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review 2017-10-22 18:15
Little Star, by John Ajvide Lindqvist
Little Star: A Novel - John Ajvide Lindqvist

After seeing the recent adaptation of Stephen King's It, I was inspired to delve into a big, fat horror novel (I already read It a few summers ago); plus, 'tis the season. John Ajvide Lindqvist has been referred to as Sweden's Stephen King, and I can see why. What I like most about King's writing is his characterization: characters feel like real people, no matter how fantastical, or evil. Little Star is my second Lindqvist novel, and he has a similar gift for creating engaging characters.

 

In some ways, though, I find his horror even more frightening than King's. He has a way of providing the details that are often skipped over in horror movies, such as the way the human body reacts to terror. Acts of violence are shockingly brutal (early in the novel a husband savagely breaks his wife's kneecap). He also appears to be interested in children as protagonists, especially girls. Little Star, like Let the Right One In, the other Lindqvist novel I read, features two children as the characters who drive the narrative. One (Theres) does not seem to be quite human (like the vampire in the latter novel), while the other (Theresa) is a human who is an outcast (like the boy who befriends the vampire). Each one's story is told separately at first, including their parents' points of view, until they meet--virtually and then in person. At this point we know the two will be frightening together.

 

Much of this novel details the angst and alienation of young girls, which can be painful to read if you're a woman who felt like an outsider at some point during your childhood. That alienation is weaponized; it's a freight train whose collision you can't stop but also can't look away from. It reminded me of Dietland, which I read a while ago and is not a horror novel, or even Kill the Boy Band and The Girls. I suppose I'm drawn to stories where patriarchal suppression erupts in violence.

 

I was left with a question or two, including Theres's origins (she's left to die as an infant in a forest before being discovered) and the red smoke she and the girls feed on. I also wanted a bit more of Theres's adoptive mother's perspective at the beginning.

 

Despite these questions, this novel shocked, disturbed, and awed me. I tore through it. AND I learned about several Swedish pop stars!

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review 2017-10-18 20:39
THE COOL KIDS Review
The Cool Kids - Jason Pellegrini

One day in 1994, three friends set off for an adventure in the woods — they are going to kill a mythical monster, and save the world. Of course this story is largely about the relationship between these three boys and their coming of age.

 

I liked this novella. I easily identified with the main character as I was never very sporty growing up. We share something else in common, too: Misery was my first Stephen King novel! Growing up with two sporty older brothers and a football loving dad, our main character feels he doesn’t quite belong until he discovers a love of reading . . . Very relatable, for me.

 

This is a quick, breezy read that will take you back to your own childhood. It is fun and honest and bittersweet; it’s quick, too. I do wish it were a bit longer, but I suppose that is a positive. Jason Pellegrini left me wanting more! This was my first taste of this author, and I will seek out his previous works. King’s The Body is an obvious influence, but Pellegrini’s short tale manages to avoiding feeling derivative. I did notice a number of grammatical errors, however, and that really took me out of the story at times. So I must give this four stars.

 

Read for ‘Free Space’ in Halloween Bingo.

 

Also: thanks to the author for the free copy, which was given in exchange for an honest review!

 

 

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text 2017-10-16 05:42
Robotic Toys Benefit Children During Important Growth Stages

Anthropological research indicates that dolls began to be used as toys around 100 AD. The earliest dolls were handmade from stone, wood, ivory clay and leather—whichever materials were available locally—and were commercially manufactured in Germany as early as the 15th century. For generations, dolls were a staple in children’s toy boxes everywhere.

 

 

Eventually, parents and experts began to recognize that dolls like Barbie were not instilling positive values such as image, worth, confidence and intelligence. Behavioral studies began to show how important a child’s early growth stages were to overall development and these opportunities were often lost. The popularity of toys such as LEGOs, Etch A Sketch and Tinker Toys began to explode, as they were fun but also generated interest in the fundamentals of design, technology and construction. Children and parents, alike, were satisfied.

 

The 1980s and 1990s ushered in the Age of Personal Computers and children’s toys were forever changed. Ataris gave way to Nintendos, Game Boys and PlayStations and robotic toys. While we still find limited “traditional” toys on shelves, a majority of space is now reserved for goods with an educational slant.

 

With today’s integration of STEM (science, technology, engineering and mathematics) in all aspects of education, interest in robotic toys is at all-time highs. The US Department of Commerce reports that STEM-related occupations are growing at nearly 20% annually, compared to just 9.8% for all others. Research also shows that STEM degree-holders earn significantly higher incomes than non-STEM counterparts.

 

Because STEM will continue to open even more doors in the future, educators and experts are challenging parents to expose children as early as three years of age. Even at this young age, specially-developed toys and games are important for the development of skill sets such as creativity, logic and problem-solving.

 

KinderLab Robotics has created a diverse product line that includes fun, challenging and customizable robotic kits that kids and parents love. KinderLab Robotics is dedicated to bringing new and exciting learning opportunities to children of all ages, keeping them engaged and focused while preparing them for a STEM-oriented future.

 

Realizing the role it can play in increasing children’s technical and cognitive abilities, KinderLab Robotics offers an array of educational products like KIBO robot kits, student curriculum packets and individualized programming blocks and modules. It provides individual and classroom kits as well as ongoing training and support for teachers and parents.

 

About KinderLab Robotics:

 

KinderLab Robotics creates exciting and premium-quality robot kits for kids and sells these and other products on its website. KinderLab Robotics is proud of the contributions its products make in the development of children of all ages and the essential skills it teaches.

 

To learn more or place an order, please visit Kinderlabrobotics.com

 

 

Original Source: https://goo.gl/q5Gg72

Source: kinderlabrobotics.com/kibo
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review 2017-09-29 03:58
King of the Fire Dancers (Shift Happens #1) by S.T. Sterlings
King of the Fire Dancers (Shift Happens Book 1) - S.T. Sterlings

I don't know how to rate the part I've read.

 

I loved Coy's chapters, but August's dragged on and on. He had no will and no spark. I get it, such was his life and such were his circumstances, but why did the author have to bore me out of my wits talking about him?

 

The pacing of the book certainly did not agree with me. Which is a total bummer. I had high hopes for this book :( 3 stars for the 45% I struggled through :(

 

I might continue at some point after my brain recovers a bit.

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review 2017-09-27 03:17
A Call to Arms (The Chronicles of Arden #1) by Shiriluna Nott
A Call to Arms - SaJa H.,Shiriluna Nott

This is young adult novel, so don't expect any sex or many romantic moments. 
However, closer to the end of the story, there were confessions and a few tender kisses. 
I would recommend this for my 13-year olds (that's roughly the age of the characters, anyway) without hesitation.

The Academy in this book houses many professions: military, healing,magic, law... However, there is virtually no magic of any sort in this book, save for a couple of healing episodes.

Despite being true "young adult" novel, the book was pretty interesting to me and I really enjoyed the characters and the plot.

There are a few bumps in the writing style, but one that annoyed me most was the author's inability (or fear) to use pronouns. "Sentinel trainee" or "mage trainee" started to drive me (excuse my language) nuts by the end of the book.

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