Landline by Rainbow Rowell

An engaging story about love and marriage, done in the signature Rowell style. Fun fact: if you put Rowell’s books on your shelf in publication order, they will also be in alphabetical order. This pleases me.

 

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Quick Takes #4

Princess Academy: Palace of Stone, Thirsty, Cat Girl’s Day Off, Saga (1&2), The Lost Boy, The King’s Guard

I’ve been feeling awfully lazy about blogging lately, and I only have about 10 more books to review before I’m close to real time.  Plus, several of these are giving me some headaches as to what to say about them.  So, without further ado, Quick Takes #4!

Princess Academy: Palace of Stone by Shannon Hale

palaceofstone

The continuing adventures of Miri and crew (but mostly Miri).  They go to the capital for their friend’s wedding, and manage to stumble onto revolution.  Also, a love triangle.

How It Made Me Feel:

belle

It was sweet, and cute, but not as subtle as its predecessor.  I did like the difficulty of the revolution, because it can’t be easy to find a balance between not really changing anything, and French Revolution bloodbath.  Mostly, the book just made me wistful for the first one.

Thirsty by M.T. Anderson

thirsty

Chris is slowly turning into a vampire, and doesn’t know what to do about it.  Should he trust his friends and family?  Can anyone save him?

How It Made Me Feel:

confused tennant

I enjoyed the ride, but I was totally confused the whole time, up to and including right now.  I know that this was on purpose, because it was what Chris was feeling most of the time.  I read the book as a metaphor for puberty, although some have read it as a questioning/coming out metaphor.  Not my favorite M.T. Anderson, but still worth reading.

Cat Girl’s Day Off by Kimberly Pauley

catgirl

Natalie’s family are all geniuses/superpowered with flashy powers.  Natalie herself?  Can communicate with cats (and sometimes basic Dog phrases).  She doesn’t want people to know that she has such a lame power, so she’s told almost no one.  But today, she might save someone’s life with her talent!

How It Made Me Feel:

golfclap

It’s a great concept, but in execution–the cats should be funnier, for one thing.  It sounds madcap, and the outline of the plot is, but somehow the writing is just not snappy enough to fit with the action.

Saga, Volumes 1 & 2, by Brian K. Vaughan & Fiona Staples

saga

Two soldiers from opposite sides of a never-ending war fall in love and start a family.

How It Made Me Feel:

Beatles

I was already a fan of Brian K. Vaughan’s writing, and after this, I’m a huge fan of Fiona Staples’ art.  Honestly, the reason I’m putting Saga in this post is not because I don’t have anything to say: it’s because others have already said it.  Just read, ASAP.

The Lost Boy by Greg Ruth

(ARC review: book available August 27th, 2013.)

lost boy

Nate just moved with his family to a small town, and strange things are happening around his house.  He finds a tape recorder with tapes recorded by a boy who mysteriously disappeared a long time ago, and begins to unravel the mystery.

How It Made Me Feel:

dizzy

It started out very strong, with creepy characters, and intriguing mysteries.  There is also very strong art, which doesn’t change throughout the book.  But when action started to speed up, new worldbuilding elements and characters started to be introduced at a bewildering rate, and things were moving way too fast.  Suddenly, the story was wrapped up without me having a chance to even process it.  I really think this should have been expanded and stretched into several volumes.

The King’s Guard by Rae Carson

kingsguard

 

A prequel digital novella about Hector, and how he earned his place on the King’s Guard.

How It Made Me Feel:

dreamy

 

I love this series, and I love Hector, so…yeah, loved it!

Disclosure:

Borrowed all from work, with the exception of The King’s Guard, which I bought, and The Lost Boy, which I got for free at work.  I have every intention of buying Saga when I am in a better place, financially.

Quick Takes #3: Meh.

Books That Made Me Say, “Meh.”

I’m getting close to caught up such that there’s a reasonable gap between finishing a book and writing its review (say, 5-7 days instead of a month).  So, to help myself along, and also to write some reviews that I don’t have a lot to say about, I thought it was time for another Quick Takes.  These are all books that are not awful, and in many cases, I can’t even point to any one thing that I didn’t like; however, they just didn’t have a spark for me.  Since it’s sort of a less exciting subject, I’m including suggestions of similar books to read instead.

Curse of the Thirteenth Fey: the True Tale of Sleeping Beauty by Jane Yolen

curse

There isn’t much to say about this.  The “True Tale”  in the title makes me think that it will be an innovative or motivation-revealing retelling of Sleeping Beauty.  Instead, it’s more of an origin story.  Basically all of the story takes place before the christening, let alone the spindle.  Maybe a lot of my problem is an advertising problem rather than a story problem, but I didn’t think that the story was that great.  Very predictable.  Also, really insistent on traditional gender roles.

I have read other Yolen that I liked much better.

Read instead: Francesca Lia Block’s fairy tale retellings, Robin McKinley

Spindlers by Lauren Oliver

spindlers

I’m sad to say this, because I think Oliver is a rising star of YA lit, but this book, despite some delightful characters, felt like ground that’s been tread over too many times. I’ve seen lots of other similar stories.

Read Instead: Coraline, Fairyland books by Catherynne Valente, watch Labyrinth.

Freakling by Lana Krumwiede

freakling

I was trying to figure out what about this book made it so unremarkable to me, and I think it’s the characters.  The worldbuilding is awesome, and I loved it.  However, the characters felt like cutouts, like stereotypes.  I just couldn’t identify with them, not even Taemon (the MC).  I may actually give this series another chance, based on the worldbuilding alone.

Read Instead: Chalice by Robin McKinley (can you tell I love her?), Eon and Eona by Alison Goodman

Journey Between Worlds by Sylvia Louise Engdahl

journey

This one may not deserve to be on this list, because it’s good for what it is.  It’s a coming-of-age/romance, and as that, it’s fine.  I was just hoping for a little more, since I remembered the author’s Enchantress from the Stars as being a bit more profound (but it’s been years, so could be misremembering/reading differently nowadays).  Don’t read it prepared to focus on science, because you won’t get it.  Apart from some Star Trek: TOS-era ideas (it was originally published in 1970 (space travel=world peace, criminals commit crime because they are criminals, and “normal” people won’t commit crimes if they are fed and housed)), there’s really nothing wrong with it.  If you want a sweet romance in an uncommon setting, read it!

Read Instead: Well, Enchantress from the Stars, I think.

Disclosure:

All were borrowed from work.

Quick Takes #2

Cinderella Ate My Daughter, Deadly Pink, Past Perfect, Corbenic, City of Bones & City of Ashes, The Freedom Maze, Cinder, Thumped, and The Girl Who Circumnavigated Fairyland in a Ship of Her Own Making

I’m going to write some quicker-than-normal reviews regarding several books.  Some of these are shorter than my normal book, some of these I might just not have as much to say about, and…I might just have way too many books in my read-but-not-yet-reviewed queue. Continue reading

Quick Takes #1

Golden, Gallagher Girls #1 & #2, The Clue of the Linoleum Lederhosen, The Scrapbook of Frankie Pratt, Horten’s Miraculous Mechanisms: Magic, Mystery, and a Very Strange Adventure, and The Shadow Cats

I’m going to write some quicker-than-normal reviews regarding several books.  Some of these are shorter than my normal book, some of these I might just not have as much to say about, and…I might just have way too many books in my read-but-not-yet-reviewed queue. Continue reading