Thursday, January 26, 2012

The 39 Clues Book 1: The Maze Of Bones by Rick Riordan

The 39 Clues is a series of 10 books written by 10 different authors linked together by a great story and wonderful characters.  Rick Riordan is the first author in the series and did a great job kicking it off.  In fact this promises to be a great series.  The Maze of Bones was actually published in 2008.  I can't believe it took me this long to find it.   I will definitely be looking for Book 2 - One False Note by Gordon Korman.
When their beloved Aunt Grace dies, Dan, 11, and Amy, 14—along with other Cahill descendants—are faced with an unusual choice: inherit one million dollars or participate in a perilous treasure hunt.

Cahills have determined the course of history for centuries, and this quest's outcome will bring the victors untoward power and affect all of humankind. Against the wishes of their current guardian Aunt Beatrice, who has reluctantly cared for them since their parents' deaths, Dan and Amy accept the challenge, convincing their college-age au pair to serve as designated adult.

Pitted against other Cahill teams, who will stop at nothing to win, the siblings decipher the first of 39 clues and are soon hot on the historical trail of family member Ben Franklin to unearth the next secret.

This is fast paced book that leaves no room for boredom. As the siblings work together to solve puzzles and survive dangers, they develop into well-drawn individuals with their own strengths and personalities. There is even built in history told in a way that even YA readers will enjoy it.

Saturday, January 21, 2012

Moon Over Manifest by Clare Vanderpool

This YA book is told through they eyes of a young and innocent 12 year old girl in 1936.  It's a fast paced book loaded adventure not only of Abilene, the 12 year old, but of her father as she traces back through his past.

I can totally understand why it became a Newbury Honor Award Winner.

After a life of riding the rails with her father, 12-year-old Abilene can’t understand why he has sent her away to stay with Pastor Shady Howard in Manifest, Missouri, a town he left years earlier; but over the summer she pieces together his story.

In 1936, Manifest is a town worn down by sadness, drought, and the Depression, but it is more welcoming to newcomers than it was in 1918, when it was a conglomeration of coal-mining immigrants who were kept apart by habit, company practice, and prejudice.

Abilene quickly finds friends and uncovers a local mystery. Their summerlong “spy hunt” reveals deep-seated secrets and helps restore residents’ faith in the bright future once promised on the town’s sign. Abilene’s first-person narrative is intertwined with newspaper columns from 1917 to 1918 and stories told by a diviner, Miss Sadie, while letters home from a soldier fighting in WWI add yet another narrative layer. Vanderpool weaves humor and sorrow into a complex tale involving murders, orphans, bootlegging, and a mother in hiding.

With believable dialogue, vocabulary and imagery appropriate to time and place, and well-developed characters, this rich and rewarding first novel is as Abilene says... “like sucking on a butterscotch. Smooth and sweet."

Thursday, January 19, 2012

I Am Half Sick of Shadows by Alan Bradley

This is another Flavia de Luce installment.  I love Flavia.  If you are not familiar with this precocious an eleven-year-old sleuth, I highly recommend starting at the beginning of the series.

It's Christmastime and Flavia, a budding chemist is whipping up a concoction to ensnare Saint Nick.  She is soon distracted when a film crew arrives at Buckshaw, the de Luces’ decaying English estate, to shoot a movie starring the famed Phyllis Wyvern. Amid a raging blizzard, the entire village of Bishop’s Lacey gathers at Buckshaw to watch Wyvern perform, yet nobody is prepared for the evening’s shocking conclusion: a body found, past midnight, strangled to death with a length of film. But who among the assembled guests would stage such a chilling scene? As the storm worsens and the list of suspects grows, Flavia must use every ounce of sly wit at her disposal to ferret out a killer hidden in plain sight.

Tuesday, January 17, 2012

Now You See Her by Cecelia Tishy

This is the first book in the Regina Cutter series.  What I don't understand is the meaning of the title of the book?  No one is invisible, no one suddenly appears.

