Book Reviews by Today, I Read…

February 19

Comments: 6

Review: The Last Unicorn by Peter S. Beagle

by Ann-Katrina

The Last Unicorn Cover

Back Cover of The Last Unicorn

The unicorn lived in a lilac wood, and she lived all alone…

…so she ventured out from the safety of the enchanted forest on a quest for others of her kind. Joined along the way by the bumbling magician Schmendrick and the indomitable Molly Grue, the unicorn learns all about the joys and sorrows of life and love before meeting her destiny in the castle of the despondent monarch—and confronting the creature that would drive her kind to extinction.

Three Quick Points About The Last Unicorn

  • Point 1: Nature plays a large role. The textures, the aromas, and the sounds all center around the things that grow and thrive in nature; shifting from air to sea to fire to earth to metal, and sometimes intermingling.
  • Point 2: The unicorn is rather vain, but in such a way that her vanity seems justified. Throughout the text we’re reminded that the unicorn is the most beautiful creature, much of which is her own musing, and when she’s turned human, she’s incredibly distraught because she’s mortal and dying, and therefore no longer beautiful.
  • Point 3: This book is a musical without the sheet music. If anyone had any doubts that Mr. Beagle enjoys writing lyrics, hand them this book. Just about everyone sings something at some point, ranging from the silly and nonsensical to the melancholy.

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6 Comments, add yours...

January 9

Comments: 10

Review: I Heart You, You Haunt Me by Lisa Schroeder

by Ann-Katrina

I Heart You, You Haunt Me Cover

Back Cover of I Heart You, You Haunt Me

Girl meets boy.

Girl loses boy.

Girl gets boy back…

…sort of.

Ava can’t see or touch him, unless she’s dreaming. She can’t hear his voice, except for the faint whispers in her mind. Most would think she’s crazy, but she knows he’s here.

Jackson. The boy Ava thought she’s spend the rest of her life with. He’s back from the dead, as proof that love truly knows no bounds.

Three Quick Points About I Heart You, You Haunt Me

  • Point 1: It’s really written in verse. OK, I read that it was a verse novel, but I really didn’t know what to expect and true enough, the entire novel, all 200+ pages of it, is one long continuous verse.
  • Point 2: So he’s a poltergeist? Sort of. Let me be upfront here and say I expected a creepier haunting (it’s filed under “Spine-Chilling Horror” at Amazon) and it was anything but. Overall though I couldn’t complain.
  • Point 3: Short story in book form. This isn’t necessarily a bad thing, but once I finished the book, I realized it could easily be translated into a short story.

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December 9

Comments: 9

Review: The Tales of Beedle the Bard by J.K. Rowling

by Ann-Katrina

Back Cover of The Tales of Beedle the Bard

The Tales of Beedle the Bard, a Wizarding classic, first came to Muggle readers’ attention in the book known as Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows. Now, thanks to Hermione Granger’s new translation from the ancient runes, we present this stunning edition with an introduction, notes, and illustrations by J. K. Rowling, and extensive commentary by Albus Dumbledore. Never before have Muggles been privy to these richly imaginative tales: “The Wizard and the Hopping Pot,” “The Fountain of Fair Fortune,” “The Warlock’s Hairy Heart,” “Babbitty Rabbitty and Her Cackling Stump,” and of course, “The Tale of the Three Brothers.” But not only are they the equal of fairytales we now know and love, reading them gives new insight into the world of Harry Potter.

Three Quick Points About The Tales of Beedle the Bard

  • Point 1: This was a quick read. Coming in at roughly 100 pages, with good spacing, margins, and font size, it could be lazily read in a couple hours or less.
  • Point 2: Ms. Rowling channeled the bard himself. The book is not like reading a Harry Potter book, it’s like reading someone else’s text and stories whereas J.K.R. just interjects a few footnotes. (Totally cute.)
  • Point 3: J.K. Rowling is a skilled illustrator. Illustrations appear throughout the book, and though they have the wispy quality of doodles, they are quite well done and add to the book’s atmosphere.

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November 4

Comments: 3

Review: Magic Bites (Kate Daniels, Book 1) by Ilona Andrews

by Ann-Katrina

Magic Bits Cover

Back Cover of Magic Bites

Atlanta would be a nice place to live, if it weren’t for the magic…

When the magic is up, rogue mages cast their spells and monsters appear, while guns refuse to fire and cars fail to start. But then technology returns, and the magic recedes as unpredictably as it arose, leaving all kinds of paranormal problems in its wake.

Kate Daniels is a down-on-her-luck mercenary who makes her living cleaning up these magical problems. But when Kate’s guardian is murdered, her quest for justice draws her into a power struggle between two strong factions within Atlanta’s magic circles.

The Masters of the Dead, necromancers who can control vampires, and the Pack, a paramilitary clan of shapechangers, blame each other for a series of bizarre killings—and the death of Kate’s guardian may be part of the same mystery. Pressured by both sides to find the killer, Kate realizes she’s way out of her league—but she wouldn’t have it any other way…

Three Quick Points About Magic Bites

  • Point 1: The prose and pacing are exquisitely done. The book is smartly written without being pretentious and urges you forward without shoving you down a flight of stairs. It’s evident that the word selection and syntax were assembled with care.
  • Point 2: This novel is a perfect exercise in world-building. Set in a future version of Atlanta ravaged by magic, the descriptions are vividly dark and disturbingly crafted. It becomes real.
  • Point 3: What, no sparkly, beautiful, or dangerously seductive vampires? Nope. In this book, vampires veer from the contemporary norm. They are hideous quadrupedal humanoids continually degrading into something much worse—”an abomination in progress.”

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November 1

Comments: 8

Review: No Plot? No Problem! A Low-Stress, High-Velocity Guide to Writing a Novel in 30 Days by Chris Baty

by Ann-Katrina

Since today is the first day of and No Plot? No Problem! is the official handbook, I figured today would be a good day to review it.

no-plot-no-problem-cover

Back Cover of No Plot? No Problem!

You’ve always wanted to write, but…just haven’t gotten around to it. No Plot? No Problem! is the kick in the pants you’ve been waiting for.

Let Chris Baty, founder of the rockin’ literary marathon National Novel Writing Month (a.k.a. NaNoWriMo), guide you through four exciting weeks of hard-core noveling. Baty’s pep talks and essential survival strategies cover the initial momentum and energy of Week One, the critical “plot flashes” of Week Two, the “Can I quit now?” impulses of Week Three, and the champagne and roar of the crowd during Week Four. Whether you’re a first-time novelist who just can’t seem to get pen to paper or a results-oriented writer seeking a creative on-ramp into the world of publishing, this is the adventure for you.

So what are you waiting for? The No Plot? approach worked for the thousands of people who’ve signed up for NaNoWriMo, and it can work for you! Let No Plot? No Problem! help you get fired up and on the right track.

Three Quick Points About No Plot? No Problem!

  • Point 1: This book is hilarious. The advice is laced with fantastic, sometimes sarcastic wit which makes the reading a lot easier, smoother, and more fun.
  • Point 2: It’s an excellent distillation of what you need to know to get a novel written in a limited amount of time. Not being a step by step, this is how you do it manual, it makes it very easy to be a quick reference when you need a nudge in the right direction or bit of quick advice.
  • Point 3: I suspect that Chris is addicted to coffee and sugar-laden foodstuffs. An entire section of the book is dedicated to treating yourself with wonderful yummy treats and I’m thinking the word coffee has come up in every chapter.

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