December Minireviews – Part II

So I find that I not-infrequently read books that I just feel rather “meh” about and they don’t seem worth writing an entire post about.  However, since I also use this blog as a sort of book-review diary, I like to at least say something.  So, inspired by the way that Stephanie reviews the unreviewed every month, I think that some months (or maybe all of them!) will get a post with minireviews of all those books that just didn’t get more than a few paragraphs of feelings from me.

This month I had quite a few, so Part I has already been published.

The Head of Kay’s by P.G. Wodehouse


//published 1905//

Yet another school story from Wodehouse’s early days.  This one definitely had more plot than some of the others – it’s basically the story of how a couple of prefects work together to bring solidarity to their house, despite the interference and incompetency of their house head, Kay.  There is still quite a lot of cricket and footer, especially at the end (it really felt like the story ought to have ended with Kay’s resignation, rather than having it be 3/4 of the way through), but it was overall a breezy and engaging little story.

The Dead Sea Cipher by Elizabeth Peters


//published 1970//

In this story, by the author of the Amelia Peabody books, our heroine (Dinah) is taking a little tour through the Holy Lands.  She overhears an argument in the next room one night, and the next morning a man in that room is found dead.  Suddenly, a lot of different strangers seem very interested in Dinah, despite her protestations that, because the argument was in Arabic, she understood nothing.

This book reminded me a lot of one of Agatha Christie’s spy novels.  It has that same we’re-all-just-here-for-the-ride attitude towards realism, and it was a fun little frolic if you were willing to forego any need to have the book make logical sense.  Dinah was a moderately interesting protagonist, although things did fall into place just a little too neatly.  And while I’ve loosely compared this story to one of Christie’s, this one definitely lacked Christie’s knack of making characters feel warm and natural.  This was a fairly enjoyable 3/5 read, but not a particularly noteworthy one.

The Tottering TBR // Episode IX

A weekly post wherein I pretend to lament the fact that I have so many books on my TBR… but in fact am secretly rubbing my hands together with delight that there are so many amazing books left to be discovered…

Happy New Year!!!  It’s hard to believe that we are already into 2017!  Where has the time gone??

Hopefully I will be posting a Rearview Mirror post for both December and 2016 as a whole this week.  In the meantime… surely all the spare time for reading that I had between the holidays means that I’ve made a dent in the TBR, right??

Added to the General TBR:

So it seems like it should be a great thing when I read a book and really like it, and it is… except then it means that I usually end up adding the rest of that author’s bibliography to the TBR!  This week I found myself adding books by Sharon Bolton, Kasie West, and Lauren Miller, for a total of nine more titles to the TBR!

Off the General TBR:

512jwvtpll-_sy344_bo1204203200_Three books down this week.  Dead Sea Cipher by Elizabeth Peters will show up on the December Minireviews.  I also read and reviewed Daisy in Chains by Sharon Bolton (brilliant) and Parallel by Lauren Miller (quite good).

Total for the General TBR:  866 – up six!


Added to the Personal TBR:

Four Kindle books this week, plus a Christmas book – the Slightly Foxed edition of Terms and Conditions by Ysenda Maxtone Graham.  I’m about two-thirds of the way through this gem – absolutely delightful!

Off the Personal TBR:

Well, I get a bonus four titles off due to earlier miscounting, plus I read and reviewed Midnight: Wild Stallion of the Westso down five!

Total for the Personal TBR:  589 (steady!)


Added to/Off the Series TBR:

Nothing on or off for this tab this week.  I’m waiting for the first book of my new series to come in from the library, so not really any progress here.

Total for the Series TBR:  Holding stead at 148


Added to/Off the Mystery Series TBR:

18453116Nothing on or off for this category, either.  I did read the next of the Joseph O’Laughlin books, though – Lost was a pretty solid read, and I’m looking forward to continuing the series.

Total for the Mystery Series TBR:  Holding steady at 71


Added to/Off the Nonfiction TBR:

Another null category!

Total for the Nonfiction TBR:  Holding steady at 58


Grand Totals for the Week:  Up thirteen and down eight gives me a grand total of only going up five overall for this week!  Such self-restraint!

Parallel // by Lauren Miller


//published 2013//

Abby is a girl with a Plan.  She knows where she wants to go to college and what she wants to study, and her entire high school career has been devoted to making those goals reality.  But on the first day of her senior year in high school, she finds out that one of her classes has been cancelled and she has to choose between two options.  She picks Drama on a whim – and ends up landing the lead part in thatfor  year’s play, which, through a couple more flukes leads to her being cast in a real Hollywood movie.  Except despite the director’s promises, the movie isn’t done filming in time for Abby to start college.  And so, on the eve of her 18th birthday, when she ought to be on campus at Northwestern studying journalism, she’s stuck in California pondering her life choices.

The next morning, Abby wakes up in an entirely strange situation – she’s in a dorm room on campus at Yale.  Stranger still, she now has two memories for how her high school senior year began.  It turns out that our world has collided with a parallel world that is a year behind – and every choice that her parallel makes changes Abby’s current life…

So there were a lot of things about this book to enjoy.  For the most part, I liked Abby herself, and I loved her best friend, Caitlin.  The whole concept was a lot of fun, and the book did a great job exploring some different philosophical aspects of life (like predestination, free choice, and soulmates) without being at all preachy or bogging down the story.  I was really invested in Abby and how things were going to work out for her, and I found the ending to be overall fairly satisfying.

However, there were definitely some aspects of this story that made basically no sense to me.  The biggest one is that if Abby’s parallel is making these choices that are changing Abby’s life every day…is that just going to last forever??  Abby only ever seems worried about the short-term impact, but I found myself confused thinking about her whole life – like is she just going to keep waking up and finding everything totally different??  I was also a bit confused as to why she is living with the parallel’s choices, but because the parallel is a year behind, Abby only gets one new day’s memories at a time… but is somehow living with the whole year’s choices, but they also keep changing??  I’m not explaining this very well, maybe because it didn’t completely make sense to me.

There was also a big ???? to me concerning the ending, which I’ll put below the cut because it’s a definite spoiler regarding how the whole parallel situation is resolved.

All in all, though, I actually really enjoyed this book.  I liked the characters and the friendships, and I felt like Abby did somewhat grow as a person.  I also liked that Abby had parents who actually liked each other!  Score!  While I’m giving Parallel 3/5, I enjoyed it enough that I’m going to see if Lauren Miller has written anything else.  And a special shout-out to TalesoftheMarvelous, whose review of this book inspired me to add to the TBR.

Spoilery questions concerning the ending below the cut –

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