24 August 2011

Miss Peregrine's Home for Peculiar Children by Ransom Riggs

Miss Peregrine's Home for Peculiar Children
Ransom Riggs
Quirk Publishing

Holy creepy book Batman!  I've admitted to being a wuss before, but I really think this book would give just about anyone the heebie-jeebies.  Having said that, YOU REALLY NEED TO READ THIS BOOK.  Wow.  Wow wow.  It's sooooo good.  And I hate scary things.  But this book had me hook line and sinker from the get go.
So here's the basic storyline.  Jacob has grown up around his very peculiar grandfather, Abe, who always told him stories of children with special gifts - an invisible boy, a levitating girl and a boy who had bees living inside him.  When Jacob was very young he believed his grandfather's tall tales, but as he got older, he realized that there was no way the stories could be true.  When Jacob's grandfather dies mysteriously, Jacob suddenly wants to know more about Abe's odd childhood.  Finally, Jacob convinces his own father to travel with him to the small British Island where Abe grew up in search of some answers.  What he finds are more than answers and will lead him to believe all his grandfather's stories and lead him into great danger.
And that's all I'm going to tell you.
Ok, I lied.  Here's some more.  This book has it all: history, fantasy, science fiction, time travel, creepy crawlies, bullies, bad guys, good guys, bad guys disguised as good guys, oh...and some serious sheep do-do.  But what really makes the book stand out is Riggs' use of antique photographs.  First off, some of the photographs are down right creepy (demonic Santa Clause posed with two innocent children on a reindeer?  Creeptastic).  However all of the photos add to the storyline.  The story starts out with Abe showing Jacob the pictures and telling him the stories, and it comes full circle in the end.
I will admit that I started reading this book one night before bed and promptly had to put it down.  The next day I went through the entire book looking at the pictures in an attempt to un-creepify them.  Then I restricted myself to reading only when it was light outside (though the middle of the book is not so creepy, it's just great writing, so that part I could read before bed).  I also started to freak out about shadows (eeeh...they're ruined for me forever) and, I won't lie, considered sleeping with a lamp or two on one night.  And you can bet your knickers I checked and double checked the locks before going to bed each night.  Which reminds me....

23 August 2011

August books...

I recently finished another amazing book (no spoilers here) and came to my blog to write the review and realized that I hadn't published a single review yet this month!  What the...?

So once again, just wanted to let you know a few things:

  1. I have been reading.  Lots and lots.  Oodles and oodles.  I even gave up movie time with my guy last weekend to read (in my defense, he was watching Beavis and Butthead).
  2. I have been writing reviews, I just haven't finished any.  I get about 1/2 way through the review and something comes up so I save it to be finished later but then later never comes...
  3. I GRADUATED!!!!  Pretty soon I'll be a full-fledged librarian.  But the best news is I don't have to take any classes this semester!  Wahoooo!
  4. School is about to start, so yeay! And boo...because there goes my free time.
  5. I promise to have at least 4 reviews up by the end of the month.  I promise promise.  Two of them are going to be AWESOME because I've just finished reading some truly awesome literature.
  6. Book Club Ladies - I'm coming back someday, I promise.
Oh, and if you have read any good books lately, please let me know.  I'm looking for recommendations for adult books.  Now that grad school is over I feel like it's going to be completely acceptable for me to read some adult books now and then.

Happy Reading!

Cryer's Cross by Lisa McMann

Cryer's Cross
Lisa McMann
narrated by Julia Wehlan

Truthfully, I'm on the fence about this book, and I'm not sure if it's because I listened to the audiobook or because the book is a bit weird.  I'm starting to wonder how my opinion of books is shaped by the audiobook.  I wonder if the audio version doesn't absolutely thrill me from the get-go then I don't like the book in the end as much, or if I think it's boring or moves slowly because the narrator speaks slowly.  But that's another debate.
Cryer's Cross is a remote town in Montana where students are starting to mysteriously disappear.  The book begins with the main character, Kendall, recalling how she felt being a part of the search party for the first missing teen, Tiffany.  Then a few months later when Kendall's boyfriend starts acting weird and disappears as well, her life is thrown into turmoil.  To make matters worse, Kendall is extremely obsessive compulsive, so her brain races all the time - except when she's playing soccer or dancing.
When Nico (Kendall's boyfriend) disappears, the obsessive compulsive in Kendal notices that Nico and Tiffany sat at the same desk, and that the desk had been brought up earlier in the spring when the class got too big.  She convinces herself that it has to be a coincidence and works very hard to distract herself with soccer and dancing so that her constantly racing OCD brain doesn't take over.  But the oddities that keep cropping up make it impossible for Kendall to let go of the possibility that Nico is alive and needs her help, and she must constantly decide whether what's happening is real or whether she's going crazy.
What made this book difficult to finish is that the jacket cover promised a sci-fi thriller type of book (which it is) but the first half of the book is more realistic fiction with really odd teasers at the beginning of each chapter which are, at first confusing and a little intriguing, but then become annoying and confusing until about the last chapter of the book.  The book's saving grace is the ending - very thrilling (read: it scared the pee out of me*).
I don't know who I would recommend this book to, but I have a feeling that it would be pretty popular with teenagers for two reasons.  First, Lisa McMann is a pretty popular YA author (she wrote the crazy popular Wake series).  And second, the plot is sooooo out there - I think kids will like it because they really think if they spend too much time at school they'll go crazy and disappear.

*Author's Note:  I am an absolute wuss.  If something "scares the pee out of me" it could be anything from creepy music in a commercial to someone walking into my office without me seeing them coming. So really...probably not that scary.