Sunday, September 06, 2015

Recent Reading

I started the year doing well, reading lots, or at least listening to audiobooks. And then, well, if you've been following along, there was all of that. Looks like my last book review was a similar quick look back in April The driving stopped, the life got busy, I had a pause in reading and even worse, a pause in blogging.

Here's a bunch of stuff I've read recently. Links are to Amazon.

Hyperbole and a Half by Allie Brosh - I don't recall requesting this one, but it showed up from the library, my daughter started reading it and then brought it to Lori saying "There's bad words in that." So we figured it was probably one I requested. It's a graphic novel about growing up and other topics and there's funny mixed with not-funny-to-me. I abandoned it pretty quickly.

Crossed by Ally Condie - I liked Matched (Quick Reads) but now they've left the big cities for work camps and beyond. I wasn't able to stay interested and abandoned it.

Prized by Caragh M. O'Brien - I liked first book, Birthmarked (my review), but book two was much harder to get into. Gaia has fled the big city with her baby sister and is rescued by a community that immediately takes her sister from her and puts her into service as a midwife. The community has a lot of strict rules and several large problems, including the fact that very few girls are being born anymore - the community heading for collapse. I followed the book through to the end, but I was disappointed and don't plan to read book 3.

Burning Kingdoms by Lauren DeStefano. I thought the first book, Perfect Ruin (my review) was interesting - a closed civilization living on a floating island rocked by a murder. By the end of the book, they had tunneled out of the bottom and made their way back to earth where they learned that people did still live. I read for quite a while but I just never got into it and finally decided there were other items on my nightstand that I wanted to devote my attention to.

Arclight by Josin McQuein - Lori brought this one home and I grabbed it off her nightstand to read. The premise was really interesting - an enclave surrounded by lights to keep a dangerous enemy at bay. Those elements reminded me of The Passage (my review) and I liked how the civiliation was designed. However, as it unfolded, things were less than satisfying and I think the author wanted a message, but it was muddy and I wasn't sure what side of things they came down on. I don't know if this is a series or not, but I'm not planning to find out.

Rush by Eve Silver. If you end up in a life-ending situation, you might be spared - if you are willing to occasionally go and fight aliens. Instead of dying, your life continues and every so often you're summoned to fight. After the fight, you're returned to your regularly scheduled life with no gap. But, if you die while fighting the aliens, life rewinds back to your original death and you die then. Interested in reading book 2.

The Red Road by Denise Mina. The latest in the Det. Alex Morrow series. I always find these to be fascinating reads. A flawed character, more about her is revealed slowly and sometimes as if against her will. As with the other books, we're given backstory that she isn't and we're along for the ride. In the end, she figures things out and we're not always sure how she does it, especially since sometimes as a reader we think we've figured it out but we really haven't. It's really interesting reading about a character who -- while she doesn't know she's the focus of a book series -- acts as if she doesn't want to be. I almost gave up after the first book (Still Midnight - my review) because I really didn't like the villains and wasn't sure what I thought of the detective herself, but I'm glad I've stuck with it.

Shadowlark - The second in this dystopian series journeys to an underground city. I read it shortly after Tunnels, another book with a civilization underground. Like Tunnels, it felt implausible to be that big. Unfortunately, I found the book to be simplistic and ultimately, predictable. I didn't care for it enough to consider the next book.

Await Your Reply by Dan Chaon - it starts with something rather gruesome and then switches to someone else and then to someone else. A number of chapters in, I did not understand how they they were connected and I didn't care about any of them. It's got four stars on Amazon, but I just couldn't keep going.

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