Thursday, December 10, 2009


by Scott Westerfield

10 out of 10
I loved this book. So much so that I bought all of the trilogy (and I'm a library kind of gal) and then made my husband read it. He is currently sitting in the bedroom doing just that.

Tally is an Ugly, and has not yet undergone the surgery that everyone in her society gets at age 16. She befriends a group who have chosen not to get the surgery to be Pretty, and this book is about the fallout of making that choice. I don't want to give away too much of the plot because YOU HAVE TO READ IT. Seriously. You HAVE to.

It's a post-apocalyptic novel and coming-of-age all in one, and I really enjoyed it. I can't wait until book 2 comes in the mail!

The Hunter's Moon

The Chronicles of Faerie: The Hunter's Moon
by O.R. Melling

7 out of 10
YA fantasy. I had higher hopes for this one. It seemed and interesting premise: Two modern girls who love fantasy and Faerie literature decide to go on an adventure and end up getting swept into the world of Faerie.

I felt like in order to really appreciate the book, you had to be as familiar with Irish Faerie lore as the girls supposedly were, and in spite of loving fantasy literature, I'm not. I don't know the in-depth history of any one fantasy genre, and I felt a little lost. I didn't know why certain things were supposed to be important, and a lot of the world-building magic was missing, ostensibly because the author assumed you were familiar with the world already. That was a major weakness in this novel.

That being said, it was interesting in its own right. The plot was pretty well developed, and there were certain budding romances that I feel an integral part of this genre. Also, the ending was well done.

Not a home run, but worth a read if you like the genre.

Flora Segunda

Flora Segunda: Being the Magickal Mishaps of a Girl of Spirit, Her Glass-Gazing Sidekick, Two Ominous Butlers (One Blue), a House with Eleven Thousand Rooms, and a Red Dog

by Ysabeau S. Wilce

6 out of 10
The main issue I had with this book is that it seemed to be whimsical for the sake of whimsy. It was an unusual world, and there really was not enough background to back it up. Just because a novel is YA doesn't mean it doesn't have to have good world-building.

All in all, it was mostly non-exceptional. I find myself not particularly eager for the next book, which is not necessarily a good recommend in my opinion.

Flora wants to buck family tradition and become a Ranger (something like a spy) rather than go to the Barracks to become a soldier. Flora and her friend Udo release Valefor, the banished Butler, despite her mother's serious prohibition against it.

Mostly a coming-of-age done very heavy-handedly.

Wednesday, December 2, 2009

Funny in Farsi

Funny in Farsi

9 out of 10
I am not a memoir reader. As a matter of fact, I try to avoid non-fiction if I can get away with it. That being said, I thoroughly enjoyed this book and found myself reading funny snippets aloud to my husband.

My one issue as a reviewer is that there was really no coherence. The book really could have ended at the end of any chapter or continued with other stories without it mattering. I enjoyed them all, but once I finished a chapter, there was no pull to start the next one. I also felt like the book just sort of...ended. In fact, I thought the Afterword was just as engaging as any of the chapters, and it ended the book better than the last chapter.

The best part was that the author doesn't focus on politics; she instead writes a book that anyone who has ever felt like an outsider can identify with. Iran isn't that place in the middle east where there's war and terrorism; it's a beloved homeland with families just like our own--full of quirks and love.

Drums, Girls, and Dangerous Pie

8 out of 10

I thoroughly enjoyed this book. With statement like that, you may be wondering why the 8, and not 9 or 10. Well, I don't have any concrete reasons. Let's just say that it's not my typical fare, and I'm not ready to give something so far out of my comfort zone a higher score.

This book brings me back to the days of middle school. I was in my high school band, and I can really identify with music as an escape. Sonnenblick writes this very captivatingly, and it was a surprising read for me.

I think Frank McCourt says it perfectly: "A brave book...Jordan Sonnenblick carries it off with such charm and elan, you forget for a moment your heart is breaking."

I typically don't hold much stock with back-of-the-book critic quotes, but this really summed it up for me. The main character is struggling with something incredibly difficult to understand while at the same time trying to get through life.

The main character's younger brother gets cancer, but I think Sonnenblick handled it in a totally new way. Your heart really is breaking for the little boy and the family, but the story is written so well that it isn't depressing at all. It really does become a story of hope, family and growth. It's a pretty heartwarming coming-of-age, and there's even a little romance in there.

These is my Words by Nancy Turner

These is my Words
by Nancy Turner

10 out of 10
I didn't think I would be rating a book so highly, but this book beat all of my expectations. I read it, loved it, and then proceeded to read it aloud to anyone I could get to listen. My husband was a captive audience on the car trip home from Arizona.

There were surprising gems of wisdom scattered throughout the book, and I find myself referencing them rather frequently. I also have spent some time debating whether I am more like Sarah or Savannah, if I come off like Edward's wife, and whether I could shoot someone square in the eyes. Is my relationship like Sarah and Jimmy's, or Sarah and Jack's? I think I've decided it's most like Savannah and Alfred's.

It's not really about any one thing, and I thought that perhaps it being written in diary format would be off-putting, but it really is not. I loved it so much I'm buying it. Or rather, I'm asking for it for Christmas, and if the hubby doesn't get the hint, I'm buying it myself in January.