By: Tamora Pierce
Summary: Beka Cooper's adventure continues, but this time she's off alone with Goodwin in a strange city trying to stop colemongering (counterfeiting) before it spreads all over the kingdom. And she has a dog now.
Well, I have to say that you know you're a best selling author when your name is bigger than the title of your book. But tammy deserves it. I think Bloodhound keeps on with the same thriller noir theme that Terrier set out for itself. Beka's narration remanded very true to what the frist book set for itself and maybe even a little truer with the illimination of the voice of Pounce, so that it is solely Beka's narration through most of the book and she has to rely on herself.
As far as the plot goes, I think it is interesting how Pierce chose counterfiting (colemongering as they say in the book) to pick as her second big challenge for Beka. After all, in the first book, Beka solves two very grisly murder cases. But I really like how she took in a different direction with the second book. As Pierce points out in the novel, counterfiting is a very dangerous crime, as it can bring down entire nations in a relatively short span of time if done properly. Not to mention, with the number of crime related media (particularly that viewed on television), it's nice to see a noir that tries something different.
Overall: A pleasing combination of noir and traditional fantasy, yet again
By: Terry Pratchett
Summary: Something strange is going on in the Ankh-Morpork Opera House, and when Agatha Nitt gets involved, Nanny Ogg and Granny Weatherwax follow to help out (and maybe to recruit her into being a witch).
I've been wanting to dive into Terry Pratchett for a while now, and having only read the first few pages of the Color of Magic (sad, yes?) I found this book a great one to start with in the Discworld Universe. Sir Terry of course does a wonderful job of making the book readable without needing too much background into the Disworld Universe. And, naturally, it's a play on Phantom of the Opera.
I found Pratchett's writing to be humorous with the feeling that it might be overall due to his style of writing. I also enjoyed the several references Pratchett puts in toward fairy tales (naturally, when dealing with witchs, he picks Hansel and Gretel) and even toward modern musicals in the end.
The plot is intriguing over all, and I admit, Pratchett kept me guessing, which is something I look for in writing, as I usually work out a lot of plots in advance, so when I can't it's a wonderful surprise to get the end and see what's been going on for the entire book.
Overall: It's Prachett, What More Do you Want?
Title: How I Paid for College: a Novel of Sex, Theft, Friendship & Musical Theater
By: Marc Acito
Summary: When Edward's father remarries, his father also decides not to pay for Edward's tuition to Julliard, the only place Edward could ever dream of attending. Lucky for Edward, he has friends who are willing to steal, cheat and lie for him.
So, How I Paid for College...I think Marc Acito does a good job of making the novel very real. Especially since it's set in the eighties. The obvious little things that would make the novel seem dated (price changes and Madonna references), don't do damage to the actual writing, because you are worried about Edward. All of the problems and things he goes through and manages to triumph over and come out being sort of well adjusted are very relatable. Everyone fights with their parents, everyone (who goes) worries about paying for college. A lot of people wonder about their sexuality.
But Acito also does a good job of not playing up the cliche as it were and brings some new things to the table in talking about the hardships of having to grow up. But then he goes and plays up the cliche in other areas ("This is a gay piano bar of course we know...") and plays it for laughs and does so pretty well.
I also really enjoyed Acito's writing style in this. It was fast passed and read like a personal essay, whcih you find out in the end, is the point. I was routing for Edward by the end of this, and yes that means I wasn't in the start. In the beginning of this book, Edward Zanni is a real take it easy kind of guy who enjoys vandalism, and does not try to hard at working. By the end of it, he's really quite grown up, and much more relatable. Acito makes the change believable and completely magnificent. Like you really just watched a year of a person's life and saw how they changed.
Over all: I hope the rest of the recomended reading is like this.
Title: Garden Spells
By: Sarah Addison Allen
Summary: The story of two sisters who try to make right with themselves, their identities and the world all around them.
The plot of Garden Spells had me interested almost from the start. I admit, it's unusual. But I like unusual, so that's okay. The idea that every small town has it's own mythos certainly rang true for me, at least through the grape vine of my family, and so it was interesting to read about this town that certainly believes that a kind of magic follows you down the family tree. I liked that Allen's style combined realistic fiction with a little bit of speculation, and this device was really a perfect way to do it.
I think the magic garden also really helped the plot over all, because this is the sort of story that you've seen before, but it is a lot different. Sydney, the younger sister, ran away from home after graduation, and now returns with her five-year-old daughter Bay after suffering in a very abusive relationship. Claire is resentful of all the people in her life who have left her (her mother and Sydney included) and is unsure of how to take Sydney's arrival, and the man who is suddenly interested in her, Tyler, their next door neighbor.
The thing I think that makes this work is that Sydney and Claire are very patient with each other through out the story. It's not like other stories like this where the story is about them loosing patience with each other and then regaining it, Sydney and Claire honestly want to come to terms with each other from the beginning, and wait for the other to talk about her own problems. I liked that about a book, that they were communicative and protective of one another, something you don't see in a lot of siblings at odds plots.
And in the end, you really see that the story is about redemption from the past, and taking life day by day rather than focusing so much on the grand events of the future and I think it's a good note to end on.
Over all: A fantastically good read.
Title: The Battle of the Labyrinth
Series: Percy Jackson and the Olympians
By: Rick Riordan
Summary: Percy and his friends must descend deep into the Labyrith to find Dedalus in hopes of keeping him on their side in the coming war.
The thing I like about Rick Riordan is I've read the plot spoilers for Percy Jackson (I couldn't get my hands on the rest of the series after the first book, all right? And I wanted to know what happened), but I still want to keep reading and see how things unfold in the actual text. And well, I'm a big mythology nerd, so the way Riordan uses a lot of mythos to his advantage is really quite spectacular (though I'm not sure the classics professor I know would agree, but all the same). And well, I guess that's just a sign of good writing, that I want to keep reading even though I know what happens.
Also: I like how Riordan makes his characters very believable and real (even though we are dealing with Greek Mythology). For instance, there is a bully character in this series, Clarisse LaRue, daughter of Ares, but in the coming tides of war (and in lue of her boyfriend's madness), she grows up a little, and starts acting a little more adult like and focusing on the bigger problem at hand. Due to the Nostalgia Critic going over how much he hates the bully cliche, I think this is a sign of good characterization. After all, Charisse may be a bit of a bully when the series begins, but she's growing up.
Mr. D(ionysis) also follows a similar theme as he returns at the end of the story once he finds out that most of the minor gods have turned against Olympus. One of his son's has also just been killed in a battle for camp. He is seen as a great helping character here, when before he mostly stood as a minor antagonistic character, showing how people act when the tides of life begin to change.
There is also a subplot about Nico diAngelo, the son of Hades, who was introduced in the last book. Nico's sister, Bianca, dies on a quest with Percy and he blames Percy for this since he made Percy promise to protect her. In this book, Riordan resolves Nico's hate for Percy, but does it in a very believable way as Nico still wants to kill Percy, even though Percy just saved his life, until he's finally able to raise Bianca's spirit from the dead and she tells him it's her he's really mad at. Nico redems himself by helping the rest of gang in the end of the story, and standing with them during the battle for camp.
I think that's one of the things that really makes this story, especially since it is told in first person. It's the characterization and Riordan does a really great job with it.
Overall: Can't wait for The Last Olympian and The Lost Hero
But, see for yourself:
How I Paid for College
The Battle of the Labyrinth