The Lost Boy: Fifty Word Friday

Apparently I still do not know how to manage my auto-post. So here it is better late than never.

 The Lost Boy

Title: The Lost Boy
Author: Greg Ruth

Summary:

Nate’s not happy about his family moving to a new house in a new town. After all, nobody asked him if he wanted to move in the first place. But when he discovers a tape recorder and note addressed to him under the floorboards of his bedroom, Nate is thrust into a dark mystery about a boy who went missing many, many years ago. Now, as strange happenings and weird creatures begin to track Nate, he must partner with Tabitha, a local girl, to find out what they want with him. But time is running out, for a powerful force is gathering strength in the woods at the edge of town, and before long Nate and Tabitha will be forced to confront a terrifying foe, and uncover the truth about the Lost Boy.[1]

Review:

I liked the back and forth of the story and the creepiness of the mythic woods. I’m a sucker for under/otherworld journeys. Boys are not often lost so this is wonderful. Simple ink drawings make the story more important while still adding lovely dimension to the tale.

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1. GoodReads.com

Wordy Wednesday: Jonathan Strange & Mr Norrell

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Jonathan Strange & Mr Norrell: A Novel

Title: Jonathan Strange & Mr Norrell Author: Susanna Clarke
Publisher: Bloomsbury Publishing PLC Rating: 4star
Publication Date: 2004 Genre: Fantasy,

Why Picked: A Friend’s Favorite

First Line:

“Some years ago there was in the city of York a society of magicians.”

Summary:

At the dawn of the nineteenth century, two very different magicians emerge to change England’s history. In the year 1806, with the Napoleonic Wars raging on land and sea, most people believe magic to be long dead in England—until the reclusive Mr Norrell reveals his powers, and becomes a celebrity overnight. Soon, another practicing magician comes forth: the young, handsome, and daring Jonathan Strange. He becomes Norrell’s student, and they join forces in the war against France. But Strange is increasingly drawn to the wildest, most perilous forms of magic, straining his partnership with Norrell, and putting at risk everything else he holds dear. [1]

Review:

This has been on my TRB shelf for years. A favorite book of one of my dearest friends, recommended over and over again by so many people, yet every time I would try to read it I could not get anywhere. It was not for lack of trying, nor was it because I did not like it. What truly baffled me was I was easily able to read and adored Clarke’s book of short stories “The Ladies of Grace Adieu and Other Stories .” So why could I not tackle the story of Strange and Norrell.

After years, I finally figured out it out. I found that since children entered my life I rarely have long, leisurely reading time. My reading is like an affair committed in hallways and cars. I read 5 minutes here and 15 minutes there and often am, like so many other American adults, so sleep deprived that if you put me in a warm car with a book I am asleep before I am 5 pages in. So a book rich in story and elegant in language? It didn’t stand a chance. These are the books that need time and chucks of it to be read and savored. This book was a commitment not an affair.

Jump forward to my discovery that, while I could not easily listen to audio books in bit and pieces, because my mind would wander into the never ending list of 100 things I still have to do today, I could listen to them during long drives alone to visit friends. Coincidentally one of them the friend who loves JS&MN so hard he never gave up trying to get me to read it. Fast forward again to my taking on a barter situation where I clean for someone about 6 hours a week and suddenly I am whizzing through audio books. So I finally broke down and I got an Audible account. I listened to all of the available Dresden files. I listened to all of the available Fairyland books. So what was next? I suddenly remembered that when I could not get though a book I loved called Chime, which is another story of how I learned to love the audio format, I tried the audio of JS&MN.  And I discovered that while I could not read it I absolutely could listen to it.

There were some bumps which I was concerned about. The major one was footnotes! How do you listen to a story with something along the lines of 180 footnotes and not lose the narrative of the story? For me this was not an issue beyond wanting to write down the books mentioned in many of them for future reading and then remembering the majority of them are made up and do not exist. Simon Prebble, the narrator, was able to handle these footnotes with smoothness and grace which made them a non-issue for me.

