I've been listening to this on Audio for the last couple days when I do stuff around the house, sign books for our online store, and (to be honest) whI've been listening to this on Audio for the last couple days when I do stuff around the house, sign books for our online store, and (to be honest) when I spend time crafting and building stuff in Fallout 4.
First off, the narrator is a good fit. That's something I notice more and more as I listen to audiobooks. The narrator can really make or break the whole experience.
I read the first two of these a while back, but I was able to pick the story back up without too much trouble. Jasper Fforde has a gentle, delightful sense of the ridiculous that I've never seen in any other author. And it shines through here.
This book is billed as YA. And I suppose that Genre fits it as well as any other. But it departs from a lot of what I've come to think of as Standard YA Tropes. The world changes, for example. Bad things happen to people. But it's handled in a light way that doesn't batter you emotionally...
The result is an interesting narrative experience. The entire story is whimsical. War and death are persistent elements of the story. But it's not dark and grim like you might expect. But it's not dismissive of these dark things either.
As I've said. It's odd. It's a unique combination of elements. This isn't dystopian YA. Or if it is, it's not like any dystopian YA I've ever read before...
Would I recommend it? Yes. But perhaps not as universally as I might recommend other books. I tend to step more carefully with books designed specifically for kids' consumption....
I can say this: I enjoyed it. And if the next in the series was out, I'd be listening to it right now. ...more
A collection of three short stories centering about smaller jobs Harry Dresden does for (a) bigfoot by the name of River Shoulders.
Though this book wa A collection of three short stories centering about smaller jobs Harry Dresden does for (a) bigfoot by the name of River Shoulders.
Though this book was published recently, the stories occur at different times throughout the Dresden Files series. The first story occurs between books 2 and 3, when Harry is relatively new to his job. The last story happening between book 12 and 13.
Is it nice to get to see some new stories from the old Harry (The snarky, relatively carefree Harry that existed in the pre-Changes books.)
Best of all, these stories when taken together form a pleasing narrative arc all their own. (As opposed to just being a series of disconnected adventures or events.)
I listened to this one on Audio, and was delighted that it was read by James Marsters, as all Harry Dresden books should be.
Highly recommended and well worth the time of any Harry Dresden fan...
This book showed up recently, and I read it to both my little boys at once. My older boy is 6 and my younger boy is almost 2.
As a result, this is rea This book showed up recently, and I read it to both my little boys at once. My older boy is 6 and my younger boy is almost 2.
As a result, this is really their review more than it is my review.
My older boy (Codename Oot) was really interested in it from the first page. Kept asking questions that were quickly answered by the story (Which is the very definition of correct tension and pacing. "What's a Wood Wit?" What does the chicken want?" "Where is the Wood Wit?"
My littlest boy pointed at things and named them. He was particularly interested in the Wood Wit, and he must have pointed to it and named it at least two dozen times. (And he's of an age where he has to work hard to make those W sounds.)
He also kept pointing at Anyaugo and doing his very best to say her name. For someone who is not-quite two years old, that indicates that there's good characterization going on.
Also, my littlest boy wanted me to read it three times in a row.
So yeah. I think my kids are in agreement on this: Five Stars. ...more
I've been hearing good things about this book for a long while now, and having just finished it, I have to say I wasn't disappointed.
The book is set iI've been hearing good things about this book for a long while now, and having just finished it, I have to say I wasn't disappointed.
The book is set in the 1890's. The primary character is Lizzy Borden. Genre-wise it's somewhere between urban fantasy, historical fiction, mystery, and Lovecraftian horror.
It's a cool, unique concept for a book.
A few comments on the novel, in no particular order.
1. I listened to this on Audio, and because of that, I'm going to have a different experience from the raw text of the book, and that's actually a bit of a shame in this case. As I think I might have enjoyed the book more if I'd read it off the page.
The primary reason for this is that the male narrator wasn't everything I would have hoped for. He wasn't bad, but he wasn't great, either. He was merely okay, and that was to the detriment of my book reading experience.
2. It's epistolary. By which I mean it's a collection of letters and journal entries from different people, that, when taken together, outline the shape of a story.
It's an interesting format, and not one that you see very often. But it's very well executed, and even if you're unfamiliar with the style, it shouldn't throw you off much, especially if you're used to stories with multiple POV characters.
One potential downside is that the lack of an overarching narrator means that your hand isn't being held through the story. So unless you're good at keeping track of dates in your head, you might miss the fact that a week has gone by. And that might cause some unfortunate confusion.
