December 31, 2010

review: Zan-Gah

author Allan R. Shickman
source:  publisher
Goodreads summary:   Zan-Gah, seeking his lost twin brother in a savage prehistoric world, encounters adventure, suffering, conflict, captivity, and final victory. In three years, the hero passes from an uncertain boyhood to a tried and proven manhood and a position of leadership among his people. Themes include survival, brotherhood, cultures, gender roles, psychological trauma, and nature's wonders and terrors. 
Zan-Gah is the first prehistoric novel I've read;  it was on my TBR shelf for a few months.  Once I picked it up, I couldn't stop reading.  One paragraph made me smile because it is so appropriate, no matter what decade or era.  Background info, Zan has left home on a quest: 
"Meanwhile, Zan resolved to enjoy his freedom.  His father would not be telling him what to do, and his mother was not there to weep and tremble over his every step.  Their parting had been sad, but being gone, he was inclined to look on the happier side of things.  This would be an adventure!"
There are so many YA books out for girls.   This one is different and extra-special,  young boys would enjoy this.  Older people such as me too!

December 30, 2010

review: Cross Fire

Guest review
Cross Fire  (17th Alex Cross novel)
author James Patterson
published November 2010
source of book:  Crazy Book Tours

summary from Goodreads:    Detective Alex Cross and Bree's wedding plans are put on hold when Alex is called to the scene of the perfectly executed assassination of two of Washington D.C.'s most corrupt: a dirty congressmen and an underhanded lobbyist. Next, the elusive gunman begins picking off other crooked politicians, sparking a blaze of theories

Our guest reviewer is my daughter, Tracy.  She has been a long-time fan of James Patterson books.

Cross Fire, the latest in James Patterson’s Alex Cross series, did not disappoint. It was everything I love in a Patterson novel - a quick read that keeps me intrigued without overheating my brain. I read Patterson as an escape - a way to zone out for a few hours and not have to think too terribly hard about anything. Cross Fire fit the bill, especially during an hectic Christmas week.
Although it’s been a while since I read anything from the Alex Cross series, I picked right back up on Alex, Nana, and the kids. I know I should have remembered some of the other characters, but didn’t. (Like Alex’s fiancee... Huh? I must have missed that along the way.) But luckily, my faulty memory didn’t keep me from enjoying Cross Fire. I picked up quickly and was sucked in again; though that’s no huge surprise, considering my long term love for Patterson books and his intriguing, page-turning style.  
I’ve heard people call Patterson a “guilty pleasure.” Not me. Finding a book that’s an easy way to simply zone out and relax for a few hours? I don’t feel guilty at all.  

December 17, 2010

Friday blog hop - December 17

Book Blogger Hop
This week's question: plot or characters?
Answer: a simple description of the plot makes me decide if I want to read the book in the first place. Characters help me decide if I want to continue. Example: if I'm reading a murder mystery and don't care enough about the person that was killed or the people left behind, I might say "eh" with a shrug and put the book down.

Follow Friday asks what did you study in college and did it lead to your 9 to 5 job?
I majored in psychology and got my master's in Deaf Ed. Yes, it led to my Many-year teaching career, especially the last ten years of specializing in transition assessments for IEPs. Now I'm recently retired and loving' sleeping past 9!

December 16, 2010

review: Starstruck

author Cyn Balog
to be released July 2011
Publisher: Delacorte Books for Young Readers
source:  arc from Around the World Tours
Plot - from the author's website:     When Gwendolyn “Dough” Reilly’s boyfriend and best friend Wish moves away in seventh grade, the only consolation she can find is in her family bakery’s donuts. Now, it’s sophomore year, and Wish is coming back. But in only three years, they’ve both changed—drastically. She’s seriously overweight, and suddenly Wish is the most popular guy in school, and girls everywhere want him.  
The girls are starstruck.   
     Dough is witty and comes up with great sarcastic repartees (mostly in her mind).  However, she reminds me of one of my favorite in-real-life people. Digressing to describe her:
       My friend is so helpful, she always arranges surprise parties and baby showers.  She visits the sick and the shut-in people.  She asks great intelligent thought-provoking questions.  Her heart is huge, but -- you saw that but coming. But, she's so self-critical.  We sit there in Bible study or at a party, and she starts voicing a comment,  "I'm so fat...."  or "I'm so dumb..."  I've told her many times: "I don't like my friends being criticized.  You're criticizing my dear friend harshly.  You're criticizing yourself. Hush.""
Back to Dough (pun of the Sound of Music song unintentional), the first twenty chapters of Starstruck has Dough calling herself names:  butt boil with cottage cheese thighs.  She can't understand why Wish likes her and she keeps expecting him to break up with her.  I almost felt like saying, "Dough, enough already!"   Others in the book, such as Christian -- a new employee in the bakery -- point out how she dresses and doesn't smile much.
This is a contemporary YA novel -- set on an island in New Jersey;  residents are bussed to a high school on the mainland.  I was puzzled at the normalcy because Balog's Sleepless has a paranormal character, Eron the Sandman.   I kept on reading, in the hopes Dough's self-esteem would improve,  and to find out the reasons for the small odd mannerisms that Wish has, such as dressing all in black (no, he isn't goth).  Christian is a bit odd too, long dreadlocks and his insight into Dough.

Balog doesn't disappoint,  she surprises.   I kept on reading faster and faster.   Applause to Balog.  I have questions to ask her, but won't do it here --- I don't want to ruin the surprise for those who have yet to read Starstruck