Thursday, August 4, 2011

Mr. Monk in Trouble by Lee Goldberg

This is one of a series of books based on the character of Adrian Monk from the TV show "Monk". In this book, Monk and his assistant Natalie travel to a town that was established at the time of the California Gold Rush to solve a murder. While there they discover a 50 year old mystery of stolen gold. Unable to leave something unsolved, Monk decides to locate the missing gold as well as determine who killed the museum security guard. This is an entertaining read and definitely feels like Monk from the TV show. However, he seems even more obsessed with everything around him than the television character which gets a little wearing.

True (Sort of) by Katherine Hannigan

Delly has a hard time staying out of trouble. She has pulled pranks and gotten into fights so often that many people in town have labeled her as "bad" and now she believes it herself. When she gets into trouble again the principal tells her that just one more problem will land her in alternative school. Delly isn't sure how she's going to avoid trouble but seeing her mom cry makes Delly determined to try harder. She finds that one thing that works for her is to watch new girl Ferris Boyd. Ferris doesn't talk and no one is allowed to touch her but she has a way with animals that fascinates Delly. After following Ferris a bit the two girls become friends, making room to include Delly's younger brother when he starts hanging around as well. With Ferris's support Delly is able to stop causing trouble and is feeling good about herself but she knows that Ferris is hiding a dark secret. This book seems light but turns gradually to something more serious as Ferris's secret becomes more clear. The story is touching, full of moments to really savor and enjoy. One of the aspects of the story that has been a favorite for other readers is Delly's tendency to combine two words to make up her own. That was probably my least favorite part of the book because it just seemed intentionally quirky and precious.

Ruby Red by Kerstin Gier

Gwyneth's cousin Charlotte has been trained to be a time traveler her entire life, a gene that Gwyneth is happy she hasn't inherited. But when Charlotte's time arrives it turns out that there has been a mix up and now Gwyneth is the family member who is destined to travel in time and complete the circle of 12. With no training at all Gwyneth begins traveling and is thrust into the society where she is not trusted and is unwanted. She is also forced to travel with Gideon, a boy her own age who seems to dislike her but is too attractive to ignore. Together they are trying to restore the circle of 12 after the original time traveling device was stolen by their ancestors. The only problem is, they have enemies both in the past and the present and can trust no one. This is an exciting book and Gwyneth is a very likeable character. My only complaint is that several things were left unexplained - no doubt to be addressed on the sequels - but I am still pretty confused about some of what happened here. But I really enjoyed the story regardless.

Blood on My Hands by Todd Strasser

Callie is at a party when her friend Dakota tells her to go look for their mutual friend Katherine. Callie does find Katherine but she has been stabbed to death. When Callie picks up the knife to examine it, a group of people arrive and take pictures of Callie with the murder weapon in her hand. Now the prime suspect in Katherine's murder, Callie is on the run trying to prove her innocence while finding the actual killer. Callie's story is told in alternating sections of what she is doing now and what happened to lead up to Katherine's death. Like all books from Todd Strasser, this one moves fast and keeps the reader wondering right up until the very end. I was disappointed by who the killer actually is as well as the reason behind Katherine's meanness towards Callie. But I still enjoyed the book while I was reading despite flaws.