Monday, July 2, 2012

In Which I Review Books

Here's what I read during the month of June:

Summer’s Passage- Julie Kagawa- A novelette that takes place between The Iron Queen and The Iron Knight.  The best thing I can really say about this is that I was able to download it for free.  Puck’s dialogue gets worse and worse with every story.

The Iron Knight- Julie Kagawa-  The final book in the Iron Fey series.  At least as far as I know.  This book should’ve made me swoon with delight because it was Ash’s POV, Ash’s story, and he’s been the majority of the reason why I’ve stuck with this series.  But I just didn’t love it.  I was stuck by large bouts of “is this thing over yet?”  And maybe that’s my fault because I went though the entire series like wildfire or something and I wouldn’t have gotten tired of the story if I’d only spread them out.

The House on the Corner- Andrew Leon-  The mostly first person edition and the start of an intended series.  So, I want to start off by saying something that is probably going to sound horrible (though I don't mean it to be) but it was a prevalent thought in my head at the start of this book, so I'm going to do it.  This book made me glad I am just an aunt and not a parent because at the start of this book, the kids are annoying.  That said, let me add that they're very well written because I know siblings are like that.  I have three of my own (siblings) and we were like that growing up and we're occasionally still like that even though we're all in our thirties now.  Anyway, each chapter rotates between the three kids.  At first I didn't realize the narrative had switched from Tom to Sam and spent a little time confused as to why Tom was referring to himself in the third person but then I caught on that the shifts were in order: Tom, Sam, Ruth until a switch to the third person POV near the end of the book.  In the author's note following the story, he says scenes in between each chapter featuring the three kids arguing  amongst themselves as they tell the story were cut  because many of the adult readers found these scenes to be jarring.  Without having read them, I have to say I likely would have found them jarring as well.  The story does start off slow but I knew it would and so was fine with it.  The action picks up with the chapter called "The Imagination Room".  After that, it feels like a sprint to the end.  I read a review of this book that called it "Speilbergian" which I found to be a perfect description.  I believe the target audience is the young adult crowd but it will definitely appeal to adults— especially those with a love of Star Wars, Narnia, Dungeon & Dragons, Lord of the Rings, and the like.

Gone Girl- Gillian Flynn-  I loved Gillian Flynn's first two novels, Dark Places and Sharp Objects.  She know how to create characters and scenes.  Her ability to craft words is outstanding.  Beautiful, dark fiction.  Gone Girl is no different.  This book is all kinds of crazy and the end is really quite disturbing.  I got to a point where I couldn't put it down, I had to keep reading because I had to know what the hell was going on.  I read a review of this book which says the end punches the reader in the gut and boy, was it right.  I was stunned by how it ended.  A lot of people hate the ending and while I definitely don't love it, I love the fact that Gillian Flynn was brave enough to end the story that way.  One of the very best books I've read all year.

Impact- Danni Foley-  Not long enough.  I know this is the start of a series and so there's more story to follow but it ended very soon and I want to know where things end up.  We're introduced to a wide variety of characters all experiencing some form of upheaval and when the story comes to an end, things are still... upheaved?  Is that a word?  Anyway, I want to know the resolution.  Yes, there are many typos but the author is aware of this.  I also appreciated the humor and the pop culture references but where were the Firefly references??  Did I miss them?  Maybe they'll be in the next book...

Changeling- Phillipa Gregory-   Phillipa Gregory has long been one of my all time favorite authors.  She writes beautiful historical fiction that I admire oh so much.  This book is the first in a YA series.  But I did not love it.  I know she's setting up a series for young adults but the book was too slight and flighty, I guess.  It started off very well, I think, in the way it introduced the two main characters but once those two characters met, things started to go downhill.  The mysteries were kind of transparent and the main characters became very flat and uninteresting.  One of the secondary characters was my favorite so here's hoping he has a much larger role in the next book.

Rapture- Lauren Kate- So, I’ve been very ho-hum about this entire series and yes, I read the entire series because I am a freak that way.  That’s been well documented.  And while I wasn’t a fan of the series, and I’m not really a fan of this book, I will say that this novel surprised me.  It took three books and three hundred pages to do so but it surprised me.

25 comments:

  1. Thanks for the review! I really appreciate it!

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    1. You're welcome, Andrew. It was my pleasure.

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  2. Did the last book surprise you in a good way? Nice little reviews. In depth. I'm posting several mini reviews on some books I've read on Friday.

    Have a great day, M.J.!

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    1. I guess it surprised me in a good way. I was just kind of plodding along and then, all of a sudden, I was like, "Oh. Well, that's interesting."

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  3. I am so with you on GONE GIRL. One of my favorite things about her books is how she manages to take not so likable characters and still make you want to see what happens. And that ending? Speechless. And you're right about her being brave to end it that way, a way not everyone is going to love. :)

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    1. Yeah. That ending. I spent a lot of time going "what? WHAT?"

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  4. Thanks for all the reviews. I think it's funny that Andrew's book helped you come to terms with your parenting desires. Funny stuff.

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    1. I hope others share your view. I don't want people with children to be insulted.

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  5. how do you find the time to read so much!? amazing! i have been reading 4 books for 4 months! making progress tho...and 3 of 4 are good!

    thanks for reviewing. i love your honest opinion & you usually match what i like to read!

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    1. I do not know. I've always been a fast reader (unless I'm reading Jane Austen) but some of this month's books were only a few hundred pages, and one wasn't even that so they really didn't take all that long.

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  6. i'm jealous you find the time to read all these books. I try to read too-usually by listening to audiobooks. great recommendations, these!
    Nutschell
    www.thewritingnut.com

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    1. I've only ever used audiobooks in my classroom back when I was teaching. I don't know that I'd be able to pay attention to them outside of school. My mind wanders too much.

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  7. Really useful reviews! Thanks for adding to my TBR list. :)

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  8. Wow! You've gotten a lot of books read in June. That's a shame about CHANGELING. It looked really good.

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  9. Thanks for your honest reviews.. I think many times bloggers are loath to even offer constructive criticism, so you go with lots-of-reading-time self :)

    You're on my "Did they read and review this book?" list :)

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  10. Gah! Thank you for the kind words!! I'm trying to remember if you bought the book before or after I edited most of the typos out? (I say most because I'm sure I missed some).

    As for the Firefly reference, I thought I had one, but I just realized the reference was only in my editing notes... One moment from Dean's POV has a line that says, "He expected there to be a shared hostility between them, or that she would just start screaming and ripping her hair out or something." The comment I made in the margins was "I hope she does the soup thing,,,"

    I had considered changing the line to "Or that she would start screaming and rub soup in her hair" or something, but I decided against it for the sole reason that it was not a reference that the character would have made. He's not a nerd like Claire and Nathan are, in fact I doubt Dean has ever watched the Firefly. Gasp! I know... But I will make sure to include some references in the next book, just for you :D

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  11. Very honest reviews in this lot MJ thanks for sharing them.

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  12. Thanks for the reviews. I'll check out more reviews on Amazon for a couple of them.

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  13. nice posting.. thanks for sharing.

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  14. i enjoyed reading all of these reviews--i think i would like the house on the corner and gone girl :)

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  15. I'm like you about series. I will stick through the entire thing, even if I hate it from the start. :-)

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  16. haha I am having trouble finishing ONE book this month! Thanks for the reviews :)

    Allison (Geek Banter)

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  17. What a review collection. Thanks for these! :)

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