(This would have been less of an issue with me if I'd been reading a text book and could have merely flipped back to see what a previous date was. So the Audiobook bit me on the ass there.)
3. The language was lovely. Since it's set 100 years back, and composed of written documents, the language is formal and ornate. (Without being opaque) Some of it's still lingering in my head. (As you can see up above when I wrote, "that was to the detriment of my book reading experience.")
My one problem again, stems from the fact that I was doing this as an audiobook. Sometimes when things were tense and I really wanted to skip a little bit of the 1890's verbal ornateness, but I wasn't able to because of the format. I never wanted to skip much, maybe half a paragraph. And it speaks well of the tension in the book that I occationally wanted to skim a bit (something I very rarely do.)
And now that I think of it, I think this quibble might be laid at the feet of the audiobook, too. It could be my desire to skip a bit was more because of the measured delivery of the narrator rather than the nature of the text itself. I found myself becoming irritated that the narrator wasn't reading more quickly sometimes...
4. There was a *really* nice element of mystery in this book. I won't say anything more about it, but Priest did a really nice job of incorporating that into the story....
5. It was tense, but not truly horrific or terrifying. Nothing gruesome. Nothing so horrifying that was going to keep me up at night. I liked that.
6. Great supernatural elements. Clever, unique, and well-integrated into the story.
7. Really great character voices. Each of the POV characters was distinctly different and exceptionally well-realized. In this case the audiobook narrators really added something to the book.
At first, I was thinking of giving this book four stars, primarily because of the slight irritations caused by the audiobook. But after writing this up, I realize that there's more than enough excellent elements in here to overbalance those quibbles.
Is is worth your time? Absolutely. Doubly so if you have a passing interest in the time period, mysteries, and/or wonderfully integrated elements of the lovecraftian mythos....more
It might seem odd to review a book that has 10 pages and less than 20 words in it. But when you're dealing with books for very little kids, that's theIt might seem odd to review a book that has 10 pages and less than 20 words in it. But when you're dealing with books for very little kids, that's the landscape you're dealing with.
Barely 15 minutes ago, my littlest boy brought this book up to me and said, "Read daddy! Read!"
That's the baby version of a 5-star review.
What really makes this book good, is that it's one of the very first books you can read to your kid. It will catch and hold their attention *long* before they can follow anything with plot or words. This just has dogs making different barking noises.
Both my boys loved this book, and Cutie went through a period where there was nothing in the world funnier than one of the dogs going "Yip yip yip."
He would laugh and laugh whenever I said that. Huge helpless baby chortles. Why? Who knows. And who cares, really? We were having a great time reading a book together. And that's what really matters....more
This is a tricky book for me to give this a star rating to.
Don't get me wrong, I liked it. I liked it a whole lot. I read the whole thing in two sittThis is a tricky book for me to give this a star rating to.
Don't get me wrong, I liked it. I liked it a whole lot. I read the whole thing in two sittings.
But that's not the end-all be-all when it comes to rating a book. (Or at least it isn't for me.) When I rate a book publicly, one of the things I take into consideration is how much you would enjoy the book. (And by "you" I mean the average person who reads my reviews.)
Here are the things that complicate rating this book for me:
First and foremost, I don't read a lot of Westerns. And whether or not you consider this a western, it's obviously western-inspired and influenced. Since I don't have a lot of context for the story, it's hard for me to tell how it measures up to other works in that area.
Another element is the main character: a black woman written realistically into a historical setting where it was not a great time to be black or a woman, let along both.
I think the character was handled well. Very well. And that doesn't happen easily or by accident. The character isn't not a blushing violet, and neither is she a crusader and a firebrand. The book isn't about her fighting gender oppression or anything like that. But it's a part of her life, and so it's a part of the book. And writing that sort of thing is *hard* to do well. That means the story is doing something very different and very hard right out of the gate...
So, did I enjoy this book as much as I enjoy, say, reading a Pratchett novel? (Books which generally get five stars from me?) No. I didn't.
But honestly, that's an unfair comparison, given that Pratchett's one of my favorite authors. And honestly? The first books in Discworld weren't really 5-star books....
Instead, let me say this.
The world: I thought it was cool and unique. Loved the western setting.
The supernatural element: Also cool and unique. Well integrated. Never seen anything like it before.
The character: Also unique. And that's a rare thing for me to say. But it's true, I've never seen a character like this. I liked her.
Ultimately it comes down to two questions:
Did I like it? Yeah. I enjoyed the hell out of it.
