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Artemis Fowl: The Arctic Incident

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A wonderful sequel to Artemis Fowl, the second in the series. At the beginning of this book, we find that Artemis has been returned to school. He’s been ordered to meet with the school counselor. The thing about Artemis is he knows that no one is smarter than he is and the counselor is just another adult who doesn’t understand him. A call from Butler and an escape from the school, lead Artemis to discover his father’s whereabouts. For the first time in two years, Artemis has a real chance at bringing his father home. The rescue won’t be an easy one but he’s prepared. That is until the fairy people return. Artemis is the only human they know with the resources to open up a human/goblin smuggling ring. They bring him in for questioning. Artemis is innocent and they agree to help him retrieve his father. However, there is a villain amongst the LEP and a plot that will destroy everything. It’s up to Artemis, Butler, Holly Short and Captain Root to save the day. There’s a return of Munch Diggins who has been causing his own ruckus. I don’t want to share too much for those who have not read the first one. I think I like this book better than the first. Artemis is such a complex character and I love that the book is told from all sides at once. It’s not confusing at all and opens up the reader to all the character’s thoughts.
Artemis Fowl

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I loved Artemis Fowl the first time I read it years ago. I still love it today. I’m glad I took the opportunity to re-read the first book. I’m thinking about reading them all again ending with the newest book this summer. Artemis Fowl, to me, is the anti-Harry Potter. In this first book, he is twelve years old. His father is missing and his mother is withdrawn. The family name and fortune are on the line and Artemis Fowl takes matters into his own hands. He’s going to steal fairy gold. What happens from there is a story about a boy who is stuck in two roles. He is only twelve but incredibly intelligent. He could use his gifts for good but that’s not who his family is – the Fowl’s come from a long line of men who make their money off the backs of others. He has been taught to be evil. However, you can’t help but empathize with this boy. You delight in his schemes but your heart breaks for him as well. In some ways, he’s doing this for his family. The story is funny and charming. It’s not the same comradery as Harry Potter but Artemis is not alone in these stories. This first one sets up a series of friendships that will be tested time and time again in future books.
A Grown-Up Kind of Pretty

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This is the story of three generations – Big, Liza and Mosey. Big believes that every 15 years they are cursed. This started when Big became pregnant with Liza at 15 and then Liza got pregnant with Mosey 15 years later. Mosey has just turned 15 and Big is trying to be vigilant. The year starts with Liza having a stroke which leaves her broken and withdrawn. Big knows that a pool will help and has a neighbor help take down the old willow tree in her yard which starts off a chain of events that will bring dark secrets out into the open and test the strength of Big’s family. Told from all three perspectives, this was an amazing journey. I loved Liza’s story since she was the one who couldn’t interact much with the others. She was a delightful character who added a lot to the story. Though her body didn’t work, her mind was working hard. I devoured this book, as I have all of Joshilyn Jackson’s books that I have gotten my hands on. They are different from other southern chick books. There’s a darker edge in her books, one that really shows the devil is in the details. There are such powerful connections between the characters and a love that transcends.
The Cemetery Club

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Cemetery Club started off rather slow. I did not like the beginning. The first few segments were snapshots of the history of Rocky Pointe but I wasn't connecting to the town. The modern day story started with Todd. Todd had just been released from Wood Hill Sanitarium after serving 20 years for killing several people in his teens. Todd is looking forward to spending his time reconnecting with his mother and continuing his research on what really happened to those people. He suspects he raised a demon. Meanwhile, whatever it was has risen again. John Boyd witnesses the aliens take over a cemetery maintenance man who kills another man before dragging his body into a neighboring crypt. Todd is beaten by police before they even explain why they are arresting him. It's at this point that I am convinced I can no longer read this book. I was so angry. So far the book had failed to grasp my attention and here, in this modern day, this man was completely violated by the men who are sworn to protect. I nearly quit. I nearly wrote a terrible review because I had had it. But I wanted to give the book a chance and I'm glad I did. Once Cody Miles, Todd's lawyer, entered the scene the story took on a completely different feel for me. I was sucked in and I couldn't stop. The fun thing about this book was the debate about what exactly had invaded the community - was it demons or was it aliens? There were good arguments for both and I wasn't disappointed when I learned what the truth was. The beings turn their victims into zombies and that was fun. I hadn't read a zombie book yet so it was great. I loved the characters. I loved how they were real and how they were really struggling with what was the right thing to do. There was even a human villain who I thought could have been used a little better but I could totally picture him in the movie. I didn't like the ending but then I liked the characters a lot and the ending hurt. I won't spoil it for you but I was disappointed. I wanted them to be my heroes and I wanted a happily ever after. The fact that the ending made me feel made it a great ending. I could completely see this movie. It's a small book so it may never happen but I would love to see that movie. There were some editing issues with the book - I won't lie. One character's name changed from Hank to Frank for a few pages and then back to Hank. It was a little off putting but I didn't care. I chalked it up to the quaintness of the publishing. It wasn't well formatted for a nook so there was some fun font issues but I ignored them and stuck with the story. If you like horror, especially Stephen King, I recommend this book. It reminded me a bit of IT but with zombies instead of clowns.
Alienation

