Book Review – Mooncakes by Suzanne Walker and Wendy Xu

Mooncakes

Mooncakes by Suzanne Walker

My rating: 4 of 5 stars


Mooncakes has been recommended so much by the internet book communities, and I was not at all disappointed. The artwork is absolutely gorgeous and the story is as heartwarming as any story could ever get. The diversity included in this novel is amazing as well: you have a non-binary character and their deaf girlfriend who is part of (what I believe is) a part Chinese part Jewish (etc.) family. Not to mention the diverse mythical beings, which I would love to see more of in Walker and Xu’s other works!

Most of all this is a story about love, family, and growing into one’s self.
I recommend Mooncakes to anyone who needs a bit of love and magic in their life.

I know this is my first book of 2020, but I can already seeing it being one of my favorites.



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Book Review – Cycle of the Werewolf by Stephen King

Cycle of the Werewolf

Cycle of the Werewolf by Stephen King

My rating: 3 of 5 stars


This short novel of Stephen King’s was a fun and chilling read. Very easy to get through due to the pacing of the story and entertainment factor, I read Cycle of the Werewolf in about two hours. The story shows a view of how a town might react to the arrival of a murderous werewolf and, in my personal opinion, King got most of it pretty realistic. There are two big reactions to a kind of upset like a werewolf: everyone going completely ballistic, or, as in this novel, everyone doing absolutely nothing until a child takes matters into their own hands.

The illustrations by Bernie Wrightson perfectly captured the grim atmosphere of King’s narration, though I have one criticism (this would mainly be for the editors): a lot of the illustrations were placed a bit too early in the text, and so the reader would know what would happen in the plot based on the picture before the written event ever actually happened.

I recommend this book to those who want a short and chilling read. The gloominess of the art and the fact that the book starts and ends with snow makes it a perfect winter read.



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My Top 10 Books of 2019

10. Hilda and the Troll by Luke Pearson

9. The End We Start From by Megan Hunter

8. The Ghost Stories of Edith Wharton

7. The Rental Heart by Kirsty Logan

6. Pages & Co. by Anna James

5. Jake, Lucid Dreamer by David Naiman

4. The Merry Spinster by Mallory Ortberg

3. Lavinia by Ursula Le Guin

2. Ghost Wall by Sarah Moss

  1. The Girl Who Loved Tom Gordon by Stephen King

You can find each book review on this blog!

Book Review – The Bookshop on the Shore by Jenny Colgan

The Bookshop on the Shore

The Bookshop on the Shore by Jenny Colgan

My rating: 3 of 5 stars


While this book is called The Bookshop on the Shore, it is barely about said bookshop. What it is about is love and family. Set on the shores of Loch Ness, Jenny Colgan has written a beautiful book, where one can see the Loch and the bright autumn colors of the highland landscape.
The book has a premise of Jane Eyre, with a young woman going to a strange house to nanny the children of a mysterious (and handsome man). It is this premise that pulled me into this book.
The only parts of this book I really would complain about are that there are certain passages that Colgan has written very confusingly. They are hard to understand, and could just be written better.

Overall Colgan has written a charming and vivid story, which I recommend to anyone wanting a trip to Scotland and a fresh start.



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Book Review – Stupid Poems 15 by Ian Vannoey

Stupid Poems 15

Stupid Poems 15 by Ian Vannoey

My rating: 3 of 5 stars


The title of this collection is very apt, as these poems of Ian Vannoey are really very stupid. Vannoey does the job well. The poems are silly, funny, totally daft, though sometimes they can reference relevant political happenings (which, in and of themselves, can be very stupid indeed). I think this collection is for those who need a fun brain break, and to be silly for a while.
You can definitely tell, as well, that this is a British collection, which may resonate with readers even more, considering not only the political events of Brexit, but also the tendency of Anglophilia (I also am an Anglophile, hence why I chose to read this collection!).

The reason I gave this book three stars, however, is not because it is a bad collection. There will be so many people who love this collection for what it is; however, it is simply not for me.



