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review 2017-11-22 23:11
Fun, expressive whirlwind trip through the bones of Charles Dickens's GREAT EXPECTATIONS.
Great Expectations (Manga Classics) - Crystal Chan,Charles Dickens,Nokman Poon

Disclaimer: reviewing an uncorrected eARC via NetGalley.

 

Art: It's actually better than the covers would suggest. The black-and-white manga-style artwork is attractive, emotional, and expressive. Comedic cartoon-style distortion helps add levity to a fairly heavy plot, while some subtlety of storytelling is better expressed through the illustrations than the deeply abbreviated text. I found the colourized cover art too "plastic" looking, but overall the style holds up, with clearly-differentiated characters, detailed backgrounds and solid transitions. Occasional problems with distinguishing who's speaking or what's going on.

 

Story: This is an adaptation, and necessarily a heavily abbreviated one. I thought they did a surprisingly good job of conveying the scope and emotional underpinnings of the story while racing through it at a breakneck speed. The language does get pretty heavy-handed at times, with little subtlety in expressing themes and character perspectives. There's some odd switches between original lines and modern-day, but as an accessible entry-point for children, avoiding continuous use of dense and dated language makes sense.

Extras: The book includes several pages of liner notes about the adaptation, as well as a helpful section indicating how to read manga-style ("backward") books.

 

Overall, a solid, entertaining and surprisingly informative Coles-notes style manga adaptation. Could be good to introduce (older) children to a classic novel in a more accessible way, to help reluctant readers understand key themes without wading through heavy language, or as a fast, fun refresher to those who are already familiar with the original source material.

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text 2017-11-20 19:49
16 Tasks of the Festive Season - Square 4
The Unyielding - Shelly Laurenston
A Wreath of Snow: A Victorian Christmas Novella - Liz Curtis Higgs
The Berlin Wall: 13 August 1961 - 9 Nove... The Berlin Wall: 13 August 1961 - 9 November 1989 - Frederick Taylor
Forgotten Voices of the Great War - Imperial War Museum,Max Arthur

Square 4, Part 1: Penance Day

Book: A Wreath of Snow by Liz Curtis Higgs

Task: 5.5 Theses of Book Blogging

 

1. Don't sell ARCs. Donate them to a charity or stock a free little library with them, but don't sell them. I don't read ARCs for a bunch of personal reasons, yet I feel really sorry for the authors who have their ARCs sold.

 

2. Stop the "real" books versus e-Reader/app debate. We all know you are just doing it for page views/social engagement and it is a tired argument. Some bloggers bring this up at least monthly so their numbers look good - ESPECIALLY on FB. Reading is reading and some readers have disabilities/conditions that technology has helped to read more/read again. The argument is classist and ablest and I will unfollow a blogger in a hot minute if I start seeing this.

 

This goes double with audible books. Some people like to read and do crafts/garden/cook/clean at the same time and a lot of them don't have the time in their day to schedule all the things as individual tasks.

 

3. Don't be afraid to review/talk about books from your personal stash, freebie books found in the Nook or Kindle store or even *gasp* the books from your local library. In the daily push to promote NEW! sometimes bloggers get burnt out. Give yourself permission to once a month write about those long cherished books and why they hold/don't hold up. Don't lose your blog's personality in the quest to look good for publishers/blog tour operators.

 

4. Don't be afraid to address serious topics in your review. Authors really need to get over having their book babies get criticized for racism, homophobia, etc that the reader finds. Authors should coral their fans and let's not start in with death threats and slurs directed at the book blogger. And GR/BL, Twitter, and FB could give a helping hand to the blogger/reviewer when shit hits the fan.

 

5. Don't feel the need to be on every social media platform so that your blog gets noticed. Seems like an awful lot of work in creating and maintaining a page on FB for your blog for nothing, since a lot of FB's algorithim will keep your post/page hidden from readers feed. Twitter is one big garbage dump fire. Other platforms seem more in line with helping book bloggers.

                         5.5 However, if a blogger really likes a social media platform, say Instagram, and enjoys coming up with photos of books and bookish stuff, MORE POWER TO YOU. Honestly I am a big fan of "bookstagram" and love to see what you guys and gals come up with. Keep them coming!

 

***************************************************************************************************

Square 4, Part Two: Thanksgiving

Book: The Unyielding by Shelly Laurenston - I read it but my review got eaten by BL's bug fixing and I don't feel like re-writing my review. I gave it 5 stars and will probably gush about the entire series for at least the rest of the year.

 

Task: Picture of my new books. The family and I went to the Imperial War Museum at Duxford on Veterans' Day/Armistice Day (cause we know how to party, lol) and let's just say I can't be left in a museum gift shop by myself....I picked up The Berlin Wall 13 August 1961 - 9 November 1989 by Frederick Taylor; most likely the inspiration was seeing a piece of the Berlin Wall on display at the museum.

 

On a different day earlier in the month I went shopping at my favorite local charity shop for a White Elephant gift for the upcoming library staff and volunteer holiday party. I picked up Forgotten Voices of the Great War: A New History of WWI in the Worlds of the Men and Women Who Were There by Max Arthur.

 

 

 

 

 

Total points for this square: 4

 

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review 2017-11-18 17:53
"Snowblind - Dark Iceland #1" by Ragnar Jonasson
Snowblind (Dark Iceland) - Quentin Bates,Ragnar Jónasson

I must be missing something here. "Snowblind" attracts lots of four and five-star reviews and is the first book in the best-selling "Dark Iceland" quintet, yet I found it fundamentally unsatisfying.

