I don't quite know how to rate this one, because it's so different from the first two volumes. I'm pretty sure this book marks the occasion of LumberjI don't quite know how to rate this one, because it's so different from the first two volumes. I'm pretty sure this book marks the occasion of Lumberjanes being made from a limited run series to an ongoing, so changes have been made accordingly, and I'm not quite sure how I feel about all of them yet.
The most notable thing of course is that the series has a new artist. Actually, two of them (plus several guest artists in the first issue collected here, which features all the girls telling ghost stories that are then drawn in various styles). This means a new color palette, and new ways of drawing the characters. It's a little bit toned down, less bright and frenetic, less crowded.
Actually, that describes the book as a whole. And you know what, I miss the freneticism, the almost schizophrenic action and quick cuts, and so much random plot happenings shoved into four small issues. It was more cartoony, but it also felt more quick and fun.
This new approach is probably smart, though, if the series is shooting for longevity. Spending more time on individual stories, calming the tone down so that you can get to know each girl more, and each weird storyline gets its due.
And its central weirdness is still present, even if it's calmed down a bit. A woman who can turn into a bear is still a central plot point. Mal and Molly get sucked into an alternate world full of dinosaurs. Meanwhile, April, Jo and Ripley spend a full day trying, and failing, to be normal. It feels a bit like treading water, but it's also pretty amusing.
In all, it feels like Lumberjanes had to rethink its identity a little bit, and is still finding its feet. I'm confident it will, though. Volume 4 comes out in just a couple of months, and I'm so there.
If you loved Lumberjanes, Vol. 1, you will also love Lumberjanes, Vol. 2: Friendship to the Max, because it's the same thing, except MORE. More friendIf you loved Lumberjanes, Vol. 1, you will also love Lumberjanes, Vol. 2: Friendship to the Max, because it's the same thing, except MORE. More friendship, more monsters, more weird mysteries surrounding their camp, more little girls riding velociraptors.
This volume centers around three main events: a friendship bracelet making session none of the campers are that interested in, but their beleaguered counselor Jen (who is so earnest it's painful) wants them to learn instead of going to the Raccoon Rodeo (whatever that is), and then they are attacked by raptors and save the day with friendship in the most literal way possible:
Plus, in this one, Jen comes into her own. Last time she was the one the girls were constantly ducking, and her inability to keep track of the girls and control the weird happenings of the camp were causing her to become somewhat upset. This time, she decides to embrace the weirdness, and her discomfort while also being hilarious, is very very endearing.
In this volume, we also get an epic game of Capture the Flag, in which it's revealed that one of their fellow campers is a magical being in disguise, an organized Lumberjane jewel heist to filch something from camp director Rosie's office (and don't think we're not all suspicious about just how much Rosie knows about all this weird stuff going on!), some truly adorable friendship moments between April and Jo, Ripley and everybody, and Mal and Molly (<3), as well as this:
This series is so silly and wonderful and full of joy. I love it....more
Endings are so tough. A bad ending can deflate the whole experience of a narrative. A good ending ties everythingWhat a great ending to this series.
Endings are so tough. A bad ending can deflate the whole experience of a narrative. A good ending ties everything together, and nothing can beat that feeling of satisfaction you get as all the threads are tied up, secrets revealed, and connections made.
Also, though, this was brutal. I'm not saying I haven't read books that aren't more of a bloodbath than this one is, because I have, but the body count is large, and people you love will die. Horribly.
I cried, like, four times while reading this. (I didn't get to the sobbing stage, but there was actual fluid leaking out of my tear ducts. Emooootions.)
Even the artwork, which I didn't love at the beginning, grew on me. Actually, I'm pretty sure it evolved over the course of the run, because by the end I'm 99% positive that Tyler's facial features migrated from the center of his head out towards the rest of it, so that he no longer resembled a beachball with a face drawn on. And some of it was breathtaking (and brutal).
Highly recommend this series if you like fantasy, dark fantasy, or horror. (I would also recommend reading the whole thing all in one go, if possible. This is a series that rewards attention to detail, and because I read two at a time, sometimes months apart, occasionally I had to strain to remember things, and I know I missed some things I probably shouldn't have.)
And now, I can finally listen to that full cast audio production they released on Audible last year. WOOOO.
