Just remember I had a broken ankle. I read all day. So there are a lot of books here.
Warning: There are some minor spoilers about a couple of books in the first review.
The Water Mirror by Kai Meyer (library book) - I so didn't like this book. It's aimed at grades 5-8, but somehow it was totally over my head. I actually didn't finish the last ten pages because I just didn't care. It's the first book in a trilogy that I won't be finishing. But have you ever read a book and even if you don't remember anything at all about the book, you remember a moment or a scene? The carwash scene from Just Listen? The scene in The Order of the Phoenix when Neville saves the gum wrapper? The scene in The Secret Garden when Colin stands up? One of those scenes that you reread over and over and over again? There is a scene like that in this book. So it has that going for it. Not my favorite book, though.
The Name of the Wind by Patrick Rothfuss (library book) - Just brilliant. This book is wonderful. I was immersed in the world of Kvothe and found almost every page riveting. A magical world that didn't feel phony or false, but true and beautiful. It is the first book in a trilogy (do authors write stand alone books anymore?), but the third book has not been released, so if that's a dealbreaker for you, don't read it. I just can't say enough good things about this book. I read all 672 pages in a couple of days (broken ankle - can't do much - don't judge me) and passed it on to my husband who has been ignoring me all day in favor of reading it. Just read it. Plus, Rothfuss is a lecturer in the University of Wisconsin system and I might have a secret I've been keeping from the Internet about that...
The Wise Man's Fear by Patrick Rothfuss (library book) - This is the sequel to The Name of the Wind and it was LONG. Way too long. There are 350 pages in the book before the plot moves. There were times when the author would spend 200 pages on catching bandits in the woods and just a sentence (one single sentence!) describing a sea voyage that left our main character destitute and injured. I enjoyed this book, certainly, and I will wait patiently for the third book to come out, but I don't feel the need to gush on about it the same way I did for the first book.
Bitter in the Mouth by Monique Truong (library book) - This book is what I wanted that awful The Particular Sadness of Lemon Cake to be like. It's complex, complete, and moving. Yes, it was hard to read at times, particularly when the dialogue was interspersed with the tastes the narrator associates with the words being spoken, but it was a delightful challenge to read. Read this and don't read the dumb lemon cake book.
Linger by Maggie Stiefvater (library book) - This is the sequel to Shiver and the second of three books in the trilogy. Honestly, I don't know what I think of this franchise. Teen vampire/witch/werewolf/faerie/zombie stuff is totally in my wheelhouse, my friends. But here's the thing with this book - every two or three pages is told from a different character's point of view and only one of the characters had a distinctive enough voice that I didn't have to keep checking to see who "I" was. It drove me absolutely batty. I will put the third book on my library list and if it's ever checked in and shelved correctly, I'll probably read it, but I'm not psyched about it at all.
Clarity by Kim Harrington (library book) - I hate it when people criticize with the trite "show don't tell" - it seems too easy. The criticism feels too easy, like, oh, I just don't like the writing style without any real substance. It's teen lit (14 and up), but the writing in this book is much too transparent - if even I am requesting show don't tell, you can tell the writing style is way too simplistic. I realize it's young adult fiction, but teenagers are young, not stupid. I can't recommend this book.
The Boy Next Door by Meg Cabot (purchased for my Kindle)- Chick lit told through the emails of our characters. It's a bit dated with jokes about Monica Lewinsky and Lisa Marie Presley marrying Michael Jackson and it's just not that good. It has four and a half stars on amazon and I can't fathom how. It has that whole "misunderstanding that could be clarified with two sentences if someone would just speak up" literary device that I dislike intensely. I mean, this isn't a bad book, but not one I would necessarily recommend.
A Game of Thrones by George R. R. Martin (library book) - I guess this is a book everyone has heard of me except for me. It's the first of a projected six volume epic fantasy series, the last volume of which has not yet been released. While in Linger I was really ticked off because each chapter was told from a different character's perspective, here it didn't bother me because each character was unique. What I think is the best about this book is that it's labeled as "fantasy," but the magic and trickery is so subtle that it doesn't scream fantasy. I really liked this book, but there was a weird twist in the last few pages that seemed out of character with the rest of the novel and like the series may go in a much more fantastical direction than I would like. But I will be putting the second book on my reading list!!
Winter's Bone by Daniel Woodrell (library book) - Pretentious bullshit. That is all.
The Sweetest Thing by Christina Mandelski (library e-book) - I think I forgot everything about this book the moment I stopped reading it. Not memorable at all. It was, however, the first time I figured out how to get a library book onto my Kindle, so it had that going for it!
The 10 PM Question by Kate De Goldi (library e-book) - I had to force myself to keep reading this book. And then force myself again. And then again. And it totally wasn't worth it. Just no.
My Soul to Take by Rachel Vincent (library e-book) - Banshees and grim reapers and I felt like I was in a Rick Riordan novel with dysfunctional families that don't communicate. Plus, I felt like I was reading the pitch for the oh my god terrible, how did it get two seasons show Dead Like Me. I will not be getting the second book of this series. The book was adequate, but just not for me. Sorry, Rachel Vincent!
The Warmth of Other Suns: The Epic Story of America's Great Migration by Isabel Wilkerson (library e-book) - Apparently this book is the shit because Obama took it with him on vacation. It was on all kinds of bestsellers lists and even Janssen put it on a list of her favorite books of last year. I can't agree with this fuss. The whole time I was reading it, I was calling EDITOR, EDITOR, EDITOR. It's a nonfiction book that follows three different folks in their migration from the southern US to northern cities interspersed with the author nattering on and on about the history of the exodus of blacks from the deep South. I have lots of suggestions on how to make this book more reader friendly, including changing it so all the males aren't named George and stop repeating information. The topic IS interesting, but it got so repetitive after a while and the story lines were so disjointed I found myself confused quite frequently. Just read the summary of this book and save yourself the time of reading all 600 pages.
Never Buried by Edie Claire (free Kindle download) - A bit of a snooze, actually. I remember reading it and then thinking that I was not going to remember enough about it to write anything. I wasn't wrong about that.
Not What She Seems by Victorine E. Lieske (free Kindle download) - Speaking of snoozes...
The Things a Brother Knows by Dana Reinhardt (library e-book) - I can't say enough good things about this book. Little known fact: I was an Army brat. I was born and raised on Army bases. This book delicately addresses the issues of military families and what they go through when their family member is deployed. It's not just the soldiers who go to war. I didn't know what this book was about when I checked it out of the library because if I had even read a blurb I would have dismissed it as uninteresting and not my style, but I'm so glad I read this book.
Story of a Girl by Sara Zarr (library book) - Eh. Good, but not great. It was a National Book Award finalist, but, eh.
Vampire Academy by Richelle Mead (library book) - The first book in what appears to be a series of six novels. Derivative and riding on the coattails of the success of that horrible Stephenie Meyer Twilight franchise. I'm not sure what all the fuss is over this book. I've heard rumors that the series gets better as it goes on, so I'll put the next book on my library list. It gets one more shot.