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review 2017-10-17 17:39
Cinder - Marissa Meyer

Finally picked up my first Marissa Meyer book after rave reviews from friends and fellow #bookstagrammers and it did not disappoint! Seriously impressive world-building, with deep commitment to the dystopian future China cyberpunk setting. Novel, easily recognizable, and thoroughly interwoven.

 

Loved the disaffected teen characterization of Cinder too; her determination and frustration felt authentic and appealingly off-kilter. Her punk/grunge aesthetic was both sympathetic and, at times, hilarious. Love the silk-and-grease-stained awkwardness. Sort of pitied and rooted for her at the same time.

 

Strong emotional beats; stakes were clear, and loss was handled with sensitivity. The world and abuses felt traumatic, but not traumatizing. Gritty, but not unrelentingly dark. The light romance was well played. Overall one of the best fairytale adaptations I've read; fresh, and with clear but not slavish awareness of the plot and tropes of the original. I picked up the sequel immediately on reaching the last page.

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review 2017-10-07 06:31
Shadows of Sherwood
Shadows of Sherwood (Robyn Hoodlum) - Kekla Magoon

 

The sing on the fence said BEWARE OF DOGS.

- first sentence

 

Robyn was the sort of girl who knew not only how many teeth a bulldog had, but also exactly what to do to get a bulldog on her good side.

Chapter 2

 

Robyn had always been the sort of girl who enjoyed breaking the rules. She was almost never where she was supposed to be.

- Chapter 4

 

When Robyn's parents are taken, she is thrust into a world she didn't even know existed. People are suffering and the government is corrupt. Robyn tries to find ways to help people and to thwart the government when she can. She is a strong girl and yet terrified of what happened to her parents. She finds friends, learns how to trust people, and tries to make a difference.

 

This a reimagining of the legend of Robin Hood. Robyn lives in Nott City in her home, Loxley Manor. The counties that surround her home are Sherwood, Nottingham, Excelsior, and Block Six. Robyn and her friends form a band that steals medicine and food from the government and distributes it to the poor.

 

The story is fun, imaginative, and full of adventure. Even though Robyn is strong-willed and independent, she also has doubts about herself and the wisdom of what she is doing.  This a great book for middle readers. I am definitely going to read the sequels. :)

 

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review 2017-09-23 17:44
.Splintered Book Review.
Splintered - A.G. Howard

 This review can also be found at LostBetweenThePages & Goodreads.

 

 

"Alyssa Gardner hears the whispers of bugs and flowers - precisely the affliction that landed her mother in a mental hospital years before. A family curse that stretches back to her ancestor Alice Liddell, it's time for Alyssa to follow in her footsteps. To fix Alice's mistakes. To Wonderland."

 

A lot drew me to this book, Alyssas mum is locked away in a mental hospital and Alyssa herself is in danger of following right behind her. Plus Wonderland is real. Great!! This book went with the darker and more twisted version of Wonderland, which I think is a cool idea. Taking the odd yet picturesque place and turning it on it head to be disturbing.

 

Alyssa is an average teenager who is doing her best to get on with her life, which isn't easy when you're teased about your connection to the original Alice Liddell and your mum is locked away talking to bugs and only eating food unless it is served in a tea cup. The one person in this book that deserves some serious praise is her dad. He is desperately trying to keep their life together, its clear he is terrified his daughter will turn out like her mum and every other female in her family. He is still hopelessly in love with her, regardless of her illness and is clinging on to this hope that one day she'll come back to him.

 

Alyssa does her best to ignore the bugs and plants around her, determined not to go down the crazy route, but after an incident at the mental hospital things change. There's finally some hope. Alyssa ends up being dragged into Wonderland, with one goal. Fix what Alice did and save her family from the madness. Cue love interest.

 

Jeb is her long time crush and best friend. He ends up going with her, he is hugely protective of her and is desperate to get them home. As much as it pains him to stick it out in Wonderland and watch Alyssa feel the need to prove herself he doesn't hold her back too much. Deep down I think he knows what she is capable of but is so scared to let go of his need to protect her. Enter Morpheus stage left.

