Monday, August 23, 2010

illyria

illyria
by Elizabeth Hand
teen drama
135 pages
Viking Juvenile (May 13, 2010)

(From the publisher via amazon.com)
Madeleine and Rogan are first cousins, best friends, twinned souls, each other’s first love. Even within their large, disorderly family—all descendants of a famous actress—their intensity and passion for theater sets them apart. It makes them a little dangerous. When they are cast in their school’s production of Twelfth Night, they are forced to face their separate talents and futures, and their future together.

The author definitely is a talented writer. The story however, was not my favorite. And no, it is not due to the taboo topic of incest which is a big part of the story, nor the language, nor the drug and alcohol use Parts were intriguing, other parts were boring, and the characters were a tad annoying at times. My favorite character was the mysterious Aunt Kate who I have my theory about but I won't say here as I don't want to ruin anything for anyone who might read this. It was worth reading since it is a short book, but I can't see myself re-reading it again. If anyone else has read this, please leave a comment and tell me what you think.

Wednesday, August 18, 2010

The Meeting

The Meeting
Mr. Badger and Mrs. Fox #1
by Brigitte Luciani & Eve Tharlet
Children's graphic novel
Minneapolis, MN : Graphic Universe, 2010

Mrs. Fox and her young daughter flee from their burrow just before the hunting dogs destroy it. They are seeking shelter and a place to rest when they accept the hospitality of Mr. Badger. The badger children aren't too sure of these strangers staying in their home and putting them out of their beds. The little fox thinks she is too good to play badger games and doesn't settle in well with them either. When the parents decide this might be a bit of a more permanent solution and begin expanding the badgers burrow to make more room, the youngster's emotions explode with surprising results. This cutely illustrated graphic novel is obviously trying to show the struggles some people face when blending families. The author specifically demonstrates some parallels to a family of multiple ethnicity. If a child is soon to be a part of this type of situation, reading this book with them might help them prepare and adjust more easily.

Monday, August 16, 2010

dirty little secrets

dirty little secrets
by C. J. Omololu
teen realistic fiction
212 pages
New York : Walker & Co., 2010


Lucy can't wait to escape her claustrophobic home. Her mother is a skilled and compassionate nurse by day, but a filthy pack-rat and garbage collector by night. Lucy has to walk on eggshells to not offend her mother to keep the verbal abuse to a minimum. Miraculously she has a best friend who doesn't question the fact that she is never invited over. Now a potential boyfriend makes her desire for a normal life even greater. As her house full of secrets threatens to explode into the world, Lucy has to decide what to do to overcome her mother's hoarding ways.
I was completely fascinated by this book. There are numerous television shows currently showing about this very topic - people who are hoarders and the strange lives they lead. I am particularly intrigued by the episodes involving children who are trying to live a normal life and keep their own rooms spotless as an oasis in an otherwise cluttered and filthy lifestyle. Dirty Little Secrets was at once horrifying and heart-wrenching. Lucy was a fantastic character that was trying to make some lemonade from the abundant lemons in her life.

Friday, August 13, 2010

A Spy in the House

A Spy in the House
The Agency: Book 1
by Y. S. Lee
young adult historical mystery
335 pages
Somerville, Mass. : Candlewick Press, 2010

Nothing is as it seems. That is the underlying theme to this magnificent Victorian mystery. Mary Lang was a 12-year-old orphan making her way by thievery. She is caught and sentenced to death by hanging when a group of women secretly whisks her away and grants her a new lease on life. She becomes Mary Quinn and gains an education normally reserved for wealthier children. As she approaches the mature age of eighteen she is feeling a little dissatisfied with her role as teacher's assistant at the school and speaks with the matrons in charge as to her options. Great is her surprise when she finds out that the school is a cover for The Agency - a group of women working as undercover detectives. Feeling as if she was went for this line of work, she accepts her first job as a paid companion to the spoiled daughter of a wealthy merchant. As Londoners try to survive an oppressive heat wave that makes the Thames River a noxious nuisance, Mary strives to come to terms with her past as well as her future.
A fabulous historical mystery that I would be proud to own in my personal collection. I have a feeling I will be reading this repeatedly. The author has created an amazing blend of intrigue, action, romance, history and mystery that will keep me coming back for more.

