Sunday, August 29, 2010


I have to admit, I didn't exactly know what I was getting into when I started this book. I just really liked the cover. In short, this story is about a girl named Grace who falls in love with a guy named Sam. The problem? He's a werewolf and every winter, as the temperature drops, he changes to a wolf. Even bigger problem? This is his last year as a human. 

This was a really good book. The two main characters are very well developed and Maggie Stiefvater does a good job of conveying their emotions. She switches back and forth between Sam and Grace's thoughts but it's not difficult to follow because each chapter is labeled with the name of the person whose point of view the story comes from. Plus, it was really nice to read a werewolf book that (1) had no vampires and (2) the werewolf didn't lose the girl to the vampire.

Friday, August 27, 2010

The Irresistible Henry House

This book has an amazingly unique premise. It tells the story of Henry House a/k/a Henry Gaines. Henry is a practice baby. This means that he was born as an orphan and began his life living in a practice house at Wilton College. A practice house program is part of the home economics department. Here prospective mothers take turns learning how to raise a baby using the practice baby of the year. I had no clue that such a program ever existed and found the whole idea fascinating. The book continues to follow Henry through his life and shows how having numerous mothers influenced the person that Henry became.

I really enjoyed the first 1/3 of this book. About halfway the book was dragging big time. I think that Lisa Grunwald spent too much time growing Henry up. She could have easily skipped some of the troublesome teenage years and the book wouldn't have suffered (maybe even improved). But, once Henry starts working, the book picks back up. I don't think it was Henry's story got interesting so much as his jobs were interesting. Henry gets to work on projects that were iconic to pop culture history and it was fun imaging being a part of those worlds. 

I listened to this one on audiobook and the narrator did a pretty good job. I don't think the lag in the middle had anything to do with Oliver Wyman's narration. 

Give the book a try if you're interested in this sort of thing but don't feel guilty if you want to skip the middle.

Wednesday, August 25, 2010

The Awakening

This is the second book in The Darkest Powers series by Kelley Armstrong. It continues the story of Chloe Saunders and her friends as they try to escape from the Edison Group - a bunch of scientists that are using the supernatural teens as genetic altering experiences. I enjoyed this book as much, if not more, than I did the first book. Armstrong continues to develop the characters. I felt for them even more and rooted for them - I even started liking Tori. Somehow, Armstrong manages to write stories that are non-stop action and fast paced and still believable. (Well, as long as you have no problem believing in supernatural powers.) I recommend this series even more now. Wonder how long it'll be before the third book comes in from the library? At least I've got Mockingjay to read until then.

Sunday, August 22, 2010

The Unwritten: Volume 2: Inside Man

Author: Mike Carey and Peter Gross
Publisher: Vertigo Comics
Year: 2010

Inside Man picks up where Tommy Taylor and the Bogus Identity leaves off. Tommy is in prison for the murders that took place in the last story and has been extradited to France. But Tommy's enemies follow him to France intent on killing him. 

I think my favorite thing about this graphic novel series is the way that it plays on fact and fiction and how so many facts become a fiction in the telling and stretching of stories through time. The comics also highlight the importance of stories on our lives. The authors even use the most popular children's story books of our time (maybe of any time) - Harry Potter. This story in particular showed how children embrace the stories, live the stories and make them real; thus, blurring that line between fact and fiction even more. 

This graphic novel series is not just for comic readers but also for lovers of literature in general.

The Weed That Strings the Hangman's Bag

Author: Alan Bradley
Publisher: Delacorte Press
Year: 2010

This is the second of Alan Bradley's Flavia de Luce mystery novels. For those who know nothing of little Flavia, she is an eleven year girl living in the 1950s English countryside. Flavia is obsessed with poisons and various ways to kill people with poisons. Yet, she manages to find herself in the midst of solving murders with both books. 

