Sunday, July 1, 2012

Book Reviews for June 2012

So this actually doesn't seem like very many books.  And it isn't.  But keep in mind that I read 280 pages of manuscript for my WIFYR workshop.  Twice.  And made editing notes.  Tyler reminded me I wasn't lazy last month, even tho I only read seven books.

172 Hours On The Moon by Johan Harstad

Part psychological thriller, part sci-fi horror, I could definitely see this book as a movie.  When Nasa's shady mission to return to the moon culminates in a lottery allowing three lucky teens to accompany the astronauts, things begin to go awry.  Danger and death result.

One nice thing about this book was that none of the main teen characters were American.  One was French, one was Japanese and one was Norwegian.  There were some questions posed that were never answered, but all in all, I'm very interested to see who options this film and what they turn it into.

 Lips Touch: Three Times by Laini Taylor

Carol assigned this for our reading in preparation for WIFYR.  I had read it before, two summers ago when Little Debbie loaned it to me, but I decided to read it again.

Okay, I know the cover is a little enigmatic and girly, and the title seems . . . skewed toward the romance genre, but this book is AMAZING.  The prose is luscious.  I enjoyed every word.

Lips Touch is actually a collection of three novellas in the speculative fiction genre (fantasy, but not high fantasy) about first kisses.  And they're not the sweet, everything's-roses kinds of first kisses.  They're gateways to darkness or awareness or transcendence.  These tales are creepy.  Highly recommended!

The Loser's Guide To Life and Love by A.E. Cannon

This delightful little book, written by a woman I know and admire, Ann Cannon, was probably the biggest surprise I've had this year.  I didn't know what to expect from the cover, but I didn't expect a laugh-out-loud story of new love and strange coincidences.

The summer Ed works a boring job at Reel Life Movies, he meets a mysterious and beautiful girl visiting from out of town and decides to adopt the name on his hand-me-down name tag: Sergio.  Romantic hijinks ensue, with wonderful changes in the POV with other characters, all leading up to a midsummer night's party no one will forget.

I was reading this on my couch and Ginny kept looking at me because I couldn't stop laughing at this book.  No questionable content.  Highly recommended.

The Obsidian Blade by Pete Hautman

Here is another book that surprised me.  I didn't really know what to expect, never having read Pete Hautman.  But he was on Carol's list, so I took the leap.  This is YA speculative fic.  I guess we could call it sci-fi, although it wasn't written like modern sci-fi, so it threw me for a bit.  I found this book riveting.  And I loved the prose.

I actually want to give absolutely nothing away about this book.  I would love for you all to read it and let me know what you think.  I have a copy if you want to borrow.

Highly recommended.

Outside In by Maria V. Snyder

This is a companion, sequel and final chapter to Inside Out, which review you can read from last month.

I found this sci-fi dystopian duo very compelling.  I wanted to know why they were in danger, who was threatening them and how they would get out of their predicament.  Trella is a very proactive and resourceful heroine.  I think anyone who enjoys this genre will get a kick out of Inside (the duo's name).

Warnings on: Violence, sexual situations.


Stolen by Lucy Christopher

When Gemma is abducted from the airport during a family vacation, she doesn't know if she'll ever see her family again.  But as she struggles to find a way to escape, she begins to feel empathy toward her captor.

Written as a letter from victim to abductor, this novel in 2nd person perspective won a Printz Honor award.

Warnings on: disturbing situations of captivity (no sexual abuse), may not be suitable for younger or sensitive readers.  But a very interesting study of a kidnapping relationship.

Words in the Dust by Trent Reedy

So I was privileged to hear Trent Reedy present a keynote speech at WIFYR this year.  He explained his service in Afghanistan, his journey to publishing and what ultimately inspired him to write this book.  I was very moved by his words.

Thirteen year-old Zulaikha has grown up with some very hard things.  Her inability to attend school, her cleft palate, the loss of her mother, her stern stepmother.  But she never stops dreaming of better things.  Through the generous teachings of a friend, Zulaikha finds inspiration in poetry and literature and hope in the meager blessings that come her way.

Trent Reedy says he wrote this book partly as a tool to help children develop empathy for the people of Afghanistan.  It's a beautiful book, and I highly recommend it.

Trent Reedy said, "Write your book.  Because you don't know who, someday, somewhere, will pick it up and read it.  And it will save their life.  You can't know.  So write it."

Warnings on: a scene of domestic violence, a scene of a Taliban home invasion, and a scene with descriptions of a badly burned character.

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