Sunday, August 31, 2008

Clare B. Dunkle. THE SKY INSIDE

The cover grabbed me from the beginning on this one. I didn't even read the book jacket description. I just dove right in!

Martin and his family live in a “perfect world.” It was designed by the previous generation because the world was in chaos. Very few, lucky people were chosen to live in the newly created suburbs under these domes. The sky is painted on. The fake snow & flowers are stuck to windows to designate the changing of seasons. They even play music of birds singing (there are no real animals). Every so often, the newest crop of engineered babies is advertised so that couples who are ready can order their baby. However, the Wonder Babies, the latest crop of babies, are asking too many questions. Perhaps they were bred too smart for their own good. One of these babies is Martin’s little sister Cassie, and when they come to take all of these babies away, Martin’s world turns upside down. He starts investigating and finding out information that freaks him out. Then he decides he must do something. It isn’t right to just take a whole generation away. This is an amazing futuristic novel with intriguing ideas about what science can and should do. Oh, did I mention Martin has the coolest dog ever! I don’t want to tell you too much & give the fun stuff away, but you will absolutely love his dog. Martin is pretty cool too.

I was most impressed at the freshness of this book,
especially since this sort of topic has been done many times. The idea of an idealistic futuristic society with hidden massive problems has been done for a long while. And that can be really tiresome. But, Ms. Dunkle was successful in keeping this new & fresh!

Click for more information about this wonderful author and her other books:

AFTER you read the book, check out this great interview with the author:

I was excited to read that the she has just finished the sequel to THE SKY INSIDE called THE WALLS HAVE EYES. I’ll keep on the lookout for that one!

Sunday, August 24, 2008

Lauren R. Weinstein. GIRL STORIES

HYSTERICAL! That’s really the most accurate word to describe this graphic novel. However, that would make for a short blog entry, so here’s more:

This is a collection of comics that originally ran on and generated a huge response from readers. The comics are brief episodes of Lauren’s life. They include a wide variety embarrassing moments of a typical teenager’s life. As the back of the book says, you shall find within the pages of this book teenagers, rock stars, fashion tips, friends, skaters, punks, sports, and more. You’ll also find an embarrassingly honest and funny description of what a lot of girls go through in their teenage years. It really is like reading a diary. If you’re a teen, you’ll relate. If you’re not, you’ll relate too and hopefully remember back to your teenage years with more than a few giggles. And the art is sooo wonderful! It completely adds to the hysterical nature of the episodes. Loved it!!

Website for the book

Author’s blog

Tuesday, August 12, 2008

Kieran Scott. GEEK MAGNET

For some reason, KJ Miller attracts geeks. She has at least three of them who fawn all over her on a regular basis. First of all, Andy is constantly quizzing her about her favorite things to see how much they have in common. Then there’s Fred, who is always giving her gifts. And worst of all, there’s Glen who is always gawking at her chest when he talks to her. All KJ wants to do her stage manager job for the spring musical, GREASE, and not feel like she’ll be bombarded at any given moment by someone she’s not interested in. But, she’s nice. She can’t say anything to the guys. Enter Tama Gold, the star of the musical. She tries to coach KJ in handling the geeks. After just talking with Tama for a while, KJ begins to attract the attention of a totally-not geek, Cameron Richardson, school hottie. KJ thinks Tama maybe onto something. Will KJ be able to free herself of the geeks and be Cameron’s girlfriend? Read it and see.

Kieran Scott is awesome! Not only is she hilarious, but she has characterization down pat! When I read Andy’s dialogue, I can literally hear his voice in my head. I know exactly who this guy is! And she did a great job differentiating the geeks into three distinct personalities. They weren’t just stock geek characters.

Also, Scott wrote the balancing act of KJ’s drama at home with the light & fun atmosphere at school brilliantly, especially when the two intersect. All the characters were realistic. The plot was good. All around, it was an enjoyable read.

You might be familiar with Kieran Scott's NON-BLONDE CHEERLEADER BOOKS:
Here's the first one.


I reviewed all of them here. They're hysterical!

