Friday, February 1, 2013

In Which I Apologize, and Then Review Some Books

This past Monday was the Please Allow Me To Re-Introduce Myself blogfest hosted by Stephen Tremp, Carolyn Brown, Mark Koopmans and Elise Fallson. I had signed up with every good intention of participating and then... didn't. There were some unforeseen difficulties that I really should have seen coming—especially because they involved The Store—and it just didn't happen. It was unintentional and I apologize to the hosts and to the participants who stopped by this blog expecting to see a certain post that just wasn't there. I shall do better the next time.

And now I'd like to move on to the reviewing portion of this post. It's the first of the month, which is oftentimes when I post reviews of all the books I read during the course of the previous months. I haven't done one in a couple of months but I'm going to try and get back into the habit. My reviews tend to be short and to the point and will occasionally contain spoilers. I try to avoid them when I can, but sometimes there's just no stopping a rant.

Here's what I read in January:

Reached- Ally Condie- The third and thankfully final book in the Matched series. A lot of people have enjoyed these books. I’m not one of them. I found this book—and the two before it—to be boring. The prose tries too damn hard to be meaningful, and the pacing makes a snail look speedy.  The three main characters are so freaking dull I don’t know why anyone cares what they do or how their ‘love triangle’ will turn out. Because I didn’t. Besides, it was painfully obvious how the ‘love triangle’ would turn out. Also, I’m not happy about what they did with Indie. I thought what happened to her was a lazy resolution to the series’s one interesting character.

Romeo Redeemed- Stacey Jay- I was pleasantly surprised by this book. The first book, Juliet Immortal, kind of bored me. The beginning made me swoon but what followed didn’t hold up. But its sequel was really quite good. There is some lovely prose to be found in these pages. There was a part toward the end where the story line got a tad confusing—things that happened “off screen” that maybe should have happened “on screen”, and I didn’t love the epilogue. I like the fact that we know what happened to the three main characters; I just didn’t particularly care for the way that information was presented.

Crash- Lisa McMann- Fun characters and a cool concept (a girl sees constant visions of a horrible accident and becomes determined to stop it from happening). I haven’t been a fan of the way the author ends her novels, but I did really like the way this one ended. I didn't see that ending coming. I had no idea where the story was going to do, and I was, honestly, expecting to be annoyed all over again, but was pleased with where the story ended up. I'm curious to read the next one.

Just One Day- Gayle Forman- Look, kids! Proof that I do not hate every book I read! The writing style is wonderful, and the characters are fantastic fun. I thoroughly enjoyed this book from beginning to end, and I am very much looking forward to readings its sequel when it is released. When I read If I Stay by the same author, I liked it quite a lot but its companion novel, Where She Went, blew me away. I'm hoping that will happened again with this series.

Legend- Marie Lu- I’ve been reading good things about this book for a while now and decided that I just had to read it. And now I’m super glad that the sequel is coming out in a week because I want to know what happens next. It’s a very cool story. Day is a damn cool character, and I have to know if June is reunited with her German shepherd. I am a firm believer that no girl should ever be parted from her German shepherd.

1356- Bernard Cornwell- I bought this book because it was a Bernard Cornwell book, and I tend to enjoy his books quite a lot. What I didn’t realize when I bought it was that it was the fourth book in a series, which I think was my introduction to this author. And when I did realize that’s what it was, I was thrilled because I really enjoyed the first three books of the series, really loved the main characters, and I was so happy to find out what happened after the third book ended. So this book does not disappoint. Bernard Cornwell writes the best damn battle scenes ever, and the way he writes the main character of Thomas is how I want some of my main male characters to be. I thought there was a little rush at the end to get to the end but overall, I was very happy with the story.

Live Through This- Mindi Scott- A good book, well written and emotional (made me cry by the end) and moving and all that, but I wish there had been more to it. Pages wise, I mean. Things felt rushed. Considering the subject matter, I just wanted more. It's not an easy subject matter by any means—and bravo for tackling it at all and doing so well—but I guess  I just didn't want it to end where it did.

