Friday, March 26, 2010

Of dreamcatchers, preternaturals and thieves

I haven't been in the mood to write about my reading lately. The weather puts me in a funk - I'm one of those happy when it's sunny kind of people, so all this rain (and even a little snow) has left me less than enthused about anything. So, I've been working at about half-energy, and I feel like I've just been playing catch-up with my reading, reading books that you all have most likely read already - probably because I get so many of my book recs from the blogosphere. Ah, oh well. Here's what I've read most recently.

Gone by Lisa McMann
published February 2010 by Simon & Schuster
214 pages (hardcover), YA

I admit that I read this one on a wonderfully sunny, almost warm day sitting next to a lake. What a fine way to experience a book! Unfortunately, like so many have already noted, this finale in the Wake trilogy did not impress. What I enjoyed most about the first book in the series was the exploration of what it meant to be a dreamcatcher, which was nearly absent in this book. This book was about family, which is fine but unexpected, I suppose. Janie is on summer vacation with Cabe when she's summoned back home to deal with her drunken mother and a comatose father she's never met. Obviously, she's curious about her father, so she does a little research and finds that they have quite a bit in common. You can guess where that's going. I don't have much else to say really except that for fans of the series, this book will read quickly enough - but if you didn't like the first two books, I don't think there's reason to keep going. Too bad, I think, because I do enjoy McMann's unusual writing style.

Soulless: An Alexia Tarabotti Novel by Gail Carriger
published October 2009 by Orbit/Yen
384 pages (mass market paperback), adult (YA appeal)

Preternatural is a word I despise - I cringe every time I read it. Well, I had to get over that pretty quickly in order to enjoy this book, where our main character Miss Alexia Tarabotti is just that, a preternatural. A what? She has no soul. She neutralizes supernatural powers. Vamps lose the fangs at the touch of her, werewolves turn back to humans. That's just a little glimpse into her world - this is also Victorian England but not like you've learned about it, let's say instead with a steampunk twist. If you can imagine all of this in one book, where our main character, a self-proclaimed spinster (at no more than 25), must live with a stepmother who loathes her and two stepsisters who are only interested in advantageous marriages, gossip, and pretty things, then you will be in for a treat. Alexia is witty, okay hilarious, and I could not stop the little girl giggles from escaping me at her cheekiness. This book is fun but not necessarily light - it's ridiculous but also thoughtful. I was expecting something a lot less substantial from a book originally published as a mass market paperback (oh, how judgmental I am), but I was pleasantly surprised to find the story was more than just a paranormal romance (but those parts were great too, I must say), where the focus is on the budding relationship. So many twists and turns in this one - I shouldn't write any more. If you can stand to read anything more of vamps and weres and wouldn't mind a little romance and are in serious need of a laugh, pick this one up. I'm excited for the next installment, Changeless, due out in April.
Heist Society
Heist Society by Ally Carter
published February 2010 by Disney Hyperion
304 pages (hardcover), YA

What to say about this one? I'd consider it another breed of fantasy - sure, it's contemporary, with human characters who don't have any special powers, but is it realistic? Not in my world. Kat has just left the family business - high profile thieving - and is trying to live a normal teenage life at a boarding school. But she's whisked back into that underground world by Hale, a good friend (who happens to be gorgeous), who needs her help to clear her father's name of a crime he most likely didn't commit. The heist? Re-steal five priceless paintings for a big, bad guy and hopefully save her dad. From a back of the book blurb, E. Lockhart says, "Heist Society is an edge-of-your-seat caper with more twists than Ocean's Eleven and cooler gadgets than Casino Royale." I agree. It's fun, action-packed, with a little bit of romance. A beach read for those of you still spring breaking. :)

What's next? Be sure to check out my Unsung YA Giveaway (as well as the many others linked from YAnnabe), which will end April 12. I'm currently reading a few different books because of attention span issues. Most of the weekend will be spent lesson planning, which I'm almost excited about. I may disappear for awhile depending on how busy I let myself get. I'm ready for March (my least favorite month, in case you hadn't noticed) to be over!



Peaceful Reader said...

I have major lesson planning to accomplish as well-tomorrow. The cover and your review of Heist Society make me want to read it! Hope your days soon turn sunny!

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