Month: September 2016

California Toothache

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The only reason I read L.A. Candy through to the end instead of throwing it out of my window in frustration is that I committed myself to doing so. (Also, it was a library book, so… two reasons.)

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This novel is a blatant attempt to capitalize off of the reality TV show that brought Lauren Conrad into our living rooms, and some of our hearts,

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…not mine

written with less grace and finesse than a Sweet Valley High novel,

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Yes… that SVH

and, unless you feel compelled to adhere to your own arbitrary and impulsive decisions,

free glitter text and family website at FamilyLobby.com

far too easy to put down.

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My recommendation? Don’t bother to pick it up in the first place.

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This book was so bad, it gets a black hole… which is equivalent to negative stars, right? #right

Kids can be Neanderthals, too

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I recently received an ARC of the graphic novel Lucy and Andy Neanderthal,

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which is now available in print!

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Ooh…

Let me preface this review by mentioning that this is only the second or third graphic novel I have ever read, and it is obviously aimed at a young audience. Per Goodreads, this novel is aimed for “Young Readers.” However, given these circumstances, I thought this graphic novel was fairly amusing, informative, and overall, would recommend.

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I know… my reviews lately have been pretty negative…

Jeffrey Brown has obviously done his homework. The novel is divided into chapters, which start with a brief, comic vignette, followed by a scientific breakdown of the fact or fiction lying beneath that vignette, as relayed by two goofy scientists.

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This book is not only young reader-friendly, it is also designed to spark a love for learning in the young mind. One of my favorite things about this graphic novel is that it ended by explaining that while neanderthals are cool, one of the coolest things about them is that what we know about them is constantly expanding, and as our knowledge grows, some of the current theories are refined and/or debunked. It was a great way to point out that life is about learning, a lesson that, hopefully, young readers will take to heart.

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My only complaint, which may very well not be legitimate, since I am not a connoisseur of graphic novels, is that I am not certain this work is a graphic novel. While the vignettes do weave together in a way to tell a story, this work feels more like a collection of short comics, rather like an Archie digest, than a novel told through a medium of art and words.

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IS it a graphic novel?

I also have to say, this work is definitely written for a younger crowd, and I can only recommend to those who enjoy reading middle grade. Not that that caveat is saying anything negative, since the work was written explicitly for younger readers. Overall, though, it made me laugh a few times, the artwork is fun and well done, and you might learn a thing or two.

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#inescapableculturalreference

Happy reading!

Emily in Wonderland

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You know how Alice looks super cute in her blue dress and pinafore, but Wonderland is creepy and scary, and ultimately makes her miss home? That’s the crux of the titular short story for Novala Takamoto’s Emily,
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which I received from Netgalley

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This collection of 3 novellas is translated from Japanese. I am not sorry to have read them, but am not certain that I would recommend. Takamoto often writes unpredictably. It was intriguing reading her work, as I had no idea where she was going to go next. But I not only felt I was reading about another culture, I often felt like I was reading another world.

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Takamoto writes disturbing stories, but they don’t haunt me, and sometimes, I felt that she was writing simply to shock. This sense of dishonesty, that Takamoto was not writing in her own voice, could be due to the fact that this work is a translation. Or it could be that Takamoto has not quite found her voice yet, I’m not sure.

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Whose voice?

I rather liked the first story, entitled “Readymade.” It was the shortest, and a great introduction for an anthology/collection. The other two, “Corset” and “Emily,” were both longer and a bit more sporadic. At times, the stories were great; at others, a bit plodding and uninteresting.

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Yet, what stuck out to me most from this collection was the name-dropping. It’s like being back in middle school, except that I am unfamiliar with all of the designers. Not only am I in-coolly not wearing them, but I haven’t even heard of them.

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Ehrmagerd! She’s, like, not even wearing any [insert popular designer name here]
I would say give it a try if you are very interested in Japanese culture, and I feel that it might appeal to the voracious anime reader. Yet if you can actually read Japanese (unlike me), I strongly recommend getting your hands on the original literature, to avoid translation issues.
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Have you read this collection? Please share your thoughts in the comments below!

Ugh

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I recently read Gordon Dahlquist’s The Glass Books of the Dream Eaters, and my opinion is summarized by my title.

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It was a slog.

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Just… a bit… more…

With a length of 750 pages, there are only 10 chapters. Call me old-fashioned, but I like the feeling of accomplishment received by completing a chapter.

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Admit it… You get a tiny thrill every time you complete a chapter. #accomplishment

The book starts off by grabbing the attention, introducing the reader to Miss Temple, a woman in her mid-twenties who was raised on a plantation, and seems somewhat savage to the English Victorian society she has recently joined as she waits for her fiance to wed her so they can culminate their relationship in some real savagery. Except… Roger, her fiance, decides to end their engagement, instead. He doesn’t really tell her why, and it drives her crazy. Not because she loved him – dear me, she’s stronger than that, don’t be ridiculous! – but just because she needs to know the reason why.

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… she might also be horny

There is also the man ubiquitously known as “Cardinal,” “Chang,” or a combination of the two, due to terrible scars around his eyes that affect his eyesight, and also because people suck and are racist.

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#facepalm #peoplesuck

Rounding up our trio of protagonists (because I certainly will not call them heroes) is Dr. Svenson, physician to the prince of Macklenburg, a country I am fairly certain is fictional. He’s pining over his lost love, a beautiful cousin who became ill and died long before this novel started, and working for a man he neither respects nor likes, but is doing his best to keep this shit show short-lived via copious smoking.

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Kill me now, please…

This novel reads like a sensational action film. It has erotic undertones! It has violence! It has plot twists galore! The manner in which Dahlquist writes feels as though he is narrating a movie rather than writing a novel.
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While some readers may, admittedly, find this writing style amusing, it struck me as… Not enough. At first, it’s exciting, but there is not enough of a story. It all feels like insinuation and sex and karate chops. The main characters are obviously supposed to be endearing, but I have no idea why, to be frank, I should be interested. They also seem to survive nearly insurmountable obstacles solely because the author loves them and considers them “the good guys.” The same actions that are deplored from our villains are supposed to be applauded in our heroes. The story doesn’t quite fit together, and while I continued reading, it was more out of a sense of obligation than a sense that the story might actually get better.

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This picture is, like, ten times more amusing than the novel. #karatecats

And don’t even hope that you’ll ever find out how the glass books are made, as all you will get is pseudo-science and the hint that some dude knows how to perform alchemy.

Thumbs down, negative stars, and a waste of my time.
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Have you read it? Agree? Disagree?