Slippers of Pearl is an interesting twist and original take on the fairy-tale The Princess Who Couldn’t Laugh. I thought the story was very imaginativSlippers of Pearl is an interesting twist and original take on the fairy-tale The Princess Who Couldn’t Laugh. I thought the story was very imaginative and the writing was cute and witty (though there were more comparisons in this book than I think it really needed). I liked that the house the main character, Faryn, lived in was alive in a adorable and charming way. The story felt kind of like The Hobbit because Faryn goes on different adventures involving magic shoes, runaway pigs, and trying getting a girl to laugh to lift a curse. My only complaint about this book was that unlike Bilob who is on all these adventures to get somewhere, there was no overall story line connecting all the side quests in Slippers of Pearl. Still, the author put a lot of detail in the story that made it very rich and entertaining to me.
Overall, it’s a good coming of age story with a lot of funny moments and a good message. It was pretty entertaining for me as an adult, but I think kids would really dig this story.
A Tale Dark & Grimm stays true to the spirit of the original Grimm fairy tales which wereThis book is also reviewed on my blog Books: A true story
A Tale Dark & Grimm stays true to the spirit of the original Grimm fairy tales which were stark, disturbing, and usually tragic with characters who acted like idiots. A Tale Dark & Grimm retells and weaves together fairy tales but adds humor to balance out the violence. The humor comes in a wonderfully written voice from the narrator that acts like the best audio commentary you've ever heard about these fairy tales. The narrator even suggests that maybe little kids should stop reading because there are some gross scenes coming up. I'm pretty sure that would make any kid on the planet keep reading. If you've ever wanted to read a fairy tale with snarky commentary then you need to read this book.
A Tale Dark & Grimm doesn't glamorize violence though. There are definitely morals and cautionary tales that add depth to these tales. It reminded me of The Tales of Beedle the Bard where Dumbledore talks about how fairy tales are too watered down now and they fail to teach kids anymore by covering up anything bad or scary. Learning about the evils of life is best done in a story where kids can learn from the mistakes of others and realize that there is true evil out there. I loved this quote about how even when we don't deserve it sometimes bad things happen to us and there can be some good in that.
For, in life, it is in the darkest zones one finds the brightest beauty and the most luminous wisdom.
- Adam Gidwitz, A Tale Dark and Grimm (Prologue)
Overall, it was a wonderfully written snarky retelling of Grimm fairy tales that doesn't shy away from the scary things in life and what they can teach us.
Content warning: some very mild violence and gore....more
Without it saying so in the summary that Life After Theft was a retelling of The Scarlet PimpThis book is also reviewed on my blog Books: A true story
Without it saying so in the summary that Life After Theft was a retelling of The Scarlet Pimpernel, I would have never known. It was a very loose retelling since instead of saving people's life, the main character Jeff is returning people's stuff. The setting did a great job of being updated and contemporary, but I didn't think this was a great retelling. The stickers with red flowers on them that Jeff put on the stuff he was returning was really the only tie-in to The Scarlet Pimpernel that I could see. It was more like Mean Girls meets the 1990's film Ghost Dad that starred Bill Cosby (yes I watched that show all the time as a kid). I compare it to Mean Girls because these girls in the book were awful to each. Just awful. And the reason when we finally find out didn't really justify to mean the extreme hate these girls had. I can't even remember what it was.
The voice of the main character Jeff was very well written and fun to read. He was snarky and funny. The plot was a little bland and didn't move along that fast, but the characters were interesting enough that it kept me turning the pages. I was also curious about why these girls seemed to hate each other so much and that kept me reading as well even though I didn't really like the reason when I found out.
Overall, it was a quick, fun read with interesting characters but not that great as a retelling. Content warning: swearing, crude language, teen sex (that fades to black), and teen drinking. It was actually quite a lot of content and it bothered me a little....more
Among the Nameless Stars was a prequel novella for one of my favorite novels, For Darkness Shows the Stars. The writing in this novella didn't seem to be the same quality that I loved in the novel. The story was ok but not terribly interesting. I feel like if there's going to be a prequel it should be about something mind-blowing or amazing and the simple plot about the boat race was not enough to keep my attention. I just didn't see the point of this novella. I didn't get any new insights into the story. It fills in details about Kai but I already knew where the plot was going. It might be that it's just been too long since I've read For Darkness Shows the Stars that made it feel like I didn't learn anything new or interesting.
Divide and Conquer, book 2 in the Inifinity Ring series, starts off talking about Paris which was actually where the last game ended and not where booDivide and Conquer, book 2 in the Inifinity Ring series, starts off talking about Paris which was actually where the last game ended and not where book 1 ended. It was a cool way to tie the online games in with the books. You don’t have to play the games to understand the books, but I think they are fun and the maps that go with the games inside the books make it feel like you are a part of the quest.
This particular period in Viking history was a perfect one to appeal to kids. There’s a king named Charles the Fat (seriously – that’s his REAL name!) and an epic battle rivaling Helm’s Deep from Lord of the Rings with the Vikings outnumbering the Parisians 30,000 to 200. It’s funny how real history can be more extreme than fiction (Helm’s Deep was 10,000 to 2,000).
While I was reading, I looked up all this Viking history that I didn’t know before. I learned something new! The main characters “fix” history pretty fast so we get to read about what really happened instead of a fake past like the last book.
The writing was pretty good and I thought it was a lot of fun. I did find it confusing that as the story goes on, they try to fix two breaks instead of just one. The events are related and it was cool to see where history went from that event, but I did feel lost for a little bit.
The game that comes after this is not terribly hard or challenging. There were two mini-games that involved pushing arrows on your computer at the right time. I hate those kind of games. The rest of the game went very fast, but it was pretty fun. There is a forum now so you can complete all the side quests and get all the points if you so desire.
Overall, it was fun historical fiction about Vikings and epic battles that will teach you something you probably didn’t know about history in a way that will really appeal to kids, too.
Blue Sargent had forgotten how many times she'd been told that she would kill her true love.
-Maggie Stiefvater, Raven Boys pg 1
And then I was bored for the next 200 pages. Don't get me wrong - there were a lot of things I liked. I really loved the characters, especially the four Raven Boys. They reminded me of Logan and his friend from Gilmore Girls. They had this spoiled, prep school/bad boy vibe but were somehow likable even though they were kind of condescending sometimes. I thought the mythology of ley lines and the quest for them was very unique and creative in the young adult genre. But I didn't feel like the conflict was strong enough to carry a whole novel. The entire conflict is based on that first sentence and it doesn't get developed much more for the rest of the book.
In addition to the killing-her-true-love thing, there is a mysterious quest that helps pull the story forward but that story line didn't get interesting until about half-way through the book. Part of my lack of interest in the Raven Boys' quest was because I didn't understand the motivation behind it. When I finally found out why they were looking for ley lines, I was excited and totally on board but I wish it had been foreshadowed earlier in the story. In fact, I didn't like the foreshadowing in most of the book. I felt like the author, Maggie Stiefvater, tended to reveal important details after the fact (like with the scene when Adam does something for Ronan). It would have had a much bigger impact on me if I knew why Adam was helping Ronan while it was happening instead of it being explained after the fact.
Once I did get halfway through, the quest got really cool and I loved their modern quest for the paranormal. There was a Beautiful Mind kind of twist that happened that perked up my interest. And kudos to Maggie Stiefvater writing a paranormal novel that did not involve vampires, werewolves, mermaids, fairies etc.
I was a little sad that there wasn't much romance considering that she was supposed to meet her true love then kiss and/or kill him. And the ending was confusing to me. I think it was supposed to be an open ending to draw you into the next book to find out what happened, but I just didn't get it. I'm not sure I even know fully what happened. I'm on the fence about whether I'm going to pick up the next book in the series.
Overall, it was a creative paranormal story with strong and interesting characters, but the conflict was just too weak to keep my interest.
Content Warning: strong language. The f-word shows up about 15-20 times....more
Miss Peregrine's Home for Peculiar Children is like Mary Poppins for creepy children. Or likeThis book is also reviewed on my blog Books: A true story
Miss Peregrine's Home for Peculiar Children is like Mary Poppins for creepy children. Or like an orphanage for superheroes but their powers aren't always useful. They are just peculiar, which I thought was a good name for them.
The beginning starts out very eerie. I jumped a few times at loud noises when I was reading this at night. Why did my husband have to have a cold while I was reading this? GOSH. Every sneeze from him gave me a heart attack. The story kind of amped up how creepy the photos were. I've seen photos with glowing eyes before, but the story somehow made them a little more freaky.
There's a haunted house and other horror elements, but then the story suddenly takes a turn into familiar paranormal territory and it wasn't that scary to me anymore (except for that photo towards the end with staples in it. That one freaks me out). I ended up liking the kids even though they are a little bizarre.
I could tell the author, Ransom Riggs, got a collection of strange vintage photographs and imagined a story that would explain what was happening in all the photographs and somehow weave them all together. It gave the story a slight contrived feeling, but mostly I felt like it was a really creative idea. The plot slowed down a few times, but overall it had a nice leisurely pace to it. I mean, it's a horror story and taking things slow adds to the atmosphere but sometimes it felt like nothing was happening and I wanted to move on.
Overall, it was a good story told in a creative way with vintage photographs that starts out mildly scary but mellows out as it goes along. Content warning: a handful of swear words and some mildly gory scenes....more