Eleanor and Park is not your typical YA romance. It's raw, gritty, and real--an 80s fantasy love story for two kids who don't fit in and aren't sure tEleanor and Park is not your typical YA romance. It's raw, gritty, and real--an 80s fantasy love story for two kids who don't fit in and aren't sure they really want to. Rainbow Rowell paints an exquisite picture of the experiences of two young kids who fall in love hard for the first time. It's a beautiful, realistic progression that's told in the darkly serious poetic language that only a teenage heart knows. Deeply felt, yet somehow still geniune, not melodramatic. So many feels; so many tiny moments that seem bigger than the universe at the time.
The audiobook is very nicely done, featuring both a male and female reader for either Park's or Eleanor's POV. I'd caution against listening to it out loud with children around though, because Eleanor's stepfather has an incredibly foul mouth. The POV shifts between chapters and sections, with occasional chapters that are only a few sentences long. But it is done so masterfully that it serves the story well.
This is a story that twists its way into a heart like a slowly-turning corkscrew. Before you even realize what's happened, it has wrecked you. (In a good way. ;)) And oh my word. The ending. Brilliant!...more
This first book in the Guardians of Ga'Hoole series is a delightful adventure for more advanced young readers. Quite a few scary moments though, so seThis first book in the Guardians of Ga'Hoole series is a delightful adventure for more advanced young readers. Quite a few scary moments though, so sensitive kids might need to read with parental guidance. Absolutely wonderful for lovers of owls....more
The Rook is a masterful unfolding of a supernatural mystery that continued to keep me on the edge of my seat from page 1 until the end. Very unique chThe Rook is a masterful unfolding of a supernatural mystery that continued to keep me on the edge of my seat from page 1 until the end. Very unique characters, settings, and circumstances are woven within compelling twists and unexpected surprises, all wrapped in a delightfully real narrative voice.
My only complaint is a minor one, and that is the profuse use of the f-word. Though to the author's credit, the profanity is not used too frivolously or unnecessarily. It only comes across when a character is angry, frustrated, or annoyed, which is much more acceptable than when it is used for casual conversation.
I'm not usually a fan of female main characters, but Rook Thomas comes across as a multi-layered lead who is neither all good nor all bad, which breaks typical conventions for fictional females. She makes mistakes, some of which she regrets and others which she embraces. She also makes good choices, some of which turn on her and others which work out for the best. Overall, she is simply real and well balanced. She is both strong and vulnerable. She has her weaknesses and things that make her nauseated, yet she is starkly aware of her strengths and potential for power. I absolutely adore her character arc throughout the story.
For a debut novel, The Rook is quite impressive. I couldn't stop reading and mused upon the story when I wasn't immersed in the world. It is one of the rare books that I will likely re-read someday soon. Very excited to see that a sequel is slated for 2015!...more
Ready Player One is an absolutely fascinating and totally immersive world--nearly as consuming as the OASIS universe that the story's characters inhabReady Player One is an absolutely fascinating and totally immersive world--nearly as consuming as the OASIS universe that the story's characters inhabit for most of their waking hours. Cline paints a world that has retreated into a virtual world and left reality to rot around them. The contrasting realities are both tantalizing and horrifying at once. The narrative raises good questions about how much we rely on online escapes for fulfillment and how those escapes can have both positive and negative results.
Readers with penchant for 80s pop culture (or who grew up in the 80s, like myself) will find all kinds of delightful references to everything from music to movies to video games to breakfast cereal. Seriously. The author thought of everything. I was highly impressed with the enormous variety of obscure facts, dates, figures, and other minutia that was explored as the characters worked to solve the ultimate puzzle game in the OASIS.
For anyone who has lived a life online or found themselves developing real, honestly meaningful relationships with people they have never met in person, Ready Player One is going to strike a chord deep in your heart. There is something supremely wonderful about these kinds of relationships, yet they are still so fragile in "real life." It's a beautiful complexity that cannot really be explained. But Cline gets pretty darn close here in this novel.
Puzzle lovers and gamers of all sorts will find an incredible journey in these pages as well. The ultimate game set before the Gunters is as intricate and amazingly unique as one could possibly imagine. Every time you think you've come to the end of the rabbit hole, it only proves to go ever deeper.
