Friday, February 27, 2009

Bonechiller by Graham McNamee

Danny and his dad have moved around a lot since his mom died. Their latest home, Harvest Cove, feels like the end of the earth to Danny. But he's made friends and even though he knows better, he starts to get attached.

Then, one night on his way home, he's attacked by a beast that doesn't seem to be real. Can't be real. He has only a few memories of the attack, but the blue spot on his hand and the footprints he finds in the snow convince him he may not be hallucinating. Then his friend Howie is attacked by the same creature. Another boy goes missing. And they both start to have nightmares and hear voices.

With the beast still out on the hunt for them, can they find a way to escape?

A great novel with action, suspense, and creepy horror.

Thursday, February 26, 2009

I, Q by Roland Smith

Q and Angela's parents just got married. Right after the ceremony, Q, Angela, and their parents leave for their cross-country tour--their parents are musicians. Q figures this will be the time to learn a little more about Angela, and find out what his new step-sister is like.

He gets a little more than he bargained for, since Angela believes she's being followed. Her mother, a Secret Service agent who died during a terrorist attack, taught her to be vigilant. Angela is convinced she's being followed, and what's more--she's right. She's being used as bait, hoping to draw her mother out of hiding.

Now Q and Angela have to figure out who they can and can't trust, as everyone seems to switch sides at the drop of a hat.

A great action novel.

The Graveyard Book by Neil Gaiman

Nobody Owens was just a toddler when Jack snuck into his home and murdered his family. Nobody managed to escape, and found refuge in the cemetery nearby.

That's where things get a little strange. Mr. and Mrs. Owens decide to take Nobody, or Bod, in and bring him up. They're ghosts who have been dead for a few hundred years. Together with the other ghosts in their graveyard, they raise Bod.

But then Jack comes back, more determined than ever to finish the job...

An engrossing and fun read. Lots of action and suspense as well.

This book won the Newbery Award.

Tuesday, February 24, 2009

Tales from Outer Suburbia by Shaun Tan

I'm not a fan of short story collections, mostly because the words end before the story does. This book is different.

Each story is very weird yet fascinating. The illustrations accompanying each story add more than just words could ever do. The format of some of the stories, including an entire story written through pieces of scrap paper, and another story told in the format of a newspaper article--newspaper included, add new ways to see details described within each story.

This is definitely a book you need to check out!

Here Lies Arthur by Philip Reeve

Gwyna barely escapes with her life as Arthur and his band come through her master's estate, burning and pillaging. Running away, she encounters Myrddin, the bard that travels with Arthur. Myrddin takes her in, and after her appearance as Lady of the Lake, dresses her as Gwyn, his servant.

And so Gwyna's story begins. She travels with Myrddin far and wide, spreading stories of Arthur's great deeds--all of which are lies. Myrddin himself is the means to Arthur's greatness, a greatness that outlived the monster in real life.

This is an interesting tale of the King Arthur legend, played out through a young servant's eyes. Gwyna is not always quick on what is happening, but her place in Arthur's world gives an interesting point of view not often heard.

The Hunger Games by Suzanne Collins

Katniss and her family live in District 12 of the land known as Panem, in an area that was once North America. Every year, two "contestants" are chosen to participate in the Hunger Games, a brutal reminder to each District why the Council is in control.

Katniss knows she's at risk of being chosen--she has put her name into the drawing more than once each year, in order to get extra food for her, her mother, and her younger sister.

But when Prim, Katniss' 12-year old sister, is chosen, Katniss volunteers to go in her place. The other contestant is Peera, the baker's son, a boy Katniss barely knows. They travel to the Central City, to participate in a competition to the death. That is just the beginning of Katniss and Peera's journey through the Hunger Games.

This is the first book in a series, which promises to be full of action, adventure, and some of the darker sides of human nature.

Sucks to be Me by Kimberly Pauley

Mina has a secret, one she's kept most of her life. Her parents are vampires. What she didn't know was that her parents were keeping a secret too--her. Then one night, she opens the front door and their lives come crashing down.

