Genre Exploration: Magical Realism — Chapter Adventures

Genre Exploration: Magical Realism — Chapter Adventures

Here is a wonderful explanation for those that are somewhat confused by the term “magical realism.” I tried explaining it in my last review, Review: “The Accident Season” by Moïra Fowley-Doyle, but I don’t think I did a great job of it.

Enjoy!

Another day, another installment of my Genre Exploration series, where I discuss genres I don’t normally pick up, define them, talk about their classics and new releases, recommend books and authors, and much more. This time I want to talk about magical realism. I’ll be focusing on Latin American magical realism to honor Latinx Heritage Month, given that this genre originated and flourished here. I […]

via Genre Exploration: Magical Realism — Chapter Adventures

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Review: “The Accident Season” by Moïra Fowley-Doyle

Review: “The Accident Season” by Moïra Fowley-Doyle

I took a really long time to read this book. Way too long (literally the entire month of October. This fact is ironic, but thou will only get the irony if thou has read the book. So, if thou is curious now, thou should, most definitely, go read this book).

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There, I said it for you.

Anywho …. This book was … enchanting; whimsically enthralling; hauntingly beautiful; modern folklore to twist the mind around. It was all of these things and still very, very REAL and RAW. It blurs the lines between using a piece of the plot as a metaphor and this piece simply being a very real part of the story.

So, this whole “Accident Season” happens to this family once a year. Therefore, once a year the Morris family wears several layers of clothes, clumsy/doofus – proofs their house (think of it like baby-proofing, but to an extreme), and basically tries very, very hard to not trip, fall, or scrape anything.  Of course, this only barely keeps them out of the local hospital on a regular basis. But wait! Who makes up the Morris family? (I’m so glad you asked!)

The Morris family is made up of four high school teenagers and their way cool artist mama. Alice is the oldest and more resistant to the belief in the “accident season.” Cara and her step-brother (but not really) Sam are the youngest and blame everything that happens during this time on the accident season. And then there is their friend Bea, a rendition of the wild child, but more earthy. Bea is the same age as Cara and Sam and, technically, not related, but still enough apart of the family that she gets affected by the weird juju as well. Oh, and Elsie. [But I’m not explaining her because I am evil and want you to read this book *cackling laughter*.]

Now that we know who this karfuful is all about, time to give you a wee bit about the book. The book follows this family through their current accident season, “‘One of the worst.'”  A hospital visit has already happened and there is an eerie mystery going on as well that Cara is determined to figure out. As the book goes on these teenagers are doing teenager-y things (meaning doing things that are most definitely going to get them hurt), but they are being mirrored by fairy-ish changeling creatures.

It is this relationship between the changelings and Alice, Cara, Sam, and Bea that gives this book a folklore feel that pulls you in. Doyle, gives you hints at the beginnings and slowly begins to give you more and more, but it’s never enough so you keep reading and falling in love with this achingly real and magical characters. Then, when you reach the end …

bam

That’s all I’m saying about the ending. But, as if this AHMAZING review *cough, cough, rambling, cough* has not already enticed you to immediately go out and buy this book, there is one more thing. It has a wonderfully grown up lyrical poem/chant/song/prayer (you make the final decision.)

accident-season-poem

 

Series Burn Out

Series Burn Out

Hi all! Been a while (I know). But something popped into my head recently and I feel the need to write about it, so here I am!

But before I got to that I want to give y’all a reason why I haven’t been writing. Ready for this? HARRY FRIGGIN’ POTTER.

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I have never read the series before and decided while I was reading The Incorrigible Children of Ashton Place series that I was going to undertake the journey that is Harry Potter.

Now, the key phrase to focus on in the above sentence is “while I reading.” See, and please let me know if I am isolated in this position, but sometimes I just get tired of reading a series. It has nothing to do with the series itself (not usually anyways), but more to do with struggle to commit. But this tiredness leads to me wistfully looking at the 1 1/2 ft. high pile of un-read books that I have calling to me like a siren on my bed stand. This peeking, however, then causes me to feel guilty because I have already committed to the series, but here I am cheating on it with my evil eyes. But at the same time, I want to read my other books. So… then I stop reading the series and read other things. 😦 You see my struggle? my sadness?

