Normally, I take a couple days (weeks) between when I finish a book and when I write the review. Mostly, this is a timing issue, but it’s also a mulliNormally, I take a couple days (weeks) between when I finish a book and when I write the review. Mostly, this is a timing issue, but it’s also a mulling period. Sometimes, I just like to get some distance from what I’ve read to really figure out how I feel about it. This is not the case with Thomas’ first Veronica Mars novel (this book actually has two authors, but I’m going to refer to Thomas because it’s easier). Do I really need to take that much time to think about a bunch of characters I already know I love and a writing style that I already know I’m sold on? Nope. I literally closed the book on this one minutes before I started writing this. I am a huge fan of the Veronica Mars franchise, so this is a totally biased review. Remember when I listed my favourite minor characters? You can only do that if you’ve spent enough time with the show to know the minor characters off the top of your head. I love the tv show. I love the movie. I rewatch both of them all the time. I even love the spotty, uneven third season and its strange twist on the theme song (which I did not hate – even though everyone else seemed to). I’ll give most of Thomas’ projects a chance (go watch Party Down, just do it). However, I was hesitant to go into the books. I tend to shy away from the spin off books for series I like – they’re rarely relevant to the story and often end up confusing the cannon. I only decided to pick up this book because a friend of mine who also loves the Mars family had read it and said it was worth it.
I trust her opinion on books basically 100% of the time. This one was no different. Because the mythos of this world is so ingrained on my fangirlness, it was easy to jump right into the story. I didn’t need to get to know the characters or the town and its cast of characters. It made some of the world building a little annoying, but new fans are good fans and they need this info. The novel picks up just months after the movie ended – if you’re planning to read the book, you must watch the movie first. It’s crucial to the story, especially if you watched the tv show. Also, if you haven’t read the book yet, stop reading reviews before you read the book, that’s just a silly order to do things in (cough cough spoilers). So, Veronica and Logan have gotten back together, but he’s in the Navy and he’s off at sea for the entirety of this novel. At first, I was a little sadface, no Logan girl, but as I kept reading, I realized it was nice to have a Logan free storyline. That hasn’t happened since what, first season? Logan and Veronica are delightful, but they often steal the thunder of the mystery. I wanted a good, noir style read. Dark alleys, girls in ice machines, stolen art, seedy motels, rich dudes gone bad. And that’s exactly what I got – not exactly, but close enough.
Ah, finally. The great HP re-read has moved out of super juvenile books and is inching towards the dark and twisty. This is also where the movies starAh, finally. The great HP re-read has moved out of super juvenile books and is inching towards the dark and twisty. This is also where the movies start getting better, and where the distinctions between the two become more extreme. The biggest difference between these two is the growth in Hermione – and not just the fact that in the books she’s still described as bushy haired and big toothed an awkward. They couldn’t help that Emma Watson became very pretty as she got older. Book Hermione is very smart. Exceptionally smart. She keeps appearing and disappearing from classes. She’s doing more homework than humanly possible. This is all typical Hermione behaviour. But what we get in the book that isn’t in the movie is that this girl does not deal well with stress. Seems strange when we think about where these kids are headed. You know that scene in the movie where Hermione punches Draco in the face? It’s pretty rad. It’s exceptionally rad. She’s standing up for her friends. It’s done out of protectiveness. It’s also pretty great in the book, but it’s done for a different reason between the pages. It isn’t so much an act of protection as a snapping point. She’s been buried under her studies, not sleeping, frustrated by divinations, fighting with her friends. Draco has always been a rotten little shit, and he finally pushes her over the edge. And unlike in the movie, we don’t get to see it twice.
