Saturday, December 24, 2011

"The Kite Runner Graphic Novel" by Khaled Hosseini;

136 pages

In this graphic novel, which is adapted from the bestselling book of the same title, Amir grows up in Afghanistan in the closing years of the monarchy and the first years of the short-lived republic. His most faithful friend, Hassan, is the son of his family's servant. One day, when Hassan is assaulted by bullies, Amir witnesses the attack but is too stunned and frightened to do anything to stop it. Overwhelmed by guilt, he doesn't want to be around Hassan anymore, as his friend reminds him of his betrayal. He shuns Hassan, leaving his friend wondering why Amir is angry with him. Then Amir´s relatively priviledged life in Kabul comes to a sudden end when the communist regime comes to power and his father takes him to the U.S. There Amir grows up, finishes school, and gets married. Through it all, he never forgets Hassan or lets go of regret for the way he left things with his childhood friend. After his father's death, Amir receives a letter from his father's most trusted business partner with news that makes him go back to Taliban-dominated Afghanistan in search of redemption.

"The Kite Runner" is one of my favorite books, so I had to grab this graphic novel when I saw it on the shelf. I love it when books I like come out in graphic novel format because they're a way for me to experience the story in a different way and to get a refresher in a time-efficient manner. This book definitely didn't disappoint me. I wasn't particularly impressed with the artwork, but that didn't bother me at all in this case. The story is so fantastic that I really didn't notice that the art isn't spectacular; in a way, the plain drawings allow the story to take center stage. And while some graphic novel adaptations lose something in the abbreviated format, this book sums up the plot of the original novel very well.

Friday, December 23, 2011

Pierre in the Air!

by Andrea Beck 29p.
This book was a delight. The story was cute and the illustrations are delightful. The story is of a poodle who is a born adventurer, but unfortunately his owner insists on keeping him at home or in hotels and making him get constant grooming. He is a determined dog and takes his travels into his own paws when they go to Paris for a dog show. Nothing is stopping Pierre from seeing the Eiffel Tower! Apparently this is Pierre's third adventure, I hope they are as cute as this story book.

Where's My T-r-u-c-k?

by Karen Beaumont Illustrated by David Catrow 31 p.
This was a cute picture book about a boy who's lost his beloved truck. The whole book rhymes and would be a great read for a resistant boy reader or to read to any boy or girl who loves trucks really. When all else fails you must learn sometimes you should blame the dog. The illustrations are funny and detailed as well.

Thursday, December 22, 2011

Probability of Miracles by Wendy Wunder


About the Book: Cam is a teen who is living with cancer. Her recent doctor visit didn't turn out well and she doesn't have much hope. But her mom isn't about to give up and convinces Cam that they should spend the summer in Promise, Maine, a place where miracles happen. Cam is cynical and doesn't believe in miracles, but in a town where flamingos visit and sunsets last forever, Cam has a summer to believe in miracles.

Sarah Teenlibrarian Says: Tough topics like teens dying can be hard to write well. Sometimes they can come off as too cheesy and corny and Nicholas Sparksy. Other times they don't feel real and you don't like the characters. Wendy Wunder manages to pull off a story that makes you care about the characters and feels real without veering into a cheese-fest.

Cam is a cynical character and at first I had a hard time relating her. But she grew on me as the novel went on. She was tough and smart and her sarcasm made me begin to like her. She doesn't always make the best decisions, but then, she's faced with a tough situation in life and it's hard to keep up hope. As she begins to trust others and let people in, she changes and began to like her more.

Her sister and mom are nicely fleshed out and great supporting characters. They struggle with trying to live as normal a life as possible while dealing with Cam's illness and loss of hope. Her sister is the one who starts keeping track of the miracles and some of her preteen innocence is sweet and charming. Asher, the love interest, is a bit too perfect. I liked Asher, but I wasn't exactly sure what he saw in Cam, especially since she was so gruff with him to begin with. I felt like their relationship never really developed in the way I wanted to watch it develop. Much of their relationship seemed very surface level and I just didn't believe that it was as deep as it was portrayed. I guess this was the most unrealistic part of the book and felt like it was there just because Cam needed a love story.