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Book Review – Ivy in Bloom by Vanita Oelschlager

Ivy in Bloom: The Poetry of Spring from Great Poets and Writers from the Past

Ivy in Bloom: The Poetry of Spring from Great Poets and Writers from the Past by Vanita Oelschlager

My rating: 4 of 5 stars


I think the best part about Ivy in Bloom is that it has the most gorgeous illustrations by Kristin Blackwood. The illustrations start in the Winter, with heavy whites, grays, and browns, and at the end blooms in bright spring colors. The poetry by Vanita Oelschlager is very simple, and wonderful for a child who is just getting into poetry. What is great about the poem, though, is that each line is adapted from or inspired by a poem from a famous poet. These poems are noted and written out in the back of Ivy in Bloom, and such poets include Charles Dickens, John Greenleaf Whittier, E.E. Cummings, Henry Wadsworth Longfellow, and so many others.

I recommend this book to anyone who needs a little spot of spring in this Wintertime.



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Book Review – The Rental Heart and Other Fairytales by Kirsty Logan

The Rental Heart and Other Fairytales

The Rental Heart and Other Fairytales by Kirsty Logan

My rating: 4 of 5 stars


Kirsty Logan’s fairytales are at the same time familiar and also completely raw and new. Some familiar stories are told through the opposite perspective. Some new stories are familiar in the ways that emotions can only ever be.
The style reminds me a bit of Francesca Lia Block’s Rose and the Beast, though Logan’s fairytales are much more relatable. They feel like they could be real, even though the reader knows that the threshold is opaque.

I recommend this collection to those who want a fairytale that ends in unexpected ways.



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Book Review – Chronic by D.A. Powell

Chronic

Chronic by D.A. Powell

My rating: 4 of 5 stars


I read this collection for my thesis on reception of Vergil’s Eclogues in 21st century poetry. The last two poems “Corydon & Alexis” and “Corydon & Alexis, Redux” take after Vergil the most, being Powell’s own version of Eclogue 2. Most of the poems in this collection describe Powell’s experience with the AIDS crisis and his experience with disease and love. The last two poems combine all of these themes together. More than this, though, Powell writes about what does and doesn’t last and endure. Very relevant to today’s world whose days, due to the dangers of climate change, are numbered. What lasts is the tradition of humanity, saved in texts like these.



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Book Review – Pages & Co.: Tilly and the Book Wanderers by Anna James

Tilly and the Bookwanderers (Pages & Co. #1)

Tilly and the Bookwanderers by Anna James

My rating: 4 of 5 stars


Pages & Co. is one of the coziest books I have ever read, and has been a perfect Autumn read. It is about a girl named Tilly, whose grandparents own a bookshop called Pages & Co. She is the most avid of readers, and soon finds out that she, along with her grandparents and others, has the ability to wander in and out of books. This ability sets Tilly off on an adventure in which she makes new friends and discovers new mysteries.

Pages & Co. brought me right back to my childhood, with Tilly meeting such characters as Alice and Anne Shirley. I think at some point we all have wished that our favorite characters would come to life – Anna James makes this a reality for Tilly and has us as readers share in that wonderful experience. Tilly’s story, as well, is very much like a retelling of Alice in Wonderland, with each book being another rabbit hole for Tilly. I now want to go read Alice and become even more immersed in Tilly’s adventures.

My only issue with this book is that some of the plot devices are gone through too quickly and I feel need more explanation. Perhaps this will be remedied in the next books.

I recommend this book to anyone who wants to sit down with a cup of tea and go on an adventure.





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Book Review – The Golden Compass by Philip Pullman

The Golden Compass (His Dark Materials, #1)

The Golden Compass by Philip Pullman

My rating: 5 of 5 stars


I don’t know why I never picked up The Golden Compass before, but I really should have, because this book is brilliant.

Such a wonderful, in-depth story with complex characters (even the very background characters were as complex as the protagonists!), I could not put it down, save for the times when academia made me.
Pullman is a wonderful storyteller, and knows how to make readers keep asking questions. In addition, Pullman uses description in a remarkable way, especially during scenes of fights and intense drama, using description styles which directly reference those used by the ancient poet Vergil in his epic, the Aeneid.

The character of Lyra is someone whom all adventurers should like to be: curious, headstrong, having a clear sense of fairness, and full of love for her friends. And the daemons, the souls of the human characters, let readers in on a side of humanity rarely seen in everyday life.

I cannot recommend this book enough to those who love adventure and a sense of discovery.



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