I'm told the language is poetic. I can see that it's trying to be. I quite liked the way in which Jonasson expresses the soft oppression of never-ending snow in phrases like

    "The freezing darkness swallowed him up."

and

    "He had tried to listen to classical music to drown out the deafening silence of the incessant snowfall, but it was as if the music magnified the gloom."

It works but it's not exceptional.

I'm familiar with snow and deep cold and the claustrophobia that living beneath a mountain can bring. They're well captured here but not well enough to sustain the book.

The plot stretches my willingness to suspend disbelief and the way in which our young policeman unravelled the secrets seemed to me too hard to swallow. The man isn't just intuitive, he's psychic.

I think the heart of my dissatisfaction with this book is the policeman Ari Thor. I could not find a reason to care for him. He seems an empty man. He starts many things but finishes none. He ties himself in knots about integrity and gets indignant about love and yet is too weak to live to either standard. I know he's young but if he's that callow, where's the interest?

If you fancy a Miss Marple in the snow, set around an Icelandic village drama society rather than an English one and with modern accents, local colour and the occasional stab at the lyrical, then this is the book for you.

I'm sure it would make great television. All the moody camera work and mournful atonal music could fill the gaps where the rest of the novel should be.

I had a similar reaction to Ann Cleaves' "Raven Black" and that made great television and has a huge fan base so perhaps I'm just not equipped to savour this kind of book.

I don't think that's going to change so I'll pass on the rest of the "Dark Iceland" quintet.

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text 2017-11-12 17:10
16 Tasks of the Festive Season - Square 3
A Taste of Chardonnay - Heather Heyford
Fall of Poppies: Stories of Love and the Great War - Lauren Willig,Joshilyn Jackson;Hazel Gaynor;Mary McNear;Nadia Hashimi;Emmi Itäranta;CJ Hauser;Katherine Harbour;Rebecca Rotert;Holly Brown;M. P. Cooley;Carrie La Seur;Sarah Creech,Jennifer Robson,Marci Jefferson,Jessica Brockmole,Beatriz Williams,Evangeli

Square 3, Part 1: St Martin's Day

Book: A Taste of Chardonnay by Heather Heyford

Task: Book, tea, and candlelight picture.

 

 

 

 

***************************************************************************************************

Square 3, Part 2: Veterans' Day/Armistice Day/ Remembrance Day

Book: Fall of Poppies: Stories of Love and the Great War by Various Authors

Task: Quote about war

 

By a real life heroine of mine and fellow OIF vet Sen Tammy Duckworth:

"I don't know why I survived Iraq and I don't know why I made it home, but I do know that this is my second chance at life and I can do whatever I want now."

 

I wish more OEF and OIF vets see coming home as a second chance at life; unfortunately the suicide rate among my military peers is still well above those in the civilian world https://www.usatoday.com/story/news/nation/2016/04/01/us-military-suicides-remain-stubbornly-high/82518278/

 

Total points for this square: 4  

 

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review 2017-11-12 01:42
Impatient to read the next one
Hilo Book 1: The Boy Who Crashed to Earth - Judd Winick
Hilo Book 2: Saving the Whole Wide World - Judd Winick
Hilo Book 3: The Great Big Boom - Judd Winick

In an effort to expand my repertoire of graphic novels and maybe be more helpful when recommending books to my library patrons I took a trip to the shelves. I came upon a set of 3 books in a series written by Judd Winick and their covers were so eye-catching that I decided to grab all of them to binge. I'm grateful that I did because I breezed right through them and it's left me impatient for book 4 which comes out at the beginning of next year. The series centers around a character called HiLo (arguments could be made that it's written Hilo or HILO) who crash lands onto earth (and into our hearts) with The Boy Who Crashed to Earth. The title pretty much says it, right? HiLo looks like your typical kid except that he's super strong and extremely weird. He doesn't get why clothes are mandatory or that not everyone has superpowers like he does. Luckily, he makes friends with D.J. who is more than happy to show him the ropes and to absolutely have his back...even if that means fighting robots from another dimension. By the second book, Saving the Whole Wide World, their duo has expanded to include Gina who used to be D.J.'s best friend before she moved away. She's struggling with her own identity so it's challenging to try and sort out just what kind of a creature HiLo actually is...and if he's a hero or a villain. The stakes are higher and the danger is 100% real but it doesn't seem like there's anything that HiLo can't defeat...which brings us to the third book titled The Great Big Boom. There are magical warrior cats in this book. I don't think I need to say anything else because MAGICAL WARRIOR CATS. HiLo and his friends are going up against the ultimate baddie and it's only going to get worse which is why I'm practically vibrating with excitement over Waking the Monsters which is set for release on 1/16/18.

 

These books are full of heart and what it means to be a loyal friend no matter what (even if there are killer robots). The illustrations are 99% of the reason why I love these books. The colors, characters, and layouts are perfectly married to the hilarious, heartwarming prose. This is a solid 10/10 for me and I have been recommending it so much that now we only have book 2 sitting lonely on our shelves (they're going like hotcakes is what I'm saying). So catch up so that like me you can sit in anticipation for the 4th book to hit the shelves!

 

What's Up Next: Matt Phelan Masterpost

 

What I'm Currently Reading: Soonish: Ten Emerging Technologies That'll Improve and/or Ruin Everything by Kelly & Zach Weinersmith & I'm rereading Murder on the Orient Express by Agatha Christie because I just saw the film :-D

Source: readingfortheheckofit.blogspot.com
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