Posts Categorized: Kim

Dreamstrider: Review

Dreamstrider: Review

While I, sadly, didn’t fully connect with this novel as I would have liked to, I do have to admire it for the sheer ambition of its scope. This story set itself after the incredibly complex task of telling a political mystery, set in a fantasy world, where dreams themselves figure so heavily they are practically characters. You know how difficult it is to describe your dream to someone? You can see it so clearly, but when you go to actually tell it it’s impossible? This story features a lot of dreams, and I have to applaud Lindsay Smith for the attempt to capture and convey the weirdness and irreality of them in the context of a story. Dreamstrider takes place in a fantasy world that is reminiscent of a sort of 17th-18th century Europe. The Barstadt Empire is a nation with a very strict class system. There are the… Read more »

Divider

Hunter: Review

Hunter: Review

Oh, Hunter. You had so much potential. A book in which all of the monsters of our nightmares, myths, and legends are real and a teenage girl has the magic to fight them? I’m in. A book that’s a sort of post-apocalyptic, futuristic dystopian, fantasy mash up.  How could I resist being immediately drawn in by a premise that promises battle with dragons, vampires, Fae, and all manner of legendary creatures all in one book? Yes, please. Sign me up. Unfortunately, the execution of this idea left much to be desired. In Joy’s world, it has been 200 some years since the Diseray, an apocalyptic event that unleashed the monsters of myth into our world. Society has had some time to recover and rebuild, and there is at least one major city, though if there are more I have no idea. World building isn’t really a strength here. Joy is… Read more »

Divider

Middle Grade Round Up: Mini Reviews

Middle Grade Round Up: Mini Reviews

I don’t get around to reading as much middle grade as I’d wish to, but I’ve really lucked out so far this year. Every middle grade I’ve read has been so charming and heartwarming. A real highlight has been Rebecca Stead’s Goodbye Stranger, but today I’m bringing you two other 2015 MG’s I’ve really enjoyed.     Title: Echo Author: Pam Muñoz Ryan Rating: 3.5 A lovely story and beautifully told, this book tells the tales of 3 different children in different times and place in the world all connected by one magical harmonica. Friedrich in pre-WWII Germany is first hand witness to the slow motion horror of Hitler’s rise to power and gradual degradations to his family.  Mike in a Depression era orphanage fights to keep his little brother from being adopted without him. Ivy in WWII era California comes up against the harsh racism of segregated education and the horror of… Read more »

Divider

Mechanica: Review

Mechanica: Review

There is something so frustrating about a story that is so close to being satisfactory but doesn’t quite make it. Mechanica is a perfectly serviceable retelling, I imagine, but doesn’t have the emotional substance to make an impact. When I read a book I want to be swept away to another world, brought far from my own experiences, and caught up in the emotions of the characters. I don’t want “serviceable.” Now, I haven’t read Cinder, but from what I could tell this really isn’t very similar. Whereas Cinder is a futuristic dystopian-ish (I think?), Mechanica has much more of a traditional fairy tale feel. Think: 18th century but with magic, fae, and some adorable steampunk creatures. Also, that book has a significant focus on the romance aspect of the story. This one…doesn’t (but more on that later). I actually really enjoyed the first 20% or so of the book… Read more »

Divider

One Good Dragon Deserves Another: Review

One Good Dragon Deserves Another: Review

If only a perfectly nice dragon could be left well enough alone to manage his curse removal business with his partner (and crush) the human mage, Marci. Unfortunately for Julius, his family is far too big and far too, well, draconic to ever let him be. And clan seer Bob claims to have big plans for him. This does not at all add up to a quiet lifetime of removing tank badger spirits (don’t ask) from the erstwhile cursed. This series is just so much awesome fantasy fun. Picking up shortly after the events of Nice Dragons Finish Last, Julius and Marci are giving it their best to scrape by running a curse removal business when major events start happening that throw the two into a situation way beyond their means. Estella, seer, daughter of the Three Sisters and long time enemy of the Heartstriker clan has put into motion… Read more »

Divider

Review: Goodbye Stranger

Review: Goodbye Stranger

Goodbye Stranger affectingly and realistically tells the intertwining stories of three young teenagers navigating the confusing and tumultuous time of early adolescence. Bridge, an accident survivor is looking for meaning on why she’s still here. Sherm is dealing with the aftershock of a family betrayal. And an unnamed 9th grader (written in a surprisingly effective second person) is grappling with a potentially friendship-ending mistake. The story is about how life gets so suddenly and shockingly complicated in middle school. And it is about how teens deal with the newness, rawness, and intensity of their emotions. Best friends can suddenly betray. A beloved grandparent can walk out on his family. A boy can text you asking for “a picture ;)” but what does it mean? Throughout reading this book I couldn’t help pausing repeatedly to think, “Man, it is so stressful to be a teenager.” The narrative seamlessly intertwines to show… Read more »

Divider

The Awesome: Review

The Awesome: Review

Imagine being a 17 year old hunter-in-training, going about your business vanquishing poltergeists, mucking up vampire politics, and getting into other general supernatural hijinks.  You know, the usual. Now imagine the one obstacle in your way to becoming a fully fledged hunter: losing your virginity (it turns out vampires go crazy in the presence of virgin blood). This is the dilemma for our heroine, the magnificently irreverent, snarky, and confident Maggie. It’s hard enough to navigate the realms of normal adolescence. Add in several layers of paranormal complications, and many years of homeschooling, and our Maggie finds herself at a disadvantage in swiftly accomplishing this goal. The conversation in which Maggie’s hunter mom, Janice, informs her of this unique challenge sets the stage for one of the highlights of the story: the beautifully complicated yet loving mother/daughter relationship. The two are close, but have plenty moments of conflict and misunderstanding…. Read more »

Divider