Tag Archives: recommendations

Gaiman’s readers swim in masterful prose from newest publication

Photo credit: Goodreads
Photo credit: Goodreads

The Ocean at the End of the Lane by Neil Gaiman

 5/5 stars

This masterful web of magic and mystery has to be one of my favorites by the famed fantasy author. Gaiman shocks and surprises once again with the 2013 publication showing readers that the child’s mind still remains the most viable and open to the unknown, even after aging long into adulthood.

The story follows a Sussex native returning to his childhood home after a funeral where he decides to visit former best friend, Lettie Hempstock. From there both he and the reader are fully immersed in flashbacks to a whirlwind battle between good, evil and the great beyond.

With a telling dedication, “For Amanda, who wanted to know,” Gaiman airs on the side of the clandestine, cloaking the novel’s overture in slowly-revealed secrets. The pacing keeps the reader engaged and entertained, making the text nearly impossible to put down.

This short story turned novel is filled with decadent description, charismatic characters and memorable quotations, an ocean for any rabid reader to devour. The work may be a quick read, but it’s one you’ll want to pick up again and again. I highly recommend The Ocean at the End of the Lane to readers of all ages.

Flynn’s Gone Girl fails to measure up to best-seller praise

Photo credit: Goodreads
Photo credit: Goodreads

Gone Girl by Gillian Flynn

 3/5 stars

With all the promises of “I just couldn’t put it down!” and “OMG, so addicting!!!” I ventured into this best-selling novel with high expectations. This dually narrated suspense story follows the lives of Nick and Amy Dunne, a married couple experiencing difficulties in their relationship.

How refreshing.

The story finally sparks interest with the sudden and unexplained disappearance of Amy on their fifth wedding anniversary. Flynn’s narrative segmentation between Nick’s real-time observations and Amy’s diary nearly forces the reader to keep reading by breaking off in the middle of providing vital information. It’s just as frustrating as it is tiresome.

Flynn also struggled with inequality in character development. Where Amy, self-professed genius and master of manipulation is fleshed out to the fullest, Nick remains the inept, bumbling husband regardless of climactic stimuli. Though it’s clear by the end that Amy is the unadulterated center of the story, it doesn’t change the supremely unbalanced points of view.

Is this a plot device? Maybe, but to the average reader it comes across as sloppy writing more than an extensively crafted linguistic choice.

Overall, Flynn’s writing is strong. Strong enough that after finishing this book I pursued another one of her works Dark Places. However, the ending and the self-indulgent-Amy-show narration made the book semi-predictable and, at times, uninteresting.

Though I wouldn’t extol this book’s praises as others have before me, I would still recommend it if you’re at all interested. You may end up enjoying Flynn’s work in ways I didn’t. Colorful supportive characters and an early plot twist redeem the aforementioned flaws, so it’s not an entirely hopeless pursuit.

Gone Girl is a well-written, well-paced suspense story, but it could have been better. Venture with an open mind and low expectations and you won’t be disappointed.

No fault in Green’s stars: TFiOS exceeds expectations

The Fault In Our Stars faltered, but once, during its delicate unveiling of the unceasingly-defiant and terminally-ill teenage humanity.

Photo credit: Creative Commons
Photo credit: Creative Commons

Though I tend to avoid books about illness, organ transplants, or medical abnormalities, I elected to read John Green’s Pulitzer Prize-winning novel simply to see if it was as good as everyone claimed.

The story follows teenager Hazel, who has been struggling with thyroid cancer since age 13. She is stagnantly unconsumed by her illness, fighting through the very essence of her self-hood for consideration as a being, and not a disease. Green writes her well, though she, at times, descends into some rather stereotypical teenage tropes.

But, she is only 16, and for being so young she is incredibly and believably deep.

During one of her support-group attendances, Hazel meets Augustus Waters, a 17-year-old amputee with an addiction to gracious flamboyance, metaphors and tragic-hero sacrifice.

The two pique each other’s interests immediately, and the story cascades from there.

If you haven’t read, or finished, the novel, please don’t click the “continue reading” section as there will be ample spoilers past that point.

But, before you depart, don’t hesitate to read the novel. Green writes each character nearly flawlessly, keeping the story poignantly realistic with a dusting of optimism to dull the reader’s masochistic pursuit.

Don’t let anyone spoil it for you, and I guarantee you won’t be disappointed.

**CAUTION, SOME SPOILERS BEYOND THIS POINT** Continue reading No fault in Green’s stars: TFiOS exceeds expectations

A Year in Review: Write Well Daily’s 2013 Book Survey

Photo credit: The Perpetual Page-Turner
Photo credit: The Perpetual Page-Turner

Hello lovelies!

In the spirit of the New Year I’ve completed this 2013 Book survey created in 2010 by Jamie at The Perpetual Page-Turner—thanks girl!

Please feel free to browse my answers and consider them my year’s end recommendations to all of you!

 1. Best Book You Read In 2013? (If you have to cheat — you can break it down by genre if you want or 2013 release vs. backlist)

It’s Fine By Me by Per Petterson: An English translation of Norwegian fiction following the life of Arvid Jensen, a young boy in Oslo who befriends societal rebel Audun. An entrancing and magnetic read, this short saga will captivate and touch the reader in ways they won’t anticipate.

 2. Book You Were Excited About & Thought You Were Going To Love More But Didn’t?

Robinson Crusoe by Daniel Dafoe: When my brother and I were kids we listened to this book on audio cassette (yepp, really dating myself here) and I absolutely loved it. However, after studying it in two different classes (English Novel and 18c English) it really fell short of my first impression.

3. Most surprising (in a good way!) book of 2013?

The Magicians by Lev Grossman OR The Female American by Unca Eliza: I picked up The Magicians on a whim during one of my many Barnes and Noble trips. The cover art and rear descriptive paragraph made me think the book would be just another story about angsty teens discovering they had magic powers. But, the raw sexuality and carnal undertones, the unapologetic delving into magic’s dark side and themes of possession, death and the struggle for power made this read entirely enigmatic.

The Female American, or a re-telling of Robinson Crusoe from a female perspective, was surprisingly entertaining and easy to read. This text filled in all the gaps that I had been missing from the original Robinson Crusoe with an edgy and fun feel. I didn’t expect to so thoroughly enjoy a class text, but this really captured and held my attention throughout its entirety. Continue reading A Year in Review: Write Well Daily’s 2013 Book Survey

Write Well Daily is now on Goodreads!!

 

Write Well Daily is now on Goodreads!

I’m rather new to the site, as the only time I’ve seen it has been on other Tumblrs and the occasional Facebook. So, if you have any tips or advice on how the site operates or how I can best use it– please comment below! I am very receptive to help and would love your input!

Once I leave school to head home for Thanksgiving I’ll be adding a lot more books to my “read” and “want to read” pages, so stay tuned! If you’re following @writewelldaily on Twitter, I’m pretty sure I’ve sent you a friend request and/or follow you– I’m not really sure how it all works just yet.

But– here is the link to my profile:

https://www.goodreads.com/user/show/25945195-karly-gombert

Please follow/friend/message me  or just get in touch! I would love to see what all of you are reading or read your reviews and recommendations!!

I hope all of you are well, and look forward to connecting with you.

Write on!