I listened to this in my car and loved every minute of the story. There is a little of everything in this book. There are moments that make you laugh...moreI listened to this in my car and loved every minute of the story. There is a little of everything in this book. There are moments that make you laugh and ones that make you cry. I laughed through most of this book but there were also many moments where the deeper meanings of love and loss and learning all come to the surface. This is a wonderful coming of age story where you can see as Holling Hoodhood starts off as a boy and grows into a man. I loved the use of Shakespeare in this story and I hope that it shows the people who read it that Shakespeare isn't scary and that there is something to be found in his plays for everyone. I also loved how this story highlights the role of teachers. Throughout ones schooling there are always one or two teachers that always stay with your for one reason or another. The character of Mrs Baker embodies all those great teachers that I once had. This is a wonderful story and I highly recommend it to all.(less)
I've never been more confused about who wrote a book then I have been with Clone Codes. Normally this shouldn't be such a difficult task you just look...moreI've never been more confused about who wrote a book then I have been with Clone Codes. Normally this shouldn't be such a difficult task you just look on the cover and there is the author's name. But on this book the front cover just says The McKissacks. Then in the back where the author write up is there is a blurb for a John McKissack....finally some success. Only not so much. For LibraryThing lists the author as Patricia McKissack, who is definately not a John and Amazon lists the author as Patrica AND Frederick McKissack....again no John. So where did this John come from? Why do we get his author blurb and no mention on Patricia or even Frederick? After further digging I learn that this 192 page book was written by all THREE of these people.
That's right....THREE people have had their hands in this very short book. Learning this I now understand why the writing was so choppy and muddled. The overall premise was an intriguing on but the story was filled with such starts and stops and random jumps that it was had to stay focused. The shortness of the story don't allow the reader much time to get invested in the characters. Which is a shame because there are some really interesting ones in this story. Its futuristic setting allows for the existence of clones and cyborgs and space travel is right on the horizon. There are complex issues involving what it means to be human and a hark to historical data in referring to cyborgs as 3/5th human, which is how slaves were once referred as. In this world the fact that Cyborgs aren't fully human, being only 3/5ths a person then they don't deserve the same rights as humans. You can only imagine the sort of resentment and discussion issues that this might raise. After all didn't humanity learn anything from its past? And if not, then why not?
However all these deeper and complex thoughts are abruptly cut short. Its as if the multiple writers just got tired to telling the story and so just typed "the end" and called it a day. I haven't been able to discover if there will be a sequel to this story but the way it ended it certainly is set up for one as there was no obvious conclusion. I'm intrigued by this world but I'm not sure I'll pick up another collaborative book by these three authors. At least not until they work out the kinks of writing together because at the moment this book certainly suffers from that old expression of too many cooks in the kitchen.(less)
I had never read anything by Castillo when I picked up this book but based on the back of the book I thought that this would be a beautiful tale of lo...moreI had never read anything by Castillo when I picked up this book but based on the back of the book I thought that this would be a beautiful tale of love, loss and the coming together of various characters. After reading this story I wonder if the person who wrote up the blurb on the back even read the story. The main part of this short novel was to be about the search for the brother of one the main characters, Regina. Yet her brother is rarely mentioned and there never seems to be much in the way of searching for him.
Instead you get a story told by four people - Regina, her nephew Gabo, her friend Miguel and Miguel's grandfather - and they all seem to be competing with each other to tell a different story. There is no real journey in this story. The characters are all pretty forgettable and who all seem to be hiding from life. Regina hides behind her widow status , Gabo buries himself in religion, and Miguel preaches about all the injustices in the world & can't seem to be bothered with the problems around him. Miguel's grandfather just seems to be an afterthought to the whole story telling random tales of the past and never really contributing to the main story. Although there really wasn't a central main story.
All the main characters had their own story and yet their stories never flowed together. It was often hard to care about what was going on in their lives because they never seemed to care about living. Perhaps the author tried to hard to touch on all the issues that some Mexican-Americans have to deal with that she lost focus. And instead of writing a beautiful tale that highlighted those issues and let the reader come to their own conclusion she decided to beat them over the head with her beliefs.
After reading The Guardians I don't think that I'll pick up another book by Ana Castillo.
See my other reviews at tickettoanywhere.blogspot.com(less)
Almost 200 years ago Jane Austen wrote and published Pride & Prejudice, a novel that would stand the test of time, winning the hearts of new fans...moreAlmost 200 years ago Jane Austen wrote and published Pride & Prejudice, a novel that would stand the test of time, winning the hearts of new fans with each passing generation. For even though the novel was written so long ago its themes and characters have withstood the test of time. I first fell in love with Elizabeth and Mr. Darcy several years ago by chance. Stumbling across the book one day in the bookstore not realizing that it would soon become a most beloved friend. It didn’t take long to read Austen’s novel and it was a book that I have revisited often over the years. Throughout all my readings I have always wondered about Mr. Darcy. What was he thinking? As well as what happened after the story ended. (Which was much to soon in my humble opinion!).
