[At the Amazon Kindle Community forum there is a monthly thread where participants list and comment on which books they’re reading at the moment on their Kindles. These aren’t usually full reviews, often just relatively brief impressions. I’m copying over some of my comments made there into Book Bits posts here.]
Originally posted on 1/2
After I spent a good chunk of December reading traditional fantasy I was in the need for a change of pace and finally selected The Spellman Files [private investigator] by Lisa Lutz from my lengthy TBR list on my Kindle. (I got it on sale for $1.99 in Sept.) Boy howdy was it a change of pace!
The Spellman Files is probably classified in the mystery genre, but a couple mysteries are not the focus of this book. The uniquely dysfunctional Spellman family is. All but one member of the family work as private investigators. I thought things dragged a bit between about the 2/3 and 3/4 portion of the book, but overall it was a very entertaining read. Though you have to have a high tolerance for imperfect, bizarre people (and an unusual novel structure).
Here’s one of my highlights that kinda sums it up:
The Spellman Files (Lisa Lutz)
– Highlight Loc. 2630-31 |
We all have deadbolts on our doors and, with the exception of the two-year period of time when mine was removed for drug-related offenses, this is standard fare in the family. We’re really into privacy, especially since we have no respect for it.
And now I’m not sure what I’m going to start next!
Originally posted on 1/5
I really enjoyed Origin [horror] by Konrath also, Amelia. To me it was a good old-fashioned monster story, mostly. It wasn’t great, but it was a fast, very fun read.
Right now I’m about halfway through Decoded [FBI thriller] by Sara Marx. (Link is for the paper book because the ebook is only available on the publisher’s site right now.) It’s a real slog, and I’ve almost ditched it because the writing is sub-par in irritating ways. But the story itself is just mysterious enough to keep me going to find out if what I think is going on is really what is going on.
Originally posted on 1/9
I finished Decoded by Sara Marx. Pretty awful book. I did a review and gave it two stars. It took me almost a week to read it, when normally a book that length takes me 1-2 days.
Though I have to admit my reading is down anyway because I received The Sims Medieval for Christmas and have been a bit obsessed with playing during times I would have normally been reading.
My brain was so numb from the bad book I had no idea what to start next, nothing sounded good. So I started In Every Port [lesbian romance] by Karin Kallmaker. I read it when it was originally published in 1989, it was her first novel, and it’s an old favorite. It’s just a fluff lesbian romance, but reading it is like slipping into sweats and old comfy slippers. (It’s only $2.99!)
Originally posted on 1/13
After finishing In Every Port by Karin Kallmaker, which is an old favorite, I decided it was time to read The Giver [dystopian] by Lois Lowry.
A few years ago a co-worker told me “you gotta read this book”, referring to The Giver, but he didn’t say anything at the time about what sort of book it was. I never looked into it, but the title did stay in the back of my mind all this time. When someone here mentioned it a while back I put it on my wishlist and then snagged it when it went on sale for 99 cents. So it was great to finally read the book after all this time (and put to rest that little nagging “you should read this” voice!).
It’s definitely written at a level for older grade school or middle school children. The language and story telling style are quite simple and straight forward and there isn’t much complexity. Despite its simplicity it was still thought provoking. I don’t normally read children’s fiction, or I might wax more enthusiastic about it. I’m glad I read it, but I won’t be reading the other two in the trilogy.
After I finished that I read Specimen 313 [horror short] by Jeff Strand, which someone in this thread recommended. It’s a short story offered for free as a teaser to a horror anthology. It was a really cute horror story. I know “cute” and the horror genre don’t naturally go hand-in-hand, but I think it fits in this case. It’s sort of a triffids-meet-cackling-mad-scientist story. Very enjoyable and definitely worth the time to download and read.
Not sure yet which novel I’m going to start next, but I’m heavily leaning towards finally digging into The Hunger Games by Suzanne Collins. I bought it a long time ago when the price first dropped, but had been waiting on it because I figured I’d also want to buy and read the next two in the trilogy. Since I still have some of a Christmas gift certificate left, now seems like a good time!
Originally posted on 1/15
I did decide to read The Hunger Games [dystopian] by Suzanne Collins ($4.69) and the word “Wow!” sums up my response. I expected to like it because of all the positive comments I’ve read about it in the monthly poll over the last couple years, but I don’t think I expected to be as completely swept away as I was.
It’s told in first person, present tense, and I very much dislike present tense narration. Yet, after saying “ugh” at the first sentence it rarely bothered me again for the duration of the book, it was just that good. There were several very emotionally charged scenes that had me choked up, but it was a loaf of bread that finally elicited tears.
Of course, the minute I finished it I immediately turned on the wireless on my Kindle and bought and downloaded Catching Fire, the second book in the trilogy. (It was about 1am when I did this, but didn’t have to budge from bed! I looooove my Kindle!) I’m 30% through it already. The nature of the story in the second book makes it not quite as fast-paced and riveting, but I’m still enjoying it a lot.
