Tuesday, August 30, 2011

What Are You Reading Between the Covers? - #20

Wow! Summer is almost gone, my stepson is back in school, and I haven't posted a book review all month. It's been busy here, though in the last half-week I've had more than enough time to catch up on a few books. I bring you four picks today -- all fiction.

The first is by Charles de Lint, The Blue Girl. This YA novel takes place in the fictional town of Newford where many of his stories are set. I personally wouldn't mind living there with all the fae and wood folk and interesting characters. Imogene doesn't fit in with anyone at her new high school; she's punk with an attitude, smart, and confident. She befriends a mousy girl named Maxine. Maxine longs to express herself, but since her parents' divorce has fallen prey to her mother's bad wardrobe choice of girly, prim skirts, blouses and frilly dolls in pink. Together the two of them set out to discover the mystery of the ghost haunting the halls of their high school. Enter Imogene's childhood imaginary friend, Pelly. Pelly turns out to be real and so are the brownies -- those mythical fae that like to clean up for you, but they aren't as nice as they seem to be. Did they cause the death of the boy? Did they put Imogene's life in danger? Read and find out.

I liked this book because it deals with the current topic of bullying, a topic we need to take seriously in our schools. It also deals with the question of finding yourself in those troubled teen years. The cast of characters are colorful and fresh and the plot moves along quickly. I highly recommend this for adults and teens alike.

My second pick is Miyuki Miyabe's Brave Story. Miyuki Miyabe is a popular contemporary Japanese author. This YA novel is a long read, but worth it. Wataru, the main character, comes from a newly broken home with a suicidal mother. To save the family he loves so dearly, he ventures into the fantastical land of Vision, which is created from his own imagination. He must face his own demons and gain the knowledge he needs to get his wish from the Goddess. On his travels, he makes some loyal friends, including a kitkin and a dragon. Wataru learns the importance of integrity and friendship as he rushes to complete his five quests before another traveler, so he can get his wish. But what does he wish for in the end? This book is a great read for teens and adults. I especially recommend it for any young adults coping with divorce or suicide in their family. Miyabe handles these topics creatively.

My third pick is a collection of vampire shorts edited by Martin H. Greenberg and Elizabeth Ann Scarborough, Vampire Slayers: Stories of Those Who Dare to Take Back the Night. This collection of stories is not for the lovers of Anne Rice and Stephenie Meyer. There are no Lestats or Edwards lying between these pages -- no sparkling vampires and no vampires looking for love or redemption or questioning their own creation. Nope. The vampires lurking between these pages are raw, gritty, and vicious. They are blood-hungry and will stop at nothing to sake their thirst, and they need to be hunted down. The stories in this collection are all previously published, but they represent a wide variety of authors spanning decades from the pulp fiction of the 1950s to the present. This is an enjoyable read and quite refreshing.

My fourth and last pick for you, is the eleventh Sookie Stackhouse novel by Charlaine Harris, Dead Reckoning. Now, I am a fan of Sookie Stackhouse's and I love my True Blood series as well, but by the latest book, I seriously hoped Sookie would have left Eric and Bill in the dark and gotten herself a new boyfriend. Sadly, such is not the case. While this book is enjoyable, it predictably showcases Sookie as the damsel in distress, AGAIN. Someone is out to kill Sookie. Surprise, surprise. *eye roll* Like we haven't seen this plot before. However, we do learn more about her interesting fae history and there's a promising hint that her fae cousin is not staying with her just to be nice. Disappointingly, at the end of the book she is still with Eric, though they aren't really speaking and Bill has AGAIN, proclaimed his love for Sookie. Again, what a surprise. *eye roll* Not! Maybe, next time around she'll get to date a Were again and Eric and Bill can go suck a dry one. And Sookie, girl, do you really need all those men to save you in every book? Why not save yourself?A girl can dream, can't she?

As always, happy writing and happy reading to all!

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