Category Archives: Fantasy

Jonathan Strange & Mr. Norrell

Thoughts by Susanna Clarke, Macmillan Audio 2005 (orig 2004), 32 hours 29 minutes

Narrated by Simon Prebble

Challenge: TOB Faves Long List

Genre/Theme: Historical Lit, Alternative History, Fantasy / Magic

Type/Source: Audiobook / Audible + eBook, Libby via Kindle

What It’s About: Two magicians bring magic back to England. The years is 1810 or so. One is a hoarder of all books on magic – about magic — with magic and the other is one of those guys who is just clueless, finds something he can do and so he does it. The first is miserly and mean and insecure but arrogant. The second is also arrogant. Both are oblivious.

Thoughts: Some readers love the richness of detail and the amazing adventures in this long long book. I get it, but it wasn’t for me. Much to admire but I honestly got to the 3/4 mark, listening to over 20 hours and then couldn’t take it anymore. I was thrilled to see that I could access the eBook from my library so I could skim to the end and find out what happened. I did need that closure but I just couldn’t carve out the 10 hours needed to do it through my ears.

That said, Simon Prebble did a great job. The audiobook was well done and for a book that has many footnotes, many that are stories in themselves, the audio was a great way to digest. Somehow, they didn’t really interrupt the flow. (When I switched to the eBook, I realized I was skipping right over them without even noticing — THAT very much interrupted the flow!)

Clarke must have had much fun writing this and I’m happy for her that it thrilled most of those who managed to read it all the way through. It just bugged me that the magicians would not realize that magic was happening right in front of them and just brush it off without nary a ‘”Huh, that’s weird.” Yay for Stephen – I liked him, the poor guy. And I liked Childemas and Vinculus. Though I did wonder why Childemas put up with Norrell for as long as he did.

And my final thought is best wishes for the fictional Arabella and Miss Flora – may they ever be happy together.

Rating: Two to three slices of pie. Pork pie.

“Pork pies dropped on the heads of the French!”

 

Copyright © 2007-2021. Care’s Books and Pie also known as and originally created as Care’s Online Book Club. All rights reserved. This post was originally posted by Care. It should not be reproduced without express written permission.

Ella Minnow Pea

Thoughts A Novel in Letters by Mark Dun, Anchor 2014 (orig 2001), 208 pages

Challenge: n/a

Genre/Theme: Graphic Memoir, Nonfiction

Type/Source: eBook, Libby

What It’s About: This is another title that has been on my tbr for what feels like forever. This time, I intend to overcome by hesitancy of reviewing due to time away from the habit and give you my synopsis (to the 2 or 3 of you who are sweet enough to visit and read this.)

Ella is a person. (I hadn’t realized this until I encountered in the story – see? I really do NOT read what books are about! I just think, “oooo this is supposed to be good, I should tbr it.”) She lives on a fictional island off the coast of South Carolina.

The story starts when a tile falls from the signage of the Memorial dedicated to the island’s founder and hero – the guy who penned the phrase “The quick brown fox jumps over the lazy dog.”

The leaders of this community thus then decree that the letter that has fallen must cease to be used in the vocabulary, the spoken and written words! of the inhabitants. MAYHEM ENSUES when more letters fall to the ground and are stricken from use on penalty of … public scorn, banishment or death.

“As we were all gathering for breakfast, courtesy of an early-morning raid on the amply stocked Willingham family larder, we learned that Harton Mangrove had again tried to take his own life, this time by repeatedly whacking himself in the head with a heavy wooden rolling pin.”

This story isn’t just about letters but is TOLD in letters! Oh the cleverness! the ability to convey thoughts and feelings via correspondence progressively (?) diminishedly! as the letters are no longer legal.

Thoughts: This was such a fun read. I was quite amazed at the cleverness.

I was sad, though, that the resolution seemed much to be based on LUCK rather than power-of-the-people because YES, this has political overtones of fascism. It is not about character development and nuance. It is about plot plot plot OH NO! finally Ella wins the day!! Of course she does. But it still annoyed me; ever so slightly. DID SHE REALLY WIN? or was she just lucky enough to pay attention? Does it matter – evil was defeated, so YAY.

