August Mini Reviews 2014

Mini Reviews
Mini Reviews

Since I don’t always have a full page of thoughts about a book I’ve finished, I like to do a post each month where I share mini reviews of these books. This way I can still share my thoughts about them, without dedicating an entire post to, like, on paragraph. Here’s what I’ve got for books I read in August. (You might be wondering where all the books about synesthesia are — don’t worry! I’ll be reviewing those in their own special edition of Mini Reviews!)

Full Books & Audiobooks

The Minimum Wage Millionaire by Bill Edgar

The Minimum Wage Millionaire: How a Part Time After School Job Can Change Your Financial Life by Bill Edgar 4 Stars
I don’t normally accept review requests for non-fiction books, but when this one came through out request line, I decided to say yes. This is the kind of book that I wish someone had given to me when I was a teenager, because it is so full of GREAT advice for securing one’s financial future. I love the language in this book, because it is easy to understand and I felt like the author was speaking to me as a friend who really didn’t want to see me fall into the same sucky situations that he’d been in or seen his friends fall into. The best part is that even though I am nowhere near my teenage years anymore, this book still gave me some advice that was very helpful for getting me started with a retirement fund — advice and information that I did NOT get when I met with consultants at firms who DO THIS for a living. Whether you’re a teenager or an adult who’s looking to secure your retirement, I would definitely recommend reading this one.

Orphan Train by Christina Baker Kline

Orphan Train by Christina Baker Kline 2 Stars
This one was a book club assignment, and I have to say that it was a pretty quick and easy read. I thought it had a lot of potential, and it covered an interesting time in history. It was a look at orphan life that I hadn’t gotten to see much of thus far (at least, not nearly to this extent), which I enjoyed. I also liked the connection and bond that formed between the unlikely pair of women. What I didn’t like was how hokey a lot of it felt, how stereotypical many of the characters were portrayed, and how some of the decisions just didn’t seem to make sense for the characters (even though they made sense for the plot).

Lexicon by Max Barry (Audiobook)

Lexicon by Max Barry 4 Stars
Okay, I really, REALLY liked this book. As soon as I started listening to it, I didn’t want to stop (the narrators are phenomenal — especially the guy). I absolutely loved the levels of mystery, what-the-fuck, and word play going on in this story. I liked the way it flipped back and forth — not only between main characters, but between timelines. I *adored* the lingual experiments going on in this book, and the depth of the whole thing just makes me want to praise Max Barry for this cleverness. So why didn’t I rate this book fiveĀ  stars? Two things: 1) all the jumping around sometimes led to confusion and I couldn’t tell WHEN a scene was happening, and 2) the ending seemed a bit out of place and I was sort of hoping for something a bit more messy. (Also, the female narrator’s Australian accent was pitiful — I kept thinking the people were Irish!)

The Citadel of the Autarch (Book of the New Sun #4) by Gene Wolfe

The Citadel of the Autarch by Gene Wolfe 3 Stars
Getting through this book felt like an accomplishment, and not for my normal reasons. Oh, Severian. You know, in the beginning of the series, I was able to forgive his character and decisions and conclusions a lot more than I could by the time we got here. Instead of really growing as a person, I felt like Severian just grew into a self-absorbed, arrogant man. Maybe that’s because this was written once he became Autarch, and felt like he was superior to everyone and everything (and simultaneously assumed my intelligence with his ridiculous barrages of archaic words and insulted my intelligence by acting as if he somehow deserved to be Autarch — I didn’t see much evidence of this, and considering it was written as his own coming-of-age autobiography, that was disappointing. It’s almost like Lolita, only with more arrogance and less pleading.). So. Yeah. I’m glad it’s over. And sort of disappointed that Wolfe added a fifth book later. Doh!

Red Rising (Red Rising Trilogy #1) by Pierce Brown

Red Rising by Pierce Brown You may notice that I have left no rating for this book, and that is because I feel quite conflicted about it. The beginning, I thought, had a lot of promise. I was thoroughly intrigued by the futuristic world, and by the story of oppression and subterfuge that was unfolding. Sure, I had my complaints about some of the tropes being employed, but I let it slide. Not to mention, the narration was done by an Irish person, so it felt very authentic (he even sang the songs!). But then about 40-50% of the way through, things too a very dramatic turn in a direction I was not expecting. It turned into a completely different book, I though, and it really disappointed me. From then on, the story felt like it was going nowhere — and very slooooowly. It was dark and gritty and uncomfortable, which would have been fine if the pace had been quicker. By the end, I was just so ready for it to finally be done with. Sigh.

Novellas & Short Stories

Kalona’s Fall (House of Night Novella #4) by PC and Kristin Cast

Kalona's Fall by P. C. Cast 2 Stars
I was eager to get this book, mostly because it’s the final novella in the series, and I just have a *thing* for mini hardcover books (I know, sigh). Kalona has never been a character that interested me too much, but I thought I would give this one a try and get to know him a bit better. This story read much more like a fable or fairytale or whatever, as it is, so I felt a bit more removed from it than I usually do for this series. Overall, it was… okay. I did like that it showed a certain level of fallibility in goddesses and other immortal figures, which is generally not seen in this sort of story. But at the end of it all, I still didn’t feel like it explained the root of Kalona and his connection with Nyx, which was disappointing.

Have you read any of these books? What did you think?


Read 4 comments

  1. I’ve had Red Rising on my TBR for the longest time but have been avoiding it because I’m scared of the mixed reviews. On one side, I’ve got friends telling me of how they were lured to sleep (it was the second part, where it let you down as well) while others tell me stories of how enthralled they were. But it seems that the dominant view is that this book takes a major turn in the second half and I’m just scared as to which crowd I’ll fall in, you know? I just don’t want the story to drag =__= I may just listen to the audiobook though. That way, if it does drag, at least I can be productive whilst someone else does the handwork, you know? xD Great reviews, Kelley!

    • Yeah, audio is definitely a good option for that book, I think. Although it is possible that the reason it seemed to drag a bit was because of the narrator. Usually Irish people have a tendency to speak very quickly, but I suppose this guy was making sure to go more slowly so that he could be understood. It seemed like there were a lot of pauses. AND he sung all the songs, which is a nice touch, but it’s much easier to skip songs when you’re reading the physical book, lol. Anyway, at least you have an idea of what to expect going into it. :)

  2. Lexicon sounds great. I’ll add this to my audiobook list and handily enough I have a credit waiting to be used. I’m a bit disappointed about Orphan Train, its always such a disappointment when characters are stereotypes. It shows a huge lack of imagination on behalf of the author.

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