The Pied Piper of Hamelin is "the first in a series of miniature books that focus on original folklore classics" and the latest edition from Lorin Mor...moreThe Pied Piper of Hamelin is "the first in a series of miniature books that focus on original folklore classics" and the latest edition from Lorin Morgan-Richards' A Raven Above Press. The wonderful thing about Morgan-Richards' books is that they are all handmade originals. He creates each book individually, so each is unique in its own way. Quite frankly, as far as I'm concerned, his books are miniature works of art.
Lorin Morgan-Richards art reminds me of a modern day Charles Addams or Edward Gorey. He dabbles in the unusual and strange, yet there's just enough of the familiar in his artwork to keep it grounded. His artwork is perfectly matched to the tone of The Pied Piper of Hamelin, the familiar folklore tale of the strange Piper who comes to Hamelin to rid them of the rats that are infesting their town, and who then takes the children of Hamelin away with his magical, musical pipe after the townsfolk deny paying for his service.
The book itself is rather tiny, measuring at just 4 inches tall and 3 inches wide, which really adds to its charm. I so thoroughly enjoy the books from A Raven Above Press, and I'm looking forward to future editions in the Folklore Mini-Series.(less)
I'm not entirely sure that I would be able to do justice in describing Neil Gaiman's The Ocean at the End of the Lane. The book is equal parts nostalg...moreI'm not entirely sure that I would be able to do justice in describing Neil Gaiman's The Ocean at the End of the Lane. The book is equal parts nostalgia, beauty, terror, and magic. Nostalgia for a simpler time when magic was all entirely too possible for a young child; the book is beautifully written, nothing forced, it just is; Gaiman's writing is capable of creating such terrifying imagery to what can scare a child, something that would not be possible in less deft hands; Gaiman has created a magic all his own for adults, by reminding us that once upon a time, our childhood selves did believe in magic, and somehow he reawakens that sense of wonder in this small volume he has crafted. It's a wonder that such a slim little book is capable of manifesting so many emotions in such a short time. This is Neil Gaiman we're speaking of, so of course it really comes as no surprise to me when I really think about it.
I think I may just leave this review, for what it's worth, at that. I mean, I could go on and on about the book, but I don't want to give anything away. The magic of the book is in letting it speak for itself, telling you its story, and letting you take it all in.
So, if I haven't made it obvious, this is a book worth reading. I know it will be topping my list of books for the year, and I know it's going to be one that I will be revisiting over and over again through the years. This book and I are going to become best friends.
Go and read it. Read it again. You won't be sorry.(less)
The Curiosities started out as a collection of short stories that Maggie Stiefvater, Tessa Gratton, and Brenna Yovanoff were writing on their blog, Th...moreThe Curiosities started out as a collection of short stories that Maggie Stiefvater, Tessa Gratton, and Brenna Yovanoff were writing on their blog, The Merry Sisters of Fate. I don't know that they even intended for these to be printed, but they were there for the public to read, for the three authors to practice and possible write things stories that were not their normal fare. However, what really makes this collection stand out, at least to me, is that each of the three authors were asked to go through and mark up a manuscript, jotting down their notes, thoughts, and critiques on their own and each others' stories. There are notes written to each other, little doodles, inside jokes, and other fun facts strewn throughout the stories. I had almost as much fun reading their notes as I did reading the stories.
Now, I have books by all three authors on my shelves, but I've never gotten around to reading any of them, but when Maggie Stiefvater was doing a signing at my local indie, Schuler Books, they had this for sale, and it seemed like such a clever idea of a book, I decided to pick up a copy. Needless to say, I know want to read at least one book by each of the authors by year's end. I so thoroughly enjoyed working my way through this collection that I would like to see what each author can do with a full length novel.
The stories in the collection are:
The Vampire Box by Gratton A Murder of Gods by Stiefvater The Power of Intent by Yovanoff A History of Love by Stiefvater Girls Raised by Wolves b Yovanoff Date with a Dragon Slayer by Gratton Scheherazade by Yovanoff The Spiral Table by Gratton The Madness of Lancelot by Yovanoff The Wind Takes Our Cries by Stiefvater Auburn by Yovanoff The Deadlier of the Species by Stiefvater Puddles by Gratton The Bone-Tender by Yovanoff Death Ship by Gratton The Last Day of Spring by Stiefvater Cut by Yovanoff Philosopher’s Flight by Stiefvater Ash-Tree Spell to Break to Your Heart by Gratton Rain Maker by Stiefvater Dumb Supper by Gratton Neighbors by Yovanoff Council of Youth by Stiefvater The Summer Ends in Slaughter by Gratton Blue as God by Yovanoff Thomas All by Gratton Heart-Shaped Box by Stiefvater Berserk by Gratton Lazarus Girl by Yovanoff Another Sun by Stiefvater
Nothing against the other two authors, but I think I found myself enjoying Yovanoff's stories the most. There was something about her writing and storytelling that just really clicked with me and I think I'd like to start one of her books sooner rather than later.
