Dresden Files (2): Fool Moon [review]

Title: Fool Moon

Author: Jim Butcher

Page #: 401

Genre: Urban Fantasy/Mystery

Thoughts:

I felt this book was hard to get into. Maybe there was just too much that I didn’t know as a reader but I didn’t feel myself eager to turn pages until around 163 when the action really started. And I really don’t think I should need more than even five pages to get me hooked on a story.

I liked the variety and complications of the whole werewolf legend. Jim Butcher took a trite supernatural being and added a good punch of originality to it. What I really enjoy about this series is the detail of what it’s like being a wizard. From the soul-gazing experience, to having a possessed skull as a spell book, and explanation to potion making definitely make it believable because Harry relays this so matter-of-factly.

This book shows cements the fact that there is an enemy Harry has yet to face yet and I hope we get to meet a new adversary in the next book. Plus, I really want to see Harry and Murphy together.

Writer’s Takeaway:

One thing I need to mention is how much of a hard time I had connecting with Harry Dresden. Or any of the characters actually. On the basic level, sure. Anyone can. But I think this particular book helped me realize why we need a New Adult genre. The in-between from childhood/adolescence and adulthood. Because while I realize being in college makes me young. . . .Harry Dresden refers to the college student werewolves as “kids.” I tried not to bristle at being lumped in like that. Plus, I just can’t relate to a man who has a hard time paying his bills and worrying about “real life.”

However, I so love Butcher’s/Harry’s voice. So sarcastic. Love it.


City of Glass [review]

Title: City of Glass [Book 3 of The Mortal Instruments]

Author: Cassandra Clare

Page #: 541 [WTF!]

Genre: YA Urban Fantasy

Thoughts:

I enjoyed reading the first book, “City of Bones”, and thought it had potential. The second book, “City of Ashes”, was interesting enough for me to get this third installment.

It didn’t really live up to my expectations (which weren’t that high in the first place).

I found myself thinking every ten pages with a groan, “Am I done yet?” I’m all for multiple point of views and switching up the scenery but I felt like once I adjusted to a scene with Clary and her problems then it would just abruptly end and pick up with Simon’s predicament then cliffhangered off to yet another scene. There was too much going on individually for me that I got frustrated.

Something that is really important to me when I’m reading is a connection with the main character. I didn’t feel that with Clary. In fact, I don’t think I really know what her personality is like. The girl is described as someone who is stubborn with a temper but maybe I was too annoyed with the length of the book or distracted by the angst flinging everywhere to notice.

I also felt like Max’s death was a huge waste of space and words. What does it accomplish except for everyone feeling bad about themselves? Why would Sebastian kill Max and not Isabelle? You could have cut out Max’s existence entirely and the story would have gone along fine.

And what is a 9-year-old kid reading Angel Sanctuary? Cassandra Clare, you do realize the manga portrays an actual incestuous relationship?

I DID like how we get more of the background of Shadowhunter history and the angels’ involvement. The original twists on biblical themes and the Jace’s sarcastic comments are probably the only reasons why I’ll continue reading the sequels–but I’m in no hurry.

Writer’s Takeaway:

– don’t write excessively long books that will annoy the reader

– give readers time to actually adjust to the scene and don’t frustrate them with cliffhangers

– villains are always bad is such an awful way to portray antagonists

– create a character that readers can actually connect with and make sure to inject some personality

– need more gay characters. period.


Looking For Alaska [review]

Title: Looking For Alaska

Author: John Green

Page #: 221

Genre: YA

Thoughts:

Miles “Pudge” Halter goes to Culver Creek Boarding School hoping for an adventure and something completely different from his usually mundane life. He finds it in a group of kids and gets caught up in prank wars, secret drinking sessions, and investing in a smoking habit. The story is set up counting down from day 136 to a single event that changes Pudge’s life. After the event, the counting starts up again until it reaches back to 136.

I thought this book was written very well in the voice of an older teen and gave an honest portrayal of what high school is like. I’m glad that the book wasn’t censored just because it contained high school kids drinking or smoking or even swearing. It was refreshing to see characters that weren’t cookie-cut perfect or “good” but were pushing their more rebellious side.

I can’t say that I absolutely loved this book but it’s definitely given me something to think about when questioning my choices. I also probably appreciate this book so much more because John Green is one of the vlogbrothers and that automatically made this book much more appealing than it would have if I just saw it at a bookstore.

Writer’s Takeaway:

I really liked the way John Green set up the story by splitting the two halves of the book the way he did. I made sure to go back and check to see if 136 days before and after matched up. It was an interesting way to write the story and I feel it helped me sympathize more with Pudge on his mission to find out what happened. Also, I think this is probably the first book where I can actually remember all the minor characters and their little quirks without having to refer back to the book. I felt like I was immediately assimilated into the world of Pudge, Alaska, the Colonel, Takumi, and Lara.


