Monday, November 4, 2013

Kindle Book Reviews!

It's been a long time since I've posted any book reviews on here. I used to do it all the time for every book I read, but I fell out of the habit during my "I can't be bothered to write a blog post" days. In case anyone reading this is wondering, I have a Goodreads account HERE and a Shelfari account HERE. Feel free to friend me! Both accounts are just clones of each other, but I browse the discussions on both, and I love new friends!

Anyway, since I got my Kindle Paperwhite I've been a reading machine, even more so than usual. I generally read a lot, but it's spread out, only bits and pieces a day of late. Now I've been reading hours on end nearly every day! It's been nice to get back into my reading groove.

First up is the new book I actually went out and bought a physical copy of Hyperbole and a Half:  Unfortunate Situations, Flawed Coping Mechanisms, Mayhem, and Other Things That Happened by Allie Brosh. 

Before I post my review, if you haven't read Allie Brosh's blog, Hyperbole and a Half, you NEED TO. You just do. I can't recommend it enough! Here's a link for you: Stop reading this, and go read that, it's worth it.

Star Rating: ****- 
 Hyperbole and a Half has been one of my favorite blogs for a few years now, and when I heard there was a book coming out, I was unbelievably excited! Allie Brosh's work is simply amazing- Her stories are charming and hilarious, and coupled with the deceptively simple MS Paint drawings, she rarely fails to reduce me to fits of laughter.
So why only four stars instead of five? Frankly, I was disappointed in some of the story choices that made it into the book. Don't get me wrong, the stories in it are hilarious, especially some of my older favorites from her blog that made it into the book, such as "Dogs Don't Understand Basic Concepts Like Moving" and "Dinosaur (The Goose Story)". Her newer stories detailing her struggles with depression and the emotional ups and downs behind that are heartening, and even amusing in their own way- a wonderful way to express concepts and feelings that are very hard to discuss.
Unfortunately, the newer stories I read in this compilation didn't seem to hold up to those I've read on the website. There were a lot of stories that I was really looking forward to having in a print collection that didn't make it into the book, and I personally believe are a much better representation of true Hyperbole and a Half. I understand the publishers couldn't make a massive, ridiculously huge tome of a book, it would be too costly. I'm sure it was also very, very important to the author to have some of her newer and even more personal stories put into the book as well. There were just so, so very many hilarious tales that I'd wanted so badly to have in the book.
Don't get me wrong, the book is fantastic. It's a must buy, especially if you are a fan of the blog already, and all the tales I wanted to be in the book are accessible for free on her blog, whenever I'm in the mood to read them. I'm very, very glad I purchased the book, as it's a wonderful printing on all glossy paper, crisp and clear. The new stories are great, even if I wish there had been a few more older tales mixed in. With luck, she'll produce even more books, and eventually release all her stories in print form!
So yes, I'd definitely recommend this book, if you like a fun and funny tale, coupled with bright, amusing illustrations. Be sure to check out her blog as well, it's totally worth it! Hyperbole and a Half never fails to put a smile on my face, and I'm sure it won't fail to put one on yours.
 After waiting so long for this one, it definitely didn't disappoint. I found out later that there was a hardcover edition, and that would have been nice to have, especially since the books so darn thick... But the binding on the paperback is great so I shouldn't have to worry about it falling all to pieces on me! But seriously, go check her blog out, it's amazing!

Anyway, on to the Kindle Books I've torn up since I got my Paperwhite!

Die for Me by Amy Plum
Star Rating: *****
I really enjoyed this book, despite it being a tad predictable. The characters are all interesting and engaging to read about, the dialogue is snappy and reads well, and the story really moves along at a swift clip. I wasn't ever bored, and overall the book is a quick read. Looking forward to picking up the next in the series at some point, and would definitely recommend.
 I picked this up through the monthly real that was going on when I bought my Kindle. It's not the usual type of YA fantasy I read. Sure, I read the entire Twilight series, but that was mostly so I could feel justified in my opinion that the series was generally rubbish. I don't read a lot of romance or paranormal romance- especially not YA. Why read a romance if there's never any hope of getting to the good stuff?

That being said, I really did enjoy this book. It was fun, far better then Twilight ever was in my opinion, and worth the read. Definitely not ground breaking, and a bit predictable as most YA/romance tends to be, but I'll get the next in the series at some point!

