Five minute book reviews
I used to have time to write book reviews, but these days I'm lucky if I can find the time to read books, so the reviewing has fallen by the wayside. I've read a few good ones since recommending Miss Peregrine's Home for Peculiar Children, though, and thought it would be fun to do some super-quick reviews, written in five minutes or less.
Hunting Unicorns by Bella Pollen
I started this one, didn't get hooked into it, and ended up putting it aside to read Miss Peregrine. I picked it back up after my detour, though, and ended up really liking it. I was initially thrown for a loop by the quick dispatching of one of the two brothers the flap copy promised the book would feature, but don't worry…the story manages despite the slight difficulty of one of the main characters being dead. This is one of those books where now that I'm done with it I can't articulate exactly what it was about it that made me like it so much, I just remember that I was very happy to have read it once I finished. I suppose that's not exactly a ringing endorsement, but really - give this one a try.
The Language of Flowers by Vanessa Diffenbaugh
This was a lovely story, if very sad through much of it. There were parts involving an infant that were hard to read (no abuse, just some difficulties), but the ending was happy if not perfectly idealized. I feel like some parts of this hit me harder than they would have before I had a child of my own, and while reading it I ended up thinking all kinds of introspective thoughts about being adopted since a failed adoption played a pivotal role in the main character's life. I found it somewhat reminiscent of Sarah Addison Allen's fiction - just a touch of magic and mysteriousness in an otherwise realistic story - though her work tends to be a bit lighter.
Snuff by Terry Pratchett
Terry Pratchett is easily one of my favorite authors of all time, and I will read and re-read his Discworld novels for the rest of my life. Though there have been a few other contenders, Sam Vimes has always been my favorite Pratchett character, and I have hoped ever since the tragic announcement of the author's condition that there'd be a few more Vimes books before the curtain falls. A new Pratchett book almost always feels like a gift anyway, but that feeling has definitely been amplified of late. Snuff did not disappoint, though it would probably be a hard first read for anyone not familiar with the Vimes arc, since events from earlier books (especially Thud) factor heavily into some key plot elements. If you're new to the Discworld and love a good cop story, start with Guards! Guards! and work your way through. It'll be worth the journey, I promise.
The Name of the Star by Maureen Johnson
Having read and loved Maureen Johnson's 13 Little Blue Envelopes and The Last Little Blue Envelope, my curiosity was piqued for her new novel, The Name of the Star. Well-written paranormal YA fiction is such fun, and this book definitely falls into that category. Teenage protagonist Rory is funny, smart, and a believable teenager without ever being insufferable, a feat in itself. It doesn't hurt that the story is fresh and left me looking forward to the next installment at the end. Not a Deep Thoughts book, but a good one. I ended up staying up until 2 AM to finish it, so you know it must've been good.
Reading: Mastiff by Tamora Pierce
Playing: Howl by Black Rebel Motorcycle Club