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Search tags: coming-of-age
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review 2017-09-12 19:00
Haven by Tom Deady, narrated by Matt Godfrey
Haven - Greymore Publishing,Matt Godfrey,Tom Deady

 

Haven is a coming of age story, set in a small town in Massachusetts. Narrated beautifully by Matt Godfrey, and set in a such a perfect place, how could the story itself not be fabulous? Truth is though, it's just okay.

 

Don't get me wrong, I enjoyed it and as I said the narration was excellent. However, I didn't find that this book added anything original to the genre. 80's horror nostalgia is a big thing now and that may have soured my opinion a little. I recently saw the movie of Stephen King's "It" and I just don't think it's possible to compare the two without having Haven come up short. I'm also not sure that it's possible to NOT compare the two- which may be my whole problem.

 

 

There are some differences, but at its heart, this is a very similar story. We have our plucky kids going up against a mysterious monster, while they're getting bullied at every turn, and Denny's mom is in just about the same state as were Bill Denbrough's parents from IT. There's even a chance that the monster will return in the future. Sound familiar? The only thing that's really different is the origin of this creature and I won't spoil that here.

 

(spoiler show)

 

This is an engaging "coming of age"/"evil in a small town story", it's just that I didn't find the writing or the story itself to be outstanding. Good? Yes, definitely! And who knows? You may enjoy it a lot more than I did. So, if this sounds interesting to you, I say give it a shot.

 

Recommended!

 

*I received this audiobook free from the narrator, in exchange for my honest review. This is it.*

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review 2017-09-10 14:50
My Favorite Thing is Monsters by Emil Farris
My Favorite Thing Is Monsters - Emil Ferris

 

My Favorite Thing is Monsters is a gorgeously illustrated graphic novel. Karen Reyes is a young girl coming of age in 1968 Chicago when her neighbor is murdered, her mother is diagnosed with breast cancer, Martin Luther King is shot and the local mob boss goes to jail.

 

Peppered in between all that are Karen's notebook drawings of all kinds of things-her neighborhood, her brother and mom, and the covers of pulp magazines. She also likes to draw her version of popular paintings which her brother takes her to see at the local museums. All of her drawings are on lined notebook paper and all I can say about them is that they are stunning. All in pen, but not all in color-each and every drawing is so detailed you can stare at them for a long while and continue to find new things.

 

       

 

  Never let anyone's darkness provoke you into your own midnight.

 

 

Tackling subjects like racism, homosexuality, the Holocaust and so much more, this graphic novel adds up to more than the sum of its parts. Highly recommended!

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review 2017-09-09 22:07
Book Review of Zombie Baker by J S Rumble
Zombie Baker - J. F. S. Rumble

Fred is one of those rare boys that actually likes going to school… well, he did until now. He started getting picked on for something he has no control over… being a zombie. 
Most people think of zombies as mindless creatures that roam the world searching for others to infect, in fact that couldn’t be further from the truth. All Fred wants to do is bake! 

He dreams of opening his very own cake shop one day, but pastry school is extremely expensive! Then an opportunity comes along that could help his dreams become reality.

 

Review 5*

 

This is a charming children's chapter book. I loved it!

 

Fred is a fantastic character. I really liked him. He is a kind and loving boy (not sure of exact age but think around eleven or twelve). He also loves to bake and dreams of owning his own bakery one day. Unfortunately, he has to deal with school bullies.

 

This story is told in a memoir style through Fred's eyes and takes the reader on a journey of discovery. Fred may be a zombie, but he has the same emotions as the rest of us. He gets excited, happy, sad, angry and frustrated by most of the same situations as ordinary humans.

 

This book is ideal for children with short attention spans as it's only 66 pages long. This story tackles the issue of bullying and shows that it's okay to be different, and with hard work you can attain your dream (whatever it may be). There are some interesting characters introduced and I really liked Fred's friends, Ervin, James and Ben, as they stand by him even though he's different to them. They like him just the way he is. I did feel sorry for Ervin during one scene though. He had to trust Fred even though he was terrified, but it made me like him even more and wish he was my friend too. There is action and adventure, with enough excitement to keep a young reader's attention. I love baking too, so reading about the cake Fred baked made my mouth water. So much so that I ended up baking a cake for myself later. I must admit that I would have loved if the story was longer, but then it wouldn't be a chapter book. Nevertheless, I was sad to reach the end even though it ended satisfactorily.

 

J.S. Rumble has written an entertaining chapter book that I thoroughly enjoyed. I love her writing style, which is not particularly fast paced though easy enough for children to follow whether reading on their own, or being read to by their parents. The flow is wonderful too. This is the second book I've read by this author and I would definitely consider reading more of her books in the future.

 

I highly recommend this chapter book to young children aged 5-10, and to adults looking for a chapter book to keep their little ones entertained. - Lynn Worton

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review 2017-09-09 00:29
Review: The Joy Luck Club
The Joy Luck Club - Amy Tan

So, I hate when I keep books on my 'TBR' list for so long that I regret waiting so long to read them.  I loved the movie, so I knew the book would be even better.  After having read the book, it is better (of course), but doesn't take away from the movie.

