Thursday, April 26, 2012

Emily The Strange: This Cover Got Lost - The Lost Issue by Rob Reger

Read: April 25, 2012
read in less than a half hour
pages: 48

Now while this is still strange, there are some commentaries here that are thoughtful and funny. Could be the change in writers. While this lead writer was part of the first one, they are lead here not secondary or third as in the first book. 

My favorite in this little collection of stories/commentaries is the "Lostco". A coupon that is void if you cut it out, not good until 2042 and only on even numbered Tuesdays on months that start with H. I loved that! The Hobo camps were a nice touch as well inside the Lostco.Oh and when you try a sample product it mysteriously ends up IN your cart. 

The lost in inner space was funny too with the references to old 8 bit Nintendo games. Ooooh and the Troublican the sign warns: Disclaimer: Emily the strange has special powers that you do not have! Do not chop off legs with your home guillotine! I loved that she incinerated the Troublicans in the end = )

Emily The Strange: Chairman of the Bored by Rob Reger

Read: April 25, 2012
read in less than a half hour
pages:  48

Yes. Very very strange. Strange indeed. And well not too great. Not sure what I was expecting. Didn't know until AFTER I read this that she is not really much a comic book character as she is much more of a logo I guess you could say. So my guess what the point of this was was for the author/creator to make a little more profit? As the book title implies the book itself was just boring.

The Juliet Club by Suzanne Harper

Read: April 22-25, 2012
read in 4 days
pages: 402

I wavered a bit between giving 3 or 4 stars, but could change my mind again. The book reminded me a bit of the movie Letters to Juliet only because the story wound up taking place entirely in Italy. The premise to get to Italy, a well written essay in a contest that happened to be a trip to Italy to participate in a Shakespeare seminar, was pretty far fetched but I looked past that. There was a great deal of emphasis on Shakespeare and a twist and retelling of the Romeo and Juliet story within the plot of this story that it could turn some people off. It worked for me though..

So of course touching on the story of Romeo and Juliet, OF COURSE our lead character Kate HAD to fall for the SON of her (divorced) father's arch rival of the academia world Professoressa Francesca Marchese. You know the whole family feud thing. For and added twist....her father just so happens to fall for his rival in the end. Because given time the impossible is possible.

The characters are likable enough. Another similarity to the movie Letters to Juliet is the fact that these characters deal with the actual letters that are written to Juliet. The young teens are given letters that are also written by teens and are asked to write back answers in the way in which Juliet is thought to have responded. I enjoyed this concept. There wasn't a lot done with it and I wish more focus could have been put on it.

All in all I enjoyed the book and would re-read it if I were to have a copy of it. I'd find it as a used copy and buy it but I don't think I would purposely search for a new copy. I recommend to any Shakespeare fans and anyone who likes an innocent love story.

Sunday, April 22, 2012

A Little Night Magic by Lucy March

Read: April 17-21, 2012
read in 5 days
pages: 310

The book was OK. I didn't care to finish it honestly, but I stuck with it thinking it could get better. There wasn't any real tension. Live struggles with the new magic she discovers she has. She learns her father was a magical and so was her sister whom she never knew existed. There are apparently two different kinds of magic either day magic or night magic. Liv is day magic meaning her magic only works at day time. Everyone has different powers and can do different things. Liv can cause any item she concentrates on to become a woodland creature or really any animal by the end. The cutest thing she does is create a little mug bunny - a mug transformed into a bunny complete with floppy ears, fluffy tail and twitchy nose. It apparently requires no food or any other real care than making sure it doesn't all down the stairs AGAIN and bust off its handle that forms its little tail.

The climax is lacking tension. I didn't feel the need to keep reading to reach the conclusion there was nothing pulling me to the ending. I kept reading but I knew what was going to happen. I figured Tobias would fulfill his role as hero and guess what...HE DID! Hey I predicted the end! Oh well sometimes it happens and I don't usually mind all that much. The story overall was just OK. I wouldn't highly recommend it though.

It Had to be You by Cecily Von Ziegesar

Read : December  30-April 17, 2012
read in WAY TOO LONG!
pages:  416

I put this book down for a LONG time and then finally came back to it. It was typical of the rest of the series and it was fairly quick moving but the series had really lost my interest. I just don't care much for the characters any more and partly with this one had to do with the fact that this book was set when the characters were young teens. Having read the rest of the series I could tolerate them the older they got and they attitudes changed. This little bitchy rant of Blair's through the whole novel was a major annoyance. Ugh I'm going to leave it at I'm glad I can finally say I'm done with the series. I wanted to say I finished it. There. Done. I remember being surprised with the end and seeing who ended up with who, so to see the beginning wasn't a huge shocker as it followed the rest of the series. I don't feel it set much up as it stated it would aside from the Serena and Nate bit. Honestly that could have been a flash back moment for Serena in one of the other novels we didn't really need another new novel. I was annoyed that the book went on and on for over 400 pages. Really? I mean the usual 200 would have sufficed. The Nate and Serena was all that needed setting up if that was it was claiming to do. And THAT wasn't even seen until the last 10 page. That annoyed me the most. I hate a tease!

