Two Minute Review: To all the books I forgot to review on summer vacation

Saturday, August 1, 2015
During my accidental hiatus, I read a lot of books. Unfortunately, what I didn't do was review a lot of books. Today we're going to round up the last three months and give all those sad no reviews the quick, two minute treatment. So I feel better about myself. And my NG ratio.

Title: A Court of Thorns and Roses
Author: Sarah J. Maas
Genre: fantasy, fairy tales
Series: A Court of Thorns and Roses #1
Pages: 419
Published: May 5, 2015
Source: Borrowed - Jessie
Rating: 4 out of 5

No mistaking, I LOVED everything up until leaving the Spring Court, and after that there's some really good stuff too, but the end was disappointing. I liked the Cinderella callback with the tasks. Rhys. The court. But, I really wish this was a standalone, because I don't think Tamlin and Feyre's story needs two more books, but at the same time, SO MUCH needs more explanation.

Feyre: Um, fuck that? Like with no warning High Lords can just make High Fae? And it's SUCH an important part of the character that she's human? Like OK, she still feels human in her heart, but the happy ending felt forced. Like you just stabbed two innocents, let's stop for sex?

Rhys: I think he was just introduced too late. The tattoo/link is a super interesting idea, but it needed more development. And now that Feyre is immortal, their bargain? :\

Tamlin: His heart is literally stone? Is this a fairy thing or just a Tam thing? But better question, WHY? As part of the established world building, this power serves no purpose but for the reveal. You're better than that, Maas.

Amarantha: Wasting such a badass villain? Rude. I did like the answer to the riddle, because she WOULD think love was an impossible riddle. I'm mainly just mad she died so easy.


Title: Love Fortunes and Other Disasters 
Author: Kimberly Karalius
Genre: Contemporary
Series: None
Pages: 368
Published: May 12, 2015
Source: Galley via Publisher
Rating: 3 out of 5

This one was a little wibbly wobbly for me, which is why I didn't review it at the time. On one hand, I liked Fallon and I thought her family full of obsessive inspectors was cute. I had no problem with Sebastian. I just didn't feel them together. The side characters fell a little flat, especially the weird subplot about the gay friend trying to force the straight class president to love him.

Cute but not a keeper.

Title: Coda
Author: Emma Trevayne
Genre: Sci-fi
Series: Coda #1
Pages: 320
Published: May 7th, 2013
Source: Borrowed - Library
Rating: DNF at 44%

Schlocky. I'd liken the plot to a bad ABC Family movie, if I had less respect for ABC.

I never liked Anthem and the way he put Haven on a pedestal and then lashed out at her for being there. The world building is extremely poor, (why would the government want drug addicts who die at 30, especially after a long, protracted illness? It makes no sense to train people for jobs they'll have for less than a decade. And harvesting energy from people like potato batteries? Scary visual, not actually effective.) But the tipping point is maybe I'm not a music person, but the rebellion is so poorly thought out, so lacking in actual impact, it's actually breathtaking. It's like reading an teenage boy's journal after his first punk album. But taken. Dead. Seriously. 

Literally the only positive I have is Ant's bisexuality was a complete nonissue. Though his continued treatment of Scope (his ex)'s boyfriend was super uncalled for. The kid literally never gets a name in the text.

Title: The Truth 
Author: Terry Pratchett
Genre: Fantasy
Series: Discworld #25
Pages: 336
Published: November 7th, 2000
Source: Owned
Rating: 5 out of 5

Definitely my favorite Discworld book, despite the fact that I never fell in love with William. The plot's tight and the satire's actually funny as heck.

Otto. <33


Title: Magic Bites
Author: Ilona Andrews, Renée Raudman (Narrator)
Genre: urban fantasy
Series: Kate Daniels #1
Time: 9 hours 6 minutes
Published: March 27, 2007
Source: Borrowed - Library
Rating: 3 out of 5

Kate Daniels is a mercenary in future Atlanta that experiences a tidal-like flow of magic. She's a bit too generically "UF Action Babe"-y for my tastes and the love interest, Curran, is really no different from a hundred other "Alpha" shapeshifter characters.

I do like that Kate's narration lets her be scared on the inside. To realize she should not offer an Alpha-Lion a bowl of milk, but then do it anyway. She's funny. I wasn't sure I would continue the series, especially because of the way Raudman does the voices of Derek and the vampires, but there was enough potential that I did.


Title: The Summer of Chasing Mermaids
Author: Sarah Ockler
Genre: Contemporary, Fairy Tales
Series: n/a
Pages: 416
Published: June 2nd, 2015
Source: Publisher via Netgalley
Rating: 5 out of 5


I loved this so much and I was so flaily, I never could write a coherent review. It stars a WoC with a physical disability and features masturbation, frank discussions of sexuality, and a little boy who breaks gender norms.



