Thursday, September 17, 2015

7 Minis! From romance to sci-fi, from 1 star to 4.5!

Cloud Atlas

I particularly enjoyed the New Seoul section (LOVE the way Mitchell wrote the concept of a corpocracy!). And I wasn't as thrilled w/ the Hawaii after-the-fall section. But, overall, a very satisfying and enjoyable read! Mitchell is clearly a master at enveloping his reader in the setting in which he's writing ... in a book that covers 6 completely different eras and perspectives, this challenge was nevertheless met with apparent ease. I can't wait to see the movie now! It's waiting for me at the library :) And I can't wait to read more Mitchell!
FOUR of five stars

The Golem and the Jinni

Just a beautiful written tale. It's about a golem (generally, a mass of clay made into human'ish form for the purpose of serving its master, usually for a brief, intense, and muscle'y task) who finds herself master'less almost immediately after being brought to life, while on her way to New York at the turn of the century. This is one "half" of the book -- what and how Chava (the golem) do in a small Jewish community in Manhattan. Around the same time, a jinni (genie), named Ahmad, is brought back to existence by a clueless Syrian in a small community, also in Manhattan. And of course they 2 meet. Amid their stories and challenges, including the one that may challenge their very existence, we get a little mythology and a little history of the 2 and the others who impact their lives. It is not fast-paced, but it is well-paced. It never seems to slow really, just keeps on going. It was a very complete and satisfying read and I'm glad I finally got to it!
FOUR of five stars

The Phantasmagorical Astrarium Compendium

which I received from NetGalley (for free in exchange for an honest review)... Ugh. Almost immediately, I began reading sentences to my husband, who begged me to stop because it was so bad. I got to about 5% and he asked why I was still going, and I said I thought I owed it at least 10% (it's ~400 pages.. I had it in Kindle format, so I'm not sure how many pages, exactly). It just... it's one of those books where every 3rd sentence (on average) ends in an exclamation point. Seriously. It was almost impossible to take it seriously. It also had .... I really didn't see the originality in it. It purported to be original, and it sounded interesting, but it pulled (way) too much from other classics and... well, at 10% I just couldn't anymore.
ONE of five stars

Paper Magician

Another great disappointment. I did finish this one (and it read quickly enough)... it just was... blah. It was incredibly predictable and cliched, even while attempting to do something different (a paper magician -- one who uses magic via paper).  So.... yeah. Ready to move on...
TWO of five stars

From Notting Hill with Love Actually

I know some people really enjoyed this (including a good friend of mine!), but I couldn't do it. I understand the concept was that the main character is obsessed w/ movies, but McNamara took it too far and made too little story up herself. The characters are flatter than 2-dimensional, and if the ooooooobvious love interest grins one more time.......... argh. So Yeah. Couldn't.
ONE of five stars

Queen of the Tearling (audio version)

great book! (though I did listen to it on audio, as mentioned, and I think the reader deserves a lot of the credit... I don't know if I would have enjoyed it as much as a self-read book?) I found myself often moved by the story, and the characters have been richly drawn and compelling. I'm very much looking forward to reading the 2nd - Invasion of the Tearling! (and I also can't wait to see the movie, starring Emma Watson!)
FOUR AND A HALF of five stars

Bellman and Black

I also really enjoyed this. Glad that I had read the reviews criticizing it for not being just like Thirteenth Tale (which I loved)... it isn't just like it. It's a completely different book and, in most ways, a completely different kind of book. But Setterfield is still an excellent writer and I really enjoyed it. EsPECially once the whole "Bellman & Black" bit takes off (about halfway through). Probably surprisingly, I was somehow newly inspired in my own ... erm, desires that resemble B&B (no spoilers -- but, for those who've read it, not the macabre aspect of it all ;))
FOUR of five stars

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