The Night Owl

Because I'm always up way past my bedtime trying to get that 'one last chapter' in....

 

I'm a GoodReads Refugee. Please pardon the appearance of my page while I get the hang of BookLikes :)

 

Warm Bodies -

I picked this book up because earlier this year the movie version of the story came out. Being that I'm a bit of a hygiene freak the whole zombie love thing disgusts me, but the trailer looked funny so naturally I thought the book would be a fluffy, funny read.

 

*sigh*

 

Man, I was so wrong.

 

While there were a few scenes here and there that tickled my funny bone ultimately this book's downfall was that it took itself too seriously.

 

From the very beginning this book had me scratching my head due to the illogical world building. The story is told from the first person perspective of ‘R’. R is a zombie who can’t remember his name, but apparently can very eloquently tell us his story. R claims that he always felt a bit different than his fellow zombies and this difference becomes more pronounce as the story goes on. From the beginning he tends to be more loquacious and a tad smarter than his counterparts, however he still has zombie hangups. For example, he rides the escalator to nowhere several times a day or stares at his Mercedes for hours because he doesn’t remember how to operate a car.

 

The problem with the world building is that it’s not very consistent and doesn’t make much sense. None of the zombies remember their name other than their first initial. They don’t remember anything of their past lives and tend to operate on a basic functional level based on desires and wants. According to R:
“No one I know has any specific memories. Just a vague, vestigial knowledge of a world long gone. Faint impressions of past lives that linger like a phantom limb. We recognize civilisation- buildings, cars, a general overview - but we have no personal role in it. No history. We are just here. We do what we do, time passes, and no one asks questions.”

  

However, this is not completely true because they’ve created their own society where friendships, school, church, marriages and adoptions exist. They form hunting parties and bring back food for those who can’t hunt. There is even a social hierarchy with the Boneys being the rulers. The bottom line is that for some seriously dumb fucks they are expressing many higher levels of thought.

 

Yet, R is supposed be a catalyst for change. He’s supposed to be different and his love for Julie is the spark. This never made sense to me because the Boneys, as head honchos of the society, showed high levels of intelligence. So much so that the Boneys recognized the danger Julie and R posed to their society.

 

The other problem is the narrative itself. Here you have R telling us how dumb zombies can be, but here he is perfectly articulating his story for readers. Maybe in third person narrative this story would’ve worked, but in first person it doesn’t make sense. The dialogue is written in one worded grunts and caveman like dialogue with many ellipses to show verbal struggle. However, the narrative is fluid and at times even pretentious. R uses words like foetal, auger and vertiginous. He even seems to be an erudite since he is familiar enough with biology to think “her zygomaticus major’”, architecture to refer to “the Stadium’s Escheresque cityscape” and Latin to quote “Quod tu es, ego fui, quod ego sum, tu eris.” And yet, this is the same guy that grabs his stomach and says “Feel empty. Feel…dead” to express his need to hunt again. Riiiiggghhht. (O_o)

 

If you haven’t guessed it by now this book is a zombie homage to Romeo and Juliet. If you don’t like retellings I suggest skipping this one. While I don’t mind retellings this one laid it on thick. Like, trying to spread cold chunky peanut butter on a dry ass piece of white bread thick. I kept trying not to roll my eyes for fear of getting a contact stuck, but when it came to the balcony scene I nearly threw my precious Nook down. It was just too much. Romeo and Juliet’s lust-lationship never made much sense to me and R and Julie’s relationship doesn’t either. I mean, their relationship is based purely on the fact that he didn’t eat her. How sad is that? He didn’t eat her so that makes him “different”. It’s never clear why he didn’t eat her. Is it purely R or is it because he inherited feelings from the brain he ate? Either way, their relationship develops as quickly as Romeo and Juliet’s did and the foundation of the relationship is just as flimsy.

 

It really annoyed me how quickly Julie dismissed her longtime boyfriend’s passing and how quickly she was willing to connect with R. We’re given a “well, Perry changed and wasn’t the same person I fell in love with, so it’s okay.” excuse. That just shows me how superficial Julie is. Yet, Marion kept trying to show us how deep Julie is. For example, here is Julie talking about music:

“Music is life! It’s physical emotion- you can touch it! It’s neon ecto-energy sucked out of spirits and switched into sound waves for your ears to swallow.” 

