Mini Reviews (17) – The First 7 Books of Summer

The challenge runs June 1 – September 5, and is hosted by Cathy @ 746 Books. For my complete list, see my sign up post.

  1. Taken at the Flood by Agatha Christie
    ⭐ ⭐ ⭐
    Ugh, I’m so torn about this book! The mystery itself is, of course, brilliant! I noticed some of the clues, but missed others, and I always love Poirot’s denouements. However, I had to deduct a star because, after the prologue, Poirot doesn’t reappear until over halfway through the book. I LOVE Poirot! I want him around more! I deducted another star because Lynn Marchmont is one of the most repellent characters Christie has ever written, and it bothers me that she is set up as our heroine. Why, Agatha?!?
  2. The Rook by Daniel O’Malley
    ⭐ ⭐ ⭐ ⭐ 1/2
    The negative reviews I’ve read complain about info-dumping (hello, it’s called word-building and O’Malley does it well), snarkiness (snark is awesomesauce), and cartoonish characters (um, it’s supposed to be like X-men, which is a CARTOON). If you don’t like world-building, snark, or superheroes, don’t bother with The Rook. If you’re cool, you’ll love it!
    The only things preventing me from giving it 5 stars are 1) too much swearing, and 2) a couple of gross-out descriptions. These are personal preferences on my part. Mostly, it’s just a ton of fun!
  3. Gregor the Overlander by Suzanne Collins
    ⭐ ⭐ ⭐ ⭐ ⭐
    Suzanne Collins is so brilliant! She writes believable characters in fantastical settings, and even made me care about a cockroach! Writing a 2 year old accurately is difficult, but Boots is beautifully done. Gregor is loving, responsible, and incredibly brave, without being a Gary Stu. This is a middle grade book with teeth – there’s war, treachery, and death, but it’s thoughtful as well.
  4. Gregor and the Prophecy of Bane by Suzanne Collins
    ⭐ ⭐ ⭐ ⭐ ⭐
    Wow, I had forgotten a lot of this story in the past 3 years. Gregor is such a fabulous hero – flawed but immensely likeable. Boots is adorable as ever, and some of the other characters (Mrs. Cormaci, Ares, Nerissa) get fleshed out beyond the first book. The fight between a few rats in the labyrinth is extremely violent and gives me some pause about passing this series on to my 10 year old son. I think it’ll wait for another year or two.
  5. The Lottery and Other Stories by Shirley Jackson
    ⭐ ⭐ ⭐ ⭐
    The creep factor is subtle with most of these stories, but it’s there, all the same. My Life with R. H. Macy is quite funny! The Witch is rather awful . 😯 After You, My Dear Alphonse is a disturbing look at prejudice. Jackson was rather brilliant!
  6. The Story Girl by L. M. Montgomery
    ⭐ ⭐ ⭐ ⭐
    I love that my kids will listen to, and enjoy, a 100+ year old book. 🙂 They had a few questions:
    “Why is it bad to say devil?”
    “Why can’t they play on Sunday?”
    “Why don’t they like Methodists?”
    I had to explain some things about early 1900s Christianity, but it never hurts to learn some history.
  7. The Golem and the Jinni by Helene Wecker
    ⭐ ⭐
    I was seduced by the lovely cover, deckle edged pages, GR synopsis, and the plethora of 4 and 5 star ratings, so my family bought this for me for Mother’s Day 2015. It took almost a year for me to wade through. If it hadn’t been a Mother’s Day gift, I wouldn’t have bothered.Wecker tried to create a fantasy of Dickensian scope (and Dickensian coincidences) but she is no Charles Dickens. Most of the characters are disposable (in fact many of them die once they’ve played their part), and the title characters aren’t nearly as interesting as they should be. The plot is convoluted, incredibly drawn out, and mostly boring. Note to authors: Researching your novel is great! Putting absolutely ALL of your research into your novel is boring.

20 Books of Summer Challenge 2016 Sign Up

My lovely friend Dagny @ Vauquer Boarding House brought this challenge to my attention last year. I enjoyed participating, so I’ve decided to sign up again! The challenge runs June 1 – September 5, and is hosted by Cathy @ 746 Books. Like Cathy, I’m going to stick with books that I actually own (I have so many that I want to read or re-read!):

  1. Persuasion by Jane Austen
  2. Paper and Fire by Rachel Caine
  3. A Truth Universally Acknowledged: 33 Great Writers on Why We Read Jane Austen by Susannah Carson
  4. Taken at the Flood by Agatha Christie
  5. Mrs. McGinty’s Dead by Agatha Christie
  6. After the Funeral by Agatha Christie
  7. Hickory Dickory Dock by Agatha Christie
  8. Dead Man’s Folly by Agatha Christie
  9. Cat Among the Pigeons by Agatha Christie
  10. Gregor the Overlander by Suzanne Collins
  11. Gregor and the Prophecy of Bane by Suzanne Collins
  12. Gregor and the Curse of the Warmbloods by Suzanne Collins
  13. Gregor and the Marks of Secret by Suzanne Collins
  14.  Gregor and the Code of Claw by Suzanne Collins
  15. The Lottery and Other Stories by Shirley Jackson
  16. The Story Girl by L. M. Montgomery
  17. The Rook by Daniel O’Malley
  18. Stiletto by Daniel O’Malley
  19. Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone by J. K. Rowling
  20. The Golem and the Jinni by Helene Wecker