The rewind portion of the book is much shorter. It doesn’t happen until basically the end of the book. It’s faster and far less aggravating. IT’s handled much better. When the rewind happens in the movie, I always have to muster up some gumption and prepare. It feels very long and like it might be missing something. Re-reading the book led me to one of missing pieces – Crookshanks. Man, that cat was crucial to the book. We never really get an explanation as to what exactly she (is it s ashe? I can’t remember, so I’m going withit) is and why she’s so intuitive – other than a cat and that’s what they do. I love that persnickety pain in the ass. Crookshanks is a major part of how the gang eventually figures out that Scabbers is Pettigrew. Well, not that exactly, but the cat does lead them to the events that end in that result. And Crookshanks actively pushes Ron’s buttons. The Crookshanks/Scabbers conflict spills over to create problems between Hermione and Ron. Just as that tension starts to rise, Harry receives his new firebolt broomstick. Best one on the market. With no clue as to who sent it. Hermione’s sure it’s from Sirius Black (and she’s right) and wants to make sure it’s safe for Harry to use. The boys obviously just want to use the broom. It’s the best broom in the world! Quidditch championship teams use it. If the teachers get their hands on it, they’ll screw it up. I agree with Hermione’s opinion. I don’t agree with her methods. She told on Harry – to a teacher… there are some very clear rules when it comes to being a teenager, and Hermione fails at a lot of them. She doesn’t just blindly do what her friends want to do – which is a good skill, but she also forces people to do what she thinks is right. All this ‘smartest witch of her age’ seems to be going to her head. I adore Hermione, but in the books, we’re reminded far more often that she is in her early teens Full Review at http://hellphiesfiendishfiction.wordp......more
I found Tana French through another book reviewer I follow on Goodreads. While we don’t always have the same opinion on books, she’s always got an intI found Tana French through another book reviewer I follow on Goodreads. While we don’t always have the same opinion on books, she’s always got an intriguing perspective. When she’s passionate about an author, it peaks my interest. I’m really glad I gave this recommendation a shot. French may be one of my new favourite crime writers. I read this book on a camping trip, and I’m glad I did because it is long. Like 600 pages long. If I’d been reading this during a regular work schedule, it would have taken much too long and caused many a sleepless nights. This is definitely one of those books that will piss off a lot of people – it doesn’t answer all of the questions it starts with. It leaves some pretty giant holes at the end, but that’s just the way I like it. It was handled so well. We really should know from the very beginning that this isn’t going to be a neat and tidy story. We’re told right off the bat that Ryan is a liar by necessity. It’s part of his job. Detectives lie to suspects all the time. It’s how they get to the truth. But it’s more than that. He lies because it’s the only way he’s learned to survive. As the only survivor of a tragedy in his youth, lying became a survival technique. It’s now shaped every relationship in his life. Even with his parents, who know what happened to him and initiated his new identity, are part of his lies. He hates mac and cheese, but pretends it’s his favourite because it makes his mother feel better. It’s a little lie, but it’s supposed to be his one honest relationship. Complete review at https://hellphiesfiendishfiction.word......more
A couple months ago, John Green put out a list of book recommendations in one of his vlogs. I’ve tried 3-4 of the books from the list, but haven’t finA couple months ago, John Green put out a list of book recommendations in one of his vlogs. I’ve tried 3-4 of the books from the list, but haven’t finished any of them. They just didn’t grab my attention. But, I’d had my library order Joshua Braff’s (yes, that family of Braffs) The Unthinkable Thoughts of Jacob Green for their collection, so I felt like I should give it the old college try. I read it in its entirety in one sitting. It’s a very fast read. It’s not easy content, but it is fast. Based on the vlog, I was sure this book was a comedy. And parts of it are extremely funny, but other parts are heartbreakingly sad.
The funny is easy. Jacob is a young Jewish boy growing up in the late 70s- early 80s, starting when he’s ten and going until he’s fifteen. He’s at the height of his sexual awakening in an era when all things sexual weren’t available with the press of a few keys. He’s getting his knowledge from his older brother, Asher, the family boarder, Megan, and his school friend, Jonny. We experience a London’s Blitz of slang terms for genitalia. It’s funny. It should be crude, but Braff’s skilled writing turns it into innocent discovery. The bar mitzvah thank you letters, the letters to Megan, and the family rules are a great vehicle to glimpse into Jacob’s thoughts without a lot of exposition or forced dialogue. Entertaining and informative.
Is it cheesy to compare a book to a perfect, slow building relationship? Yeah, that’s what I thought, and I don’t care. That’s how I feel about this bIs it cheesy to compare a book to a perfect, slow building relationship? Yeah, that’s what I thought, and I don’t care. That’s how I feel about this book. First, it stood out in a crowd, then it intrigued me, then it annoyed me, then it fixed everything, then I just wanted to speed things up, then there was the surprising moment when I just knew, and then it came to perfect fruition. I didn’t get a chance to finish Verity before I had to return it to the library. I Charlie Brown walked it to the return bin and immediately put on a new hold and finished it within days of getting it back. This book reminded me why I love to read.
