This second volume in the Courtney Crumrin series is superior to its predecessor. It's atmospheric and creepy, and a bit sad underneath it all. CourtnThis second volume in the Courtney Crumrin series is superior to its predecessor. It's atmospheric and creepy, and a bit sad underneath it all. Courtney is not remotely a sweet little girl. She's cranky and isolated from her peers. She has a devious nature. However, she's also decent and kind when she wants to be. She's so well drawn, her personality coming through loud and clear.
At first, I didn't like that the whole book is drawn/inked in black and white. I prefer color, but it suits the story and the mood very well. The drawings are gorgeous and the use of shadow and light (values) is impeccable. As an artist, it's important to be able to convey everything through the strength of one's skill with that particular medium, and Naifeh definitely succeeds. It's interesting that I just completed a unit on Chiaroscuro in my drawing class around the time I read this. This book enhanced my understanding of its usefulness in illustration.
There is a very sad element to this book that affected me even after I finished the book. I'm still grieving about it, actually. Someone innocent is used as a pawn and injustice seems to win out. Courtney resorts to extreme measures to exact justice, and one wonders what stains that will put on her soul. Her magic ability is growing in leaps and bounds, and it's going to be interesting to see where that goes in the next volumes.
I like her uncle. He's a pretty tough character. I wish there was more interaction between Courtney and him in the books.
An interesting world that seems to be growing in an intriguing way. I'll keep reading these....more
This was a quick, involving read, and part of me wanted to rate it higher because of that and the fact that Jess reminds me favorably of Veronica MarsThis was a quick, involving read, and part of me wanted to rate it higher because of that and the fact that Jess reminds me favorably of Veronica Mars, but the mystery was a bit too simplistic and predictable. But overall, I like the idea of a teenage English girl sleuth very much, and I'd recommend it to YA mystery readers.
"Coraline" continues my love affair with Neil Gaiman's books on audio. I love his voice so much. It's soothing but also keeps my mind focused on the s"Coraline" continues my love affair with Neil Gaiman's books on audio. I love his voice so much. It's soothing but also keeps my mind focused on the story. I think that he endows his words with all the emphasis, power and creative energy they should have. He's really great with different voices as well. "Coraline" might be a short book on audio, but it's so rich and fulfilling.
I freely admit I had ghoulish tastes in books when I was a girl. I read every scary or dark fantasy novel in the children's section, and some multiple times (The Gruesome Green Witch I'm looking at you!). I would have loved this book if it had been written when I was a young girl. It's nicely scary and intense, but also suitable for a child (and adults like me). The "Other Mother" seethes with menace, and the use of subtle details (like her button eyes, penchant for eating beetles, and hair that waves as though a breeze is blowing although it isn't.) There are even gruesome touches, such as the fact that some of the inhabitants of the world the "Other Mother" created are barely formed, gelatinous blobs. I agree with another reviewer who said that they admired how brave Coraline was (and she's brave in the real sense, doing something in spite of her fears). She's really an awesome young girl (but also realistic in her flaws).
I think that Gaiman has a sense of childhood that has not faded with his age. He understands the joy and the disappointments of it. Coraline is a young girl surrounded by adults, and that's a tough situation. She seethes with physical and mental energy, and while appropriate in development for her age, she's also mature and capable of taking care of herself to a degree. But like any other child, she yearns for the love and attention of parents who care about her. Luckily, she is able to see through the "Other Mother" and realizes that her parents are exactly what she needs and not a figment of her imagination with a menace beneath the wish fulfillment.
I would have to give this one 4.5 stars because it doesn't quite meet the high standards of The Graveyard Book in comparison. But it really is an outstanding book. The movie is pretty good, if you get a chance to watch it. I saw it first, and I plan to re-watch it and compare it since I watched it years ago and I'm just now reading the book.
