In the Pacific Northwest almost every day is a rainy day. As the rain pours down outside, I wrap myself up in a warm blanket, snuggle my cat, and read the evening away.
Very sweet reprinting of a diary by a little girl at the turn of the 20th century in Oregon. It's not well-known because of the controversy that surrounded Opal Whiteley. After the original printing of this diary people decided the writing was far too advanced for a 6 year old to have written and that she must have written it when she was in her twenties, causing a media frenzy and popular opinion to turn sour towards her- her diary to go out of print within a year and swiftly swept under the rug.
I found this book very charming, enlightening, but also heart-wrenching. The writing was what I would consider very advanced for a 5-6 year old, but the voice and expressions were completely believable to me for a gifted and astute child. I loved her detailing the world as she saw it around her, the same world I gazed at between reads. She was a fascinating little girl, and must have grown into an impressive young woman as she is the only person the University of Oregon accepted as a student who had not completed high school- the staff were so impressed with her. I am rather convinced that these are the self-expressions of a brilliant little girl who was constantly underestimated and misunderstood, and then treated poorly because of it. Children's voices can sadly be disregarded at times, and I absolutely believe it possible that her solemn and hard-working family shunned her for her eccentricities.
Opal's life took a sad turn as an adult, her mind slowly deteriorating due to what was diagnosed as schizophrenia. I guess this is one those "the candle that burns twice as bright burns half as long" kind of situations.
Benjamin Hoff did an excellent job compiling his findings and relating his own story in how he discovered Opal's diary. His love and devotion to Opal is so apparent you can't help but feel it, too. This book is a beautiful tribute to an extraordinary person, an excellent reminder that we need to appreciate what is around us, learn to understand it, and never forget the potential clarity of seeing life through a child's eyes.
This was an okay read. It was good enough to keep me reading, but it was SO easy for me to put down, even when I only had 30 pages left and the plot was finally coming to a head. The two main characters were rather annoying, in my opinion; always getting jealous for no reason, doing the opposite of what is obviously the wiser choice, and then getting jealous again for no reason because they don't trust each other to not sleep with other people. It made it really hard to be invested in the story, and so unfortunately I wasn't at all concerned or excited by the events in the story.
Finally, book 2 in The Arcana Chronicles is here!
If Poison Princess is about earth as a dry and desolate waste-land, Endless Knight is about a world drowning in itself. Evie reunites with her group of allies right as she fully regains her powers, which thrive in the sunlight, just like her plants. Unfortunately, the skies are grey with rain clouds... and the daylight just gets weaker as the nights get longer.
Hunted by creepier-than-ever Bagmen (how is that even possible?), Cannibals, and even a few other Arcana, the group struggles to trust each other, knowing they are destined to battle each other in the end. Jack and Evie try to regain their relationship, but all the while Death's voice rings in her ears, alternatively threatening and cajoling. As they encounter more Arcana, the Cards' histories are slowly unveiled, as are the intricacies of the symbols on each of their tableaus, which I just found to be fascinating.
The only problem now, though, is that I think I like Death a bit more than Jack. Is that a down-side or an up-side? I don't know, but I sure as hell am intrigued and itching to read the next book! (BTW, KC, thanks for the cliff-hanger ending- even better than the first one! No, I'm sure I'll be fine waiting another 12 months to find out what happens next, no worries. Tooooootally fine!)
*Sigh* I love you, KC <3
This book had a great spooky feel to it, perfect for reading during the change of seasons from summer to fall. The darker and colder the weather became outside, the more I rejoiced because it reflected the story I had immersed myself in. I wouldn't say it is fair to compare this book to Miss Peregrine's Home for Peculiar Children like a lot of people seem fond of doing. "Miss Peregrine's" was spooky for a completely different reason, and had more of a magical feel to it, whereas Asylum is purely a scary story about a haunted old asylum. I enjoyed both books- they both included strange photos and had a mysterious quality to them, but that is where the similarities ended for me.Daniel was an intriguing character, and his friends helped complete an interesting trio. It kind of reminded me of the Harry/Ron/Hermione trio in that they each brought something unique to the group, and because a boy was the central character instead of another "girl stuck in a love-triangle" situation. (Speaking of the girl, I was also pleasantly surprised when she was described as Latina- yes! REPRESENT!) As a huge fan of ghost stories, I was sucked into this story almost as soon as I picked it up, and I think I might have a literary crush on this author now, who oh-so-delightedly threw in a "Doctor Who" reference just because she could. I also loved the atmosphere of the book, and if you're looking for something spooky to get you in the mood for Halloween, this is it, right here. The abandoned asylum with a controversial past that was converted into dorms created a great setting for an unsettling story.