Tuesday, December 21, 2010

Stiff: The Curious Life of Human Cadavers by Mary Roach

I am not usually a person who reads nonfiction. I read to escape, not to learn. Sounds rather bad for a librarian and teacher doesn't it!

Anyway, this book has intrigued me for a long time. I remember seeing it on a bookshelf at the High School several years ago when I was here for a school board meeting. Even though I am not paticularly interested in dead bodies, it seemed like the right time to read about corpses! You know, a cheery preChristmas read!

Actually this was a VERY interesting book. Roach has a way of presenting her facts with just enough of herself included that want to know more! The book starts with Roach visiting a retraining session for plastic surgeons on cadaver heads. And as creepy as that sounds - it really wasn't.

From there she takes us around the world to find research that depends on bodies donated to science. The subject is treated with respect - but it's not boring. Especially when she researches the ways that bodies may be 'buried' in the future...think flower beds!

If you are tired of the walking vampire stories and movies that seem to be everywhere - try a book about what REALLY happens.

Tuesday, August 3, 2010

Poison Study, Magic Study, Fire Study by Maria V. Snyder

I was a bit hesitant to read this series after the Storm Glass books. I liked them - but they got very predictable. These were different! I really liked the characters and the story line was much more intriguing. it may have also helped that this series actually happened before the story glass books - I read them out of order.

1 - Poison Study
2 - Magic Study
3 - Fire Study

The books follow Yelena. Her story begins as she is taken from the dungeons of Ixia to be executed for murdering her deranged orphanage master. In Ixia murder is never justified. As that moment she is given a choice to become the Commander's food taster - the one who detects if poison exists. She herself will injest a specific poison each day and recieve the antidote the next...this keeps her alive and from escaping.

This begins the saga to find out who Yelana really is...in the first book she helps to defeat a magician who has bewitched the Commander, falls in love with her Ixian keeper, Valek, and discovers that she had actually been kidnapped all those years ago. Yelana is also almost killed by a magician who is sent from the souther land of Sitia to investigate spikes of magic. As Yelana slowly understands that she has unique magic abilities she seeks out the same magician, Irys to help her.

Magic Study begins with the homecoming to her long lost parents and the reuniting with her older brother, Leif. The guilt of watching his younger sister kidnapped has warped his life almost to the point of no return. And her return did not help that. Together they travel to the Magician's Keep in Sitia for Yelena to be trained in magic. Yelana has needed to exist on her own all those years in Ixia and has a terrible time trying to follow the protocol and rules of the Master Magicians - especially Roze Featherstone the First Magician. Of course there are problems. But the biggest problem is a nasty magician named Ferde, who has been kidnapping and killing young girls to gain their magical abilities. Yelana must depend on those around her to help her defeat Ferde.

The final book, Fire Study, picks up the tale as Ferde is freed from the dungeons and takes off for the unknown Daviian Plains to rendevous with a group of disgruntled, power hungry young magicians who seek the dark power of Blood Magic to boost their ablitites. This magic requires innocent blood to be sacrificed. Yelena, Leif and a group of their friends seek to defeat this powerful band. In the quest Yelana discovers her true magical gift of Soulseeker. And faces a horrible Fire Warper - the soul who controls the underworld.

So that is the very bare bones of these books. But, that doesn't give you much of an impression of what is really in these tales.

The focus on friendship and the unexpected bonds that develop between unlikely people -even enemies. Through friendship souls are healed and destroyed. And through friendship characters discover what their potential really is - potential for good and evil.

The books also focus on magic. Magic is not the hocus pocus - say a spell and it works kind. Rather the kind that exists deep inside a person. Each person must connect with the magic source - the power blanket that wraps around the entire world. To make magic work you grab a thin strand of this power and then apply your own special gifts to it...sort of like electricity being used by different appliances. I like that idea!

And of course there is love
...family love that shapes who a person is - across miles and time.
...romantic love that takes you by surprise and reshapes you into something new and unexpected
...clan love - the loyalty that forces you to make decisions for a group, not for your self.