Overall, an excellent collection and highly recommended!(less)
Being young doesn't protect you. Horrors come for kids, too.
Never heard of Victor Lavalle before? That's OK, neither had I until I r...more**spoiler alert**
Being young doesn't protect you. Horrors come for kids, too.
Never heard of Victor Lavalle before? That's OK, neither had I until I received a notice from NetGalley saying that this book was available for review. After reading Lucretia, I think this is something that I think I need to fix. Lucretia and the Kroons is a prequel of sorts to Victor Lavalle's The Devil in Silver and if The Devil in Silver is anywhere near as good as Lucretia, I think I'm in for a treat. A creepy treat, but a treat all the same. (Full disclosure here, I had no idea that Lucretia and the Kroons was anything more than a standalone story. I only discovered it was a prequel after I looked up Lavalle after reading the story.)
After Lucretia's (or Loochie's) mom tries to throw her a birthday party (to disastrous results), all she wants is for her friend Sunny to come home from hospital, where she is undergoing cancer treatment. On the big day of Sunny's return, Loochie's brother comes to their apartment and tells Loochie about the Kroons, a family of druggies who lived 2 floors above them in their apartment building. According to her brother, the landlord boarded the Kroons into their apartment to let them fend for themselves, as they had become far too dangerous to deal with, and nobody had seen them in quite some time. Loochie isn't sure if her brother is telling the truth or if he's just trying to scare her, but either way he tells her to be careful, as terrible things can still happen to her even though she is young. When Sunny is kidnapped by none other than the Kroons, Loochie takes it upon herself to rescue her best friend.
What follows is hard to describe. It is equal parts horror, magical realism, and coming of age. Loochie finds herself in a world gone wrong, yet one that is strangely familiar. Loochie eventually finds Sunny and saves her, but at what cost to either girl, or the one Kroon sister that has come to their aid? Based on the description of The Devil in Silver, the events of Lucretia and the Kroons is the explanation as to how Loochie ends up in the situation she finds herself in.
I know this all sounds really vague, but it needs to be. The story is too easy to spoil and really too hard to explain it without sounding crazy. I felt like I was reading a lost Twilight Zone screenplay. I could imagine what the world Loochie finds herself in easily, and could easily picture what this would look like as a television program or even on the big screen. Everything about this story is just like our world, just a little off. I thoroughly enjoyed ever bit of it, even though it is fairly short, and will definitely be checking out The Devil in Silver in the near future.(less)
Laura Kasischke continually impresses me with her writing. From my first experience with her writing, [The Life Before Her Eyes], to this latest volum...moreLaura Kasischke continually impresses me with her writing. From my first experience with her writing, [The Life Before Her Eyes], to this latest volume, her first collection of short fiction, she has continued to grow in her storytelling ability. Truthfully, I don't usually enjoy short fiction. For me, there is never enough time to become invested in the characters or what if happening to them before the story is over and I'm usually left wanting more. Kasischke, however, proves that she is just as capable of writing short fiction as she is novels, and also left me wanting more, but in a completely different fashion. While usually I fell there isn't enough in a short story to make it worth my while, Kasischke's story make me feel like there is almost too much, and that each of these stories could easily be fleshed out into a longer, more involved story, yet they work perfectly as they are.
I took down some brief notes on each story as I was reading them, so I will just copy those here:
Mona - "First story in and I'm reminded why Laura Kasischke is one of my favorite authors. Eerie." Memorial - "Haunting" Melody - "Obsessive love crazy" Our Father - "This has to be an idea for a longer story. There is so much potential here!" Somebody's Mistress, Somebody's Wife - "What the what?! I don't even understand and I love it. This is particularly what I'm enjoying most about these stories: sometimes they make no sense whatsoever, and I'm good with that." Joyride - "A love story. Of sorts." The Foreclosure - "Obsessive craving meets ghost story." Search Continues for Elderly Man - "Death can come visiting in many forms." The Barge - "Probably my least favorite of the collection. Not even sure how to explain anything about the story." You're Going to Die - "The relationship between a parent and child is not always loving." The Flowering Staff - "Family isn't always something that needs to be shared." The Prisoners - "Again, another story that has a lot of potential to become something more." I Hope This is Hell - "Sometimes you just need to get away from your life." The Skill - "Knowing you can take a life and knowing when not to." "If a Stranger Approaches You about Carrying a Foreign Object with You onto the Plane" - "Everyone has heard this phrase at the airport. But what if it really happens to you?"