Finale- Becca Fitzpatrick- (PLEASE NOTE THIS REVIEW WILL CONTAIN SPOILERS AND A RANT) The final novel in the Hush, Hush saga. Thank goodness. I remember liking the first one and then it getting worse from there. But because I am a crazy person, I read the whole series anyway. And now I feel a rant coming on. It felt like there was a lot of story that didn’t need to be included. Like the convoluted pretend boyfriend storyline. I understand that she and Patch are on opposite sides of the war and to continue their relationship in the public eye is dangerous so sure, they need to do the fake break up thing (and then spend 90% of the novel together anyway so why bother?) but why do they have to start the fake story of Nora's new (fake) boyfriend (a plot line, which, by the way, doesn't go anywhere)? Why does Nora have to have a boyfriend? Can’t she just be her own woman? All independent and whatnot? And the Vee’s a nephil storyline. Why? Can’t a girl just be human anymore? And it’s not like Vee was really all that developed during the series anyway so I don’t know why she was made a nephil and what difference it made to anything except for me wondering what the hell is going on in the town of Coldwater that made everyone there have sex with angels. I mean, fine, have sex with whoever you want (so long as it's consensual) but did someone put something in the drinking water? And did anyone give the black dog a home? Did I miss that part? This dog comes to Nora’s rescue and gets mind controlled by Nora for its trouble and then she says something like “I should give him a bath before I take him to the shelter” and later on the dog is seen again, still not in a home nor the shelter, and someone again said “this dog needs a good home” but, as far as we know, the dog is never adopted. Just write a sentence about Nora buying some dishes and some food and a few squeaky toys and presto! Storyline resolved! Besides, if you're going to mind control some innocent animal, Nora, and make him bite people (or nephilim) on your behalf, the very least you can do is give him a home. In your house. And then there’s the epilogue. I have no problem with epilogues, especially in sagas where you maybe want to know what happened to everyone after the Big Event comes to an end. But the epilogue here is dumb, just dumb. It clumsily and lazily wraps up the fate of other characters and makes no sense at all. It is my opinion that this series really should have ended earlier.

Prodigy- Marie Lu- The sequel to Legend. I did enjoy this book but not as much as the first one. You do get a lot of great background information on this particular dystopian society that was very interesting to read, and I couldn’t stop looking at the map at the beginning. I am pleased to report that the question of June's dog was resolved in a satisfactory manner. It also has a great lead-in to the third book— a novel that I am looking forward to reading.

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Well, that's going to do it for me today. Read anything interesting lately? I'd love to hear about it. Until next time...

34 comments:

  1. So, yes, I have to read Legend. I've been considering it, but just haven't gotten around to it. Like you and the re-introduce me hop ;)

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  2. That was quite a rant! Haven't read any of that series and don't want to now. (Although I think it's young adult, I genre I generally don't read.) I don't want people reading my books and thinking the series should've ended sooner, which is why I'm capping it at three.

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    1. Yes, that's a YA novel. I read a lot of those this month. It happens once in a while.

      And I'm just hoping any people reading my book don't think it should end after the first chapter (or before that point even)...

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  3. I love your rant. Sorry you had to deal with The Store. Maybe in your next book you can write about The Store and have horrible, horrible things happen to it. (;

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    1. Asteroids. Lots and lots of asteroids all landing in one spot.

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  4. I enjoyed IF I STAY more than the sequel/companion. But I do tend to enjoy the first book in a trilogy/series more than the others anyway.

    I'm reading AMELIA ANNE IS DEAD AND GONE by Kat Rosenfield and I am totally sucked into the story and the writing.

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    1. I haven't heard of that one. I'll have to go check it out.

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  5. I love how sans bullshit your reviews are :) On a different note, I apparently have to teach my kindle how to swear. It wanted to tell you that your reviews were sans buckshot, a fact I'm sure you already know.

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    1. I wonder if my Kindle knows how to swear. It's been with me long enough that I should assume it does.