This is the one where you get all of the answers. And they are good answers! There's nothing so satisfying as a series that poses lots of interestingThis is the one where you get all of the answers. And they are good answers! There's nothing so satisfying as a series that poses lots of interesting mysteries, then gives you compelling origins and solutions for all of them. Also, when some of those answers manage to surprise you, and re-contextualize what you thought about the story previously.
Clockworks opens with a strange flashback to the Revolutionary War, and we learn at last the origin story of the Keys. And so too do Kinsey and Tyler, as they discover the Timeshift Key, which allows them to visit and observe events in the past. This turns out to be how all of the past Keepers of the Keys have learned most of the secrets of the Keys and Keyhouse. So while Dodge hiding in Bode's body is finally in possession of the Omega Key, Kinsey and Tyler not only learn where the Keys come from and how they work, but also go back to see what happened that year that everything went wrong for their father and his friends.
Up until this issue, I thought Dodge was an okay villain. He's so so evil and creepy that it's hard to emotionally connect to him, even as it's easy to connect to his victims. But we learn in this issue that (view spoiler)[Dodge was once a genuinely great person. I'd been thinking this whole time that he was some sort of ageless spirit that had infiltrated Rendell's group of friends in 1988 for the same reason he infiltrated Tyler's group in the present day: to find the Omega Key. But no. Dodge was a real kid. A good kid. And this issue is mostly the story of how he lost that goodness and became the villain of the piece. And it's heartbreaking. (hide spoiler)]
So now the stage is set for the final act. Presumably the Lockes will find a way to defeat Dodge, and hopefully save Bode. If that last thing doesn't happen, I will riot. ["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>...more
Read back to back to back with the other two books, Kings Rising is a great series ender, and as one long narrative, this series is soo"Hello, lover."
Read back to back to back with the other two books, Kings Rising is a great series ender, and as one long narrative, this series is sooo close to being a five star read. All three books together create a massively compelling read. This is not a perfect book—there are actually some pretty big flaws up in here—but at least in terms of the emotional satisfaction possible to get from the story, I think Pacat really nails it here.
This trilogy consumed my life for the three to four day period I read it in. I know that time frame would have been shorter if I hadn't foolishly tried to wait a couple of weeks before starting this book in order to prolong my enjoyment of the story (I only made it a day before caving). I'm glad I ended up giving in and doing all three in a row. It really enhanced the experience of the story, and I know I got even more sucked up into it than if I'd read them further apart.
Spoilers for the first two books to follow, please don't read this review unless you want to get spoiled all to hell.
This is the endgame: Damen's true identity as Damianos of Akielos has been revealed to everybody, and now that he's no longer a slave, it's up to him to decide how and when he's going to take back his throne, and how much his plans will involve Laurent. (Spoiler alert: a lot. A lot a lot.) Not even the revelation that Laurent has known his true identity since the moment they first met will stop Damen from helping Laurent defeat his uncle, and in turn, take back his own throne. Damen holds one of Laurent's forts with the help of a northern ally that is still loyal to him, and brings troops and resources to bear. He and Laurent make an alliance that both Veretians and Akielons balk at at first, and it takes a lot of work and finesse to make their alliance not only successful, but plausible. Neither side of this tentative alliance is happy at first, and that includes their two kings.
Now that the two men may finally meet as equals, the plot descends into this elaborate dance of politics mixed up with feelings, especially for Laurent, who struggles to allow himself to be vulnerable with Damen, and to maintain his composure and strength in the face of his uncle (it's also finally revealed that, as many had guessed after the previous two books, after the death of his brother, Laurent was sexually abused by his uncle, which is also why he had such an affinity for poor Nicaise in the first book). Some of the resolutions do feel a bit sudden, but only a bit. As other reviewers have pointed out, the plot the retake the throne, Laurent's emotional issues, even Damen's hatred of slavery, are all resolved very quickly and neatly, if in a very exciting and dramatic fashion. Ultimately, though, it didn't matter for me. (I still wish book one had made it more clear where Damen, and thus the author, stood on the subject of slavery and rape, instead of waiting until almost the end of the story.)
I think it's to the book's credit that I was just as compelled when the book was talking about things like leadership and earning loyalty as when Damen and Laurent were smooching.
