Okay, I've found myself super hooked on this series, when I originally didn't even think I'd like it. I'm reading about 4 of them per week and still cOkay, I've found myself super hooked on this series, when I originally didn't even think I'd like it. I'm reading about 4 of them per week and still can't get enough!...more
This book was well written, but not well told. Such a disappointment after the perfection of "The Art of Racing in the Rain." The author not only hoppThis book was well written, but not well told. Such a disappointment after the perfection of "The Art of Racing in the Rain." The author not only hopped genres here, but also had a meandering, nonsensical plot--much in contrast to his tightly knit and unputdownable debut. It seemed as if Stein didn't know where he wanted to go with this novel and relied far too heavily on several hidden rooms of the mansion and discovered journals. I love literary fiction and can deal with slow development, but this languorous tome didn't seem to have a purpose or an end destination. I finally abandoned it at 53% of the way through. I kept on so long, because I enjoyed the LGBT subplot of a turn-of-the-century forbidden love story, but after a while even that felt hackneyed. Sadly not recommended, especially for the Kindle price of $10.99....more
This book totally took me by surprise. I was expecting something along the same vein as Harry Potter, but was instead greeted with a gorgeous historicThis book totally took me by surprise. I was expecting something along the same vein as Harry Potter, but was instead greeted with a gorgeous historical novel that just happened to have magic woven into the plot. The prose was beautiful, and the magic system really worked and made sense in a way that few other systems do. I also love the idea of paper pets--my house would be sooo much cleaner if I had paper parrots instead of my flesh-and-blood flock.
Yes, The Paper Magician tickles the imagination and reads like a beautiful could-have-really-happened history. Its style manages to make the impossible seem well within reach.
Recommended to fans of literary fiction. Pure fantasy fans may find it lacking....more
This book took me a little longer to get into than others I've read lately. The language wasn't as flowery. It was more raw, honest, from the perspectThis book took me a little longer to get into than others I've read lately. The language wasn't as flowery. It was more raw, honest, from the perspective of a 12-year old; it was written exactly how it needed to be written.
Once I got into it, I was hooked. Ruthie and her mother were such compelling characters, but Peter Pam (the cross-dressing waitress) was definitely my favorite. The author did a great job of reminding us that no matter how great things seem at present, they can always take a turn for the worse. To that end, the ending of this book was perfection.
Recommended for fans of women's fiction, gritty YA, and books that examine social class....more
By now, you all probably know what a harsh reviewer I can sometimes be, but I've gotta say: Lately I've been on a roll. I hardly ever rate books 5 staBy now, you all probably know what a harsh reviewer I can sometimes be, but I've gotta say: Lately I've been on a roll. I hardly ever rate books 5 stars, but this is the third one in a row!
The prose was gorgeous, the story line engaging, original, and honest. The academic in me loved it; the mother in me loved it. This is a great uplifting story that doesn't skirt around how hard the best things in our lives can sometimes be. I also loved learning about the saints.
Highly recommended to fans of literary, women's, family, and spiritual fiction....more
That 2-star rating means finished with great difficulty, and that is exactly what I did.
The author basically took a bunch of Grimm's fairy tales and sThat 2-star rating means finished with great difficulty, and that is exactly what I did.
The author basically took a bunch of Grimm's fairy tales and slapped them together in what was supposed to be a continuous, flowing narrative--but it wasn't. The use of Hansel and Gretel for every single story was definitely forced and lost its charm early on.
My biggest problem? The constant cool-guy look-at-me antics of the narrator. We never really learn who he is or why he's telling us this story, but we are constantly bombarded by his interruptions--more than half of which say something to the affect of "This part is really scary/gross/weird, so make sure your kids aren't in the room."
I've read the Grimm fairy tales and found them far preferable.
So who would I recommend this one to? Kids who can handle the gore of Grimm and need an easy-ish intro to their fairyt tales. I'd imagine they'd like all the aspects I loathed....more
This is the best book I've read in a very long time. Those of you who know me know I love Jewish culture and folklore, and this book didn't disappointThis is the best book I've read in a very long time. Those of you who know me know I love Jewish culture and folklore, and this book didn't disappoint on its fascinating premise. In fact, it far exceeded it. For those of you who enjoyed Everything is Illuminated by Jonathan Safran Foer, you must read The Angel of Losses too! It also weaves a fascinating contemporary story line with a a past timeline that is filled to the brim with magical realism. Beautifully written and suspenseful, this book really has it all. ...more
What does it mean to be a young adult in today’s world? What does it mean to be a feminist? To be a girl?
Rachel Gold’s fantastic Just Girls asks all tWhat does it mean to be a young adult in today’s world? What does it mean to be a feminist? To be a girl?
Rachel Gold’s fantastic Just Girls asks all these questions and more, and the answers are bound to surprise you while also resonating deeply with anyone who has ever felt insecurity, fear, or love.
I went into this reading experience unsure of what to expect. I mean, just look at the synopsis and how heavily this book focuses on trans issues. Well, my largest exposure to trans issues, until now, came via Isis on Season 11 of America’s Next Top Model, and that provided a shallow representation at best.
Still, I was intrigued enough by the concept and the characters to dig right in. And, boy, did I grind my heels in, staying up late to read this in just a few short days! Not only is Just Girls an incredibly important book, but it’s also a fun one. I related to Ella’s insecurity and worry that others wouldn’t accept her–even though I am not trans, I easily found myself relating to and rooting for her. And I LOVED Tucker, the out lesbian who also outs herself as trans, even though she’s actually not. What a great character set!
This novel forced me to confront biases I didn’t even know I possessed by raising questions in both engaging, emotional ways and in didactic ways. How does one define a woman–must she be born with the anatomy or simply the soul? Are feminists always the good guys? What does gender mean anyway, and is it possible to live life without ever picking one over the other? How are lesbian relationships different from straight ones?
I couldn’t stop reading, and even though I finished over a month ago, I can’t stop thinking about Just Girls. My closest reading experience came via Nabokov’s Lolita–that book also forced me to confront biases and root for characters I may not naturally gravitate toward. That, too, was a book I can’t stop thinking about and can’t stop recommending to whomever will listen.
As the mother of a beautiful one-year old daughter, I was so happy to be able to expand my definition of “girlhood”, and I can’t wait to share Just Girls with her once she is about a decade older. Tolerance is so important, and there’s no better way to teach it than by putting yourself in the “other”s shoes and walking around for a few-hundred pages.
I highly recommend this book, especially to those who don’t think they need–or want–to read it....more