Young Flora is a little girl with an obsession with her comics that her father introduced her to. Reading them is a nice distraction from her parents being separated. She lives solely with her mother who is a writer and thinks the comics are not good enough for her daughter. Outside Flora house, an unusual accident with a squirrel and vacuum cleaning salesman creates a superhero. The squirrel, whom Flora named Ulysses, can now fly, has super strength and writes badly spelled poetry. What happens next can only be described as an extraordinary tale just like her comics.
Like most Kate DiCamillo books Flora & Ulysses has whimsical storytelling, fun characters, and so much heart. I have to say my favorite character was Ulysses the squirrel. He did not say much but he sounds like a smart, cute, and fluffy friend to have around.
My least favorite thing was Flora’s mother. She reminded me of Cinderella’s stepmother. She did not understand her daughter nor did it seem she wanted to. She was so unkind with Flora and even though her personality changed I still felt she was not to be trusted.
I have read almost all of Kate DiCamillo’s books and I am not stopping after this one. Her characters are always different and quirky. There is always a calming comfy feeling when reading them. Even though she writes for children I would recommend her books for all age.
In a tavern off the coast of the Thames, locals come to hear stories and drink their troubles away. Some of them are about to play a part in a story that myths and legends are made from. A little girl is brought to the tavern saved by a man who happened to see her in the river. The man passes out from exhaustion and the girl is believed dead. After the local healer comes to aide the man and confirms the child’s fate. Even though the girl appears dead to the knowledgable healer she suddenly starts breathing. As the girl and man heal the hunt is on to find her family. The strange thing is 3 families want to claim her as theirs. One couple who lost their daughter 2 years ago, one widowed man searching for his young daughter, and one sister who thought she harmed her missed sister many years ago. Told like an Irish fairy tale, Once Upon A River is a mystical tale of what can destruct a relationship and what can heal it.
I loved this book from beginning to end. Anything told in a way that reminds me of an old Irish fairy tale will usually get high praise from me, especially if the story is not predictable. I thought as I started the book the time period it takes place in would only be in the intro to the story and the time period would fast forward to our time later. It does not. The book stays in the same time period throughout the book. Which for me added to the mystical side. The three families who believe the girl is their’s and who the girl really is or where she belongs is a big mystery until the end. The fact that I could not predict any of the storylines is a plus for me. When my brain works out what is going to happen next I get bored. Same happens with tv shows and movies for me too.
I read Diane Setterfield first book The Thirteenth Tale. Everything in that first book that I wanted The Thirteenth Tale to be, is in this new book. I don’t any thoughts on how to make it better because Once Upon A River is best as it is.
Diane Setterfield does have a mastery of words that I can not really figure out how one does write as she does. I am curious at what is next for this author. I could see a sequel or some of these characters popping up again in future books but that is not for me to decide.
Scientist Victor Frankenstein is obsessed with finding a way to reanimate human life after death. After he successfully fulfills his desire he immediately regrets it, condemning the new horrific life form to live in hiding. As Frankenstein’s new monster learns to understand those around him and his own existence he begins to hate his creator. The monster enacts revenge on Victor by taking away those he loves, only stopping if the doctor does what the monster asks for.
The very start of the book reminded me of Moby Dick, at least the little I read of it. Victor Frankenstein obsession with creating life is very much like Ahab’s obsession with finding the whale. Then the middle of the book was like The Picture Of Dorian Grey which a book I really liked and very much about doing good or evil and how it affects those around yourself. It ends again like Moby Dick as Victor new obsession directs him. The middle of the book had me interested because it is really a discussion on what being human is or could be, and regret. Actually, it is about even more than that so much you could a book about and people probably have.
I for one not a fan of the scenes where Dr. Frankenstein was channeling Ahab from Moby Dick. His obsession is part of the reason I couldn’t finish Moby Dick. Luckily Frankenstein is much shorter than Moby Dick.
I am glad I took the time to read this. It is a book that is so much different than what the movies and tv have done. In fact, there is so much difference in the movies I am really curious why or how they came up with things...like the character Igor...no where in the book. The monster having a square head and bolts on the neck...nope not in the book. I am not a big fan of most classics but this one that I did enjoy.
A gentleman returns to his childhood home and begins to remember something from his past he suppressed or was magically blocked from his mind. As he recalls an old babysitter and her unique introduction to his family he realizes she is not what she seems. A young girl and her family try to help him rid the hold an evil presence.
Neil Gaiman has a knack for creating stories that seem like they have always been around. The Ocean At The End Of The Lane is told in true fairy tale format. When say fairy tale I don’t mean Snow White or Sleeping Beauty, I mean a story straight from Ireland with actual fairies. Even though the word fairy is not mentioned in the story, the description of how mischievous fairies are is all over the villain. That is what I like about this book and Gaiman’s writing.
My only dislike is that the book is too short. I feel there was so much more could be told about the girl, her mother, and grandmother. Why was there a troublesome in the area of the lake? What was the lake’s history? I hope maybe one day Gaiman will return to those characters in another story.
I am a sucker for stories with fairies and this one is so much more intriguing. Because I recognize details that come from old Irish folklore. It is also a short read and as I said shorter then I would like but still charming.
There seems to be a trend of books that look like they are for children but written for adults. There are adult coloring books and picture books on writing or life. This picture book from
Seth Godin is on the abc’s of motivating to create art.
