Review: Slaughterhouse-Five

Slaughterhouse-Five
Slaughterhouse-Five by Kurt Vonnegut
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

So it goes.

I listened to the Audible version read by James Franco, which was good.

I now have a solid understanding of the ways in which Kurt Vonnegut has influenced the writing of Andrew Smith. I guess I went about it backwards by reading so much of Smith first, but if one brought me around to the other, that seems like a win. I think I’m going to read more Vonnegut after this. I’m not sure how I didn’t read this one in high school or college in the first place, but I’m glad I finally cycled back around to it.

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Review: Gemina

Gemina
Gemina by Amie Kaufman
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

This is book 2 in a unique and exciting YA Sci-Fi Series, and I absolutely adore the audiobook!

I confess that I don’t love book 2 quite as intensely as I did book one, but it’s still a captivating, fast-paced story with several surprises. The new characters are unexpected and enjoyable, with strong voices, and the bit of romance burns slower than it did in book one (for better or worse).

I spread out the reading over a long period of time, due to personal chaos, which may have impacted the overall flow when I read it. I’ll probably read or listen to this book again at some point, so I’ll update my star rating at that time, if a second read changes my perspective.

I want more of this world and format, so I hope this series goes on for a long time or branches out into something new. Either way, but I don’t want it to end.

Pages: 608

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Review: The Girl with All the Gifts

The Girl with All the Gifts
The Girl with All the Gifts by M.R. Carey
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

This started out interesting and lost steam. The plot was fine, but my interest lagged after the first 1/3. I think the concept initially was charming (zombie MC doesn’t realize she’s part zombie–thinks she’s a normal girl).

However, after that, there was never enough character development and growth to keep me interested in all the running around that occurred in the plot. The themes became repetitive for me. I don’t dislike it, by any means, but I just lost the initial level of excitement I had when I started the book.

The funny thing is that the plot might be a bit slow in the start, and it’s right at the point where things kick up a notch that I started returning to the book with more and more reluctance. Therefore, it receives a very conflicted 3.5 stars (rounded up to 4, for consistency). It’s worth a look, just for the interesting perspective, but I don’t absolutely love it.

Pages: 448

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Review: Like a River Glorious

Like a River Glorious
Like a River Glorious by Rae Carson
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

This was a pretty solid follow-up to book one, which I really loved. I enjoyed having more time with some of my favorite characters, and it wrapped up more thoroughly than a lot of 2nd books do, which I appreciate.

Rae Carson has a great voice in the YA world. She writes strong, interesting female characters, grows relationships slowly, and includes a lot of diverse characters and perspectives which provides a nice depth to her worlds. I will definitely read book 3.

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Review: Frost Like Night

Frost Like Night
Frost Like Night by Sara Raasch
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

The ending is so fantastic and satisfying that my initial impulse was to give this book a 5. Wow. That’s the way to successfully wrap up a fantasy trilogy.

I have settled at a 4, just because there were some things in the first half that weren’t quite as smooth for me. Overall, this is an excellent YA fantasy series, set in a fascinating and creative world, with plenty of dark magic to suit my dark side, and enough hope to please my often hidden light side.

It’s a definite win, and I confess part of my confusion at the start might have been due to the gap of time from when I read the first two books. If you have time for a reread, I think that would be ideal. If not, definitely read a good summary or synopsis of the first two books before diving in, because it’s a complex world with a lot of characters.

Pages: 496

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Review: Kids of Appetite

Kids of Appetite
Kids of Appetite by David Arnold
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

I enjoyed both the diversity in this story and the excellent writing. It’s easier to understand than Mosquitoland (his previous novel), which sounds like a positive, and in some ways, it was a positive. Just not in all the ways.

There were a few gimmicks that didn’t pan out so well when listening to the audiobook, including the repetition of the same sentences 100 times. That was pure agony to a listener, despite how well the reader tried to vary the sentence in both volume and emotion, but if you were reading instead, you would just flip the page and not read that sentence 100 times, which would be less torturous.
I understand that it was a writing risk and was intended to make a point and impact emotions, which it actually did. Visually, I am sure those pages were fascinating, but the point grew old somewhere around the 11th time the reader repeated the sentence on the audiobook. I had to fast forward by 37 or go insane.

Still, that’s a very minor complaint. Overall, it’s an interesting story. It’s a mystery but not at all intense, despite the dramatic setup. The suspense level leans more towards a curious vibe, rather than the deep psychological worry/fear that some stories will inflict upon you. I thought the way the story panned out was pretty obvious, but I still enjoyed the different characters and the way their stories overlapped.

It alternates some between present to past which is done in a way that is interesting enough not to make you feel like the whole book is backstory, which is kind of impressive as basically the whole book is backstory. I think this would appeal to reluctant readers and teens in difficult home situations, as most of the teens in this story came together out of challenging situations.

Pages: 352

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Review: Places No One Knows

Places No One Knows
Places No One Knows by Brenna Yovanoff
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

This is an emotional read with a magical realism thing happening that is quite fascinating.

I personally wanted to shake the MC a few times for treating her dream world as being completely separate from her real world, but then I guess if I started dreaming myself into places I knew I wasn’t supposed to be, I might be a bit confused and overwhelmed too.

Pages: 384

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Review: This Savage Song

This Savage Song
This Savage Song by Victoria Schwab
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Okay. It’s about monsters, so that’s awesome. The world itself is fascinating, though the world building at times is a bit forced. I like it better when I learn a bit as I go, rather than having the backstory forced on me, which is how I felt at the start of the novel.

However, I have to say things smoothed out for me after a few chapters, and I really got into this. The characters were interesting. Even though I don’t feel like a whole lot actually happens in the start of the book, the ending kicked things up a notch. I’m hopefully that this is a great starting point for an interesting series, and the next book just blows my socks off.

There were a few things that seemed a bit inconvenient, and it initially seemed to be leaning hard towards romance over fantasy. However, by the end, I would say the fantasy factor was very high, and the romance factor was extremely low. I can’t decide how I feel about that, because I love fantasy. That makes me wish more time had been thrown into the issues of the world, rather than the two main characters and the will-they-or-won’t-they-be-a-thing conundrum.

Despite how wordy this review is, I really did enjoy this story and world, and when book 2 comes out, I will definitely read it. I am hoping book 2 embraces the monsters even more, because when you have a world that dark and vicious, I just want the writing to be a bit darker and . . . bloodier? More painful? Messier? I wanted some additional ugly oomph, I guess, if that makes any sense, which it probably doesn’t.

Pages: 464

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