This is an interesting tale, incorporating the story of The Snow Queen in a very unique setting with an intrepid, sad, heroine, who finds her courage...moreThis is an interesting tale, incorporating the story of The Snow Queen in a very unique setting with an intrepid, sad, heroine, who finds her courage in the quest to save the Marvelous Boy. The story unfolds slowly with a beginning told from the Marvelous Boy's point of view and then opens again in a more modern time with Ophelia and her sister, Alice and their father in the museum as he sets up a display of swords, the finest in the world, set to open on Christmas Eve.
Characters- Ophelia is of course, the main character. She is timid, but curious and bored with sitting around watching her father or getting fashion tips from her older sister, Alice which she declares "are useless" on her. So she goes wandering this strange museum. She misses her mom and reminisces about good days with her. But when she finds the Marvelous Boy locked in a secret room, her scientific mind tells her he is not possible and his story is improbable. However, her mother believed in imagination, she was a horror writer, and as her mother begins to whisper to her when Ophelia questions herself, Ophelia begins to wonder, if the story the boy told her was true, if she can believe her own eyes, ears, and feelings. She shows remarkable growth from a young girl, moping about, to a girl who wants to save the world.
Unfortunately, Dad is absentminded and not very present. Alice, older sister to Ophelia is easily swayed by the Snow Queen, seeking beauty and an escape from her own sorrow.
The Marvelous Boy- tells his story through flashbacks. His story is very unusual. He has no name. The wizards that sent him to Ophelia's world hundreds of years ago, took his name and despite his desperate trying, he cannot remember his name. He has been locked in his room for hundreds of years by the Snow Queen who is waiting for a clock to run out, for a charm put on him to expire. Then she will be able to kill him and rule the world, Ophelia's world.
The Snow Queen- It is obvious as the story begins who the Snow Queen is and what the story is about. I won't say, but leave it to anyone that doesn't know the story to figure it out for themselves. But she is just as icy and wicked as any Snow Queen, ever!
The Setting- The setting is the museum and it is fascinating. It reminds me a lot of a room in Hogwarts that changes every time you go in it. I think it was whatever you needed it to be, in Hogwarts. In this story, there is a room that changes as circumstances change. The museum seems to change, becoming more sinister as the Snow Queen becomes more wicked and shows herself more. It does seem dark in some places and Ophelia travels in a forbidden elevator to rickety stairs up and down, past dinosaurs, dollhouses, a room of broken toys, beautiful ball gowns, a gallery of portraits of beautiful, young unsmiling girls and on and on. It is definitely a museum of many things.
The Story - I can imagine the museum sparking the imagination of Ophelia, but she isn't one given to imagination. She is scientific, a member of the Children's Science Society of Greater London which met on Tuesday nights. And yet.... she is drawn into the Marvelous Boy's story and the magic of the museum. It is a great story of a family slowly drifted apart by the sorrow of the death of the woman that kept them glued together. And this story somehow, includes all the members of Ophelia's story, bringing them in as different parts of the story of the Snow Queen reshaping. I have to say, it isn't really a retelling. Ophelia is a great heroine, especially for young girls, she isn't the typical girl you would expect as the girl that tries to save the day.
My take- I loved this story. It was short and engaging. The museum was a great backdrop with it's own mysteries. The Marvelous Boy's story was a sharp contrast to the main story line and I felt attached to both characters. I want to believe in all the fantasy characters I read about, but like Ophelia, I believe what my eyes see. I think the real magic, is in the beauty of a well told story, friendships, doing more than you believe you are capable of. This story was magic.
Absolutely wonderful story for MG readers and up. I read the e- Arc so I am not sure about the chapters, how long they are, but I think it would be a great read aloud story for a teacher or parent and child if they are younger!