Rating: Four slices of pie. I count the rolling pin and yes, pizza pie counts.

“Hundreds of words await ostracism from our functional vocabularies: waltz and fizz and squeeze and booze and frozen pizza pie,…”

 

Copyright © 2007-2021. Care’s Books and Pie also known as and originally created as Care’s Online Book Club. All rights reserved. This post was originally posted by Care. It should not be reproduced without express written permission.

The House in the Cerulean Sea

Thoughts by TJ Klune, A Tom Doherty Associates Book 2020, 394 pages

Challenge: #20BooksofSummer

Genre/Theme: Middle School Fantasy / Magical Children

Type/Source: eBook / Libby app

“I’m told there will be pie for dessert. I do love pie so.”

What It’s About: Linus is a caseworker investigating orphanages for Magical Children. He is super diligent about his job and his duties, very committed. He is sent on a special mission to report on a secretive home, classified Level 4 – where only the most special (scary) magically-gifted children live. Love and just a bit of mayhem ensues. Mostly love.

“Hate is loud, but I think you’ll learn it’s because it’s only a few people shouting, desperate to be heard. You might not ever be able to change their minds, but so long as your remember you’re not alone, you will overcome.”

Thoughts: I had a Linus character in the book I just read previously! LOVE book-coinkydinks.

I believe this book is suitable for the Middle School reader which is fine, but not quite my thing, so any “I LIKED IT” rating (cough, cough, 3 stars) is based on my own personal reaction and should be considered as such. If you adore lovely heart-warming fiction and like these kinds of books, you are SURE TO LOVE THIS ONE; I would bet on it. Just look at all the rave reviews on goodreads! But for me, I was thinking it a bit too twee. Maybe if I had actually read any of the reviews and had my expectations tempered some, I would also have fallen head over heels but I didn’t here.

It’s still quite charming and well done in drawing delightful characters, celebrating and embracing what makes us unique and is an endearing family creation story.

“We should always make time for the things we like. If we don’t, we might forget how to be happy.”

Rating: Three slices of pie. I do say, LOTS of pie quotes to choose from.

“But there is pie,” Zoe said. “Baked especially for you.”

 

 

Copyright © 2007-2021. Care’s Books and Pie also known as and originally created as Care’s Online Book Club. All rights reserved. This post was originally posted by Care. It should not be reproduced without express written permission.

A Tale for the Time Being

Thoughts by Ruth Ozeki, Viking 2013, 433 pages

Challenge: TOB Favorites

Genre/Theme: Contemporary Lit / Time Travel

Type/Source: eBook / Library -Kindle

What It’s About: A fascinating story that interweaves across time and distance and offers up a few mind-benders and reality-suspension moments. A writer named Ruth, experiencing a lack of motivation in her current project, finds a package washed up on the beach of her remote Pacific Canadian island. Inside is a journal, a watch and a collection of letters written in French. I think the language is English essentially, but culturally Japanese ; the journal-ist is a young Japanese girl suffering from a tumultuous change in her standard of living and location. Her father lost his silicon-valley job in California and uprooted Nao to Japan – a foreign world to her. She writes as if she knows the reader, addresses her directly, tells her all about her life, her horrid school and the bullies there and also her great-grandmother, a 104 yo Buddhist nun. Ruth is the reader and takes on the challenge of being Nao’s friend. Across time, across the ocean, across practicality.

For the time being, Words scatter . . . Are they fallen leaves?

Thoughts: It’s a wonder it works. I’m sure for many, it doesn’t; but for me it does. There’s word play, dream movement, thoughts on the precarious nature of our world and the environment. There’s history, there’s violence, brutal brutal violence, and yet there is zen, and hopeful hope. I just adored Jika! I wasn’t so sure about Ruth, but she is going through her own growth spurt through doubt with Nao so it made sense to me. Oliver is a treat.

I keep thinking about this story. I think it will be one of those I remember and think about and grow more fond of as time goes on.

