Sunday, September 28, 2008

Upcoming Reviews

Hey everyone, I know I haven't posted in a while but I have been so busy. I started my job last week and Junior year is coming in full swing. I am currently reading In Cold Blood by Truman Capote for Independent Reading at school (always my favorite assignment!) and am slowly but surely working my way through it. Having recently purchased some new books at Borders this weekend, I decided to share with you all my towering stack of 30 books just waiting to be devoured. This week is Homecoming which means less homework, but more out-of-school stuff, but I'll try to put up a review in the next week. In the mean time, keep reading and enjoy the beginning of fall!
The Sister-Poppy Adams
Sunshine-Robin McKinley
The Girls-Lori Lansens
The Host-Stephenie Meyer
The Accomplice-Kathryn Heyman
Sail-James Patterson
The Passion Flower Massacre-Nicola Morgan
The Tooth Fairy-Graham Joyce
The Hunger Games-Suzanne Collins
Gone-Michael Grantp,
P.S. I Love You-Cecelia Ahern
The Writing Class-Jincy Willet
How to Ditch Your Fairy-Justine Larbalestier
Black Rabbit Summer-Kevin Brooks
The Year We Disappeared-Cylin Busby and John Busby
The House on the Gulf-Margaret Peterson Haddix
Bliss-Lauren Myracle
Peeps-Scott Westerfeld
What Was Lost-Catherine O’Flynn
Driving Sideways-Jess Riley
I Capture the Castle-Dodie Smith
The Other Boleyn Girl-Philippa Gregory
Still Summer-Jacquelyn Mitchard
The Handmaid’s Tale-Margaret Atwood
Lost Summer-Alex Mcaulay
The Dead of Night-John Marsden
Midnighters-Scott Westerfeld
The Beach House-Jane Green
The Faerie Path-Frewin Jones
Elsewhere-Gabrielle Zevin

Friday, September 19, 2008

The Christopher Killer by Alane Ferguson

As the daughter of a Colorado Country coroner, Cameryn Mahoney is no stranger to death. She's always been fascinated by the science of it. So when she convinces her father to give her a job as his assistant, she's thrilled to finally get some hands-on experience in forensics. But Cammie is in for more than she bargained for when the second case that she attends turns out to be someone she knows-the latest victim of a serial killer know as the Christopher Killer. And if dealing with that isn't hard enough, Cammie soon realizes that if she's not careful, she might end up as the killer's next victim.
Reading much like an episode of CSI, The Christopher Killer is a solid, forensically-based piece of fiction. With edge-of-your-seat thrills and in-depth forensic info, you'll enjoy yourself and learn something. It is evident Alane Ferguson did her homework before writing this book. Although the characters are a bit underdeveloped, since this is the first book of a series, the characters are being introduced and will surely develop along with the series. A quick read that's great for those who love mystery and suspense.

Saturday, September 13, 2008

The Harrowing by Alexandra Sokoloff

Baird College freshman Robin Stone has decided to spend the Thanksgiving holiday in her dorm, a former Victorian fraternity house. During a massive rainstorm, she's joined by four other students: Patrick, a handsome jock; Martin, a scholarly eccentric; Lisa, every boy's friend; and Cain, a brooding musician. When they unearth an old Ouija board, they get some very odd messages. Soon, the unlikely group begins to believe that there's a sixth presence among them -- one that represents an indescribable evil. Upon learning of the death of a law student in their dorm eight decades ago, the five unite to fight the unseen evil before it can destroy all of them.
From the very beginning, The Harrowing sets the stage for a chilling ghost story: an empty gothic college, a power-outage, and an old Ouija Board. Although the characters fit into the normal clichés, the nerd, the jock, the beauty, the tease and the artist, they each have a hidden past that bonds them together and makes them unique. I found myself falling in love with the characters and being pulled into their struggle. The information on the Kabbalah and other Jewish folklore was really interesting, something I’d never heard of before. Screenwriter Alex Sokoloff excellently transposed a cinematic vision into novel form, and for those of us who love to close our eyes and imagine characters and places and all that goes creep in the night, it’s a tremendous read.

Tuesday, September 9, 2008

The Forbidden Room by Sarah Wray

It takes just one moment for Jenny's life to change forever. Taken to live at Oak Hall Children's Centre, Jenny begins a very different life, confined to a wheelchair and dreaming of an earlier time.
Then Helen and John Holland offer her a foster home with their adorable five-year-old son, Stephen. They are the model of a perfect family, and Jenny dares to hope for happiness. Her days fill with school, her first boyfriend, learning pottery with Helen and Stephen, preparation for a ski trip, and learning to walk - and ski - again. But why is the Holland family so reclusive, what prompts Helen's sudden anger, and is the family as perfect as it seems? When she discovers an old diary beneath a floorboard, Jenny begins to unravel a dark secret. And suddenly she must make a huge and dangerous decision.
A thought-provoking page turner, The Forbidden Room is a great book that deserves more recognition that it has. Sarah Wray delves into a very controversial topic that is plaguing the news and headline: stem cell research. This book raises the question, how far would you go to save someone you love? What kept me going was the intriguing mystery at the books center that glued everything together.
Although, not the highest quality fiction out there, The Forbidden Room is definitely worth the read, especially for those who are interested in genetics.

