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Hellohellohello!! I have returned to the Charybdis with much to tell and much to catch up on. I plan on covering our upcoming contest and experiences from Trinity Library in a post yet to come, but I was so eager to do a few reviews that I’ve put them on the back shelf for the moment. So I’ll be around quite a bit for the next few days.
Nothing is going right for Dylan Fontaine. His mother, a talented artist, just left his family for another man. His father, an obstetrician/gynecologist, is using the hospital as an excuse to ignore the problems at home. His brother, a musician, won’t stop smoking weed long enough to realize that Dylan is having some issues. And his best friend Angie, is on friends only basis. Not to mention, our hero has just been arrested for marijuana that isn’t his and stealing underwear (vedddy embarassing). It’s time for a change. Even from an unexpected direction.
Angie has just finished a summer program on film at a New York college and is participating in a short film festival. Who better to base it on than her best friend, the intriguing and drama besieged Dylan Fontaine? Reluctant at first, Dylan discovers that the film may mean more than 15 minutes in a crowded theatre hall. It may be his one way ticket to himself.
I want to say right off the bat that I loved this book. Dylan’s character is in your face and so honestly conflicted that you feel for him from the first few pages. I wanted to see him discover his latent powers more than anything in the world while reading through this. And the characters around him are just as awesome. They all have unique personalities and different senses of humor. Also, even if the story doesn’t come right out and say it, you know that Dylan’s discovery of himself is helping everyone he’s associated with to do the same.
April Lurie writes with A-level humor. I laughed a lot, not only at Dylan’s hilarious first person narrative, but also at the border-line impossible situations that come his way. His “raging hormones” also provided a great deal of comic relief, while not going over the edge with… icky. The only disappointment was that it every so often felt like Dylan was too passive about his brother’s drug use. I had this secret scenario going on in my head where he jumped in, stole the joints, ran away and dumped them in the harbor. But ah well. C’est la vie, I suppose.
6.5 out of 7 something-or-others. Have we still not decided? Anyway. That’s a nice rating to come back to, either way you look at it.
Rearranging my bookshelves (again),
Eoin Colfer is made of awesome. He is one of those authors whose work you never have to doubt. When I see one of his books with its shiny new cover begging me to pick it up and turn its lovely pages, I never think, “Oh, I hope this won’t be one of those books that looks fantastic and is just… not.” Which makes me happy because books with shiny covers disappoint me all too often. *sighs and rambles for a while about how books with awesome covers should, in themselves, be awesome*
But getting back to Airman. Our hero, Conor Broekhart, has been (literally) flying since birth. He was born on a hot air balloon, and has been obsessed with aircrafts of all sorts since. He is a resourceful and clever youngling (as shown when he rescues Princess Isabella from the king’s tower… which they may have set ablaze in the first place…) and is assigned a tutor, Victor, under whom he learns about aircraft, fencing, and other studies necessary to an illustrious youth. Okay, maybe not necessary but certainly helpful.
However, Conor’s world falls apart when he witnesses the assassination of King Nicholas, by the devious scoundrel, Bonvilain. Victor and Conor are blamed for the king’s death. Victor is shot by Bonvilain and Conor is sent to Little Saltee, the island prison. Now, Conor has to learn to survive the daily beatings, poor conditions, lack of air and sunlight, etc. Oh, and he needs to find a way to escape, too. What kind of story would it be if our protagonist rotted away in a cold, dank cell? How is he going to escape? Well, maybe, just maybe, looking at the title of the novel would give you a hint ;).
Eoin Colfer never disappoints. His characters were solid and the adventure was exciting. The two year time skip was a necessary evil (I mean, who wants to hear about two years in prison?) and very appropriately placed. I actually liked this book better than the newest Artemis Fowl, to tell you the truth. 6 out of 7 balloons full of fireworks for this one [insert explode-y noises and such here].
Now, I have been told (by many people) that Maureen Johnson is a fabulous author and threatened (by one person in particular) with heavy exposure to Swedish techno if I did not read at least one of her books. Swedish techno is actually fun to listen to… in small doses. More than that might melt your brain. Seeing as I like my brain in its non-puddinglike state, I snagged the nearest one, which happened to be (as you can probably guess from the title of this post) Suite Scarlett.
Scarlett Martin’s family owns and lives in a hotel. The Hopewell has fallen on hard times and while it may not have a plethora of Egyptian cotton towels or toilets that function 100% of the time, it has what is called “the personal touch”. Meaning, that the Martins can no longer afford to hire staff and the only people around who will work for free are Scarlett and her siblings. Following family tradition, Scarlett is given the key to the Empire Suite and the responsibility of its upkeep. Due to the family’s financial troubles, Scarlett has to drop her plans of getting a summer job in favor of working at the hotel… but her plans are saved in an entirely unexpected way by Mrs. Amberson, a former actress turned writer/director/agent, who moves into the Empire Suite and offers Scarlett the chance to be her assistant. As this position pays $500 a week, she snaps up the opportunity and quickly gets to work.