In The Weed That Strings the Hangman's Bag, a traveling puppeteer comes to Bishops Lacey and ends up dead and, of course, Flavia is right in the middle of the mystery. Flavia's biggest problem ends up being the sheer number of people who had reason to want the puppeteer dead.

I love these books. They're great little mysteries (cozy mysteries). They're humorous, Flavia is enchanting and the stories are well written. Some people might worry that they'd have a hard time believing an eleven year old could solve murders but Flavia is believable. She's like a younger version of Nancy Drew. If you're a plain old mystery reader, you need to be reading these books.  

Tuesday, August 10, 2010

The Summoning

Author: Kelley Armstrong
Publisher: Harper Collins Publishers
Year: 2008

Chloe Saunders sees ghosts. What's more, they've started showing up everywhere - at home, on the street and at school. They're talking to her and following her around. When she sees a ghost at school, it lands her at Lyle House for teens with problems for a "couple of weeks." At Lyle House, Chloe meets some more teens with abilities similar to hers. She also learns that there is someone - or something - out there that doesn't have her best interests at heart.

I was totally surprised by this book. It is not a literature type book. It follows most all YA paranormal conventions; yet, I couldn't stop reading it. I ended up staying up until the wee hours of the night reading it on a work night. Then, I couldn't wait to get to the library's website and order the next books in the series. It was a fun, little book that got a little scary in a couple of parts and has me eager to finish the series.

Sunday, August 8, 2010

The Short Second Life of Bree Tanner

This novella is an extension of the Twilight world. It tells the story of Bree Tanner. She is one of the newbie vampires created by Victoria and Riley as a part of their vampire army to fight the Cullens. The story tells how Bree felt being a new vampire and dealing with the emotions created in her new life and her confusion as to exactly what she was feeling and doing in this world. All of us who have read the Twilight novels know that Bree comes to a bad end but it was nice getting a little glimpse at the story from an outsider's point of view. All in all it was a quick, easy read that was fairly enjoyable.

Y: The Last Man: Book 3: One Small Step and Book 4: Safeword

These two volumes continue the story of Yorick Brown and his adventures as the last man left on earth after a deadly virus kills all male mammals except for Yorkick and his monkey, Ampersand. Yorick, 355 and Dr. Mann are still working their way across America to Dr. Mann's lab in San Francisco and they are still encountering all kinds of trouble along the way. I'm getting more invested in these characters as the story goes along. I am also really enjoying the story but I'm still not sure whether it's a book that most girls would like. It's more a guy's novel.

The Complete Maus

More than once while I was reading this graphic novel, I stopped and thought "wow." Maus is the story of Art Spiegelman's father, Vladek's experiences as a Jew during World War II. It follows him as a wealthy businessman at the beginning of the war, the loss of his property, hiding out, becoming a prisoner in Auschwitz and other concentration camps. As the younger Spiegelman tells the story of his father's experiences, he also weaves in the tale of his and his father's relationship and how the war affected them. It shows little nuances his father developed as a result of his time as a prisoner and how the son became a survivor of the war through his father's experiences. To some point, it also asks whether the survivors of the concentration camps were the winners and the victims losers or was it the other way around?

Art Spiegelman's book should be required reading in school. I felt more emotion in this graphic novel than I ever felt while reading Anne Frank. And in the end, the only word I could come up to describe this book was "wow." 

Sunday, August 1, 2010


As an old man lies dying, he remembers back on his life - his successes, failures, career, and his turbulent relationship with his father who left when he was a child. That pretty much sums up this book but it makes it too simple. There are beautiful sentences in this book that have to be read and reread (you can definitely tell that it's a former English major showing off). But Harding does write very well. The story is complicated yet simple at the same time. It's a short novel but it felt longer than The Passage. I don't know if that's because the book took me so much physical time to read because I've been so busy and had to read it in spurts here and there or if it was because I was rereading so many parts because I was getting lost in the language and didn't realize what the story was telling me. I recommend giving this book a try but be sure and bring your thinking cap with you.