Posted in Miscelaneous Musings, Readerly Rants, Reviews, Uncategorized

Like a River Glorious by Rae Carson [Gold Seer Trilogy #2]

Like a River Glorious is the sequel to Walk on Earth a Stranger in the Gold Seer trilogy by Rae Carson.  In my review for the first book, I was raving about just how well Carson’s writing holds my attention.  While I didn’t enjoy it quite as much as the last one, Like a River Glorious held my attention just as much; I finished it in approximately one sitting. Continue reading Like a River Glorious by Rae Carson [Gold Seer Trilogy #2]”

Posted in Miscelaneous Musings, Readerly Rants, Reviews

Book Review: Gathering Blue by Lois Lowry [MINIMAL SPOILERS]

Gathering Blue is one of four sci-fi / utopian stories by Lois Lowry, known informally as The Giver QuartetThe Giver, I’d say, is the most well-known of these books, and for me, it was a mixture of disturbing, fascinating, and thought-provoking content.  The way it handled human emotions, even the beginnings of puberty, was delicate and unoffensive.  Whether you’re reading Number the Stars or The Giver Quartet, I feel like the most important message that Ms. Lowry conveys here is that progress and modernity do not necessarily equal the extinguishing of evil from the world.

The world of Gathering Blue is far more rural and (dare I say) backwards than the world of The Giver, but many of the social problems are the same.  The village people practice euthanasia, albeit a more “natural” type, where disabled or sickly people are usually cast out into the Field for “the Beasts” to devour, or to simply die of neglect and starvation.  Speaking of disabled people, ableism (discrimination in favor of “able-bodied” people) is a very big theme in this book. Continue reading “Book Review: Gathering Blue by Lois Lowry [MINIMAL SPOILERS]”

Posted in Miscelaneous Musings, Readerly Rants, Reviews, Uncategorized

Allison Reads Bronte – Jane Eyre, Part 3 [AUDIO EDITION]

I was too lazy to jot down my thoughts in full, so I decided to record them instead.  Yay, now you get to hear what I sound like when I’m not acting.  (Truth be told, I’m not the most polished speech-giver/speaker, so this is actually a good exercise in skill and confidence for me.  It’s scary enough sharing my voice with the world when I’m reading other people’s words.)

For context, I marked various points of interest with paperclips as I was reading this section, and flipped through the pages to find them as I was recording.  (I’ve done my best to edit out all the page-flipping noises.)  Plus, because my hands were full with the book, I couldn’t hold the pop filter over my mic, so #nofilter! 😛

Also, before we begin – this portion of the book deals with a lot of romance and briefly mentions a character’s past affair and the possibility of this character’s illegitimate offspring.  This book, while not vulgar, is not for six-year-olds.

For those of you who are worried about how fast I talk without pausing to take a breath, yes, it’s true, I talk pretty fast, but I also edited most of the particularly long, awkward pauses between my sentences.

Posted in Miscelaneous Musings, Readerly Rants, Reviews

Review: Jelly Bean Summer by Joyce Magnin (courtesy of NetGalley)

I recently joined NetGalley, a website which provides professional readers (I guess I’m one now) and bookish bloggers (I guess that’s more like it) with advance reader copies of upcoming releases.  By the time I got my Jelly Bean Summer ARC, it was already a few days after the book was released (May 2nd, 2017), but I suppose reviewing it can’t hurt. 🙂  (In case it wasn’t obvious, all opinions expressed in this review are my own.

Publisher’s Details:

Age Range: 8 – 12 years

Grade Level: 3 – 7

Hardcover: 272 pages

Publisher: Sourcebooks Jabberwocky (May 2, 2017)

Description: Set in 1968 during the height of Vietnam War, Jelly Bean Summer is the story of the unlikely friendship that forms between two lonely tweens during an unforgettable summer of camping on rooftops. 

