Monday, July 30, 2012

Audiobook Review: The Amulet of Samarkand (Bartimaeus #1) by Jonathan Stroud

The Amulet of Samarkand (Bartimaeus, #1)The Amulet of Samarkand by Jonathan Stroud
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

Breif review for this one. I'd read this book several months ago after I got it out for one of my kids and he turned his nose up at it. I wanted to find out what he didn't like about it. When I read it myself, I found that the Britishness of this story was probably what lost him. At first, I found reading the footnotes somewhat annoying. I skipped several of them if I wasn't confused in the story. I wish I hadn't done that. Those footnotes held a lot of humor.

I received this audiobook from SYNC for free, and I must say, listening to this story in audio format was SO much more enjoyable than reading it for myself. I love the reader's voice for the different characters and how he handled the footnotes - they were more like side thoughts than footnotes. If you like worlds of magic and magicians and don't mind the British setting, I'd highly recommend listening to this series. I know I'll be looking for the rest of the trilogy on audio now.

View all my reviews

Friday, July 20, 2012

Audiobook Review: Forever Odd by Dean Koontz

Forever Odd (Odd Thomas Novel, Book 2)Forever Odd by Dean Koontz
My rating: 2 of 5 stars

Didn't realize this was part of a series and not the first. I haven't read or even heard of the other books. We'll see...

So, I finished it...finally. Let me just say, anytime the main character reveals that they died and you rejoice only to be told in the next chapter that they really didn't die and THAT is when you cry, it is not a good sign. Suffice it to say, I disliked this book. Immensely. There are too many reasons why to list here. Let me summarize it all with a quote from the story towards the end (don't have a page number since it was on audio):

I considered whether or not I had to pee.
I didn't.

Yeah, that seems to fit the bill.

This is the second Koontz audiobook I've listened to, and I'm sad to say it will be the last. I had fond memories of the Koontz books I liked back in the day (Lightning & Watchers). Now, I'm afraid to reread them and find out that I dislike them as much as I disliked the newer stuff I've listened to.

View all my reviews

Wednesday, July 18, 2012

Book Review: Legend by Marie Lu

Legend (Legend, #1)Legend by Marie Lu
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

Can I give it 6?

LEGEND blew me away. It is an amazing, mysterious, romantic, action-packed, dystopian and has renewed my love for this genre. It is one of those books that I just couldn't put down and when I had to, I thought about it and dreamt about it and couldn't wait to pick it back up.

I can't remember the last book that had me so enraptured.

The only negative thing I have to say about this book is that I have to wait until 2013 to read the next installment.

The story is told from dual perspective, Day and June. I don't know how Ms. Lu did it, but from the first moment the characters are introduced, the reader experiences empathy for them. I anxiously awaited the moment Day and June would meet and what would happen. The changes June undergoes are impressive and completely believable as presented in the story. I also loved the world building. I got a real, Gotham-City-before-the-bat feel for the new, Los Angeles area depicted in the story. You could really visualize the dirt and decay, feel the hunger and hopelessness, and see how some of the elite (and even some of the poor) were blinded to the truth right in front of them. I look forward to finding out more about the Patriots, if their society is any better, and to watching Day & June's relationship develop.

View all my reviews

Audiobook Review: Leviathan by Scott Westerfeld

Leviathan (Leviathan, #1)Leviathan by Scott Westerfeld
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

I finished listening to this audiobook a couple days ago. I really enjoyed listening to it. The reader to a great job with the voices and made the story's action come to life. Guy readers will probably find this steampunk book right up their alley: lots (LOTS) of action, war, robotic machines, sci-fi creatures, and very little (but it is there!) romance. My only complaint is how abruptly the story ended. I know the sequel is already out, so at least I don't have to wait for a year to find out what happens next, but it felt like the story was just chopped in mid-scene for the ending. If not for that, I probably would've given this book 5 stars.

View all my reviews

Sunday, July 15, 2012

Book Review: Imaginary Girls by Nova Ren Suma

Imaginary GirlsImaginary Girls by Nova Ren Suma

I am not going to offer a rating for this book. I don't think it would be fair.

I will say that I did not enjoy this book at all though. The writing style is not one for which I'm particularly fond. The tone of the book is very dark and depressing.

I was going to just put the book in my Unfinished pile, but couldn't bring myself to do it. Instead, I skipped several chapters (about 1/3rd of the book - something I've never done before) and read the last three chapters. Even those, I found myself skimming the text, looking for something to happen. I disliked the ending as much as the rest of the book.

