Monday, January 02, 2017

Tori's December 2016 #Book #Reviews (LBE)

It's time to take a look at what I read in December.

As with the previous posts like this one, the format reviewed may not be the format I read the book in. Also, please remember to bear in mind the fact that I read across multiple genres and age ranges, and you should always check suitability of content before reading, especially when children are involved. Finally, if you want to know more about the book, or the author it's by, simply click on the book title, or author name, to go to the appropriate Goodreads page.

OK...

The Girl with the Cat Tattoo (Cool Cats, #1)The Girl with the Cat Tattoo by Theresa Weir
My rating: 3 of 5 stars
I enjoy a good romance from time to time, and I love cats, so I expected to really like this book. Except I didn't. It starts off really well, but I found my attention wandering by the time we were maybe a third of the way through the book, with only the odd scene here and there holding my interest enough to stop me finding it dull, and the ending was only an "OK" sort of ending. So, a cute read, but not one that will be making it in to my favourites any time soon.

Geek with the Cat TattooGeek with the Cat Tattoo by Theresa Weir
My rating: 3 of 5 stars
I only read this one because I read the first in the series, and like with the first book, I thought it started off great, but did not continue as well.

Thin AirThin Air by Michelle Paver
My rating: 5 of 5 stars
Michelle Paver's previous ghost story "Dark Matter" is the only ghost story to seriously scare me, so when I heard she was doing another, I was eager to see if she could manage it again. Did she ever! The well-rounded characters, amazing descriptions, and fantastic writing in general, all combine to make a story that had me huddled under my blankets with shivers running up my spine.

Tri-Pizza-Tops (Kittysaurus, #2)Tri-Pizza-Tops by Judge Kludge
My rating: 4 of 5 stars
Like the first in the series, this is a fantastic book, which combines real dinosaur related facts with a very imaginative and exciting story. The plot is extremely creative, while still being thought out well enough to be believable, and the characters are likable and easy to relate to. There's more obvious fiction and less potential fact in this one than in the first, but that doesn't spoil it. Actually, it makes it a fun read where you're always wondering what will happen next. The only reason this one doesn't get the full five stars that book one got, is because the ending was too sudden; I hate cliffhanger endings.
*NOTE: I was given a free copy of this book in exchange for an honest review. This fact has in no way influenced either my opinion of the book, or the contents of this review.

DefenestrationDefenestration by Matthew W. McFarland
My rating: 4 of 5 stars
This book was a pleasant, though somewhat slow paced read. Most of the characters are well-rounded, though I don't feel I know enough about Adam, who I would have thought was most important for us to be familiar with, considering most of the story is told from his point of view in one way or another, so knowing more about him would have made getting inside his head easier. Anyway, it was interesting learning more about all of the characters as the threads of their individual stories were woven together as the story progressed. Also, though the plot moves at a slow pace, it doesn't move so slowly that you feel it drags or anything like that, and the pacing feels right for the story.
*NOTE: I was given a free copy of this book in exchange for an honest review. This has in no way influenced my opinion of this book, nor has it had any influence on the contents of this review.

HeartlessHeartless by Marissa Meyer
My rating: 4 of 5 stars
This was a difficult one for me to decide on a rating for. On the one hand, this book was excellent, with a pleasing mixture of whimsical characters and plot elements that will remind you of the Alice In Wonderland story, and make this a perfect read for fans of that particular book, while also being a wonderful story of one girl's attempts to be more than just a lady forced in to a loveless marriage she doesn't want, in a time and place when a proper lady shouldn't have dreams of running a bakery. On the other hand, there are a few places where the plot felt like it was starting to drag a little, and a few times when I struggled to understand why a character made the choice or comment they did, since it felt more like something that was done to make the plot move in the direction the author wanted it to go in. Thankfully, however, neither of those things happened too often, so I did mostly enjoy the book.

I Believe in UnicornsI Believe in Unicorns by Michael Morpurgo
My rating: 5 of 5 stars
This is a beautifully written story, which is a perfect one for encouraging a love of books and the stories they contain.