Kasischke is a skilled artist at taking the mundane, everyday world and skewing it just enough to keep it recognizable but totally foreign. There is a disturbing familiarity to the world in her writing, yet parts are so strange that they almost seem like a dream, and these stories are no exception. There is a common thread of loneliness or despair throughout, but in some ways, I almost think these stories in some ways speak to our times. I don't know, maybe I'm reading too much into it, but even though these stories do seem a little skewed and not entirely grounded in reality, there is still an element of truth to them.
I'm not generally a fan of the celebrity memoir. They often seem more self-serving than anything else, but when a friend of mine left Carrie Fisher's...moreI'm not generally a fan of the celebrity memoir. They often seem more self-serving than anything else, but when a friend of mine left Carrie Fisher's Wishful Drinking at my house one day, I thought I'd at least give it a try. It's a fairly slim volume, and I was able to zip through it in an afternoon, and I'm actually glad that she forgot the book. What Carrie Fisher offers (as a written version of her one woman show of the same name) is a fairly frank, no holds barred look into her life as both the child of a celebrity couple (her parents are Debbie Reynolds and Eddie Fisher) and then as a celebrity herself. She's straight forward about her drug and alcohol problems and talks freely about her mental problems as well. She tells both touching and frankly quite funny stories and writes with an ease that makes the book very readable. Probably my favorite section of the book is the "Hollywood Incest 101" chapter, where she tries to figure out whether her daughter is somehow related to Elizabeth Taylor's grandson, which ends up with her saying they are "related by scandal."
Wishful Drinking is a unique peek into a celebrity's life and the struggles they can have with their fame, and Carrie Fisher handles it all with a writing flare that makes this memoir one not to miss. Recommended!(less)
Rose of Fire is a free ebook prequel to the Carlos Ruiz Zafón's The Cemetery of Forgotten Books series. The story is described as telling the history...more Rose of Fire is a free ebook prequel to the Carlos Ruiz Zafón's The Cemetery of Forgotten Books series. The story is described as telling the history of the Cemetery of Forgotten Books, which intrigued me as this remains on of the main mysteries for me in the first two books of the series, The Shadow of the Wind and The Angel's Game. However, while the story does tell the origins, it doesn't tell the complete history of the Cemetery, so while it answers some questions, it really just leaves as many questions. Part of me would like a more complete history of the Cemetery, but there's still a part of me that doesn't want it explained, that feels that the origins of the Cemetery should remain shrouded in mystery.
The ebook also includes the first four chapters of the final book, The Prisoner of Heaven, so if you are a fan of Zafón and the Cemetery of Forgotten Books series, this would be an excellent read. Of course, the ebook is free, so really, how can you go wrong?(less)
Charles Dickens's A Christmas Carol: The Night That Changed the Life of Eliza Scrooge adapted and illustrated by Rod Espinosa is a rather straightforw...moreCharles Dickens's A Christmas Carol: The Night That Changed the Life of Eliza Scrooge adapted and illustrated by Rod Espinosa is a rather straightforward graphic novel adaptation of Charles Dickens's A Christmas Carol, with the rather obvious change being that Ebenezer Scrooge is now Eliza Scrooge, running a textiles shop instead of a banker/solicitor. Why this change was made, I'm not entirely sure. When I read the premise, that Ebenezer was now going to be portrayed as Eliza, I assumed that there were going to be some significant changes to the story, but there aren't. I guess I think if you're going to make a change that significant, it should have some sort of ramification on how the story is told. I mean, if all you're doing is changing the gender, just stick with the original and Ebenezer. Maybe Espinosa like drawing women more?
