Sunday, August 4, 2013

Recently Read

After a hot streak I've been suffering from some duds. No mini-reviews this time... just a few words. But I'd love some recommendations to get me off the Dud Train.

Code Name Verity by Elizabeth Wein
--actually this should be super highly recommended. this might be my favorite title read so far this year. keep meaning to post a review.

The Snow Queen by Joan D. Vinge
--very cool world with excellent characters. only drawback for me was the idea that i was supposed to think Sparks/Starbuck was worth dallying over.

13 Days: The Cuban Missile Crisis by Robert F. Kennedy
--reviewed here

Fly by Night by Frances Hardinge
--i'm a bit burned out on alternate british history but this world was intriguing and the protagonist is freaking awesome. loved her! however, this one seems geared to the younger half of "young adult" which tends to lose me as a reader.

Where Serpents Sleep by C. S. Harris
--interesting mystery (and cool motive for Hero Jarvis' interest) but i think it could have been much shorter and i ended up skipping lots of words. how many times do i need to be told about Jarvis wearing alpaca or about how St. Cyr doesn't really like her?

The Summer Prince by Alaya Dawn Johnson
--still reading this one but it's easy to put down. love the setting and societal structure but it moves pretty slowly. i own this so will probably eventually finish it so it will have a chance to improve. if it was a library book i would just return it...

Joyland by Stephen King
--still reading this one, too. i feel like i'm supposed to like the main character because it's a first person perspective so he's leading the action but he just seems like an asshole who needs to get a life. maybe that's what the book is about (along with the mystery) and i own it so i will probably finish it. also, i'm so compelled to comment on his extremely poor relationship skills* that i plan to review it and i prefer to finish books i plan to review.
*for anyone who has read this title, i don't mean in comparison to his ex, her relationship skills are awful, too. he's going to get the commentary because his perspective allows me to see his thought process.

not recommended
Dreamfall by Joan D. Vinge
--after enjoying Cat's first two books so much i found myself mostly bored reading this one. spending time with the Hydrans was a great addition to the world building but overall the story was predictable and didn't seem to add much to Cat's journey.

Lifelode by Jo Walton
--really cool style/narrative structure, interesting world, but spent the second half mostly bored (which is extra off-putting due to it being the heart of why the story was being told in the first place) and what originally seemed like a fascinating set of characters devolved into mostly petty bickering.

Lirael by Garth Nix
--the imaginative world gets precedence over story and that gets boring to me. i've started to skip a lot and actually haven't finished it yet. i *might* finish this one but it belongs to the library so if i don't finish it before this week's trip i plan to return it. oi! that doesn't say much for being interested in the ending. the world is quite imaginative which is nice but the two MCs never go for long without whinging on about not fitting in (in a book of over 500pgs that's a lot of whinging). i don't think of myself as having a short attention span but it's obviously shorter than your average teenager because they seem to gobble Nix up.
bonus points for being a fantasy world with men AND women... women who get to do things other than be the silent incubators of more men who get to do things. 

did not finish
Fall of a Kingdom by Hilari Bell
--read about half of this before i gave up. really liked the persian setting which is what kept me reading as long as i did. the characters left me cold and i couldn't get interested in the plot.
bonus points for being a fantasy world with men AND women... women who get to do things other than be the silent incubators of more men who get to do things.

The Ear, the Eye, and the Arm by Nancy Farmer
--i might have finished this one if i hadn't just read Fly by Night. this is another that is on the younger end of young adult and i didn't have the patience to read another. great setting, though!!!!

Half a Crown by Jo Walton
--i was so impressed with the writing style of Lifelode that i wanted to try another Walton. got about halfway through (would not have read that far if i wasn't newly familiar with the author) and was just bored. writing style was completely different. liked the watch commander a lot but with the plot moving so slowly i couldn't stick with him. also, this world is not to my taste... plus my alternate british history burnout.


  1. I did enjoy Joyland, though I don't consider it in the top of King's work. And I abandoned Our Lady of Immaculate Deception by Nancy Martin, unfortunately. No time to waste on books (audio) that don't register.

  2. I'm not yet into the real mystery part of Joyland so I assume it's going to pick up. I've already experience a few of King's gems. That's what I call his little nuggets of truly inspired human observation that pop out in a tidy sentence every once in a while. I don't read him a lot (his stories are not usually what I'm into) but I admire him as a writer.

    Noting down the title you mentioned. I actually have quite a bit of time to waste right now but I still don't like to use it on books I don't like. I'd rather "waste" time on the goods ones. :)