**spoiler alert** This book does a lot of unique and innovative things and it could have been so spectacular, but it falls short. I love a good episto**spoiler alert** This book does a lot of unique and innovative things and it could have been so spectacular, but it falls short. I love a good epistolary novel and I'm a fan of space operas so I was looking forward to this. I like how many different formats are used to tell the story and they do some really clever things with typography. I love how they displayed the chaos of battle through text. But for me it always comes down to the characters. This book is about two characters and I hated one of them, which isn't great. It's even worse when the character that I do like falls for him for reasons beyond my understanding. As far as I was concerned, dumping him was the best decision she made. I know the way that Ezra talks with his guy friends is probably realistic but that doesn't mean I have to like it. The only reason I can think that Kady takes him back is because he is literally the last person she has known for any length of time left alive. This is not the basis of a healthy relationship. They spend way too much time talking about how they're the world to each other and each other's only reason to keep living. I don't even have the energy to unpack why that's a troubling precedent. Kady is so amazing--she really deserves someone better.
It all could have been saved for me if it had ended with Kady nobly sacrificing herself to save others. That would have been a spectacular ending. Yet despite the whole book being about mass amounts of people dying horrible deaths our two leads somehow survive in a completely unrealistic way. All so they can have a happy ending (if you call that mess of a relationship happy) and, most importantly, so the authors can have a sequel. Even the rogue AI can't make me read that. And rogue AIs are my favorite! ...more
The book had a lot going for it, but in the end I felt it was just too much. There were so many plots and characters that could have been interesting,The book had a lot going for it, but in the end I felt it was just too much. There were so many plots and characters that could have been interesting, but we never got beyond the surface of any of them. It started out so strong with someone attacking the actor playing Hamlet at a rehearsal, and I was really into the parallels of a son avenging his father's death. But that quickly fell away as more characters and timelines were introduced. The other main character is from the future and once again her story started strong but we hardly got to explore the future she came from and the glimpses of it became more frustrating than tantalizing after a while. The teacher character just seemed completely out of place halfway through the book. I think even he wondered why he was still around. Even the explorer haunted by his wife's death and obsessively pursing a way to bring her back became bland through lack of development. Then there's his butler/genie? I don't even know. The more I think about the plot, the less sense it makes. I know Fisher can flesh out characters in a wonderful way and plot a great story if she gives herself the time and space to do so, but with this book I think she bit off more than she could chew. ...more
**spoiler alert** I was disappointed by this book on multiple levels. Taking the characters of Sherlock and Watson and using them as inspiration for a**spoiler alert** I was disappointed by this book on multiple levels. Taking the characters of Sherlock and Watson and using them as inspiration for a heterosexual romance felt off to me from the start. It only got worse as the book wore on. Sherlock has some serious issues, which is true to his character, but even though this book takes place in modern times Watson not only enables all these behaviors but claims at one point that doing anything to address his mental health would take away his genius and turn him into a different, lesser person. I find this message deeply troubling. There is enough stigma around mental health and it's so difficult to get help at all, let alone in a combination that works. Adding to that stigma and scaring people away from getting help with claims that it will take away what makes them special is just irresponsible, especially in a novel aimed at teens. On top of that their relationship, which is incredibly unhealthy, is painted as romantic and even as a possible solution to Sherlock's troubles. Take a deep breath and repeat it with me: "Love does not magically cure mental illness." Of course there is no magical cure for mental illness, but getting into a relationship without working on your own issues is a recipe for disaster.
All of that aside, the plot just didn't make sense. The villain was meticulous in his plotting when the author needed a difficult mystery to solve, but when a dramatic climax was called for he takes two teens, in a zoo full of cameras, and drags them to an exhibit and forces them to crawl in then walks away, trusting that they'll be killed. At that point I'm almost surprised he didn't haul them to an aquarium so that the could tie them to a rope with a candle slowly burning through it above a shark tank.