That said, the art isn't bad. Espinosa has a nice clean style, reminiscent of an anime/manga look. I actually wouldn't be put off checking out some of his other works, but as far as this volume is concerned, it just didn't seem to be necessary to make such a drastic change.(less)
A "Where's Waldo" for Doctor Who fans, journey across some of the Doctor's various locales and try to find him, Amy, Rory, the TARDIS, and numerous ot...moreA "Where's Waldo" for Doctor Who fans, journey across some of the Doctor's various locales and try to find him, Amy, Rory, the TARDIS, and numerous other items in this book for both kids and adults alike. (less)
Once Upon a Time Machine is a collection of fairy tales that we're all familiar with, set in time periods that are unfamiliar to these stories. Each o...moreOnce Upon a Time Machine is a collection of fairy tales that we're all familiar with, set in time periods that are unfamiliar to these stories. Each of the fairy tales holds true to its origins, but they are retold in a a whole new fashion, with each of the tales taking on a science fiction flare. Told by some of the new, up and coming writers and illustrators in the comics business, these fairy tales are both familiar and fresh at the same time.
I wouldn't recommend reading them all at once. Take your time reading the tales, as rushing through them (like I did, unfortunately, for the first half of the book) seems to take something away from the. It's when I would read one or two and set the book down that I was able to really appreciate the storytelling that went into the retelling of the fairy tales. I'd have to say my favorite of the tales is actually the first story in the collection, Pinocchio. It really keeps the innocence of Pinocchio intact while transporting him to an entirely new time.
Recommended for fans of fairy tale re-imaginings.(less)
Well, no one is more surprised about me liking TALULLA RISING than I am. THE LAST WEREWOLF may top the list of books I've read recently that I thoroug...moreWell, no one is more surprised about me liking TALULLA RISING than I am. THE LAST WEREWOLF may top the list of books I've read recently that I thoroughly disliked, but I had been sent an eBook copy of the follow up, and thought I'd at least read the first couple of chapters to see if it was still as bad, IMO, as the first book. Jump ahead 3 hours later, and I hadn't put it down yet, and then finished it today. It's like TALULLA RISING is written by a completely different man. Different storytelling technique; different pacing; different everything to me.
I think what really did it for me was the fact that Jake was just sitting around, waiting to die in the first book, and in this book, Talulla actually has a purpose in trying to rescue her children. Her life has meaning, whereas by the time Jake meets her in his book and has meaning in his life again, I just didn't care if he lived or died. I'd spent so much time in the first book just slogging through him whining and whining and whining about being old, not caring, blah blah blah, that I didn't care for him. At all. I know I probably should have felt for him and his plight, but I didn't.
The action is fairly non stop in this book. It picks up roughly 9 months after THE LAST WEREWOLF, and Talulla and Cloquet have hidden themselves away in Alaska, waiting for the birth of her child. The vampires discover their hideout and attack, only to have Talulla go into labor, where they subdue her and take her newly born son right from her. However, the vampires escape before they realize there are two children, and Zoe is born shortly after. What follows is a whirlwind adventure across the globe as Talulla tries to rescue her son from the vampires and the Helios project.
I now have to take back what I said about Glen Duncan's writing before. I thoroughly enjoyed this book, and if there is a follow up to this story, I'm sure I'll be picking it up. I know this is quite a reversal of attitude, but that's the amazing thing about books; they can reform your mind and opinions constantly, and that's why I love reading. (less)
This was a cute and clever quick little read. I'd place this somewhere between A Series of Unfortunate Events (which I certainly liked) and The Name o...moreThis was a cute and clever quick little read. I'd place this somewhere between A Series of Unfortunate Events (which I certainly liked) and The Name of this Book is Secret by Pseudonymous Bosch (which I distinctly did not). It's not surprising then that this book fell somewhere in between as far as my enjoying it. One thing that this book has going for it, above and beyond its story is the actual look of the book. Everything in the book is printed in a blue tone, almost giving the book the feeling of blueprints, which is apropos given the Twins' father is an inventor of some renown and the Twins like to pride themselves of coming up with ideas of their own.
When their father is accused of stealing an idea that is used in his latest invention, the Twins find themselves in some very precarious predicaments (hence the Unfortunate Events vibe) and then they go on an adventure to try to prove their father's innocence (where Pseudonymous Bosch vibe comes from). Needless to say, precarious predicaments that the Twins find themselves in are wildly unbelievable and the adventures are fun, but for me at least, the book just lacked a certain something. Of course, there's also the fact that I'm not the target age for this particular book, but I do think my younger self would have loved this book. The adult me can appreciate the work that is put into the overall packaging though, since the book is quite nicely presented. Let your younger ones have a go at this, as I think it will appeal to them immensely.(less)