Katy - Reviews

1 to 14 of 14
Bimbos of the Death Sun (Windwalker Book)
Bimbos of the Death Sun (Windwalker Book)
Author: Sharyn McCrumb
Book Type: Paperback
  • Currently 3.5/5 Stars.
 31
Review Date: 8/24/2012
Helpful Score: 1


I had to get this book because the title made me laugh. The title for this book is also the title for a book the main character wrote. Although the technology is quite old, the story isn't really dependent upon it, so it still works.

Just a goofy story that's a fun read.


Feed
Feed
Author: M. T. Anderson
Book Type: Paperback
  • Currently 3.7/5 Stars.
 97
Review Date: 8/12/2013


The author does a fantastic job of writing in a prose the way a teen from the future might speak & think. It does take some getting used to.

Especially with the advent of Google Glass, this is an an interesting look into a future where the "Haves" have a permanent connection to the internet implanted and the "Have-Nots" don't, although that aspect really wasn't pursued much.

As the author states, his idea was to originally write a short story, but this idea was too "big for that format" so he extended it into this novella. He did it to flesh out the characters, but he does that in a rather superficial way, never really delving too deeply into their person-ness, the world, or the what could be fascinating aspects of the moral implications of the feed. He also brushes against other really interesting aspects of a potential future: ecological disaster, war, corporate monopolies, political accountability, and much more. But it seems like, by having the story told through the eyes of this self-absorbed teen (would that be redundant?), the author gives himself an out from delving even a little bit into those aspects.

In the end, while the book was enjoyable, it winds up being much like the feed itself: shallow (shortage of world & moral examination), lacking in human connectivity (you don't really care about the characters) and unfulfilling. It reads very much like a teen book, and not a particularly thoughtful one at that. All that being said, the first line in the book is still great: "We went to the moon to have fun, but the moon turned out to completely suck."


Furies of Calderon (Codex Alera, Bk 1)
Furies of Calderon (Codex Alera, Bk 1)
Author: Jim Butcher
Book Type: Paperback
  • Currently 4/5 Stars.
 212
Review Date: 8/24/2012
Helpful Score: 2


I had to go with 3 1/2 stars for this review, because this book is both a 4 1/2 star and a 2 star book.

The 2 star review:
This book is tedious. So much time is spent explaining the world this story takes place in, it gets boring & irritating ("Got it! Get on with the story!").

The 4 1/2 star review:
There are some interesting parts, mostly near the end. Where this book is useful (other than as a doorstop) is that, once you get through this book, you understand the world the story takes place in very well. Butcher apparently has spent a lot of time thinking about and working the kinks out of the physics in this world. It's very rich.

So this book essentially sets up the whole series. Once you get through this one, the rest of the books flow much better & Butcher (luckily) doesn't spend a lot of time rehashing the basic information. If you find the universe where the story takes place interesting, the other books are good reads.


The Importance of Being Alice
The Importance of Being Alice
Author: Katie MacAlister
Book Type: Mass Market Paperback
  • Currently 3.3/5 Stars.
 23
Review Date: 6/21/2015


Let me preface this review by saying I like Katie MacAlister. I've never been able to get into her Dark Ones or Dragons series, but I have all of her 1-shot books. She usually makes me laugh out loud at least once, and her characters are quirky.

In this book, she just tried too hard. The main characters are SO quirky, I really think the book would've been better if they came down with a mysterious disease and died.

Case in point: the lead female is a grown woman who had been living with her fiancee for two years. And she's had some sort of job, so she's not a complete moron. I don't expect or necessarily have a craving for grown people to use swear words, but I expect an adult to speak like an adult. Not refer to sex as "rompy time" or refer to a back pain as an "ouchie back" -- keep in mind, this is still the phase where she's NOT trying to make the guy run screaming for the hills because he thinks she has some unsettling daddy issues.

She apparently DOES know real words, she's just completely incapable of using them in any way that makes sense. For example, when apologizing to a foreign person who obviously does not speak completely fluent English (it's why she's apologizing), she says, "Sorry, that was too colloquial." Riiiiight. Because "colloquial" is one of those words that every non-native person knows.

The language is only one of her issues. By page 150 she's become incapable of using common logic and jumps to conclusions faster than a caffeinated cheetah at a trampoline store. At that point, I just stopped reading the book -- and I very, very rarely stop reading a book once I start. I can (sort of) take main characters who use creepy baby talk, incredibly implausible romance, situations that are beyond ridiculous, and other oddities (I enjoy all of the aforementioned when it's done well, by the way -- well, maybe not the baby talk), but having my pet rock be smarter than the heroine that I'm supposed to root for on top of all the rest? Pass. Hopefully, someone else will enjoy the book.