 

Ugh, seriously?!

 

Anyway, the bottom line with this book is that it was inconsistent and much of it didn’t make sense. As charming as R was in his own way, if you’re going to write a zombie love story it really helps when the love relationship is based on a solid foundation to overcome those minor issues like, you know…decomposition, stinkiness, and that small matter of eating people.  

Origin - Jennifer L. Armentrout Like many fans of this series I was chomping to get my hands on the next book after reading the huge ass cliffhanger at the end of Opal. After the long wait this one satisfied and now, yet again, Armentrout has included a whopper of a cliffhanger making me antsy for the next one. *sigh* Can’t catch a break with this author.

I really liked this addition to the series. I’ve stated before that I really like Armentrout’s world building. The role of Deadalus and the war between Arum and Luxen has fascinated me from the very beginning of the series. In the last few books (I’m including Obsession in this because it takes place in the same world as the Lux series and expands on the war) Armentrout has done a good job of revealing more and every reveal is more disturbing than the last. In Origins, Katy’s firsthand accounts of Daedalus’ experiments gave me chills. Yet, there is a small part of me, especially where the book left off, that thinks some of Daedalus’ work is necessary but their ethics is obviously questionable.

For the most part I really enjoyed Origins. It was refreshing that Armentrout broke her usual writing style mid-series and included both Katy’s and Daemon’s point of views. I enjoyed being in the heads of both characters. The one problem I had was with the love relationship. It has become way too lovey dovey for me. Damn, I never thought I would ever think that, but yeah. This is how many of their scenes went:

Katy: I love you
Daemon: I know. I love you more though.
Katy: Not uh. *giggles & gives Daemon google eyes.*
And then Daemon kisses her and Katy goes into a full blown account of how spectacular and desperate and and live changing and earth shattering and…(stick as many vomit-inducing adjectives as you can here) the kiss was.

This is how it went FOR EVERY FUCKING KISS.



Look, I get it. It’s desperate times and both think they’re going to die at some point. But, you know…sometimes a kiss just has to be a kiss, so when those really desperate moments come the kiss and sex is extra special. When each kiss is soul shattering it makes things less special. Plus, it got to the point where I felt like I was intruding on the characters. Like I’m some sick peeping Tom looking into these characters’ heads at their awesome sex life. I didn’t like feeling like that.

So anyway, yeah. For that and for Katy constantly mentioning her blog and love of books at the most inopportune times I have to take one star. I really do love Katy’s bookish ways and obviously empathize with her, but I mean we have to think about our priorities here…like staying alive. I felt like Katy’s blog and books were mentioned more than her mother.

Despite, minor complaints I am looking forward to the next in the series. 2014 can’t come soon enough!
Once  - Morris Gleitzman I came across this one through YA Sync’s free audio summer program. Generally, I’m not into war stories, particularly those written from a child’s perspective. I just don’t have a good track record with them. I’ve read [b:Milkweed|69392|Milkweed|Jerry Spinelli|http://d202m5krfqbpi5.cloudfront.net/books/1363264990s/69392.jpg|2915313] and [b:The Boy in the Striped Pajamas|39999|The Boy in the Striped Pajamas|John Boyne|http://d202m5krfqbpi5.cloudfront.net/books/1366228171s/39999.jpg|1148702], both of which are similar to Once. In both books, I wanted to slap the narrators for their naivety of their situations. Since this one was free and the audio was only 3 hours I decided to give it a try.

The story is told from Felix’s perspective, a young Jewish boy, who was left by his parents in a Catholic orphanage. His parents were booksellers, which explains Felix’s love of books and storytelling. Because Felix likes to tell stories he is not the most reliable narrator. Many times he makes up stories to explain away the horrors he encounters or to simply make himself feel better. While, I did sometimes want to slap Felix for his naivety I did give him a pass because of his bookish background. Actually, I think that is why Once’s narration worked for me better than the other two books did.

I ended up liking Felix quite a bit. I found myself sympathizing with him and wanting to protect him. Of course war is horrific, but reading it from the perspective of a child seems to be more heart wrenching. I thought the plot and perspective were well done and at no point did I feel emotionally manipulated.