I received a copy of this novel from the publisher for review. This did not influence my review. All opinions expressed are my own.(less)
You don't usually start at the end when you are reviewing a book but BEST END EVER!! I don't say that for a second book, especially when so much is le...moreYou don't usually start at the end when you are reviewing a book but BEST END EVER!! I don't say that for a second book, especially when so much is left in the air, but I was like a little kid about to wet her pants hopping up and down in my seat reading that ending. And I think A.G. Howard is a genius. I thought the Disney movie of Alice in Wonderland was confusing. I haven't even read Lewis Carroll's books. But I find this series incredibly complex. Wonderland is every bit fantastical and weird and Morpheus is darkly enticing as any paranormal or fantasy I've read. The real world Ali lives in is still bizarre in that while she used to make bug mosaics (yuck) she now makes blood mosaics using her own blood. She talks to bugs and her mother talks to flowers. Ali's worlds have collided. The weird world of Wonderland is bleeding into her human world through her dreams, through her nightmares and then through dangerous reality.
Now I want to make it clear, I am team Jeb, all the way. But whew, I might have been persuaded to change teams in this book. Especially as I think of Johnny Depp a la Pirates of the Caribbean every time I read Morpheus' name. He is deliciously enigmatic, leaving you guessing his motives, and exactly what he knows and is capable of, a huge question mark, but wrapped in a sensuously enticing man so that you kind of forget the darker parts of him. Until they show themselves, reminding us that however much we may desire him, however much he may convince us that he desires us, Morpheus is a creature of Wonderland. But that leads us to Ali. She is neither all human nor all Netherling. And it shows in this novel how much she is torn between the two worlds. Her Netherling side pulls at her calling her to be wild while she clings to the human world. And Jeb, even for a full human, has a bit of the bad boy in him. He rides a motorcycle, he's an artist, has a labret. He isn't exactly a milk and cookies boy.
So the story takes place in the human world this time, but there are plenty of Netherlings to make it puzzling and dangerous. Ali learns from past mistakes and not just her own. The story line takes place over only three days, but it is packed full of revelations and connections and Ali finds that she is more connected to Wonderland than she could ever have imagined. It all comes down to a showdown at the prom with Red and some other Netherlings, some more powerful than others, and then that ending. Ali seems to be repeating a pattern in her family. And yet, her little deception there at the end. Oh, so beautifully come full circle kind of end.
If you liked Splintered, you will LOVE Unhinged. If you Loved Splintered well be prepared for A.G. Howard to rock your reading mind. I recommend it to lovers of Alice in Wonderland and all the variations. It is a great reworking of the story. I love this one. I am thinking I should probably read the original though. Just to see how much better A.G. Howard improved on the original.
Thanks to the publishers at Abrams for providing an e-arc of the novel through NetGalley for review purposes. This did not influence my review at all. All opinions expressed are my own. (less)
The audiobook of Zoe and Zak and the Yogi's Curse is just as good, if not better than the first audiobook, Zoe and Zak and the Ghost Leopard. The narr...moreThe audiobook of Zoe and Zak and the Yogi's Curse is just as good, if not better than the first audiobook, Zoe and Zak and the Ghost Leopard. The narrator, Sonja Field does a great job of sounding like a 12 yr old girl, Zoe, and change her voice to sound like a talking elephant, a 500 year old yogi, and a 12 yr old boy. Her narration is even in it's pacing and the tone is appropriate for the action in the story. I love when she cries out "Holy India" when she's surprised by something.
The story this time is Zoe and Zak are at boarding school in the Himalayas while their parents work all over India. It is supposed to be a great boarding school, but right from the start, things are strange there. Zoe's roommate disappears. The halls are guarded by mean monkeys and guard parrots. The food is inedible and some of the teachers start disappearing. And Zoe and Zak start getting weird messages from elephant tusks and yogis. The mystery is full of action and riddles and late night adventures. And Zoe and Zak make some allies at school, new friends who have some idea of what they do and what they are. There is a huge twist at the end that brings levity to the whole adventure and brings the mystery to an end.