Ultimately, I know I'll be revisiting this series as a comfort read down the road the same way that I revisit all of my favorite love stories (and fantasy stories), and that's really the best compliment I can give it.
Okay, first let's have a talk: Anyone who calls this series erotica is fooling themselves, or trying to fool someone else. This is some straight up faOkay, first let's have a talk: Anyone who calls this series erotica is fooling themselves, or trying to fool someone else. This is some straight up fantasy adventure war spy tactics shit right here. That just happens to involve a m/m romance. So is that the erotica part because I'm confused. Is featuring a m/m romance taboo, so that's why it's "erotica"? The sole purpose of erotica is to titillate. It does nothing else. This is not that. At all. The ratio of sex to plot is entirely average in Prince's Gambit (for a romance novel, which are yes, more explicit than general fiction, but not the same thing as erotica). It's chock full of character development, though. And battles. And maneuverings and plot twists. And romance. Hiiiiii to the romance.
And I read the crap out of it.
This first book in this series was a really compelling read for me, but I wasn't sure I actually liked it until I was about a third of the way through the second book. What I found in Prince's Gambit was what I was expecting when I started the first one: two enemies gradually getting to know each other (and falling in love, against both of their wills, amid lots of exciting complications). It also has lots of stuff I wasn't expecting, like a compelling political plot, lots of exciting twists and reversals, and some ridiculously good character work. And thankfully, it has bits that are directly designed to counteract a lot of what happened in the first book, with all of the obscene and sexually permissive (and rapey) atmosphere of the Veretian court, which I myself didn't mind reading about as long as it was clear the author wasn't trying to make it sexy.
But yes, even though all the stuff surrounding it is fantastic also, the main event here is the burgeoning relationship between Prince Laurent of Vere and his slave Damen, who is really his sworn enemy Prince Damianos of Akielos, as they prepare an unlikely group of soldiers for a conflict that is sure to come now that Laurent's uncle has made his intentions towards Laurent clear. Damianos finds himself helping his rival to secure his throne, to take his place as the leader of his people.
The first time through, it's fun to watch the two of them actually get to know one another and re-evaluate their previously held opinions and judgments, and a lot of the book is designed it seems solely to re-contextualize stuff they did in book one, or to shed light on their motivations. The more Damen and Laurent get to know one another, the more they begin to respect (and love) each other, despite their differences, and their history with one another.
And here is where I need to spoil the heck out of the plot in order to talk about this book and its place in the series as a whole, including the revelation that totally changes everything, so if you haven't read book three yet, NO CLICKY.
(view spoiler)[Prince's Gambit ends with the intimation that not only might Laurent know that Damen is actually Prince Damianos, but that he's known the whole fucking time. I could probably save this bit to talk about in Kings Rising when Damen learns about it, but I want to talk about it here because of what it means for this book, and for what happened in Captive Prince.
So the first time through this book, you watch these two yahoos falling in love, and you think it's just swell because Laurent is coming to respect Damen despite their differences, which is a reversal from book one where Laurent was openly hostile and violent towards Damen, seemingly for no other reason than that he's Akielon. This makes Laurent seem cold and vicious and calculating to both Damen and the reader. Damen, meanwhile, believes that Laurent only knows him as a warrior, not Damianos. But Laurent knowing the whole time explains so much, and removes a lot of the ick factor of Damen falling in love with the guy who flogged him in book one. Laurent is not cold and vicious and calculating. He is an abuse survivor, in a battle for his life and his throne with his uncle, who was given his most hated enemy as a present, and then forbidden to harm him. He's lonely and damaged, and very very smart.
It explains Laurent's immediate hatred of Damen. It explains the weird encounters Damen has with him and his uncle, that he clearly isn't understanding the subtext to in the moment. It explains that bathroom scene in the first book, which was clearly a pre-text for Laurent to trap Damen into committing an infraction that would allow Laurent to flog him, and thus take his revenge on the man who killed his brother six years before. But Damen doesn't die. And the more he sticks around, including an episode where he saves Laurent's life, the more Laurent realizes that Damen is a good person, whom in another set of circumstances Laurent would have admired and sought friendship with, and so begins to forgive him.
