What I’m Loving Wednesday – Hollow City

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(photo courtesy here)

Hollow City is the sequel to Miss Peregrine’s Home for Peculiar Children, and it picks up right where that one left off – with Jacob and the children adrift in the ocean following the destruction of their home and their loop on the island. They find land finally, only to find the wights have followed them, and thus begins a mad dash through England trying to find the one last ymbryne besides Miss Peregrine that hasn’t been captured.

There will be a third book in this series – Library of Souls, due out September of this year – so this doesn’t wrap up the story, but it does a fine job of making you think it will right up until the very end. I enjoyed this book immensely, though not as much as I enjoyed the first one. It felt like the success of the first one came as a surprise, so the writing of the sequel had to be hurried up a little; whereas the storyline in the first one was tight and well crafted, parts of Hollow City felt a little rushed and under-baked. Jacob was a little too verbose and introspective in parts for the action happening at the time – you wonder how he had the time to think such grand thoughts when he’s being chased half the book. Despite some slow parts especially in the middle, I kept with it and really enjoyed the ending, which has me chomping at the bit for the third book.

As I said with the first book, this is technically YA fiction but it doesn’t feel young or dumbed down in any way. I would enthusiastically recommend this to anyone! So now that I have to wait for the next book, I’m looking for a new one to read – I just started Shades of Milk and Honey, which is like if Jane Austen had written a fairy tale. Has anyone else read it? What are you enjoying right now?

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What I’m Loving Wednesday – Book Edition

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I just finished Miss Peregrine’s Home for Peculiar Children by Ransom Riggs the other night. I would have finished it a lot sooner if I didn’t have all that pesky work and sleep getting in the way. This book is thoroughly enjoyable – creepy, thrilling, touching. It’s technically considered YA fiction but I feel like anything that’s even slightly fantasy adjacent  – that doesn’t have any swearing or graphic sex – is considered YA nowadays. Do not let the labels sway you! There’s some very original and imaginative writing happening in books supposedly meant only for teenagers.

Jacob is a bored, lonely 16 year old who seems destined to work for his mother’s family drugstore business in Florida. He worships his grandfather, an eccentric Polish Jew who fought in WWII, who has a stack of amazing vintage photographs and fantastical stories for each one. Jacob stops believing his grandfather’s stories, but when tragedy strikes he learns not everything is as it seems – and his life may never be the same again.

This book hooked me from the get go and never lost my interest. Even better, the photographs – all real, vintage, unretouched photographs curated by the author – are interspersed throughout the book, giving you an actual glimpse at the characters throughout the story. The characters, even the fantastical ones, are believable – they are flawed and they don’t always do the right thing, but you root for them. Even Miss Peregrine – a character who could have easily gone the McGonagall route by always being an on-point badass – has her secrets and her missteps.  For his part, Jacob – the narrator of the story – is a remarkably self-aware teenager, but not in an annoying precocious way. More like a smart, quiet kid with few friends, who has had the time to observe human behavior and figure it out. Not long after I finished it I ended up getting the follow up, Hollow City, because I have to know how the story ends!

If you like mysteries, if you like stories that keep you perched on the edge of your seat, than definitely check this book out. You will not be disappointed!

What I’m Loving Wednesdays – Book Edition

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Well, comic book. And you know what? That absolutely counts. Going through the English major program during college, I came across a lot of people who looked down their noses at anything that wasn’t the classics or the masters. I remember two guys in one of my classes basically laughing at Stephen King, saying he wouldn’t be as good as Keats, of all people. I thought, what the hell is wrong with you? First off that’s comparing an apple to a cucumber – King is a horror novelist, and Keats was a poet. Second, King’s books are very popular for a reason – they’re well written, they’re engaging, and damn it they are fun to read. And that is really all that matters when it comes to what you like to read. Is it fun to read? Do you have trouble putting it down? Does it make you happy or sad or make you think about life? Then it counts.

There is some excellent writing happening in comic books right now. Not only are the big ones at Marvel and DC still going strong – X Men, Batman, Spiderman, all of those are still out there in one form or another – but there’s some really original series to be found, especially at Image Comics. One of my favorite over the past year has been the series Pretty Deadly written by Kelly Sue DeConnick and drawn by Emma Rios. Not only is it simply stunning to look at, the story is written in such a way that by the time each issue ends, you cannot wait for the next issue to come out, to get a little more of the story and understand the universe.

The story of Ginny, the daughter of Death; Alice, who has her reasons for hunting Ginny; and the Mason who loved too deeply are told by a skeleton bunny and his butterfly friend. It is a gorgeous western intertwined with a heartbreaking horror story. It is action packed one second and quietly introspected the next. The first volume, consisting of the first six issues, is out now. Do yourself a favor and pick it up the next time you’re at your local comic store or bookstore – you will not be disappointed!