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Friday, 30 June 2017

June Monthly Motif Challenge : Just One Damned Thing After Another - Jodi Taylor

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How is the Cretaceous Period for a unique destination? How about eleventh-century London, World War I, and the destruction of the Great Library at Alexandria? I love how wacky this book is! From mad accidents in time, to a murderous History - this is the time travel book we've all been waiting for. 

Behind the seemingly innocuous facade of St Mary's, a different kind of historical research is taking place. They don't do 'time-travel' - they 'investigate major historical events in contemporary time'. Maintaining the appearance of harmless eccentrics is not always within their power - especially given their propensity for causing loud explosions when things get too quiet. Meet the disaster-magnets of St Mary's Institute of Historical Research as they ricochet around History. Their aim is to observe and document - to try and find the answers to many of History's unanswered questions...and not to die in the process. But one wrong move and History will fight back - to the death. And, as they soon discover - it's not just History they're fighting. For wherever Historians go, chaos is sure to follow in their wake ...

I really enjoyed the delightful historians at St. Mary's and their antics and how each character was so fundamentally different from another. The set up was perfect in that there was none. No foreshadowing that would give the game away. Every different event was separate and unpredictable. There were moments of great sweeping laughter and all encompassing heart break. Nothing in this beautiful book is one dimensional! 

Monday, 26 June 2017

Blue Exorcist - Kazue Katō

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Another brilliant Spunky main character, but what can you expect from the son of Satan himself! I love this manga. The juxtaposition between the two brothers Rin and Yukio is perfect. Rin is very like Naruto in that he has these big emotions that blow you away right with him as a reader, as well as the similarity in their hidden deamons, though in Rin's case that secret is out of the bag pretty early on. I enjoy the art style and the way it fluctuates between very stereotypically anime (large eyes etc) and the comic cartoon expressions that sometimes grace the pages. I love the character designs, not just the way they look and what they wear but also that real special something that makes them all unique. A great shonen manga!

Sunday, 18 June 2017

Thirteen Reasons Why - Jay Asher

This books cover and premise both interested me. I think the subject of teen mental health and suicide should be much more widely covered. I know that I sometimes enjoy a sad story. However, this book is the biggest pile of drivel I have ever read. Now I must admit I didn't finish this train-wreck, so if there is some incredible plot-redeeming ending I didn't ever encounter then I'm sorry. The story features teenage girl Hannah sending a rather malicious recording to the 13 people she 'blames' for her suicide. People are unkind sometimes. Life isn't fair. While I can see both of those things as reasons to commit suicide, I think the recording was overdone. Geez girl just leave a note! Directing the recording at other people is just spiteful and I wasn't able to connect with her. At the end of the day, she took her own life, and though she may have been driven to do so by the actions of others, surely the point of ending it all is to end the suffering rather than to get revenge on these people with a macabre voice recording? Her sitting down to record an entire novel of recording strikes me as her wallowing in her own pain. The other segment of the novel, where Clay walks around, carrying on with life and listening to the recording, is boring. I don't think I've read anything I hate more.

A colleague of mine once said that you can't make a great movie out of a great book but you can make a great movie from a mediocre one. For the sake of humanity I hope the same is true of Netflix series.

Illuminae - Jay Kristoff & Amie Kaufman

Five stars! Everything about this book is a breath of fresh air. The unique layout and how it connects to the story was brilliantly executed. The voice of the AI was just the right amount of human to connect with and the right amount of robot to solidify it as real. At the same time, there are moments that will rip your breath from your lungs. Artfully, Aime Kaufman and Jay Kristoff lead you to almost forget vital details that then come back and smack you backwards with them. So many damn bombshells! I cried at three separate moments during this emotional roller-coaster. The Phobos virus haunted me into sleeplessness. This is the essence of what I love about books. How they can make you feel more alive, engaged and happy yet rip you apart at the seems. A revolutionary title!

Everyone should gosh damn stinking read this book!

Puella Magi Madoka Magica - Magica Quartet/Hiroshi Takashige

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This manga looks like everything it's not. Madoka's story starts and ends with a witch named walpurgisnacht. In exchange for a wish from the magical Kyubey, Madoka Kaname can become a magical girl and fight witches. There is a twist, or several, that render this manga one of the most heart breaking stories of friendship and loyalty I have ever read. Far from being the girly magical girl manga I was expecting, Madoka Magica is gruesome in places and emotionally a complete roller coaster. As each part of the story emerges and new discoveries are made, the plot spirals towards the ultimate battle of walpurgisnacht. One of my favorite manga! This is definitely worth a read!

Saturday, 3 June 2017

The Huntress Book 1: The Sea - Sarah Driver

I wasn't so much a fan of this book. While suited for the 9+ age group, for me it read much like a watered down Northern Lights but with much more irritating language such as 'heart-glad' and 'feather-fun' that broke up any possibility of a natural flow. I enjoyed the story arc regarding the pearl and the false eye but I found this the most surprising aspect of the plot. The beast chatter, while it could have been an important and worthwhile gift, Mouse rarely uses it at all. She comes across a little self entitled and juvenile, which puts older readers off reading it. I would put the age range a little lower based on this. The relationships between characters are a little flaky and many of the supporting cast seem more like vague acquaintances than life long friends and crew. Unfortunately, not my cup of tea.