An Un-Calibrated Centrifuge

My dad once said to me, "You give a lot of books three stars." I do.

Sourdough

Sourdough: A Novel - Robin Sloan

I don't know what happened. I enjoyed the first 100 pages I read, but I now have zero interest in reading any more. I might give it another try at another time. The story just didn't grab me the way Mr Penumbra's did.

 

I did like the little nod to Mr. Penumbra's, but it made me question the timeline in the novel (I'm pretty sure from Lois's age and the DS mention it has to occur in 2017... but I could be wrong).

Origin

Origin - Dan Brown

What can I say? I'm a sucker for a Robert Langdon book (except for The Lost Symbol, but I don't think any of us were here for that...).

 

If you like the Robert Langdon series, Origin is more of the same. Occasionally Robert Langdon will be so obtuse you'll want to hit him over the head. The descriptions will be ridiculous (I don't think I've ever Googled anything Brown has describing and gone, "Ah, yes, you captured this perfectly." It's always more like, "What caricature were you looking at when you wrote this description?"). Nothing will happen until the end, and you will guess the twist at the very beginning (the twist is so obvious).

 

Brown talks a lot about religion and clearly did a lot of research for this book but was apparently too lazy to research any African religions at all. At the beginning he writes "an African god parting the clouds and lowering two humans to earth" after specifically naming the Christian God, Prometheus and Brahma. Come on, dude. Try harder.

 

I plan on fully forgetting the plot in the next week or so. I do this with every Dan Brown book I've ever read. It makes the movies more exciting.

Guardians of the Louvre

Guardians of the Louvre - Jirô Taniguchi

It took a while for me to get into this one. I didn't like the first chapter or so (why did the tense keep changing? Bad writing or bad translation?). The middle was great and the ending was eh. I would have preferred a graphic novel of the history of the Louvre without the framing story. 

Gotham Academy, Vol 3

Gotham Academy, Vol. 3: Yearbook - Brenden Fletcher, Rafael Albuquerque, Derek Fridolfs, Dustin Nguyen

This book is basically all filler. I thought I might like that since I do like the characters, and I don't care about the story, but alas this volume didn't do anything for me either. I might return if Maps and Olive ever start dating, but until then I'm going to find the Lumberjanes/Gotham Academy crossover and then be done with this series.

Gotham Academy, Vol 2.

Gotham Academy Vol. 2: Calamity - Brenden Fletcher, Karl Kerschl, Becky Cloonan

I want to like Gotham Academy, I really do. But I just don't. I really like the characters. I just wish they were in a different book.

 

The comic itself is difficult to read (I had this same complaint about Vol 1). The frames are not well-defined and text box placement doesn't make sense a lot of the time (two boxes in the top right corner, one on the bottom left... which one am I supposed to read first!?).

 

I'm also not familiar with the DC universe at all, and I think that lack of knowledge is hurting my reading, too.

 

I'm excited to read the Lumberjanes crossover. Both comics have that same Scooby-Doo feel, and I think they'll go well together. But after I finish this first arc, I think I'm done with the series (although, maybe the series is over? I don't understand DC...)

The Year of the Garden

The Year of the Garden (An Anna Wang novel) - Andrea Cheng, Patrice Barton

This book needed to be longer. It was too short to serve its story well. Laura and Anna's friendship needed more space to develop.

 

Also I don't believe that Anna cannot PRONOUNCE HER OWN NAME. Seriously, what the fuck? Cheng does a pretty good job of writing Asian characters but this part of the story was so ridiculous I almost quit reading.

 

Anna would have some pronunciation of her name. Whether that pronunciation is "correct" could be up for debate, but KIDS KNOW THEIR NAMES. Speaking from experience, it would have been 100% more realistic if Anna didn't tell Laura her middle name because 1. LAURA wouldn't be able to pronounce it or 2. Anna is embarrassed by her middle name because she's told people before and they made fun of her for it.

