Tuesday, January 22, 2008

Hi! I'm back!

So, last week, I didn't really post. Mostly, because I was on vacation!

The Florida Keys were warm and sunny and very relaxing. All in all, lovely.

We went snorkeling.

But, I am waaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaay behind in book reviewing. So, here we go.

But, before we go there, my 9 Picks for January are up at the Biblio File store. Check it out.

This weekend, I read (a lot) and got totally hooked on The Tudors. Hotcha, hotcha, I'm addicted. I also listened to the Juno Soundtrack NON-STOP. I highly recommend. (I'm still singing all the songs in my head. We won't stop until somebody calls the cops and even then, we'll start again and just pretend that nothing ever happened...)

But, yeah, the books.

Harmless Dana Reinhardt

Everyone's told lies. Most lies aren't even that bad. They don't hurt anyone...they're just harmless.

Emma and Anna and Mariah are inseperable. Through short chapters alternating points of view, we see three girls starting to change. This is a story of changing friendships and growing up and the one big thing that gets in the way.

It was simple enough-- they would tell their parents they were going to a movie and instead go to this party thrown by some people at the public school. When they're caught, they tell a lie. Just a little lie. Emma was attacked by the river--that's why they were late, why they never made it to the movie. Their story would be vague enough that they wouldn't get caught.

Just a harmless lie.

Of course, it turns into something much bigger.

I liked the premise, and I liked the plot. I wasn't so sure on many of the sub-plots-- I couldn't place their reasoning in their overall narrative. Also, all three girls are very different characters, but their voices are not as different as they should be.

I thought Mariah was kinda flat as the bad girl. Yes, her backstory was interesting, but she was not.

But, the unraveling of the lie was amazing.

Losing Forever Gayle Friesen

Jes isn't coping well. Her mother's getting remarried, which she isn't totally happy about and then, BAM! Carl's perfect daughter, Angela shows up. Angela is everything that Jes isn't. Plus, a secret shoplifter.

Told over the summer, mainly in lake visits, Jes risks losing her family and friends as she tries to keep things from changing.

There's also a dead sister and an icky best-friend's boyfriend situation.

I liked it. I liked the characters and how real they seemed. I didn't really dig Jes that much, just as a personal thing-- many people will strongly identify with her, but not me.

The Adventures of Pink Elephant Vol. 1 Christine Amamiya

Mandy and Christie are just hanging out in the yard one day when something falls from outer space straight into their swimming pool. It seems to be some sort of egg that hatches... a pink elephant who is super smart, can fly, and extremely compassionate.

Pink Elephant goes on to deal with icky school projects and bullies.

We could all use a pink elephant in our lives.

Amamiya is 17 (or was when she wrote this). I'm going to state straight out that I'm harsh on child-writers (blame Paolini) and I might not have read her prose so critically had I not known her age before I cracked the book. She does have talent though. She doesn't over stretch and tells her tale simply and in a straight-forward manner.

While the book probably won't stay with me for long, she does tell a sweet story that kids are going to like. This is projected to be a ten volume series, and I will be very interested to see how Amamiya grows as a writer in the later volumes...

(Full disclosure: This book was provided by the author.)

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