Sunday, November 1, 2015

Trouble Is a Friend of Mine Book Review

Title: Trouble Is a Friend of Mine
Author: Stephanie Tromly
Publisher: Kathy Dawson Books
Publication Date: August 4, 2015
ISBN-13: 978-0525428404

336 pp.

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

I Remember You Book Review

Title: I Remember You
Author: Cathleen Davitt Bell
Publisher: Knopf Books for Young Readers
Publication Date: February 10, 2015
ISBN-13: 978-0385754552

320 pp.

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.

Sunday, August 23, 2015

Teens' Top Ten

It's that time of the year again!

Voting has opened up for Teens' Top Ten nominees! Get the vote out to teens!

Voting will close at the end of Teen Read Week, which is October 24th, so there's still time to catch up on the titles you haven't read yet.

Teens can vote here.

This year's nominees are:

  • Alsaid, Adi. Let’s Get Lost. Harlequin Teen.
  • Armentrout, Jennifer L. Don’t Look Back. Disney Hyperion.
  • Blackburne, Livia. Midnight Thief. Disney Hyperion.
  • Blake, Kendare. Mortal Gods. Tor Teen.
  • Clare, Cassandra. The Bane Chronicles. Simon & Schuster/Margaret K. McElderry.
  • Cremer, Andrea. The Inventor’s Secret. Penguin Group/Philomel.
  • Dellaira, Ava.  Love Letters to the Dead. Macmillan/Farrar, Straus, Giroux Books.
  • Despain, Bree. Into the Dark: The Shadow Prince. Egmont.
  • Han, Jenny. To All the Boys I’ve Loved Before. Simon & Schuster.
  • Howard, A.G. Unhinged. Abrams/Amulet Books.
  • Lu, Marie. The Young Elites. Penguin/G.P. Putnam's Sons.
  • Maas, Sarah J. Heir of Fire. Bloomsbury.
  • Matson, Morgan. Since You’ve Been Gone. Simon & Schuster.
  • Nielsen, Jennifer A. The Shadow Throne. Scholastic.
  • Novak, Ali. My Life with the Walter Boys. Sourcebooks.
  • Pearson, Mary E. The Kiss of Deception. Macmillan/ Henry Holt & Company.
  • Rutkoski, Marie. The Winner’s Curse. Macmillan/Farrar, Straus & Giroux.
  • Scott, Victoria. Fire & Flood. Scholastic.
  • Shine, Joe. I Become Shadow. Soho Teen.
  • Smith, Andrew. Grasshopper Jungle. Penguin Group/Dutton Juvenile.
  • Smith, Jennifer E. The Geography of You and Me. Hachette/Poppy.
  • Stone, Juliana. Boys Like You. Sourcebooks.
  • Sundquist, Josh. We Should Hang Out Sometime. Little Brown & Company.
  • Talley, Robin. Lies We Tell Ourselves. Harlequin Teen.

Sunday, August 16, 2015

Night Film Audiobook Review

Title: Night Film
Author: Marisha Pessl
Narrated by: Jake Weber
Publisher: Random House Audio
Publication Date: August 20, 2013
ISBN-13: 978-0307932655

Listening copy via local library

Marisha Pessl's debut novel, Special Topics in Calamity Physics, was a hot read a few years ago. I read it and thought it was intelligent and intricately plotted, but overall a meh from me in terms of being invested in the characters.

There was a lot of buzz about her second book, Night Film, and I decided I'd give it go, especially since the audiobook is narrated by Jake Weber. I've been a fan of his since American Gothic, so I was willing to spend a few hours listening to him.

Night Film centers on a disgraced reporter, Scott McGrath, who's obsessed with finding out what happened the night the daughter of a famous director committed suicide. The director is Stanislas Cordova, a provocateur as much as an auteur, whose controversial horror films are only shown at underground screenings. The daughter is 24 year old Ashley, a former piano prodigy with a troubled past.

The story plods on a bit as Scott's investigation forces him to team up with a quirky coat-check girl and a small-time drug dealer, but there are enough tantalizing clues and mysterious signs to keep me engaged. And there are some real moments of flat-out terror.

Jake Weber does an outstanding job narrating, imbuing a world-weary reporter's cynicism with charm, moral outrage, and regret. He does a good job with the supporting characters as well, and I'm willing to forgive his Jamaican accent because that's a mercifully short scene.

I'd recommend it for listeners who have the patience to let psychological thriller push against the border of horror.

Night Film Book Trailer:

Sunday, August 2, 2015

We Should Hang Out Sometime Book Review

Title: We Should Hang Out Sometime
Author: Josh Sundquist
Publisher: Little, Brown Books for Young Readers
Publication Date: December 23, 2014
ISBN-13: 978-0316251020

336 pp.

ARC provided by publisher

Josh Sundquist is a Paralympian, motivational speaker, and YouTuber who's not so good with the ladies. This biography tells the tale of all the girls he's loved before (or at least crushed on) and what went horribly wrong.

It's a quick, funny read about a guy who thinks having a girlfriend means a pretty girl likes him and he doesn't have to, you know, talk to her or actually have to work at a relationship. It takes a long time, a pseduo-scientific study, and some honest friends to set him straight.

This book shows how clueless guys really are about girls, and the big reveal is that girls are human beings with their own inner lives and don't exist to make boys feel special. Josh is not entitled to a girlfriend just because he's a nice guy.

I'd recommend this to readers who enjoyed An Abundance of Katherines by John Green or Carter Finally Gets It by Brent Crawford.

We Should Hang Out Sometime Book Trailer:


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