Wednesday, May 17, 2017

The Marvels

The Marvels

Book talk: A young man survives a shipwreck in 1766 and goes on to create a dynasty of famous actors in London. Another runs away from his boarding school in 1990 to seek out his estranged and eccentric uncle who lives in an even more mysterious house. Their stories, told through pictures and words intertwine in unexpected ways that will leave you flipping pages and looking for clues about how their stories meet.

Rave: This story completely wrecked me. I was so deeply touched by the slowly unraveling story of the uncle and his mysterious house. I was drawn in by wondering how the two stories connected ,and when they finally did, I was not a pretty sight. After reading this, I made a point of visiting the museum that inspired it when I was in London last summer. Going to the museum was a unique and moving experience. This was emphasized by the museum policy against photographs or talking forcing me to experience everything in the moment in a very personal way. The way the first story was told entirely through images was gorgeous and innovative. Honestly I'm getting a bit teary just thinking of it all right now. The whole experience of this book is simply beautiful.

Every book its reader: I'd give this to fans of tear-jerkers, history, and mystery.

Topics and trends: Tear-jerkers, History, Museums, Acting, LGBTQ,

Extras: Of course Brian Selznick made an amazing book trailer, too. Why is he so talented!?



I made this image from one of my favorite quotes in the book and a picture I took in London.


Source: ARC from ALA Annual 2015

The Marvels by Brian Selznick: buy it or check it out today!

Monday, May 15, 2017

Brief Reviews Summer 2015 part 3

The Mad Scientist's DaughterThis was one of my favorite books I read last year. I'm always a sucker for stories that involve robots gaining sentience and fighting for their rights. Instead of looking at this issue from a larger societal perspective, this story approaches the issue from an extremely personal angle. The story revolves around a scientist's daughter who grows up with a very human-like robot.  At first he's just her friend and companion, but as she grows older their relationship becomes more complicated. The way their relationship evolves was completely absorbing. At times the story was absolutely heart-breaking, but I couldn't put it down. It was a thoughtful and unconventional romance with plenty of food for thought about how we treat each other and what makes us human. The Mad Scientist's Daughter by Casandra Rose Clark: buy it or check it out today!

It's Just a Jump to the LeftA fun story about die-hard Rocky Horror fans who are going through a hard time. I have met people who used a weekly Rocky ritual to get through difficulties and find a surrogate family, so it rang true to me. My only real complaint is that it was too short. I wish there had been more time to flesh out the characters and resolve the main conflict. Still I'd recommend it to fans of Libba Bray or Rocky. It's Just a Jump to the Left by Libba Bray: buy it or check it out today!




TimeBomb (Timebomb Trilogy #1) What I appreciated most about this time-travel story was the diversity of the cast and how true they each were to their own eras. All time travel stories start to fall apart if you look at the plot too closely, but I'm more than willing to suspend disbelief if the characters and story are good. That is certainly the case here. I particularly enjoyed reading about Cornwall in 1640. The characters have very different voices and perspectives, and each gets their turn to tell their story. I got a good sense of them even though I'd say the book is more plot than character focused, setting a fast and thrilling pace. I'd give this to teens looking for a time traveling adventure. TimeBomb by Scott K Andrews: buy it or check it out today!



Annihilation (Southern Reach, #1)This is a wonderfully atmospheric sci-fi horror story. I listen to it on a road trip with my sister and mother and we were all completely rapt as we strained to hear the audiobook from my phone speakers and find out what in the world would happen next. I didn't always understand what was going on, but that was where a large part of the horror came from: the feeling that understanding was just around the corner, and that was where I wanted it to stay. The characters and their psychological states are well explored and everything in the novel felt immediate. I'd give this to fans of science fiction, horror, and psychological thrillers. Annihilation by Jeff Vandermeer: buy it or check it out today!




Terra I liked this book's sense of humor from the first. The dry, absurd humor and space theme made a comparison to Douglas Adams immediately come to mind. There are a lot of really funny moments in this story about the only human girl on an alien planet. As the story continued, however, it became clear that Benn's strength lies more in humor than plotting. By the end my exasperation at the plot outweighed my amusement at the humor. I'd give this to people who are just looking for a laugh. Terra by Mitch Benn: buy it or check it out today!




Awkward This comic of middle school rivalries and romance is sweet and funny. It should be easy for readers of all ages to relate to the awkwardness of middle school and the difficultly of navigating its treacherous waters. Fans of Smile will find plenty to enjoy here. This is a great pick for younger kids who want to read about middle school as the plot is pretty innocuous and the illustrations appealing.  Awkward by Svetlana Chmakova: buy it or check it out today!