Twins Josh and Sophie witness a magical assault when Dee and his golems attack Nick, the owner of the bookstore where Josh works. Spells fly, windows explode, and Dee steals a book of spells with the power to reshape the world. In order to recover the book, the twins accompany Nick on a journey that opens their eyes to a world where at least a bit of every myth, legend, and fable is true.
Why I picked it up: A friend recommended it.
Why I finished it: I knew that I had to finish it after the first sentence: "Ok, answer me this: why would anyone want to wear an overcoat in San Francisco in the middle of summer?"
I'd give it to: Allison, who loves Egyptian mythology; Evan, who would enjoy the reactions of mythical creatures to modern-day San Francisco; and Melissa because this book never slows down.
It's the year 2301 and Aqua (Mars) is covered in water. A young girl from Manhome (Earth), Akari, wants to become an Undine (gondolier) in a city modeled on Venice. The president of her company is a large alien cat who hangs out with her. She helps a grumpy old man find his daughter, cleans boats with her best friend, waits on a bridge with a friend who's in charge of weather control, encounters a Japanese fox spirit, and enjoys a boat race.
Why I picked it up: It was recommended to me on Unshelved Answers by 143books
Why I finished it: The art is clear and free of incomprehensible fights, as 143book promised. In fact, there's no conflict in the book at all. Akari is overwhelmingly positive without coming across as naive. She assumes the best about everyone and does her best to help. This isn't a book that I would have thought would appeal to me, but I'll pick up volume 2.
I'd give it to: My daughter, who snatched it out of my hands when she saw the alien cat, and Christine, the manga fan from my teen book club.
Alise, a bookish sort from a trading family, extends her study of dragons to include real-life experience. Unfortunately the much-anticipated hatching dragons have forgotten their shared memories and have grown stunted. Alise accompanies the malformed dragons to a lost Elderling city with a crew of Rain Wilds misfits with the hope that the dragons will be able to access their memories. She clashes with her chaperone and falls for the rough yet chivalrous skipper, despite her status as an unhappily married woman.
Why I picked it up: This is a welcome return to an oft-mentioned, yet unexplored parts of the world of the Liveship/Tawny Man/Assassin's Apprentice trilogies with new characters and stories. The previous nine books were not enough.
Why I finished it: To get a peek the tree city of Trehaug and the Rain Wilds frontier city of Cassarin. Hobb continues to do what she's known for -- she spins lots of backstory to motivate and develop the main characters. (PS: Don't worry about the prior series, this cheese stands alone.)
I'd give it to: Dragon nerds and Mike, who likes character driven stories.
Kit Feeny moves to a new city away from his best friend Arnold. He tries to smuggle Arnold to his new house, is teased about his Hawaiian shirts, and turns to the comics he made for comfort. After trying life as a lonesome hobo, he uses jokes to solve his problem with the school bully and makes a few new friends.
Why I picked it up: My daughter bought this graphic novel with her book allowance. It made her giggle.
Why I finished it: Kit's demonic pictures of his fashion conscious twin sisters. And ninja fishing.
I'd give it to: Fans of the Babymouse graphic novels (this one uses black and orange ink instead of pink).
SPOILER ALERT: You should read Inside The Mind of Gideon Rayburn before this book and also before this review.
Picking up where that book left off, Molly McGarry is happily dating Gideon. That is, until she realizes he is inevitably attracted to Pilar, the most beautiful girl in school.
Why I picked it up: I enjoyed Gideon Rayburn tremendously, even though the resolution bugged me. This book continues the very clever plot device of that book, but extends it in a new direction cleverly enough to draw me back in.
Why I finished it: I just like Molly and Gideon and, by the end, Pilar too. Plus there's a mystery from the first book left over to solve.
I'd give it to: Teenagers who can handle a little frank talk about sex. And, really, what teenager can't?
Zack, an Iraq veteran and PTSD sufferer, moved back to New Orleans after his deployment. He and his wife soon separated. His shouting matches with his new girlfriend, Addie, became legendary in the French quarter. His downward spiral ended when he took her life in a bizarre murder-suicide that involved cutting up and cooking her. The case sent spasms of pain through New Orleans in the years after Hurricane Katrina.
Author Ethan Brown examines Zack's background, as well as those of soldiers that served with him and his neighbors. The book is an indictment of the Army's failure to help veterans and the government's failure to rebuild New Orleans. And it's a sensational murder story.
Why I picked it up: Having traveled to New Orleans post-Katrina and seen the devastation, I was more than ready to read this true crime story about the psychic devastation war had wrought in Zack.
Why I finished it: Zack committed a horrible crime. I read the book for two reasons:
I'd give it to: New Orleans partygoers. Brad, so he can see how the Bush administration fell down on two jobs. Steve, a vet who still has flashbacks.