May 9, 2014

Unlucky 13 by James Patterson

Unlucky 13 follows each member of the women’s murder club as they deal with their own encounters with criminals.

LINDSAY BOXER – Lindsay is dealing with some of the most gruesome crime scenes that she has seen yet. Someone is placing capsules in food that react with stomach acid causing an explosion within the victim. They die instantly as their insides are blown out. She and her partner Conklin follow different leads that take them to a hamburger joint.
With the bad guy asking for more money each time a bomb goes off and setting off bombs with greater frequency, Lindsay and Conklin have to work quick to discover who is behind it before more innocent people have to die.

YUKI – Happy and in love, Yuki gets married to Brady. Everything is going great until they depart on their honeymoon. All too quickly it becomes a matter of life or death when their boat is taken over by madmen who kill an innocent passenger for every hour that goes by without them getting paid.

CINDY – Mackie Morales has resurfaced, and Cindy sees this as the story of a lifetime. She takes a tip that Lindsay gives her by mistake and she runs with it, tracking Mackie halfway across the country. By the time Cindy arrives and notifies local authorities, Mackie is already back on the move. Once she discovers that Cindy is on her tail, she decides that it is finally time to get her revenge on Lindsay for being the reason her love Mr. Fish died. Will Cindy be able to warn Lindsay before her life is at stake?

This one was a little different from the others in the series. I, and presumably most other fans, am used to the group working together to figure out a case. This time, they all had their own to worry about. The only exception was Claire. She was helping with the “Belly Bomb” case that Lindsay was assigned to because it was taking place in her area.

That being said, it was almost like it was 3 times the thrill. It was three different storylines that all intertwined and affected each party differently.  
It lacked the intensity that some of the other books have, but it did not take away from the entertainment of reading it.

I expected to read a little more about Lindsay’s life as a new mom, but I guess I will have to wait for #14. There was too much going on in this one for her to settle down and have time at home.

I can’t believe I have to wait another year for the next one!

4.5/5 stars

Memorable quotes: “Darlin’, here’s to the best sex, best friends, and the best times,  for the whole of your lives.”

Between Worlds by Yolande Krueger

In this world, there is no make-believe. Just because you haven’t seen something doesn’t mean that it doesn’t exist.

Olive was adopted by two sisters. Once they figured out that they couldn’t have children of their own, they decided to adopt a child and live their lives together. Her mothers are witches. They make potions and cast magic spells.
Olive cannot yet cast spells, but she does make potions.

Olive works at the only coffee shop in town. It is an eccentric place. They name their muffins and drinks after the effects they have on you. If you want coffee for comfort or for warmth, you would order the drinks named, simply, Comfort or Warmth.
She practiced her alchemy skills with the drinks and food options available at The Black Brew. They would tell people that the effects of the food and drinks were magic.

Between Worlds is a coming of age story for a young witch. She doesn’t know the extent of her abilities, but throughout the book, she begins to realize what she is capable of.

It is also a love story between an unlikely couple – a witch and a giant. Olive’s life changed completely once she met Dah-Vid. She really started to realize her true potential, even if she didn’t know how to completely control her powers.

The characters in this book were all around likable. Plus there was a great supporting character that was a dog. That always makes the story a little more fun to read.

It is a pretty light and fun read. There was more conflict towards the end, but leading up to that, it was nice to just read the story about a young witch and her dog.

It was written well. The conversations flowed nicely and felt natural for the most part.

It did end a little abruptly for me. I would have liked for it to explore the outcome of the portal drama. The book was still moving a steady pace towards the end, so it could have gone on a bit longer.

If you are looking for a cute YA/fantasy/paranormal book, you should go ahead and pick this one up.

3/5 stars

May 6, 2014

The Absolutely True Diary of a Part-Time Indian by Sherman Alexie

This is an interesting book in many ways.

First of all, it has been banned from some school libraries due to its controversial topics.  I can't turn down the opportunity to read a controversial book. 

