Thursday, June 23, 2011

Beauty QueensBeauty Queens by Libba Bray

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

This book is a hoot. Take 13 overachieving (for the most part) beauty queens, place on a deserted (supposedly) island without any adults and few cosmetics and what do you get. Well, in this case you get (on one level) a serious case of Girl Power Gone Wild, and on another level some pretty fierce political and social satire.

For the first time in most of their lives, these girls get to think for themselves and put their priorities on order. So we find out that we have an ultra feminist determined to bring down the pageant, a lesbian, a transgender person in transition, well, pretty much everyone has something to hide. I love the way the characters find their own voices and forge friendships, how they overcome obstacles and survive. I also love the pure absurdity of whole book. This is definitely a book for older teens. There is language and sex. I also think it is a bit sophisticated for tweens. Overall, a barrel of fun.

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Saturday, June 18, 2011

Poison Pen: A Forensic Handwriting MysteryPoison Pen: A Forensic Handwriting Mystery by Sheila Lowe

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

3 1/2 stars -- Claudia Rose is a respected handwriting analyst. When a frenemy dies from an apparent suicide, Claudia is asked to analyze the suicide note. While hunting for good examples of the deceased handwriting for comparison, Claudia stumbles across more and more information that leads her to think this was no suicide. She also stumbles across a murder fiction and a hunky detective.

I liked this book. It took me a while to get to know Claudia. There were so many other characters who overshadowed her at first and so much going on. However, once she came out of the shadows, I really warmed up to her. The little bits about handwriting analysis were interesting but Lowe does not beat you over the head with it. This does not exactly feel like a cozy to me. It is set in LA and the illegal activities involved were a bit on the seedy side for a cozy. But as I said, I did enjoy it and will probably read the next in the series.

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Saturday, June 11, 2011

Book of Shadows (Wicca, #1)Book of Shadows by Cate Tiernan

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Morgan is your average 16 year old. She makes good grades and goes to church with her family. Her best friend, Bree, is part of the "in" crowd but they have remained friends even though they belong to different cliques. When a new boy, Cal, comes to school, Morgan is completely taken with him. She has never felt like that about a boy. What is even more surprising is that Cal seems to like her too. When Cal reveals that he and his family practice Wicca as a religion, Morgan, Bree and several other students are fascinated and attend one of his circles. It soon becomes apparent that when it comes to witchcraft, Morgan is anything but average.

I really enjoyed this book. Morgan is interesting because she is a really good girl who want to do the right thing. That is a hard stance for a 16 year old to take. Even when she tries to defy her parents wishes (they are totally against the whole witchcraft thing) her plans keep falling apart. The other characters are very good and represent the usual groups you see at a high school. I think the first person narrative rings true almost as if you are reading a diary. There is mystery and romance in the future. I will be reading the next book in the series.

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Monday, June 6, 2011

Secret Clique (Replica, #5)Secret Clique by Marilyn Kaye

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

School can be tough. Cliques can run a school and ruin the lives they really don't like. Melissa has returned to school after recovering from a terrible accident and of course everyone is happy she survived and taken her place as the queen of the "it" clique. But when everything starts coming up roses for the clique and their enemies start disappearing, Amy tries to join the group to find out what is happening.

This series is fun and can take you back to the days when being popular seemed like a life or death issue. In this one, it looks like it just might be. More experimenting on kids leads to disasterous conclusions. I wonder if we will see Melissa again.

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Entwined by Heather Dixon

This is a wonderful book. It is a retelling of the 12 Dancing Princesses and has everything a fairy tale should have, romance, evil pretending to be good, damsels in distress and surprisingly, humor. I found it very hard to put down but it took me about 50 pages to really get into it. Azalea, the oldest princess, is devoted to her family but does not always make the best decisions. Although she had sworn to her dying mother to protect her sisters, she unknowingly endangers all of them, her father and the kingdom. But she fights to make it right and finally calls on the most powerful magic of all, love. Beneath all the magic is a story of a family torn by loss and misunderstanding. This would be an outstanding mother/daugther book club choice.

Friday, June 3, 2011

Killing Me Softly (Secrets of Shadow Falls, #1)Killing Me Softly by Maggie Shayne

My rating: 2 of 5 stars

Well, I have to say that I am disappointed. The book is a fast read, maybe because not a whole lot happens. We follow two people on the run and trying to clear one of them from charges of murder. They discover a lot of new clues, but even without them, I knew who the killer was almost from the start. There really were not any other possibles. There were all sorts of odd things brought up, one of the victims had recently had a baby for example, that led no where in the story. The love story was sort of lame. Two healthy young people with a past live in the same motel rooms night after night and nothing happens because the GUY doesn't want to get hurt. Right. And the whole ghost/psychic aspect was so weak that it is almost an afterthought. As I said, disappointed.

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