Is it worth your time? Well, that depends....
If you hate being exposed to new things. This isn't probably going to be the book for you. For example, if 90% of anything you read is in the same narrow slice of genre (Like D&D novels or Star Wars books) then this isn't probably going to be for you.
But if one of the things you enjoy about reading fantasy is getting to see different worlds, strange magics, and unique characters, and... well... just generally having new experiences in general. Then yeah. Then you owe it to yourself to read this. Because I'm willing to bet, just like me, you've never seen anything like it before.... ...more
I don't read westerns as a rule. But if a lot of them are like this, I can see the appeal.
If it weren't for the lovely folks at Subterranean Press, II don't read westerns as a rule. But if a lot of them are like this, I can see the appeal.
If it weren't for the lovely folks at Subterranean Press, I don't think I would ever have run across the work of Joe Lansdale. They've published a lot of his work over the years, including this lovely novella. I owe them for that.
It's written from the first person, and there's a really great voice in it from the first page. There's no supernatural element to this book (I mention this because so much of what I read and review here is fantasy) but I didn't miss that at all. Good action. Good tension. Really delightful banter and dialogue.
That's what really made this story for me. The banter and sheer delicious crassness of the language. It's on par with the cussing in Scott Lynch's Gentleman Bastard series. I loved it. Loved it loved it. ...more
Here's the short version: This book is a marvel and a wonder. You should try it.
Here's the medium version: Seriously. Try it. It might be a little ouHere's the short version: This book is a marvel and a wonder. You should try it.
Here's the medium version: Seriously. Try it. It might be a little outside your usual reading habits, but it's not thick of cumbersome at all. It's delightfully clear and strange and unlike anything else I've ever read. And I've read a *lot.*
I even liked it enough to give it a blurb: "As a fan of Welcome to Night Vale, Jeffrey Cranor and Joseph Fink have delighted me with stories that are clever, twisted, beautiful, strange, wonderful, and sweet. This book does all of that and more. I think this might be the best book I’ve read in years."
I don't say things like that lightly.
Here's the long version:
First off, I'm going to assume that if you're a fan of the Welcome to Nightvale show (Craynor and Fink's twice-monthly podcast) then you've already bought this book.
If you haven't. You should. It's everything you love about the show and so much more besides.
For the rest of you who aren't yet convinced, here's some reasons you should pick it up.
It's amazingly well written:
I know what I'm talking about here. It's a clear and easy read. Good setting. Good Character. Tension. Plus the rarest of all writing elements: humor.
What's more, they stick the ending (Which is a huge deal, as you know. Few things are worse than a good book with a flop of an ending.)
It's delightfully different:
If you're like me, you tend to do most of your reading in a familiar genre or two. And if you follow me here on goodreads, those stomping grounds are at least partly (if not mostly) in fantasy.
And that's fine. Everyone has a couple favorite flavors of fiction they like the most. But it's healthy to try new stuff. This book will give you a chance to try something different without leaving the realm of the fantastic behind entirely.
The language is lovely.
If you're a language person, there's a lot that will please you in this book.
Do you like Tom Stoppard? Odds are you'll like this.
Did you like Slow Regard? I'm guessing there's something for you here. Not because this book is written in anything resembling Auri's odd, ornate, off-kilter phrasing. But because this book has an odd off-kilterness all its own that is marvelous to read. (And honestly, this book is much less vocabulous than Slow Regard. Which is to its credit, in my opinion.)
Also, if you're an aspiring writer, you should read this book. Then you should resist the urge to do something similar yourself. You can't.
Now I'm not saying you're not as good as Fink and Craynor (Though let's be honest here, you're probably not) what I'm saying is that they've found their own wonderfully left-of-center phraseology. They've spent time developing it, polishing the craft of it, and it's absolutely beautiful.
So don't try to play their game. You can't do that any more than you can wear their skins. (Again, trust me.) Instead, just read their book, appreciate how cool it is to see folks writing something their whole own goddamn way. Then work toward finding what *your* way is. Do that instead.
It's playful and strange:
There is a sense of play here that's rare in novels. The story and the world of Night Vale is dangerous and dark, but the playfulness of the storytelling keeps things from being gritty and oppressive in the way that a lot of modern fiction (and fantasy in particular) seems to be.
There's genuine humor here. This book made me laugh. But there's more than that too, language itself is… I'm tempted to call it whimsical, but that gives the impression that it's silly. That's not it at all. It's simply….
Let me explain it this way.
