I've said it before, and I'll say it again. I love these books!
They are short but don't let that fool you into thinking they are childish. A YA novel...moreI've said it before, and I'll say it again. I love these books!
They are short but don't let that fool you into thinking they are childish. A YA novella would be a better description than a children's chapter book. Enola (alone spelled backwards) continues her journey toward independence while helping others in need. The mystery at hand in the Case of the Gypsy Goodbye was weaker than some of the previous novels, but several large story arcs came to a head which left me feeling very satisfied. Still, there weren't as many colorful characters or bizarre situations as in the previous books and their absence was missed by this reader. But then again, I love the cameos of Sir Arthur Conan Doyle's characters and the book's Victorian English setting is something I could gobble up in a very unlady like fashion.
All in all, Nancy Springer keeps me coming back for more each year, hoping for more from Sherlock Holmes's quirky little sister, Enola. I look forward to seeing what kinds of misadventures Miss Holmes finds her in on the continent! (less)
It's not often I feel compelled to add a picture book to my feed, but this one really stands out. The illustrations are reminiscent of Eric Carle and...moreIt's not often I feel compelled to add a picture book to my feed, but this one really stands out. The illustrations are reminiscent of Eric Carle and have a warm quality to them. What really makes it stand apart is the sheer cleverness of the book. Each page holds a surprise for the reader, a new twist. The spirit of the book is about change and adapting, then using that experience to find something beautiful.
This is not only a great book to inspire children, but a great gift for young graduates, or even a special "I was thinking about you" gift.
I will be watching Michael Hall's work with much interest!(less)
**spoiler alert** This was a quickie in the world of books. I saw your lovely cover and had to have you.
The story is familiar enough involving four ve...more**spoiler alert** This was a quickie in the world of books. I saw your lovely cover and had to have you.
The story is familiar enough involving four very close high school friends. The girls purchase accessories at a seemingly normal boutique booth at their local mall. The temporary tattoos have hidden surprises and soon the girls have powers beyond their imaginings. But like all stories like this, there are darker forces at work and the girls must find a way to keep a homicidal super-being from stealing souls of the unsuspecting youth in their town. A true case of "buyer beware!"
The pacing was quick, and the plot simple and straight forward. The characters were common cliches in the writing world, but the author made good use of them. Pretty much all the stuff you would expect to find in a Young Adult novel. What I like about this book is that the author has a good "voice" in storytelling. It's clear that this is one of her early works, but it works for me.
My only critique of this particular book was the threat of a dark curfew without any sign of breaking it. It was a missed opportunity for definite consequences to the principles, thus showing more of an impact of the baddie and what she was capable of AND upping the stakes leading toward the face-off at the end.
Everyone needs some light reads in their life no matter how high your brow is or how many literary papers you read. I make claim to neither of these high aspirations so I can read on without guilt or justification. It was cute. It was fun. I liked it. End of story.(less)
As with all compilations, there are some stories in The Improbable Adventures of Sherlock Holmes which are better designed than others and this anthol...moreAs with all compilations, there are some stories in The Improbable Adventures of Sherlock Holmes which are better designed than others and this anthology of short stories was no exception. Some of the stories read as if penned by SACD himself. Others missed the mark a bit. The strength of the good definitely carried the weaker stories, but all were fun reads regardless.
If you like Holmes and his ever faithful companion, then you might like this. I only send out a word of caution to those who are easily shocked or squeamish. These are not the stories of yesteryear. The details and monsters are told with more contemporary flavor. The words that were too ghastly for the dear Dr. Watson to report, are in fact reported here, with precise descriptions and horror.
I have no doubt that Victorian readers would have soon expired from shock after reading these omitted stories from Mr. Holmes's adventures, but far be it from me to stop anyone from taking a peek at these pages in the hear and now. ;-)(less)
**spoiler alert** I vaguely remember reading this way back when and having a somewhat negative feeling. The first half of the book is crazy gothic in...more**spoiler alert** I vaguely remember reading this way back when and having a somewhat negative feeling. The first half of the book is crazy gothic in the best sense. Childhood drama, a spooky old house holding secrets, and a dark brooding man. All the best one can hope for in a mid-19th century drama. Perfect for all those fans looking for something with more meat to chew on while you search for the next great teen read.
I forgot how much of a douchebag Mr Rochester is in this story. He messes with our heroine in many ways including taunting her with a fake bride and dressing up as a old gypsy woman with predictions of doom. It really makes this reader pause to think what exactly was so appealing about this type of man to Miss Bronte.
But the core of the story is about change. Change of behavior, change of mind, change of spirit.
The changes Miss Eyre goes through are heavily influenced by her childhood friend, Helen. It's interesting to see the many different movie adaptions because it seems that they nearly all get this part wrong. The point of this friendship to this reader has more to do with the type of person Helen was, not simply the fact that she died. Helen was a very devout Christian and held very interesting ideas about "modern" Christianity. This is a theme that runs throughout the rest of the book as Jane struggles to find a balance between her passions, her station in life, and being a good Christian.