Also, at times the writing seemed a bit strange. It was written in third person, but there were times I forgot it was in third person and the descriptions and narration felt like it switched to first person. It was a bit jarring each time and I had to remind myself it wasn't told in first person. I don't know that many readers would notice this and it wasn't something that was that distracting and it didn't stop me from enjoying the book. It was just something strange I noticed.

The story itself is good and the author does a great job of infusing hope into an otherwise sad story and making the reader believe. Both Cam and her sister learn to accept everyday miracles, which is a great theme of the book, without the author really hitting you over the head with a message. I love the simple gesture of looking for everyday miracles.

If you have readers who like a good tear-jearker, The Probability of Miracles should be added to their reading pile.

Tuesday, December 20, 2011

"Double Dexter (Dexter #6)" by Jeff Lindsay

320 pages

Dexter, arguably America's favorite serial killer, is back.
He has recently become a father to tiny Lily Anne, who made him wonder if he could feel emotion and become part of humanity after all. But then he realized that although he feels what he thinks is love for Lily Anne (a completely new thing for him), the Dark Passenger has no intention of going quietly. Despite his recently discovered human feelings, Dexter can't help but continue his evening activities--that is, killing people, but only people who are killers themselves. And only when he is sure that all his tracks are covered, that he will never be caught. But then, one day, the unthinkable happens: someone catches him in the act. And that someone doesn't go to the police. Instead he stalks Dexter...and even begins to murder people in a Dexter-like fashion. Dexter has to find the copycat before he ends up in jail or dead.

I've enjoyed all of the Dexter novels, but this has to be my favorite, or one of my favorites. The plot is solid though not necessarily exceptional, but this one seemed to make me laugh more than any of the others (though, perhaps, this one has the benefit of being fresh in my mind). Lindsay is wonderful at weaving his dark humor into the creepy stuff. Dexter's amusing observations of the people around him not only crack me up but also make me think about human nature and why we behave in the ways we do. I'm really happy to find that the Dexter series continues to stay strong.

Monday, December 19, 2011

"Just Don't Fall: A Hilariously True Story of Childhood, Cancer, Amputation, Romantic Yearning, Truth, and Olympic Greatness" by Josh Sundquist

322 pages

When Josh Sundquist was nine years old, he found out he had a very serious cancer in his leg. His chance of survival was fifty percent. After chemotherapy was ineffective, Josh's doctors were forced to amputate his left leg at the hip. Then he still had to go through chemotherapy for another year to make sure that the cancer didn't crop up somewhere else. At the end of it all, when Josh finally had time to let it all sink in, he found himself looking at a future without soccer, running, or any of the other activities he'd lived for as an active young boy. There was one thing he could still do, though--ski. He discovered the sport shortly after losing his leg, and when he realized that he had a knack for it, he made an incredible goal: to reach the 2006 Paralympic Games in Turino, Italy. With years of training, his family's support, and unbelievable perseverance, Josh made it to the Games, but not without a lot of ups and downs along the way.

This memoir is super-inspiring. Josh writes about his experience with so much humor and wisdom that I not only laughed along with him but also got a new perspective on my own troubles. I felt like a big dork because none of my problems are close to what he faced when he had cancer and lost his leg, and yet I still find myself complaining about trivial stuff every day. In addition to giving me a reality check, Josh's story totally motivated me because, hey, if he can learn to ski with one leg, I can do a lot of the things I think I can't. On top of all the inspirational value, I just had fun reading this book. The pace is just right; there's enough detail to give readers a clear understanding of the story, but not so much that it gets dull. The tone works well, too. There's no glossing over of the tough parts, but it has an optimistic feeling overall. If you like memoirs, I suggest you read this book.

Mimi by John Newman


About the Book: It's been 157 days since Mimi's Mammy died. Her father only serves overcooked pizza for dinner and is always sad, her brother plays drums loudly every day and Mimi knows that her sister has a terrible secret (thanks to the peeks she has in her diary). As her family struggles to pull themselves together after tragedy, they learn to come together rely on each other and help each heal.

