Posts Tagged: MG

Wednesday, November 12, 2014

Audiobook Review: The Graveyard Book by Neil Gaiman

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I received this book for free from HarperCollins in exchange for an honest review. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.

Audiobook Review: The Graveyard Book by Neil GaimanThe Graveyard Book by Neil Gaiman
Published by HarperCollins on September 8th 2014
Genres: Middle-Grade
Source: HarperCollins
Buy on Amazon

After the grisly murder of his entire family, a toddler wanders into a graveyard where the ghosts and other supernatural residents agree to raise him as one of their own.

Nobody Owens, known to his friends as Bod, is a normal boy. He would be completely normal if he didn't live in a sprawling graveyard, being raised and educated by ghosts, with a solitary guardian who belongs to neither the world of the living nor of the dead. There are dangers and adventures in the graveyard for a boy. But if Bod leaves the graveyard, then he will come under attack from the man Jack—who has already killed Bod's family . . .

Beloved master storyteller Neil Gaiman returns with a luminous new novel for the audience that embraced his New York Times bestselling modern classic Coraline. Magical, terrifying, and filled with breathtaking adventures, The Graveyard Book is sure to enthrall readers of all ages.

This was such a fun audiobook to listen to. It was a full cast which really made the book come to life. Not only was it a full cast audio, it also had sound effects and music. Each of the narrators did fabulous at the various characters. This book was fun and a bit creepy. Made more creepy by the audio at certain points. Nobody Owens was such a great character and I loved “reading” about him growing up in the graveyard and how he feels about the world outside the graveyard. He has been raised in the graveyard by ghosts ever since he was a baby and his family was murdered. This was one of the coolest audiobooks I have listened to.

Nobody Owens is a character who goes through many changes as he grows up. His life is obviously much different than a typical child since he is living with ghosts. He does not have any interactions with the outside world until he is much older with the exception of a little girl Scarlett who he briefly meets before she moves away. He does go to real school eventually, but ends up leaving after he realizes that he doesn’t fit in and he doesn’t want to draw anymore attention to himself. Once he learns of his family’s murder, he gets set on revenge. He is not a bad child, he just wants to make things right. He really is such an innocent boy with very limited life experience so seeing him go through some of the situations is really interesting.

The rest of the characters are awesome too. I loved getting to know them. Each of them was very individual and well developed. I think that the audio really helped with that since there was a full cast of narrators to voice them. Bod’s “parents” were very old fashioned since they lived a long time ago. They were charming and cute. We actually didn’t get a lot of them, but I did enjoy what we did get. I really liked Silas, who was Bod’s guardian. He was quite interesting. Scarlett was such a great character as both a little girl and when she returned when she was older. Then we had The Man Jack, who was the murderer. The limited time we got with him was chilling and great. The best character audio wise was the Sleer, which I don’t know if I spelled correctly since I didn’t physically read it. It actually gave me the chills when the Sleer spoke. The first time I actually got slightly creeped out since I was driving on a random back road at night.

Overall this story was fun and kept me interested. I don’t know that it would have been as good to me had I read it myself, but the audio was really fantastic. Just rating on the audio alone it would be a 5, but since I need to factor in how I actually felt about the story I need to lower the rating a bit. Not that I didn’t enjoy it, because I did, but it didn’t blow me away. It was entertaining while it lasted, but nothing that will stick with me for very long. The writing was great, the characters were great, and the creepy factor was just enough for the age group intended. This was a solid book that I think people of all ages will enjoy, especially on audio!!


3.5 Hot Espressos

Review: The Scandalous Sisterhood of Prickwillow Place by Julie Berry

Review: The Scandalous Sisterhood of Prickwillow Place by Julie Berry

Posted by on 10/23/2014 • 14 Comments

Super cute! The plot is more-or-less a game of clue, but more MG-like, with a large cast of funny, resourceful, and charismatic young girls.

