13. September 2012 · Comments Off · Categories: Brian, Children's Books, Fantasy, Fiction, Graphic Novel

Coraline by Gaiman, Neil, 186 pages, read by Brian, on 09/11/2012

Neil Gaiman is one of the best writers ever and he has written a children’s book called, Coraline.  Coraline is a little girl who doesn’t appreciate her life and parents.  One day she finds a door into a new world where her parents are much nicer and her life is better.  Her new parents want her to stay but there is a catch….read the book and find out what the catch might be.

13. September 2012 · Comments Off · Categories: Fantasy, Fiction, Graphic Novel, Tammy · Tags: ,

Spike: The Complete Series by Brian Lynch, 200 pages, read by Tammy, on 09/10/2012

The compilation of a series of comics centered around the character of Spike, known to many fans from the Buffy the Vampire Slayer series and Angel series. This story takes place after the stories that aired on Buffy and Angel. Spike sets out on his own to lead his own team in Las Vegas. Let the mayhem begin!

13. September 2012 · Comments Off · Categories: Mystery, Tammy · Tags: ,

Night Watch: A Long-Lost Adventure in Which Sherlock Holmes Meets Father Brown by Stephen Kendrick, 258 pages, read by Tammy, on 09/06/2012

Sherlock Holmes and Dr. Watson are called in to investigate a politically sensitive case involving the death of a local Anglican priest who is hosting a secret international meeting of religious leaders. Among the guests is a quiet unassuming priest, serving as an interpreter for one of the foreign guests, Father Brown. Holmes races against the clock to solve this murder before the word spreads to the visiting priests consulates and a murder becomes an international incident. He is assisted as always by Watson and an occasional well-timed question or comment by Father Brown.

11. September 2012 · Comments Off · Categories: Fiction, Graphic Novel, Janet

Sandman Library VI - Fables & Reflections by Neil Gaiman, 263 pages, read by Janet, on 09/10/2012

     Having never read a graphic novel before, only simple comics as a child, I knew not what to expect. I was pleased with this book. Neil Graiman has really done an excellent job of writing fast-moving stories of mythological and historical people, usually having a wise ending.  The artwork between stories is outstanding – very fitting to the stories.  Things can get rather gorey, but I suppose that is expected in these stories.  Characters appear very real and show their feelings.  The Sandman, the Lord of Dream, appears in each story, giving help to the good and explainations to the reader.

10. September 2012 · Comments Off · Categories: Angie, Fiction, Science Fiction, Teen Books

The Future of Us by Jay Asher, Carolyn Mackler , 356 pages, read by Angie, on 09/09/2012

So it is 1996 and Emma gets her first computer. Her estranged best friend Josh brings over an AOL disk. After loading the disk Facebook pops up with Emma’s profile 15 years in the future. She and Josh start looking at their futures and either changing it or trying to make sure it happens.

This book was very disappointing. I really enjoyed 13 Reasons Why but feel like this one was written by a completely different person. I really like the premise of this book. It is all timy-whimy (as Dr. Who would say). Who wouldn’t like a peak into their future? The question is what would you do with that knowledge. If you are Emma you whine about your future husband and how you aren’t happy then you keep changing things and whine about that. Emma was probably one of my least favorite characters ever. She is selfish, vapid and annoying. She is one of those people that never looks inward and always blames someone or something else for her problems. She doesn’t really care about those around her. Josh was a little more likeable but I never could figure out why he liked Emma. She was awful to him.

It is always sad when a good story is ruined and this one certainly was. It had lots of potential and good writers who obviously didn’t care that much for this story. I feel like they just gave up on it, especially since the end basically just drops off with no resolution.

