Showing posts with label three and a half birdcages. Show all posts
Showing posts with label three and a half birdcages. Show all posts

Wednesday, October 26, 2016

Review: The Witches by Roald Dahl, Illustrated by Quenten Blake

The WitchesTitle: The Witches
Author/Illustrator: Roald Dahl; Quenten Blake
Source/Format: Borrowed from the Library; Paperback
More Details: Middle Grade; Fantasy
Publisher/Publication Date: Scholastic inc.; First published in 1983

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Synopsis from Goodreads...

This is not a fairy-tale. This is about REAL WITCHES. Real witches don't ride around on broomsticks. They don't even wear black cloaks and hats. They are vile, cunning, detestable creatures who disguise themselves as nice, ordinary ladies. So how can you tell when you're face to face with one? Well, if you don't know yet you'd better find out quickly-because there's nothing a witch loathes quite as much as children and she'll wield all kinds of terrifying powers to get rid of them...
You know, it seemed like the appropriate time to read Roald Dahl’s The Witches, since it's October and all. This is the first time I’ve read this book, but parts of it seemed familiar to me. At first, I didn’t remember where I’d heard about it before seeing it on Goodreads. Then I sort of realized that I’d seen the movie a really—extremely—long time ago, which explained a lot.

So, did I like the book?

My answer to that is yes. There were things that I really enjoyed about The Witches. For instance, the writing was good—Dahl’s style was a perfect fit for the story. It wasn’t that long of a book, but the story was done really well. One thing I especially liked was Dahl’s version of magic and witches. That part of the story was highly imaginative, and the witches themselves were as fantastic as they were spooky. The other characters—such as the narrator and his grandmother--were just as interesting as the witches. I liked them, and their respective quirks gave them personality.

I haven’t read anything else by Roald Dahl, but I would definitely consider it, because The Witches was a fun and incredibly timely October read. (Actual rating 3.5)

Wednesday, June 22, 2016

Review: Need by Carrie Jones

Need (Need, #1)Title: Need
Author: Carrie Jones
Source/Format: Purchased, Paperback
More Details: Young Adult, Fantasy, Paranormal
Publisher/Publication Date: Bloomsbury, January 1, 2008

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Synopsis from Goodreads...

Zara White suspects there's a freaky guy semi-stalking her. She's also obsessed with phobias. And it's true, she hasn't exactly been herself since her stepfather died. But exiling her to shivery Maine to live with her grandmother? That seems a bit extreme. The move is supposed to help her stay sane...but Zara's pretty sure her mom just can't deal with her right now.

She couldn't be more wrong. Turns out the semi-stalker is not a figment of Zara's overactive imagination. In fact, he's still following her, leaving behind an eerie trail of gold dust. There's something not right - not human - in this sleepy Maine town, and all signs point to Zara...
So, last week I read Need by Carrie Jones, and I have to say that It was pretty good; yet, this book had its ups and down. Sure, there were cheesy/cute moments, but in terms of general reading experience and enjoyment, Need was a fun book and an interesting opening to the series.

Need was definitely a paranormal novel. A half-frozen, decidedly sleepy town in the middle of nowhere? Check. Mysterious things happening upon arrival? Check. Paranormal elements? Check. All the semi-necessary ingredients for a paranormal pie heaped with an extra added dose of trouble. I actually liked the way Jones chose to gradually introduce the supernatural aspects into the story. As the story progressed, it became apparent that trouble had been brewing for a while. So, it was nice to see how well those details were developed, and later integrated into Zara’s story.

Zara is the main character, and she was sent to live with her grandmother to help her cope with a recent death in her family. That part of Need was pretty good. The writing was good and made it easy to get into the story, but it also captured Zara’s emotions in a way that made them seem realistic—when it concerned her family.

One of the lower points for me was some of  Zara’s blatantly bad decisions. Despite repeated warnings, she insisted on walking right into trouble against better judgment. The romantic aspect wasn’t necessarily my favorite, but I didn’t really pay much attention to it. I was more interested in the mystery and its solution. It wasn’t all bad of course, I liked the majority of the secondary characters—especially Zara’s new friends and her grandmother, Betty. The paranormal aspects, writing, and the overall plot were also good.

So, Need was interesting. Would I continue on with this series? The copy of Need that I have has a small sneak peek of the second book in the very back. And, just from the sneak peek alone, things seemed to be getting very interesting. So, I wouldn’t rule out the possibility of picking up the next book. (Actual Rating 3.5)

Wednesday, February 11, 2015

Review: The Keep by Veronica Wolff

The Keep (The Watchers, #4)Title: The Keep
Author: Veronica Wolff
Source/ Format: Purchased, Paperback
More Details: YA, Paranormal
Publisher/ Publication Date: NAL Trade, June 4, 2013

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I had a hard time deciding just how much I liked this book after I finished it. It took me some time to get to The Keep, but at least now I can say that I finished the series. And I’m trying to finish more of the various series I started a while ago. And this one happened to be about vampires. I did enjoy the concept of The Watchers series throughout the previous books, and I was looking forward to seeing how it ended.

I’m conflicted, I really am. Don’t get me wrong I liked this book, but it was just sort of average for me. However, there were a few things that bothered me. But first I’m going to start with what I did like.

