Tuesday, December 6, 2022

Witches of Brooklyn, by Sophie Escabasse

I always say in these graphic novel reviews that I'm not the biggest fan of graphic novels, so you should take my review with a grain of salt, but then I keep liking the graphic novels I read.  So…maybe I'm somewhat of a fan.

Witches of Brooklyn was a charming read.  The concept and characters were interesting.  The relationships were fun to watch grow.  The plot was unusual.  The pacing was good.  The drawings were great.  Some of the dialogue was quite witty.

When I got to the end, I actually put the next book on hold at the library. 

I would definitely recommend this, even to people like me who aren't huge fans (just tiny fans) of graphic novels. 

More accurate rating:  4.5

Wednesday, November 30, 2022

NaNoWriMo Woes

I have not been a very good blog poster this month, mostly because...NaNoWriMo.  It's National Novel Writing Month.  Just finished this evening.  I was a "rebel" this time, revising instead of writing, but I finished my goal.  Yay.  My project this month was a fantasy novel I love, but which I realized had too much narration (and was too long), so I've been working to remedy those two problems--the solutions of which are absolutely at cross purposes.  It's taken a lot of tricky juggling, weaving, and rewriting.   

Tuesday, November 1, 2022

Mogollon Rim Wildlife

Osprey, looking at me:

Antelope squirrel, looking at me:

Elk, looking at me:

Photos all taken in summer, in the Rim Lakes area (Willow Springs Lake and Woods Canyon Lake)

Friday, October 21, 2022

Around the World in 80 Plants, by Jonathan Drori

I really enjoyed Around the World in 80 Plants.  I like books structured like this, where each item (plants, in this case) gets a short but interesting treatment, one you can read in just a couple of minutes.  I also like how it was structured as a trip around the world.  Very engaging. 

It was slightly disappointing (and culturally/politically/ecologically/economically enlightening) that so many of the plants featured for a certain country or area were actually invasive species or not-terribly- invasive transplants from other places.

Each section had a good mix of physical description, botanical oddities, and cultural significance.

The writing was good. 

The illustrations were beautiful, but often I found myself wishing for photographs of the most interesting and unfamiliar plants. 

Overall, a great book, recommended for an interested layperson. 

Warning:  the print in the hardback version is quite small. 

Rating: 4.5 stars

Tuesday, October 11, 2022

My Jasper June, by Laurel Snyder

This was a beautiful book—often sad but also hopeful, sometimes profound.  I loved the characters, the writing, the plot.

Some scenes were drawn out just a tad too long, and I think some young readers might think it slow in those parts, but I really enjoyed it.

[SPOILER ALERT]  I’m not sure how realistic the ending was, and the honest part of me almost wished it had gone a little more with the hard realities of these situations, but the optimistic part of me loved the ending. [END SPOILER]

I will read more by Laurel Snyder. 

4.5 star

Thursday, October 6, 2022

The Darkness Outside Us, by Eliot Schrefer

I really enjoyed The Darkness Outside Us.

Minor issues out of the way first:

At times the romance felt a little forced (or maybe just hormonal teenagery), like “We’re in this major emergency, but…you know…I just want to kiss him,” and not in a “Our whole lives are an emergency, might as well enjoy our last moments” way, but more like a “We need to hurry and get this air lock open or we’ll miss harvesting that asteroid and might run out of oxygen in a few weeks, but let me pause to admire his lips” sort of way.  Just a minor thing that won’t bother many readers.

I also found several instances of what seemed to me to be plot holes or characters acting out of character…but they didn’t seriously affect my enjoyment.   

Minor issues over.

I LOVED the premise.  I LOVED the gray AI.  I LOVED the structure and tension and twists of the second half, and I kept wondering how on earth these characters were going to fix the situation.  Really well done.  The writing was good.  I liked the characters.

I would definitely read more by Eliot Schrefer.

A strong 4.5 stars.