About Me

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was sold to gypsies as a small child for half a tank of gas and a kitten. She was quickly, if not easily, retrieved by her mother after the kitten was revealed to be an Eldrich horror looking for a ride into the nearest metropolitan area to begin wreaking havoc. It's been a bone of contention between Maria and her family ever since, whether the Horror-kitten would've been more or less trouble than she grew up to be.

Sunday, February 27, 2011

Book Review: The Incorrigible Children of Ashton Place

Feel the cuteness!

Another BEA 2010 book (Someday, I will get through them all. Drat you college, cutting into my recreational reading time)!

*Blogger Bragging Alert* I had the pleasure of meeting Maryrose Wood twice! once at the Teen Author Carnival and again at BEA, and let me tell you, she is as adorable as this cover. But let's face it, you're here for the book, not the author. Onwards!

Miss Penelope Lumley has just graduated - a year early - from the Swanburne Academy for Poor Bright Females and is on her way to an interview for her first job; the lord and lady of Ashton Place need a governess. Upon her arrival, Penelope is rushed through a very strange interview, which is periodically interrupted by mysterious howling which provokes very strange reactions from Lady Ashton and the servants. When Penelope is finally presented with her new charges, she realizes that nothing at Swanburne has prepared her for the job she must now undertake.

The Good: This is an utterly charming, witty, hilarious, and downright cute book. It's age appropriate in all the very best ways. Maryrose Wood gives us relatable characters and a compelling mystery, entertaining readers without ever condescending. Fans of Lemony Snicket will find a fast friend in the Incorrigible Children.

The Bad: It's part of another series. Oh, my poor wallet! *sobs* Also, I don't know nearly enough young readers to recommend the Incorrigible Children to. Go forth and spread the word, internet! Away with ye!

The Rest: Wood writes in what I've dubbed The Nanny Voice, an aloof yet warm tone, interspersed with cutting asides and brief lessons in grammar, history, and more. Reading it, I felt like it was written by a lovely old governess whose too fond of me to be as strict or terrifying as her job might demand.

Final Thoughts: If anyone had handed me this book when I was between the ages of 8 and 13, I would never have shut up about it. Ever. Do the world a favor; give some child you know the chance to talk your ear off about a book instead of Justin Beiber. The book doesn't have that silly haircut.

My Rating: 5/5 Mushrooms all the way.

Tuesday, February 22, 2011

Book Review: Reckless

Spooky AND pretty! I like it!
For years, Jacob Reckless has been secretly disappearing to another world, a world behind a mirror, a world for which his father abandoned his family. The mirror world is Jacob's escape from reality. It's a place for treasure hunts and magnificent quests. A world where witches haunt the forests and giants and dwarfs roam. A world locked in a deadly war.

Jacob's secret seems safe, until one day his younger brother Will follows him, with disastrous consequence. Faced with a curse that is quickly turning Will to stone, the Reckless brothers are thrust into a race against time to find a cure before Will is lost forever.

Inspired by the Brothers Grimm, master storyteller Cornelia Funke introduces a lush, enchanting world where fantasy meets reality. Reckless is a thrilling adventure, a tale of heroism and loyalty, filled with danger, mystery, and magic--with fairy tales and legends re-imagined as never before. - Goodreads

I've been eagerly awaiting the release of Reckless ever since I saw - and missed my chance to acquire - ARCs at BEA last May. Cornelia Funke is one of my favorite authors and in the first book of this new series, she hasn't disappointed me.

The Good: Funke maintains her well earned reputation for world building, blending European history with an abundance of fairytales, making this new world eerily familiar and frightening. Like the Ink series, Funke has taken a typical tool for crossing into new worlds - in this case, a mirror - and made it her own, wrapping it in its' own mystery.

One of my favorite tricks from Cornelia Funke is how she lets us into the minds of the major players, and even some of the side ones, to help reveal motivations and back stories piece by piece. I loved how she did it in the Ink World Series, and it's no less effective in Reckless. Everyone has their own voice and their own small but crucial part to play, and Funke let's us see the world through their eyes. It's confusing sometimes, but it pays off in establishing the roles and species of the characters, and the world through their eyes.

The story unveils slowly, but compellingly. While I enjoyed the first couple of chapters, I didn't realize how deeply I was hooked until I tried to put it down. It's a long book, which can get irritating if, like me, you've got a lot of other books to read. But it's a surprisingly quick read for its size, and I've been quietly longing for the next book since I finished it months ago.

The Bad: I have no idea when the sequel is coming out and I need it like Emma needs Nutella.

The Rest: Cornelia Funke's writing style tends to lean slightly towards info dumps, but 1) I kind of like info dumps if they're done well, and 2) Cornelia Funke can write good info dumps. Be warned, this is the first book in a series, so if you just want a stand alone book to wallow in before putting it down and moving on, hold off on this one.As a reader, I was drawn into the characters just enough to become invested in their futures and intrigued by their pasts and mysteries, but the book drops off just as those mysteries become even more devious and compelling.

Final Verdict: If you like fantasy and cliff hangers, this is a book for you. If you don't like cliff hangers, wait for the rest of the series to be published and then lose yourself in another fabulous Funke world.

Rating: 4.5/5 Mushrooms