10. September 2012 · Comments Off · Categories: Angie, Children's Books, Contemporary Fiction, Fiction · Tags:

The Underdogs by Mike Lupica , 280 pages, read by Angie, on 09/09/2012

Will lives for football; he is a football star. Unfortunately his town, Forbes, PA, is running out of money and decides they can’t fund the football team this year. Forbes has seen better days; the Forbes Flyers shoe factory has gone out of business and taken all the jobs with it. People are moving away and the town is slowly dying. Will writes to New Balance and asks them to sponsor the team; and of course they do. Now he just has to get a team together. He convinces his dad, former football player sidelined for a knee injury, to coach the team. Unfortunately, he only has 10 players. He recruits new girl Hannah and bullied by his father Toby to join. All Will wants is a chance to beat the Castle Rock team in the championship.

This book is about football; I know nothing about football nor do I really want to. So all the passages describing plays and the games went right over my head. I am sure for people who follow football this was a fantastic portion of the book. I enjoyed this book even with the football. It was a little predictable: Will is a football genius, New Balance actually funds the team and the CEO comes to the championship, they silence Toby’s bullying dad by making him assistant coach, the whole town comes out to support them, etc. All things you would expect; there were very few surprises in this book. However, I am not sure kids will care. This is a quick read with lots of sports action. The characters are likeable and you really do root for the team even though you know they are going to win.

10. September 2012 · Comments Off · Categories: Angie, Children's Books, Fantasy, Fiction, Historical Fiction · Tags:

The Cheshire Cheese Cat: A Dickens of a Tale by Carmen Agra Deedy, Randall Wright, Barry Moser (Illustrator) , 228 pages, read by Angie, on 09/09/2012

Skilley isn’t your ordinary cat; Skilley loves cheese not mice. So he becomes the mouser at Cheshire Cheese shop and forms and alliance with the mice. The mice provide him with cheese and he pretends to catch them. Cheshire Cheese is full of interesting characters; Charles Dickens is a regular who is trying to write a new story and can’t figure out an opening line, Maldwyn a Tower Raven is hiding in the attic and a Skilley’s nemesis, Pinch, worms his way into the shop. Skilley and Pip, the mouse who can read and write, must find a way to return Maldwyn to the Tower and save the mice from Pinch. Everything comes to a head when Queen Victoria herself comes to the shop.

This was a delightful story. I loved all the Dickens references (even if I haven’t read Dickens in years) and I loved the relationship between Skilley and Pip. All the characters were really well written and interesting. Great book for kids who like animal characters or just a bit of historical fun.

09. September 2012 · Comments Off · Categories: Mystery, Tracy

Mrs. Jeffries Weeds The Plot by Emily Brightwell, 214 pages, read by Tracy, on 09/09/2012

Inspector Witherspoon inherited his house and a substantial  fortune from his aunt along with several servants. Being a bachelor he really didn’t need all the staff but they realized he needed them helping with his murder investigations. Mrs. Jeffries and the downstairs help all enjoy the snooping they do. Inspector Witherspoon is a good investigator but he is a little naive at times and doesn’t realize they are helping him. When a neighbors dog finds a dead body and then has a few unexplained accidents she asks the staff to help find out if the incidents are related. When another dead body is discovered Witherspoon is brought in to head the investigation.I guess you could call this a cozy mystery since they are easy to follow and a lot of fun. I’ve read most of this series,  there are 23, this books is available thru Mobius.

08. September 2012 · Comments Off · Categories: Science Fiction, Steam-punk, Tracy

Phoenix Rising by Pip Ballantine & Tee Morris, 402 pages, read by Tracy, on 09/08/2012

Before there was British Intelligence there was The Ministry of Peculiar Occurrences. Apparently during the Victorian era in London there were a lot of peculiar things going on. This book is a sort of cross between Indiana Jones, Warehouse 13, Burn Notice and James Bond. Eliza D. Braun is a spy who carries a lot of weapons and wears a bullet proof corset. She rescues Wellington Books, the chief archivist at the Ministry, from the evil Sophia. Since Eliza is too fond of blowing things up and can handle a gun their boss Doctor Sound feels she needs some quiet down time helping Books in the archives. The authors of this book must’ve had a lot of fun writing this steam-punk adventure. So many gadgets and robots to develop and even coming up with the  agent named Bruce Campbell. I’m not sure if they named him after the famous Sci Fi actor Bruce Campbell but that’s who I thought of right away. Even though Eliza and Wellington are complete opposites they find that they work well together out in the field chasing the Phoenix society. Can’t wait to read the next book.

