Thursday, January 1, 2015

December 2014 - Book Reviews

The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy by Douglas Adams

 I really do love this book. It's not the one I've read most out of my collection, but it is one I have read several times. Tyler and I actually read this aloud on our road trip to Utah at the beginning of the month. It's actually one of the only books I've read that can make me laugh out loud when I'm reading it alone, and when reading with someone, it can inspire true fits of giggles.

This sci-fi farce comes highly recommended from me to you.

Hansel & Gretel by Neil Gaiman

This is an illustrated version of the classic fairy tale, retold by Neil Gaiman. It includes some interesting history about the original tale.

A lovely and dark little book, if you like fairy tales, you'll like this.

The Martian by Andy Weir

When an astronaut is mistakenly abandoned on the surface of Mars following a mission cut short by weather, he must figure out a way to survive until the next mission, four years away.

This hard sci-fi novel is fascinating. Featuring current or near-future technology, the narrative races along as the protag faces problem after problem threatening his life. Sci-fi fans, as well as anyone interested in the NASA's journey to Mars, will enjoy this book.

Highly recommended.

Warnings on: language, sexual situations.

Black Science by Rick Remender; Art by Matteo Scalera and Dean White

This sci-fi graphic novel leaps off the page with brilliant art and a riveting story-line. A group of scientists are stranded through a series of inter-dimensional jumps, trying to repair their machine and get back home. Told through past and present action, the characters and their relationships are complex and multi-faceted.

Highly recommended for mature readers.

Warnings on: language, violence, sexual situations.

Zombies Christmas Carol by Jim McCann; Art by David Baldeon and Jeremy Treece

In this graphic novel retelling of the classic Dickens Christmas story, Scrooge is humanity's last hope as the poor and destitute (zombies) threaten the city with their insatiable hunger. The story is actually pretty clever and the art is gorgeous. Well, as gorgeous as zombie gore can get. As a huge fan of A Christmas Carol and a fan of zombie tales, I loved it.

Warnings on: graphic violent imagery.

Fangirl by Rainbow Rowell

I loved Rowell's Eleanor & Park, so I was primed for Fangirl. This book follows Cath as she starts a new adventure at college with her twin sister. But things go wrong when Cath's roommate is less-than-friendly, her sister needs space, and her father has trouble adjusting to his daughters' absence. As Cath tries to juggle classes, new relationships and old ones, and her fanfic Carry On, Simon, her own anxiety ramps into overgear.

I love Rowell's realistic prose. I love her complex narratives. I love the excerpts from Carry On, Simon. I love how real Cath is. How real all the characters are, flawed and bruised and bumpy and lovable and sometimes not lovable because they're real.

Highly recommended for young adult and emerging adult readers.

Warnings on: language.

Landline by Rainbow Rowell

This book actually takes place in the week leading up to Christmas, and that's when I read it. In the soft glow of Christmas lights, drinking hot cider and eating gingerbread cookies, I followed the story of Georgie, a TV writer who decides to skip her family's trip to Omaha for Christmas in favor of work in California. After her husband and two daughters leave, she realizes her marriage may be foundering. Thus begins a week of intense introspection as she thinks back to how her marriage relationship started and what has happened since.

This book is magical, filled with realistic relationships and characters, and an It's A Wonderful Life twist. Rowell's prose moves quickly and the pages turn themselves. I will be reading it every Christmas.

Highly recommended for adult readers.

Warnings on: language and... sexual situations? I can't remember. There is language though.

The Gigantic Beard That Was Evil by Stephen Collins

This allegorical graphic novel about fear of other-ness is beautiful and profound. A little dark, a little humorous, and a little heart-breaking, this book is unforgettable and I want everyone to read it.

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