Much like its cover, The Scandalous Sisterhood of Prickwillow Place is intriguing and fun with a touch of humour. We begin by being introduced to the girls with the help of some illustrations and a quick look into why they were sent to St. Etheldreda’s School for Girls. I had the ARC so the illustrations were sadly missing, but the cover accomplished the same and it was fun to have a visual to go with all these great personalities. Then shortly after, we have the death of the headmistress and her brother, leaving the girls to solve a mystery while trying to hide the events…

Review: The Iron Trial by Cassandra Clare & Holly Black

Review: The Iron Trial by Cassandra Clare & Holly Black

Posted by on 08/18/2014 • 24 Comments

I really wanted to love this one, and I could almost give it a 3-star after the fascinating twist at the end, but I just can’t. For the most part, I couldn’t stop seeing the glaring parallels with Harry Potter which annoyed me endlessly. I’m not one to roll my eyes at similar storylines – I don’t curse all MG novels about magic school for being Harry Potter rip-offs, but there are only so many similarities I can tolerate.

So let’s see, we have this kid, Call, who was marked at birth by the most evil of its kind – someone corrupted by his desire to become immortal (called the Enemy of Death but I call him Ed, sounds much more ominous don’t you think?). When Call gets to magic…

Review: All Four Stars by Tara Dairman

Review: All Four Stars by Tara Dairman

Posted by on 07/10/2014 • 10 Comments

After reading serious book after serious book and then topping it off with a gore-filled horrorfest novel, I didn’t think there could be a better cleanse for my palate than a sweet MG read. I was wrong, there was something better, a sweet MG read that is full of the most luscious, tasty food descriptions that I have ever come across! All Four Stars by Tara Dairman is a wonderful middle grade read that makes you fall for it’s voracious MC and also leaves your mouth watering like no book I have read before.

This book along with my last read are leaving me thinking that I am warming up to third person perspective. Of course I know that in these two instances it’s just cases of the POV being…

Review: A Monster Calls by Patrick Ness

Review: A Monster Calls by Patrick Ness

Posted by on 07/02/2014 • 31 Comments

Why do I read these books? Wait, why do I love them? DO I LIKE PAIN!?!?

Before this book even began, with just the author’s note, I was already emotional to learn of the passing of Siobhan Dowd that inspired this novel. I’m so happy that Ness wrote it, and that it became such a well loved book. What a wonderful way to commemorate someone’s life work.

A Monster Calls is a masterpiece in itself, with its terribly poignant account of a young boy learning to deal with his mother’s battle with cancer. Being a mother myself, this is one of my worst fears – to leave my child motherless, filled with grief and pain and confusion. With that said, I truly and deeply connected with this story, with…

Review: The End or Something Like That by Ann Dee Ellis

Review: The End or Something Like That by Ann Dee Ellis

Posted by on 04/29/2014 • 10 Comments

I went into The End or Something Like That expecting to read a YA contemporary novel.  Having this mindset left me very annoyed at the repetitive writing and juvenile attitudes presented.  Once I started easing into the story I switched my perception of the novel and starting looking at is as a middle grade one which helped with my enjoyment of it greatly.  Don’t get me wrong, lots still annoyed me about it but I was much more forgiving of its quirkiness than I was initially.

In this story we are Emmy, a grade 9 student who lost her very best friend the year before.  She grew up with her best friend Kim from as early as one can because their mothers were also best friends.  From birth Kim had…

Review: Codename Zero by Chris Rylander

Review: Codename Zero by Chris Rylander

Posted by on 01/30/2014 • 19 Comments

There’s nothing better to cleanse the reader’s pallet than a good ol’ middle grade novel.  No cliche romance, no chance of a love triangle and just piles of fun! Codename Zero was such a fantastic read, one that I took in in a single day and one that I could have devoured much more of if given the chance.

Carson Fender is a prankster.  He lives in a small town in North Dakota and is quite frankly bored with the every day small town life.  He likes to spice things up with his pranks, take people by surprise and uproot the daily routine.  One afternoon while carrying out an epic prank involving fainting goats and super glue a sweaty man in a suit rushes up to him and hands him…

Review: Storm Watcher by Maria V. Snyder

Review: Storm Watcher by Maria V. Snyder

Posted by on 10/17/2013 • 14 Comments

This was my first book by Maria V. Snyder, though it was also a Middle Grade. It’s a quick, short read about a boy terrified of storms and a passion for dogs.

After having lost his mother, Luke is still adjusting to having this big hole in his life. He gets a summer job at a dog kennel where they breed and train dogs. It’s a perfect book for dog lovers. We get into dog training, especially tracker dogs, which I find kind of fascinating. But the best part of this novel for me was its characters. We have this boy who’s so sweet. His emotions and blame for his mother’s death broke my heart. I also loved the bond he has with his family. Even though they were…