The other part of this story which is missed time and time again is the very shocking nature of this book to the people for whom it was intended; the Victorians. The idea that a woman of Jane's background being so headstrong and independent was repugnant to many in the 1900s. Miss Bronte was a reformer and displayed her views very forcefully in this seemingly harmless tale of romance. People of our time have no problem with the idea that Jane would have a romantic relationship with her brooding master. We might wonder at her choice of men, but it doesn't occur to us that this was utterly forbidden. The dramatic scene of the tree being hit by lightening might be lost on readers of today and what it meant to the people of yesteryear. Still, it makes for fun reading.
Then the second half of the book hit and I remembered why I had trouble with it the first time around. Jane Eyre goes on a HUGE emo trip and comes to a SCREECHING halt once she joins St John (sinjin) & Co. She languishes in her despair as she slowly, painstakingly tries to rebuild her half-life without the people of Thornfield Hall. She reconciles with her past and tries to conform to the expected path, but she finds that she would rather die than continue this life. This reader nearly did, but from boredom. I can see why Miss Bronte chose to send her heroine on a fool's errand rather than spend the rest of her days with Mr Nineteenth Century Man of the Year, but I would have preferred an editor with a heavy hand here. Once she heads back to her dear Rochester, I am glad for it, but she again languishes in the emotions of the characters. I understood the symbolism of his maimed body and the uncertainty of their situation now that they are on equal footing (quite convenient in every way). BUT, by the time all was said and done, I had a very large bruise on my head from the author as she bashed my brains out with her point.
Thank you, Miss Bronte! I get it!
The best film adaptation I saw was by the Masterpiece Theater production. It missed a few of the main story arcs, but it understood that the main chemistry between the principle actors was most important. The new version we went to see at the Lagoon was laughable, quite literally. I had to stifle a few sniggers to keep from ruining the experience of my fellow viewers. Not to mention, the chemistry between the principles in this version came off more paternal than romantic and... eeeeeew.
I'm glad I read it again. I forgot how crazy it was, but I also forgot how boring it could be too. It made for a very fun discussion for my new book group so it was utterly worthwhile and it's funny that we all had read this in our youth and that we all stopped reading it at the same place in the book. It only confirms that my experience in re-reading this book was not isolated.
Jane Eyre started out with about 4 stars for me but as the second half of the book trudged on, it lost one star because it annoyed me. I know this work of fiction spoke volumes to the women of Miss Bronte's generation and I give her much credit for that AND I acknowledge that she had very big kahunas for having the guts to write this book, but the ending lost some steam for me.
As I read the very last line of the book, I celebrated it being done, not that it was a great read. Oh, well. On to the next book. And yes, I do recommend it, although with a warning of slow moving fiction ahead. ;-) (less)
Well, let me start by saying that I am not an avid Evanovich fan so if you are, you probably won't like what I'm going to say here... I read the first...moreWell, let me start by saying that I am not an avid Evanovich fan so if you are, you probably won't like what I'm going to say here... I read the first Plum book and thought "eh" and never felt the need to pick up another. So when I picked this up, I didn't have high expectations. I wanted a light read to counter my bad mood as I had to go out into a snowstorm (yet again) to sell books. So as I grumbled my way into the book store, I decided to reward my efforts and buy a fluffy read. I read the first chapter of Wicked Appitite in a Nook preview before it was released and in a few short months, there it was as a bargain cast-off. Sad for Evanovich, win for me!
The book begins in a quirky bakery, in quirky Salem, MA and launches into the plot. A man in black marks the heroine, quite literally, and a sequence of cleches takes off. After the premise was laid out, I kept thinking it sounded vaugly familiar (other than the standard male/female tension gudielines for this genre). A mysterious man dragging the heroine around to touch/find magical objects for unknown purposes. Then it hit me, Moaning. Karen Marie Moaning to be specific. Only this is the lower quality, Comedy Central version.
Everything about this book felt like a rushed, second project. The characters were hollow and fell back on stereotypes far too much. The story was sparse and set up like a romance, but like a stereotypical man, it never seemed to want to commit. The pacing was staggered and the dialogue felt stiff. Not to mention the gigantic plot holes! I know, too much thinky-thinky for a book like this. Still, it's all the usual stuff that works for commercial success. It didn't really work for me on a critic level, but as a reader, it fit my need at the moment. It was a good idea and if it hadn't felt so rushed and incomplete, I could have fell for some of the commercial gimmicks. I am definitely not above a pop hit, after all! I love a good, quick read as much as the next reader. Sadly the magic was not there for me.
I did finish the book, but once again I feel no need to read another. I think it's Evanovich's world building I like. She has some good ideas and a knack for comedy which keeps her chick-lit mysteries interesting. Not sure if throwing her hat into the paranormal ring was the best idea, but as her other series in approaching number 17, she's testing the waters in other areas. I guess I would tell her to stick with what works for now and try again later. Then again, she HAS sold 17 books in a single series, so what do I know? Clearly, she's doing something right. I guess I'm just not her demographic.