Wednesday, January 17, 2018

BFG

TItle: The BFG
AUthor: Roald Dahl
Genre: Children's Literature
SOurce: Kindle Ebook
Rating: 4 out of 5


A young girl Sophie, unable to sleep, sees a large, no a giant man blow something into the window of the house next door.  When he sees her in the window he snatches her up, and takes her home so that she doesn't tell anyone else.  There Sophie learns the other giants eat humans at night, including children.  Sophie also learns the BFG is not a human eating giant but one that spreads good dreams to children.  Sophie creates a plan to convince the queen of England to imprison the human eating giant where BFG creates a nightmare about it and leaves Sophie in her room to confirm.  A fleet of helicopters follow Sophie and BFG back home and capture the sleeping giants and imprison them in a pit.  A castle is built for BFG and a cabin next door for Sophie.  And BFG ends up writing a novel about their adventure which is aptly titled" The BFG."




I read this one because it was published the year I was born, and I have heard a lot of good things about but never had the chance to read it. It was interesting to say the least.  The giant's speech was a little rough to get used too, but I am sure as a child it would have been a lot of fun reading and trying to pronounce some words like Snozzcumbers. If it was getting confused as an adult, wouldn't children be getting a little confused as well?  I really got into this story and would like to see how the story adapted into the movie version that was recently released.  I loved movies like Charlie and The Chocolate Factory and Matilda, so maybe I will enjoy this one as well.

There are some things that I think may not have been good for children such as later on the novel a character talking about chopping off heads like one would chop parsley.  That's an odd image to give to children, maybe I thought of it differently because I am an adult reading it.  I don't normally read children's literature so I am not sure how different authors target their audience in the past nor the present, and this might be one of those ways: glossing over some adult themes with child-like innocence.  I did enjoy the book and would recommend it to others to read with their children.  The book was rather short so I see it as something that would be good for parents to read a chapter at night or even to use as a teaching tool to help their children read more, and read better.


Give it a shot and take a stab at reading this one, it's a children's classic.  I'll most likely add it to my children's shelf when I have them.

Monday, January 15, 2018

Nevermore

Title: Nevermore
Author: David Niall Wilson
Genre: Paranormal, Suspense, Occult
Rating: 3 out of 5 stars




Lenore finds herself drawn to a tavern amidst a swamp, the Dismal swamp to be exact.  There she stares out the window at a specific tree; drawing.  Faces amongst the branches, one such face startles the young barmaid waiting on her.  She begins to tell Lenore the story of Thigpen an evil man who was killed the prior year.  As Lenore listens to Anita's story and continues to erase lines freeing the souls of those trapped within, Edgar is in the room next door writing when a story takes over and he writes the tale Anita is telling.  Together with Lenore, Anita, and a young boy named Tom become trapped within a tale of their own; they become pawns in a battle between good and evil, a battle against the Dismal Swamp itself.



I am a huge Edgar Allen Poe fan, especially the Raven, so much so that I have a tattoo on my calf making a reference to the writer.  So when I came across this novel and seen it included Lenore and Poe as central characters I decided, why not let's see.  This is the first book of his that I have picked up, and I have mixed feelings which seems to be happening a lot lately.  The story starts of incredibly slow, and confusing in the beginning as to what is happening and the importance of the events that are happening.  The middle part does pick up a little bit in pace in interest, but it is still a little difficult to get into.  It felt like there was a lot to the story that wasn't being told, more hidden beneath the words.

I liked the characters and personalities David gave to the characters especially Grimm.  I liked that a raven had personality and was as much a character as Poe or Lenore.  This would be great as a series as I could see Poe and Grimm acting in different capacities much like this story.  It is dark, magical, thrilling trip through time, magic, and even a little bit of love.  We see the romance between Lenore and Poe that fans may have thought about when reading "The Raven."  Which is enjoyed seeing a variation of Grimm's tale of The Raven included in this novel. 

I recommend this novel for those who like the paranormal, suspense, thriller, and magic.  Reading this book will make time disappear and make you want read more of Poe's stories with a different outlook on his tales.  I will give this a rating of 3 out of 5 stars.

Friday, January 12, 2018

The Crossing by Micheal Connelly

Title: The Crossing
Author: Michael Connelly
Genre: Mystery, Suspense, Thriller
Rating: 4 out of 5 stars


A woman is found brutally murdered in her bed, Mickey Haller is defending the prime suspect and he is certain the man is innocent.  He only choice is to turn to his half brother, retired LAPD Detective: Harry Bosch.  Harry does not want to work for the defense, as he feels he is betraying his fellow officers.  As Harry goes through the file he realizes there are so many holes in the case, but if the suspect didn't kill the woman...who is the real killer?  Harry cannot let that thought sit in his head and gets the help from his former partner to look into this case.  The case leads him somewhere he wishes it didn't: back to the PD, to someone who
has been watching him as well.  Will Harry be able to prove Haller's client innocent and find the real killer before it's too late?