Cast aside by her Chicago executive husband in favor of a trophy wife, Regina "Reggie" Cutter gets a new life in Boston, where she has inherited not only her Aunt Jo's South End townhouse but also her aunt's psychic abilities, which take the form of unusual pains in various parts of her body. While these pains aren't precise paranormal indicators, they're enough to get her asked by a realtor friend to check out a Back Bay mansion subject to unexplained manifestations; she's also appointed an unofficial consultant to Boston police detective Frank Devaney, whom her aunt assisted on occasion.

In between visits to the murder site and talks with folks who lived nearby at the time, Reggie does her "real job"--working at a -resale-clothing store for cash-strapped women reentering the workplace and walks the Beagle she shares with a scruffy motorcycle enthusiast, R. K. Stark, who wants her to learn to ride.

There is plenty going on to keep the pages turning.
I will definitely pick up the next book in the series.

Sunday, January 15, 2012

Shiver by Maggie Stiefvater

O. M. G.
Since this is listed as a Y.A. book, I didn't expect to like it as much as I did.
It's well written, the characters are real, some likeable, some not.  I don't want to spoil that plot.  The whole story wasn't what I expected.... at all.  I began knowing nothing about the book, which is a great way to begin this story.
I didn't realize it was a trilogy until I finished the book and thought, it's over? It ended too soon....  this is one of those books that you hate to finish... thus the trilogy.
and so it begins...

For years, Grace has watched the wolves in the woods behind her house. One yellow-eyed wolf--her wolf--is a chilling presence she can't seem to live without. Meanwhile, Sam has lived two lives: In winter, the frozen woods, the protection of the pack, and the silent company of a fearless girl. In summer, a few precious months of being human . . . until the cold makes him shift back again.

Now, Grace meets a yellow-eyed boy whose familiarity takes her breath away. It's her wolf. It has to be. But as winter nears, Sam must fight to stay human--or risk losing himself, and Grace, forever.

Sunday, January 8, 2012

Evermore by Alyson Noel

This is an excellent YA book.  There is plenty to keep the reader constantly interested.  This is the first in a series so I will definitely be reading the rest of the series.
 Seventeen-year-old Ever survived the car crash that killed her parents, younger sister, and their dog. Now she lives with an aunt in Southern California, plagued not only by survivor guilt but also by a new ability to hear the thoughts of all around her and to see and talk to her sister Riley, who did not survive the accident.

She tries to tune out all these distractions by keeping her hoodie up and her iPod cranked loud, until Damen, the cute new boy at school, convinces her to come out of her shell. Damen, however, is frighteningly clever—and has the strange ability to produce tulips from nowhere and disappear himself at critical moments.

Friday, January 6, 2012

Chocolate Chip Cookie Murder by Joanna Fluke

This is a fun, easy book to read with lots of cookies eaten.  There are also cookie recipes included. 
Independent-minded Hannah Swenson makes her debut in a cleverly plotted cozy, full of appealing characters and delicious cookie recipes. In her hometown of Lake Eden, Minn., Hannah opens her own shop, the Cookie Jar, where much of the town's gossip percolates along with the strong coffee.

Early one morning, she finds the driver of a delivery truck shot dead in the alley behind her shop. Hannah's decides to help her brother-in-law, Bill, the county's deputy sheriff, to chase down the culprit.

Hannah is great at getting people to talk about things they would rather to keep to themselves. Motives ranging from blackmail to extortion abound. While delivering cookies, catering scouting events, and otherwise gadding about the community, Hannah gathers important clues.

Tuesday, January 3, 2012

The Magician by Michael Scott

This is book 2 in theSecrets of the Immortal Nicholas Flamel series.  It's full of action and suspense.  A great YA book.
 Nicholas and Perenelle Flamel, who have had the forumla for eternal life, meet prophecized twins who have the power to either save the world or destroy it. The Codex which holds all the spells needed to do so, including the recipe for the the elixer of life, was taken, but Josh, one of the twins, had the foresight to tear out the last 2 pages, saving the bad guys, Dr. John Dee, from Elizabethan England fame and his minions, from destroying things.
Perenelle is captured and is in Alcatraz. Nicholas and the twins, and Scatty, the vampire warrior flee to Paris.

First Sophie and then Josh begin learning how much power they have and slowly learn how to handle it.