Tag Archive | #bookreview

GoodReads Review – The Elfstones of Shannara (Sword of Shannara Trilogy, #2)

The Elfstones of Shannara (The Original Shannara Trilogy, #2)The Elfstones of Shannara by Terry Brooks
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

The second installment of the ‘original’ trilogy, Elfstones is not the usual second installments – I think this is the strongest/best of the three books. Allanon was more mysterious than ever. Amberle, while I couldn’t always empathize with her, at least I understood her. I loved Wil and Eretria, Ander, Stee Jans, and all the elves that went with Wil and Amberle. This one still had its share of internal dialog, but it also had a lot more action.

Again, it could be read as a stand-alone. It has a ‘real’ ending and there’s no hint that there are other books in the pipeline. It was a happy ending too!

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GoodReads Review – The Sword of Shannara (Sword of Shannara Trilogy, #1)

The Sword of Shannara (The Original Shannara Trilogy, #1)The Sword of Shannara by Terry Brooks
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Yes, it has a lot of parallels to Tolkien and the Lord of the Rings, but honestly…Mr. Brooks created his own world and any book/plot/storyline where there is a quest and good fighting evil, etc., etc., of course, it’s going to remind the reader of Tolkien’s world. Face it, Tolkien’s world took from mythology and ancient cultures. What I’m trying to say is that yeah, it’s reminiscent of LotR, but it spins off in its own direction.

That being said, I liked the action parts and the characters were three-dimensional and I got to know them. What I found to be….annoying was all the ‘inner thinking’ the characters (especially Shea) did…ALL THE TIME. Shea could have arrived at the conclusion on how the Sword works in less than 22 chapters. (Okay, I just made that number up). Then again, I’ve never been one for analyzing every thought or feeling I have. Shea, on the other hand, has to do that on every page he appears. (I skip the parts of LotR where Tolkien spends too much time describing places and things

SPOILERS FROM HERE, STOP READING IF YOU DON’T WANT TO SEE THEM

I have to admit that I loved the part where Flick saved Eventine. (I really would love Eventine to get his own book!) Shannara elves do not have eternal lives, and they don’t have “magic” like Tolkien’s. The magic is in the hands of the Druids (or single Druid, actually, Allanon) Allanon is the character that you love to hate. He’s a good guy, but he’s very dark and he keeps a lot of secrets. He thinks that keeping the secrets will make the mission successful and that he can guide Shea when it comes time to reveal the secrets. He’s not there at the end, and Shea has to figure it out for himself.

If you didn’t know there were more books–lots more books–in the Shannara world, you’d be happy with the non-cliffie ending. You could stop and feel satisfied that things are wrapped up. (You’d miss a lot if you didn’t continue to read the next two books at least!)

So I gave this one 4 stars because of all of the self-analysis that goes on with Shea. I’ll likely re-read it sometime though.

I’ll give it a 95, Dick. It has a good melody and it’s easy to dance to.

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GoodReads Review – Allegiant (Divergent #3)

Allegiant (Divergent, #3)Allegiant by Veronica Roth
My rating: 2 of 5 stars

This is the (IMO) weakest of the three books. As far as I’m concerned, it went off the rails as soon as they left the city and ended up in the ‘compound’. I guess I missed the premise of the ‘experiments’ because I didn’t see how isolating people and putting them into these factions would make a genetically pure person (and I’m not sure I even understood what it was that made a person a GP) I mean, obviously, mankind has ALWAYS had wars and fighting, even isolating these people/this community didn’t change that. (Why did the community have guns in the first place?) And how was it kept isolated? I mean, didn’t planes still fly? Couldn’t the inhabitants of the city see them sometimes? (Or maybe it was restricted airspace or something…who knows?) And if the members of the compound were always observing, how come they didn’t know that there were so many divergents in the factionless population? AND…it should make sense that the factionless would actually be growing faster than the factions, right? And it sucks that Tris died. I guess Ms. Roth was trying to be a little Tolkien-esque here – civilization was saved, but not for the savior of it. (Like Frodo couldn’t rest in the world he’d helped free from Sauron). J.K. Rowling was smart enough to not kill Harry (though I’ve heard the original intention was to kill him) and Katniss lived at the end of the Hunger Games, Tris’s death was sort of…unneccessary in my mind.

