For Christmas I received a wonderful thing called, “The Book Lover’s Journal”. Black, sleek, leather-bound… and perfectly set up for writing down important details about books you’ve read, or would like to read. Now that I can record my progress, I’ve found myself even more inspired to read. I even set myself a reading challenge for the year.
Another thing my book journal has inspired me to do is to start putting up some kind of book sharing/review posts. I love sharing books, and talking about books, almost as much as I like reading them. ^-^ I’ve just been having trouble coming up with a good format up till now. What I’ve finally decided on is to share the books I’ve been reading from my journal, five or so every month, in a style similar to that of said journal. This will include reviews, but they will be quite short. I don’t honestly consider myself much of a reviewer. ^-^
So, let’s give this a try!
Wonders of the Invisible World
Author: Patricia A. McKillip
Published/By: 2012 / Tachyon
Genre: Short Story Anthology (Fantasy)
Thoughts: Patricia A. McKillip is on of my favorite authors. She has a beautiful, lyrical style and it is showcased marvelously in this collection of shorts. I’ve read it several times over, trying to learn the trick of imbuing short stories with such wonderment and depth.
All of the stories are quite excellent, I enjoyed them all. The one that struck me the most strongly is “The Kelpie”. The characters are well drawn and the ending felt really sudden and startling the first time I read it. I mean that in a good way. ^-^ I have gone back and read this story several times already. Similarly delightful was “Jack O’Lantern”. There is just something about the combination of period day-to-day elements and the realms of folklore and the fantastical. It holds a special magic for me.
Overall Rating: 5/5 stars (Love it!)
The Fire Stone
Author: Tanya Huff
Published/By: 1990 / DAW
Thoughts: I actually did not enjoy this book all that much. I even read it all in one day; which usually has the effect of making me feel completely immersed in a story. I just could not get into it. I think the main problem was excessive emotional focus and exposition that dragged down the – actually quite interesting – plot and generally made the story seem cluttered. Don’t get me wrong, I don’t mind a character with some serious emotional baggage. The problem here is that there are three POV characters, and every single one has emotional baggage that had to be examined and worked through… all in one book. It just felt like too much.
There was also a relationship that felt very forced. I always want characters to be happy, but when I can see the hand of the author squishing them together, can almost hear them saying, “Now kiiiiiiiss!”, it really bothers me.
On a more up note, the writing itself was pretty well done, and the plot was intriguing enough to pull me through the emotional slogs. I would definitely be open to giving Tanya Huff another try. ^-^
Overall Rating: 3/5 stars (Okay, but probably won’t re-read)
Golem In the Gears
Author: Piers Anthony
Published/By: 1986 / Del Rey
Genre: Humorous Fantasy
Thoughts: Opinions run the gamout on Piers Anthony and his Xanth series. I personally look at them as fun, ridiculous, adventure stories; and I enjoy most of the ones I’ve read. The puns always make me laugh. ^-^ That being said, I did not enjoy this particular romp through Xanth at all. The beginning is overly simple, with hardly any description, and it is just not engaging. There was an attempt to build suspense at the very end, but I saw right through it and the amount of time it took for the protagonist to get to the same conclusion was just annoying.
Seriously, the protagonist is an idiot!
Overall Rating: 2/5 stars (did not like)
Vale of the Vole
Author: Piers Anthony
Published/By: 1987 / Avon
Genre: Humorous Fantasy
Thoughts: This is the other Xanth book I had in my box, and I am so glad I decided to read it right after the above. The plotting and characterization are so much better, and it really has that Xanthy charm that I, personally, really enjoy. Not only that, it also does a very good job of following its three main characters. Each still has their own issues and objectives; but they never drag the pace or the plot down. The plot is well balanced between them, and comes together pretty well.
All three of their adventures were a lot of fun to follow. Although, I especially enjoyed getting to see the child of two of my favorite characters from “Ogre, Ogre”. ^-^
Overall Rating: 4/5 stars (Enjoyed it!)
Author: Larry Niven
Published/By: 1970 / Ballantine
Genre: Science Fiction
Thoughts: When I first started reading it, I remember thinking that it was an odd book. I don’t mean bad or confusing, just that the images were genuinely strange to me. Honestly I find that really interesting, and it’s perfect for a Sci-Fi. ^-^ The whole concept of the ‘Ringworld’ is intriguing. By the time the group of characters had actually taken off into space, on the way to the first stop of their journey, my reading pace picked up considerably.
The ensemble of characters is rather engaging, with a lot of extreme differences and several plots that effect their dynamics. They work pretty well together, and pull the plot along excellently. That being said, I have to admit that I really didn’t like the main character. His arrogance, not to mention the way he treated their female group member either as a toy or an idiot, really rubbed me the wrong way. In fact, his whole attitude towards women was dismissive. It’s made pretty clear that in his mind they only have one use. I generally overlook this sort of thing in older works; but in this case it was especially aggravating.
However, the writing is really well done and the speculative science is fascinating. ^-^ I told my Scholar he had to read it.
Overall Rating: 3/5 stars (Glad I read it)
And that’s all for the first Reading Journal! ^-^ Next month I will be posting the another five books from my journal. I’m currently at about twenty for the whole year, so I should be able to keep up pretty well. Any feedback, questions, or just comments would be greatly appreciated!