08. September 2012 · Comments Off · Categories: Fiction, Nikki, Teen Books

Starters by Lissa Price, 336 pages, read by Nikki, on 09/07/2012

Callie and her little brother Tyler have lost their parents to the war that wiped out everybody between the ages of 20-60 years old. Callie and Tyler go on the run living in abandoned buildings, hiding from marshals and unfriendlies. Callie has no choice but to go to Prime Destinations, a place where young minors can rent their bodies to Enders (older generation) for a certain amount of time for a large amount of money. Once Callie agrees to become a donor, her neurochip in her head that connects the Ender to her body malfunctions and she finds herself living the Renter’s life. Living in a mansion, driving nice cars, and even dating the Senators grandson. But Callie soon learns that her Renter has a plan to kill.

I decided to read this book because it was suppose to be the next best thing to the Hunger Games. I really enjoyed this book, although not nearly as much as the Hunger Games. It had some surprising twists to the story. But this book was almost to science fiction for me. Still, I enjoyed it and finished it quickly. Good read.


08. September 2012 · Comments Off · Categories: Angie, Fiction, Paranormal, Teen Books · Tags:

Black Dawn (The Morganville Vampires #12) by Rachel Caine, 367 pages, read by Angie, on 09/07/2012

Black Dawn picks up right where Last Breath ended. Morganville is overrun by the draug (think water vampires) and our gang is hiding out in city hall with the vampires. Amelia has been bitten by the draug and is slowly changing into one. The town is in chaos and the gang has to figure out how to kill the draug once and for all.

I know there are more books coming in this series but this would have been a great place to end things. I am not sure what else this series can come up with. We have had bad humans, bad vampires and now the draug. But with three more books to go something else wicked this way comes I guess.

I am actually glad to have the draug storyline end since it wasn’t one of my favorites. And really this book was kind of a downer. It was just as action packed as others in the series but our characters didn’t seem quite as plucky. And I am not really sure how I feel about the changing POVs. I don’t mind one, two or even three characters narrating a book, but pretty much everyone except Amelia got a chapter here. I am not sure that was completely needed. Sure we got more story since we weren’t restricted to one POV but it was a little hard to keep track of everyone.

08. September 2012 · Comments Off · Categories: Angie, Apocalyptic, Dystopia, Fiction, Teen Books

The Kill Order (Maze Runner prequel) by James Dashner, 336 pages, read by Angie, on 09/06/2012

The Maze Runner had such potential that was just wasted in the later books, which became convoluted messes. I had hoped that The Kill Zone would clear up some of the confusion created in the last book of this trilogy. That’s what prequels are supposed to do afterall. I wanted to know all about WICKED and how and why the maze was created, what role Thomas and Theresa played in it, and the rational behind everything. But we don’t get any of that. If The Kill Zone was a stand alone novel I would say it is pretty decent. There was lots of action and suspense, the world ends as we know it and there is a shady government organization wiping people out. But it doesn’t stand alone and that is the problem.

Instead of Thomas and Theresa we get Mark, Trina, Alec and a bunch of other people. When we meet them they are surviving in the Appalachian Mountains after escaping from New York. Then a berg appears in the sky and starts shooting people with darts filled with a virus. Some people die right away and others take time to die and still others turn crazy. The gang decides they need to find out what is going on and follow the berg’s flight to a secret bunker. Along the way there are more villages like theirs, new crazy religious cults and all kinds of other fun stuff. This is non-stop action and pretty much every chapter includes a fight of some kind. In between the current events we get Mark’s flashbacks/nightmares of what happened when the solar flares hit and they were stuck in New York.