Michael Connelly is a master in the art of thriller and suspense.  He delivers a great installment to his series.  I haven't read any other  novel from Michael Connelly, but I feel as though I should go and get a few more of his novels and delve into the world of mystery a little more than I already have.  It is easy for a reader to find themselves devouring this novel and finishing it in no time, even if you aren't much of a reader.  He has a way of combining plot and character development in a way that makes you feel like you are not reading a novel, but watching a movie.  I would LOVE to see this made into a movie or something.  There is not a lot of gory scenes nor are there any explicit sex scenes.

Readers are taken on a suspense filled ride as Bosch navigates his way through this case.  There are so many twists and turns, it is not a book that is predictable.  Sure you find yourself thinking you have figured out the case, but many times you find out you were close, but no cigar.  The characters are realistic and compelling.  Readers will find themselves hoping the Bosch will be able to find the evidence needed to prove that Haller's client is innocent and that someone else was the murderer.  I love how Bosch is torn throughout the novel with working with someone on the defense rather than the prosecution that he is accustomed too.  The question he struggles with is he betraying his fellow officers by taking this case?  What is more important one man's freedom and finding the truth, or remaining loyal to his comrades?

If this is the quality of novel one can expect from Michael Connelly, I cannot wait to get my hands on his other novels.  I would recommend this novel to mystery and suspense lovers as this will keep you up all night until you find out who the killer really is.  I highly recommend this novel to all readers and give it a rating of 4 out of 5 stars.  Add it to your library today.

Wednesday, January 10, 2018

Perrault's Fairy Tales

Title: Perrault's Fairy Tales
Author:Charles Perrault
Genre: Classic lit, Chidlren's lit
Source: Kindle Ebook
Rating: 4 out of 5


Collection of early versions classic fairy tales such as "Cinderella", "Puss In Boots," "Blue Beard" and more.  Each story contains a moral at the end to help readers know what the intention of the stories were.  These are the stories before they were touched by companies like Disney that changed things around to make them more....fairy talesuqe instead of the gruesome tales they may be.  Perrault is credited with laying the groundwork for fairy tales, and can be seen rewritten numerous times including the Grimm Brothers.




This collections holds about 8 or 10 classic fairy tales, some we know well some not so much.  Many we have seen reappear from other authors such as the Brothers Grimm and made into movies by the likes of Disney, but Disney changed quite a bit from these tales.  I liked being able to read the original versions of the stories and see how they became different throughout time from 1697 to now 2018 there are a lot of differences for example, Little Red Riding Hood does not get rescued, but devoured by the wolf.  Each of the stories have some sort of gore to them, not intended to really scare the children, but for the ew factor, though I do admit some stories I wondered how they were considered children stories.


Some of the stories I have read before in Brother's Grimm, other stories like Puss In Boots, I have not read before and enjoyed finally getting the chance to read them in their original format.  Children do enjoy stories with ogres and things and in the years that follow the publication of this book, children are protected more from things people think might be too scary like an ogre eating children, not to mention to tell the morals and convey the themes involved some of the stories needed to have a little gore and what some would consider adult themes.


While the author included morals of the story, they do seem to be morals that HE thought the story told and have room for each reader to form their own opinions of what the fairy tales are supposed to convey.  Some people may say classic fairy tales are no longer relevant especially with the movies and adaptations we've seen throughout the years, but I believe they are still relevant and convey the same if not different morals to an audience in today's society no matter how different things may be.


I recommend everyone read this collection, it may open your eyes to some beloved stories you thought you knew or rekindle a love for a story you loved as a child.  Pick up a copy from amazon.

Monday, January 8, 2018

The Last Necromancer

Title: The Last Necromance
Author: CJ Archer
Genre: Fantasy, Paranormal
Source Kindle Ebook
Rating: 3.5 out of 5 paws.


Charlie is your average 13 year old boy living on the streets.  He steals to survive until he gets caught and arrested.  Only..Charlie has some secrets, one he is actually an 18 year old girl.  Two...she can speak to and control the dead: she is a necromancer.  Her father banished her from his home when she first commanded her mother's spirit five years ago, she lived on the streets in disguise since.  When she is arrested she stirs the pot when she begs a spirit to help her escape the clutches of the other prisoners allowing her to escape jail altogether. Now There are people looking for her a mysterious doctor and Lincoln Fitzroy the head of a secret organization.  But why do these people want her and what will they do with her once they find out she is a girl and in deed the last necromancer?




