Cowboy Crazy

Cowboy CrazyCowboy Crazy by Joanne Kennedy
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

An engaging story about finding out who you are by looking at where you came from.

Sarah Landon hated where she came from and always thought that the grass would be greener on the other side. She left Two Shot, Wyoming to go to an Ivy League school and bury her past. She ends up working for Carrigan Oil Company in Wyoming, not far from her home town and even though she is close to home, she does not let anyone know she where she came from.

Sarah’s life growing up had several hardships. She lived with her mother and sister in poverty and when her mother married, they found happiness for a short while. Then an accident took her stepfather’s life and changed everything. Sarah had to sell the horse and quit barrel racing, her mother had a hard time coping therefore started drinking and eventually died too young and her sister seems to be falling into the same poverty rut the family has never been able to shake.

Lane Carrigan is from a wealthy family and spent his early years at boarding schools and hated every minute of it. His most cherished memories were spent on the family ranch during the summers. Never really settling down, he becomes a bull rider with the rodeo and just wants to be a simple cowboy. He recently was given the responsibility of running the family ranch while his brother runs the oil company. Carrigan Oil still owns the land and the mineral rights but Lane owns the buildings and runs the ranch.

Lane and Sarah meet when he is visiting his brother and she is working. They seem to be on opposite sides as Lane’s brother wants to drill on the land. Lane does not want the drilling operation to ruin the small town of Two Shot and Sarah as the publicist needs to convince the town that this is good for everyone.

Sarah needs to deal with going home again and the nightmares she left behind, she does not realize the destruction she is doing to herself as well as her sister while being negative about their past and trying to find blame when there really is no blame, life sometimes just happens without it being anyone’s fault. Lane has to realize that if you work things out in the beginning you can let progress happen and it will not destroy the small town life – it might enhance it.

As they work through their own problems they realize that they might just be fighting for the same thing and falling in love along the way. A wonderful book about how the past can form the present, but that you can still change. I will be reading more Joanne Kennedy books in the future.

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A good mystery but has an uncomfortable message from a parent to the YA audience

The Girl in the ParkThe Girl in the Park by Mariah Fredericks
My rating: 3 of 5 stars

This post was republished to RaeLynn Writes! at 1:01:49 PM 4/8/2012
The Girl in the Park Book Report

The Girl in the Park
Author: Mariah Fredericks
Genre: YA Mystery
Pub Date: April 24, 2012
Rating: PG-13 (partying, underage drinking, strong undercurrent of sex)
Coffee Beans: 3.5/5
Favorite Line: “The sound of her crying is like vomit; you can tell it hurts to let it out.” (pg 56, Nook);”Now the whole rotten memory comes back in a rush like vomit.” (pg 75, Nook);
Spoilers: Yes, a little about a subplot
Disclaimer: I received this ARC free from the publisher via NetGalley in exchange for this honest review

Publisher’s Summary:

When Wendy Geller’s body is found in Central Park after the night of a rager, newspaper headlines scream, “Death in the Park: Party Girl Found Strangled.” But shy Rain, once Wendy’s best friend, knows there was more to Wendy than just “party girl.” As she struggles to separate the friend she knew from the tangle of gossip and headlines, Rain becomes determined to discover the truth about the murder. Written in a voice at once immediate, riveting, and utterly convincing, Mariah Frederick’s mystery brilliantly exposes the cracks in this exclusive New York City world and the teenagers that move within it.

I immediately connected with this book for a number of reasons. Two of them being the voice it was written in and the fact that it reminded me of The Sky is Everywhere, and I absolutely love that book. So well written and interesting, this novel pulled me along at a speed that had me finishing the book in only a day and a half. Now, let’s get down to the specifics, shall we?