The Keep sat on my shelf for about two months. I finally decided to read it after finishing and reviewing a book for another blog. This book began a short time after Blood Fever ended, and Drew is basically struggling with what happened. I’m not going to specify what that something was, but it changed things on the island for Drew. Speaking of the main character, well, she was reckless and didn't seem to listen to any advice being given to her—and one aspect of the story almost seemed to become an obsession for her. Though I could understand why, the Isle of Night was a horrible place to be. So I think Wolff did a good job capturing the overall atmosphere of the Isle of Night, and portraying the characters—including those that thrived in that environment and others that didn't do so well.

And now here’s what I didn't like so much: the ending and parts of the plot. The plot…hmmm, well at times I felt like it was a little repetitive but interesting enough to keep my attention. The part that really got me was the ending. It felt entirely rushed and unfinished to me. There were too many mysteries introduced in this novel—even at the very end—and I had to sit down and think for a while about what I wanted to say about The Keep. I believe that this is the last book and I wish that there had been more—maybe even another book to finish tying up those loose ends. I liked this book but not as much as the previous three in The Watchers Series. So that's why I'm going to give it a 3.5.

Wednesday, January 7, 2015

Review: Until Midnight by Melissa Landers

Until Midnight (Alienated, #1.5)Title: Until Midnight
Author: Melissa Landers
Souce/Format: freebie, iTunes ebook editon
Age Range: YA
Publisher/ Publication Date: Disney Hyperion, December 23, 2014

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     When I saw that Until Midnight by Melissa Landers was free, I got it as a way to get introduced to the writers’ style to see if I would be interested in reading the actual novel that went along with it. I was pleasantly surprised that I enjoyed the short story. It was easy to get into—even though I didn’t read Alienated—it was short and sweet. I liked Cara and Aelyx in this short story and I’m curious to see how their relationship got started. The writing paired nicely with the story, and had a good flow to it. Until Midnight was a great way to start the year, and I might consider picking up another book by Melissa Landers. Actual rating 3.5

Sunday, September 15, 2013

Review: The Raven Boys by Maggie Stiefvater

The Raven Boys (The Raven Cycle, #1)Title:The Raven Boys (Click Title for Synopsis)
Source/Format: Purchased, Paperback
Age Range: YA
Publisher/Publication Date: Scholastic, September 18, 2012




My Thoughts:

     It shouldn’t come as a surprise that I’ve been in a pretty bad reading slump as of late, which is evident in the lack of reviews showing up on the blog.  So, I’ve been searching around for a book to get me interested in reading again.  In the end I decided to give something that a lot of people seemed to love, a try.  That’s how I ended up buying The Raven Boys by Maggie Stiefvater.

     The Raven Boys, for me, teetered on the edge between just ok and absolutely spectacular, but just couldn’t tip the scales in its favor.  Don’t get me wrong.  The Raven Boys by far is not the worst book I’ve read this year, but it just didn’t wow me.  I liked it well enough, but the first half of the story felt a little slow and the descriptions just weren’t there for me.  I had a hard time visualizing what was going on and where it was happening. 

     Now on to what I did like about The Raven Boys.  Stiefvater did a nice job with the characterization, and I was immediately interested in finding out more about Gansey and his friends.  Noah was mysterious to say the least, Ronan was just angry about something we seemingly know nothing about yet, and Adam, well his life is less than exultant.  Blue’s family was also a nice addition to the story, and I liked seeing the way they conducted themselves…as psychics.  But by far, my favorite character in the story was Chainsaw, she was adorable.

     There were a few twists, but nothing that I wasn’t already suspicious of.  I think the overall idea surrounding the events in The Raven Boys was ok.  Would I read the sequel The Dream Thieves?  Hmm I’m not sure, possibly, but only because I want to know more about Ronan and how Chainsaw fits into all of this. {Actual rating is 3.5}

Sunday, May 19, 2013

Review: Torn by Erica O'Rourke

Torn (Torn Trilogy, #1)Title: Torn (Click on title for Synopsis)
Source/ Format: Won, Paperback
Age Range: YA
Publisher/Publication Date: Kensington, June 28, 2011




My Thoughts:

    I have to admit that I’ve put off reading Torn for a long time, but recently I moved it up on my list of things to read.  Although short, Torn presented me with a mystery that sucked me in—it had me wanting to know more about the characters.  O’Rourke did a fantastic job on the plot.

    From the first pages, the mystery became apparent with the murder of Mo’s best friend, an attack that almost left her dead as well.  It was heartbreaking seeing her struggle to regain her life, only to have it derailed again.  At some points I just felt so bad for her, not only was she still dealing with her friend’s death, she also learned some facts about herself and her family.  Then there was Luc.  From the beginning his motives were unclear to me, and I was left with a lot of questions.  Verity seemed like a good friend, but you can never tell things just from the exterior, after all, she did have her own set of secrets.

    With Torn, you never knew who was who until it was finally revealed.  The way it was written I honestly thought things were going to be predictable, but I was wrong about that.  There were some things I had an issue with, like the ages of both love interests, which kind of bugged me throughout the book, but the plot and writing style is what kept it going for me.  The ending left a lot of things open and I do want to see where the sequel takes things. I'm giving this book a 3.5.
 

  
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