I have read other books by C.J Archer, and loved the writing style enough to need to check out this novel as well.  This is the first book in a series and yes, I already bought the second book in the series.  I liked that Charlie was a little flawed in that she didn't trust anyone, was constantly denying who she was and even falling for someone older than her.  Having flawed characters make them easier to relate to, making the book more enjoyable to read.  I have read a lot of other books with the main characters having a variety of powers, but this is the first that I have read about a necromancer, and I like what Archer did with it.  Granted there was literary artistic creativity with the doctor character (I don't want to give it away).  I know some people didn't like how it was done, but I was excited once I figured out who this mysterious person was and what he wanted her for.  It is set in Victorian London and makes references to some events that have happened around the time such as the Ripper murders, which I thought was a nice touch bringing the real into the fantasy.


The story does take a while to develop to the climatic point of who the person is and finding him.  Most of the time Charlie is trapped in a manor with not much to do other than read and play cards with two other characters.  I wanted a little more from Gus and Seth, I think I liked their characters more than I like Lincoln.  There is too much we still don't know about him/felt too mysterious.  I also wasn't sure about the potential love interest between Charlie and Lincoln because of the age.  Now I know age makes no different, but it's hard to read a book of an 18 year old girl falling in love with her 30 year old kidnapper.  I actually shipped her with Seth, and would love to see that happen, something different from the normal go to of lead female falls for lead male.  Or better yet, have her not want to get mixed up with a man until she learns about her powers and how to defend herself against people out to find her.  Shake things up a bit, sure it's YA but does every girl in a YA novel need to be rescued by a man?!


There were a few things about Lincoln I was not okay with such as him "teaching" her a lesson by dropping her off in the middle of Whitechapel to fend for herself.  While she was used to being on the streets she did so under the guise of a boy, now she was all gussied up like a respectable lady and almost gets raped.  I admit I almost stopped reading right there, but low and behold Lincoln comes to her rescue and kills them man.  I find it hard to believe that is a good way to prove to someone that you would not harm them or to encourage them to help you.  And of course Charlie goes with it because she's so frazzled and see him as her knight in shining armor.


I liked the thrill of finding the doctor, but I would have liked Charlie to have been in on it a little more, or the use of her necromancy powers to be more in the story other than in the beginning and towards the end.  I wanted more from that which is why this book got the 3.5 paw rating.  There was a lot of waiting around for something to happen, but I understand the need to build a little bit of a backstory within the first book of a series. I wanted Charlie to be a stronger character, but she does come off as being weak and unable to defend herself (but then how did she survive on the streets for so long?)


It was a good enough story, kept me wanting more up til then end and made me want to buy the next book in the series, even if there are a few loop holes in the story itself.  I tried not to overthink those holes.  I am interested to see where the story takes us and what is in store for Charlie, Seth, Gus and Lincoln.  I recommend it for those who enjoy fantasy, paranormal, supernatural kind of stories.

Friday, January 5, 2018

Wicked River

Title: Wicked River
Author: Jenny Milchman
Genre: Mystery/Thriller
Source: Kindle Ebook from NetGalley
Rating: 2 out of 5 paws


Natalie and Doug have just gotten married and are spending their honeymoon in the Adirondack mountains.  This is a chance for them to start a new life together, to become something new.  They begin to explore their own hearts and dive deeper than they ever have before.  But the couple learn quickly that they are not alone.  Something or someone more sinister lurks between the trees.  The mountains are a beautiful place to be, but also a place where someone can hide, or for someone to go missing without a trace.  Someone watches them, waiting for them to come closer.  Then he will ensure they never make it out of the mountains again.



I couldn't be more excited to have received this book from the kind publishers and those at NetGalley for an honest review. I am always excited to find new authors and potential find something out of my normal read.  That was my hope with this novel.  The synopsis makes it sound so thrilling and exciting to read, sadly it missed the mark.


From the beginning readers will see the sentence structure is a little different than what we may be used to with sentences like the first one "Twigs and branches tore at her arms like razor wire, so fast she was running."  The second part of that sentence is what made me stumble a little bit, but the structure does get easier to read.  Also some of the vocabulary makes it feel like the author is trying to hard at something.  Some of the words in the first few pages I had to look up because I never seen them used before like "fleeter" which she could have used something more common like "nimble". 


The story takes a very long time to develop and the characters weren't all that interesting aside from Mia, but she's a secondary character.  The idea for the story is interesting in itself, but I don't think Michman executed as effectively as she could have.  About 8-9 chapters in and readers are still basically at base camp of the story, and find themselves wondering when will the action begin.  It almost feels like you are pushing yourself to read more just to get to "the good part."


I wanted to enjoy this book so much, but I was really disappointed in it.  The excessive use of uncommon vocabulary was rough, but you get used to it, the drab characters happen sometimes, as so the slow moving story, but all of it mixed together makes for a book that is really difficult to finish.  I don't think I would recommend this book.