What I liked:

• The cover’s pretty stinkin’ sweet. Come on, admit it. Uber mysterious and creepy. Perfect for a book about a murder
• It reminded me of Jandy Nelson’s The Sky is Everywhere, but not as deep and aching—and with a murder—but still about dealing with the loss of someone you loved and finding out they weren’t who you thought they were
• I loved how the plot kept me guessing who the killer was. By page 100, I was certain I knew who the killer was. Then, at least two other times I thought I knew who the killer was
• At first, the writing was a little scattered and abstract with all the breaks and scene shifts and flashbacks. I had to go back a few times and re-read a line or paragraph to understand what was going on, but once I got the flow of it, it was well executed and perfect.
• Lots of good lines in the writing. Good subtleties picked up on to give that extra bit of detail to the writing
• Overall the characters were pretty well-rounded. I didn’t get that deep of an understanding for any one character, except for Rain, but I knew them well enough to feel connected with them in the story

What I didn’t like:

• When Fredericks reveals the murderer, it was sort of anticlimactic for me. I was expecting them to be a little dangerous or violent when Rain figured it out. Instead, they sort of just cried about it. Not entirely believable for someone who’s life is officially over
• Rain’s mom. We don’t see much of her, which is typical of a YA novel, but when she was on stage, I wasn’t impressed. We don’t get the impression that she’s a “phone in” mom or a deadbeat. She’s a famous opera singer and they’re pretty well off. Anyway, the first time I got to be unimpressed by her is the very first page when Rain tells us she’d been at a party the night before and her mom was waking her up early and she was irritated by it because her mom knew she’d been out partying the night before and had gotten home late. The second time (SPOILER ALERT!! IT’S FOR A SUBPLOT, BUT STILL, IF YOU DON’T WANT TO KNOW AHEAD OF TIME, DON’T READ THIS NEXT PART!), was when her mom asked if Rain liked the teacher that walked her home and says the teacher likes her back. Instead of protecting her daughter from a potentially harmful situation, she comments that Rain should stay away BECAUSE HE’S MARRIED. Not because it’s wildly inappropriate (like any parent should say) but because she doesn’t want her SEVENTEEN-YEAR-OLD DAUGHTER TO GET IN THE MIDDLE OF A MARRIAGE. I’m sorry for those of you who don’t agree (and that’s fine), but that’s the ENTIRELY wrong message to be sending to teens. On so many levels.

Okay, overall, I liked this book. It was well-written, had a compelling storyline that kept me turning the page and a main character with a great voice. Pick it up and see how you feel about it.

Happy reading, my friends!

Gone to Green [The Green Series]

Gone to Green [The Green Series]

Judy Pace Christie

Abingdon Press, 2009

225 pages

 

Book Summary:

In Gone to Green, Lois goes from being a corporate journalist at a large paper in the Midwest to the owner of The Green News-Item, a small twice-weekly newspaper in rural North Louisiana. The paper was an unexpected inheritance from a close colleague, and Lois must keep it for at least a year, bringing a host of challenges, lessons, and blessings into her life.

When Lois pulls into Green on New Year’s Day, she expects a charming little town full of smiling people. She quickly realizes her mistake. After settling into a loaned house out on Route 2, she finds herself battling town prejudices and inner doubts and making friends with the most surprising people: troubled teenager Katy, good-looking catfish farmer Chris, wise and feisty Aunt Helen, and a female African-American physician named Kevin.

Whether fighting a greedy, deceitful politician or rescuing a dog she fears, Lois notices the headlines in her life have definitely improved. She learns how to provide small-town news in a big-hearted way and realizes that life is full of newsworthy moments. When she encounters racial prejudice and financial corruption, Lois also discovers more about the goodness of real people and the importance of being part of a community.

While secretly preparing the paper for a sale, Lois begins to realize that God might indeed have a plan for her life and that perhaps the allure of city life and career ambition are not what she wants after all.

My take:

I believe I have found a new favorite series. The novel is seamlessly written and drew me into the story from the first page. It moves briskly with no awkward scene changes.

While the newspaper’s struggle for survival is the lynchpin of the book, the counter balance is Lois’ unwilling examination of her anger towards God, stemming from the death of her mother. In her urban lifestyle she had been able to ignore God’s nudges, but in Green, smack in the Bible belt, where everyone goes to church and her nearest neighbor is an open and friendly female pastor, she gradually begins to deal with her misconceptions about God. Lois’ spiritual struggle is revealed through conversation between her and Jean, her pastor and neighbor.

I enjoyed getting an inside look at the newspaper business, and the politics involved in keeping it solvent in a small town, where the biggest advertisers are sometimes also the worst offenders and not happy at being on the front page of the paper.

The ending is predictable, but that’s one reason we read romances, right? Lois falls in love with Green and decides to settle forever, and we look forward to seeing if the hint of a developing love interest in a widower in town will go anywhere in the next book.

My Rating: I loved it, 5 ouf of 5

Another active installment of the Young Sherlock Holmes, but at times it felt like I was sitting in a classroom

Rebel Fire (Sherlock Holmes: The Legend Begins #2)Rebel Fire by Andy Lane
My rating: 3 of 5 stars

Rating: PG
Coffee Beans: 3.5/5
Spoilers: None
Disclaimer: I received a free copy of this book from the publisher via NetGalley in exchange for this honest review

As true to the series, it starts with a death being witnessed. All the old characters are back, Sherlock, Matty, Virginia, Crowe, the evil head house keeper Mrs. Engaltine, and even his brother makes an appearance. And, as also is true to the series (and to the character), Sherlock almost dies quite a few times. Lane is remarkable at setting the stage for action and drama, adding details and tension. But when those times weren’t around, I felt the story was dragging along far too slowly. The dialogue was far too “maid and butler” to me (As you know, Mr. Smith is actually a jewel thief…) and I felt like my hand was being held through everything possible, like I wasn’t capable of figuring anything out for myself. I’m not gonna lie, I skimmed those parts.

Reading it was like a rollercoaster, and I’m glad there were several free-falls of excitement in the fight scenes to pull me through the lulls. As always, pick it up and read it for yourself. You may feel differently than I did.
Happy reading, my friends!

 

Clockwork Prince by Cassandra Clare proves there comes a point of “too many” in a series

Clockwork Prince (The Infernal Devices, #2)Clockwork Prince by Cassandra Clare
My rating: 3 of 5 stars

Clockwork Prince (Book 2, The Infernal Devices)
Cassandra Clare
YA Historical Urban Fantasy
PG
3/5 coffee beans
Spoilers: No, just strong opinions 🙂

So, this review may be a little disheartening, but I feel I have a right to write it that way since I’ve been a fan of Cassandra’s since the very beginning. I devoured the Mortal Instruments series when they first came out. Drove out in a snow storm on a Sunday to Costco so I could get the third book. I was sad when they ended, I wanted more. Then she came out with a fourth! Oh, happy day! Then I read the fourth. Meh. Then she came out with a “prequel” series, the Infernal Devices series set in Victorian England. At that point I started to groan. You can only beat a dead horse so much before it becomes a sadistic action. I feel this series is one slap with a stick too many.

But, I’m into self punishment, and I am a loyal reader, so I picked them up to give them a shot. The first book, Clockwork Angel, was actually pretty okay. Not the best, but okay. I wasn’t particularly interested in picking up the second book, this one, since I wasn’t really attached to any of the recycled characters or invested in the storyline. But, I got a Nook for Christmas and a $50 B&N gift card burning a hole in my pocket and I couldn’t think of another book to purchase (immediate gratification, people).

Right around the time CP came out; the release date for book five in TMI series was announced. Oh yeah, along with the third in the prequel series, Clockwork Princess, and oh my gosh I just looked at her website and there’s a SIXTH book in TMI series scheduled to come out and for the love of Pete can this just stop?!?!?! You can’t help but wonder, with so many LARGE books in the same series/storyline, if the integrity of the writing and the story will be compromised. I love the idea of Shadowhunters, but I’m starting to wonder if Clare’s “cast-typing” herself. Is that all she knows how to write? I guess it doesn’t really matter since she’s built a gazillion-dollar empire and a movie’s coming out soon for Book 1 in TMI – City of Bones, and people LOVE this series (for cryin’ in a bucket, the woman has FOUR –if not more—websites dedicated to the books, TMI, TID, her own, and a tumblr account, PLUS a LiveJournal account, not to mention Twitter and fb). I mean, how the heck is she keeping up with two series and all that other crap? Anyway, I’ve seem to have gone off on a tangent. Let’s get back on track, shall we?

I feel that the characters in TID are just regurgitations of her original characters from TMI with the addition of a second, possible romance and little bits to make the books fraternal in nature. But, scrape away the 1800’s British English, and the bustles and stiff clothes, and you’ve got the same blasted story. I don’t think Clare did a good job of setting up the place and time of TID for the reader. I feel that she just went to Wikipedia or some other comparable sight, read a few broad details and left it at that. She gives you those common elements in the beginning of the book, but that’s about it. Most of the time I was reading, I didn’t feel that I was there in that time period. I think she could have included a lot more unique details to make it more “there” for me. More than just a parasols and bustles and carriages. The only thing truly convincing to me was the dialogue.