Despite my wanting to know what happened afterwards I have steered away for all the various “sequels” to the story that people have written over the years. I read some of the reviews and they were always mixed from those that loved them and those that thought they were horrible additions to a beloved story. Therefore I stayed away from them all so that P&P wouldn’t be tarnished for me in any way.
That is until this past weekend when a friend of mine recommended a new novel, Darcy’s Story by Janet Alymer. This wasn’t a sequel but a companion novel told from the point of view of the enigmatic Mr. Darcy. Others have tried to recommend books to me based on P&P but I never really paid them much attention since there was always a little criticism mixed in with the praise. This friend was different. She admitted that while, at the time, she hadn’t read much that she thoroughly enjoyed all that she had. That made me curious and so I bought the book soon afterwards.
It was instant love. Alymer uses a lot of the dialogue that Austen herself wrote which adds so much realism to the story for which there has been much criticism. In my opinion, the transcribed dialogue only helps in creating a seamless transition between the original story and the new additions. I don’t think that I would have enjoyed this book half as much if she hadn’t used the original text. After all, if it ain’t broke, why fix it?
Alymer captures the essence of Mr. Darcy and all the other characters in the story. One can tell that Alymer is a true fan and took time and care with how the events were laid out. I loved all the added scenes that were only alluded to in Austen’s story. They played out as I had pictured them. There has also been criticism about the length of time that Alymer spent on the various scenes between Darcy & Mr. Wickham. However, Austen herself never spent much time on them so why should Alymer do any different. Mr Wickham was only a minor character, the story revolved around Elizabeth and Mr Darcy to dwell on events not involving the two of them only takes away from their story. Reading Darcy’s Story brought me back to the time when I first read Pride & Prejudice I loved every moment of it and as with P&P hated when it was over. So many people have tried over the years to emulate Austen’s style with mixed results based on all the reviews that I have read. However I find that Alymer has succeeded in channeling Austen and created a novel that will stand the test of time as a worthy companion novel to the original. I think that Jane Austen would be very proud of what Janet Alymer has done with her characters. In conclusion, I am very thankful to my friend Chris, because without her heartfelt recommendation I never would have picked up this book.
I just recently finished reading Burning Bright, the latest novel by Tracy Chevalier. This is her mostly recent novel and to be honest the only reason that I read it is because it was chosen for my next book club. I have read other books by Chevalier in the past and have have mixed reactions on them. So, I wasn't super enthused to read this book...and while it didn't suck. I wasn't in love with it either.
This novel primarily takes place in London, England in the year 1792, focusing around 3 teenagers: Jem, Maggie and Jem's sister Maisie. Jem & Maisie have recently moved from to quiet life in the country to the bustling city of London with their parents and are learning how to adjust. One their first day in the city they meet Maggie, a street wise girl who likes to be the one who knows everything and tend to delight in the mistakes that Jem and his sister make while they are learning to adapt to city life. Thrown into this group in none other than Willim Blake. Who has got to be one of the most aloof, vaguely written characters that I have ever met in a book.
In some ways Mr Blake is always there for the teenagers idolize him and his beliefs. Yet, even when he is in the presence of the teens he seems to be off somewhere else. He speaks in metaphors and doesn't seem to be bothered by anything. Even when there is a mob outside his door he just stands there limply and only reacts after Maisie starts to recite one of his poems.....or songs as they are referred to in the book. Even then his reaction isn't quite what the reader expects. There are times in which I think that Blake's character is more of an after thought. Someone famous that the author tosses into the mix in an attempt at trying to accomplish......something. What exactly I am not sure. The characters of Jem, Maggie and Maisie are all pretty underdeveloped as well. There seems to be no real purpose to any of them and I found it hard to care what happened to them.
I initially struggled to get through this book. Its not a hard read I just found it to be boring and lacking in plot. I was often more drawn to the various descriptions more then what was going on with the main characters. Where the major events of their lives seem to be swept aside and barely discussed while pages and pages are spent on them watching a circus procession going by. I finally had to give myself a shake and force myself to read the novel any time I had a chance because I just wanted it done.
I picked Blink of an Eye up on a whim on a recent trip to the library. I read the cover and it sounded like an interesting story. Boy meets girl, boy...moreI picked Blink of an Eye up on a whim on a recent trip to the library. I read the cover and it sounded like an interesting story. Boy meets girl, boy helps girl out run even suppressive Muslim type people who want to drag her back to her country.
What I got was this weird book with a supernatural twist that just didn't seem to jive with the story as a whole, came out of no where, had no explanation and just defied any sense of believability. Perhaps if I had known about this little twist when I picked up the book it wouldn't have been so bad. But as I was unprepared for it every time Seth "saw" all the possible futures I just rolled my eyes and thought 'here we go again.' This ability of Seth's allowed him and Mirim to defy all odds to escape and outwit the various people who where chasing them (government agents, assassins, and the like). Therefore the book was less interesting me than if Seth had been able to outwit all these people/groups using just his wits alone. After all Seth was supposed to be some sort of genius, yet his intellect didn't come into play as much as his ability to see the future.
Overall I was disappointed in this novel. I excepted a fun little adventure book and it just never delivered. After reading this I'll probably think twice about picking up another book by Ted Dekker.