Fall Mini-Reviews

It happened again.  I get on such a roll with my reading that I completely neglect writing reviews and so… mini-reviews!  These were both books I thought were ok, but you know, they didn’t leave strong, lasting impressions…

Revolver by Marcus Sedgwick

I found this at my library book sale and having enjoyed Sedgwick’s writing in the past, decided to give it a try.  Sig lives in early 20th century Sweden up in the Arctic frontier, where they is iron mining going on.  His dad dies under mysterious circumstances and when his stepmother and sister go to town to get someone to take care of Sig’s father’s body, Sig stays home in his isolated cabin alone.  And then a mysterious and frightening stranger comes to the door.  With a gun.

What I liked: Sedgwick’s writing, the unusual setting, the low page count
What I felt meh about: pretty much everything else, it should be a tense book as there is a gun pointed at someone for nearly the whole thing, but really I wasn’t that interested in the plot or the characters, it was boring
All in all: I keep hoping I will find a Sedgwick book that really clicks for me.  This wasn’t it.


All Lined Up by Cora Carmack

Dallas Cole is a dancer and freshman in college.  Oh, and her dad is the football coach at her Texas college.  One night at a party, she falls into the arms (literally) of Carson McClain.  The two hit it off immediately.  But Carson is a football player.  And a walk-on at that.  He doesn’t have time to get distracted by romance.  Especially a romance with the coach’s daughter.  Dallas has no interest in repeating her past experiences and wants to stay as far away from football and football players as she can.  But she and Carson start to casually hang out.  And things slowly heat up between them.

What I liked: super cute romance, set in Texas, felt like a truthful portrayal of being a coach’s daughter and the college freshman experience, FOOTBALL
What I was meh on: less steamy than I expected based on my previous experience with this author’s work (though it was appropriate to the characters)
All in all: Cute football romance.  Cora Carmack is great at this New Adult stuff.


Audiobook Mini-Reviews

I’m not the best at reviewing audiobooks.  They are always harder for me to remember details about and that makes it hard to write reviews.  But I’ve been REALLY good about posting reviews for what I’ve read this year, so I’m going to post some mini-reviews.  Both these books were ones I downloaded as part of the SYNC summer audiobooks.  I love that program, it exposes me to books I’d never read otherwise!

Code Name Verity  by Elizabeth Wein

This book was everywhere in the book blog world a couple years ago.  A female British pilot ferrying a female Scottish spy across the English Channel crash-lands in the Nazi-occupied French countryside.  The spy, Verity, is picked up by the Gestapo and interrogated and tortured.  Verity cooperates with the Gestapo, spinning out a tale of her friendship with Maddie, the pilot who crash-landed with her.  What follows is a story of friendship set against the horrors of war.

What I liked: the writing, the narrators, the fact this had no romantic subplot (so rare in YA), smart female characters putting their lives on the line for their country
What I felt meh about: the narrative structure was such that you don’t really see Maddie and Verity interact, instead it is all stories about their relationship, which put their friendship at a distance, also some parts dragged a bit for me
All in all: I liked it, but not my favorite book ever.  I guess there’s a sequel?  I don’t know that I will seek it out, but if I came across it, I’d read it.

Claudette Colvin: Twice Toward Justice by Phillip Hoose

This is the story of Claudette Colvin, an African-American teenager who, 9 months before Rosa Parks, refused to give up her seat on a segregated Montgomery bus.  Claudette was arrested and her arrest and mistreatment by the police set the wheels in motion for the Montgomery Bus Boycott, as well as the federal district court case Browder v. Gayle, which ruled that segregation on the city buses was unconstitutional.

What I liked: This was a really inspiring, interesting, and timely story (I read this about a month ago when Ferguson was big in the news).  I liked that oral interviews with Claudette Colvin underpinned the story.  Hoose also does a great job of placing Claudette’s story within the historical context of the Civil Rights movement.  It was very short, which I appreciated!
What I was meh on: I felt the analysis was a lacking a bit, but I admit my expectations as a reader might be a little high given that I come from an academic history background and am not really the target age/education level for this book.
All in all: Great non-fiction that kept me thinking about social movements for weeks after finishing.