What I liked most about this book was the flashback sequences. I am a sucker for the end of the world and the world died pretty spectacularly in this book. Solar flares basically cooked everyone outside, then the polar icecaps melted and sea levels rose dramatically. So our intrepid survivors had to stay indoors in a flooded world. The not so great parts were the trek through the woods to find the answer to the virus. There wasn’t really any new ground covered here. Of course you had crazy people killing everyone and people who found a strange religion and cannibals and what not. What else are you going to have at the end of the world? We don’t really get any good intel on the shady government or their rationale behind the virus. And since it is non-stop action there isn’t a whole lot of character building. I wanted more from this book and was a bit disappointed when I didn’t get it. But it isn’t a bad book and if you forget the rest of the trilogy it is even a little better.

08. September 2012 · Comments Off · Categories: Angie, Apocalyptic, Fiction, Science Fiction, Teen Books

Monument 14 (Monument 14 #1) by Emmy Laybourne, 294 pages, read by Angie, on 09/06/2012

If the world ends the perfect place to be is a megastore. It has everything you need, including riot gates to keep out others. That is exactly the situation 14 kids from Monument, CO find themselves in. On their way to school their buses are swamped by megahail. The high school bus crashes, the elementary bus saves them and drives into the local Greenway store (Sam’s Club/Costco/Walmart). The bus driver goes for help and leaves our intrepid group of kids to fend for themselves. They quickly discover that it isn’t just hail. A volcano has exploded and caused a megatsunami to wipe out the Eastern US. The volcano also caused massive weather patterns thus the hail. Then on top of it all their is the largest earthquake in history right there in Colorado. This earthquake wipes out NORAD and causes a chemical weapons leak with all kinds of nasty side effects. So the kids fortify and settle in for the long haul at Greenway.

Our group of kids ranges from kindergarten to seniors so we have a lot to work with. However, they are all your stereotypical characters: super jock Jake, bully/popular boy Brayden, popular girl Astrid, mothering Josie, super smart Alex, slutty wannabe Shalaiah, religious Batiste, Spanish-speaking Ulysses, boy scout Niko, been-there-done-that world weary Max, super whiny Chloe and of course cute kids Caroline and Henry. Then we have our narrator who I didn’t figure out was a boy until several pages in: Dean is nerdy, bookish, tall and skinny and of course has a crush on Astrid (who doesn’t know he is alive). Because this is a teen novel we have a love triangle (my pet peeve seriously), but not just one love triangle but two! Dean likes Astrid who is going out with Jake. Niko likes Josie who has the hots for bad boy Brayden. Not cool Laybourne…not cool. I think love triangles are such a crutch and weak writing and they really turn this book into a teen soap at times.

So the characters are all stereotypes but that really doesn’t detract from the story. With this large of a cast you expect stereotypes and the story moves along so well that it is fine. I wish there was more character growth in the book but oh well it really only takes place over 12 days so not a lot of time. All the disasters happen in the first couple of chapters and then the kids just settle in and start living in Greenway. I liked seeing how they organized their society and really they did seem to act like normal kids: playing, eating candy, raiding the pharmacy, but I wish there would have been more urgency to the story. Those first chapters really move and then everything slows down. It isn’t until the last few chapters when adults enter the story that things pick up again.

I feel like this was a wasted opportunity. After all, the world as they know it is ending and they don’t seem to react to it very much other than whining for mommy. We really don’t see much of the outside world either which is another wasted opportunity. They are in a huge store filled with supplies and no one wants in??? There are crazy people (affected by the chemical weapons) and we only see one trying to come to the store?? I think it would have been interesting if the kids had to defend the store or make more hard choices about people outside. Then when they finally do meet two people outside and let them in it is your typically storyline that you could see a mile away. <spoiler>Of course the Latino garden who all the kids love is going to turn into a pedophile. And of course the grumpy old man doesn’t survive. </spoiler>

This is sounding pretty negative but I did actually enjoy this book. Right up until the end that is. I like the psychological feel of the book even if I wished it had more action and less teen love drama. But then when the kids decide to make a run to Denver for rescue things turn stupid. <spoiler>Astrid has been an annoying character hiding for much of the book but suddenly she decides she can’t go get rescued because she turns into one of the crazies and she is PREGNANT! Seriously! You didn’t even know she was dating Jake until they came to the store and suddenly she is four months along. Then Dean, because he is a wuss and loves Astrid, decides to stay too. Even though his brother is going and he knows his parents are waiting for him. This is of course after Jake goes outside to do reconnaissance and runs away. He can’t take his loss of popularity and descent into druggiedom I guess. So since Astrid doesn’t have Jake she turns to Dean because of course she knows he likes her and he falls for that crap. Left a bad taste in my mouth and seemed really stupid to me. </spoiler>

In spite of all this I will probably read the next book because I want to know how things turn out.

