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Recommendations for Friday, July 02, 2010

Babymouse #1: Queen of the World! by Jennifer L. Holm , Matthew Holm

Link to this review in the form of a comic strip by geneambaum tagged chapter bookgraphic novelhumor

Unshelved strip for 7/2/2010

@bookblrb: A young mouse with an overactive, pink imagination dreams of being queen of the world.

The Amateurs by John Niven

Link to this review by billba tagged humorliterary

Gary Irvine loves his beautiful wife almost as much as he loves golf, and he's doing equally badly with both. Then he gets hit in the head with a golf ball, and his world changes. Suddenly he's playing well. Really well. Unbelievably well. It's too bad his cheating wife still won't sleep with him because his golf game isn't the only part of him that is suddenly raging. Oh, and he can't stop swearing. Gary's expletive-filled shot at fame, her affair, and his brother's poor life choices all come together at the British Open.

Why I picked it up: I have fond memories of Caddyshack.

Why I finished it: It was much funnier than Caddyshack.

I'd give it to: Fans of Carl Hiaasen, whose books kept coming to mind as I read this. Transport his bad guys from Florida to Scotland, give them a brogue, and they'd fit right in.

@bookblrb: Gary Irvine loves golf, but plays terribly. Then he gets hit on the head, and his world changes.

Big Nate: In a Class by Himself by Lincoln Pierce

Link to this review by gigi tagged graphic novelhumor

Big Nate is about a boy named Nate, his sister, friends, dad, and teachers. One Halloween Nate’s dad gives out rice crackers instead of candy. Nate accidentally takes his gym teacher’s pants and stuffs napkins in the pants to make them fit. Then he looks like the gym teacher. He gets a fortune from a cookie and it says, “You will surpass all others.” He doesn’t. He gets a pile of green beans and stuffs them into his mouth (they don’t fit).

Why I picked it up: I read a few pages and it was really funny.

Why I finished it: I wanted to see how many detention slips he’d get. There’s a funny picture where Nate and the dog are sitting on a rock.The dog is helping Nate think of how to get out of a school test .

I'd give it to: Toby because it’s in school and there’s lots of crazy teachers. Maisy because Nate asks the dog a lot of questions.

@bookblrb: Nate’s fortune cookie says, “You will surpass all others.” He doesn’t.

The Demon King: A Seven Realms Novel by Cinda Williams Chima

Link to this review by flemtastic tagged fantasy

The Seven Realms are roiling with turmoil.  The wizards, held in check for 1,000 years by a treaty are getting restless. The clans, charged with keeping them from terrorizing the world, refuse to sell the medallions needed to use magic.

Han, a former street lord, now lives by trading with the clans. He recently blundered into ownership of a cursed medallion, and he is being hunted by those trying to reclaim it. Raisa, a princess, just returned to the city from three years with the clans, as is custom. She wants to be a heroine, not a traditional princess, so she sneaks off to the city. Han kidnaps Raisa to avoid being captured, and thus begins their stormy relationship.

The wizards make their move and the clans mobilize in response.  War is coming and there doesn’t seem to be any way to avoid it

Why I picked it up: The magical amulet pictured on the cover was compelling, plus I had been hearing good things about Chima’s previous work, The Heir Chronicles.

Why I finished it: I loved that the wizards in this story were evil, instead of sage helpers for the heroes. I read quite a bit of fantasy, and this one is deeper, fresher, and more nuanced than most. This series has earned a place in my permanent collection, and I’m eagerly waiting for the next book. 

I'd give it to: People who are tired of waiting for the fifth book in George R.R. Martin's A Song of Ice and Fire series. Trevor – who likes books with strong world-building. Star Wars fans like Mike who might be suckered into reading fantasy because the main character is named Han.

@bookblrb: Raisa wants to be a heroine, not a princess. Han is on the run. He kidnaps her to avoid capture.

Gimme a Call by Sarah Mlynowski

Link to this review by flemtastic tagged coming of agescience fiction

High school senior Devi’s life sucks. She didn’t study and she has no friends. All of her time and effort went into her relationship with Bryan, but he dumped her right before prom. The only person she can talk to is her freshman self, whom she can call after dropping her phone in the mall’s fountain. Senior Devi starts Frosh Devi on an draconian improvement plan involving school clubs and studying. Things go well at first. Senior Devi gets a better college and retains a few friends. But Frosh Devi begins to chafe under the heavy workload, as well as the prohibition against dating Bryan. Then the phone won’t take a charge, and they face not being able to talk anymore as unintended consequences become clear.

Why I picked it up: What would you do if you could talk to yourself four years ago? What mistakes could you avoid?  A new twist on an old idea, carried out by a master of chick-lit.

Why I finished it: I wanted to see where the train wreck ended.  Any Star Trek geek can tell you that messing with continuity is dangerous, and I found the things Senior Devi thought were worth changing both hilarious and touching  This book walks the line between farce and exploring important realizations while growing up. 

I'd give it to: All the girls in the hallways of my high school who have eyes only for their boyfriends and ignore their longstanding girl friends.  Fans of Mlynowski’s Magic in Manhattan series. And Claire, who needs to think past tomorrow when planning.

@bookblrb: High School Senior Devi’s broken phone lets her call her freshman self. She tries to improve both their lives.

Fantastic Four: Vol. 1 by Jonathan Hickman , Dale Eaglesham

Link to this review by geneambaum tagged graphic novelsuperhero

Reed Richards (Mr. Fantastic) finds that it is possible to solve everything, but that there’s a price to pay. Franklin and his little sister Val stow away on a vacation with the Thing and Johnny Storm and help save a planet in peril. They return home for Franklin’s birthday and the best birthday party ever.

Why I picked it up: I remember seeing Brian Michael Bendis recommend it, probably on Twitter. But I loved Hickman’s The Nightly News so much, I would have picked it up anyway.

Why I finished it: The problems faced are typical Fantastic Four stuff in the best way -- saving the universe, saving a planet, being a better husband, and planning a kid’s birthday party. The dark tone of recent Marvel events like Civil War, Dark Reign, and Siege is gone (and the events never mentioned), replaced with a sunny feeling that Tamara would love.

I'd give it to: My daughter "Gigi" and Theo, Bill’s son. The stories are big, the art is shiny, and they’re filled with the hope-filled, family-friendly tone that made Bill and I love the Fantastic Four as kids. Both kids are already comic book geeks, but this will turn them toward our territory a bit.

@bookblrb: Franklin and Val stow away on vacation with their superhero uncles and help save a planet.

Zombies vs. Robots vs. Amazons by Chris Ryall , Ashley Wood

Link to this review by geneambaum tagged graphic novelhorrorscience fiction

Zombies break into the last human stronghold. The last killer warbot steps in to give them a hand.

Why I picked it up: Late at night, I was looking for something light to read. I saw this on the shelf next to Art In Time and decided to reread it.

Why I finished it: It was exactly the sort of B-movie I need, a quick and more than slightly silly graphic novel. The art had me flipping back and forth to revisit its dark and gory images.

I'd give it to: Joel, who should be a full-time artist but keeps getting jobs as a carpenter. I think he’d be inspired by Wood’s inks because their combination of texture and kinetic energy. Also my 20th Century Lit teacher at the University of Washington, who proudly declared we wouldn’t be studying any work by dead white men during our class. I loved what we read together (Le Guin, Sherman Alexie, others) but I also disliked her more than a little, and I think this book would really irritate her because of all the topless teenage girls who are devoured.

@bookblrb: The last killer warbot tries to save the last human stronghold from the undead.

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