This mainly consists of fetching exotic delicacies and helping Mrs. Amberson write her novel…. uuuntil Scarlett’s brother Spencer gets involved in a local “Broadway” production. The cast is evicted from the parking garage where they’ve been practicing and where do they choose to stage the rehearsals? The basement of the Hopewell, of course. Things quickly pick up and between Mrs. Amberson’s meddling in the production of the play, and Scarlett’s maybe-boyfriend-maybe-not (who also happens to be Spencer’s friend and in the cast of the play) events around the hotel quickly get tangled. And once everything starts to fall down around their ears, Scarlett has to take charge and show that she’s good for more than delivering organic Japanese plums.
I found Suite Scarlett to be a fun and funny book. It was cute and I loved the interaction between the family members. They seemed very real and atypical and interesting. Very different than what I had thought a book about a hotel would be like… much more entertaining. And if you happened to be looking for a book to take to the beach I’d recommend this one. Not that I read it at the beach, but it seems like that’d be a good place to do so. 6 out of 7 … wailing mermaids?… that sounds good, let’s go with that.
I’m rather enjoying this all new atmosphere. I feel perpetually refreshed (other than the multiple late nights spending quality time with the Olympics). And as you may have read in the post above, I’ve been rather occupied with preparations to go see… Brrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrr (That was a drum roll- I couldn’t tell either).
So this will be my last review for quite some time. And I know that with Medeia holding down the ship (another horrible play on words), you won’t miss me at all. *shniff* Anyway, on to the review.
Archie’s grandfather’s last words were both severe and perhaps, prophetic. “Young Man, you are a saint.” How is he supposed to live up to a charge like that? But it seems as if it will all be much easier when the intriguing and beautiful Clare comes to town. She is the most saintly person Archie has ever met, and seems very much interested in the salvation of his eternal soul. But is Archie being blinded by his adoration for “Saint” Clare? Because it is beginning to seem like the enigmatic girl may have a more tainted past than she first let on to. And very rapidly she has pulled Archie into a maelstrom of religious fervor that might spell the end of them both (eternal souls or no).
This book was really quite amazing in many respects. It targeted the spiritual questions of life head on without being preachy or irritating. The characters had great depth and (as is usually the case with Han Nolan) the writing was amazzzzing. I could feel the plight of both Clare and Archie as I read through. And was very moved by them both.
To tell the truth though, When We Were Saints moved kind of slowly in the beginning. And the tense (through no fault of the author) could become tedious and frustrating. But if you’re willing to dig through that to the real core of the novel, then it will be well worth your time.
Umm… at the suggestion of Nicole in the comments from the last post… BWARUMPAZWOOM. That would be the sound of 5 out of 7 elephants attacking erm…themselves?
Farewell for Now,
The dictionary defines a hero as:
“a person who, in the opinion of others, has heroic qualities or has performed a heroic act and is regarded as a model or ideal”
Kevin Ross (Kross, to his friends) never thought that his name and the words “model” or “ideal” would be used in the same sentence, much less actually being seen as either of those things, but when he saves the mayor’s daughter Leah from a grisly end at the hands of a serial killer things begin to change. Kross attends ceremonies in his honor (with reluctance), gives speeches about his heroics (with difficulty), accepts the key to the city (with fake excitement), and gets a great deal on his very own car (with real excitement). However, things soon start spiraling out of control when Kross tosses some magnets (those “support the troops” ribbon things) into the trash. Suddenly, he has gone from the “town hero” to an ungrateful soldier-hater. Interesting how that works…
This book displays many different facets of awesome. From the funny and entertaining pranks of the Council of Fools (the circle of Kross’s best friends) to the debates about things that most people never give a thought to. As well as Kevin’s dark secrets and inner battle about whether he really deserves to be called a hero.
Needless to say, I loved it. All of the plot twistyness and owning the narrow-minded in fantastic verbal duels and bitter little ironies made it a wonderful read. Even comparable to Little Brother in its awesomeness (which Aella reviewed, once upon a time). I’m not exactly sure when Hero-Type comes out…but when it does, go buy it. Yes, I said buy. Seeing as I only have space for one shelf of books (and whatever I can pack into the various untrodden corners of my home) books have to be amazingfantasticwonderfulsplendidmagnificent before I’ll actually buy them. And I don’t just recommend books for buy-age lightly.
And I’d love to get some thoughts on this one: What makes a hero?
P.S. 7 out of 7… somethings…. not exactly sure what we’re giving books these days
Greeting and felicitations
You’ve found our new word-pressed creation
We’re not on blogger anymore
We found fresh layouts to adore
We’ve also gone and changed our name
Though much will dare remain the same
There’s still reviews and author news
Art updates and interviews
But with our new face, there’s much to do
We’ve also planned a contest (or two)
And quotes each week and what we’re reading
And more reviews than you’ve been seeing
Our title’s the maelstrom that most know the best
The companion of Scylla from the Odyssey’s quest
For once you’re pulled in to the greatest of books
There can be no escaping and no second looks
So leave us your thoughts, though it remains rather sparse
We welcome you to our still windy hearth
The Charybdis is eager to meet your desires
And feed the avid reader’s brightest of fires
For books you will read long into the night
And those that are not worth the candlelight
We hope to inform you and meet bookish hearts
This day will forever mark the start
Of an exciting beginning and worthwhile pursuits
We’ll try to be honest and tell you the truth
But most basic of all, through this glimmering new surface
We remain the Whirlwinds, at your most humble service.