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To Say Nothing of the Dog

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I was reading To Say Nothing of the Dog on a plane this week, and a fellow traveller remarked I must have gotten to a “specially good bit, ‘cause you’re grinning like a billy goat eating thistles”. I hadn’t actually: this book is funny right the whole way through (and usually I am a ‘frown of concentration’ reader).The plot is not original: a man must save the universe from collapse due to a time travel blunder; but the execution is magnificent. In addition to its comedy and adventure, the book is also historically and culturally sympathetic.
Untamed: A House of Night Novel

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Untamed has much the same feel as the previous instalments in this series. Zoey’s ‘good’ friends are still irritating, but Zoey and Aphrodite (enemy-turned-friend) are once again able to save the book from being completely irritating with a bit of spunk and comparatively realistic attitudes. The plot is still secondary to the whole danger at boarding school vibe, with a vampyre-human war seeming imminent, and nasty beasties being called from the deep. This series as a whole hasn’t made a big impression on me, but for what it is, it’s good enough.
Schokolade für Soulmates

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I read that this is a book about "Vampyre (sic) finishing school," and that is what caught my attention. It’s not really like that though… It’s a fairly typical boarding school tale with vampyres tacked on. A normal human girl (Zoey) becomes an extra-specially talented/blessed vampyre; goes to vampyre school; and makes friends and enemies. It was not bad, if you like that kind of thing.
Larklight: A Rousing Tale of Dauntless Pluck in the Farthest Reaches of Space

by and

In a universe where aetheric icthyomorphs flit through space and Sir Isaac Newton discovered the key to accessible space travel, the British Empire is far reaching, and the Mumby family live contentedly in their quirky orbital home. Until they are attacked by giant pseudo spiders. What follows is “A Rousing Tale of Dauntless Pluck in the Farthest Reaches of Space,” told with charmingly naїve and over-the-top British patriotism. There is something about the alternative natural science that didn’t quite win me over, but on the whole Reeve’s universe is interesting to explore. The adventure is tightly plotted, ripping good fun, and finishes as all adventures should, with a nice cup of tea.
Deerskin

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Deerskin is well written and compelling, but also incredibly distressing. It is a modern retelling of the fairytale Donkeyskin. Lissar is the daughter of an idolised king, and the queen who is ‘the most beautiful woman in seven kingdoms’. Her parents do not seem to understand how or even why to love their child, and eventually Lissar is the victim of active abuse. This is the story of her escape and recovery.
Curse of the Mistwraith (The Wars of Light and Shadow, Book 1)

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The Curse of the Mistwraith completely failed to engage my imagination. It presents a very detached view of a world that might have been interesting if only it had been more accessible. It's a series that I definitely won't be picking up again. (Despite this, I have enjoyed other books by this author eg. Sorcerer’s Legacy.)
Territory

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Guns and sorcery! This is a lovely fantasy-western. Original and nicely written.
Addition: A Novel

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Addition was a bit of a disappointment. The blurb seemed to promise more than the book delivered. Grace is a number lover coping with OCD and she meets a nice man. Being a number lover myself (and also somewhat into routines, but not OCD) I thought that the numbers aspect could have been done better. The romance was sweet, and the treatment sequence frightening. Overall it was an ok book but not one I’d be in a hurry to recommend.
Throw Out Fifty Things

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Throw out Fifty Things hasn’t made a lasting impression. Two months later, this is what I remember from it: 1.Throwing things away is liberating2.Getting rid of limiting ideas/attitudes is liberating (but it didn’t go into how to throw off such ideas, so not much of a win there.)3.Get rid of at least 50 things; go on, you can do it!4.If you throw out more than one of the same sort of thing, that only counts as one thing.5.You’re not allowed to throw out other people’s stuff (but the author did it anyway.)Now, out of all of those items, the bits I didn’t have a good grasp on already were: 2b: how, to clear up mentally, which wasn’t addressed;4: which is somewhat arbitrary anyway; and5b: but it doesn’t actually matter to me that the author’s husband is going to miss his jam jars. So the verdict is- this book successfully passed the time, but imparted no new lasting knowledge.
Chosen: A House of Night Novel

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Zoey’s character is believably developed in this book - and it was a brave move to show that she is a completely fallible individual. Unfortunately that seems to be the extent of believable, non-icky character development in this instalment. Her friends are mostly sickly sweet and spineless, and sometimes cringe-worthy. The major plot premises are that Zoey’s dead best friend turns out to be not completely dead, and that politicking by both vampyres and humans is making life dangerous for everyone.
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