Wednesday, August 11, 2010

"A" Summer Giveaway!

Head on over to this great book give-away at Two and a Half Book Lovers. She is giving away some great stuff. I am currently reading A Spy in the House by Lee and loving it! While you are there browse around the blog for some great reading suggestions as well as some great movie reviews as well.

Monday, August 9, 2010

Lockdown

Lockdown
Escape From Furnace 1
by Alexander Gordon Smith
teen horror/science fiction
273 pages
New York : Farrar, Straus and Giroux, c2009

Alex Sawyer is a relatively harmless juvenile delinquent. He and his buddies like to steal the lunch money from the weaker kids at school. Then they move on to petty theft, breaking and entering unoccupied homes and taking whatever was lying about. Alex isn't necessarily happy about it, but doesn't think he is hurting anyone. He finally decides he is going to do one last job, only problem is, this one goes terribly wrong. Alex is convicted of a murder he didn't commit. He is sent to the terrifying prison for juvenile delinquents called Furnace. This underground facility is the brain-child of some mysterious benefactor. All male juvenile delinquents are sent deep underground and never seen again. The world of Furnace is brutal and disgusting, but there is no escape. At least that is what everyone tells Alex. As he tries to survive and retain a little bit of hope he never stops trying to think of a way out. Though is there really any life left for him on the outside? He is a convicted killer. The public has no idea what is really going on inside of Furnace. The strange creatures that bring fear to even the toughest of Furnace's inmates are the things from nightmares. A cliff-hanger of an ending means I will be looking forward to the sequel (in December)!

Adam Wreck and the Kalosian Space Pirates

Adam Wreck and the Kalosian Space Pirates
by Michael S. Bracco
unpaged
juvenile science fiction
graphic novel
Levittown, NY : Alterna Comics, 2009

Young Adam Wreck is bored out of his mind! He is traveling through deep space with his scientist parents who are searching for alien life. For two years Adam has been away from friends, TV and new video games. He just wants something interesting to happen for once. Finally his wish comes true and the family ship is attacked by pirates. Adam is able to flee in an escape pod and discovers a treasure of galactic proportions. Adam has the adventure he has been yearning for with some unexpected side affects.
Adam Wreck's exciting and entertaining adventure is sure to be a hit with boys. The black, white, gray and orange illustrations are engaging and accompanied by just the right amount of text to not turn away even the most reluctant readers. I hope there are more tales to tell of Adam Wreck and his adventures through space.

Tuesday, August 3, 2010

Michael Townsend's Amazing Greek Myths of Wonder and Blunders

Michael Townsend's Amazing Greek Myths of Wonder and Blunders
Graphic Novel/Mythology
160 pages
New York : Dial Books for Young Readers, c2010

Nine classic tales from Greek Mythology are presented here in a bright and bizarre graphic novel format. I can honestly say I have never read more ridiculous versions or seen such wacky illustrations for these myths. While not my favorite thing, they will probably be popular with the younger crowd (particularly boys) who tend to prefer comics and the graphic novel genre.

Candor

Candor
by Pam Bachorz
teen sci-fi
249 pages
New York : Egmont USA, 2009

Oscar Banks is the ultimate role model in the idyllic town of Candor, Florida. At least that is what his father thinks. Mr. Banks has created Candor as his own unique way to deal with rebellious teens. Parents can also receive special help with various problem including weight loss, addiction, marital problems and so forth. You see, Mr. Banks gives his wealthy residents a new addiction, his subliminal message-filled music. From the moment a person moves to Candor he is constantly exposed to music and this creative form of brain-washing. Oscar Banks plays the part of the Founder's perfect son but really he knows the secret of the Messages and has created his own messages that keep him from becoming a Candor Clone. He runs a lucrative business right under his father's nose by intercepting the wealthy teenagers as they move in, providing them with his music then helping them escape town. Oscar is relatively satisfied with this set-up until Nia moves to town. Oscar definitely doesn't want her to become a living zombie like everyone else, but he doesn't want to send her away and never see her again either. His actions and the consequences of those actions have a fascinating domino effect that lead to an astonishing finale. A rather intense read at times but thoroughly enjoyable.