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To start with, I got this as an e-ARC so I wasn’t able to tell whether this was the first book of the series. Part way through the book, I looked it up to find it was the second book. There were some things that felt awkward reading this out of order but for the most part I was able to connect to the characters and follow the plot of the book. This wasn’t a favorite of mine but that’s not the books fault. I’m not real big on military action sort of stories. This is a book about aliens but it’s more about the young men who have been enlisted into a special military organization to combat the aliens. For those who likes those sorts of stories, this one is for you. There was too much detail in the weaponry for my taste. I don’t care how many different types of assault rifles and the numbers that are associated with them. For me, the book had too much of that. It pulled me out of the story. And there was a lot of it. There’s amazing technology in this book for those who like it. There’s realistic holographs for training (and if you get hurt in the holograph room, you really get hurt), robots for training and as servants, and hoverboards. It’s a thrilling young adult novel perfect for those who love military and espionage. In this story, Colt is heading off to CHAOS training. (I can’t remember what the acronym stands for but it’s something like covert – alien - something.) While trying to get there he discovers someone is trying to kill him. The head of CHAOS has ordered the murder of several government officials and it appears that he wants to get rid of Colt too. Colt is the grandson of the great CHAOS legend Phantom Rider. He’s left not sure of who to trust especially since his best friend is the son of the CHAOS leader. It did keep me guessing and I have to say I didn’t see the twist that came. I enjoyed the action and all the alien descriptions. This was similar in tone to comic books in the 40’s and 50’s – Captain America and the like. I think it makes for a great read for young men who love all that sort of stuff.
The Cape

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The story of the cape was published in 20th Century Ghosts. It was such a popular and bizarre story of a grown man who rediscovers the power to fly using a cape. I was excited to hear that the story had been turning into a comic book mini-series (4 issues) but I wasn’t overly excited to read it since I had read it already. That didn’t mean I wasn’t curious so I accepted when the offer came to review the first issues. I was blown away. The illustrations are just creepy enough to give you the full impression of this character’s mental health. The story is just strange but more importantly this issue starts where the short story ends. Eric’s girlfriend has fallen to her death and the cops believe there’s something more going on here. However, it’s hard to understand how a woman fell to her death when there was nothing to fall from. We know what happened but will everyone else discover how Eric got his revenge and will they believe it. This issue is just as bizarre as the original story and you really don’t like Eric but you can understand him. His life is not all that great and he sees his problems as the fault of those around him. I can’t wait to pick up more issues to find out how Joe Hill resolves this story.
Agaves: Living Sculptures for Landscapes and Containers

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Agaves are a type of succulent plant characterized by rosetta-like structure – leaves that spread out from the base in a circle. Interest in these plants for landscaping grew in the 1980s but it wasn’t until the turn of the century that Agave’s popularity surged. They are drought and heat tolerant plants that are naturally found in the southwestern region of the United States and into Mexico. Greg Starr offers information on how to incorporate Agave plants into your landscape regardless of where you live. Some species can tolerate severe cold while others can tolerate wetter climates. He goes on to explain how you can help your Agave thrive even in the less than ideal conditions. The majority of the book is a detailed explanation of each species of Agave. With each description, Greg Starr offers landscaping information and how best to raise that particular species. He includes information on where they can be found in nature and what conditions can be found there. The book is beautifully photographed with pictures of Agaves in various states of growth. The information appears to be simple but until you put it to use I couldn’t really say. I would have liked to have a reason to grow Agaves instead of they look neat. I wish the author would have sold the idea better but then if you weren’t already interested you probably wouldn’t be picking up his book. I like gardening books but I have limited experience and even less space. I would have loved to find out how to eat an Agave plant or to learn which were edible and how to harvest them.
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