About once a month I write some min-reviews of books that I have read recently but I didn’t want to write full reviews for.  Except for one of them I thought they were pretty good, but just didn’t feel the need for long reviews for them.  All of the pictures are linked to their GoodRead pages.  Enjoy!

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Escaping from Houdini by Kerri Maniscalco

Escaping from HoudiniYou can read my review for the first book here.  I know I read the second book but apparently I never wrote a review, or even mentioned it on the blog, which is strange.  My memory says that I thought that one was pretty good, but not as good as the first.  This one unfortunately fell so completely flat.  I was bored to tears and put it aside a couple of times before finally finishing it.  Audrey Rose really irked me the whole time and the whole murder mystery made no sense.  The few clues we got were worthless and ended up not really having anything to do with who did it or why.  I’m mostly talking about the tarot and playing cards here.  Also, we have the issue of all of the plot taking place on a boat and no one saw anything???  There is always someone awake on a boat and crew walking around, so no matter how good you are at concealment you can’t hang and pose bodies and not have someone see you. Also there may be nooks and crannies in which to stash a body, but the crew know where those are and would certainly check there.  Thomas is my favorite character in these books and he has almost completely disappeared in this one.  Plus there was really no character growth for either of them.  I did like Mephistopheles and Houdini, although not sure why Houdini was even in the story?   Ok, I am being too negative and I don’t want to be.  It was an okay story and I know there are lots of people who loved it, just not me.  

How to Make Out by Brianna Shrum

How to make outIf you read my blog often enough, you know I don’t read contemporary often.  Those I do read tend to be of the light fluffy romantic kind, and this is what I thought this one was going to be.  But alas, it was not.  Not that this was a bad book, I just expected from the summary that it would be funnier.  Also I did not like Renley very much.  I found her to be very selfish and self-absorbed, which I guess was sort of the point because of the plot.  But I still needed a little something to make me like her at least a little.  Drew was an interesting character as well, he is the neighbor who has been in love with Ren forever, and is patiently waiting for her to realize that she loves him too.  I liked him better than Ren, but I just couldn’t get why he was waiting for her for so long, she really didn’t treat him very well.  Then there is poor Seth, who just didn’t deserve the way Ren treated him as well.  The whole blog thing making her money didn’t work for me either.  I don’t think this was a bad book, it just wasn’t what I was expecting or wanted.  

Tales from the Shadowhunter Academy

by Cassandra Claire, Sarah Rees Brennan, Maureen Johnson and Robin Wasserman

shadowhunterNovember is sort of becoming Shadowhunter month for me.  This was the second time I have listened to this set of short stories.  This one follows Simon Lewis as he makes his way through the Academy in order to become a shadow hunter. If you are not familiar with the Shadowhunter world than this book probably won’t make much sense as most of the characters are well known to those of us who have read them.   But I think it could still be enjoyable to new readers as well.  I was initially just going to read the couple of stories that relate to the Dark Artifices series, because I wanted them fresh in my mind before the last book comes out, but I found myself listening to almost all of them again.  (I just couldn’t read the last one again, way too sad).  If you don’t have time to read them all, but want the back story to some of the characters in the Dark Artifices, then you need to read The Lost Herondale, The Fiery Trial and Bitter of Tongue.  As always I also highly recommend Born to Endless Night as it features my favorite High Warlock of New York and tells the story about how he and Alec adopt their first son.  It is hilarious and one of my favorite Magnus stories. 

The Assassination of Brangwain Spurge

by M.T. Anderson and Eugene Yelchin

Assassination of Brangwain SpurgeThis was a very interesting story.  It was very clever the way that one point of view was told through pictures, and that they were not entirely accurate of what was happening.  The whole story is quite quirky and strange, but the characters are fun and the plot is fast moving enough that you don’t have a chance to reflect on that quirkiness while you are reading.  I loved some of the inventions and  how similar the two cultures were even as they protested how different they were as well.  I think this will find a solid following in middle schools and would make a good classroom reading so that discussions can occur about perceptions.  I think this quote sums this book quite nicely.

“Werfel, with a kind of hysterical cheerfulness, said, ‘Isn’t it so fascinating how in different countries, we have different views of the same events?'”

That is a wrap for this month’s mini-reviews.  As the year winds down, I’m not sure if I will get another one in or not.  Happy reading!

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