These are really great books - fast reads with interesting and unexpected turns!

Saturday, July 31, 2010

The Red Necklace by Sally Gardner

I've been putting off reading this book...a book about the French Revolution??? I am not too keen on historical fiction. Too often there is more history than story!

That is not the case in this story! I really enjoyed it! It's a fast read - one that pulls you in and keeps you interested. There are children - Yann the orphaned son of a gypsy dancer and Sido the forgotten and mistreated daughter of an insane Marquis. There is a dwarf, a very talented fellow named Tetu who is able to control a wooden puppet by pulling at the invisible light threads with his mind. And a horrible villian named Count Kalliovski - his name alone brings fear into those who surround him.

This is a story at the start of the revolution, when the excesses of France cause the people to revolt. When the revolution was about equality and freedom for the masses. In this turmoil Sido's father spends and spends and spends and ignores his rising debt, he has the Count to back him up. You see the Count is more than willing to lend money to anyone - so long as they share their secrets with him. It seems a tiny price, until he comes to claim his pay. At that point the borrowers understand blackmail for the first time - and for many the last.

Sido is held captive by her insane father, until by chance Yann crosses her path on a fateful night. At that moment both of their futures are sealed - though they don't know it.

The Count has other plans for the dwarf and Sido. He plans to kill the dwarf - he knew the Count when he was only a nameless gambler with a special interest in a gypsy dancer. And Sido - he plans to marry her in order to gain her vast inheritance. To that end he has blackmailed Sido's father.

This story stands alone rather nicley - but the story does not end with this book. There is a sequel... Can't wait!!

Scat by Carl Hiaasen

Nick attends a snooty private school on the edge of the Everglades. He is trapped in biology class by Mrs. Starch - the toughest, meanest, grouchiest teacher ever. His only ally is Marta, a girl he finds himself spending more and more time with. In the same class is Smoke, a creepy older boy who had been through biology more than once and based on his confrontation with Mrs. Starch was headed for another round. On that day Smoke chomped on the pencil Mrs. Starch was poking at his head, chewing and swallowing it. The class was stunned and more than a little afraid when he threatened to get even with her.

The next day was a field trip to the Black Vine Swamp, Smoke didn't show up for the trip and Mrs. Starch didn't come back from the trip.

Nick and Marta find themselves in the middle of a horrible mystery. It seems obvious that Smoke has something to do with Mrs. Starch's disappeareance, following a fire set on the edge of the swamp...Smoke and fire!

But, there is more going on than they first suspect. A strange character named Twilly is seen driving Mrs. Starch's car AND he finds the kids in Starch's house.

Then there is the incredible change in Smoke, he is clean, studies and even seems civilized. But , most disturbing is what Mrs. Starch's complete disappearance.

This is another great story by Hiassan. Each character brings a piece to the final puzzle. But, Nick is clearly the strongest of the bunch. From trying to become a lefty since his father's arm had to be amputated following an injury in Iraq, to believing Smoke when everyone else couldn't and finally and most importantly to having the courage to really seek out Mrs. Starch and follow her commands to save an endangered Florida animal.

This is a fast and fun read. I really liked it - even if it's named after Panther poo.

Wednesday, July 28, 2010

Thirteenth Child by Patricia Wrede

This isn't one I can rave about. It was good - but in a build up for a series way. This is the first in a series called Frontier Magic. Interesting premise...maybe. The United States is now Columbia and magic is a strong piece of the lives of all Columbians. The founders - Franklin and Jefferson used magic to gain independence as did leaders all the way back to the Romans. But - that's just history.

This first installment is about Eff - the thirteenth child and her brother Lan a double 7 - the seventh son of a seventh son. Lan is supposed to be gifted with powerful magic and Eff will end up turning to evil. So the old aunts and uncles say.

Eff and Lan's parents do not put much belief into that and decide to accept a job teaching magic at a frontier academy at the western edge of the civilized world. The town is right by the magic border that keeps out all manner of nasty beasts...mammoth and such.

