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October 17

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Book Notes: Until I Get Around to Proper Reviews

by Ann-Katrina

Hold on to your bookmarks, I’ve got a lot of book notes. I figured that since I have so many books waiting for their proper spotlight, I should give a few quick updates in the interim.

Koko Be Good by Jen Wang

Koko Be Good The artwork is heart-stopping, but the story is lukewarm. I cannot speak enough about Wang’s artistic style and eye. I even got a bit envious. However, when it came down to the writing, pacing, and clarity of the story, I winced. That’s why I’m ambivalent.

I want to tell you to run out and buy it just so you can stare at the pretty pictures, but I fear you’d hate me when you got around to reading the convoluted and mediocre story. So, for now, I’ll just say if you’re going to buy it, get it used.

Wicked Lovely by Melissa Marr

Wicked Lovely There was something about this book that dug into me and made me continue reading, but there’s something else that made me say meh when I finished. The writing was adequate (though it could have used some more editing), and so was the storyline. ‘

I think where this book failed for me was in the characterization. None of the characters truly felt genuine and I never did latch on to the plot. In ways it felt too convenient and had too many holes. Still, it wasn’t the worst book I’d ever read, plus it was quick. I’d recommend this when you’re bored and just want something quick and fluffy with a slightly dark edge.

The Hunger Games Trilogy by Suzanne Collins

The Hunger GamesCatching FireMockingjay

I did it. I finally drank the Kool-Aid. I don’t even know where to begin with this series. I saw the first book while I was walking through a department store, it was $6 and I’d been hearing so many people talking about it that I just plopped it down in my cart. And for about a week it sat unread and unloved on my bookshelf. Then, out of the blue, I saw it and grabbed it and devoured it.

I was near tears because I was coming up on the last few pages and didn’t have the second book. But I couldn’t stop myself, I had to finish and when I did, I was numb. It was three whole days before I was able to pick up another book to read. Eventually I read all three of the books with the same zeal (the third book less so mostly because I was afraid of what was coming).

This series is raw, bleak, and unforgiving. Collins held no punches and I think that’s why I was so enamoured. I laughed, I cried, I balked right along with Katniss. I felt all of her emotions so vividly. The books sucked me right in.

The third book, I will admit, took some prodding since I was reluctant to read more than two chapters at a time. Everything in it was so bleak. I just didn’t understand how anyone was to recover. Then it picked up toward the middle and I simply couldn’t put it down. I’m going to have a hard time putting into words everything these books have done to me. I can’t wait for the movies to come out and I hope they don’t frack it up.

Radiance by Alyson Noel

Radiance This is my first book by Alyson Noel and only grabbed it on a whim. The cover looked interesting, the synopsis grabbed me (to be honest, because it sounded similar to a short story I’d written), and I pegged it for a light read. Ultimately I made a good decision. The book was a quick, light read although it dealt with some heavy subjects (death and coping).

It was also interesting to learn that it was a spinoff of the Evermore series I’ve been hearing about, but never felt compelled to read. Even after reading Radiance I still don’t feel compelled to read it, but probably will eventually.

The writing was well done, spare and evocative; the protagonist was spunky and felt natural; and the storyline held my interest, but I didn’t care much for the heavy new-age spin. Overall though I have few complaints about this book.

The House of Dead Maids by Clare B. Dunkle

The House of Dead Maids Perfect book for the Halloween season. It’s a prequel to Wuthering Heights by Emily Bronte, but you needn’t have read it to enjoy The House of Dead Maids. This book stands well on its on and is truly a chilling gothic ghost story—well-written, and strange.

It’s a rare thing when a contemporary horror novel, especially written for children, can get me to think twice about the sounds I hear outside my window, but this book did exactly that. Worth every penny.

The Amulet Books 1-3 by Kazu Kibuishi

The StonekeeperThe Stonekeeper's CurseThe Cloud Searchers

I have a new favorite graphic novel series. Or, at least it’s in the Top 5. The illustrations are amazing, as is the coloring, as is the story. OK, I’ll admit the story is a bit reminiscent of some other hero tales of the past, but the other areas of the graphic novel series makes up for that. Plus the characters are quirky and entertaining. Plus, the editing and pacing are worthy of note.