Thursday, August 7, 2008

Stephenie Meyer. BREAKING DAWN


I just emerged from the bunker I was hiding in so I could finish the 754 page enormous end to the TWILIGHT saga. It’s going to be hard to write this without spoilers. So, let me warn you – there will be spoilers – so stop reading now, if you haven’t read the book yet. There is just no way around it. Let me begin by saying, WOW, what a roller-coaster ride. Frankly, it needed the ups & downs, otherwise at that length, it would’ve gotten boring. But it didn’t. There is a lot of positive and negative discussion being thrown around on the Internet about how this series ended. I avoided the Internet like the plague to ward off spoilers. Now that I’ve seen the discussions, I must ask – what is all the fuss about? I think this was a fitting end to the series. It did surprise me in many ways. I thought for sure that Meyer would put off the wedding, but she didn’t. I thought for sure that she’d put off the change, but she didn’t, although it was done in a “we had no choice” manner, which I think was the only way she would do it. I didn’t think she would write it as a willing choice by Edward. Even though he had agreed to it, he still would’ve tried to postpone it, if he could. I certainly wasn’t expecting the baby – was anyone?? Um, how about that name? Yeah, I know it’s a combo between the two mom’s names, but…I didn’t really like it.*

Let's move on to Jacob. At first, I was annoyed at the change of point of view, right when things were getting suspenseful (isn't that always when they do it!). But I was surprised at how much I enjoyed hearing Jacob's point of view & his story. It ended up being so crucial to the novel. I remember this happened in an earlier novel too, where I was annoyed, but then glad to hear more about Jacob. Was it New Moon? Or Eclipse? It doesn't matter. I'm glad he ended up being tied to Bella forever, along with Edward.

Another aspect I loved was the way things evened out between Bella & Edward. I was getting a little tired of the clumsy girl routine that Bella had in the first three books. Plus, not to be rude, but you really did wonder, along with Bella, why Edward would love her so much in the first three books. Now that she's a super-vampire, it just seems like she grew into the person he always saw her to be. Also, in this book, the choice of changing her didn’t seem so tragic as before, because it really did seem that she was made for the life. Everything seemed right with the world. Meyer did a great job in wrapping up the series, in my humble opinion. As a bonus, the last page of the book announces that there will be an encyclopedia-like OFFICIAL GUIDE to the TWILIGHT saga. It’s due out in December, which is right around when the movie is due out, so TWILIGHT fever will burn a while longer. Yay :)

**Addendum: After further pondering, I feel I need to add something. This book is a very different book from the first one in the saga. TWILIGHT was a beautiful love story that happened to have a vampire in it. NEW MOON & ECLIPSE had a lot more vampire and werewolf lore and action. BREAKING DOWN is full on vampire story, in my opinion. So, if you aren't into any gore whatsoever, then this isn't for you. The gore isn't that explicit, but it is there, and I don't want to mislead you. It is not TWILIGHT at all. I feel the story evolved and ended well. And I'm a fan of the entire sage. But, I just wanted to be clear.

*To be fair, what name could she have chosen that all the fans would like? A regular, everyday name surely wouldn't do. The sentiment of combining the two most treasured women in her life into one name was the only way to go, I guess. The nickname isn't too bad.

Saturday, August 2, 2008

Joan Bauer. PEELED

PEELED is the latest in a long line of awesome books by Joan Bauer. Hildy Biddle lives in a small orchard town in upstate New York called Banesville. She’s a reporter for the high school newspaper and waiting for the chance to prove herself as a real reporter when a mystery begins unfolding. Strange occurrences begin at the supposedly haunted Ludlow house. At first there were threatening signs posted on the front door, but when a man is found dead on the property, the community is frightened. People are afraid the ghosts in the Ludlow house are stirring and out to get them. The local newspaper in town does its best to work everyone up into a panic. They publish articles with witnesses declaring how they’ve been scared by the ghosts. Hildy and her friends at the school paper begin their own investigation. They feel like they have to combat their town paper, since it’s been acting more like the National Enquirer, than a real paper. But, as they get closer to the truth, they are being threatened by those who want to keep the truth hidden. Will they have the courage to keep fighting for the truth?
I loved being in Hildy’s world. I love being in a place so completely different from my own. The nickname of the town is Happy Apple Town, which is the best way to describe the atmosphere of this book. It felt so comfortable and simple. But not simplistic. It was fun to learn about the world of apple orchards while also solving a mystery with Hildy. The characters are well-developed, realistic and quirky. Along with the spunky Hildy, I enjoyed Zach and his scientific view on life and Elizabeth’s positive outlook. The adults were great too. Minska, a woman who lived through the revolution in Poland and Baker, a successful reporter, were both inspirations for Hildy and her friends. Definitely a fun and inspiring read. It makes me want to go uncover an injustice somewhere!

Other great ones by Joan Bauer (trust me, Ms. Bauer does not disappoint)

Her website is here