January 26, 2015

Recent Reads

1. How to Be Happy
This is a collection of short stories/vignettes on the pursuit of happiness. I liked the sketchy art, and the bold watercolors, but the rave reviews this book gets simply stumps me. Yes, each story explores a different take on what happiness means, and how one pursues it, and there were one or two that seemed to be right on the money, but overall I was left unimpressed. Rating: 2 stars.

2. The Book of Life (All Souls Trilogy #3)
I'm one of those people who seems to have a genetic need to finish a trilogy, no matter how bad it is. I have successfully modified my non-coding DNA in some cases, but clearly I missed a chain or two.

This is the final book in the All Souls Trilogy, and honestly if I had my life to do over, I'd skip this one entirely. The writing is not compelling, the plot transparently thin, the characters come across as boring rather than enigmatic (I presume that was the author's intention), there are people and plot threads that do not move the story forward, there are about 350 unnecessary pages, and I honestly don't know why I finished it, other than reading about this dysfunctional family while spending time with other people's family was soothing in some way. I blame it on all the sugar I consumed during the holidays, which is when I started reading it. 

Did I like anything at all? I did like the toe dip into genetic and evolutionary science - and a full dive into that subject would have delighted me. But then this would have been a different book. I quite liked Gallowglass, and wanted to leave with him when he made the smartest decision of his life and left these people behind. What about the Book and the kids? Skim the Wiki page and get the gist. You'll thank me later. Rating: 2 stars.

3. Sisters (Smile #2)
This graphic novel/memoir is targeted for middle school readers, and is a companion piece to SMILE, though it works well as a standalone book. Raina wants a playmate, so cannot wait to have a sister, but when Amara is born, things do not go quite as she planned. This is a cute story of sisters, a family, and the road trip from hell. The thing I related to most? The snake of course - which actually reminded me of my sister. Rating: 3 stars.

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