So, in the end, it was just “okay.” The storyline is entirely forgettable, I’m really sad to say, because it’s too much like her other series. I could definitely live without reading the next in the series, Clockwork Princess, but unfortunately, I was so excited about my new Nook that I pre-ordered it. I need to look into B&N’s return policy.

Abe Lincoln: Vamp Hunter Movie Night is Here!!

That’s right! We’ve chosen the time and the theater (a minor change from before).

Edwards Nampa Gateway Center 12

7:40 pm

Friday the 22nd.

Be there, or be square.

Disclaimer: This movie is rated R (and if it’s anything like the book, it’s because of the massive amounts of gore. Oh, happy day!), so plan accordingly. You must be 18 to purchase rated R tickets or have a parent or guardian purchase one for you. No, Michelle and I will not buy one for you. We’re nice, but not that nice. 🙂

We are not chaperoning this event, merely organizing it.

At Last by Jill Shalvis – another great Lucky Harbor story

At Last (Lucky Harbor, #5)At Last by Jill Shalvis
Title: At Last
Author: Jill Shalvis
Mass Mkt Paperback: 352 pages (June 26, 2012)
ISBN: 1455503746
ISBN-13: 978-1455503742
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

At Last is the fifth book in the Lucky Harbor series, a wonderful series that takes place in a small Pacific Northwest town, full of fun characters that laugh and love. Amy Michaels has lived in Lucky Harbor for a short time trying to find her own version of hope, peace and heart. Her grandmother came to these Pacific coastal mountains more than five decades ago finding her own version and Amy is going on the same journey. As a teenager, Amy was dropped off at her mother’s house after her grandmother died, a mother that was too young when she had Amy and did not want her anyway. Amy left soon after and bounced around the country, when her mother’s husband got too close and no one wanted to believe her. After many years Amy has found a place in Lucky Harbor with a job, friends and harmony.

Matt Bowers has lived in Lucky Harbor for several years moving here after problems in Chicago working as a SWAT team member caused him to not trust himself anymore. He was also in the military and is currently the supervising park ranger working in the mountains surrounding Lucky Harbor. Matt eats everyday at the Eat Me Café where Amy works and they have been watching each other ever since Amy came to town.

As Amy reads her grandmother’s journal and travels the same path as she did, Amy’s thoughts about her grandmother change as well as how she feels about herself. While searching and several phone calls, Amy reconnects with her mother, who now seems to want a relationship after all these years. Amy also finds a troubled sole that she feels she can help when she meets Riley Taylor an eighteen year old who is hiding out trying to survive much like Amy did years ago.

This is a funny and touching story with great new characters and those we welcome back from previous books as we gain more insight into their world. As Amy and Matt grow closer she starts to find herself and therefore helps Matt deal with past issues that made him feel less than adequate about himself and his work. A compelling story about what life can throw at you and how you deal with them to grow.

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The Stuttering Tattoo by Greg Logsted is a good, fast-paced book from the elusive male perspective

The Stuttering TattooThe Stuttering Tattoo by Greg Logsted

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

The Sutttering Tattoo
By Greg Logsted
YA Thriller
PG-13
4/5 coffee beans
Spoilers? Nah
Available now on ebook
Favorite line in the book: “You have to launch yourself into your passion. You have to lose yourself in your dreams. You can’t allow yourself to fall short to be less than who you are.”

This was an ARC I received through Net Galley (that really is a rockin’ site). This book is outside my normal realm of reading (I’m not really a thriller/mystery kind of gal) but the cover was awesome so I decided to give it a go; and I’m glad I did. Here’s the blurb from the back of the book:

Steven Bishop is extraordinarily ordinary. He goes to school. He rides his motorcycle. He stutters. His best friend is a former Colombian cartel hit man turned cook/construction worker. You know, ordinary. All that changes the day Becky Moore walks into his classroom. Becky is dazzling, enigmatic.

