Wednesday, August 31, 2011

13 Million Dollar Pop: a Frank Behr novel by David Levien

I enjoyed Levien's first Frank Behr novel, City of the Sun, a few years ago, so I graciously accepted a copy of his novel from Doubleday. I had a problem with the debut novel being *another* kidnapping novel, but I got the original plot line in this one! The setting is still Indianapolis (yay!), but the conspiracy is racinos and those who run them. Politics and economics control everything, even in Indiana!  When Behr gets shot at while protecting an Indy businessman, he can't rest until he figures out who did the shooting. Of course, because Behr is all mysterious and bulldoggish, it costs him his job (which he didn't really like anyway) and his pregnant girlfriend (which he did like, but couldn't figure out how to show it). A new emotionally wounded Gulf War veteran joins Behr in this novel, and I hope he finds his way back into Behr's life.  Can't the two of them start an agency? Hmm? Can't they? Because Decker and Behr have that strong-man relationship thing going on! And I like it!

Monday, August 29, 2011

Monsters of Men by Patrick Ness, Performed by Nick Podehl, Angela Dawe and Macleod Andrews

The trilogy comes to an end! Todd and Viola are still trying to defeat the evil guy (seriously, can you kill him already?) but things keep happening to prevent peace. Viola's people are nearing the planet and the Spackle are gaining power again to fight back against the humans. Todd is getting more and more powerful because of the President teaching him, while Viola is growing weaker because of her poisoned armband. I still think the first audiobook was the best, but I had to finish the series.

Monday, August 22, 2011

The Glassblower of Murano by Marina Fiorato

Thanks to some nice condo owners a month ago, I was able to enjoy this author's The Botticelli Secret, so I've been waiting for this novel for weeks via interlibrary loan. I wasn't disappointed, although I think the Botticelli novel is sexier and more exciting.

Leonora is a freshly divorced American looking to find herself in her past. She's a glassmaker and decides to head to the land of her father in Venice, Italy. The glassmakers of Murano are famous, but she is taken on mainly because of her family name--Manin. Her ancestor was one of the greatest glassblowers of his time, but his possible treason against his city causes grief for modern-day Leonora. In Venice, Leonora finds love, her past, and her future. Oh, big sigh! It's historical fiction and modern-day romance, all tied into one novel.

Bad Apple by Laura Ruby

Tola is different--she likes fairy tales, has green hair, and doesn't care what most people think of her. But when she is accused of having an indecent relationship with her art teacher, Tola acts like any other teenage girl. She reverts into herself as her vocal mother rallies the school board and press and her ex-friends brutalize her online. Tola is cyberbullied and bullied in person and doesn't step up and do something about her. Her teachers think she is lying and her mother doesn't listen. Tola's older sister is on the verge of a manic attack or suicide. Even her newly remarried dad doesn't want anything to do her.

So Tola is convinced that she is bad and isn't sure how to solve her problems. With the help of her severely ill father, the trust of a boy at school, the faithfulness of the closest thing to a friend she has, and a family that finally starts to function, she figures things out.

I liked this book because Tola is a pretty unique character in YA lit. She's different, an artist, but has some problems at home that she isn't sure how to handle. Sounds pretty real to me!

Saturday, August 20, 2011

Confessions of the Sullivan Sisters by Natalie Standiford

I wasn't expecting rocket science from this chick lit book, but I was expecting something more enjoyable than what I got. The three Sullivan sisters must write their confessions to their grandmother Almighty because the old coot cut them all out of her will. And so we get the plot through their confessions. One sister loves an older man and runs away from her cotillion. One sister tells all the family secrets on her blog and gets suspended from school for blasphemy. The other sister thinks she's immortal and believes she killed her step-grandpa. And that's about it. I never did get attached to any of the characters and didn't laugh at all while I read the book. It was light-hearted in parts, but just didn't reach me. Best part of the book is the cover!

