Wednesday, March 31, 2010

The Pickle King by Rebecca Promitzer

Bea Kludnik lives in Elbow, where it rains 24/7 during the summer. Most people leave Elbow in the summer. The ones who can't afford to hit the road end up growing mold between their toes from the constant rain and mud.

This summer starts out the usual way - with rain. But then Sam shows up and takes Bea and her camera to an old, dilapidated house. Up the front stairs, into the foyer to a hole in the floor. Bea can see water in the hole - and something else. Something floating up toward the hole. It turns a bit and Bea realizes that she's seeing a dead body. A dead body of a man who's missing an eye! She quickly takes a few pictures then she and Sam scram. But Bea leaves with more than just a few snapshots. The ghost of the dead man is following, and he wants Bea, Sam and their friends to avenge his murder.

This was a good mystery with twists and turns, memorable characters, and a plot intricate enough to keep my interest. I recommend it to mystery fans, but be warned that it is a bit on the gross side.

Wednesday, March 10, 2010

Heist Society by Ally Carter

Katarina (Kat) Bishop is descended from a long line of thieves and con artists...and she wants out. So she cons her way into boarding school and tries to lead a normal life. Just a few months later her family sets her up, gets her kicked out and picks her up to give her the bad news: Someone stole five paintings from mobster Arturo Taccone, and Taccone believes that someone was Kat's father. He wants his paintings back within two weeks or he'll do unbelievably horrible things to Kat's father and her entire family. Against the advice of the family patriarch, Kat goes to work, swinging back into the lifestyle she tried so hard to leave. But how will she even find the painting, much less pull off the biggest heist of the century?

I'm familiar with Ally Carter's Gallagher Girls series and I thought this title would be more of the same: an enjoyable light read with romance, humor and wit. While this was definitely an enjoyable read, it was more mature and serious than what I was expecting. Kat is a sympathetic character who reads like a typical teen - though admittedly a teen with more on her plate than most high school girls. There is a hint of romance, an intriguing plot and enough action to keep a reader turning the pages to find out what happens. And then the twist....perfect! I highly recommend this book to teen girls who want more than the typical chicklit book.