The Dreadful Fate of Jonathan York: A Yarn for the Strange at Heart

Title: The Dreadful Fate of Jonathan York: A Yarn for the Strange at Heart

Author: Kory Merritt

Genres: Children | Fantasy | Graphics

Length: 128 pages

Source: Netgalley

Format: ACSM

Rating: 3.75/5

Premise:

Jonathan York was enjoying himself taking a stroll through a swamp, but when he gets lost while night is quickly approaching he is suddenly not having much fun anymore.
Rightly so, because the night will bring lots of frightening oddities!

Review:

When I first started reading this book, I remember thinking it was interesting that the main character was an adult instead of a kid. I wondered whether children would relate to him, but the fact is you just cannot help but root for Jonathan, and hope that he gets to someplace safe after all his dangerous adventures.

His reactions are utterly believable. Instead of a main character who is the epitome of bravery, Mr York is rightly frightened all the time, and even has anxiety attacks. Just how I might react had I experienced even half of what he did.

In addition to some really scary stuff, there were a couple of things which confused me as to what the age-group audience of this book might be, like the Sean Connery reference, and stuff like Footsteps. Like the footsteps in a dinosaur movie. Like the footsteps you hear just before an expendable character gets chomped.

The monsters in this book were crazy creepy! Each was scarier than the previous, and both their looks and their names conquered my inner child.

The illustrations, in general, were daunting, though I did find all the dark colours a bit tiresome after a while. I noticed and appreciated the rare details of colour, like the eyes of certain monsters, and the treasure in the chest.
Most of all, I admire the author’s imagination and ability to weave a gripping tale featuring a main character to whom anyone can relate.

I did think Jonathan found his confidence much too quickly in his encounter with the Terraqueenpin; considering what I saw up to the point, it seemed a bit abrupt, and I would have liked to see more evolution.

But overall this was a great quick read with quite a few foods for thought, amongst which the importance of brains over brawn, of standing up to bullies, and of having stories to tell, instead of limiting yourself to a reassuring routine.
Very impressive for a debut piece!

Disclaimer: I would like to thank the publisher and Netgalley for providing me a free copy of this book in exchange for my honest review.

Read on Jun 29, 2015
GR Review

Note: At the time this review was written, this book was available to ‘Read Now’ at Negalley.

Fortunately, the Milk

Fortunately, the Milk
by Neil Gaiman

Rating: 4/5

Premise:

When you were a kid, did you ever wonder why your parent(s) took so long with something?
This book will tell you the story of a dad who went out to get milk when mom is away on a trip.
Get ready for quite the adventure.

Review:

Fortunately, the Milk is full of Gaiman magic and, with drawings reminiscent of Coraline (in my edition anyway), it really is quite an experience, for kids and grownups alike.

It’s not a story I can say will stay with me for a long time, especially considering other books I have read by this superb author. I went through it so quickly, completely engaged in the adventure, smiling here and there, and quite frankly it was just what I needed – something light, redolent of childhood, that put a smile on my face.

I would especially have loved a final reference to something that was said in the beginning, a little and that is when I waved hello to Mister Ronson, who was buying the paper, just to bring it full circle – the author already did that anyway throughout the book, and it is something which gives such more depth to the narrative, and a feeling that it was not made up at all. I also wish the drawings were coloured instead of black and white.

The kids will love the writing, graphics and crazy plot, and the adults will relate especially to things like mom leaving the to-do list before leaving, making sure you listened, going out to get the milk not just because your kids need it but because you want some with your tea, and just the brilliancy of taking regular items around you and creating the wackiest scenarios, making sure you include ponies because your daughter asked you for them.

Parents are a force of nature, and this book is a great example of that.

Read on April 01, 2015
GR Review

The Box People (Ersatz Trilogy, #1)

The Box People (Ersatz Trilogy, #1)
by Kenny Peavy, Callan Bentley

Rating: 3/5

Although some of this seems to have been written for the sole purpose of rhyming, the fact is the message is, overall, a good one. It definitely made me stop to think about how my life revolves around boxes.

I was not a fan of the illustrations, considering it’s a book for children, but I enjoyed it and it made me want to smell the roses more. It’s easy to forget how being around nature lowers our stress levels and completely changes our mood overall.