I am Half Sick of Shadows by Alan Bradley

Read: April 8-15, 2012
read in a week
pages:  293

I loved the opening of this book! The ice rink Flavia describes is incredible and her deduction of how she went about creating it inside the house by easily flooding the portrait gallery sounded spot on for a typical Flavia style incident. I can see this actually happening and was disappointed to find this was a cross between a dream and a day dream. DRAT!

Another crime another mystery for Flavia to solve before the police get in there and disrupt the evidence for the young detective. Quite the adventure occurs and we find Flavia caught in the middle. Oddly enough despite the evidence Flavia discovers and keeps to herself but later shares with the police inspector we come to find the police had came to the same conclusions as Flavia, which hints to their improvement in crime solving, despite having followed different routes.

Aside from the opening my favorite incident in the novel is when Flavia is searching for clues in the cupboard skimming old movie magazines. She has copies of Silver Cine and Tit Bits and is reading all the gossip of the past in cinema under a bare bulb. Given the age of the magazines they are quite the fire hazard and Falvia accidently gets the magazine too close causing a small fire. She then removes her cardigan and proceeds to stomp out the fire. After the mishaps Flavia is seen by Dogger, the servant/gardener, who barely bats an eyelash seeing her put her scorched sweater back on. In classic Flavia response she simply states "unforeseen chemical reaction" and goes on about her business. Love it!

I look forward to more adventures should the author write more books. I had emailed the author to question about Falvia's parents relationship because it always seemed odd to me that both her parents names were De Luce, and my only conclusion was that they were cousins of some kind, but there is never any indication to this connection. The response I got was that I was not going to get the info from the author because it was in the novel and it would spoil my reading. Well shocker it was in this novel and lightly grazed over by implicating that they were cousins but no real detail was given. I was a bit disappointed that I figured that one out and had hoped for more depth. Oh well. I enjoyed the book either way!

Sunday, April 8, 2012

A Red Herring without Mustard by Alan Bradley

Read: April 4-8, 2012
read in 4 days
pages: 391

Another mystery solved by the amazing Flavia de Luce. I've found there are mysteries to her life as well that she doesn't know of or even know she will one day find the need to discover. I've been stumped on the connection of the Buckshaw home being in the de Luce family which is her mother's maiden name, yet also her married name. I'm thinking there is a good chance that her parents were distant cousins or somehow other wise related. After emailing the author hoping for an answer....I was told it is in the books and he doesn't want to spoil the enjoyment of the story. Ok fine I'll take that, but admit it does frustrate me and is quite distracting. It is hard to think of Flavia's great Uncle Tar de Luce as being Harriet's relative, but I'm hoping that mystery is solved.

I already have I'm Half-Sick of Shadows the fourth book in the series waiting for me, as I knew I should get 2-4 when I found them at the library during my last visit, so that may be started tonight or tomorrow. Either way I'm excited to start another journey with Flavia!!

Saturday, April 7, 2012

The Weed that Strings the Hangman's Bag by Alan Bradley

Read: March 31- April 3, 2012
read in 4 days
pages: 364

Once again Flavia is up to her old antics. Helping solve mysterious happenings and deaths before the police even have a chance to piece things together. She manages to be the first one on the scene of the crime every time. Most times she stumbles upon them while she is out investigating other goings on that she has decided she needs to know more about. She has an incredible thirst for knowledge and an affinity for poisons that while she is only 11 years old her ability to whip up any number of poisons whether for joke or to save the life of someone to counteract another poison already working I would never want to cross her. Too bad her sisters have not figured this out yet.

She's a spunky mixture of Sherlock Holmes and Watson all in one. I'll follow her anywhere her adventures take me as long as the books continue because the stories never fail to entertain. I highly recommend the series to anyone who enjoys a good mystery that unravels slowly through the book and in the mind of this smart little girl who manages to gain access to private knowledge and get into the confidences of the towns folk by any scheme necessary. She is also not above the more than occasional break in to discover what she needs to solve her mystery. Because they are just that, HER mysteries NOT the police's investigations.

Best quote in the book: "I am quite firm in my belief that poisons were put upon the earth in the first place to be discovered - and put to good use - by those of us with the wits, but not necessarily the physical strength to..." ~ Flavia