That's the set up. The story is part frontier life and part magic. I kept waiting for a big moment - Eff is constantly fighting any urge to use magic or give in to any negative thought for fear it will turn her bad. But the big moment never came. There is a magical confrontation and some questions are sort of answered...but not really.

So...it's ok. But, I really want to read the next book before I decide how much I liked it!

Thursday, July 22, 2010

Airman by Eoin Colfer

I have enjoyed all the Artemis Fowl books Colfer has written...these are filled with brilliant fairies, demons and fantastic machines of the future/otherworld. This book is a huge departure.

Here is a story of a doomed pair of islands of the coast of Ireland - Saltee Islands. Presiding over these rocky outcrops is Good King Nick - an American raised balloonist from the Civil War who happened to be the last remaining heir to the Saltee throne. The time is mid 1800s and the race to the sky is building.

That sounds a bit boring to me - I am not really a mechanical lover...but this story is more than just mechanics. Conor Broekhart is is a lovable, charming flying fanatic...actually pre-flying. It hasn't technically been invented yet. He is also the son of the head of the Wall guards and the best friend of Princess Isabella. Life is good on this island. Good King Nick is trying hard to right centuries of wrongs - bringing about improved living conditions, making things more equal and providing more humane conditions in the diamond mine/prison on Little Saltee.

There is however a cloud...Marshall Bonvilian - head of the royal guards. He is a power mongering, conniving, evil man who has been bred to overthrow the royalty so his family line will finally be the rulers of the Saltees.

Due to a horrible twist of fate, Conor is sent to prison, yes the diamond mine prison, at the age of 14 at the Marshall's hand. He must face the impossible task of staying alive that first day. He does so with the help of his cell mate Wynter. Displaying some of the wit and brilliance of Artemis Fowl, Conor is able to strike a deal with the prison hit man - Otto Malarky - one of the Battering Rams gang, and the next two years of his life are bearable.

But, he must figure out a way to escape, decide whether to try to reconcile with his family ( they believe him part of the plot that killed the king) or flee with stolen diamonds to America to build his dream airplane.

I really liked the story, although when I thought things were lost for Conor - I did stop reading for the evening. Sometimes it's just too hard to know things that the characters don't!

Sunday, July 18, 2010

The Boy in the Striped Pajamas by John Boyne

This is a powerful tale of the holocaust from the eyes and the heart of a young boy. Bruno and his family move to Out-With when his father is made commandant by the Fury. He hates the nasty little house and the fear that seems to live everywhere. But, most of all he is desperately lonely.

This changes when he decides to begin exploring. As he walks the length of the fence he discovers a 'dot that became a speck that became a blob that became a figure that became a boy.' So begins his friendship with Shmeul.

The reader knows the realities of this concentration camp, but told through the innocent eyes of a 9 year old boy it is easy to ignore the hard bits. Reading it,made me understand how the neighboring people could justify and ignore just as Bruno was doing. Even after a year he didn't understand why the fence existed.

The ending is sad - but sad in a ridiculous way...but I can't tell you a single thing. I can't hint at the end. I can't.

The book is written in a light handed, non-judgemental way that allows all the judgement to come from the readers. My Boyne is a genius!!!

The Invention of Hugo Cabret by Brian Selznick

Hugo is a scruffy french orphan caught in an impossible situation. His father was killed in a museum fire and left Hugo with an uncle who lives in the bowels of the train station and must wind and maintain all the station's clocks. He is mean and cheap and forces Hugo to steal to be able to eat. And then, he disappears.

Hugo secretly keeps the clocks running as he works on a project to amazing to really contemplate.

Before his father died he had been a clockmaker and had discovered an automaton - a man machine poised to write a secret message. The automaton was in the museum attic where he worked and that's why he was in the museum when it burned. Hugo rescued the automatan from the rubble of the museum and set out to rebuild the damaged parts. To do this - he had to steal toys from the toy maker stand at the train station. That is where he meets an old grumpy man and his god daughter.