Thoroughly enjoyed this one as an audiobook read by Wil Wheaton, one of the biggest geeks of our time. (view spoiler)[And the fact that Star Trek: TNG and Wil Wheaton himself are both referenced in the story add some serious charm to his performance. (hide spoiler)] Ready Player One is one of the rare books that I plan on returning to for a second read. The world is just too good to take in only once.["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>...more
The Book Thief is hauntingly, painfully beautiful, yet tragic and squeezes the heart until it throbs red. Absolutely beautiful prose throughout--despiThe Book Thief is hauntingly, painfully beautiful, yet tragic and squeezes the heart until it throbs red. Absolutely beautiful prose throughout--despite the German expletives. The narrator's voice (Death) is stunning, unforgettable, darkly magical. Markus Zusak has written here some of the most creative and fantastic metaphors I have heard since Ray Bradbury.
The story of the people living and dying in Nazi Germany has been told in many ways over the years, and it's important that the world never forgets, that history does not swallow up the truths of that time. The tales we see usually see follow Jewish characters all the way to the concentration camps. But The Book Thief delivers an utterly unique picture of tiny moments in a young Germans girl's life as she survived for years with foster parents in a small town outside of Munich.
The images of Liesel's life(view spoiler)[ from thieving exploits with her best friend Rudy to hiding a Jew in the basement to surviving a bombing that kills everyone on her street but her (hide spoiler)] are at once sparkling dreams and shivering nightmares, all told using stark details that both shine as blinding sunlight and darken with suffocating pitch.["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>...more
SO FUN. That's all I can really say. :-) Okay, maybe I say a little more...
The Lightning Thief is a fantastic adventure story with little twists and tSO FUN. That's all I can really say. :-) Okay, maybe I say a little more...
The Lightning Thief is a fantastic adventure story with little twists and turns (albeit predictable ones) that follow a whimsical, lighthearted glowing thread of alluring, magical tale-telling. The writing is not mind-blowing, but the storytelling is absolutely delightful.
The first person narrator's voice, Percy, is natural, witty (in a teenage boy kind of way), and quite entertaining. He's a fun character to follow, and I was endeared to him right away.
I highly recommend the audiobook of The Lightning Thief, which is read by Jesse Bernstein. His voices, intonations, and inflections make the story absolutely come alive....more
Charmingly witty read. Written in the amusing voice of Lemony Snicket, author of A Series of Unfortunate Events, this little mystery unfolds like an iCharmingly witty read. Written in the amusing voice of Lemony Snicket, author of A Series of Unfortunate Events, this little mystery unfolds like an intricate origami sea monster gone horribly wrong. But the story itself is hardly important. Listening to Lemony Snicket tell a tale--ANY tale--is a cotton candy treat of the the English language....more
By recommendation, I experienced The Night Circus as an audiobook read by Jim Dale. The prose is magical, and the descriptions can only be described aBy recommendation, I experienced The Night Circus as an audiobook read by Jim Dale. The prose is magical, and the descriptions can only be described as decadent and delicious. The characters, paired with the wonderful voices Jim Dale gives them, come to life with accents and special ways of speaking their dialogue.
However, my 4-star rating reflects the audio book only. The story pacing itself is not one that would keep my attention in book form at all. I like action and suspense and even many of the magical and atmospheric elements, but The Night Circus is fraught with long conversations, introspection, and poetic asides--all jumbled in a broken timeline that folds back in on itself. All those things can be fun when performed by a talented reader, but they are not the kind of things that would keep me turning pages. This would have been an abandoned book for me if not taken in an audio form.
As an audiobook, it is delightfully whimsical yet dark--a lovely combination. Jim Dale does an amazing job telling the story verbally....more
Apt Pupil: First half, incredible. Second half, um...
The first half of Apt Pupil was creepily and absolutely compelling. King has a way of presentingApt Pupil: First half, incredible. Second half, um...
The first half of Apt Pupil was creepily and absolutely compelling. King has a way of presenting the twisted and horrific in a way that urges a reader to keep reading, keep reading, keep reading--like watching a mangled body being extracted from a smashed car. You can't look away no matter how grotesque it is.
Sadly, also in true King form, somewhere in the middle of the book, the story took a turn, and the soft porn and profanity that King is prone to lean toward finally came out. Hey, if that's your thing, that's your thing. But I personally can't stomach it much anymore.
I do grant that it fits the character around which it surrounds, showing his stark change in personality as he gets deeper and deeper into the darkness of his soul. If we wanted to give it the old "serves the story" logic, yes, I can see that. The profanity, the sex, the violent fantasies--it all drives deeper and shows clearly (view spoiler)[Todd's spiral into (hide spoiler)] the state of psychopath. However, one has to wonder: is there a better way to write this that isn't so graphic?
King is a masterful storyteller. I read his books growing up, and I still acknowledge that he is an unsurpassed suspense and horror novelist. No one can tell a story like he can. I only wish he could do so (and truly, he has the talent to find a way) without riddling his novels with the blackness of profanity and explicit sex scenes.["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>...more