Lars Guignard has a great imagination and his love for India shines through in his writing. The adventures of Zoe and Zak will hopefully continue with many more unusual animals and mysteries. Sonja Fields' narration brings the story to life with her varied voices and accents and makes the novel fly by as you listen. I love this series and though I haven't read it, I prefer to listen to it on audio. I would miss her narration, with the accents and voices of the different characters. I highly recommend the audio book.
I received a copy of the audio book for review. I was not compensated for my review.(less)
So there is a lot going on in this little novel. Emma is a very self sufficient little girl dealing with sneezing houses (brownies) and witchy neighbo...moreSo there is a lot going on in this little novel. Emma is a very self sufficient little girl dealing with sneezing houses (brownies) and witchy neighbors all by herself. She doesn't see her father much because of his being a jazz musician and so I was never quite sure if all the things that happened were the fanciful imaginings of a bored little girl or a real magical story (relatively speaking.) It's magical either way. Emma has to fight with the brownies who first think she is a monster and then revere her as their savior the Wanderer. And in fact, she is a wanderer of sorts as she and her father have traveled from town to town to town in search of work.
The idea in this novel is that houses are alive, they are "root bound". I loved this. The idea of a house, comes from people their dreams, plans, pictures. It's built with bricks and wood, and plaster. But then it gets a history and begins to put down roots and eventually, the longer it lives, it's roots begin to tap into the magic that is in the Under. So the house is alive. Now I happen to believe, for me, that you have to make friends with your house. Sit with it, get to know it, it's night sounds, it's day sounds. This idea of the house putting down roots it really sat well with me. It was my favorite part of the novel.
I think Emma handles everything thrown at her really well, better than an older child would mainly because she still believes in magic, though she does try to dismiss it. At the same time she's trying to rationalize everything that happens and that she sees, she is carrying around a "storybook" with the stories her mother used to read to her. It's one heck of a book, too because it contains stories from all different mythologies and countries.
I had a little trouble with the beginning, I felt it was a little slow to take off, but then things took off and the pacing was steady. This is a good middle grade book, especially for girls. It touches on many things from dealing with the loss of a parent to being bullied, to loneliness. This is the first in the series.
I received a review copy of this novel in ebook form for the blog tour. I was not compensated for my review. (less)
This, this is the book I have been looking for...the one that would break my reading slump. It's taken almost two months to get me out of it but this...moreThis, this is the book I have been looking for...the one that would break my reading slump. It's taken almost two months to get me out of it but this one , RED RISING, has me excited about reading again! This is like The Hunger Games on steroids, in Space, with the Roman Gods and not the down trodden, but the HAVES waging war on each other. This book was so unexpected, every plot twist had me clutching my stomach or getting sick to it or just not believing it. I sit here in the post after glow of reading a really great book and I just don't want to share with you. But I know you won't just believe me as I haven't written a real review in such a long time. So here goes....
Characters- Let me just make a blanket statement and say that Darrow's point of view is the one the story is told from. He's young, 16, married and just full of energy and anger and rash. But he's also chained, by his station, he is a Red, the lowest class and he just does the same thing, day in and day out never questioning if there could be something more for himself, for his family and his clan. For the other Reds. Darrow is a constantly evolving and growing character and as time passes, Darrow holds onto the best of himself, and lets go of the rest. He plays so many different characters in the novel, husband, rebel, leader, follower, friend, foe, healer, all while keeping his eye on the prize. (Yes, I am being very secretive because I don't want to spoil anything for you.)
I don't even know what other characters to explain to you. There are so many others that are primary at times and then they fall away to be replaced by someone new. I will say that given the nature of the "game" (it's actually called school) that is being played and because it is told from Darrow's point of view, we only know the other characters as well as Darrow does. And in a cut throat game where there can be only one winner, loyalties will always shift and friends can stab you in the back in a heartbeat.
