"Bonjour, Happy Lion!" Oh, how funny this whole book is. It's fun for both my son and I because he gets to hear the story of the lion and I get to use...more"Bonjour, Happy Lion!" Oh, how funny this whole book is. It's fun for both my son and I because he gets to hear the story of the lion and I get to use a faux French accent while reading it. This silly story of a lion who accidentally escapes the zoo of his French town is another of my son's favorites.
The pictures in the book are cute and provide my son with plenty to discuss with me, especially the picture of the lion in the zoo and the picture of the fire engine getting ready to try to get the lion into a truck to be taken back to the zoo. (Though my husband did ask when he saw it, "Are they really going to hose down the lion? This is horrible!")
The resolution is sweet and very happy. I can't recommend it enough to those with children who like silly accents and big cats! (less)
Honestly, I feel like a bit of a jerk giving this a higher score than Sixteen, which overall is of higher quality, but it's all about what you expect...moreHonestly, I feel like a bit of a jerk giving this a higher score than Sixteen, which overall is of higher quality, but it's all about what you expect versus what you get. With Sixteen, I expected something lighthearted, but moving about sixteenth years. What I got was depression. With Enchantment Place, I expected a mediocre anthology about a magic mall with some good and some bad stories and for most of them to be comic. That is what I got.
I will admit I liked the first story by Mary Jo Putney, a cute tale which introduces us the the mall and the type of customers it might have from the point of a mundane human, and the next story from Esther Friesner, a story about a magical familiar hamster, so much that I expected a much better selection of stories after reading the first two, but the rest of the series eventually settled into more of what I might have guessed was coming based on previous anthology experiences.
A few stories disappointed more than others including one about a woman who only finds her magic when she finds her soulmate (UGH) and another about a woman who buckles down and finds herself good at doing something for the first time after years of being a wastrel and that ruins her whole life. Great life lessons, no?
Others are just forgettable. As in, I read the summary up top and I asked myself, "Wiccan supply store and an IRS audit? What?" And after I recalled it, I realized it was one of the latter stories in the book!
If you like anthologies about comedic uses of magic, give this a try. Heck, I picked up the fact that I might possibly like the work of a romance author (Mary Jo Putney) out of it and that's enough to make me smile.
I enjoyed Kitchen Confidential and Anthony Bourdain's very real and vivid anger. I find that I respond to people who write angrily, as I'm sure most o...moreI enjoyed Kitchen Confidential and Anthony Bourdain's very real and vivid anger. I find that I respond to people who write angrily, as I'm sure most of us do. My husband also enjoyed the book, as a huge fan of cooking and food. So, when our son spilled a container of mustard all over this book at Barnes and Noble, it was clearly a sign from the book gods that we were intended to buy it.
Medium Raw is a collection of essays relating to his previous book, his current life, the enemies and friends he's made, how he's changed over the years, and some updated thoughts on food and the people who work with it. Quite honestly, the best bits are his thoughts on food and the related industry. The chapter labeled Lust made me want to eat morning, noon, and night. A chapter regarding a man who worked fish prep for Eric Ripert's Le Bernardin is delightful for several reasons including Bourdain's own awe and respect for the man's skill. Bourdain manages very effectively to get across his feelings and his opinions when his essays relate to food. You can practically feel his weariness at the idea of tasting menus when you read the chapter on Per Se.
I was less impressed with his chapter on David Chang. Unlike the essays in which he slams a person eloquently (Alice Waters and Alan Richman get their own special chapters) so that you understand the hate in his heart, his chapter about David Chang is almost loving, but I have no further understand of that love than David himself is a hater. (Do haters like to stick together?)
Finally, his chapters on himself are more hit or miss. Some do not speak to me at all because I have no experience being either an underpaid, overworked, coked out chef or a very rich, powerful, and influential writer. Others, like his chapter on dancing with his two year old daughter, speak powerfully to me as it highlights the fact that having a child can change your whole life outlook.
I really can't recommend this book enough if you like books on food or the cooking industry. Also, read this if you like anger. I really do like anger when it is not directed at me.