And though I am ashamed to admit it, I have done this with the Harry Potter series as well (I know, for shame!). I was starting Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince, and Harry pulled a dumb move on the train to Hogwarts and I was annoyed with him I stopped reading the book for a week. And read two different books in that time.

But I am starting to read it again. But, reading it again is besides the point, you know? It’s the fact that I betrayed Potter. That I couldn’t stick with him when he was being annoying that bothers me. I’m a terrible fan! *Cue crying.* But, I am making it up to him now by being completely committed to the series. And I mean the ENTIRE series. I’m reading all the other books – Quidditch Through the Ages, The Tales of Beedle and Bard, Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them, etc. – when I finally turn that final page in The Deathly Hollows. 

Whelp. Anyways… Have y’all ever gone through series burn out? Let me know!

Review of “Fangirl” by Rainbow Rowell 

Review of “Fangirl” by Rainbow Rowell 

“I choose you over everyone.” 

– Fangirl by Rainbow Rowell 

Be still my ache-y break-y heart. This line is beautiful. Shoo, Cath and Levi are beautiful. 

Okay, so I realize I am reading this book well after its hoopla had hit its threshold, but wow. I’m a graduate of college and this book still hit me in the feels. Like right in DAMN feels. Yeez-us. Moving on…. 

I’m in a list-ee mood, so I am going to write my review as a list of the good and the bad of this book. 

Good: 

  • Characters – Cather, Levi, Reagan, Wren, and even douchewad Nick. They were ALIVE, ROUND, DYNAMIC. They were human. And, duh, yes they are human. But it’s hard to create a human on page. We are such weird and complex creatures that seem to constantly defy definition…. And yet we have stereotypes…. Okay. I’m leaving that alone. NEXT! 
  • Welcome to the Fan World – Honestly, this book is a nice introduction in to the fandom world, but it does not, by any means, explain everything. I don’t think one book could explain everything there this know about fandom so. There’s just so much. But it does show what’s it like be apart of something that spans cultures, countries, and differences. In my humble opinion, fandom are the ultimate hippie movement. Why?  Because we are united by our love of something. 
  • College Expereince – I alternate between feeling like all newbie college freshmen should read this and they shouldn’t. I think they should so they realize that college has a good and bad side (this book does good job of getting that message across without scaring the shit out of you). But, I don’t think they should, at least not till the second semester, because I don’t want  them to get their hopes up…. 
  • This book is relatable – Obviously, I have already touched on this with the the characters, but I feel it deserves it’s one point in the list, because MOTHER OF GOD, Cath our protagonist was so relatable. Her whole college Expereince was relatable. And as you can read from some of the other reviews I have written, being able to read something and think, “OMG! Yes! I know exactly what this is like,” it brings a sense of connectedness. Like a small comfort that this fictional character gets you. Or you get them. Or you get each other. 

Bad: 

  • There is only complaint I have. THE ENDING. Caught me completely off guard. And I felt like something very critical went completely over my head. This may just be my personal experience, but …. Yeah. My only critique is the ending. Really weird and unfulfilling ending. 

PLEASE, please, please! Share your thoughts on this book with me! I enjoyed it so much and no one around me seems to have read it. 😦 So, let us Fangirl about it together! 

I Pause Your Dazed Scrolling to Bring You An Excerpt…

I Pause Your Dazed Scrolling to Bring You An Excerpt…

Because excerpts are great for any serious reader whom is pondering, “Do I want to read this?”  The following excerpt is from The Incorrigible Children of Ashton Place: The Unseen Guestthe third book in the series by Maryrose Wood.

Without further introduction, I give thee an excerpt:

[BEWARE: it might contain spoilers. It depends on what you consider a spoiler though… I think all information from this passage can be inferred from the summary of the book. But, just in case, YOU HAVE BEEN WARNED.]

But before we continue any further with the adventures of Miss Penelope Lumley and the three Incorrigible children as they venture into the forest in pursuit of a runaway ostrich, let us look away for a moment (for they will have to do quite a lot of hup, hup, hupping before they get far enough into the woods for things to become interesting) and consider some matters of linguistic significance, starting with three letters: namely, P, O, and E.

When the admiral first said POE, Miss Lumley thought he meant Poe, as in Edgar Allen Poe. This is because POE and Poe are homonyms, which means they are two different words that are pronounced the same way.

