March 26, 2009

Bonechiller by Graham Mcnamee

I don’t scare easily; I enjoy everything about zombies, monsters and other things that go bump in the night. I find very few things scary (except, perhaps the movie The Descent). So imagine my surprise when I realized that while reading Graham Mcnamee’s new book, Bonechiller, I was holding my breath a bit, every so often glancing up wide eyed and stealthily checking out my very quiet house.

Bonechiller takes place in the far north of Canada, in the sparsely populated town of Harvest Cove, where the days are short and the nights are long and cold. Danny and his father are relatively new to the town, trying to escape the memory of his recently deceased mother. One night after hanging out with friends, while on his way home, Danny is attacked by…something. He’s unable to get a good look, but he knows it’s bigger than any dog, wolf or bear he’s ever seen. It sticks to the shadows, slowly toying with him—stalking him like prey—until it corners him and bites or stabs him (Danny’s not really sure) and then runs off into the night.

The next day, he’s pretty sure he may have imagined the whole thing; until he noticed a small blue mark on his hand and finds animal type footprints at the spot where he was attacked. As strange things beginning happening, Danny realizes that there is something out there in the darkness, and that he and his friends must stop it before they just disappear into the Arctic night.

Combining monsters and aspects of Inuit folklore, Mcnamee’s Bonechiller is a riveting read, perfect for those who enjoyed Darren Shan’s books and are now looking for another creepy title.


The Luxe Series

March 20, 2009



The Luxe Series by Anna Godbersen

I finally just finished Envy, the latest book in this series…and I was a little disappointed. All the elements were there: the tragic taled Holland sisters, the vapidly horrible Penelope, conflicted Henry and the rest of high society of 1900’s Manhattan. It just fell a bit flat for me.

It kind of felt like the second Pirates of the Caribbean movie–enjoyable and good, yet mostly a set up for the next one (which I have to admit, I can’t wait to read). Besides, who can resist the gorgeous dresses on the covers?

Ways to Live Forever

March 15, 2009


Ways to Live Forever by Sally Nicholls

List No. 1-Five Facts About Me

1. My name is Sam.
2. I am eleven years old.
3. I collect stories and fantastic facts.
4. I have leukemia.
5. By the time you read this, I will probably be dead.

And so begins Ways to Live Forever, a collection of lists, stories and snippets about 11 year-old Sam and his attempt, despite all odds, to live a full life.

At times funny (List No. 4-Ways to Live Forever, item 2. Become a vampire. Hope you don’t meet Buffy.) and at times serious (Questions Nobody Answers No. 2 Why does God make kids get ill) Nicholls portrays a realistic view of what’s it is like and the issues surrounding being terminally sick at such a young age.

The Tourist

March 13, 2009

The Tourist by Olen Steinhauer

Ooooh, the was such a great spy book. For years, Milo Weaver had no real name, identity or home–he essentially didn’t exist. A Tourist for the CIA, his job was to carry out orders and collect information in any way necessary. In 2001, his career fell apart, the stress of the job finally getting to him. After an assignment gone wrong, Milo quit working as a Tourist; instead taking a desk job and becoming a family man.

However, in 2007, a break finally comes in a case he is working. For six years, Milo has been tracking The Tiger, an international assassin who never left enough evidence to be arrested but who supposedly was picked up in Kentucky for domestic abuse. When he arrives to identify that the man arrested really is the man he has been searching for, Milo is given information that quickly sends his world into a tailspin, forcing him to return to his life as a Tourist in order to find answers.

What follows is an intricate game of political cat and mouse, where no one can be trusted and nothing is as it seems. This was an incredibly quick and compelling read; intelligent, but yet not bogged down with overwhelming details (as I find in so many spy novels).

Big Fat Manifesto

March 6, 2009

Big Fat Manifesto by Susan Vaught

Being fat isn’t easy. Clothes don’t fit you. People stare at you or pretend that you are not there; they feel uncomfortable around you. They whisper, wondering if you know how big you are and, if so, why don’t you just do something about it?

Jamie Carcaterra knows how it feels first hand how it feels to be fat, and frankly she is sick of how people act around her. She knows she is overweight. She is fat. In fact, she is Fat Girl, author of the Fat Girl features in her school newspaper, The Wire. Started as a way to win a journalism scholarship, she uses her column to explore what it’s like to be fat in such a weight obsessed, skinny world, as well as to dispel myths such as “Poor Fat Girl needs to be educated about her problem” and “All Poor Fat Girl wants to do is lose weight”.

