Category Archives: book review

What I read on my June vacation

I’ve just come home from a week and a half road trip to visit my family. My husband, children and I spent a week in Florida and then three days in Tennessee. This enabled me to see my mom and her husband, my sister and her family and my aunt and uncle, which 100% of my immediate family. (My in-laws visit us in just under two weeks. So by the end of the summer I’ll have seen everyone.)

As you can imagine, it was was a busy ten days. But there was quite a bit of driving involved, so my Kindle got a good workout and I accomplished a decent bit of reading. I managed internet access once and went ahead and wrote several reviews. They were for the books I’d read on the fourteen hour drive from Missouri to Florida and then in the first half of the week there. They were: Magic Bitter, Magic Sweet, The Library, the Witch and The Warder, Uncommon Grounds, and Revenge of the BloodslingerFeel free to check them out.

After that one crack at a computer, I didn’t get to update the blog at all. Rural Tennessee is beautiful, but it’s not great for speedy internet service. In the time away from modern technology I read Marine Biology, Thornfruit, Knight of Ocean Avenue and The Moonling Prince. Plus one that I didn’t finish (no one should ever write in first person present tense).

Rather than go through and write another four review posts, I thought I’d go ahead and review the four I haven’t yet done all in one go. Though I don’t plan to make them particularly detailed.

My husband jokes that I have ‘waitress brain,’ meaning I can remember a million details about something for a short amount of time. For example, when I waited tables during university, I could take the order of an eight-top (including substitutions) and never write anything down. But if you asked me two seconds after I put the order in what they wanted, I couldn’t tell you. I only remembered for as long as I needed to.

I’m a bit the same for books. I remember all the details until I write the review and then poof, they’re gone. And if I don’t write a review right away, they fade. We’re in the fading now. Sorry, but that’s just the reality of reading books back to back and THEN trying to review them.

Be that as it may, I do want to review them. So, here we go.


Marine Biology, by G. L. Carriger

This was cute and fluffy. Very much in line with the rest of the series. I just love Carriger’s sense of humor. Being a novella, it’s short of depth though.

 

 

 

 


Thornfruit, by Felicia Davin

I recall really liking the characters, the world and the storyline. But also feeling like a lot of things happened too conveniently and not enough really wrapped up by the end. Having said that, I really wanted to know more. I’ll be looking for the next book. Plus, I love the cover. So pretty.

 

 


Knight of Ocean Avenue, by Tara Lain

This one was another one designed to be cute and fluffy, and it was. But I  had a lot of problems with the presentation. One of the characters is effeminate and he’s called girly several times. Which might be alright if girly wasn’t synonymous with bad in the context used. Similarly, Billy, who is just discovering he’s gay, keeps saying how much better men are (in sex). As a woman, I have no problem with him preferring men, but I don’t know why it has to be phrased as men being better all around. Lastly, problems were repeatedly presented and then miraculously solved, such that the happily ever after felt too easy. So, it was just so-so for me.


The Moonling Prince, by Wendy Rathbone

Meh. Not bad all around, but not much to it either. I liked both of the characters, though I thought Arulu’s character inconsistent. Not to mention he spent 20 years in debilitating pain and seemed to have no resulting mental trauma. Additionally, I really would have liked to see the relationship develop more. The writing was pretty though.

 

 


So, there you go, four more books read and off my kindle. I’m halfway through another one that I started on the drive home, this afternoon. But I’ll give it it’s own post when the time comes.

Review of Magyk (Septimus Heap #1), by Angie Sage,

I borrowed a copy of Magyk: Septimus Heap, by Angie Sage from my local library.

Description from Goodreads:
Enter the world of Septimus Heap, Wizard Apprentice. Magyk is his destiny.

A powerful necromancer plans to seize control of all things Magykal. He has killed the Queen and locked up the Extraordinary Wizard. Now with Darke Magyk he will create a world filled with Darke creatures. But the Necromancer made one mistake. A vital detail he has overlooked means there is a boy who can stop him – the only problem is, the boy doesn’t know it yet.

For the Heap family, life as they know is about to change, and the most fantastically fast-paced adventure of confused identities, magyk and mayhem, begin.

Review:
I am not the intended audience for this book, being far too old. But I rented it to listen to with my 10yo, on a car trip. She quite enjoyed it. I didn’t dislike it, but didn’t fall in love either. While I was entertained, I also found the whole thing obvious and flat.

I’ve seen a somewhat convincing argument that the whole thing is meant to be a Christian parable. I’d never of made the connection on my own (Christian parables seriously not being my thing), but once pointed out, I could see where the reviewer got the idea. If you’re looking for that in a middle grade book, pick this one up. Maybe reading it from that perspective will give the narrative the oooh I felt tit lacked.

All in all, not bad, entertaining in a youthful sort of way. But lacking in enough depth to make me love it. It’s no Harry Potter, that’s for sure, though likely aimed at part of the same demographic.

Allan Corduner did a marvelous job with the audiobook narration though.

Review of New Amsterdam, by Elizabeth Bear

I bought a copy of Elizabeth Bear‘s New Amsterdam.

Description from Goodreads:
Abigail Irene Garrett drinks too much. She makes scandalous liaisons with inappropriate men, and if in her youth she was a famous beauty, now she is both formidable and notorious! She is a forensic sorceress, and a dedicated officer of a Crown that does not deserve her loyalty. Sebastien de Ulloa is the oldest creature she has ever known. He has forgotten his birth-name, his birth-place, and even the year in which he was born, if he ever knew it. But he still remembers the woman who made him immortal. In a world where the sun never sets on the British Empire, where Holland finally ceded New Amsterdam to the English only during the Napoleonic wars, and where the expansion of the American colonies was halted by the war magic of the Iroquois, they are exiles in the new world – and its only hope for justice!

Review:
This is a hard book to review. The writing is lovely, as are the characters. But I find I didn’t like it much, because it wasn’t what I wanted it to be and I completely disliked the ending. How do you separate that out and be objective in the rating of a book? I don’t know that I can. So, I’ll just reiterate, the writing is lovely, as are the characters.