The True Confessions of Charlotte Doyle


4 stars

Ah, Avi. This is a master author. He has written numbers Newberry Award winning books, and his style is something to be appreciated. This story involves the adventures of a young, English girl traveling to the new world via ship after her boarding school ends for the year. She must travel alone (a travesty for a proper young lady!) across the Atlantic in the care of the ship’s Captain and his crew. During the voyage, she uncovers a mutiny plot, falls out of the Captain’s favor, and ends up joining the crew as “one of the boys.”

I love how this is a high-seas adventure without having anything to do with pirates. Have you noticed that’s the big theme now-a-days? Everything involving ships or the ocean always has a pirate association. This is just a girl, in a seemly normal situation, who must push her boundaries and decide what is right and wrong. It’s a quick read (a pretty short book) but exceptionally engaging. It didn’t win for its year–it was beaten by Maniac McGee in 1991–but it is a fabulous book, and one that should be read by anyone addicted to oceanic adventures.

Published in: on October 19, 2007 at 1:01 pm  Leave a Comment  

Thing of Beauty: The Tragedy of Supermodel Gia


3 Stars

This was an interesting book–it was one in my string of celebrity biographies, and I really just picked it up because someone told me Angelina Jolie started her career by playing Gia in a movie. (Not a great movie, by the way, but a movie none-the-less). This book chronicles the life of Gia, one of the first great supermodels in the industry. Hers was a little tragic, with a single year where she was on top of her game, until she got addicted to heroin and contracted HIV. Her demise from AIDS complications brought the virus into the mainstream.
The book was interesting. The author made a point of trying to find as many people who worked with, knew, or dated Gia during her lifetime. There’s a whole, tragic chapter where he mentions all of the friends and acquaintances of Gia who died of AIDS before he was able to interview them. The stories were interesting, and I could tell the author admired and felt for his subject. His treatment of Gia’s younger, more rebellious years, as well as her descent into addiction and her ultimate death. It was a long book, but well written and seemingly comprehensive. If you’ve ever wondered about her, this is the place to start.


Published in: on October 19, 2007 at 12:56 pm  Leave a Comment  

Throne of Jade


3 Stars

This here’s the sequel to His Majesty’s Dragon (which, it seems, has also been released under the title Temeraire), and the second in an ever-expanding series.

In Throne of Jade, the dragon Temeraire and his crew travel to China to uncover his mysterious origins. Grand adventure and page-turning intrigue ensue.

Unfortunately, ToJ is not as good as its predecessor. Part of what I liked about HMD was the novelty of historic fiction being interwoven with draconic fantasy. While this book has a lot good features … it’s like the second seaon of Lost. It’s still good, but the freshness has faded and you worry that it’s only downhill from here. Hopefully, the series will pull a 24 (season 4) and rebound into excellecy, instead of flailing incoherently into obscurity, a la The X-files. I guess I will just have to read and see, after a short break.


Published in: on August 12, 2007 at 6:11 pm  Leave a Comment  

The Tarot Murders

2 1/2 Stars

A SLM where the main character is a psychic who helps police figure out murders. She wears rings on ever finger of her hands except her left pinky. That’s really the most memorable part.


Published in: on July 18, 2007 at 5:25 am  Leave a Comment  



3 stars

Terry Pratchett is a really funny guy, but you can only take so much of his writing before you get bored. This is one of the first Terry Pratchett books I read, and I just loved it. I then embarked upon a Terry-binge, then, just like when you binge on chocolate cake or tequila, I ended up feeling rather nauseous and didn’t want to read them anymore. (Ok, like when you binge on tequila…that would never happen with chocolate cake). Anyhow, what I’m saying is one book is really funny, two is enjoyable, three is pushing it, and anything more than that is just painful.

Back to this story. This book is about a newspaper that opens up in Ank Moorpark and havoc ensues. In true Terry style, this book looks at the newspaper industry through sarcastically-tinged eyeglasses and embarks on some not-so-subtle commentary about the world in general. The badguy gets turned into a worm, too. Fun!


Published in: on July 17, 2007 at 10:35 pm  Comments (1)  

Thief of Time


2 1/2 Stars

A Terry Pratchett book. The End.


Published in: on July 17, 2007 at 10:34 pm  Leave a Comment  

The Tunnel Behind the Waterfall


2 1/2 stars

Take The Stairs in the Chimney, change it to a tunnel and a waterfall, and you have this third book in the series. The children are, once again, a year older and a year wiser, and now must deal with bigger and badder monsters. I was so tired of this story by the time I got to this book, I had to force myself through it. I suppose that after a couple year break I will be able to read this again and I may like it better, but until then I think I will leave the other books in the series on the library shelf.


Published in: on July 17, 2007 at 8:48 pm  Leave a Comment