Thursday, September 30, 2010

Travels With Gannon and Wyatt by Patti Wheeler and Keith Hemstreet

Travels With Gannon and Wyatt is written in journal form. Gannon and Wyatt are brothers that love to travel and have adventures. My understanding is that this is going to be a series. In this installment the boys went to Botswana.

While tracking a lioness that has been injured by a poacher the boys encounter many adventures in the Okavango Delta of Botswana. They have to continue on foot when their jeep is stuck in water. They encounter elephants, buffalo, lions, snakes and a poacher. They also have to deal with a scary illness that Wyatt comes down with.

I really enjoyed this book and look forward to other installments. The journal entries trade off between the two boys. You get different perspectives of each encounter and experience. The book came with a cd that I haven't had a chance to watch yet.

The cd was very informative to watch. You get to see and hear Wyatt and Gannon speaking about their trip to Botswana. There is also video of some of the wildlife that they filmed while they were there.

Skeleton Creek The Crossbones by Patrick Carman

Sarah's family has left Skeleton Creek. Leaving Ryan without his best friend. The town has benefitted from the gold found in the old dredge. Ryan's father has purchased a fishing store which he insists Ryan spend his summer working in.

Ryan has a secret from the old dredge that he hasn't revealed to anyone. He shares with Sarah a new clue for another mystery in Skeleton Creek.

Sarah's parents agree to let her drive across country visiting family members on her way to CA for film school. Unbeknownst to them she is also hunting clues in this new mystery. The scary thing is that the ghost from the old dredge seems to be following Sarah.

Ryan is frustrated still being stuck in Skeleton Creek while Sarah once again deals with cemeteries in the middle of the night and the ghost turning up at odd times during her trek.

What mystery are they chasing and will it bring them harm before they solve it?

I liked this installment of the Skeleton Creek series but I was disappointed in the video's this time around. Sarah is no longer showing herself in the video's. I think it is for privacy purposes, but that is what made the other Skeleton Creek books more personable and frightening. Although the book was good it did lack the scariness of the other books. I still enjoyed reading the book and going online to watch Sarah's video's and look forward to the next installment of Skeleton Creek because of course we were left hanging at the end of the book.

Tuesday, September 28, 2010

Twelfth Grade Kills by Heather Brewer

Vlad's dad has returned from hiding which leaves Vlad feeling confused, angry and happy all at once. He is needing answers from his dad but they are slow in coming.

Em has given Vlad until the beginning of the New Year to hand over his dad Tomas to the Vampire Council or Vlad will stand trial and be killed. Joss has been given until the New Year to slay Vlad. If Joss doesn't kill Vlad by that time the Slayer Society will kill everyone in Bathory, humans and vampires.

Vlad is convinced that he is the prophesied Provus. Will his powers be used for good or for evil?

People keep telling me that this is the last book in the series, but I am not convinced. Heather Brewer has left the ending wide open for another sequel. At least that is the way I see it! I am not impressed with the ending of this book. In fact I am really disappointed! That doesn't mean I didn't like the rest of the book. At least Vlad wasn't bawling every other page(see other reviews of the series).

Thursday, September 23, 2010

Pies & Prejudice by Heather Vogel Frederick

This time around the Mother-Daughter Book Club explore Pride and Prejudice by Jane Austen. It is the perfect time for them to do this with Emma and her family living in England(right in the middle of Jane Austen country) for a year. Emma and her mom are able to participate in the book club via the internet.

Cassidy, still the perpetual tomboy has a full plate. She plays hockey for a Division I girls league, She starts a club for little girls called "Chicks with Sticks" to train them how to become ice hockey players, and then as a favor to Mrs. Bergson(who was able to get her time on the ice for Chicks with Sticks) she agrees to practice ice dancing with Tristan(whose family have house-swapped with Emma's family). Sparks fly between Tristan and Cassidy from the time they meet.

Megan loves fashion. She notices everyone's fashion faux pas and so decides that she will start a blog that she entitles Fashionista Jane going along with the theme of Jane Austen. The blog ultimately gets the girls into trouble, but it is fun and snarky!

Jess also has a lot going on in her life. She is feeling stressed about not having a career goal in mind when all of the other girls seem to know what they would like to do with their lives. She thinks that she would love to do something with music, she has the opportunity to nurse a wounded fox back to health and as always Emma's brother Darcy can always make her heart pound. Will Darcy ever notice her, or will he always see her as just one of his sister's friends?

The girls put together a business of baking pies and other treats in an effort to raise money to bring Emma home for a visit during spring break. They name their business "Pies and Prejudice" and it becomes quite successful. Of course not everything is all roses in the story. The girls have a new nemesis and new struggles throughout the year. It is fun to see how relationships develop and how supportive they are of each other. This is turning out to be one of my favorite series!

Thursday, September 16, 2010

Hickory Dickory Death by Agatha Christie

Not my favorite Poirot story, but entertaining and as always I didn't know "whodunnit" until the very end when all was revealed. So one more Agatha Christie book down and I don't know how many more to go.

Monday, September 13, 2010

Wish You Were Dead by Todd Strasser

Someone is writing on a blog that she wishes certain popular people were dead. She is feeling abused by the popular people.  When 3 of the most popular students at school disappear she begins to freak out and realize that someone has seen her wish and has decided to act upon it.

Madison and Tyler are taking their turn driving for Safe Rides. A service for people who have had too much to drink. They are supposed to make sure their "client" is safely in their home before leaving them. Unfortunately Madison and Tyler do not make sure that Lucy is safe because she refuses to go into the house. Frustrated with Lucy they drive away. Not knowing that this will be the last time they ever see her.

The whole town is on edge especially after 2 more students disappear. Tyler seems to know more than he is sharing with Madison. Throughout the story she is consumed by her attraction towards him, but also leery of him because he is new and mysterious.

Is there a serial killer out there getting revenge on popular students? Who will be next? Why is this happening in this quiet affluent town?

Wish You Were Dead was truly a nail-biter! Especially the ending! A must read for those who enjoy a good mystery/scary story.

Saturday, September 11, 2010

Heist Society by Ally Carter

Katarina Bishop comes from a long line of professional thieves. But she has decided to get out of the "business". She cons her way into a private school to become a normal student. Unfortunately some of her family and friends have different ideas for her. They get her kicked out.

When her father is accused of stealing a private collection of paintings Kat is forced unwillingly back into the business. She is sure that the paintings were not stolen by her father but the owner is convinced otherwise. He threatens to harm her father and her friends if she does not return the paintings to him within 2 weeks.

Kat finds the paintings. The only problem is they are hidden behind paintings in an art museum that is virtually impossible to break into. Kat assembles a crew of her closest friends and family members to help her come up with a plan to save her father and get the paintings back to their rightful owners.

This reminded me a bit of the Ocean's Eleven movie series. Lots of twists and turns and back-stories. I enjoyed it very much and especially liked the ending. The copy of the book that I read was an ARC copy so am not sure if there were any revisions made to the copy that is now out in stores. The author did leave the ending open for a sequel.

Friday, September 10, 2010

Poirot Investigates by Agatha Christie

When I picked this book up I didn't realize that it was a compilation of short stories. So I was a little disappointed that it wasn't a novel. The stories were entertaining though and it was a quick read. Hercule Poirot is one of my favorite Agatha Christie characters. His arrogance about his abilities to solve mysteries is part of what endears him to the reader. I love his moustaches! And in this compilation "the little grey cells" are featured quite a bit! After spending the majority of last summer gorging on Agatha Christie novels while recuperating from surgery I was excited to get back into another one of her novels. Even though this book didn't satisfy my requirement for a novel I am glad that I read it. And never to fear I have several more Agatha Christie books awaiting me! My goal is to read all of her novels. Thanks to a friend who is an avid Agatha fan I hope to be able to continue to borrow them from her.

Wednesday, September 8, 2010

The Chronicles of Vladimir Tod Eleventh Grade Burns by Heather Brewer

Joss moves back to town much to Vlad's dismay. Joss is still out to fulfill his Slayer responsibilities by getting rid of vampires. It makes the school year pretty tense.

Vlad is still mooning over Meredith even though he dumped her for her own protection. He is still feeding on Snow his second drudge.

Otis is keeping his promise by staying in town. He took a job at the High School. He is now awaiting his pretrial.

Eddie Poe is still lurking around every corner spying on Vlad and trying to find any evidence that will prove that Vlad is a vampire.

Vlad is feeling guilty about feeding from Snow. She is developing feelings for him that he doesn't think he can return. Vlad is trying to come to terms with his new thirst for human blood. He is worried about Otis. He wants to try and befriend Joss again, but Joss is still out to rid Bathory of vampires. A new vampire is in town and he has a thirst for Vlad's blood. He is used to getting what he wants. All of these things culminate into a surprising ending that leaves the reader in shock!

At first I wasn't overly thrilled about this installment, but once I got into it I was totally excited to turn the next page! Unfortunately now I have to wait for the next book in the series! It doesn't come out until September 21.

Monday, September 6, 2010

The Chronicles of Vladimir Tod Tenth Grade Bleeds by Heather Brewer

Vlad enters tenth grade this year. Unfortunately his uncle Otis has to leave again. He is running from the council and trying to find a "ritual" that could supposedly take away the powers of the Pravus and transfer them to the person performing the ritual.

Everything seems to start going bad for Vlad. He is once again being stalked by someone that wants to kill him. Eddie Poe is still lurking behind every corner taking pictures and stalking him, sure to find some way to prove that Vlad is a vampire. Henry no longer wants to be his drudge. Vlad's appetite is increasing. He cannot seem to connect with Otis telepathically. And he is having very vivid nightmares of being strapped to a table and being tortured.

Vlad has sworn to never "drink from the source" but one night in a dark alley he slips and tries it for the first time. It satisfies his thirst like nothing ever has before. Will he be able to go back to drinking Nelly's "snack paks" or have his feeding habits been changed forever?

I am hooked on finding out how Vlad's story ends, but I had some issues with this book. Vlad seems to be overly sensitive in this book. He cries continuously. I mean seriously! It seemed like every chapter he was wiping his tears or welling up with tears or getting choked up with tears, or his face streaming with tears. It was a bit nauseating for me! I truly wanted to say, "BUCK UP you sissy!" I'm all for guys getting teary, but I think it was overly done in this instance. Yes, Vlad is sensitive, but the author has risked making him seem like a 10 year old boy rather than a 15 year old almost man.

Sunday, September 5, 2010

Revised "to-read" shelf-September 2010

So once again I am revising my "to-read" shelf. I removed some books that just don't interest me anymore. I have added books that I brought home from vacation and I am keeping some books that I hope to be able to read soon.

Friday, September 3, 2010

The Chronicles of Vladimir Tod Ninth Grade Slays by Heather Brewer

This series is growing on me. I liked the second one better than the first.

Vlad is starting 9th grade as the story opens up. He has the same two bullies picking on him as when he was in 8th grade. He still has a crush on Meredith and seems to get tongue tied when she is around.

Henry seems to have accepted the fact that he is Vlad's "drudge". Vlad tries not to read his friends mind or to manipulate him to do things, but sometimes he feels that he has to. Henry's cousin comes to stay with him for the year and Vlad and Joss become good friends. It seems that they become closer because Henry has become so popular at school. Still they are not close enough for Vlad to tell Joss his secret.

Otis takes Vlad to Siberia to meet an old friend of his fathers. Vikas tries to teach Vlad how to read minds better and to manipulate people to do what he wants. Vlad also learns about the prophecy of the Pravus. About a half vampire half human that comes to take over the human population. Vikas believes that Vlad is the Pravus. The only problem is that one of the things to prove that it is true is that the vampire/human has to die.

Trailed by a nosy nerd on the school newspaper, and by a vampire slayer Vlad's secret and life are in danger.

I found Ninth Grade Slays to be more exciting than the first book and am looking forward to reading Tenth Grade Bleeds.