Thursday, June 28, 2012

The Catastrophe of a Broken Heart

In The Catastrophic History of You and Me by Jess Rothenberg, sixteen-year-old Brie Eagen is told by her boyfriend that he does not love her—and literally dies of a broken heart. Now in the afterlife, Brie must go through the five stages of grief with help from Patrick, another lost soul, before she can finally rest in peace.

Sunday, June 24, 2012

Eve, Terrified of Adam

Okay, I just finished Eve by Anna Carey, and I don't know WHAT to think. It started out like such a happy, idealistic book about the future. Eve was the happiest girl at her compound, accomplished in many languages, subjects, and surrounded by beloved friends. But then, when she was about to give her valedictorian speech and head off to a bright future learning a trade and having a glamorous life in the city, she found out that the future she was looking forward to was a lie.

Wednesday, June 20, 2012

Tiger, tiger burning bright

I"m not sure I know anyone who ISN'T fascinated by tigers. They've been the muse of poets & artists for hundreds if not thousands of years. William Blake wrote an amazing poem the title of which I used to title this blog. That's probably why I found myself reading book after book about tigers. Two of my faves were "Tiger Moon" by Antonia Michaelis and "Tiger's Curse" by Collen Houck. Incidently, both also take place in India which is also pretty cool.

Friday, June 15, 2012

Teenagers Fight Communism with Magic!

Okay, technically it's alchemy, not magic.  And technically, they're trying to prevent everyone from using nuclear weapons; they're just starting with the Communists.  And technically, it's the adults who are supposed to be preventing nuclear war, but they keep getting kidnapped.  So it's up to three teens with an ancient book of alchemy recipes to outwit the bad guys and save the day in The Apothecary by Maile Melov.  Which brings me back to: teenagers fight communism with magic - er, alchemy!  In 1950s Britain, of course. 

I knew I'd like this book the moment that Janie, the narrator and main character, confessed her desire to be more like Katharine Hepburn.  If you have not seen a movie with Katharine Hepburn in it, go do so.  Her award winning classics are The Philadelphia Story and The African Queen, but the films where she co-starred with Spencer Tracy, like Adam's Rib, are a lot of fun too.  My personal favorite of her movies is Bringing Up Baby - because escaped leopard!  Anyway, the point is, if a character in a book decides that Katharine Hepburn is their role model, then I approve.  And then I recommend the book and the witty Ms. Hepburn to you.

"If you obey all the rules, you miss all the fun."  ~ Katharine Hepburn

Book Ninja

Monday, June 11, 2012

The Blue Pill? or the Red Pill?

What if you could change something fundamental about yourself with one little pill? People take medication for anxiety, for ADHD, for allergies, and that's just the A's. These are all pharmaceuticals that make your life easier to live. Well, what if there was a drug that could turn you straight?

In Love Drugged, by James Klise, there is. Fifteen-year-old Jamie has been trying to think himself straight, without success. Then he meets Celia. She's cool and funny and smart and beautiful, and he genuinely likes her . . . just not in that way. But he feels like he should, so when he discovers that her scientist father is developing a drug called Rehomoline, he thinks it's the answer to all his problems.

But can any pill, no matter how advanced, change something so fundamental? And even if it can, is Jamie going to like the person he becomes after taking the pill?

Friday, June 8, 2012

Everything Old is New Again

It's always fun to see a classic story play out in a modern setting.  Briar Rose, by Jane Yolen, offers an unconventional interpretation of the Sleeping Beauty myth that combines chilling Holocaust history with a modern search for identity.  After her beloved byt mysterious grandmother's death, Becca, a serene young journalist, is drawn into a seemingly inconclusive hunt for her family history.  To go on, she has only a few documents and the almost-fairy tales her grandmother told her constantly. 

Monday, June 4, 2012

Time Travel to China

If you are a history buff and even if you're not, the idea of time travel is tantalizing.  The first time travel novel I read was Daphne DuMaurier's now forgotten The House of the Strand which was a trip back to 14th century England.  (DuMaurier is better known for Rebecca which is always a good mystery read!)  I was hooked from the start and so when Along the River by Adeline Yen Mah fell into my hands, I knew it was my next book to read.  The story begins in China during the dark days of World War II.  Thirteen year old CC is helping her Aunt to smuggle American airmen away from prying Japanese eyes.  In a moment of panic she runs and falls down hitting her head and falls into a coma for several weeks.  When she emerges, she is inexplicably drawn to a painting she sees in a book.  She feels as if she has been there.  It is a painting of a busy river scene during the Song Dynasty (970-1279).  Through hypnotherapy she relates a story to her doctor of that time as if she were there.  You will feel as if you are there too as a story emerges of how the painting came to be.

Friday, June 1, 2012

Dragon Trilogy

 His Majesty's Dragon by Naomi Novik takes place during the Napoleonic Wars.  In this fantasy,  aerial combat is accomplished with the use of dragons.  Laurence of the British Navy finds himself the trainer for a dragon he has named Temeraire and he has new responsibilities as he feeds and gets to know the newly hatched dragon.   This is an exceptional dragon of strength and power and I am surprised that he is also intelligent and can speak!   Laurence feels conflicted because if he stays with Temeraire he must leave his career as an officer in the Royal Navy and join the flying aerial fleet. There were fantastic battle scenes and unique dragons of different breeds with exceptional skills.  Novik continues this soaring adventure with Throne of Jade and Black Powder War.