The Long Earth by Terry Pratchet and Stephen Baxter

This one was interesting, especially since I rarely ever partake of science fiction- I'm mostly a fantasy girl! Here's the blurb on the back cover:
The possibilities are endless. (Just be careful what you wish for. . . .) 
1916: The Western Front. Private Percy Blakeney wakes up. He is lying on fresh spring grass. He can hear birdsong and the wind in the leaves. Where have the mud, blood, and blasted landscape of no-man's-land gone? For that matter, where has Percy gone? 
2015: Madison, Wisconsin. Police officer Monica Jansson is exploring the burned-out home of a reclusive—some say mad, others allege dangerous—scientist who seems to have vanished. Sifting through the wreckage, Jansson finds a curious gadget: a box containing some rudimentary wiring, a three-way switch, and . . . a potato. It is the prototype of an invention that will change the way humankind views the world forever. 
The first novel in an exciting new collaboration between Discworld® creator Terry Pratchett and the acclaimed SF writer Stephen Baxter, The Long Earth transports readers to an infinity of new worlds. All it takes is a single step. . . .
This was another book I got from the Kindle book monthly sale, after sending myself and reading the sample. I bought it as soon as the sample ended... My review from Goodreads:

Star Rating: ***** 
I really, really enjoyed this book. It's not something I would typically pick up, but I had just gotten my Kindle Paperwhite and it's one of the books on sale in their monthly deals, so I decided to try the sample. Needless to say, I quickly bought the full book, and it's sequel as well, which I'll be starting shortly.
This is the first Terry Pratchet book I've had the pleasure of reading, and the first time I've even heard of Stephen Baxter honestly. The story is well written and moves swiftly along, and the characters are all interesting and engaging. I'm not one for Sci-fi, so I can't say how this really compares with other Sci-fi novels- I did enjoy the lack of extreme and somewhat pointless technical jargon I've encountered in other sci-fi novels. Every question the book caused me to think up was duly answered, but that's not to say the book was predictable. It was more that it was thoughtful and well researched with plausible occurrences. Around the time it occurred to me to wonder what would happen to the economy of an earth that's quickly emptying of people, it was answered.
I've seen people complain about the ending, but I didn't find anything wrong with it personally. It's clearly intended to lead into the second book. It's a little disappointing that there isn't a clear end, but it's a fairly common issue with stories that run across multiple books. Not really something to complain about.
All in all I found this to be an enjoyable. Nothing ground breaking, nothing jaw dropping. Just good old fashioned fun and interesting story! Would recommend!
We did buy the sequel as well, lucky for me it was also on the monthly sale! Score!

The Ocean at the End of the Lane by Neil Gaiman

Billed as an 'adult fairy tale', style I typically enjoy, I was less then impressed by this book. My review:
Star Rating: ***-- 
This book for me is hard to quantify. Overall, I did enjoy it. The characters are interesting, the story is hauntingly intriguing, and the writing is lyrically wonderful. But the book itself feels like it's trapped in a sort of limbo between being too long and detailed to be a short story, but with too little depth to be considered a proper novel. To me, it felt like it was short story that was expanded into being not quite a novel, and left with too little 'umph' to carry it along. I enjoyed the read, but the lack of explanation and overall depth left me feeling somewhat disappointed.
Would I recommend this book? Perhaps, but only if it were checked out from a library for free, or gotten used. It's a very, very quick read, and not worth the cost of the trade paperback in my opinion. I'm glad I put off buying "The Ocean at the End of the Lane" long enough that I ended up getting it as the cheaper Kindle version after I got my Paperwhite. This being the only book by Neil Gaiman I've read, I'm not quite sure what to think overall, and can't properly compare it to his other books. I imagine it will be a fair amount of time before I pick up any of the rest of his works based off of this one. I'm glad I've heard this story, but it's not one I'll ever come back too.
I enjoyed it, but I didn't. It was weird, and interesting, but overall lack luster. Glad I read it, not worthe the price I paid. Ah well! Not every book can be Amazing!

The Great Hunt: Book Two of the Wheel of Time by Robert Jordan
Star Rating: *****

I've had an annoying relationship with Wheel of Time honestly. I'd considered reading it years ago since it's epic fantasy, but heard a lot of bad things about some of the books in the middle of the series. I knew the author had died partway through finishing the series and that another author was finishing it. Besides those tidbits, I'd never paid it much mind. 

Skip ahead to a couple years ago, and I had just discovered the book wonder that is Brandon Sanderson, my absolute favorite author. I'd read several of his books and had been somewhat patiently awaiting the sequel to The Way of Kings, Mr. Sanderson's first novel of his own epic fantasy series. "What's taking him so darn long?" I wondered. Well, it turned out, that he was the author chosen to finish Robert Jordan's Wheel of Time series! I've been a bit resentful of WoT since then, because it's delayed the release of Sanderson's own books for quite a while.

Well, the recommendation of WoT from a few friends, on top of the knowledge that if I read them I'd eventually get to the books written by Sanderson, convinced me to pick them up despite my misgivings on the series. Glad I did honestly! So far as I know, the first 5 or 6 books are well worth the investment, and the middle ones bearable for the awesomeness towards the end! I loved the first, and dove right into the second.

I don't usually write in depth comments/reviews for sequels and mid series books, as they're frankly hard to review. Mostly a quick blurb on whether I enjoyed it (I very much did!), and whether I'll be reading the next (it's already loaded on my Kindle to start soon!). So there it is.


Right now I'm in the midst of Robin Hobb's Dragon Keeper. I snagged it from last month's book sale as well. I've got a few more books lined up ready to read after that, so perhaps I'll have another book blurb post soon!


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