Enchanted CastleEnchanted Castle by Chrissy Peebles
My rating: 3 of 5 stars
It feels like the story hardly started before it suddenly ended. I get that this is the first in a series, but this book felt more like the first couple of chapters of something longer, rather than a book in its own right, which is a shame... It had the potential to be a five star read. If this was one of those serialised stories some magazines used to do, it would be worthy of that five star rating.

EsmereldaEsmerelda by Frances Hodgson Burnett
My rating: 3 of 5 stars
The ending was really nice, but the rest of it was a little dull.

Beginning of a Hero (Legends of Windemere, #1)Beginning of a Hero by Charles E. Yallowitz
My rating: 5 of 5 stars
This is a well-written book, with believable and well-rounded characters, and an interesting and exciting plot.

Learned Counsel and the Three BearsLearned Counsel and the Three Bears by Max G. Bernard
My rating: 4 of 5 stars
An entertaining little story.

Aurora's ChristmasAurora's Christmas by June Burns
My rating: 3 of 5 stars
The lesson in this book is a great one, and this has the potential to be a beautiful Christmas story. However, her little brother's behaviour on Christmas day wasn't believable for a child of five, and the message of the lesson was verbally shoved down her throat, with only brief glimpses of situations that would have had the potential to show her what she needed to learn, rather than Aurora being allowed to figure it out for herself. Also, the ending - though touching for Aurora's actions - was in need of a bit of work to feel believable. With some work, and more use of the "show, don't tell," way of thinking, this book could be a five star read, but it's not there yet.

BookElves Anthology Volume 2BookElves Anthology Volume 2 by Jemima Pett
My rating: 5 of 5 stars
This is an excellent collection of festive tales, which are even better than those in volume one of the Book Elves anthologies.

A Boy Called ChristmasA Boy Called Christmas by Matt Haig
My rating: 5 of 5 stars
This is a sweet and imaginative story, which is a perfect holiday read for the young and young at heart.

FREE: A Christmas CarolFREE: A Christmas Carol by Charles Dickens
My rating: 4 of 5 stars
This was a pretty good dramatization of the classic story. Perhaps not the most amazing version of it ever created, but certainly an enjoyable version, which I consider to be well worth listening to.

Christmas Crumble: An Agatha Raisin Short StoryChristmas Crumble: An Agatha Raisin Short Story by M.C. Beaton
My rating: 3 of 5 stars
This isn't a bad story, but there's not much mystery solving going on, which is a bit of a disappointment.

One Dog and His BoyOne Dog and His Boy by Eva Ibbotson
My rating: 5 of 5 stars
This is a beautiful and touching story, which dog lovers will adore.

nightfall in the kingdom of winternightfall in the kingdom of winter by Andy Young
My rating: 3 of 5 stars
This isn't a bad book. In fact, it's a weird kind of story, with the potential to be wonderful too. But I feel like too much was left unanswered. The big question she's supposed to be answering is whether or not she should be opening the doors, and I'm still not entirely sure what the answer to that question actually is, let alone how she found herself in the position to need to answer the question in the first place.

6 comments:

Jeanie said...

Wow -- I barely got through two books in December. I'm impressed!

A new year, a new list. Off we go into that world of words! Can't wait!

Victoria Zigler said...

Jeanie:
Thanks! Yeah, I'm sure most people had trouble finding time to read during December with the holidays and all. It doesn't matter though, as long as you enjoyed the books you did read.

Intense Guy said...

I got I book for my birthday. I'm still on page 2.

The books with dogs in them look intriguing!

Rita said...

Always amazes me how much you read. A Christmas Carol--well, it was written by Charles Dickens so it is not a version. It is the original story you read that all the version were born from. :)

Victoria Zigler said...

Iggy:
It's OK. What matters is that you enjoy reading when you do get the time to read. You'll finish the book eventually.

Victoria Zigler said...

Rita:
Yes, I know it was written by Charles Dickens. But the version I was reviewing for this post was a dramatization by Audible, which they were offering for free during December. I do have a copy of the actual novel, but this was basically something like a radio play.