Saturday, October 31, 2009

Worth by A. LaFaye

Worth Worth by A. LaFaye

Before the accident Nathaniel's life seemed pretty good. His help around the farm made his father proud. But now, with a busted leg, Nathaniel can't do farmwork anymore, so his father adopts another son through the Orphan Train. Feeling replaced and useless, Nathaniel attends school for the first time. Meanwhile, sturdy and strong John is able to do the work that earns Pa's attention.

But the truth is, John Worth has his own set of troubles. He is treated more like a servant than a son. Kept awake at night by nightmares of his family's death, he remembers having a pa who took pride in him. But now he has no one, until a community battle and a special book reveal a potential friend -- and a chance for understanding.

My rating: 4 of 5 stars
A good read. When the main character is injured in a farming accident he feels like he is less of a son to his father. When his father brings in an orphan boy to help on the farm, he feels like he is being replaced. The book explores how he deals with the pain and humiliation that he feels with being crippled and his changing relationship with the orphan boy.

Saturday, October 24, 2009

The Conqueror Worms by Brian Keene

The Conqueror Worms The Conqueror Worms by Brian Keene

One day the rain just didn’t stop. As the flood waters slowly rose and coastal cities and towns disappeared, some people believed it was the end of the world. Maybe they were right. But the water wasn’t the worst part. Even more terrifying was what the soaking rains drove up from beneath the earth -- unimaginable creatures, writhing, burrowing...and devouring all in their path. What hope does an already-devastated mankind have against...the Conqueror Worms?

My rating: 5 of 5 stars
I really enjoyed this book. When I first got the book and saw the cheesy cover with the giant earthworms I thought "Give me a break." But I have to say that I really enjoyed this book. I have always loved Post Apocalyptic books so that probably helped. I loved the main character. I enjoyed how the story changed in the middle and we go to see another point of view and I even liked the way that the book ended, although normally I would be upset that we are left wondering.

All in all a good read. I am looking forward to more of Brian Keene's books in the future.

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Saturday, October 17, 2009

Tuck Everlasting by Natalie Babbitt

Tuck Everlasting Tuck Everlasting by Natalie Babbitt

Imagine coming upon a fountain of youth in a forest. To live forever--isn't that everyone's ideal? For the Tuck family, eternal life is a reality, but their reaction to their fate is surprising. Award winner Natalie Babbitt (Knee-Knock Rise, The Search for Delicious) outdoes herself in this sensitive, moving adventure in which 10-year-old Winnie Foster is kidnapped, finds herself helping a murderer out of jail, and is eventually offered the ultimate gift--but doesn't know whether to accept it. Babbitt asks profound questions about the meaning of life and death, and leaves the reader with a greater appreciation for the perfect cycle of nature. Intense and powerful, exciting and poignant, Tuck Everlasting will last forever--in the reader's imagination. An ALA Notable Book.

My rating: 4 of 5 stars
This was a very enjoyable book that asks a thought provoking question. Would you choose to be immortal if you were given the chance?

I enjoyed meeting the Tucks and Winnie Foster.

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Monday, October 12, 2009

Blow Me Down by Katie MacAlister

Blow Me Down Blow Me Down by Katie MacAlister

In the Internet game of "Buckling Swashes," two die-hard enemies find themselves comrades at arms against a merciless rival, and discover that-on the virtual high seas and in real life-love can tame the most fearsome of pirates.

My rating: 4 of 5 stars
This was a fun read!

When Amy Stewart's teenage daughter challenges her to add some fun to her rather structured life by trying out a new VR game called Buckling Swashes, Amy inadvertently gets caught up in a struggle between the games creator and a disgruntled ex-employee. Stuck in the game with only a few other human players Amy must find her inner pirate and figure out how to get herself out of the game. What she didn't count on was falling for Black Corbin, the game's creator. As they join forces to figure out which character is actually Paul, the disgruntled employee, they also have to figure out a way to save the VR world that they are trapped in.

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Saturday, October 10, 2009

A Little Magic by Nora Roberts

A Little Magic A Little Magic by Nora Roberts

Spellbound (Once Upon A Castle - 1998)
Under a spell cast thousands of years ago, photographer Colin Farrell is haunted by dreams of Irish lass Bryna Torrance.

Ever After (Once Upon A Star - 1999)
Allena buys an enchanted pendant and is transported to a mysterious island where she meets Conal, who is suspicious of all women.

In Dreams (Once Upon A Dream - 2000)
During a trip to Ireland, Kayleen Brennan visits a castle where she meets Flynn, a man cursed to live forever with only his dreams.

My rating: 3 of 5 stars
My first sampling of Nora Roberts (I know I live under a rock). The stories in this collection were sweet, quick romances. I enjoyed the first 2 stories the most -- Spellbound & Everafter. The third story - In Dreams - was my least favorite. The male lead was too arrogant and the story was a little too far fetched for me. I enjoyed the little touches of magic thrown in and do look forward to reading more of Roberts books.

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Saturday, October 3, 2009

The Geographer's Library by Jon Fasman

The Geographer's Library The Geographer's Library by Jon Fasman

The literary history suspense novel has long been a genre appreciated by a small subset of general readers. It is currently enjoying a new vogue and a wider readership with the publication of such novels as The Da Vinci Code, The Rule of Four, and Codex. What these books have in common, and what The Geographer's Library can also claim, is a set of characters in the here and now grappling with questions about things that went on a very long time ago. Another characteristic is the unearthing or explanation of objects of great value. The trick is to weave these two realities together in a compelling way, one that will keep the reader involved in both stories.

Jon Fasman has taken a big chance with The Geographer's Library, his debut novel, setting out a complicated scenario in which a collection of priceless objects is stolen from the titular library and, eventually, scattered and re-collected a thousand years later--with very bad results for the final collector. The geographer is a real person, Al-Idrisi, a Spanish-Muslim philosopher, cartographer, linguist, and scholar who served in the court of King Roger of Sicily in Palermo in the year 1154. For the most part, Fasman's risk pays off, although there is a lot of meandering before we finally get to the final revelation.

The "wraparound" story is about a young journalist, Paul Tomm, who sets out to write a simple obituary about a professor who died in his office at Paul's Alma Mater. The man is Jaan Puhapaev, an Estonian perhaps, who is a terrible teacher, fires his gun out his office window twice, is odd, unavailable, and reclusive and yet is allowed to stay on for unknown reasons. He also collects only $1.00 a year in salary and has no other visible means of support. The core narrative is a description of the provenance and travels of each of the 15 objects--some or all of which may hold the secret of eternal life--stolen from Al-Idrisi.

A professor friend of Paul's, a policemen and a curious editor all get an investigation rolling regarding what really happened to Jaan, who is he, and is he perhaps much, much older than they think? Paul meets and falls for a neighbor and putative friend of Jaan's, a music teacher named Hannah Rowe, which moves the information curve upward. This is the least believable part of the story: it's easier to accept the alchemical power of the Emerald Tablet of Hermes than Hannah. That said, Fasman does bring it all home at the end with an expository chapter and two letters.

My rating: 3 of 5 stars
This book was okay. It was interesting enough to keep me reading, but nothing more. The back and forth in history ruined it for me. I was more into the mystery and wanted to know more about the objects and how they were used. I felt that we were left hanging on that part of the story.

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