek Publishing
I received a free e-galley via NetGalley.

As a double-jointed son of magicians it is only natural that Max becomes part of the act with his escape abilities. He is a little surprised when he finds out his parents have an underground headquarters where they act as secret agents for an even more top secret agency, the DFEA. Max is now being asked to become an agent as well and is ready to head out on his first mission. He gets to battle monsters, race cars and live in the virtual world of computer games (think Tron) as he hunts down a rogue bad guy from a new game. Armed with awesome gadgets and his own unique abilities Max is the perfect kid for the job. This is the first in an action-packed intermediate series that will entertain readers, particularly boys, in the 2nd grade on up. This will also be a great choice for older but reluctant readers. The black and white illustrations throughout are well-done and add a graphic novel feel to the story.

Super Schnoz and the Gates of Smell

Super Schnoz and the Gates of Smell
by Gary Urey
illustrated by Ethan Long
Hardcover, 156 pages
Published September 1st 2013 by Albert Whitman & Company
I received a free e-galley via NetGalley. I also received a free galley from the publisher via a giveaway.

Andy Whiffler has always stood out in a crowd. He has often been teased and ridiculed by his peers. All because he was born with a gigantic nose. Andy doesn't really mind, because thanks to his gigantic nose he has a fabulous sense of smell. He collects smells of all kinds, even those disgusting ones that no one else wants to be around. When his school, appropriately named James F. Durante Elementary School, is shut-down due to some kind of toxic spill, Andy and his friends form a super-team to find out what is really going on. Andy embraces his enormous honker and discovers it has the ability to make him fly. Now known as Super Schnoz, he goes where no other kid can go to get to the bottom of the icky smell. Oh yeah, he might do a little sneezing to battle the evil group of fiends that is trying to take over the world one polluted city at a time!

The Show Must Go On!

The Show Must Go On!
Three-Ring Rascals Book 1
by Kate Klise
illustrated by M. Sarah Klise
Hardcover, 160 pages
Published September 10th 2013 by Algonquin Young Readers 
I received a free e-galley via NetGalley

When Sir Sidney begins contemplating retirement from circus life he advertises for someone else to take his place. After interviewing numerous potential ringmasters he meets Mr. Barnabas Brambles who seems like the ideal candidate. As a test, Sir Sidney takes a week's vacation leaving Mr. Brambles in charge. He is given the circus schedule and specific instructions on how to care for Sir Sidney's beloved animals. Once he is on his own, Mr. Brambles starts doing things his own way which is a lot different from what he was told to do. Will Gert and Bert, the circus mice, be able to do anything to stop Mr. Bramble's greedy ways? This adorable new series by the sister team of Kate and Sarah Klise is sure to entertain readers in the 2nd grade on up!

Spit Feathers

Spit Feathers
The Lobster Chronicles #3
by Jessica Scott kerrin
Hardcover, 140 pages
Published August 1st 2013 by Kids Can Press 
I received a free e-galley via NetGalley
Ferguson is trying to help his grandfather figure out his legacy. His grandfather doesn't want to have any regrets, like his old friend McDermit, who famously caught a giant lobster but regretted not returning it to sea. So when another giant lobster is caught in their fishing community and put up for auction, Ferguson cooks up a plan with his grandfather to bid on the lobster and set it free. Will this be his grandfather's legacy or will the town's richest man ruin everything? Spit Feathers is the third book in The Lobster Chronicles, a trilogy about how life changes for three boys in a small coastal town when a giant lobster is caught. Each book describes the same events through a different boy's eyes, making for three suspenseful, believable stories and an engrossing reading experience.
My Review:
I have not read the first two - I actually thought they were about talking lobsters, from the covers and the title. For some reason I decided to read this one from NetGalley. I enjoyed it. A sweet story of a grandfather/grandson relationship and how it affects the boys daily life and friendships. This would be a good realistic fiction book for boys 2nd grade and up.