Kevin's Points of Interest
El Deafo by Cece Bell
I was truly surprised, educated, and impressed by this book. From reading the back cover, I knew El Deafo was about a young, deaf, school-aged girl who is of course finding life a bit more complicated than most. But it’s so much more--it’s about growing up, being yourself, finding acceptance, making friends, being confused, getting into trouble, getting ...
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Dead Wake by Erik Larson
Devil in the White City, also by Mr. Larson, is one of my favorite books. And I’ve read and thoroughly enjoyed his novel Thunderstruck. Dead Wake was excellent as well, and I highly recommend all three books. This write-up is about the latter, however, so let’s get sailing. Dead Wake connects the curious dots in a series of random, seemingly unrelated e...
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The Goosebumps Series by R.L. Stine
Halloween is a favorite holiday around our house. It runs a very close second to Christmas. We all get excited about decorating the house with creepy, spidery stuff and our kids take every opportunity to wear as many different costumes as possible. This past Halloween, Oct. of 2015, we kicked it up a notch with a special event - The Goosebumps Movie! We all...
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The Color of Magic by Terry Pratchett
Perhaps this book should have been called “The Limitlessness of Imagination” or “The Never Ending Depths of Creativity”. Either of these would have accurately described the writing, because while crafting this story, Mr. Pratchett must have been constantly thinking, “Where’s the wildest, craziest, most off the wall, most whimsical place I can now...
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Steelheart by Brandon Sanderson
This is a superhero book . . . that’s not another superhero book. The story has loads of amazing action, cool characters, sweet gadgets, outstanding writing, basically everything you’d want from a superhero book. However, again, this isn’t that. Well, it is, but it isn’t. In the futuristic world of Steelheart, the USA is full of regular people and s...
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The Graveyard Book (Graphic Novel Version) Vols 1 & 2
This is a fabulous book with a unique, mesmerizing story and surreal, wonderful artwork. The Graveyard Book graphic novels bring so many creative people together to illustrate Mr. Gaiman’s tale of a young boy called Nobody “Bod” Owens, who grows up under the care and supervision of the ghostly inhabitants of an old, spooky cemetery. I recently read the...
The Graveyard Book (text-only version)
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The Ocean at the End of the Lane
I enjoy Mr. Gaiman’s writing quite a bit. I like his wordsmanship, his focus on small details, his always surprisingly imaginative style, and the impact of his dark, intense tone. You can already find several glowing reviews of his books here on my site, and now here’s another one--about The Ocean at the End of the Lane. This excellent book tells a uniq...
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Before the Fall by Noah Hawley
Before the Fall is excellent. Mr. Hawley is obviously a very accomplished and professional writer and this work proves it. I smashed through the last part of the book in 90 anxious minutes, staying up much too late to find out what happened. Those are the best kind of books, right? The story starts off with the crash of a private jet where several people di...
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Anna and the Swallow Man
If you browse a few other reviews of this book here on Amazon, you’ll see a fair amount of 3 star reviews, but the reviewer will lead off with “I really liked this” or “Excellent writing” or something along those lines. So, why the 3 star review then? Well, I can understand how these people felt about Anna and the Swallow Man. The book is written ...
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The Rithmatist by Brandon Sanderson
I enjoyed The Rithmatist, though it didn’t knock me out in the same way Mr. Sanderson’s Mistborn trilogy did. Which is a bit of an unfair comparison because the Mistborn books are an epic fantasy trilogy full of marvelous writing, exciting magic, lots of battle action, intriguing politics, and so much more awesomeness. Plus all the creative twists and me...
My review of the Mistborn Trilogy
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The Scorpion Rules by Erin Bow
The Scorpion Rules may appear to be yet another YA book about a post-catastrophe future where life is entirely different, constantly dangerous, and always delicately perched on the brink of disaster. However, this one is extremely smartly written with plenty of thoughtful extras and creative areas of focus; making it unique, surprising, and memorable. The s...
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Coraline by Neil Gaiman
Neil Gaiman is an excellent, supremely creative, professional, well-reviewed author. The books I’ve read of his have all been unique, surprising, enthralling, and fully enjoyable. He gets it right here again with Coraline, a creepy but sophisticated tale of a polite, brave, and thoroughly admirable young girl. Coraline lives in a drab flat with her too-bu...