Title: Anne of Green Gables
Author: L.M. Montgomery
Genre: Classics
Series: Anne of Green Gables #1
Pages: 371
Published: June, 1908
Source: Owned
Rating: 5 out of 5

Anne is one of my all time favorite childhood books, and my reread of the B&N Collectibles edition did nothing to change that.

Never has there been a girl like Anne Shirley, who utters lines of "It's been my experience that you can nearly always enjoy things if you make up your mind firmly that you will." and "My life is a perfect graveyard of buried hopes." in the same breath. The way she grows into a young woman is magical.

Mathew's still breaking my heart 20 years later.


Title: The Heir
Author: Kiera Cass
Genre: Sci-fi, romance
Series: The Selection #4
Pages: 342
Published: May 5th, 2015
Source: Borrowed - Library
Rating: 1 out of 5

Holy fuck, Eadlyn is awful. She's selfish, spoiled, and totally unlikable. I know she's been raised to be queen, but if America saw her treating her maids like this, she'd beat Eady to death. Maxon too. So where does this cruel, uncaring streak come from?

I suppose I liked there was a reason for the Selection and that Cass acknowledged you can't just dismantle the caste systems with a waive of the hand an expect everything to be ok.

I literally do not remember a single one of the boys.


Title: Clean Sweep
Author: Ilona Andrews
Genre: Urban Fantasy, Sci-Fi
Series: Innkeeper Chronicles #1
Pages: 200
Published: December 2, 2013
Source: Borrowed - Library
Rating: 4 out of 5

So. Much. Fun.
Dina doesn't feel too different from Kate, but the world building!

“Have you ever heard of Arthur C. Clarke's third law of prediction? It states that any sufficiently advanced technology is indistinguishable from magic. Take a smart phone and hand it to an ancient Roman. He'll think it's a magic window into the world of the gods and that the Beyoncé video playing on it is showing him Venus.”

Why have I never heard something like that in UF? The blending of sci-fi worlds with magic works surprisingly well. And Beast! Fetch me one now. The love triangle, eh, a bit forced, but totally worth it for the best quote in the whole book:
“I have spent my spare time studying literature popular with young women of this planet. One should always study the battlefield."
Sean glanced at him. "And?"
"I suggest you give up now. According to my research, in a vampire-werewolf love triangle, the vampire always gets the girl.”


Author: Randall Munroe
Genre: Non Fiction
Series: n/a
Pages: 303
Published: September 2nd, 2014
Source: Owned
Rating: 4 out of 5

Munroe, a roboticist, left NASA to write hilarious, dry webcomics. He returns to his science background to answer absurd fan questions about physics, probability, earth science, and Lord of the Rings. The book is stupendously funny, but I did find it a little long and people are weirdly concerned with the height from which you can drop things. For maximum laughs, Munroe often takes the answers to extremes, like imagining a hair dryer that can go as hot as the sun. The best part was the last question, where instead of destroying the earth again, he decides to...not.


Author: Bill Willingham
Genre: Graphic Novel
Series: Fables #2
Pages: 112
Published: January 1st, 2003
Source: Owned
Rating: 3.5 out of 5

I didn't enjoy this second volume as much as I enjoyed the first. Snow was too stupid to live, and while she might be frustrating in other stories, she's not generally a moron. Why did Rose Red randomly dress up as a pirate? Why was the Animal Farm plot SO on the nose? If there must always be Three Little Pigs, mustn't there also be giants? So why can Rose change them? Because the Pigs are more famous? So's Goldilocks. (And uh, that bestiality plot? Let's not.)

I had fun with a lot of the story as a whole, but it can't stand up to any scrutiny.


Title: Rat Queens, Vol. 2: The Far Reaching Tentacles of N'rygoth
Author: Kurtis J. Wiebe
Genre: Graphic Novel, Fantasy
Series: Rat Queens Vol. 2
Pages: 128
Published: May 6th, 2015
Source: Owned
Rating: 4 out of 5


The plot's a little messy. The summoning of N'rygoth feels like it should have come later in the series, because "Dee's family worships a giant squid but she's an atheist" is pretty done now. I loved the way they integrated the dimensional powers to give Hannah and Violet backstories, but it wasn't explained until well past the half-way mark?

The panel with Hannah and Sawyer with her hair down and that vulnerability? I'd started to suspect her secret but my poor baby. She can turn my insides outside, but I still want to scoop her up and hug her. And now Vi and OrcDave? Swooning.

The artist does change halfway through the book. The reason why is readily available online. All I'll say is good on Wiebe.


Author: Robin LaFevers
Genre: Fantasy, Historical Fiction
Series: His Fair Assassin #3
Pages: 444
Published: November 4th, 2014
Source: Borrowed - Library
Rating: 5 out of 5


I love every ship in His Fair Assassins, and while I don't think Annith and Balthazar will surpass Sybella and Beast in my heart, I was totally into it, even before the big reveal.

