Friday, August 29, 2008

Genghis: Lords of the Bow

I couldn't WAIT for this book to be published. As you may remember, I'm a huge fan of Genghis: Birth of an Empire and praised it endlessly last year. This is the second book of the series and it doesn't disappoint.

Genghis was married and conquering everyone at the end of the first book and now he's settled into being khan. He and his brothers rule easily and kill fast. So this novel is more about how Genghis handles everything. He doesn't have to worry about the threat of the open steppe anymore. Everyone bows him now, but how does he keep everyone fed? What does he do with the slaves? Who really cares which horse is bred to which horse? Genghis has to make a lot of decisions and start to delegate, which is always hard for a ruler. His youngest brother Temuge becomes the man who handles the everyday things while his other two brothers are the generals. As they move farther into China though, Genghis realizes that things are different on the other side of the wall. They read and write, build huge cities, and fortresses that are almost impreganable. Genghis makes it, but the foreshadowing makes me dread reading the next book in the series. Genghis' empire is impressively strong, stretching across Asia, but there are hints of a downfall. His youngest brother is a little sneaky. And his oldest son is trying to prove that he isn't the child of his mother's rapist, but the rightful heir to the Mongol empire. Whoa. I can't wait to see Jochi prove himself.

Wow. This is good. Read it.

Friday, August 22, 2008

The Story of Edgar Sawtelle by David Wroblewski

If you like thick books, this one is for you! This adult novel is quiet and calming and very suspenseful. I will admit that I was getting a little bogged down in the middle, because I didn't want to stay up until 2 am to finish. To me, that means the book isn't excellent. But I do know this is a bestseller and there is a reason.

Think Hamlet. Edgar's family raises dogs. But then Edgar's uncle comes to stay and Edgar's father dies. Did the uncle kill him? Because the uncle makes his move pretty fast on Edgar's mother. And Edgar has to get proof. This is more difficult for Edgar though because he's mute. He can hear, but he can't talk for some reason, so he has to sign. This means that he can communicate great with the dogs and helps train and care for them.

Monday, August 4, 2008

I Wanna Be Your Joey Ramone by Stephanie Kuehnert

You can really tell that this adult novel was published by MTV Books. Teen angst--whew! I loved the punk rock references, as the main character, Emily Black discovers exactly what role music should take in her life. She was raised by her dad to love music and is a popular punk rocker by her teen years. But Emily is haunted by her mother who left when Emily was a baby to "follow the music." But Emily knows there is more to the story than that. Emily, like tons of musicians, struggles with drugs, alcohol, and crazy boyfriends. But she needs to find herself somewhere in all that and eventually she does. High school girls will love this book, I just know it.

Friday, August 1, 2008

The Outcast by Sadie Jones

I LOVED this book! Yay! It's a romance and suspenseful and very Say Anything-ish. So, of course, I like it. It's also set back in the 50s mainly, so it's always nice to read a good historical novel that isn't packed with facts.

Lewis is the outcast. He just returned from two years in prison. And he's only 19. He burned down his church. Why? Let's just say he has anger management issues. He was the only witness to his mother's drowning when he was 10 and his father never acted like a good father. He doesn't know what to think about his stepmother. But alcohol and kissing helps Lewis get by. But then those get confusing, too. The Carmichael girls have always been in his life. Heck, his dad works for their dad. But they are nothing but trouble. Young Kit has always loved Lewis, but Lewis is fascinating by Kit's older sister. Lewis is drawn to both of them in different ways and everything comes to light in their small town by the end of the novel. Read it!

A Wolf at the Table: a Memoir of My Father by Augusten Burroughs

I had always heard about Burroughs' Running with Scissors but had never read it. Now I think I understand the hype. He can tell one heck of a story. This is his recollection of his father. His dad was a professor who had mood swings and drank too much. It wasn't that he physically abused Augusten (much), but it was his inattentiveness that destroyed Burroughs. He tried so hard to get his father to pay attention to him, but it never worked. His dad just didn't care. Even when Burroughs was older and in his first apartment, he couldn't get much out of his dad. It's sad. But Burroughs isn't writing his own pity party. Because he eventually works out that he can be a good person without a good father. He won't turn into his dad because he cares not to. And that's what matters. A good memoir to give people hope.

Someday This Pain Will be Useful to You by Peter Cameron

I forgot all about this vacation read until I found it in a bag of books! I loved it! You can tell from the cover and the title that it's going to be a great teen read. But it wasn't what I expected. James Sveck has issues. His family is strange and uncaring. He doesn't really want to go to college, even though he's already been accepted to Brown. He loves visiting his grandmother, even though everyone else thinks he's weird. He gets into trouble a lot. Think about Holden Caulfield and you get a good picture of what kind of person James is. He is so disappointed in our world, and has good reason to be. But don't give up on James.