Wednesday, May 09, 2012

What I Read in April

I read a lot of books in April, but that's because I went on a bit of a kid's book kick.  Here are the results.

Links will take you to my reviews at Epinions. 

All ratings are on a scale from 1 (bad) to 5 (great).

HOT, SHOT, AND BOTHERED by Nora McFarland - 4
TV news shooter Lilly Hawkins is filming the wildfire burning out of control near Bakersfield when a body is found in a lake.  When it turns out to be someone she knows and she doesn't buy the story of how she died, Lilly sets out to find the killer.  I missed the supporting cast from the first book, although I still enjoyed my time with Lilly.  Decent mystery, too.  My biggest issue was actually the fire - hit a little too close to home for me.

Dwight is the weird kid in sixth grade until he creates an origami Yoda and starts giving out advice.  The funny thing is, the advice seems to be good.  Is it magic or just luck?  The book is really a collection of short stories with a quick climax near the end.  Many of them were heartwarming, but I wanted it to be building toward something long before it did.

When Trixie and the rest of the Bob-Whites start putting on a bikeathon to raise money for the school art department, someone seems determined to make them stop.  Who is against the project?  And will it tear apart the friends?  I enjoy the characters and how they are portrayed here, but the mystery still feels like an afterthought.  You know, "This is a mystery series.  We should probably have a mystery in here somewhere."

THE SON OF NEPTUNE by Rick Riordan - 5
Percy only remembers the last 8 months of his life, but he's making his way to an encampment of Roman demigods in the hills around San Francisco.  Soon, he's on a quest with new friends Hazel and Frank.  Will they survive their journey?  There is an obvious formula to these books, yet just when I think I'm going to be tired of it, he makes it very interesting.  The well developed characters really help with that.  Watch for the hilarious scene at Amazon headquarters.

Riley Mack was labeled a troublemaker after an ill-advised attempt to steal an ice cream cake.  Now he tries to help his friends out of problems with school bullies.  But when one friend has his dog stolen, Riley and the gang may be in over their heads.  There's lots going on here that will keep kids engaged.  Personally, I thought the characters were a little weak, but I don't think kids will notice or care.

TWICE UPON A TIME by James Riley - 5
Jack, May, and Phillip find themselves in a race against time to save the fairy kingdom so they can learn who May really is.  It's a quest that will lead them to encounters with pirates and mermaids.  Can they succeed?  This twisted version of fairy tales is fun with plenty of grins and laughs plus action that will keep you glued to the page.

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