Monday, August 22, 2016

Review: Harry Potter and the Cursed Child - Parts One and Two

Harry Potter and the Cursed Child - Parts One and Two Harry Potter and the Cursed Child - Parts One and Two by J.K. Rowling
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Really enjoyed this. It's like a bit of Fan Fiction that let's us replay material from the originals, with a neat (but not hinted at) twist.

Some people had trouble reading the format of a script, but I read a lot of Shakespeare in my youth and found I could jump right into the style without issue. It's not a terribly DEEP book, but does touch on the troubles of parents (living vicariously and overprotection) while telling a good short story. A quick, nostalgic read.

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Review: Welcome to Night Vale

Welcome to Night Vale Welcome to Night Vale by Joseph Fink
My rating: 3 of 5 stars

(Note, I have not heard the podcast at the time of this reading.) I listened to the audiobook, which I've heard was easier to digest than the paperback. I think I'd prefer the audiobook too, because some eerie music and creative narration really lent depth to the story (and weirdness of Night Vale).

It was a WEIRD a heartwarming story that, while failing Beschdel, managed to present strong independent women at very different stages of their life, while being both amusing and a little creepy. Though this book was proposed to me as a Horror, I don't feel it really this that category. In fact, I read it to satisfy the Horror category in the 2016 Read Harder challenge and now need to decide if I should read another, scarier, horror novel.

I'm glad I read it, and might pop in to the podcast, but it's definitely not something for everyone.

Some nifty things I thought while reading it, that I posted as status updates:

Librarians are the darkest of evil... makes me think of Parks and Recreation!
(At about 24%) The story often seems too disjoint to be enjoyable, but is otherwise interesting.

I really like the scientists in Night Vale. There's much in this book that might be social commentary on science and religion, and while We All Agree It Makes NO Sense, it does make me smirk.

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Monday, August 8, 2016

Review: Artemis Fowl

Artemis Fowl Artemis Fowl by Eoin Colfer
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

I'd been both interested and avoiding this series. Sounds like my sort of universe, but nervous about rooting for a villain. Irrational, probably, but we've all got lines. Read Harder 2016 pushed me to finally start it.

The smart-alecky voice of the narrator kept me grinning as I read the book. The characters are pretty well written, better than I expected, honestly. Perhaps I didn't have much faith in a Middle Grade book, but the author doesn't talk down to the Middle Grade reader. The tone certain things are moderated, and the narrator actually quips about it.. mentioning an "adult" version of the 'report' the story represents.

I liked the characters, I agreed with the plights and motivations of both sides. I adored the unique take on dwarves (I don't think I'll ever look at Gimli the same way again!). It's always nice to see a fresh perspective on 'age old' fairy lore. I've got quite a bit on my reading list this year, but I'll probably make room for some more of these short, but riveting, middle grade masterpieces.

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Friday, August 5, 2016

Review: Suicide Squad, Vol. 1: Kicked in the Teeth

Suicide Squad, Vol. 1: Kicked in the Teeth Suicide Squad, Vol. 1: Kicked in the Teeth by Adam Glass
My rating: 3 of 5 stars

I like the art and colors. Harley's costume is a bit, well, impractical. Do you know how often you have to pull-up corsets if you do anything besides stand still? I can see wanting to update the harlequin suit, but this is a bit too far in the opposite direction for me.

I don't like that they changed her origin. Oh, every time they do it they change it just a little (it's been angling more in the Legitimate-Doctor direction, which I'm fine with) but Joker's new add-on takes away Harley's agency. Before she was batsh*t of her own accord, and though we see her a little batsh*t (a nice start, perhaps), I think Joker's push was unnecessary.

I like that the Squad dynamic gives the writers a way to cycle team members, so it gives them a nice way to keep the missions and team interactions fresh.

The last issue in this volume... is a nice cliffhanger, sorta, but I like closing out volumes with an issue having a definite wrap-up. And, it's almost a throw-away 'cliffhanger' anyway, because we KNOW the character is coming back. Meh. Either way, I still plan on reading the next volume at least.

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Wednesday, August 3, 2016

Review: The Life List

The Life List The Life List by Lori Nelson Spielman
My rating: 2 of 5 stars

I read the first half by paperback and the second by audiobook. I don't recommend the audiobook version; the narrator has a stilted and uneven cadence that made the novel sound less well written than it was.

The book WAS pretty well written. It wasn't my style of novel, I was asked to read it by a friend. It was like watching a lifetime movie, or a live-action Disney movie, where people keep telling the princess that she can't always get everything she wants, but she clearly is. I'm usually happy to have a character second guess themselves, but she dives between extreme self-doubt and this unwavering faith in her death mother that the mother is painted to be as omnipotent as a god. The mother might actually BE an analogy for God, and the Life List an analogy for the Ten Commandments. If you told me right now "that was the exact point" I would believe you.

The message of the book is a good one: it's never too late to be happy. You shouldn't settle for being unhappy because you think you can't be / don't deserve to be / being happy is too hard. I like the oddball method of moving the story along... the Life List. I even like the character basically trying to convince herself that each man is the one she's supposed to be with, as painful as it is to read, because I think people really do that.

It's not a waste of paper, and hopefully inspires some people. I appreciate it for what it is, but wish I'd taken it out of the library instead of buying it. I'll be donating it to the Little Library.

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Sunday, July 31, 2016

Review: Blood Bound

Blood Bound Blood Bound by Patricia Briggs
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

The voice of this book, and the attitude of the main character, reminds me of why I loved the Kim Harrison Dead Witch Walking series. I do a little bit of eyerolling over the "all the males seems to love me" thread, but after reading Laurel K Hamilton for so long, it's tame by comparison.

I liked that the story had "two story villainy", where once the immediate threat was gone Mercy had to deal with the underlying cause. The first threat brings the action and intensity, and the second allows for non-boyfriend introspection and deliberate, planned, action that really builds character.

I borrowed the next audiobook from the library just 20 minutes after finishing this one, and am trying to convince myself to finish my other book before I start this one. I think, Mercy is going to win.

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Thursday, July 21, 2016

Review: Career of Evil

Career of Evil Career of Evil by Robert Galbraith
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

I love the tone of this series. The characters always seem so real. I used to have a problem with the way Robin was written, feeling her to be too weak. I realized, in this book, that she isn't weak, she's just normal. She does what a normal person would do. I get so used to reading characters doing what I WANT them to do, what a person with little responsibility to the real world, would do... She stays in a relationship she's unsure of because it's what a real person does. She continues to plan to marry this person because she's written so much like a real person.

I like that the story is less gory this time around. I'm fine with gore and odd serial killer displays, really, but I'm glad that the books aren't Only that style of killer. Having a range of deviants feels more genuine and can ward off boredom or that "rinse repeat" feeling you sometimes get with long detective series.

I also like this series because I don't always know who the killer is by the second chapter. Sometimes that's fine, but it's more fun to puzzle it out. Galbraith does a great job of making the AHA moments believable too. However, this one left me a little confused at the reveal. It was easily explained, so I can only say that I didn't hold onto the details that made the case for Cormorant. I'm thinking of going back over that chapter to see if I can spot what I missed. I don't doubt I just put it aside (impermanence is a risk when reading audiobooks...I can get distracted).

The ending was perfect. I hope the next one comes soon.

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