If you can get this on audio, I highly recommend it....more
I loved this book. It was delightful, from beginning to end. I was searching for how to classify it, and in the afterward, Ms. Berry mentioned the terI loved this book. It was delightful, from beginning to end. I was searching for how to classify it, and in the afterward, Ms. Berry mentioned the term, British Farce. And that's what this is. I am all for Girl Power, and this book is very much about girl power and the bond between girls/women. Not only is this a sisterhood bonding story, it's also a bit like Oceans Eleven, one of those caper-type stories where you have a disparate group of individuals who are thrown together under a common bond. I'd call these girls the Scandalous Seven. You have Dear Roberta, Dull Martha, Pocked Louise, Dour Elinor, Stout Alice, Disgraceful Mary Jane and their de facto leader, Smooth Kitty. Each girl brings a different characteristic to the book, and I loved each and every one of them. I just wanted to give them all a hug (even Elinor, whose obsession was death was a little bit disturbing at times).
Such a dark subject, a double murder at a quiet ladies school. However, Berry handles it with a deft touch. Instead of spending too much time dwelling on the horror of the girls' predicament, the reader is focused on how these girls react to it and take measures to prevent their sisterhood from ending prematurely. I like the way they work together, and despite the typical occasional squabbles among young women, they look out for each other and validate each other.
I loved the humor. It was mostly subtle, but sometimes laugh out loud. It reminds me very much of British comedy with some British mystery thrown in.
There is a nice dose of romance, because, well they are young women, and romance is often a factor. However, the youngest, Pocked Louise, could give a fig for boys. She's our resident sleuth, and a very smart sleuth she is and she thinks boys are foul. The other ladies, all seem to find guys who prick their fancy. Even Smooth Kitty, who thinks she's got everything all figured out. It thought it was so funny how big a flirt Disgraceful Mary Jane was, and a very unrepentant one at that!
I have been quite stingy with five star ratings lately, but I can't talk myself out of giving one for this book. I am very thankful to Olga Godim for bringing "The Scandalous Sisterhood of Prickwillow Place" to my attention. It was scandalously good!...more
This is a book I would have loved as a girl growing up. I have this feeling I would have eagerly read every book by this author I could have gotten myThis is a book I would have loved as a girl growing up. I have this feeling I would have eagerly read every book by this author I could have gotten my hands on. As an adult, my feelings aren't that different. She understands the magic and awe inherent in fantasy. I'll definitely be reading more by Tamora Pierce.
Well, if you're going to have insomnia, this is one heck of a book to have handy. It took me a long time to finish this book because I had so many iroWell, if you're going to have insomnia, this is one heck of a book to have handy. It took me a long time to finish this book because I had so many irons in the fire towards the end of last year. I am so glad that I did pick it up now, because it turned out to be a very rewarding read.
Just a few of Danielle's Late Night Review Observations:
1) James Rollins writes detail-oriented, science heavy action/adventure. It took me a bit to get used to his writing style, but I have to say it really worked for me. Since I am a self-admitted science nerd, I found the scientific aspects quite interesting, and it usually didn't go too far over my head. I loved Coral Novak's character. A tough as nails special forces operative, who is also a serious brainiac. Which leads me to my next point. 2) I think Mr. Rollins really loves and respects women. Painter Crowe and Omaha Dunn are strong, pivotal characters in this novel, but the women really carry the show. This novel is underscored and wrapped in the depths and characterization of women, from the shy, introverted, scholarly, tortured Safia, to her more outgoing adoptive sister, Lady Kara, who is equally tortured, to the seriously twisted villain character (a major spoiler) if you haven't read the book, and then there are the mysterious women of the Ubar descent who trace their origins back to the Queen of Sheba. Although I thought that Lady Kara could have been more fleshed out, I think overall Rollins did a great job of rounding out this book with incredible women. 3)Painter Crowe and Omaha Dunn surprise you, because they are a lot more emotional than I would expect tough guy action heroes to be. Painter actually gets choked up a few times. It was sexy. And I loved the image of him running around in his boxers. (I'm a bit boy crazy, I freely admit) I like a man who can be free with his emotions. Omaha is in the Indiana Jones vein, but with a soft-hearted depth that Jones doesn't quite show with women; he's never fallen out of love with Safia, even with the bad mistakes he made. That's another plus with this novel that Rollins is unafraid to stray from gender conventions, and dare I say, stereotypes. 4)Going back to point 1, (forgive me, it's almost four am, and my brain is muzzy), I like that Rollins does his research to write a story that is about the possible and the plausible. I loved the fact that he built this imaginative science/fantastical adventure on a foundation of real life facts. 5)The action in this book is hot and heavy. When I said it was detailed in the science facts, don't let that scare you away. Mr. Rollins doesn't let his readers down when it comes to things blowing up, characters in serious jeopardy, and yes, violent, gruesome deaths. Nothing gratuitous mind you. If you like all the hardware and high tech action meeting the ancient treasure hunting motif, you'll be a happy camper with this novel.