08. September 2012 · Comments Off · Categories: Angie, Apocalyptic, Fiction, Paranormal · Tags:

The Strain (The Strain Trilogy #1) by Guillermo del Toro, Chuck Hogan , 549 pages, read by Angie, on 09/05/2012

The Strain makes vampires monsters again. They aren’t conflicted or sparkly or misunderstood. They are killing machines infected with the vampire virus and they want to take over the world. The entire time I was reading this book I kept thinking I was reading a tv miniseries. You can see Guillermo del Toro’s cinematic stamp all over this book from the transitions to the flashbacks. That isn’t necessarily a bad thing; I like tv miniseries. And this story was strangely compelling. A plane lands at JFK and is dead; no lights, no radio, no movement. All the people are dead too except for four survivors. The CDC is called in lead by Ephraim Goodweather. He is puzzled and concerned. Then he teams up with pawn shop owner Abraham Sekarian, your typical holocaust surviving, vampire slaying old man. Abraham introduces Ephraim to the world of vampires and vampire slaying. Sure he is skeptical but reality soon makes him a believer.

First the bad: even with the cinematic quality there was a lot of filler in this book and not story filler. I am talking about weird asides about rats and HAZMAT and the eclipse. They were boring and chopped up the storytelling and frankly made the book twice as long as it needed to be. There was also a lot of tell not show. We are told what characters are doing and feeling instead of seeing them do and feel it. Always weak storytelling. The characters are stereotypes and pretty thin. Ephraim is a recently divorced dad going through a custody battle. He didn’t want to break up his marriage and has rearranged his whole life to be with his son Zack. Of course mom is mad and not budging on anything. At one point he misses a custody session because of course he is in the middle of a horrible epidemic and the psychiatrist basically blows him off saying he lost his chances for custody. Really??? The epidemic is on the news and they can’t reschedule? Seriously?? Nora is partner is of course barely mentioned other than she is his partner and he had an affair with her. Then you have the middle part of the book which is basically people turning into vampires and Ephraim being confused…for a couple hundred pages! The pacing in this book is definitely off; a lot could have been trimmed and the book shortened. And what was up with the eclipse; it basically had no point in the story but went on for chapters.

The good: I liked the flashbacks to Abraham’s story. These were interesting, relevant and exciting. I liked Abraham as a character too. He was by far the most interesting one in the whole book. I actually liked the vampires; they are evil and nasty and just want to kill you. That is what vampires are supposed to do. I kind of enjoyed the different take on the vampire tale. They don’t bite you they have giant stingers that cut your throat and suck your blood. There are little worms that invade your body when attacked and transform you (kind of like cancer or a virus). I even liked the vampire/human partnership and the vampire politics (which we just glimpse and I assume are going to be much more relevant in the next book). That all made for some exciting reading; I just wish there wasn’t so much other crap getting in the way.

I didn’t hate this book, but it made me remember why I don’t read a lot of adult books. There is just too much crap in them. This book definitely could have used some editing down to fix the pacing and the length and the characters. But it reads like an exciting move of the week that just hasn’t been edited yet. With editing this could be must see tv.