This sets in motion a series of events that bring all the details of the mysterious machine, the old man and a history of making dreams together.

What makes this book truly spectacular is the drawings that intersperse the text. The book becomes a slow moving movie - starting with a broad shot and slowly tightening down to the main focus. There are also photographs of actual events which add a sort of newsreel feel to parts of the book. This is a big fat book that took only an hour or two to read - but it's a book that a second reading would be beneficial - it feels like there might be hidden clues and magic secrets woven into the book just waiting to be discovered.

This is an award winning book for all ages!

Storm Glass and Sea Glass by Maria Snyder

These are the first two books of the Glass series about Opal Cowan ( the final installment is not due out until the fall of 2011)
Opal is a glass magician in the country of Sitia. That means she is a magician who is able to insert her magic into glass objects - something no one else in the country is able to do. The glass statues she makes are able to transmit magical thought from magician to magician over distances - sort of a glass telephone. That should make her proud and confident. But, Opal is anything but that. She second guesses herself constantly, misreads those around her and basically exudes naiveté. She is especially embarrassed that she is unable to do the basic magical tasks of lighting a fire and is certain she is a one trick pony.

But, the citizens of Sitia - at least the evil ones - see the potential in her and are constantly trying to kidnap, torture her and take her skills for their own use. She remains oblivious to most threats - but is constantly buffeted by one or another controlling force...her family, the Council of Magicians, her boyfriend Ulrick, an evil magician who has captured and tortured her more than once (Devlen) and her embarrassment.

By the end of the first book Opal has discovered and learned to control an incredible talent - she can 'steal' another's magic and seal it up inside a glass orb. The transfer of this magic turns it into diamonds...powerful and beautiful diamonds.

The second book follows her maturing from a ditzy pawn into a powerful magician trying very hard to control her own destiny. The Council feels she is too dangerous to be free - she could steal any of their powers. The villains of the country want her blood - it augments their own magic and makes them invulnerable to her own, she feels controlled and responsible for providing glass messengers to the citizens of Sitia and she is sick of it all.

She gets herself into the ultimate showdown and ends up vulnerable, naive and almost dead.

The series is clearly not over. The story leaves you hanging and wondering about several loose ends. I like Opal - but the constant kidnapping and harm get a bit old. Mostly, I want to just shake her and tell her to get a grip - she clearly is an important person, why doesn't she understand that...

Distant Waves by Suzanne Weyn

The titanic, spiritualism, sisterhood, famous Americans and romance all play a role in this book. Jane Oneida Taylor has a rather odd childhood. She is the second of five sisters, the plain and practical one. Her father has just died as the story opens and her mother is striking out on a new path - one of becoming a famous seance leader, spiritual guide, 'ghost whisperer' we might even call her today. The family ends up in the town of Spirit Vale, New York, an entire town dedicated to speaking with those who have passed on - never 'the dead.'

On a whim Jane and her older sister Mimi run off to New York City to meet the famous scientist Tesla for Jane to interview for a journalism contest. While there, they both meet the characters who will change their lives and history. Mimi decides to become the maid and traveling companion of the mistress of Guggenheim ( one of the richest men in America), Jane meets Tesla, the eccentric inventor who created an earthquake machine and Thad his assistant.

Through a series of convoluted events - Mimi and the youngest sister Blythe end up on the Titanic returning from Europe. Due to bad vibes and impressions Jane and her two remaining sisters - Amelie and Emma - sneak aboard the Titanic to get Mimi and Blythe off. The are not able to accomplish this before the ship sails...so all five sisters are on the ship.

Only three will make it to New York. There will be a wedding, an experiment which goes awry and a bit of time traveling.

This is one of those books that I had decided was just too cheesy to like. I mean, we all know the Titanic sinks. But, Jane is a very likable narrator and Tesla is a pretty unusual scientist. His inventions sound like things that we should be researching right now! So - it was a fun and predictable read. The old Titanic story with a twist for YA audiences.