So the fact that they fall in love is even more unlikely than we thought, and more gut-wrenching. The whole time Damen is worried about what will happen when Laurent realizes who he is, but it's needless worry. They have bigger problems. (hide spoiler)]
The more I write about this book, the more I like it. I really, really seriously wish that more people who gave up after the first book would give the series another go. Probably a lot of you still wouldn't like it, but I just know that a lot of you would end up loving it, because this book is night and day from the last one, and not only that, but it and the next book actually change your perception of what happened in that last book.
Bottom line: if it's your particularly flavor, this book is excellent fantasy, and an excellent m/m romance, and while it's certainly not without its flaws (there are some instances of purple prose, for one thing), I enjoyed the hell out of it.
So first, funny story. I'm sure many of you have similar ones, but I'mm'a share anyway. I ordered my copy of this book from Book Depository. I paid $4So first, funny story. I'm sure many of you have similar ones, but I'mm'a share anyway. I ordered my copy of this book from Book Depository. I paid $4.18, for shipping I assumed, since World Book Day books are free. I was fine with this. I waited weeeeeks for my copy to get here, as it was coming from the UK; luckily a friend with a similar problem sent me a copy by mail so I got to read this before my copies arrived. Yes, copies. Plural.
I HAVE SO MANY COPIES OF THIS BOOK. They didn't ship me one book. They shipped me one package of books. There were like, forty books in there at least. (I didn't actually count.)
Luckily, the week I received them, I was set to go to a Rainbow Rowell signing/speaking event in Tempe, so I just brought a crap ton of them (though I still have about fourteen left) and passed them out before she started talking. (Sidenote: If you ever have a chance to see her speak in person, do it. She will say she's nervous and bad at it, but she is just as smart and sincere and funny and compassionate in person as she is in writing.)
Anyway this book. It was too short, Rainbow. Too short! That's really my only complaint. I wanted more of it.
I don't want to say too much because it is so short, and saying much would really spoil the whole thing. Basically all you need to know going in is that Elena loves Star Wars, and decides to wait in line to see The Force Awakens. She wants to be part of the grand tradition. Only, things don't turn out like she expects.
Par for the course for RR's writing, the characters are wonderful, their dialogue is so thick and scrumptious you can snack on it, and even in the short space of this story, she manages to grab your emotions and force you to become involved.
At the signing, she mentioned that she's taking a (well deserved) writing break for now. I believe she's still writing, but nothing is in the pipeline as of yet. That is tortuous to me. But honestly, if this is what she needs to do in order to keep churning out books I will give five stars to, I will support her 1000%.
(She also mentioned that she has an outline for an Eleanor & Park sequel that she developed before the book was even published, but shhh because she doesn't know if she will ever actually write it.)
(Also she will more than likely write another book about Baz and Simon.)...more
I'm sure as fellow book readers you will understand what I mean when I say that sometimes books make you do bad things for your health and safety.
I'veI'm sure as fellow book readers you will understand what I mean when I say that sometimes books make you do bad things for your health and safety.
I've had a cold since Monday and sleep is something I should be getting plenty of right now. I headed to bed on time for once last night, and settled in about 10:15 PM with my copy of this e-book, figuring I'd read for five minutes or so and then turn in. There aren't many books these days, even my favorites, that can overcome my love of sleep. But for whatever reason, I just keep reading last night. And reading. Once I hit 11:45 PM I knew I needed to put the fool thing down and go to bed, but I just. Couldn't. Stop. It was 1:15 AM by the time I finally forced myself to stop reading, and by that time I'd made it most of the way through the book. And honestly, the only reason I was able to actually put it down was because I'd gotten to the sexytimes finally.
I don't know, I just reallllly liked this? It hit me just right. I loved Anthony, that stubborn a-hole. I loved Kate. Her love for her sister, her feisty nature. I loved them together. Hate to love romances can go very wrong, but when they are right they are SO RIGHT. Right in the swooners. Definitely need to buy my own hard copy of this one.
I enjoyed this book so much I have a hard time believing that books three and four can get any better than this one, but they are apparently everyone's favorite in the series. To that, I say: BRING IT ON, JULIA QUINN. But I will fuck your shit up if you make me lose anymore sleep.
I realize this review is mostly about me and not the book, but tough shit. I got four and a half hours of sleep last night.