“She wasn’t crying. They were just the memories, leaking out.”

Rating: Four slices of pie. No pie mentioned. (French pastry, however…)

To grasp this truly, every being that exists in the entire world is linked together as moments in time, and at the same time they exist as individual moments of time. Because all moments are the time being, they are your time being.

—D gen Zenji, Uji

 

Up is down. Down is up.

Copyright © 2007-2021. Care’s Books and Pie also known as and originally created as Care’s Online Book Club. All rights reserved. This post was originally posted by Care. It should not be reproduced without express written permission.

The Down Days

Thoughts by Ilze Hugo, 2020, 368 pages

Challenge: TOB

Genre/Theme: Contemporary Lit, South African Lit, Pandemic Dystopia

Type/Source: eBook/Kindle (on sale)

What It’s About: Based on a what-if expounded from a true tale of a unique contagion, this story follows a ragtag group of characters through parallel search and rescues, backdropped against growing angst and society mayhem.

The virus’ main symptom is laughter. Yes, you die from laughing. Thus, laughter is outlawed and comedy clubs are driven underground. This may sound flippant and I don’t mean to be – I think the author did a fabulous job balancing the ridiculous with the sensitivity of this being a deathly disease. She had a deft touch in style and tone. The more I try to describe what I liked about this book, the more I appreciate it.

I was immediately captured by the characters and was instantly rooting for them. Well most of them; I’m not on team-Piper but she comes around, too. Dare I say that this is “fun pandemic adventure?” Sure, people are dying and the government is attempting super control what with scheduled medical check stations around town and requiring a medpass. I enjoyed the mystery and the capers, the race against time, the icky ooey descriptions and especially the words that were explained in the glossary.

Rating: Four slices of pie:

He’s also got fingers in other pies, not always steak and kidney.

and why doesn’t my end quote copyright show up in the tiny print I want??

who to create space?

The Time Machine Audiobook then Film

Thoughts by  HG Wells, Tantor 2008 (orig 1853), ~ 4 hours

Narrated by Scott Brick

Challenge: Classics Club, Back to Classics Genre or Movie Adaption?
Genre: Science Fiction
Type/Source: Audiobook/Library
 Why I read this now:  Hard to say…

MOTIVATION for READING: I love time travel stuff.

WHAT’s it ABOUT:  A gentleman invents a time machine and jettisons himself off into the far, very far, future.

Humanity splits into good and bad?  leisure class and workers – lots to dissect here if I was feeling academic, which today I am not. But, even as I reflected its place as commentary on society and its juxtaposition with what is going on now in relation to capitalism, etc, I just don’t have the energy to do more than recognize it likely has something to say that I might want to pay attention to?

THOUGHTS: It was OK. Some of these old-timey books, I just love and get right into the rhythm. This one had me a bit impatient. I now know what Morlocks are. I certainly can appreciate the classic and the WOW! factor this has enjoyed over the years.

I was more excited to read somewhere that the 1960 film version was considered quite cool; the special effects still impress. So we watched it and it was a fun.

With so many classics, the fun is saying “Yep, read it.” and I am glad to be able to say so now. Check it off the list.

RATING:  Three slices of pie.

 

 

 

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Copyright © 2007-2020. Care’s Online Book Club. All rights reserved. This post was originally posted by Care from Care’s Online Book Club.  It should not be reproduced without express written permission.

Announcing June #EarthSea2018 Readalong

Announcing June #EarthSea2018 Readalong

Presented to you by @AvidReader25 and me! Here, there and maybe Twitter? I suspect this readalong will take place on Litsy more than anywhere else…

It is high time I finally read a book by this esteemed author.  How about YOU?

Pull up a chair (laptop), and tell me your favorite book by Ursula-KLG

-or-

if you are like me, can I ask why haven’t you yet?

My own answer to that is multilayered. I have no good excuse and I insist that I haven’t avoided her. It’s that I have a ton of books on my tbr; how does one choose the “right time”? When an author is known for lots and lots of titles, which book of hers do I choose? So, I am grateful for Melissa for suggesting this author, this book, this time.

