Friday, May 26, 2017

Book Review: American Gods by Neil Gaiman


Media Type: Print Book
Title: American Gods
   *Series: American Gods #1
Author: Neil Gaiman
Publisher: William Morrow Paperbacks
Pages: Paperback; TV Tie-In; 792
Release Date: March 28, 2017
Source: HarperCollins / TLC Book Tours
---------------------------------------------------
Genre: Urban Fantasy / Fantasy

HDB Rating: 5 Keys to My Heart

Recommended to: Readers who love rich, deep stories with mythology to spare. Fans of Gaiman!

Add it on: GoodreadsHarperCollins | Amazon | B&N
First published in 2001, here is the New York Times bestselling novel that became an instant classic and was hailed by USA Today as “a powerful, searing force that makes readers confront what is real and what is not…”—now a TV series from FremantleMedia North America is coming to STARZ with Bryan Fuller and Michael Green as showrunners, and starring Ricky Whittle, Ian McShane, Crispin Glover, Cloris Leachman, and Gillian Anderson.

Locked behind bars for three years, Shadow did his time, quietly waiting for the day when he could return to Eagle Point, Indiana. A man no longer scared of what tomorrow might bring, all he wanted was to be with Laura, the wife he deeply loved, and start a new life.

But just days before his release, Laura and Shadow’s best friend are killed in an accident. With his life in pieces and nothing to keep him tethered, Shadow accepts a job from a beguiling stranger he meets on the way home, an enigmatic man who calls himself Mr. Wednesday. A trickster and a rogue, Wednesday seems to know more about Shadow than Shadow does himself.

Life as Wednesday’s bodyguard, driver, and errand boy is far more interesting and dangerous than Shadow ever imagined. Soon Shadow learns that the past never dies... and that beneath the placid surface of everyday life a storm is brewing—an epic war for the very soul of America—and that he is standing squarely in its path.
First, a confession. I confess that I am shamelessly in love with Neil Gaiman. If you are worried that this will sully my unbiased review of this book, worry not. In fact, this was my second read through of American Gods and, truth be told, I wasn't all that in love with it the first time I read it. Maybe it was where I was at in my life, or the current reading mood I had, but despite my love for Gaiman this book and I just didn't click. So, when I was offered the Author's Preferred Text version for review, I was eager to give it another chance. Oh, I am so glad I did. So, so very glad. This book is an experience. Brutal at times, beautiful at others, and full of things that will have you questioning reality. In other words, it's Gaiman. At his finest. I don't know why I ever thought otherwise.

Shadow's journey is a strange, and fascinating one. Whether you're familiar with the Norse Gods or not, Shadow will always be there to stumble right along with you. Here's the thing though, Shadow is infinitely more steady than I expected him to be. He's a character who, despite having done things in the past that he regrets, still believes in the inherent good in people. He walks around partially blinded to the world that he's found himself wrapped up in, and yet he never seems inept. I loved Shadow. Every single messy part of him. The book is long, this is true, but with Shadow as my guide I didn't mind one bit.

Then there are the Gods themselves that slither, flap and saunter through this book as if they own every page. Gaiman's broken world pits the Gods of old against the Gods of new. Odin and Bast against the manifested Gods of technology and progress. It's an intriguing premise. If a God is birthed and sustained through worship, why wouldn't we have birthed new ones that relate to cell phones, internet and music? Simply fascinating. What's more interesting than that though, is all of the underlying lore that is penned into these pages. Stories of Thunderbirds, coins that bring back the dead, and areas that shouldn't exist but do. It's so easy to lose your footing in reality and go crashing, right along with Shadow, into this world.

In an effort not to endlessly ramble on, let me assure you that this book easily made my favorites shelf this time around. As I mentioned, this is the Author's Preferred Text version, and actually contains quite a bit of content that was originally cut out. I think it's perfect. The story, the extras, the whole package is perfect. Pick this up! You won't believe how easily you can get lost in Gaiman's world. American Gods is well worth your time.



FTC Disclosure: I received a copy of this book in exchange for a fair and honest review. I was not monetarily compensated for my opinion.

Thursday, May 25, 2017

Book Review: Lemons by Melissa Savage


Media Type: Ebook (ARC)
Title: Lemons
Author: Melissa Savage
Publisher: Crown Books for Young Readers
Pages: Hardcover; 236
Release Date: May 2, 2017
Source: Publisher
--------------------------------------------------------
Content Screening: Dealing with loss.

HDB Rating: 4 Keys to My Heart

Recommended to: Readers who enjoy quirky characters, and stories that have amazing messages.

Add it on: Goodreads | Amazon | B&N
Fans of Kate DiCamillo's Flora & Ulysses and Katherine Applegate's Crenshaw will fall in love with this charming adventure story about a girl learning to accept her new life, her quirky detective neighbor, and their epic search for Bigfoot.

Lemonade Liberty Witt's mama always told her: When life gives you lemons, make lemonade. But Lem can't possibly make lemonade out of her new life in Willow Creek, California--the Bigfoot Capital of the World--where she's forced to live with a grandfather she's never met after her mother passes away.

Then she meets eleven-year-old Tobin Sky, the CEO of Bigfoot Detectives Inc., who is the sole Bigfoot investigator for their small town. After he invites Lem to be his assistant for the summer, they set out on an epic adventure to capture a shot of the elusive beast on film. But along the way, Lem and Tobin end up discovering more than they ever could have imagined. And Lem realizes that maybe she can make lemonade out of her new life after all.
Friends, this is an absolutely wonderful story. You all know that I consistently praise Middle Grade books for dealing so well with life lessons, and tough topics. Lemons is a shining example of exactly that. It was fitting, I think, that I was working my way through my own loss right around the time I was in the middle of reading this book. Middle Grade or not, this book really helped me sort things out. As Lemonade learned and grew, I worked my way through my issues right along with her. Which should tell you how wonderfully written Melissa Savage's book really is. Lemons is a wonderful story, no matter what age group you happen to fall in.

Lemonade Liberty Witt is the kind of character that I fall instantly in love with, every time. She's quirky, fiesty, and strong in a way that only young people who have suffered an unexpected loss can be. At the same time, she's every one of us no matter what our age. She's lost, confused, hurt, and feels like she may be drowning in her own sorrow. Tough on the outside, hurting on the inside, and just trying to make it all okay. I felt for her so deeply, and loved her all the more for it.

On the flip side is darling Tobin. Dealing with his own loss, in a completely different way, and just as quirky and original as Lemonade. When these two met, I just knew exciting things were going to happen. The fact that the backdrop of this story includes Bigfoot hunting? Well, that just made it all the more perfect. I wanted to believe in them just as much as Tobin did, and I wasn't at all disappointed.

Honestly though, I could gush about this book for paragraph upon paragraph. I loved the relationships between the characters, the unexpected friendships that were made, and the fact that everyone seemed to care so much for one another. I won't lie, I teared up more than a few times while reading this. It's tough not to when you're remembering the good times about people who have passed. Whether they are happy tears or sad tears, well, I'll let Lemonade school you on that.

I highly recommend this book to any young reader out there, and think it would make an excellent parent-child buddy read. Give it a shot! You might be pleasantly surprised at what you find.



FTC Disclosure: I received a copy of this book in exchange for a fair and honest review. I was not monetarily compensated for my opinion.

LinkWithin

Related Posts with Thumbnails