So once again I have fallen behind on posting about books (as my last book review post was early March). Part of the reason I’ve fallen behind is I’ve read a few that I just don’t know exactly how to put into words what I thought (introvert/INFJ problems). And Part of it is I read so much, it’s hard to choose which books to review.
To remedy these two issues, I’ve decided to do shorter reviews so I can cover more books.
So introducing The Book Rundown!
1) The Storied Life of A.J. Fikry by Gabrielle Zevin
My rating: 3.5 of 5 stars. I love a good story about people. I love reading about the daily lives of ordinary folk. And I admit, when the story centers around a curmudgeonly bookseller and a quaint bookstore, I’m going to read it. Because books.
“No Man Is an Island; Every Book Is a World.”
And while I loved the start of this book, somewhere in the middle, it lost some steam. I can’t put my finger on any one thing, but it just lost something somewhere. So while I finished it and did enjoy it, I just didn’t enjoy it as much as I thought when I started it (if that makes any kind of sense).
2) The 100-Year-Old Man Who Climbed Out the Window and Disappeared by Jonas Jonasson
4 out of 5 stars. I thoroughly enjoyed this book. The book starts with Allan (the 100-year-old) climbing out of the window of his senior home and disappearing. (It’s not a spoiler because it’s right there in the title). And then hilarity ensues.
The story flips between Allen’s current adventure and his history. It’s not always easy to move a story back and forth through time, and I thought Mr. Jonasson did it really well. Mr. Jonasson does take a few liberties with actual historical events, but nothing that skews or changes anything.
Overall, this is a fun, comedy-of-errors, adventure, and I highly recommend it.
3) Norse Mythology by Neil Gaiman
4.5 out of 5 stars. Now I admit that I’m biased when it comes Neil Gaiman. If he wrote it, I will read it (and always pre-order it). If you follow Mr. Gaiman or have read any of his books, then you know he has a great interest in mythologies. He did years of research into the Norse myths and this is the result—Gaiman’s own retelling of those stories.
This is not a sequel or prequel to American Gods, but is a stand-alone book that retells the stories of Odin, Loki, Thor, and the other Norse Gods, including the beginning and end of the world.
If you enjoy mythology, then I highly recommend this book. Plus, it’s Gaiman, need I say more.
3 stars out of 5. The are books 1 & 2 of The Nightside series, of which there is a total of 12 (see the complete list here). If you are familiar with Jim Butcher’s Dresden Files series, then this series has a Dresden-esque feel. The main character, John Taylor, is a detective of sorts (“he has a gift for finding things”). And the Nightside is an otherworldly realm in London.
I liked the first one enough to read the second one, and I finished the second one in short order. But in the end, this series just didn’t work enough for me to keep reading books 3-12. Part of if was the repetitive use of “the Nightside,” which appears on nearly every single page, often accompanied by a lengthy description of what one will find there).
I will say it is a rather quick read, as the books are shorter trade paperbacks. And if I had nothing else to read, I may pick up books 3-12. And if you enjoyed the Dresden files, you may enjoy this series.
5) Snared by Jennifer Estep
3.5 out of 5 stars. This is book 16 of the Elemental Assassin series. I have thoroughly enjoyed this series and always pre-order her next book.
Gin is, as the series name suggests, is an assassin. But in Gin’s world, some people have elemental magic abilities. Elemental magic is the ability to control fire, ice, wind, or earth, and other subsets of the elements. Gin is particularly special because she can control two elements (ice and earth), which is rare. Gin’s world also includes other paranorm types, like vampires, dwarves, and giants.
Overall a fun series that I recommend to anyone who loves urban fantasy. Gin is a fun character and the world building is solid.
6) Finding Audrey by Sophie Kinsella
4 stars out of 5. I was a big fan of Sophie Kinsella’s Confessions of a Shopaholic, which is a lighthearted romantic comedy. But this book has a different tone and feel. First, the main character, Audrey, is only 14. Second, she has an anxiety disorder. So right off the bat, we’re dealing with deeper issues than a twenty-something who can’t stop spending money. But while the book does have it’s lighthearted moments, Ms. Kinsella does a good job of balancing the lightheartedness with the realities of mental illness.
The trouble is, depression doesn’t come with handy symptoms like spots and a temperature, so you don’t realize it at first. You keep saying “I’m fine” to people when you’re not fine. You think you should be fine. You keep saying to yourself: “Why aren’t I fine?”
And for those who are worried (based on the synopsis) that the book sends the message is love overcomes mental illness, it’s okay. While the book does show that support and friendships are important, Ms. Kinsella doesn’t allow the message to be “love cures all.” She shows recovery from mental illness as a long process of two steps forward and one step back. Even at the novel’s close, Audrey continues to struggle and has not been “miraculously cured.”
Overall, I highly recommend it.
According to Goodreads, I’m 7 books behind to reach my 2017 Reading Challenge goal. But I never sweat it. If I don’t reach my goal (100 books), who cares? At least I’m reading!
What have you read lately? Tell me in the comments below.
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