08. September 2012 · Comments Off · Categories: Angie, Children's Books, Fiction, Food, Historical Fiction, Mystery

Pie by Sarah Weeks, 183 pages, read by Angie, on 09/05/2012

Pie made me hungry for pie and all the recipes at the beginning of the chapters sure didn’t help (mainly because I can’t bake pie). Alice’s aunt Polly is the Piemaker of Ipswich. She loves making pies and gives them away in her shop instead of selling them. She has won 13 Blueberry Medals for the best pie. Then all the sudden Polly dies and leaves the town of Ipswich and Alice devastated. She leaves Alice her cat Lardo, named for her favorite brand of shortening, and leaves Lardo her secret pie crust recipe. This sets of a whole series of highjinks and leaves Alice’s mother fuming (she has always been jealous of Polly). It also starts the entire town baking pies trying to win the Blueberry now that Polly isn’t competition anymore. Lardo gets catnapped and drugged and Polly’s shop ransacked. It is up to Alice and her friend Charlie to figure out who is trying to steal the recipe.

I liked this little book; it was fun and made me hungry. I liked the twists and turns of the mystery. I thought I had it all figured out and then it turns out I was wrong! So I figured out the mystery along with the kids, which makes for a more satisfying read. I really liked the friendship between Alice and Charlie. He helps her with the mystery and with her grief. I actually didn’t realize this was set in 1955 until I started reading it, but found it didn’t read like a historical fiction book. There were a few things that seemed off for the setting; would someone really climb in a kid’s bedroom window and steal a cat in 1955? But overall I liked the innocence of the time and characters. It was a nice change from some of the more jaded current books I have read. I did find the mom a little off and unrealistic even if she did redeem herself in the end. And why an epilogue? Seriously it wasn’t needed; kids don’t care about epilogues.

I would recommend this one to girls who like mysteries and cooking and a nice light read.

07. September 2012 · Comments Off · Categories: Thriller/Suspense, Tracy

Without Fail by Lee Child, 401 pages, read by Tracy, on 09/07/2012

Vice President elect Armstrong has no idea that his life is being threatened. The Secret Service never tells. The female agent in charge of securing Armstrong had a relationship with Jack Reacher’s brother Joe years ago. She remembers Joe talking about Jack’s many talents. In the first Reacher book Joe was murdered so we never knew him. In this book Jack talks more about him even though they weren’t close. Jack agrees to help the Secret Service along with one of his colleagues from the Military. Protecting the Vice President elect is proving to be impossible and maybe the reason is the bad guys are ex Secret service. As usual it’s the little details that only Reacher remembers that eventually solves this problem.

06. September 2012 · Comments Off · Categories: Andrea, Graphic Novel, Memoirs

Fun Home by Alison Bechdel, 232 pages, read by Andrea, on 09/05/2012

This was an interesting book. A memoir of her life, Fun Home describes what it was like in Alison Bechdel’s life from around age 10 to when she was in college. From discovering she was a lesbian and coming out to her parents to understanding her relationship with her father and his death, Bechdel weaves a story of self-discovery and -acceptance. It is kind of graphic at times (she is not shy about describing, very specifically through words and illustrations, her personal life), but I really thought it was well written and illustrated, and had a nice, almost philosophical feel to it. She describes her relationship with her family in such a cold and distant way, but then shows how her and her father become close in their own, rather odd way. The memoir she writes and draws is quite a detailed account of her life and really makes you connect with her and want to understand the process she went through to learn how to trust herself so she could start trusting others. I could not relate to her coming out problem, but the ideas she had of self-acceptance and understanding was beautifully written.

06. September 2012 · Comments Off · Categories: Claudia, Fiction

Sharp Objects by Gillian Flynn , 257 pages, read by Claudia, on 08/20/2012

Camille Preaker has a  troubled past. She may have left her hometown as one of the seemingly popular beautiful girls, but Camille has a self destructive streak….and secrets.  Camille has been given a writing assignment from the second-rate Chicago daily paper where she works that ends up bringing her reluctantly (to say the least) back to Wind Gap, MO. to cover the murders of two preteen girls.  Since she left town eight years ago, Camille has had little to no contact with her neurotic, hypochondriac mother (Adora) or to the half-sister she barely knows: a beautiful thirteen-year-old with control issues. She is now a guest in her family’s Victorian (it’s creepy too) mansion and begins to relive a childhood tragedy she has spent her whole life trying to cut (literally) from her memory. As Camille works to uncover the truth about these disturbing crimes, clues keep leading to dead ends and surprising discoveries, forcing Camille to unravel the psychological puzzle of her own past to get at the story. A reluctant heroine, Camille will have to confront what happened to her years before she can move on.

