Thursday, February 25, 2010

The Total Tragedy Of A Girl Named Hamlet by Erin Dionne

Hamlet Kennedy is starting the 8th grade. Hamlet's goal for the year is to stay under the radar both at school and at home. Unfortunately that is difficult to do in a family like hers. With parents that are Shakespearean scholars and a genius 7-year-old for a sister Hamlet's family is anything but ordinary.

Right from the start Hamlet's school year is destined to ruin her. To start with, her sister Desdemona is starting the school year at Hamlet's school. She will be taking Art and a few other classes along with being supplemented in her education by various tutors. Hamlet's job is to help her sister navigate middle school for the first days until Dezzie(Hamlet's nickname for her sister) knows how to navigate on her own. Also Hamlet is mysteriously receiving origami shaped pigs in her locker. And to top all of that off the big project for the beginning of the school year is Shakespeare. The students will be performing A Midsummer Night's Dream. Hamlet attempts to hide that fact from her parents to try and keep herself from being further embarrassed by her family.

Trying to protect her sister from being used(for her brain) by two mean girls along with trying to figure out who is giving her origami pigs in her locker and keeping her parents in the dark about what is going on at school Hamlet has so much stress that something is about to give.

I thought The Total Tragedy of a Girl Named Hamlet was so cute! I enjoyed it very much. I felt for Hamlet as she struggles to navigate her school life and her home life. A very delightful read!

Wednesday, February 24, 2010

Coffeehouse Angel by Suzanne Selfors

Katrina works in her grandmothers coffee shop. While opening the shop one cold morning she sees a vagrant sleeping on the doorstep. She decides to deliver a cup of coffee, some pastries and some chocolate covered coffee beans to him.

Katrina discovers that her vagrant is not really a vagrant but an angel in between missions. He will not leave Katrina alone until he can reward her for her kindness.

The vagrant/angel named Malcolm gives her 3 chocolate covered coffee beans as a promise to grant her any wish she desires. Not believing him she gives one of her beans to a friend. When her friends wish comes true Katrina thinks it is just a coincidence. Malcolm of course realizes that Katrina didn't use the bean so he continues to hang around. Telling her he cannot leave until he repays her kindness to him.

In the midst of all of this Katrina and her grandmother are faced with having to close their coffee shop to make room for a bigger more modern coffee shop that has gone in next door to them. They are losing business quickly.

Katrina and Malcolm are slowly falling in love. Is there hope for an angel and a human to have a relationship?

I really enjoyed Coffeehouse Angel. It is a sweet CLEAN love story with a great ending!

Tuesday, February 23, 2010

The Queen of Sleepy Eye by Patti Hill

The Queen of Sleepy Eye begins with Amy and her mother searching for her mom's 1958 Pontiac Bonneville Sports Coupe. Amy's mom had sold the car many years before. In the course of trying to find the car Amy's mother reveals that she had stolen the car from Amy's father. The problem though is that her mother also reveals that Amy's father is not dead like Amy has been told all of her life. But he is alive and well still living in Sleepy Eye, Minnesota. Her mother is bent on returning the car to Amy's father~the man her mother never married.

Switch to the past. Amy and her mother are on their way to take Amy to California to college. Their car breaks down in Cordial Colorado. Amy finds herself working and living in a mortuary. Throughout the summer in Cordial Amy learns a few life lessons. She finds a friend in H one of the local boys. She befriends a group of hippies. Amy is a "good girl" and works hard at maintaining that image. During the summer so many of her values and morals are challenged. Through the death of her friend H and a mistake that she makes, her faith in God is rocked. By the end of summer much spiritual growth has occurred. Her mother is determined to get her to California to college. She sells the Bonneville for money to make the trip.

Switch back to the present. Amy and her mother arrive in Sleepy Eye with the Bonneville. Turns out the police have been watching for that car for years. They are stopped on the way into town. Amy is able to meet her real father and they are able to return the car to it's rightful owner.

The Queen of Sleepy Eye was at times entertaining and then at times frustrating. Amy's "holier than thou" attitude was frustrating when we as the reader could see her flirting with sexual situations. The mother/daughter relationship was very disfunctional. The characters were engaging though and there were a couple humorous parts. By the time the story ended I was wanting more information between what happened at the end of the summer and the present.

Wednesday, February 17, 2010

Shiver by Maggie Stiefvater

As a child Grace was dragged into the woods by a pack of wild wolves. Miraculously she was saved. From the experience she remembers a set of eyes. One of the wolves. Through the years she sees her wolf in the woods. Always watching her and she always watching him.

One day she goes into a bookstore and sees those same pair of eyes in a boy who works there. When she finds that her wolf and the boy are one and the same it does not surprise her.

Sam has been a wolf for many years. The change has always been a curse to him. It is especially a curse once he falls in love with Grace and she with him. Is there a way that Sam and Grace can be together forever?

