Friday, 12 October 2018

The Great Gatsby by F. Scott Fitzgerald

Title details for The Great Gatsby by F. Scott Fitzgerald - Wait listReferences to this book kept coming up and for the life of me, I couldn't recall a thing about the story.  Mind you, it's been about forty years since I read it during high school.  When I told friends I was going to read it again, several told me not to waste my time or not to bother with such an old book.  It was written in 1925.  I pressed on regardless of their comments.
As I listened to the audio book I started to wonder how this book had such staying power.  The opening chapters were rather boring.  Now whether this was the causal reading by the narrator or it was too long drawn of an intro, I can't say.  Once Daisy was introduced, my interest started to pick up and by the time Jay Gatsby appeared, I was into the tale.
I still won't say it was an amazing book, but I am glad I re-read it.  It is a tale that plays out time and again.  Love is never a straight path and even if you can get what you think you want, it's not always what you need.  An then there are the crazy rich people, who just have no concept of reality.  They live their indolent lives with no notice nor concern for the wreckage they leave behind them.

Monday, 8 October 2018

Last Pick by Jason Walz

This is my idea of the perfect graphic novel.  A solid plot line, kick ass main characters, and awesome drawings that support the story.

Twins Sam and Wyatt have been on their own since the alien invaders abducted their parents three years earlier.  Sam does what she can to obstruct the alien plans and to help the remaining humans.  Those left include people too old, too young or too disabled to be of use.  Has Wyatt's otherness saved him, will Sam evade the aliens as they return for more humans.

I enjoyed the closeness of Wyatt and Sam.  They totally have each others backs, but they still squabble and disagree.  I was caught up in the story and disappointed when I reached the last page.  The story continues in Last pick: Born to Run.

I received and advanced reader copy of this book from First Second Publishing and NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.


Baby Don't Worry [official video] - Sam Krüger

My nephew Sam's first official video


Tuesday, 11 September 2018

the Bad Guys in Alien VS Bad Guys #6 by Aaron Blabey

My first venture into this young reader series.  It was funny and the humour  totally appropriate to a 7-10 year old.

The bad guys, who don't really seem all that bad, are stuck on an alien ship.  Escape is going to be difficult.  If they can stick together, they might all get out of it.  Friendship plays and important part of this story.

I would happily recommend this series for any young reader.

Saturday, 1 September 2018

Midnight Reynolds and the Agency of Spectral Protection by Catherine Holt

Midnight and Tabitha are a team.  Even though they are only twelve, for the past six months they have been working with the Agency of Spectral Protection, ASP, to release trapped spectral energy.  After witnessing a spectacular robbery, ASP requests the two to investigate the situation.  They soon realize that this case is far beyond what was covered in their training.    They forge ahead none the less.

This is a fun middle school story.  It involves two friends who are trying to stay under the radar at school and home when they are carrying out work for ASP.  Both use different approaches to keeping life and work separated and now they have added dating into the ix.  Midnight and Tabitha appear quite different, they they understand each other and work together well.  They have turned their differences into assets. Did I mention the vikings and ray gun.

I enjoyed this story, but wish I had read Midnight Reynolds and the Spectral Transformer, the first book in the series, before hand.

I received and advanced reader copy of this book from Albert Whitman and Company and Netgalley in exchange for an honest review.


Thursday, 28 June 2018

The Sky Over Lima by Juan Gomez Barcena

Set in Peru at the turn of the twentieth century, this is the fictionalized account of a love affair via letter.  Spanish poet Juan Ramon Jimenez had fallen in love with Georgina, a young woman in Lima who wrote to him begging for a copy of his recent book of poetry that had not yet been published in her country.  They subsequently carried on a correspondence for a few years during which he fell in love with her. 

Unknown to Juan, it was actually two young men who collaborated to compose and send the letters of Georgina.  It had started out innocently, as they did seek a copy of his book.  For what ever reason, they continued with the ruse until it threatened to be exposed.

It was fascinating to read how the author proposed the reasons for why Jose and Carlos continued with this fakery.  It felt so real, that it was possible it truly did occur in that manner.  Some letters have survived the ravages of time and obviously led the author to create this captivating story.  The rest, pure speculation...

I loved this book.  It is a unique tale made even more appealing by it's historical accuracies.  Jose and Carlos are young men at odds with the futures their fathers have decided for them.  Instead, they fancy themselves to be poets, even though they are not published and it seemed they weren't destined to be.  They both came from a life of privilege that allowed them the time to indulge in such whimsy as this.  I wonder if they regretted their activity afterwards and if they ever tried to make amends for their actions.

This is a highly readable tale which effectively transported me to another time and lifestyle.


Monday, 4 June 2018

Neverworld Wake by Marisha Pessl

I loved this book.  Once I started reading I couldn't put it down.

High school is often the place where you forge new friendships.  Some will be passing and others will last a lifetime.  And then there will be the ones that change your life, forever.

Just one year earlier, Bee, Whitley, Martha, Cannon, Kipling and Jim had been friends in high school.  Jim was now dead and Bee hadn't seen the others since going away to college.  She suspects that the remaining four friends know more about Jim's death than they are letting one.  She need to know the truth so she can move on with her life, in fact, her life depends on her learning the truth.

How well can you truly know another person.  We all have secrets that we are unwilling to share.  Some are embarrassing and others might be criminal, but they are our secrets to tell or not.  What if you are keeping a secret to spare anther person from pain or anguish, does that make it all right.  Bee has her own secrets and she is determined to find out those of her former friends no matter what.

This tale spins out in a totally unique manner that I could not have imagined.  I am still pondering how I would have handled these events. Would I have been like Martha and taken an academic approach or a more hedonistic one similar to Whitley.

I am being cryptic as I don't want to give away anything.  There are so many varied actions that the characters take that I loved and hated them at different points.  It makes me wonder why the truth can be so hard to tell.

If you enjoyed Ashley Bell by Dean Koontz, you'll love Neverworld Wake.

I received an advanced reader copy of this book from Indigo Books & Music Inc., in exchange for an honest review.