Saturday, May 30, 2009

Bloodhound by Tamora Pierce

Author: Tamora Pierce
Release Date: April 14, 2009
Category: Fantasy
Rating: 4.5 out of 5 stars

Rebekah “Beka” Cooper is now a Dog, a fully qualified member of Provost’s Guard, which is basically the police force in Corus, the capital of Tortall. Beka is a natural at Dog work, she’s observant and persistent, but her magical traits set her apart from the rest, she has the ability to gain information from the spirits that attach themselves to pigeons and the dust and dirt that swirl on the ground called dust spinners. These skills along with the help from the company she keeps make Beka a skilled Dog.

Beka has been a Dog for five months at this point, and her fourth partner has just decided to leave her, which sends her back to her (amusing) training Dogs, Tunstall and Goodwin. One her first day back with Tunstall and Goodwin, they learn of counterfeit silver coins being used throughout Corus, which begins their investigation on the subject. On the second day, the merchants raise their prices in order to cover their losses, which cause a riot in the Lower City. During the riot, Tunstall is injured and in trying to get him to safety, they meet a group of men from a security caravan, who turn out to be quite useful to them.

After the riots, it’s found that the counterfeit coins are being brought in by gamblers from Port Caynn and the Port Caynn Dogs don’t seem to be doing anything about it. With Tunstall on bed rest, Cooper and Goodwin are sent undercover to Port Caynn to try and locate where these fake coins are coming from and who is sending them out into the mainstream. Beka and Goodwin must explore the deep world of gambling and find the root of the problem, in a strange city.

Along the way, Beka sees Dale Rowan, a bank courier that sometimes works on the caravan, whim she met in the riot. Dale becomes more than just someone to help the women learn about the gambling places, and the eating houses that could help aid them, he becomes someone Beka really begins to like. He is handsome, buys her fine gifts, and becomes a bedmate for her, all in a matter of days. There is just enough romance that you almost want to root for him, but personally I am still rooting for her and Rosto, the Rogue of Corus.

With the help of the adorable Achoo, Beka’s new scent hound, Slapper, a hilarious pigeon that carries the voices of the dead, and their new friends from the riots, they have just the in they need to get their investigation started. Things finally start falling into place when Goodwin goes to Corus to report what they have so far. Once Goodwin is gone, things come together rather quickly for young Beka, and it is up to her alone, to keep it all from blowing up before help arrives. And it is up to Achoo to teach Beka that there is more to finding a criminal than the chase, and sometimes you have to sniff them out of their hiding place.

I love this story! It’s told very well, everything you read is written through Beka’s journal and despite the length of the book, the entire story covers just under three weeks. I didn’t read Terrier, the first book in the trilogy, but Bloodhound seems to stand on its own, with only a slight temporary confusion. Some of the terminology is quite different, but there is a dictionary in the back, along with a few other things that are quite helpful when it comes to keeping things straight. The cast of characters are quite colorful, and very interesting, particularly when Dogs, mages, thieves, and the Rogue not only live in the same lodgings, but also dine frequently together and intertwine themselves in each others lives as they do. It’s easy to see that despite what they all do for a living, they all care and respect each other as friends.

There are some aspects of the story that could become a little much for younger readers and I think I should state that Beka may only be 16 or 17, but in her time, that is classified as an adult. She deals in adult situations, there is crime, gambling, adult relationships, and violence, but nothing is told in explicit detail or anything like that. This is a story that I could totally recommend for almost anyone, male or female, teenager or adult. Either way, it is a good story and I for one, am waiting for the next book, Mastiff.

Saturday, May 23, 2009

An Abundance of Katherines by John Green

Before I get started, I just want to let you guys know that I’m going to be experimenting with my review format a bit, see what works, what doesn’t, etc. Let me know what you guys think!


Author: John Green
Release Date: September 21, 2006
Category: Contemporary
Rating: 5 out of 5 stars

Ever wanted to know how long a relationship would last? Who would break up with who? Have a way to figure out if beginning the relationship in the first place is even worth the trouble? Receive all those answers by plugging in a few factors into a mathematical theorem, sounds simple enough to me, and to Colin Singleton. Colin is a new high school graduate, a soon-to-be-ex child prodigy, and this theorem, the theorem that could potentially make him a genius, is the problem he is facing.