I know this story got a lot of positive reviews from other reviewers and I'm not sure it was actually a bad story, but I really didn't like it.

View all my reviews

Friday, July 13, 2012

Book Review: Torn (Trylle #2) by Amanda Hocking

Torn (Trylle Trilogy, #2)Torn by Amanda Hocking
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Torn, book 2 in the Trylle Trilogy, unfortunately fell prey to a common trait of middle books in a trilogy -- fluff, stuffing, having little story arc of its own.

In all fairness, I enjoyed reading it (hence the 4 stars), but there were many things I disliked about the book. But, I feel like I am constantly tearing books apart, telling all their negative qualities and not giving them praise for any of the things I did like. So, before I get to the negative stuff, I'm going to try to explain what I did like about Torn.

First, I enjoyed the humor sprinkled throughout this installation of the Trylle story. It wasn't much, but I found myself smiling (or grinning) several times which is impressive because books have to be very moving to get a physical reaction out of me. I even shared a quote from the book on Facebook.

Second, I enjoyed learning more about the Trylle empire, history, lifestyle, etc. The world building in book 1 was good, but not nearly as strong as it is in book 2. The difference in the classes is clear and the separation between them believable.

And Third, the character development. The bonds of friendship Wendy developed in this book were far more believable than in the previous book. Wendy really seems to grow and develop as a character, becoming stronger in her opinions and determination as well as in her ability to control her powers. Finn, while sometimes a frustrating character, remains true to his upbringing and his firm belief in the class system. I'm not entirely sure I accept the attraction between Loki and Wendy, but the way Loki behaves is believable after learning some of his history. I'm also not sure I believe Matt would behave as he does once at the Trylle palace or that Willa would betray her upbringing for him, but sometimes people don't do things you'd expect them to do.

Possible Spoilers Following!

Now, on to the things I didn't like. It was predictable. I guess the announcement of who her father is was the only real twist I didn't see coming. I knew from book 1 that Wendy and Tove would be engaged. I knew from book 1 that Finn would not betray propriety, that their relationship would go nowhere. He was there just to give Wendy someone to pine after and whine/complain about. I never really felt the connection between the two of them, it always felt kind of forced. I knew from the moment Loki was introduced that he would be her next big heart-throb, but (as referenced in the book) it would be a Romeo & Juliet kind of relationship.

I think the thing that bothered me the most is that the story really didn't accomplish much of anything, acting more like filler to set up book #3. Wendy runs away, gets captured, meets forbidden boy #2, gets rescued, pines after boy #1 and #2, learns more history (a lot), accepts her duty, and gets engaged to boy #3 (who happens to be her friend, and oh yeah, gay too -- grr). That about wraps it up.

Also, the little bit of action in the story seemed contrived and unnecessary. In book 1, the action actually had a purpose: The bad guys wanted to capture Wendy and she had to fight against them. In this book, she threw herself into a situation where the bad guys could get her mainly so we could meet boy #2. And really, that was the end of the action. The rest of the story was about her flip-flopping emotions and coming to terms with accepting her dismal future as Queen, choosing duty over love.

But, you know the story isn't over. There's book 3. You know Wendy has accepted that things with Finn will never be. You also know that, while she claims to accept the idea of a loveless marriage with little prospect of any chance of love to develop, she is an emotional creature driven by her heart -- and she wants Loki. She feels protective of him and when she finds out about his imprisonment (which she will somehow - probably Sarah sneaking back to tell her), she will set out to rescue him (and I bet Finn gets dragged into that just so we can see him suffer, and maybe give up his life to save hers because, you know, she can't be with someone else if he's still alive). And you know that Elora will die and Wendy will be crowned and peace will end only to be found again once the truth about why they are fighting in the first place comes out. Oh, and I completely expect the 'big battle' to occur during the coronation ceremony or at the wedding. Probably the wedding, which will happen right after she is crowned, because, you know, soap-opera syndrome.

See, I didn't mean to sound so negative about the book because I really did enjoy reading it...a heck of a lot more than Imaginary Girls (which I have yet to force myself to finish ~sigh~)...but I wish some of the issues hadn't existed so the story could have been even better.

I'll be requesting book #3 (Ascend) in a couple weeks, after I tackle my huge stack of other books I've borrowed and really want to read (like TMI#5 City of Lost Souls - which I just picked up yesterday ~squee!~).

View all my reviews