Apart from Felix there are a few other characters important to the story, like Zelda and Barney. Zelda reminded me of Ygritte from “A Games of Thrones” series with her constant “Don’t you know anything?”. After a third time or so of listening to it I was ready to throttle her. Barney’s character was definitely interesting and I was surprised to find out that his character was based on a true story. This made the ending more poignant for me.

Overall, despite some minor complaints this one was enjoyable as a war time read could be. The book is marked for middle grade kids, but just be warned that there is death and a bit of violence in the story.
The Exile: An Outlander Graphic Novel - Diana Gabaldon, Hoang Nguyen As a longtime Outlander fan it kills me a little inside to give this graphic novel one star, but it must be done. This was horribly disappointing.

It’s been years since I read the first Outlander and while I remember the basics I don’t remember the details. I thought perhaps the gn would help fill in the blanks, but no. This version of the story is good if you just finished Outlander and want to relive it in a slightly different way. There are many plot points in the story that are simply not explained making the story difficult to follow. For example, the chapter where Geillis and Claire are tried for witchcraft comes out of nowhere in this version and it’s never explained. There is also a new character added to this version. I really don’t understand why Galbaldon added him to the story because he’s just another face to add to the confusion. All the men look alike!

The graphics are very inconsistent…horribly so. While I liked the coloring, the drawings were pretty bad. I mean, I know Jamie was not going to compare to the one in my head, but in the first page or so he looks alright. After that his face changes with the angles. By that I mean he looks completely different. As this story progresses his face deteriorates and by the end he looks like a caricature of the first picture. The men all look the same except with different color plaids. This really made it difficult to keep up with who was talking. I actually compared a few frames between Kenneth and Murtagh and it’s actually the same face with different plaid on. Also, Jenny (Jamie's sister) looks exactly like Claire...big boobs and all. Sheer laziness on the artist part.

Claire for the most part stays consistent- HUGE gazungas with poodle hair that is supposed to be curly hair. However, in some frames she has green eyes and in others she has the whiskey colored eyes Galbaldon intended her to have. Claire’s boobs seriously took over some frames. I don’t understand why this was done because this gn is geared towards women and we don’t care about Claire’s heaving bosom. We read this for Jamie. It really annoyed me that in one frame she had a yellow dress with a boat neckline and 5 frames later on the same page she had a V-cut neckline with the top of her boobs hanging out. Again, just really sloppy illustration.

It’s so sloppy that I lost count of the number of disproportionate limbs. This link (NSFW) will take you to an example of what is supposed to pass as a sexy picture, but I couldn't get past the claw/tentacle monster hand that is supposed to pass as Claire's clutching hand:
http://www.dianagabaldon.com/wordpress/wp-content/uploads/2011/01/page124-2.jpg
I mean, seriously LOOK.AT.THAT.“HAND.” Jamie should be running for the hills.
Keep in mind, this is not the same picture that appears in the story. The gn version is cleaned up by placing a blanket over Jamie’s ass, but that awful claw remains the same.

To top it off, even the book description and Galbadon’s foreword is inconsistent. The description says this is “Jamie Fraser’s side of the story”. Yet, in her foreword Galbaldon writes “So the story you’re holding here begins slightly before Outlander, and is essentially the story as told from point of view of Jamie’s godfather, Murtagh.” O_o I mean for FFS, can we get our shit straight here?! Were there no editors involved in the making of this story??? Evidently not.

Anyway, now that I’ve properly ranted I don’t recommend this neither to first time Outlander readers nor long time Outlander readers. This version doesn’t give any background nor portrays the wonderful beginnings of Claire and Jamie’s romance. It also doesn’t add anything to the existing storyline, so if you don’t read it you don’t miss out on anything.
Tales of Mystery and Madness - Edgar Allan Poe, Gris Grimly I felt like I couldn't really go wrong with this book. I means it's freaking Poe. Even his worst story is awesome compared to the junk that gets published these days.

Four of Poe's stories are featured in this book: The Black Cat, The Masque of the Red Death, Hop-Frog and The Fall of the House of Usher. The stories are great and Gris Grimly's illustrations highlight the text nicely. I definitely recommend this one for Halloween time or even as a gift to teens being introduced to Poe. Keep in mind that the first story contains animal abuse, so if you're sensitive to animal abuse skip that one.
The White Queen - Philippa Gregory Gregory’s books are always hit or miss for me, so when this was chosen as a group read for Historical Fictionistas I was a bit apprehensive. Turns out this book was a pleasant surprise.

