Saturday, September 14, 2013

The 500 by Matthew Quirk-5 stars

Quirk, Matthew, narr. by Jay Snyder. The 500. Little, Brown and Company, 2013. 

Everyone has a price at which they can be bought. At least, that is what Matt’s lawyer boss, Henry Davies says. When the debt from his mother’s death and school loans get to be too much to bear, Henry Davies, a professor at Harvard, offers Mike a job at his firm. For $200, 000 a year plus 30%, Mike will be able to pay off his debts, get his dad out of jail, and live the happy life he’s always wanted. With a criminal juvenile past, that can be hard to obtain, so when mysterious circumstances lead Mike to believe that his boss is a murderer, he decides to covertly investigate. Soon, however, a Supreme Court justice and another woman are murdered, Matt finds himself in some really hot water. With Davies having anyone who matters wrapped around his finger as well as Mike’s girlfriend. Suspected of the double murder of the Supreme Court judge and the other person, Mike has to race against time to find the evidence that got the man murdered in order to clear his name and beat Davies at his own game. Will he succeed or wind up dead as well?

The characters are well-developed and hold the reader’s interest. The plot is action-packed, well-paced, and engaging. The narrator, Jay Snyder has a unique voice that truly captures the characters and captivates the reader. His intonations and smooth transitions masterfully draw the reader into Mike’s world. Readers and listeners alike who like suspense, legal thrillers, and mysteries will enjoy this book.

Adult, 5 stars

The Tinkerer's Daughter by Jamie Sedgwick-4.5 stars

Sedgwick, Jamie, The Tinkerer’s Daughter. Timber Hill Press, 2008. Pgs. 313.

Breeze is an outcast. She’s a Halfling whose father was killed in battle. Taken by a reclusive tinkererer, Breeze never knew her fae elven mother. Looked down upon by the villagers, Breeze takes solace in helping her adoptive father create inventions. When one of his inventions turns out to be a plane, Breeze sees potential to end the war between her mother’s and father’s people. Things grow worse when she discovers that the Kanters, another local race that is cannibalistic, is the reason the war between the two has never ended. Breeze realizes she will have to become a traitor to both countries in order to save them from the greater evil. Will she succeed?

The characters are likable and entertaining. The plot is well-developed and does a great job of keeping the reader’s engaged. Readers who like fantasy, adventure, suspense, and stories dealing with elven/human relations will enjoy reading this book.

Gr 5 to 9, 4.5 stars

Tuesday, September 3, 2013

Ginger High by Melissa Burmester-3.5 stars

Burmester, Melissa, Ginger High. Infinity Publishing, 2008. Pgs. 229.

In a school where the students have special powers, unexplained deaths are popping up around Ginger High. All of the victims have bite marks on their necks.  After having to back to their parallel, supernatural world of Animist, supernatural beings, Matthias, Taeru, and Amanta, are brought back to help solve the mysterious deaths. After her old school burns down, Daisy Fisher starts at Ginger.  As if learning to control her newfound supernatural powers wasn’t enough, she discovers a deep, family secret. She soon makes friends with Amanta and teams up with him to try and solve the deaths, but could the family secret and the deaths be somehow connected? Will the 4 people be able to solve the mystery before they too wind up victims?
This book has a great concept and a unique plot, especially with the parallel universes. The characters were likable and entertaining, but needed fleshed out more. The plot was fast-paced, but had a few holes and the transitions weren’t smooth. It also would have been nice to have a little more detailed description in some parts. The story was a fun read, however, and well worth the time. Overall, a pretty good book for a first-time young novelist.

Grades 7 to 10, 3.5 stars