Most of the time I don’t like writing full reviews of books (even in 200 words or less), because the more I feel like I have to be a critic, the more critical I feel toward books. I’d rather just read books and enjoy them, then post some thoughts on them afterward. Here’s a few books and companion stories I read in January.
The Particular Sadness of Lemon Cake, by Aimee Bender
This was the my book club’s choice for January, and I chose it because a couple of my friends had read it and rated it 4-5 stars. It was definitely an interesting book, and the magic and mystery of Rose’s predicament was quite fun to read. The writing was lovely, and there were some passages that I loved so much that I just read them over and over again, and even went back later and read them again. I loved Rose’s growth throughout the book, and I really enjoyed the focus on the relationships throughout her life, not only with her family but with friends, too. Things got really interesting about 65% of the way through, when a new mystery opened up with Rose’s brother. Unfortunately, this thread of the story ended up falling flat for me, and was just weird and confusing and not at all satisfying. The rest of the story, however, I adored.
Splintered, by A. G. Howard
Okay, obviously I was drawn in by this gorgeous cover. I’ve been a fan of Alice in Wonderland since I was a little girl — I pretty much had the Disney version memorized — so naturally this was a an appealing choice. I really liked Alyssa’s story (and that she was a skater girl!), up until the point that she went down the rabbit hole. Then I kind of… continued reading with trepidation. Not because the story was bad — Howard’s interpretation of Wonderland was really quite brilliant — but because I realized that I don’t think I *like* Wonderland stories anymore. Despite that, however, I enjoyed this book. The villain was mysterious, infuriating, and tempting all at once. Alyssa was a determined, quirky protagonist and I really liked the parts that focused on her. I really could have done without the love interest, whatever-his-name-is, though. He was controlling, dismissive, and not very appealing in my opinion. [NOTE: I read this book as an ARC, borrowed from my sister, who receives many, many awesome things in her mailbox.]
The Dark and Hollow Places, by Carrie Ryan
Finally, I’ve read the last book in this series! I’m not a big fan of zombie apocalypse stories, but I really like Carrie Ryan’s version. I really enjoyed the fact that each book in the series was from the perspective of a different woman, each one related to the other in an interesting way. This final book was satisfying, scary, and emotional. I liked *all* the parts, and found some of their solutions to seemingly unsolvable problems to be quite ingenious and creative. I really enjoyed the blossoming romance between Annah and Catcher (spoiler? Sorry?). It was raw, real, and it brought me to tears several times. Great ending to the series.
Poison, by Bridget Zinn
When I read this book’s description and saw it was about a potion master/rogue, I was instantly interested. Friends, this book was SO much fun. The story was full of fantasy, whimsy, action, and humor, but still had its scary moments, too. I really loved the world Zinn created, with magical creatures, scheming witches, and adventurous royalty. I mean, Kyra is supplied with a PIG to help her find the person she’s trying to assassinate (and the pig is just the cutest thing ever). This was like a light, whimsical version of a Forgotten Realms rogue novel. I also like that, refreshingly, this is a standalone book. While series are great and everything, it’s nice to have the story finished when I close the book. There was definitely room for more stories to be written about this world or these characters, but the lack of cliffhanger at the end was nice. My only complaint is that Kyra spent way too much time noticing how beautiful and gorgeous the male characters were. As they said in the 80’s: gag me with a spoon! [NOTE: I read this book as an ARC, borrowed from my sister, who receives many, many awesome things in her mailbox.]
As They Slip Away (Across the Universe #0.5), by Beth Revis
In preparation for finally getting around to reading book 2 in this series, I decided to read this companion novella. I have to say, I really liked it, despite the heavy sadness of the tale. It quickly and easily drew me right back into that ship. I was surprised to discover that the focus was not on one of the main characters, but on a side character Amy had a short encounter with in the first book. Look, the story is sad and kinda scary, but it takes a hold of your heart and squeezes. I liked that it focused on art, since so much of this world is on practical matters. I did NOT like the injustice in the story, but it does make sense for the world they’re living in.