Monday, September 10, 2012

Last Week's Reading (9/3-9/9)

Last week, I didn't have much time for reading and only completed three of the five I had pulled. Two were great and the other one was just so-so.

Wish by Joseph Monninger

Bee’s brother, Tommy, knows everything there is to know about sharks. He also knows that his life will be cut short by cystic fibrosis. And so does Bee.
That’s why she wants to make his wish-foundation-sponsored trip to swim with a great white shark an unforgettable memory.
But wishes don’t always come true. At least, not as expected. Only when Bee takes Tommy to meet a famous shark attack survivor and hard-core surfer does Tommy have the chance to live one day to the fullest.
And in the sun-kissed ocean off a California beach, Bee discovers that she has a few secret wishes of her own. . . .

I was disappointed with Wish, for it took way too long for the story to develop. The story started off well, with Bee traveling with her mom and her brother to California for his "wish" trip to dive to see sharks. I was still with the story until they get to California -- that's when I got bored. See, I thought the story was actually about the shark dive. Nope. It's really not. It's what happens AFTER that's important. I wish there was a way to speed up the first part with the dive, for it's really just backstory. Maybe it would have kept me interested and I wouldn't have to force myself to pick it up to get to the good parts. I think there were a lot of good story ideas that were thrown together and didn't mesh well. I liked Bee and Tommy. I really wanted to care about them, but in the end, I really didn't. C rating.

The Fourth Stall by Chris Rylander

Do you need something? Mac can get it for you. It's what he does—he and his best friend and business manager, Vince. Their methods might sometimes run afoul of the law, or at least the school code of conduct, but if you have a problem, if no one else can help, and if you can pay him, Mac is on your side. His office is located in the East Wing boys' bathroom, fourth stall from the high window. And business is booming.

Or at least it was, until one particular Monday. It starts with a third grader in need of protection. And before this ordeal is over, it's going to involve a legendary high school crime boss named Staples, an intramural gambling ring, a graffiti ninja, the nine most dangerous bullies in school, and the first Chicago Cubs World Series game in almost seventy years. And that's just the beginning. Mac and Vince soon realize that the trouble with solving everyone else's problems is that there's no one left to solve yours.

Just the premise of this book will get you wanting to read it. What's not to like with a story about a guy that runs his business from the fourth stall in the boy's bathroom at school? Awesome. I can't say I was surprised about anything that happened, for I had my suspicions about the snitch as well as what was going on with Mac's best friend, Vince. But, even though I knew who did it, I still wanted to know how it all worked out. I noticed that there are two sequels. Must purchase them. Great fun! B+ rating.

Belly Up by Stuart Gibbs

Twelve-year-old Theodore “Teddy” Roosevelt Fitzroy has murder on his hands and trouble on his tail. He believes that Henry, the hippopotamus at the brand-new FunJungle, has been murdered. The zoo’s top brass claim the hippo went belly up the natural way, but Teddy and his feisty friend Summer McCraken have other ideas. Could the culprit be FunJungle’s animal-hating head of operations? Or is it FunJungle’s owner—Summer’s dad—a man who is much more concerned about money than animal welfare? The deeper Teddy and Summer dig, the more danger they’re in—because when it comes to hippo homicide, the truth can’t be caged!

Gibbs is a genius -- a mystery set in a zoo where the star attraction, a nasty hippo, is murdered. Who would have thought that would make for such a funny and entertaining story? I loved this story and found it difficult to put down. If I'd have had the time, I would have finished in one sitting. You can tell this story is meant to be funny, just look at the cover. What I really liked was how the humor is over the top, but at the same time not hit me over the head obvious. It's more where you take a step back from the story and you realize that all the characters are really caricatures, each with his own silly foible. Being from Texas, I generally hate it when the stereotypical Texan is used as a character. I could forgive it here, because I could tell it was all in jest. The mystery is good, and I think it'll keep the reader guessing until the end. Loved it! B+ rating.

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