Friday, December 31, 2010

Best of 2010

Best Series of 2010 ~ The Sisters Grimm

I just wanted to take a moment and highlight the top ten books and series I read in 2010.  I hope you find time in 2011 to enjoy these as much as I have!

1. The Sisters Grimm by Michael Buckley
2. The Mortal Instruments by Cassandra Clare
3. Maximum Ride by James Patterson
4. The Fever Series by Karen Marie Moning
5. The Study Books by Maria V. Snyder
6. Rule of the Bone by Russell Banks
7. The Neighbor by Lisa Gardner
8. The Ghost and the Goth by Stacey Kade
9. Tales from the Five Kingdoms by Vivian French
10. Inside Out by Maria V. Snyder

Thursday, December 30, 2010

The Fever Series by Karen Marie Moning

I've just spent the last few days completely absorbed in the world of Karen Marie Moning's Fever Series where MacKayla Lane is fighting faery to save humankind.  I have very mixed feelings about this for the following reasons:

1.  The author's name.  Yes, I KNOW it's pronounced mawning as in rhymes with yawning, but it looks an awful lot like moaning.  This is a problem because . . .
2.  I don't usually do "romance novels".  Don't get me wrong - a good romance is essential if I'm going to stay hooked on a series.  Call me a prude, but what I try to stay away from are heaving bosoms and ripped bodices.  Especially the ones that exist as the entire plot and purpose of the novel.  Unfortunately, Moning is a great fan of the genre as evidenced by the "death-by-sex fae" running amok in this series.  I mean, seriously?!  These books would almost have been clean without the super-gorgeous-makes-you-want-to-strip-in-their-presence fairies.  Was this entirely necessary?  I'm thinking not.  Was this entirely fan service?  I'm thinking yes.
3.  Due to the rampant sexuality and language in these books, I would never recommend them.  Not to a little sister or daughter, at least.  But for the sake of being perfectly honest . . .

I love these books!  This series introduces a spunky, pink-loving, all american, deep south, fun loving gal who is thrown into the dark, twisted world of fairies and druids as mankind makes a last stand for rule of the Earth.  To sum up my feelings: fun and absolutely addictive, I can hardly wait to read the final installment of the series- but I would never put these on my shelves at home.

The Fever Series (Loosely connected to her Highlander Series but I've never read them.)
Shadowfever (TBR January 2011)

Thursday, December 16, 2010

Maximum Ride: The Angel Experiment by James Patterson ★

After watching this series fly (lol, get it?) off library shelves for years I finally decided to read it after watching a young man literally freak out when I showed him where the series was shelved.  I've never read a book by James Patterson before - for most librarians who don't read mysteries he's just another incredibly prolific, very popular author.  In other words, I have no idea what his other books for adults are like or how this compares.  On its own, however, Maximum Ride is a wonderful addition to the 'genetically enhanced, superhuman teenagers out to save the world' genre that has been so popular in young adult fiction lately.  It's 'genetically enhanced' because six children ages 6 - 14 have had avian DNA (now do you get the pun?) grafted into their own; 'superhuman' as not only can they fly, but they each also have unique "powers"; and 'out to save the world' because it seems to be why they were created-- but do they even want to?  Book One: The Angel Experiment started a little slow, but it picked up after a bit so if you're having trouble getting into it, keep reading!  I certainly plan to!

Maximum Ride:
The Angel Experiment
School's Out Forever
Saving the World and Other Extreme Sports
The Final Warning
ANGEL (TBR February 2011)

The Uglies by Scott Westerfeld
Shade's Children by Garth Nix

Other Versions:
Maximum Ride: The Graphic Novel has Volumes 1-3 out.  So far I think they've covered the first book and half of the second.  The artwork is great (somewhat manga style)!  But I personally recommend reading the actual book or reading the books first and then reading the graphic novel.  Especially since Fang is hotter in my mind . . . for those of you who care about such things . . . and while we're on the subject - is there a cooler name than Fang?