In The White Queen, Gregory plays on the supposed fact that Elizabeth Woodville and her mother Jacquetta are descendants of the river goddess, Melusina. This family connection to the goddess gives the women in Elizabeth’s family special knowledge and powers of sorts. Gregory walks the line between historical fiction and historical fantasy with this one. There is a lot of wishing, praying and witchcraft used as a way to elevate the Woodville family and have things go their way. To me the most interesting parts about this book were the ones that incorporated magical realism. The use of magical realism enhanced the story and fit in with the times when superstitions and accusations of witchcraft were dominant. It also fit in with Elizabeth’s character since there were real life rumors of her practicing witchcraft.

As for Elizabeth’s character, I really didn’t care for her and that’s one of the reasons this book gets 3 stars. In the beginning there is not much substance to her character. As the book continues she seems to get more and more conniving and unlikeable. However, I did enjoy Jacquetta. She seemed to have a nice balance between being motherly and shrewd.

It came up in the group discussion that the Cousins' War series can be read either in chronological or publication order. If you don’t know much about the War of the Roses (like me) my recommendation is to read this series in chronological order. Gregory does fill in the reader on important plot points that led up to Elizabeth’s story by alluding to Jacquetta’s and Margaret of Anjou’s story, but it’s still confusing to keep all the characters straight…especially, since they switch sides when it’s convenient for them.
Gregor and the Prophecy of Bane (The Underland Chronicles, Book 2) - Suzanne  Collins Okay, so after finishing Gregor the Overlander, I couldn’t wait to get to the second installment. I was left wondering at the aftereffects of Gregor’s return. How did he tell his mom about his adventures and how did she react? By the end of the first book I was just as worried as Gregor was about his return.

Unfortunately, home life hasn’t gotten any easier for Gregor and his family. Economically, they’re still struggling and emotionally they’re still dealing with the mysterious happenings of Underland. Fortunately, despite the struggles Gregor still remains a thoughtful and responsible young man. I seriously want to hug this character! I love how he takes care of everyone, especially his little sisters.

Despite Gregor’s return and the sealing of the laundry grate, the past adventures of Overland still hangs over the family. Gregor begins to find little roaches in the apartment and hear scratching inside the walls. He knows there is this ‘Prophecy of Bane’ hanging over his head, yet he hopes to never see Underland ever again. Fortunately for us readers that is not meant to be :) Yet again, Gregor finds himself in Underland after the roaches “kidnap” their princess Boots. In this adventure Gregor finds himself facing off the rats once again in an effort to save the kingdom by finding a white rat named the Bane.

In this second book, we have some of the old characters who survived the trip like Ares, Luxa and her bat Aurora, Vikus and Solovet and even Ripred. We also meet some new ones. Luxa’s cousins from the non-royal side are rather interesting along with a new rat named Twitchtip. While Gregor’s adventure in this book was fun, I really found the secondary character stories more interesting. This second book has plenty of adventure and suspense, but it seemed like the focus was with dealing and overcoming the losses and emotions that occurred during the first adventure. I must say that Collins has a way of writing very relatable and emotional characters. Also, she is able to inject moral lessons easily into the story. Again, we have a story filled with the importance of family, friendship, love and working together in a cool adventurous story. Can’t wait to read the third book!
The Rabbi's Cat - Joann Sfar, Alexis Siegel, Anjali Singh I picked this up when I was looking for graphic novels to fulfill a challenge task. I’m not a graphic novel reader by any means. It’s not my favorite form of storytelling, but I’ve been lucky because the 2 I’ve read so far I’ve enjoyed.

The Rabbi’s Cat is 3 different stories in one book- ‘The Bar Mitzvah,’ ‘Malka of the Lions,’ and ‘Exodus’. You don’t need to read them in order to understand them, but I think it is best because each one sort of builds on the other. Overall, I enjoyed the cat’s (he remains nameless throughout all 3 stories) observations. He was a little smart aleck and provided a lot of humor in all three books. I admit to not knowing much about the Jewish religion, but I still was able to appreciate the characters and observations made in the stories.