You see, Colin has a problem. Colin falls in love very easily. That wouldn't be such a bad thing if it wasn't for the fact that all his "loves" have been named Katherine (exactly 19 of them). Each of those Katherines have broken up with him for whatever reason; and after the love of his life (Katherine XIX) leaves him in a terribly bad place he decides to use that to his advantage. He tries to make himself a genius by coming up with the Theorem of Underlying Katherine Predictability, to not only make himself known for something, but to also figure out why all nineteen Katherines have dumped him.

As a distraction, Colin and his best friend Hassan set out on a road trip to nowhere, in The Hearse (Colin's car). Seeing a sign for the grave of the Archduke Franz Ferdinand, the boys head to Gutshot, Tennessee; a small town, where they happen upon Lindsey Lee Wells, a girl who is nothing like any Katherine has been for Colin. She reads celebrity rag magazines, her friends, her boyfriend (also named Colin, aptly dubbed T.O.C. aka The Other Colin), and her wealthy mother Hollis, who offers the boys a place to stay. The palace-sized home on top of the hill being more than just large and full of interesting things, but it's also a shade of pink only rivaled by a bottle of Pepto Bismol.

Hollis hires the boys to accompany Lindsey with getting an oral history of Gutshot, which means visiting everyone that works in the factory (which produces tampon strings, just so you know), the people too old to work, and the people so old to work they are in the old folks home. Colin also decides his "Eureka" moment is finishing the Theorem of Underlying Katherine Predictability, but what he doesn't count on is better than finishing any theorem. He not only finds himself, but that there are some things (i.e. chance, memory recollection, the unpredictability of matters of the heart) that can't be solved in a theorem, math, or science. Some things have to be lived, and we follow these three through their adventures, learning to be somebody, mattering as a person without being world-famous, and just growing up.

There are so many things about this book that I love! Upon meeting Lindsey's friends, the boys immediately came up with amusing acronyms for them (J.A.T.T. aka Jeans Are Too Tight, hehe). As someone who lives in Tennessee, I still couldn't help giggle every time Gutshot was mentioned. The footnotes! I forgot how fun those could be! The characters are quirky, and there is the ability to relate to them in a sense, and real. And the book taught me things I didn't know! Just for amusement, here are five things I didn't know before reading An Abundance of Katherines:

  1. Nikola Telsa loved...pigeons (yea, I know)...and had the original electricity idea, not Thomas Eddison.
  2. Looking at it from a scientific point of view, there is no proof that drinking eight glasses of water will do a darn thing for your health.
  3. William Taft was not only the fattest president, but got stuck in a bath tub one time (hehehe, so funny)
  4. Abligurition is an actual word, that I can't pronounce, but means "the spending of too much money on food."
  5. Not only is there a World's Largest Crucifix, but it is in Kentucky.

This is one of the few books that I would recommend to everyone! Don't worry about all the math, there are footnotes and graphics to explain it all. This is a book that guys and girls alike can enjoy!

Monday, May 11, 2009

Update!

I am still in the process of reading Bloodhound by Tamora Pierce. I'm quite behind on my usual reading schedule, because not only have things been crazy here at home, but my allergies have been miserable! They have never been this bad before! Anyone else had that problem this year?

But anyways, I am going to my aunt's lake house for the weekend and since it is nice and quiet up there, hopefully I will be able to get some MAJOR reading done! I hope. I just wanted to let you guys know that I haven't forgotten about you or anything! hehe.

I also wanted to give an extra special "THANK YOU" to Fantastic Book Review for her "5 Star Review" contest, in which I won a copy of The Forest of Hands and Teeth! YaY!

Must get some sleep now, since it's 2:30 AM and I have to be up early to do some things around the house and pack my stuff before I leave at 1 tomorrow, ARGH! lol. Hope to be farther along in a few days! Bye guys! XOXO!