Saturday, July 30, 2016

Stacking the Shelves: 7/24-7/30

First Reads from Goodreads:
The Secret Ingredient of Wishes by Susan Bishop Crispell
The Cantaloupe Thief by Deb Richardson-Moore
The Source Labyrinth by Jeffery M. Herman

Friday, July 29, 2016

V4 Vengeance

Title: V4 Vengeance
Author: Nigel Seed
Publisher: Astor + Blue
ISBN: 978-1-68120-058-3
Why Read?: Early Review

Thoughts: This is a military thriller that imagines what if the Germans had hidden some advanced warfare U-boats during WWII and what if a Russian mafia boss discovered them and attacked America.  Very creative idea, but the story did not always hold my attention, especially when it left the main character.

Rating: 2 stars 

Thursday, July 28, 2016

Best New Paranormal Romance

Title: Best New Paranormal Romance
Author: Paula Guran, ed.
Publisher: Juno
ISBN: 978-0-8095-5653-3
Why Read?: For Fun

Thoughts: "Paranormal" seems to cover a wide-range of speculative fiction in this collection, so which stories you enjoy will depend on which genres you like.  My two favorites were "Walpurgis Afternoon" by Delia Sherman and "A Knot of Toads" by Jane Yolen, both of which has a modern fantasy feel.

Rating: 3 stars 

Divide and Conquer

Title: Divide and Conquer
Author: Carrie Ryan
Publisher: Scholastic
ISBN: 9780545466295
Why Read?: For Fun

Thoughts: With a lot of the exposition out of the way, this was a deeper story than the first book in the Infinity Ring series.  However, it seems there was a short story in between the two that was referenced a few times, making some things rather confusing.

Rating: 3 stars 

Monday, July 25, 2016

Welcome to the Show

Welcome to the Show
by Frank Nappi
published by Sky Pony
ISBN 978-1-63450-834-6

Frank Nappi returns with the next installment of his Mickey Tussler series, Welcome to the Show.  The pitching prodigy has finally made it to the majors, but finds his autism is still an issue.  The rest of the Braves, aside from the other rookie, his friend Lester, do not understand Mickey, and some even resent his prowess.  Arthur Murphy, acting as the substitute manager for the season, tries his best to make a family of the team, but some of the star players have other ideas.  Further complications arise when Mickey falls in love for the first time.

As always, Nappi does a wonderful job capturing the feel of 1940s baseball while also creating realistic, diverse characters.  Sports-lovers will love the detailed play-by-play action in many of the chapters.  The only downfall is the amount of head-hopping that happens, especially during games, which makes it hard to keep everyone and everything straight.

Fans of historical sports fiction or of books with main characters on the autism spectrum will enjoy Welcome to the Show.  While it does help to have read Frank Nappi’s prior Mickey Tussler novels, this one does almost stand well on its own.

Rating 3/5

Saturday, July 23, 2016

Stacking the Shelves: 7/17-7/23

For review:
Stony River by Tricia Dower

First Reads from Goodreads:
An Untimely Frost by Penny Richards

Thursday, July 21, 2016

At This Theatre

Title: At This Theatre: 100 Years of Broadway Shows, Stories and Stars
Author: Louis Botto
Publisher: Applause
ISBN: 1-55783-566-7
Why Read?: For Fun

Thoughts: Very comprehensive look at all of the Broadway theaters up until the end of the century.  More a listing of shows and stars than stories.

Rating: 3 stars 

A Mutiny in Time

Title: A Mutiny in Time
Author: James Dashner
Publisher: Scholastic
ISBN: 9780545466295
Why Read?: For Fun

Thoughts: Fun concept for a MG time travel adventure, but a little more explanation is needed to truly make it work.  Also, would have been cooler if the break in history had more historical roots.

Rating: 3 stars 

Saturday, July 16, 2016

Stacking the Shelves: 7/10-7/16

For possible review (on Bookloons):
Cousin Joseph by Jules Feiffer
Recreated by Colleen Houck
The Flame Never Dies by Rachel Vincent

First Reads from Goodreads:
Greed by Sanzaki Kojika

Monday, July 11, 2016

Born Wild

Title: Born Wild
Author: Brandon Mull
Publisher: Scholastic
ISBN: 9780545600385
Why Read?: For Fun

Thoughts: I was not sure what I was expecting, but I was pleasantly surprised.  Fun MG fantasy with excellent world-building.