Sunday, August 14, 2011

Entwined by Heather Dixon

Beautiful cover! Azalea is the oldest of twelve sisters and they all escape to a magical world to dance while the family is in mourning for their mother. Of course, Keeper, the leader of the magical world, has more in mind than just dancing. He's looking to take over the physical world, too.

While I enjoyed the first three-quarters of the book, I felt the sped up plot at the end just didn't mesh with the rest of the book's pace. The love stories meshed, but the violence didn't. I never felt that Keeper was a believable character, and I expect my magical characters to be just as real as "real" characters. I liked Azalea, and especially Bramble, though.

Wednesday, August 10, 2011

Rot & Ruin by Jonathan Maberry

I'm a huge fan of the sci-fi western Firefly and read through tons of Louis L'Amour books growing up. So it was a real treat to see a modern zombie young adult novel that kicked some booty in the old school tradition. Benny Imura is a teenager on the verge of adulthood in a fenced-in town. Fenced to keep the zombies out! Teenage angst to the extreme, Benny hates the only family he lives with--his only brother, Tom. Supposedly Tom is a cool zombie bounty hunter, but Benny thinks he's a coward. When Tom takes Benny out into the Rot & Ruin to learn the trade, Benny realizes that maybe he's misjudged his brother. The two brothers must avenge a wrong in their town, and set off on a rip-roaring adventure. In true Western fashion, Benny and his friends must grow up and save their world.

The Lost Girl character is sooooo River Tam from Firefly. I'd love to see this movie--and it would be a heck of a lot better than the World War Z movie they're making now.

Sunday, August 7, 2011

What Happened to Goodbye by Sarah Dessen

Sarah Dessen is back and doing what she does best--writing sweet little romances about girls who need to find themselves. In this case it's Mclean, a girl who chooses a new identity with every move her dad makes. She doesn't think she wants to settle down, but being on the constant move with her chef dad and constantly fighting her mom is wearing her down. Now in Lakeview, Mclean has to be herself and she finds herself making friends she wants to keep. And, of course, a cute, smart boy.

I love how Mclean's parents' divorce is portrayed in this novel. Things aren't pretty (just like in real life), but both parents love their daughter. It's nice to see that one parent isn't a complete loser. Both parents share control when Mclean has a breakdown, which is just the way it should be.

Wednesday, August 3, 2011

The Girl in the Blue Beret by Bobbie Ann Mason

I love WWII fiction and remember enjoying In Country by this author, so I thought this new adult novel would be a good fit. It was a quick read, but it's not her best work.

Marshall Stone is 60, newly widowed, and still dealing with the crash of his B-17 bomber during the war. Now that he has the time, he returns to France, rents an apartment, and tries to find all the people of the French Resistance who tried to help him return to England. It's a simple plot, but the story is made more complicated by Marshall himself. I just didn't really like him that much--he cheated on his wife all the time. And not just in the war, but when he was a commercial airline pilot, too. He thought that surely his wife "would understand." Really, Marshall? Ugh. So I wanted the man to die old and alone to get what he deserved. lol.

On the plus side, Mason did her research so I enjoyed learning about the Resistance, crashed pilots, and how the French were treated by the Germans in the war. I'm always a sucker for historical information.

Tuesday, August 2, 2011

Ready Player One by Ernest Cline

This book made me feel old and geeky because I got most of the cultural references to the 1980's and videogames. Burgertime! I loved that handheld videogame!

Wade has no real life, but, like most other humans, he lives a better life in OASIS, a virtual reality world. Originally created for gaming, OASIS is now how most people on Earth work, love, and play. When the creater of OASIS dies, a treasure hunt ensues. Wade has nothing else to live for and accepts the challenge. All the guntars immerse themselves in 1980s culture and anything else the creator of OASIS loved as a boy. Along the way, Wade makes virtual friends, falls in love, and eventually learns to live in real life, too.

Why is this book awesome? It's about gaming but isn't just for gaming. It's action-packed, suspenseful, and has some KA female characters.