The World- This is the only minor fault I have with the novel, I don't get why the world is as it is. Why is everyone living on all the various planets and moons if Earth is still habitable? And it is, the novel says so. There is a very brief description about how the Golds got to be top dog and it had to do with them defeating Earth, but that's it. I would have liked a longer explanation. (I'm sure one is coming). But with the opening of the book, I can feel the sweat dripping down Darrows fry suit as he pushes himself in his drill, faster, harder, trying to mine more Helium 3 than any other crew. Brown doesn't overuse the word red to describe Darrow's world and yet it's the only color I see when I picture it, everything covered in a layer of red dust, people included. It's an underground desert to me. The other parts that are described (again not giving anything away) are rushed in some areas so that I don't get a clear grasp of what they look like and then other ares are fully developed so I know exactly what the landscape is like, I can picture it in my mind.
The Story- Yes, yes, yes!!! This was an amazing story for me. I'm sure it's been told before in some other way. But Brown puts the right character, Darrow, with the right amount of tragedy and heroism in him, and throws the impossible at him and because of the tragedy, not in spite of it, he is propelled to be heroic. He is the underdog, meant to be a rebel, a symbol for the Reds, but first he has to do something, become powerful so that he can be seen by them, martial their support. Because the Reds have no idea what he finds out about the planet. And with Darrow as a Gold, but the heart of a Red, he sees how difficult it is going to be to betray the Golds that he calls friends. But still, there is the one thing that started all of this, that one thing that broke him and made him reckless enough to risk everything. And it still drives him. I'm not sure if I have read a story where the hero is driven by this one particular thing for so long.
Thoughts- I kind of shared those in The Story. I think it is almost perfectly executed. Just a bit more depth into what happened to Earth and why the world had to expand so far out into the solar system. How did the adaptations happen to make the different colored people. I loved Darrow. I thought he was vulnerable and young, strong and smart, caring and kind, but also harsh when he needed to be. His kindness and friendliness were both a strength and a weakness. He was really my favorite part of the book, a great character can make a book and Darrow is a great character. I can't wait to see what Pierce Brown has in store for the next book. This one did not end on a cliffhanger but it ended on a very big- Oh WOW!
I will say that I thought this would be one of those seven book series. I think it would be a shame to squash this rich, vibrant, vast world with an array of peoples and variety of villains into too small of a page count. Just saying I wouldn't mind reading about Darrow and his merry band of howlers a little longer than a trilogy.
I would recommend this to older teens as there is a lot of violence, sexual themes and adult situations and language. This is Science Fiction but doesn't get gadgety or anything. It is set on Mars. I'm just trying to get across if you don't like Science Fiction don't let it stop you from reading this series. I have a feeling the next book will get more techie, but I am ready for it! It has a dystopian feeling to it so those of you that still don't have enough of that...you'll be happy with this. If you loved The Hunger Games, Game of Thrones, this is your cup of Tea. I loved how the Roman as opposed to the Greek Gods were thrown in and you'll like how they meddle in things. So you like the gods, you'll love that. It doesn't have a Young Adult feel to it. At least I didn't think so. Maybe because the Golds all had to act like adults when they fought each other. In any case, I'd recommend even to those who don't read YA.
I received a copy of this novel for review from the publisher for review. This in no way affected my opinion of the book or my thoughts in my review. I was not compensated for my review.
Yes, I finally finished a novel!! I listened to it on audio and I loved it! When this series came out I was hesitant about reading it. I loved the ide...moreYes, I finally finished a novel!! I listened to it on audio and I loved it! When this series came out I was hesitant about reading it. I loved the idea of Elisa being heavy set and a heroine. But the more I read the reviews, the more I didn't like what they said. That Elisa didn't become a heroine until she lost weight. I shied away from the series. I have weight issues and it pissed me off to know that only skinny girls could be heroines, even in this book. WRONG!