Everyone kept telling me to read this book. I put it off for as long as I could! Once I picked it up I truly did not want to put it down. I fell in love with the characters. I laughed and I cried! With little to no language this would almost be a great book for me to recommend. Unfortunately the author put in a mild sex scene. While it is not graphic by any means we still know that the characters consumated their relationship. It is disappointing because it really is a good book. Because of that I would have to recommend it for a more mature audience.

Skeleton Creek by Patrick Carman

The town of Skeleton Creek holds a lot of secrets. Especially secrets about an old gold dredge. Ryan and Sarah decided they want to explore the old dredge. They go exploring in the middle of the night. When they see a ghost Ryan gets so scared that he falls and breaks his leg. His parents forbid him to have any more contact with his best friend Sarah. They think that she is the one that gets him into trouble. Ryan and Sarah decide to keep in touch through e-mail which they then delete from their computers and their computer history so that their parents cannot tell that they have been keeping in touch.

Sarah has a video camera. She video's herself and then sends the video's to Ryan. The thing that is unique about the book is that the reader can go online and listen and watch Sarah's video's to Ryan.

Through the video's and trips to the old dredge we as the readers and viewers get to see what Sarah and Ryan see. There are ghostly images and some scary things that even made me jump as I watched. I think that it was a very well put together book and I enjoyed it very much. I recommend it and the sequel The Ghost in the Machine to the middle school age student. We actually cannot keep a copy of it in our library because it is always checked out. One of the drawbacks of the book would be if the student does not have access to a computer at home. Skeleton Creek does leave you hanging at the end, but picks right up in the sequel.

With little or no language or sexual content I have no qualms about putting it on my Edifying posts.

Saturday, February 13, 2010

Double Cross by James David Jordan

Taylor is a former Secret Service agent.  At the beginning of the book her and Kacey(prominent televangelist Simon Mason's daughter) go to Simon's top assistant to confront her about embezzling money from the ministry. When they arrive at the woman's house they discover her dead in her car with the engine running. An apparent suicide.

Taylor hasn't seen her mother in 20 years. She walked out on her and her father when she was 9. Her mother arrives on her doorstep out of the blue. Taylor is wanting a relationship with her mother, but her mother really doesn't know how to be a mom.

Amidst trying to find out who actually embezzled the money Taylor meets up with a reporter that is working on a case involving a prostitution ring that may actually hit a little bit too close to home.

Double Cross is full of action and suspense that kept me turning the pages. I'm a little confused about why it would be considered a Christian book. Was it clean? Yes, there was no foul language. There was a brief mention of sex. Was there redemption? I think that it was vaguely implied but a salvation message was not clear. James David Jordan writes a very fast-paced story that is very entertaining and one that I would recommend to other readers.

Monday, February 8, 2010

Sent by Margaret Peterson Haddix

Sent starts where Found ended. Jonah, his sister Katherine their friend Chip and Alex "land" in the fifteenth century. Jonah and Katherine were not supposed to time travel to the fifteenth century with Chip and Alex. They could mess up history. With the help of the Elucidator they are able to keep in contact with JB. Upon landing in the fifteenth century Chip finds out that he is Edward the Fifth King of England and France and that Alex is his brother Prince Richard.

The kids find themselves in a room where Chip and Alex see ghostly visions of themselves (called Tracers). They meld with their Tracers and are able to know the thoughts of the boys. The problem is that the longer they stay in their tracer body the harder it is for them to come back to their 21st century selves.

While in their Tracer bodies they learn that their uncle plans to kill them and become king himself. With the help of the Elucidator they become invisible so that they can move about more and find out what happened in that time of history.

In order to keep the kids from ruining history JB manages to bring Jonah and Katherine back so that he can coach them how to bring Chip and Alex back to the 21st century without ruining history.

I have to admit that I had a hard time following Sent. With all of the twisted time travel information and the history and the tracers I just got completely confused. It truly was hard for me to even finish the book, but I finished it because I hate to give up on a book. The ending does leave off for another book in this series. I am not sure that it is one that I will pick up again. For those people that like a Science fiction/history/Adventure story this may be right up your alley.

Monday, February 1, 2010

Deliver Us From Evil by Robin Caroll

U.S. Marshal Roark Holland has recently come back to work after losing a family in the Witness Protection Program. The death of the young child haunts him.

Brannon Callahan is a Search-And-Rescue helicopter pilot who has heart-ache of her own.

While on a mission to deliver a heart to a hospital for a witness in a child-trafficking ring the helicopter that Roark is in crashes. Brannon is the pilot that goes out in the storm to bring he and the survivors to safety. When events happen to cause her own helicopter to be non-0perational they have to hike out of the Smoky Mountains to get the heart to the hospital in time to save the witness.

Woven between Roark and Brannon's story and the story of young girls being sold into prostitution, Robin Caroll weaves an exciting, heart-breaking tale that places the reader at the edge of their seat until the very end.

From the Prologue straight through to the Epilogue this story had me! The story had me feeling all kinds of emotions. I was biting my nails in the action scenes. Angry and sickened by the child trafficking. And elated that justice prevailed. I would recommend this book to a more mature audience.