Wednesday, June 20, 2012

Darker Still by Leanna Renee Hieber

Natalie has been mute ever since her mother died.  He lives with her father in early 20th century New York and assists him with his work at the Metropolitan Museum of Art.

When Natalie hears of the painting of Lord Denbury, she insists on seeing it.  The owner, Mrs. Northe, decides to loan the painting to the museum for safekeeping, and entrusts Natalie with some knowledge she has of the paintings origins.  When observing the painting one day, Natalie notices it seems to be moving.  When she touches it, she's pulled into the painting.  Lord Denbury is real--and trapped!  She must learn about the curse in order to set Lord Denbury free.

Written in a very descriptive format, the author paints a vivid picture.  Natalie's character is interesting and the story is written in a journal format from her point of view. 

The Boy Who Dared by Susan Campbell Bartoletti

Helmuth lives in Germany as the country struggles to survive the aftermath of World War I and the penalties brought by the Treaty of Versailles.

Then Hitler comes to power and before anyone realizes it, Germany is prospering.  Any wrongdoing is blamed on Communists or Jews, and while Helmuth doesn't really agree, he knows to keep his mouth shut.

When his brother brings home a contraband radio that allows Helmuth the chance to hear what's really happening, he decides to take action.

This is based on the true story of Helmuth Hubener, executed at 16, for his crimes against Nazi Germany.

The author tells how she collected her story together and her sources.  Very moving and easy to get into.  The story flashes from Helmuth's time in prison to the events leading to his capture.

The Splendor Falls by Rosemary Clement-Moore

I believe this was the only book I hadn't read of Clement-Moore's, and it was worth the wait.

Sylvie can't believe her life's ambition is over--a severly broken leg means she'll never dance again.  Life might as well be over too as her mom and new step-dad ship her off to stay in Alabama while they're on their honeymoon.  Convinced she's having a spychotic break, they want someone to watch her all the time.

Can Sylvie help the fact she can see ghosts?  As she settles into life at Bluestone Hill, the strange occurrences keep happening, convincing her that maybe she is crazy.  A baby's wail at night, the cold pockets on the landing, and a blur of clothing out of the corner of her eye convince her something is happening.  When the rivers rise and threaten to flood the town, she may be the only one to stop the supernatural catastrophe behind it all.

Once again, Clement-Moore creates a world of magic and wonder.  I was reminded of Marion Zimmer-Bradley's work while I was reading this.  A definite pageturner.

The Night She Disappeared by April Henry

Drew took the order the night Kayla disappeared.  No one knew right away the intended victim was Gabie, who would have been working, had the girls not switched.

The police don't believe that, of course.  They start looking for everyone who might have had a grudge against Kayla.  When the guy they think did it kills himself, the case is considered closed.

But Drew and especially Gabie don't believe it.  And the real kidnapper could still be waiting to catch Gabie when she least expects it.

Definitely a thriller.  Henry builds the pace nicely and the point of view switches between characters.  Great story and good ending.  The characters all have some flaws, which makes the story more believable.

Tuesday, June 19, 2012

Playground by 50 Cent

Butterball winds up having to talk with a therapist twice a week after beating up Maurice, someone Butterball thought was a friend.

Butterball is not happy with his life.  His mom NYC and away from his dad and he gets teased because of his weight. 

Until Butterball hits Maurice.  Now the popular guys are paying attention to him.  They want him to beat up another guy.  And home life is changing too, as Butterball begins to understand what's really going on with his mom.

A good story and thought out.  Not necessarily for reluctant readers like I thought at first.  There are some real issues here, and a good first teen novel for 50 Cent.

Getting Over Garrett Delaney by Abby McDonald

Sadie has been in love with her best friend Garrett since they met 2 years ago.  She's just been waiting for him to feel the same.

Then Garrett gets into a writing camp and Sadie doesn't.  Now she has to get a job and fill her time until Garrett comes back.  When he calls her to tell her he's fallen in love with a girl at camp, Sadie knows it's time for her to get over Garrett.

It isn't easy though.  Especially when she's spent the last 2 years liking everything Garrett has.  Now she has to get over him AND figure out who she is. 

An exceptional chick book.  Funny, poignant, and enjoyable.  I found details of myself in Sadie, as I'm sure most girls would.

12 Things to Do Before You Crash & Burn by James Proimos

Hercules' father dies and his mom sends him to stay with his uncle Anthony in Baltimore.

Herc is sure the two weeks at his uncle's will be boring beyond belief.  The train ride looks promising when he sits by a really hot girl.  When she leaves a book behind, Herc is determined to find her to return it.

His uncle also has a plan.  Herc is to accomplish a task each day he's visiting, in order to keep him busy.  He can't blieve it--but when he does the first task by accident and the day works out, he decides it can't hurt to try the rest.

A very short novel.  The story isn't bad and there's enough to keep you entertained.

Love is the Higher Law by David Levithan

The events of Sept 11th changed things forever.  For New Yorkers Claire, Jasper, and Peter, things will never be the same.  Claire, when the first tower is hit, only thinks of her mom and younger brother.  They aren't allowed to go home, and for Claire, the whole event has changed how see sees things.

Jasper sleeps through the whole attack.  He's hungover and unsure of what's going on.  He does know it's big--and he can't get away from it.

Peter actually sees everything and he feels it keenly.  He was suppose to go on a date with Jasper that evening and he goes to school with Claire.

As these three are drawn together by what has happened, Levithan provides a perspective of what being in NYC during and after 9/11 was like.

A moving and short book.  Claire is the most developed, or at least the one I liked the most.  Told from all 3 viewpoints.