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review 2018-09-20 15:09
Enchanted April
The Enchanted April - Elizabeth von Arnim

Yeah, I know I said I would not post here anymore but I wanted you all to know I've kept at reading Elizabeth's stuff. How did I not know about this author before? I'm still trying to wrap my arms around the fact that for a couple of years anyway, her and I were alive at the same time.  

 

I recently finished Enchanted April (it's a novel of hers but it was easy to imagine her as a character in it.) No one hardly comments on reviews on Goodreads (I think they're all hung up on their own shit), so I thought to post it here where I recall there were some people who liked Elizabeth. 

 

 

MY review:

Okay this is undoubtedly my favorite read of 2018.
Now I can watch the movie!!!! YAY!
Ms von Arnim was probably the best writer of her day, bar none, as her works are just as readable today in 2018 as they were in the late 1890's. As I've tried to read the so called classics of the early 1900s, I've found the writing of most lacking . . . dated actually. 
Ms von Arnim is a marvelous character developer and produces characters the reader embraces. I loved every one of the characters in this book.
As my previous reads of her works were those in which she was the main character, I was surprised this was a novel and not necessarily based on her. Or was it? Truth be told I thought the character of Scrap bore a resemblance to the person I've come to know as Elizabeth.

 

PS: I did watch the movie the same night and found it pretty true to the book. All of the actors were well cast and they mirrored how I pictured them. Some things were changed slightly as the book is mainly switching heads to get their thoughts and I know that's hard to show on screen. Plus, I thought the scenery (So much a part of the book) was lacking. Frankly, I'm surprised Hollywood tackled this at all. It's fairly recent (2011) so I'm surprised they didn't try to update the plot with terrorists or super powers. Thankfully they left it in the 1920s. I recommend the book (first of course) and the movie.

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review 2018-09-19 07:11
Review: Slade House
Slade House: A Novel - David Mitchell

Wow!  This was a pretty creepy and twisted tale.  This book was beautifully written and very interesting.  The whole time I read it, Hotel California was playing on a loop inside my head.

 

But what to say about it?  It's kinda of the age-old tale of a man being too stupid or stubborn--or both-- to listen to the woman in his life.  If Jonah had just listened to his sister Nora, things could have turned out so, so differently for both of them.

 

This is basically a Hotel California type situation.  A person with the right type of...psychic energy I guess, is lured into Slade House by the Grayer siblings, where they are treated to all sorts of fantasies--or hallucinations--and once they succumb, they are never seen again.  But each victim is warned by the previous victim until finally one of them is strong enough to fight back, which is the beginning of the end for the Slade House.

 

It was pretty spooky and kind of sad.  Enough of he victims' backgrounds were revealed that you felt real sympathy for most of them.  Anger, even, at siblings for what they were doing to innocent people.  It was a very good series of interconnected vignettes and while it wasn't completely an 'open ending', I feel like there is a door left open for a sequel.  I'd be very interested in reading.

 

 

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text 2018-09-19 02:49
Reading progress update: I've read 36 out of 256 pages.
Slade House: A Novel - David Mitchell

 

This is a big bag of bizarre.  Can't wait to see where it's going.

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review 2018-09-13 16:35
A Warm Puppy Picture Book Story About Inclusion And Acceptance
Puppy Pickup Day - April M. Cox Puppy Pickup Day - April M. Cox

Eight engaging labradoodle puppies wake up to greet the day in April M. Cox's engaging picture book story of a special day when all the puppies expect to get a new home. 

 

They are fed, groomed, and play, but one little pup, smaller than his siblings, is rejected. As the rollicking rhyme follows the fun and games, young readers can't help but be concerned about one little outcast who falls off the puppy slide, is too small to play tag, and gets lost too easily. 

 

As the countdown begins, teaching numbers to young animal lovers, the last little puppy begins to wonder if getting a new home is something else he's going to miss out on. He's become lost (on Puppy Pickup Day, no less), but his friendly nature leads to help from unexpected places, and after his siblings are picked by new families, he discovers something important about courage and finding his place in the world even though he's a runt who can't do what his siblings enjoy. 