One more thing, though. For some reason I headcast Hayley Atwell as Kate, but for the life of me I couldn't figure out who I'd cast as Anthony. The closest I could get was Henry Cavill, but he's really not feisty or mischievous enough. Heellllp. It's driving me crazy.
This light but still quietly devastating little travelogue might be the best thing Lucy Knisley has ever written. (Drawn? Created? Mixed media confuse
This light but still quietly devastating little travelogue might be the best thing Lucy Knisley has ever written. (Drawn? Created? Mixed media confuses word choice.)
Her first two travelogues (French Milk and An Age of License) were explorations of her own maturation as she saw different parts of the world, but this one is on a whole other level. Her grandparents Allen and Phyllis are 93 and 90 years old respectively, and have signed up to go on a Caribbean cruise with a group from their assisted living facility. They weren't big travelers when they were young and mobile, so this decision perplexes their family. Not to mention both of them aren't capable of handling daily living by themselves, let alone a stressful trip in strange surroundings. None of their children can make it on the cruise, so Lucy volunteers to accompany them as their caregiver on their week long vacation.
What follows is an account of Lucy's frustrations, fears, anger and sadness as she's confronted head on with just how in decline her grandparents (whom she calls her grands) are. Her grandfather is still mostly there mentally, but is severely physically limited, and her grandmother has dementia. Both retired schoolteachers, they have been married for sixty-seven years. Lucy channels her frustrations and loneliness at caring for them in a setting where you're meant to be with family or partners. Her grandmother in particular is challenging because she was extremely stern and emotionally reserved even when she was healthy, and now her fading memory means she experiences setbacks all the time that are just aggravated by being in a place she isn't familiar with.
Amidst all this new scenery as she cares for them, she takes the opportunity to reflect on her relationship with her own parents, what her father's relationship with his parents must have been like (the grands in this book), and her own mortality. Sandwiched in between all of that, she ends every chapter (which each cover a day in the trip) with an illustrated excerpt of her grandfather's WWII memoir. The contrast between the stories he tells of his time in the Air Force as a young man really put into new perspective his current day life.
As for the art itself, it's her best yet. The deceivingly simple style that she favors is perfect for capturing the devastation (and the beauty and humor and joy) of all the smaller moments in life. Her use of line and color is just perfect. It is quite simply a beautiful book in every way you can think of, and I'm so glad I read it....more
3.5 stars, really. I liked the art a lot, and the writing was pretty good as well. Poe's mother Shara Bey is the main character of this one, although3.5 stars, really. I liked the art a lot, and the writing was pretty good as well. Poe's mother Shara Bey is the main character of this one, although his father Kes Dameron makes appearances, too. It takes place in the month after the destruction of the second Death Star, as Shara goes on missions with all of the Big Three, and as the characters in this comic all keep saying, the Empire doesn't seem to have realized they lost. The first issue and Bey's mission with Han was just meh, but I really liked the Leia and Luke issues, mostly because both Leia and Luke got to kick serious ass. I actually really liked returning to Naboo, as well, but it bothered me that nobody brought up that Leia is the daughter of their former queen. Did she not know at this point? Luke was just a badass throughout his entire appearance.
The final issue included in here was actually the first issue of Mark Waid's Princess Leia series. It was okay. I'm not sure if I'll be picking up the rest....more
Brandon Sanderson is ridiculous. He's all, here's a surprise novella, and no big deal, the entire thing is made up of such game-changing ridiculous noBrandon Sanderson is ridiculous. He's all, here's a surprise novella, and no big deal, the entire thing is made up of such game-changing ridiculous nonsense, you won't even think it's real as you're reading it! You know, just been writing it since 2004 and stuff. It only gives you the most information on the Cosmere that has been released yet. It only changes a shit ton of stuff we assumed about the original trilogy and the Wax and Wayne books. NBD.
Make no mistake here. You should absolutely not read this book unless you have read all the Mistborn books. He just reveals a whole bunch of shit up in here that he's been keeping an unbelievably tight lid on for years, and it will ruin the intended flow of the story if you read it before you finish Bands of Mourning.