The story itself is a beautifully told story of magic and longing, of miserliness and need, of the fae and the folk. It is a story of Napoleonic Europe and an England which is undone by a handful of people and their need to see magic restored. It is a story of how friendship can drive you to madness and how love can do the same. It is a story of Otherness, and by that I do not mean the fae, but persons of color and women and poverty. For me it was these people who were the most intriguing. The wives and the street people, the servants and soldiers, these were the stories I was interested in. Strange and Norrell and their story is that on which all other hung. But tell me more about John Uskglass and more about Vinculus. I want to know about Emma and Arabella, Segundus and Martin Pale.

Overall, I am extraordinarily glad I finally got to hear the story of how magic returned to 19th-century England. And while I know no author owes their fans anything Clarke has hinted at more of this story. That would be wonderful.

Never Gonna Give You Up: Top Ten Tuesday

Top Ten Tuesday

Each week The Broke and the Bookish will post a new Top Ten list that one or more of their bloggers will answer. Everyone is welcome to join.

Big Breasts and Wide Hips: A Novel (Arcade Classics)
Big Breasts and Wide Hips by Mo Yan

This was the first of my “Around the world in 80 Books” self challenge. It may have spoiled me. I really dislike almost everything about this book. I wanted to like it; I did. It took 4 months and everything I had to finish it. I since then I have barely touched this challenge.

(THE CELL ) BY King, Stephen (Author) Hardcover Published on (01 , 2006)
Cell by Stephen King

Gross and gory and not one likeable character. This was one King I could have passed on.

Chime
Chime by Franny Billingsley

I did put it down but than thankfully I picked up the audiobook. It is one of my favorites and gave me a newfound appreciation of audio. And that my friends led to Dresden.

Feed
Feed by M.T. Anderson

Meh. Dystopian science fiction is not my favorite. But everyone was raving about this book called Feed so I kept reading. Then I discovered it was this book: Feed (Newsflesh, Book 1) which is 100% better.

The Goldfinch: A Novel (Pulitzer Prize for Fiction)
The Goldfinch by Donna Tartt 

Book club selection. We read this in January and February which I must say are not my finest months and this was a depressing read. I wonder if I would have been so tempted to put it down if it was June and a beach book.

Horns: A Novel
Horns by Joe Hill

Let me start with the fact that I loved Heart-Shaped Box and 20th Century Ghosts. But this one was a hard read. I know people are horrible but I really have no need to read about just how horrible they are on the inside.

Jonathan Strange and Mr. Norrell : A Novel
Jonathan Strange & Mr Norrell: A Novel by Susanna Clarke

Another I put down at first. Actually this one I put down a lot. But it is the favorite book of a dear friend I could not give up on it. So I kept picking it up. But the language was such that my scattershot method of reading now never let me immerse myself in this story. This was another audio one for me. I usually only listen to audios when I am travelling or when I am cleaning so those are long chunks of time. I found a groove and fell in love.

The Road
The Road by Cormac McCarthy

I have talked about this book over and over again. it is on lists titled things like “Bleak Books – the Top 10 Most Depressing Books” and “10 Devastatingly Sad Books – Flavorwire.” So yeah, I almost put it down. I recently read this review of the movie which describes reading the book perfectly.

This entire movie hurts to watch. It builds dread the way bricklayers build walls, and it surrounds you with it. Reading Cormac McCarthy’s beautiful novel is hard enough – I first read it on a plane, in one sitting, and by the end I felt as if I’d been stuffed into a sack and beaten while listening to my family get killed and eaten somewhere nearby. I was drained for about two weeks. The movie takes that theme and runs with it. It’s based on my favorite book, and it’s one of my favorite movies. But I’ve only watched it once.

[]

And No I have not seen the movie either.