Friday, July 9, 2010

Shift by Jennifer Bradbury

Win and Chris - friends and recent high school graduates embark on an epic adventure...bike riding from West Virginia to Washington state. That was the plan... but the ending wasn't quite what was expected. Chris returned alone.

That's how this story begins, you know the ending before you even really know the beginning. Chris is being questioned by an FBI agent about the disappearance of his friend Winston Coggans. Chris knows things, but not what Ward, the agent, is really looking for.

He knows that two unprepared high school grads began a journey. Win, with his jokes and his secrets, and Chris trying to prove that he was more than nothing. As the two journeyed for two months, pedaling and meeting new folks, they both changed. Changed enough that Win's disappearance on a mountain pass in Washington didn't surprise Chris as much as you would think. He knew Win's dad was a controlling freak who couldn't wait to get him in an Ivy league school and on the path to running the same chemical monopoly that he did. But, Win kept his secrets.

The book toggles between chapters of the ride and chapters of Chris's life in college, with the agent, with new friends. The reader is able to see the changes unfold and culminate in a reunion of sorts over Labor Day.

This is one of those buddy books where the friends discover they don't really need each other - and in that understanding they become deeper friends. Weird huh?? This is also the story of two boys who actually did the thing that they dreamed of...cool!

This was a fast and rather predictable read, but the descriptions of the scenery and the companionship were enough to make even a sworn bike riding hater consider the call of the road. Bradbury is clearly a biker and that adds to the authenticity of the story.

Thursday, July 8, 2010

The Rules of Survival by Nancy Werlin

Matthew, Emmy and their sister Callie live in a world controlled by their unstable mother Nikki. Their life is filled with constant fear and stress. Nikki wants to show her love for her children in a very frightening way...and then she meets Murdoch.

There was something about Murdoch which drives Nikki beyond all reason. And when he watches her put Emmy in danger and decides to break up - Nikki looses it... The more the kids liked Murdoch the Nikki becomes obsessed.

Matthew gets the brunt of his mother's craziness to try to keep his sister's safe. And then he takes a stand that causes irreversible changes.

This is one of those books that makes you want to reach out and grab the kids around me. This is about a family doing all they can to keep themselves safe and the adults around who can't or won't see what is absolutely happening. As a teacher and a mom we need to keep our eyes open. Because as Matthew describes it - the fear doesn't leave - it changes you - it seeps in and creates something that wasn't there before. Sometimes those changes are for the good - it gave Callie the courage to become a great doctor. But sometimes the changes push you to make a decision that can not be taken back.

This is a goodie!

The Maze Runner by James Dashner

The world is not a pleasant place in this futuristic puzzle book. Thomas comes too in a dark and metal cube which is rising slowly in the air to...

The doors open and Thomas is ushered into a reality that is nothing like he has ever experienced. This is a world of boys and stone walls that open and close each day to keep the Grievers out. A world that divides each newbie into one of the different jobs and Thomas knows that he will be a runner...one that runs through the enormous mazes that surround this stone Glade looking for an elusive escape.

This is also a world that is changing. Somehow Thomas knows things...fleeting memories of the past and boys who have been stung by the Grievers know who and what Thomas is - even then he doesn't.

And then a girl appears who can speak to Thomas inside his head. Teresa, has fleeting memories of the Flare, the ending and the fact that Thomas and Teresa are somehow connected to this odd place.

And then they figure out how to free themselves - but to what? A world that isn't the warm home thought it would be...this is only the beginning

Monday, June 28, 2010

Secrets, Lies and My Sister Kate by Belinda Hollyer

Families have all sorts of secrets - some big and some small. Twelve year old Mini guards her biggest secret carefully. No one knows her true name - it's just too awful to share! But there is another family secret that is tearing apart her big sister Kate. A secret that Mini can't seem to unravel. But, it's a secret that is so big that Kate is changing into someone Mini doesn't know and understand.

And then Kate simply disappears.

This is a story of the choices parents make and the way they play out for the children - not always in the way that they expected. This is also a story of the depth of sister-friendships and the bonds that are created between sisters. And - what it takes to maintain those bonds.

