Dreaming the Bear is one of those books I wanted to like. I love visiting Yellowstone and exploring that area of thNote: ARC received via Amazon Vine.
Dreaming the Bear is one of those books I wanted to like. I love visiting Yellowstone and exploring that area of the world. I wanted to feel like I was right there in the dangers of the wild with Darcy. Instead I felt like I was reading an emotional, frustrated teenager who was more at odds with herself than with the environment. There are hints of danger and romance. There is a lot of obvious issues with the character's thinking which we see as readers, but she does not realize as the narrating character. At times there are transitions as Darcy begins narrating outsider herself which feel really awkward and make the first half the book a bit clunky. By the end I didn't feel there was much suspense and that Darcy's personal journey, which is the real point of the book, was a bit too familiar. In the end I hoped for more survival story where I got a coming-of-age tale. Still, I think some teens will really connect with the book. It just wasn't really for me....more
Say you want to get teens interested in mythology but they think it's all stodgy old stuff and don't understand whyNote: ARC received via Amazon Vine.
Say you want to get teens interested in mythology but they think it's all stodgy old stuff and don't understand why they should even be interested. Introduce them to Bull by David Elliott then see what they say. Elliott takes a myth that many people probably know at least the tiniest bit about - a bull in a maze probably is the extent of it. Then make it a novel in verse while also giving the characters all a contemporary feel. Where Elliott really succeeds is in making the characters feel like complex people with their own rhythm to life. He humanizes while at the same time allowing them to maintain the myth as it was set up all those years ago. I enjoyed reading Bull so much that I feel it definitely merits several rereads. By giving Asterion a voice, we not only get to understand the bull, but to feel for him as his lot in life deteriorates over the course of what is a fairly short book. Bull would make a fantastic companion read to mythology courses in school. Teens will love this because it doesn't talk down to them and it speaks their language. Very well done, Mr. Elliott. Very well done, indeed....more
Note: eArc received via the publisher through NetGalley. Many thanks to Doubleday Books. On with the review.
The premise of Daniel H. Wilson's The ClocNote: eArc received via the publisher through NetGalley. Many thanks to Doubleday Books. On with the review.
The premise of Daniel H. Wilson's The Clockwork Dynasty sucked me in enough to want to try the book. I enjoyed it in so far as it was a well paced and decently plotted thriller story. I was hoping for it be more steampunk based on the cover than the actual writing turned out to be. Wilson is in his comfort zone writing an action thriller that involves some sort of robotics. In this case it's an ancient sort that includes fantastical elements and pulls in an 'expert' of the field who has a personal connection to all that is going on.
There was, however, something surface about much of it for me. The balance of plot and character background never quite worked, in part because I felt the two people narrating in alternate chapters had voices that were too similar to each other when they should have been quite different in my estimation. If not for the settings I may not have easily distinguished them when I wasn't reading the chapter headings close enough. But as a fun book, this has some merit, some history, and plenty of action. Maybe too much action for my tastes. When paired with my lack of connection to the main characters this just didn't work for me in the end. I enjoyed, just never connected, and was thus left feeling slightly unsatisfied. That said, The Clockwork Dynasty would make a great action thriller film....more
I really enjoyed Lewis's other book, Stitching Snow, but where that one built the world and made it as interesting as the characters, Spinning StarligI really enjoyed Lewis's other book, Stitching Snow, but where that one built the world and made it as interesting as the characters, Spinning Starlight just meanders looking for most of it. I had high hopes that this would at least be on par with the other, but that is most certainly not the case. I was bored with the girl who couldn't speak, had little sense of who she or her brothers were and even less idea what I was supposed to be picturing. In the end this was too vague when it should have been specific and too specific when it should have been broad....more
My memory of this must be a bit faulty because I remember The Legend of Sleepy Hollow being more action filled than it is. At any rate, Irving spendsMy memory of this must be a bit faulty because I remember The Legend of Sleepy Hollow being more action filled than it is. At any rate, Irving spends a lot of time creating the scene and setting and characters for a rather short bit of action. While I enjoyed re-reading this many years after my first foray into the legend, it was less satisfactory than I hoped. Perhaps I just enjoy the various things the original has spawned more than the original itself....more
The Dragon's Legacy sure has a lot of words in it. Many of the words are in the English language, but there are a pNote: ARC received via Amazon Vine.
The Dragon's Legacy sure has a lot of words in it. Many of the words are in the English language, but there are a plenty of made up ones, too. It's the latter category that made this book very difficult for me to read. Let me explain:
After plowing through the book, I find I cannot tell you what the plot or even the basic premise of the book is. I can't really tell you about the characters.* I can't even tell you 'the point,' and I assume there is 'a point' because it is a book that has been slated for publishing and there usually is some sort of point in the text. Really, my reading of the book amounted to a mishmash of words. Details happen, occasional almost identifiable plot stuffs happen. Characters and places and things happen all over the book. But what is it about? I don't know. If someone who has read the book cover to cover can tell me, I salute your ability to parse whatever the author is doing. Your brain is much more creative than mine.
Then we come to the title which includes the word 'dragon.' Now, unless I totally missed it (and that is possible), I spy with my little eye 0 dragons because I refuse to acknowledge the one on the cover. Now, there is a 'dragon king' but I wouldn't call him a dragon of the super scary fire breathing and wings and scaly sort. I found no actual dragons. Oddly, the mention of them did make me want to play the DragonAge video games again, so points for that, I guess.
World building? Wait, that didn't happen. When writing fantasy, it's important to orient the reader to the world from page one. Nope. None of that. We're tossed right into it and good luck to us trying to figure it out on the go most of the time. There's just lots and lots of world specific words again. Some are sort of explained in the appendices but for the most part I was lost and more lost.
The overall feel I got from the book was that the author had ideas for people, places, things but the execution is all over the place. It's sort of like my NaNoWriMo projects (which I am smart enough to know not to attempt to publish in any form because they are nonsensical drivel - this is a side note, not a dig at anyone or anything). Much tossing around of people, places, things occurs but the whole does not add up to anything recognizable as beginning, middle, end.
*This is a note about a character because I really liked this part of the book. This character's story was the reason I kept plowing through even when I wanted to give up. I like Jian. I think Jian has the most easily followed and intriguing plotline of the entire book. But Jian and his part encompasses about five chapters that are very spread out. If this book were about him, I would have loved every word, even the made up ones. But Jian is not the main thrust and I was lost when it wasn't his part of the story. Unfortunately he is not enough to make me read further installments, either. He is enough for me to give the author credit for giving me something interesting to attach to, though, and not give this book 1 star. Instead I give it 2....more
If you took that old Jack Lemmon and Tony Curtis film The Great Race and rewrote it for kids, the result might look something like Pugs of the FrozenIf you took that old Jack Lemmon and Tony Curtis film The Great Race and rewrote it for kids, the result might look something like Pugs of the Frozen North. This story follows Shen and his sixty-six rescued pugs as they join a race. Along the way Shen makes many friends as they must persevere through of collapsing snow bridges, noodle-making yetis, and sundry other trials. The writing is at a lower middle grade level which makes the book accessible to young readers, but can be enjoyed by any age. This would be also be a good family read-aloud. If this adult could find the joy of watching pugs in sweaters pull a dogsled, then no doubt kids will, too....more