Tag: magical realism

A Monster Calls

Author: Patrick Ness
Inspired by: An idea from Siobhan Dowd
Published: May 5, 2011

Reviewed By: Kim
Kim’s Rating: 5 stars

Book Description:

The bestselling novel about love, loss and hope from the twice Carnegie Medal-winning Patrick Ness.

Conor has the same dream every night, ever since his mother first fell ill, ever since she started the treatments that don’t quite seem to be working. But tonight is different. Tonight, when he wakes, there’s a visitor at his window. It’s ancient, elemental, a force of nature. And it wants the most dangerous thing of all from Conor. It wants the truth.

From the final idea of award-winning author Siobhan Dowd — whose premature death from cancer prevented her from writing it herself — Patrick Ness has spun a haunting and darkly funny novel of mischief, loss, and monsters both real and imagined.

Kim’s Review:

I have read many books that have made me cry. Some made my eyes wet, some made fat tear drops roll down my cheeks, some made me ugly cry . . . but only two books have ever made me ugly cry with sobs that I couldn’t stop: A Monster Calls is one of those books. I had seen it on shelves and on book sites, but I found it for super cheap at Ollie’s one day, so I snatched it up. I decided to read it two years ago when I was looking to fill time between books with something short and easy. Easy, my sweet aunt!

My mother-in-law had come for a visit and Ivan was about to get ready to go to work when I finished it. They both had to get up and leave the room, I was crying so hard. Poor Ivan never knows what to do when I cry and all Meemaw wanted was to say hi and see the flowers in our backyard! I wasn’t expecting to react so dramatically to this book. It broke my heart. But this was before I started reviewing for Jessica’s Reading Room so I decided to read it again so I could write a review: Bad idea. There are some things that I’ll have strong reactions to when I read or watch or experience it the first time, but then try again and handle it better the second time . . . yeah, not with this book! Ivan is just sitting there working on his Legos when he looks up and sees me break down completely. Poor guy just puts his head down and keeps working! 😊 When I finally get control of myself he asks if this is good kinda sad or bad kinda sad and the only way I can describe it is that it’s a feeling kinda sad. Y’all know how shallow I am.

I’ve always considered myself to be relatively unfeeling and emotionally stunted. Then between, Gerda Weissman Klein’s book All But My Life and The Book Thief, I’ve discovered that I’m waaaaaaaay too feeling! And this book brought out so many feelings, it’s not even funny. I can’t even talk too much about the story because it needs to be experienced. I don’t want to give away information that y’all need to read and feel for yourselves and I don’t want to ruin this book in any way. All I can say is that this book is perfect for a dreary day. If you feel emotional, but it’s all pent up inside, this book will help get it all out! I’d recommend this book for slightly older kids who have suffered. Had I known about this book when I was teaching, there are several kids I would have gotten copies for! Rainy days, moody days, PMS-y days, difficult days, days when you need perspective, days when you need to remind yourself that annoying people could be suffering, this book is perfect for them all! I would recommend this book to anyone and everyone!

Purchase Links:
Amazon US
Amazon UK

All The Crooked Saints

Author: Maggie Stiefvater
Published: October 10, 2017

Reviewed By: Kim
Kim’s Rating: 4 stars

Book Description:

Here is a thing everyone wants:
A miracle.

Here is a thing everyone fears:
What it takes to get one.

Any visitor to Bicho Raro, Colorado is likely to find a landscape of dark saints, forbidden love, scientific dreams, miracle-mad owls, estranged affections, one or two orphans, and a sky full of watchful desert stars.

At the heart of this place you will find the Soria family, who all have the ability to perform unusual miracles. And at the heart of this family are three cousins longing to change its future: Beatriz, the girl without feelings, who wants only to be free to examine her thoughts; Daniel, the Saint of Bicho Raro, who performs miracles for everyone but himself; and Joaquin, who spends his nights running a renegade radio station under the name Diablo Diablo.

They are all looking for a miracle. But the miracles of Bicho Raro are never quite what you expect.

Kim’s Review:

Another Christmas book! And with a beautiful cover!

I’ll admit that this book started very slowly for me. To be fair, I was about 4 hours into an 8-hour flight thru the night, but it was still slow. I was even considering DNF-ing it, but I decided to stick with it. I am glad I did, but I also don’t think I’ll ever read this book again. It was definitely more on the philosophical side, but very vague. I had to try to clamp down on my inner shallowness to make sure I understood everything. I still don’t think I got it all, but by the time I finished, I was satisfied with the story and took a lot of good things from it.

It picked up about halfway thru. I liked the characters, I liked Stiefvater’s writing style, the setting was excellent, the imagination was beautiful. I liked the message that everyone has darkness inside them, nobody is perfect. There was a selflessness that came thru from the Soria family that I really loved. And if everyone could be like Pete Wyatt, I think most of the problems of the world wouldn’t exist! Overall, I enjoyed this book, but I wouldn’t recommend it to everyone. Definitely for the more advanced reader.

Purchase Links:
Amazon US

Amazon UK

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The Price Guide to the Occult

Author: Leslye Walton
Published: March 13, 2018
288 pages

Reviewed By: Kim
Kim’s Rating: 4.5 stars

Book Description:

From the author of The Strange and Beautiful Sorrows of Ava Lavender comes a haunting maelstrom of magic and murder in the lush, moody Pacific Northwest.

When Rona Blackburn landed on Anathema Island more than a century ago, her otherworldly skills might have benefited friendlier neighbors. Guilt and fear instead led the island’s original eight settlers to burn “the witch” out of her home. So Rona cursed them. Fast-forward one hundred–some years: All Nor Blackburn wants is to live an unremarkable teenage life. She has reason to hope: First, her supernatural powers, if they can be called that, are unexceptional. Second, her love life is nonexistent, which means she might escape the other perverse side effect of the matriarch’s backfiring curse, too. But then a mysterious book comes out, promising to cast any spell for the right price. Nor senses a storm coming and is pretty sure she’ll be smack in the eye of it.

In her second novel, Leslye Walton spins a dark, mesmerizing tale of a girl stumbling along the path toward self-acceptance and first love, even as the Price Guide’s malevolent author — Nor’s own mother — looms and threatens to strangle any hope for happiness.

Kim’s Review:

I read The Strange and Beautiful Sorrows of Ava Lavender several years ago and I really enjoyed it! Plus, the cover is one of the most beautiful I’ve ever seen! So when I saw The Price Guide to the Occult, the cover jumped out at me and I had to get it. I actually liked it better than I did Ava Lavender! Price Guide was actually far more story-centric than Ava Lavender was.

I wanted so badly to find out what was going on that I barely put this book down. The history of the Blackburn family fascinated me. My inner historian (that’s actually not so inner and incredibly easy to arouse) jumped up and started begging to learn more.

Nor was a likeable character, considering that she’s a teenager who so desperately fights to be differing from what she is. I found myself feeling for her and rooting for her throughout the book. After finding out how horrible her mother is, I felt for her even more. Nor’s grandmother, Judd, may be gruff and bristly, but she really cares for Nor and she became one of my favorite characters. I loved the setting that Walton created and she was able to conjure fantastical elements that still sounded believable.

The fern tattoos were creepy, yet beautiful and I even started considering getting a fern tattoo up my arm . . . ink is addicting, don’t judge me! Overall, this story was interesting and unique and I like how I felt I had never read it before. I think this book is suited perfectly for older teens and honestly, it’s a great one to give to both teens who love to read and to those who don’t like reading. I think this would be a great book to help get them into reading.

Purchase Links:
Amazon US
Amazon UK

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