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  6. I did the same thing with Bernard Cornwell. He was the main speaker at a conference I was at, and I'd read Agincourt and like it, so I thought I'd buy another of his from the conference bookstore. I ended up buying the third or fourth in a series, but it was good on it's own. And, yeah, it made me want to go back and read the first three. He really is my go-to guy for battle research. :))

    And now I have to put Legend on my TBR list. :P

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    1. Have you read his King Arthur series? I am in love with that series.

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  7. That's a great list. I'm still on the same book I started at the beginning of the year - I am a reading failure at the moment.

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    1. I'm a writing failure at the moment. At some point, things will even out. I hope.

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  8. I read Matched, and like you I found it quite boring, so I didn't read the second or third books. Looks like I didn't miss out!

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  9. You've been busy. Allie Condie is one of the Mormon writers. She lives south of me in Provo, Utah and hobknobs with Brandon Sanderson (who is also Mormon). They think women should wear dresses, that Little House on the Prairie is damn fine television, and want to make sure that us gays know that they don't approve of our "lifestyle choice." I'm actually surprised you stuck out a series you thought was boring.

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    1. A long list of books is a sure sign that I did little to no writing over the course of a month.

      And I will eventually finish every series I start. Some take longer than others but I'm crazy enough to read the whole damn thing, no matter how boring it may be.

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  10. You've got to learn to give up the books you don't like. (This coming from someone who will watch to the end of a movie she knows she hates in the first 20 minutes, so take that for what it's worth.)

    Surprised to hear the Matched series is boring. I keep seeing it online everywhere. Not really my thing, though, so I didn't try it out.

    I've found some great books lately, but since they're guilty pleasures, I'm not naming names. (Kind of ashamed to admit I'm reading this sort of thing.) I've also stumbled on some awful books. I guess it balances itself out.

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    1. I know I should give up the books I don't like, and I tell myself that while I'm reading the books I don't like, but it doesn't seem to help.

      Like I said, I am a crazy person through and through. =)

      And I get the guilty pleasure thing. There are plenty of books I've read that I don't include in my monthly reviews.

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  11. I can't believe you have time to read. I like that Cornwell series too.

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    1. If I'm not writing, I'm reading. And I certainly wasn't writing this month. With the exception of snarky, work themed haiku, of course.

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  12. If I had a nickle for every blogfest I signed up for and then missed...Well, I'd have a lot of nickels!! :)

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    1. I think I'd only have two. Which, all things considered, is that bad, I guess.

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  13. superb, informative, & entertaining reviews, as expected!
    how do you read so much?
    i had a bad feeling about the matched series, glad i didnt fall for the compelling covers.
    will add cornwell to my list
    and legend was very good. my boys read it too. have to get prodigy.

    thanks again!

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    1. Yes, I wish I hadn't fallen for the compelling cover of that first one. Would've saved me from some boredom.

      I'm never bored reading Cornwell novels though.

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  14. That's a lot of reviews! My wife found my Kindle Fire that was missing since December 15th. All my books I downloaded were on there. Now I can do my reviews for seven books I read up until I lost my Kindle.

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    1. I won't have nearly as many reviews next month. Glad your missing Kindle was found. I'd be very upset if I lost mine.

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  15. Wow, I feel like a slacker. You read a lot.

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    1. Only when I'm not writing a lot. So don't feel like a slacker. You're writing and reading and going to school and a whole bunch of other things that I'm not doing so I am the true slacker here.

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  16. Marie Lu's books are on my TBR list. Thanks for the reviews.

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    1. You're welcome. I hope you enjoy Marie Lu's books when you get to them.

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  17. Holy cow so many books. Legend has been on my list for a while now. I have 6 January debuts I want to plow through first, but I can't wait to get to it!

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  18. A girl parted from her German Shepherd? Sounds depressing! (When you read the second book you should let us know if they are united.)

    I've wondered about the Matched books. I have no plan to read them as they don't catch my interest, but every says they are wonderful. I've always had my doubts.

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