Joyce has had it with her family (especially with UFO-sighting Elaine who loves her guinea pig more than her own sister). Her solution? Move out of the house and pitch a tent on the roof for the summer. But when she spots a boy watching her from a neighboring roof she’s stunned—and intrigued. 

Brian recently lost his brother, and the two instantly bond over their messed-up families. To help Brian repair his brother’s truck, they concoct a scheme to build and sell tickets to a UFO display. Even Elaine agrees to help…until unexpected events test the limits of Joyce’s family ties.

Reader’s Score: 3.75 / 5 stars

Continue reading “Review: Jelly Bean Summer by Joyce Magnin (courtesy of NetGalley)”

Posted in Miscelaneous Musings, Reviews

Great Resource: A Parent’s Guide to Anime from Anime Cafe

Truth be told, I don’t watch anime.  I love the art form and I enjoy the soundtracks to many well-known animes, but I don’t actually watch much of it.  RWBY and Avatar are really the only anime-style cartoons I’ve been able to enjoy.

It’s a cultural thing, really.  Japanese culture advocates for exposure to mature content from a young age.  They aren’t hesitant to include sensuality and graphic violence in their most kid-friendly cartoons.  I think that’s why I prefer Western, anime-inspired shows (although even my favorite, RWBY, is getting pretty mature).  I get to admire the artistic style of people with wacky-colored hair and bug-eyes without the culture-influenced elements I am incapable of appreciating as a prudish person.

Whenever people recommend animes to me, I usually check them out on IMDB first, but with little success.  In my experience, IMDB is fairly lax when it comes to animes and British productions.  Again, it’s probably a cultural thing, that maybe Japanese and British people are both okay with mature content that Americans (and prudish Americans especially) would not be as cool with.

Additionally, whenever I research animes that are kid-friendly (meaning with little to no explicit content), I usually find kiddie animes.  I’m a big kid now – I’d like a nice, big-kid-friendly storyline without too much violence or suggestive content.  The good news is, my research has finally paid off.

If you’re a prudish young person who’s new to the anime community like me, or you’re a parent who isn’t sure what to make of these weird cartoons your kids are talking about, I’ve found a resource that just might come in handy: A Parents Guide to Anime from The Anime Cafe.

They preface their guide with the following message:

Please note that we do not advocate censorship. … Ultimately, it is the parent’s responsibility to determine what is, and more importantly — what is not appropriate for their children.

This is exactly what I’ve been trying to say for years!  I have personal preferences and issues with the world around me, but I’m not one to impose my views on others.  If parents want to keep things from their kids, it’s their right  – and if parents want to expose their kids to mature content early on, it’s not what I’d do, but that’s their right too.   It’s nice to see a website that understands where I and many others are coming from, a site that understands the true meaning of free choice and parental discretion.

The site has a very nice, diverse list of animes at various audience maturity levels.  For me, I’m using the list and reviews to find animes that I could potentially watch.  Parents might find it useful to check titles their kids are asking about, and decide accordingly whether to bring them into their homes.

The one shortcoming I’ve noticed is that many of the modern titles my peers are recommending aren’t there.  It seems like this is a list of slightly older titles, but that doesn’t mean it’s a bad place to start.

Posted in Miscelaneous Musings, Reviews, Uncategorized

Movie Review: Pride and Prejudice (1940) starring Laurence Olivier and Greer Garson

Usually, I’ll encourage people to read a book before watching its film adaptation, or just read the book exclusively.  I’ve had a very hard time getting my head around Pride and Prejudice by Jane Austen, mostly because the plot is sooooo long-winded and monotonous, so I did the unthinkable and watched a movie version instead.

I saw the 1940 film adaptation with Greer Garson and Sir Laurence Olivier, two awesome old-timey movie actors – and I wasn’t disappointed.  The things I perceived to be drawn out monotony in the book were condensed to an entertaining pace, and I was better able understand and thus appreciate the story. Continue reading “Movie Review: Pride and Prejudice (1940) starring Laurence Olivier and Greer Garson”