Good golly, I almost literally could not put this down and finished it within twenty-four hours of starting. It just might be the best book for childrGood golly, I almost literally could not put this down and finished it within twenty-four hours of starting. It just might be the best book for children that I've read all year....more
Bleh, was this really a 2012 Newbery contender? There is something about this book that got me thinking: if Stephen King was to write a middle grade nBleh, was this really a 2012 Newbery contender? There is something about this book that got me thinking: if Stephen King was to write a middle grade novel, it might look something like this. I say this as someone who finds King both undeniably brilliant and at times unnecessarily wordy. Barnhill creates a truly creepy and sleepy small town Iowa backdrop for her supernatural tale, including a good dose of cornfields, a odd child who may or may not be mute, and an old creaky house that appears to have a personality all it's own. But it takes much too long to drop the suspense and finally get to the point. Much much too long. Even the main character is in the dark as to what his "mostly true story" actually is until the book is nearly done. For a rather good assessment of my thoughts, please see the review of Destinee Sutton here: https://www.goodreads.com/review/show.... Couldn't have said it better myself....more
A dark Alice in Wonderland-inspired story complete with rats, bats, cockroaches, spiders, and Gregor, an unassuming boyRating Clarification: 3.5 stars
A dark Alice in Wonderland-inspired story complete with rats, bats, cockroaches, spiders, and Gregor, an unassuming boy who falls down a vent in the laundry room of his apartment building and ends up on a desperate quest through the fantastical "Underland" of New York City.
I suggested this to a class of seventh grade boys for a whole-class read aloud a while ago without reading it first myself---maybe not the best thing to do, but thankfully they loved it and ended up suggesting it back to me. I didn't like it as much as I expected, but it the story did definitely grow on me as it went on, and I'm looking forward to reading the next in the series. ...more
Eat your heart our "Twilight"!! Rarely do I give five stars to a sequel, especially those that add two additional characters. Isabel Culpeper from booEat your heart our "Twilight"!! Rarely do I give five stars to a sequel, especially those that add two additional characters. Isabel Culpeper from book one, as well as newly christened werewolf Cole join Sam and Grace sharing their point of view via first-person account, an addition which I feared signaled the jumping of the shark. It didn't, and not suprisingly: Maggie Stiefvater is just a poetically gorgeous writer and knows how to weave a beautiful story, so much so that I just could not but the darn book down. I cannot wait to read the third! ...more
Here we have yet another absurd offering from Audrey Niffenegger.
When recently reading her equally odd work, Raven Girl, I came across a reviewer thatHere we have yet another absurd offering from Audrey Niffenegger.
When recently reading her equally odd work, Raven Girl, I came across a reviewer that said that while she first thought Raven was a peculiar turn from the author of the commerically bestselling phenom The Time Traveler's Wife, she quickly realized that in fact, Time Traveler was the odd-man-out when considering Niffenegger's cannon. I agree 100%, and if I came across it again, I shall give that reviewer credit.
My thought process when reading work of Niffenegger's that isn't The Time Traveler's Wife generally follows five steps: 1. Ugh. 2. No. 3. I don't like this. 4. Uncomfortable. 5. Ok, that was totally a piece of art with a unique POV.
I had the same experience reading The Three Incestuous Sisters. Just the title alone had my guard up when I opened the first page, and it is as bizarre as can be expected. But, at the same time----it was pretty brilliant really. With one sentence per page, I thought that it was almost written as story board to a movie and Niffenegger describes it in her afterword as a "silent opera".
With that in mind, she is so spot on. Just make sure you have some time afterwards to fully digest Niffenegger's brand of crazy....more
Since Maggie Stiefvater no doubt was inspired by Stephanie Meyer's "Twilight" saga when writing her first installment of "The Wolves of Mercy Falls" sSince Maggie Stiefvater no doubt was inspired by Stephanie Meyer's "Twilight" saga when writing her first installment of "The Wolves of Mercy Falls" series (Team Jacob, anyone?), please take a moment to read my raving review of where it all started, her obvious muse novel, linked below:
Take your time. I'll wait here. (twiddles thumbs) Did you read it? Finished? Ok good.
Now, believe me when I tell you that Maggie Stiefvater's "Shiver" is better. Dare I say, much better. Mercy Fall's star resident werewolf Sam may be a blatant knockoff of "Twilight"'s Jacob, the romance between Sam and human high-schooler Grace similiar (yet not similiar) to that of Bella Swan and Jacob/Edward (though mostly Jacob), who really cares? Stiefvater is simply a better writer than Meyer, more skilled at evoking imagery/the senses, while both Sam and Grace are stronger and considerably less mopy and brooding characters than their Forks, Washington counterparts. Not to mention, of course, that, well, "Shiver" is just a better story, too. Hands-down.
I suppose what I am trying to say, really, is that if Stiefvater and Meyer were to joust for complete werewolf paranormal romance domination, using only words for swords.......well, it seems that, perhaps, they might have already. ...more
I read 568 pages worth of this 754-paged final Twilight installment, anxious of course to see how it ends after invOh, Stephenie Meyer, why, why, why?