Sarah Teenlibrarian Says: Mimi is a sweet yet sad story about family and loss. Mimi is struggling to understand the tragedy of her mother's death and is feeling out of place as each of family members grieve in their own way. Her brother plays drums, her father is distant and her sister has a secret that she's afraid to tell others. Even though Mimi feels a bit lost, she's surrounded by a great support group of extended family. Her grandparents, aunts, uncles and cousins each take turns caring for Mimi's family and give Mimi a piece of normalcy in her chaotic world.

Mimi can be a bit innocent and naive at times and sometimes the story is over the top (for example, when Mimi's teacher goes into labor in the middle of class). Some of Mimi's family members are a bit eccentric, but I felt this all balanced out well with the sadness of the story and offered a glimmer of humor and hope. I especially liked Mimi's friend who is always telling her silly jokes. The author includes side storylines on adoption, bullying and shoplifting, making the plot well rounded. I felt that with the additional subplots, no storyline felt overly dramatic, but instead offered hope to readers.

This is a sweet and sensitive tale great for middle grade readers.

Bleeding Hearts by Alyxandra Harvey


About the Book: As the Blood Moon is about to begin, vampires from all over the world are gathering near the Drake compound. But not everyone is happy with the invites and a mysterious new tribe that wasn't invited is looking for a seat on the council. Their plan is to kidnap Lucy, because she's close to the Drake family. Everything goes wrong when they wind up with Lucy's cousin, Christabel instead.

GreenBeanTeenQueen Says: The Drake Chronicles is my favorite guilty pleasure series. I love the snarky, witty banter, the very hot Drake brothers, and the vampire mythos that Alyxandra Harvey has created. Each entry into the series is an engaging and entertaining read. I think Bleeding Hearts though is tied with book number one for my favorite in the series.

I loved that Lucy was back as one of the narrators. She continues to be my favorite character in the series, so it was great to get a peek into her world again. Reading Bleeding Hearts was like welcoming back my old friends and I was eager to read more about Lucy and Nicholas. (If Lucy ever breaks up with him, he's mine!:)

In addition to Lucy's narration, we also get narration from Lucy's cousin Christabel and Conner Drake. Of course romance ensues, because what would a book in the Drake Chronicles be without some romance? Conner and Christabel are adorable and I liked both of them immediatly. Christabel is always found with a book in her hand, she's read the classics hundreds of times, she quotes poetry and she's waiting for Mr. Darcy. Conner is a Sci-Fi and Fantasy geek who knows Firefly, Star Trek and Doctor Who trivia, who can easily fix computers, and loves comic books. Together they love all my favorite things so how could I not root for them?

There's a lot more than romance and Bleeding Hearts has plenty of twists and turns and surprises. Something strange is happening with Solange, there's a new tribe of vampires to deal with and Hel-Blar are on the loose. Lots of epic battles make this an action packed read. And that ending??? I need book five NOW!

Give this series to fans of vampire stories with a bit of snark and romance. Even if you're feeling a bit burned out on paranormal, give this series a try. Alyxandra Harvey successfully combines action and romance with a bit ohick-lit and a dash of mystery. Another fantastic entry into the series!

Book Pairings: Boys That Bite by Marianne Mancusi, Dead Is The New Black by Marlene Perez

Full Disclosure: Reviewed from e-book galley recieved from publisher on NetGalley

Sunday, December 18, 2011

November stats

Hi everyone!

I apologize for the super-lateness of the statistics! Here's what we've got:

Books read:
Jenny: 31
Heather: 17
Sarah: 16

Pages read:
Jenny: 7589
Heather: 5641
Sarah: 3759

Participation points:
Jenny: 32
Heather: 18
Sarah: 16

Books read: 75
Pages read: 20,370
Participation points: 80

So, the holidays are almost here and everyone's busy, but post whatever reviews you can. Every review helps! Let's finish this year strong :)