Archive for October, 2013

16
Oct
13

Scootsa1000’s #CBR5 Review 45: The Moon and More by Sarah Dessen

Unknown-1In the past two years, I’ve read pretty much everything Sarah Dessen has ever written. And I can’t really say that I’ve done that because I’m a huge fan of her writing or her stories. I think what makes me keep going back to her books is the little universe she’s created for her books. Like Stephen King (seriously, I just compared Sarah Dessen to Stephen King), these books take place in a very specific place — usually at the beach in North Carolina — and the same characters and places show up over and over again, like little book “easter eggs”. I kind of enjoy seeing how it all ties together.

I also like knowing that her heroines are real girls with real problems. Not everyone is beautiful and rich. In this book, just because you are smart enough to get into the college of your dreams doesn’t mean you can go there. These girls have to figure things out and realize early on that sometimes life isn’t 100% fair (and I mean this in a good way).

But there’s also a lot that I don’t really like about Dessen’s world. Very few of her strong female characters have much of a relationship with their parents (mostly, the dad is at fault). In this book, the adoptive father was great, but the birth dad? Moron. I couldn’t buy what Dessen was selling with that character.

In a nutshell, this one is about a recent high school graduate named Emaline who lives in the beach town that Dessen loves so much with her mom, stepdad, and two step sisters. They all work at a real estate firm that rents out beach houses to those who are much more wealthy than they are. Emaline has a lovely boyfriend named Luke, who she has been with since the start of high school. And she has minimal contact with her birth father and his family in Connecticut.

And so, in this last summer at home, Emaline has to deal with college choices, her real dad, and boyfriend troubles. She meets a new guy — Theo, a filmmaker from New York who is in town making a documentary about a local artist — who seems to be everything Emaline has always wanted in a boyfriend. But is he?

Look, this book isn’t going to win the Pulitzer or any other prize, but you could do worse. Dessen has a breezy writing style that makes the book go by quickly. I enjoy the tertiary characters that she comes up with, and I have to say, the ending of this one surprised me a bit (in a good way). I’ll keep reading them if she keeps writing them.

 

14
Oct
13

Joemyjoe’s #CBR5 Review 4: The Hobbit by J.R.R. Tolkien

imagesMy dad just read The Hobbit to us, and I really liked it.

Bilbo Baggins is a hobbit who lives in The Shire, a nice green part of Middle Earth. He likes to eat,  smoke his pipe, read his books, and relax. And then one day, a wizard named Gandalf comes to his house and invites him to go on an adventure. Bilbo says NO, because he likes his life and isn’t interested in changing it. Later, 13 dwarves come to his house, thinking Bilbo is going on this adventure with them. They eat a LOT. Bilbo tells them NO, but the next morning changes his mind and runs after them.

The adventure is that the dwarves are trying to find their old home, the city under the mountains (Dale), and the treasure that is there. The city was destroyed 60 years ago by Smaug, the ferocious dragon.

The hobbit, wizard, and dwarves set out and meet good people (Elrond and his elves, and shapeshifters) and bad (goblins, orcs, and wargs). They get attacked by goblins and giant spiders. Bilbo finds a magical ring (and a weird creature named Gollum) that makes him invisible when he wears it.

They are a brave bunch with a lot of courage. When Smaug is finally dead, they find their way into the mountain to get the gold and treasure.

My favorite part was the scenes with Bilbo and Gollum talking in riddles about his “precious” ring.

Bilbo, who started out as a quiet little hobbit, became a brave hero. He brought some of the treasure back home to the Shire (only about 2 small chests of treasure, not 1/14th of the gold as he originally said he would take)! He lived a long and happy life, and eventually told his nephew Frodo all about his adventures.

We watched the first movie this weekend, but I liked the book better.

13
Oct
13

Scootsa1000’s #CBR5 Review 44: Mr. Penumbra’s 24-Hour Bookstore by Robin Sloan

UnknownYou guys, I read this a few weeks ago (really, less than a month ago), and already I can’t remember what I want to say about it. I remember that I thought it was OK. Anything else?

I remember wanting to like it more than I did. Everyone else seemed to. I remember not really caring about any of the main characters all that much, and wishing that I did. I remember wanting to know more about the mystery and the secret society, and less about Google and the Clay & Kat (the fact that I just had to use Google to remind myself of the characters’ names seems a bit ironic, I suppose). I wanted more about Neel and how he made his fortune, and more about the fantasy series of books that Neel and Clay loved growing up.

For those who haven’t yet read it, Mr. Penumbra’s 24-Hour Bookstore is a mysterious place, unlike other bookstores. Young Clay, recently laid off from his graphic designer job, goes to work there as a clerk, and finds that the store is the facade for an entirely different world. Clay and his friends try to unravel the mystery behind the store’s existence, and we learn a whole lot about book making, fonts, and Google.

Does Google really have special meals filled with specific vitamins for its staff? I can’t imagine that it does, but I thought I’d ask.

Honestly, I don’t think I’ve ever written such a disjointed and wandering review before, but I can barely remember anything about this book. Sorry.




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