28 November 2014

This Shattered World; Amie Kaufman

This Shattered World (Starbound, #2)This Shattered World by Amie Kaufman
My rating: 1 of 5 stars

At first I thought that the problem was not fully understanding the world, that reading the first book would have helped but apparently this is a book set in the same world as the previous book, not a sequel. There was just no reason for me to care about the problems or the characters, nothing that felt new.

DNF.

ARC provided by publisher.

The Spiritglass Charade; Colleen Gleason

The Spiritglass Charade (Stoker & Holmes, #2)The Spiritglass Charade by Colleen Gleason
My rating: 3 of 5 stars

Not quite sure how I feel about this mixture of Holmes and Stoker, daughters/family of the famous families, joining to solve crimes, or that this is set in a steampunk-eqsue world. At times the repetition of the various reputations and skills of the families was annoying (if you don't know that Stoker is a vampire hunter, or that Holmes is an observant detective, this isn't the series for you!). On the other hand, YA readers don't seem to be mystery fans so perhaps this will make them more interested?

As for the mystery itself, the plotting seems a bit off - slow, then too fast, then slow again. More of either the spiritualism (which Conan-Doyle was a big believer in) or the vampire stuff, but not at much of both would have worked far better.

ARC provided by publisher.

The Boy in the Black Suit; Jason Reynolds

The Boy in the Black SuitThe Boy in the Black Suit by Jason Reynolds
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Grief takes many forms, and for Matt his grieving gets worked out while working at the local funeral parlor (his first choice got taken while he was dealing with the immediate aftermath of his mother's death, his second choice was... well... wrong). Life in Bed-Stuy is slightly better than the good old days of incessant violence, but it's clear that this is still a more down-and-out neighborhood than a middle class area. As Matt attends funerals, falls in love and generally moves on with his life, readers will recognize that no matter where you are, or who you are, there are generalities about being a recently bereft teen that transcend place.

ARC provided by publisher.

Love, Lucy; April Lindner

Love, LucyLove, Lucy by April Lindner
My rating: 3 of 5 stars

Once again, Lindner has updated and Americanized a classic (in this case, A Room with a View). However, unlike the other updates, this one might be less recognizable for readers. Instead, we get a European summer romance, kind of like Anna and the French Kiss and about as predictable. I foresee many happy teen romance readers!

ARC provided by publisher.

Aphrodite; George O'Connor

Aphrodite: Goddess of Love (Olympians, #6)Aphrodite: Goddess of Love by George O'Connor
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Interesting that the author made Aphrodite darker skinned and darker haired than the "normal" vision we get of that goddess. Beyond that, the story is familiar enough that readers will know what's going on, yet still may want to read the source material for a more complete read. The family tree at the front will help!

Copy provided by publisher.

Ares; George O'Connor

Ares: Bringer of War (Olympians, #7)Ares: Bringer of War by George O'Connor
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

I've said it before, I'm not a great fan of graphic novels (my mind just doesn't read that way) but... having said that... This isn't a bad version of the Trojan War, although one might argue that readers would need a deeper understanding of the source material to truly get the who and what of this version.

Copy provided by publisher.

The Next Wave; Elizabeth Rusch

The Next Wave: The Quest to Harness the Power of the OceansThe Next Wave: The Quest to Harness the Power of the Oceans by Elizabeth Rusch
My rating: 3 of 5 stars

I'm giving this a 3 when it's really a 2.5; the information is scattered, with scientists disappearing for large portions of the book and then reappearing at random. It felt like some information was missing, or could have been added in to help younger readers understand the diagrams.

Copy provided by publisher.

Stone Cove Island; Suzanne Myers

Stone Cove IslandStone Cove Island by Suzanne Myers
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Very atmospheric setting, which made me feel a little generous (this really is a 3.5). I'm not sure this is a real mystery, more of a Cold Case and Dark Secret, although why what happened to Bess is such a secret is questionable. The romance between Eliza and Charlie was much more interesting, given the class questions (as well as their parents' tangled pasts).

And, once again, ignore the blurbage. There's nothing either Stepford Wives or Stephen King about this book.

ARC provided by publisher.

Chasing Cheetahs; Sy Montgomery

Chasing Cheetahs: The Race to Save Africa's Fastest CatChasing Cheetahs: The Race to Save Africa's Fastest Cat by Sy Montgomery
My rating: 3 of 5 stars

Overall this is a good book, but there were moments when I wondered about the editing: it felt as though there were things left out that led to jumpy transitions, and the photos didn't always match the text (which meant hunting for the corresponding information). Still, the younger readers that are this series target will probably not notice and the information contained within will be valuable.

Copy provided by publisher.

Glamourpuss; Sarah Weeks

GlamourpussGlamourpuss by Sarah Weeks
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

So cute!

Glamourpuss and her self-centered life being interrupted by - gasp! - a dog could have led to serious lessons in humility and generosity. Luckily, that's not quite the case...