Friday, August 01, 2008

Books I read in July

Real Murders, The Julius House, Dead Over Heels, A Fool and His Honey, Last Scene Alive, and Poppy Done to Death by Charlaine Harris A
These are excellent murder mysteries starring Aurora Teagarden. Fresh characters and a quirky Southern small town feel. Librarian Teagarden lives a most unusual life, followed by a string of macabre murders and wacko admirers. Quick, fast-paced fun reads.

Midnight for Charlie Bone by Jenny Nimmo A
Fun. Not as good as the Harry Potter books, but along the same line. A dark mysterious school, a boy with new powers, a horrible family life and magical bad guys...

The Borderkind by Christopher Golden A

I loved this! The second tale in ‘The Myth Hunter’, and even better than the first in my opinion. Dark fantasy, quick-paced action, chilling adventure, excellent characterization, touches of horror and a delightful melange of fairy tales and mythology...

Half Magic by Edward Eager A
By accident I discovered two of the books from the Battle of the Books list this year- this one and Heartbeat. They were close to Bruce Coville's books in the library... I'm glad to have read books that 'I should read', but it's funny I didn't know I'd done it until after I'd already read 'em. From the cover: It all begins with a strange coin on a sun-warmed sidewalk. Jane finds the coin, and because she and her siblings are having the worst, most dreadfully boring summer ever, she idly wishes something exciting would happen. And something does: Her wish isgranted. Or not quite. Only half of her wish comes true. It turns out the coin grants wishes- but only by half, so that you must wish for twice as much as you want. Wishing for two times some things is a cinc, but other doubled wishes only cause twice as much trouble. What is half of twice a talking cat? Or to be half-again twice not-here? And how do you double your most heartflet wish, the one you care about so much that it has to be perfect?
Very fun YA. Enjoyed it very much. Light and silly, but about the consequences of not thinking things through before acting. Has the feel of Mary Poppins books (Travers) or Peter Pan...

Mirror, Mirror by Gregory Maguire D-
I made it halfway through this before I finally accepted that I hated it and was not going to bother finishing it... I was just convinced that I’d like it! It’s a retelling of the Snow White tale, it’s by the guy who wrote the fantastically popular ‘Wicked’. However, it’s about the Borgias and the dark nasty years when they controlled the papacy... Very dark & evil times. Not a fun or light or even entertaining book. I’m all up for dark and disturbing, but this was sick & twisted, too.
Heartbeat by Sharon Creech A
This is the other Battle of the Books one I picked up by accident. I loved this little YA book. It tells the story of a young runner named Annie through poetry commenting on the rhythms of her life. She’s a painter/runner who is dealing with a mom who’s pregnant, a grandfather developing alzheimer’s and a best friend named Max. The story is simple, yet told so beautifully...

No Place Like Home by Mary Higgins Clark C
From the cover: Ten-year-old Liza Barton shoots her mom while trying to protect her from her violent husband- Liza’s stepfather. While the death is ruled accidental, the tabloids still compare Liza to the child murderess Lizzie Borden. Liza’s adoptive parents change her name to Celia and try to erase all traces of her past. Widowed after a brief marriage in which she had a son, Jack, she remarries a young lawyer. Celia is happy until, on her birthday, he presents her with a gift-the house where she killed her mother. On moving in, the find the words LITTLE LIZZIE’S PLACE-BEWARE painted in red letters on the lawn. When the real estate agent who sold the house to her husband is murdered, Celia becomes a suspect. As she struggles to prove her innocence, Celia and her little son are being stalked by the killer.
Another of her suspense thrillers... It’s actually an interesting concept- however the execution was way too complicated to be interesting or fun. I lost track of some of the peripheral characters who turn out to be very important in the end, and it just wasn’t worth the time...

Justice Denied by J.A. Jance A
The next one in the Beaumont series. Excellent mystery. I enjoyed this one a lot- about a serial killer executing ex-cons, and the process to find the killer...

The Healer by Sharon Sala A
I thoroughly enjoyed this- an Alaskan guy who can communicate with animals meets up with another loner who’s trying to escape her past... Right up my alley ;)
WARNING: Sensuality abounds- It’s a romance, but the mystery of his healing ability and the bad guy who’s trying to catch him to keep his healing gift all to himself makes it worth the time.

The Prince and the Princess by Marianna Mayer A
An old fashioned fairy tale- a prince who must rescue a princess and defeat an evil wizard. Very fun. He makes friends along the way, and in the end only succeeds through the help of those friends- Always pays to have interesting friends!

Grave Surprise by Charlaine Harris A
Second in the Harper series telling the story of a young woman struck by lightning who can tell where corpses are and how they died. The second installment is a little less ‘woe is me’ than the first and they are definitely growing on me. I like the paranormal mystery aspect of these and watching the main character discover some truths about herself.

Monster of the Year by Bruce Coville A
Uh-oh... Two boys start out with a silly idea (to have a monster of the year contest advertised on an empty billboard) and end up with vampires, mummies, hunchbacks, and lagoon monsters fighting over who will fun. Very silly but, in Coville’s usual style, also an eye-opening tale about the problems these boys have to deal with on an every day basis.

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