I don't think this book will appeal to everyone, even those who've read all the Mistborn books. First of all, it's way more piecemeal than anything else Sanderson has written, which he's aware of, per the author's notes at the end. So it's not quite a novel both in terms of length (it's not really a novella, too long, but not contemporary novel-length, either) and in terms of content. This story absolutely cannot stand on its own in any way--it's a companion piece. Characters, events, ideas, are all dependent on you knowing and remembering details from his past books (including non-Mistborn Cosmere books like Elantris and his short Cosmere novellas like "Shadows For Silence in the Forests of Hell").
With that said, how cool is this shit? I thought we would have to wait a lot longer to see Sanderson dive into the Cosmere of it all, but he's actually starting to weave all the connections more and more into his books.
No spoilers here, but, certain people will be VERY pleased with what transpires at the very end of Bands of Mourning, and continued in this novella. Like I said: game-changer.
I was very disappointed in this book. It was the book chosen for the CBR book club, so I'm not going to write as full of a review as I normally wouldI was very disappointed in this book. It was the book chosen for the CBR book club, so I'm not going to write as full of a review as I normally would because I want to save my thoughts for our discussion next month. I'd also like to note that I’m definitely reconsidering reading Dev’s first book, which I’d put on my TBR previously after it was featured on NPR’s romance reading list. I still might read it, though, as it was actually the second book she wrote, this one being her first, just published later. That one also seems to be more highly rated.
There were so many things that didn’t work for me in this book I’m almost too overwhelmed to write about them all. So let’s do a list!
•So. Much. Drama. Seriously. I don’t know if this is a legacy of being part of Bollywood, but everything that could possibly be thrown into this story was thrown into this story. Murder, mental illness, rape, sleazy entertainment industry behavior, lost loves, overly cute family members, and so so so much anger.
•Almost every scene in this book was so overwritten. I almost sprained my eyeballs while reading I was rolling them so much.
•The conflict could have been entirely avoided if the main characters would have just talked to each other, which as we all know, is the very best romance trope in existence and everybody loves it and it’s not frustrating to read about at all :\
•The POV didn’t work for me. Ria was too much in her own head, and Dev’s prose was way too focused on what Ria was doing and feeling at all times. It was awkward and too much, and I didn’t like it. A lot of unnecessary details there.
•I was frustrated by the book mostly because every now and then I would see glimmers of a story I could have loved, like the author was just letting herself write and not being so self-conscious about it, and then she would immediately do something to lose me again. I hate being yo-yoed by books.
•Vikram was a frothing ragemonster with an enormous temper at the beginning of the book, and then all of a sudden he turned on a dime and was a complete sensible angel.
•The mental health issues the book brought up I thought were entirely obscured by the dramatics of the plot. It felt like what happened to Ria’s family was only there to make Ria seem like a tragic figure.
•The parts focusing on the specifics of Indian culture were really fascinating, and I wish Dev had focused more on that than all the dramatic histrionics.
On a related sidenote, I’ve never seen a Bollywood film, but would be interested to dive in. Does anyone have a few good recommended starting points for me?
[2.5 stars because the end was better than the beginning]...more
"Belief and faith are great, but very few people have been led astray by thinking for themselves."
I finished this book at one AM on a work night, when"Belief and faith are great, but very few people have been led astray by thinking for themselves."
I finished this book at one AM on a work night, when I had to be up at 6 AM the next morning. I did this even though I knew I would feel like shit the next morning, because I just couldn't help myself. I was thinking, boy, I should go to bed! I'm going to regret this tomorrow (and probably the days after)! And then I just kept reading. That is the power of this book. In the morning, my eyes were so dry I thought they were going to go all sleep monster on me:
I actually went into this book expecting to have a good time reading it, but not expecting to be very impressed. I will admit I have a snobby bias against books that are ghostwritten, especially ones "written" by celebrities. I just assume they're all money grabs. But once I got into this book, it took hold of me. Leah Remini is a pistol. She's brash and loudmouthed and admits that many people find her incredibly annoying. Right on the very first page, she admits to having done some terrible things. She says her family and her husband have done terrible things. But then you realize why she's telling you all this, and it's because she knows the Church of Scientology would have used all that information against in an effort to discredit her once the book came out. So she did it for them. It's a powerful way to start out her story.