Rather hilariously, I've already reviewed this book, and I hadn't realized it until I went to the Amazon page and saw my own review for it there! I will paste my review in and add a few thoughts.
In a twist on the usual fantasy story, Forward's heroes are not classically good-hearted heroes, but instead villains. Including an assassin, an evil sorceress, a greedy thief, and a black knight, the main characters are likable and intriguing. They band together to save the world from destruction by the powers of good.
In the beginning, I found the characters one-dimensional. However, as the story quickly unfolded, I was fascinated to see that both character introspection and interaction developed their personalities to an amazing degree. After that, even minor, short-lived characters managed to grab my attention fully.
There are a number of sly digs at other fantasy works, which make Villains By Necessity an even funnier book if you're well-read in fantasy novels.
I wrote that review in 2000 when I apparently was unable to actually remember plot points or characters from the book. Villains by Necessity does many things wrong. I won't lie to you. It's not extremely well written. There are many plot holes if you think about it too long. I think the author confuses the nature of good and evil with law and chaos (which is a no, no especially since the author is clearly a fan of early Dungeons and Dragons.) However, it's still fun if you're well-read in fantasy.
I can't really recommend that you buy it since it is rather expensive (having been out of print for ages), but if you know anyone who owns it, or if your library has it, try to read it if you like fantasy or Dungeons and Dragons. It's take on concepts present in most fantasy novels is interesting and refreshing.
I will admit that when I was younger, a particular favorite of mine included the skewering of Dragonlance that was more meaningful because I had just finished reading the original Dragonlance trilogy. Nowadays, I enjoy Sam (the book's main character and an assassin) and relationships with the other villains around him much more. The parody has become less enjoyable, but the things I considered boring at that time have become more. Such is life. (less)
I spotted this sweet little polka-dotted book at the used bookstore the other day. I noted the title, the editor (she wrote my beloved books Sloppy Fi...moreI spotted this sweet little polka-dotted book at the used bookstore the other day. I noted the title, the editor (she wrote my beloved books Sloppy Firsts and Second Helpings), and the copy included the words "hilarious and poignant". What a lie. If this book were more honest it would be "Well-written stories that will make you sad for the rest of the night and you'll lie on your bed and weep and despair through several of them."
Some of the stories, including Sarah Dessen's and Megan McCafferty's are actually quite good (and helped pulled the average of this book up from a 2). They ring reminiscent of my sixteenth year when everything was overly melodramatic and you spent a great deal of time thinking about driving, sex, school, and friendships. Others, like Sonya Sones's free verse story and Hidier's story of an Indian girl who falls in love with her best friend are interesting and contain both sad and happy elements. They ring true to life for people in difficult or odd situations while containing an element of hope or love. And, frankly, Sarah Mlynowski's "The Perfect Kiss" made me cheer for the heroine.
But, you'll notice I just listed fix stories I liked out of sixteen. The other eleven just made me want to curl up and give up. Woodson's story "Nebraska 99", in particular, left me feeling hopeless and out of sorts and miserable. This does speak to the power of the writing, but it doesn't particularly leave me wanting more.
Again, I can't give this book too low a score. It contains many well-written stories. It contains several stories that I loved. It dealt very well with a range of teens by including different characters of different ethnicity, genders, and sexuality. But, and this is a big but, I just couldn't enjoy the book. It was like kale. I know I'm supposed to like kale because it is some kind of super food that is good for me and I admire it in principle, but I hate to actually eat it. I know this book is good, but I hate to read it.
Damn it. This is my first DNF of the year! I tried so hard to finish it and I kept failing at every turn. The author's prose can be exhilarating, but...moreDamn it. This is my first DNF of the year! I tried so hard to finish it and I kept failing at every turn. The author's prose can be exhilarating, but most of the time, I just found it a bit pretentious. (less)
I picked up this book from the library due to my son's overwhelming love of snow. I grabbed it, flipped through it, saw it had very few words, and dec...moreI picked up this book from the library due to my son's overwhelming love of snow. I grabbed it, flipped through it, saw it had very few words, and decided it was good for our reading time. (On a side note, I absolutely hate when I don't do this and I get a book with wordy paragraphs that my son cannot handle yet. He wants to read the book, so he won't let me stop reading, but he climbs all over me because he finds wordy paragraphs boring.)
