Sunday, March 6, 2016
Author: Michael Buckley
Publisher: HMH Books for Young Readers
Publication Date: May 5, 2015
ARC provided by publisher
Undertow by Michael Buckley is a Romeo/Juliet story about a human girl named Lyric and a sea prince named Fathom set in modern day New York.
It's not subtle in its parallels to current immigration fears as the sea folk known as Alphas arrive on Coney Island and are immediately vilified, segregated, and threatened with violence.
Lyric is forced to befriend Fathom at school and, of course, sparks fly. There's lots of conflict, lots of tortured feelings, lots of high stakes as Lyric finds out THE TERRIBLE AND COMPLETELY OBVIOUS TRUTH about her family.
Undertow isn't particularly groundbreaking, but it is a fun, fast read for paranormal romance fans.
I'd recommend Undertow to readers who enjoyed Of Poseidon by Anna Banks or The Coldest Girl in Coldtown by Holly Black.
Sunday, January 24, 2016
Author: Eoin Colfer
Narrated by: Maxwell Caulfield
Publisher: Listening Library
Publication Date: May 14, 2013
Listening copy via Sync
Eoin Colfer is most well known for the Artemis Fowl series, a series I tried and never really got into. But since the good people at Sync offered The Reluctant Assassin, I thought I'd give this series a go.
The Reluctant Assassin in question is Riley, a Victorian orphan who's raised by a former magician. Alfred Garrick has turned his sleight-of-hand skills into becoming a master assassin and he expects Riley to complete his apprenticeship by committing his first murder. But what they don't know is that their intended target is a 21st century time traveler and things go from bad to worse when Riley ends up in modern day London.
Riley meets Chevron Savano, a 17 year old FBI agent, an orphan herself who was brought into the FBI for a secret assignment. Riley and Chevron team up to take on Garrick, who was transformed by time travel quantum mechanics and goes back to Victorian times to change history.
Sounds convoluted? It is a little bit, but complicated plotting keeps the action at a non-stop pace. There's a fair amount of deadly violence, which might be too intense for younger readers. But older readers looking for a rollicking adventure will find that here.
A nice dynamic grows between Riley and Chevron since each has their own special skill sets. Maxwell Caulfield does a fine job with Riley and Garrick, but his Chevron doesn't quite work. I don't know if he has trouble with women characters, American characters, or both, but Chevron comes off as stiff and stilted. Chevron is a Native American character, but she grew up in Malibu, so she sound like a normal American teen.
The Reluctant Assassin Book Trailer:
Sunday, January 3, 2016
Happy New Year!
Those two fine looking cats are Elwood and Jake. Litter mates, trouble makers, and cutie pies.
And what better way to celebrate the New Year than with some random cat videos!
First, there's Cat + Monkey:
Next, there's Dogs Annoying Cats with Their Friendship:
Finally, some solid reasons on why You Should Get a Second Cat:
Sunday, November 1, 2015
Author: Stephanie Tromly
Publisher: Kathy Dawson Books
Publication Date: August 4, 2015
ARC provided by publisher
There are hi-jinks aplenty in this screwball mystery by Stephanie Tromly. Zoe is the new kid at school when she meets Digby, a weird, smart, completely impossible boy who drags her into an investigation of a missing girl. An investigation that may be linked to Digby's sister, who also went missing years before.
The dialog snaps, crackles, and pops as Zoe becomes Digby's somewhat willing accomplice in break-ins, drug deals, and fictional class assignments ... all in the name of finding the truth.
The action is over the top, from a mysterious cult next door to a Gatsby themed winter formal where nothing goes right. It reads like a television pilot that's been turned into a YA novel, because while one mystery is wrapped up, another is remains, sending up for a sequel. And there's nothing wrong with that if it's done well. Fortunately, Stephanie Tromly has created eccentric-yet-believable characters who you, like Zoe, couldn't resist following on another adventure.
I'd recommend Trouble Is a Friend of Mine to readers who enjoyed Dangerous by Shannon Hale or Save the Enemy by Arin Greenwood.
Sunday, October 11, 2015
Author: Cathleen Davitt Bell
Publisher: Knopf Books for Young Readers
Publication Date: February 10, 2015
ARC provided by publisher
Juliet is a good student who has never had a boyfriend before. So when hockey player Lucas tells her he remembers their first kiss, she's not sure what to make of him.
Cathleen Davitt Bell creates a premise where Lucas-from-the-future is trapped in the body of Lucas-of-the-present, sort of Peggy Sue Gets Married set in the 1990's. Juliet is left to wonder if Lucas is nuts or if this weird phenomenon is actually happening to him. And if it is, what can she do to help him?
It's a romance story with (very) light science fiction elements. The novel is told from Juliet's POV and it's mostly reactive. I think the tension and stakes would have amped up if was a dual POV of Juliet and Lucas.
Juliet is also dealing with friendship drama and figuring out if the future that Lucas predicts for her is really the future she wants. She's a smart character, but doesn't have much to do except wait for Lucas. She should be smarter than that.
The book is a quick read and best suited for hard-core romance readers.