Sunday, October 25, 2009

TSS - Sunday Shorts

Here are a few shorter reviews. =)

Catching Fire by Suzanne Collins
published 9/09
391 pages


(short, no spoilers!)

The Hunger Games are over. The winners return home. The people in charge are NOT HAPPY!! Things go from bad to worse. Cliffhanger!!

My thoughts:

Okay, I know that's a horrible plot summary, but I really don't want to spoil this book for anyone who hasn't yet read it. I managed to remain spoiler-free, and am SO GLAD I did! Wow. So much good stuff in this trilogy, and Katniss is one of my favorite heroines. I didn't have any problems with pacing or plot twists like I've read about is some reviews - mostly, I just loved it. And also, I HATE cliffhangers, so now I'm really mad I didn't wait until book 3 was out to read this one! But seriously, if you haven't read this series yet, why not?? And maybe you should wait for book 3, because the cliffhangers will kill you!

Finished: 10/12/09
Source: my shelves
Rating: 9/10

Palimpsest by Catherynne M. Valente
published 2/09
384 pages

Synopsis from publisher:

Between life and death, dreaming and waking, at the train stop beyond the end of the world is the city of Palimpsest. To get there is a miracle, a mystery, a gift, and a curse -- a voyage permitted only to those who’ve always believed there’s another world than the one that meets the eye. Those fated to make the passage are marked forever by a map of that wondrous city tattooed on their flesh after a single orgasmic night. To this kingdom of ghost trains, lion-priests, living kanji, and cream-filled canals come four travelers: Oleg, a New York locksmith; the beekeeper November; Ludovico, a binder of rare books; and a young Japanese woman named Sei. They’ve each lost something important -- a wife, a lover, a sister, a direction in life—and what they will find in Palimpsest is more than they could ever imagine.

My thoughts:

I will be honest - I'm including this book in my Sunday Shorts post because I have no idea how to review it. I really, really enjoyed it, but have been struggling with the words to explain why. I loved the premise, and the writing was beautiful, but at times it was like peering through a fog - I felt like I really didn't know what exactly was going on. I think I would like to read it again, because I feel like it's the type of novel that will get better with familiarity. I expect some readers to be frustrated by it, but I was captivated. If you are a speculative fiction fan, and are up for a bit of a challenge, I'd definitely recommend this novel!

Finished: 10/14/09
Source: Forest Avenue Library
Rating: 8/10

Pasta Imperfect by Maddy Hunter (A Passport to Peril Mystery)
published 08/04
285 pages

Synopsis from publisher:

The discount travel package to Italy seemed like a great deal: Emily Andrew could lead her globe-trotting Iowans on the trip of a lifetime and bring her family to boot. Maybe she should have read the fine print....Sharing their itinerary with a group of hyper-competitive aspiring romance writers is just a prelude to more Machiavellian drama than an Italian opera.

First, their hotel burns to the ground. Then, when Emily's lost luggage turns up found, the disgruntled literary ladies raid her clothing supply like she's a one-woman Gucci outlet. But the real killer is a contest sponsored by a publishing house — and the depths to which the dime-novel divas will plunge to win a book contract. Amid backstabbing and catcalling, bodies start turning up — in Emily's favorite outfits! Now, Emily will need more than a phrasebook to say ciao to someone with a hot and spicy passion for murder.

My thoughts:

This is such a fun series - Emily is smart and sarcastic as usual, and in this installment the author adds tension with her boyfriend, Etienne, and another possible love interest to confuse matters a bit more. I still enjoy Nana, and the addition of Emily's mom to the cast was a lot of fun. Of course, being from Iowa, I can relate to a lot of the characters, and that might add to the appeal. This continues to be a great series, and I am looking forward to the next installment.

Finished: 10/21/09
Source: Forest Avenue Library
Rating: 7/10

Sugar Time by Jane Adams
published 2009
208 pages

Synopsis from publisher:

Charlotte “Sugar” Kane hasn’t produced a hit TV series in so long her last one‘s now on Nick at Nite, so when her kids grew up and the last guy in her life moved out she left L.A. for New York, where a woman over 40 doesn’t have to file an environmental impact statement to go out in public.

But since the network green lighted her new show, Sugar’s back in Hollywood, older, wiser, and ready to prove she can still deliver a hit - unless her young, clever and manipulative assistant doesn’t manage to steal it away. Then Sugar is struck by a crisis that threatens everything she holds dear – her career, her health, and the unconditional love she’s finally, unexpectedly found, long after she stopped hoping she ever would.

My thoughts:

I don't think I was the right reader for this book. Part of the appeal of chick-lit, for me, is the ability to relate to the main character as she searches for something - even if I don't really like her, I can usually understand her motivations. I didn't feel that sense of connection with Sugar, and I personally need that when reading this style of novel.

That said, I thought it was well-written, although my copy did contain several grammar and punctuation errors. (I don't know if this was a review copy, though, so those might be fixed in the final printing.) I can see that it would definitely appeal to readers - unfortunately, I just don't think I was the right demographic for this one.

Finished: 10/22/09
Source: the author - thank you!
Rating: 6/10


Jen - Devourer of Books said...

I don't know, I think that's actually a pretty entertaining plot summary for Catching Fire! I agree that the cliffhangers are killer.

Stephanie said...

I love these short reviews! I have The Hunger Games on my bedside table.

bermudaonion said...

My husband loved The Hunger Games and Catching Fire too!

Hazra said...

Your short reviews are great! I must be the only person who hasn't read Catching Fire or Hunger Games yet!

Zibilee said...

I bought a copy of Palimpsest a few months ago and have since read some great reviews of it. When it came, I read the first few pages and was really enchanted. It looks like a great book, and one I hope I can get to soon. I am also going to be reading The Hunger Games and Catching Fire soon as well. I am probably the only one who hasn't read them yet!

Jenners said...

I have such a backlog of reviews to be written than I should pull out some of the ones that don't "need" a full-fledge review and do shorter reviews like this.

And I want to check out this whole Hunger Games thing (as everyone is so nuts about it) but I think I will wait until they are all available. Why torture myself?

Anonymous said...

Palimpsest sounds like a really nice read. Your synopsis itself is interesting. I hope bookstores in my part of the world stock on this.
Another one for my wishlist!

jehara said...

i have been seeing The Hunger Games everywhere lately. Palimpset sounds very familiar. i think i've seen that somewhere. i would definitely like to check these out at some point.

Amy said...

I think I'm one of the few people left who hasn't read Hunger Games/Catching Fire. I think your review is fantastic and definitely grabbed my attention!

Palimpsestis definitely an intriguing book! I think you did a great job of conveying the essence of the story without giving anything away!

Great job! Thank you!