Jerk, California is the story of a boy named Sam……or is it Jack? A young man struggling with Tourette’s Syndrom. He’s been raised by his mother and abusive stepdad. Upon graduation he sets off with a young woman named Naomi on a journey to find his real dad, the man whom he blames for all his troubles. As if social alienation due to TS and abusive/absent parents weren’t enough teen pregnency also gets thrown into the mix when it is discovered that Naomi is pregnent. The story had a lot of elements and I felt jerked around between them all and while resolutions are found I didn’t feel like there was an appropriate buildup, nor was there an appropriate buildup of Sam and Niomi’s relationship. It seemed to me that they were always fighting (Which the book attributes to the roller coaster emotions brought on by pregnancy and Sam’s habit of blurting out what he’s thinking because of the Tourette’s.) and had no real basis for a relationship except that they were both runners and he thought she was pretty. One positive I will say for it is that Friesen himself has Tourette’s and is therefore able to make Sam’s struggle with that believable. I’d probably give this book a 3.5 out of 5.
The Scorpio Races
Back before the term fairy was relegated to stories of Tinkerbell and Thumbalina, the Fae had a much darker side. Celtic lore told of killer fairies like Raw Hide and Bloody Bones, Erlkings, and Redcaps. One of these dark fairy were the capaill uisce a.k.a. Kelpie. In Stiefvaters latests book, The Scorpio Races, we are transported to an island called Thisby where the capailll uisce are real. Every year around November stormy weather drives the capaill uisce, or water horses, onto the beach. The natives of Thisby capture the flesh eating water horses and race them down the beach in a race known as the Scorpio Race. Invariably, there is much death when trying to ride horses that would rather eat or drown you. The book follows Sean Kendrick and Puck Connolly as they prepare for that years races. It’s a love story for the island and it’s horses. While a specific time frame is never given it feels like the story takes place in the early 20th century due to islanders attitudes toward women and the fact that cars are scarce and tend to be of an old style. As a fan of both horseracing and classic fairy lore, I highly enjoyed this book. It was as beautiflly written as Stiefvater’s Wolves Of Mercy Falls trilogy and I look forward to her next book.
Quest For Celestia
Quest for Celestia is a modern retelling of John Bunyans Pilgrims Progress. A teenager named Kadin is given a magical book by a wizard. As he reads, he discovers that he and everyone around him is suffering from a horrible infection and the only way to get rid of it is to travel to the land of King Kiral in Celestia. He embarks on this journey with a girl named Liera and together they battle the forces of evil. While I’ve wanted to read Pilgrims Progress just because it is a classic, I never expected it to be very entertaining, rather just a sermon. But this book has my interest piqued. The story was rich and imaginitive and definitly not preachy while it still made the religious correlations very obvious. It was a real page turner and I give it two thumbs up.
The Son Of Neptune
The latest installment of The Heros of Olympus series doesn’t fail to deliver a rich world full of a synthesis between ancient mythology and modern day that readers have come to expect. As with The Lost Hero, the story is told from the perspective of three questing heros who take turns with the chapters of the book. This time we are introduced to Hazel, a 13 year old underworld escapee, and Frank, an awkward 16 year old chinese canadian. For our third hero, Percy Jackson, now 2 months away from 17, returns. Rich in the lore of Greek and Roman mythology, it’s a world I love to live in. I’m chomping at the bit for fall to get here and the third book in the series to be released. My only complaints with this particular book is that, while most of the characters are reaching their later teens, the humor seems to continue to be aimed at 12 – 13 year olds. Also, I find a 16 year old being romantically interested in a 13 year old a bit disturbing.
Music From Beyond The Moon
One fateful night an 18 month old boy is left out in the yard of Glory and Fiona, two childless old women. What follows is the story of love, in all it’s forms. Told predominatly from the view of the two old women, we watch the boy, who they name victor, grow and fall in love. The writer seems to have a rather bitter view of love and this results in some unforseen twists that I found rather dissapointing and disturbing. I also noticed a rather glaring writing error. The story starts off in 1924 with an 18 month old, yet in 1941 at the bombing of Pearl Harbor Fiona says that Victor is to young to enter the war at only 16. But the math there gets him to 18 or 19 years of age. All in all, not that impresssed.
Comer, Valerie, et al. Rainbow’s End.
Barbour Publishing, May 2012.
As a geocacher myself, I was intrigued by a book that had geocaching in it. While it was a geocaching contest that provided the common theme through the book, each section of the book was written by a different author and involved different characters. However, I thoroughly enjoyed it as a quick and entertaining read. Total there were four individual stories by four authors with basically the same premise of romance, but each with different obstacles to overcome on the way to love. This was a great book for a summer read at the beach.
Lough, Lorlee. Honor Redeemed
Abingdon Press, 2012.
Although this is the second book in Lorlee Lough’s First Responder Series, it apparently isn’t necessary to have read the first to enjoy the second. Honor MacKenzie is a first responder working Search and Rescue with her dogs. Through her job she meets Matt who is also a newspaper reporter. Both of them carry hurts; Honor from the death of her husband and rumors of misconduct on her previous job – Matt from the death of his wife, and his attempt to raise his twin sons alone. Feelings deepen and romance blossoms, but if many readers are like me, they may be a little dissatisfied with the ending. Thank goodness, I was soon able to pick up #3 in the series!