One day Steven gives Becky a ride home on his motorcycle. There, they discover a severed arm, one of the fingers of which still has an unusual ring attached: a circle, in the middle of which is a heart, at the center of which is a bold number 37. While comforting Becky, Steven discovers a tattoo at the base of her neck: it is the same symbol. And so begins a thrilling descent into a world of crime and murder, a ride wilder than any Steven has taken before.

So, the book opens with what I’m sure is a typical high-school daydream. As the day goes on, a new classmate, Becky, comes to school. He’s hypnotized by her beauty and strong personality, and mystery. Who is this Becky?? He ends up giving her a ride home, he loves the way she clings to him on his motorcycle (gag), they almost kiss, a tragedy occurs, and now they’re linked together in a way that propels the story forward and lets us know that Steven will do anything to keep/save Becky. While the action and hook in the first couple of chapters to get us to this point were A-MA-ZING, I truly felt this instant connection and blind devotion to Becky that follows is a little forced.

With this, we’re introduced to our main character, Steven. He’s not especially popular, actually, he’s made fun of a lot because of his stutter (although we never see that in the book). He’s 17, good looking (we’re told he resembles Johnny Depp), buff (works out in the school’s weight room every day, is amazing at martial arts (he takes lessons from Carlos, his Colombian cartel hit man friend who just happens to also be teaching the sensei of the dojo), he loves him some coffee, and he has a sweet old motorcycle. I think I like this main character. Oh, and he’s brave, and loyal, and…..anyone else think he should have flaws other than a stutter that seemingly goes unnoticed to everyone else?

Logsted is an great writer. I sped through the book at a good speed, always wanting to turn just one more page. His descriptions were really creative and really helped me open my eyes as a writer that the sky’s the limit. Examples:

• “The minute hand seems frozen, scared, as if it’s standing on the edge of a building contemplating suicide.”
• “I just look at her: she talks so fast. Joining a conversation with her would be like jumping on a moving train.”
• “She’s wearing large sunglasses, designer-type clothes, and jewelry draped around her neck and wrists like Christmas lights.”
• “I know they say all is fair in love and war but that doesn’t make sense to me. That doesn’t make something wrong right. It’s just a long dark coat of words worn by liars, thieves and cowards.”

He does a good job of getting us key points of backstory through dialogue in a realistic way. I don’t feel as if the author is cheating and using dialogue to fill me in. Instead, I feel as if I’ve walked into a discussion that Steven and his dad have had numerous times before, and this is all very natural.

There were a few parts that were hard to swallow for me in this book. The first I already told you about. The second is when Steven goes into a bar to see Becky and her band play a gig. Pretty much every high-school kid has a fake ID, so I’m okay with that part. The part I’m not really okay with is when he orders a beer, his coach from school sees him, and condones what he’s doing. When just one chapter before, he was busting Steven’s chops for not showing up to gym on time. It would’ve been more believable had the coach given him lip service and then not followed through with action. But that’s just one little thing. The third is Steven’s dad. He’s a cop—which is fine, but it always seems that every action he does, every look he gives, is a clear sign that “something was bothering him” or “a clear sign that he was angry”. As humans, we all have several characteristics that come into play when we’re upset, but in a book, it’s best to stick to one of those things as being “a clear sign” of a certain mood. I found myself rolling my eyes when they came up and thinking, “Man, Steven’s dad is a drag.”

Some events were a little jarring or predictable. There’s one part where a man turns out to be a woman, impersonating another woman, and another part where Steven gets a phone call from someone who says he “has uber important things to discuss with him” but refuses to discuss anything over the phone, telling him he’ll talk about it tomorrow. I have a note in my Nook at that point: Cue dead phone caller…..now. Yup. Next chapter, dies in a house fire.

There were a lot of analogies and metaphors and comparisons to water and swimming. When I started to take notice of this, I got pulled from the story every time one was brought up. I wonder if Logsted is a swimmer? But, I liked that each chapter had a title. So many books now just have numbers. I guess it’s easier than trying to find a clever chapter title that captures the essence of what the reader’s going to be reading next. I’m so glad The Stuttering Tattoo had them. Logsted took the titles straight out of the text of the chapter so it was fun to try and hunt them down (I’m easily amused at times).