Here is what I found listening to the novel. Elisa is a heroine right from the start. She is defiant, loyal and thinks like a heroine, even if she doesn't believe in herself right from the start. She has been married off at the age of 16 to a man she has never met and she's worried about what he's going to think of her because of her weight. I know how she feels. Rae Carson does a great job of being in the mind of a girl, overweight or not, that is insecure about her body. Elisa knows she is being judged by her looks, but rather than letting it beat her down, rather than withering under their judgmental glances, Elisa lives up to her title. She is a Queen and she acts it. I can't help but think that if more of us took our flaws as well as Elisa does and treated ourselves as Queens or Kings anyway, then we might all be happier. Elisa never resorts to pitying herself but owns up to having created her weight problem.
Elisa shows extreme bravery and strength throughout the novel. She trudges through the desert even as her legs and heavy body betray her without complaining. She isn't there of her own free will either. Her faith in the Godstone and her God keeps her going. And as her body grows smaller, her belief in herself grows larger but it isn't because of the lost weight. It's because of the strength in her body. In herself.
The story is good, but there is a lot I don't know about the country and the cities. About the different religions. And about the Godstone itself and how it gets inside of someone. What the war is about. I think the stronger story is about Elisa, coming into herself, and her own power, learning how to lead a country and trusting her own judgment. I was very happy with Elisa as a character in this novel and the way she developed.
And the audio--- I really enjoyed the audio narrator. Her voice was soft and young. It got overwrought and excited when needed but for the most part, like Elisa, it remained calm. I really enjoyed her voice, the pacing, the way she changed her voice for different characters. I believed her voice and feelings that came through. I'm glad she continues the narration in the next book as I have it on audio to listen to as well. (less)
I don't usually tell you I have DNF'd a book, but I'm going to start telling you. Every book I read can't be great, right? And when I've taken my time...moreI don't usually tell you I have DNF'd a book, but I'm going to start telling you. Every book I read can't be great, right? And when I've taken my time to read a book why shouldn't I tell you why it didn't work for me? So here goes, and I do say this with great respect because I know how hard it is to even attempt to write a book.
Tula is boring. There is absolutely no depth to her character. I have read to page 67 of the e-ARC and I know nothing more about her than I did when I started the novel. I know what she does every day. I know what Heckleck asks her to do. I know where she lives in regard to the space station she lives on. But I don't know how she thinks. It does say she's numb and if the author wrote it this way intentionally, well I'd say well done. But for me, I just don't care about Tula.
The second problem is that nothing is happening. Absolutely nothing. The first exciting thing just happened a couple of pages ago and now it's over and nothing is going on. It's even less happening than before. And again, this may be intentional to show us how life is for Tula, but I don't need 67 pages to show me that. I got it in the first couple of chapters. The pacing is just too slow.
I am giving up. And I'm reviewing it now because the book is one that has to be read on my computer and expires on Saturday. I won't remember it in February and I want to be able to answer your questions if you have any. It is not a terrible book by any means. It's just not exciting or holding my attention. Nothing in it makes me want to read it. And I have other books that I do want to read.
So sadly, lack of depth of characters, lack of progression of the story and slow pacing all prove to be just too much to make me continue with this story. I'll be eager to see if anyone else has a different opinion and can show me what I missed. But this one is a DNF for me. (less)
First, don't worry about the term "Dieselpunk". It won't get in the way of you enjoying this thoroughly action packed, romance filled novel. Yep, ther...moreFirst, don't worry about the term "Dieselpunk". It won't get in the way of you enjoying this thoroughly action packed, romance filled novel. Yep, there are automatons, zeppelins and other machinery, but it just kind of blends into the story. There is MAGIC! And it is so unique how the machines and the magic blend together and how each property, if magic can be called a property, war against each other.
This is the first novel I've read by Karen Kincy and I'm impressed. The novel jumps right into the end of a battle, with Ardis looking for survivors. Ardis, the heroine, is a "peacekeeper." She works for the archmages. She is a mercenary. She keeps the peace by killing the rebels. Ardis is there for many reasons, but if fate were the reason, she is there to find Wendel on his death bed siccing a reanimated dog on her. Ardis realizes he is a necromancer, reanimating a dog gives that way, and she has heard stories about dealing death to a necromancer so she takes him prisoner. And to the medicine tent because he is alarmingly pale.
