Fantasy, Reviews

Review: The Changelings (War of the Fae #1)

2 Stars

Have you ever read a book that made you ask yourself “why am I still reading this?” Elle Casey’s The Changelings, the first book in her War of the Fae series was like that for me. Each time I picked it up to read I didn’t really want to but once I’d begun I had to find out what was going on.

Reading this YA fantasy was like eating some snack food that you don’t really like but it’s in front of you so you just keep popping it in your mouth until you’re sick of it. The plot was OK but the dialogue was crap – and I don’t just mean the vulgar language, which was overused and over the top. The main character is terrible and has no real growth throughout the course of the novel. And it doesn’t end.

I knew going in that it was part of a series but unlike most first books in a series that I’ve read, it doesn’t wrap anything up. The final scene not only brings more questions but it leaves plenty unanswered. I felt like the author is holding the reader hostage. Luckily I don’t care enough to pay the ransom of reading another one of these books.  This review makes it sound like I hated this book.  I didn’t hate it; it annoyed me and I wish I hadn’t wasted reading time on it.

If you like The Changelings and not-that-great YA fantasy like it, you may also like The Dark Realm (Feyland #1) by Anthea Sharp

Chick-Lit, Reviews

Review: Chat Love

Chat Love
Chat Love by Justine Faeth

My rating: 2 of 5 stars

With hints of the ever-reliable The Shop Around the Corner storyline (if you don’t know what I’m referring to, rent The Shop Around the Corner, In the Good Old Summer Time, or You’ve Got Mail and enjoy), Justine Faeth’s Chat Love, about a woman facing pressure from her family, her group of friends, her age, and her own desires to find love and a relationship so she resorts to online dating, has plenty of potential. But it isn’t particularly well executed.
I felt like I was reading a first draft rather than a fully fleshed out and edited work of fiction. The writing had a tendency to become repetitive while the characters weren’t always consistent with their thoughts and behavior. There were glimpses of humor but they faded before becoming fully realized. It was predictable but as a lover of romance novels and chick-lit, I’ve become used to that. In short, I simply feel that Chat Love just needs the love of a good editor to fulfill its potential.

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Fantasy, Reviews

Review: Jonathan Strange & Mr Norrell

Jonathan Strange & Mr Norrell
Jonathan Strange & Mr. Norrell by Susanna Clarke

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Okay, so Jonathan Strange & Mr. Norrell took me a while to read. It wasn’t because of its size, which is considerable. But we all know that even the longest book if it is well-written and entertaining, is too short. No, the reason I took so long was because I was reading the e-book. I kept putting it aside to read real paper and ink books. It isn’t as easy to disappear into the cold computer screen as it is a real book.
Still, I couldn’t help but become captivated by this tale of magic and politics and the world of Faery. Or by Clarke’s amazing writing. Somehow she combines the wit of Jane Austen, the magic of J.K. Rowling, and the horror of the Gothic writers to create an atmospheric, thought-provoking, and wholly entertaining novel. I only have a couple of complaints. The footnotes. Maybe this goes back to reading it in e-book form, but I would often be rolling along, totally immersed in the tale when I’d be interrupted by pages long footnotes which were really another story within the story. Now, many of them ended up being important to the story in the end so I’m glad I read them but sometimes it was annoying. My other complaint is that some passages were slow and boring. It is an intricate story with lots of details that seem nit-picking but end up being important later. That’s one cause. Another is that none of the main characters (save possibly Lady Pole and Mrs. Strange) are particularly likable but the reader needs to root for each of them at some point. That requires a lot of back stories and build up that can become tedious. But it is all worth it. Once you become invested in the story you have to know how it will all end.
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Reviews, Romance

Review: Every Yesterday

Every Yesterday
Every Yesterday by Nancy Naigle

My rating: 3 of 5 stars

Nancy Naigle’s Every Yesterday, which I received through, is a sweet, typical romance. Only it’s too short. The characters are likable, there should be plenty of conflict (there wasn’t enough, though), and there is plenty of build-up toward the climax. But then the big confrontation was disappointing (much like the books one steamy scene after plenty of anticipation). It was a rush – the heroine, Megan, discovers the hero’s ulterior motives with just about 15 pages left of the novel. And yet, the action between their confrontation and the reunion (not a spoiler, right, because this is a romance novel. I’m pretty sure anyone planning to read it knows going in that there will be a happy ending) is painfully drawn out only for the reunion to seem rushed.

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Review: The Promise Kitchen

The Promise Kitchen
The Promise Kitchen by Peggy Lampman

My rating: 2 of 5 stars

I received a copy of Peggy Lampman’s The Promise Kitchen through Lampman has a gift for descriptive language and a keen eye for the many causes of human suffering. However, she overdoes both of these talents. She often uses many unique and poetic images to describe the same event or emotion. It gets tedious. But what really ruined what could have been an enjoyable story for me was Lampman’s decision to attack almost all of the social injustices and conservation issues we face in the world today. That may be an exaggeration on my part, but I did feel that she should have chosen one or two issues to concentrate on, saving some issues for her future work. Tackling so many – bullying, drugs, poverty, eating local, immigration, racism, etc. – the novel loses focus and becomes tedious. And it makes the characters unlikable. I don’t need to know how they feel about every issue and sometimes knowing makes me care less about them. I don’t like being preached at and I often felt that through they characters rationalizations, I was.

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