The book is a lot more fantastical than the previous two in the series. It finally established the mythology and added in warding spells and the mysterious hellequin hunt. It was a good wrap up, but maybe not great, given the last minute magic love magic. Just felt a little cheap, though knowing the actual history, understandable.


Author: Erica Ridley
Genre: Romance
Series: The Dukes of War #2
Pages: 250
Published: December 1st, 2014
Source: Publisher via Netgalley
Rating: 3 out of 5

Extremely short with some repetitive word choices, but even though the ending is totally unrealistic fairytale fodder, it's a sweet book. There's a bit of The Gift of the Magi to Oliver and Grace. The only thing I couldn't reconcile was the complete about face Grace's grandmother does. That and how the utterly catatonic Xavier is going to star in his own novel in just a few weeks? PTSD does not work like this.


Author: Ernest Cline, Wil Wheaton (Narrator)
Genre: Sci-Fi
Series: N/A
Time:15 hours, 46 minutes
Published: August 16, 2011
Source: Owned
Rating: 4 out of 5

This was another re-read, or really a re-listen. Wil Wheaton does such an amazing job with Wade's narration, it's hard to imagine reading this book without him.

It's Willy Wonka for the 80s nostalgia set, and it works. The world building is fascinating. Wade can be a little neckbeard-y, especially the way he obsesses about Art3mis after she tells him they should stop hanging out, but for the most part it's addressed in the text. His growth works and doesn't feel overly ham-handed.  His escape from indenturement is still one of my favorite scenes.


Title: Gilded Ashes
Author: Rosamund Hodge
Genre: Fantasy, Fairy Tales
Series: Cruel Beauty Universe
Pages: 111
Published: April 1st, 2014
Source: Owned
Rating: 4 out of 5

Hodge doesn't have a bad story in her, but I didn't love this novella as much as her full length stories. It's good. It's creepy. It's..not special?

Combining multiple fairy tales along with mythology is what kept Crimson Bound and Cruel Beauty so fresh. While Maia's mask of happiness adds a different tone to the Cinderella story, there's just not a lot of fresh ground to tread.

Ignifex cameo makes up for a lot, though.


Author: Sandy Hall
Genre: Contemporary, Romance
Series: N/A
Time: 5 hours, 27 minutes
Published: August 26th, 2014
Source: Borrowed - Library
Rating: 3.5 out of 5

Book did not end with Squirrel finding his acorns. 1 star.

(Fine, 3.5 for a lot of problematic things with Hillary and Danny, but a super cute romance so sweet I have a toothache.)


Title: The Hedge Knight: The Graphic Novel
Author: George R.R. Martin, Ben Avery
Genre: Graphic Novels, Fantasy
Series: The Hedge Knight #1
Pages: 184
Published:November 5th, 2013
Source: Owned
Rating: 4 out of 5

The Hedge Knight is my favorite of the three released Dunk and Egg novellas, and while I've read the story several times, I was super excited that the graphic novels were finally being re-released.

There are pros and cons to the graphic format. Seeing the knight sigils was so much nicer than reading George describe shields over and over. Dunk's a grade-A beefcake and Tanselle Too Tall actually looks like someone you might wander Dorne to find. I sometimes struggle with all the Targaryns, (THERE ARE OTHER NAMES THAN VARIATIONS ON AEGON/AERYS) so seeing them helped.

But, because we're not in Dunk's head half as much, the question of his knighthood, so ambiguous in the original text, is plain. I missed that subtext. Egg's true parentage was far more obvious from his first appearance. OK for a reread, but I'd want that surprise in a first time through.

The battle scene's end turned my stomach in the original story, but I actually found it less impactful to see it illustrated. My mind created a gory, terrible end that just didn't appear in this version.

If the choice was this graphic novel or tracking down and over paying for The Hedge Knight as published originally in Legends, I'd recommend this, no question, but with A Knight of the Seven Kingdoms coming out in two months? Save your money for the collection.


Title: The Sworn Sword: The Graphic Novel
Author:George R.R. MartinBen Avery
Genre:Graphic Novels, Fantasy
Series: The Hedge Knight #2
Pages: 152
Published:January 21st, 2014
Source: Owned
Rating: 3.75 out of 5

Dunk gets naked 10 out of 10.

OK, not really. The Sworn Sword is the most stand alone of the Dunk and Egg Stories. Dunk's working for an old lord who lost everything in the first Blackfyre rebellion. He enters a land dispute with his neighbor, the vicious Red Widow, Lady Rohanne Webber, and Dunk's called upon to resolve it.