Ardis is practical, she recognizes that Wendel is a necromancer and that she needs to keep that fact a secret for his safety. She also notices that he is quite handsome and believes he must be from nobility of some sort. But his touch disgusts her and she isn't sure what it can do to her. So wisely she decides she will demand a ransom for his return. But through their journey together, she begins to like him more than a little and the very inhuman and lonely Ardis starts to thaw. She is forward and honest in what she wants. And she is not weak when Wendel can't offer her what she wants. She walks away. But, when it really matters, she is strong, maybe too much so, and she might commit the biggest mistake of her life.
Wendel is easy to like. He is charming and funny. But then he turns and becomes moody and unreachable. The truth is, he is broken, but he hides it well. He lets bits of it leak out and it is only Ardis that can get the whole story out of him. And then not the whole story. He is definitely handy in battle and a little creepy with his magic. But he is open and honest with Ardis so any shortcomings can be easily overlooked.
The fascinating part of this novel, not that Ardis and Wendel weren't enjoyable, was the world. The complexity of mixing "dieselpunk" with magic, Archmages and assassins, and necromancers-the purest form of magic of anything in the book, it was an incredible world. And I never got lost or gave up because there was just too much. A couple of times I was just plain jealous at Karen Kincy's creativity. You'll see what I mean when you read it. To twist all these complex things together and make a world that works in a historical setting, altering real world events, just slightly to change history, it's ingenious. And makes for a great story.
Ardis is complex. She has revealed little of herself to us and even less of how she feels about her personal history. We see a little more of Wendel's personal history and he is even more sweet for it. I just wanted to hug him to me. And kill some people. I really enjoyed the two of them together and separately and I cannot wait for the next in the series. I was so happy to see it would be a series!
I did receive and e-ARC as part of the tour with CBB Book Promotions. This did not influence my review. All opinions expressed are my own. Thank you to both CBB Book Promotions and the author for the review copy.(less)
So I'll just say right now, this one worked for me!! I read Aimee Carter's Goddess Test and really enjoyed it, but felt like it was just a little rese...moreSo I'll just say right now, this one worked for me!! I read Aimee Carter's Goddess Test and really enjoyed it, but felt like it was just a little reserved. I can't say if it was the relationship between the main characters, or the action, but I felt like she was holding back. I don't feel that at all in this book. I read about 30% through this one and felt really excited and then got to the "Masking" part and thought the book would be predictable from then on. I was completely surprised through the entire book! Aimee Carter held nothing back in this book. She goes THERE and then some. I loved it!
So the characters. Kitty is likable right away. She steals an orange from the market for which she can be shot dead for. An orange, because it's her birthday and she basically failed her test. And she is going to be separated from her boyfriend Benjy, her best friend and fellow orphan. So she just wants that orange. It's a symbol- an act of defiance. Kitty isn't dumb, she knows what kind of life is ahead for her and she knows Benjy would sacrifice his life as one of the privileged fives or sixes to be with her. She won't let him. But she's also not dumb as in intelligence. She can't read and it seems she has a learning disability, that's all that kept her from passing her test. She genuinely cares about the people she lives with but her survival instincts kick in after she is masked. Then she just tries to stay alive and keep Benjy alive.
Benjy we see so little of, it's hard to form an opinion of him. The romance is a little hard to believe because of this. I am hoping to see more of him in the next book. He seems to be a good guy, but nothing is as it seems in this world.
Greyson, Daxton's only living son and Augusta's grandson, the heir to the "throne" is the other one that I liked the most. He is sweet and kind, shy and slow to anger. But you know the saying "still waters run deep"? There is a lot more going on there than we know. I wouldn't be surprised at anything that comes out of him. He stays out of the politics and invents things through most of the book, but towards the end, he can't avoid it.
