Tuesday, August 05, 2014

Memory Maze (The Hypnotists #2)

Memory Maze (The Hypnotists, #2)Korman, Gordon. Memory Maze (The Hypnotists #2)
August 1st 2014 by Scholastic Press
E ARC from Netgalley.com

Jax and his family have moved 77 miles away from NYC so that they can be safe from Mako. His parents are underemployed and Axel Braintree is living with them in order to keep Jax safe. He can’t play basketball but is doing well at chess, and is able to make one friend, next door neighbor, Felicity. He even gets offered a job by 96-year-old Avery Quackenbush, who wants Jax to hypnotize him so that he can manage to stay alive long enough for treatment to reverse some of his problems. Jax does this well, but finds himself being drawn in to the old man’s memories. Some of these, like being involved in D-Day or rescuing Avery’s brother Oscar, are disturbing. At the same time, Axel is concerned about the disappearance of members of the Sandman organization. He and Jax fall for a trap that flunkies of Mako set up, but manage to escape. In his work with Quackenbush, Jax begins to realize that he also had  a brother, Liam, and worries that Liam might be under Mako’s control. Is the thing to do to hunt Mako down? Jax is on the run from the FBI, too, over the events of the first book, so things should get interesting in book three.
Strengths: This is a good action and adventure book that doesn’t seem too much like fantasy; more magical realism, which is more popular. And, it’s Gordon Korman. Awesome plot lines, intriguing charaters, and funny lines.
Weaknesses: Axel and Jax seem a bit stupid. Sure, they need to be to fall under Mako’s control again, but I thought that they would both be smarter.

17986850 Thompson, Mary G. Evil Fairies Love Hair
August 5th 2014 by Clarion Books
E ARC from Netgalley.com

Ali is determined to raise a flock of 100 fairies so that she can get her wish. She has gotten the flock starters from seedy neighbor Michael, who won't get HIS wish until she has succeeded. She's glanced at the rule book, made the mounds in the back yard, and made sure her hair is up in a bun and coated with hair spray so the fairies don't attack her. These fairies survive on hair, but there are lots of rules about where it can come from. Ali steals some from the floor of a salon, but finds out later that the woman running it is a giant fairy. Some of the children who have raised flocks have gotten their wishes, including one girl who is beautiful and a boy who wished to make his cousin ugly. There is evil afoot, however, because the fairies are tired of existing on hair and want to be full sized. The leaders have come up with a plan to put a spell in place, but they need a certain number of flocks in order to make it work. Ali finds that raising the fairies is very difficult and very dangerous-- breaking the rules results in all manner of bad things, including being turned into a fairy herself! Even her friend Crista, who thinks the plan is nuts, is not immune from the fairies rules. When the fairies get closer and closer to making their plan work, the danger increases for Ali and her friends.
Strengths: This started out with great world building, and I liked that the characters were all struggling with who they wanted to be. Ali, for example, hopes to become smarter since she feels she can't keep up with her older sister. The details of feeding and raising the fairies intrigued me.
Weaknesses: This got bogged down in all of the fairy legalities toward the end. The story would have been more successful for me if the rules were more streamlined and less confusing.

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