The other day I was talking to a friend who compared this book to Douglas Adams. And while that comparison never would have occurred to me, I completely understood where he was coming from. The styles aren't the same. The voice and tone of the books are utterly different. But Adams would sometimes through a little narrative flourish into his books for no purpose other than the fact that he found it amusing. It's one of the best things about his books. They're a series of lovely digressions.
You'll find similar treasure in this book.
Okay. I'm done. If this hasn't convinced you, then nothing will.
Highly recommended. Absolutely worth your time on so many levels.
P.S. While you'll probably get more out of it if you've listened to the Podcast, I'm also of the firm you can also pick this book up by itself. ...more
Both my little boys have loved this book. And it's one of the most often requested books in our house by my youngest boy right now.
It has many of theBoth my little boys have loved this book. And it's one of the most often requested books in our house by my youngest boy right now.
It has many of the classic nursery rhymes in it, and the illustrations are fun and friendly, with plenty of things to point at and talk about to younger kids. "Can you see an Egg?" "Which one is the pink pig?"
I never had this as a kid, and I wouldn't have known about it if it hadn't been given to me as a gift. But now I consider it to be an essential part of any kid library.
Very re-readable. Great for anywhere from six months to six years. (My older boy constantly comes over to listen and watch when I'm reading to his younger brother.)...more
This book was recommended to me by someone who worked in the publishing industry, what's more, they liked my book, so I was pretty sure they had excelThis book was recommended to me by someone who worked in the publishing industry, what's more, they liked my book, so I was pretty sure they had excellent taste. I bought it almost immediately, and was excited to give it a try.
That was almost exactly nine years ago. (This might give you a dim glimmer as to what my to-read shelf is like.)
A couple days ago, I was in-between books and looking over my shelves for something I could read before going to bed. I didn't want to start up another Pratchett novel because I was hoping to to bed early. And starting a book that I love is going to cost me sleep.
So I pulled this off the shelf instead. Big mistake.
Six hours later I finished it, and I've been dealing with the after-effects of too little sleep ever since.
I'm not going to describe the book to you. It's something you really need to experience on your own. But I will say this.
It was written in 1952. And I found myself thinking, "Wow. I didn't know folks were writing dark shit like this back then." Then I realized what a dumb thought that was.
I think its genre is "Crime Fiction" but again, that was fifty years ago. I don't know where it would be placed these days. Psychological thriller?
It's one of the best uses of first-person narration I've ever seen.
I found it incredibly emotionally engaging. Even slightly distressing. But at no point was it gruesome or gratuitous.
If you enjoy shows like Dexter. I'd say this book should be an absolute read for you. But honestly, I'd recommend this to anyone who appreciates good writing.
Dealbreakers: If you've got an issue with violence, this isn't the book for you.
But again, I'd like to stress that there isn't a lot of it in here. Game of Thrones has vastly more and it's vastly more graphic. This book just has a bit, but as I've said, it's just… intense, it's not slashery at all.
Really amazingly good book. I'll absolutely be digging up more by this author. ...more
Fair warning: This book is listed as Volume 1, but it's actually the continuation of a long, rather involved story.
That said, you can start here if yFair warning: This book is listed as Volume 1, but it's actually the continuation of a long, rather involved story.
That said, you can start here if you like. If you don't want to start at the beginning, this would be the perfect place to start.
That said, why they hell wouldn't you want to start at the beginning? That's how stories are meant to be read. And this one is GOOD from the very beginning, with subtle plotting and good character development. Why wouldn't you want to get all of that? Seriously, what's wrong with you?
But, y'know, do whatever makes you happy, man. It's your life....more
As with the previous two books, I enjoyed this one quite a bit.
It's odd for a comic to be adapted into a novel, but. (And by rare, I mean to say thatAs with the previous two books, I enjoyed this one quite a bit.
It's odd for a comic to be adapted into a novel, but. (And by rare, I mean to say that I can't think of another example at all.) But the Girl Genius world and storyline are sufficiently rich that there is plenty of additional material so that the novels aren't mere re-hashings. They provide information and insight into characters and plots that you simply didn't have access to in the comics.
Of course, this would be impossible if they weren't put together by Phil and Kaja Foglio, who know all the secrets of the story. So it's all cannon, too.
So yeah. If you read and enjoy Girl Genius, these are worth your time.
And if you haven't read them... well... this might serve as a nice entry point into the story for those of you who are a little gunshy about picking up a graphic novel....
Also, just as a side note: Listened to these as audiobooks. Didn't read the paper versions....more