The other characters, whether they were primary or secondary characters, were somewhat one dimensional. But it didn't hurt the story. Daxton and Augusta, the leaders of the world, are just evil. They are the creators of this type of caste system and make sure it is enforced. For the most part, the masses are kept poor, under educated and desperate. Knox, who is Lila's intended, is less than forthcoming but seems to have Kitty's back. Celia is Lila's mother and she is just desperate. A loose cannon and you don't know what important information she is leaving out or if she is putting Kitty in danger.
The world isn't really well described. But you get the general idea. Privileged in one section with heavy guards and it goes down hill from there until you hit the slums, where Kitty and Benjy lived. There is Elsewhere, a threat held over Kitty's head that she and Benjy will be sent there. And then there are hidden places. Cities thrive, but you aren't given a lot of information about who is in the cities like NYC. The buildings still stand, but you aren't sure if business goes on.
The story, that's what blew me away. Every time I though it was going to go for the obvious, it went for something else. Right until the end. None of the characters acted the way I expected despite my urging them to do something! But nothing seemed out of place. So many of the characters are forced to act out of desperation. But how they react to this motivation is completely unpredictable. The story made me overlook any fault I might have had with the characters. And at this point, I have no idea where the story is going. I am more than ready for the next book in the series! I think Aimee Carter really left anything that held her back and went for it with this one. I felt no hesitation in this novel. Characters you don't expect to die do. No one is safe. I expect a lot more loss in the next book. And plenty of twists and turns.
This is a great dystopian, a breath of fresh air from the gritty ones I've been reading lately because we get to read from the privileged side of the world. Posh surroundings, plenty to eat, limousines and plenty of guards. Kitty is a strong heroine who is just trying to figure out how to remain a valuable asset so she can stay alive. Surrounded by three boys who seem protective of her, you'd think she's safe, but I don't think so. Not in the world of Pawn!
I received a copy of this novel from the publisher for review through NetGalley. This did not influence my review. The opinions expressed in my review are my own. (less)
**spoiler alert** Oh, how I love a book from the guy's point of view! This is a New Adult book and is British so it's a little foreign but I think it...more**spoiler alert** Oh, how I love a book from the guy's point of view! This is a New Adult book and is British so it's a little foreign but I think it just adds to the seduction of this series. Oh Ben...he is amazing. He's kind of floundering, playing in a band that he has threatened to quit so many times. And this is it, tonight is the night. And after this gig, that's it. He's not sure what he'll do after that, but... And then he meets HER. Ben, the guy who stays away from girls, never had a girlfriend, and he can only move closer to her, stand in her personal space, want more of her. At the gig, he watches her, he learns things, senses things about her and when he lets her slips through his fingers and out the door before learning her last name, he vows to stay in the band as he's sure that is the way to find her.
This story puts a huge smile on your face as you're reading it. I don't think I ever stopped smiling. I love Ben throughout The Art of Letting Go and through this novella. He is the guy, the one you want to fall head over heels for you. Just read what he does to find Lila and what he does when he finds her. Tell me you aren't smiling when you read it. I'll call you a liar.(less)
This may be the most emotional book/novella of all in the Shade series. I have found myself crying, gulping lumps in my throat and generally an emotio...moreThis may be the most emotional book/novella of all in the Shade series. I have found myself crying, gulping lumps in my throat and generally an emotional wreck at the torture Zachary has been through. I love the friendship between him and Martin. There are some truly touching scenes in there that will break your heart.
I've been a little skeptical about how Zachary's confinement could make him so "Shattered", but I am no longer a doubter. Jeri Smith-Ready is a master at conveying the utter loneliness he felt. I think this may be the best book of the entire series.