Rating: 4 stars 

Sunday, July 10, 2016

A Matter of Time

A Matter of Time
by Michael Bowler
published by Outskirts
ISBN 9781432787110

Michael Bowler’s A Matter of Time is a combination adventure/sci-fi/horror/romance.  Even though the characters are in college, it definitely works best for a YA rather than NA audience.

Jamie Collins has always been a bit a dreamer, which is why he is totally content at Santa Clara University majoring in English where he takes many creative writing courses.  When not in class, he spends his time watching sci-fi movies with his best friend Jay, or hanging out with his roommate, Dan, and Dan’s sister, Maggie.  Everything changes, though, when he starts to dream about a vampire stalking a young man on a ship.  Soon, Jamie realizes that everything that is happening physically to the mysterious young man, is happening to him.  It takes Jamie a little longer to learn who the young man is – Jack Phillips, the chief wireless operator onboard the Titanic.  Jamie realizes that he must have been Phillips in a past life, but no one will believe his about that or the vampire.  To make matters worse, the one person who might believe him, Jay, is not talking to him after getting dumped by Maggie for Jamie, who did not even know she like him.  With his life spinning out of control and the anniversary of the Titanic’s sinking fast approaching, Jamie books a trip to Newfoundland to charter a boat to take him to meet up with the Titanic.  Dan, worried for his friend, tags along, but believes Jamie is completely crazy for thinking he can jump timelines in the middle of the Atlantic.  Jamie, however, does, and the Titanic exceeds his dreams.  Desperately trying to save Phillips and the rest of the passengers by stopping the vampire, Jamie does not have time for love, but it finds him anyway.  Will changing the past change the future?  Jamie does not know, but he knows he must try.

A Matter of Time was two unique story concepts – a vampire causing the sinking of the Titanic and a young man who can travel back in time because he is the reincarnation of someone onboard the Titanic – smooshed into one.  Either one could have been outstanding on their own, but together, they made for a muddy read.  Also, Jamie was not the most endearing character.  Many of his actions seemed too immature for a college junior of today, much less one from 1986 when the story takes place.  Plus, some of the exposition just did not make sense – mainly the rooming situation.  First, if Jamie and Jay are best friends and Jay does not get along with his roommate, why are he and Jamie not rooming together, but rather Jamie is rooming with a freshman.  On top of that, Maggie is storing her stuff in Jamie and Dan’s room because campus housing had no place for her, yet the school year is three-quarters of the way over, and she has obviously been living somewhere.  These points may seem trivial, but they easily through the reader out of the story, as does the head-hopping that happens all too frequently.

I have read a few novels from Michael Bowler, and I have to say, A Matter of Time is not his best.  On a positive note, though, I thoroughly enjoyed Aaron Landon’s narration of the audiobook.  He captured the highs and lows of the story perfectly.

Rating: 2/5

Saturday, July 9, 2016

Stacking the Shelves: 7/3-7/9

First Reads from Goodreads:
Gravity Breaker by Jonathan R. Miller
Beneath Ash and Bone by D. Alexander Ward
Last Call at the Nightshade Lounge by Paul Krueger

Saturday, July 2, 2016

Rendezvous with Rama

Title: Rendezvous with Rama
Author: Arthur C. Clarke
Publisher: Bantam
ISBN: 978-0-553-28789-9
Why Read?: Book Club

Thoughts: I know Clarke is one of the best sci-fi writers and this book has won many awards, but it was just so boring.  The whole book was exploring Rama and theorizing about what it was with very little action.

Rating: 1 star

War Horse

Title: War Horse
Author: Michael Morpurgo
Publisher: Scholastic
ISBN: 9780545268851
Why Read?: For Fun

Thoughts: I am generally not a fan of books with animals as the protagonist (there are a few exceptions), but this one was actually very educational.  It really opened my eyes to a side of WWI that I never knew about.

Rating: 3 stars

Stacking the Shelves: 6/26-7/2

For review (on Bookloons):
The Creepy Case Files of Margo Maloo by Drew Weing

First Reads from Goodreads:
The Boy Who Killed Grant Parker by Kat Spears