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review 2017-10-31 06:43
Cuckoo Song
Cuckoo Song - Frances Hardinge

Cuckoos are interesting birds. Several species of cuckoo engage in brood parasitism, meaning they drop their eggs in other birds’ nests so those other birds will raise their young for them. Does the title of Cuckoo Song seem a trifle more disturbing now? Good. The mood is set.

 

 

This book is strange and wonderful and creepy and delightful. It makes me wish I had a time machine so I could send a copy back to the ‘80s for ten-year-old me. While it’s meant for a Middle Grade audience, it’s got plenty of appeal for older readers. Early 1920’s England comes alive in the vivid prose. It might be premature to crown Frances Hardinge the Queen of Metaphor after reading one book, but I’d say she’s definitely in the running.

 

But this isn’t just a good, creepy, dark fairy tale. It’s a good, creepy, dark fairy tale with substance. It deals with issues of family love, loss, identity, and acceptance in kind of amazing ways. My hat’s off to Hardinge. This was a delicious book that I wanted to devour but just had to savor.

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text 2017-10-23 18:54
5 spooky books you're reading right now
Cuckoo Song - Frances Hardinge
Deadline - Mira Grant
Fearsome Creatures of the Lumberwoods: Twenty Chilling Tales from the Wilderness - Hal Johnson,Tom Mead
What the Hell Did I Just Read - David Wong
The Turn of the Screw - Henry James,Richard Armitage,Emma Thompson

9 days to Halloween. If you're wondering what to read to feel the spirit of the upcoming night, check out what BookLikes bloggers are reading right now.

 

A blogger at Darth Pony is reading Cuckoo Song by Frances Hardinge  

Cuckoo Song - Frances Hardinge

When Triss wakes up after an accident, she knows that something is very wrong. She is insatiably hungry; her sister seems scared of her and her parents whisper behind closed doors. She looks through her diary to try to remember, but the pages have been ripped out.

Soon Triss discovers that what happened to her is more strange and terrible than she could ever have imagined, and that she is quite literally not herself. In a quest to find the truth she must travel into the terrifying Underbelly of the city to meet a twisted architect who has dark designs on her family - before it's too late.

 

A blogger at isanythingopen is reading Deadline by Mira Grant 

Deadline - Mira Grant

Shaun Mason is a man without a mission. Not even running the news organization he built with his sister has the same urgency as it used to. Playing with dead things just doesn't seem as fun when you've lost as much as he has.
But when a CDC researcher fakes her own death and appears on his doorstep with a ravenous pack of zombies in tow, Shaun has a newfound interest in life. Because she brings news-he may have put down the monster who attacked them, but the conspiracy is far from dead.
Now, Shaun hits the road to find what truth can be found at the end of a shotgun.

 

A blogger at Reading For The Heck Of It is reading Fearsome Creatures of the Lumberwoods: Twenty Chilling Tales from the Wilderness by Hal Johnson

Fearsome Creatures of the Lumberwoods: Twenty Chilling Tales from the Wilderness - Hal Johnson,Tom Mead

Meet the snoligoster, who feeds on the shadows of its victims. The whirling whimpus, who once laid low an entire Boy Scout troop. And the hoop snake, who can chase prey at speeds of up to 60 miles per hour and then, with one sting of its venomous tail, cause it to turn purple, swell up, and—alas—die.
These and 17 other fearsome creatures are among the most fantastical beasts in American folklore. Their stories, as narrated by one of the last surviving cryptozoologists, are best enjoyed while sitting around a campfire. If you dare.

 

A blogger at What I am reading is reading What the Hell Did I Just Read - David Wong

What the Hell Did I Just Read - David Wong

From the writer of the cult sensation John Dies at the End comes another terrifying and hilarious tale of almost Armageddon at the hands of two hopeless heroes.

It’s the story “They” don’t want you to read. Though, to be fair, “They” are probably right about this one. No, don’t put the book back on the shelf – it is now your duty to purchase it to prevent others from reading it. Yes, it works with ebooks, too; I don’t have time to explain how.

While investigating a fairly straightforward case of a shape-shifting interdimensional child predator, Dave, John, and Amy realized there might actually be something weird going on. Together, they navigate a diabolically convoluted maze of illusions, lies, and their own incompetence in an attempt to uncover a terrible truth that they - like you - would be better off not knowing. Your first impulse will be to think that a story this gruesome – and, to be frank, stupid – cannot possibly be true. That is precisely the reaction “They” are hoping for.

 

A blogger behind Ani's Book Abyss is reading The Turn of the Screw by Henry James

The Turn of the Screw - Henry James,Richard Armitage,Emma Thompson

Henry James's classic ghost story The Turn of the Screwhas been enthralling readers for over a century and shows no sign of losing popularity as new generations continue to discover this chilling masterpiece.
The novella's anonymous narrator is a young woman, a parson’s daughter, who is engaged as governess to two seemingly innocent children at a remote English country house. What initially seems a idyllic soon turns nightmarish, as she becomes convinced that the children are consorting with a pair of malevolent spirits. These are the ghosts of former employees at Bly: a valet and a previous governess. In life, scandalously, the two of them had been discharged as illicit lovers, and their spectral visitations with the children hint at Satanism and possible sexual abuse. The book amply fulfills its pledge, laid down in the first few pages, that nothing can touch it in terms of sheer “dreadful—dreadfulness.”

 

What are you reading? Share the titles below.