Second, it is written for a young audience crowd that could be as young as seven, but it is written in a way that it can be enjoyed by readers of every age. As you are reading, you can sense some of it is simplified for a younger audience, but it doesn’t lose the meaning behind it, and it doesn’t seem elementary. There are a lot of sexual references as well as profanity.

Third, it is actually based on the experiences of the author. Most of the tragic incidents are true, but according to the interview at the end of the book, a lot of the book is fictional as well. It was neat to see how Alexie could separate himself from Junior to make it into a fictional book.

Junior is a young Indian boy living on a reservation. He doesn’t look exactly like the rest of the people around him. He had a few birth defects that made his head large and his eyes uneven. He is picked on all the time, and gets called names and beat up just for being himself.

Dealing with alcoholic parents, a best friend with anger issues, and the every day trials of living on the reservation, he decides that he needs a change.

He makes a brave decision one day that he wants to go to school outside of the reservation. The school he wants to go to has a predominately white population. He knows that it will not be an easy transition, and he is most likely going to be picked on. But, he would receive that same treatment if he stayed at his current school.
The book then transitioned into a story of an outcast Indian boy dealing with living in a world full of racism while trying to make a name for himself.

I really liked how Alexie was able to tackle really rough topics but present it in a way that wasn’t outright depressing. This book touches on alcoholism, bullying, poverty, homosexuality, and violence.
I think this would be a good book for younger audiences. It can introduce them to tough subjects, and could spark questions and discussions on the issues.

5/5 Stars

Memorable Quotes: “So I draw because I want to talk to the world. And I want the world to pay attention to me.”

“We were supposed to be happy with our limitations. But there was no way Penelope and I were going to sit still. Nope, we both wanted to fly.”

May 1, 2014

The Fault in Our Stars by John Green

This is one of the most talked about young adult books that are around right now. I just knew that I had to end Young Adult April with it because I seem to be the only person left that has not read it.
I knew the basic premise of the book from hearing about it around the internet, but I didn’t know all of the little details.
I knew that there was a young love story line, and I knew that it was really sad, but I didn’t know why.

The main protagonist, and the character that dictates the novel’s point of view has cancer. More than just that, her lungs are not very strong and they often fill with fluid that has to be drained. Because of this, she has to walk around with an oxygen tank everywhere she goes. This is not very appealing to people that do not understand her relationship, so she has not gotten much attention from the boys.

Then Augustus comes into her life and everything changes. It is almost as though she has something, or someone, to fight for and live for. He understands her and her situation because he also had cancer. He lost a leg from it and has to wear a prosthetic. Even though he is an attractive boy, the fake leg turns off many people.

So, Hazel and Augustus are perfect for each other. They understand each other, and their personalities complement the each other’s perfectly. They even get the other one to read their favorite books. It is a sweet modern day teenage love story, but those can never end easily.

I really liked Hazel. Her attitude was so sarcastic and sassy that it was funny to read at times. It made the book really enjoyable.
Augustus was a sweet and charming young man. He had a way with words that allowed him to charm everyone around him.
They were both extremely likable characters and very quirky in their own ways.

I was really surprised by how short this book was. It made everything feel a bit rushed. There was not really any time for their relationship to form; yet all of a sudden they were in love. It is obviously playing on love at first sight, but even with that, it still felt really rushed. I feel like there could have been more time to develop the story.
Even though I knew what was going to happen in the end, I was not prepared to read it.

And yes, I did cry a little.

4/5 Stars. I wish it would have been a little longer.

Memorable Quotes: "Sometimes, you read a book and it fills you with this weird evangelical zeal, and you become convinced that the shattered world will never be put back together unless and until all living humans read the book."

"'Always' was a promise! How can you just break the promise?"

"'That's the thing about pain,' Augustus said, and then glanced back at me. 'It demands to be felt.'"

"I will not tell you our love story, because -- like all real love stories -- it will die with us, as it should."

"'Gus, my love, I cannot tell you how thankful I am for our little infinity. I wouldn't trade it for the world. You gave me a forever within the numbered days, and I'm grateful.'"