Tuesday, September 02, 2014

Reviewletts: Undertaking Lily and Tell the Wolves

I'm back with another couple of reviewletts today! This is just how lazy I am about writing indvidual reviews for books. But don't you think it's a good idea sometimes? It helps us get caught up AND we can say our peace about books that may not have blown our skirts up.

While both Tell the Wolves I'm Home and The Untertaking of Lily Chen had their charms...overall, they did not blow me away. 

Tell the Wolves I'm Home, by Carol Rifka Brunt, has been a huge success. I can see why! There were parts of this novel that I loved. I adored the story of June and her beloved uncle Finn. I wanted to scratch her sister Greta's eyes out on a regular rotation. I enjoyed the inclusion of art and a specific, and very important, portrait. It made me cry on occasion, even. But I think the amount of attention given to this book left me a little bit cold. I didn't love the writing and closed the book with a "just ok" feeling. 

I read this one for the #EstellaProject Season 2. 

The Undertaking of Lily Chen, by Danica Novgorodoff, is a graphic novel I've been itching to get my hands on. the artwork is obviously gorgeous. Just look at that cover! The premise is one that caught my attention, too. After his brother's death, Dei sets out to find a corpse bride for his sibling so he won't be alone in the afterlife. He's willing to rob graves or perhaps even commit murder to fulfill his promise to his family, and that's where the lovely Lily comes in. Estranged from her family, she sets out on the road with Dei without a real understanding of what he's after. Twists and turns ensue.

While the artwork was superb, the story was predictable and left me wanting a bit. 

Have you read any books lately that held great promise but didn't quite pan out the way you'd hoped? Share! 

Thursday, August 28, 2014

When One Reading Event Closes, Another Opens

It's almost September 1, y'all! That means #EstellaProject Season 2 is winding down. I managed to read two books toward my goal of three: East of Eden and Tell the Wolves I'm Home. I loved EoE, and I really liked Tell the Wolves, so I consider this round of the Project a smashing success.

Don't forget to link up your reviews for a chance to win a bookish gift card!

As the title of this post says, when one reading event closes, another one opens! The Estella Society and Amanda from Fig and Thistle are gearing up for a RIP IX readalong! This year we're tackling Shirley Jackson's classic haunted house story, The Haunting of Hill House

We opened the sign-ups a little early, so click above to go on over and do that. We'll discuss the book over at The Estella Society on October 1. We'll have some questions available for discussion, or you're welcome to link up your own blog post. And if you feel like shouting from the rooftops on Twitter, you can use the #RIPIX hashtag! We'd love it if you helped spread the word!

What events do you have coming up this fall? Of course, we also hope you'll join us for the Dewey's 24 Hour Read-a-Thon on October 18!

Tuesday, August 26, 2014

Comics Reviewletts: Lumberjanes, Ms. Marvel, Locke and Key

I've been reading LOTS of comics lately. Let's call it homework for Panels, shall we? At any rate, it's the most fun I've had doing homework since grad school (when I also studied comics). Note: I bought or borrowed all of these. And they are awesome. 


First off, I must recommend Lumberjanes (Ellis, Stevenson, Allen) AT THE TOP OF MY LUNGS. It's about a group of girls away at camp (think Girl Scouts) who find there are unsettling and creepalicious things going on in the woods around them. Yep, that's a river monster on that cover. I think what I love most about Lumberjanes is the smart wit behind it. Each girl has a specialty, or an outstanding attribute, and they depend upon one another to solve problems by playing to their strengths. Also, the artwork is dynamically delicious with rich, vibrant colors, unusual placement of the frames, and lots of action that seems to burst off the page.

After listening to Swapna and Preeti chatting about it on Twitter, I downloaded the first two issues of Ms. Marvel (Wilson, Alphona, Herring 2014). In this re-do of the original blonde, busty Ms. Marvel, Kamala Khan, a teen from Jersey City, finds herself in a position to be a superhero. She's smart, she's geeky, she's normal. This one subverts our expectations of the female superhero in the most marvelous (see that!) ways. 

Finally, perhaps the best-known of the comics in this list is Locke and Key (Hill, Rodriguez). First off...these are damn creepy. In the first installment, a troubled teen shoots his guidance counselor and the man's family moves to Key House, an ominous mansion with hidden keys that do some mysterious, maddening things. 

For instance, in the second volume, which I just finished, a key can open a person's head, allowing them and others to peruse their memories and even remove them. On the flip side, it's pretty great for cramming since you can drop in a math book and recall all of the knowledge therein. 

The artwork in this one is suitable to the overall mood of the comic. At first, I thought they looked plastic or wooden...a bit like marionettes. I still think that, but it just increases the unnerving nature of the stories. Everyone looks slightly "Chucky." 

I can recommend every one of these without any hesitation whatsoever. Whether you're feeling energized, invincible, or you're in the mood to be scared...there's something here for everyone.