The first few times you read one of MacAlister's books, the non-language "nnrrg" or "foowah" is rather cute. After a while, you being to wonder just how lazy of a writer she is. I suppose, as long as she keeps selling the books with the same formula, she'll keep writing the same book. This book was not particularly funny, definitely not clever, and having people bang each other within a couple of days of meeting is not romantic. This type of story has been done much, much better before -- by MacAlister herself.


Life of Pi
Life of Pi
Author: Yann Martel
Book Type: Paperback
  • Currently 3.7/5 Stars.
 3370
Review Date: 8/24/2012
Helpful Score: 3


This is a very interesting, thoughtful book, without being terribly preachy. The main character, Pi, takes you though thoughts about the relevance of zoos, religion, how to survive at sea, and some fundamental similarities between very disparate animal species, among other topics.

The beginning of the book can get a bit bogged down, but it sets up the author's factual-based writing style for the rest of the book and gives a thorough background into Pi.

The killing of the animals may seem grotesque to some (and if you can't get through that part, there's an "Ewwww" moment later on that I'm pretty sure you wouldn't like). But like the rest of the book, it is told in a factual (even somewhat funny) way. It's not Disney. In the real world, animals eat other animals, and they aren't kind about it.

I wouldn't read this story to a child, but many adults would really enjoy it.

Edit, Sept. 2012: The amazing director Ang Lee is going to release this as a movie late this year! I'm excited to see it, but considering how so much of the story is internal, I'm not sure how well it will translate to the big screen.


Love in the Time of Dragons (Light Dragons, Bk 1)
Love in the Time of Dragons (Light Dragons, Bk 1)
Author: Katie MacAlister
Book Type: Paperback
  • Currently 4/5 Stars.
 203
Review Date: 9/4/2010
Helpful Score: 3


This book is more like a seriously long prologue than anything else. It sets up the characters and gives a background that is a set-up for the next book in the series. It doesn't quite feel like she phoned in the book, there was effort put into it, but it was a LOT longer than it needed to be.


Marked (House of Night, Bk 1)
Marked (House of Night, Bk 1)
Author: Kristin Cast, P. C. Cast
Book Type: Paperback
  • Currently 4.1/5 Stars.
 1183
Review Date: 8/14/2013
Helpful Score: 1


I'm pretty torn about the book. I both enjoyed it at times & found it ridiculously pathetic in turn.

The positives: It's fairly well written, for a YA book that's supposed to be in that tone of voice, so the grammatical weirdness actually fits. The story has an interesting cast of characters (in a shallow, superficial sort of way), the world they exist in is consistent (so far) and rather interesting, and it does leave you wondering what will happen in book two. Well, you know how the final story will turn out, but you wonder how long it will take the authors to get there.

Some negatives: I realize I am not the audience this book is targeted to (I am very, very well past my teen years), but the "teachable lessons" are annoyingly obvious, like a slap in the face and someone yelling "Don't do this or you will be a bad girl!" Kissing a boy that you like and who likes you does not make you a slut (the author's word, not mine). The authors seem to be coming from a place of repressed sexuality or something, since they often focus on some character or act appearing not prim enough (which actually makes it rather humorous that they are writing vampire stories). Sandra Dee has nothing on the main character in this book. ("I don't smoke, or drink, or swear, and I say 'poopie'.") And she's supposed to be a teenager? Apparently not from this decade, more like from the 1950's. The writing is very uneven in places, which takes you out of the story -- it's obvious at times when either the mother or the daughter author thought some little bit would be funny and they just *had* to put it in the book. I wish they'd left most of that stuff out. The writing is also somewhat funny because it tries so very, very hard to sound teen-like and fails miserably -- much like when a 40-year old actor with wrinkles is playing a teenage roll in a movie.

Some potential positives, but maybe negatives: As of the end of book one, most of the characters are all quite stereotypical -- the hick sidekick friend who is not the pretty one, the one guy in the female group (gay and smart, naturally), the shallow-yet-entertaining "Twin" friends who were needed to not only fill out the race rainbow, but to prove the people-are-the-same-everywhere point. Maybe they will have some real development in later books.


Me, Myself and Why? (BOFFO, Bk 1)
Me, Myself and Why? (BOFFO, Bk 1)
Author: MaryJanice Davidson
Book Type: Mass Market Paperback
  • Currently 3.5/5 Stars.
 25
Review Date: 8/24/2012
Helpful Score: 1


Funny concept, an agent with multiple personalities. It's nice to see MJD write stories about actual intelligent characters -- or at least not blazingly stupid ones, like Betsy from the Undead books.