 

A variety of messages are wound into this fun-loving story of a little puppy's adventure: counting, colorful fun, lessons on friendship and helping, and embracing new experiences. Illustrator Len Smith's oversized, colorful panels are a huge draw to an equally-strong, uplifting story line that will delight young picture book readers and their read-aloud parents. He's a former Disney & Hanna-Barbara illustrator, and so his background is perfect for translating the story into large-sized, exceptionally colorful characters designed to provide eye-catching excitement and action to enhance the story's visual appeal. Each panel is packed with not just vivid colors and playful action, but emotion as the little puppy moves through his choices and considers his options. Not only the puppy's emotions are involved: readers will find their heartstrings similarly pulled as the story visually 'pops' with excitement. 

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review 2018-08-26 23:34
Marking Time (The Immortal Descendants #1) by April White
[ { MARKING TIME: THE IMMORTAL DESCENDANTS } ] by White, April (AUTHOR) Nov-05-2012 [ Paperback ] - April White
Saira Elian grew up moving every two years and so she has learned to be independent. At this point, Saira is pretty sure that she can handle anything that life throws at her but she didn't count on falling through a graffiti tag and ending up back in Victorian times.  The 17 year old Saira suddenly finds herself gearing up to battle Jack the Ripper and learning that the world is so much more complicated than she ever thought it was. Being a descendant of immortals and in her case, a descendant of Time  and apparently the one fated to bring the families together, means that Saira is going to have to race against time if she is going to save her mother. Thankfully, for the first time in her life, Saira has friends that she can count on and a vampire who has loved her for well over 100 years. 
 
I have never been a fan of YA, so I had my doubts when I picked up Marking Time but I'm happy to report that I quickly fell into the story and cannot wait to find out what journey White takes her characters on. I will admit to having my doubts about Saira at first but as White reminded us how stark and independent her childhood was, it makes sense that she would chafe under the suddenly imposed rules of a relative that she had never met, and being forced out of her comfort zone to embrace things like dressing for dinner and attending an exclusive boarding school. 
 
There is a strain of romance running through this story. When Saira first meets Archer, she has no idea who he is and how much he will come to mean to her.  It would be a mistake going into this believing that it is a paranormal romance because while the love story is important to the entire narrative, it isn't the point to the story.  I have to admit to not being a fan of teenage girls being paired with vampires hundreds of years older than them but this is mitigated somewhat by the fact that when Saira develops a relationship with Archer in the past, he is human and actually not much older than her. It's one of the few iterations of vampire/teenage girl that doesn't feel completely predatory. 
 
I'm absolutely fascinated with the world that White built.  There are shifters, vampires, werewolves, time travelers and people who can see the future.  I really cannot wait to learn more about the immortals who created these unique descendants. Because the world is so rich, there are so many directions that White can take the story, particularly if she chooses to focus on the war between the descendants themselves, or take the story into the future. 
 
I know I've gushed just a little bit but there are a few problems with Making Time.  The first book in every series sets up the universe and establishes the rules for what the characters can and cannot do but I do believe that White got bogged down with the details when she started discussing DNA and creating a scientific explanation for how and why the descendants are the way that they are. It was the only time I found myself skipping the page and I really felt that it added nothing to the story to speak of.
 
Being in Victorian England meant that Saira found herself in a world in which men and women were forced into rigid gender roles. I love that she didn't instantly comply with what was expected and stayed true to who she is - a modern woman.  Every time that Ringo and Archer worried for her reputation, she was quick to push it aside. I further love that Saira dressed in a masculine fashion in order to have the freedom that she required to what she needed to do. White made it clear that the choice to pass as male is something that many an enterprising young woman chose to do in order to free themselves from strict moral and gender codes. Marking Time easily passed the Bechdel test and it was good to see Saira form relationships with men and women equally, even if the routine at the schools sometimes weighed down the story.
 
White used Ringo to do a small interrogation of class.  Far too often when we have time travel books, they focus on the upper class but in this case, White decided to look at the precarious lives of the poor in Victorian England.  Ringo actually had to sneak into his home each nigh because it wasn't a legal lodging and he could only have a fire to stave off the cold at certain times.  Ringo also couldn't read and so Saira and Archer had to teach him. Even Archer, who did have some class privileges was forced into the seminary simply because he's the second son. 
 
 
 
Source: www.fangsforthefantasy.com/2018/08/marking-time-immortal-descendants-1-by.html
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