Sunday, July 15, 2012

Super-fast mini-review catch-up

I have been running way behind for weeks now, and I am determined to get caught up today. To do that, I'm going to give brief summaries and reviews for the books I've read that didn't make a huge impact one way or the other.

 Another Faust by Daniel and Dina Nayeri -- five teens with supernatural abilities appear at an exclusive private school. Have they sold their souls to the devil?

This was a reasonably good story, though I found it a slog in places. I'm not super familiar with Faust (I keep meaning to read Doctor Faustus, but you know how that goes), but it seemed to be an interesting take on the original source. Recommended if you're into paranormal YA, or are intrigued by the premise. The authors have apparently written a few more books in this series; I probably will not read them unless they are on hand when the mood strikes me.

(Reviewed  from a copy borrowed though my library system.) 

 Deadweather and Sunrise by Geoff Rodkey -- Egg, a despised youngest child, embarks on a series of adventures when a seeming accident causes his entire family to be lost in a runaway hot-air balloon. Now heir to his father's island plantation, can Egg stay safe from the people who appear to want him dead?

This book has a lot of great elements, and it brings them together nicely -- a likable hero, a feisty female character, pirates, a convincing villain, a bit of mystery . . . in short, I liked it a lot. I'll be looking forward to the rest of the series.

(Reviewed  from a copy borrowed though my library system.) 

Well Witched (aka Verdigris Deep) by Frances Hardinge -- when three children steal a handful of coins from a wishing well, they find themselves in over their heads, as the vengeful spirit of the well gives them special powers and demands that they grant the wishes made with the coins they stole.

Despite an interesting plot and well-developed characters (even the parents were fully-fledged individuals), this book didn't do much for me. Hardinge is a hit-or-miss author for me (I loved The Lost Conspiracy but didn't care for Fly By Night). Well Witched is certainly not a bad book; I'm just not its ideal reader -- which is strange, because I generally love middle-grade fantasy. I'll keep reading Hardinge, though, in hopes of another fantastic success.

(Reviewed from my personally purchased copy.)

Here Lies the Librarian by Richard Peck -- Peewee, having finished eighth grade, dreams of becoming an auto mechanic, and is determined to have nothing more to do with books and learning. This all changes when Irene Ridpath and her friends, stylish fledgeling librarians, sweep into town to rescue the neglected little library.

I expected to like this book more than I did. The opening bit, about a tornado that rips through a graveyard and digs up graves, seemed to be trying for a tall-tale style (no real tornado acts the way that one did), but I never really saw how it fit with the rest of the story. So, that bothered me. On the other hand, a twist that happens fairly early in the book, of the sort that I usually see coming way off, took me completely by surprise, so that's a point in its favor. I'll probably read more by this author, as his books are well-known (and often award-winning).

(Reviewed from my personally purchased copy.)

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