Mini is the one family member who really doesn't know what is happening - but she is also the one who has the potential to find her lost sister.

This is a quick and easy read and is in the Middle School Library.

Sunday, June 27, 2010

Mennonite in a Little Black Dress by Rhoda Janzen

I am not usually big on memoirs or autobiographies. They bug me because they often jump around and have that "I'm so important it doesn't matter that my writing is pathetic - you'll still read it anyway" attitude. But, this one was different. Maybe because Rhoda is already a writer and an editor - her PHD in poetry or writing or literary research of something like that gives her a pretty strong pedigree. Or maybe it's because her story is the memoir of pieces of my own history - I'm a Mennonite too. But, not a Russian descended, California raised, conservative, former General Conference Mennonite. To most of you that is just splitting hairs - but to this Old Mennonite, mid-western raised, German Mennonite - it's still a difference.

I really enjoyed this book. I guess I haven't said that yet. There is something deeply funny about irreverently poking fun at the heritage we all grew up with - no dancing, funny clothes, odd foods and a work ethic that simply never stops. There is also something interesting about reading the history of a woman who turned her back on the Mennonite world and chose a path to academia rather than Mennonite community connections, acts of service in the church and occupations that fit in the Menno framework. It is interesting that in all her expostulating about the benefits of turning her back - she certainly spends a lot of time noticing what is good about being a Mennonite. (Oh yeah - and she uses some really big words here and there)

So - how does this appeal to those of you who aren't Mennos? If you have lived near, worked with or been married to a menno you will probably understand a lot of what is being said. But, remember - all their weird foods are not ours. My family didn't grow up with such a love of cabbage! Thank goodness!!!

My recommendation...
This is a story of a 40 something woman on the wrong side of a marriage and a career who returns to her family to reconnect after a devastating car accident. She happens to be Mennonite. But, I think all of us in that time frame appreciate what it means to turn around and re-prioritize our lives! Her stories about camping with her family, her mom's odd conversation connections and the way the addition of in-laws both benefits and destroys a family are excellent and ring true no matter what your religious affiliation is.

Thursday, June 24, 2010

Sarah's Key by Tatiana De Rosnay

Another excellent read!!! Yippee...things are looking up!

This is the July book for our book club. It's the story of Sarah a 10-year-old French girl captured on an awful night in July of 1942, a truly horrible moment of French history. A moment that has been forgotten by many and that is why De Rosnay chose to tell this story!

On that night, the French police brought together thousands of Jewish families and eventually deported them to Auschwitz concentration camp. But it was not a straight deportation...instead the men were sent first, then the women and then...they didn't know what to do with the thousands of children...

De Rosnay tells this story through twin lenses. One is Sarah - the girl wakened from her bed that awful night and taken away. The other is Julia, an American journalist who has lived in France for 20+ years with her husband and daughter. Julia is assigned to write an article about the 60 year commemoration of that awful night. Through her research she discovers a connection between her husband's family and Sarah. You really care about the two characters! Sarah with a secret that drives her and tears her up and Julia caught on a path that wasn't at all what she expected.

Although the story is somewhat predictable, it doesn't keep you from rushing through the book. This is a story of layers of secrets spanning families, decades and oceans. The weight of those secrets is evident in their lives and attitudes. For some that weight is made heavier by the indifference of an entire population.

This book made me wonder at our ability to not care, our ability to turn a blind eye and choose to forget the unpleasant, and the darkness that forgetting invites into your life. It also made me wonder about how the ordinary and simple acts of people who care can have such a profound impact on those caught in tragedy!

Reminds me of Those Who Save Us by Jenna Blum and The Kommandant's Girl by Pam Jenoff, with the strength of the female characters and time frame and the unexpected twists!

Read it!!!!

