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review 2017-06-27 22:26
The Wee Free Men (Discworld #30, Tiffany Aching #1)
The Wee Free Men - Terry Pratchett

The Chalk is a place of sheep and shepherds but never a witch was known to be there, however that might have been incorrect.  Terry Pratchett’s 30th Discworld novel, The Wee Free Men, is the second time he’s written for young adults but his writing and humor are top notch as well  follow a nine-year witch Tiffany Aching going up against the Queen of Elves with only a horde of six-inch blue little men.

 

Tiffany Aching finds her family farm being invaded by monsters from dreams as well as a horde of little blue men, the titular Wee Free Men.  Tiffany is very smart for her age and sees things as they are just like her grandmother, so when strange things pop up she uses an iron pan to beat them back.  Although she later figures out that her grandmother was a witch, Tiffany has her first encounter with one in the form of Ms. Lick who tells her to be careful but not to tackle the problem on her own but when her brother is kidnapped by the Fairie Queen, Tiffany knows she’s going to need help while not sounding desperate.  Tiffany’s help comes to her when the local clan of the Wee Free Men shows up looking for the new “hag ol’ the hills” because of the invasion of the Queen.  Tiffany and the Wee Free Men invade ‘Fairyland’ and manage to return with her brother, a feat that Granny Weatherwax finds impressive for someone so young and untrained.

 

The Wee Free Men features Tiffany as the only point-of-view character, save from a narrator, which keeps the book fairly orderly when reading as well as being in line for a book for younger readers.  The story itself is somewhat familiar for long time Discworld fans with the antagonist being the Queen of the Elves invading, but Pratchett changes things up with the use of dreams and the conflict as seen from a nine-year old.  The cameo appearance of Granny Weatherwax and Nanny Ogg at the end, sets up further adventures of Tiffany and connects her subseries with the Witches subseries with the hopes of seeing favorite characters in future books.

 

The second young adult and first Tiffany subseries book of the Discworld canon is a fantastic book; The Wee Free Men gives someone new for long time fans while introducing older characters for younger new readers.  While it’s intended for a younger audience, older fans will appreciate Pratchett’s humorous fantasy writing with his twists and turns.

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text 2017-06-27 13:02
Reading progress update: I've read 40 out of 361 pages.
The Last Olympian - Rick Riordan

I haven't had much reading time lately, and yet I still feel compelled to interrupt what little time I do have to whine about how all these demigods pairing off in romantic relationships gives me the ickies.

 

Charles Beckendorf, son of Hephaestus, is dating Silena Beauregard, daughter of Aphrodite. Hephaestus is Aphrodite's half-brother, so these kids are already some sort of cousins, but that's not all. Hephaestus is also Aphrodite's husband, so technically these kids are also step-siblings.

 

You guuuuuuuuuys!!!

 

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review 2017-06-27 00:54
A Million Junes by Emily Henry
A Million Junes - Emily Henry

Short and sweet: This book went from something I wasn't sure I'd love to a book that I fell head over heels for, in no time flat.

 

One of the most beautiful, and honest, discussions of dealing with loss that I've ever read. June doesn't beat around the bush. She brutally honest about the way memories hurt, and heal, then hurt again. The idea that you ever "get over" losing someone is all but smashed in this, and I loved it for that.

 

My favorite part was June's sentiment about helping others deal. "I'm useless, but I'm here." I've been saying that to people for ages. I know I can never fully understand their pain, and I don't want to trivialize their process by attempting to. But I always tell them I'm here. To listen. To hug. To smash things with if need be.

 

Beautiful. Just beautiful.

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review 2017-06-26 20:57
Please Don't Tell My Parents I Have A Nemesis
Please Don't Tell My Parents I Have A Nemesis - Richard Roberts

[I received a copy of this book from the publisher.]

I remember being disappointed with the previous instalment. This one, although not as strong as the first volume in the series, I felt was better—probably because it deals less with slice-of-life/school moments, and tackles more seriously the matter of Penny wanting to come clean to her parents about the Inscrutable Machine. Well, ‘seriously’ being a tentative word, because her plan is, as Ray and Clair put it, just crazy enough to actually work. (On the other hand, well, it’s a plan crafted by a 14-year-old mad scientist, soooooo... why not!)

... And you can sense this plan smells like Eau de Backfiring from the moment it is formulated, and can’t help but wait for the train wreck to happen, and... I admit, I liked that part of the plot. Even though it didn’t cover the whole book (too bad). In a twisted way, the mistakes Penny keeps committing seem to me like they’re actually her subconscious, or perhaps her power, acting her to act: she wants to be a hero, she regularly tries to help people and do good deeds, but somehow she seems more cut out to be an ambiguous hero at best. More suited to be filed with the likes of Lucyfar than Marvelous.

(I’m also thinking that IF this is what the author is indeed going for, then it might also explain the Audit’s lack of insight about her daughter: maybe the Audit does know, has known for a while, and isn’t saying anything because she wants Penny to realise by herself what her true decision will have to be.)

What I regret:

- Like in the previous two books, we don’t see much of Ray and Claire, both in terms of development and sidekicking (summer camp kind of gets in the latter’s way). Hopefully the last volume will take care of the whole ‘Ray’s family’ issue. Or maybe it’s not worth it? I don’t know, I’ve always felt there was something off to them, and not merely as in ‘they don’t like superheroes/villains so I can’t tell them I’m one now.’

- The coming back of a friendtagonist: I was expecting it, I wanted to see it happen, yet at the same time, the way it was dealt with felt like a plot device. Kind of ‘this character is needed to help Penny build one specific machine, and then will be unneeded for the rest of the book.’ Meh.

What I’m in between about:
- The ending. It is fairly depressing, and a cliffhanger... yet at the same time, I’m glad the whole thing wasn’t solved just like that, since it would’ve been too simple, and... ‘too clean?’

Conclusion: Not on par with volume 1, howeve it did leave me with a better impression than volume 3.

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review 2017-06-26 18:14
A Monster Calls / Patrick Ness
A Monster Calls - Patrick Ness,Jim Kay

The monster showed up after midnight. As they do.  But it isn’t the monster Conor’s been expecting. He’s been expecting the one from his nightmare, the one he’s had nearly every night since his mother started her treatments, the one with the darkness and the wind and the screaming…  This monster is something different, though. Something ancient, something wild. And it wants the most dangerous thing of all from Conor.  It wants the truth.

 

 

“The monster showed up just after midnight. As they do.”

That’s when our worries plague us—in the middle of the night when there’s nothing we can do except stew about them. Your nightmare is now interrupted by real-life worries that are worse. Deal with it!

I’ve lived through a similar situation. I was at my father’s side when he died, after three weeks of lingering in hospital after a car accident. I went through all the stages of grief, repeatedly. Denial, bargaining, anger, depression, acceptance. I had the advantage of a couple of decades of experience more than Conor, but the emotions are the same.

I can’t even remember who I was talking to on the phone, days before Dad died, when I said, “Why can’t this poor man die? What’s holding him here?” Because his life was never going to be the same. He would never be physically or emotionally whole again. His life would simply have been a frustrating struggle and he didn’t deal well with frustration. All in all, it was a relief when he made the decision to let go. I was grateful that he was able to leave, but I have missed him every day since then.

I shed a lot of tears towards the end of this book. I think it would be an excellent offering to any young person who has lost a parent or whose parent is on the brink of death. It’s okay to be angry. It’s okay to be sad. It’s okay to be relieved when that parent is released from pain. Whatever you feel, it’s okay.

Apologies to my real-life book club for choosing yet another “cancer book.”

 

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