I enjoyed the graphics, but I do have to complain about the text. Sfar decided to go with cursive writing for most of the text. While, I didn’t have a hard time making out the letters sometimes there were pictures where the text was very small and squished making it difficult to read.

Overall, this was an enjoyable read.
Lady of the Butterflies - Fiona Mountain 2 1/2 stars-
I hate it when I have a love-hate relationship with a book. It makes deciding to keep reading or dump difficult. It also makes rating difficult. I’m going with 3 stars, but my real rating is like 2 ½ stars . I usually round up if I think a book is worth checking out and even though I found some parts of this book irritating I do think it is worth looking into.

The beginning parts were interesting. Eleanor’s relationship with her father was rather fascinating to me. While he was a strict Puritan, he was also open-minded to new ideas and seemed to indulge Eleanor when it came to her education. You would think this would make him likeable, but he was also a complete jerk sometimes. It made him a well rounded character.

Eleanor, however…I don’t know. I liked her sometimes, but other times I just wanted throttle to her. She was just so darn naïve. While, I realize her personality was mostly due to her strict Puritan upbringing and lack of experience as she grew her naivety didn’t go away. Her constant mooning over Edward and then Richard just about did me in. Those are the parts where this book read more like a sappy romance and less as a historical fiction. And this led to weird pacing in the book. The parts that shined were the beautiful scenery descriptions, talk of the political times and Eleanor’s butterfly discoveries, but I felt like I had to wade through all the romance drama to get to those good parts. By the end of the book the only character I really liked was James Petiver, the apothecary who introduced Eleanor to entomology.

While it seems the ending stayed true to life, I had a hard time understanding Eleanor and Richard’s convoluted marriage. I also didn’t understand Eleanor’s decision at the end. This is a woman who chased down her husband for days looking for her son and then all of a sudden she decides she needs freedom. It didn’t make sense to me. Had she come to the realization that she couldn’t fight society and win anymore I would’ve understood, but to just forgive and leave it all was beyond my comprehension.

Anyway, by this review it may seem like I didn’t like this book, but for the most part it was likeable. The scientific sections of the book were fascinating. I haven’t read much HF having to do with Puritan beliefs or the politics of this time nor had I even heard of Eleanor and her contributions to science. This book was educational on that front and it led me to google more about her, so it does earn some kudos.
Gregor the Overlander - Suzanne  Collins This series is Suzanne Collins before the whole Hunger Games phenomena :) I picked this one up at a library sale ages ago. At the time I didn’t even associate Hunger Games Collins with this book because the two are so very different. But, I will say Collins knows how to spin a good story and for a debut this middle grade book is really excellent.

Gregor is 11 years old and head of the family after his father mysteriously disappeared. With 2 younger sisters and a senile grandmother to take care of Gregor has a lot of responsibilities. Naturally, I sympathized with him. Gregor is a good kid, very thoughtful of others but with too many adult problems on his plate. The family is struggling on one income and to help his mother out Gregor sacrifices his summer fun time to babysit and do chores. Seriously, how can you not love this kid??

While doing laundry in the apartment basement, his 2 year old sister Boots falls into a grate. Naturally, Gregor follows suit to rescue Boots. The grate leads them to the Underlands. A land underneath our land, filled with giant nasty creepy creatures. We’re talking giant roaches, spiders, bats and rats…all who talk. Surprisingly, there is a land of humans in the Underlands called Regalia. It is here in Regalia where Gregor learns the history of the Underlands and his potential role in fulfilling a long foretold prophecy.

As you can imagine, this book is rich in adventure and very suspenseful. I really liked that Collins included moral lessons along the way without bogging down the story. It’s a book about the power of love and the importance of family and friends. I must say that even the giant roaches grew on me! I highly recommend this one to any kid or adult for that matter looking for a fun book.
Beautiful Ruins: A Novel - Jess Walter My initial reaction to finishing this audio was:
1 ½ stars- I'm so glad to finally be done with this audio

Well, it’s been some time since I’ve read this but I still feel the same way. I’m not sure if I went into this book with too high expectations, since it was very much hyped up last year. I actually acquired the audio version last year based on the constant advertisements here on GR. It took me 4 tries to finally get into it. I kept listening this last time because there was nothing else downloaded onto my iPod and I had a long commute. That will teach me!