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GoodReads Review – Insurgent (Divergent #2)

Insurgent (Divergent, #2)Insurgent by Veronica Roth
My rating: 3 of 5 stars

Spoilers included – beware…

As the second installment in the trilogy, I don’t think this one was the weakest (as trilogies seem to go). Still lots of action and adventure, but Tris was starting to wear on me a bit. I had to keep reminding myself that she was only 16 and therefore, was bound to make lots of errors in judgment – then I started thinking that the author maybe should have made everyone a little older, as the situation did call for the characters to be awfully mature. In this book, we find out a little about the beginning of the city and that the people there are not alone, and in fact, are supposed to leave and help the outside world. And that’s where it ends – another cliffhanger. And not a subtle one either. (Now I’m starting to get annoyed with the whole series!)

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GoodReads Review – Divergent (Divergent #1)

Divergent (Divergent, #1)Divergent by Veronica Roth
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Read this soon after I read the Hunger Games, and just recently re-read the whole series. I’ve also seen the first movie so I now have the actors faces inserted into the roles…particularly Kate Winslet as Jeanine and Ashley Judd as Natalie Prior. As the first book of the trilogy, it’s a great start, very action-oriented and exciting. I like the characters (at least the ones I’m supposed to like!) and I have a little trouble picturing things, but that’s more likely due to the fact that I’ve never lived in a big city, so I can’t quite comprehend the number of people we’re talking about here, or the size of the area they all occupy. This would actually be an okay stand-alone novel if the ending hadn’t been a cliff-hanger. In fact, it might have actually been better if it hadn’t been a trilogy – but more about that in my next reviews. Let’s just say I enjoyed this one enough to read it twice and see the movie.

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GoodReads Review – Seabiscuit

Seabiscuit: An American LegendSeabiscuit: An American Legend by Laura Hillenbrand
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

Loved, Loved, Loved. Yes, I went through that phase of loving horses (as a twelve-year-old). I read all the Black Stallion books, Black Beauty, and books about Man O’War. Even named one of my Marx horses after him. Of course, I knew who Seabiscuit was from that time, so I recognized tons and tons of names (mostly the horses’ names!) Whirlaway, Citation, Whichee, and naturally, War Admiral. I loved getting to know all the players in the book – and I love that Ms. Hillenbrand used quotes and obviously did her research. This was my second time reading it, and it still kept me hooked all the way through. Makes me want to get all the old books out and re-read them too.

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GoodReads Review – Julius Katz Mysteries

Julius Katz MysteriesJulius Katz Mysteries by Dave Zeltserman
My rating: 1 of 5 stars

First off, I don’t like Archie. And I didn’t really like Julius. And the way the mysteries were “solved” – bogus. Archie at least talks about his theories. Julius just ‘thinks’ about his ideas and then poof! The mystery is solved. No clues or foreshadowing at all. Even Mrs. Fletcher let you see all the things she saw when trying to solve the murder. Julius did all his solving inside his head and then announced it. I assume this was supposed to be something akin to Sherlock Holmes. Nope. Not even close.

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GoodReads Review – Water for Elephants

Water for ElephantsWater for Elephants by Sara Gruen
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

The whole thing made me think of ‘The Great Gatsby’. I don’t know if that’s because the time periods were the same or the author captured some of Fitzgerald’s style. I haven’t seen the movie, I wanted to read the book first. I don’t think I’ll go see the movie now – some pretty graphic scenes in the books that I wouldn’t want to see on a screen.

I know it was a different time, but I can’t fathom the outright cruelty that not only the animals endured, but also people. I guess I’m sheltered because I’m sure that there are places in the world (and in the US) that this situation wouldn’t seem so unbelievable.

On a lighter note, it was a great look into the old circuses. I’ve never seen a Ringling Bros. circus (I can’t remember the name of the one that used to come to my hometown all during my elementary school years), but I still remember how sparkly and glamorous that life seemed. Water for Elephants showed the dark side of the traveling circus, but kept some of the glamor too.

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GoodReads Review – The Last Airship

The Last Airship (Sam Reilly #1)The Last Airship by Christopher Cartwright
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

I was worried at first that it was title Sam Reilly #1. I hoped there wasn’t a cliffhanger ending, and there wasn’t. (At least not overtly cliffhanger-y.) The story was taken to its conclusion, but there was one thing left open to pursuing in the next book (or two, maybe). The story itself kept me interested. I took the author at his word as far as the science and climbing information went. Bottom line, I liked it enough that I’d read more by this author.

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