When reading a book, you always discover things about the author. I know that Greg probably likes coffee, perhaps a bit about martial arts/working out/fighting, and knows a bit about old motorcycles. That last one is my favorite. I want one so bad. There’s a scene where he’s in a chase scene with a “rice rocket” (as his dad calls them). It was a great chase scene and broken down and described in a way that was easy to understand and follow for the layman but exciting and engaging enough to shout, “Yes!” when things crashed.

Overall, I really enjoyed this book. It was engaging and interesting and overall believable (as much as getting mixed up with a deadly organized crime gang can be). Steven isn’t some superhero kid, he’s just has the right tools and a smart head on his shoulders and isn’t afraid when it comes to fighting for what’s right or what’s his. Great writing and likable characters, I’d recommend this book to anyone who likes this genre. It’s a great gate for YA that will lead them to Thor, Meltzer, Grisham, and Coben.

67 Books Every Geek Should Read to Their Kids Before Age 10

67 Books Every Geek Should Read to Their Kids Before Age 10 from  http://www.wired.com/geekdad/ (Raising Geek Generation 2.0) has listed 67 books they think are important enough that they should be  read aloud to your kids. As a public service, I have listed the Geek’s list of 67 books below.

Keep in mind that it’s a subjective assessment of literature, which has kept me from yelling Why isn’t The Velveteen Rabbit on here? As I perused the list, positive that had probably read each and every one of them, I began to wonder where I’ve been because I’d never heard of several of them.  Like Hugo Cabret. Now that I’ve seen the movie I’m definitely going to read the book.

Some of the picks surprised me like Half Magic. I remember it from my childhood and while enjoyable at 10, not sure it would be memorable enough to make the list. But nostalgia kicked in and I journeyed onto E-bay and discovered that I could get a copy for $4.99. So I ordered it.

If nothing else, the list gives you a jumping off point to find books to enjoy with your children.

  1. Hugo Cabret by BrianSelznik
  2. The Wind in the Willows by Kenneth Grahame
  3. Miraculous Journey of Edward Tulane by Kate DiCamillo
  4. Junie B Jones Is a Party Animal by Barbara Park
  5. Where the Sidewalk Ends, A Light in the Attic, and Falling Up by Shel Silverstein
  6. Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone by J.K.  Rowling
  7. The Princess Bride by William Goldman
  8. Enders Game by Orson Scott Card
  9. The Hobbit and The Lord of the Rings by J.R.R. Tolkien
  10. Coraline by Neil Gaiman
  11. Half Magic by Edward Eager
  12. Arabel’s Rave by Joan Aiken
  13. Peter and the Starcatcher by Dave Barry & Ridley Pearson
  14. The Amazing Maurice and his Educated Rodents by Terry Pratchett
  15. The Borrowers by Mary Norton
  16. The Graveyard Book by Neil Gaiman
  17. The 13-1/2 Lives of Captain Bluebear by Walter Moers
  18. The Cartoon History of the Universe by Larry Gonick
  19. Danny Dunn and the Homework Machine by Raymond Abrashkin and Jay Williams
  20. Diary of a Wimpy Kid by Jeff Kinney
  21. The Adventures of Harold and the Purple Crayon by Crockett Johnson
  22. The Mad Scientists’ Club by Bertrand R. Brinley
  23. The Lightning Thief by Rick Riordan
  24. Savvy by Ingrid Law
  25. Shredderman Series by Wendelin Van Draanen
  26. The Tale of Despereaux by Kate DiCamillo
  27. The Far Flung Adventures trilogy by Paul Stewart and Chris Riddell
  28. The Mouse and His Child by Russell Hoban
  29. Mrs. Frizby and the Rats of Nimh by Robert C. O’Brien
  30. The Penderwicks by Jeanne Birdsall
  31. The Phantom Tollbooth by Norton Juster
  32. Toys Go Out by Emily Jenkins
  33. Where the Mountain Meets the Moon by Grace Lin
  34. The Search for WonderLa by Tony Diterlizzi
  35. James and the Giant Peach by Roald Dahl
  36. The House with a Clock in its Walls by John Bellairs
  37. Tales of aFourth Grade Nothing  by Judy Blume
  38. Charlotte’s Web by E.B.White
  39. The Giving Tree by Shel Silverstein
  40. The Silver Crown by Robert O’Brien
  41. Holes by Louis Sachar
  42. The Big Orange Splot by **
  43. Little House books by Laura Ingalls Wilder
  44. Stuart Little by E.B.White
  45. The Railway Children by Jacqueline Wilson
  46. From the Mixed-Up Files of Mrs. Basil E. Frankweiler by e.l. konigsburg
  47. Charlie and the Chocolate Factory by Roald Dahl
  48. Septimus Heap series by Angie Sage
  49. The Mysterious Benedict Society series by Trenton Lee Stewart
  50. A Whole Nother Story by Dr. Cuthbert Soup
  51. The House of Dies Drea by Virginia Hamilton
  52. The Lorax by Dr. Seuss
  53. Tikki Tikki Tembo by Arlene Mosel
  54. Whinn-the-Pooh by A.A. Milner
  55. Little Bear books by Else Holmelund Minarik
  56. A Wrinkle in Tim by Madeleine L’Engle
  57. Green Eggs and Ham by Dr. Seuss
  58. Amelia Bedelia by Peggy Parish
  59. In the Night Kitchen by Maurice Sendak
  60. Curious George by H.A. Rey
  61. Frog and Toad Are Friends by Arnold Lobel
  62. Owl At Home by Arnold Lobel
  63. Henry and Mudge by Cynthia Ryland
  64. Clifford the Big Red Dog by Norman Bridwell
  65. Arthur Writes a Story by Marc Brown
  66. Where the Wild Things Are by Maurice Sendak
  67. Narnia Series by C.S. Lewis, especially The Lion, Witch, and the Wardrobe

