Saturday, May 29, 2010

Drowning Ruth

I finished the sappy Love is a Four-Legged Word and it was, well, sappy.  Very.  I got really tired of her describing how turned on she got by his muscles and him describing how very sexy he thought she was, yada, yada, yada.  I almost didn't finish it, but it was a feel-good happy ending (predictable) and so I stuck it out.  And now I feel good and happy.

Now I am going to read Drowning Ruth, by Christina Schwarz.  It's about sisters, right after World War I.  I love historical fiction, so I'm looking forward to this one.

Tuesday, May 25, 2010

I love doggie stories

I finished North of Beautiful and it was a good teen love story/problem novel.  I liked the dynamic and resolution of the abusive father problem -- he is just awful to both his daughter and his wife.  I liked the progression of the relationship of the two teens.  I really didn't feel the impact of the birthmark on Terrra's life.  Maybe this would come through better in movie form.  I kept forgetting about her appearance.  The author mentions that she gets stared at once in a while, and then I would think -- oh yeah, she's got that birthmark on her face.  The same for the cleft pallette scar.  There were a few moments, in the orphanage, and throughout the end of the book that the impact of these defects was felt, but I didn't think it was the main theme of the book.  The book was well written and I enjoyed reading it.

Now I'm reading Love is a Four-Legged Word, by Kandy Shepherd.  It's a light-hearted romance featuring a dog.  I can't resist a sappy dog book once in a while. 

Tuesday, May 18, 2010

Next book . . .

Absolute Brightness was a very interesting book.  Not what I expected, but I really enjoyed it.  The characters are well developed and realistically portrayed and it is easy to feel their struggles.  Not a book for every teen, but I would certainly recommend it to some of my avid readers.  Deals with issues of bullying, GLBT teens, parental abuse, death, and the death penalty.  Lots here to think about and there are enough surprises in the book to keep you interested.

My next choice is another teen book, North of Beautiful, by by Justina Chen Headley.  This is another book about teens with problems -- a port-wine birthmark, a cleft pallette, and an abusive parent.  The message is supposed to be about beauty coming from within.  I'll let you know.

Wednesday, May 12, 2010

Another book

I really enjoy Alex Cross novels.  They are so easy to read and once I start it, I can't put it down.  I always picture Morgan Freeman as Alex Cross, since he played that character in the movies.  I really haven't been able to get into Patterson's other series, The Women's Murder Club.  I find those characters too contrived.  But I enjoy Alex Cross (and yes, I know it's also very contrived.) It's just a personal opinion.

Now I'm going to read Absolute Brightness by James Lecesne.  I just picked this one up off the library shelves because it looked interesting, so I'll let you know.

Monday, May 10, 2010

Two books again . . .

I finished The Hobbit, and really enjoyed it again.  I kept comparing it to Harry Potter, and I think both authors did a great job of creating many different species and developing them fully enough to allow them to grow and evolve through several books.  Both were able to create very intricate, rich adventures that can be read over and over.  I can't say that about many books, and I certainly cannot say I'm a big fan of fantasy -- but I do read them and there are many that I enjoy including The Hobbit.

Since we were camping again this weekend, I also read A Long Way Down, by Nick Hornby.  I've read about this book repeatedly, but I don't remember what compelled me to add it to my list.  I really like the beginning of the book -- I was laughing out loud in several places.  Which is a funny thing to say when, at the beginning of the book four different people are contemplating suicide.  These four people meet on New Year's Eve on the top of a building that they all intend to jump off of.  There is where a relationship begins.  The rest of the book I found rather plodding, and not nearly as entertaining.  The book doesn't even had an ending.  It just stops.  There is more character development as these four explore their lives and the things that brought them to that roof.  It's just slow and not really very earth shattering.  The references to cultural icons, literature, and almost all other humorous anecdotes end after Part 1 of the book. It was disappointing.

My next choice is Double Cross by James Patterson.  I love Alex Cross and I had read all of them, but somehow I got a few novels behind.  Which just gives me something to look forward to.  So I've decided to treat myself and pick up a Patterson novel.

Tuesday, May 4, 2010

Time for an old classic

I finished The Orange Houses and I'm glad it was short.  Between that book and Rucker Park Setup I've had plenty of urban, ghetto, poor underprivileged teen stories.  Orange Houses has the illegal immigrant aspect also, and it isn't a happy book.  It is well written, and Griffin's descriptions are compelling.

I've decided to read Tolkien's The Hobbit again.  It's probably been over 30 years since I read this book, but I really love it and want to experience it again.  The first time I "read" this book was when my seventh grade teacher read it aloud to us.  She was an excellent reader and did all the voices so well.  It was a wonderful experience.  I read The Lord of the Rings trilogy after that and at some point read The Hobbit again.  I'm looking forward to it after all these years.

Monday, May 3, 2010

Double books . . .

I was almost finished with Rucker Park Setup before the camping trip, and then I forgot to bring it!  So I started Jerk, California by Jonathan Friesen and I have finished both books.  Rucker Park was a very "teen boy" book -- it's about a basketball street tournament.  It is also about murder and betrayal in the inner city.  It's short and absorbing.  I think a lot of teen boys would like this book and, as always, Volponi's book packs a powerful message.  I think some of the emotion is absent -- J.R. get's murdered and all of the sudden it is two weeks later.  Maybe it's that way because of the appeal to boys, but I thought there was a missing emotional progression.  Volponi does flash back and fill in some details, but it made the whole murder kind of superficial to the story.

Jerk, California is about a boy with Tourette Syndrome, but it really is much more than that.  It's a "coming-of-age" novel in the truest sense.  Sam has lived with a dysfunctional step dad (who suffers from obsessive-compulsive disorder) and after Sam graduates from high school, circumstances allow him to get away and begin a quest to find out about his real dad, and in the process, discover himself.  Touching, heartwarming, and uncomfortable -- all at the same time.  This book is the last one left for me on the Abe Lincoln High School Book Award list for 2011!

I have now chosen The Orange Houses, by Paul Griffin.  I don't remember why it's on my list, but it is also about some struggling teens, one of which is partially deaf.  I guess I'm stuck on a "troubled teen book" kick.


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