In some ways, I felt this book, with its motivational words of wisdom, reminded me of another author’s speech about creating art and that author is Neil Gaiman. It’s a wonderful speech and if you haven’t heard or read look for it on the interwebs. This picture book is simple but prompt. Something to pump up an artist who, like me, wonders if their art matters.
The feeling the book gives is a wonderful pick me up even if the literal words do not stay with you. I have to keep reading over each letter trying to remember what the one before it said. I guess that makes it is a good thing it’s only a picture book.
V Is For Vulnerable is a book that can be read repeatedly especially when you need a push to keep creating.
This is the second book in this anthology theme. Inside is a collection of short stories that connect fantasy and a little humor.
I think it was a great idea to shoot for a sequel anthology because the first one had a little magic in it’s writing. Some stories from the original still linger in my brain.
After reading and enjoying the first anthology, Blood Lite, I expected not just funny stories in fantasy settings but memorable. Fact is I can only remember one story in Blood Lite II: Overbite and had to do with a guy out with his girlfriend at a diner. The description of the girlfriend was disgusting and not funny. The other stories are lost from my memory. I even had to re-read quite often.
This one missed its mark but there is a third installment and...I probably will read it too.
Dr. Sharon Blackie writes a book that many psychologists would not encourage most to believe and that is the power of mythology, fairy tales, and magic. She describes her connection to nature and how she creates her own enchantment within life over years she has practiced.
What interested me in this book was the title and I was very interested in a doctor who as a scientist also believes in magic. I know from experience these kind of doctors are hard to come by. As someone who does believe that we create our own magic or enchantment in our lives, I sometimes lose belief and or doubt in magic in life. So I was at the time of reading this looking for some hope and something relight that spark that anything is possible.
As I continued to read the book Dr. Blackie made some interesting points about fairy tales and the ones you relate to or see yourself as. That in particular really made me think of why I think do or things about myself. But for the most part, the book did not really teach me anything new or help me to see myself in a better way, which is more what I need. I feel like we read about her finding her own contentment in nature and relationships but not really explaining how to find that happiness for yourself. I just needed more from the book.
I do think Dr. Blackie has some interesting points and I think I would have a couple of questions if we ever met. Even though I was not satisfied with the knowledge I received from this book I would read another by her.
Fairy Dreams is written and illustrated by Carol McLean-Carr. The paintings are intricate and brightly colored. There is so much detail that every time it is viewed you will find something new. The story focuses on items to find in the imagery.
This kind of detailed fantasy drawings are popular and it is not hard to see why. Of course, the characters are fairies which are a big thing for me. Big “Yay!” for fairies.
The story is lacking as it is more of a find and seek. It mentions an item to find in the illustrations on the page. I don’t know if it is because my eyesight is going, but I couldn’t find the items. Not a one. I keep trying but I am not sure if my book is a little faded or something. I do love the illustrations but sometimes looking for the items I felt it very busy.
I wish the story was a little more interesting. The art is amazing though. When I was a child I was not really introduced to many “Seek And Find” books. Now Barnes & Noble kids clearance section is usually full of them. I am going to take another look at this book and try to find some items. I will probably pass it on to someone who might love all of it.
Young Emma Simpson lives in Virginia in 1864 during the middle of Civil War. She writes in her diary about the trials, Emma, her mother and other family members survive through. The men in the family are fighting in the War. Food rations start to dwindle as family and friends get sick and some die. Based on a real person we see the dark side of war in America’s past. I find these Dear America books interesting and wish I had them when I was younger. They do tend to be pretty dark. I guess that is to show children they have it easier these days. These Dear America book do usually end with death of the diary writer or just an abrupt ending, which probably meant death as well. This one I am happy to say actually has info on what really happened to Emma after the war. As I mentioned I dislike the fact that the stories are so dark, in these series of books. I do not know how much of the diaries are real or made up but i guess when people usually write in their diaries it is not because something good is happening or you are working out some happy through your mind. It would be nice to read one Dear America with a happy conclusion. I will continue to read the dear america books because they have a charm about them and they make me feel like I am learning. I do wonder how close they are to the actual history but how will I ever know.
In the third installment to the Irish Country series we happily retreat back into Dr. Barry Laverty and Dr. Fingal Flahertie O'Reilly lives around the Christmas holiday. As they share the practice that Dr. O’Reilly started their bond is getting stronger. Dr. Laverty hopes that his girlfriend, Patricia, can make it to spend the holiday with him and Dr. O’Reilly rekindles an old flame. Meanwhile the characters in town are a loveable and sometime silly group of Irish folk.
I love this series not only because you don’t have to read it in order but it reminds me of how Ireland feels when you visit it. It is magical, friendly and relaxing. It feels like going home to me. Of course my heritage has a lot of irish in it so it is only natural for me I guess.
Some people complain that the books are getting redundant and have formula but I do not feel that nor would I mind if it was.
The Irish Country stories are a nice cozy and warming stories that feel real to me. They are plausible stories that usually end with a happy ending. I have realized something about happy endings. I use to get bored of them but now I realize I like them more than any other ending. If your life were a book which ending would you like? Not many of us get happy endings and it is what I hope for and if I don’t get it at least I live briefly in a book that does.