Harry Miller's Run

Harry Miller's Run - David Almond, Salvatore Rubbino

I'm personally not that into these illustrated David Almond stories. I'd rather just have the words. I liked this one better than Slog's dad though. And if these illustrated stories get more kids into David Almond's work then that's great.

 

The Demigod Diaries

The Demigod Diaries - Rick Riordan

I think this one is better than the Demigod Files, but I'm still not that into these filler books. If you love Percy Jackson and the Heroes of Olympus it's worth checking them out if only because you get a little more of the characters you like.

 

I skipped the last story completely though. I don't really care what Rick Riordan's son has to add to this universe. Sorry.

Alicia the Snow Queen Fairy

Alicia the Snow Queen Fairy (Rainbow Magic Special Edition) - Daisy Meadows

As far as I can tell all the fairy books are the same. A fairy has a problem (because of Jack Frost or his goblins). The girls help the fairy. Everyone is happy at the end. They're pretty inane and formulaic. Very marshmallow-y. Which I expected. The special edition ones are like three books in one. I will probably never read one again in my life if I can help it.

The Shadow Throne

The Shadow Throne - Jennifer A. Nielsen

I'll update this post with my final review once I've finished/quit the book. But before then I just have to say I wish Nielsen were more patient with her story and with her readers. She explains too much too early and it's getting worse with every book.

 

Ugh, I got bored in the middle and just skimmed to the end. A disappointing, but not unexpected, ending to the trilogy.

The Runaway King

The Runaway King - Jennifer A. Nielsen

I cannot stop comparing this series to The Queen's Thief, which is really not fair to these books since the Queen's Thief series is better than most everything out there.

 

Like The False Prince The Runaway King is compulsively readable. But I wasn't that into the story. Again it takes a loooong time to get going. And then too much of the story felt coincidental. Like, oh this person just happened to show up now, and I just happened to roll under a convenient plot device, and I did all this physically impossible stuff but yeah, let's have another sword fight.

 

The series could use some more women. Imogen is the best one but she's also pretty much the only one. Where are the lady pirates? Where are the lady thieves? Please develop the lady regents that were mentioned once in The False Prince.

 

Also this series is cataloged as both children's and teen's fiction at my library (separate branches), so now I'm confused if it's MG or YA and worried that a love triangle is coming. I'm tired of love triangles. I don't care.

The False Prince

The False Prince  - Jennifer A. Nielsen

The False Prince is very easy to read, but it's kind of a strange reading experience. It takes a loooong time for the story to get going and then the ending is quite abrupt. The twists are pretty easy to spot* especially after having reread all of Turner's The Queen's Thief series earlier this year. Nielsen uses similar techniques to Turner just not as successfully.

 

I will check out the second book just to see where the story's going, and Nielsen's other trilogy, Mark of the Thief, sounds interesting so I'll probably check that out as well. I'm mostly just trying to fill the void finishing Thick as Thieves has left if my life. If it all goes badly, I might just read The Queen's Thief series all over again.

 

*The biggest reveal comes in the middle of the book, so you're not kept waiting the whole time at least.

The Night Bookmobile

The Night Bookmobile - Audrey Niffenegger

An interesting concept. The ending turned me off from the rest of the story. 

Dragons Love Tacos 2

Dragons Love Tacos 2: The Sequel - Adam Rubin, Daniel Salmieri

Feels very similar to the first one. Same light, silly tone. 

Here Comes Everybody

Here Comes Everybody: The Power of Organizing Without Organizations - Clay Shirky

An interesting look at how social media is changing the way groups form and function. It's full of easy-to-understand, real-world examples. Occasionally the chapters are a bit redundant, but I read it two chapters at a time over the course of several days, so that redundancy helped me keep track of what Shirky was talking about and connected all of his ideas more clearly through the book. The book is written through a sociology lens, but I don't think you need to know anything about sociology to understand his points. All specialized terms are pretty well explained in the book.

 

I had to read this for school, but it's interesting enough that I could see myself picking it up as a pleasure read.

When Michael Met Mina

When Michael Met Mina - Randa Abdel-Fattah

So no one working on this book has read Skellig?