Tag Archives: 2 Stars

Tales of the Revolution by Seth Godin

Tales of the Revolution by Seth Godin

First of all, Tales of the Revolution isn’t by Seth Godin. He didn’t write any of it, or even edit it. Instead, he just copy and pasted people’s entries, complete with typos. There were a lot of typos. Very few of the entries made sense. They were full of buzzwords and lacked any substance or even explanation of what the people were actually doing to “poke the box” (for that matter I wouldn’t classify most of them as poking the box at all). I found it interesting that in the eleven years since these “amazing” and “revolutionary” ideas were submitted only a few are still in existence. A few, like Teachers Pay Teachers, are still thriving. Some of the submissions were nothing more than living life and doing what many other people do (such as the one who reviews books she reads). At least the book was short. I didn’t find it inspiring or even very interesting. But there was a lot of Seth Godin love in the entries so I guess he did. I don’t recommend this book.

2 (out of 5) Stars
Books Read in 2022: 87
Pages Read in 2022: 30,774
Graphic Novels: 2

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Filed under Non-Fiction, Self-Help/Motivation

Eat the Rich by PJ O’Rourke

Eat the Rich by PJ O’Rourke

Some parts of Eat the Rich are amusing. Some parts are educational. And some parts are just plain ridiculous and not good satire at all. Pretty much every chapter just went on way too long like the author didn’t quite know how to finish it out. I did find a comment about capitalism increasing violence and hopefully that violence would be aimed at Donald Trump to be funny mainly because the book was published way back in 1998. At the end he tried to make an argument that wealth distribution violates the tenth commandment (because it’s obviously due to people coveting the rich peoples’ money). He also made a weird argument for evading taxes not being so bad since that money just goes into the economy instead of to the government. I don’t recommend this book unless you just want to see what certain countries were like to visit in the late 90s and what their economies were like at the time.

2 (out of 5) Stars
Books Read in 2022: 79
Pages Read in 2022: 28,500
Graphic Novels: 1

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Filed under Non-Fiction, Reason: LitHub Bingo

The Left-Handed Booksellers of London by Garth Nix

The Left-Handed Booksellers of London by Garth Nix

The Left-Handed Booksellers of London is a very bizarre book. The story makes little sense and there doesn’t seem to be all that much of a plot. Sometimes too much description is a bad thing and with this book that is definitely the case. It could’ve been half as long. The cadence is weird, too. I read it out loud to my boys and usually within a chapter or two it’s easy to get into the rhythm of reading a book, but this one just stayed weird and was never pleasant to read. The romance was so contrived and unnecessary, almost like the author said to himself that this is a YA book therefore it must have some sort of romance (and the last paragraph, related to that romance, was totally silly and unneeded). The characters were pretty flat and while the main character got the information she wanted, there was no real growth or change to any of them. No one seemed to be shocked or even care much at having a traitor among the booksellers. It was just not a very enjoyable book so I do not recommend it.

2 (out of 5) Stars
Books Read in 2022: 75
Pages Read in 2022: 27,273
Graphic Novels: 1

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Filed under Reason: Grim Readers, Reason: Literati, Young Adult

Crown of Midnight by Sarah J. Maas

Crown of Midnight by Sarah J. Maas

I did not much enjoy reading Crown of Midnight. I wavered between giving it one star (I almost never give books one star) and two and in the end it just barely saved itself from getting one star. Parts of it were decent. Good even, on occasion. It’s just there were so many things that annoyed me.

Note: This review contains some mild spoilers.

Celaena is kind of dumb and downright annoying. So incredibly annoying. She gets irrationally mad at Chaol, insisting, after a week of sleeping with him every chance she gets, she will never trust him again for withholding information (as he should have due to his job), but she withholds information from him all the time (including the fact that the king has threatened his life if she does not assassinate each person he assigns). This just makes her come across as a spoiled brat. Also, she is way too trusting of the wrong people. If she was such a great assassin, she would be much more careful about where she places her trust. For example, even knowing the type of person Archer is, she immediately believed him (including lies) about Chaol. Now, I realize the author needed her to do that to make the plot go a certain way, but it was just another place Celaena didn’t make sense. Thinking Nehemia always only told her the truth just because Nehemia said she would doesn’t seem to make sense for an assassin, one who would generally be suspicious of everyone.

Dorian pining over Celaena while at the same time insisting he had let her go (he hadn’t) was possibly true to character, but it was so idiotic and annoying. I just wanted to smack some sense into him. I literally groaned a few times when the story returned to him.