There are many great adaptations of Sherlock out there. This is not one of them....more
I don't even know where to start in listing all the reasons why I love this book. The book is a touching portrayal of the immigrant experience and DumI don't even know where to start in listing all the reasons why I love this book. The book is a touching portrayal of the immigrant experience and Dumas manages to find humor in the unlikeliest of places. The book had me at turns laughing and crying and learning about the history of the Iran-Contra affair through the eyes of a Persian family in America. The end was satisfying without being unbelievable and despite everything the main character and her family have to go through, it left me uplifted. I enthusiastically recommend it to readers of all ages looking for a well-told realistic fiction story. ...more
A classic gothic romance complete with an impoverished woman becoming a governess at a haunted country estate. The fantasy element does mix it up a biA classic gothic romance complete with an impoverished woman becoming a governess at a haunted country estate. The fantasy element does mix it up a bit and I like how Beckett mixed that magic into the structure and history of the society. Full of plenty of witty repartee and sudden changes in fortune this is a great read for fans of history and fantasy looking for light reading. ...more
Scarlett Undercover is the diverse, hard-boiled detective novel you didn't know you were waiting for. The book is peppered with delightful, excessiveScarlett Undercover is the diverse, hard-boiled detective novel you didn't know you were waiting for. The book is peppered with delightful, excessive similes in a parody/homage to the noir genre. Scarlett is a tough, sassy heroine who has been through the ringer but refuses to give up. Even though Scarlett is an orphan, the book is full of community members who clearly care for her and support her. Scarlett and her sister are Muslim, her best friend is Jewish, and characters of various backgrounds populate the story. As is so often the case in this genre, what Scarlett thought was a run-of-the-mill case turns out to be the tip of a much bigger conspiracy which in a fresh twist involves creatures from Middle-Eastern folklore. There's the expected, unexpected betrayals, plenty of plot twists, near-death encounters, innocent ingenues, and tough thugs. The plot is fairly standard, but the characters make it something special....more
This book stands out from the rest for its unique structure and creative vision of the future. The first part of the book takes place just one year frThis book stands out from the rest for its unique structure and creative vision of the future. The first part of the book takes place just one year from now and revolves around a boy with the ability to cross into a parallel universe, a talent that others dismiss as him hanging on to childish fantasies. The consequences of this one boy's actions play out over the years at different intervals. Each story takes place farther into the future and revolves around different characters, although their stories are clearly related and have rippling effects on the others. I would have read an entire novel based on any of the parts of this book. Each character and story is well fleshed out despite their brevity. The futures are both absurd and scarily prescient as our society's obsession with social media and refusal to take responsibility for our actions reach their logical extremes. This book has a lot to say, but it's more of a discussion starter than something trying to push its own agenda. This book was recommended to me by a friend who was dying to talk about it with someone and now that I've read it I completely understand how she feels!...more
This book is as silly and whimsical as you'd expect from a story about a dog and his best friend, a sock named Sir Bobblysock. In this installment ClaThis book is as silly and whimsical as you'd expect from a story about a dog and his best friend, a sock named Sir Bobblysock. In this installment Claude goes to Woollybottom farm and helps the farmer, Mrs. Cowpat. The story is light and simple and will be great for kids just starting to read chapter books. The ample pictures in shades of grey and red add a lot of humor to the story and complement the text perfectly. ...more
This mix of fantasy and regency with a dash of humor thrown in is just my cup of tea! I loved everything about this novel from Newt's outrageous cousiThis mix of fantasy and regency with a dash of humor thrown in is just my cup of tea! I loved everything about this novel from Newt's outrageous cousins promising to travel to the ends of the earth to uncover her missing emerald to her surprisingly resourceful aunt in London. The plot is pretty predictable but the way Nix plays with the various tropes of the genre is delightful. The characters are all over-the-top yet endearing and I always love a good girl cross-dressing to go on adventures subplot!...more
This book about a boy raised in a correctional facility is a moving tale about prejudices, good intentions gone astray, and the human capacity to adapThis book about a boy raised in a correctional facility is a moving tale about prejudices, good intentions gone astray, and the human capacity to adapt and change. Perry knows that his life isn't typical, but he loves his mother and the rest of his extended family of inmates. He knows which people to avoid and which to trust. He has an innate ability to read people and know what they need. Perry's presence cheers most of the prisoners and inspires them to be their best selves. When a new DA hears about his arrangement though he takes Perry out of the only home he's known and goes after the Warden that allowed it, and Perry's mother who was finally up for parole. The DA takes Perry into his own home and while Perry knows he has the best intentions, he misses his mom and his unconventional home life.
This book contains so much wisdom and heart. Perry interviews several of the prisoners for a school project and gets to hear their stories. They are frank about the fact that they've made mistakes, but it's clear that they've learned from them. The characters have flaws, but nobody is painted as evil or unable to change for the better.
I'd readily recommend this to students looking for a heartfelt story....more
This book was very well written and absorbing. The setting was obviously meticulously researched and I felt transported back in time during the partsThis book was very well written and absorbing. The setting was obviously meticulously researched and I felt transported back in time during the parts of the novel about the Dutch Resistance. I became so attached to the characters who risked their lives in big and small ways and felt their anxiety and pain as they experienced it. It was an intense reading experience. The novel really delves into their psychology and what that kind of constant pressure can do to a person. Many of the scenes were absolutely heart-breaking.
I did not enjoy the modern story as much. It skipped chunks of time and didn't have anywhere near the sense of urgency that the story set in WWII did. I always read it begrudgingly as I waited to return to the resistance. The modern story also had a hastily thrown in romance that seemed out of place. Lastly, the first bit of the modern plot made the conclusion of the WWII plot really obvious to me from the beginning. I don't think I would have realized what was coming from the very start if the whole book was set in the past.
Still, I did enjoy this novel and I'd highly recommend it to anyone with an interest in historical fiction set during the Dutch Resistance. ...more
I'm not going to lie: I read this book because I enjoyed the recent mini series based on it starring Aidan Turner. I found that the book was just as dI'm not going to lie: I read this book because I enjoyed the recent mini series based on it starring Aidan Turner. I found that the book was just as delightful and the mini series was pretty faithful to it. Normally I don't like having actors in my mind when I read a book but in this case I felt that they captured the characters so well I really didn't mind. In fact I felt like it added to my reading experience. Sometimes the pacing of the books felt a bit off to my modern sensibilities. For example it would end one section on a cliff hanger with some climactic scene involving a character. Then some time has passed when the next section starts and it begins with a description of the mines and other business affairs before it finally updates the reader on what happened to the characters in the interim. It was a bit infuriating at times because I really cared about the characters but my interest in mining is minimal at best. Still I'd strongly recommend this to fans of the series or family epics/historical fiction in general....more