Book Review – Dead Until Dark by Charlaine Harris

Title: Dead Until Dark

Author: Charlaine Harris

Format:  Hardback

Published: 2001

 

For the longest time I have been curious about the Sookie Stackhouse novels.  I knew there was a TV show that was based on the novels and that the novels had to deal with some of my favorite mythological creatures Vampires and Werewolves, though truth be told I am more a Werewolf girl than a Vampire girl but seeing as Werewolves are not in the media lime light I’ll take what I can get.

 

Picking up the book, I was surprised and raptured away very quickly by the story it did not take very long for me to be sucked in and lost in the world of the story and intrigued by everything about Sookie and her relationship with the new local Vampire Bill, the characters were real and dimensional in my opinion and I simply had a lot of fun reading, it.

 

As there are lulls in my line of work, I tend to read at work.  As I was reading I found myself getting frustrated when I was expected to do my job.  I did it of course because it was my job but I wanted nothing more but to continue reading the book.  If it says anything I rarely read a book like this in one day and I pretty much read it in one day and I am clamoring for more.  I am quite literally sad that I don’t have the next book in the series, I have lots of books but not the next one.

 

To give an over view of the book Sookie is a girl with the ‘disability’ of being able to read minds who has always wanted to meet a Vampire ever since they had become known and acknowledged in society.  She met one and found that he was the one being that she couldn’t read the mind of.  From there they got to know each other and drew close as Sookie took it upon herself to look into the murders of some girls who are similar to her as a way to protect Bill the Vampire as Vampires were being looked to as the potential killers.

 

It is hard to describe the plot of the story in some respects but it is quite a good read and I enjoyed it very much.  Despite how much I enjoyed the book, I have to still give it a 4 out of 5 pages.  It is fantastic but I don’t think it quite hit the levels of a must read for all.  Good but not that good.

Book Review – On Immunity (An Inoculation)

Book Review – Tomboy

TITLE: Tomboy: A graphic memoir

AUTHOR/ILLUSTRATOR: Liz Prince

FORMAT: Graphic Novel

PUBLISHED: 2014

 readingchallengesmall

Tomboy is a memoir about a girl who is a Tomboy in every sense of the word.  It talks about how hard it was to grow up as a Tomboy.

…so, I don’t know what to say about this.  A lot of my complaints are with the story itself, and since this is a memoir, it means a lot of my issues are with Liz.  I wasn’t a girly-girl.  I’m quite happy in pants and, since my sisters are both married off, probably don’t need to be in a dress again for years.  So maybe it’s that I’m surprised she had so many issues with being a Tomboy.  I don’t remember anyone ever asking me why I wasn’t wearing a dress.  I don’t remember anyone saying anything to me about my choice of activities – I played many a game of Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles on the playground (although I was always relegated to being April O’Neal because no other girls played) – nor do I remember anyone saying anything to anyone I knew about whether or not their hair was “too short” to “be a girl”.

So I’m not sure if this is a difference of experience or a difference of perception.  But there was definitely a difference there. I will say I’m not nearly as Tomboy as the author, though, so there is that.

But with that aside, just taking the story at face value, it was decent enough.  I don’t think that you gain any huge insight into the world by reading it, but it’s a graphic novel, which means you can read it in just a couple hours.

The illustrations are fine.  A huge issue I have was with the lettering, though.  It wasn’t standard comic book writing font, and in a lot of places was really sloppy.  I felt like Liz just threw it together and rushed through that part which, well, is kind of the most important part.

I had a few spots where I was trying harder to translate the handwriting than I was to follow the story, and that’s not okay.

I’ll give the book overall a 3/5.  If you happen across it, go ahead and read it, but don’t go out of your way to look for it.

 readingchallengesmall

Book 7/52.

This satisfies the MEMOIR
portion of the challenge.

Book Review – The Invisible Man by Ralph Ellison

TITLE: The Invisible Man
AUTHOR: Ralph Ellison
FORMAT: Paperback
WRITTEN: 1952
PUBLISHED: 1981

The Invisible Man is about the almost surreal struggle of a young black man in the early 1950s trying to distinguish himself in a predominantly white world.  He strives first for education, but an incident ejects him unfairly from college life and into the streets of New York where he eventually finds himself a spokesman in Harlem for a political movement known as the Brotherhood.

Usually, once I get past the first few pages of a book, I see it through to the end, but I almost gave up on this about a third of the way through.  It seemed to belong to that class of “classics” where the protagonist suffers a mix of bad treatment complicated by their own bad decisions, but never acknowledges their own role in their misfortunes.  But the narrative leveled out, and I made it through the 581 pages.  I can’t say I enjoyed the book, so much as I can appreciate it.

I imagine this is one of those novels that will resonate deeply with some people, but be a little too dense and frustrating for others.  Its message was far more complex than my early prediction, and while I occasionally found myself frustrated with the narrative for not being clearer, the protagonist did not simply drift through events for the novel’s entirety.

While reading, the book felt disjointed.  The symbolism was strong in places but the writing murky, too many motives and actions left unexplained.  Reflecting on it, there was a deliberate progression, and I strongly suggest you skip neither the prologue nor epilogue if you hope for any semblance of closure.  Except, the novel ends not so much with closure but with an awakening, or sense of being on the cusp of awakening, which may make a lot more sense in historical context than outside of it.  It’s set in a time gearing up for the height of McCarthyism and the civil rights movement.

I found myself frustrated while reading that the Brotherhood’s politics were not made clearer, but suspect the general reading public of the time would have accepted them to be a communist movement.

