Saturday, December 28, 2013

Miss Peregrine's Home for Peculiar Children by Ransom Riggs

I finally read it!  This has been on my short list since before I purchased it.

The book starts with the memories of Jacob Portman, the narrator, and the stories his grandfather told him when he was younger.  Jacob is now a teenager, 15 going on 16, and, struggling with missing his grandfather, sets out on a journey to discovery his grandfather, himself, and his future.  It's a quirky little coming of age story with just the right amounts of creepy and intrigue to liven it all up.

I enjoyed Riggs' characterization and character development, though it's just a little bit more 2-dimensional than I would have liked -- I am very much looking forward to the second book and I expect that the characters will develop further and we might find some more dimension to them. :)

I loved the pictures Riggs used and was even happier to discover that they were not pictures created for this book but, rather, vintage photographs already owned by Riggs and people he knows.  HOW COOL!

All in all, a fun read, well-paced, and interesting, and I'm looking forward to Book 2!
Recommend for anyone who enjoys the unusual, the disturbing, the fantastical.

This and other reviews can be found at

Monday, December 16, 2013

Hyperbole and a Half by Allie Brosh

I'm sure I cannot add much to the plethora of reviews already existing. However, I will say that Allie Brosh has the potential for a long career in comedic writing/drawing. I love her characters' facial expressions, her dry sense of humor, her self-deprecating perspective, and her use of color. Adventures in Depression remains one of her best pieces, but they are all wonderful little sardonic takes on life. Can't wait to read more!

Hunger Games by Suzanne Collins

The Hunger Games ...
it might be better than the Potters.  Maybe not!  I don't know.  They're so different, but what I can say is that they are the first YA fantasy books I've read that even competed.  They have the drive, the intrigue, the right characters, the right amount of the various elements...
Well done, kudos, I'm so excited for the movies!

I didn't review the 1st, but here're the 2nd two "reviews"

My "Review" on the 2nd:
Excellent follow up to the 1st book. Not much I can say that will be original. I read this very quickly, of course. Am very much looking forward to seeing the 2nd movie. And I'm gearing up for Book 3!

My "Review" on the 3rd:
Fantastic. I am so excited to see the 2nd, 3rd and 4th movies now! I can't say much... it's not worth it to ruin this series for anyone. But it was truly well done. I'm impressed with Collins and her ability to write such a mature story in the young adult genre, without crossing unnecessary lines. I did not LOVE all of her final choices... in particular 1 made me mad (no spoiler), but on the whole, it was great!!

(Note: reviews is in quotes because, as HIGHLY read series, these books don't require full reviews and I'm merely providing a quick snapshot into my reactions!)

Harry Potters Books 1-5 by J.K. Rowling

I'm re-reading the series and making a few comments/notes as I go.  Here're my "reviews" for Books 1-5

Book 1

Just re-read for the 9th time... After a long hiatus. Wonderful. Was almost like reading again for the first time, though I knew more about everything... Looking forward to reading the rest of the series again!

Book 2

Interestingly, the second book was not as good as the first (on a re-read, years later). The first book introduces the reader and Harry to a whole new world at the same time; the second book has frustrating moments where the characters aren't doing the smart and logical thing (no more details... still won't spoil!).  It wasn't terribly surprising that the first book, written so many years ago, was weak, or even that the first two were weaker than the rest of the series... what was surprising was that the 2nd was so much weaker than the 1st. Fortunately for me then and now, and fortunately for all the other HP readers, the 3rd is right there at your fingertips, so no need to dwell on the weaknesses of the 2nd (despite the fact that I just have in this review).

Don't get me wrong. I love these books. I thoroughly enjoyed re-reading 1 and 2, but I was reminded why this is, to me, the weakest book in the series. Still, a 4 star, but not magically delicious like the rest of 'em

Book 3

Yes. Yes. Still wonderful. Massively better than the last.

Book 4

Yep, still 5 stars. Life got a little busy as I was reading this one, so it took me a little longer.. And consequently, some of the more draggy parts ... Well, dragged. Specifically, the spew (aka house elf liberation front) bit and some of the more.. sentimental bits. But! The book's still good in those parts, and then completely overridden by the excellent climax and end. Just keeps you absolutely glued to the pages, especially once the third tri-wizard task starts!

Though during the slower parts I was starting to think I'd be glad to take another break to read a library book or an early reviewer, now that I've finished book four, I wish I didn't have to take the break! Ah well, only 4 interim books and then right back to it ;)

Book 5


As I've often said, reading the series through the 1st time, Book 5 was my least favorite. I didn't like the teenage angst and the yelling and the whining... but reading it again now (and this was ... perhaps my 3rd time on this book? 4th?), it was quite good.

Yes, there is teenage angst and whining and yelling.. but actually, taking it a little slower and reading what is there and not just trying to tear through the book as fast as humanly possible, I realize that Rowling really did an excellent job of showing 15-year-old proclivities and mentality while also subtly introducing (Spoiler)  Lord Voldemort's own personality. It was subtle and, on this slower, more involved and in-depth read, quite nicely done.

Not only was I able to get past my original dislike for the UNNECESSARY YELLING ;), but the book is MEATY. mmmm, meaty. There's so much in this book. It moves just fast enough and just slow enough to wrap you nicely up inside that cozy little harry potter blanket.

Very much looking forward to reading Book 6 (which I've only read twice!) and 7 (which I've only read once, at lightning speed!) 

And then.... I will watch the entire set of movies, front to back. It's gonna be a good winter...