Thursday, March 30, 2006

I, Coriander

This is a title that I picked up last year at BookExpo, and have been meaning to read for quite some time. Youngish looking cover, but not so young inside!

Coriander loves her life. Her room is painted with beautiful fairy stories, her mother is lovely, and her father is a wealthy merchant who is teaching her to read and write. One day a beautiful pair of silver shoes arrives at her home with the letter "C" etched onto the sole. Surely they are for her! Coriander is bewildered when her mother puts them away stating that they are not meant for her. Coriander feels her heart pulling her to those shoes, and she actually hears the shoes calling to her! She overcomes her greatest fear to get to them. She actually puts her hand in the mouth of the stuffed alligator that her father keeps in his study to get to the key to his bureau. Coriander knew the shoes were for her...they are a perfect fit! She quickly tries to take them off before her parents can see, and to her dismay they are stuck to her feet.

Eventually Coriander is able to remove the shoes, but the spell they cast flies far. Before she knows it, her mother is dead, her father is enveloped in grief, and her world is soon to be changed forever. Cromwell is now ruling England, and her father ( a known royalist) is convinced to marry a Puritan in order to keep his land. Maud Leggs is everything that Coriander's beautiful mother wasn't. She is fat, homely, has blackend teeth and finds the devil in every corner. She soon convinces Coriander's father to let a preacher (the Crooked Man) move in. While Coriander's father is away on business, the Crooked Man introduces "Ann" (Coriander is a vain name) to the "hand of wrath" for every "infraction".

This book had me staying up to the wee hours of the morning to learn of Coriander's fate. Coriander is a strong character, and her friends are equally as interesting. Parallel worlds, fairies, espionage and adventure all make I, Coriander a compelling, fast paced fantastical read for the 6th grade and up set!

Sunday, March 26, 2006

The Stupidest Angel

This is not the type of book that I usually would read, (endorsed by Playboy on the back) but a friend of mine recommended it so I thought I would give it a go. Then I put it down, and he told me I had to try again.

I now know that I am a book snob. High brow friends of mine are probably snorting Cabernet out of their noses, so let me explain. Not high brow in the capital "L" Literature kind of way. Rather, I like what I like, and cliches drive me CRAZY!

Stupidest Angel is full of a crazy set of characters including Lena and ex Dale, who at the beginning of the book get into a very public argument over Christmas donations while Lena is acting as a Salvation Army Santa. Dale is an s-o-b developer who is not loved by the rest of the townsfolk. There is Theo, the ex-pothead constable. His wife, Molly Michon, the former b-movie star, who has recently gone off her meds. Tucker Case...Lena's new love interest and DEA pilot. Crazy Mavis - the bar owner. An angel, who is absolutely clueless. And my favourite...Josh - the kid who witnesses Santa's murder.


You shouldn't be.

This is a fast read, that feels more like a series of vignettes. The reader knows exactly where the story is going (right down to the Dawn of the Dead brains-crazed zombies). It is what it is, and for fans I am sure it is great. It just didn't work for me. (Except for Josh continually wanting to decapitate Tucker...that was fun!)

Sunday, March 19, 2006


This was another purchase from the Comicon in NYC. My friend Karyn and I were walking along, I stopped to get Tricked signed, when Karyn sidled up to me and asked, "Have you ever heard of an artist named Brom?" Suprisingly I hadn't. The cover of Plucker was GORgeous. A quick scan and I knew that I needed to own this book.

It's 1942 and Thomas' father is off on a ship and his mother is working non-stop. He only has his housekeeper Mabelle and his toys for company. Imagine his joy when his father comes home for a surprise visit. His spirits quickly plummet when he realizes that his father is only home for a few hours. His father, as always, has brought him something...this time from Africa. Unlike the nutcracker and toy soldiers of the past, Thomas' father pulls out a very scary mask. "A spirit mask", he says. Thomas doesn't want this thing hung above his bed, but his father puts it there anyway. Soon after, the mask falls and breaks open. And then all hell breaks loose.

What you may not know is that toys are filled with gusto (the energy and love that kids put into a toy when they play). Jack (of in-the-box fame) had recently been relegated to the Underbed. He was there when the mask crashed down, smelled that evil smell, and saw the shape of the Plucker scuttle into the dark. Foulthings soon came feeding on the toys...their eyes and gusto. Jack too is taken.

With Mabelle's help (and a touch of the Dark Arts) Jack is revived. His mission is to destroy the Plucker and save Thomas.

