Sunday, May 19, 2019

All the Wrong Questions #4: Why Is This Night Different From All Other Nights?

Why Is This Night Different from All Other Nights? (All the Wrong Questions, #4)Why Is This Night Different from All Other Nights? by Lemony Snicket

My rating: 5 of 5 stars

I'm glad I read this series but also sad to see it end. I thoroughly enjoyed it but was saddened when one of my favorite (relatively minor) characters died. I hope Lemony Snicket, a.k.a. Daniel Handler, returns to middle grade writing again some day.

Favorite quote from this book: “Villainy can win against one library, but not against an organization of readers.”

Tuesday, May 7, 2019

Charlaine Harris's Stand-Alone Mystery 'A Secret Rage'

A Secret RageA Secret Rage by Charlaine Harris

My rating: 3 of 5 stars

Hello, I'm not dead. I did kind of forget that I had a book blog, though! But I have been reading. Here's a brief review of the novel I finished today.

This mystery in which the perpetrator of the murder is also guilty of a number of sexual assaults has characters who express some very problematic ideas about sexual assault in general. Even a generally skillful writer, as I believe Charlaine Harris is, must tread carefully around these issues, and this stand-alone mystery left something of a bad taste in my mouth.

Perhaps I was a bit biased because I'm a Northerner and the Southern-born-and-raised character refers to her New Yorker neighbors as sounding like a bunch of squawking bluejays. (We have bluejays in the North, Charlaine - I know exactly what that sounds like.)

I also felt the writing was a bit more unpolished and clunky than I'm used to in such favorite series as the Southern Vampire Mysteries and Midnight, Texas.

View all my reviews on Goodreads

Thursday, January 31, 2019

'The Magician' by Carla Cook #ParanormalRomance

The MagicianThe Magician by Carla Cook

My rating: 3 of 5 stars

This is an older PNR that I found at a used bookshop, and it was surprisingly good. I liked the characters and the way the author took her time with the romance and didn't force the characters into an unrealisticly quick head-over-heels.

I deducted one star because I had issues with the pacing and structure in the second half of the book. The "all is lost" moment hits, the big bad is revealed, and then the resolution seems to come too suddenly and too easily, without the characters having to stake too much to regain equilibrium.

Then, after the big bad is put down permanently and they're safe, the story has one of those J.R. Ward-type "oh no, it's hopeless, they'll never be together" feints when we all know perfectly well, with only 3-5 pages left, that the happily-ever-after is right around the corner. J.R. Ward often does it well, but in this novel, it fell a little flat for me.

But if you happen across this one at your used bookstore, do give it a read. It has a very likely heroine, she has an adorable kiddo, and there are some really interesting paranormal plot elements.

I purchased this book with my own funds and was not obligated in any way to review it.





Saturday, January 12, 2019

Because I Can Never Resist New J.K. Rowling...

Fantastic Beasts the Crimes of Grindelwald: The Original ScreenplayFantastic Beasts the Crimes of Grindelwald: The Original Screenplay by J.K. Rowling

My rating: 3 of 5 stars

I didn't like this screenplay/movie as much as the first one, because a) Queenie is acting out-of-character stupid in service of the plot :( and b) no real!Percival Graves, who had such great chemistry with Credence in the first one. (This is no knock against Claudia Kim, whom I think did a nice job in the Nagini role she was given. I actually liked her relationship with Credence and I hope she gets a bigger role in the next one.)

The first movie shouldn't have had more homoerotic subtext than the second one given that this screenplay includes scenes with young Dumbledore and young Grindelwald together. I know same-gender romances are frowned upon in some non-U.S., non-U.K. film markets, but if J.K. Rowling let that economic consideration stop her from exploring the Dumbledore-Grindelwald relationship, she shouldn't really have told us that Dumbledore is a gay character. Commit to your characters' background stories or leave them out.

Also, there are continuity issues with what we already know from the Harry Potter books and Pottermore addenda. Minerva McGonagall shouldn't be at Hogwarts yet in 1927, should she? I read somewhere that she shouldn't even have been born yet according to a previously plotted timeline. So I don't love that.

But it does have some nice touches nonetheless, such as the blood troth and the baby Nifflers. Jacob is still his wonderful Jacob self even if Queenie is sacrificed to bad writing, and Newt & Tina still have their adorably awkward spark. "Salamander eyes" is my new favorite compliment.