Need to add The Golem and the Jinni to the TBR pile:
I had admired Carson Ellis‘s illustrations for Wildwood when browsing in the young adult section of the bookstore but had avoided purchasing in an effort to save money. I picked up the book a while back, however, when it was offered as a Google Play ebook for $2 and recently read it on my iPad.
Prue McKeel’s life is ordinary. At least until her baby brother is abducted by a murder of crows. And then things get really weird.
You see, on every map of Portland, Oregon, there is a big splotch of green on the edge of the city labeled “I.W.” This stands for “Impassable Wilderness.” No one’s ever gone in—or at least returned to tell of it.
And this is where the crows take her brother.
So begins an adventure that will take Prue and her friend Curtis deep into the Impassable Wilderness. There they uncover a secret world in the midst of violent upheaval, a world full of warring creatures, peaceable mystics, and powerful figures with the darkest intentions. And what begins as a rescue mission becomes something much bigger as the two friends find themselves entwined in a struggle for the very freedom of this wilderness.
A wilderness the locals call Wildwood.
I found it to be creative and imaginative despite having some very classic tropes (enchanted land cut off from “normal” civilization, a witch who allows a couple to have a child but at a steep price, children coming of age by participating in an adventure in a magical land, etc.). Continue reading
Last week I saw on Twitter that The Raven Boys was temporarily on sale for $2.99. I swooped in and purchased it since it was a book I had heard people raving about.
“There are only two reasons a non-seer would see a spirit on St. Mark’s Eve,” Neeve said. “Either you’re his true love . . . or you killed him.”
It is freezing in the churchyard, even before the dead arrive.
Every year, Blue Sargent stands next to her clairvoyant mother as the soon-to-be dead walk past. Blue herself never sees them—not until this year, when a boy emerges from the dark and speaks directly to her.
His name is Gansey, and Blue soon discovers that he is a rich student at Aglionby, the local private school. Blue has a policy of staying away from Aglionby boys. Known as Raven Boys, they can only mean trouble.
But Blue is drawn to Gansey, in a way she can’t entirely explain. He has it all—family money, good looks, devoted friends—but he’s looking for much more than that. He is on a quest that has encompassed three other Raven Boys: Adam, the scholarship student who resents all the privilege around him; Ronan, the fierce soul who ranges from anger to despair; and Noah, the taciturn watcher of the four, who notices many things but says very little.
For as long as she can remember, Blue has been warned that she will cause her true love to die. She never thought this would be a problem. But now, as her life becomes caught up in the strange and sinister world of the Raven Boys, she’s not so sure anymore.
And on a whim I decided to start reading it right away. I was immediately caught up and finished it a couple of days later. It has a great pace and a nice mix of humor with more serious issues plus a magical/paranormal side that is blended into the story in interesting ways. Stiefvater develops these wonderful characters and slowly builds the tension until you are racing to find out what is ging to happen. The joy of reading, however, was soon replaced with the plaintive lament: “I have to wait until when for the next book?”
When we began to plan our Christmas break trip to Northern Minnesota we realized we would need to have some entertainment handy in the car. Two kids ages 5 and 7 requires something to keep them occupied if you are going to be on the read for a couple of days. Our older model minivan doesn’t have the built-in DVD and game players new models do. Oh sure, we have laptops and iPads but they are a little trickier to maneuver. So one idea was books on CD. So we checked out a couple of different books from the library.
But my daughter really loves Harry Potter and so when I saw the first two books of the famous series on tape (yes, cassette tape) (on sale at the Friends of the Library stack) for a couple of bucks a piece I grabbed them. That is cheap entertainment! And it turned out to be a great way to pass the time. The kids loved to listen to the books and it kept them entertained for miles and miles.
But what I found interesting was how warped my memory of the books had become due to the movies. Our family owns all the movies and has watched the many times. It has been some time since I read the books (I re-read them all in 2007) and the lens I see them through these days is very much the movies.
So it was fun and interesting to revisit the books, this time via audio, after such a long time away. And I have to say I enjoyed the books a lot even though I knew what was going to happen throughout. It was fun to get to know the characters again through the eyes of Rowling and her pen rather than the director’s lens. It was fund to hear the dialogue and descriptions; the witty asides and fun lines.
This is not a revelation but you just forget how much more detail and imagination is involved in reading (or listening) to a book rather than watching a movie (or perhaps a different type of detail and imagination). And in this case, I had forgotten how much was in the books that just wouldn’t fit into the movies. It was great family fun dive into the books together and enjoy them based on Rowling’s original vision. My daughter has read some of the first two books but my son has only entered that world through the movies (and a Lego video game). It is somewhat sad that they can’t read the books truly fresh like I was able to do without the intrusion of the movies.
So if you find yourself facing a long car trip, I can recommend Harry Potter as a good companion for the trip.
In case you haven’t been scoring at home, I picked up The Guardians series (in a box set actually) because I liked the picture books that inspired them and wanted to be prepared for the movie. Toothiana: Queen of the Tooth Fairy Armies is the third book (following Nicholas St. North and E. Aster Bunnymund).
Beware a tooth fairy queen scorned in this, the third chapter book of Academy-Award winner William Joyce’s The Guardians series. There’s a lot more to this tooth-swiping sprite than meets the eye!
Now that the back story of Nicholas St. North has been told, and the mysteries of E. Aster Bunnymund have been revealed, we can permit you to meet one of the most riveting, mysterious Guardians of all time: the Tooth Fairy.
Do you want in on a few of her secrets? Well—she can spin herself into a multitude of selves, all depending on nightly teeth-placed-under-pillows rates. And her diminutive size is not at all indicative of how fierce a warrior she can be—Pitch, the Nightmare King, that nefarious villain and the Guardians’ nemesis, who loathes all things good, has no idea what he’s up against. And be forewarned: If you try to stay up to spy on her nocturnal pursuits, there’ll be Spell to pay.
We present to you Her Serene Royal Highness, Toothiana, Queen of the Tooth Fairies, The third Guardian.
Not surprisingly, this volume is much like the others. Full of imaginative adventures and characters, with creative wordplay and mythology and a sense of humor (often with tongue firmly in cheek).