“How green is the grass? How colorful are the leaves? How red is the blood of the birds that spreads through the river beneath her?” This book is a ni...more“How green is the grass? How colorful are the leaves? How red is the blood of the birds that spreads through the river beneath her?” This book is a nice little twist on the zombie/apocalypse plotline; rather than being bitten, coughed on, or *pick your infection vector of choice* people see something & go nuts, taking down those around them before killing themselves in spectacular ways. Malerman does a really good job building the tension using the device of news reports of bizarre happenings leading closer & closer to home, and he follows through with a lot of really grim, gross stuff happening to his group of survivors. There’s a lot of really great nasty imagery like, “His entire body looked like cake frosting, blood and skin folded over the ropes on his chest, his belly . . . “ most of the ways that people end their lives are so brutal, many of them are still stuck in my head (view spoiler)[The only one that I can’t really wrap my head around is Olympia’s suicide by umbilical cord, since it’s very vaguely worded & while it certainly sounds shocking, since she never delivered her placenta, I have no idea how it’s supposed to work. And come to think of it, neither did Malorie deliver her placenta, which is a step in having a baby that is usually missed but pretty important. I’m just saying, I wouldn’t think you could very well hang yourself with your umbilical cord if it’s still coming out of your uterus. And I apologize for bringing it up in the first place (hide spoiler)]. I don’t want to write anything about what happens to Malorie & Tom and their lot, but it was definitely one of the more harrowing things I’ve read recently, especially how it plays on women’s vulnerability during certain momentous physical occasions, which is perhaps all I can say without a spoiler cut. The only time this book dragged for me was when Malorie was on the river. While there’s a lot of suspense to be derived from people wandering around blindfolded, her situation eventually became too nebulous to be scary. After a few chapters of her fretting about hearing an unidentifiable noise, or worrying about whether she was doing the right thing or not (view spoiler)[especially once I realized that she’d gone a solid four years without legitimately spooky bad guy Gary turning up again (hide spoiler)], her predicament became a little boring. It’s very rare that I can say that I finish writing a review & I realize I like the book more than I thought it did, but I just had that happen! Way to be, Bird Box!(less)
May every reader have the same good fortune as I did in knowing nothing about the premise of this book before opening it. This is not at all what I th...moreMay every reader have the same good fortune as I did in knowing nothing about the premise of this book before opening it. This is not at all what I thought it would be and holy heck, is it tremendous. I will say nothing regarding the Cooke family twist that comes halfway through the book, but I can say that once it happened, I was practically unable to set this book down, leading to many a night of staying up way too late - on school nights, no less! At first I was disappointed by the ending, but since I can't articulate why any more than I can tell you what I'd've liked to happen instead (view spoiler)[other than a puppy-rainbow-kitten type of thing along the lines of, It was all a dream! & Fern had never have been sent away in the first place, or, barring that, a mankind-is-not so gross & pathetic & atrocious-type of thing (hide spoiler)], I think that I was really just angry that the book was over (I call that Kelly Link Syndrome). (less)
I read this last night to make myself put down The Secret Place since I am really, really trying not to blow through that too quickly. So this succeed...moreI read this last night to make myself put down The Secret Place since I am really, really trying not to blow through that too quickly. So this succeeded on some level, since it made me leave Tana French alone for an hour. I don't quite know what else to say; the character that I want to die is still not dead? I like the way Carl is being drawn now as an older kid, but when he doesn't have his hat on I can't really tell the difference between him & the (ostensibly pregnant) Maggie? I guess don't want to more closely examine the reasons that I keep reading these even though I no longer care for them. I tend to look away from accidents when I pass them rather then at them, so that adage doesn't apply. I suppose I like Nagen & (view spoiler)[waiting for Rick to DIE already (hide spoiler)] enough to keep on. (less)
I was liking this series until the ridiculous deus ex machina of the last issue. In all my fist-shaking fury, I will be spoiling this entire book.
(vie...moreI was liking this series until the ridiculous deus ex machina of the last issue. In all my fist-shaking fury, I will be spoiling this entire book.
(view spoiler)[I get it, I do. Bode was my favorite character too. I like scampish, irrepressible little boys as much as the next person, and I was totally filled with horror just like everyone else when Dodge took over his body & made him do all those terrible things . Poor Jay Bird. I had to look at a Locke & Key wiki to figure out that Ty used the animal key to get him out of the sparrow's body since the lay-out of those two pages is so uncharacteristically vague & clumsy, I couldn't tell what was going on. I'm not sure how that would work since Bode had already been cremated (which makes me scratch my head too, since Ty claims that he & Kinsey were "sedated" and that's why they couldn't get Bode back into his body, when there was clearly some time once everyone got out of the caves when they were standing around conscious & could easily have been like, "Hey, sad mom, give me the dead kid you're holding & let me show you something really awesome real quick"), but even if there was some way around this, how is it possible that everyone was just at this kid's funeral & then here he is all ALIVE suddenly & everyone is like Yay! & no one has any questions about how on earth this happened? I bought a lot of premises in this series, and for the most part I found it easy to do so, but I cannot for the life of me buy this scenario. (hide spoiler)]
But hey, other than that, not too shabby. ["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>(less)
It's kind of adorable to read this because I didn't think it was that great. If I'd started out with this book instead of Sandman, I would've taken so...moreIt's kind of adorable to read this because I didn't think it was that great. If I'd started out with this book instead of Sandman, I would've taken some convincing to continue with Gaiman's oeuvre. It's not that I didn't like the story; in fact, I really like how he weaves Batman & Lex Luthor & Swamp Thing & all of that together. It was just a little too vague, a little too much moping by Black Orchid. Too much f-a-all-ll-ing - seriously, once would've been enough for that page layout. But on the other hand, if I'd started with this I would've become even more of a Dave McKean fangirl than I already am, because holy heck, his artwork here is totally breathtaking & it knocked my socks right off. (less)
Amy Bloom is criminally underrated as a writer. I've been having a literary love affair with her since I started reading Where the God of Love Hangs O...moreAmy Bloom is criminally underrated as a writer. I've been having a literary love affair with her since I started reading Where the God of Love Hangs Out when Gray was a newborn and I knew that when he slept I should've been sleeping too, but even still I could not put the book down at all. I stand by that opinion even though this book didn't knock my socks off. Her writing is liquid and gorgeous as always, but the ending seemed forced. I feel like she could've added another twenty pages to expand on things, most notably (view spoiler)[why on earth Eva ended up with Gus, since I felt like there was no chemistry between them whatsoever & it'd been picturing him as much older anyway (hide spoiler)] but while I think it would've helped the plot a bit, I also would have in no way minded reading twenty more pages of her exquisite turns of phrase, so perhaps it's slightly selfish as well.
I'm getting the vibe that this is actually a YA book even thought we don't have it catalogued as such, which makes sense to me since I found this to b...moreI'm getting the vibe that this is actually a YA book even thought we don't have it catalogued as such, which makes sense to me since I found this to be way more broad & less nuanced than his other stuff. This would've been a two-star book for me if it wasn't for the last two pages. (view spoiler)[I was thinking that Yarvi knew that it was all Mother Gundring's fault since the birds already knew how to say "A king must die," which is a lot less impressive than what it actually was, crows vs doves, which is why I don't write & publish books (hide spoiler)]. I'm going to be blunt - I love Joe Abercrombie & I will always feel nothing but sheer adoration for the First Law triolgy. I am also getting pretty tired of reading fantasy/revenge novels. Every review I've written for his other books has me claiming that they'd be better if they were much shorter, and here his shortest work yet has me claiming that I'm just over the whole formula. (less)
In the spirit of looking on the bright side, I can say that one nice thing about having a death cold take the entire family down (for a solid week now...moreIn the spirit of looking on the bright side, I can say that one nice thing about having a death cold take the entire family down (for a solid week now & still going strong!) is that while everyone is laying around languishing & hacking, you can get a lot of reading done. I picked this up in the morning & was done with it by the time the sun went down. This is an excellent book! Four planes crash simultaneously on different continents with a lone child survivor at three of the crashes. Are these children blessed? Aliens? Are they possessed? Who can say, but as the families of The Three, as they’re universally known, start wondering if maybe something is a little off with their loved ones, the religious right in the U.S. scrambles to frame their survival as a sign the apocalypse, clutching at laughably implausible clues that they are the horsemen from the book of revelation. As usual, while some pastors would like to use this information to save souls before the rapture, others want to use it to help consolidate fear-based political power. In the world the Lotz creates, the election of a president who believes in Dominionism is going to be totally super bad news for pesky feminists like myself as well as gays & misbehaving children, seeing as how this sect thinks that abortion, homosexuality, and sassback are crimes that should be punishable by death. While there was a high yikes factor in a lot of the elements here (my personal fave is the recorded ramblings of the uncle of one of the survivors), I found this bit to be particularly disturbing, that fundamentalists could really galvanize the country with their nutty message to the point that everyone rushes out to cast their vote for an American theocracy.
I won't lie, at the beginning of the book, written in typical narrative fashion from the perspective of Pam, a passenger on one of the doomed planes, I wasn't too invested in where things were going. But then Lotz turns this into something different; rather than a regular novel, it is actually the book that a fictional author has written about The Three. Told in almost World War Z-ish style, anecdotal & complete with transcripts of phone conversations & cockpit recordings, interviews, and emails, I found this set-up to be much more engaging & eminently devourable. I also have to say, the ending was phenomenal. There’s not a whole lot that Lotz could have done that would’ve made me happier than the way she leaves it – ambiguous, open-ended, and chilling as all hell. Superb. (less)
This didn't knock my socks off as much as I expected it too, since everyone is talking about how this is the new Greatest Ever. I don't really feel co...moreThis didn't knock my socks off as much as I expected it too, since everyone is talking about how this is the new Greatest Ever. I don't really feel compelled by the motivation for the bank robbery, and hey, I work in a library. What this did get right in an amazing way is the thrilling time in your life when you meet someone that you think is awesome at sex and conversation and you want to spend every moment with them from then on. Everyone should have a relationship like that at least once in their lives, and I loved the way it was presented here. Although I admit I'm interested in the sex police & all that, I could absolutely get behind the rest of this series if it was nothing more than Suzie & Jon hanging out being all cute & new-coupley. Bonus points for when Suzie trots out the same tired trope of the porn star who was molested as a child & said porn star calls her out on it. (less)
Some swell Lansdale here. While this book is about murdered burglars & police conspiracies, it's also about parenting & wondering if you're do...moreSome swell Lansdale here. While this book is about murdered burglars & police conspiracies, it's also about parenting & wondering if you're doing it right while figuring you probably aren't. "And there were thousands of little things he did that made me climb the wall, and it was the same for Ann. She and I went through each day joyful for him and mad as hell at him, trying to figure if we were overly demanding of a four-year-old, or if he was a real-life Dennis the Menace." See, that right there is pretty much precisely how I feel about parenting. No one wants their kid to grow up to be an asshole, or a thief, or (view spoiler)[a maker of snuff films (hide spoiler)] and while you can probably mitigate some future tendencies by not being an asshole or a burglar or (view spoiler)[raping women & then killing them while being filmed, oh my god, you get a sense when a snuff film is coming in a book, but even though I was expecting it, it was still pretty horrid (hide spoiler)], there’s really no way of knowing what sort of person you’ve unleashed on the world. Parenting is hard, scary, awesome, and rewarding & all of that, and this is a pretty good book. I’d like to see the movie, which is a rare urge for me, because Don Johnson as Jim Bob Luke is just too good to be true. He’s a wonderful character except for all the racist shit.(less)
Hot damn! This book is tremendous. I thought all my woe regarding Anne Boleyn had been wrung out of me after reading The Other Boleyn Girl but oh my w...moreHot damn! This book is tremendous. I thought all my woe regarding Anne Boleyn had been wrung out of me after reading The Other Boleyn Girl but oh my was I wrong. (less)
Camping used to be about getting some reading done in the sunshine with a beer in one hand, maybe with feet dipped in the water, while a significant o...moreCamping used to be about getting some reading done in the sunshine with a beer in one hand, maybe with feet dipped in the water, while a significant other was off fishing somewhere. Nowadays, it's about keeping a short person (who, at age four, is already almost four feet tall, so that characterization is not quite apt, but I'm sticking with it) from bushwhacking himself off the side of a small cliff or into the lake. Since reading = a no-go, I'm going to cheat & add this book because I love it & I use it all the time in the summer. This year so far I've seen fairy trumpet, blanketflower, alpine roses, tons of thistles - I adore thistles, even though the bees & I are the only ones that do - black-eyed susans, penstemon, and many, many variations on yellow asters. I even got a great picture of a bee touching on a fairy trumpet without realizing the bee was there until afterward. So that's my summer so far, or at least the non-terrible parts of it. (less)
I've been nibbling on this for almost two weeks, long enough the B asked me why it was taking so long for me to read it - was it awful or what? No, in...moreI've been nibbling on this for almost two weeks, long enough the B asked me why it was taking so long for me to read it - was it awful or what? No, in fact it was so freaking good I just couldn't bear to read more than a few pages at a time so I could make it last longer. Basically, O'Neill has now done for dysfunctional families, abusive marriage, and possible schizophrenia in this book what she did for child prostitution & heroin use in Lullabies for Little Criminals; written about it a breathtakingly beautiful way that makes you wish you were these people & you got to live through all the same terrible, wonderful things they do. It's impossible to read more than two or three lines in this without being struck dead by how audaciously brilliant her writing is.
Here's some stuff I left all over Kelly's social media:
"Nicolas had a sort of genius for recognizing ulterior motives. It was the sort of quality that you would probably want to live without."
"There was a scent called Five Minutes Before It Rains. If you put it on your neck, whoever kissed you would cry."
"All Etienne needed was for the whole room to declare their undying love for him & he was fine."
Here's some stuff Kelly's been texting me:
"How could you compare what you wanted with what you had? The shock of it might make you old immediately."
"I was not going to define myself by the traits that men found adorable in me."
Heather O'Neill is too much! On one hand I want her to write a book once a year just so I don't have to linger in literary purgatory without her, but on the other hand I think I'd mentally overload on her genius if she did. (less)