Friday, June 11, 2010

Mini Review Bunch 1

I'm so sorry I haven't been around this blog in a little while, but school has been insane for the past few weeks what with finals and all. I'm happy to say that this Tuesday marks my final day, so I'll be able to devote a lot more time to reading and to blogging.

I decided to post a whole bunch of mini reviews for the books I haven't had a chance to get to yet on this blog. If I wait for too long, they'll never get done--and there are too many amazing books on this list!

Fire by Kristin Cashore
Release Date: Available Now
Age Group: Young Adult
Publisher: Dial
Length: 480 pages
Fire, Graceling's prequel-ish companion book, takes place across the mountains to the east of the seven kingdoms, in a rocky, war-torn land called the Dells.

Beautiful creatures called monsters live in the Dells. Monsters have the shape of normal animals: mountain lions, dragonflies, horses, fish. But the hair or scales or feathers of monsters are gorgeously colored-- fuchsia, turquoise, sparkly bronze, iridescent green-- and their minds have the power to control the minds of humans.

Seventeen-year-old Fire is the last remaining human-shaped monster in the Dells. Gorgeously monstrous in body and mind but with a human appreciation of right and wrong, she is hated and mistrusted by just about everyone, and this book is her story. (from Goodreads)
I loved Graceling, and if you enjoyed it as well you will definitely like Fire. The main character is similarly strong and relatable to Katsa from that novel, and I loved reading about her and found myself righteously angry and happy for her in turn--exactly on cue, which shows me just how brilliant Kashore is at manipulating emotions. The plot flowed well, the romance worked and wasn't overly cheesy or predictable, and I adored the characters. My one complaint would be that it was a little too similar to Graceling, and I had a little bit of déjà vu while reading the book. I wouldn't recommend reading the two in close succession like I did for that reason.

Charmed Thirds by Megan McCafferty
Release Date: Available Now
Age Group: It really bridges YA and Adult
Publisher: Crown
Length: 368 pages

Things are looking up for Jessica Darling. She has finally left her New Jersey hometown/hellhole for Columbia University in New York City; she's more into her boyfriend, Marcus Flutie, than ever (so what if he's at a Buddhist college in California?); and she's making new friends who just might qualify as stand-ins for her beloved best friend, Hope.

But Jessica soon realizes that her bliss might not last. She lands an internship at a snarky Brooklyn-based magazine, but will she fit in with the überhip staff (and will she even want to)?

As she and Marcus hit the rocks, will she end up falling for her GOPunk, neoconservative RA...or the hot (and married!) Spanish grad student she's assisting on a summer project...or the oh-so-sensitive emo boy down the hall? Will she even make it through college now that her parents have cut her off financially? And what do the cryptic one-word postcards from Marcus really mean? (from Goodreads)
This book made me want to beat my head against a wall.

I loved Sloppy Firsts. I loved Second Helpings even more. And I didn't like Charmed Thirds at all.

There were some good points--like the very, very beginning and the very, very end--but the entire middle was so boring. And Jessica, the main character who I loved so much, became annoying and made a bunch of incredibly stupid decisions. And she whined in an unamusing way, which is one of my pet peeves for book characters.I skimmed like crazy through this, because I just didn't feel like reading pages of boring, inane nonsense. What happened to this awesome series?

To be fair, there were some moments that made me smile. Jessica's niece was wonderful and there were some really beautiful observations about the effect we have on other people's lives that I really enjoyed reading. Also, her family was fleshed out a little more and I started to appreciate them more than I did before.

At this point though, I'm not sure I'll pick up the next book in the series. I've heard bad things about the next two books as well, and I don't want the first two books to be ruined for me forever.

That...was not a mini-review. So I'll leave it with Charmed Thirds and wait a little while before tackling more from the endless list of read and unreviewed books.

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