Wrapping my wobbly thoughts together, I thought this would just be a four star novel because of the fact it took a while to get into the book. However, I have talked myself into a higher rating during this review, actually as I read the incredible imagery in this book at its climax. I was mentally reading with my mouth wide open. A guy who can write with this kind of depth and imagination is a man I want to read more of. I have to give this book 4.5 stars at the minimum.
If anyone could take on the Greek gods by herself, it's Charlotte Mielsweatski. She proved that she was more than capable in The Shadow Thieves, and nIf anyone could take on the Greek gods by herself, it's Charlotte Mielsweatski. She proved that she was more than capable in The Shadow Thieves, and now she's taking on the all-powerful Lord of the Seas, Poseidon. But, you see, he picked the fight. Poseidon is a very vain god, full to the brim with his own self-importance, and he is annoyed that Charlotte and her cousin, Zee (short for Zachary), kicked the pants off his evil descendant Philonecron. So, he decides he's going to make Charlotte pay. Little did he know that this redhead packs a punch.
This was a very enjoyable book. I loved the humor. It had me laughing out loud many times. I think Ms. Ursu does something magical with the Greek myths. If I had kids, and I was trying to get them interested in Greek mythology, this is definitely a book I'd let them read.
It's also a good book to show the beauty of family (and in all its diversity). I loved the message that family doesn't all have to be the same color or same ethnicity or culture. You see, Charlotte's cousin Zee is biracial: his mother is black British and his father is white American. That makes no never mind to Charlotte; he's her beloved cousin and that's all that matters. I liked the way Ms. Ursu subtlely and eloquently addressed what Zee faced as a biracial person. People would ask how he and Charlotte were related. I am sure that is what biracial people face, but it's no big deal. You deal with it, and embrace that families don't necessarily come monochromatic anymore. And kudos to the publisher, for actually showing a boy on the cover who looks biracial (I wish the romance publishers would get a clue and realize that people will buy books if they show a brown-skinned person on the cover!).
There is also a powerful message about being strong and standing up for what is important. Charlotte is still grounded from having been out all night when her and Zee had to save the Underworld from Philonecron's takeover plan. It's rough having to deal with parents that don't get that you have very righteous motives for breaking their rules. Charlotte has a strong personality, and I think she's going to grow up to be a phenomenal woman. Of course, she is afraid of having to take on Poseidon, but she knows it has to be done when she learns Poseidon is going to sic his monster, Ketos, on the cruise ship where her parents and hundreds of others are being entranced by his siren lounge singer. She gets hurt very badly by Poseidon in their smackdown, but she doesn't surrender until her family and Zee are safe. What a girl.
Although this is a book for younger teens and older children, I think any reader who is young at heart and appreciates a good, fun, meaningful story will appreciate The Siren's Song. I know I did. Like I said, I consider this a must-read if you like Greek mythology. I am excited to see Charlotte and Zee take on Zeus, the king of the Greek gods. I know she's up for the challenge.
Z for Zachariah was a very suspenseful book. From the moment I started it, I had a knot in my stomach. For most of my life, I lived with my fear of nuZ for Zachariah was a very suspenseful book. From the moment I started it, I had a knot in my stomach. For most of my life, I lived with my fear of nuclear war and its aftermath. As a child of the 80s, I remember that Sword of Damocles hanging over our heads. Were the Soviets going to push the button, or the Americans? Either way, we'd both lose. I remember everyone in school was watching "The Day After Tomorrow," and I was afraid to watch it, but I heard all the ugly details. I inadvertently watched the other nuclear war movie, "Testament," and I still remember how utterly hopeless and depressing it was. I didn't want to die slowly and painfully from radiation poison, nor did I want to be instantly incinerated in the first blast, or have to survive a nuclear winter. It was a very ugly thought that I've tried to push way to the back of my mind. Well, this book brought it all back for me. So, I could deeply sympathize with Ann, the protagonist of this story.