And her story ended up being fascinating. I know there are other published memoirs of people who grew up in the church, but I've never read one before. My knowledge has mostly come from books like Going Clear (and its subsequent HBO film), which focuses on the history of L. Ron Hubbard and his church, and the more organizational aspects of it. Reading it from the perspective of one of its parishioners (this is what Leah calls them, so I will too, even though I would prefer to call them cult members) was fascinating. She walks you through the whole thing, her way of thinking, how and why the religion meant so much to her, what her life was like because of it. And all the while you're horrified by what Scientology does to her and those around her, you also understand how she could remain so dedicated and loyal for so long. That's how cults work--they are designed to hook people and keep them.
Leah Remini's book is a fascinating artifact of a person who survived a cult. You can see the way her thinking is shaped by her experiences, and you can see how she resists. Her story is a good one for this type of book because she saw and experienced so many different aspects of the religion, as an early (and failed) member of the SeaOrg, as a standard parishioner, and after she'd worked her way up in Hollywood, as one of the church's celebrity VIPs, for a while in the inner circle with Tom Cruise. And you can see that it's only after she's completely out of the church that the full scope of what Scientology has done occurs to her. These were actually the most fascinating parts for me, when she talked about the work she's had to do, the therapy, to essentially deprogram her brain. I wish there had been more of it, but then, she's only been out for two years, and still has a long road ahead of her.
If you like Leah as an actress, and if you are interested in Scientology or cults, I would definitely recommend this. Her particular and very unique voice shines through, even though the book is ghostwritten by Rebecca Paley, who acquits herself very well in making her writing presence as invisible as possible....more
I don’t normally read contemporary YA, but I couldn’t resist the siren call of a story about confused and nerdy teenagers who were almost as obsessedI don’t normally read contemporary YA, but I couldn’t resist the siren call of a story about confused and nerdy teenagers who were almost as obsessed with The X-Files as I was when I was a teenager. Going in, I was expecting Lula and Rory’s X-Files obsession to be more of a gimmick and that it wouldn’t be present in more than a cursory way, but I was so wrong. It plays an integral role in both Lula and Rory’s lives, and the book would have been lesser without it.
Lula and Rory are best friends, two self-described outcasts who found each other in the 7th grade and never looked back. Rory is gay and living with an alcoholic mother, and Lula’s parents left her to be raised by her grandparents. They depend on each other emotionally in a very real way. But adolescence tends to shake things up. When Lula learns that Rory has been having an affair with his much older boss and that he didn’t tell her, it sets off a chain reaction of emotions in her head, and she and Rory have a terrible fight. The next morning, Lula has disappeared.
Lula’s disappearance and the fallout from it is the glue that holds the book together, but it’s the little details that make this book such a joy to read. It’s so fitting that Lula and Rory took to The X-Files the way they did*, because Mulder and Scully are outcasts as well, but both kids see something in those characters that they aspire to as well. There’s this great moment when Lula is teasing Rory about being attracted to Mulder/David Duchovny, but he sort of dodges her, and later you find out it’s not sexual attraction that Rory finds so compelling about the character, but a sort of idealized father figure–he imagines himself as the long lost son they had to give up. He’s also really old fashioned, and the depth of Mulder and Scully’s friendship and platonic love for one another strike a chord with him, and with Lula.
*Brothers explains what you need to know about the show if you’ve never seen it, but if you have, it’s really fun to spot all the X-Files references she slips in without acknowledging them. And if you, like me, were really active in the fan community in the late 90s, parts of this book will be like slipping in a time machine.
The whole book is Lula and Rory wrestling with how they perceive themselves, how they think others perceive them, and with finding the reality in between. It’s also a book really concerned with familial relationships. Lula has felt abandoned her whole life by her mother, and it takes her a really long time to begin to come to term with the idea that she’s been so obsessed with what she isn’t and what she doesn’t have, that she’s not appreciated the family she does have, including the new addition of her mother’s new husband Walter.
It’s really hard to sum up this book because it’s such an emotional journey for both characters. If coming of age stories about nerds are your thing I highly recommend checking this out, especially since it doesn’t have that many ratings on Goodreads. More people need to support authors who write this kind of smart, soulful fiction....more
There are only two more volumes after this one, so it's apparently time for Locke & Key to get ready for the endgame. For as fun as the last couplThere are only two more volumes after this one, so it's apparently time for Locke & Key to get ready for the endgame. For as fun as the last couple issues have been (and by "fun" I mean horrifying and interesting and really hard to put down), once everything was introduced in Vol. 1, everything was actually pretty status quo, relatively speaking. New keys, Dodge trying to manipulate the Lockes while hiding in plain sight, bad things happening all over the place . . . but in Keys to the Kingdom, the whole series pivots.
