Monday, May 17, 2010

It's Monday: What are you reading? (3)

 It's Monday: What are you reading?
What Are You Reading? is a weekly meme hosted over at Book Journey where bloggers gather to share what we have read this past week and what we plan to read this week.

I actually managed to do a lot of reading this week. I think it's because my first summer class was beginning, and I wanted to soak up as much fun reading as possible before I was trapped in a mire of homework!

I finished:
Heist Society by Ally Carter
Heist Society is a YA novel that follows a 15 year old girl, Katarina Bishop, who grew up in a family of theives. These theives are not mere common criminals, but come from the grand tradition of theives. In what Kat has planned on being her final illegal act, she has conned her way into an elite boarding school - Kat wants a normal life, she wants to learn normal things. But, alas, someone has stolen paintings from a rich and dangerous man (with a mob flavor), and this man believes the culprit is her father. Kat, and her group of misfit, teenaged friends, must somehow steal the paintings back and, if not clear her father's name, at least keep him alive.
This book was a fun romp - like a glimpse of the Ocean's 11 crew in high school. The book was a page-turner and kept me interested from page one. The author also left enough unsaid and path's unfulfilled that it would lead perfectly into a series. Actually, I really hope this turns out to be a series - I'll be seriously annoyed if it isn't!
The only issue I had with this book was that I really enjoyed the characters, particularly the side kicks, but I wish there would have been more of them (not in number, but in scenes and detail). Again, I hope for at least a sequel so I can get to know the crew better.
A fun read - highly recommended! Look for the book cover that looks like Ashley Green playing Audrey Hepburn playing Holly Golightly! Carter's Gallagher Girl's series (about an elite girls' school, which is a spy-training school in disguise) is on my library queue. (*****)
Ella Minnow Pea by Mark Dunn
A progressively lipogrammatic epistolary fable...
Ella Minnow Pea follows the character of the same name, her family and friends, and others from a small island country (Nollop) off the coast of South Carolina, and their lives through the letters they write. Nollop, the island, is named after their hometown hero who came up with the pangram "The quick brown fox jumps over the lazy dog." Then one day, the "Z" falls off of the monument to Nollop, and the town council believes that it's a sign from Nollop that Z should no longer be used. The penalty for using the letter - 1st offense: warning, 2nd offense: the stocks or the lash, 3rd offense: banishment. Unfortunately, more letters begin to fall...

I picked up this book expecting a fun and clever read. And while completely clever, I didn't have as much fun as I thought I would. This story got under my skin and I was actually righteously angry at this group, these penta-priests, who were making life hell for the people of this little country. I became very involved in this story and I seriously was hoping for some kind of vigilante justice because the rule-makers were making me so mad!

This is a great book for wordies, like myself. The story begins with beautiful, lyrical vocabulary (a product, Dunn writes, of the country's love of language and Nollop) and as more letters become illegal, the language deteriorates. While this book is an exaggerated and (hopefully) impossible situation, it is an interesting look at censorship taken to its ultimate end. As a library student, my mind went instantly to banned books in the library, but any where that language and learning is restricted (to some or all) is dangerous.

I highly recommend this book and I would also suggest it for a book club. (*****)

Hard Magic (Paranormal Science Investigations, #1) by Laura Anne Gilman
Hard Magic is a spin-off of one of my favorites, The Retriever series. Both series take place in NYC where, unknown to must regular people (here called Nulls, which is basically a Muggle), magic does exist.

Bonnie is a young woman fresh out of college, looking for a job and a place to belong. She's also a Talent, a magic user. After receiving a mysterious phone call telling her to be at a certain place at a certain time, she begins a new adventure in magic forensics.

This is a great book for people who like forensics, but don't really care about accuracy (since this is about magic, not science). I enjoyed the supporting characters, who were fleshed out really well. I swear, a lot of the time I'm more interested in the supporting characters than the main ones, and I'm looking forward to "getting to know them" better in the rest of the series. Bonnie is also a fun heroine, first introduced in the Retriever series, and she makes an interesting lead.

So far, this new series hasn't topped the Retriever series for me, but it has great potential to get up there, and I look forward to reading more. (*****)

Currently Reading:
A Wrinkle in Time (Time Series #1) by Madeleine L'Engle
Geektastic: Stories from the Nerd Herd by Holly Black, et al

To Read:
Shades of Grey: The Road to High Saffron (Shades of Grey #1) by Jasper Fforde
The Uncommon Reader: A Novella by Alan Bennet

What are you reading?


  1. I like how you compare The Heist to Oceans 11 in High School. Now I want tor ead it even more :D

    Have an awesome week!

  2. I think The Heist is going to be a series but not sure. I know her spy series I have been wanting to read.

  3. I've been noticing Heist Society around...sounds intriguing.

    Here's what I chose:

  4. Hey Rach....I'm going to have to try a couple of the books you reviewed. They sound good. Any more suggestions for me?

    Also, Wild Magic by Tamora Pierce is my fav book by her and I've read them all. I love her writing!

  5. Hi Rachel. Looks like you had a good week. Hard Magic sounds interesting to me! I hope this week was good too.
    Lovely Blog background.