And it turns out that her worst threat is not the aftermath of the nuclear war. It's the fact that the only other apparent survivor of the holocaust is dangerously insane. Ann showed a lot of fortitude and intelligence, in my opinion. I didn't really consider her overly naive, considering she grew up in a sheltered world. I think she did an admirable job of keeping herself alive. How on earth could she be prepared to do deal with a crazy man who decided that everything left in the world belonged to him, and was not hesitant about using violence or ugly methods to make sure it remained in his possession? It was a tough road to travel for this young woman. She had a choice to let this man succumb to radiation poisoning, or to nurse him through it, even knowing he was possibly a murderer. She did what she thought was right, although that action contributed to the destruction of her small, safe world. I appreciate the ethical dilemma that the author presents in this story. Do we abandon all the qualities that make humanity worthwhile, because the civilized world as we know it has gone away? Should we embrace violence as the best solution, because it's the most expedient one? These are all very pertinent issues to Ann in this book, and I had to work through them as I read.
I was literally on the edge of my seat, as I saw how things were unfolding. I felt a rage at Mr. Loomis, who came to Ann's valley, availed himself of her generosity and good heart, and decided that he was entitled to all of it, and he could take control of everything. Oh, I definitely understand that battle that Ann faced. People controlling others is a real problem for me. I felt her pain as she decided that she would have to leave everything was familiar and she'd worked hard for, because she refused to be enslaved to another person, not for any reason.
I found Z for Zachariah to be a powerful read. It did resonate with me, and that wasn't always a comfortable feeling. The issues of isolation, fear for the future, defining who one is when the world is no longer the same, and having control of one's life and destiny were very well-handled here. I think Ann could be a metaphor for any young woman who is facing choices in her life that will define her present and future. I would recommend this book to young adults and to adults, because it has a very timely message, and it was good, albeit nerve-racking at times, entertainment. Also, readers who enjoy stories in which the characters have to use their wits and energies (physical and mental) to survive on the land, and in a hostile environment, will enjoy this story. I'm very glad I got the opportunity to read Z for Zachariah....more
I can say with no reservations that this was a fantastic book. Let me be honest and admit that I'm not a big science fiction reader. I'm not sure I wiI can say with no reservations that this was a fantastic book. Let me be honest and admit that I'm not a big science fiction reader. I'm not sure I will ever be a wholesale science fiction fan in every form. But this book, well, it has convinced me that I can enjoy a good 'pure' science fiction book.
While Molly Fyde and the Parsona Rescue is a young adult book, it really doesn't feel like one. What I mean by that is, the writing is such that you never felt things are being dummed down in the false belief that a younger reader cannot handle an intelligent storyline. I would never assume that young adult fiction should be any different, and I'm glad that Mr. Howey did not make that assumption, either. As I read this story, I was impressed with his ability to tell this story in such a manner that words flow smoothly, your interest is engaged, but you are neither lost in streaming lines of technobabble, or pseudointelligent pomposity, or left feeling bored. In some ways, he compared favorably to Mr. Ray Bradbury, who wrote science fantasy back when hardly anything was common knowledge of space. Using his incredible imagination, his focus was always on telling a story, and the words used always contributed to this goal. That's how I felt about Mr. Howey's efforts.
Science fiction is a genre I often shy away from, because I am not very good with technical jargon. I find it hard to visualize highly technological concepts in my head when I read. So I tend to get bored with books that are written with heavy emphasis on these things. I am a very visual person, so that's an integral part of reading for me. When I read a book, it plays like a movie in my head. And the best books, they are like really good movies. Such was the case with this book. It was like a very good, intelligent, but fun science fiction movie with a hefty dose of adventure.