Anyway, I found this book boring for the most part. The only parts that I enjoyed were the 1962 Italian portions, which coincidently featured Pascuale…the only character I liked. Actually, that’s not completely true. I liked all the Italian characters featured in the 1962 portions. I thought they all had a nice dynamic and provided the story with the levity and humor this story needed.

The book shifts not only time, but also viewpoints and it expands 50 years. While, the set up and shifting of time was interesting I also found it confusing, especially in audio format. There were times I didn’t know what year I was in and had to keep listening to figure it out. I also didn’t care for the various view points. Many of the characters were just so cliché and culturally stereotypical. For example, Michael Deane as a top American producer is nothing but a narcissistic, plastic surgery addict. Dee Moray as an American ex-actress is nothing, but a self centered, vapid, whiny bitch. Ugh, her constant introspection and the 'world is against me' attitude made me want to slap her. I did not see what Pascuale or any of the other men who fell in love with her saw. Most of the characters were excessively self-centered and whiny. I’m not sure if that’s what the author meant by the title “Beautiful Ruins”, but these characters were more like “Fucked Up and Whine Ruins”.

And there was just too many of them. We have Pascuale, Dee Moray, Richard Burton, Michael Deane, Claire (Deane’s assistant), Shane (I’m still trying to figure out why his story was told), Alvis and Pat Bender…that’s 8 view points and who knows who I missed. While, it does come together in the end it was just way too much. The story seemed to drag on and on and then it suddenly wrapped together neatly and quickly in the last chapter.

I’m going with 2 stars, because of GR’s lack of ½ stars. I did enjoy some of the story, but for the most part this audio was a chore to get through, especially for such a lackluster ending.
Just Like Heaven - Julia Quinn Even though I’ve read quite a few romances, I believe this is my first novel by Julia Quinn. I quite liked this one. It’s a very simple, light, comedic romance. Sometimes that is all I need as a reading palate cleanser.

Marcus and Honoria had fun chemistry. Being that Marcus was friends with Honoria’s brother for much of her childhood there was already a past history there. Their relationship progressed at a natural pace and it never seemed forced to me. Honoria was a very funny heroine and I really did admire her love for her family. Also, I really liked that the story was about the two main characters only. No love triangles or complicated relationship problems in this one. That’s quite a refreshing change these days in the romance genre.

From what I can tell Smythe-Smith series is a spin-off of sorts from the Bridgerton series. There were some references thrown in about the Bridgerton series, but I didn’t feel like I missed much by not having read that series first. Before I continue on with this series though I would like to read the Bridgerton series. As for the Smythe-Smiths they seem like a fun lot and I would definitely continue on with this series.

Spell of the Highlander - Karen Marie Moning After reading The Immortal Highlander, which focused on the infamous fae Adam Black, I was worried where Moning was going to take the series now that he’s not present. From the beginning, the fae story and Adam’s interference is what drove the series forward. Surprisingly, the fae story continues without Adam Black. It’s not very prevalent in this book, but it becomes an important factor towards the end of the book and it looks like Moning has a plan of sorts to take it in another direction.

**As a side note, I’m realizing now that it seems like when Moning started this series she didn’t have a clear cut direction as to where to go with it. The Fae world was important, but up until now it hasn’t been an integral part of the story. It consisted mostly of Adam fucking around with people and getting couples together. It wasn’t until the MacKelters were introduced that the Fae story started developing. Now that there are 3 MacKelters in the present day Moning has to account for why they’re here and give them a purpose. That’s something I’m actually looking forward too because it’s getting tiresome having these couples get together but not serve a purpose in the greater arc of the story. At the same time it makes the first few couples rather worthless because their relationship to the other books was very minimal. **

As for the romance in this book Moning continues the formulaic relationships from her previous books. Once again we have another super muscular Alpha male and his hardworking, ultra-responsible Mary-Sue virgin female. It’s sort of funny that I’m able to suspend complete belief regarding the Fae world, but I have a hard time believing that there are all these good looking, hardworking 25-ish year old virgins out there. Anyway, I did like Cian’s and Jessi’s chemistry. They were rather funny together. The problem is that once again, the couple is like every other couple so they don’t stand out in any real way except for the hero’s magical specialty.

