Tuesday, June 7, 2011

The Art of Alice Madness Returns

American Mcgee's Alice was a beautiful game that captured the minds of many gamers.  As this book shows, the second game will be equally as beautiful, perhaps even more so.  It was great to get an inside look at the creation of the creatures and locations of the game, and of course of Alice herself.  I particularly enjoyed seeing the process of ccreating Alice's look and her various dress styles.  This book captures the beauty of what is sure to be a fascinating game.

Monday, January 31, 2011

Wildthorn by Jane Eagland

I'm still really backed up on my reading - I'm trying to catch up on the books I need to read that were selected for my LTRC 2010 list, while also reading books for the 2011 list and other books that just catch my eye.  Well this book was one of those books!  I try not to take home any new books until I finish the ones I have at home, but I couldn't help but sneak this one into my pile, and I'm glad I did!

I enjoyed this one from the start, though I was initially put off by its first person narrative and the lack of chapter numbers.  It didn't take long for me to get wrapped up in the story and forget my minor annoyances with those matters. 

The first part of the book rotates between chapters of the present day, where Louisa Cosgrove has been locked up in Wildthorn, an asylum for the insane, and chapters of the past, in which Louisa remembers things about her childhood and recent months.  Louisa is fooled into believing that she is going to stay with the Woodville family, so she is surprised to find herself at Wildthorn where the people insist that her name is Lucy Childs.  Most of the attendants treat her as if she is mentally ill, though there is one kind girl named Eliza who tries to help her. 

During the chapters that tell of Louisa's past, we learn of her troubled relationship with her brother Tom, her loving relationship with her father, her somewhat strained relationship with her mother, and her friendship with her cousin Grace.  The book does not name a specific time period, but it takes place in older times, when women are expected to mind the home, take care of the children, and visit with the neighbors.  Ladies are not supposed to take part in the activities of men.  So Louisa's mother was always concerned by her wish to ride horses and play with Tom, her constant desire to read and learn more.  As Louisa becomes a young lady, she wants nothing more than to follow in her father's footsteps and become a doctor, which is something that most people are not willing to accept of a woman in that time.

For those that have tired of the teen angst found in many of today's young adult novels, this book has a strong female character standing up for who she wants to be, despite what society wants her to be.  There is a touch of romance, but it hardly rules the story.  It's a good, fast read that you won't want to put down!

Tuesday, January 25, 2011

Wicked Girls: A Novel of the Salem Witch Trials by by Stephanie Hemphill

I've always been fascinated by the history of the Salem Witch Trials, so when I was checking this book in, I immediately nabbed it for myself!  It wasn't until later that I realized that the book is written in verse.  I've only read a few other books in verse, but I do like the style, so I was looking forward to a quick read about a topic that I enjoy.

At first I had a little trouble getting into the old style of language, which isn't always a problem for me, but I think it had something to do with with the flow of the language in verse.  It wasn't long before I was wrapped up in the book though.

The story is a fictional account of the witch trials told from the perspective of three of the actual girls who made the accusations during the trials, Ann Putnam, Jr., age 12, Mercy Lewis, age 17, and Margaret Stewart, age 17.   While Hemphill has created an interesting tale of what might have been the girl's motivations for accusing so many people of being witches, she has included factual information at the back of the book about the actual people involved in the case.  This information covers all of the girls involved in the accusations in the story, as well as those accused. 

This is definitely an interesting book with a different look at possible motivations behind the trials, but the characters of the story twisted and turned a bit too much at times.  Ann Putnam, Jr. was clearly in charge for most of the story, though her servant, Mercy Lewis, stepped into the lead at times, and people found it easy to follow her.  Mercy would go from that lead to being conflicted because she knew they were accusing innocent people and the guilt was too much for her.  Margaret was unlikeable from the start because of her snobbiness towards Mercy for being a pretty servant girl, but after she finds out that Mercy is not interested in her fiance, they team up together which upsets Ann.  Elizabeth was never comfortable with accusing peolpe of witchcraft but she goes along with it to fit in.  Sometimes it appeared that Ann was calling out names that her parents had fed her, while other times it seemed like she really believed she was doing the Lord's work.  Then it would twist again to seem like she was just trying to stay in power.  At the end, even after reading the factual accounts, I was left wondering what had actually happened to afflict little Betty and Abigail Parris...

I think this book was good, but I think it had the potential to be much better.   

Monday, January 24, 2011

Way past time to update

I'm way behind here.  Hope to post reviews for the following soon:  Wicked Girls, Curse of the Wendigo, Behemoth.

I'm almost finished reading Wicked Girls now.  It's a book about the Salem Witch trials, from the perspective of three of the young girls that accused the women and men of being witches.  It's written in verse so it's a quick read.

I'm also about to start reading Hetalia: Axis Powers, which is a manga that my library teens are currently obsessing over.  At first I was surprised because it seems like a strange topic for them to be so excited over but after reading just the first part and the first few character introductions, I can see the cuteness in it.

Going to a summer reading program workshop in February.  If I get any super cool ideas for craft projects, I'll try to post them here!

Sunday, October 24, 2010

Different kind of book

I'm in the mood to read a book that isn't about a main character who is super special and talented, who will always save the day.  I want a book from Draco Malfoy's point of view, or Neville!  Maybe Jasper, Rosalie, or Jacob.  You'd still see all the stuff the great one does, but from someone else's standpoint.  And, you'd get to see more about their life.  Am I the only one who thinks a book like that would be interesting?  Can you name any books like that that I should read?