Friday, August 28, 2009

Stone's Fall by Iain Pears (2009)

Stone's Fall is one of those sprawling historical epics that I generally avoid, but Pears has spiced it up with enough romance, passion, intrigue, politics, murder, suspense, and Euro-chic that I found myself willingly turning the 500-plus pages. The plot revolves around resolving the death, perhaps murder, of major industrialist John Stone, who fell from a window at his London home in 1909 (hence the novel's title). Stone's widow hires an unlikely journalist to ferret out the identity of a love child named as a benefactor in Stone's will, and so the story begins. The widow is beautiful, the journalist becomes enamored, the plot twists and turns through time (1909, 1890, 1867) and space (London, Paris, Venice) with war, munitions, international espionage, government bigwigs, and financial wheeling and dealing--all running amok to explain the story's beginning. NPR listed this novel as one of its summer reads for 2009!

Thursday, August 27, 2009

Pile of books.....

I helped out at the middle school Scholastic Book Fair on Tuesday afternoon and naturally I purchased a small pile of books!

My middle school son (age 12) asked me to get him all three of Heather Brewer's The Chronicles of Vladimir Tod vampire novels:
  • Eighth Grade Bites
  • Ninth Grade Slays
  • Tenth Grade Bleeds
For my just-entered-high-school son, I selected the last volume of the Bone graphic novel series, Crown of Horns, plus Gordon Korman's new one, Zoobreak. Both of the boys enjoyed Swindle--Korman's story about baseball cards--so Zoobreak seemed like a good bet. It's also short, which is a plus for my guys as they can read it in one sitting.

The scientist husband viewed the fair at the school open house on Monday night and selected a few titles from a fun science series. These small, appealing books, about seven inches square, were created by Basher and written by Dan Green.
  • Biology: Life as We Know It!
  • The Periodic Table: Elements with Style!
  • Physics: Why Matter Matters!
I limited myself to a single selection--House of the Dark Shadows by Robert Liparulo, although there were a bunch of others that looked great! I'm working the book fair again on Friday afternoon, so I may succumb to the temptation to buy a few more--it's for a good cause, right? House of the Dark Shadows is the first in the Dreamhouse Kings series and features a 15-year-old male protagonist.

Thursday, August 20, 2009

The Treasure Map of Boys by E. Lockhart

Ruby Oliver is back in this latest novel by E. Lockhart. She's still having panic attacks and boy/friend issues, still seeing her shrink, Dr. Z., and still letting her impulses get her into funny situations from which she manages to extract some insight into her psyche. I enjoyed this one as well as the previous two installments, The Boy Book and The Boyfriend List. Highly recommended for teen girls, ages 13 and up. No sex/language/violence.