08 May 2016

Frannie and Tru; Karen Hattrup

Frannie and TruFrannie and Tru by Karen Hattrup
My rating: 3 of 5 stars

Great sense of place and characters, but somehow it still didn't work: the characters were a bit stock (well drawn stock, but stock just the same). Frannie's summer growth didn't really seem to change her, nor did it confirm who she already she was, it just happened while she rather passively let it happen - and that's tricky when she spends so much of the book trying to make things happen or being angry! It's difficult for me to put my finger on the exact thing that was wrong, I just wasn't wowed by this one.

ARC provided by publisher.

Saving Montgomery Sole; Mariko Tamaki

Saving Montgomery SoleSaving Montgomery Sole by Mariko Tamaki
My rating: 2 of 5 stars

Can we please have a moratorium on the gay best friend who loves theatre? or art? It'd be great if once that GBF was into sports or nothing special. Beyond that, this is a perfectly ok book about not judging before getting to know another person and about questioning who you are and what you believe.

ARC provided by publisher.

Wake of Vultures; Lila Bowen

Wake of Vultures (The Shadow, #1)Wake of Vultures by Lila Bowen
My rating: 1 of 5 stars

This is trying to be historical western (as in Wild Wild West) vampire fiction. After 50 pages, DNF.

The Firefly Code; Megan Frazer Blakemore

The Firefly CodeThe Firefly Code by Megan Frazer Blakemore
My rating: 3 of 5 stars

The idea that there's a "utopia" (or, more accurately, several) that is, in reality, more Big Brother and dystopia is not new (think The Giver or City of Ember). So there's a lot in this book that feels familiar, yet the children here feel a little realer than in those books - they could almost be kids playing on your block, swimming in your neighborhood pool. And for some reason, the ways in which they question Old Harmonie and what's going on also feel more real, more natural than elsewhere, probably because the town is presented as being rather natural and familiar. The problem is the pacing and some of the Big Discoveries (what's in Number 9, for example, could have been more than it actually is); the ending is so abrupt, again like in The Giver but here there's less ambiguity and more "get ready for Book Two".

ARC provided by publisher.

24 April 2016

The Square Root of Summer; Harriet Reuter Hapgood

The Square Root of SummerThe Square Root of Summer by Harriet Reuter Hapgood
My rating: 2 of 5 stars

So much I didn't understand, and not just about the math! That was unclear enough, and I suspect that it doesn't fully make sense (haven't had the opportunity to check with my math/physics nerd friends). The use of so much German was annoying and not because it's not translated but because it didn't seem realistic to use that much. Both combined led to a near-DNF/heavy skimming.

ARC provided by publisher.

White Nights; Ann Cleeves

White Nights (Shetland Island, #2)White Nights by Ann Cleeves
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Bella was so unlikable it was almost a pleasure watching her world unravel. From my perspective, there was too little of Bella in the book. Oh well. The nearly dead hamlet in which she lives is nicely described, as are the few remaining inhabitants. So when the killer is identified, it was a bit of a surprise because it felt incongruous with what we knew of the people there. I'm also not thrilled with the Big City detective coming in and competing with Jimmy.

Dead Water; Ann Cleeves

Dead Water (Shetland Island, #5)Dead Water by Ann Cleeves
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Given that Blue Lightning was supposed to be the end of the series, learning how Cleeves extends it was going to be a test. She's done a good job of moving things along in a way that feels natural, always a plus. And the mystery is pretty good, although I'm not sure I bought the whodunnit part, much less the whydunnit. Some of the characters, like Jerry's parents, were more of a caricature than I'd have liked, and I'm not sure I like Willow as a new main character.

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Blue Lightning; Ann Cleeves

Blue Lightning (Shetland Island, #4)Blue Lightning by Ann Cleeves
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

What an ending - poor Jimmy.

Beyond that, the atmosphere on Fair Isle was pretty toxic and Cleeves flirted with the locked room genre (but only flirted). Getting to meet Jimmy's parents was interesting and at the same time rather annoying - what is it with the gruff island men? Peter May does the same thing! I'm not looking for warm fuzzies, but this is overly stoic.

Killer Game; Kirsty McKay

Killer GameKiller Game by Kirsty McKay
My rating: 2 of 5 stars

Given my school's second round of Gotcha ended just last week, I'd thought maybe this book could provide some new twist to the game that I could bring to the organizers. Sadly... not so much. There's an opportunity here that gets missed big time: the involvement of anyone outside of the Killers (like, maybe the rest of the school bets on who the Killer is?). So there's no incentive for them to keep quiet about the various killings, right? Except when things go wrong, no one says anything. Why? And the And Then There Were None possibilities were also left unexplored, much to my disappointment.

ARC provided by publisher.

Just Like Me; Nancy J. Cavanaugh

Just Like MeJust Like Me by Nancy J. Cavanaugh
My rating: 1 of 5 stars

DNF. I understood the reason why this was written, but it read too much message, too little other reason to read.

ARC provided by publisher.