Wednesday, February 25, 2009

Bookish Review: Plum Spooky

This is a "between the numbers" Stephanie Plum novel. All of Janet Evanovich's Stephanie Plum books are what I would call "fluffy." They are light, funny, enjoyable, and at time sexy. Nothing deep here, folks, but there's nothing wrong with that. The between the novels books are even lighter, if possible, and usually have a fantasy element. In this case, it is a Dracula-like character known as "Wulf." Also showing up is recurring character Deisel, who has some magical powers of his own. These books always read like they are written with a little less care than the main books in the series, but they are still fun.

PS-Sorry for the delay in posting--I was out of town

Tuesday, February 17, 2009

Bookish Movie: He's Just Not That into You

This movie was not quite what I expected. It's not BAD, but it is a lot sadder than I had bargained for. There is humor in it, but a lot of that is in the commercials. Most of the movie leaves you feeling really pessimistic about the possibility of a successful relationship. It also seemed a bit long, and the whole time I was thinking, "This is a lot like Love Actually, except Love Actually is better." It does have a happy ending, but it seems a long time getting there.

Wait for the rental.

Tuesday, February 10, 2009

Bookish Review: Fade

Fade by Lisa McMann is the sequel to Wake. I did not read Wake first (still haven't read it), and Fade does still make sense without it; however, I would advise reading Wake first. I think it would fill in some of the blanks.

Janie gets sucked in to other people's dreams. With concentration, she can pull herself out, help the dreamer change the dream, even pause in the middle. However, nightmares are hard to pull herself out of, and the dreams drain her physically. She often wakes up numb and blind. Her secret boyfriend, Cabel, helps her deal with the repercussions of her "gift." They both work undercover for the police department, and in this case, they are investigating teachers at their high school for evidence of a possible sex scandal. Cabel doesn't like the dangerous situation Janie has gotten herself in, but Janie is determined to help.

Problems: The book is written in present tense, which is jarring. Making it worse is the use of sentence fragments to add to the pace and immediacy of the tale. I found this very distracting, but if you can stick it out, once you're half or 2/3 of the way in, the tale will take over and rest falls to the background. Cabel's ability is not explained or used much in this one--I think reading Wake would help clear up questions. Also, many secondary characters, particularly Janie's mom, are extremely flat and not detailed enough to ring true. I hope that the issues there were more deeply explored in the first one. Lastly, the female police captain is constantly called "sir," which I just found irksome.

Overall, however, the story is interesting and compelling, and it is clear that Janie and Cabel both need someone to love and to love them, if they can allow themselves to be vulnerable. There are problems, sure, but it is still a unique read. Teens into ESP or the power of dreams should find it interesting.

Sunday, February 8, 2009

Bookish Review: The Titan's Curse

The Titan's Curse is the third book in the Percy Jackson and the Olympians Series. The first two books have also been reviewed here. Percy and his friends start off with a rescue mission fir two suspected half-bloods at a school in New York. With a little help from Artemis and the Hunters, they manage to get the kids safely away, but Annabeth is lost in the process. Soon, Artemis is also in trouble, and Percy, Grover, Thalia, and the Hunters must go on a cross-country quest to save them. With a little help from the gods along the way, they make it to the West Coast where they have another altercation with Luke and the others trying to restore the Titans to power.

Another good installment to the series.

Bookish Review: Confessions of a Shopaholic

Confessions of a Shopaholic is now in theaters, so I thought it would be a good idea to read the book before seeing the movie, particularly since Can You Keep a Secret?, also by Sophie Kinsella, was so good.

The book is about what you'd expect. The main character spends more than she can afford, and needs to figure out how to get a hold on her spending habits. For about the first 2/3 of the book, she is a pretty annoying character because she keeps spending and thinks if she doesn't read the bills, maybe someone else will pay them. However, the end of the book is pretty good and redeems the story, for the most part.

I have a feeling this is going to be a situation where the movie is better than the book, but I will report back after I've seen it.

Bookish Review: The Reincarnationist

The Reincarnationist by M.J. Rose is a book that received a lot of buzz and good reviews when it came out. After being injured in a bombing in Rome, Josh Ryder has been having memory flashes of a different time and place. He becomes involved with a foundation studying reincarnation and past-life memories and goes to an archaelogical dig in italy in the hopes of finding the memory stones that are supposed to unlock the secrets of the past. But when one of the archaeologists on the dig is murdered, and with the memory flashes becoming more and more frequent, Josh is soon wrapped up in a web of murder, mystery, and intrigue. The book is interesting and pretty well-paced, but I found the ending unsatisfying. I like a few less loose ends when I finish a book. There is a follow-up called The Memoirist, but I don't believe it is truly a sequel. I think it still involves the Phoenix Foundation and maybe some of the ancillary characters, but not the main ones.

Tuesday, February 3, 2009

Bookish Review: The Sea of Monsters

The Sea of Monsters is the 2nd book in the Percy Jackson and the Olympians Series. The echoes of Harry Potter are a bit louder in this one than in the first, but even so, it is an enjoyable story. We rejoin Percy, a demigod (son of Poseidon and a mortal), as he heads out on a quest to save his friend Grover, a satyr on a quest to find Pan. Annabeth, daughter of Athena, rejoins him, and he has picked up another companion--his half-brother, the cyclops Tyson. As the book opens, Percy is kicked out of yet another school for an incident with monsters in the gym. In addition to saving Grover, Percy must also save Camp Half-Blood, since Luke, under the spell of Kronos, has poisoned the tree (formerly Zeus's daughter Thalia) that protects the camp. There are more fun mythical allusions and the book is fast-paced to keep readers' attention. Recommended.