That being said, I find it much harder to review books I like. It’s just harder to nail down that exact thing that makes you happy, isn’t it? I feel like I have to justify my likes more than my dislikes. Why did I like this other than I just did?
Code Name Verity is the story of two young women (I’m not sure we’re given an exact age) caught in German occupied France during World War II. One is a civilian pilot. The other a wireless operator – or more accurately a spy. Verity is our spy, taken captive by the Gestapo after she foolishly looks the wrong way to cross the street. After giving her captors a number of wireless codes, she is allowed paper to write out more information for them. She uses this opportunity to tell the story of how she came to be in France by recounting how her friend Maddie became a pilot. The reader meets Verity as Queenie, a seemingly stuck up, but actually very kind, wealthy Scot with an affinity for languages. Von Linden, the head interrogator, takes a shine to Verity, and indulges her writing eccentricities. The other prisoners hate Verity. She is a traitor, the worst possible quality in a prisoner. She is the Gestapo’s pet and it is keeping her alive.
Women’s involvement during the Second World War is not something that gets no attention. We all know about Rosie the Riveter, and if we don’t we’re looking it up, right? Right?
**spoiler alert** I judged it by its cover. I grabbed this book from the library based entirely on the cover and title. I didn’t even read the summary**spoiler alert** I judged it by its cover. I grabbed this book from the library based entirely on the cover and title. I didn’t even read the summary blurb to see what it was about. And it worked for me. I loved this book. It was an incredibly easy read (one day), and sure, it didn’t have a lot of depth, but something about it pulled at my heartstrings. I was drawn in from the very beginning. Enough that I bought a copy for a friend when I was only a quarter of the way through. I loved the easy style of the writing, even as I recognizes the show/tell flaws. I wasn’t looking for a deep literary read when I picked this up. I’d recently finished Ready Player One and wanted a similar type of story without all the gaming info dumping, and that’s exactly what I got. https://hellphiesfiendishfiction.word......more
I hadn't heard of David Levithan until this year, and this is the third of his books I've read in the last couple months. He is definitely one of my fI hadn't heard of David Levithan until this year, and this is the third of his books I've read in the last couple months. He is definitely one of my favourite discoveries in recent memory. I love his style. Even more in this book than the previous ones. The fractured sentences and jumping thoughts pull me into the story. Every You, Every Me is a journey into the twisted, selfish way people can turn on person's pain into their own torture- and it definitely won't be everyone's cup of tea. Evan has been torturing himself with the loss of his friend Ariel. We don't find out what happened to her until late in the book, so don't get frustrated looking for it. It's not the most important part of the book. There are really two stories being told here - the one about the mysterious photos that keep showing up in Evan's life and the one where he is continually torturing himself with how he failed Ariel. It's this self-abuse that creates the whole picture of Evan as an angsty teen. While the book isn't about character growth and depth, I appreciate that. A lot of teens don't have that growth, especially in the short timeframe of this book. Reading the "crossed" out story is just as important as reading the "main" story in the book. I adore the way this story was developed. Levithan saw the photo on the cover at Farmer's house and started to develop the idea of the story. Farmer would then take random photos and give them to Levithan at random intervals and Levithan would create the story as he received the pictures and let them direct the story. I took this book from the library, but I have no doubt that I will be going to buy myself a copy of it. ...more
With varying degrees of success, I select books based on covers. I’ve talked about this before. It’s something a lot of people do. It’s not abnormal.With varying degrees of success, I select books based on covers. I’ve talked about this before. It’s something a lot of people do. It’s not abnormal. But sometimes, I pick books up for reasons that take a much twistier path. I decided to try reading David Levithan because I was watching Supernatural and that particular season was about leviathans. It was a pretty sorry excuse for a season, but I loved the word leviathan, and it’s similar to Levithan. So, that author must be worth reading, right? Combine the name with the cover and blamo, I ended up discovering an author I love.
Now, I’m going to admit, when the book showed up on my hold shelf at the library, I flipped through and sighed. This is not a style of book I enjoy. I anticipated flowery/ pretentious gobbledy-gook. But then I started to read and the quirky style won me over by the letter C. A love story told in the format of dictionary entries. One entry for each letter. No matter how short, you understand how this person feels about the object of their desire.
