February 28, 2011

february book review...

A once-a-month review of the books I read. I didn't manage to copy down quotes this month, and a lot of these were library books that have already gone back.

The rating is the same as Goodreads--5 stars means "it was amazing," 4 is "really liked it," 3 is "liked it," 2 is "it was okay," and 1 is "didn't like it."

The Time Machine by H.G. Wells (2 stars)

This is a classic sci-fi, one of the foundational works, in fact. The language was beautiful (I even had to look up several words!), but there was a lack of depth to both the story and characters. I enjoyed the 2002 movie with Guy Pearce much more.

Side Jobs: Stories from the Dresden Files by Jim Butcher (5 stars)

I can't help it; I am in love with Harry Dresden, wizard. And this collection brought together a whole slew of stories (of which I had already read about four) that have appeared in anthologies and special collections. It also had a wonderful new story that takes place right after the end of Changes (book 12). It was so much fun to not only get more of Dresden, but to also see how Butcher's writing has grown and developed. I can easily get lost in a Dresden book...it's a fantastic journey that I can take any time.

Chestnut King by N.D. Wilson (4 stars)

The third in a children's series, this is the conclusion of a fun yet serious fantasy story about a boy who finds worlds lurking behind the 100 cupboard doors in his attic bedroom. I read the first two almost a year and a half ago, but it didn't take much to get back into the story. Wilson is a fantastic author, and readers young and old can enjoy his stories!

The Tao of Pooh by Benjamin Hoff (3 stars)

This is one of the books that friends recommended to me for my 2011 reading list. It was a quick read that showed how Pooh embodies the ideas of Taoism. While I'm not much for Taoism, it was interesting to see how relaxed and accepting Pooh is--something that we busy and fear-driven adults sometimes forget.

Austenland by Shannon Hale (2 stars)

I had such hopes for this homage to Austen, but in the end, it was a sad and poorly realized story about a woman who is so in love with the fictional Darcy that she has trouble in real life relationships. The story tried to do too much, and in the end, it is not a story that Austen would likely be impressed by, considering how all the characters, even the good ones, behave.

Healer by Linda Windsor (3 stars)

I picked this one up on a whim from the library. It's a Christian fiction (which I usually have lots of problems with) but the story at least sounded interesting. If we want to get more specific, it's a Christian historical fantasy--which was interesting. The writing was clean, the story didn't disappoint, and it wasn't overly preachy. It was a bit predictable, and it got a little gooey, but all in all, it was a fun read. It's the story of a young woman who has lived in hiding ever since the death of her parents because her mother spoke a prophecy over her saying she would save the clan. When the son of her enemy is hurt outside her cave, she takes him in, not knowing who he is, to heal him. Of course, they fall in love and end the war between their people. There are more books in the series, and I might even track them down and read them!

The Poisonwood Bible by Barbara Kingsolver (4 stars)

Kingsolver never disappoints. While there were points where I lost a little interest in the historical parts (while the novel explores a missionary family, it also explores the history of the Congo), I loved the way the story really made the events personal. Having spent some time in an African nation, it brought back some memories. Kingsolver always weaves a great story, and this one is a must-read if you like story!

Turn Coat (Dresden File #11) by Jim Butcher (5 stars)

A re-read. It was the only one I own that I hadn't read for a second time, so in anticipation of my copy of Changes coming soon, I gave this one another look. What I love the most about Butcher is that he can make me laugh while twisting my guts and making me bite my nails. This story brings in Morgan, Dresden's longtime warden who has spent years just waiting for Dresden to mess up so he can behead the young wizard. But this time, Morgan is in trouble and he comes to Dresden for help. Another one of the major players in this story, Thomas, gets a really raw end of the deal, and it is hard for me to read because I adore Thomas, but it's still worth it.

At Risk by Alice Hoffman (4 stars)

I read this one in high school, but since it's on the CleanPlace reading list, I figured I should brush up. It was even better this time! When it came out, the book was very cutting edge--a story about a young girl who gets AIDS from a blood transfusion. Reading it now, so many years after the first reports of AIDS, it was interesting to see how things have and haven't changed. This is a great book for anyone who wants to see how misconceptions and fear can tear apart relationships.

And there you have all the books I read in February...can't wait to see what's on the docket for March!

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