To gripe a bit, I do blame my education in that I don’t recall many women authors being suggested to me. I read The Hobbit in 5th grade. Why did not someone suggest I might enjoy Ursula K Le Guin?

Let’s do this!

 

 

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Copyright © 2007-2018. Care’s Online Book Club. All rights reserved. This post was originally posted by Care from Care’s Online Book Club.  It should not be reproduced without express written permission.

The Library at Mount Char

Thoughts tlamcbysh by Scott Hawkins, Crown 2015, 390 pages

Challenge: peer pressure?
Genre: Fantasy
Type/Source: ebook / Kindle
 Why I read this now: Making a concerted effort to read my ebooks.

MOTIVATION for READING: I have so many blogger-buds say this is a wild ride. Had to sign up and see if I liked it, too.

WHAT’s it ABOUT: Our main character, Carolyn, is a librarian; but the library where she works is most interesting and actually on a different plane. She is in charge of learning all the worlds’ (world’s or all worlds’? hard to tell) languages while a few of her ‘brothers and sisters’ know everything about war and death and animals and transportation and persuasively getting into people’s heads, etc. They all report to “Father” but he is actually some kind of godlike entity and his library is his store of knowledge. He needed to adopt these kids so he could pass along this knowledge but also keep the power decentralized. Then one day, he goes missing.

WHAT’s GOOD: This is one nutty action-packed funny wild ride, I will agree.

What’s NOT so good:  About half way, when the adrenaline and the WTF’s are flying — while I’m chatting up the book and sharing how awesome it is — and the big WA LA BOOM BOOM! happens…. Then it’s late at night and I have to go to sleep and wake up the next day to finish;  it felt like a balloon with a slow leak. So I suppose I could say the ending but more the lead up to the ending, felt draggy and almost unsatisfactory. Upon reflection a week later, I liked the ending OK.

  I am still wondering if I missed how Carolyn met the military dude. 

FINAL THOUGHTS:  It is a wild and unique ride. It’s violent, a bit of an almost love story — oops, SPOILER!? It has a lot of humor, too.

Other REVIEWS: Shaina’s review has a Q&A with the author which is nice. Heather that Capricious Reader seemed to like it. Michelle gave it a “Hot Damn”. The book cover will link to goodreads.com if you care to explore there. Or click here to get to FyreFly’s Book Blogger Search Engine for this title.

RATING: Four slices of pie. No mention of pie was noted.

 

 

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Copyright © 2007-2016. Care’s Online Book Club. All rights reserved. This post was originally posted by Care from Care’s Online Book Club.  It should not be reproduced without express written permission.

Quick Update…

SO, um yea, THANKS! for the great comments and advice and good cheer.

I ended up reading a few more pages of Prologue to Love before admitting, “No, I do NOT like this dude.” and DNF for realz. I’m sad, though.

and Quiet just wasn’t doin’ it for me. Adios!

But I stuck with Hypocrite and let it audio itself all over my day while I packed and prepped for a weekend trip and then today finished it on a walk and a cool down. I really REALLY liked her essay on her visit to Poland and the concentration camps – gut punch. And I do ‘get’ her bit about the wedding industry and how we are all just a bunch of contradictions and it is best to recognize, laugh at and with and keep trying to figure this life stuff out as best we can. I give it three slices of pie and I don’t recall if she mentions pie or not.

AND!  the biggest result of releasing the guilt and pressure to continue books that are not capturing full attention is that I have read 3 eBooks since! A plane ride and insistence/determination to read my Kindle (damn thing, I really DO. NOT. LIKE. this archaic troublesome device thingie – I read as much on my phone and iPad) helped push me through three books that I gave four pie slices to and enjoyed mostly. All were quite different from each other:

tbdbysm trfocgbyje tlamcbysh

The Baker’s Daughter – Alternating timeline of a young German girl at the end of WW2 who marries a Texan. (also, must mention… there are recipes.)