What I really liked about this novel, was that Mr. Howey infused this story with elements of philosophy and an awareness of ethical issues. And there are some very weighty ones in this book. Yet, he managed not to overload the story until it became dull and pretentious. He never resorted to shoveling an agenda down my throat as I read. There were moments that caused me genuine emotional pain, as I experienced the anguish that Molly felt, seeing what she did, and what she inadvertently took part in, and how she struggled with her conscience over decisions that she made, and those that were taken out of her hands by necessity, or through the actions of others. I'm by no means a science fiction connoisseur, but it's my understanding that science fiction is a genre that does probe into the questions of how technology can be for the advancement of humanity, but at the same time, it can cause destruction when used inappropriately. That issue arises in this book with a civilization of beings that are so intelligent, that they have come close to wiping themselves out, and would do the same to the rest of the galaxies they encountered. My brain was able to take this in, and I could really see both sides of the issue. But this was done without me feeling like I was being lectured to, or getting bored. That is the hallmark of good fiction to me, that I read a good story, but it gives me something to think about. I'm grateful that Mr. Howey did so with this story.
Molly is a genuinely likeable heroine. There were no moments in this story where she annoyed me or lost credibility with me. She was very human, and she seemed like a sixteen year old girl on the cusp on womanhood. But she dealt with some situations that were truly harrowing, ones that truly required intense strength of character from her. There were moments where I feared she was put in the role of looking to her male supporting character, Cole, a young man that she attended Naval Flight School with, as the stronger, more capable person, and I was prepared to be disappointed about that, not comfortable about what kind of message that might send to young girls reading this novel. However, further reading revealed that this was not an attempt to undermine the capability of Molly, or show that she could not be independent and in charge of her destiny, but to show that at times even the strong need to lean on, and to follow others. That's real life to this reader.
As for the adventure quotient of this novel, it was very satisfactorily high. Yet, the action was paced so well, that the moments of introspection and character development could be savored equally well. And, as I said earlier, I could easily visualize most of the action sequences. Any question marks about the equipment that I might have had were cleared away either through my imagination, or by further reading.
The worldbuilding in this novel was excellent. I had no problem picturing a future Earth that wasn't overly different, and seeing the other worlds through the narrative. The depiction of the different alien civilizations was distinct, and was done with a respect that didn't pander to bigotry or racial insensitivities. Although the various alien civilizations had their particularities, it was clear that stereotypes were not being established or relied upon. As a person who is sensitive to the depiction of people in a way that isn't stereotypical or racially insensitive, that was very important to me.
The cast of secondary characters managed to become very important to me. Cole became my shelter, a shoulder to lean on, and a boon companion, as I read this story and saw him take this harrowing journey along with Molly. Along the way, they meet friend and foe, and you feel their anguish and fears when the realization is made that not everyone can be trusted. Although this was Molly's story, and you never doubt her importance, Cole is also an intregral part of this novel, and I wouldn't have it any other way.
This book is perfectly suitable for mid-to-older teens, but I would advise readers that there is quite a bit of violence, and some disturbing events do occur. However, Mr. Howey does an excellent job of showing the consequences of violence, and how it affects the participants. And the violent scenes are not done in any way that is offensive or gratuitous.
Molly Fyde and the Parsona Rescue took me on an incredible journey. It kept me in suspense, made me laugh, made me cry, and gave me a sense of wonder at the beauty of the universe. I was in awe that humans might be able to travel through galaxies and meet life on other planets. I felt a sense of excitement reading this story, that has yet to leave me. But it also gave me something to think about. Like Molly, we humans tend to dream big, and life will knock some of the idealism out of us. But that's not the end of the road. It's just another turn that we take. I can't wait to read the next in this series....more
This was a really cool book, one of my sister's First Love From Silhouettes. My favorite, in fact. Although The Personal Touch is a close second.
TheThis was a really cool book, one of my sister's First Love From Silhouettes. My favorite, in fact. Although The Personal Touch is a close second.
The heroine is about 14 years old, and she becomes a wealthy woman, well girl. So she decides to set up her own independent household, and she builds a house in her parent's backyard. I thought that was so cool growing up (the thought of being an independent woman always appealed to me). I liked that the hero was attracted to her even though she was her own person and a tomboy.