Overall, it gets a solid 3 out of 5.  It was a popular book when first released, and it’s easy to see how it could strike a chord.  But I prefer a higher level of polish and closure when making a nearly 600 page investment of my time.

Book Review – Robin a Hero Reborn

Title:  Robin a Hero Reborn

Author: Alan Grant, Norm Breyfogle, Steve Mitchell, Chuck Dixon, Tom Lyle and Bob Smith

Illustrators: Not Listed

Format: Paperback

Published: 1991

 

Again I have another old Robin book that has a very old school drawing to it that I admit I’m not as fond of but I suppose I can adjust.  I admit having started at the end of Robin’s Career as Tim at least the end before the new 52 (which I won’t rant on and absolutely loath), it is interesting to move to the start of Robin’s career as he is first determined to be Robin and his first acts as Robin.

 

To be honest it was kind of cool I loved how he figured out what was going on in a rather interesting mystery and then chooses to potentially sacrifice his role as Robin to be there to support Batman as Robin because he knows it is the right thing to do.  Additionally the villain who I won’t reveal for spoiler reasons was a lot of fun to read and I rather like the character and find them interesting to say the least they aren’t my all time favorite Bat Villain but interesting to say the least.

 

The story following is the story of Tim’s training and how he becomes who I love and adore and how he gets his staff weapon which I say I just love that weapon of choice.  I will say this set of comics weren’t as fun as the ones where Tim becomes Robin but it was interesting to say the least and I simply love the intelligence that Tim exhibits even in this story.  Tim’s robin is less fight and more brains and I absolutely love it.  I am always more into the brains than the brawn on any given day.

 

Overall the comic was an interesting and good read and I think I would give it a 3 out of 5 pages as it was worth of my time considering my interests but it isn’t as much of a must read.  Knowing the information is good though and helps bring life to the later Tim comics that I would always highly recommend.

Book Review – All Fall Down

Title: All Fall Down

Author: Ally Carter

Format: Hardback

Year Published: 2015

I love Ally Carter’s books – I especially adore her Heist Society novels (about teenaged thieves), and am working my way through the Gallagher Girls (I got stalled and decided to start from the beginning again). I was fully expecting to love this book, but it wasn’t to be.

The main character, Grace, has had a tough few years – she saw her mother die and is convinced that she was murdered, but everybody around her tells her that her mother’s death was just an accident. Grace is convinced otherwise, and when she sees the man she is sure murdered him, she falls into an adventure that sends her all over the Embassy Row.

Grace as a character is very impulsive, something that admittedly turns me off somewhat. I prefer characters that think ahead, or when they get into situations over their head fall back onto some sort of experience and don’t just charge in (at least not all the time – but Grace’s default is “bull in a china shop” and it gets old fast). Some of this is understandable – she’s still processing what happened to her mother, and is experiencing flashbacks to boot, and therefore she’s trying to push those memories away, but it’s very painful to read.

One of the things that is consistent across Ally Carter’s books is to have character be able to do spy things well, which works fine in the Gallagher Girls books (they’re in training to be spies) and in the Heist Society books (they’re a family of thieves), however it feels somewhat contrived here. Grace is joined by several other Embassy Row teens and each of them has some ability that is helpful in trying to solve the mystery of what actually happened to Grace’s mother.

I loved the setting – Adira is a little country where many of the countries of the world have Embassies, which means that you can cause several international incidents by simply walking next door. It gives the world flavor without making the characters travel everywhere.

I’ll admit that I didn’t see the big plot twist coming, but I reached the end of the book feeling like strangling every adult character in it (somewhat like Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix). There comes a point where you need to just be an adult and TALK. In Grace’s case, I would have thought that this point was reached several years previously. (I mean, seriously, when I agree with the villain, something’s wrong.)

I liked the minor characters in this – Noah, Megan, Rosie, Mrs. Chancellor – and look forward to seeing more of their histories unfold in further books, especially now that Grace has solved the mystery haunting her and can finally heal. (I’ll admit, I was expecting the secret about her mother’s true job all along, and was kind of disappointed that it only appears in the last page or so, but that does leave room for further books.)

I’ll give it a 3/5 pages – Grace annoyed me, but your mileage may vary, and everything she does is in character. Looking forward to the next books.

Book Review – Postcards From Camp

TITLE: Postcards From Camp

AUTHOR/ILLUSTRATOR: Simms Taback

FORMAT: Hardcover

PUBLISHED: 2011

Postcards From Camp is a story told entirely through the correspondence between Michael and his dad.

The book starts with Michael sending home a postcard about how his counselor is an alien or worse and his father must immediately get him, lest he die.  HALP!  Of course, his father doesn’t, instead he sends an encouraging word.  Through the letters, Good Ol’ Dad ends up talking Michael into staying, and, well, I’m sure you figure out that he ends up enjoying himself by the end of it.

When I saw this, I had to pick it up.  I love Nick Bantock’s Griffin and Sabine books, and this has a similar presentation.  I like that the postcards from the kid look like a little kid did them, and the stuff from the father is typed and formal and proper.  It’s a perfect juxtaposition of the two.  [Also, that last sentence is totally true, but I seriously only put it in the review so I could write juxtaposition legitimately.  Sorry.]

Anyway, I think the book is adorable.   It’s a great book for a kid about to go to camp or somebody who really likes postcards or whatever like I do.  I think it’s totally worth the read.  5/5.

Previous Older Entries

Follow

Get every new post delivered to your Inbox.

Join 1,950 other followers

%d bloggers like this: