16 July 2015

Playing Catch Up: Some Mini-Reviews

I've fallen waaaaayyy behind on reviews (9 books read with no review), so it's time to play a bit of catch up with some mini reviews.

The Supernaturalist by Eoin Colfer
Eoin Colfer's main claim to fame is the Artemis Fowl series, which I must admit I did not make it through. I think I finished book 1, and book 2 was a DNF. This book, however, I read happily and quickly. In the story, a 14 year old orphan named Cosmo Hill finds himself abruptly thrown into a group of people who spend their time killing blue parasites, whom only they can see, that suck the life out of people.

A good, solid story with an interesting plot line, The Supernaturalist's real strength is in the characters. Cosmo is a perfectly wonderful reluctant hero, but the members of his parasite-killing gang are just fascinating. First there's Stefan, leader of the group, who is one of those older-than-he-is, suffering and tragic types. Ditto, the most hilarious of the group, is a 28 year old trapped in a 6 year old's body due to experimentation. Finally, there's Mona, a mechanical whiz who used to run with a street racing gang. Their interactions are the highlight of the book for me.

While there were rumors of a second book, no joy yet, and since it's been so long, I'm thinking this won't be turning into a series. No worries though; it works just fine as a standalone.

Veronica Mars: Mr. Kiss and Tell by Rob Thomas and Jennifer Graham
I'm a huge fan of Veronica Mars, both the original series, the movie, and the subsequent books. While the books don't get my juices flowing in quite the same way the tv series did, I find them highly enjoyable and they certainly give me the fix I need to suffer through the painful withdrawal. In Mr. Kiss and Tell, Veronica investigates an accusation of rape at the Neptune Grand, a ritzy hotel in town.

Mr. Kiss and Tell feels very 'in the world of' in that many of the characters from the show appear, and much of the tension in the novel revolves around plot lines from the original series. This is a book for fans of the show; possibly not so much for newcomers to the Mars world.

Now then, when does book three come out?

"The Horla" Guy de Maupassant
Fa.Sci.Nating. My first experience with the short stories of Maupassant was "The Necklace", a story M. Night Shyamalan would love due to the Big Twist ending. I went looking for some more Maupassant, and I found "The Horla" which you can read here. At 30+ pages, the story can feel more like a novella than a short story, but to be honest, I have minimal interest in distinctions like that, so...moving on. Written in 1887, "The Horla" is either a horror story with supernatural beings or a psychological thriller about a man going crazy.

I will be pairing this story with Charlotte Perkins Gilman's "The Yellow Wallpaper," a short story written in 1892 that I am sure you have read. If not, go hear and read now. I'm thinking my students will enjoy these two perspectives on mental hullaballoo, and I'm certain they will enjoy studying mental health thoughts and practices in the late 1800s.

Good Omens by Terry Pratchett & Neil Gaiman
One of my favorite reads of all time, Good Omens is imaginative, irreverent, and flat out awesome. The story features hilarious, complex, creative characters as they fulfill their respective roles in the narrative of the apocalypse, like the religious kind, you know, demons and angels and all out war with lots of dead humans stuck in the middle.

When I found the book on audio for like 5 bucks, I jumped on it; after all I had been enjoying audiobooks immensely, so why not do an audio re-read of one of my favorite books. Bad idea. For some reason, I could not get into the audio version. Maybe I've read the story too many times. Maybe the voices in my head were horrified by the narrator I was listening to. Who knows?

I listened to the whole story, but I will definitely go back to reading the print version next time.

So now I'm down to six reviews remaining. Coming soon.


  1. Every time I start reading a Veronica Mars book, I keep thinking how much more satisfying I would find it if it were a Netflix series. Why can't THAT be my life? :p

  2. Great reviews! I'm interested in all of these books. I really enjoyed the Veronica Mars TV show, but haven't yet tried to read the spin-off books. I've read and enjoyed other books by Eoin Colfer and Neil Gaiman, so I'm excited to check out these other books they wrote too :)

  3. OK already! Good Omens is going to get read this year. hopefully sooner than later!


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