Wednesday, April 30, 2008

Sharp Teeth by Toby Barlow

2009 Alex Award Winner!

Wow. This adult novel definitely kept me occupied today when I should have been doing other things. But I had to finish it! In the plethora of vampire and werewolf novels that are coming out lately, it's nice to read a good one. Barlow tells this graphic tale in verse, which means that I had to concentrate a little bit to read it. I'm not a poetry fan (even though this isn't poetry), but it's still harder for someone like me to read.

Sharp Teeth is a tale of dog packs in California. There are leaders, followers, and the token female in the pack. Some of mobsters. Some are pets. And some are just trying to make some money and get power. I'm not even really sure how to go about summarizing this novel. But it's good. And gripping. And graphic. They are dogs, ya know, who are hungry for blood.

Wednesday, April 23, 2008

Three Girls and Their Brother

2009 Alex Award Winner!

I inhaled this adult novel. It's oh, so good! Three red-headed sisters are suddenly chosen to be photographed for The New Yorker. Next thing they know, they are the It Girls. They are modeling, partying, and running around doing whatever they want because their mother thinks it's cool. This tale is told from the three girls' point-of-view (and their brother) and it works. Amelia, the youngest, is only 14 and is forced to drop out of school. The paparazzi causes too much trouble at school. And there is the whole incident of her biting the movie star. Daria and Polly (ages 18 and 19) are already modeling sexy underwear and partying with old men, although they seem to be trailing their younger sister. In fact, Polly is accused of the curse of stardom--being her sister's entourage. Ooooooo. Philip, the brother, is wonderful, while the agent Collette is dreadful. Add in all the movie stars and directors who have the hots for the girls and you have quite the mess. But throughout it all, the family breaks up and returns and breaks up again. This is a fantastic family drama with everything else thrown in, too. Other than a new cover, I don't know what else this novel needs. Also, the author is a playwright, and I think you can tell. I would love to see this as a play on stage.

The Heroines by Eileen Favorite

Wow. What a concept. This adult novelist has all the heroines of famous literature (Hester Prynne, Madame Bovary, Scarlett O'Hara) coming to stay at a bed and breakfast in Prairie Bluff, Illinois. And somehow makes it work. I was mesmerized reading this fast-paced novel that's full of twists and turns. Anne-Marie Entwhistle grows up with heroines (who aren't real, right?) and deals with them getting all of her mother's attention. But then a handsome stranger sweeps her up in the forest onto his horse. Where did the hero come from? And now that the police are involved, what does Anne-Marie and her mother do next? The rest of the book covers the time Anne-Marie spends in the psych facility. Through her memories and flashbacks, we learn about her childhood and her mother's romance that led to her birth. Whoa. The mental hospital scenes bring a certain kind of realism to the tale while Anne-Marie's friendship with Albie (a boy from school) and Gretta (the housekeeper) make the tale more fascinating. But the mother. Whoa. She's a little surprising.

The Lightning Thief by Rick Riordan, Read by Jesse Bernstein

This series has been very popular at my high school and I finally figured out why. In a Harry Potter-ish way, Percy Jackson is the young, 12-year-old hero that everyone loves. He suffers from ADHD and gets kicked out of every boarding school he attends. But he finds out why. Percy is the son of a Greek god. I know, you're thinking, yeah right, but the author really makes this storyline work. Percy battles demons, other half-bloods, his step-dad, himself, and all sorts of creatures while trying to figure out who he is. Little details make this book awesome. Mt. Olympus is in NYC and the entrance to hell is in Los Angeles. You can't beat the fight scene at the St. Louis arch either. This is the first title in the Percy Jackson and the Olympians series, so get ready to read the next two books (4th one is coming)!

Tuesday, April 15, 2008

MIA by Michael Allen Dymmoch

Wow! I just noticed I haven't book blogged in 7 days--bad librarian! But I have a good one to talk about, so hopefully you'll forgive me. MIA is an adult suspense drama. Rhiann Fahey has just lost her second husband, a state cop. While mourning, a wonderful, beautiful, caring man moves next door and befriends her 17-year-old son. The son is what makes this a good novel for teenagers. Jimmy is getting into trouble because of his dad. He's drinking, cutting school, and getting into random mischief because he misses his dad. But Mickey Fahey isn't his real dad. So John Devlin, the neighbor, helps. He gives Jimmy a job fixing cars. And he starts courting Rhiann, even though she isn't ready yet. But something seems familiar about John Devlin. He has secrets and they start coming out. The local police follow him. And Rhiann keeps experiencing deja vu. What's going on?

Tuesday, April 8, 2008

Under Orders by Dick Francis, Read by Martin Jarvis

I love Dick Francis. I really do. I think I've read all of his books. Why? Because he's a British guy who always writes about horses and mysteries. How can it get any better?

This newest audiobook by Francis is about Sid Halley, the likable ex-steeple horse jockey turned private investigator. Halley is a respectable gentleman who always solves the crime. This time his lovely girlfriend is threatened, but Halley pulls through and solves the case (even though she does get shot--ouch).

Friday, April 4, 2008

Her Last Death: A Memoir by Susanna Sonnenberg

What is the deal with these types of adult memoirs? This read a lot like Driving with Dead People, but Her Last Death isn't as good.

Sonnenberg had a horrible mother, no doubt about it. She had to deal with her mother's constant boyfriends, moving, and drugs. Her mother lied, cheated, and manipulated everyone around her. After reading this one, I thought, "I'm glad I didn't grow up in this family!" I won't be purchasing this for PHS because I didn't think it was very good. Sonnenberg still seems like her life is messed up. She never mentioned therapy, but I think she is a prime candidate. Her childhood, teenage years, and early adulthood were just plain crazy.

Tuesday, April 1, 2008

Dreamquake: Book Two of the Dreamhunter Duet by Elizabeth Knox

I really wish this was Book Two of a trilogy. I hate to see Rose and Laura go. They are so cool!

The dreamhunting world is corrupt and it's up to the Hame family to fix it. But Laura's father is damaged. And Laura learns that she can create sand monsters--but why? And Mason is just so gosh darn cute! In a twisting ending of time and place, everything sorts itself out, but, whoa, what a story.

Fans of A Great and Terrible Beauty, Twilight, and The Luxe, this one's for you!