With as many graphic novels as I’ve seen published with shoddy writing and inconsistent stories and art, it’s clear that Kibuishi takes his time and carefully crafts his graphic novels before sending it off to the masses. I cross my fingers and hope that it doesn’t change with future issues.

Mrs. Kimble by Jennifer Haigh

Mrs. Kimble This is the product of a commenter’s recommendation. And I’m glad I listened. This book held my interest from the beginning to the very end.

It starts on a strange note, with a mysterious man dying in his car while waiting for a drawbridge to lower, and then travels back through time and shows us who this man is and how he affected the lives of three (actually more) different women.

This book is a tapestry. All of the lives, though separate, are connected. Though there were some editing faux pas, noticeable writing quirks, and few areas where the thread was dropped, it was still an expertly woven story.

This is a book for people who enjoy gawping at the lives and inner workings of others rather than plot-driven tales. It’s languid in its telling and will leave you with much to ponder afterward.

Comments on Book Notes: Until I Get Around to Proper Reviews

  1. # T.V and Book Addict wrote on October 17, 2010 at 4:31 pm:

    That graphic novel series looks and sounds so cute! I’m going to try and check it out asap.

    I’m glad you liked The Hunger Games trilogy. Last night and today I picked up the last book again. I agree, it is slow in the beginning. I’m SO happy to know it’ll pick up in the middle.

    I also completely agree about Wicked Lovely. I don’t understand all the hype. The premise is very promising, but I had to put the book down. I plan on picking it back up especially since I ended up with the rest of the books in the series. It’s fairly cute so far, but not amazing.
    .-= T.V and Book Addict´s last blog ..In My Mailbox- heard a marriage proposal at Subway =-.

  2. # Belle wrote on October 18, 2010 at 6:57 pm:

    I have yet to read Hunger Games, although I have the first book in my TBR shelf. It’s that bleakness I’m not sure about – dystopian fiction isn’t really my cup of tea, and I like a lot of hope and optimism in my reads. But I know it’s really good, really well written, so I figure one day I’ll be diving into it!

    I’ve read the first in the Amulet series – loved it!
    .-= Belle´s last blog ..Insatiable- by Meg Cabot =-.

  3. # Sravana wrote on November 12, 2010 at 5:13 pm:

    I’m so glad you enjoyed Mrs. Kimble:) I’m always interested in people’s assessment of the characters in this book. What did you think of Ken? Is he really a bad guy?

  4. # Ann-Kat wrote on November 30, 2010 at 4:15 pm:

    @T.V. and Book Addict: Definitely check out the graphic novel series. I think it’s one of those hidden gems. I even managed to get my sister (who’s not that into fantasy/comics/graphic novels) addicted to it. She’s begging me for the next book, but it hasn’t even come out yet. :D

    As far as hype goes, I’m learning it’s not about how good the book is, it’s about how good the marketing department is. *sigh*

  5. # Ann-Kat wrote on November 30, 2010 at 4:17 pm:

    @Belle: And here I thought I was the last person on earth to read the Hunger Games trilogy. I guess I was only one of two. :D I say dig in. Although it’s dystopian, it doesn’t necessarily feel dystopian (at least, not the first book and half of the second)…if that makes any sense. It’s like drama set in a dystopian world.

  6. # Ann-Kat wrote on November 30, 2010 at 4:24 pm:

    @Sravana: Thank you so much for that recommendation. I’ve read it and my sister has read and we discussed it, specifically Ken Kimble. What do I think of Ken? I think he’s a person who’s made awful decisions, and an opportunist. Is he really a bad guy? Since a part of me believes that who we are is comprised of the decisions we make, I’d say yes. Yes, he is a bad guy. I read in the author interview that she didn’t intend for Ken to be a sociopath, but that’s ultimately what he was. He showed no remorse ever, not even with his last breath. Some may say it sounds harsh, but frankly, he cared about no one but himself, he had no conscience, and in the end he got what he deserved. On the flip side, I loved the interconnected stories of each Mrs. Kimble and it was heartwarming to see some good come from Ken’s misdeeds.

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