If my sister had not remembered the title, I would forever be missing this book from my Favorites shelf on Goodreads....more
There is so much to love about this story. Baroness Lorelei Winters is used to being made fun of and ridiculed by the Ton for her red hair, her tall,There is so much to love about this story. Baroness Lorelei Winters is used to being made fun of and ridiculed by the Ton for her red hair, her tall, abundant body (certainly not fashionably thin), and her outspokenness. Enter Adrian, Viscount Dane, mild-mannered, but upstart American who has just inherited a title. Their eyes meet across the room, and Adrian knows that he's found the woman of his dreams. I loved it. He declares his affections for her in front of all the people who had made fun of her, and proceeds to pursue her until she agrees to marry him. Although Adrian needs to marry, he is 100% sincere in his admiration and attraction to Lorelei. If he's going to marry, it will be this marveous Goddess in his eyes.
This book doesn't have the misunderstandings and the breakups that never fail to frustrate me in otherwise good romance novels. It's about the development of a marriage of two people who are deeply drawn to each other but have lessons to learn. I loved the wedding night scene and all the other love scenes. They aren't explicit at all, but the passion is there in spades, giving them a sensual, and meaningful feel. Just perfect for this story. You see that both Lorelei and Adrian have some adjustments to make in being married. Lorelei is used to being independent and has to learn to integrate a husband into her life. Adrian has to learn how to have a wife who will always be independent and outspoken. And then there's the fact that technically Adrian is on the enemy side of the brewing war between England and America (The War of 1812).
I liked that Adrian's gentle support and adoration of Lorelei allowed her to open up and become more vulnerable in a good way. I liked that Lorelei reciprocates Adrian's feelings, although she doesn't quite understand what he thinks is so wonderful about her. I admired Lorelei's strength and intelligence, and her warm nature that she had despite being treated so badly. I liked that she wasn't ugly in her behavior or prickly towards Adrian because of fears and her feelings of being unwanted and rejected.
Ms. Byron did a great job of not allowing Lorelei's size to be the elephant in the room. It was a part of her that Adrian accepted and appreciated about Lorelei just like everything else. There is one scene where he tries to pick her up and carry her and he throws his back out. It was a great scene because it showed that just because a hero can't pick you up and carry you because you aren't dainty doesn't mean that he can't find you desirable and adore you just as much. I know I've read enough romances to wonder about whether there are cases where a man can't carry the woman because of her weight.
It was a lovely book to read. I loved it so much, I 'pimped' it out three of my online bookfriends who lived overseas. I found copies at the used bookstore and mailed them out to my friends.
I had never heard of Eve Byron before I read this book. After reading it, I bought every book she wrote that I could find. She is a solid author, but this book is definitely my favorite by her. She definitely made a fan of me with this wonderful book....more
**spoiler alert** Incredible and moving, this book made me cry practically the whole way through Celie's story will break your heart. And the reunion**spoiler alert** Incredible and moving, this book made me cry practically the whole way through Celie's story will break your heart. And the reunion with her sister will heal it. I could not put this book down and read it in a day. I can't recommend it highly enough....more
I have mixed feelings about this book. It took me multiple attempts to finish it, but I'm glad I did. Someone compared this to Buffy and Angel as farI have mixed feelings about this book. It took me multiple attempts to finish it, but I'm glad I did. Someone compared this to Buffy and Angel as far as the romance aspects. Do not believe that. This book has some romantic aspects, but it's more of a coming of age story (although Sunshine is an adult when it starts). She's coming into her powers that she never really understood.
The writing is very intricate and quite stream of consciousness. If you made it through The Sound and the Fury, this book shouldn't be a problem. But for genre fiction, I think you have to work too hard to get the enjoyment factor out of it. I'm no literary snob. In fact, I prefer genre fiction. I want to enjoy reading a story and get a message. This one makes it difficult. I am a foodie, so I was salivating at the descriptions of the baked goods that Sunshine makes (she's a talented baker). However, I wanted more of the supernatural aspects and certainly more of the intriguing Constantine. I could have done with about fifty pages more of him.
I think that a reader who enjoys seeing strong women come into their own in a fantasy novel setting would enjoy this, moreso than a fan of vampire romance. There were some geninuely scary moments that gave me a thrill as well. There are also a few gory moments (not too bad, but I feel the need to warn). I'd give Sunshine three stars because it was a good book, but I don't feel the need to reread it. Now if she writes a sequel with more Constantine, sign me up! ...more