This book completely took me by surprise and I love it! While the premise is really depressing (the female character is going to die sometime soon fro...moreThis book completely took me by surprise and I love it! While the premise is really depressing (the female character is going to die sometime soon from a brain aneurysm) and there are several other bad things happening, this book is anything but. Throughout the whole story, it managed to put a constant smile on my face. Sometimes it was only a small, shy smile, but more often than not it stretched into a broad grin. Can a book make you feel happy? This one definitely does! I've never experienced feeling so good just by reading a book. While desperately turning the (virtual) pages to find out what's happening next, at the same time I was hoping that by some magical trick there would always be a steady number of pages still ahead of me, making it never end.
While Kumquat may be categorized as a romantic comedy, it thankfully avoids any cheesy clichés. The main characters are no beauty models with homes out of magazines and their lives are anything but perfect. But it is exactly this awkward and slightly nerdy tenor of normalcy that enables the reader to relate to and fall in love with Todd and Amy and enjoy every moment of their being together as much as they do.
Pessimists may criticize that the positive attitude towards even the most unfortunate situation is completely unrealistic, and with all that happens throughout the book this rather should have been a drama. But I admire Todd's ability to cope with each rock (or, to try to fit with the book's theme, banana peel) fate throws in his way and Amy's general calm mood anyway. Of course Todd is upset with every loss he has to endure, but he always manages to get back on track and remember what's truly important: being together with Amy. OK, maybe some romance cliché after all, and you may need a tissue or two now.
I really do hope that Kumquat will get the attention it deserves and hopefully will become 'a major motion picture soon' - and I'd gladly join any fund raiser for the realization of Exit Red.
This book was so much fun! It has just the right balance between scary and funny scenes, and I'm sure young readers will be eager to join Pete on his...moreThis book was so much fun! It has just the right balance between scary and funny scenes, and I'm sure young readers will be eager to join Pete on his adventurous scavenger hunt.
Right from the start, the story creates a nice creepy atmosphere, but it never gets too unsettling, as they are often followed by some funny scene. Fortunately, those are never too childish or stupid, but just right to loosen up the mood a bit before Pete has to face his next task from the list.
Of course I sympathized with Pete right from the start, and I bet every kid will easily identify with him, sharing his doubts and fears, but also his moments of bravery. Of course we anticipate who will win the contest, but it is good to see that Pete does not need any superhero powers, but just has to use his wit and common sense to outsmart Benny. While Benny is the supposed bad guy, he appears more ridiculous than threatening, and if you want to find a moral in this story, he shows that arrogance and cheating are no successful qualities.
It is not easy to rate a book that is targeted at a younger audience, but as far as I can say (both as an adult and not a native speaker), writing, pace and length are appropriate. I would definitely give this one to my son for reading when he gets old enough.
(I received a copy of this book from the author in exchange for an honest review) (less)
**spoiler alert** I did not know what to expect from this book, as the summary does not give away too much, which is a good thing! The story starts li...more**spoiler alert** I did not know what to expect from this book, as the summary does not give away too much, which is a good thing! The story starts like a very disturbing thriller, but soon some supernatural elements are interwoven, adding another dimension. It was hard to witness just how much brutality and cruelty Jessie had to endure, and the author did a great job showing us Jessie's feelings and thoughts during her torment, which added to the uneasiness.
I often wondered why Jessie did not find a way to break out of her miserable life, and how people could act in such extreme ways in the first place, but it really made sense later on when we learn that some greater force had a finger in the pie (a funny expression for what I want to say, but this is what my dictionary told me to write...).
I am not a fan of stories including angels, demons and any kind of "bible-stuff", and those chapters were my least favorite, but fortunately FRIENDS does not make the mistake to raise a moral finger. It merely borrows some subjects to form an original background for the story. I liked both the book's concept of Lucifer and the premise that the bible was made up to steer humanity's believes and fears.
At first I thought the plot became too crowded when yet another storyline was added to the already complex events, which others may have used for a sequel instead of appending directly. But on the other hand, it kept me busy guessing what would come next, and I sure was never bored, as the book does not have any superfluous filler text, which can be a danger with serieses.
While some twists seemed far-fetched and appeared convenient for the continuation of the story, at the end everything falls into place and it all works out nicely. Friends in Dark Corners is an extraordinary original story definitely worth reading.
(I received a copy of this book from the author in exchange for an honest review)