Book Reviews by Today, I Read…

If you’re only interested in particular books, then read the final reviews arranged by topic.

March 28

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Currently Reading: Madapple by Christina Meldrum (Part 3)

by Ann-Katrina

RECAP: Part 1, Part 2

Several days ago I completed Madapple and my mind is still reeling a little bit.

First, the subject matter. I knew it was coming. There was this ominous feeling deep in my belly,  churning and bubbling as I read. But when the moment arrived I still reeled. It’s one thing to know it’s coming and quite another when it actually arrives.

Second, I’m not sure how I feel about the end. It felt too…easy, for lack of a better word. It was like reading a very twisted episode of Jerry Springer that wraps up with an “and they all lived happily ever after” when you know damn well that isn’t true.

Would I still recommend reading the book? Was is still very well written? Was it still a page turner? Yes on all counts (the first with the caveat that if you can’t handle child abuse/incest stories, skip it). And I do love how the story itself unfolded, switching between the two time periods and points-of-view.

Please allow me to scoop my mind up off the floor before I write a proper review. All I really know at this point is that the next book I read needs to be light and fluffy because this one was (almost) as heavy as it gets…at least where young adult fare is concerned.

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March 20

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Currently Reading: Madapple by Christina Meldrum (Part 2)

by Ann-Katrina

RECAP: Part 1

OK. So I’m at roughly page 250, and I think my mind’s about to explode.

I keep reading and I’m still enthralled by how the story is unfolding (i.e. from Auslag’s point of view and from the court transcripts) and how it all seems like a game of cat and mouse with just so much information given.

And now things are getting stranger and slightly more ominous. After Auslag’s mother dies she stumbles onto some family she never knew she had (and aunt and two cousins) who take her in. (That situation just stretch the belief muscles a little bit, but it worked out, and it’s getting explained as the book goes along.)

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March 19

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Currently Reading: Madapple by Christina Meldrum (Part 1)

by Ann-Katrina

Madapple by Christina Meldrum - Book Cover I’ve had this book on my shelf for going on well over two years now. I’m not entirely sure why I decided now would be the right time to read it–especially since I have several other books waiting to be read. But one evening as I was drifting off to sleep, I remembered the cover. The image just flashed through my mind and I tried desperately to remember the title of the book. It was bugging me no end so I finally decided to get up and look for it. Once I found it, I slipped it from it’s dusty slot and tossed it onto the bed before climbing in. I pried open the pages and before I realized it, the clock said "an hour past your bed time" and I was rounding page one hundred. And get this: I wasn’t ready to stop reading.

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February 24

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Short Story Review: The Imaginary Friend by D.W. Cropper

by Ann-Katrina

Bonechillers cover The Imaginary Friend is a 16 page short story from the anthology Bonechillers: 13 Twisted Tales of Terror by D.W. Cropper.

Short Synopsis

After moving into an old house on Hudson street, Henry, the youngest, makes a new friend named Bonnie. His parents believe Bonnie is imaginary, but Henry’s older sister suspects otherwise…and she’s right.

My Thoughts on The Imaginary Friend

There was an air of familiarity to the story—family moving into an old house with a restless spirit seeking something it once lost—but it didn’t feel stale.

Although I could easily predict that Henry’s imaginary friend wasn’t imaginary and that bad things would happen, I still held my breath at certain sections and even gasped at a certain revelation about Bonnie. That’s how this story garnered my respect, because it’s not easy to write a truly creepy story while still respecting your audience’s sensibilities.

Rather than rely on blood and guts for scares, Cropper uses vivid language that gets under your skin and for truly young (or sensitive) readers it could cause nightmares.

Final rating: B+

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February 24

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Short Story Review: The Faery Handbag by Kelly Link

by Ann-Katrina

Pretty Monsters coverThe 25 page short story The Faery Handbag is from the anthology Pretty Monsters by Kelly Link or you can read it for free on her website.

Short Synopsis

A grieving Genevieve is searching for her recently deceased grandmother’s very special handbag. As she does so, she explains who her grandmother was, where she came from, and what makes the handbag so special.

My Thoughts on The Faery Handbag

Like ‘The Wizards of Perfil‘ I’m left unsure of what I feel.

As with Link’s other stories this one was readable. It flowed well and before I knew it I slammed into the end. And I do mean slammed. The end was so abrupt that it felt unsettling, but similar to ‘The Wrong Grave‘ it left you with plenty to ponder. Unfortunately, though, I didn’t like it, the abruptness (I like the plenty to ponder part).

One aspect of the story that I found skillfully mastered was the unreliable narrator. Enough doubt is cast about Genevieve’s story to keep you guessing about whether she’s telling the truth, whether she’s outright lying, or whether she’s just a girl trying to cope with the loss of her beloved grandmother and missing (boy)friend Jake. It even cast enough doubt to question the existence of her grandmother and Jake. This story certainly isn’t what it seems.

Despite loving Link’s writing style and her dexterity with voice, I wasn’t in love with this story and that’s mainly because of the denouement…there wasn’t one.

Final rating: C+

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