Gil’s All Fright Diner is a comedic horror young adult novel by A. Lee Martinez.
Gil’s All Fright Diner has some great characters, starting with Duke and Earl, a werewolf and a vampire respectively. They’re just passing through when they get hired by Loretta to protect her diner. Then Earl meets a ghost in the cemetery across the street and they start up a romance. Then there’s Tammy, the jailbait sorceress and Chad her dupe boyfriend/acolyte. Continue reading “Gil’s All Fright Diner—Now Serving Eldritch Abominations”→
Miss Peregrine’s Home for Peculiar Children is a unique YA (young adult) novel as part of the tale is the vintage photographs scattered throughout the book.
1—A Peculiar Tale
I wasn’t certain what to expect when I opened Miss Peregrine’s Home for Peculiar Children but what I got was subtle magic threaded through with both wonder and unease, punctuated by brutal violence. The story opens with Jacob finding his grandfather brutally killed and from there the story is a journey of discovery—equally a mystery and an adventure—about who his grandfather really was.
It’s been a long time since I read Diana Wynne Jones’s YA novel Howl’s Moving Castle, long enough that reading it again was almost like reading it for the first time. I don’t remember what I thought of it that first time, other than that I liked it, but I know I noticed a lot more this time around. So here’s some of what I noticed.
1—A Contradictory Heroine
Sophie Hatter has a unique voice, somehow both whimsical and matter of fact. She’s a contradictory character—stern and commanding, yet withdrawing. One of the most striking things about Sophie is how little she values herself, even while doing extraordinary things. Sophie spends the majority of the book hiding not only in a frumpy grey dress, but in a frumpy old body—she’d been cursed, but perpetuated the curse by her own desire. And yet, when cursed, Sophie uses now being an old woman as an excuse to herself to go get the life she wants. Continue reading “Howl’s Moving Castle—A Deserved Classic”→
I find myself drawn to stories of girls and women who are clever and brave, and who make their own path. Likely because I seek and struggle to embody those qualities myself. This will be a short post, as I could go on forever if I don’t limit myself. So here are a handful of my favorite book heroines, in no particular order.
Aly—Daughter of the Lioness
All of the heroines in Tamora Pierce’s Tortall books fit the bill but Alinanne of Pirate’s Swoop most embodies cleverness. Aly is a quintessential guile hero, trained from the cradle in spycraft and chosen by a Trickster god. Said Trickster sweeps Aly off to the Kyprian Isles to be the last piece in a centuries-old game which is about to culminate in bloody rebellion. It isn’t easy to manipulate allies and enemies alike, much less from the position of slave girl, but Aly has her own tricks and games to play. Continue reading “Some of the Un-Book Reporter’s Favorite Heroines”→
Not a review this time, but my thoughts on a trend I’ve noticed in entertainment. Books have been getting adapted into movies since the beginning but lately I’ve noticed tv shows getting in on the action. The most obvious and prolific example would be all the comic books and super heroes getting their own shows, but if I start on those things I won’t get to anything else. So let’s start elsewhere.
Nimona is a fantasy graphic novel by Noelle Stevenson and now a part of my list of essential fantasy reading (note: there is no actual list, it’s in my head…though I may have to start one now). Nimona started life as a webcomic. You can still read the first three chapters online at Noelle’s website, Gingerhaze. The remaining chapters have been taken down to, you know, get you to buy the book. Which I highly recommend. If you were listening to this post instead of reading it, I’d tell you to shield your ears. SQUEEEEEEEEAHHHhhhaaahahahaaaaaaMWAHAHAAAAAAAA! I love this book so much!
1—The Other Side of a Well-Known Story
Not any story in particular—Nimona is very much its own—but of so many stories. I know this story and I know these characters. The golden Hero, the Villain he routinely defeats but never kills. The back and forth, the banter, the weekly adventure…which we aren’t ever shown in the book itself because it’s unnecessary. That ground is so well trodden, the barest few hints are all that’s needed to walk me down it again. I can practically describe the narrative landscape in my sleep. But this story starts when that routine is disrupted by the appearance of a violent and chipper young shapeshifter into Lord Blackheart’s lair. And from there we get to see villainous side of it, not to mention a few others. Continue reading “Nimona—Essential Fantasy”→
I just finished reading Manners and Mutiny, the fourth and final book in Gail Carriger’s Finishing School series, which charts the education of Sophronia through her years aboard a floating school for young women intelligencers (spies). Set in the same world as Gail’s The Parasol Protectorate series and the Custard Protocol series, and before either, Finishing School is a YA (young adult) series every bit as wickedly intelligent and fun as her adult novels.
1—Manners Made Interesting
When fourteen-year-old tomboy Sophronia Temminnick learns she’s being sent away to finishing school, she’s horrified. But the lessons at Madamoiselle Geraldine’s Finishing Academy for Young Ladies of Quality are far from ordinary. Flower arranging is done with as much care to concealment as to beauty. Perfume is used for blinding the eyes as well as enticing the nose. And when choosing a dress, one must consider the event, the current styles, and if the fabric will show bloodstains. Continue reading “The Finishing School Series—Stylish Steampunk Espionage”→
One of my favorite things about Young Adult novels is that they often aren’t as bound to tropes as adult books are…adult in the sense of for adults, not in the sense of X-rated. Just to be clear. Anyways. Doll Bones by Holly Black, who also cowrote the Spiderwick Chronicles, is creepy as fuck—um, hell. Creepy as hell. So let’s start with that.
1—Quiet Dread and the Unquiet Dead
Ms Black creates a pervasive sense of unquiet through this novel, starting on page one. Zach, our viewpoint character, and his two best friends Poppy and Alice, live in a slowly dying small town. Each of their lives are out of their control—a fact not just of childhood but observed in those of the adults around them. The fear of growing up to be just as weary and beaten down as the adults in their lives underlies the more overt horror of the Queen—a doll that seems all too alive.