POE is also an acronym, which is a word made out of the first letters of other words. To the admiral it stood for Permanent Ostrich Enclosure, although POE could just as easily stand for something else: Pie Over Everything, for example, a tasty, if filling, notion. Or Ponder On Elks, which as you already know, is nearly impossible to avoid doing once you have been told (and told, and told yet again, in the strictest possible terms) not to ponder on elks.

Some acronyms prove so catchy that they become words in their own right. Marine explorers know that “scuba” is an acronym for Self-Contained Underwater Breathing Apparatus. Those of you who enjoy shooting laser beams at your friends for sport can bamboozle your opponents by crying out, “Here comes my Light Amplification by Stimulated Emission of Radiation!” just before you fire.

If you now think that you would rather confront a herd of Profoundly Outraged Elephants in a Perilously Oscillating Elevator than hear another word about homonyms, acronyms, or any other kind of nyms – well, think again. There is power in words used carelessly. Consider how disappointed you would feel if, after booking an expensive spa vacation, you found yourself on holiday with the Society of Professional Accountants instead. (Note: A word that no one has heard of is called a whatsthatonym, since the listener is bound to say, “What’s that?” in response. A word that no one cares about is a sowhatonym. Alas, there is presently no word in English that means a word that does not exist, but perhaps the clever among you can invent one.)

pg. 136-137

Isn’t this passage fun, engaging, and educational?! I certainly thought it was. Considering the target audience is 8-12, kids (But, there are plenty of adults as well that do not know what a homonym is, so there is that to ponder as well.) can learn quite a bit from Ms. Wood’s books.

However, there are those readers that did not have very encouraging notes to make about this book. And though I am not done with the book, I have to say I disagree (though I do understand their point of view) with the first few reviews on Goodreads. I perused these reviews before I started reading the third installment in this series, and I have to say, I was a bit disappointed. I know it’s commonplace to always need a destination in mind when doing or going anywhere, but I argue that there are some tasks and ambitions in life where the journey is truly more important than the destination. This series is an example of one of these ambitions. I read things that gave the following gist: The series is losing steam and my interest.

How unfortunate… for them. I hope they stuck with it.

I say stop worrying so much about the mystery, the answers will come when they do. For now, enjoy this wonderful world that Maryrose Wood has created and have a jolly good time!

Lastly, what are your thoughts on this excerpt? Is this something you would want to read or read to a little one in your life?

Review: “The Incorrigible Children of Ashton Place: The Hidden Gallery”

Review: “The Incorrigible Children of Ashton Place: The Hidden Gallery”

“Clearly, optimism can be a very fine trait, with the power to turn lemons into lemonade, apples into blackberries, and so forth. But just as a scrumptious tarte Phillipe will cause the most dreadful tummy ache if eaten in excess, too much optimism can plunge one into the precarious state of mind known as ‘optoomuchism.'” (181-182) 

The Incorrigible Children of Ashton Place: The Hidden Gallery, by Maryrose Wood 

This is the second book in the Incorrigible Children series and it does not disappoint! All the characters continue to grow (except for Lady Constance, bless her heart), along with the general plot and mystery that surrounds these wild (though now very tame) youngins, Miss Lumley, and Lord Ashton. 

In this book I believe that Miss Lumley handles herself and the increasingly strange happenings surrounding herself and the children rather well. She stays true to her Swanburne upbringing (she recalls her class, “Do Not Panic: A Swanburne Girl Always Keeps Her Wits About Her” when faced with her first unpleasant experience in London) and does not let the uncontrollable throw her off her game and composure – very admirable. The children are still their typical half wild/ half tame selves, though they seem to be coming along very nicely in their studies. Her wonderfully erratic internal commentary and general pluckiness does not change or become diminished in this book, which was one of the characteristics that made me love the first book so much. 

The setting has changed since the first book – it’s in London (as noted before)! Before it was at Ashton Place in the country. The change of setting adds lots of funny action to the story and serves as a hearty source of clues to the ongoing mystery of where the children came from and what on earth is going on with their story. The reader will also be introduced to another, new, character that fits right in with Miss Lumley and the children. 

The quote mentioned above is my personal favorite from this book. It’s still very true to this day, but written so splendidly that I simply had to share it with y’all. 

If you have read this book please share your favorite quote! I would love to talk with you about the many and various quotable lines from this book (or even the first book! I’m not getting picky).