 

Morpheus makes up our triangle. He has been with Alyssa through her whole life, she just hasn't known it. It is obvious he has an agenda and will use Alyssa. He's dark and mysterious, and can show her a whole other side of herself. He does get on my nerves quite a bit, he goes on about what how well he knows her, but really he doesn't. He doesn't know her life Jeb does, and will manipulate her in this game he wants her to play.

 

There was only one real downside to this book for me, the love triangle I could cope with. Just about it. I feel like the dark and moody thing got taken too far, I have no problem with Alyssa being a punk skater girl, I was a teenager once too. But it seems so over the top, her out fit choice seem so teenager cliché. At first I thought she dressed like it because she looked so much like her mum she wanted to distance herself away from her. I felt like this was her only form of rebelling, because god forbid she does her dad will probably had a meltdown. I'm hoping that after the events of this book it'll be toned down a little in the next.

 

 

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review 2017-08-28 03:46
A Tale Dark & Grimm - Review
A Tale Dark & Grimm - Adam Gidwitz

Once upon a time, fairy tales were awesome.

- Opening Sentence

 

 

I read this book because the author, Adam Gidwitz, is coming to visit our school in September and I wanted to be familiar with his works. I'm reading Star Wars: So You Want to be a Jedi also written by Gidwitz. 

 

I enjoyed this book. Be warned, he talks to the reader, often. So, if meta-fiction isn't your thing, then I would skip this one. He talks about how the next part is scary, and you should make young children leave the room, or about how the reader (supposedly children) might be scared and might want to stop reading. Are you sure you want to keep reading? Ok, don't say I didn't warn you...

 

It's cute actually, and I think the intended audience (children) will enjoy it. Also, it's a great opening to introducing the concept of meta-fiction and "breaking the fourth wall" to students.

 

The book doesn't shy away from the scarier parts of fairy tales. Gidwitz actually points out that he was inspired to write these books (this is the first in a trilogy) by a group of second graders. He says that the stories are awesome and "children can handle it." 

 

This book is based on Hansel and Gretel and includes different aspects of many Grimm fairy tales, including Gretel cutting off her finger (from The Seven Ravens) and Hansel going to Hell and tricking the Devil. I'm not sure which fairy tale that came from. It's a fast-paced story and a fairly quick read. I found myself worrying about Hansel and Gretel, even though I was pretty sure they would end up ok. I like Gidwitz's style and highly recommend this book, with a caveat to consider the specific reader and what they can handle.

 

I found myself wondering how this would play in a room full of second graders (or even third graders). I guess I will find out since our librarian will be promoting the books to our students.

 

Bottom Line:

If you are a fan of Grimm fairy tales or enjoy retellings, give this one a chance. :)

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review 2017-08-10 22:20
Book 42/100: Far Out Fairy Tales by Various
Far Out Fairy Tales - Louise Simonson,Otis Frampton,Benjamin Harper,Joey Comeau,Sean Tulien,Otis Frampton,Fern Cano,Jimena Sanchez S.,Omar Lozano

These short, graphic-novel retellings of popular fairy tales are meant for middle-grade readers, and unfortunately they have very little crossover appeal for an older audience. They all introduce something "far out" or "edgy" into the traditional fairy tales -- Cinderella is a ninja, Hansel and Gretel are zombies, Red Riding Hood is a super hero, etc. The problem is that these seem to be changes for the sake of changes -- there is nothing about them that hooks into the original tale and makes you think, "Aha, this interpretation makes perfect sense when you look at it that way!" (Such as Neil Gaiman's interpretation of Snow White as a vampire in "Snow, Glass, Apples.") The "Snow White and the Seven Robots" retelling was my favorite of the bunch, and the others were all sort of meh.

The artwork is passable -- very much manga-styled and quite energetic, but not the sort of illustrations that cause you to linger on the page.

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