Monday, December 28, 2009

Half-Moon Investigations by Eoin Cofer

Published in 2006. 290 pages.

This mystery was the third pick for my fifth grade book club. The kids and I found it laugh-out-loud funny. My son said it was the best of the three books we've read so far.


Best Intentions by Emily Listfield

Published in 2009. 338 pages.

This was my first experience with the work of Emily Listfield. I absolutely loved the first three-quarters of the book, as I got to know the characters and then a murder mystery was revealed. The last quarter, however, fell a little flat, leaving me not fully satisfied. I enjoyed the book enough, though, that I'll be looking for more of Listfield's novels.

There is a reading group guide here.


Flipped by Wendelin Van Draanen

Originally published in 2001.
Audiobook performed by Andy Paris and Carine Montbertrand.

For some reason, I expected this "he said/she said" story to be similar in tone to E. Lockhart's Ruby Oliver books. The first chapter, therefore, was a little disconcerting to me, as I adjusted to the more serious tone. Once I settled in, though, I was hooked!

Flipped is a sweet adolescent love story that also deals with some serious themes. The character Juli reminded me a bit of Jerry Spinelli's Stargirl. I loved her view of the world. I also loved watching Bryce mature.

Wendelin Van Draanen is best known for the Sammy Keyes mysteries for children, none of which I've read. I understand she has also written at least two other young adult novels.

I noticed on IMDb that a movie version of Flipped is scheduled to be released in September 2010.


Friday, December 25, 2009

The Real Real
by Emma McLaughlin & Nicola Kraus

Published in 2009. 310 pages.

I enjoyed the somewhat snarky, satirical tone of McLaughlin and Kraus's The Nanny Diaries when I read it with my book club back in 2002. I was happy to discover that The Real Real has the same tone - this time exploring the world of "reality" television shows in the authors' first novel for young adults. I had a hard time putting the book down - and I loved the happy ending.


A to Z Challenge

January 1 to December 31, 2010
Hosted by Becky
Challenge Blog

I attempted this challenge in 2008 and managed to complete 44 of the 52 books required. (I ended the year with 2 titles and 6 authors unread.) I'm eager to try again in 2010! I'll be filling in my authors and titles as I read them.

A~ Avi (Don't You Know There's a War On?)
B~ Bohjalian, Chris (Secrets of Eden)
C~ Clark, Mary Higgins (The Shadow of Your Smile)
D~ Donnelly, Jennifer (A Northern Light)
E~ Ellsworth, Loretta (In Search of Mockingbird)
F~ Freedman, Russell (Lincoln: A Photobiography)
G~ Gore, Ariel (Bluebird: Women and the New Psychology of Happiness)
H~ Hawkins, Rachel (Hex Hall)
J~ Juster, Norton (The Phantom Tollbooth)
K~ Konigsburg, E.L. (The Outcasts of 19 Schuyler Place)
L~ Lockhart, E. (The Disreputable History of Frankie Landau-Banks)
M~ Marchett, Melina (Saving Francesca)
P~ Potter, Ellen (Slob)
Q~ Quindlen, Anna (Every Last One)
R~ Rubin, Gretchen (The Happiness Project)
S~ Streatfeild, Noel (Ballet Shoes)
T~ Turner, Megan Whalen (The Thief)
U~ Urban, Linda (A Crooked Kind of Perfect)
W~ Wroblewski, David (The Story of Edgar Sawtelle)
Z~ Zusak, Markus (I Am the Messenger)

