Oz's mother and older brother try hard to keep the family restaurant in business, so when Oz finds a customer dead in the refrigerator, he is worried.To make matters worse, the murdered man was a reporter who wrote an article about Oz's father, who worked at the Los Alamos lab, sold federal secrets, and then died of a heart attack. Since Oz didn't know any of this, and his brother is arrested for the murder, Oz and his friend Rusty try to follow a few clues to find out both what happened to Oz's father and who murdered the reporter. Will the people they seek help from solve the case... or hurt them?
Strengths: Solid mystery with a few unusual elements-- a New Mexican setting with the Los Alamos lab, cooking (something a lot of my boys are interested in), and intrigue. Liked that the whole book took place over just a few days. Definitely purchasing this one for fall.
Weaknesses: Students won't understand chapter numeration in Roman numerals. A tad generic. The cover and title aren't great, and I didn't quite connect with the main character or the location. Still, I will be interested in what Ms. Leonard writes next. Perhaps something set in London with spies and a mystery would be a bit snappier.
Celeste lives in the very segregated Legend's Run, where she hangs out with her boyfriend, Nick and ponders the division between the Eastside and the Westside/Riverside. She meets the hot new boy, Brandon, when he saves her from being attacked by wolves, and instantly feels a connection with him that she does not feel with Nick. The two tiptoe around their attraction long enough for Celeste to realize that he is somehow involved with the werewolf lore swirling around Legend's Run and that he (not to give too much away, here) is *gasp* a werewolf himself.
Strengths: This is another swoony romance that the girls interested in the paranormal will LOVE. Breathless kisses, sighing longing-- it's all here, wrapped up in the whole werewolves-are-so-hot-they-are-burning-up thing. Very atmospheric, too.
Weaknesses: On a purely personal level, this sort of book irritates me. Celeste's whole existence gets wrapped up in her romance, and we hear the same thing over and over again, sort of like the whole fashion name dropping and "oh, I want to be a vampire" schlock of Vampire Kisses. I'll probably have to order two copies of each of these titles, the way I've had to order at least that many of the former series. Even though I really don't like these, I have to remember the penciled note on the card pocket in one of the titles, written very carefully by a student: "You are lucky to read this book." *Sigh*
Evil Plan for the Day: Complete inventory. That's scanning 11,000 books. Would be easier if the Panther would talk to the computer; apparently I haven't used it all year and crucial software is not installed. Dang. I hate it when it's 5:30 a.m. and I already feel behind. I want to get this done today so that tomorrow I can work on book orders for next year, clean up the back room, and harass students who have not yet turned in books. That will mean calling at least 50 homes!