I felt like several characters didn’t behave true to their character. I’ve heard many authors speak about how they have to let their characters go where they want to go. It seems that this author was set on what she wants her characters to do to make the story go a certain way and so quite often the thought crossed my mind that character behavior seemed forced and out of, well, character for them.

Honestly, the only characters I truly liked were Katlain and Mort. And one of them is insane and the other is a brass door knocker. The others… I just didn’t care what happened to them. When it finally showed what Celaena really is, I was like oh, whatever, just finish the book.

In general, the writing was just poor, poorer, actually, than the first book in the series. I read a whole lot of YA and the vocabulary was less sophisticated in this one than most I’ve read. One time the author decided to suddenly use a big word, it didn’t really much make sense. Celaena, in mourning, had dinner with Dorian. It said something about how it was a quiet dinner, but not lachrymose. Considering this was Celaena I wouldn’t expect her to be tearful through dinner, especially not a dinner with Dorian. A better, more fitting word would have been somber, but maybe lachrymose was the author’s word of the day that day so she really wanted to use it.

The author repeated a lot of things over and over, particularly during the first about two-thirds. Sometimes I just felt like she was trying to increase the word count. Occasionally changing time or place or what’s happening wasn’t clear, but then that just may be me because I often found my mind wandering, even during parts that were supposed to be exciting. The witch explaining Wyrdkeys was dreadfully boring. The first part of the riddle seemed totally obvious to me and took Celaena way longer to solve than I think it should have. And then the “shocker” at the end was painfully obvious well before the big reveal.

A lot of people love this series, so I’m clearly in the minority disliking it. If you loved Throne of Glass (I liked that one very much myself), give Crown of Midnight a chance. You might find it rather dreadful like I did, or you might love it like most people, so don’t just write it off based on the problems I had with it.

2 (out of 5) Stars
Books Read in 2022: 69
Pages Read in 2022: 25,232
Graphic Novels: 1

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Filed under Fantasy, Reason: I Like the Series, Reason: We Be Book'N, Young Adult

Game Changer by Neal Shusterman

Game Changer by Neal Shusterman

The premise of Game Changer is great. The execution leaves a lot to be desired. The author seemed to want to hit every social issue and hit people over the head with it and then pound it in a whole lot to be sure they got the message. The preachiness got really annoying. When he jumped worlds to one where the Brown v Board of Education ruling went the other way, that was an interesting idea to think about. It would have been nice if more of his jumps were like that one. It was weird how some jumps built on each other and some didn’t. A few chapters before the end it seemed promising that it was going to wrap up well, but then the author decided to go big with it and it just was even more absurd than the rest of the book (and when you are talking about a book about a guy jumping around the multiverse that’s saying something). I don’t particularly recommend this book.

2 (out of 5) Stars
Books Read in 2022: 61
Pages Read in 2022: 22,186
Graphic Novels: 1

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Filed under Reason: Bedtime Story for the Boys, Reason: Literati, Young Adult

Spinning Silver by Naomi Novak

Spinning Silver by Naomi Novik

Spinning Silver was my book club’s choice for March. I finally finished it the day of my April book group get together. Sometimes I wish I had the ability to abandon books but I just can’t do it. Plus my friends said the last half was better than the first half, and the last chapter was incredible. They were wrong, and it wasn’t. I didn’t hate it on a Red Badge of Courage level, but I definitely didn’t like or enjoy it much. I absolutely judge books by their cover and Spinning Silver has one of the ugliest covers I’ve ever seen. It’s very long, over 450 pages. Now, a long, good book can be extremely enjoyable. This was just a slog to get through. The book is written in first person, but the narrator changes regularly right in the middle of chapters. There is no indication this is happening other than a little scene change sort of symbol. It does not indicate who the new narrator is. You just have to keep reading, confused for the first several sentences, until you figure it out. Some narrators appear quite often, some very rarely, and there is no pattern to when they appear. When I started reading it a couple weeks before our March book group gathering, I found myself finding every excuse not to read it. For like a week I barely read anything. On the plus side, my house was exceptionally clean even with twin toddlers and a preschooler constantly wreaking havoc. I just didn’t care about most of the characters. I found the majority to be annoying. I really didn’t care if they stopped the Staryk creating eternal winter or not. It moves so incredibly slowly. Maybe if it was half as long and things actually happened at a reasonable pace it wouldn’t have been so bad. I did like how all the many storylines converged and the house that was in both the real world and the Staryk world at the same time was very creative. Thank goodness for small things that made it slightly less dreadful. I do not recommend anyone read Spinning Silver.

