Thursday, February 18, 2016

Red: The True Story of Red Riding HoodRed: The True Story of Red Riding Hood by Liesl Shurtliff
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Having not read the previous titles, I didn't have a problem catching on with this one. The fantasy world is well described and the logic is maintained through the story. I enjoyed the authors twist on each well known story. She skillfully keeps the important parts and the easily explains the changes. Apart from the results of the quest to save Granny, the story was fresh and interesting through to the end.

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Paper WishesPaper Wishes by Lois Sepahban
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Beautifully written, this novel shines a new light on the Japanese internment during WWII. Manami is an interesting narrator, considering her silence through most of the book. I liked this device, although her family's ability to know just what she was thinking without talking about it was a bit too convenient. I was also interested to learn about the differences between the internees, those from the city and those from the country. Each device demonstrating the families loss, from the dog to the garden worked well. However I do feel for some young readers, more explanation about the internment system might be needed. In addition, a few sections of the story feel a bit thin, like the relationship between the teacher and Manami's brother. Still, the writing and imagery is beautiful and the feeling of the character comes across well.

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Saturday, February 6, 2016

The Steep and Thorny WayThe Steep and Thorny Way by Cat Winters
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

While I admit to only a fuzzy recollection of Hamlet, I found this a novel and interesting take on the original. Hanalee is a good lead character. In fact I felt her reasons for dithering, misleading and confounding behavior were more reasonable than Hamlet's. Even so, she comes across as a tough and capable young women. The plot and peripheral characters are well done, showing a broad range of feelings toward the discrimination of the KKK, from fear, to tolerance, to support. Hanalee and Joe's friendship brings another fascinating aspect to the story, but their meetings did become a bit repetitive. The author kept the truth of the mystery from the reader through to the end, which was worth the read.

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Thursday, January 28, 2016

The Heir (The Selection, #4)The Heir by Kiera Cass
My rating: 2 of 5 stars

I have very little reaction to this book. The main character was not a very nice person, but that seemed to offer potential for self reflection and personal growth. There are some inklings that this might occur, but it never really comes across. However all the characters surrounding her felt like cardboard cutouts strategically placed to show HER how she OUGHT to behave. At one point Eadlyn is scolded for treating her suitors like they are disposable, and then the author does the exact same thing. In the end, the book falls prey to the insistence of publishers to drag everything out into trilogies. No real progress is made beyond introducing us all to the circumstances, and then the author inserts twist A into cliffhanger B and wait for the sequel.

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Wednesday, January 27, 2016

You Know Me WellYou Know Me Well by David Levithan
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

A refreshingly multidimensional novel about the lives of two teenagers during San Francisco's Pride Celebration. While a great deal of the drama comes from their romantic relationships, the beginnings and endings of friendships are just as important to the narrative. The narrators alternated by chapter, from Kate to Mark. This was largely effective, although I had to flip back a few times to remind myself who was currently talking. Still, the book read smoothly, without a jarring disconnect between the two voices, a problem I have had with multiple narrators as well as multiple authors in the past. I appreciated that the book showed teens in various stages of coming out as well as a variety of consequences to coming out, some positive and some negative. An excellent and well rounded story.

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Saturday, January 12, 2013

Post Christmas Surprise

Nona and Papa had one more surprise for Kate at the end of the Christmas season.

While all you can see from this movie is a couple horse rear ends, I assure you the experience was way more magical than it looks. We went to Ma and Pa's, a gift shack just a few miles up the road. It's our kind of place, for the plethora of moose themed gifts, if for no other reason, but there's much more. They try to sell locally made things, they have a resident dog, and all manner of goofy things you can only find in a place that calls itself a gift shop. My personal favorite were the mittens made from old sweaters. Fabulous. But back to the main event.

Two very lovely Percheron's took us on a beautiful ride through the snow covered woods to the sound of sleigh bells while we kept warm beneath a fur (faux of course) rug. Their names were Sissy and Gracie. (We didn't catch the name of the driver, you can see where our values lie. He was lovely as well.)

The weather was cold crisp and clear, just like it should be and while my descriptive abilities might not be up the challenge, trust me when I say this is a once in a lifetime experience. 

 We enjoyed hot cider, coffee and cookies inside after our ride, and purchased the obligatory souvenirs. (Nona is teaching Kate the importance of having something by which to remember important events. Since this involves buying her things, Katie is totally on board.) They selected a build-your-own log cabin replica of Ma and Pa's. Sadly when the kit said "you" can build it yourself, they meant "Papa" can build it while we watch, because it was a little beyond Kate's ability and patience. (Mine too, if I'm honest).
In closing...if it snows again, go if you can. It's totally worth it. Something you don't get to do very often, and will remember for a long time.

Friday, December 14, 2012