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review SPOILER ALERT! 2016-09-24 07:02
Cuckoo, Cuckoo
Cuckoo Song - Frances Hardinge

This book has been on my "To Be Read" shelf pretty much since I first joined BookLikes. When I saw it at Barnes and Noble I was interested in the concept and thought it could be a fun, even spooky read. I think it was even under a shelf marked, "Spooky Reads for Teens" or something like that. It was at the library and I figured why not. 

 

Cuckoo Song follows Triss after she falls into the Grimmer, which I think is a river. Maybe a creek. In any case, she falls into a body of water (thus why I'm counting this for the fall square) and nothing is the same after that. Her sister hates her, her dolls scream at her, and she's always hungry. Also, leaves appear in her bed in the morning. As she tries to figure out what's happening, she learns that there's an unseen world around her and the forces in this world have it out for her family and she must stop them. 

 

 

This book was a strange read for me. I found it compelling and didn't want to stop reading, but I also found it underwhelming. Sort of like when you chug a drink and then are thirsty again almost immediately. It's kind of a cool that it parallel's Triss' inability to feel full, but I doubt that was intentional. It created an unsatisfying story for me and not because the story wasn't good or the writing wasn't well done. Hardinge is a really good writer and the story itself was a fun ride. The characters themselves were also interesting and well rounded.Those of you who like stories with complex female characters will really appreciate the ones in this story, I believe. So there was nothing that sticks out as just WRONG. It just felt hollow, didn't thrill me or anything. 

 

I think the story's biggest issue is there's just so much detail and events going on and it causes the story to drag. It doesn't feel like it's dragging while you're reading, but when you put the book down you realize you've just read four chapters where nothing really happens. Nothing major anyway. If I were to redo this book, I would have cut down majorly on the first fourth of the book, since it was just repeated events making you go, "What's wrong with Triss?" It really didn't do much and instead was just an elaborate set up for the actual plot. Triss has seven days, according to the weird voice, and most of them are spent not knowing what's going on. That to me feels like a waste of time and just a way to make it so when the action starts, there's a tighter timeline. It feels kind of cheap to me. 

 

Part of the trouble is I knew about Changelings before I read the book. The title plus the strangeness about Triss immediately alerted me that there was a Changeling in our midst. So much of the story is solely focused on the mystery of what's wrong with Triss, but that wasn't a mystery to me. I knew what was wrong with her. So I was just waiting for them to get on with the greater question of, "Why would someone want to put a Changeling in the Cresent family?" I think if I hadn't of known about the creatures, it would have been more suspenseful for me. Or if had been something different from a Changeling. That would have been cool and less predictable. Oh well. 

 

When it comes to the technical components of the story, it was constructed very well. Especially the world building. I LOVED the world and mechanics of the Besiders. It was such an interesting concept, the way they and their magic work. I wish we had gotten to them so much sooner and that they had a greater presence in the story. They really were my favorite part. So I have to give credit to Hardinge there. 

 

Overall rating: 3.5 out of 5 stars. It's an okay story. Nothing particularly special but still a fun read. If you like stories like Neverwhere, I think you'll enjoy this one. 

 

 

MAJOR SPOILER BELOW

 

One last complaint to wrap up this review: There was what felt like a major copout when it came to the conflict resolution: How on earth did the Architect not realize that he was dragging Trista along? All the other Besiders could tell she was one of him. How come he suddenly couldn't? Perhaps I missed something but I was pretty miffed about that. It was so cheap to me and too easy.

 

 

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text 2016-04-01 05:42
Reading progress update: I've read 71%.
Cuckoo Song - Frances Hardinge

It seems almost silly to bother DNFing a book this close to the end (this is not a long book by any means), but honestly, I'm not going to finish it, and I've been working on admitting to myself when that is true.

 

Everyone seems to like this, and I can't fathom what precisely it is about it that isn't working for me, but it really isn't working for me. It feels easily two or three times as long as it actually is, and I cannot seem to maintain enough interest to get through more than a chapter or two at a time.

 

I don't necessarily dislike the characters, I simply don't care about them at all. At this point I feel like I've dragged out my ability to handle this much longer than I need to and I don't think that there is any kind of payoff that could possibly come that would be worth it, so away this goes.

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review 2016-03-22 00:00
Cuckoo Song
Cuckoo Song - Frances Hardinge This is the first Frances Hardinge novel I've ever read and let me just say that I will absolutely read another one. Cuckoo Song was so refreshingly different and pleasantly weird. This is not your standard cookie cutter children's novel.

I'm not even sure how to summarize this without giving anything away. Basically, you have the mystery of why Triss isn't herself, her sister Pen hating her, and her parents keeping secrets. Plus, there are all sorts of weirdness going on that I can't even begin to describe. You also have quite a mix of characters such as Triss, her sister Pen, their parents, Violet and several strange characters — Mr. Grace, the Strike, the Architect and the Besiders. And, this story takes place in the early 1920s.

Frances Hardgine is both a great storyteller and a great writer. I love her use of language and her characterization. There were times when I read something and thought Wow, I wish I could write like that. She sounds like an experienced, polished writer.

Two of her characters, Triss and Pen, had wonderful character arcs. I wasn't expecting their relationship to change the way that it did. It was so easy to like Triss and to want her to succeed. At the beginning, I hated Pen, but my feelings towards her did a complete 180 by the time I got to the end. Their parents have some real issues. No wonder the kids are so screwed up! When Violet was introduced, I underestimated her importance. She’s actually very important to the plot.

If you love children’s fiction or you’re looking for something different, give this one a try.

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