Sunday, September 7, 2008

Blindness by Jose Saramago

Since I am extremely lazy as of this moment, I am going to let Amazon do the work. Their review recounts everything I would say perfectly:
In an unnamed city in an unnamed country, a man sitting in his car waiting for a traffic light to change is suddenly struck blind. But instead of being plunged into darkness, this man sees everything white. A Good Samaritan offers to drive him home (and later steals his car); his wife takes him by taxi to a nearby eye clinic where they are ushered past other patients into the doctor's office. Within a day the man's wife, the taxi driver, the doctor and his patients, and the car thief have all succumbed to blindness. As the epidemic spreads, the government panics and begins quarantining victims in an abandoned mental asylum--guarded by soldiers with orders to shoot anyone who tries to escape. So begins Portuguese author José Saramago's gripping story of humanity under siege, written with a dearth of paragraphs, limited punctuation, and embedded dialogue minus either quotation marks or attribution. At first this may seem challenging, but the style actually contributes to the narrative's building tension, and to the reader's involvement. In this community of blind people there is still one set of functioning eyes: the doctor's wife has affected blindness in order to accompany her husband to the asylum. As the number of victims grows and the asylum becomes overcrowded, systems begin to break down: toilets back up, food deliveries become sporadic; there is no medical treatment for the sick and no proper way to bury the dead. Inevitably, social conventions begin to crumble as well, with one group of blind inmates taking control of the dwindling food supply and using it to exploit the others. Through it all, the doctor's wife does her best to protect her little band of blind charges, eventually leading them out of the hospital and back into the horribly changed landscape of the city. Blindness is in many ways a horrific novel, detailing as it does the total breakdown in society that follows upon this most unnatural disaster. Saramago takes his characters to the very edge of humanity and then pushes them over the precipice. His people learn to live in inexpressible filth, they commit acts of both unspeakable violence and amazing generosity that would have been unimaginable to them before the tragedy. The very structure of society itself alters to suit the circumstances as once-civilized, urban dwellers become ragged nomads traveling by touch from building to building in search of food. The devil is in the details, and Saramago has imagined for us in all its devastation a hell where those who went blind in the streets can never find their homes again, where people are reduced to eating chickens raw and packs of dogs roam the excrement-covered sidewalks scavenging from corpses. And yet in the midst of all this horror Saramago has written passages of unsurpassed beauty.
Overall, a gorgeous, well written piece of literature. I'd say if you are over 18, READ IT...Now!!

Monday, September 1, 2008

Beauty by Robin McKinley

Beauty has never liked her nickname. She is thin and awkward; it is her two sisters, Grace and Hope, who are the beautiful ones. But what she lacks in looks, she can perhaps make up for in intelligence and courage. When her father comes home with the tale of an enchanted castle in the forest and the terrible promise he had to make to the Beast who lives there, Beauty knows she must go to the castle, a prisoner of her own free will. Her father protests that he will not let her go, but she answers, “Cannot a Beast be tamed?”
Robin McKinley’s beloved telling illuminates the unusual love story of a most unlikely couple: Beauty and the Beast. (Review taken from Amazon) “This much-loved retelling of the classic French tale Beauty and the Beast elicits the familiar magical charm, but is more believable and complex than the traditional story. In this version, Beauty is not as beautiful as her older sisters, who are both lovely and kind. Here, in fact, Beauty has no confidence in her appearance but takes pride in her own intelligence, her love of learning and books, and her talent in riding. She is the most competent of the three sisters, which proves essential when they are forced to retire to the country because of their father's financial ruin. The plot follows that of the renowned legend: Beauty selflessly agrees to inhabit the Beast's castle to spare her father's life. Beauty's gradual acceptance of the Beast and the couple's deepening trust and affection are amplified in novel form. Robin McKinley's writing has the flavor of another century, and Beauty heightens the authenticity as a reliable and competent narrator.” I breezed through this novel, the rich language enveloping around me as I read the wonderful retelling of my favorite fairytale. The only fault I found was that the ending felt quite rushed. I would have loved to learn more about what happened after the wedding. Though this book is labeled as a 9-12 age range, I believe teens and adults alike would be very pleased with the rich texture and brilliant storytelling of Robin McKinley’s Beauty.