Wednesday, September 03, 2014

Kiss of Broken Glass by Madeleine Kuderick

I will pick up any novel in verse I can get my hands of, so it was an easy decision to read Kiss of Broken Glass by Madeleine Kuderick. This book takes place over 72 hours when Kenna, as a result of being caught cutting herself at school, is institutionalized. The novel itself is an incredibly quick read, because of both the format and the short page count (only about 200). However, while it does provide a brief glimpse into the addictive nature of self-harm--even when a person doesn't start out with that intention-- as well as the community and potential for peer pressure, it's not actually an incredibly emotional read.

Perhaps because there's not enough time for development of the relationships, but for a book on such a serious topic, I felt like Kiss of Broken Glass was a bit superficial at times, especially when it came to the characters. Even components I appreciated such as Kenna's relationship with her parents, were often still simplistic, and I really wish that in particular the cutting group that she was a part of had been explored more. This is the first book I've read that deals with that real life possibility, and I wanted more from it.

Overall, there are definitely elements of Kiss of Broken Glass I appreciated, but it's a novel where I feel like with another hundred pages I just would have connected to it so much more. 

Release Date: September 9th 2014 Pages: 224  Format: Egalley
Source: Edelweiss  Publisher: HarperTeen  Buy It: Book Depository

Monday, September 01, 2014

All Those Broken Angels by Peter Adam Salomon

I picked up All Those Broken Angels by Peter Adam Salomon when I was just getting out of a reading slump and my main criteria for books was that they were short. Cause honestly, sometimes just finishing a book helps me get back into the reading groove. At 240 easy-to-read pages, I was able to finish Salomon's novel in a single day. But was it worth it?

All Those Broken Angels is told from the perspective of Richard, whose best friend Melanie disappeared when they were six-years-old. Despite never finding a body, she was declared dead, a fact Richard knew to be true because after he vanished a part of her remained-- a ghostly shadow named Melanie. But then a girl moves into town, also claiming to Melanie, and it's up to Richard to figure out that if the shadow is a fake, then who is she really?

This is a mystery novel with a paranormal twist, which isn't incredibly creepy but has a fun storyline that kept me interested in finding out what happened. That said, the characters were a little flat for me, and I didn't really find a connection with Richard. There were also too many aspects that just seemed unbelievable or unlikely or a bit confusing. Basically Melanie's entire story. However, the plot itself kept my interest, and even if there were some predictable elements there were still some surprises. Overall, All Those Broken Angels was an okay read for me, there was enough I enjoyed to keep me reading, but it isn't a book I'd rush out to recommend.

Release Date: September 8th,  2014 Pages: 240  Format: Egalley
Source: Netgalley  Publisher: Flux   Buy It: Book Depository

Saturday, July 05, 2014

All Fall Down by Mary Brigid Barrett (illustrated by LeUyen Pham)

All Fall Down by Mary Brigid Barrett (illustrated by LeUyen Pham) is very similar to Pat-a-Cake, which I reviewed yesterday (here), as they feature the style because they have the same author and illustrator. In this adventure, all kinds of things fall down.

All Fall Down is a bright, rhyming board book filled again with all kinds of different looking characters, which I really appreciated because I think it is super important for children to experience from a young age. There is a lot more text in this book than I expected based on Pat-a-Cake and I think it is a bit much for the small pages. I'm also unconvinced about the scenario that features a young child dumping all their food on the floor and it being celebrated-- I'm not sure that's something a parent, or whoever is reading the book to the toddler, wants to encourage, even in fictional form. Although the dog getting the scraps sure looks happy.

Overall, All Fall Down is a cute fun book that would definitely keep a child's attention but if you are only going to get one I would go with Pat-a-Cake instead. 
Release Date: January 7th 2014 Pages: 16  Format: Board Book
Source: Publisher  Publisher: Candlewick Press  Buy It: Book Depository

Friday, July 04, 2014

Pat-a-Cake by Mary Brigid Barrett (illustrated by LeUyen Pham)

A quick review for a quick little book. Pat-a-Cake by Mary Brigid Barrett is a board book, illustrated by LeUyen Pham with not much text and bright colourful pictures. A lot of the words inside the book are sounds that things make when you pat them, like a pudding "wibble, wobble" that make it fun and easy to read out loud. There's also a rhyme going on that helps it flow easily.

I appreciate the diversity of the characters in Pat-a-Cake it's nice to see all kinds of races represented. I also think the book is great for encouraging interaction with the child as they can pat the different items represented, and also discuss what those things feel like and what they would do with them. So overall, even though there's nothing super surprising about Pat-a-Cake it is a cute fun book for toddlers. 

Release Date: January 7th 2014 Pages: 16  Format: Board Book
Source: Publisher  Publisher: Candlewick Press  Buy It: Book Depository

Wednesday, July 02, 2014

King Lear by William Shakespeare

A novel I was really excited to read referenced King Lear by William Shakespeare on the back of the book, so of course I had to pick it up and read it immediately. Although I read a lot, I am pretty much a failure when it comes to classics and I've only read a handful of the many "must reads" that exist. However, a play, even a Shakespeare one, isn't that much of a time commitment, so I picked it up. It turned out that it wasn't at all necessary to read it for the book that mentioned it, but the end result was me being a little more well-read, so no harm done.

I am always afraid when reading a classic that there's some deep meaning I'm missing, so I actually read 3 different versions of King Lear at the same time to make sure I got the full impact and analysis. I actually found it a lot of fun to read that way, and I definitely plan to pick up more Shakespeare in the future. In terms of King Lear itself, it's the story of an aging King, who asks his daughters who loves him. While the two older daughters make grand pronouncements, the youngest, Cordelia, refuses to and is cast out by her father. However it turns out that the two older daughter quickly ally themselves in a quest to take over as King Lear is so upset he begins to descend into madness.

As I said, I really enjoyed King Lear. It's hard to critic somebody like Shakespeare, but this definitely one of my favourite plays I've read by him. Although it's a classic, I didn't know how things turned out, and I really enjoyed the ending because it was unexpected and left a big impact. There is flowery prose, but there is also a strong message about love and death. I'm not one to say anything given how poor my own classic reading is, but it is definitely worth picking this one up!