Archive | March, 2016

The Thing About Clownfish…

21 Mar

Ok, guys. I hardly ever recommend gift books. In fact, I can’t think of one I’ve ever mentioned but I want to RAVE about this little gem of a thing from Maja Safstrom. It’s amazing. And everyone, everyone should buy one and put it on their tables or by their toilets or in their nurseries or guest rooms. It is full of AMAZING animal facts that will delight child and adult alike.

illustrated

The Illustrated Compendium of Amazing Animal Facts comes out on March 26th and is a small (maybe 6in by 6in) hardcover full of these perfect drawing accompanied by tidbits of information, 90% of which I’m sure you didn’t know. The only image of the inside I could find came from Maja’s Instagram account and is this:

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Maybe you knew this, I didn’t! Here is my favorite tidbit. Maybe not favorite but one that surprised me the most: “All Clownfish are born male. When the female Clownfish in a group dies, the most dominant male will turn into a female to take her place.” Who knew? 5 very big stars.

 

Too Few Hours in the Day

12 Mar

If you thought this would be a post about how I have no time to read lately, you’d be wrong! I’ve been reading quite a bit, just can’t find the time to blog about it. Hopefully I can catch you up sort of quickly. No real order to these, except I’m saving my favorite of the bunch for last.

pax

Pax by Sara Pennypacker is a new middle reader, targeted towards the 8-12 age range. About a boy and his pet fox, Pax. At the start of the novel, the boy and the fox are separated – the boy’s father drops him off in the wilderness and drives away. Both creatures are devastated. Set during WWII, the chapters alternate between the domesticated fox surviving in the wild and the young boy, determined to find his pet/best friend again. Would it be weird to say that this story feels like the cover looks? Very burnt orange and brown. Probably a weird thing to say. Anyway. There are lots of things to love about this story, perfect for any serious young readers out there (meaning, lots of drama and character development, not a whole lot of funny). 4 stars

salt

I guess we’ll be moving up in age as this one, Salt to the Sea, is a young adult novel (ages 12+). Also set during WWII, based on the true story of the ship Wilhelm Gustloff. There are four narrators in this tale, alternating “chapters” (if you can call them that, each one is at MOST two pages). I can’t remember the names/particulars of each character¬† – two are young men/boys (one, a soldier aboard the ship who is the most weasel-y character ever and the other either a deserter or a spy, depending) and the other two are young girls (one, a nurse and the other a pregnant refugee). All four find themselves making their way towards the harbor and, eventually, the Wilhelm Gustloff. I’ve read all of Ruta Sepetys’ novels, and Between Shades of Gray is definitely the very best, but this is a close second. 4 stars.

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Note to self: don’t take a novel based on Charles Manson and his “Girls” into the delivery room. I had the weirdest dreams thanks to this one, my poor baby will probably have dreams about joining a commune. This book comes out over the summer (June 14th) and has been getting insane amount of hype in the book world. To be completely honest, although I knew of Charles Manson before starting it, I had to google to find out exactly what his deal was. I think if I had known or had memories of this time in history, I would have loved this book a little bit more. I found it a compulsive read, but not one that particularly wowed me. Told from the point of view of a young girl from a breaking/broken home who finds friendship in the dirty commune ruled by a man named Russell. She is always kind of on the outside, but finds herself falling deeper and deeper into the messed up actions of Russell’s gang. 3 stars.

spill

This book is beautiful. The cover and the writing, so superb. But the story itself is a little bizarro. Spill Simmer Falter Wither (aka Spring Summer Fall Winter – how beautiful is that?) is the story of a Quasimodo-ish man and the only creature he’s ever loved – a one-eyed dog called OneEye. It’s a very dark, twisted story but if you love a beautifully written novel that’s a little heavy and a little sad and a little salty, you’d fawn over this. Ray, the narrator, lives in the house he grew up in, isolated from the world due to his humped back and swinging arms and “wonkety” legs. He adopts a similarly wonkety dog, OneEye, to ward off the rats he thinks are scurrying around the attic. Then a series of events occur that force the man and dog to flee the safety of their home and town. 3 stars.

beforethefall

Here it is, my favorite of this bunch. Noah Hawley wrote another novel I liked that didn’t do much. It was called The Good Father and was about the father of a young boy who shot up a school (if I’m remembering right). It was good, but a little less shocking that The Truth About Kevin, which I had read just before. This one is totally different. I didn’t know much about it before I started reading, and I was reading it on my phone courtesy of NetGalley, so after the private plane crashed in the opening pages, I had no idea what sort of story I was in for. A private plane crashes above the ocean, ten miles-ish off the coast of New York. On the plane was the well-to-do exec of a news channel along with his wife and two children, their body-guard, another wealthy couple, and a painter. The painter and one of the young children survive the crash And Then…. I’ll tell you that this story didn’t go where I thought it would, that where it went was unexpected and perfect and that this novel perfectly defines the phrase Literary Thriller. Not a thriller at all, per se, but with enough questions and twists to keep you guessing. 4.5 stars.

 

I have a lot of great things lined up that should keep me busy for the next couple of weeks/months, hopefully some REALLY GREAT things are to come but truth be told it’s been a slow start to the year in terms of the really amazing. I’ll also be adding a Book Club tab to the site so you can see what my two book clubs are reading as we read them. Mostly because by the end of the year we never can remember, this way they’ll all be in one place.