February Mini Reviews (2013)

As has become my regular practice, here are my mini reviews for the books I read in February. Several of them this month aren’t even YA books, which is surprising (usually it’s only one that isn’t). Well, we know why I had to rush to read The Hobbit, and of course The Story of Edgar Sawtelle was my book club reading assignment this month. And then there’s The Gathering Storm, which I’ve been listening to on audio since mid-December. Finally finished! And so finally I was able to squeeze in a few YA books this month as well.

The Hobbit, by J.R.R. Tolkien

The Hobbit by J.R.R. Tolkien 4stars
After seeing the movie in December, I knew I wanted to read this book. It was my first Tolkien novel, and I was not disappointed! I was surprised to learn that the movie stayed very true to the book, except for the whole storyline with the orcs, which was apparently manufactured only for the movie. I really liked the style of storytelling going on in this book, where the narrator is some other being altogether, and often speaks directly to the reader. I don’t know why, but I just *love* when the narrator speaks directly to the reader! Anyway, the adventure was fun, and while it did move slowly at some parts, I was never really bored or disinterested with Bilbo’s situation. This book was filled with the things I’ve grown to love about many epic fantasy books: riddles, interesting creatures, clever escapes, and big predicaments. I loved the overall witty and humorous narration, too. I’d definitely recommend this book to anyone.

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The Story of Edgar Sawtelle, by David Wroblewski

The Story of Edgar Sawtelle, by David Wroblewski 4stars
This was my reading assignment for book club this month. I was less than thrilled when an almost-600-page book was chosen, but I decided to just go with it and try to enjoy the book. She chose it because of all the rave reviews it’s gotten, being called a modern classic. Let me tell you, this book started off slow and kind of confusing, but when Edgar Sawtelle finally entered the picture, I became much more interested. The description, I think, was somewhat misleading, because this book is really about Edgar and how he relates to people — and mostly dogs — throughout his life. The journey he goes on doesn’t happen until pretty late in the book, and by then I was thoroughly entrenched in his story. I liked it, and I especially enjoyed the descriptions of the relationships that Edgar had with all of the dogs. It was slow, yet enjoyable reading, despite the overall shitty circumstances throughout most of the book. The ending was kind of bittersweet for me, but by then I knew: this is Edgar’s story, and somebody needed to read it.

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The Gathering Storm, by Robert Jordan and Brandon Sanderson

TheGatheringStorm 5stars
Okay, asking Brandon Sanderson to complete this series was a *brilliant* idea. He has breathed new life into the Wheel of Time! The pace picks up dramatically in this one, and I know it’s heading toward the end, so that’s bound to happen anyway. FOr a while there I was mostly interested in the Egwene parts. I still favor those, but Sanderson has actually brought me back around to caring about all of the other characters again! There is a subtle humor in this book that wasn’t present in any of the previous books in the series, and I really appreciate it. It’s like the series can finally poke a little fun at itself (but it’s not at all mocking or bad). In addition, Sanderson has brought back little things. Mentioning small details that were present in the earlier books, but got lost along the way later on in the series. It’s a minor thing, but it really helped to re-entrench me into the world of the Wheel of Time. All around, I loved this book and it’s reignited my love for the series.

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Hidden (House of Night #10), by PC and Kristin Cast

Hidden, by PC and Kristin Cast 3 stars
Look, I mean, at this point, I just need to know what happens in this series. In Hidden, Zoey and her “nerd herd” are continuing their quest to get rid of Neferet and try to have some kind of normal, happy life at their House of Night. Neferet is up to her usual self-centered trickery, only this time they’re going to pull some tricks on her! The pace was quick and some kind of crazy rap was always happening — as is usual with the books in this series. I am really liking the way they’re going with Aurox, and his parts were my favorite throughout the book. This character actually has some depth and I’m interested to see his development. Some interesting alliances have been made, and some pretty great plans have been set in motion. Oh, I’m also really liking the new girl who can see people’s auras. She and Aurox are pretty much the best parts of this book, in my opinion.

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A Million Suns (Across the Universe #2), by Beth Revis

A Million Suns, by Beth Revis4stars
Finally, I’m moving forward with this series, and I’m SO GLAD I did! I wasn’t very impressed with Across the Universe, but I still thought that the premise was interesting, so I wanted to see where the story went. Folks, A Million Suns turned me into a believer. Amy and Elder are moving more into themselves — and toward each other — in a way that I really like. There’s a big mystery in this book that really drew me in, and it might be the big thing that made me love this book. Amy and Elder and each going through their own trials and working through personal things on their own, but I like that they’re also starting to trust each other more. Beth Revis stepped up the game in this book and there was tension very thoroughly throughout. It was so well done that it almost made me want to read Across the Universe all over again.

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Miss Peregrine’s Home for Peculiar Children, by Random Riggs

Miss Peregrine's Home for Peculiar Children by Ransom Riggs3 stars
I got this book on Kindle when it was on a super sale, and decided to read it one weekend when all I had was my phone with me. Reading a book on your phone is not necessarily ideal, and doubly so for Miss Peregrine’s Home for Peculiar Children. With all of the vintage photographs spread throughout, it really should be read on paper. The images were so small on my screen that I couldn’t really appreciate them. In any case, the story was… interesting. It started out pretty slow, but once things got moving and Jacob finally started investigating the island and home where his grandfather grew up, my interest grew. Unfortunately, it was kind of a let-down. I don’t know what to say other than that it just wasn’t very exciting. I was hoping to love this book, but in the end I only kind of liked it. I don’t think I’ll want to read the next book in the series.

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Neferet’s Curse (House of Night Novella #3), by PC and Kristin Cast

Neferet's Curse by P.C. and Kristin Cast3 stars
Another shining star in the House of Night series. I’m telling you, these novellas are better than the actual books in the main series! Getting to learn about Neferet’s past was extremely eye-opening. I was surprised at her character in the beginning, but seeing how she developed, and the choices she made in reaction to the things that happened to her, I can see exactly why she is the way that she is later on. I was kind of disappointed at first, to see that this was going to be another story about a girl who is taunted by a menacing older man, but as the story progressed I was able to forgive that. It just makes so much sense for Neferet’s overall character. I hope they write more of these novellas, because they’re very enjoyable (but also kind of creepy) to read.