Monday, December 13, 2010

Magic Under Glass by Jaclyn Dolamore

An underprivileged girl on her own, gentlemen with dark secrets, a madwoman in the attic, whispers and rumors of a haunted mansion in the country . . . if any of this sounds familiar to you, you've probably read Jane Eyre . . . or Magic Under Glass - Jaclyn Dolamore's debut young adult novel.  While much of this book felt overly familiar and seemed to draw very heavily on Charlotte Bronte's classic, there were some new twists and unique elements (such as a cursed fairy prince and evil sorcerers) that kept the book interesting and engaging.  It's definitely worth a read if you're a fan of gothic fantasy though I warn you (as I was not) judging from the ending, this seems to be book one.  Although according to the author's website, there are not currently any plans for a sequel.**

** Jaclyn Dolamore has corrected my bad eyesight (see comments)  and assured me that there is indeed a sequel!  My apologies for not reading her page more carefully.  See her website for more details as they're released.

Wednesday, December 8, 2010

Pride and Prejudice and Zombies by Jane Austen and Seth Grahame-Smith ★

I'm not sure how comedic this book was supposed to be, but I literally laughed out loud the entire time I was reading the graphic novel of Seth Grahame-Smith's zombie version of this Jane Austen classic.  For those who are very familiar with Pride and Prejudice (and like myself can quote nearly all of the six hour Colin Firth DVD marathon) you'll love the way the zombie theme has been worked into the original story.  Basically (and I really don't want to give too much of this away), you take the five Bennett daughters, train them in zombie slaying and end up with hilarious dialogue like this:

Original: It is a truth universally acknowledged, that a single man in possession of a good fortune, must be in want of a wife.

Zombified: It is a truth universally acknowledged that a zombie in possession of brains must be in want of more brains.

Original: Yes, and her petticoat; I hope you saw her petticoat, six inches deep in mud . . .

Zombified: Her petticoat was ripped clean off - and there were pieces of undead on her sleeve!

Original: Darcy had never been so bewitched by any woman as he was by her.  He really believed, that were it not for the inferiority of her connections, he should be in some danger.

Zombified: Darcy had never been so bewitched by any woman as he was by her.  He really believed, that were it not for the inferiority of her connections, he should be in some danger of falling in love, and were it not for his considerable skill in the deadly arts, that he should be in danger of being bested by hers--for never had he seen a lady more gifted in the ways of vanquishing the undead.

In short, if you're excessively acquainted with Pride and Prejudice, zombies certainly add a different twist to an otherwise over-read tale.  If you haven't spent hours poring over Jane Austen literature, however, you'll probably have a hard time understanding why I find the following picture from the graphic novel so incredibly awesome.  (Yes, that is our beloved heroine Elizabeth Bennett on the left, and her ever gallant Mr. Darcy on the right . . . have to admit that pictures like these are the reason I'd recommend the graphic novel over the actual book.)

Happy Slaying!

The 10 p.m. Question by Kate De Goldi

When Kate De Goldi set out to write about "the complexity and hilarity in the everyday business of being human" she had no idea she was writing the story of my life.  I picked up this book because twelve year old Frankie worries about everything - whether the smoke alarm batteries need replaced, if the rash on his chest is cancerous and what to do if the world ends and the family's 72 hour kits aren't up to date.  He shoulders immense responsibility and worries about all the small details that the rest of his family seems happy enough to ignore completely in their own carefree manner.  Unable to sleep due to the unending list of worries Frankie has, he ends up in his Mom's room every night around 10 p.m. asking her questions about bird flu and whether or not he's normal.  I myself am an extreme worrier and although Frankie's plight was sometimes humorous, it was mostly horrifying seeing myself in print and embodied in a twelve year old boy.  Regardless, Frankie's insights and some of the ways he ends up coping with his worry were helpful.  If nothing else, it made me realize that 1.) Maybe I'm not as alone as I think I am when I'm lying awake at night worrying and 2.) Life is to be lived - not micromanaged and worried over.  If you're an obsessive compulsive worrier, this book is for you.  If you didn't even know your house HAD smoke detectors, you'd probably be happier reading something else.