Rohanne is amazing. (Fun fact, she goes on to be the Lannister brats' great-grandmother.) She is fierce and willing to do anything for her people. The height difference between her and Dunk? I'm rolling.  They have great banter and amazing chemistry. If you're a SanSan shipper, you'll want to check this one out for a fiercely proper redhead putting a scruffy not-knight in his place. (Dunk is so Sandor's great-grandfather, right? We all agree?)

The story neither gains nor loses anything by being a graphic novel. It's good, but not essential.


Title: Mariana
Author: Susanna Kearsley
Genre:Historical Fiction
Pages: 364
Published: August 1st, 1995
Source: Borrowed - Library
Rating: 4 out of 5

I'm so glad Jessie recommended this to me as my time travel square for Bookish Bingo. The twist caught me off guard, but it made so much sense. I had a great time going back and pointing to scenes and being like, "of course!" The romance, both past and present was lovely. If I had any critique, it would be that Julie's brother, Tom's beta romance didn't work nearly as well for me as the primary couple and the day to day lives of both Julie and Mariana dragged a bit towards the middle. Still, though, with minor quibbles, I can understand why this has endured for 20 years. It's the pinnacle of time slip.


Title: Grave Sight
Author: Charlaine Harris
Genre: Mystery
Series:Harper Connelly #1
Pages: 293
Published: October 1st, 2005
Source: Borrowed - Library
Rating: 3 out of 5

In some ways, I wish Harris had stuck with mysteries like this. It has a lot of problems, but it feels more focused than The Southern Vampire Chronicles became and I actually like Harper's powers and limitations a lot more than Sookie's.

Harper can be difficult. I understand she's disabled, but she's so needy. Her relationship with Tolliver is frankly incestuous and uncomfortable. The choice to have them be step-siblings who didn't meet until their teen years is a large part of the problem.

The mystery was fine. I found there to be too many characters and they were so interconnected, I had trouble keeping the dads and the moms and the dead wives straight. It's a series I'm willing to give another try to.


Title: Landline
Author: Rainbow Rowell, Rebecca Lowman (Narrator)
Genre: Contemporary
Series: N/A
Time: 9 hours, 3 minutes
Published: July 3rd, 2014
Source: Borrowed - Library
Rating: 4 out of 5

I love Georgie and Neal.

For my first Rainbow Rowell, I'm not sure I could have chosen better. I've been with my husband for twelve years, so I really related to the passion and lack there of as their relationship went on. It made me want to tell my husband that I love him and not take him for granted.

It was a five star read, right up to the last act. I understand the realism of travel delays, but I mean, this is a book about a magic phone. Did Georgie really need to drag her heels so much? I also hated Seth. He's just such a douchebag, and Georgie should just leave him and move to the country.


Title: Battlesaurus: Rampage at Waterloo
Author: Brian Falkner
Genre: Sci-Fi, Historical Fiction
Series: N/A
Pages: 368
Published: July 14th, 2015
Source: Galley via publisher
Rating: DNF at 50%

Sadly, this one didn't work for me. The alternate history idea, that dinosaurs didn't go fully extinct, but smaller species remained on Europe along with humans, is compelling, but there's so little action and so much village drama, I found myself dozing more than reading.

The writing is stilted and the main character keeps describing his love interest's lazy eye. I care more about the feuding brothers, the town priest and blacksmith than the MC and his friends. The interludes to the war are abrupt and I'm supposed to care about soldiers whose name I barely know.

We had just met the giant dinosaurs from the Americas and learned of Napoleon's plans to ride them, but I could not stay engaged.


Title: Magic Burns
Author: Author: Ilona Andrews, Renée Raudman (Narrator)
Genre: Urban Fantasy
Series: Kate Daniels #2
Time: 9 hours, 30 min
Published: April 1st, 2008
Source: Borrowed - Library
Rating: 4 out of 5

Pretty much infinitely better than book one. Kate really needed someone to play off, and who would have thought that would be Julie? Her hard coating over her naive little kidness lets Kate be simultaneously sassy and protective. It's a great pairing. I did think the were-hyenas were just a bit too much in an already full plot, but Andrea's a good character who gets her own spin off, so I do get it.

I'm shipping the ship and also Bran. :(

These covers are so bad, though. Like epically bad. And the audiobook cover has a different model for some reason and manages to be even worse.


  1. I am SO WITH YOU on Coda. That book was just....NO.

  2. I sort of wish ACOTAR was a standalone too. Maybe longer in that case but I'm a bit nervous about a trilogy. Still, we know that Sarah is great with worldbuilding. I can't WAIT for the new ASOIAF bind up so I can finally read the Dunk and Egg stories :) They sound fascinating and I love the cover. Gilded Ashes was one of the only novellas that I've loved! It was fun reading all your mini reviews, you sure read a lot this summer!


Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...

Copyright © 2015 Ageless Pages Reviews. All Rights Reserved.

Amelia Theme by The Lovely Design CO and These Paper Hearts.