Parasol Protectorate (2): Changeless [review]

Title: Changeless

Author: Gail Carriger

Page #: 374

Genre: Steampunk/Paranormal Romance

Thoughts:

I had fun with the first book. So much so that I thought I’d give the sequel a try. It delivered.

I think this might be the first steampunk book I’ve read so far. Usually I’m stuck in fantasy or sci-fi worlds.

Anyway, in this second book we have a little less romance but more mystery and adventure. Alexia must find out why certain areas are making any supernatural being revert back to their mortal self (of just disappear completely if you’re a ghost). I thought the history and the reason behind the whole mystery was actually quite well explained and thought out. It definitely sets things for the next book in the series (which I’ve already read as of this moment). You still get the sharp wit you’d expect from Alexia and a new companion as well.

The one thing that kind of made me annoyed was the ending. So yes, don’t read on if you don’t want to be spoiled upon.

Seriously. Stop reading.

I’m all for cliffhangers. . . .when they are still in the middle of story. NOT the end. It kind of makes me feel like I HAVE to get the next book to find out next. Which isn’t true. I can always go to Wikipedia and read the extended plot that someone has graciously written and pieced things together with other peoples’ reviews. Alexia gets pregnant and Lord Maccon believes she’s been unfaithful. THE END.

WTF. Did I mention he also pretty much insults her in every horrible way possible? Like seriously, WTF.

I don’t know, you’d think Lord Maccon would be a tad bit smarter to realize that maybe, just maybe, things would be different with Alexia because she is a preternatural? I just felt it kind of seemed out of character for him to just blow up like that.

Writer’s Takeaway:

I really wish I could write like Gail Carriger. Or even just think like Alexia. Damn. That would be so much fun. I love the way this book is written. Even when the situation calls for gravity, humor shines right through the pages. There is a whole sense of levity throughout the entire book that amuses me so much that I can’t put the book down.


Stardust [review]

Title: Stardust

Author: Neil Gaiman

Page #: 333, paperback

Genre: Fantasy Fiction

Thoughts:

I had watched the movie “Stardust” when it first came out. It was a good movie and I remember rewatching several times before having to return it to Blockbuster[when it actually made a profit].

The book really was much better. Of course. I have yet to see a movie that did a book justice. Probably never will.

Stardust is a wonderful fairytale. The world beyond the Wall is amazing and unique. All of the characters were striking and had interesting backgrounds.

Writer’s Takeaway:

I honestly can’t believe that I had never encountered Neil Gaiman until THIS YEAR. A sophomore in college when I’ve been roaming libraries since elementary school. You’d think I would have come across this master of fantasy before. I mean, whenever I read one of his books, there is always at least one person who reads the title and says, “I love that book! He’s a great writer.”

I love the way this man writes. He makes it seem like all the magical stuff is completely normal. Matter-of-fact. I really admire that.

He also did a really good job in setting up the story and the conclusion was definitely satisfactory although different from the movie.

Argh, such a horribly written review but I want to get these done. Promise they’ll get better.


Anna and the French Kiss [review]

Title: Anna and the French Kiss

Author: Stephanie Perkins

Page #: 372, hardcover

Genre: YA, heavy on the romance

Thoughts:

When I first saw this book, I really didn’t want to buy it. I mean, I was working while reading this book and didn’t want to be judged by all the college students who passed by my desk. However, it soon didn’t matter as I got so engrossed into the story. The plot doesn’t seem like anything special. Girl gets shipped off to boarding school in a new country. Meets a group of new friends and a very hot guy who already has a girlfriend. And I’m pretty sure that I would never had actually read the book except for one thing.

The narrator. The voice. Anna Oliphant. Usually I find YA books whiny and annoyingly immature. The book worked because of how it was written. Maybe it’s because I’m only 20 and not that much older than Anna but I found her someone I could easily have as a friend. She isn’t the lovesick girl who mopes about how she can’t ever date St. Clair. She realizes her position and doesn’t try to cross the boundaries until St. Clair begins to make it very clear to blur those lines. The new friends she also meets are an interesting bunch and I’m glad that they developed along with her instead of acting like minor props to the story.

I’m a little disappointed that Amanda and Dave weren’t really served their just desserts. Another thing that irked me was how long it took for Anna to realize how similar her situation was to that of her best friend’s. I mean, I get you’re wrapped up in a romance and high school drama but it just makes me wonder why you wouldn’t have a lightbulb moment.

But overall, I enjoyed reading this book immensely. I actually Laughed Out Loud for real at certain parts. Other times I had to take a break because I was just getting way too excited about the book.

Also, I seriously took pity on a girl whose father is a fictionalized version of Nicholas Sparks. Ugh.

Writer’s Takeaway:

Voice, voice, voice! OMG. Stephanie Perkins did an amazing job with the narrator/Anna. I loved the way she wrote Anna’s thoughts and reactions. A lot of the book is dialogue and I found that they were more useful to the story than the descriptions of France itself.

 

First review I’ve written. Sorry it’s bad. I waited too long to write it.