Shawn L. Bird

Original poetry, commentary, and fiction. All copyrights reserved.

Review- Lost in Spaaaaaaain July 11, 2012

Filed under: book reviews — Shawn L. Bird @ 11:52 am
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Lost in Spain.

.

LOST IN SPAIN by John Wilson

Markham: Fitzhenry & Whiteside, 2000.  174 p.

YA historical novel

It is a fast read, so it’s not deep, but it did give me a real sense of the Spanish Civil War that fit with what I experienced and heard when I was in Spain earlier this year. Lots of action to keep you flipping pages. I was stunned when I started reading and discovered the book opened in my small BC town! Not what you expect about a book set in Spain, you can imagine. I was irritated by how Ted refers to his father as Will throughout the book. Why doesn’t he call him dad? or father? It’s so strange, it seemed there should be a reason for it. He calls his mother, Mom, after all. An interesting read that seemed to give a good glimpse at the character of the country and the context for the history.
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Review- A Perfect Gentle Knight July 9, 2012

A Perfect Gentle KnightA Perfect Gentle Knight by Kit Pearson seemed to have an identity crisis. The main character is 11, and it read a lot like a children’s book, but it was set up as a baby boomer memoir, casually referring to events and objects that would be foreign to 11 year olds without any context or explanation. The themes are big: loss, mental illness, coming of age. I think perhaps they are too big for this 164 page format, and too big for 11 year old Corrie to do justice to on her own. I would have loved to see this story twice as long so the characters could have been more finely drawn, the dialogue used more to advance the plot, and to create more of an immersion experience. It felt like the story moved in thick chunks, rather than flowing. I think 60 year olds who grew up in Vancouver would find this a lovely nostalgic book, but I think it misses the mark as a kids’ book, which is a shame, because it could have been fantastic if 1950’s Vancouver could have become as real as, say 1900’s PEI is in the Anne of Green Gables books

 

I Heart You, You Haunt Me June 1, 2012

Filed under: book reviews,Reading — Shawn L. Bird @ 4:14 pm
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My review of I Heart You, You Haunt Me by Lisa Schroeder, in verse.  Of course.

.

A verse novel

is like dessert.

Not double chocolate fudge cake

or creme brulee.

More like

lime jello

or

custard.

You want to love it

because it’s dessert,

but somehow

 it doesn’t quite satisfy.

There’s a lack of depth here.

The message is simple

and the path is straight.

Apparently,

I like more

complexity

in relationships

and characters.

More conflict.

Something

more.

.

Lest you think I’m just negative toward all verse novels, here’s my review of Wendy Phillip’s Fishtailing, which I thoroughly enjoyed.

 

Echoes November 24, 2011

In my on-going delight over having discovered and devoured Diana Gabaldon last month, I have read the last book in the Outlander series twice this month (I read through most of the series twice since I discovered them. Just because.

I had a bunch of ponderings about Echo in the Bone, and was hoping to spend some quality time on the Outlander Book Club forum. Unfortunately, having Americans involved, they have closed the forum for the Thanksgiving holiday (imagine! shutting down the internet for a holiday!) NOT being an American, I’m not very impressed. I did a search for other discussions and came across this amusing review.  I thought you might be entertained by it as much as I was.

Having shared that, and not being able to play on the forum, I shall have to listen to Voyager and cut out that linen tunic, I guess.

 

lonnnnnnnnng walk November 17, 2011

Filed under: book reviews — Shawn L. Bird @ 12:16 am
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I’m reading The Long Walk for my book club.

I’ve decided I don’t like expository biographies that don’t use dialogue or skillfully develop suspense or tension.

I suspect the movie is actually going to be better than the book.

That’s saying something, but it’d be hard to be worse.

 

interviews October 19, 2011

Filed under: book reviews,Grace Awakening,Reading,Writing — Shawn L. Bird @ 7:10 pm
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I like interviews.  I enjoy meeting people, and I enjoy the fun of discovery that comes from questions.

Recently I was asked if Grace, Ben and Josh would consent to participate in an interview.  With some difficulty, the three of them were assembled in one place, and this is the result:

http://oneminutebooks.blogspot.com/2011/10/good-characters-make-you-feel-like-you.html

 

getting it October 12, 2011

I was impressed with OneMinuteBooks’ review of Grace Awakening for a couple of specific reasons. Of course, I like that she’s enthusiastic in her praise, but specifically, I love that she GETS it.

She understands that since Grace is the narrator, the reader has only as much information as Grace does. (Well, they get a little more, as they get to peek in on those 3rd person mythic realm dialogues that Grace doesn’t know about). Yes. This is confusing. Yes. This was intentional.  Yes.  This means you are Grace, in all her confusion.

I like that the reviewer gets the mythical allusions, and understands the purpose behind not telling the reader straight out. Yes. You’re supposed to be smart enough to be able to look this up yourself (with the help of the glossary at the back).  Yes. I expect that you are smart enough to figure out that there is another story happening, beyond the one that Grace knows about.   Congratulations on discovering the puzzle pieces that Grace doesn’t understand!   Reading between the lines and interpreting the additional clues take skill!  Grace hasn’t figured it out.  I’m glad when readers can!  😀

Once upon a time I was told “Grace Awakening is Twilight for intelligent girls.” I think this is true. Most people will get the surface story, but there is a lot more at play here than is apparent on the surface. It makes me happy when someone not only gets it, but actually appreciates that it’s there.

Followers of Athena, I salute you! This book was written for you!

Thanks Amanda for understanding what Grace is all about.  After a couple of weird reviews this week when I suspected the reviewers hadn’t actually read the book, this gave me faith in the process again.  Not everyone will get it, or like it, but there are more out there who do!

To read the OneMinuteBooks review visit here.

 

 
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