Friday, July 11, 2014

Short Takes on Recent Reads

At ALA I was able to pick up three ARCs written by some of my very favorite authors. I read them too fast and now, alas, I must wait a long time for their next books. Paolo Bacigalupi's Doubt Factory was a real change for him in many ways. It was contemporary suspense/thriller instead of science fiction but did feature insightful social commentary and exposes serious problems facing the world.  

Lish McBride's Firebug, featuring a a young woman with the ability to create fire, rebels against the organization and its leader that has forced her to perform assassinations, kept me entertained while sitting in the hospital while my dear husband was going through knee replacement surgery. McBride is masterful in creating groups of characters with all their relationships and baggage who come through for each other. It was great to be surrounded by such an interesting and illustrious crowd while going through such a worrisome time. 

Clariel by Garth Nix was wonderful. A stand alone prequel, it will send readers to hunt down his other Old Kingdom books immediately. Clariel wants to be a Borderer but as the daughter of prominent gold smiths, a member of the Abhorsen family, and a close relative to the throne she is forced to go to the city where politics and magic are running amok.

Saturday, July 5, 2014

Book of the Week - The Ways of the Dead by Neely Tucker

The Ways of the Dead
Neely Tucker
Viking 2014

Sully Carter, a veteran reporter of several wars, most recently Bosnia, is now in Washington, D.C. trying to keep his career going despite his increasing problems with alcohol. When the teen daughter of a federal judge is found dead in an alley in the bad neighborhood where she was taking dance classes theories abound  tied to the judge's cases and political ambitions. Sully doesn’t buy the easy solution that leads to the arrest of three black youths who had been harassing  the victim just before her death especially after the body of another young woman is found in the cellar of a nearby building. In Sully’s quest for the truth, it appears he may have stumbled across the trail of a serial killer. Tucker captures the end of an era as the 20th century and old style investigative reporting head to their ends in this suspenseful debut novel.

Thursday, July 3, 2014

ALA and Books Read in June - Final

Just returned from the annual American Library Association conference where I received Novelist's Margaret Monroe. So many good friends showed up to celebrate with me. It was wonderful.

Picked up many advance reading copies that looked like good reads and mailed them home. Can't wait to try them. I did put three of my most highly anticipated books in my carry on and am thrilled I was able to get them.  They are Clariel by Garth Nix, The Doubt Factory by Paolo Bacigalupi, and Firebug by Lish McBride.

June ended up being a very wild and busy month but here are the books read.

Monday, June 23, 2014

Book of the Week - Dangerous by Shannon Hale

Maisie Danger Brown, who was born without a right hand, always wanted to be an astronaut and now, at age 16, the homeschooled daughter of two scientists, wins a contest featured on the back of a cereal box. Her prize is a scholarship to space camp. At the camp, run by the brilliant but odd Dr. Howell, the scientist who built an elevator to an asteroid in geosynchronous orbit and on to a space station, Maisie develops a crush on the very good looking and super wealthy Jonathan Wilder. Everything goes into high gear when Maisie's team along with Wilder are chosen to visit the base station of the elevator. When it turns out the elevator is going up with room to spare, Howell takes the five teens along. At the asteroid they are shown alien artifacts that quickly sink into their hands, creating great pain, and eventually giving each of them a super power. This fast paced action adventure thriller has just enough romance to pull in readers who may not have known they would like science fiction. Scorpion Shards by Neal Shusterman and Steelheart by Brandon Sanderson also feature superhero abilities and world saving action with unique teen protagonists.

Sunday, June 22, 2014

Recent Reads

I've been swamped this month but have gotten in some mmm-mmm-mmm good reading! I hate to talk about books too far in advance so just know that in September you want to read The Hawley Book of the Dead (my review will be in an upcoming issue of Booklist) and as soon as February hits, if you love fairy tales told differently, you'll want to grab Dearest. While you are waiting for it, be sure to read Enchanted and Hero, the companion books in Kontis's Woodcutter series.

Right now you can read The Wrong Girl, a page turning mystery thriller or Making Faces, a feel good tale of friends, love, and loss that folks who likes Shotgun Lovesongs will also enjoy.

Happy reading all, I'm off to decide which of the three books calling my name right now will be my next read.