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Monday, April 17, 2017

Basket of Book Reviews

I told you I was reading a lot again. My daughter convinced me to go to the library with her a couple of times. And I discovered the discarded book sale.

Our library is awesome, but it's a little hard to just browse unless you're looking for really popular or brand-new books. The branches are pretty small and only have a limited selection of books on the shelves. But you can go online and find anything you want from any branch and request it. They will contact you when it's at your local branch waiting for you to pick it up. Really nice, if you know what you want.

So here's what I found to read:

Red Queen
Victoria Aveyard

Not my usual type of book, but my daughter had read it a few months earlier and I sort of starting reading it then. It's a YA post-apocalyptic dystopian, similar to Hunger Games. Very dark, very violent, very depressing in a lot of ways, but so beautifully written I couldn't stop reading.

Betrayal, power games, blood feuds, mystic powers, revolution—this book has all that, plus love triangles, people trying to escape their destiny, and a main character who gets railroaded into most of the plot. She's a pawn with no real power. She makes very few decisions and the ones she does make all go wrong. She mostly goes where she's pushed and does what she's told, even when she's inwardly rebelling.

The book is told in first-person present tense, which usually bothers me, but Aveyard's writing is so flowing that I didn't care.

4 stars for beautiful writing, PG-13+ for violence and just being really really dark.

The Man Who Fell From the Sky
Margaret Coel

This is a murder mystery similar to Tony Hillerman's Navajo series. The plot and story are as much about Wild West history, ala Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid, and Indian culture, mostly Arapaho with a little Shoshone thrown in, as it is about a murder.

I've read a couple other books by the author and enjoyed them. This one didn't disappoint. Not entirely my cup of tea, but still an interesting read.

3 solid stars, PG because it is a murder mystery but it was nice to not run into profanity or graphic violence or graphic sex scenes that seem to fill most other non-cozy mysteries I've tried to read.

Bad Unicorn
Platte F. Clark

Yeah, it's a middle-grade fantasy story aimed at boys. It's silly. It has several fart jokes and at least one poop joke. But it's also really fun to read. Killer unicorn named Princess who likes to eat people? Oh, yeah. Grumpy dwarf who owns a comic book/game store? Check. Clueless boy who is the only living heir of a great wizard who also happens to be the only one who can read the super-magical book? Yep. Two sidekicks, male and female, who exist mostly to be comic relief (boy) and actually competent at anything (girl)? That, too. So except for the unicorn, everything else is pretty standard middle-grade quest fiction.

But the book also involves time travel and squirrels and so what if some of it is pretty standard tropes? It's a lot of fun to read.

4 stars, G mostly. Not super violent and stays pretty light in tone, so unless you get very offended at fart jokes, it's pretty tame.