However, column and her life take an unforeseeable turn when her boyfriend Burke decided to undergo a risky gastric bypass surgery. Now Jamie is forced to think about the questions that really matter. Will Burke still love her when he’s thin? Is being fat all she is? Is she really committed to being the “fat girl activist spokesperson”? And why does it seem like Heath, her co-editor on the paper, might like her as more than just a friend? Doesn’t he know she’s fat?

Although at times a bit predictable and preachy, Vaught has written a funny yet thoughtful look at what it’s like to be a Fat Girl in today’s world.

Maximum Ride: The Angel Experiment

March 5, 2009

Maximum Ride: The Angel Experiment by James Patterson
I’m not really sure what took me so long to read this book. Everyone said the series was pretty good. Teens like it, here at the library most of the series is hardly ever on the shelf. It’s a great book for guys and girls. And yet, it has taken me this long to pick it up.

Personally, I blame James Patterson. I have issues with authors that seem intent in making themselves into a brand rather than publishing quality books. Plus, at last count, he was a co-author (in many cases, multiple times) with 9 (that’s right…9) different people in the past seven years. It’s like he’s no longer even trying, and from what I have heard from others and have read in reviews, that lack of trying is reflected “his” writing. (On a side note, I do enjoy his older Alex Cross series…things written during his pre-co-writer stage).

Anyways, forgive me for being skeptical and putting off The Angel Experiment for so long. If it wasn’t for my teen book club, I probably still would not have read this book.

The Maximum Ride series focuses on a group of six very special kids. As babies, they were part of a scientific experiment conducted at “The School”, where their DNA was grafted together with avian DNA. The result: along with other varied “powers” each of them now has wings.

The Angel Experiment opens several years after they had escaped from the School. Unable to live normal lives, the six of them (led by Max) have lived as a family, safely in seclusion from the rest of the world. That safety is broken when the youngest of the flock, Angel, is kidnapped by Erasers. Erasers are another School experiment, humans crossed with wolves and raised as brutal hunters.

Max and the others vow to save Angel, and set out on a rescue mission where they not only encounter danger at every turn, but start to learn more about who they are and where they came from. This new found knowledge leads them from the School in Death Valley across the country to New York in search of answers.

The writing of the book is a little choppy, with the short 2-3 pages chapters not really helping. However, Patterson quickly lures you in with action and plot twists; and of course, leaves you with so many unanswered questions at the end that you just have to pick up the next book. Which I’ll be doing, despite all my Patterson misgivings (and the knowledge that the 5th book in the series, Max is supposed to be completely and ridiculously horrible).

Carved in Bone

March 3, 2009

Carved in Bone by Jefferson Bass
I came across this series while looking for something to satisfy my Kathy Reichs and Patricia Cornwell addiction. This certainly worked.

Jefferson Bass is really two people: journalist Jon Jefferson and Dr. Bill Bass, the creator of the actual Body Farm (officially called the University of Tennessee’s Anthropology Research Facility). The Body Farm series is heavily rooted in Dr. Bass’s real life experiences, which lends the writing nice detail and authenticity.

In Carved in Bone, Dr. Bill Brockton finds himself unwillingly dragged into the back country of Tennessee, filled with secrets and crooked law enforcement; a place where outsiders are not welcome. Called on by Tom Kitchings, Cooke County football hero turned sheriff; Brockton goes to examine remains of a young woman found in a local cave. The situation turns ugly when the victim is identified; causing decades old tensions to resurface. As he searches for the victim’s killer, Brockton finds nothing in Cooke County is as it seems, leaving him unsure and questioning which are the good guys and which are the bad.

Although not quite as heavy on the forensic and body examination as I would have liked, this is definitely a series that I’m going to keep reading. On a slight side note, I now can’t wait to also read Death’s Acre: inside the legendary forensic lab the Body Farm where the dead do tell tales and Beyond the body farm: a legendary bone detective explores murders, mysteries, and the revolution in forensic science. Both are non-fiction books about Dr. Bill Bass’s real life work experiences.