Wednesday, June 23, 2010

Waiting for Normal by Leslie Connor

image from LibraryThing

This is a great read! What a wonderful heroine and what an awful mom! Addie is a sweet 12-year old left in a ratty old trailer with her bipolar Mommers. Dwight her step dad has had enough of Mommers' unwillingness to change and has had to divorce her...but he was not able to keep Addie and her step sisters together since he was not Addie's real dad. So, Addie does what she always does and adapts - to the deserted parking lot surrounding her trailer, to Soula the owner of the gas station on the corner and most of all to hiding Mommers disappearances from Dwight and Grandio, her dead father's dad.

Addie believes she doesn't have the 'love of learning' that her little sisters and mom have and that's why school is so difficult for her. But, with the help of her Vocabulary book, her growing musical talent her honest and open personality - she makes the transition to her new school easily...and even makes the orchestra.

But, Addie's life is measured out in the number of meals she can eek from her Mommers infrequent grocery stops and even more infrequent stays at the trailer. She longs to belong to someone other than her hamster, Piccolo. Then...tragedy strikes.

This is a poignant story about the struggles of a child shouldering the responsibilities and heartache of a parent's mental illness. You want life to improve for Addie - but you walk with her through the understanding that that probably means she can't be with Mommers...


Sunday, January 17, 2010

The Mortal Instruments Series By Casandra Clare


This is the series I've been looking for. It was exciting. It was enticing. It was hard to put down. There was love, friendship, family issues, werewolves, vampires, mundanes (regular old humnas), demons and Shadowhunters (those who protect the world from the demons).


It is a three book series following Clary Fray from her life as a nondescript New Yorker to a new life as daughter of the most powerful and corrupt Shawdowhunter with abilities to tap unprecedented powers against her evil father.

Clary meets Jace in a bar and is drawn to his power and his presence. Through Jace and his adopted siblings Alex and Isabel she is introduced to a world that exists just under the radar of mundanes understandings. A world filled with all the creatures of nightmares and ancient stories. A world her mother escaped from and hid her from. A world that is poised to be overthrown by an incredibly twisted man who just happens to be Clary's father.

These books were sort of Twilight meets Star Wars with a bit of Lord of the Rings thrown in...
Clary is a much stronger heroine than Bella who just seems to stand and scream and brood. There is some of that - but Clary gets it and taps into her own abilities. I liked Clary much more than Bella. And thankfully Jace is NOT Edward - although he is a bit moody. But his personality doesn't dictate Clary's world. Together they forge a friendship that strengthens each of them and prepares them for the final battle in City of Glass.

AND...unlike Twilight...these are not as predictable.

I read the final book - all 541 pages in an evening...and a morning...
I finished about 2AM!! They were recommended to me from an 8th grade math teacher!
I would whole heartedly pass on the recommendation!!!

Sunday, January 3, 2010

An Echo in the Bone by Diana Gabaldon

This is a whopper of a book - 800+ pages. It was the perfect Christmas vacation read.


This wasn't quite that book...again I wanted to love this


It's true I couldn't put it down. The story pulls you in to the verra verra Scottish place right beside Claire and Jamie. To the world where people can travel from today to the past in the circles of Scottish stones. A world where honor and family are defended to the death. A world where a love can transcend time and space. A world where 'bodices' may be busted! :)


This wan't quite that book. This book spends so much time on the history of the American revolution, the details of battles and the people involved that it forgets Jamie and Claire. There three different story lines - English soldier, American fighters and Briana and Roger's story in 1980 Scotland. But there are just too many pieces!

The story has strayed away from simply Jamie and Claire - it sort of reminds me of ER on TV. I watched it faithfully for the first several seasons. I fell in love with the characters and I really cared...and then the story line seemed to loose it's focus. The show moved beyond the characters and I lost my love. That is the Outlander series today.


The worst of the worst of the worst is the end...how can a book of 800 pages just end with every single story line up in the air. I was FURIOUS!!! Every single story line. Nothing cleared up - not even a pause. Instead it just stopped.



I know that I will wait around to read the next book. I know that I will look forward to the story continuing. I want to know how this love story ends. I want to see it through.


I want a book I can fall into and LOVE!!! Where, oh where is it?