Now Mina has ever more pressure looming over her head--school, of course--but vampire classes too. She has to decide whether or not she should become a vampire. Upside, she'll get to stay in contact with her parents and the friends she's made in her vampire classes. Downside, she'll never see her best friend again.

All this before she turns 17.

An amusing and entertaining first novel. The chapters begin with vampire myths and the "truth." Mina is a sarcastic yet upbeat character who is believable and fun.

Tuesday, February 3, 2009

Godless by Pete Hautman

Jason decides--almost on a whim--to found a new religion with the town's water tower as a god. He convinces Shin, Magda, and a bully--Henry--to follow his new religion. They come up with "rules" and guidelines to follow.

Jason believes it's all fun and games, even though Henry wants to do more dangerous stunts on the water tower, and Shin begins to believe he's talking to it. Shin takes the whole idea to the extreme, and Jason isn't sure how to talk him out of it. Jason soon realizes the influence he has over those around him.

A great example of the influences you have on others--without knowing it. The book is a short, fast read, with compelling characters. This book and the Gospel According to Larry have some of the same themes.

Nick & Norah's Infinite Playlist by Rachel Cohn and David Levithan

Nick is a drummer in a small band outside of New York City. The rest of his group is gay, so he is usually left on his own when it comes to their gigs. Nick spots his ex-girlfriend, Trish, in the crowd one night while at a gig. Trish dumped him hard and he's still sensitive about it, so when he sees her with her new boyfriend, he panics. He turns to the girl next to him and asks her if she'll pretend to be his girlfriend for five minutes.

Norah has no idea why Nick wants to pretend to be her boyfriend, but she sees Trish in the crowd--a girl from school--and kisses Nick in order to avoid speaking to her. She, of course, knows who Nick is--Trish complained about him all the time.

Little did they know what would start with one little kiss. And a night of adventures.

Fast-paced tale of the night club scene in New York, new love, old hurts, and everything inbetween. New relationships can lead to many misinterpretations, and this book has quite a few of them. Told from both Nick and Norah's points of view, this is a fantastic story.

And don't watch the movie--the movie was horrible.

Casting Spells by Barbara Bretton

Chloe Hobbs is the only human living in Sugar Maple. And she is their only salvation.

Descended from a long line of sorceresses, Chloe must find a way to get her magic in order to save the town from outsiders. A charm cast by her ancestor provided that as long as someone in her line was around to keep the magic going, the town would be a safe haven for all magical beings--werewolves, vampires, trolls, and the fae. However, with Chloe still not accessing her magic, that charm is losing power.

Then someone dies. The first death since Chloe's parents. And the investigation brings in an outsider--a cop who has to investigate. And suddenly, Chloe's whole world is turned upside down.

A humorous and charming romance story. For those who love knitting, you'll get a kick out of a main character who owns a yarn store, and can teach anyone how to knit. Tips and tricks are listed in the back of the book. If you don't really like magical beings, you'll still like the book!

Monday, February 2, 2009

Tales of Beedle the Bard by J.K. Rowling

If you're a fan of Harry Potter, you'll want to read this book! Translated by Hermione Granger and with special notes after each tale by Dumbledore, this book provides more insight into the wizarding world of Harry Potter.

Dumbledore's notes at the end of each tale provide insight into the story itself, as well as some of his own life. And the last tale in the book, "The Tale of the Three Brothers", is the story of the Elder Wand, the Invisibility Cloak, and the stone Harry uses in the last battle with Voldemort.

What I Saw and How I Lied by Judy Blundell

When Evie's stepdad returns from World War II, things seem to settle back into normal life quickly. Evie spends time with her best friend and waits for the next year to pass so she can do things she feels she's old enough to do--wear lipstick and go out with boys.

Things are only normal on the outside. Evie begins to see hints at some of the lies and stories Joe, her stepdad, shares with her and her mom. When they suddenly take off for a vacation to Palm Beach, Florida at the end of the summer, she knows something is not right. But when she meets Peter Coleridge, a 23-year old who seems to know Joe pretty well, she decides to ignore the warning signs. Before she knows it, her family is dragged into a tragedy that very well may tear it apart.

Well-written and a great historical novel.