Thursday, December 29, 2011

Waterfall by Lisa T. Bergren

Waterfall (River of Time, #1)
Rating: **
Genre: Historical fiction, sci fi, romance
Series: First of a trilogy
Pages: 369
For Gabi and Lia, it's shaping up to be yet another boring of summer of uncovering artifacts in ancient Italian burial mounds. Their mother is an archaeologist. They do that every summer. But when they decide to explore the tomb for themselves instead of watching their mom do it from afar, Gabi is swept back seven hundred years to medieval battlefield. Lia is nowhere to be found.
Waterfall avoided some of the more annoying quirks of time travel romances. Gabi is fluent in both Italian and Latin, so there's no need for everybody in Medieval Italy to magically and conveniently start speaking twenty-first century English. She doesn't cower behind knight in shining armor whenever the Bad Guys come out to play. Half the time she's the one wielding the sword.
Waterfall is a very good time travel novel, but a deplorable romance. It's obvious why Marcello (aka Sir Shiny Armor) likes Gabi. How many fourteenth century woman have the spunk to repel down a castle wall with a sword in hand, pretend to be nobility, and back-talk a man, all in effort to find and save her little sister?
But I can't see why Gabi would be willing to spend fifteen seconds of her life fantasizing over this guy. He's described as being hot and treats her with all the courtesy that befits the lady she's pretending to be. But that means nothing to me. I have to see heroic feats of bravery or heartmelting acts of kindness before I bat an eyelash.
The climax happens about a hundred pages before the end of the book. Twenty of those are necessary. The rest is an extended victory party.
Then there's the title. There is no waterfall or even a waterfall metaphor in the entire story.
Waterfall is a good read for anybody who enjoys strong protagonists, action, historical detail, and hot guys on horses (with a disappointing lack of other positive qualities).

Like what you read? Check out my other blog,

Monday, December 26, 2011

The Secret Journal of Brett Colton by Kay Lynn Mangum

 808    821
Rating: ****
Genre: Realistic fiction, religious, Mormon literature
Series: No sequel, but there's a companion book containing two guest apperances.
     Kathy can't stand her brother Brett, even though he died when he was seventeen and she was two. Her family talks about him as if he were a touchdown scoring martyr. He stared in his school play and became the first sophmore to play quarterback for varsity. Now it's Kathy's sophmore year. She's forced to tutor Jason West, the second sophmore to play quarterback for varsity. In addition to being an obnoxious jock, Jason is a member of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints (Mormon), which happens to be the church Brett investigated before his death.
     On Kathy's sixteenth birthday, she finds a journal Brett kept for her. As Kathy reads the entries between trying to raise her grade in theater class and sorting out her feelings for Jason, she can't help but grow closer to Brett.
     Mangum's characters are unique. Brett and Jason aren't your stereotypical dumb jocks, Kathy is more than a quiet, book-loving girl. Brett's entries tie in with and add drama to whatever Kathy happens to be doing at the moment.
     Though is one of those young adult books that can appeal to a wide age range. I first read it in fourth grade, but I can see adults enjoying it. Though set and published in Utah, The Secret Journal of Brett Colton is applicable to the lives of people everywhere.

Like what you read? Check out my other blog,

Thursday, December 1, 2011

Sweet Venom by Tera Lynn Childs

Sweet Venom (Medusa Girls #1)
Rating: *****
Genre: Mythology, fantasy, action
Pages: 345
Series: A sequel is set for release in fall 2012.
Gretchen is a huntress descended from the legendary Medusa. The only family she's ever known is her mentor, Ursula, who trained her to hunt monsters on the dark streets of San Francisco before she vanished without explanation.
Grace is a vegetarian and computer geek trying to fit in at her elite private school in a strange new city. She understands that San Francisco, being a big city, will have its share of weirdos, but that doesn't explain why she keeps running into monsters. Or a girl who could be her twin.
Greer is occupied with shoe shopping, pleasing her busy parents, and co-chairing the Immaculate Heart Alumnae Tea. She simply doesn't have time for those two girls who look eerily similar to her, aside from their woeful lack of fashion sense. Besides, monster hunting could get her clothes dirty.
But like it or not, the three of them are triplets, destined to work together to save the world.
Before I started reading, I thought it would be confusing to shift between three first person narrators, expecially because they all have similar names. But Gretchen, Grace, and Greer have such different personalities, styles, food preferences, and even language. I was never lost. Aside from Greer not appearing until chapter fifteen (well, look who decided to show up), I didn't have any problems with this book.
I loved the language, the unique characters, and the interesting but not distracting subplots, but the thing that stuck out to me is how Childs really gets teenage life. She understands that we have whiteboards instead of blackboards, powerpoint presentations are a good time to have naps, and that most schools don't have a popularity pyramid like they do in movies.
With its mythological background, Sweet Venom is a great read for anybody suffering from Percy Jackson withdrawal.

Like what you read? Check out my other blog,