Saturday, August 03, 2013

My Quarterly Round-Up

So, as you may have guessed - I can sometimes be a little forgetful. However, forgetting to do my monthly round-ups for three months running is a bit of a stretch, even for me! The only excuse I can find is that I was busy with Book Expo at the end of May, and then busy recovering from Book Expo at the end of June, which may have led to me forgetting those two months.

Either way, I'll round-up all three months in one convenient post for your reading pleasure!


*May Winner*
 Some Kind of Fairy Tale, by Graham Joyce. Fantasy, Contemporary. A-

Pros: Fantastic writing, well-developed characters, great use of themes. Cons: The actual fairyland scenes pale in comparison to the rest of the novel.

*May Duds*
Last Summer at Mars Hill, by Elizabeth Hand. Fantasy, Anthology. C-
Pros: "The Have-Nots" and "Engels Unaware." Cons: Everything else.

Fathomless, by Jackson Pearce. YA, Fantasy. C-
Pros: Interesting adaptation of "The Little Mermaid" story. Cons: Silly world building, ridiculous characterization, more victimization of women, weak story.

Reconstructing Amelia, by Kimberly McCreight. Mystery, Contemporary. B
Pros: Interesting examination of mothers and daughters, excellent use of alternate POVs. Cons: First half of the novel is really slow, main character is rather terrible at crime solving.

A Woman Entangled, by Cecilia Grant. Romance, Historical. B-
Pros: Lovely writing, as always. Unconventional set-up. Cons: Lame pay-off, too little conflict, passive heroine.


*June Winners*
Can't Buy Me Love, by Molly O'Keefe. Romance, Contemporary. A+

Pros: Lively characters, great conflict, gorgeous writing style. Cons: Some repetitive angst, a couple of bone-headed hero decisions here and there.

Burn for Burn, by Siohban Vivian and Jenny Han. YA, Contemporary. A+
Pros: Excellent characters, fantastically intricate and well-realized smalltown setting, great writing. Cons: Weeeird psychic powers out of nowhere, total cliffhanger ending.

*June Dud* 
Far, Far Away, by Tom McNeal. YA, Fantasy. D
Pros: A connection to fairy tales. Cons: Awful manic pixie dream girl heroine, non-entity hero, stilted writing and dialogue, wildly uneven tone.

Openly Straight, by Bill Konigsberg. YA, Contemporary, LGBT. B
Pros: Interesting concept, original discussion, good characters. Cons: Main character is a bit whiny and privileged, ultimate pay off a little too obvious.

Review Round Up: The Sweet Dead Life (YA, Fantasy, B), The Governess Affair (Romance, Historical, B-), The Third Angel (Fiction, Contemporary, B+)

Dragon Keeper, by Robin Hobb. Fantasy, High. C+
Pros: Interesting world building. Cons: Too much fanservice and repetitive exposition, too little actual story. Incredibly slow set-up and abrupt ending.


*July Winners*

The Hidden Heart, by Laura Kinsale. Romance, Historical. B
Pros: Exotic settings, developed villains, good heroine. Cons: Meandering plot, too-angsty-to-live hero.

The Universe Versus Alex Woods, by Gavin Extence. YA, Contemporary. B
Pros: Humorous writing style, interesting subjects. Cons: Unfocused plotline.

*July Dud* 
Everything and the Moon, by Julia Quinn. Romance, Historical. F+
Pros: The heroine is pretty awesome. That poor, poor, heroine... Cons: She winds up with a misogynist narcissistic hero who kidnaps her, assaults her, restricts her movements - and is baffled that she assumes he's going to be just as bad when they're married.

Hot Under the Collar, by Jackie Barbosa. Romance, Historical, Novella. B-
Pros: Mature, reasonable characters. Some nice drama. Cons: Conflict is solved too easily.

The Son, by Philipp Meyer. Fiction, Historical. C
Pros: Detailed setting and history. Cons: Distant characters, unfocused plot.

Forever and a Day, by Jill Shalvis. Romance, Contemporary. C
Pros: Decent writing, good plot set up. Cons: Incompetent heroine, unbelievable and cutesy small-town setting.


  1. I love that you loved Burn for Burn. I have been on the fence about that series for a while and you have given me a little push to maybe honestly read it at some point. I have her other series to get to first but if I like her writing. I will definitely continue.

    Also, I am really happy you enjoyed The Universe Vs. Alex Woods. It didn't work for me like I hoped it would but I am glad there are people connecting with it because I felt really bad that it let me down. Almost like I let the book down. I was so looking forward to that one.

  2. AnimeJune6:40 AM

    Eh. I didn't *want* to make it the monthly winner, but at a B it was the highest-reviewed book. How sad is that? That was a pretty paltry month.