This is, quite simply, a lovely, lovely book. It is many-layered, well-written, and absolutely engrossing. I'll be watching out for other books by KatThis is, quite simply, a lovely, lovely book. It is many-layered, well-written, and absolutely engrossing. I'll be watching out for other books by Kate Forsyth, for sure!...more
Before I even went to the store to pick up Babayaga I knew I had to read it. There is just something about a book that involves old-world Russian witcBefore I even went to the store to pick up Babayaga I knew I had to read it. There is just something about a book that involves old-world Russian witches and the CIA set against the backdrop of post WWII 1950s France that screams, "This is a book that will be interesting - in a good way!" And it really, really was.
There is a lot going on here - ancient witches and brand new witches (complete with odd and intricate rituals), the history of Europe as seen through the eyes of very long-lived individuals, policemen (good and bad), striking agency characters, and one guy who is just trying to do the right thing and continue to live in Paris. Barlow has a way of presenting all of this in a way that wasn't just plausible, but utterly believable as well.
Toby Barlow on my list now. The good one. The list of authors I'll be certain to check back in with for a good read. ...more
In Spirits That Walk in Shadow, Jaimie is a young woman from a magical family off to college for the first time. There she meets Kim, a regular humanIn Spirits That Walk in Shadow, Jaimie is a young woman from a magical family off to college for the first time. There she meets Kim, a regular human being (aside from her ability to feel things in colors) who has unknowingly been under a magical influence for quite some time. Jaimie and her relatives resolve to help Kim fight her tormentor, all while getting the first week of college underway.
The concept was awesome, but in the end I simply couldn't attach to the characters. The story is related alternately between Jaimie and Kim, which is generally a good plot device. In this case, however, the two girls had such similar inner monologues that at times I forgot which narrator I was reading. Side characters also had similar voices - even the adults - and this didn't help garner any real attachment to the characters either.
In the end, I wish the novel had been longer. Sometimes short books allow for full character development (I've even read novellas that had such instant character development length wasn't an issue), but in this case I felt more time spent differentiating the characters and developing their time together would have made for a more complete experience....more
I've read another retelling of Dracula from Mina's perspective Mina, by Marie Kiraly, and both efforts are well-written. In Essex's tale, Mina becomesI've read another retelling of Dracula from Mina's perspective Mina, by Marie Kiraly, and both efforts are well-written. In Essex's tale, Mina becomes a character that is far, far more than the passive victim in Stoker's original story. I really rooted for her success.
Aside from an old whaler that was a bit of a bit character however, I did not root for a single male character in the book. As far as I could tell, all - supernatural or not - were subject to varying levels of douchiness. But Mina made up for this with her sheer believability and transformation. Kate Reed was also a valuable asset in the book
While the first 3/4 of the book had me absolutely hooked, I didn't like the way the plot rounded out. In the end, that is more about personal preference than any sort of real ding on Essex as a writer, so given time, I'd probably try another one of her novels....more
The cover of this one drew me in, and then I flipped to the "about the author" page and was like, "Hey, it's the dude from Glee!" So I gave it a whirlThe cover of this one drew me in, and then I flipped to the "about the author" page and was like, "Hey, it's the dude from Glee!" So I gave it a whirl...
I'm pretty sure Chris Colfer was around age ten when the miniseries the 10th Kingdom was on. Otherwise, I would have spent this entire review going "tsk tsk," due to the similarities. The reader is whisked along a journey with two individuals from our world (twins, rather than a father and daughter), who enter another realm via a portal (a book, rather than a mirror), wherein they find several fairy tale kingdoms based on corresponding fairy tales (both have a kingdom belonging to Red Riding Hood, Snow White, etc.). At one point, the boy in the story makes a comment about how crazy fairy tale characters are, and it reminded me in particular of this 10th Kingdom scene in which Tony lets out his exasperation on an ill-fated frog. But like I said, Colfer was likely ten when the miniseries was released, so any similarities (and once you get into the nitty-gritty of the plot, there are few) are probably coincidental or one of those I-saw-something-when-I-was-a-child-and-it-has-lingered-in-my-subconsciousness-ever-since scenarios.
Regardless of similarity, Colfer has created several unique, approachable and winning characters for the adolescent set. I sympathized with the twins and their predicament. I was genuinely curious to see what would happen to the different side characters. There were parts that were poignant, parts that were suspenseful, and parts that simply made me smile. Goldilocks kicked ass. I am now able to write a review in which I use the phrase "Goldilocks kicked ass," for which I am eternally grateful. I look forward to Colfer's next installment, and I have already lent my copy of the book to another person. If you have adolescent children, or you enjoy relaxing with an adolescent book now and then, try this one out. ...more
A lot of shelves for this one...because there are a lot of different types of stories here. Some really worked with the "love and death" star-crossedA lot of shelves for this one...because there are a lot of different types of stories here. Some really worked with the "love and death" star-crossed theme, and some were sort of stretches. Most of the collection was very good, which is hard to achieve in a collection of short stories created by several authors.
My personal favorites, in no particular order:
Rooftops by Carrie Vaughn (super hero fun) The Thing About Cassandra by Neil Gaiman (a given almost - I can't name a thing he's written that I don't like) Blue Boots by Robin Hobb (a good little fairy tale type of story) Under/Above the Water by Tanith Lee (which makes me want to seek out her novels) After the Blood by Marjorie M. Liu (crazy, disturbing, and very original)
Check it out. With this collection you are bound to find at least one story that you really enjoy, regardless of your personal tastes....more
John Connolly has one of the craziest literary minds out there....several of these stories (The Cancer Cowboy Rides, The Inkpot Monkey, The Inn at ShiJohn Connolly has one of the craziest literary minds out there....several of these stories (The Cancer Cowboy Rides, The Inkpot Monkey, The Inn at Shillingford) disturbed me to no end. However, it is a good batch of thriller-chiller stories, extremely well-suited for reading during gathering storms, curled on a sofa, scaring the wits out of yourself as you drink something warm. Keep this one around and re-read it when you need a good "X-Files" sort of feeling....more