This book was amazing. Orson Scott Card has said that this was the book he always intended to write, and Ender's Game was just a way of getting to it.This book was amazing. Orson Scott Card has said that this was the book he always intended to write, and Ender's Game was just a way of getting to it. I don't know if I can say that I like one more than the other; they are pretty different. Ender's Game is engrossing and intense. You spend the book completely wrapped up in the world of this one little boy. Now it's 3000 years later and Ender is at the ripe old age of 35. Somehow, with the space travel explanations, this actually makes sense and sounds totally believable. Civilization has advanced to believe Ender is the worst person ever to have existed. They revere the Buggers and lament their destruction. But these feelings are long in the past and exist simply because that is what people have been told to believe. No one in The Hundred Worlds had any connection to the destruction of the Buggers, so when they encounter a new species in the Piggies, they recognize that they have a chance to make things right. Little do they know what that really means. When one of the local scientists is killed by the piggies, it starts a series of events that brings Ender to their world and leads a group of god-fearing, rule-following, ideal citizens to rebellion. This book is slower than Ender's Game and involves many more characters povs. I like getting the information from multiple different sides, but it does make it different from the first book in the series. Exploration of culturally accepted mores is always interesting. People have said that this book is slow and boring compared to Ender's Game, but what I think it is is scientific and detailed and absolutely worth the read. ...more
Amazing. One of the best books I've ever read. I have no idea why we didn't cover this book in my Sci-Fi class. The depth of character Card created inAmazing. One of the best books I've ever read. I have no idea why we didn't cover this book in my Sci-Fi class. The depth of character Card created in characters who barely reach pre-pubescence by the end of the novel is better than many authors are able to create in adult characters. I could go into depth describing the way Card was able to take the reader into the experience of Ender, as well as the other characters, but I think everyone should read this book on their own and discover this world. I went into this book knowing nothing, except that this was a sci-fi classic. I remember seeing it around my house from the time I was a little kid. I was sceptical that this would be the novel everyone told it me was, and I am happy to say that I was very wrong. ...more
I'd give this book 4.5 stars if that was an option. This is not a book about action and danger. It is a book about storytelling and imagination. The dI'd give this book 4.5 stars if that was an option. This is not a book about action and danger. It is a book about storytelling and imagination. The descriptions in this book swept me into the circus. I could picture everything in my head and would get lost for hours in the pathways of the tents. The challenges between the competitors took a back-seat to the characters whose lives they affected. It was Poppet and Widget that really drew me in. Their abilities and relationship with the circus gave everything a more ethereal, but real feeling. Widget's tent of scent memory is probably my favourite one of all those described. The only problem I had with the story was the bouncing time. It was hard to follow the flow sometimes when chapters were bouncing back and forth between decades. It sometimes felt like the events were just a continuation of the previous chapter, but when you looked at the date, it was actually happening ten years later. Eventually the time shifted comes to make more sense and allows for more complete experiences of certain stories (particularly the final section of the story), but at the beginning, it feels a little choppy and disjointed at places. Overall, I loved this story. It will be going on my shelf of books to be read again in the future. ...more
Many of the reviews I read on this book seem to have issues with one of the protagonists not being a supernatural. Personally, I liked Armstrong’s choMany of the reviews I read on this book seem to have issues with one of the protagonists not being a supernatural. Personally, I liked Armstrong’s choice to use a human character as a central figure. In a world where people are constantly trying to hide who they are, it’s inevitable that someone outside that secret will stumble upon it. And while the supernaturals normally take care of these people, that’s not always the most reasonable solution. There’s no reason to kill Robyn in this book, except for the fact that she accidentally found out that the community of supernaturals exist. I also really enjoyed the layered, multi person, narrative style. Even though each of the characters came into the situation with a different level of knowledge/experience in the supernatural world, they all seemed to react in quite similar ways. Each one assumed that the people they didn’t know had some kind of nefarious intent. The example that hops to mind is when Colm is on the roof and he keeps thinking that Hope and Karl are lying to him because they work for the Cabal and they’re just trying to lull him into submission. Then, if you look at the scene where Hope is running from Rhys, she is having almost identical thoughts. And when Finn finally finds Robyn, she accuses him of having the same intentions. So, regardless of their background, every character in this book is so coloured by their paranoia, they are unable to trust the people around them without putting themselves in danger. This wouldn’t have been apparent without the mixed narrative style. I liked this book a lotand found it engrossing - enough that I missed my stop on my train ride to work - twice. ...more