Friday, February 26, 2010

Midnighters: Touching Darkness by Scott Westerfeld

Midnighters 2: Touching Darkness by Scott Westerfeld

In this sequel to midnight hour Jessica and her friends continue to learn more about the midnight hour and how it works. Unfortunately they are learning that the darklings may have a way to communicate with humans, and these humans are out to kill the Midnighters. In order survive they must unravel the secrets behind Bixby’s past and their own powers.

So, I remember being sort of iffy on the first book in these series. It was good and enjoyable, but not amazing. I think this book impressed me a little bit more. I really love the story line with Dess and how she finds out more about Bixby with her math power. She takes all the geographical coordinates in the town and finds places that are hidden from the darklings. Yet, she also finds places that the darklings naturally hang out. That was an interesting story-line to me. In addition Melissa learns how to control her mindcasting powers better, and this time we get to see how her power helps her to find out some of the darklings plans and feelings. Don’t want to spoil too much but Rex also gets an interesting new ability at the end of the story. So, next time I check out books at the library book three of this series will be on my list.

Scott Westerfeld's Website

Friday, February 19, 2010

Don't You Marry the Mormon Boys by Janet Kay Jensen

Don’t You Marry the Mormon Boys by Janet Kay Jensen

Andy McBride knows when he meets Louisa Martin that their relationship can never work out. He comes from good LDS family, and Louisa’s family practices Polygamy. As they go through medical school together at the University of Utah they fall in love. Andy ends up working as a doctor in small Kentucky town. Louisa returns to her home in Southern Utah in polygamous community.

The town elders challenge Louisa’s medical care to the other woman in the community, leaving her with little choices to help those around her. Andy faces down challenges in his own practice, making good friends and several enemies. When both have the chance to go to a medical convention in Finland they meet up once again. This time perhaps they will have the chance to be together again.

Don’t Marry the Mormon Boys was a pretty decent read. I had fun reading about the strange people that Andy met while he was working in Kentucky. There are a few really funny scenes that made me laugh out loud. I also liked reading about Louisa and her family. I liked that the author showed good and bad sides to her polygamous community. Louisa had the chance to grow up in a good home with a good father. Yet, the author also shows that women were not treated well in the community, through the work Louisa did in her clinic. It was nice to read a treatment of polygamy that didn’t completely vilify everyone who practiced it, but didn’t turn a blind eye to problems either. The book doesn’t have perfect writing, and a few scenes annoyed me, but the characters were unique and entertaining.

Janet Jensen's Website

Friday, February 12, 2010

Spare Change by Aubrey Mace

Spare Change by Aubrey Mace

Every year Riley Madsen’s family makes resolutions on New Years Eve, but she hates the tradition. She never keeps her New Year resolutions past February. This year she decides to do something so easy there will be no way that she fails. So, she decides to save all of her pennies and buy something nice for herself with what she saved during the year.

Riley’s work at Cancer Ward of the hospital changes her perspective, and she decides to donate what she saves to cancer research. Without really meaning to, she leaks her plan out to her co-workers and suddenly everyone is donating pennies to the cause. Riley is suddenly in charge of a huge charity drive. During the course of the drive she meets a cute bank teller, Paul, and though they start off on the wrong foot, they seem to have an attraction for one another.

Yet, the penny drive also brings a secret admirer, who keeps sending Riley cute notes, and gifts, each one bearing a load of pennies. She hopes that Paul is the penny guy but it looks more and more likely that he is not. When the true identity of the penny guy is revealed Riley has to make a hard choice.

This cute romantic comedy was so much fun to read. I really loved the humor in this book. It relied more on actual funny situations rather than just humiliating embarrassing experiences that make you cringe more than chuckle. The characters remained true to themselves instead of randomly acting silly to get a laugh. In the middle of all the fun the book has true heart, as it tells the story of people willing to give of themselves for others, and of an ordinary woman, who ends up doing an extraordinary thing. I would recommend this light-hearted book to all girls out there, young or old.

Author's website
Author's blog

Friday, February 5, 2010

The Dead and Gone by Susan Beth Pfeffer

The dead and the gone by Susan Beth Pfeffer

This book is not a sequel to Life as We Knew It, but a companion book. The plot line is the same—moon is hit by asteroid causing apocalyptic meltdown worldwide—it is the setting and characters that are different. Miranda and her family are stranded in suburb in Pennsylvania. They are a typical middle class, divorced family, which doesn’t have official religious connections. In fact religion is not really mentioned at all.

The Dead and the Gone tells the story of Alex Morales, a son of Puerto Rican immigrants, devout in the catholic faith, and living the middle of New York City. Alex attends an all boys catholic school on scholarship, and does everything he can to prepare for a good college education. He is working at his job when the moon is hit by the asteroid, and doesn’t know what is happening at first. His mom is working at the hospital at her new job as a surgery technician, and his father is attending a wedding in Puerto Rico. Since his elder brother Carlos is a Marine in California that leaves him, a 17 year old, in charge of his two little sisters for the time being. He soon learns that his father won’t be back from Puerto Rico any time soon, and in fact may have been killed in the huge tidal waves that hit the island. Then his mom never comes back from her job, and that leaves him in the huge city fending for himself, and his sisters until things get better or until they can get out.

I really enjoyed reading this book, thought I really liked Life as We Knew It better than the dead an gone I still thought it was a riveting read. It really is much darker than the first book. Alex steals stuff from bodies to buy food on the black market. A flu epidemic hits the city and the bodies lay out on the streets to get eaten by rats. Details like that make this book a bit more depressing to read, but you again get caught up in the characters struggle to survive. Again the theme of taking care of family is a big theme in the book. Alex does all he can to protect his sisters, and you really feel for him when he has to make hard decisions about how to take care of them.

I really enjoyed reading something from a Catholic character’s perspective that didn’t portray the church structures in a bad light. Reading a book with strong Catholic religion themes isn’t something I do often. So it was nice to read something from a new point of view. I’ve discovered I like to read stories about faith. This story doesn’t really bring up the almost clichĂ© why does God allow such bad things to happen, but could still provoke interesting questions about how faith helps us to get through times of trial.

I would probably recommend this one for older teenagers as the themes are kind of dark, but it still an engaging book that is hard to put down once you get started.

Visit Susan Beth Pfeffer's blog