Patrick Rothfuss' The Wise Man's Fear - Grade: A+. AGH! WHY IS HE SOOOO GOOD?! This book was like literally 1000 pages and I just read and read and read them until there were none left and then I was heartbroken. Every word is necessary, every page is rife with story and excitement, and yet there's STILL SO MUCH he is keeping from us! I want to know all! I want to know now! One of the best books/series I've read this year, bar none.

Margaret Weis and Tracy Hickman's Dragons of the Dwarven Depths - The Lost Chronicles, Vol. 1 - Grade: B-. If you've been following along, you know that I love me some Dragonlance. So when I discovered that they had, years later, penned a trilogy that took place in the MIDDLE of the original trilogy, I was apprehensive but excited. My mixed feelings proved to be with good reason. The storyline was a little shaky, but the characters I know and love were all there and all written properly. However, the authors seemed to have forgotten to do their homework in its entirety. There were some pretty glaring inconsistencies that came to light, especially when cross-referenced with the original trilogy (as I absolutely DID). That was disappointed to me, taking away from my love of the new series. :/

James Dashner's The Kill Order (prequel to The Maze Runner - Grade: C. I was really excited for this book as well. So many good books coming out! And this was to be the final installment in the series. After a decent trilogy that left plenty of questions and loose ends, I was hoping that this would wrap up everything with pretty little bows. Wah Wah. In reality, this book was marketed incorrectly. This wasn't a prequel, it was a prequel to the prequel. Boo. The only parts that even related to the trilogy (and thus by default) the most interesting parts of the book (read: the only parts I cared about) were the prologue and the epilogue and that was like 4 pages total. Everything else was way, way before. All the prequel did was stir up even more questions and loose ends than before, and resolved nothing. So very, very disappointed.

Richard Matheson's I Am Legend - Grade: B-. So I picked this up from my cousin because she was telling me when she read it, it was nothing like the movie other than they had the same name. I was intrigued by this and wanted to read for myself. It was indeed, starkly different. And the odd thing is when I was reading, I would take in a scene and there was plenty of exciting stuff that could have been made into a movie! It's not like the plot was boring or the pace was slow in the book. So I found it interesting that they altered the movie script SO much. Really, they are almost different entities. I enjoyed it, but I didn't love it.

Margaret Weis and Tracy Hickman's Dragons of the Highlord Skies - The Lost Chronicles, Vol. 2 - Grade: B+. Once I start something, I have to continue it. So I did. I have to say that though this book had less inconsistencies and was a better story, I still really struggled to get through it. It took me SO long to read this book. I think I read 3 others in the time it took me to get through this one. So that was definitely not in its favor. I mean it wasn't awful, it's Dragonlance so I still enjoyed it, but not their best work.

Denise Shekerjian's Uncommon Genius: Tracing the Creative Impulse with Forty Winners of the MacArthur Award - Grade: B+. In my continuing quest to enrich and enlighten myself (which started with Everyday Genius), I picked this as my next "homework" book. Basically these are books that I'm reading not so much for "fun" or the story, but to learn, educate, and make myself into a more awesome human being. This one delved into the lives and insights of 40 MacArthur Winners (someone nominate me for one!) and how they deal with creativity. I enjoyed the book and found much of it interesting, but I don't know entirely how effective or helpful it was in the long run.

Timothy Carter's The Cupid War - Grade: B. You cannot imagine my excitement when I saw that Timothy Carter had a new novel out! Because so far he has been nothing but amazing and giggles. I discovered him quite by accident when I was reading random things for SWILUA and that one was pretty good. But Carter became a cherished favorite when I read his next book, EVIL? and just could not, at any moment, stop laughing. HYSTERICAL. So I had to get this one. It was a really quick read, but it was no EVIL?. Also, just when all the world/char/story-building was reaching its peak and everything was set for an incredible war/epic/climax... the book ended. Done. Just like that. Wash the hands, tidy up and move on. Lame.

Margaret Weis and Tracy Hickman's Dragons of the Hourglass Mage - The Lost Chronicles, Vol. 3 - Grade: B. I have to say of the three, this one was the most interesting. It told the most plausible story and filled in holes that worked seamlessly in with the other books. But let's be honest. Raistlin is Weis' favorite character and there's a prequel book just about him, so he's a really fleshed out character. As a new trilogy overall, I don't know that they won me over enough to go on my shelf and join the other DragonLance books. I think I want to keep my chronicles pure and clean of errors and discrepancies. Am I mad they exist? Not really. Just not my favorites.

Allison Burnett's The House Beautiful - Grade: C. So this is the sequel to Christopher, that I had picked up way back in January when I pretended to take a class for about a week (that is now a Creative Writing blog!) and then realized it was a sequel. I finally got there. This book took some getting into. I still absolutely hated the protagonist. But I felt like the characters of the House that Burnett wrote were more believable and fleshed out than his first book, so that's an improvement. Not a favorite though.

Mary Alice Kellogg's Easy Choices, Hard Decisions - Grade: C. It took me way longer to get through this book than is should have. This was another adventure in "homework." And the more I read, the more the process used MATH. And I don't MATH. Ew. However, in the book's defense the process seems to work. I've had two other people use it and it seemed to help them, so there's that. It's effective, but it's MATH. So if you like that sort of thing, I guess check it out. Not my thing.

Chris Wooding's Endgame - Grade: B-. So I've been trying ever since probably 2006 to find this series called Broken Sky that was recommended to me, but without success. So I did some googling and searching and came across these books. The internet mis-informed me that Broken Sky was a thing, and this was the first book. Well, the library didn't carry it, so I broke down and bought the thing. When it arrived, I immediately got into it. Kids talking about World War... threats... wow, what an exciting series! Some of the characters weren't well-developed and I didn't relate to them/believe their actions, but the plot wasn't god-awful. As I neared the end of the book though I wondered how this was going to build into the series I was expecting it to. Then the end comes and [SPOILER ALERT!!!] everyone dies. WAIT, WHAT?!? I was SO SO SO confused. Well turns out that further googling and searching reveals that indeed this is a stand-alone (NOT Broken Sky) and it has a piss-poor ending. Wah wah. Broken Sky is apparently only in the UK. *Sigh.*

Rick Riordan's The Mark of Athena (Book 3 in The Heroes of Olympus series) - Grade: A. Ohhh! I was so excited for this book to come out! It came out October 2nd and I got it November 14th. I devoured the first 3/4ths of the book in like two days, then savored the end. Unlike his last book, I had not troubles with this one. Loved every minute of it. Riordan is seriously at the top of his game right now and I cannot believe I have to wait for the next one! AGH!!!

Bonus book: I have no idea when/where this got left off, but I've done searches and I clearly never reviewed it, yet I know I've read it. So here's a bonus review of a book I read sometime in 2011...

Louise Erdich's The Last Report on the Miracles at Little No Horse - Grade: B. This book came recommended by a dear friend, otherwise I don't know that this is one I ever would have picked up. There were parts that were confusing/hard to get through, but really the book/plot were intriguing, engaging, and thoroughly interesting. I would recommend this one if you like books such as My Name is Asher Lev, The Great Gatsby, Kindred, The Scarlet Letter. Definitely more of a literary fiction read than a fluffy, fun sword-slinging adventure tale.


 

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