Monday, August 24, 2015

The Occasional Diamond Thief--J.A. McLachlan

Title: The Occasional Diamond Thief
Author: J.A. McLachlan
Publisher: Edge, 2015
Pages: 291 p.
Source: VOYA
Compensation: None
Read: April 2015

When Kia was a small child her father visited the remote planet Malem and returned with a strange illness. Her father was never the same again as the illness slowly killed him. On his deathbed, he reveals a hidden Malemese diamond to her, something both exciting and frightening. Malemese diamonds are illegal for off-worlders to possess, leading Kia to fear that her father stole it, so she too keeps it hidden. Through a series of events that seem out of Kia’s control she is sent to Malem as a translator and discovers the diamond is far more important than she ever realized.

McLachlan does not spend much time on world-building, instead she thrusts the reader into this multiplanetary universe much like Kia is thrust into the mysterious political world of Malem. McLachlan does a good job of showing Kia’s strength as well as her flaws and how she grows under the influence of Agatha, a religious Select who becomes a friend. The story is interesting and the developing friendship between Kia and Agatha unfolds nicely as they both attempt to uncover Malem’s secrets. Although the story is science fiction, ultimately it is about people and family.  Science fiction readers will not be disappointed and realistic fiction readers may be tempted to pick up something a little different.
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Friday, August 21, 2015

I Text Dead People--Rose Cooper

Title: I Text Dead People
Author: Rose Cooper
Publisher: Random House, 2015
Pages: 256 p
Source: VOYA
Compensation: None
Read: March 2015

It is bad enough that Annabel Craven has just moved into a creepy old mansion next to a cemetery and has to start a new school, but she has also destroyed her cell phone in the wash. This proves to be particularly troublesome when she comes across a weird guy in the cemetery demanding that she return what she took from him. A very confused Anna runs away, trips over a cell phone and decides to pocket it on her way to school. Things continue to get more confusing for Anna as it becomes clear that her newly found phone has very special capabilities, mainly--texting the dead. When one of Anna's new classmates is killed in a tragic accident, Anna must use her phone to help solve the mystery.

I Text Dead People has a funny unique premise and Anna is an interesting protagonist. There are some expected and unexpected twists and the major mystery is wrapped up nicely. While some parts of the book did not quite add up as well as they should have, tweens will not care about minor flaws and will instead focus on enjoying Anna's entertaining character. They will be glad to know that more adventures are planned for Rose Cooper's Dead Series.

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Wednesday, August 19, 2015

The Truth About Forever--Sarah Dessen

Title: The Truth About Forever
Author: Sarah Dessen
Publisher: Viking, 2004
Pages: 374 p
Source: Library ebook
Compensation: None
Read: May 2015

This was the only Sarah Dessen book I hadn't read. I'm not sure why but I'm glad I finally did. 

Macy has a picture-perfect life. Smart boyfriend, good grades, and everything planned out. Her practical but unfeeling boyfriend Jason is spending the summer at Brain Camp and chooses her as his replacement for his library job. She plans to spend her days at the library and her evenings studying for the SAT and never have to think about her father's tragic death. But plans don't always work out and when she unexpectedly starts helping out a catering company she realizes there is a peace in chaos and not having everything planned. Meeting an artistic cute boy with grief of his own is just icing on the cake. 

I don't think I've ever not liked a Sarah Dessen book and this is no exception. There is just something about her stories and the way she writes that gets to me. She is the queen of teen fiction for a reason. The one quibble I had was that no public library would have teenagers working as reference librarians-- but I did work in that role at my college library. That didn't detract from the story at all. 

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Monday, August 17, 2015

Stone in the Sky--Cecil Castellucci

Title: Stone in the Sky
Author: Cecil Castellucci
Publisher: Roaring Brook, 2015
Pages: 320
Source: Library
Compensation: None
Read: May 2015

Tula has accepted her life aboard the space station Yertina Feray and is as happy as she could be after the events of Tin Star. She still harbors a hatred for Brother Blue, but manages to find success as the owner of a water, sweets and salt shop aboard the ship. She and Tournour, the alien sheriff, have kept their romance a secret and have been relatively safe from Imperium interference. Until a ship crashes on the nearby planet Quint and discovers a rare pollen called Alin. Anticipating money to be made, aliens of all kinds rush to the planet and the Yertina Feray, attracting the attention of not only Brother Blue, but the Imperium. Forced to flee her adopted home, Tula wanders the galaxy and discovers more than she could have imagined.

I liked this book a bit more than the first. I've read reviews that complain that the writing style was a little choppy, which is true. But I accepted it as the way Tula would talk and think. Having little human contact for years and conversing with aliens would alter the way one communicates. When I thought about the narration not being a story from Castellucci, but rather a story from Tula, the writing style made much more sense and did not detract from the story at all.

I wasn't a huge fan of Tin Star, but I liked the action and the political consequences of Stone Sky. I also liked how amid all of the conspiracies and political drama, Tula must also decide who she wants to be and who she really loves. It's the basic human story of love and happiness with a backdrop of alien politics.

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