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text 2014-06-16 14:40
Reading progress update: I've read 114 out of 252 pages.
Mystery of the Haunted Mine - Gordon D. Shirreffs

Read this back in fifth(?) grade, had a copy but lost it in a move but Ebay came through and now I have another. It was written for a young reader and I know the outcome but I am still enjoying it.

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review 2014-01-30 17:53
Linger by Maggie Stiefvater
Linger - Maggie Stiefvater

I was so excited about this book when I finished Shiver. I just could not wait for it to come out. By the time it got here, a lot of the excitement had worn off. By the time I actually started reading I had to remember what was even going on in this story. None of that is really bad. I just said that to say that it took me a little bit to get invested. I’ll blame part of that on the beginning of the book too. I found the first half a little boring.

 

The addition of Cole was a wonderful decision of Stiefvater’s part. Without him, there wouldn’t be much of a story. Since Sam and Grace are already together it took a long time for me to get really interested with their part of the story. I wasn’t sucked into what was happening with them until the last sixty pages or so. Cole helped keep me in the book until that point. He’s a great character. I’m eager to see more of him in the next book. He’s the guy you love to hate, but it’s so difficult when you can see into his tortured head. He really loathes himself and it’s so sad. I want him to get better so very bad.

 

It was also interesting to see inside Isabel’s head. After finding her rather unfeeling in the first book, I like her a lot now. I got to see what’s on the inside and I feel similar to the way I feel about Cole. I really want her to face her problems and get better. She’s become crucial to the story line as well. I’m so glad there’s more to this book. I was a little worried about what this book would be like.

 

Again, I really like Stiefvater’s writing. She takes some great cues from Rilke and all the other poetry she loves. She paints some very lovely pictures, and sometimes some very sad pictures. This book felt a little less lyrical though. It seemed a little more real and gritty and I think Cole and Isabel had everything to do with that. Especially Cole, whose the grittiest character in the book. He really brought something new to the story. But, I’m talking about writing right now, not Cole. I admit, inShiver, I was sometimes a little overwhelmed by the lyrical passages. I didn’t feel that way about this book. The writing stayed out of the way a little more.

 

I have to give props to Stiefvater for not ending things quite the way I expected. I mean, I saw what was coming. I just didn’t expect it to happen the way it did. It was a little twist that made the book much more interesting to me. Now, the characters are faced with a whole new plethora of problems that I really need the answers to. That’s what a good plot is. Reel us all in, then leave us hanging on the last words so that we’ll be begging for the next book.

 

It didn’t blow me away, like I expected it to. I did really enjoy it though. This is a great series.

Source: www.owltellyouaboutit.com/posts/linger
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review 2013-06-18 20:41
Beauty Queens - Libba Bray
Libba Bray's Beauty Queens was an amazing and hilarious book that I absolutely devoured. It not only lived up to all my expectations but, surprisingly, exceeded them. While I can't exactly say that its humor was my favorite aspect, it was definitely one of the best. 

The sharp and witty satirical humor that satirized reality shows, commercials, and the modern consumeristic world kept the book alive and also helped the book stay on the right side of the hair-thin line between "awesome messages" and "cheesy & preachy".

Well, almost kept the book on the right side.

For the most part, Beauty Queens was able to convey a really damn awesome message about how it's cool to be you without sounding like forced or boring. And that's cool. I like messages that aren't shoved up your orifices like in this book.

Many of the messages were very cleverly woven into the story but others kind of popped out at you like 



A few of them (and by few I really mean like one or two) were not only heavily laid on us but were actually said a loud like "Blehbleh McBlehBlergh finally realized that every1 was created equally and love and peace bros."

Without the wonderful characters, I'm sure that I would have dropped the book because the plot and world building aren't that interesting really. The plot revolves around the girls trying to survive and finding out that there's something more to the Corporation than it seems. 

Pretty standard plot to be honest. There wasn't anything that screamed different to me when it came to the plot. 

The world building was horrible. There wasn't any. I knew nothing about the world or the year or anything. The ending left a lot of questions unanswered. It was very obvious that the author paid the most attention to the characters and left lots of holes in the rest of the book.

The characters were the best part, hands down. I don't think anyone can argue with me about that. The characters are really the only thing other than the humor that was actually given much thought. 

Beauty Queen's wide range of characters makes the book interesting. Each character is given a few chapters in their POV so you get to know them. There aren't any "empty" characters and everyone has their own, developed personality.

What I love the most about the characters has to be the diversity, not just in personality, but also in ethnicity and sexuality. This book has everything under the rainbow (omg get it i'm so smart). 

The diverse and awesome characters truly make Beauty Queens special. It's not otherwise brilliant. Even with it's numerous faults, I would still recommend Beauty Queens simply for its characters and often really funny humor.
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review 2013-06-11 00:00
The Bookshop Dog - Cynthia Rylant This is a very sweet story about a perfect dog and the people who love her. The illustrations are very simple but they work well. My only complaint is that the only woman in it is the bookshop owner and she's the one who gets sick and needs help. I wish even one of the other main players was a woman, too.

3.5 stars rounded up to 4 because it has two of my three most favoritest things.
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review 2013-05-21 18:42
Shiver by Maggie Stiefvater
Shiver (Wolves of Mercy Falls Series #1) -

I saw this book on a list a long time ago and didn’t think much of it for a while. I figured I’d get around to it eventually. I’m very glad I did. Stiefvater’s wonderful prose was the first thing to draw me in. It’s very melancholy, but beautiful. Once I began, I couldn’t make myself stop.

 

I’m not sure that I found a theme to this book. Obviously, Grace and Sam are in love, so love is an important aspect. But their love is the intense kind that is complicated and rarely found in real life. It’s an unconditional, constant love. It’s as if they’ve been together for years. They fit together like pieces to a puzzle. But I think the conflict is what is more important in this story. Will Sam be able to keep himself from shifting? If he shifts will he be able to shift back the next summer? Is there a cure that will allow him to stay with Grace? This is what comes to me when I think back on this book. A simple plot with a simple conflict: can they overcome their obstacles to stay together? If there’s some deeper message to this book, I haven’t found it.

 

As far as characters go, they’re wonderful. Grace is relatively level-headed and responsible. She’s nearly more of an adult than her parents. She’s mature and handles some of the strangest and most difficult of her situations with a cool head and determination that I admire. Sam is gentle, sensitive, and terribly romantic. He’s the type of guy little girls dream of finding when they grow up. I like him better than all the troubled guys of most young-adult novels because he’s not so broody. His sadness is reserved and genuine. He bears through his struggles with a sincerity you won’t find in many other characters. I feel like I’m not explaining him very well, but that’s the best I can do to put it into words.

 

There wasn’t much character development in this book. They’re all pretty static. It’s definitely plot-driven, but that didn’t really bother me.

Source: www.owltellyouaboutit.com/posts/shiver
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