 

This is a book about mothers and daughters.  About the generation gap, cultural gap, and language gap between the Chinese born mothers and their American born daughters.

 

It's sad in some ways because it seems as their their relationships are base on obligation more so than love.  The mother's wanted so badly for their daughters to be worth something and to have nice things  and better opportunities in America, that they waited to long to instill their Chinese beliefs/wisdom in them.  Which was very much to the detriment of the daughters.  The girls (for a time) only care about being American and fitting it with their American peers.  And it wasn't until later in all of their lives that they realized what they had missed out on.

 

The mother's obviously loved their daughters very much; however, the way the showed it was so foreign to the girls that they really had no clue; all they saw was harassment, disappointment, embarrassment...  Their stories, which were life lessons, seemed like nothing but fairy stories from the "old country".  The two generations were battling a language gap, not because the daughters spoke English where their mothers spoke Mandarin or Cantonese, but because they spoke the languages of two separate generations from two different countries.  

 

The mothers clung so much to the old ways, except where raising their daughter's were concerned and by the time they realized what they had done (or not done) it was too late.  And the daughters never paid attention to the lessons that they were taught.  And by the time they realized that they were lessons, it was too late.

 

The mothers and daughters spoke to one another, but it all seemed to get lost in translation.  As was said in the book, the daughters would hear less than what their mothers had said, and the mother's would always hear much more than what their daughters had actually said.

 

They were all broken, emotionally injured in some way or another, and because none of them had learned to communicate with each other, it was near in possible to help.  It was beautiful and so very sad, especially for me as a mother of two daughters.  I hope that I have learned to not only speak clearly, but hear what my daughters say.

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review 2017-09-01 16:00
Wildwood Chronicles Masterpost OR I can't come up with a clever title
Wildwood - Carson Ellis,Colin Meloy
Under Wildwood - Carson Ellis,Colin Meloy
Wildwood Imperium - Carson Ellis,Colin Meloy

I hadn't intended to marathon the books in this series but fortuitously I was able to get my hands on them only weeks apart. Therefore, I decided to lump them all together in one masterpost. You're welcome! Rather than showing the covers for the books, I've opted to give you a glimpse of the illustrations found inside before each book's review. **If you haven't read past the first book then I highly caution you about reading my reviews for the other 2 books. I've tried to stay spoiler free but there's only so much I can omit.**

 

Source: Pinterest

Wildwood by Colin Meloy with illustrations by Carson Ellis starts off the Wildwood Chronicles series which as far as I can tell consists of 3 books (although some websites confusingly say there are only 2). The first book follows Prue McKeel, an average 12 year old living in Portland...until one day her baby brother is kidnapped by a murder of crows. She and a semi-friend from school, Curtis Mehlberg, venture into the Impassable Wilderness in search of the baby and stumble across an entirely different world. It turns out that inside the I.W. there exists a magical place full of talking coyotes, magical sorceresses, mystics that commune with trees, and a gang of roving bandits. There is also a postman, a corrupt government, and territory wars. Maybe things aren't so different from what she's used to after all? No, it's completely different and Prue finds out that she's not as normal as she once thought...

 

Source: Pinterest

Continuing in Under Wildwood, we find our heroes separated and trying to reconcile themselves to their new existences. Prue is having conversations with the local flora and Curtis is trying to become the best bandit he can possibly be. We're introduced to new characters such as Mr. Joffrey Unthank who is the owner and operator of both a machine shop and orphanage (not necessarily mutually exclusive by the way) as well as Carol Grod who sports a pair of wooden eyeballs. The reader continues to learn more about the Periphery Bind which keeps the Impassable Wilderness and all its environs from encroaching on the Outside. There are assassins, Titans of Industry (capitalization very much required), and danger around every corner. This book marks the turning point into a darker tone as the battle between good and evil gets well and truly under way.

 

Source: Hoodline

All of this brings us to Wildwood Imperium which (from what I can tell) is the final book of the series. To some extent, all of the books have discussed politics in one form or another but this one is almost entirely about the political system (or lack thereof) in Wildwood and its environs. Prue is still on the lookout for the second Maker (the reader knows who this is and it's frustrating seeing the near misses) while the Verdant Empress speaks to the May Queen from a mirror on a nightstand. (You aren't confused you're just behind in the series.) This is the tensest (and longest) book of the lot and a lot of loose ends are tied up (like where all of the bandits went). (I still have a question about the Elder Mystic's whereabouts but maybe that's just me.) It doesn't feel complete to me though. There's still a lot that could be done with the characters in my opinion but based on what I've seen there doesn't seem to be any plans to continue the series. It's a shame because this married pair makes a powerful literary duo. (They're coming out with a new book on October 24th of this year entitled The Whiz Mob and the Grenadine Kid!)

 

Overall series rating: 9/10

Source: readingfortheheckofit.blogspot.com
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