Sunday, October 07, 2007

Go Directly to Jail, Do Not Pass Go, Do Not Collect $200

Okay, so maybe not to jail, but going back to work after my 7 weeks off post-surgery feels like the same thing - even at part time for the first week! The upside is feeling much better physically - the downside is not having the time or energy after work to read. I did get a few things in last weekend though.....

Mississippi Jack - I slurp these Jacky Faber books down like a root beer float on a hot summer day. I love her spunk, her voice and the way Meyer manages to keep it fresh and interesting while being true to his heroine's character - but while still keeping her apart from her true love. Having the watery tale move out to the Wild West in this episode was a hoot. Can't wait for the next adventure!

Love, Stargirl - I probably should have read the original again first but it is still entombed in the garage boxes that I am still enjoined from lifting. I remember liking it a lot - and being intensely curious about what prompted the writing of another book about Stargirl Caraway these long years later... I still found her charming in her home schooled, out-of-step way, and thought the connection between her old and new lives worked all right, too. It was an interesting choice not to have Leo appear in the flesh in any way. Like the heroine of Winn-Dixie, it's a tale of an "outsider" who brings together (and heals) a slew of people who also feel disconnected. Nothing wrong with that notion....

Ricochet - Though I had trouble with the hero's inability to extricate himself from the seminal point in the plot line, this was a fast read about the repercussions of an idle game of Russian Roulette. Dogged by a bad rep and the guilt of having been involved - however tangentially - in the death of a friend, Connor struggles to keep going forward in his life with the help of his music and his new friends. A fast read with definite cover appeal.

The Off-Season - I don't think I ever blogged about reading this one, though it's been a bit since I read it. I was surprised by my total involvement in the first story of the dairy farming, football playing Midwestern gal that is the unique heroine of this book and I was certainly not disappointed in this second installment of D. J.'s tale. A tense family crisis results when one of her older brothers suffers a serious spinal injury in a college football game and as in the first book, much of the burden falls on her shoulders. Her romance with the opposing team's star player is still a large part of the story, but it is D.J.'s strength of character that makes this a great and satisfying read.

Diary of a Fly - Now and again, I have to indulge my picture-book jones. I loved the Worm's tale, and the Spider's tale, and now I loved the Fly's tale. Funny, irreverent and yet educational (!) - this little insect series is a delight!

Mr. Putter & Tabby See the Stars - I adore Mr. Putter and Tabby. Their homey adventures, their obvious affection for one another and their ongoing friendship with Mrs. Teaberry and Zeke make these my grown-up choice to put alongside my childhood easy reader favorites about Little Bear. This outing concerns an upset tummy and a late night walk. Lovely. (My favorite is probably still the one about picking the pears. Or maybe baking a cake. Or painting the porch. Or getting the fish....)

Lean Mean Thirteen - No need to explain, right? Sometimes a gal just wants to live vicariously through Stephanie Plum while she chases down bail jumpers and agonizes about being loved by Ranger and Morelli....

The Mysterious Edge of the Heroic World - There are shades of Mrs. Frankenweiler here and bits of Framed and echoes of Zazoo. And I liked every one of those books more than I liked this one. It is one of those books that has its moments, but also seems a bit too stuffed, a bit too precocious, a bit too eccentric, a bit too much. Frankenweiler is one of my favorite books from childhood (and even rereading it is good for me) and I really liked Silent to the Bone - but other recent books by Konigsburg have not been easy reads. When I got to the section in this book that suddenly started referencing character connections between this novel and Schuyler Place I shuddered - having not particularly cared for that one either. So, I guess my advice is to approach with caution...

The Noah Confessions - A young woman receives letters from her dead mother on her 16th birthday that submerge her into an old family secret involving a murder. An interesting combination of several narrators - the heroine, her father, her mother - and several time periods, this is a dense tale of evil and redemption.

The Lemonade War - This book could go right on the business bestseller list! A feud between a sister and her brother to see who can sell the most lemonade at their respective lemonade stands is more than the tired and true plot of sibling rivalry. Along the way, young entrepreneurs will glean lots of hints at marketing, motivating employees, attracting customers, added value options, and a fair amount of math! Although the ending comes up a bit too quickly and neatly after the explosive culmination of the "war", it is a good middle reader choice.

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