Saturday, November 22, 2008

TSS: Books I finished (Mini book reviews)

The Sunday This week and last I plowed through books faster than I'll ever be able to write them up, so here's the run down in a series of mini reviews:

Time of My Life by Allison Winn Scotch. The story of a woman who goes back in time, to a period of her life when she was with the boyfriend who preceded the man she married and had a child with. An intriguing idea and a pleasant enough read, but there were questions in my mind that weren't addressed. I felt the protagonist was a little too quick to accept her odd situation, to reject her husband in favor of the boyfriend, to do what she thought would make life better for herself and others without struggling quite enough with the issue of impacting the future.

Escape from Special, by Miss Lasko-Gross. I read this after reading Marie's review in The Boston Bibliophile. It's a graphic novel (more like a series of anecdotes) about the childhood and adolescence of a girl who doesn't fit in academically or socially. I had a hard time following this one. It covers ten years or so and I often felt unsure about how old she was supposed to be, which was distracting. I would have liked more of a story thread tying each of the segments together. I finished it and set it aside, ready for my next book.

The Gargoyle, by Andrew Davidson. Rebecca at The Book Lady's Blog said this was one of the top five books she's read over the past few years. Me, I liked it fine. What I liked best was the way Davidson gets the reader rooting for a fairly despicable character. What I liked least was the interweaving of chapters from a different point of view, with stories from the past. It all came together in an interesting way in the end, and I know that others loved the very digressions I was impatient with. I stuck with them because I could see the light at the end of the tunnel and wanted to see the protagonist make it through. I'm glad I did.

Adoration of Jenna Fox by Mary Pearson. I read this for my Mock Printz Awards project. Jenna Fox wakes from a coma, having lost most of her memory, and begins to solve the mystery of who she is and why she has no friends and why things are kind of weird with her parents and grandma. Jenna's narrative voice is very stiff, which is in keeping with her situation but made her a little hard to relate to. There were some things which were supposed to be surprises, I think, but which I saw coming several chapters ahead of time. And the ending just annoyed me. Somebody does something completely out of character in order for Pearson to have the clever wrap-up ending she wanted. I thought this book was just okay, but Becky's Book Reviews loved it.

Madapple, by Christina Meldrum, was another one for the Mock Printz Awards. I say "was," because I put it down on page 282 (out of 404). Maw Books Blog liked this one a lot and it was funny to read her review because she praises the cover, which I hate. It's so desolate, and that's how the whole book (282 pages of it, that is) is. The protagonist is almost completely isolated as the book begins and before she gets the opportunity to branch out, the author comes in with chapters from a trial in the future which tell us that, no, that'll all go wrong, too. I found the whole situation depressing, and I didn't understand the protagonist well enough to want to see her through it. It's a well-written book, but no book can be for every reader and this one just wasn't for me.

Coming up this week, a review of a book I liked! Maybe even more than one!

If you've reviewed any of the above books I'd be glad to link to your review. Just give me a heads up in the comments.


  1. I've got four of those in my pile (all except Escape from special) and I'm looking forward to all of them - I've read great and not-so-great reviews of all, so it will be interesting to see how much I like them.

  2. You have been busy. I loved The Gargoyle - sorry you were disappointed in it.

  3. Wow! I really need to catch up on some reading. I really appreciate your honest reviews.
    Gargoyle seems interesting and if I see it at our library, I'll give it a try.

  4. The only one I read is Gargoyle.

    I agree that it was interesting how he made someone who is objectively not a nice guy likable.

    And I agree the digressions became a bit much. Interesting stories in themselves...but just all too much.

  5. Hi, Ali! I'm visiting for Weekly Geeks #26, and we actually have a lot in common. :) The Gargoyle and Madapple are both on my TBR list and I see that you have Guster on your playlist. Rock on! I enjoyed reading your 4 things + 7 meme, too.

  6. Wow - you DO read a lot. Now I have a question: WHERE do you get your graphic novels? do you get them all online? You write great mini-reviews. (I keep seeing you EVERYWHERE in this week's geek!)

  7. Lenore, I'll bet you'll like them, a lot of people do who like the same types of books you (and I) do. Such as...

    Bermuda Onion! I wouldn't say I was disappointed--every book can't be the Best Book Ever, right? The parts that I liked, I liked very much!

    Kim, I had a hard time writing these because I really love to write glowing reviews and these obviously weren't, so thank you for your comment about my honesty. I can only hope that the authors would agree.

    Caite, Exactly. If they hadn't interrupted the storyline, I would have enjoyed the side stories more.

    Jessi, Thanks for visiting! I'm looking forward to checking out your blog later today, but I just got excused from jury duty and must go pick up my kids!

    Care, I get them from the library, mostly.

  8. I haven't read any of those yet, but I do have The Gargoyle on audio from my library.

    Love your blog header, by the way!

  9. I love the idea of your mini review. Short and sweet. I am not sure I would enjoy some of these books, but I think some kids might.

  10. Caribookscoops, Thanks! I checked out your blog and see that you started blogging after talking to Natasha about it in person, which I think is very cool!

    Also thanks for the reminder that I didn't categorize these books. Jenna Fox, Madapple, and Escape from Special are all YA books, though they also cross over to an adult readership very well. Time of My Life is Women's Fiction, and The Gargoyle isn't what I'd consider YA-friendly--though some older teens who read a lot of adult lit might enjoy it, I would probably not recommend it to any of the teens I know.

  11. I really loved The Adoration of Jenna Fox, but I think one of the reasons that I enjoyed it so much is that I knew absolutely nothing about it. It's a hard book to review or booktalk to anyone because if you give away much of anything - even to the point that there is something to give away - it takes away from the power of it.

  12. So sad you didn't like Madapple! Boo hoo! ;) I still stand behind the cover. Love it!

    I also just read The Adoration of Jenna Fox. It's in my review pile. I liked it. It's different from a lot of the books I've been reading lately.

  13. I do mini book reviews too. Love it!