Originally posted on 1/18
So I finished The Hunger Games Trilogy by Suzanne Collins and WOW still sums it up for me. I know a lot of people didn’t like the third book, Mockingjay, as much as the first two, but for me it didn’t disappoint. (Though as is frequently the case, I thought the epilogue was superfluous and it would have been a stronger ending without it.) I loved the trilogy so much I had to do a gushing review on my blog.
Of course, then I faced that terrible problem. What to read next after being blown away? Sometimes the next book falls flat, not because there’s anything really wrong with it, it’s just that your expectations are too high. So I figured I had to try something so completely different there would be no chance for comparison, and no disappointment if I didn’t like it.
That led me to delving into my small pulp fiction collection from Lawrence Block that I picked up a while back when the books went on sale for 99 cents. I chose Threesome [pulp], which is $2.99 right now. It was originally published under his pulp pen name Jill Emerson in 1970. I’m not very far into it but so far I’ve laughed out loud once and am enjoying Block’s writing style. It appears I made the right “has to be very different” choice.
Originally posted on 1/19
I finished Threesome by Lawrence Block. I was expecting a quick, pointless, trashy read, but got so much more. It was surprisingly good, and even more surprisingly, very funny. Block really is a fantastic writer, even when pumping out salacious pulp fiction.
Now I’m back to: what in heck should I choose to read next?
Originally posted on 1/20
I read Storms [lesbian romance] by Gerri Hill. (Link is to the paper book, I got the ebook during an end of the year sale on the publisher’s site.) Hill is one of my favorite lesbian romance authors, but this one was a disappointment. It read like a first novel. Great story, characters, and setting, but the writing itself felt forced and was much too repetitive. I’m bummed.
Not sure what’s next, but it will probably be a big genre shift again.
Originally posted on 1/21
I’ve just started The Strain [apocalyptic horror]. I got it on sale quite a while back, and I assumed I’d like it based on comments in this thread, so when the second one in the trilogy came on sale recently I picked it up too.
But now I’m less than 10% into it and struggling. The story itself so far has me extremely intrigued and I definitely want to know what happens. But the writing is driving me absolutely bonkers. Rampant use of similes that make me think WTF?!, injudicious use of adjectives, and so on. It’s like one minute I’m really into it with tension rising, and the next I’m wanting to hurl my Kindle. So we’ll see how it goes. :)
For those considering calling the Kindle Abuse Hotline on me, the key word there was “wanting”. I would NEVER do anything to harm my precious!
Originally posted on 1/27
I finished The Strain, first book in The Strain Trilogy last night. I said when I’d just barely started it that the writing was driving me batty. If there were a prize for the worst similes ever published, this book would be a top contender, if not the hands-down winner! I’m talking coming to a screeching halt and thinking “WTF?!” bad.
However, the story itself had me interested enough to give the book a serious chance and I’m glad I did. Once things started happening and there was more dialogue the book moved along better. It also helped that I forced myself to read faster. I’m normally a relatively slow reader for someone who reads so much, but by speeding up I found it’s easier for me to skim past the ugly writing parts and still enjoy the main points of the story.
At least, that worked for me in this book. (If often doesn’t help.) It worked because the story itself is good and I keep wanting to know what will happen next. It’s not like the plot is unique. It’s following the same path a lot of other apocalypse-by-monster books have already tread. But it’s fun reading anyway.
I’m now about 10% into the second book, The Fall.
Originally posted on 1/31
My reading has just taken a sharp left turn. Yesterday I was 31% into The Fall, which is the second book in The Strain Trilogy. And I decided to quit.
It’s not that it’s an awful book, though the writing has problems at times. It’s just that I realized I was really only reading because I wanted to get to the end. I was not enthralled with the journey. I can understand why many people have enjoyed the trilogy, but I concluded this is an instance of “just not for me”. Since I had bought the book on sale, I didn’t feel like I was wasting too much money by quitting, which helps in making that decision.
I think part of the problem is that there are no important female characters. That in and of itself isn’t always an issue for me, but then there needs to be something else about the book that is compelling, or the book needs to be short. In this case, the only even kinda major female character is Nora, and in one and a third books she only seems to be in the way. It feels like the authors wrote her in to attract female reader interest, but then had absolutely no idea what to do with her. Maybe she does something useful or interesting later on, but I’ll never know.
The other major thing is that there are other books waiting on my Kindle that I really want to read, so I finally asked myself why I was putting in the time on The Fall. Especially since a friend gave me a book for my birthday that had been on my wishlist for some time.
I’m now reading that one! It’s Gladiatrix [historical/female gladiators] by Russell Whitfield. I had read a sample quite some time ago and wasn’t totally sold on the writing, but I wanted to read the story and was waiting for a price drop. But since the book has been out for three years that didn’t seem to be happening. Makes it a perfect gift book. I’m only 10% in so don’t have any comments yet.
[Note: My full reviews for In Every Port, Decoded, Storms, and Threesome can be found by clicking on the Lezzie Books tab at the top of this page.]