Starting with an issue that imitates fully and so eerily the style of Bill Watterson's Calvin & Hobbes to great effect, to an issue that cleverly skips through an entire month in a very creative way, and one from the POV of Rufus, the boy who speaks entirely in military jargon, all the way to the freaky-deaky conclusion, which very much shakes things up going forward.
Something that has surprised me is what the comic has done with the character of Sam. I guess I assumed he was a throwaway after the first volume, but what they've done with him the last couple has been actually really interesting, and my opinion of him has totally done a 180 (I really, really didn't like him at first, even as a "villain" -- but then, that was before I knew who the real villain was . . . if I even do now, who knows anymore).
Also, I really need Kinsey to get her fear back. I really hope that happens in Vol. 5 or 6....more
This series is so imaginative. And the further in you get, the more stuff it throws at you. I'm actually finding it really difficult to write about itThis series is so imaginative. And the further in you get, the more stuff it throws at you. I'm actually finding it really difficult to write about it because the more detailed it gets, the weirder it gets, and the more impossible it becomes to talk about.
Tyler, Kinsey and Bode have somewhat adjusted to living in Keyhouse, and to using the keys, but their mother is only falling apart harder and faster. The still mysterious Dodge is seeking the Omega Key, the key that will open up the black door. In his search, he uses any and all tools available to him, including flirting with Kinsey, using the keys he has managed to collect, and searching for new ones. That includes the Shadow Key, which allows him to do some pretty terrifying things with shadows.
The shadow parts were great, but my favorite parts were the ones with Kinsey and her new friends. Kinsey is fast becoming my favorite character (although I have a special place for Bode in my heart). I love that she turns away from the charming but empty Dodge (who she knows as her brother's friend Zack) to be friends with Jamal and Scot. (There's a running subplot concerning her fearlessness that is handled incredibly well.)
And while I'm still not the biggest fan of the style of the art, I can't deny how talented Rodriguez is. There were several panels in here that made me gasp with how well they evoke emotion and fit the story. It made me laugh when he used up several full pages with single panels only, because of what was going on at the time ((view spoiler)[: Tyler had used the giant key to become a giant--how could you fit that big of a guy into a tiny little panel? Answer: you can't (hide spoiler)]).
I have NO idea where this series is going, but I am totally along for the ride.["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>...more
I am really digging this series, ya'll. The artwork is still hit or miss for me when it comes to the characters, but the story more than makes up forI am really digging this series, ya'll. The artwork is still hit or miss for me when it comes to the characters, but the story more than makes up for it.
So in Vol. 1 we were introduced to the Locke family, who have just lost their patriarch due to a violent murder, and have moved to their family home, a house that is so stately it actually has a name: Keyhouse. We were also introduced to the idea that something is off at Keyhouse, and only kids can sense it. Bode, Kinsey and the troubled Tyler (who took the death of his father very hard, and had a troubled relationship with him even before he was murdered) are trying to move on from the tragedy and horror of the past year.
Soon Bode, who is the youngest, discovers some of Keyhouse's secrets: a range of magical keys (and locks) that can do things like separate your soul from your body, transport you through space or time, genderswap you, and as we see in this volume, open up your head so people can look inside. Kinsey and Tyler only believe what's going on when they're faced with the undeniable proof of seeing Bode with the top of his head off. It was here that the story embedded its hooks in me permanently. And all the while, we've got the lady from the well, who is now the man from the well after using the gender key, who also turns out to have been a huge part of Tyler's father's past as well. Who is he/she? What's their endgame?
I liked Vol. 1 well enough, but the concept of the Head Key and the way the story uses it was just so scary and clever, I couldn't help but instantly be way into it. All the keys floating around were starting to be a bit confusing, but there's a helpful glossary at the end that clarified things, and now I can't wait to see how many more keys there are and what they can do.
So far for me, this series is striking the perfect balance between being mysterious and scary enough to interest me, and giving just enough answers to satisfy....more