Twilight (The Twilight Saga, Book 1)
Twilight by Stephenie Meyer 

Read all of them. Wanted to gouge my eyes out. I know people love them. But I was weaned on real vamps and these are not real vamps. I kept going because the girl was such a reader and she was young when these were hot and I needed to know if they were OK to read. My answer – No because this models a horrible relationship and a worse reaction to breaking up.

Witch & Wizard (Witch & Wizard, #1)
Witch & Wizard (Witch & Wizard, #1) by James Patterson

Another I endured for the girl. I read this one out loud to her. I was pleased when she decided to read the rest to herself.

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5 Deeply Unsettling Movie Scenes You Can’t Un-See

 

50 Word Friday: Turn Coat

Turn Coat (The Dresden Files, Book 11)

Turn Coat (The Dresden Files #11)

Author: Jim Butcher

Summary:

When it comes to the magical ruling body known as the White Council, Harry keeps his nose clean and his head down. For years, the Council has held a death mark over Harry’s head. He’s still thought of as a black sheep by some;and as a sacrificial lamb by others. But none regard him with more suspicion and disdain than Morgan, a veteran Warden with a grudge against anyone who bends the rules. Like Harry. So when Morgan turns up asking for help, Harry isn’t exactly eager to leap into action. Morgan has been accused of treason against the White Council;and there’s only one final punishment for that crime. he’s on the run, he wants his name cleared, and he needs someone with a knack for backing the underdog. Like Harry. Now Harry must uncover a traitor within the Council, keep a less than agreeable Morgan under wraps, and avoid coming under scrutiny himself. And a single mistake may cost someone his head. Like Harry… [1]

Review:

Jim Butcher, you break my heart. Harry is a good guy and you are perpetuating the “nice guys finish last” myth. He helps out the one guy who hates him to no avail. Then his love interest, who I quite liked, is not so interested really. Sigh, poor awesome Harry.

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1.  GoodReads.com

Review: Rosemary & Rue by Seanan McGuire

Rosemary and Rue (October Daye, Book 1)
Title:
Rosemary & Rue
Author:

Seanan McGuire

Series:
October Daye
Rating:
Publisher:
DAW
Year Published:
2009
Genre
Urban Fantasy;
Paranormal;
Magic;
Supernatural:
Fantasy
Why Picked:
Gift
Number of Pages:
368
Fiction/
Non- Fiction:
Fiction
Summary:
October “Toby” Daye, a changeling who is half human and half fae, has been an outsider from birth. After getting burned by both sides of her heritage, Toby has denied the Faerie world, retreating to a “normal” life. Unfortunately for her, the Faerie world has other ideas…
The murder of Countess Evening Winterrose pulls Toby back into the fae world. Unable to resist Evening’s dying curse, which binds her to investigate, Toby must resume her former position as knight errant and renew old alliances. As she steps back into fae society, dealing with a cast of characters not entirely good or evil, she realizes that more than her own life will be forfeited if she cannot find Evening’s killer.
Review:
This book was a nice break from the “meh” books I have been reading.  This book took a bit of reading but by the 50 page cut off I was interested and kept going. The summary doesn’t mention the circumstances which lead to Toby rejecting fairy but they have to do with a fae curse and losing years of her life.  As always I enjoy stories which understand that fairy is not all glitter and light and love and Disney.  This story manages that in spades.  Most of the fae are dark or at least have a dark underbelly.
The Toby character is not one that I was instantly in love with but over the course of the book as you got to know more and more of her back story her walls and anger because understandable and she in turn becomes more relate-able. A comment that many reviewers have noted was the myriad of “Toby gets beat up and almost dies” plot points.  This was disappointing as the story opened with a great you didn’t die but might have wished you did plot point.
The minor characters were even more interesting at times then Toby.  Tybalt, King of the Cats; Duke Sylvester Torquill, her Liege Lord and Duke of the Shadowed Hills; Spike, a rose goblin; Luna, Dare, Manuel, and so many more. I have mentioned before that I am a sucker for good characters and so I will be picking up the next in the series.