I read 568 pages worth of this 754-paged final Twilight installment, anxious of course to see how it ends after investing energy, love, subway rides, and free time, more or less devouring books 1-3, no sweat. But, I finally admitted to myself that it might be more entertaining and certainly less time consuming to look up on the Internet what's left of the story rather than force myself to read another word, that there are far too many amazing books I'm anxious to read (more than 90 on my "to-read" shelf alone) to be wasting time trying to squeeze any more drops of this lemon.
I recently read a quote by Stephen King and it goes like this: "Both Rowling and Meyer, they're speaking directly to young people. The real difference is that Jo Rowling is a terrific writer and Stephenie Meyer can't write worth a darn. She's not very good." It's a true enough quote, and one with which, despite my addiction to her Twilight series, I have always agreed: Meyer writes in the simplest of terms, overuses phrases, switches point of view when it really isn't justified, and creates characters who aren't even all that likable. It has been her storytelling skills rather than her writing eloquence that have kept me reading, her ability to piece together a page-turning plot absolutely her saving grace, one strong enough to counteract mediocre writing.
Quite unfortunately, this saving grace---which in hindsight has been wavering like a particularly shaky rollercoaster throughout the books---has completely run out in "Breaking Dawn", and a series which has started off somehow believable despite supernatural characters and has, book by book, been building rather steadily to a potentially mind-blowing conclusion, has turned into an absolute mess of nonsense It has very simply taken a nose dive, gone south, jumped the shark, run of out gas, and it is clear to me that Meyer is desperately pulling at air here to fill up enough pages to be published.
And so it after much investment in her books and with a heavy heart that I place the fourth and last of this series on my "tried and failed" shelf. Maybe, just maybe---whether out sheer curiosity or boredom---I will one day find myself picking up this book again, able to approach it with a clear head and a fresh outlook.
Until then: "Breaking Dawn" has been a truly disappointing end---even if I didn't quite make it to the end myself....more
A fun and interesting twist of a fairytale, this book cleverly combines the "bring me the broom of the wicked witch of the west"/"no place like home"A fun and interesting twist of a fairytale, this book cleverly combines the "bring me the broom of the wicked witch of the west"/"no place like home" quality of "The Wizard of Oz", which I adored, the "fairy-world living side-by-side with the mortal world" quality of "Gossamer" which I despised, and the "kidnapped and taken to the world of Neverland" quality of "Peter Pan" which I have yet to read, all set in a cutesy, funky, urban, modern, magical, enchanted New York City. Definitely not a classic-in-the-making, but still, it just may be unique enough to be worth the read....more
So glad Meyer realized that Edward is a key and irreplacable ingredient in her "Twilight" series formula!! She may not be the best, most eloquent of wSo glad Meyer realized that Edward is a key and irreplacable ingredient in her "Twilight" series formula!! She may not be the best, most eloquent of writers, and she gets stuck overusing certain phrases (how many times can a character "purse" his lips, have a smile that doesn't "reach his eyes", or smile his "crooked smile") but she definitely is a GREAT storyteller, as "Eclipse" proves!...more
For the majority, this book had me going through some serious Edward withdrawal, and so invested was I in the plot of the first book that reading "NewFor the majority, this book had me going through some serious Edward withdrawal, and so invested was I in the plot of the first book that reading "New Moon" almost seemed like a whole different story---or at least a 563-paged tangent. Still a good book worth reading, but if this was first instead of "Twilight", I am unsure if I would have continued with the series. Here's hoping that Meyer gets back on track with "Eclipse". ...more
Perhaps I am not being fair: it's simply impossible to expect anything J.K. Rowling writes to in any way hold a candle to the success, stature,and magPerhaps I am not being fair: it's simply impossible to expect anything J.K. Rowling writes to in any way hold a candle to the success, stature,and magnitude of the "Harry Potter" series, even if it is a cute and magical addition to the Potter universe. But, creative and clever as the tales may be, I can not help feeling that Rowling is capable of ever so much more than what she delivers in "Bard"----for the most part surprisingly short, short, stories that are interesting yet lackluster. (The famous "Tale of Three Brothers" which provides the premise for "Deathly Hallows"?? Roughly 2 1/2 pages!The entire book? 102 pages) What saved the book for me was the extensive commentary by my old friend Dumbledore, which made me long for all things Hogwarts and Muggle. ...more
I'm not usually much of a short-story fan but I am a huge Gaiman fan, and am even more so after reading this collection cover to cover. Some were bettI'm not usually much of a short-story fan but I am a huge Gaiman fan, and am even more so after reading this collection cover to cover. Some were better than others, of course, but all were definitely fantastic in their own right and reflective of Gaiman's signature fairytale/magic/spooky brew. My favorite: "The Witch's Headstone" about a little boy growing up in a graveyard among the dead (now part of "The Graveyard Book"!! Yay!!)....more