Her writing seems to be better in these side stories, too. I enjoy them more, now, than the Undead series, which I used to enjoy but now ...


Second Chances
Second Chances
Author: Constance O'Day-Flannery
Book Type: Paperback
  • Currently 3.8/5 Stars.
 25
Review Date: 10/8/2012
Helpful Score: 1


O'Day-Flannery is an easy author to read, her stories move along pretty well. The story was ok, but I'm just not that into her concept so much on this one. If you think babies/having babies/children is the answer to everything and a person just can't be complete without it, this is a great story for you.

She handles the whole out-of-body experience well, logically speaking. There weren't any major logical snafus and the loose ends were tied up enough.


Side Jobs: Stories from The Dresden Files
Side Jobs: Stories from The Dresden Files
Author: Jim Butcher
Book Type: Paperback
  • Currently 4.4/5 Stars.
 35
Review Date: 8/24/2012
Helpful Score: 1


If you enjoy Dresden, this is a great book. The stories are not only chronological order according to Dresden's timeline with a note saying, "This story comes between book X and book Y", each story is also prefaced by Butcher. This is probably not a good book to get as an intro into Dresden's world, since each story assumes the reader is already familiar with the characters.


Undead and Undermined (Undead/Queen Betsy, Bk 10)
Undead and Undermined (Undead/Queen Betsy, Bk 10)
Author: MaryJanice Davidson
Book Type: Paperback
  • Currently 3.3/5 Stars.
 32
Review Date: 8/24/2012
Helpful Score: 1


This is the book. The one that made me give up on this series. The previous book, where Betsy & Laura go time traveling, was saved in the last section from being a complete waste. This book had no such saving part. I realize that this book is the second in an offshoot trilogy, but at this point, I detest Betsy so much that I'll never go back to the series.

And to top it off, apparently, rather than grow up even a LITTLE BIT, Betsy has become even more stupid. As an example, something happens (no spoilers coming from me) :) & she must call Sinclair. She manages to dial the phone, he picks up, and she's completely lost in her thought process & he has to hound her to get her to focus enough to talk to him. I'm wondering if she drools at this point in her life. Another example: she has something she MUST tell her group of people. She gets sidetracked (again) and doesn't get back to it until 80 pages later! And even then, someone else tells the group the news.

If I wasn't sure there are still some die-hard Betsy fans out there, I would have just used this book for kindling instead of trading it. That said, I still enjoy MJD's other books. Her writing is still ok, as long as the characters are as well.


Undead and Unfinished (Undead, Bk 9)
Undead and Unfinished (Undead, Bk 9)
Author: MaryJanice Davidson
Book Type: Paperback
  • Currently 3.8/5 Stars.
 46
Review Date: 6/26/2011
Helpful Score: 1


The story was ok, not great. It seems the author is running out of ideas, since she basically had to create an alternate reality to keep the story running. The best part of the whole thing came in the last chapter.


The Virgin Suicides
The Virgin Suicides
Author: Jeffrey Eugenides
Book Type: Paperback
  • Currently 3.5/5 Stars.
 779
Review Date: 8/24/2012
Helpful Score: 2


I was looking forward to the book so much, I was excited to receive it. The story is interesting. The problem is the writer. I enjoy lyrical, clever, even wandering prose, if it's done well. I just could not get past how the story is told from the viewpoint of "we."

"We" saw this, "we" heard that. When the author could not find a way to tell the story because none of the young boys that make up "we" would have possibly observed it, he covered it by having "we" do interviews in later years. So "we" interviewed a lot of people in a really creepy way, apparently, just to satisfy "our" nosiness (so a group of men in later years interviewed the other characters?). Ugh.

The editor should have slapped the author at some point, asking him, "Does 'we' have a mouse in 'our' pocket?!?" I fully understand the author wanting to make an impression for his first novel ("Push the envelope, make it interesting, depart from norms. The self-proclaimed literary snobs will love you!"), but certain literary standards should be maintained.


Wonderful Wizard of Oz
Wonderful Wizard of Oz
Author: Modern Publications
Book Type: Paperback
  • Currently 3.4/5 Stars.
 4
Review Date: 6/20/2014


This is not the book pictured. If you click on the "buy from Amazon" link you'll see the actual book. It's a 24-page illustrated children's book.

I ordered it thinking it was the real story and don't want others to be unpleasantly surprised the way I was.


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