Sharp Objects, was published in 2006 and won two Dagger Awards. Gillian Flynn is a Kansas City, Mo. native whose writing credits include Dark Places and Gone Girl.

06. September 2012 · 1 comment · Categories: Claudia, Fiction

Gone Girl by Gillian Flynn, 496 pages, read by Claudia, on 08/06/2012

One of my favorite authors is Scott Smith, who is a New York Times bestselling author of The Ruins and A Simple Plan.  I was pleasantly surprised to learn he is one of Gillian Flynn’s favorite authors too.  I have recently discovered Flynn is a genius of a writer. Don’t get me wrong, I’d heard of her and dismissed her (I know, crazy).  Several years ago, a library patron told me to read her debut novel, Sharp Objects.  I looked at it and didn’t think I’d I like.  Wrong! I couldn’t have been more wrong!  I’ve now read it and I’m currently on the waiting list for her 2nd book, Dark Places, and of course, I am already wondering when she’ll have another book out. Ok, back to Gone Girl….it’s number one on the NY Times bestseller list.  It’s impossible to put down.  It’s unpredictable.  It’s exhilarating!  This book is about a relationship that isn’t what it seems…Amy Dunne disappears on her 5th wedding anniversary.  Nick Dunne was tending bar….or was he?  What happened to Amy…..and so the thrill ride begins..

This is what Scott Smith says about Gone Girl:  If you aren’t sure you can trust me, trust him!

Set in Carthage, Mo, Gillian Flynn’s Gone Girl is my pick for the suspense filled, page-turner. who-done-it psychological thriller of the summer–probably the year. “I cannot say this urgently enough: you have to read Gone Girl. It’s as if Gillian Flynn has mixed us a martini using battery acid instead of vermouth and somehow managed to make it taste really, really good. Gone Girl is delicious and intoxicating and delightfully poisonous. It’s smart (brilliant, actually). It’s funny (in the darkest possible way). The writing is jarringly good, and the story is, well…amazing.



05. September 2012 · Comments Off · Categories: Courtney, Dystopia, Teen Books, Thriller/Suspense

UnWholly (Unwind Trilogy, Book Two) by Neal Shusterman, 416 pages, read by Courtney, on 09/02/2012

It’s been about a year since the explosion at Happy Jack Harvest Camp. Connor is running things at the AWOL camp in Arizona. Risa is out there too, in a wheelchair due to her severed spine and refusal to accept unwound parts. Lev, the boy who didn’t clap, is doing his part for the underground resistance movement, saving tithes on their way to the camps. Things begin to change when a new kid named Starkey is brought to the camp. Starkey was storked and, as a result, has a serious chip on his back. He’s also brilliant and possibly dangerous. In the world outside the camp, the world’s first “rewind” has come into being. His name is Camus Comprix and he is a composite of over one hundred of the smartest, most athletic and most aesthetically pleasing unwinds. Camus, who prefers to call himself “Cam”, is meant to be the next big thing for the pro-unwind camp, but he’s having some problems of his own. Add in a few more colorful characters and you’ve got yourself quite the harrowing ride.
The second book in a trilogy can be tricky, but UnWholly passes with flying colors. It’s got the characters we grew to know and care about in Unwind, plus a new set of equally compelling teens to up the ante. Shusterman also takes this time to really dig into the political and ethical questions raised by the series’ premise. In Unwind, the premise felt a bit flimsy, but it was easy to overlook because the story was so well written. In UnWholly, the premise starts to feel more realistic, fleshed out by a chilling back-story that is only really hinted at. As with most books that fall second in a trilogy, things at the end seem about as bad as they can possibly get. It’s clear, however, that Shusterman has a lot more to say about this world and frankly, I can’t wait to read it.