Overall, this book served its purpose as an escape from the real world so I’m not really complaining, but I would like for the greater arc of the story to move along.


Side note to my original side note (O_o)…
**Okay, so before I published this review, I took a look at the publishing dates and it looks like this is the last book in the series and it was published back in 2007. The next one is Into The Dreaming, but it’s a short novella and from the description it looks like it has nothing really to do with the MacKelters. So, it looks like Moning wrote herself into a corner after all and hasn’t bothered to get out.
The Time-Traveling Fashionista - Bianca Turetsky This was a cute story about Louise Lambert, a 12 year old with a passion for vintage fashions. That passion leads her to get a special invitation to a vintage fashion shop run by two very odd ladies. Louise finds a very pretty pink number amongst the racks and when she tries it on she’s suddenly transported back in time to the Titanic.

Admittedly, I was drawn into this story by the title and cover. Maybe my expectations were a bit on the high side for the book because of the exterior, but I just found this “okay”. The story had promise, but I found the beginning a little dull. It seemed like it took a while for the story to get to the good bit. The Titanic part of the story was interesting though and made up for the first part of the story. I liked that Turetsky included historical figures and their story into the book without being heavy handed about it. I also liked that Turetsky creatively incorporated pictures of the outfits described in the book. This was basically a lookbook with a story.

The story part needed some improvement. One problem I had with the story is that I had to remind myself that Louise was 12 years old. When Louise is transported back in time she’s turned into Miss Baxter, a 17 year old actress. Obviously, the maturity levels differ, but I had a hard time reconciling Louise’s sometimes illogical behavior when she’s in the body of a 17 year old. Also, the story was just clunky at times. Some events and even some of the behavior of the characters felt forced.

I found this book through B&N and I can’t remember now if it was marked as young adult. I would mark this one more middle grade. I know I maybe a bit harsh in my assessment of the story, but I do think younger girls would enjoy this series.
Hunted - Kevin Hearne The Iron Druid series has always been an action packed adventure story with plenty of Gods and Goddess about kicking or helping Atticus (depending on what day it is.) This one is no different than the rest, except that there is very little downtime. The problem for me was that I felt like the pacing was on a constant cycle of run, fight, give excessive detail and rinse and repeat.

The excessive detail was the most of the downtime in this book. For example, when Atticus gets caught going to the kitchen by the Manitcore- I felt like this scene went on forever with all the explaining Atticus did. For me there was just too much explanation of the magic being used. Many times I found myself skimming those parts just to get on with the scene.

Other than maybe 3 surprises thrown in, I didn’t feel like a great deal happened besides Atticus being hunted that is. I’m giving the book 3 stars based on entertainment value though. As usual I enjoyed Oberon’s humor and I’m very much enjoying Granuaile’s badassery. I’m really excited to see what becomes of Oberon and Granuaile in the next book.
Locke & Key, Vol. 1: Welcome to Lovecraft - Joe Hill, Gabriel Rodríguez Even though I own 2 graphic novels, I am by no means a graphic novel reader. Quite honestly, the ones I own are thanks to GR friend recommendations. One of them has been sitting on my shelf for a few years, because I haven’t worked up the motivation to read it. Anyway, I’m participating in a challenge with a manga bonus now, which helped light a fire under my ass to pick them up.

I went into this experience open-minded. I’ve read Joe Hill’s NOS4A2, which I highly enjoyed so I figured I would have an easy time getting into his graphic novel. Admittedly, it was a bit bumpy at the start. There were a few time line changes and I was still getting used to the look of the characters, but once I overcame this minor bump it was smooth sailing and I ended up enjoying the experience.

I thought the artwork was gruesomely wonderful. The creepy atmosphere of the story really came through in the artwork. Also, I liked that the text was easy to read. Part of the reason why I’ve stayed away from GN’s is because sometimes the text is hard to read. I’ve seen some GN’s where the artist tends to squish text in. I didn’t find I had that problem with this one.

Joe Hill is a fantastic story teller. In the beginning of this graphic novel Hill is given praise for being able to write in different formats. He writes short stories, novels and now graphic novels. I have to say that the praise is much deserved. He is simply talented. Twice he’s gotten me out of my comfort zone and I’m still excitedly looking forward to more of his work.