The Revised Fundamentals of Caregiving by Jonathon Evison – about a roadtrip of a 19-yo boy with his caregiver on the way from Washington state to Salt Lake City and the troubles each have before and along the way. Heartwarming, sad and humorous all wrapped up together.

The Library at Mount Char by Scott Hawkins – uneven but delightfully rompy. Recommended for anyone who likes far out weird crap and strong personalities battling other strong personalities while trying to find heart and soul amidst the chaos. Lots of humor and lots of ass-kicking with questions along the way that have answers that satisfy as best they can. Who doesn’t want to know an Erwin and want him on your team?

Not sure if I will write a post for each but just had to say thanks to the many commenting lovelies on the last post who recommended I MOVE ON ALREADY and so I did.

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Oh. What? You want to know what I am reading/listening to next?  I just opened and read the first few sentences of Crossing to Safety by Wallace Stegner and I believe I will be listening to State of Wonder by Ann Patchett. Anyone up for a June readalong of that? I’m not sure how much I will be able to listen in the next week so June might be perfect…

 
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Copyright © 2007-2016. Care’s Online Book Club. All rights reserved. This post was originally posted by Care from Care’s Online Book Club. It should not be reproduced without express written permission.

My Failed March Magics Post

I can’t finish this book. I’m so sad. OK, better truer words:  I won’t read this? I am “choosing to not continue” to read this. I just want to fall into a story and get swept away and this one is making me think too much about whether or not I should keep reading. I find myself carrying the book around and then never opening or maybe reading 2 pages slowly and not paying attention. OBVIOUSLY this book is not for me.

(I still might gift it to my niece. I hope she likes it. I trust my good reading friends who adore DWJ will find this to be a successful resolution to this problem.)

Fire and Hemlock fahbydwj  FIREBIRD / Penguin Group 2012 (orig 1985), 438 pages

DNF’d – could not abide the bad spelling even if it was supposed to be like that. Ugh! I can’t translate bad spelling into what the words are supposed to be and then SO DISTRACTED and bothered. Also, couldn’t figure out the two memory thing. DWJ is just not for me. I have not the DWJ-appreciation gene; NOT that I don’t admire and respect her talent and success. I will let others enjoy her work.

Attempted to read for #MarchMagics because so many lovely readers I admire love DWJ.

Will be gifting to my Middle-School-aged niece.

Also, bad parenting. UGH again. (in the book, not referring to my niece!)

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 UPDATE
So. I am substitute teaching mathematics to HS freshman in two classes and to HS seniors in another class. Plus I have a “home room” of 3o minutes with about 20 kids. Two weeks down, one week to survive til one week of totally glorious spring break and then 3-4 weeks after and then the teacher I am subbing for comes back. It’s fun, it’s exhausting, it’s overwhelming. I’m making mistakes, I’m beating myself up, I’m falling in love with the lil cherubs, I’m learning slang and other stuff, the staff is amazingly professional and inspiring, and I couldn’t have walked into anything better right now. I am trying to counter the “I’m so exhausted” thoughts with more energetic ones; but as they say, it takes 21 days to make a habit. I’m working on it!

I haven’t finished a book in what feels like forever and I am totally bonkers for the Tournament of Books. BONKERS, PEOPLE!!! I just started an audio of The Sympathizer and I think it will be a good one. I’ve also embarked on a readalong  with Book Chatter Ti of The New World to my surprise (what am I thinking trying to add something new now to my plate?) – but it is super-dooper intriguing because it is a phone app and I don’t know what to expect, really, but it’s a terrific book for #Weirdathon.

What else? I’m sorry I’m not visiting y’all’s blogs or responding to comments but thank you. And a big thank you to all those who have written me personal hand-written (and typed!) letters and postcards this past week! I got quite a bit of nice mail in that box at the end of the driveway and I love it. I’m so blessed.

Have a dynamite wonderful book-filled week!

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Copyright © 2007-2016. Care’s Online Book Club. All rights reserved. This post was originally posted by Care from Care’s Online Book Club. It should not be reproduced without express written permission.