A must read! And a free download! Thank you Jeri!! Ten stars if I could!!(less)
I listened to the audio version of this book. So first I will review the audio book. I thought the narrator's voice was good, it sounded like a young...moreI listened to the audio version of this book. So first I will review the audio book. I thought the narrator's voice was good, it sounded like a young girl, but there was absolutely no variation in the tone of her voice. I would have thought when recalling being shot, she would have had some emotion in her voice, or talking about missing her family or the education she was so passionate about, I would hear that passion in her voice, but the narrator's voice was always even toned, only a few times was there maybe a smile in her voice. It didn't make me enjoy the book less, but Malala has inspired such a great deal of emotion and discussion, I feel some more emotion would have been injected into the narrator's voice.
One thing I can say about the audio book that I would recommend it over the written book is the names and places. These are all very foreign names and places and I would have spent a great deal of time trying to figure out what was a place name and a person's name if I had been reading it. And that doesn't include the time I would have taken trying to pronounce the words in my head. With it being read to me, I didn't have that confusion. The words were pronounced for me and it was clear who was who and what was what. I may not know how to spell them, but that's okay.
I am hesitant to review the book. As an American with my head buried in the sand when it comes to most things foreign, I really am ignorant of what is happening around the world. The news is so filtered that we get a very sanitized version of what is actually happening. It's up to us to seek out the real truth through books, documentaries and reliable internet sources. That being said, I have to take this book and see the truth in it and not fall for the hype that is Malala.
I've read the Goodreads reviews that say Malala's book misrepresents Pakistan and Muslims. Here is what I got from the book. Malala's portrayal of people in Pakistan is mainly of those in Swat and shows a country of people with long held cultural traditions, people better than me, maybe you. They invite strangers into their homes and welcome them for as long as they want to stay. The people of Pakistan value education for both girls and boys, it's execution is not perfect, but it is valued. Swat is not exactly a microcosm of Pakistan, being in the rural Northwest with Afghanistan on it's border. Clean water and electricity was sometimes a luxury for Malala's family. And her home was always full with people unfed and with other needs that her family tried their best to meet, despite their own lack of wealth. But they care, a lot more than we do here in our land of plenty. I'm not preaching, I'm just saying that her portrayal of the people in her book is not something I'd be ashamed of. I can't speak for the politics, the corruption, the army. There are always truth and lies and somewhere in all that is the real story. But I can't pretend that Pakistan is the only country that happens in. I won't even start naming names.
Malala gives a great picture of pre Taliban and post Taliban life in Swat. There was music and dancing and laughter and games before and there was nothing but fear after. People were killed and left in the square for all to see. If that isn't intimidating then the daily radio broadcasts and the pounding on the doors to confiscate contraband would finish the job. Again, this is not a representation of Islam or Pakistan, this is the Taliban.
The only fault I have with this book is that it didn't genuinely feel like it was Malala's words. I felt like most of it was Christina Lamb and only some of it was Malala, the parts that told about her days in school, the competition between her and her friends to get the top marks. The love she had for Swat. And speaking in front of the UN. I do believe Malala to be a very brave girl, someone that has a voice that should be heard. And she does prove that one voice can make a difference. I'm sorry it took the Taliban shooting her for her voice to be heard so loudly, but she doesn't seem to regret it. I believe she has more to say and we will hear her words again.
You know I don't usually review non-fiction, but I think this is a book that any of us should read. If a 15 year old girl can be heard then what can we do if we combine our voices? There is a movie called Girl Rising that is about girls around the world and their fight for education and includes Malala in it. The link I have for it is an order for the DVD. The Trailer for it is below. It is an inspiring film, just as Malala is an inspiring young girl. (less)
A fresh idea from Mo Willems! I found this at a book fair and can't wait to read it with my niece who is learning to read! The pictures give great clu...moreA fresh idea from Mo Willems! I found this at a book fair and can't wait to read it with my niece who is learning to read! The pictures give great clues as to what is going to happen, it's such a great book to learn to read. It has a humorous and unexpected ending. I love Mo Willems!(less)