Tag Archives: Patrick Ness

Tammy’s Top Ten Authors I’ve Only Read One Book From – But I NEED to Read More!

Top Ten Tuesday new 7-14 copy

Top Ten Tuesday is hosted by The Broke and the Bookish! I love this week’s theme, because I seem to have found some new-to-me authors in recent months, and I can’t wait to read more of their books. I am only listing authors that already have more than one book published, not debut authors. So here they are: my top ten authors I’ve only read one book from – but I NEED to read more (and sorry, I’m not linking these up—there are just too many!):

1. Andrew Smith. I’ve read: 100 Sideways Miles. I’m dying to read: Grasshopper Jungle and Winger.

2. Marcus Sedgwick. I’ve read: She is Not Invisible. I’m dying to read: Midwinterblood and My Swordhand is Singing.

3. Kevin Hearne. I’ve read: Hounded. I’m dying to read: Hexed and Hammered.

4. John Scalzi. I’ve read: Lock In. I’m dying to read: Redshirts and Old Man’s War.

5. Kathleen Tierney. I’ve read: Blood Oranges. I’m dying to read: Red Delicious and Cherry Bomb.

6. Gillian Flynn. I’ve read: Gone Girl. I’m dying to read: Sharp Objects and Dark Places.

7. Patrick Ness. I’ve read: A Monster Calls. I’m dying to read: The Knife of Never Letting Go and More Than This.

8. Marissa Meyer. I’ve read: Cinder. I’m dying to read: Scarlet and Cress.

9. Stephanie Kuehn. I’ve read: Charm & Strange. I’m dying to read: Complicit and Delicate Monsters (no cover yet).

10. Libba Bray. I’ve read: A Great and Terrible Beauty. I’m dying to read: The Diviners and Going Bovine.

Have you read these authors? I’d love to hear from you!

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Tammy’s Top Ten Scariest Book Covers

Top Ten Tuesday New copy

Top Ten Tuesday is hosted by The Broke and the Bookish, where you can join in the fun of coming up with your own Top Ten List every week! This week’s theme is perfect for Halloween: Top Ten Scariest Book Covers. This is a hard theme to narrow down to ten choices, but here’s what I came up with:

Can I just say, bathtubs. People in bathtubs. Especially when you see them from the back. Ever since Dexter, I have a hard time with any bathtub scenarios, as you can tell from this first group. Also anything that looks like someone is drowning. And children with holes in them! Click on the titles for more information:

The Dead-Tossed Waves, Hollow City, Envy, When the Sea is Rising Red, A Certain Slant of Light.

And…creepy faces, and one creepy “monster” with twigs for fingers and branchy things coming out of his head. I like my “scary” subtle. I’m not necessarily terrified by blood and guts, but rather covers that are subtly unsettling.

I Am Legend, Pride and Prejudice and Zombies, Haunted, History is Dead, A Monster Calls.

What do you think? Agree? Disagree? I’d love to see your top ten scariest covers, so be sure to leave a link in the comments!

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A MONSTER CALLS by Patrick Ness -Review

“The monster showed up just after midnight. As they do.”

I read A Monster Calls and Brian Selznick’s Wonderstruck back-to-back, and they seemed eerily similar in more ways than one.  My original plan was to review them together, but after writing my review for Wonderstruck, I realized that although A Monster Calls is also a children’s book and is also heavily illustrated, and is also about a young boy experiencing loss, it deserves its own review.

Based on an idea by the late author Siobhan Dowd, who died of breast cancer in 2007, Patrick Ness was asked to complete the story along with illustrator Jim Kay.  Conor, a typical thirteen-year-old boy, awakens one night from a recurring nightmare at 12:07 a.m. and hears someone, something, calling his name.  As he fearfully peers out his bedroom window, across the yard to the nearby graveyard, he realizes the giant yew tree that usually stands guard over the headstones has appeared in his backyard, and it has sprouted monstrous features.  A monster has come calling, and it’s there for a reason: he has come to tell Conor three stories.  In return, Conor must tell the monster a fourth story, and “it will be the truth.”

The driving emotional element of the story is that Conor’s mother is sick, very sick, and has been in and out of the hospital for various treatments.  It’s not too hard to figure out what’s wrong, although Ness, in good writerly fashion, never comes out and names the disease.  His mother gamely assures Conor throughout the story that she’s getting better.  On a deeper level, we know that Conor is not convinced by these assurances, and so the monster arrives to help him deal with the truth.

In between the monster’s parables and Conor’s nightmares, he deals with his waking life: being bullied at school, taking care of the house while his mother lies in bed, and enduring his bossy grandmother who comes to help out. It is implied that Conor will live with her when, well, when all this is over.  And he doesn’t like that idea one bit.

Jim Kay’s illustrations fit the tone of the story perfectly. In a black and white, smudged inky style he draws from Conor’s point of view: a small boy looking up at the giant yew monster who lurks above him. Conor’s surroundings mirror his gloomy existence:  the solitary graveyard near his house in moonlight, the monster with his human yet tree-like attributes, a garden of tangled thorns.  Conor’s recurring dream of his mother falling over a cliff is rendered with angry, dark strokes, yet his mother is a white silhouette.  All of the illustrations let the reader know that something bad is going to happen.

But as Conor’s mother continues her inexorable slide into death, the monster does what he has come to do: to help Conor face and deal with the inevitable.  Yes, the bad thing is coming and he can’t escape it. But he can, and does, learn how to accept it. Even though the ending was no surprise, and I figured out the significance of “12:07″ long before the end, I was still caught off guard by the powerful emotional impact of the final pages.  Don’t be surprised if you find yourself in tears.

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