I’M DONE MY HARRY POTTER RE-READ AND I’M AN EMOTIONAL WRECK (but also counting down the days until my Cursed Child pre-order ships!). Click here to read my last Rediscovering Harry post on Mind the Gap!
Briefly putting my hiatus on…um, hiatus…to tell you that the sixth installment of my Harry Potter series is now up on Mind the Gap – click here to read it!
I haven’t had time to write full reviews of all the books I’ve read recently…actually, I haven’t had a lot of time to read in general! But here are some mini reviews for the last couple of books I read (and didn’t talk about on Mind the Gap).
The Archived – Victoria “V.E.” Schwab
As you may know, I’m obsessed with V.E. Schwab’s Shades of London trilogy (here are my reviews of ADSOM and AGOS), so now I just want to read ALL THE THINGS she’s ever written. I loved the premise of The Archived, and even liked the characters (any love interest who wears guyliner is fine by me), but it took a while to really get going and there were moments where I felt like I had missed something. There was also a plotline that seemed predictable to me, but I liked how it was handled, and I found myself tearing up during some of Mac’s remembered conversations with her beloved grandpa. Even though her writing in this book is still a million times better than mine on a good day, it’s interesting to see how an author’s command over words can change over the years/books. (Rating: 4 interrobangs)
Highly Inappropriate Tales for Young People – Douglas Coupland and Graham Roumieu
I decided to read this one because Douglas Coupland was going to be at my work and I figured I may as well give his writing a shot in case I ended up becoming his biggest fan. Spoiler alert: I did not become his biggest fan. I’ve always sort of suspected that I wouldn’t be into his style, but it was a quick read so I didn’t dwell on it for too long – just long enough to know that Sandra the babysitter was my favourite story. He’s one of those authors where I get the feeling I’m missing a deeper meaning (heavily veiled satire is not my jam at all). I did like the (occasionally gory) illustrations by Graham Roumieu – they have a Quentin Blakes-meets-Tim Burton vibe which is definitely something I’m into. (Rating: 3 interrobangs)
The Bartimaeus Trilogy: The Amulet of Samarkand – Jonathan Stroud
This was the first Jonathan Stroud book I read (13 years ago!! Literally half my life!!) and I remember being floored by how amazing it was. Thankfully, it lived up to my memories (this is the first time I’ve reread it in ages) and reminded me of why I became a Stroud fangirl in the first place (you may recall that I gush about his Lockwood & Co series all the time). Personally, I love how sarcastic Bartimaeus is, and Nathaniel’s cold detachement makes him an interesting – if not always likeable – protagonist. I’m just about done the second book now, so maybe I’ll do a full series review in a month or so. (Rating: 5 interrobangs)
The Knife of Never Letting Go – Patrick Ness
This book has won eleven billion awards and is super hyped up in the YA book community, but I was so underwhelmed. It took over 100 pages for anything good to happen…and, in this case, “good” is relative. I didn’t love the style (phonetic spelling in books will always drive me bonkers until it’s being used to denote an accent…and even then it can get old quickly), I couldn’t connect with any of the characters, and, while I find a dog talking about poo as funny as the next person, after the seventh time Manchee said “Poo, Todd?” it stopped being entertaining. I know people love this book, but I was so disappointed, possibly because it’s dystopian (aka my least favourite genre). With a series name like “Chaos Walking”, I expected something so much more epic. (Rating: 2.5 interrobangs)
On Monday, I sat down, read Patrick Ness’ A Monster Calls in one sitting, and then cried for a little while. Click here to see a slightly more coherent review!
Mer-Charmer – Amy Bearce
When Phoebe finds out a terrible sea creature is awakening that preys upon the peace-loving merfolk, she becomes determined to help them, even though it means going with Tristan and Mina to their home deep in the sea.
Beneath the waves, Phoebe learns she’s more like her sister than she realized. The merfolk are drawn to her, and she can sense the magic of the sea all around her. Magic is finally at her fingertips, but that’s precisely why the stirring dark power under the waters decides it wants her most of all.
Now she must not only help the peaceful merfolk escape this ancient enemy, she must master her out-of-control powers. If she fails, she will die and darkness will rise and enslave the merfolk once more. But embracing her full power could cost her the very people she loves the most.
Release Date: May 9th, 2016
Thank you to Curiosity Quills for providing a free copy in exchange for an honest review!
Maybe I just wasn’t in the right mood, but I didn’t like this one as much as the first one. I still enjoyed it, it just took me longer than it should have to finish.
What I liked:
-the plot. It has a bit of a The Little Mermaid vibe except in reverse. Phoebe, who was rescued by merfolk at the end of Fairy Keeper, spends a lot of time hanging out near the water with her mer-friends, Tristan and Mina, while her sister Sierra and their friends (Micah, Corbin, and Nell) are off doing…something. I can’t actually remember what it is they do when they go off adventuring – saving other magical creatures, I think.
-Phoebe and Tristan’s relationship is adorable. They evolve from friends to “more”, but, since they’re still quite young, it’s all very sweet and innocent.
-sea monsters make great villains. They can be very creepy.
What I didn’t like:
-I felt like the story moved quite slow, and I found myself skimming a lot. There was nothing wrong with the writing, but I guess it just wasn’t appealing to me (which is not to say that it was bad, it just didn’t work for me at the time).
Overall, Amy Bearce’s novels fit in that delicate age between middle grade and young adult where the characters are almost in their teens (or are early teens) but are still pretty innocent. I’d recommend this series for kids who read slightly above their age range (11+).
Who Broke the Teapot?! – Bill Slavin
Was it Dad, sitting in his underwear reading the paper?
Was it Cat, who was all tangled up in a ball of yarn?
Was it Baby perched in his highchair?
Or is there a surprising twist to this mystery that teaches Mom a little lesson in anger management?
Bill Slavin takes a sly poke at parents in their less-than-finer moments in this funny and energetic story.
Release date: April 26th, 2016
Thanks to Sylvia at Tundra for sending along the book (and some extra goodies!)!
Children’s books and tea are two of my favourite things, so of course I was excited to hear that there was a children’s book about tea coming out! Sure, it’s technically about a teapot, but that’s close enough for me.
Who Broke the Teapot?! is a delightful rhyming mystery: after a raucous morning, Mom comes down to the kitchen only to find that her favourite teapot has been shattered – and now one is willing to admit they were at fault. It would take a Sherlock Holmes type to figure out whodunit…
The story is fairly short, the rhymes sweet and simple. What makes the book stand out are the illustrations: bold and vibrant, Bill Slavin doesn’t hold back when it comes to colour and even texture. This page, for example, shows Kitty tangled in very real looking wool that makes you want to reach out and untangle her. I also love the cutout letters on the second half of the spread – it looks like a colourful ransom note!
My only issue with the story was one spread where I wasn’t sure which sentence to read first. If I had been reading it to myself, I probably wouldn’t have noticed, but since I was dramatically reading it out loud (in a posh English accent, obviously), I stumbled over the order. After a second read-through, I worked it out and it all flows together nicely.
This will be a fun story to read out loud with children who will delight in shouting “WHO BROKE THE TEAPOT” with increasing volume on every other page (who am I kidding, I also enjoyed having an excuse to shout). Maybe not the best bedtime story, though, because all that yelling may rile them up…
As a bonus, here’s a recreation of one of my favourite tea-related scenes in all of television history: Sherlock and Moriarty (Moriar-tea!!) in “The Reichenbach Fall“.
I’m sorry to say that I read and was disappointed by Leigh Bardugo’s Shadow and Bone. Maybe my expectations were too high? You can click here to read what I thought!