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The Name of the Wind by Patrick Rothfuss
Fantastic. I loved this book. I cannot wait to read the sequel, The Wise Man’s Fear. The writing is spectacular; characters are real, deep, and compelling; plot is complex but well thought out and perfectly executed; and the world Mr. Rothfuss has created is an entirely believable and likeable fantasy land. If you like epic fantasy and brilliant story-tel...
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A Darker Shade of Magic
I really wanted to be knocked out by this book. I delayed buying it, held off on reading too many reviews and plot summaries, saw all the praise it was getting, got excited about it, held off for longer, and then finally bought a hardcover copy. I don’t know why I did all that. Perhaps I was worried it wouldn’t live up. Maybe I knew it WOULD live up, and...
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The Passage by Justin Cronin
My older brother read The Passage during an overseas business trip and liked it well enough to give a copy to me for my 40th birthday last November. He also got me a stellar Van Morrison record. Thanks, bro - you really nailed the gifts this time! Van’s the man and The The Passage was excellent. Basically, we are in the near future (can’t recall if a da...
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Unnatural Creatures, stories selected by Neil Gaiman
Mr. Gaiman has recently become one of my top favorite writers. I’ve recently read, enjoyed, and reviewed American Gods, Stardust and The Graveyard Book. The Ocean at the End of the Lane is currently in my kindle library, waiting to be read. So I snatched up this story collection as soon as I saw it on an eBook sale. I like unnatural creatures and I like Ga...
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Mockingbird by Walter Tevis
Mockingbird takes place a few hundred years in the future where highly advanced, humanoid robots have all but eliminated the entire human population. They have done so using specially formulated, widely available drugs plus new rules for society which encourage extreme privacy and individualism. Out of nowhere, one man innocently learns to read, something th...
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The Mistborn Trilogy by Brandon Sanderson
I cannot recall the last time I powered through all three books of a series, one after the other, working magic, battling enemies, completing epic quests, all right along with the heroes. It’s a commitment, that’s for sure. And finishing this trilogy certainly felt like an accomplishment, though on a slightly lesser scale than saving the world like the c...
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Fuzzy Mud by Louis Sachar
For me, Fuzzy Mud was a strange little book. It seems like a fantastic choice for teachers who are studying the environment, pollution, or the way any idea that is meant to help the world - can actually have a drastically negative impact. At the same time, the book also deals with relational themes like standing by your friends, doing the right thing even wh...
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The Biggest Story by Kevin DeYoung
The Biggest Story endeavours to summarize the bible, with an emphasis on the failures and shortcomings of humanity and how God has always been there, all along, to pick us up and save us. There is a bit of nice uplifting joy towards the end when Jesus enters the world and the book does conclude with some happy images and very uplifting phrases, encouraging r...
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The Marvels by Brian Selznick
The illustrations in The Marvels are fabulous so the first 400 pages or so of artwork are absolutely mesmerizing. The "story in pictures" told during this section is brilliant. Characters come and go, time passes, events unfold, clues are dropped, and it's all cleverly revealed in these magnificent sketches. However, when the text part of the story began, I...
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The Fall of Princes by Robert Goolrick
The Fall of Princes surprised me a few times as I read it, which is always a pleasant thing. I went in looking for wild stories about the brash, excessive, exotic life of the super-rich Wall St. elite from back in the 80s. Much like the movies Boiler Room and Wolf of Wall St. The Fall of Princes did have a few such stories that painted the narrator's exper...
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Vicious by V.E. Schwab
Solid book, not outstanding for me but I enjoyed the writing and the characters. The main plot develops from an experiment undertaken by Eli and Victor wherein they try to determine if a near death experience can give a person special powers - thus making them an EO or ExtraOrdinary. The answer is yes, this can happen. However, this quickly brings up a more ...
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The Graveyard Book by Neil Gaiman
I really like the three Neil Gaiman books I’ve read. This is one of his more popular books, but for me it ranks third. I recommend Stardust and then American Gods. Actually my favorite is American Gods but you have to be ready for that one because it's complicated, mature, long and intense. Back to the creative and unique The Graveyard Book. As you’d ex...
Review of Stardust
Review of American Gods
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Circus Mirandus by Cassie Beasley
Circus Mirandus is an outstanding novel and is a completely safe, appropriate read for it's middle grade target audience. Miss Beasley has achieved what we fellow writers all strive for: a wonderfully written, creative, unique, inspiring, moving book that parents can trust and kids can love. The story centers on Micah Tuttle, a young boy who has grown up id...
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