Sunday, August 1, 2010

Mini Reviews

I've read a number of books lately that I just haven't had time to review in detail so I thought I'd try something new ... MINI REVIEWS!

John Irving: A Critical Companion by Josie P. Campbell

Are you a John Irving fan? If so, you might enjoy this critical companion. I happen to LOVE John Irving. I think his novels are some of my favorites and I really enjoyed reading this book. This book provides the reader with an exploration of his novels. Specifically, this book focuses on all of his novels up to A Widow For One Year, published in 1998.  The book includes a biographical chapter on Irving's life which I thought was interesting because I didn't know much about his life beyond what I'd read in a few interviews over the years. There is also an overview of his fiction which explores his work more broadly. But, the real 'meat' of the book includes individual analysis of each of this novels that focus on plot, character development and thematic issues. I really did enjoy this book and it made me want to go back and read some of Irving's early work which I have not yet read!

My rating: 4 out of 5 stars!

 Flirt by Laurell K. Hamilton

Although I really do love the Anita Blake series, this novella just wasn't as good as I'd hoped it would be. It is a quick, easy read. It wasn't bad, just not great. My favorite part was the breakdown at the end of Hamilton's writing process, etc. That was fascinating and I loved reading about how she gets ideas and makes them come to life.

My rating: 3 out of 5 stars!

 The Short Second Life of Bree Tanner by Stephenie Meyer

Although I did enjoy the Twilight series, I just did not like this novella. I was able to overlook the obvious flaws in the Twilight series but not in this novella. It felt as if the flaws were blown up and I couldn't stop seeing them as I moved forward in the book. I rarely don't finish a book but this is one that I put down. I just CANNOT bring myself to pick it back up so I'm considering it abandoned. My step daughter who is a HUGE fan of the Twilight series, was able to finish it but didn't seem that impressed. She loves the regular series but said the novella was just okay. I personally think she's being overly generous. This novella is just terrible. I do NOT recommend it at all.

My rating:  1 out of 5 stars!

 Dead in the Family by Charlaine Harris (Sookie Stackhouse #10)

You can't go wrong with Sookie! I love the series and this was a good book overall. Not great but a solid read. I have to tell you that the hardest thing for me right now is that I read them with the True Blood series in mind which occasionally plays with my head. But, in the end, I love Sookie, Bill, Eric and the rest. All in all, another solid Sookie Stackhouse novel! If you love the series, you'll enjoy this one!

My rating: 4 out of 5 stars!

Darkly Dreaming Dexter by Jeff Lindsay

I love the Dexter series which I saw long before I read this book. I think the series is smart and interesting. And I was surprised to find that the series really is a good representation of the books, based upon this first in the series. The humor is similar. The characters are very in line with the book. The story is similar but some things were changed for the series.

The best part of this entire series is the concept. The 'in the mind of a killer' focus makes the series pretty incredible, particularly given the specific type of killing that Dexter focuses on. Dexter's wit and attempts to fit into the world are just infinitely interesting to me.

In the end, I think I like the television series slightly more than the books, based upon this first novel. I'll continue to read the novels though. I definitely recommend the novels AND the television series to those who don't mind a bit of gore. These are both fairly intense and sometimes gross books/shows. They are not for everyone but they are wonderful!

My rating: 4 out of 5 stars!

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