Wednesday, June 3, 2009

Book Review - Recent Reads... again!

As prep work for my MG (Mid-Grade) novel, I hit up the library and checked out a passel of young adult and children's novels, mostly just picking randomly based off of covers, essentially the way I figure kids choose books. A couple I never read, just dismissed 'em out of hand after a few chapter... Apparently Teen Fantasy is clearly geared towards teenage girls and Teen Horror is geared towards.... I dunno, repressed teen boys, maybe. The books I snagged of those types were really unimpressive. Anyway, on to the ones I did read!




FLOODLAND
by Marcus Sedgwick

2000, 148 pages

I checked this book out because I had been intrigued by the author's new release, but wanted to read his earlier work first. The story is about a girl living in a world where the icecaps are melting and the land is being swallowed up. After being accidentally left by her parents, she stumbles across a boat and uses it to try and find her folks. She ends up on a Lord Of The Flies style island with a bunch of uncouth youths.

I enjoyed the book, thought the writing was good and the idea, while pretty obvious was well executed, but the ending stuck in my craw. It was over in a matter of pages and was incredibly shoved full of coincidences.

4/10


BEACH ROAD
by James Patterson & Peter De Jonge

2006, 383 pages

I'd read a few Patterson novels before, though he seems to be one of those authors where I recognize the name, but not why I know it. This novel got a lot of ink about its twist ending, which I saw coming pretty early on in the second half, but it was an enjoyable read about a murder, conspiracy, small town politics and rich folk. It was written in an odd series of short chapters, most around 4 pages long, each from a different point of view. At first this kind of bugged me and after a while, I started liking the way it flowed, enough that I may consider writing something in that format.

7/10


THE DARK SECRET OF WEATHEREND
By John Bellairs

1984 182 pages

A guilty pleasure and inspiration, I'll probably read a Bellairs novel every time I do an update, they're fun, quick, spooky, goofy, scary and creative; pretty much everything you want a book to be. And they have great Edward Gorey artwork.

8/10


A SERIES OF UNFORTUNATE EVENTS BOOK 4 - THE MISERABLE MILL
By Lemony Snicket

2000 197 pages

I really want to like these books, I really do! I love the idea, the tone, the author's writing style and attitude, his author's bio cracks me up every time! Yet each of these books has left me feeling unsatisfied. Book four was my least favorite so far, it had virtually no plot and what was there seemed... wrong somehow... Grr. On to book Five, with fingers crossed.

2/10


GUN SHY
By Ben Rehder

2007 369 pages

I love Rehder's books. They all star John Marlin, a Blanco County Texas Game Warden with a great head, sense of humor and taste in women, and a motley cast of residents in the county he patrols. Sometimes, things get a little over the top wacky, but they're always a fun read. Gun Shy concerns a NRA-style group, a couple of murders, lots of whiskey, a country music star that's a fraud and politics in a way that only Rehder could write.

8/10


THE LAST ORACLE
By James Rollins

2008, 480 pages

I had never heard of James Rollins until a year or so ago when a co-worker loaned me one of his books. Rollins writes big, sprawling adventure stories, usually involving some science and some craziness. I really like his books, they're a perfect summer read, though his most recent books have all focused on the Sigma Force, a top secret military group that solves vaguely Da-Vinci Code style mysteries (Though I like Rollins' books better) His Sigma books are great, but I long for a return to his stand-alone novels with monsters, secret worlds and whatnot. Which is one reason I'm intrigued by the ad in the back of The Last Oracle... Seems Rollins has written a Mid Grade children's adventure novel... Hmm... gonna have to check that out!

8/10

2 comments:

randymeiss said...

The unfortunate thing about the unfortunate series of events is you have no choice but to keep reading until the bitter end. I suffered through the whole series and never really did like any of the books. They're so depressing. You can only read so much of never ending bad things that keep happening. Nothing good ever happens to those kids. The End was the most enjoyable book because it was the end.

Kristopher and Crew said...

Yeah, I'm in the same boat. I'll read them all, but it won't be out of a huge amount of pleasure.