When I got home and read it to him, I was a little surprised by the subtitle of the book "An Onomatopoeic Story", but we started it together nonetheless. I admired the gorgeous watercolor pages, full of expressive drawings. These pictures make you remember the feel of a snow day from your youth, with the dark and the quiet.
My son settled into my side and after I started to make sounds, but not tell a story, he became impressed by the snow plow sounds I was making. I encouraged him to tell me a story about what was going happening on the pages. The lack of a story to tell became a story to hear from him. I'd prompt him, "What is the boy doing at his window?" "What is the boy eating?" "What is he feeling?" At first, my two year old would simply looked stumped and say, "Hmm..." (No lie, my son puts his finger on his chin thoughtfully and says hmm.)
After the second or third reading, with prompts, he started to answer and tell me more about the pages. "People drive the snow plow", "Boy eat cereal. Cat get some too.", and "Boy get toy. Boy happy?"
We'd have rudimentary discussions about the different types of snow plows in the book, and who was awake, and why. Now, it's a nightly story at bedtime. I don't know how I'm going to explain to him that we don't own this book! It might be a keeper and one we have to grab off of Amazon.
I didn't realize that these reviews were being emailed to my friends. Friends, if you don't want to see these, I think you can opt out. If you can't,...moreI didn't realize that these reviews were being emailed to my friends. Friends, if you don't want to see these, I think you can opt out. If you can't, I understand if you defriend me. I wouldn't want to keep getting my reviews emailed to me!
Before I go anywhere with this review, I'd like to give Moore a shout out for creating a genuinely gender blind world when it comes to power and relationships. In the Lee and Taro books, homosexual and heterosexual relations are both norms and Lee never knows off hand what a person's sexual orientation is. Additionally, people in power are as likely to be women as men and being a heir is all about birth order and family rather than gender, but it's never pointed out. It just is. I realized after I read the first book and appreciated that fact, that I've never read a book like that before.
Whew, what a lot changes in this book for the characters. The Empress ships Lee and Karish off to the Southern Islands and every thing changes, and that is really for the good. The series needed a bit of a shake up and this did it splendidly. As it turns out, in my last review of the series, I was terribly incorrect. Lee and Karish do become romantically involved in this book and, oddly, it doesn't seem to be a major plot point, which is nice, because these two have a lot of other issues to worry about.
I was quite taken with the description of the culture in the Southern Islands as well as what Lee and Karish do when they realize that they have literally no money and no method to make money. While this does seem false that the Empress would fail to give them some money or at least make them aware of what would occur (did she really not know), it provided an entertaining reason for Lee to join a traveling circus as a performer. Her bench dancing skills really do allow for a lot of story telling in this series, and rightly so. Honestly, I wish they had more about bench dancing most books since it's one of the more original world building ideas that Moore describes.
The circus and the Islands provide change to the heroes since in this new world, Lee is the attractive and talented one and Karish is not. This rightly causes Karish to doubt himself quite a bit after the adulation he's received in the empire while Lee gains a bit of confidence in herself and, in many ways, realizes that she has the upper hand in their relationship. While this has been true for awhile, it's only on the Southern Islands that she accepts this and does something with it. This clearly thrills Karish, but Lee is still left doubting and one gets the feeling that it will not be smooth sailing for their working or personal relationship when they return to High Scape.
The search for the missing heir, while interesting, takes second place to the more interesting story of Lee becoming accustomed to the islands. While it is interesting, most of the time, I'm still left wishing they'd go back to the story of the circus. I think with Moore, I prefer her characterization and world building to her mystery plots.
As an aside, I will point out once again that this series is staying pretty damned interesting to me. Of course, book three is usually when I love a book series the most and everything after it all comes apart, so maybe it is good that my library doesn't have the next few books in the series? No, it's not. I'm requesting that they purchase!
Cannot wait to read the next book. I think I know what I'm loading onto my nook for my travels to Seattle!