2 (out of 5) Stars
Books Read in 2022: 39
Pages Read in 2022: 14,106
Graphic Novels: 1

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Filed under Fantasy, Reason: Book Club

Edgar Allan Poe: Complete Tales & Poems

Edgar Allan Poe: Complete Tales & Poems

There’s a reason everyone has heard of certain stories and poems by Edgar Allan Poe such as The Pit and the Pendulum, The Cask of Amontillado, The Tell-Tale Heart, The Raven, and The Bells. This is because the popular ones are the only ones that are any good. The rest, particularly his essays and one complete novel, are just plain tedious. Stick to the popular stories. The others aren’t worth it.

2 (out of 5) Stars
Books Read in 2022: 30
Pages Read in 2022: 10,848
Graphic Novels: 1

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Filed under Reason: LitHub Bingo, Short Stories

Be More Chill by Ned Vizzini

Be More Chill by Ned Vizzini

Be More Chill takes everything wrong with a small segment of high school boys and glorifies all of it. The end isn’t so bad and is basically its one redeeming quality (saving it from being a one star book). The premise is ridiculous. The behavior of everyone with a squip is ridiculous. It’s just overall extremely ridiculous. This is a book to skip.

2 (out of 5) Stars
Books Read in 2022: 11
Pages Read in 2022: 3800

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Filed under Realistic Fiction, Reason: LitHub Bingo, Reason: We Be Book'N

Allegiant by Veronica Roth

Allegiant by Veronica Roth

There’s so much that annoys me about Allegiant. First, she chose to alternate which character (Tobias/Tris) narrates the chapters. She needed to do that since having it all narrated by Tris definitely wouldn’t work in the end. Normally, I quite enjoy that writing style. The problem with this book is there’s no discernable difference between Tris’s voice and Tobias’s voice. It’s very easy to forget whose chapter it is because they all sound the same which is weird because those two characters think, talk, and act very differently and so should not sound the same at all. Second, the characters often act so stupid, though this is a problem throughout the entire series. They get hung up on things they shouldn’t and it makes alllll the difference in their lives. It gets really old. Third, this book only seems slightly related to the rest of the series. It’s so incredibly different. Fourth, the whole genetically pure/genetically damaged thing is silly. So, so silly. And that’s what the entire story hinges on. Fifth, Tobias having a total meltdown about not actually being Divergent to the point he wonders if Tris will even still love him is utterly ridiculous and immature. So what if he’s not Divergent/genetically pure. He can still fight the serums which is kind of extra cool since it’s not an expected result for someone who is “genetically damaged.” Sixth, David still being all hung up on Tris’s mom and him just not being able to have her submit reports once she joined Abnegation and got married is utterly ridiculous. He’s running an entire bureau over these experiment cities. Grow up. Seventh, Tris leaving her gun in the hallway before entering the weapons lab is not within character. She’d have had that gun. Maybe she wouldn’t have used it, but she’d have had it with her. Eighth, the kissing scenes are uncomfortably awkward and seem to be shoved in there in order to make it sort of a romance. They are totally unnecessary or should’ve been written better. They were all pretty much identical. The very end, the last few chapters and the epilogue, are good, probably the best part of the whole series and definitely the best part of Allegiant. That part is raw and honest. The rest? Kind of insufferable.

2 (out of 5) Stars
Books Read in 2022: 6
Pages Read in 2022: 2114

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Filed under Dystopian, Reason: Bedtime Story for the Boys, Young Adult

Lillian Boxfish Takes a Walk by Kathleen Rooney

Lillian Boxfish Takes a Walk by Kathleen Rooney

I’m not sure why books about depressed old people looking back on their lives are so popular. They are really quite dreadful and Lillian Boxfish Takes a Walk is no exception. I didn’t find it inspiring or even very interesting. I liked how the chapters alternated between what she was doing New Year’s Eve 1984 and her remembering what happened in the past. Unfortunately, I found Lillian to be exceedingly annoying and full of herself and so didn’t enjoy reading the book much at all. I don’t recommend it to anyone.

2 (out of 5) Stars
Books Read in 2021: 90
Pages Read in 2021: 29,103

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Filed under Realistic Fiction, Reason: LitHub Bingo