A~ Al Capone Does My Shirts by Gennifer Choldenko
B~ Blue Heaven by C.J. Box
C~ Calamity Jack by Shannon and Dean Hale
D~ The Declaration by Gemma Malley
E~ Extremely Loud and Incredibly Close by Jonathan Safran Foer
F~ Front and Center by Catherine Gilbert Murdock
G~ God Went to Beauty School by Cynthia Rylant
H~ The Hourglass Door by Lisa Mangum
I~ I, Alex Cross by James Patterson
J~ Jane Austen Ruined My Life by Beth Pattillo
L~ Loser by Jerry Spinelli
M~ Matched by Ally Condie
N~ Nocturne by Harrison Gradwell Slater
O~ Once Was Lost by Sara Zarr
P~ Peeps by Scott Westerfeld
R~ Resistance, Book 1 by Carla Jablonski and Leland Purvis
S~ Skeletons at the Feast by Chris Bohjalian
T~ This Is What I Did by Ann Dee Ellis
U~ Untraceable by Laura Griffin
W~ Willow by Julia Hoban

Thursday, December 24, 2009

Fall Into Reading
Wrap-Up Post

A big thank you to host Katrina at Callapiddar Days!

The weather outside is frightful. Winter must be here, and that means that Fall Into Reading 2009 is over.

I'm pleased to report that I finished ten of the thirteen books on my original list. (Links are to my reviews.)

My favorite of the ten was Unwind, a young adult sci-fi novel that I found very thought-provoking. I'd not previously read anything by Neal Shusterman, but I'm eager to try some more of his work.

I typically do a bit of reading over the Christmas holidays, and I hope to do that again this year. I've already read 81 books this year - one more than in 2008 - and I hope to read three or four more.

Tuesday, December 22, 2009

It's Bloggiesta Time!

2nd Edition
January 8-10, 2010

Hosted by Natasha at Maw Books
All the Details

Saturday, December 19, 2009

Don't Tell a Soul by David Rosenfelt

Published in 2008. 306 pages.

I am not (yet) familiar with David Rosenfelt's Andy Carpenter mystery series. Don't Tell a Soul is a stand-alone novel and a recent Salt Lake County Library's Reader's Choice nominee. I found it to be a solid thriller as well as a welcome diversion from my busy, chaotic pre-Christmas schedule.

With the completion of Don't Tell a Soul, I have tied my 2008 number of books read. Since there are nearly two more weeks left in the year, I'm sure to exceed it!


Sunday, December 13, 2009

Series Challenge 3
Challenge Completion

December 1-November 30
Hosted by Kathrin

There are many series that I enjoy, and I'm pleased by the progress I made on some of them through this challenge - although there are always more to read! (Links are to my reviews.)

I am now caught up the William Monk historical mystery series by Anne Perry (although I had hoped to also read the latest in her Thomas and Charlotte Pitt series):

I also read the latest installments in Janet Evanovich's Stephanie Plum series and Dan Brown's Robert Langdon series:

I am caught up on Jonathan Kellerman's Alex Delaware series, except for the most recent installment, Evidence, published in October:

I made some progress with The No. 1 Ladies' Detective Agency
by Alexander McCall Smith, making my way through the sixth book in the series (which currently stands at ten installments):

I also read two more of the Thursday Next books by Jasper Fforde:

And I read one more of James Patterson's Alex Cross mysteries:

Friday, December 11, 2009

Fashion Kitty and the Unlikely Hero
by Charise Mericle Harper

Published in 2008. 106 pages.

I didn't like this third Fashion Kitty episode as much as I did the previous two (Fashion Kitty and Fashion Kitty versus the Fashion Queen). I hope that there will be further adventures though!


Saturday, December 05, 2009

The Lost Symbol by Dan Brown

Published in 2009. 509 pages.

It took me longer to read The Lost Symbol than it did to read The Da Vinci Code (which, as I recall, I read in bed one long Saturday). But the third book in the Robert Langdon series, The Lost Symbol was a compelling read. I'm sure that if I hadn't been so busy and tired over the past few weeks, I'd have read it more quickly.

The action of the book, which takes place in about a day, was fast-paced and filled with puzzles. Like with The Da Vinci Code and Angels and Demons, I was definitely willing to go along for the ride!

The one thing I really struggled with was the idea that a video of Masonic rituals would be considered a national security issue. Maybe strange. Certainly misunderstood. But a national security issue?