However, the message didn’t have to be so extreme, I think. The people could have found a way to incorporate both of those worlds because, let’s face it, living in the woods does not generally pay the bills.

Read on January 22, 2015
GR Review

I would like to thank the publisher and Netgalley for providing a free copy of this book in exchange for my honest review.

Is a Worry Worrying You?

Is a Worry Worrying You?
by Ferida Wolff, Harriet May Savitz, Marie LeTourneau

Rating: 4.75/5

This was a pleasure to read, although I could not fully enjoy the illustrations on my Kindle. In a time when kids seem to get more and more anxious, it is a very well thought out and executed work of children literature, which will most certainly teach kids about what a worry is and how to handle it.

The book doesn’t belittle the importance and impact of a worry; it uses very fantastical but effective examples to the message across – how a worry can affect you without you even noticing it and how to deal with it and make it go away. Yes, it is bad, but there is always an alternative, so don’t let it consume you.

I am sure kids will enjoy this book very much and the message will get accross. It would make a great christmas gift!

Read on December 01, 2014
GR Review

I would like to thank the publisher and Netgalley for providing a free copy of this book in exchange for my honest review.

I and You

I and You
by Beverly Garside

Rating: 3/5

I and You takes place in a society which values are seriously messed up according to, I’d like to think, most of us – “selfishness, greed and unbridled ego” are its pillars. In this world, people have their own personal shrine and never use the pronoun ‘we’. Only individual goals matter and if you even so much as consider thinking outside the box, you risk serious consequences, particularly being turned away when you want to get a job and get on with your own life.

That is the premise for this dystopian graphical novel. An interesting concept, depicted in black and white, much as the views of that society. It’s hard to know where to draw the line, though. For instance, when Major Red was accusing Sara of not caring who runs the company, she just works there after all, isn’t that the whole purpose? Greed? Ego? Selfishness? Why should she care about loyalty and stuff like that? Isn’t that what a socialist should worry about?

I found it hard to read some of the lines because the font size and style kept changing, even on a computer I would have to zoom in further than 100% at times.

Some typos annoyed me, pet peeves of mine like “it’s” instead of “its” and “you’re” instead of “your” and other stuff like “didn’t used”. But overall there weren’t too many errors.

It’s a graphic novel, one cannot expect to feel as involved with the characters as written novel. But I have to admit I was a tad confused. There were a lot of entities and people involved, and some of the latter kind of looked all the same to me, not sure if because of black and white or because of the drawings themselves, possibly both. Even if the black and white was kept, which as I said previously goes very well with the story, I wish there had been more specific traits about each character. I kept mistaking Sarah’s dad for her brother and then Warren, for instant. Sarah’s mother also looked like a couple other characters that showed up.

All in all, it’s a though provoking book. I enjoyed how there wasn’t an obvious and sudden leap in change of values of the main character, it was all very progressive. And I loved the whales.

I do however think that even though the concept is intriguing, you have to be a true fan of graphic novels to fully appreciate the book.

Read from October 16 to 18, 2014
GR Review

I would like to thank the author for providing a free copy of this book in exchange for my honest review.

The Sandman, Vol. 1: Preludes and Nocturnes (The Sandman #1)

The Sandman, Vol. 1: Preludes and Nocturnes (The Sandman #1)
by Neil Gaiman

Rating: 3.25/5

I am new to the comic book universe. This was the first thing of the kind that I read since Disney’s stuff when I was a kid. So it’s all very odd and alien to me.

I have been hearing about the Sandman series for several years now and lucky for me I found this nice edition. As odd as the experience was, Gaiman gripped me as usual. The guy’s versatility never ceases to amaze me.

The combination of the words and artwork convey a nightmare/dreamlike atmosphere when need be but also very real when necessary. The way it is written, the songs, it all contributed to a certain ambience. And it was pretty terrifying at times.

It was ok, I sped through it in a few hours. But it’s just not my thing. At times I found it hard to follow the correct sequence because of the way the graphics are presented. And, to me, it just lacks something that I can only get through a novel. That depth of characters, I suppose, and how we can build the characters and scenario in our minds, so it’s different for every reader.

It was still a pleasant experience and I hear following volumes are much nicer than this introductory one. I will most likely buy them. This one gets 3 to 3.5 stars from me.

Read on August 21, 2014
Review posted on Aug 21, 14