Me, Earl, & the Dying Girl by Jesse Andrews is witty and snarky but goes nowhere

Me and Earl and the Dying GirlMe and Earl and the Dying Girl by Jesse Andrews
My rating: 3 of 5 stars

Me, Earl, & the Dying Girl
by: Jesse Andrews
ARC
Rating: PG-13
Coffee Beans: 3
Spoiler Alert: No
Pub Date: 3/1/2012

I finished this ARC the other day (okay, about a few weeks if not more) and decided to sit down and write about it. Here’s the publisher’s synopsis:

Up until senior year, Greg has maintained total social invisibility. He only has one friend, Earl, and together they spend their time—when not playing video games and avoiding Earl’s terrifying brothers— making movies, their own versions of Coppola and Herzog cult classics. Greg would be the first one to tell you his movies are f*@$ing terrible, but he and Earl don’t make them for other people. Until Rachel.
Rachel has leukemia, and Greg’s mom gets the genius idea that Greg should befriend her. Against his better judgment and despite his extreme awkwardness, he does. When Rachel decides to stop treatment, Greg and Earl make her a movie, and Greg must abandon invisibility and make a stand. It’s a hilarious, outrageous, and truthful look at death and high school by a prodigiously talented debut author.

My synopsis:

A boy is in his senior year of high school and has skated through his academic/social life by “befriending” everyone and not standing out. Skating under the radar. As a result, he is extremely socially awkward, especially around girls. He doesn’t have any real friends, besides Earl. This all changes when he hits his senior year of high school when he finds out a girl he knows has Leukemia. His mom makes him befriend her, and thus, a story is born.

First, what I liked about it:

· It was stinkin’ hilarious (I was literally laughing out loud during several spots). The voice was witty, snarky, sarcastic, and so boy
· The formatting was fun: screenplay, outlines, narrative, flashbacks, &
· It was a fast read
· Very realistic character, situation, and outcome

What I didn’t like about it:

· At times, the language was a bit offensive
· There were some vulgar topics/conversations

The first half or so of the book is nothing but back story. And it was wildly entertaining. At the halfway point was where the story with the dying girl comes in. I kind of wish the entire book was like the first half, maybe tuning it into a “how to survive high school” manual. I was a little let down at the ending. I kept waiting for something meaningful or profound to come out of the tragedy of what was going on, but it didn’t. I know that that doesn’t happen all the time in real life, but I feel, that in a book, it should. Even if the “profound” event isn’t that big for the reader, but monumental for the character, I was waiting for something. (Like in The Sky is Everywhere). I felt let down. I finished the book, and looked back, asking myself, what was the plot arc? What was the point of the story? And I couldn’t come up with anything.

Don’t get me wrong, it was a good book, well-written, believable characters, funny, and worth the read, but as far as substance, I felt there could be more going on there. Just my opinion. But pick it up for yourself and decide.