Tuesday, April 27, 2010

White Cat (Curse Workers, Book 1): By Holly Black

White Cat (Curse Workers, Book 1)


“Marks forget that whenever something’s to good to be true, that’s because it’s a con.” Cassel comes from a family of “workers” and con men. Workers, are people who have the ability work magic through touch. These “curses” can be anything from making someone forget something, to changing someone’s luck, to killing a person. But Cassel is different from the rest of his family, he doesn’t have a “curse” to work with. So he learns from all of them and uses his wit and cunning to develop a plan that will fool even the best con artists in the world. And his plan will work, at least it best, because Cassel’s life depends on it.


I’ve been a fan of Holly Black’s work since she first cam out with Tithe years ago. But I have to say The Curse Worker’s White Cat is different than anything else I’ve ever read by her.

This is not so say I didn’t like it, in fact I couldn’t put the book down. But fans of Black’s previous books should be warned it is a different experience than both her other series. That said, I liked The Curse Worker’s White Cat best out of all her books. It was engaging, fast paced, and had likable characters.

But what I liked most about the book was that right when you thought you were smarter than the book and had figured out all the twists and turns, something new is thrown your way, changing everything you thought.

These surprises are the best part of the book, and as the book is about con men and magic, it shouldn’t come as a surprise to anyone that Black fashioned these twists to carry the emphasis they did.

That said, this book had other rewarding features to it. Up front and foremost is of course Black’s sensational writing style. She has the ability (and as such uses it) to weave a tale so intricate and engaging you forget you’re not part of the story but instead feel as if you’re right there along for the adventure. The Curse Worker’s White Cat has includes a handful of interesting supporting characters that help build the story.

Yet, while these supporting characters are interesting they are also the only piece of the book I wish Black had flushed out more. Each of the family members had such an interesting story that I wish Black had enough time to describe them in full. Including the ever mentioned, yet vaguely described father. I felt Cassel’s father was mentioned much to often and was unnecessary to the development of either characters or plot lines. All that said, I understand that there wasn’t enough room to include all these details and as such something had to get cut.

I liked The Curse Worker’s White Cat a lot and I would recommend it to anyone who reads either mystery books or young adult.


9 out of 10


PUBLISHER: Margaret K. McElderry (S&S)

PUBLISHED: May 4, 2010

PRICE: $17.99

The Big Bang: By Mickey Spillane and Max Collins

The Big Bang


In midtown Manhattan, Mike Hammer, recovering from a near-fatal mix-up with the Mob, runs into drug dealers assaulting a young hospital messenger. He saves the kid, but the muggers are not so lucky. Hammer considers the rescue a one-off, but someone has different ideas, as indicated by a street-corner knife attack.With himself for a client, Hammer—and his beautiful, deadly partner Velda—take on the narcotics racket in New York just as the streets have dried up and rumors run rampant of a massive heroin shipment due any day. In a New York of flashy discotheques, swanky bachelor pads, and the occasional dark alley, Hammer deals with doctors and drug addicts, hippie chicks and hit men,meeting changing times with his timeless brand of violent vengeance. Originally begun and outlined by Spillane in the mid-sixties, and expertly completed by his longtime collaborator Max Allan Collins, The Big Bang is vintage Mike Hammer on acid . . . literally.


First there was Philip Marlow. Then there was Sam Spade. And finally the toughest and the last of the old time P.I’s, Mike Hammer. Hammer comes from simpler times, back when women were dolls, the police were pigs, and crime was rampant. There weren’t computers or cell phones, no GPS or email, this was back when if a P.I. wanted a case he had to get his hands dirty and do it the old fashioned way, good old fashioned investigating. And this is exactly what Mike Hammer does he does good old fashion P.I. work to get the case solved.

I was genuinely surprised how much I liked the book.

Before I begin on how good this book was I first want to speak a second on its pedigree. It is the long lost manuscript of the infamous and deceased mystery writer Mickey Spillane, the creator of Hammer’s world. With the co-author, Max Collins, being the writer of Road to Perdition and Saving Private Ryan, Oscar winners all. All in all a sensational pedigree.

But even with its pedigree building it up The Big Bang still found room to surprise and entertain me. In fact it’s one of the best mysteries I’ve read in years. It takes a simple easy to spot twist in the plot and goes further, surprising and shocking readers and reviewers alike with the coldness and sharp change that occurred in the story.

Spillane and Collins did great job of continuing the Mike Hammer legacy in this book. It’s 256 pages, short enough for a cool summer read and long enough to get into the book and really enjoy it. Besides it’s length, the book is action packed and filled with all the great aspects mystery readers crave in strong mystery novel.

All in all this is a great book and I would recommend it to anyone looking for a quick entertaining summer read, especially mystery lovers.


9 out of 10


PUBLISHER: Houghton Mifflin Harcourt

PUBLISHED: May 14, 2010

PRICE: $25.00

Thursday, April 15, 2010

The Light (Morpheus Road) By: D.J. MacHale

The Light (Morpheus Road)


Marshall Seaver is being haunted. In the first installment of this chillingly compelling trilogy, sixteen-year-old Marshall discovers that something beyond our world is after him. The eerie clues pile up quickly, and when people start dying, it’s clear whatever this isit’s huge.

Marshall has no idea what’s happening to him, but he’s soon convinced that it has something to do with his best friend Cooper, who’s been missing for over a week. Together with Coop’s sister, Marsh searches for the truth about what happened to his friend, ultimately uncovering something bigger than he could ever have imagined.


What would you do if your greatest creation became your worst nigthmare?

This is the setting of New York Times Bestselling author D.J. MacHale’s new trilogy, Morpheus Road. Morpheus Road takes place in a similar setting to MacHale’s previous Pendragon series but fans of MacHale’s Pendragon series shouldn’t worry this is not a poor copy of his previous series, this is instead a wholly original and sensational new series that will grip and entice readers of all ages.

That said it’s fairly obvious I rate this book as a must read. It was entertaining, exciting, and had a thrilling ending that will leave readers begging for the next installment. But what I most enjoyed was the level of writing MacHale exhibits.

He truly is a master of his trade and it is quite apparent in this novel as his writing makes everything better. His rich and detailed characters became realer, his action sequences became more intense, and his plot twists become ever more intricate.

In fact the only problem I had with the book dealt less with the book and more with a character decision MacHale made for Mashal’s father. It bothered me how Marshal’s father always spoke in text and shorthand language. Yet, while it may bother me, it was not important to the story and as such does not detract noticeably from the story at all.

After all this, I have to say this was a phenomenal book. It’s perfect for its target audience, middle school boys, as it contains countless action scenes, relatable characters, and a mystery that would entice even the most hesitant reader. Because of all of this and more I feel Morpheus Road: The Light is going to be another New York Time’s bestselling series.

If you're interested in this book here is the link to MacHale's website where you can get the book http://djmachalebooks.com/books/morpheus-road/#. Also if you're interested in more than just the book here is the link to BookPeople, a book store in Austin, TX when MacHale will appear May 4th to sign books, http://bookpeople.indiebound.com/event/dj-machale-morpheus-road.


9 out of 10


Publisher: Aladdin

Published: April 20, 2010

Price: $17.99