"A Man Called Ove" (pronounced "oo-vah") is about a crotchety old Swedish man behind the times, yet it's set somewhere slightly in the future, as his"A Man Called Ove" (pronounced "oo-vah") is about a crotchety old Swedish man behind the times, yet it's set somewhere slightly in the future, as his teenage years happened in the 1990s. Still, he has an old-timer attitude where he believes in things that should last forever, following the rules of his neighborhood, and not making a fuss about things.
The story slowly unfolds as we see Ove going through life as a newly widowed man, his world shaken, yet he struggles in his refusal to be shaken. His backstory is beautifully woven throughout the narrative, bringing to light all the things that have made him into who he is today and quietly revealing that his heart is actually bigger than he would care to let on.
So many elegant and deeply moving sentences in this subtle jewel of a story. My favorite remains in my memory as this: "People said Ove saw the world in black and white. But she was color. All the color he had." You can read more favorite quotes from other readers here: GoodReads List of Quotes from "A Man Called Ove"
I thoroughly enjoyed the cleverness of the narrative as well as the spark of the characters who come into Ove's life--or rather barge their way in as inconveniently as possible, as Ove would put it. Even the cat who inexplicably worms his way into Ove's care has a distinct and present personality. "A Man Called Ove" is not a fast-paced action story but rather an elegantly subtle character study, a poignant study on the human condition, and an enlightening revelation of how no one is ever truly exactly what they seem on the outside....more
Feed by Mira Grant is a dystopian political zombie thriller set against the backdrop of a national political campaign. The story is told through blogFeed by Mira Grant is a dystopian political zombie thriller set against the backdrop of a national political campaign. The story is told through blog posts and journal entries written by “newsie” Georgia Mason and her brother, an adventure-seeking “Irwin” reporter, Shaun Mason.
I love a good zombie story. I’m not exactly sure why, but there it is. I also really love to see different twists on telling zombie stories. Feed takes place 26 years following the initial outbreak of the zombie virus, which is referred to as “The Rising.” The virus came about from two medical miracles: the cure for the common cold and the cure for cancer. Unfortunately, they found that when these two antidotes came together, they formed a new virus called Kellis-Amberlee. Kellis-Amberlee is normally beneficial, for cancer and the common cold are a thing of the past for all humankind, but physical death causes the virus to “go live” or “amplify”, converting any host mammal over 40 pounds into the hungry, walking dead.
What’s different about this world versus most zombie scenarios is that the people in this world actually have seen zombie movies. In fact, George Romero (real life creator of the “Night of the Living Dead” movies) is revered as one who warned the world of things to come. They are smart about taking precautions against infection by using blood testing kits, and they have found a way to survive and continue relatively normal life despite the existence of zombies wandering the land. Usually zombie stories focus on the initial outbreak—not how the world found its new “normal” decades later.
Feed also raises many interesting questions about God as Georgia Mason and other characters struggle with the existence of the evils that come from both the zombies and the hearts of the uninfected who would still choose to hurt healthy people in a world where so much is stacked against the human race....more
Not sure what compelled me to pick this up as a Rapid Read (7-day checkout) from my library. (I'm usually a super slow reader; this mainly due to theNot sure what compelled me to pick this up as a Rapid Read (7-day checkout) from my library. (I'm usually a super slow reader; this mainly due to the fact that I dwell on paragraphs, sentences, and phrases that I want to savor--probably too long.) But I saw Finders Keepers sitting there and thought, "New Stephen King? Haven't read a lot of his new stuff. Why not?" The synopsis sounded oddly like Misery, but I knew it surely couldn't be a knockoff of his own work. I didn't even realize it was part of a series until I came to Goodreads to add it to my shelf. By then, I was148 pages in and totally hooked. I didn't care that it was book 2 because I wanted to see where the rabbit hole was headed.
Finders Keepers is filled with all the things lovers of Stephen King eat up--tiny horrors the imagination would never conjure on its own, characters with depth and sharp personalities, nail biting chapter endings, and a masterful grasp of how to draw a reader's fingers to the corner of the page in delighted yet terrified anticipation of the inevitable turning. I came to care at least a little bit about every single character that emerged. Even the guy at the mechanic shop had layers to him, which is one of King's trademarks--making characters so rich and real you can almost smell them.
The storyline is most definitely NOT a throwback to Misery. Obsessive, crazy fan of a writer's main character? Yes. Beloved writer in a hostage situation? No. (That's pretty clear by the end of chapter 1.) Morris, the antagonist, is both insane and relatable. He's a fan of good stories, and aren't we all who pick up books? His fanaticism is almost understandable, though the choices he makes to express his passions are not so wise...
I haven't yet read Mr. Mercedes (book 1 of the series), but I'm certainly interested in the crossover characters I met in Finders Keepers. In true King fashion, the intertwining of these two stories is all at once perfectly genius while seemingly perfectly random, mirroring real life. As Sherlock Holmes would say, "Life is infinitely stranger than anything that the mind of man could invent."
I'm excited to read Mr. Mercedes next. Though the ending was (not surprisingly) given away in book 2, I really don't care because I'm highly intrigued by Bill Hodges, Holly, and Jerome. In Finders Keepers, I got to see their growth as characters after the events of book 1, and I'd love to see what their beginnings looked like. As for the antagonist in Mr. Mercedes, Brady, he scares me a bit, especially after the epilogue at the end of Finders Keepers. Book 3 in this series is going to be a doozy....more
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
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
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
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
I've heard so much hoopla about how amazing Dekker is as a writer. Sadly, after Black, I found myself asking, "Um...what's the big deal?" Still, I givI've heard so much hoopla about how amazing Dekker is as a writer. Sadly, after Black, I found myself asking, "Um...what's the big deal?" Still, I give him props for imagining an interesting allegorical world and creatures that help colorfully illustrate (presumably) the Garden of Eden.
Most likely, the biggest problem with Black is that the "real" world competes entirely too much with the "dream" world and then the dream world just keeps on winning the fight. Also, Tom's erratic jolting between a blasé "I don't care" attitude to "the fate of the world depends on me!" are rather preposterous and eventually tiresome.
Still, Dekker leaves us with a doozy of a cliffhanger at the end of Black, so I feel compelled to at least give the next book, White, a chance via audiobook....more