Tag Archives: review

Moominland Midwinter

Moominland Midwinter by Tove Jansson My rating: 5 of 5 stars Lyrical, philosophical, beautiful. I have re-read this book aloud to my boys almost every winter since the oldest was 4. This book never fails to capture the mood of … Continue reading

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The Scorch Trials by James Dashner

The Scorch Trials (Maze Runner, #2)The Scorch Trials by James Dashner
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

More dark and gruesome than Maze Runner, I almost put down Scorch Trials several times. The book starts off faster but then the pacing slows down and the middle of this books feels unnecessarily long. Luckily, Dashner tells a gripping story, I speed read, and I really wanted to find out the secrets. Why would Tom and Theresa subject themselves and other children to these horrible trials? How much of what we are learning is real vs lies vs fabricated memories? Is WICKED really good? What is really happening in the outside world? Unfortunately for me, this book provided very few answers

Like Maze Runner, Scorch Trials is plot-driven at the expense of character development. While we learn more of Tom and Theresa’s backstory, Tom still hasn’t changed or grown much and neither have the rest of the crew. It is hard to to connect to the characters and, therefor, root for them. When minor characters died, I didn’t feel sad, only horrified by their grizzly deaths. And the book still has a lot of telling, more showing would help the reader connect emotionally to Tom.

In writing this review, I realized that the difference (for me) between a 4 and 5 star book is whether I will reread it. I’m glad I read this book but I don’t think it is a book I will reread.

If you loved the first book, you will probably love this book. I though it wasn’t as strong as the first book, but I will read book three because there are still so many questions I want answered. (Please don’t let me down, Mr. Dashner)

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May Reading Roundup

I read 21 book in May: Scriber by Ben Dobson ★★★★★ (indie, fantasy) Close Encounters on the Appalachian Trail by Bill Walker ★★★☆☆ (nonfiction, memoir, hiking) Highs and Lows on the Pacific Crest Trail by Bill Walker ★★★☆☆ (nonfiction, memoir, … Continue reading

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April Reading Roundup

After a reading slump in March and early April, I read ten novels in the second half of April — that’s almost a book-a-day.

  • The Scorpio Races by Maggie Stiefvater ★★★★★ (YA, realistic fantasy, mythology)
  • Mercury Rises and Mercury Falls by Robert Kroese ★★★☆☆ (paranormal fantasy, indie, apocalyptic)
  • A School for Villians by Ardyth Debruyn (MG, high fantasy, wizard school parody, humor, indie)
  • Foiled by Jane Yolen ★★★★☆ (YA, graphic novel, fantasy, fencing)
  • The Hidden Institute by Gamblin Brand ★★★☆☆ (Sci-fi, humor, steampunk, indie)
  • The Demon KingThe Exiled Queen, and The Gray Wolf Throne by Cinda Chima Williams  ★★★★☆ (YA, epic fantasy)
  • Untraceable by S.R. Johannes ★★★★☆ (YA, mystery, outdoorsy, adventure, indie)

Best Book?
The Scorpio Races. But that’s hardly fair — it would be hard to put any book up against the lyric beauty of Scorpio Races. Moody and atmospheric, I felt the cold wind blowing off the sea and the fog creeping over the island reading this book on a warm, sunny, spring day. You won’t be able to put the book down.

Best Indie Book?
Untraceable. Without hesitation. S.R. Johannes writes a tight, fast moving adventure story with a strong, ourdoorsy, girl protagonist. Thoroughly enjoyable. Can’t wait for the next one.

The Rest of the Indie Books?
Mercury Rises and Mercury Falls were readable but I probably won’t read another book by Kroese because the of long, monologic, dialogs where the characters serve as mouthpieces for the author’s philosophical beliefs. These ideas are expressed over and over again until I found myself skimming large sections of the book. I enjoy a book with a philosophical undercurrent (such as Pullman’s His Dark Materials trilogy) but not when the ideas are spelled out for me. Repeatedly.
Also, the 70’s and 80’s pop culture jokes were so over-done that I had to stop reading to roll my eyes. What saved these books for me (and made me read both books) was that I loved the character of Mercury.

The Hidden Institute is a fun book featuring Dickensian street urchins; a dystopian, steampunk, quasi-Victorian world; bear polo; witty, Jeeves-like robot butlers; tattooed assassins; balls; intrigue; and an illegal, underground school for the upwardly socially mobile. Unfortunately this book needs polishing, tightening. The pacing needs work, as do the character and plot arcs. The storytelling is intriguing enough that I’ll give Brand Gamblin a chance with the next book he writes.

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Bone: Brief Review

Out from Boneville by Jeff Smith My rating: 5 of 5 stars While I probably cannot add much to the hundreds of positive reviews that already exist of this series, I just want to re-iterate what a wonderful, beautifully drawn, … Continue reading

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Review: The Plagiarist

The Plagiarist by Hugh Howey My rating: 4 of 5 stars tl;dr: Buy it right now, make yourself a cup of tea, and enjoy. After reading this novella, I immediately bought all 5 books of Hugh’s “Wool” series. Full Review: … Continue reading

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Monsterologist (Review)

The Monsterologist: A Memoir in Rhyme by Bobbi Katz I bought this book based on a mention on Poetry Friday and it has been a huge hit with my two monsters (boys, 7 & 11). The rhymes are a joy … Continue reading

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On the Bright Side (Review)

On The Bright Side by S.R. Johannes My rating: 4 of 5 stars TL;DR: A fun, fast-paced, funny tween book with an imaginative setting and world. Great mix of romance, adventure, and true-to-life tween experiences. I’m looking forward to the … Continue reading

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Dying to Read More: Gearbox and Mom review “Dying to Meet You” by Kate and Sarah Klise

Mom: Gearbox and I want to read the 2012 Nutmeg Nominees this year so I picked up “Dying to Meet You” (Book 1 in the “43 Old Cemetery Road” series). I knew it was going to be good read because I … Continue reading

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