This is a creepy book. The art is sumptuous, dark, and necessary to the story's appeal. I forgave the choppy dialogue simply because of Jack's beauty. There are no happy endings here.

Definately for a HS and older audience.

If I had a coffee table, this would be on it.

Fans of Abarat should approve.

Thursday, March 16, 2006

Dairy Queen

I know it seems like a long time in between posts, but I have been reading! I just reviewed a series called Great Empires of the Past for VOYA. Very interesting. I learned quite a bit about the Islamic Empire and the Mongol Empire.

Then I picked up Dairy Queen, by Catherine Gilbert Murdock. I love the title, and embarassing as it is, it gives me fond memories of the Dairy Queen just beside my highschool, where we would go for Ultimate Burgers at lunchtime. Ahh, those were the days!

But, I digress!

D.J. has taken up virtually all of the farm chores since her brothers left home and her dad hurt his hip. She never even thinks about it. The milking needs to get done, so she does it. She doesn't think about the fact that noone helps her out, and her little brother Curtis isn't even expected to on the days that he has baseball practise. D.J. had to quit her own basketball playing which may have led to a university scholarship.

She is shocked when Brian Nelson shows up at her house one day wanting to help. This is small town USA and Brian is from neighboring Hawsley...rival sports town to D.J.'s Red Bend. Brian isn't any football player, either...he's the QB.

A snotty comment from Brian makes D.J. realize that she is not too different from the cows on her farm. She doesn't question anything. She just does what she is supposed to do. She assumes that there are no choices in life. Soon she starts asking the questions that will change her life. Why doesn't her little brother talk to anyone? Why is her best friend so pissed off at the world? Why couldn't she play football on the boy's team at school? Why isn't her mother home any more?

I ended up loving this book. I wasn't fond of D.J. at first. She was so self depricating that I was getting annoyed. By mid-book, however, her wit was sarcastic, dry and fun. I found myself wanting her to succeed and wanting her to find her voice. I could picture her farm, feel the hot breezes and just transport myself there!

I'm going to miss this book!

Thursday, March 02, 2006

Hold the Presses!


So after the Comicon, I ordered Runaways from an online store. Jen has been telling me about this comic forever, but I never got the get up and go to read it. I purchased the hard cover 18 issue volume 1.


I have to pull something off my Top Ten because this book is amazing. It has so many elements to love, which could have been cheesy, but some how were not cheesy.

Evil parents. Teen angst. Teen hormones. Super powers. The chase. The mystery. The mythology.

Loved it!!!!

I can't even figure out who I love the best. The former goth girl in me loves Nico, but I love dumb old Chase too. And Molly. And even Old Lace (which I thought would be impossible).

Thank you Brian K. Vaughan.

Wednesday, March 01, 2006

Top Ten Graphic Novels

Now...before you read my list, you should know my preference is for indy stuff. My very first collections were Mr. X, Beautiful Stories for Ugly Children, The Question and then Sandman. Everything evolved from there.

10. Fun with Milk and Cheese, by Dorkin

9. Poor Bastard, by Matt

8. Kill Your Boyfriend, by Morrison

7. Hopeless Savages, by Van Meter

6. Love and Rockets, by Hernandez

5. House of Secrets: Foundation, by Seagle

4. Blankets, by Thompson

3. Ghost World, by Clows

2. Tricked, by Robinson

1. 32 Stories: The Complete Optic Nerve, by Tomine

The Search for Belle Prater

I remember reading Belle Prater's Boy for the first time and loving it. Not so much this time. I don't know whether it's because I have read much more "countrified" fiction than I had at that point in my reading career, or if it was just a better book.

I feel that this sequel gives short shrift to the new characters Cassie and Joseph, and is just a bit too tidy in the end. Just MHO.

We join Gyspy and Woodrow right about at New Years Eve. Gypsy explains the family's tradition of sharing New Years Revelations rather than New Years Resolutions. Just at the stroke of midnight, the telephone rings. Eventhough there is no voice on the other end, Woodrow just knows that it has to be his mother. After contacting the operator to find out where the call comes from, Woodrow is off to Bluefield on the bus to find her.

On the bus, Gyspy, Woodrow and Cassie meet Joseph. Joseph is the first coloured boy ("call me black") that Woodrow has ever encountered, and in typical Woodrow fashion, he sticks his foot in his mouth several times before winning Joseph over. Joseph is also on a quest to find some family in Bluefield.

It is a "nice" story, but I certainly wasn't moved. Anyone who has read Belle Prater's Boy by White should give it a read, but it does not warrant a stand alone read.